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January 23rd, 2012
04:34 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Monday, January 23

By Dan Merica, CNN

Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.

From the Blog:

CNN: Jewish paper's column catches Secret Service's eye
The U.S. Secret Service is looking into a controversial column by an Atlanta Jewish newspaper publisher that mulled the assassination of an American president.

A win in South Carolina is proof is that Gingrich can connect with evangelicals.

CNN: Passing significant test, Gingrich wins more S.C. evangelicals than rivals
If there were any doubts that Newt Gingrich, a thrice-married convert to Catholicism, could connect with the evangelical voters who make up the Republican Party base, Saturday’s South Carolina primary put them to rest, with the former House Speaker winning twice as many evangelical votes as anyone else in the race.

CNN: Why Gingrich ‘open marriage’ allegation may not scare off evangelicals
The ex-wife of a Republican politician alleges her then-husband asked if they could have an open marriage, so evangelical “values voters” rethink their support for him, right? Not so fast, say some evangelical leaders and experts.

Could you be getting more from the Speed Read? Tweet or message suggestions to @DanMericaCNN

Tweet of the Day:

From @RDispatches: Is Liberalism Islamic?: An Interview with Mustafa Akyol. bit.ly/yOmmRQ

Enlightening Reads:

The Christian Post: Churches Attacked in Nigeria Following Wave of Bombings
Two churches and a security checkpoint were attacked in Nigeria as President Goodluck Jonathan visited the country’s second-largest city Sunday, following the wave of Islamic extremist attacks Friday that has left more than 150 people dead in Kano City.

Catholic News Agency: Religious leaders blast HHS over contraception mandate
Numerous religious leaders slammed the Obama administration for violating consciences by refusing to reverse a contraception mandate and instead delay its full implementation by only a year.

Get Religion: Egypt’s moderate and puritanical Muslims
In recent days, some news has sputtered out of Nigeria about the horrific ongoing attacks perpetrated by Boko Haram. Many journalists have been pooh-poohing claims by the U.S. and Nigerian governments that Boko Haram is tied to al Qaeda. See, for example, this Reuters report headlined “Analysis: Nigeria’s Boko Haram ups game but no Al Qaeda.” Now that we’re learning more about the widespread coordinated attacks on Christians and other targets (the death toll is at least 162 in this Associated Press report), I sure hope to see more in-depth coverage of what’s happening there.

Jewish Journal: Netanyahu denies saying Israel’s biggest enimies are N.Y. Times, Haaretz
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office denied that Benjamin Netanyahu told the editor of The Jerusalem Post that Israel’s two greatest enemies are The New York Times and Haaretz.

Excerpt of the Day:

We need to talk about polygamy.

After Joanna Brooks tweeted about her families history with polygamy, she received, as she describes it, “a remarkable outpouring of Mormon thoughts and feelings about polygamy.” In her response article, Brooks stresses this point, the fact there is a “need to talk about polygamy,” six times. This post is a great read.

Today’s Opinion:

Every year, the Hajj is the largest gathering of Muslims in the world.

The Guardian: Prejudices about Islam will be shaken by this show
The hajj, subject of a new exhibition at the British Museum, shows that a respect for other faiths is central to Muslim tradition.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer with God
    Answers every question
    And opens life mysteries
    Prayer changes things

    January 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Nope

      We've prayed you'd stop posting this garbage and yet you continue, prayer doesn't work.

      January 23, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • just sayin

      You can't pray away prayer, prayer needs to increase

      January 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Nope

      "You can't pray away prayer, prayer needs to increase"

      We've been praying this crap would stop yet it continues proving prayer doesn't work.

      By the way people have been praying starvation would stop, yet it continues killing millions every day, therefore prayer doesn't work.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:49 am |
  2. Laurence Ringo

    Two comments.One,the atheist/materialist claims that he/she..."Did'nt believe in free will"...O.K.Should we take that to mean some mindless,heretofore unknown force apllied those words in your behalf?Did someone put the proverbial"gun to your head"and force you to post your comments?we await you presumably forced answer with bated breath.Two.As for Mr.Gingrich,beware.Politics aside,the one question yet remains for Calista:How did you,a professed"devout"Roman Catholic,carry on a 6-year affair with a man you knew was married?How does that square with the Biblical prohibition against committing adultery?Oh wait!I know!As a"devout"Roman Catholic you can sin with impunity;just go to your priest,say a couple of"hail Marys and Our Fathers",ask the priest to bless your sinning,and resume.Of course!I had forgetton how easily Catholics excuse their trangressions(ex opere operato,anyone). Wow.So...your day is coming,Calista.Be ready.

    January 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Elephant in the room

      Free will has been debunked.
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI1624SwYnI&w=640&h=360]
      Better luck next time.

      January 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      They'll tell you anything as long as the money flows their way (LOL).

      Amen.

      January 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  3. Staring Horse with Tongue Sticking Out

    The skeleton's in newt's closet:

    Quotes:

    "We had oral s e x. He prefers that modus operandi because then he can say, 'I never slept with her.'" – Anne Manning (who was also married at the time.)

    "We would have won in 1974 if we could have kept him out of the office, screwing her [a young volunteer] on the desk." – Dot Crews, his campaign scheduler at the time

    [In the book] "Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them", [I] "found frightening pieces that related to my own life." – Newt.

    "I think you can write a psychological profile of me that says I found a way to immerse my insecurities in a cause large enough to justify whatever I wanted it to" – Newt, speaking to Gail Sheehy.

    "She isn't young enough or pretty enough to be the President's wife." – Newt, on his first wife.

    "I don't want him to be president and I don't think he should be." – Newt's wife Marianne.

    "If the country today were to move to the left, Newt would sense it before it started happening and lead the way." – Dot Crews, his campaign scheduler throughout the 1970s.

    Adultery:
    S e x on the Desk – Oral S e x is More Easily Denied
    Several newspapers are now reporting that Newt Gingrich is dating and basically living with Callista Bisek, a "willowy blond Congressional aide 23 years his junior." Biske, 33, has been spending nights at Gingrich's apartment near the Capitol and has her own key. In an amazing act of hypocrisy, Gingrich was apparently dating Bisek all during Clinton-Lewinsky adultery scandal, even as he proclaimed family values and bitterly criticized the President for his adultery.

    Reporters and other Washington insiders have known about this relationship since 1994, even before Gingrich became Speaker of the House, but did not have any solid proof to report. In 1995, Vanity Fair magazine described Bisek as Gingrich's "frequent breakfast companion." Gingrich was married to Marianne Gingrich during all of that time, and just filed for divorce in August 1999.

    Newt is apparently trying to create a new hybrid form, Christian adultery. According to MSNBC, Bisek sings in the National Shrine Choir, and Newt would often wait for her at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, listening to her sing while he read the Bible.

    This is hardly the first time Newt has cheated, either. "It was common knowledge that Newt was involved with other women during his [first] marriage to Jackie. Maybe not on the level of John Kennedy. But he had girlfriends - some serious, some trivial." - Dot Crews, his campaign scheduler throughout the 70s. One woman, Anne Manning, has come forward and confirmed a relationship with him during the 1976 campaign. "We had oral s e x. He prefers that modus operandi because then he can say, 'I never slept with her.'"

    Kip Carter, his former campaign treasurer, was walking Newt's daughters back from a football game one day and cut across a driveway where he saw a car. "As I got to the car, I saw Newt in the pas senger seat and one of the guys' wives with her head in his lap going up and down. Newt kind of turned and gave me this little-boy smile. Fortunately, Jackie Sue and Kathy were a lot younger and shorter then."

    Family Values? Pressing Wife for Divorce in the Hospital:
    "He walked out in the spring of 1980.... By September, I went into the hospital for my third surgery. The two girls came to see me, and said, "Daddy is downstairs. Could he come up?" When he got there, he wanted to discuss the terms of the divorce while I was recovering from my surgery." – Jackie, his first wife.

    Dead-Beat Dad:
    The hospital visit wasn't the end of it, either. Jackie had to take Newt to court to get him to contribute for bills, as utilities were about to be cut off.

    Draft Dodger:
    Though he relentlessly pushes military spending and talks like a bigtime hawk, Gingrich avoided the Vietnam War through a combination of student and family deferments. (He married one of his teachers at age 19.)

    Problems With Women?
    Newt pressed his first wife to sign divorce papers while she was still in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery. He also graciously said "She isn't young enough or pretty enough to be the President's wife." But his second marriage hasn't been that smooth either. Newt and Marianne have been separated – "frankly", she told the Washington Post in June 1989, "it's been on and off for some time."

    Does Newt have some kind of problem with women? He has said that he read a book called "Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them", and "found frightening pieces that related to my own life."

    Incidentally, Marianne told Gail Sheehy she doesn't want Newt to run for President. " I told him if I'm not in agreement, fine, it's easy. I just go on the air the next day, and I undermine everything. ... I don't want him to be president and I don't think he should be." Newt's response? Marianne "was just making the point hypothetically" that he would not run unless she agreed he should.

    House Banking Scandal: Newt Bounced 22 Checks
    Remember the House Banking scandal, where so many congressmen wrote rubber checks on government money? Newt hopes you don't, because he bounced 22 himself, which almost cost him reelection in 1992. His vote for the secret House pay raise, and the chauffeur who drove him around Washington in a Lincoln Town Car, didn't help.

    Lucrative and Questionable Book Deals: Murdoch's $4.5 Million wasn't the first

    The 1995 Murdoch Deal - The 1984 Book Deal

    The 1995 Murdoch Deal
    You probably heard something about Newt's book scandal. He was offered first $2.5 million, then $4.5 million by Harper Collins, a publishing company owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the Fox TV network and newspapers and TV stations around the world. Murdoch has been having problems with a complaint by NBC that Fox is a foreign owned TV network, which is against US law.

    In the past, Harper Collins has offered million dollar book contracts to several conservative politicians in countries where Murdoch was having regulatory trouble, including England (Margaret Thatcher, Jeffrey Archer) and China (Deng Xiaoping's daughter). A week after the initial offer, Newt met with Rupert Murdoch – and Murdoch's legislative lobbyist – to discuss politics, including the NBC complaint. As facts about the deal were made public, and even Republicans criticized him, Gingrich decided to give up the $4.5 million advance for a still-lucrative deal based on royalties.

    Gingrich's story kept changing through the controversy. First, Newt's spokesman said that Murdoch knew nothing about Gingrich and the book deal. On Friday January 13, Newt's spokesman admitted that Murdoch actually met Newt on a park bench the week before the deal was made, but didn't talk about it. He also said he knew nothing about Murdoch's lobbyist being at their meeting. The next day, he admitted the lobbyist was there, but claimed he didn't say so because no one asked.

    Newt also said repeatedly that the book wasn't his idea; that a literary agent named Lynn Chu had sought him out and proposed it. After Ms. Chu said that Gingrich's as sociate Jeff Eisenach called her first on Newt's behalf, Eisenach and Newt's spokesman admitted that was true.

    The 1984 Book Deal
    Murdoch's book deal wasn't the first lucrative and controversial book deal Newt engineered. In 1983 he established a limited partnership in Atlanta called COS Limited, which pulled together about two dozen of his biggest campaign contributors to finance his book.

    The former administrator of his congressional offices in Georgia, Dolores Adamson, resigned over the deal. "The manuscript was put together in the district office using office equipment," she said. "He would just come in and say 'This is what I want to do.' I would say, 'This is not ethical," but after a while he didn't listen." That office equipment, of course, was paid for by US taxpayers including you

    GOPAC sleaze: Taxpayer subsidies for his partisan campaign course.
    Newt in his poltical career was the king of using tax-payer subsidized donations for his personal and political purposes. He stooped so low as to hijack not one but two charities for poor inner city kids and use their donations for his personal goals.
    GOPAC, Newt's longtime political action committee, was the centerpiece of a complex network of non-profit, and mostly tax exempt organizations that Newt has used to support himself and other conservative candidates. In an act of incredible hypocrisy, this crusader against taxes obtained taxpayer subsidies for his personal and political goals, by misusuing these tax-exempt groups.

    For example, one GOPAC doc ument said that its goal for the 1990s was "to both create and disseminate the doctrine of a majority Republican party." In another GOPAC doc ument, t itled "Key Factors in a House GOP Majority," Gingrich wrote "It is more powerful and more effective to develop a reform movement parallel to the official Republican party", instead of using the party structure, because it would get more attention and be more credible. Shortly thereafter, GOPAC paid for a television program promoting a "gras sroots" movement to reform government; publicly they claimed it was nonpartisan, but private internal doc uments made its partisan goals clear.

    After it got expensive, Gingrich transferred the program to the "Abraham Lincoln Opportunity Foundation," a tax-exempt group controlled by a GOPAC official named Bo Callaway. It had been set up years earlier to help inner city kids, which is why it was tax exempt. The group spent $260,000 on the television program in 1990. That same year, Newt started another tax-exempt group that paid poor students for reading books. He bragged of this in many a political speech. But after the first two years, most of this foundation's money went to Mel Steely, a former Gingrich aide who is now Newt's official biographer.

    The best known effort was a college course (t itled "Renewing American Civilization") at a third-rate college that Gingrich nakedly used to recruit and organize conservative candidates, and to feed them his carefully constructed ideology and political slogans.

    Of course, using tax-exempt educational or charitable donations for partisan purposes is illegal, and several ethics complaints were filed against Gingrich. He agreed to pay a $300,000 fine for misleading the committee during the investigation, and in the process dodged conviction on the actual charges through a combination of finessing some legal definitions, sheer self-confidence and raw political power (as Speaker of the House at the time of the complaints, he appointed the ethics committee. Furthermore, GOPAC had one ethics committee member on its roster last session, and gave money to another.)

    The Ethics Committee dropped its final charges against Gingrich not long before he resigned as speaker, despite finding that Gingrich had in fact violated one rule by repeatedly using a political consultant paid by GOPAC to develop the Republican political agenda, because there was no evidence he was continuing to do so.

    The IRS also started an investigation of one group, the Progress and Freedom Foundation, for violating its tax-exempt status by donating to Gingrich's college course. In the investigation, the special counsel found that these activities were "substantially motivated by partisan political goals." The IRS eventually overruled him, and found that the course "was educational and never favored or opposed a candidate for public office." It said the foundation "did not intervene on behalf of candidates of the Republican Party merely by promoting" themes in the course. This extremely narrow reading of the law basically said "so what if he used the course to recruit, organize and groom candidates; as long as they didn't say 'Vote for Jones', it wasn't partisan." Despite what Gingrich fans argue, this hardly proves his innocence. The IRS has chickened out before in political cases, notably letting the Church of Scientology completely off the hook in its investigation of that group.

    Corporate reward: $2,500/month to Newt's wife
    According to the Wall Street Journal, a company hired Marianne Gingrich (Newt's wife) for $2,500 a month plus commissions in September 1994 after he announced support for a free trade zone in Israel that they are trying to build. Her "job" for Israel Export Development Co. is to find tenants for the trade zone. Gingrich's spokesman said that since her job did not involve working with the US government, there was no conflict of interest.

    Who Owns Him?
    – Rupert Murdoch (see book deal above)
    – Georgia's Richards family, owners of Southwire Corporate ($1.3 billion/year)
    The Richards lent and donated money and office space to Gingrich from his earliest days in politics. They have given over $100,000, and Gingrich was the first recipient of donations from Southwire's PAC. By coincidence, Gingrich has changed from an environmentalist critic of Southwire to a staunch anti-environmentalist during that time. People with ties to Southwire were instrumental in two earlier lucrative book deals of Gingrich's in 1977 and 1984; the latter was investigated for ethical violations.

    January 23, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  4. Today's opinion

    Oh yes, how about releasing Pastor Yousef to show that a respect for other faiths is central to Muslim tradition.

    January 23, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  5. Harold

    Shut up all you Ho~mos.

    January 23, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      Who are you talking to?
      Is it yourself?
      Are you in denial?
      It's okay, being ga.y is a natural thing.
      Don't hate what you are.

      Other than a bigot, you can hate yourself for that one

      January 23, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  6. just sayin

    mirosal if you are attempting to prove your total ignorance of spiritual things you have me convinced

    January 23, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Mirosal

      not pulling your head out of your buy-bull and just accepting something written by sheep herders 3000 years ago, then 'revised' 2000 years ago, and calling it the truth, when nothing in it can be verified having any connection to a 'deity' is ignorant. You are unwilling to learn anything outside of that book. I was trapped within the walls of religious education for over a decade. I KNOW what your little book of fables says.

      January 23, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • just sayin

      i don't care where you were you don't know jack

      January 23, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Mirosal believes his ancestors at that time where still swinging in trees (LOL).

      Hey, there's a bridge in Brooklyn you can buy.

      Amen.

      January 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  7. I'm The Best!

    I have a topic for today. Is god good or evil?
    My opinion is that if he does exist (I don't believe he does, but this is a hypothetical) he is a sociopath. This would explain him allowing evil in the world but also being good to others. He's bored, and just wants to see how we all react.

    Thoughts?

    January 23, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Mirosal

      Is god willing to stop evil, but unable? Then he is not omnipotent. Is god able to stop evil, but unwilling? Then he is malevolent. Is god both willng AND able to stop evil? Then from whence does the evil come? Is god neither willing nor able to stop evil? Then why call it 'god'? From Epicurus ... 300's BCE Greece

      January 23, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • jimtanker

      Not to mention this “all loving” and “all just” god willing to torture you for all of eternity just for the crime of not believing in something for which there is no evidence.

      January 23, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ mirosal
      From my theory he would be able but wouldn't because he doesn't really care if we're happy
      @jimtanker
      That adds to my point. A sociopath wouldn't mind torturing someone for all eternity for not believing something no one could be sure of.

      January 23, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Mirosal

      Then I would call that 'malevolent'. Besides, ANY 'being' who demands to be worshipped, praised, exhaulted and obeyed is not worthy of any of those things.

      January 23, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • just sayin

      many fools rush in where angels fear to tread

      January 23, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Should the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God exist, then He would be beyond good and evil and would simply Be – an immutable, unfathomable constant existing on a plane in which petty huamanistic concepts like good and bad do not apply.

      But here's my question – whichcomparison is more important in life – Good and Bad or Bad and Worse?

      January 23, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      But he wouldn't really be malevolent/evil, he just would be indifferent.

      January 23, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Mirosal

      Angels don't tread .. they are usually depicted as winged, but no feet. So they cannot tread. And why would angels be afraid in the first place? Aren't they supposed to in the direct company of this 'god' of yours? If they are afraid and are THAT close to 'god', then your 'god' isn't much protection is it?

      January 23, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • captain america

      Someone cannot post the word fool without some know-it-all canadian popping up as if their opinion was needed by US. There's your sign

      January 23, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Mirosal

      Which Canadian are you talking about?

      January 23, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Mirosal
      That would most likely be me.
      The Cap'n is like my pet troll – all I have to do is whistle and he'll come like an obedient dog, quoting redneck comedians.
      He's slowly learning to respond to TruthPrevail's commands as well, but he is an old dog after all.
      It's why he only knows the one trick.

      January 23, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • captain america

      I keep my nose in my own business, a concept that you canadians find hard to understand. Hard to believe that most Americans prefer to think for themselves and have no use for third world opinions from know-it-all flunkys. There's your sign.

      January 23, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      Way to ruin the thread captain America. At least the Canadians stayed on topic and didn't have a stupid catch phrase after everything they said

      January 23, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • hippypoet

      thats a great question, so if god does exist is it good or evil... i can't really answer that only because good and evil are points of view – and god, if real, then it would have created such ideas and points of view...so i guess one must first ask if good and evil were even concepts before our creation and are we just the imbodiments of perpcetives on life...this is a rabbit hole question and i if forced to just answer would say that god is evil for it allows evil to co-exist with good allowing harm on others.

      January 23, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • hippypoet

      sry, i meant the word "perspectives" and the word i spelt doesn't look anything like this so i corrected myself.

      January 23, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      Good point hippypoet, I didn't think of that. The question was originally intended to be based off our current social views of good and evil considering they change slightly every few years.

      So based solely off what society views as good and evil now, is god good or evil? I still stand by my sociopath answer meaning he is neither good nor evil, more indifferent and just looking for something to break the boredom of eternity.

      January 23, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • saburwulf

      jahovah is the god of good and evil, light and dark

      January 23, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • saburwulf

      evil wasn't allowed into the world by god, but man whom god gave rule and we (man) f!@# up, we should take responsibility for our actions and not blame god, he gave us free will, doesn't mean what we've done is right. As for the first pagans (sumerians),
      they worshiped the fallen angels that come in form of aliens, gods and goddesses, enchanted beasts, and serpent weilders, and shouldn't be taken lightly, these witches, wizards. Do we have free will? Yes. Does that mean that what we do is right, No.
      To those who believe that they are gods b/c of technology, your are nothing more than a pawn in the fallens plan to enslave mankind and they will succeed for a time as quoted in the bible. find it .......

      January 23, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ saburwulf
      I think the inaction of god would make him liable for the evils. If you saw a murder about to happen and could easily stop it knowing you yourself could not be harmed, but then did nothing. I would call that evil on your part.

      I'm a materialist as well as an atheist and therefore don't believe in free will so I don't agree with some of what you said anyways but that's an argument for another thread.

      January 23, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • DamianKnight

      @Best,

      Interesting question. If you were to base your definitions of "good" and "evil" on human society, well, it's easy to see how people would consider God to be evil. God acts in ways that are difficult to understand many times, because we don't see the whole picture.

      I think we can sum this up to "good" and "bad." Let's look at this for a more human perspective. An eight year old wants the new Xbox360 with Kinect and all the goodies, which will cost $400. The parents believe that video games will detract from the eight year old's studies and further doesn't like the content that Microsoft is allowing to be placed on the console. So they say no and will not buy the child the Xbox. The child throws a fit and gets angry and is considerably upset with his parents thinking they are "unfair", "stupid" or whatever other thing they want to say. Are the parents evil for not giving in to their child's desires?

      January 23, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @DamianKnight: You said, "Are the parents evil for not giving in to their child's desires?"

      Your metaphor is terrible. A better one would be that the parents DO give in to their child's desire, knowing full well what will happen when they do and then punish the child by locking them in a closet for several years.

      January 23, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • DamianKnight

      @Sean,

      Perhaps not the best metaphor. I'll grant you that. After I posted and re-read it, I realized how terrible it was. I haven't had my coffee yet. 🙂

      That said, if you judge God based on the American society's standards, I think it's fair to say, people will conclude God is evil. This is because God's ways are not ours and many times, His ways run contrary to our own and we don't understand what He is doing. Our society is one that runs in direct conflict of what God teaches.

      Here is the difference, however. Presuming that God exists, He has a greater view than we do. He can see all things happening. We are limited in our scope of vision. Who are we to judge fairly what God does? In order to judge, one must be able to put themselves in the situation of the other person. How many of us have been an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent being?

      It's akin to letting ants judge a murder trial.

      January 23, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      I wouldn't call them evil for that. But this is more like if that child had two friends over who got into an intense fight, then one of the two pull out a knife and is about to stab and kill the other. If the parents were standing there but didn't prevent thus, would you call them evil/bad people?

      If your answer is yes, then why is god any different?

      January 23, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • DamianKnight

      @Best,

      We are dipping into the theological here, so I must answer with my own theological perspective.

      God loves us unconditionally. He gave us free will because He wanted us to love Him in return, because, love is not genuine unless it can be given freely.

      We, as people, CHOSE to walk away from God. We told God, "I know better than you do." And so we do our own thing, and because God does not infringe on our free will, He allows things to happen. And when humans control things, bad things happen. We can look throughout history, and we can even look at the church for an example. When the focus leaves God, bad things happen.

      It is God's hope that humans return to Him, but He doesn't control your free will and MAKE you return to Him, because that's not really love. Those are your choices. God lets bad things happen. That's part of the punishment we took on when we decided to be rebellious. So let's stop blaming God for all of the bad things, and start focusing the blame where it belongs. Ourselves.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Okay, I see where you're coming from now. And I understand the 'dont blame god for the bad things, blame ourselves'. But why not give credit to ourselves when good things happen. Most of the time, god is praised for the good, and people are blamed for the bad.

      Based on what you said, god doesn't do anything in the affairs of man at all because that would interfere with peoples free will and make those that saw him interact love him because then they know him. So I guess I'm saying its all or nothing, either he's responsible for the good and bad, or he isn't responsible for any of it.

      (sorry for the late response, I'm at work and usually have a good amount of free time for this but something came up.)

      January 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • J.W

      I kind of like what hippy said about good or evil depends on your point of view. We consider terrorists to be evil, but they also consider us evil. I think the person who commits the act does not do it to be evil. They feel that they are justified in their actions, even if their action was evil. Perhaps evil never exists in intention, but just in the action. People don't want to be evil, but they may be evil based on what they do. In order to know if someone is truly evil you must know their intentions, and why they do what they do. Does anything I am saying make sense? Probably not. When I was thinking it it made sense.

      January 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Best,

      You stated: "Based on what you said, god doesn't do anything in the affairs of man at all because that would interfere with peoples free will and make those that saw him interact love him because then they know him. So I guess I'm saying its all or nothing, either he's responsible for the good and bad, or he isn't responsible for any of it. "

      I don't know if I communicated my point clearly. What I meant was, God doesn't force us to love Him. Let me start off by saying, I don't understand the character of God entirely...and anyone who tells you they do is trying to sell you something. Therefore, I'm stating my own beliefs and not necessarily the ones that any church might recognize. However, I will say, limiting an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent being to a binary set of choices seems awfully short-sighted, don't you think?

      Right now, I believe we are in a time of grace. If you notice, in the OT, there was fairly swift justice and retribution from God. We're talking about the Great Flood, the plagues on Egypt, because that is what we deserve for defying God's will. But Christ came as a means to reconcile man to God. And because of that, we are in a time of grace.

      During this time of grace, there are a lot of travesties happening and God is standing by, hoping people will come to repentance. He's allowing it to happen; but that doesn't mean He caused it. Man did. Man is a selfish creature and is going to do what is in our selfish nature. All of these things are being allowed, but eventually, that will come to an end. But all of that doesn't mean God doesn't intervene. He does. But those who choose to tell God to "buzz off", He does.

      That is not to say we shouldn't be proud of our accomplishments. If you graduated high school or college, you should be proud of that. If you built something or discovered some new cure to a disease, by all means, be proud. I would just caution people not to get too full of themselves. There's a difference between being proud and being prideful.

      January 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @J.W: You said, "Does anything I am saying make sense? Probably not. When I was thinking it it made sense."

      I don't think it makes sense because you're probably evil. Just sayin'.

      January 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • fred

      J.W
      Evil does not just happen like Brittny said "oops there I go again". Evil is a state of being as is goodness. That is different from war for example. Even hearts that are filled with goodness can do evil but then repent knowing right from wrong. The key is the overall condition of the heart / soul. Is it inclined towards God or away from God. God is all love and goodness perfected. To intentionally reject that is only possible from a heart inclined to another direction.

      January 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • No

      "God is all love and goodness perfected. "

      Your God created evil and hell, it is not all love and goodness. Like a tyrant, if you don't love it according to it's rules you burn in hell for eternity that is NOT love and goodness.

      January 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • J.W

      I am not evil at all. There is only goodness in my heart. I don't even think I commit evil actions. I am the epitome of good.

      January 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @J.W: "I am not evil at all. There is only goodness in my heart. I don't even think I commit evil actions. I am the epitome of good."

      But that's exactly what an evil person would say! Tell you what...we'll tie a really heavy stone to your feet and throw you in a lake. If you don't drown, then you're clearly evil.

      Best test I can think of, I'm afraid.

      January 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • J.W

      Sometimes we see people do things that are evil and we are like 'how can they even do that.' Or you can see someone doing something stupid and be like 'how can they think that is a good idea.' But maybe it all makes sense in the person's mind. And maybe it will work out for the best in the end or maybe not. We do not have a way to know what that person is thinking.

      January 23, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • J.W

      No Sean if I am truly good then God of course will save me. Some Christians he will not save because they are not as good as me.

      January 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • hippypoet

      my momma always says evil is as evil does!

      i think we all have it in us to be truly evil. But we never appear evil to ourselves unless we are fully conscience of ourself and not many are. I often ask my wife if what i did or said was evil and i more often then not get "yes" so as i said before, i believe its a matter of perspective of those involved and the society it takes place in – but now in the modern day where your actions are on youtube in a seconds notice – the world is the final judge... and that does't bode well for the U.S.

      January 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • hippypoet

      the question is "is god good or evil" – since we are made in god's image and since we are clearly evil, i'd have to say god is as well. And since i did say that good and evil are just matters of perspective i can even use god for my argument – he destroyed the planet using water to rid the earth of the evil that infected it – humans...but the sad god took a liking to one lonely soul named noah, then noah being that which created it – evil – bargined for more – his family, more evil!

      oh when will the evil circle end!

      see how i had a point i was getting at then stopped caring mid way thru – its fun, try it!

      January 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • fred

      That is the difference, God is faithful to the end. Man cannot do it so God did it for him in Christ. Jesus said it is finished, now all we need to do is ask Jesus and he will see it through.

      January 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • hippypoet

      so we are supposed to ask some 2000 year old dead jew for help in todays money hungry world – thats an interesting idea! I normally ask st. george for a hand, i mean come on – did jesus ever fight a dragon RIGHT AFTER fighting a cursade?!?!?!?!? HELL NO, and theres your pun! 🙂 yay!

      January 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • J.W

      I don't think humans are all evil. I think humans are generally good. We all want what is best for one another in general. It is our environment that causes the evil in us. And when some people do evil it influences others to do evil.

      January 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • fred

      Hippy
      In the final round Jesus does slay the dragon and cast him into the lake of fire ! yeah

      January 23, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • fred

      J.W
      You can only say that cause you are basicaly fat and happy. We are very lucky in that food is really never an issue. People kill each other for Christmas black friday sale...........hide if the food ever runs out cause Christians are soft and tastier than tuff old atheists (so I hear).
      Look at what Jesus said "for they do this while the tree is green what will they do when it brown"

      January 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Man (meaning women too) commits evil. God knows the person's ego ran amuck because they refuse to abide in His wisdom of staying humble.

      Amen.

      January 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • J.W

      I am fat? I don't think you would call me fat if you ever saw me lol

      January 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • So

      "God knows the person's ego ran amuck because they refuse to abide in His wisdom of staying humble."

      That means you'll be going to hell to now.

      January 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • fred

      J.W
      Well the Jerrad from Subway was fat and happy then lost 60 lbs and as the spokesman for Subway is now skinny and happier yet.

      January 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    January 23, 2012 at 4:37 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Oh wow, do you not comprehend how delusional you sound?? There is VAST evidence to the contrary of what you say. The burden of proof lies on you and until you are able to give that proof we can as.sume you belong in an insane asylum!

      January 23, 2012 at 5:04 am |
    • bringoutyourdead

      demons oppose prayer

      January 23, 2012 at 5:53 am |
    • Mirosal

      There are no such things as 'demons', and prayer won't work, because the game is already rigged according to your own beliefs.

      January 23, 2012 at 6:21 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      First off, you'd have to believe in demons and since that is only a christard belief and I don't believe christards are correct in their beliefs, I would have to say demons don't exist.
      Second, there is no evidence of prayer doing anything outside of making the person praying feel better.

      January 23, 2012 at 6:25 am |
    • bringoutyourdead

      demons cause their hosts to be deceived

      January 23, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • Mirosal

      Just WHAT are you babbling about?

      January 23, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • bringoutyourdead

      the soul of the atheist is dead. demons take possession of dead things and control the hosts thoughts and actions resulting in the self deception and lies that so called atheists post.

      January 23, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ bringoutyourdead

      You prove I had a soul in the first place and I'll convert

      January 23, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Mirosal

      you claim your 'god' is true ... ok then ... let's see what you have. Show us. That's all we ask. Pretty simple request, is it not?

      January 23, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      So that explains why I've been speaking ancient sumerian in between vomiting torrents of green goo!

      January 23, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Mirosal

      Hey Doc .. show us your cunieform font lol

      January 23, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Nope

      We've been praying you would stop trolling, so obviously it doesn't work.

      January 23, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • bringoutyourdead

      the soul dead lie and the pollution creeps out into the world overwhelming all decency with the stench of foul untruths

      January 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • bringoutyourdead

      all the soul dead lie and the pollution creeps out into the world overwhelming all decency with the stench of foul untruths

      January 23, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • saburwulf

      you guys have to understand, we as followers of christ(not christians) it is our job to tell you (society) that god exist and that he
      loves us and is willing to forgive us for the f@#$ up things we do to each other daily, not prove he exist, b/c he sent prophets through out the ages to do that, some listen(hebrews, muslims) some didn't (pagans, atheis, new agers), then you have those who have had their souls violated (gays) who feel lost and confused. I'm doing my job to tell you(society) about god its up to you to find if he exist......

      January 23, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Mirosal, you babbled "There are no such things as 'demons', and prayer won't work, because the game is already rigged according to your own beliefs."

      Answer: That's what you get for believing man/woman on the payroll that tells you that you don't have free will. Talk about being lead to the slaughter (LOL). Next they'll tell you it's a must you must start off walking with your left foot first ...

      Amen.

      January 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • So

      "That's what you get for believing man/woman on the payroll that tells you that you don't have free will. Talk about being lead to the slaughter (LOL). Next they'll tell you it's a must you must start off walking with your left foot first "

      So your God doesn't know what's going to happen in the future, then it's not a God.

      January 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I'm The Best!, you babbled to "@ bringoutyourdead, You prove I had a soul in the first place and I'll convert"

      Answer: You are a soul, housed in human form. I'm hoping you typed fast and made the typo of "had" or I'm definitely writing a spiritual dead atheist.

      Amen.

      January 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      HS, people aren't babbling if they're posting on a forum. Babbling is a noise. Plus, I haven't seen anyone work the word 'carnal' into a conversation yet today, do you think maybe you could get on that?

      January 23, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.