February 5th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

The new Christian abolition movement

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Greensboro, North Carolina (CNN) —The truck-stop hooker is no Julia Roberts, the trucker in the cab with her no Richard Gere, and this truck stop off the highway could not be any farther from Beverly Hills, the staging ground for “Pretty Woman.”

The woman sports baggy shorts, a white T-shirt and frizzy hair. Her fat middle-aged pimp sits in a beat up red Honda, watching as his “lot lizard” moves from truck to truck, in broad daylight.  If this pimp has a cane it is for substance, not style.

She moves through the parking lot, occasionally opening a cab’s passenger-side door and climbing in.

The trucker and hooker disappear in the back for 10 minutes.

Danielle Mitchell watches from the other end of the parking lot and shakes her head.

“We know from talking to other victims and other agencies that girls are taken to truck stops and they’re actually traded,” she says, sitting in her car, a shiny silver sport utility vehicle, keeping a healthy 50-yard distance from the pimp.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

Mitchell is North Carolina human trafficking manager for World Relief.  World Relief is a Christian nonprofit attached to the National Association of Evangelicals and is best known for its efforts to combat global hunger and respond to disasters around the world.

Mitchell is trying to tackle a disaster in her home state.   And she is not alone.

Motivated in large part by their religious traditions of protecting the vulnerable and serving “the least of these,” as Jesus instructed his followers to do in the Gospel of Matthew, World Relief and other Christian agencies like the Salvation Army are stepping up efforts and working with law enforcement to stem the flow of human trafficking, which includes sex trafficking and labor trafficking.

“Jesus didn’t just go around telling people about himself.  He also healed the blind and healed the brokenhearted, he freed captives, and I think that it would be ridiculous to walk up to someone who is hurting and tell them, ‘Let me tell you about the Gospel,’ and then walk away while they’re still hurting,” Mitchell says.

In North Carolina, the result of those efforts can be seen in the number of victims of human trafficking being referred to World Relief for services, up 700% in 2011, Mitchell says.

“It’s not that North Carolina is all of a sudden trafficking more people,” Mitchell says. “It’s that we know what to look for and we’re actually identifying and rescuing them.”

Truck stops and sweet potatoes

North Carolina’s rich soil makes it an agricultural hub. It produces more sweet potatoes than anywhere else in the country.  The state acts as a crossroads for three major interstate highways. The mix of accessibility and low-paying farm jobs make a good working environment for traffickers, Mitchell says.

This truck stop is the type you think twice about.  It’s grimy and run down.

How badly do I really have to use the bathroom?  I bet I could hold out for another 12 miles.  That kind of place.

Mitchell walks in and politely asks the women behind the register if they have tape.

“Over there, honey,” the cashier says, pointing to a dimly lit portion of the store.

After paying for a roll of industrial packing tape, she tucks it in her purse and heads for the restroom.

In a stall on the far end, she shuts the door behind her and pulls out the tape and a poster with words in English and Spanish.

“Need help?” the poster asks. “Are you being forced to do something you don’t want to do?” There’s a toll free number, 888-373-7888, for the National Human Trafficking Hotline, run by the nonprofit Polaris Project.

More on the fight against modern-day slavery at the CNN Freedom Project

“A lot of times when girls are being trafficked they’re being controlled,” Mitchell says. “They’re often not allowed to get very far from their trafficker.  And we’ve found one of the very few times girls are alone is when they’re in the bathroom.”

She used to ask if she could hang posters in truck stop restrooms. Now she just hangs them.

That toll free hot line number is plastered on combs, lip balms and nail files that Mitchell and other anti-trafficking workers can slip discreetly to men and women they suspect might be victims. Slipping a potential client an anti-trafficking business card could be dangerous, even deadly, they say.

A comb, nail file and lip balm feature the number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

But it’s not the only way Mitchell gets in touch with victims.  Law enforcement is reaching out to her more and more.

When North Carolina law enforcement breaks up a trafficking ring, they call her.

She helps the victims get safe places to live, food and job training,  along with just being a conversation partner.

Since 2010, North Carolina has had a statewide coalition to fight human trafficking. Law enforcement officers are now trained in what to look for. The program includes rapid response teams made up of representatives from law enforcement, service providers, hospitals and charities. When a potential victim comes into a hospital or is discovered through an arrest, the team springs into action.

“Victims are not going to self-identify,” says Mitchell, who has since left World Relief and is considering going back to school after a lack of funding threatened to cut her hours to part time. “ They’re not going to say ‘I’m a victim of human trafficking.’ So the burden is really on the service providers and law enforcement and the community."

In North Carolina, the partnerships between those groups, she says, “have helped to rescue victims.”

Church and state in an unlikely coalition 

Christian groups working to combat trafficking are providing law enforcement with some much-needed relief.

“Because of the limitations of our work, we like to partner with organizations that can provide services,” says Kory Williford, a victim specialist with the FBI based in North Carolina.

“Human trafficking isn’t the only victim population we work with, so to have organizations who can provide care to our victims on a longer term basis than we are able to is huge,” she says.

“A lot of sex trafficking is occurring in this state” and labor trafficking is on the upswing, Williford says.

The FBI in North Carolina has been partnering with World Relief for several years.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anand P. Ramaswamy, who focuses on human trafficking cases across the state from the federal prosecutors office in Greensboro, says he has been collaborating with local law enforcement on human trafficking.

“Those kind of cases have only recently been on the uptick,” he says. “As officers become more trained in what to look for, the number of cases goes up.”

The nation and the state are still working to catch up with the reality of trafficking, he says.

“Sometimes the victim was treated as part of the problem,” he says.  “In one instance a 16-year-old girl was charged with prostitution by local authorities.  So we have to go and sort of undo that.  That’s also the case where the person may have done something wrong, so they’re reluctant to come forward.”

Ramaswamy is keenly aware that his office and religious groups do not always have the same interests. His is in upholding and enforcing the law, while religious groups are interested in practicing their religion.

But the assistant U.S. attorney still believes in the partnership between church and state.

“On one hand the fact they’re a religious organization is not directly relevant,” he says. “However, if you look at the history of the abolitionist movement, it has always been religious communities and those are the people who are concerned enough to be active in it.

“And today with modern-day slavery the same is the case.”

The new Underground Railroad

Westover Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, is imagining what fighting modern-day slavery could look like. The nondenominational suburban church is cut from an evangelical cloth and has 5,000 members and a sprawling campus.

In 2011, the church started a ministry called “Abolition!” to fight human trafficking. It focuses on prayer, awareness and resources.

“In truth we didn’t know what we were going to do. We just knew we had a really strong passion for it,” says Dianne Stone, an "Abolition!" member. “We didn’t want to be a group that got together and said, ‘Oh we feel so bad for this.’ We wanted to do something and we wanted to make a difference.”

In a bright room off the sanctuary, Stone, Cambre Weller and Jennifer Craver, all members the group, explain why they got involved. They seem unlikely fighters against trafficking.

They could easily pass for a women’s Bible study group as they casually chat about their children and church activities before turning their attention to trafficking concerns in their area.

“It’s another thing to realize this is in your backyard and that’s our responsibility to address that and protect those who are being exploited,” Craver says.

What's the role of faith in fighting slavery?

Craver says the things they have learned about trafficking are horrible and keep her up at night. “I don’t want to know about trafficking, but I do know about it and as a Christian, I feel like I have to respond to that,” she says. “That is part of my calling.”

The group screens documentaries about human trafficking at other churches and sends out speakers to the Christian circuit. They also prepare emergency bags: canvas totes with a comb, brush, journal, pajamas, clean towels and other basics they learned that most trafficked women don’t have.

They keep a ready stash of bags for World Relief to distribute to victims, particularly those who are rescued during raids.

Mitchell says her faith has played a large role in her work to help victims of trafficking. “I don’t think I’m any different than anyone I work with, in vulnerability or dignity,” she says. “And man, I really believe that Christ saw everyone equally.”

Danielle Mitchell views her faith as integral to her work in fighting human trafficking.

“I could have been born in a brothel in India,” she says.

But there is a limit to how much personal faith she shares with clients.

“We’re completely client centered,” she says. “That means we’re not going to force our faith on anyone.  And I don’t talk to the clients about what I believe, unless they ask me.”

“If a client asks me and they want to go to a Buddhist temple, then I’m going to take them because that’s what they want.”

Prostituted not prostitute

Back at the truck stop, Mitchell explains that she hates the term “prostitute” and despises the phrase “lot lizard.”  She says it strips people of their dignity.

Instead, she refers to a “woman or man who is being prostituted.”  It is a slight change in wording that reveals a starkly different viewpoint.

“A lot of people think of sex trafficking or prostitution, they think it’s glamorous and that you can pinpoint someone who is selling sex or being sold for sex,” she says. “Usually it’s just average people who maybe aren’t taking care of themselves."

The prostitute, or woman being prostituted, or potential human trafficking victim, gets back into the beat up red Honda with the overweight pimp, who drives off, maybe after catching a glimpse of a journalist and activist watching them from a safe distance.

Mitchell calls the police to report what she just saw.

A few hours later, they call back and say the alleged pimp and alleged prostitute are long gone.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church and state • North Carolina • United States

soundoff (1,631 Responses)
  1. Jubril

    Christians are something, they came to africa masquerading as missionaries before you can spell america , Slaves ships were on a HOV route to america, almost all slave owners were christians , It seems christians always use the bible to justify things that are profitable to them , But if it is not profitable to them then its of the Devil

    February 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • DAVE


      February 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • paraleaglenm

      The African slave traders were Arab Muslims. Muslims only enslave non-Muslims . . . so . . .

      In order to avoid being enslaved, some tribes converted to Islam and assisted the Arabs in bringing slaves out of the interior and selling them in the slave markets of Mombasa (Kenya, as in the Muslim Luo tribe which includes the Obama family) and Zanzibar.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • urafkntool

      Perhaps we should send naught but black missionaries to Africa.. then forget they're there, and never let them come back lol

      February 5, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • I am not an atheist

      Go and help *at least some* of these women, then come back and tell us about it. [ DO SOMETHING]

      February 5, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  2. Ann

    Absolutely wonderful and inspiring! It's so uplifting to hear about Christians that are truly making the world a better place. There's too much news about Christian activists who are so busy spreading hatred and bigotry. The volunteers of World Relief are a true inspiration to us all.

    February 5, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  3. DC

    Ever hear of atheists changing the world for a better place...? Me neither.

    February 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Really

      Ever hear of Bill Gates?... and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation?

      Ever hear of Warren Buffet... and his huge contributions to that foundation (and philanthropy)?

      February 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      DC .. You have the deafening sound of willful ignorance ringing in your ears.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The reason you haven't heard is because you are unwilling to listen. No surprises there.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • sam

      Idiot. Your lack of logic is staggering.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Rescme

      You do not hear a lot about Atheists because we do not need to boast of our activities in hopes of sucking other people in.... I'm in the fire service and spend my vacation time volunteering in disaster zones around the world, I need no Hero Cookie or TV time or Blog to spout what I do, I do it because it is right and need ZERO recognition because the ability to help another is reward enough.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  4. I am not an atheist

    Everyone : STOP buying se.x and help other to STOP and this wicked industry of slavery will STOP! = ARE YOU WILLING TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION or DO YOU APPROVE OF SE.X SLAVERY? This woman is doing a great job helping people, out of slavery you should all support her!

    February 5, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Proud Atheist

      I do support her & anyone who helps free these young women from being forced into this.
      I don't pay prosttutes & don't condone this type of slave trade & I wish no one else did. I agree that stopping the demand is the best way to stop this activity.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  5. tony

    We should all respect the 6 commands as an inspiration and beginning of a valid set of morals and duties to our communities.

    Honour thy father and mother
    Thou shalt not kill.
    Thou shalt not commit adultery.
    Thou shalt not steal.
    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife or (goods)

    February 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      I have to agree with those 6.
      Good common sense. We humans know what's right for a stable society.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • sam

      Anyone can agree with these because they're just good sense. No religion necessary.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • I_get_it

      These are all examples of Enlightened Self-interest (I'm all for it):

      Honour thy father and mother
      - Since most of us are/will be parents, this fosters one's own care in advanced years.

      Thou shalt not kill.
      - If no one kills, one's chances of being killed disappear.

      Thou shalt not commit adultery.
      - If no one commits adultery, one's relationship will be secure.

      Thou shalt not steal.
      - If no one steals, one's property will be secure.

      Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
      - If no one lies, one will not be lied to.

      Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife or (goods)
      - This one I'm foggy about - seems it's dealt with above. Thoughts happen - it's what one does about them that counts.

      February 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • I_get_it

      p.s. If believers think that these concepts sound self-centered or selfish, I contend that your idea that an almighty, perfect, supernatural being loves and cares about YOU; and that by pleasing 'him' YOU will spend eternity in bliss, is pretty danged self-centered.

      February 5, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  6. Ash

    Good work! Just also include inner city blacks in your work. I see the church and uplifting of African-Americans so far apart that I have always wondered if Church is indeed the most segregated in America. I probably have never seen this in any other country, and I have travelled to no less than 55 countries and I have lived in many.

    February 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Papagino

      Ash, If you tink the church is not working in the inner city, you aren't looking. You'll find christians in store fornt churches, clinics, food banks and many other places. You'll see them visiting prisoners, mentoring single mothers, reaching out to find shelter for the homeless and working to help those with addictions.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  7. Rescme

    So many Christians... So few lions...

    February 5, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • d

      OK then Nero. You fiddle while Rome burns while we fight slavery.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  8. tony

    One person doing good is a Christian "movement"??? What does that make the Salvation Army – the biggest sub-group of the world population?

    February 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  9. I am not an atheist

    To ashrakay: take your finger out of "any place" you have them right know and you'll understand alot more.... 🙂

    February 5, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  10. j e s u s is my b e aaa t cc h!

    as long as their is a demand-theyre will always be work in this biz
    doesnt matter how many you save-there will always be lots more to take their role
    fact of life

    February 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  11. Prayer changes things

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things.

    February 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Don Juan

      You're a morons moron.

      February 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Observer

      But only if they don't want to think for themselves.

      February 5, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • jesus liked it up da backdoor

      if you like to think for yourself-go atheism
      if you are a sheep and dont like to think for yourself-believe in religion and god

      February 5, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • tony

      Congratulations!!! You have been awarded a "Good Spam Robot" Award for making the 100,000th identical posting.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • sam

      It is incredibly bot-like.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things!!!

      February 5, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      The greatest thinkers and visionaries that have ever been on the planet have been men of prayer.

      February 5, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • TR6

      @An inconvenient truth: “The greatest thinkers and visionaries that have ever been on the planet have been men of prayer.”

      That’s because until quite recently if they weren’t the church would have burned them alive at the stake

      Albert Einstein, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs come to mind

      February 5, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  12. Grrrr

    Get angry atheists, get angggrryyyyyyy.......Hate all those darn Christians, get angry!

    February 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Don Juan

      Moron alert.

      February 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      We can see who's getting angry. We Atheists don't want you to be angry, we're just looking for a good debate/discussion for the sake of mental excercise & if in the process we cause a few of you to take a deeper look, all the better. Grrr LOL

      February 5, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Brian

      pot calling the kettle black. christianity was founded upon violence and it still uses greed and corruption to serve its purpose. The conservative christian agenda is one that encourages war throughout the world. Jump on board with your republican morons and remain blinded to reality my friend. What liberal do you know that wants violence?

      February 5, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Believer

      Brian, Christianity was not founded on violence. They were the ones being attacked by the Romans. The Crusades were Christian, and that was just man being stupid. The Pope wanted to keep the Byzantine Empire going and saw the muslims attacking it. He then played on the common mans feelings of Jerusalem to launch an attack for more land. If you read the Bible it does not want violence. Also I dont understand why you said christians want violence and war. We do not but we believe that we have the right to defend ourselves if attacked or there is great mistreatment, such as the Holocaust. In times like these it is our duty to help.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Believer, Out of curiosity, how do you justify god commanding the m.rder of women and children?

      February 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  13. philip

    There are more important things than mocking those that don't have the same worldview as you, namely assisting these poor people that need our help. If you want to talk MATERIAL world, than maybe drop the metaphysics for a few minutes and support ANYONE who is helping these victims.

    February 5, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  14. Mr Amazing

    I am thankful that CNN would cover this story – it speaks to the good in people religious or not, and the reality that in a free society, unless we care for each other, there are forces of evil in the world ready, willing and able to steal from us, hurt us, and do evil things.

    That there are morons who can post on a story like this their hateful drivel only proves the point.

    February 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  15. Truth

    The nerve of those Christians going out and helping others......what nerve lol.

    February 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Dave

      How dare they!!! Shouldn't they just look out for number one...isn't that what begin a human being is all about?

      February 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Anon

      Just don't preach nonsense while helping. This is akin to a carrot on a stick.

      February 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Mr Amazing

      You gotta love Anon – thinks he/she can preach to those donating their time and money to care for others, thinking he/she can limit their speech. The dimwittery is truly astonishing.

      February 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Anon

      Ram a bible up your @$$.

      February 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Dave

      Anon, you have a point. Our town recently went through a food pantry hijacking attempt where a few fundamentalist congregations wanted to require those who showed up hoping for assistance to pray with them prior to receiving their food. Fortunately, the rest of the congregations in our area wouldn't let it fly. We donate to help those in need...that's all...if they want to know why, we'll tell them, but we won't ram it down their throats. That's absolutely the wrong way to demonstrate a love for Christ. Please don't stereotype us all because of a few bad eggs.

      February 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Christian is just a lable, it's people who do the helping.
      If you only help because of your religion .. you're helping for the wrong reasons.
      However, by all means keep helping.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • TR6

      @Dave: “Please don't stereotype us all because of a few bad eggs.”

      Seems to me that Christians have an over abundance of bad eggs. Televangelists and mega church pastors for example

      February 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  16. Julia Robertson

    Every person has a right to dignity , every person deserves a chance at normal livelihood.
    Nice to see the abolitionist group working hard to restore the dignity among these unfortunate victims.
    God bless you all!

    February 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Rick

      What about other es.cort services that sells different packages to their clientele?

      February 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  17. Dave

    By most atheists logic here, Democrats should probably be despised too..what with their assistance for the poor and all.

    February 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Not a very cogent argument. Want to flesh it out a little more?

      February 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Dave

      Nope...nothing to flesh out...it was a pretty lame comment.

      February 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Don

      Another typical moron conservative heard here. They are not known for their brains, only for their big mouths backed by their total lack of intelligence. Way to go Dave, you keep proving conservatives are the prouud members of the Walking Brain Dead Republican Circus of Fools.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Don, At least he owned up to it. Maybe there's hope.

      February 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  18. hippypoet

    Reality – the world or the state of things as they actually exist.

    Schizophrenia – a long term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, innappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal drom reality and personal relationships into a fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation. Those who suffer from schizophrenia are not aware of the fact they are suffering from faulty perception, innappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal drom reality and personal relationships into a fantasy and delusion.

    Delusion – An idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accecpted as reality.

    What good has the belief in god(s) done anyone? Ever? I think belief in oneself is far more powerful, meaningful, and useful to the lot then belief in anything else no matter how clearly imaginary or factual.

    Parents teach morals and ethics not the bible, simple. Those who place misguided ideals into imaginary creatures are ill-equiped to raise kids yet are encouraged to do so. If the number of christian psych ward patients are on the rise its high time we, those of intellect, should get the fu.ck out of here! Consider those religious sheep an experiment in how not to live. For example – Often used by many christians as an arguement for intolerence towards human rights...I pose that every religiously ran nation like that of Iran and Iraq are exactly what the religious in this supposedly tolerent country wish to turn this country into, where science and logically thought are frownd upon and knowledge of fairy tales are rewared. Lets not forget that with religion held over fact you get an extreme nation of one sided misinformed citizens. And as in all things there exist extremes, and in societie like these they are called foundamentalists. We have our own as well, but because they are ours they are tolerated. They then are shown as an example for our overall tolerance while being intolerant.Where does the hypocrisy end? Are we so sure this isn't a religiously ran nation while upholding laws that preach religious tolerance and separation from state. That would fit the bill for complete hyprocrisy and then at least they are consistant on one thing!

    You folks have conveniently forgot that you took part in the slave trade, g@y bashing, witch killings, the inquisition, the cursades – i'm sure i could go on but i think these facts will fall to the wayside and once again be conveniently forgotten. If christianity has taught us anything, its that your god views us as sheep and will use us as such.Luckily for your kind you can sheer a sheep many times, however like a dog, you keep going back for your next beating! Perhaps you folks missed the part in sunday school where they discussed the bibles leaders being shepards...who tend a flock...but its clear that you people have more use to the whole NOT having ideas of your own..(ready for the pun).. god help us if you were ever to have one!

    The horrors of mankind are not exclusive to religion. I said they took part in the horrors while preaching tolerence, caring, loving, comp@ssion towards other...you know, all the stuff jesus spoke about...religion is no better then anything but it canbe used however. If religion is properly weilded, i.e. cult leader – the pope, it is much worse then all others for its appeal to the ignorant m@sses is like food to the hungry!

    God is an idea. Such an improbable idea that many have, to make the idea inarguable, said that the idea is beyond human comprehension and so by doing remove the need but more importantly the ability to prove and so make it an untouchable notion of truth based on an idea. How is that different from being delusional? You hold fast to an idea of an improbable, incomprehensible, and untouchable nature as if it is fact!
    Until you have tangible evidence for the existence of god, the notion of god remains in the realm of ideas.
    And thats a factual statement!

    The majority of the world population believes in some god(s) type. What conclusion do you draw from this?
    If your conclusion is anything but religion is harmful to the world as a whole, both its population and the planet itself, no matter how it makes you feel inside then i fear you have completely lost your grip on reality.

    February 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Observer

      hippypoet channeling Reality, hmm, OK. All of life and history has gone on under God's eyes, and much has gone on in God's name. This should come as a surprise ... why? As people are fond of quoting: "I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things."

      And how did you assign a probability to the idea of God? To God's existence?

      February 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • WachetAuf

      Good analysis. I would think, however, that it need not be conclusive and I would allow people of all religions to believe whatever they desire. It may actually be good for them and it may have helped to make us a more civil, moral and ethical world. The fear of eternal damnation, if not the desire to help others, can be motivating. However, the ultimate problem, as you suggest, with most religion (with possible exceptions) is that it tends to invite brutality and thuggery of the worst sort – "My God is better than your God", "I am good, you are evil" even when the religion, like Christianity teaches tolerance. There are Christians who do teach this kind of tolerance but the greater number of them seem to have transformed their beliefs into some kind of blind crusade to eliminate "evil" from the world, with the help of politicians who have transformed a great religion into a confusing mixture of paganism and personality cults.

      February 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Rimmy

      How can you define morality without admitting to the existence of a higher moral authority? If there is no higher authority, then there is no good and no evil, nothing to define the morals that you think parents should instill. In addition, why continue to seperate science and God, that to me defies logic.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Rimmy .. morals come from the needs of human society, not a God(s). The higher moral authority you speak of is the greater good of human society. Morals change & evolve as our societies change. If you need to believe in a God(s) to be moral, by all means keep the faith!

      February 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      True love is to love your neighbor as yourself just as he or she is just the way he or she is no matter what because YHWH loves us all as Himself with all His Life just as we are just the way we are no matter what. And to remind yourself with this all day long.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  19. Dave

    I hate it when people try to help other people...especially those darn Christians. Helping people...what a waste.

    February 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • WachetAuf

      For me charity does mean something but only if it is given without any quid pro quo. My problem with the charity of many Christains is that there is a quid pro quo – that is, they are expecting that when they provide for others, that they will receive something form God, maybe a seat at his right hand, streets of gold and life everlasting. To me that makes their charity very suspect. They also muck things up further when they expect the recipient to conform to some arbitrary set of standards and beliefs which is very ill defined since the truth is so illusive..

      February 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Dave

      Unfortunately this is an ignorant statement...unless you're a Catholic, it's just not true. Nothing I can do will ever get me to heaven...for Protestants, God works through grace (God's loving favor given freely).

      February 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • WachetAuf

      Dave, I am not sure which part of my statement you are addressing. I must make an assumption that you are addressing my statement about the quid pro quo element of charity. First, I must admit that I am ignorant on many subjects. We all share some degree of ignorance. It is not possile to know everything. To gain knowledge I must reach out and invite feedback from others who may have some piece of information about the subject. My experience suggests as I said, that "many Christians" there is quid pro quo. I did not say all Christians. I have seen many great people of the Christian faith who seem to be truly charitable and may be moved by a different spirit. I have also seen many non-Christians who are moved by a different truly charitable spirit. The problem, as I see it, is that those who speak the loudest, acting impulsively and who seem not to be able to reflect fully, those with fragile egos, maybe have co-dependent personalities are the voices most often heard speaking for Christianity. My guess is that if Jesus were actually to come back to earth that he would hardly be acknowledged and, if he were noticed, would again be subjected to the same slanders he suffered the first time. Tolerance is not tolerated by majorities.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  20. sockpuppet

    so Christians can do no right, is that it? Even helping rescue those from s e x trafficking, while not talking about their religion to the victims, isn't good enough. It's funny. You are so blinded by your hate you cannot even afford credit where it's due. That's sad. And also, I would like to see those that criticize Christians who give their time to helping those in need, to start listing their own massive list of equally charitable acts. Because I know there must be a lot.

    February 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • ashrakay

      I think most people get offended that there are no "atheists help those in need" articles. Personally, I'm glad this woman is helping people, but I wonder if there's an unnecessary emphasis on s.ex by religious people. For example, FoxConn is dealing in human trafficking and borderline slavery, coupled with mass suicides on an unrivaled scale, all so we can have a cheaper iphone, or xbox.

      February 5, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
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About this blog

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.