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My Take: Five women in religion to watch
Kecia Ali, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Anthea Butler, Esther Fleece and Karen King are five women to watch for in religion this year
March 5th, 2012
04:00 AM ET

My Take: Five women in religion to watch

Editor's Note: Sarah Sentilles is a scholar of religion and the author of three books, most recently a memoir, "Breaking Up with God: A Love Story." She tweets as @sarahsentilles.

By Sarah Sentilles, Special to CNN

(CNN) - The year 2012 has only just begun and already women are revolutionizing what it looks like to be religious, to study religion and to engage in social change. Here are five women to watch in 2012:

Kecia Ali

Kecia Ali, a feminist scholar who focuses on Islamic jurisprudence and women in early and modern Islam, is one of the organizers of “Muslim Women and the Challenge of Authority,” a conference that will be held at Boston University in March. Participants will be asking crucial questions about who has the right to speak for or about Muslim women, important work at a time when the image of the “veiled Muslim woman” is still being used to prove the supposed inferiority of Muslim cultures and to justify Islamophobia.  Ali is the author of "Sexual Ethics and Islam" and, most recently, "Imam Shafi’i: Scholar and Saint" (2011). Her current research focuses on biographies of Mohammed.  She is an sssociate professor of religion at Boston University.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Nadia Bolz-Weber

Nadia Bolz-Weber is changing what church looks like — and she’s changing what ministers look like while she’s at it. The tattooed founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints is a leading voice in the emerging church movement, what people like Diana Butler Bass are calling a new Reformation. Bolz-Weber is committed to the belief that the Bible still matters, that you shouldn’t have to leave parts of yourself behind when you show up at church and that the Lutheran tradition can be revolutionary. The House for All Sinners and Saints is social justice oriented, queer inclusive, incarnational, contemplative, irreverent and progressive. You can even buy a church T-shirt with the slogan “Radical Protestants: Nailing sh*t to the church door since 1517” emblazoned on the back. Bolz-Weber is the author of "Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television." More of her writing can be found in The Christian Century and her own blog, the Sarcastic Lutheran.

Anthea Butler

Anthea Butler models what engaged scholarship looks like in the 21st century. Butler, an associate professor of religious studies and graduate chair in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, brings a scholar’s eye to contemporary politics and decodes the work religion is doing in the public square. She’s a regular contributor to Religion Dispatches and a prolific tweeter. Whether she’s discussing politics, popular culture, Pentecostalism or the history of African-American women’s religious lives, Butler demonstrates an unceasing commitment to telling the truth and holding people accountable. Her newest book, "The Gospel According to Sarah: How Sarah Palin's Tea Party Angels are Galvanizing the Religious Right," will be published this summer by the New Press. It explores Palin’s Pentecostal roots and the fervent Christianity of her followers, revealing what Jeff Sharlet calls “a new kind of piety—a ‘supersized’ folk religion that’s part Pentecostalism, part evangelicalism, part Catholicism, and part high heels.” In the meantime, Butler will be tweeting about the presidential election and the pedophilia scandal in the Philadelphia Archdiocese (she tweets as @AntheaButler).

Esther Fleece

The assistant to the president for millennial relations at Focus on the Family, Esther Fleece was hired to bring the so-called “millennials” back to the conservative Christian movement. She has her work cut out for her. Fleece says she has friends who voted for Obama and she also has friends who are gay. Fleece tweets (you can find her @EstherFleece) and blogs about a variety of topics ranging from Tim Tebow’s Christianity (in a recent post at On Faith she compared Tebow to John the Baptist) to why women shouldn’t live with their boyfriends but should rather make them “put a ring on it.” She’s working to redefine what it means to be young and evangelical at a time when conservative Republicans are looking for that particular demographic’s vote. It will be interesting to see just who ends up influencing whom.

Karen King

Karen King is the first woman appointed as the Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, the oldest endowed chair in the United States, and she is at work on a book about “martyrdom and its discontents” that rethinks the role of violence in the formation of Christianity. She writes against polarized opinions about religion and violence often heard today — either religion is essentially intolerant and thus naturally given to violence, or religion is essentially peaceful. As a way out of this impasse, King focuses on controversies among early Christians themselves over how to understand and respond to the violence aimed against them. (Full disclosure: King was my professor at Harvard Divinity School and in 2010 we co-convened a Radcliffe seminar, “Christianity and Torture.”) In her books and her lectures, King makes Christianity’s ancient history relevant and revolutionary as she investigates what is at stake and for whom. She is the author of "The Secret Revelation of John; and Revelation of the Unknowable God."

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Sarah Sentilles.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Islam • Lutheran

soundoff (352 Responses)
  1. superplus

    Religion was created by the aristocracy to remain in power and control the masses of poor gullible fools who toiled relentlessly to keep the aristocrats wealthy while under the belief that some day they will ascend to the heavens and be rewarded.... AND these damn fools still believe in this BS to this very day!

    March 5, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      Not quite. With the exception of Buddhism, religions start with some working class nobody with mental health issues and a strong desire to not have a real job. Jesus, Muhammed, Joseph Smith – they weren't aristocrats, just parasites. The aristocracy later imbeds it into the power structure when it gets big enough to be useful in controlling the religious people.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:34 am |
  2. Teresa

    How about just women to watch? Why do they have to be religious???

    March 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Likealion

      Maybe because this is the Belief Blog???

      March 6, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • Mother

      And if it weren't the Belief Blog, nobody would watch these boring women at all. There are so many women in this world who are FAR more interesting. Just look at the millions who watch Ellen, who our loving Christians despise.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:38 am |
  3. Fineman

    No wonder religion is dying. Put women in charge of anything and watch it fall apart...

    March 5, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  4. GLADOS

    I miss Chell...

    March 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  5. rand

    I'm confused...Obama says we are a secular nation...............I thought everything he said was always true.............so who the heck are THESE religious women??

    March 5, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Tongue n Cheek

      They are wolf in sheep's clothing!

      March 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  6. TG

    Throughout history, women have been religious, but not necessarily righteous in God's eyes. However, in these "last days", David of ancient Israel (ruled 1077-1037 B.C.E.) was inspired by God to write this prophecy: "Jehovah himself gives the saying; The women telling the good news are a large army."(Ps 68:11)

    In these "last days"(2 Tim 3:1), Jesus said that a global Bible educational work would be done, and in which women would take a major role in it, saying: "And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come."(Matt 24:14)

    Thus, women who are "telling the good news" are indeed "a large army", going forth from "house to house" (Matt 10:11, 12) and making known the "good news of the kingdom", teaching "meek" or humble and teachable ones about God's heavenly government, God's kingdom. These teach "meek" individuals the necessity of Romans 10:13, in which the apostle Paul wrote, quoting from Joel 2:32: "For “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.”(Rom 10:13)

    March 5, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  7. Blessed Geek

    I guess she doesn't know any influential woman Rabbi or Taoist priestess or Shamaness, who are changing their communities in very pronounced ways.

    March 5, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  8. Rob

    5 X 0 = 0

    March 5, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Ouranos

      Amen

      March 5, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  9. carl

    All seem to talk proud but be carefull of what you say for life and death are in the power of the tongue . What is man or how long is his years or how can man save himself from being sent down to the pits ,down to hell ? Adam was not deceived but the woman was deceived and in the transgression and thats why it is said i suffer not a woman to teach in such matters. Is their any teacher telling you of such..then get away from them and start to understand and seeking the truth.

    March 5, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Godfrey

      You, sir, are exactly why humanity needs to let go of this infantile balderdash.

      End religion. We don't need it anymore, and it might be the death of us all.

      March 5, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • crazyvermont

      @Godfrey....yea, we haven't needed for past 10-15 years and I think it's pretty evident that that time period has been a failed lab experime4nt. Unfortunately, we haven't seem tpo learn and continue to make the same mistakes

      March 5, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  10. tos

    Watch Pema Chodron. There are other religions out there, folks.

    March 5, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • wackomama

      @tos RE: Pema Chodon-I was assigned to read her book "When things fall apart" for a world religions class last semester...although I don't adhere to her belief system it was a very interesting and worthwhile read. She should definitely have been on this list....

      March 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  11. Asturiano

    Which one is the Catholic Cardinal

    March 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  12. Cleveland Jim

    @fred Stalin did not kill in the name of atheism. Many kill in the name of god.

    March 5, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Observer

      Excellent point.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • just sayin

      Stalin killed because he was an atheist, it is what unrestrained atheists in power do.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Observer

      just sayin,

      Nonsense. It's likely that some of our presidents were more atheists than believers.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      just sayin .. where do you get the idea Stalin killed "because" he was Athiest? Stalin was raised and educated at the college level as an orthodox Christian .. it is substantially more likely that his religious upbringing created the monster he was.
      I am an A-gardenfariest (non believer in garden fairies) so if I kill someone not in the name of God(s) it MUST be that I did it out of my non belief in garden fairies?!

      March 5, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • just sayin

      Bull crap Mao may have walked by a church as a child too, so what. It was his devotion to atheism that resulted in millions being murdered.

      March 5, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      Nonsense. It was Mao's devotion to power that was the reason for his mass murders. Same for Hitler. If either of them was atheist, it was purely incidental.

      March 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, go suck on a Canada goose, justsayinamerica.

      March 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Where did the dolt get the idea? From inside that vacuum between its ears. It's a feckin' moron.

      March 5, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why don't you produce evidence of your claim herbie/just/captainliar? Oh, wait. Never mind. You can't and never do because there isn't any. You just lie through your buck teeth about it.

      March 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
  13. toadears

    Well she nailed it. These women are definitely religious. Why no Wicca priestess?

    March 5, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  14. stupid people believe what they don't understand because they don't read, or don't know how - which is worse?

    I may be cruel, but you shall love me as God. In the word of God. Praise be to God. And all that mumbo jumbo. Thanks be to me for reminding you that even God hates you. So smile and remember, under his tyranny you will never be free! Quote any part of the Bible you like, it will make no difference. If you believe in God then the history of God is your basis for belief. How can one make claims to without full knowledge of? With full knowledge how is it that any believe unless they already harbor hatred for a great many? Answer – most have never read the Bible. Those who have made one of two choices – ratiionalize it and believe based on interpretations or deny it and not believe. What do you get from this? Well?

    March 5, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • toadears

      Muslims don't follow the Bible

      March 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Observer

      Radical Muslims don't follow the Bible, they just follow MANY of the same commands that God issued originally in the Bible.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • stupid people believe what they don't understand because they don't read, or don't know how - which is worse?

      613 ...lets not be picky, if you believe god issued all of them then shouldn't you follow all of them?

      March 5, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Observer T

      Nope, 72 virgins and paradise are promised in Koran

      March 5, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • stupid people believe what they don't understand because they don't read, or don't know how - which is worse?

      commandments! 613 commandments!!

      248 positive – thou shalt
      365 negative – thou shalt not

      they are found in all the 5 books of moses.

      March 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Cyrus

      toadears:

      And you would be wrong. You may not hear from the crazy fundamentalists or so-called, self-appointed "Islamic Scholars", but one of the fundamental requirements of Islam is to "believe in/have faith in" all holy scriptures before Quran and the prophets and messengers who gave those words to men. Every muslim is required, and I repeat, required to believe this before he/she can claim to be a Muslim. Belief in Bible and Torah and Moses, Jesus, David, etc. are required of all Muslims. The difference is that Muslims follow Quran and consider Mohammed as the last messenger. Also of note, Jesus is the most noted messenger in Quran, more frequently than any other prophet/messenger including Mohammed. So, yes, the Muslims who know and understand Islam DO believe in the Bible and Jesus, and follow many of the teaching of Bible as well.

      March 5, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • crazyvermont

      now that was about as clear as mud

      March 5, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • hippypoet

      or rather "clear as mud jackie!"

      🙂

      i think , even thou he is being totally pretentious and conceited , he makes a good point. i agree. 🙂

      March 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Likealion

      @Cyrus, Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet, Christians believe he is the Son of God. Muslims also believe Christians are polytheist because they believe in the Trinity.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:29 am |
  15. Jim in San Mateo

    The youth vote will not happen until Religion celebrates what you can do, instead of what you can't.

    March 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  16. Steve the Goat

    Religion is a sickness. We just need people to accept this fact.

    March 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Sam

      And you're just an idiot. =)

      March 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • ...

      "And you're just an idiot. =)"

      The log in your eye is huge!

      March 5, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Godfrey

      If by "sickness" you mean a mild head cold, you're wrong. But if by "sickness" you mean a festering, cancerous, oozing, infected, rotting cankerous boil on the a$$ of humanity, well... you're right.

      End religion, people! We don't need it anymore.

      March 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • crazyvermont

      @Godfrey....why do you care about religion? f so offbeat, it'll whither on the vine,; but if true, which you fear, it'll continue to thrive and flourish. Remember, civilizations have tried to snuff Christianity out for ages and it has never been accomplished and never will be

      March 5, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  17. Brian

    What has been one of the key factors in keeping women from realizing equal rights? Religion, that's right! So this is kinda like working for the man.

    March 5, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Godfrey

      Actually, it's a bit like Stockholm Syndrome.

      March 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  18. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    Gotta say I like what Nadia Bolz-Weber is doing, inclusion and acceptance .. as an Atheist I view this as a watering down of the self-righteousness found in most religion and always found in fundamentalism .. and this leads to open minds and understanding (of both self and others) which will in turn bleed away the supersttions and inevitably lead to an Atheist view.

    March 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • ohnugget001

      So true – so very true. Thanks for stating that insight. Keep diluting it.

      March 5, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  19. justathought

    Religion not only gives this world a bad name – RELIGION IS LIKE A PENIS – IT IS FINE TO HAVE ONE – IT IS FINE TO PROUD OF IT – but please – DO NOT WHIP IT OUT IN PUBLIC AND START WAVING IT AROUND – and PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO SHOVE DOWN MY OR MY CHILDREN'S THROATS...

    How many more people do you religious wack jobs have to KILL – while trying to save their souls – leave us alone!

    March 5, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • fred

      Killing is what people do, religion has nothing to do with it, just ask Stalin.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Religion has nothing to do with it? What kind of history have you read?

      March 5, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Fred .. Stalin's dead.
      Just though you'd like to know.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • fred

      If horses
      Hah ! No wonder he did not answer

      @HawiiGuest
      We can tally the numbers of killed based on atheist vs religion and you would just make up some story that Staln, PollPot, Mao etc were acting out of political motivation rather than religion or godless core values. God says do not kill.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Killing is what people do, religion has nothing to do with it, just ask Stalin."

      wow did you just show the world how stupid you are.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Fred, I agree killing is what people do, it's their motivation I question. Atheism is simply not believing in religion & is not a motivation for killing .. eventhough I have yet to learn about someone killing believers in an effort to eliminate religion I could see a sick person doing just that. But religion, as history shows, seems to be an incubator for murderous lunatics rampaging on masses of people to drive them to their belief. Hopefully one of these women above can quell that seed.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • fred

      Huh?
      Ok, I must be stupid or missing something here as Stalin killed millions and was an atheist. Stalin killed from a godless core, how can you argue against that? People kill for lots of reasons and yes Muslims kill for religion it appears, but, do they really? It is evil in man that shows itself through killing whether they hold up a banner for God or flag of a secular king.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      And what would you justify all the killing done in the name of religion. Add in the fact that the wars I would speak of were very publiclly revealed to be "the will of God". Then how would you justify the killing of people because they were thought to be "evil" or "heathens" or even "blasphemers".
      I would in no way try to sugarcoat Stalin. Yes he was an atheist, and he was a mass murdering despot that should have never gotten power. This does not in any way negate the fact that religion has caused a lot of suffering throughout the course of human history.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Yo!

      "Ok, I must be stupid or missing something here as Stalin killed millions and was an atheist. "

      Religious people have killed far more people than atheists. Nice try.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • fred

      If Horses
      Targeting another group may be a holdover from tribal days perhaps or like a pack of domesticated dogs that suddenly go on killing sprees. If we remove God from the equation man would rally around their land as cause or some real or illusion fear about another group to attack. Mohamed claimed Ala made them stronger or Yahweh made them stronger which added to their vigor in battle but, man was the problem not God. Jesus is used as a battle cry yet Jesus Said to love your enemy. This alone points to man as twisting truth or religion to fit personal goals as the cause of war not religion.
      The church in its crusades forgot to notice Christ specifically said “if my kingdom was of this earth my followers would fight ”. Jesus said put away the sword the battle is not of this earth and this is why I question any that say religion is the cause.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Fred, Stalin did not kill in the name of A-theism but religious folks do kill for their religions. Stalin being an Athiest does not mean he killed FOR Athiesm. BTW, Stalin was raised and educated as an orthodox Christian through college .. so it is a likely probability that his Christian upbringing and education is what made him the person history knows.
      Ex: I don't believe in garden fairies .. and if I killed someone, that doesn't mean I killed them in the name of my non belief in garden fairies.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Fred .. I just read your post after I posted mine. I agree with you that it is simply human nature and humans will kill for whatever reason they can find .. often it IS religion but it's certainly not because of NOT believing in theism. I think we agree more than disagree.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Yo!

      "The church in its crusades forgot to notice Christ specifically said “if my kingdom was of this earth my followers would fight ”."

      He also said. "I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword" (Matthew 10:34)

      March 5, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Observer

      Nobody's been a bigger killer than God when he killed all but 8 people on the face of the earth according to the Bible.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • fred

      Hawaii
      Yo
      The hatfields and Mccoys kiilled each other for years and actually forgot why they were doing so. There is also a reason why both of you would finally assemble a gang to attack another group. In doing so you would look to your secular reasons and excuses to assure your gang that what you do is right.
      The battle between Arabs and Jews started 3,400 years ago between Ishmael and Issac when both believed in the same God and had the same father. The Jews today have drifted from God and Arabs have latched onto the God created by Mohomed for political purposes. Iran claims Alah is calling for the death of Israel. This evil has at its core the same calling card of Stalin even though Stalin was godless.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Add it up

      I think fred's point was that in the twentieth century (where more people have been killed in wars than all previous centuries), the vast majority of killings were not religiously motivated at all. In fact, the worldview (Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, et al) that under-girded these mass killings was decidedly atheistic. If we're going to trot out the terrible atrocities of medieval crusades or inquisitions, we certainly can't ignore the loss of respect for human life that sometimes results from the relatively modern loss of fundamental religious ideas. Stalin killed over 20 million of his own people because it served the "greater good" of his political system–a good that was determined by atheistic pragmatism.

      On another note, if you don't think people are being killed for religious beliefs today, then you haven't been paying attention to what goes on in China, the Sudan, North Korea, and many other places.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • fred

      Observer
      So, if you believe the Bible is true and is a historical account of the days of Noah then you must also believe the nature of these people as expressed by their creator in that same account. These people were increasingly evil day and night beyond imagination and their evil was getting worse by each generation. The creator blotted out his creation and left the good seed to start a new crop.
      You cannot take part of the Bible as historic fact then add your thoughts to change the nature of the event. Is it killing when you blot out every last cancer cell and leave the body with only normal good cells to rebuild?

      March 5, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Observer

      fred,

      Please tell me about how evil the babies and fetuses were.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Add it up .. I certainly understand what you're saying but do not agree that killing without the excuse of religion makes it an "Athiest" motivated killing .. it just makes it killing. Blaming all murders not motivated by religion as Athiest is absurd and smells of a blindly religious agenda without an understanding of what A-theist means.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • GodPot

      "in the twentieth century (where more people have been killed in wars than all previous centuries), the vast majority of killings were not religiously motivated at all."

      I think you will find that every one of these was infact "religiously motivated" unless you don't count thousands of years of religious rule being fought against by some ruthless and determined ex-zealots who saw religion for what it is, a scourge upon mankind, though they all felt the only way to fight religion was to adopt religions own terror and horror to do it. It doesn't make it right, but to say the mass murders of the 20th century commited by self proclaimed atheists were atheisms attempt at governance you would be sadly mistaken. It was leaders or certain regimes attempt to rid themselves of the religious influences that have pervaded every facet of world politics for thousands of years which had never been attempted in recorded human history, which is likely why they made such a mess of it and became the very thing they were fighting against, tyranny.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • GodPot

      "Is it killing when you blot out every last cancer cell and leave the body with only normal good cells to rebuild?"

      So if my good cell's kill off the bad cancer cell's in my body it's not murder, but when the cancer cell's kill off good cell's then it is murder, but both cell's look exactly the same and only after the fact will we know which was a good cell and which was a bad cell...

      For example, Stalin kills off 20 million of his own people, which we see as good cell's and Stalin is the bad cancer, but we'll never actually know... what if they were all the bad cancer cell's and Stalin was the good anti-body? God wiped out all but 8 people and you claim it wasn't murder, it was cleaning up the bad cell's, just a few days in recovery after removing the man-wart from the frog's ass...

      So really, murder must be subjective, as in, "hey it's not murder if I didn't know the guy and the murderer said it's okay."

      March 5, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • fred

      Observer
      Note I said each generation was progressively more evil to the point it made God wish he never created man. That is getting bad. It could be genetic or social we are not told but the DNA was bad. Take further note God blotted them out which could mean erased from ever existing in the first place which is very different from killing. The creater can smash his clay pot if it does not turn out.
      You can take this account as litteral if you wish in which case God will blot out all evil and continue to bring forth a chosen people that reflect His desire for creation. If you want to create your own story about a killer God go ahead but that would be your story not the Bible story which is simply a story about God redeeming a chosen people for himself.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Observer

      fred,

      "the DNA was bad"

      So the families of the wives of Noah's sons ALL had "bad DNA", but that "bad DNA" hadn't been passed on to them?

      You really haven't thought this through at all, have you?

      March 5, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      "Hawaii
      Yo
      The hatfields and Mccoys kiilled each other for years and actually forgot why they were doing so. There is also a reason why both of you would finally assemble a gang to attack another group. In doing so you would look to your secular reasons and excuses to assure your gang that what you do is right.
      The battle between Arabs and Jews started 3,400 years ago between Ishmael and Issac when both believed in the same God and had the same father. The Jews today have drifted from God and Arabs have latched onto the God created by Mohomed for political purposes. Iran claims Alah is calling for the death of Israel. This evil has at its core the same calling card of Stalin even though Stalin was godless."

      How does that in any way address any of the points I made in my post to you? And to address something, at the core of Stalins reasoning for the mass murder of religious people, was that it interfered with creating the perfect communist regime. His position was influenced heavily by Lenin. How does that equate to Iran and Israel?

      March 5, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Observer

      fred,

      "If you want to create your own story about a killer God"

      So is the Bible wrong? Did God not torturously KILL every person on the face of the earth except for 8?

      March 5, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Add it up

      So, let me get this defense of non-religious wars straight:
      1. If a certain leader holds a certain worldview and commits atrocities, those atrocities are connected to the certain leader not the worldview.
      2. This certain leader often has his/her own motivations for killing/declaring war that have nothing to do with the worldview that he/she espouses.
      3. Therefore, the worldview is not to blame for the actions of individuals who act out of their own motivations for power/greed/et al.

      I think I agree with the defense of the worldview here, but I'm not sure how the same argument doesn't apply to both religion and atheism. You can't have it both ways; either the worldviews bear the most responsibility for the actions of those who espouse them or they don't. Which is it?

      March 5, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • fred

      Observer
      The account of the flood is one of God bringing His chosen ones to safety. You want to focus on those that did not make it and the Bible is clear they are overcome by the judgement of God. Death as the Bible says awaits those that reject God and choose evil while life in the comfort of God for those that trust God.
      The Bible is not wrong it simply states it as things were in the days of Noah. The land was filled with ever increasing evil (sound familiar?) generation after generation then Gods long suffering ends and He steps in rendering judgement. Evil is blotted out. We really don't know how many but yes only 8 were chosen and the rest blotted out by their creator. If there is no creator this is just a story if there is a creator then the creator can do what ever with creation. Not sure what the issue is

      March 5, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • fred

      Add it UP
      I think it is a worldview issue with survival instincts mixed in. We kill out of fear and perceived allegiance be it religion or culture that creates the bond.

      March 5, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Atheists are cancer cells in the society

      Anihilate them and this world is cured. That would be easy thing to do since there only handful of them.

      March 5, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      Still waiting for your answer to my post.

      @Atheists are cancer cells in the society

      Obvious troll is obvious.

      March 5, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • crazyvermont

      lol@Yoh.....you definitely pull bits and pieces of scripture to suit your purpose...much like cults. Remember....devil can quote scripture

      March 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • fred

      Hawaii Guest
      “And what would you justify all the killing done in the name of religion.”
      =>Some killing was simply man using a religion or religious points to incite people into action. It is a reflection of man, a tool of evil that uses religion for its own purpose. Stopping Hitler was justified at many levels.

      “ Add in the fact that the wars I would speak of were very publiclly revealed to be "the will of God".”
      =>hard to say what wars are the will of God and which are the will of man. As to the Christian Christ said love your enemy so I doubt ideological wars are of God.

      “Then how would you justify the killing of people because they were thought to be "evil" or "heathens" or even "blasphemers".”
      =>wrong and mostly the pride of man that brings these crazy things about. Not to be confused with God ordering Moses to kill all the Amalekites or other ites of the Bible. All cases were a direct threat to the chosen people. War almost always has at its root cause sin and that sin typically is pride or lust. God does not approve of sin and certainly does not approve of actions brought about by sin.

      “religion has caused a lot of suffering throughout the course of human history”
      =>corrupt use of religion for personal gain has caused a lot of suffering throughout history.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • fred

      HawaiiGuest
      As to Stalin you could argue the reason for his actions were to create a communist state. My point was that evil was behind Stalin and its purpose was to kill Gods children. Evil is behind Iran and Hammas in the same fashion. Christ would never approve killing innocent children yet Christ is the great Prophet of Islam. Islam rejects Christ as God and claims their god calls them to kill all Jews for example. This is not the case as the god they claim as the God of Abraham did not say this. Thus they reject both Christ and God as did Stalin. These leaders are godless and that is why I say both have the same root of evil in their actions. Nothing do with religion but twisting of the truth in the case of Islam which is the same as no truth and complete lack of truth by Stalin. When you do not know the truth any truth will suit your purpose.

      March 6, 2012 at 1:15 am |
  20. Bill

    This article confirms that Western Civilization is in rapid decline, no a free fall is more like it, and the devils parade around in public. God help us!

    March 5, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      How does this article show any of that?

      March 5, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Matt

      Not so. America is the most religious country in the world currently. You can blame the problems on religious bigotry and intolerance towards our own population. 'Nuff said.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Matt

      I would think that countries that operate under sharia law are a bit more religious than America. People there don't even have a choice as to their belief structures.

      March 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • sam

      Here, let me translate for Bill: "None of these photos show any of these women making sandwiches."

      March 5, 2012 at 7:15 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.