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At Easter breakfast, Obama talks faith in face of doubt
President Obama bows his head during Wednesday's prayer breakfast.
April 4th, 2012
11:43 AM ET

At Easter breakfast, Obama talks faith in face of doubt

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) - Facing a re-election bid and contending with a bitterly partisan Congress, President Obama spoke Wednesday at a White House Easter prayer breakfast about keeping faith in the face of doubt.

“I am not going to stand up here and give a sermon,” Obama said in the East Room of the White House, addressing an audience thick with Christian leaders. “It’s always a bad idea to give a sermon in front of professionals.”

But Obama proceeded to deliver a minisermon that centered on Jesus’ experience in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Christ expressed doubt and anguish on the eve of his crucifixion, appealing to God for a reprieve.

Obama said that Easter is an opportunity to appreciate “all that Christ endured - not just as a son of God, but as a human being,” according to a White House transcript.

“It is only because Jesus conquered his own anguish, conquered his fear, that we’re able to celebrate the resurrection,” Obama said.

“We all have experiences that shake our faith,” Obama said later. “There are times where we have questions for God’s plan relative to us, but that’s precisely when we should remember Christ’s own doubts and eventually his own triumph.”

Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' crucifixion, and Easter, which falls this Sunday, marks his resurrection.

The pastors invited to the White House event include Joel Hunter, an evangelical from Florida; Roman Catholic Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who leads the Archdiocese of Washington; and Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Easter • Politics

soundoff (588 Responses)
  1. Pwnd

    Wow William Demuth really has a lot of hate in him. I've never seen anyone so hateful in my life. I no longer wish to engage or respond to any of his posts, not gonna let him bring me down with him!

    http://williamdemuth.newsvine.com/?more=LatestComments&filterBy=a&month=5&year=2011

    April 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Bite me wacko!

      April 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  2. Colin

    As an alternative to having faith when you doubt (or "closing your mind" as many would call it) might I suggest that a believer who is having doubts review their beliefs in light of the following 10 commandments. See how the beliefs do. Do they hold up or do they tend to fall short? Your call.

    1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.

    2. DO NOT think that claims about magic and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.

    3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.

    4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is.

    5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and goblins.

    6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should I believe them in what they say?

    7. DO have the guts to ask the hard questions and the brains to spot the weak answers.

    8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of god” or “god moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief.

    9. DO understand where your religion came from, how it evolved from earlier beliefs.

    10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.

    April 4, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Well played argument.

      We need this in the schools, to save the kiddies from the pedo priests

      April 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Excellent!

      April 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • closet atheist

      @ Colin ~~ Exactly! I just got my daughter a book called "Maybe Yes, Maybe No"... it basically poses many of those ideas in a kid-friendly way (illustrations, cute examples, etc). I can't (and won't) teach her to share my faith, but I CAN teach her to challenge what she's told to believe without proof. She's a smart girl, she'll figure things out.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • closet atheist

      Before you xtians pounce, I should've put faith in parenthesis. I really mean my belief system.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Chad

      1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.
      "Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men" – Acts 17

      2. DO NOT think that claims about magic and the supernatural are automatically true, do your own investigation! See above Acts 17

      3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues. See above, Acts 17.

      4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is.
      See above, Acts 17.

      5. DO realize that without God, there is no universal morality.

      6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should I believe them in what they say? See above Acts 17.

      7. DO have the guts to ask the hard questions and the brains to spot the weak answers. See above Acts 17

      8. DO NOT be an naturalist/humanist or accept the explanation “look, that's just an irrelevant question to ask” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief.

      9. DO understand where Christianity came from, that you worship the Jewish Messiah.

      10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, omnipotent, God is behind the whole thing and He loves you more than you could possibly ever understand.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  3. Prayer changes things

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    April 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Jesus

      "Prayer changes things" is a TROLL.

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are so full of crap and lies. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      April 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Pwnd

      @Jesus

      Aren't you just as much of one since you follow him around and post the same rebuttal everytime? It's mind boggling how his little post continues to draw TONS of responses and gets people so angry. Quite comical really. As long as you, and others, continue to respond he will continue to post. I think he's pretty annoying also personally, but to post with such hatred only furthers him along.....it also says something about you that one little line like that can make you so angry.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • To Hell with Jesus!!!

      Yeah, Jesus you stupid fcking troll!
      Get a fcking clue and quit feeding this pouty troll who has yet to grow any hair down there.

      Punk-a$$ fool!

      April 4, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      The Truths expressed need to be continued whether they are responded to or not. People need to know that atheism is totally useless and that conversation with God is available and effective. There is no end to doing good.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  4. Pwnd

    @William Demuth

    You've been on the boards atleast a year now (almost everyday I'm guessing) because I check in here or there and you're almost guaranteed to be posting. You always post hateful messages and show absolutely no compassion towards anyone or anything. Whatever it is you believe in I will make sure to believe in the opposite since you're just about as low as life can get.

    Good riddance and must suck to be you.

    April 4, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Thanks, how Christian of you!

      Life is good, the family is fine and buisness is great!

      Sorry that I can not suffer fools lightly, but many here agree with me, so I suspect this paranoia is just your begining to once again doubt your faith.

      Well fear not! You will live, you will die, you will rot, and you will be forgotten.

      Enjoy the suffering you have left, and remember to think of me as you are lying in your death bed realizing Jeebus isn't coming. Somewhere I shall feel your agonies and smile!

      April 4, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • someone sounds like they are too stupid

      Waaaaahhhh!
      "He won't stop talking, Mommy! Make him stop! Waaaahhh!"

      "I hate you and anything you like I'm going to hate, so there!"

      "I'm supposed to be the only one here! And stuff! Waaahhh"

      April 4, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Pwnd

      @William

      So what exactly happened to you that has made you so bitter in life? Seriously, what happened that's made you so bitter? I'd appreciate an honest response.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Pwnd

      Bitter? What is it about Thiests that want to blame things outside of themselves for their destiny?

      My life is joyous because I make it so.

      No tragedy no fantasy. Just an enormous joy in reality and the treasures it brings

      Try empowering yourself, and stop depending on fantasies, and you may yet find out how incredible life can be.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Pwnd

      @William

      If everything is perfect then why do you post hateful comments everyday? I've seen you post comments wishing for the deaths of people, and celebrating misfortunes of others. I've never seen a person who's happy in life celebrate misfortunes of others. People who enjoy seeing bad things happen to others are not happy people, but it's almost guaranteed they'll tell you they're happy.

      Seems you fit the mold perfectly. Hope you can let go of the hate someday. You can wish as much bad on me, other Christians, or anyone else for that matter, but I will never wish bad upon you. Again, I hope you can let go of the hate someday, life is much better when you have compassion.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Pwnd

      I understand the truth hurts you, yet it is the truth none the less.

      We have a moral obligation to embrace it, regarless of the convenience that one gets from simply parroting the prefered propoganda of the day.

      I have many freinds here, and quite a few supporters, so your position is moot.

      I believe your belief systems are evil and bigoted and damage society, so I wont be silenced.

      I speak for many who are terrified into silence by religions evil sideand left afraid to speak for themselves.

      Try to silence me, you wont be the first, I have dealt with the indoctrinated ofr half a century, and with the passage of time it is obvious, your side is losing.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Pwnd

      @William

      Last post before I ignore you since you're akin to talking to a brick wall. I don't wish to silence you, never have I said that, good job at making assumptions though. Also, you have no idea what research I've done, what questions I've asked, or what doubts I've examined. Again, nice job making unfounded assumptions.

      Honestly you, and your hate filled dialect, probably drive more people to God than all the Christians combined on these boards which is quite ironic.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Pwnd

      Good, when you are all in a group it will be easier to eliminate you.

      Sleep with Jesus, but tell him to keep his hands outta your tunic!

      April 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  5. Ryan

    Doesn't sound like he's a Muslim, does it?

    April 4, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  6. William Demuth

    Voice of Reason

    Did you say you are as old as I think you said you are?

    How cool is that!

    April 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • closet atheist

      If V.O.R. really is 70ish and a new-ish non-believer... then my hat's off to him/her! It gives me some hope for my parents (my mom has recently opened up to me that she is questioning her faith).

      April 4, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Truly a victory!

      To come out at that age is incredible!

      The pressure to conform to Christ is enormous on previous generations.

      As for your mom I can relate, my mother has frquently alluded the same thing.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • closet atheist

      At her age (62), it's 100% on her to make her own decisions on matters of faith. I'm just providing her with some different sources that challenge the antiquated dogmas with which she was indoctrinated. She feels the guilt and hell-fear, so it's going to be a process. So long as she finds peace in her faith (whatever that ends up being), then I'll be happy.

      Now, as for my 4yr old daughter being brainwashed by the ex....

      April 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  7. Reality

    Dear Mr. Obama,

    For your eyes only since everyone else knows the following:

    Saving Christians like yourself from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

    p.4

    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    p.168. by Ted Peters:

    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    April 4, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  8. Nick from Philly

    I thought Obama was a Muslim...

    Although Jesus and Mohammed are distant cousins through Abraham...

    April 4, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Some say kissing cousins

      April 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  9. Rainer Braendlein

    Jesus didn’t break with God, the Father, despite superhuman sufferings. Hence, God has raised him to glory for his faithfulness.

    Revelation 1, 1-8:

    The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. 4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; 5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. 8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

    The great topic of the Bible beside salvation is the suffering of Christ and the Christian Church, which she has to bear in an antichristian world. A man, who remains in his redeemer Christ, will face hostility in this godless world.

    However, Jesus Christ, who has suffered like no one before him and after him, has overcome the demonic world. Christ had a free human will and a divine will (two wills). Despite cross, rejection and suffering Jesus remained “in God”. The great merit of Jesus was it that he remained in God, although he had to bear superhuman sufferings. Christ has rolled back the Fall of Adam.

    Adam abandoned God voluntarily, although he was made in a blissful state. Jesus remained “in God” despite infinite sufferings. Hence, Jesus is a “new Adam” or the first born of a “NEW MANKIND”, a mankind, which has returned to its Creator and loves him on every condition, even if she has to suffer. Jesus is the beginning of a new creation, a creation in God.

    Jesus Christ is yet in the “Future of the Lord”. Jesus has overcome the profane world by the Holy Spirit and God has honored him and confirmed him with the resurrection from the death and has made him ruler of the universe. The meek and humble Jesus, who sweat blood in the garden Gethsemane, because of endless trouble and horror, is ruler of the universe right now and his dominion can manifest very soon.

    “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

    God, the Father, delivered God, the Son, for the sake of our sins. He raised him from the dead for our justification. Everybody, who believes that and gets sacramentally baptized, becomes righteous: His sins are forgiven and he lives a life of practical righteousness. Despite the attacks of the godless world, the believer remains within his saviour and does works of righteousness. The meek and humble people on earth living in righteousness, will finally manifest as kings and priests of the Most High. God will reward them with very high ranks, because they kept the faith on a hostile, godless earth.

    The majority of the mankind will never believe in Christ, at least not in the true Christ. The majority will believe in the false Christ or Antichrist (The Wicked, Mohammed, the popes and others).

    The revelation is nothing else than an account of the intergalactic war, which blusters on earth between the true Christian Church and the profane world (secular society, churches, which have turned apostate, false religions like Islam, cults like Mormons).

    God tells the true believers through the Revelation: “Don’t become worldly again, but remain faithful; I have overcome the world and will come soon and raise you to glory!”

    April 4, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Reality

      "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther once "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      April 4, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      @ Reality,,,,,,,

      Mastering the art of becoming a "Just-Being" is not what you "Reality" are good at. You tend to imitate by proxy and thru the choosing of your totem poles in socialisms' candor. Be careful of whose backs you tend to clamor upon. Since the dawning of Time, there were always beings that held in low regard the God of Creation and Creation's creations. The Keys to genetic engineering are held by God and His Son who we know of as being Christ Jesus. Just because some people do scoff at and rebuke such a Truth, does not make any of them righteous and without blemish.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Reality

      I was "just being" and this is what I found:

      Putting the final kibosh on religion to include Mormonism:

      • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

      e.g. Taoism

      "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

      Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

      April 4, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  10. Rainer Braendlein

    "Obama said that Easter is an opportunity to appreciate “all that Christ endured – not just as a son of God, but as a human being,” according to a White House transcript."

    Indeed, it was very, very great that the man Jesus did not break with God in the Garden Gethsemane. However, Jesus struggled very hard with himself. He even sweat blood and was about to die because of fear and trouble. He, as a human being, actually wanted rather to get released from the horrifying situation. He asked the father three times, if he could spare him the cup of sorrow, but the Almighty was not able to release Jesus from the crucifixion.

    Jesus had to die for the whole mankind. The Fall of the mankind and the whole creation, caused by Adam, could only be rolled back by Jesus' death and resurrection.

    Jesus was delivered for our offences by God, the Father, and was raised again for our justification.

    It had been possible that Jesus had broken with God in Gethsemane, because Jesus had a free human will beside his divine will (it was necessary that he had a completely free human will, otherwise he had been no real human being).

    Jesus is a new "Adam". The old Adam abandoned God without reason. Jesus remained with God, despite superhuman sufferings. Hence, Jesus was the beginning of a new creation, which will remain with God for ever and ever.

    Jesus victory over hell and death was confirmed and celebrated by his resurrection. Jesus had overcome the demonic powers of the bad world by the power of the Holy Spirit like his forerunner King David, the son of Jesse.

    Everybody who suffers in this godless world for the sake of Christ will inherit eternal glory like his master Christ.

    Jesus Christ is the death of death and hell's destruction.

    April 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Reality

      Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      April 4, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      @ Reality,,,,,

      Climbing upon the backs of the socially engrained does by no means and/or way bring to light God's unrighteousness, but rather people's bittered wainings regarding their Life and Livelihood not being what they thought should be.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • tchtch

      what the hell is "socially engrained" and why do you sound so stupid?

      April 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      @ tchtch,,,,,,,,,,,,

      "Socially engrained" pertains to people who cannot see past other's viewpoints,,,,,,,while your statng, "and why do you sound so stupid?" tells me that your vocabulary is low and slow.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Reality

      "Other viewpoints":

      “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

      The Situation Today
      Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

      It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

      April 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  11. William Demuth

    Are Easter eggs why the Fundies have such lousy teeth?

    April 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Chima

      Do they? I confess I've never heard of any study showing such. If they have bad teeth, it is probably from some perverted s3x act involving sugar or bad oral hygeine.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • closet atheist

      @ W. Demuth ~~ Although I can't (or rather am too lazy to) cite the studies, I believe the following correlations do exist:

      A.) Lower levels of education are positively correlated with belief in religion
      B.) Lower levels of education are positively correlated with lower socio-economic status
      C.) Lower income (socio-economic status) is positively correlated with poor eating habits
      D.) Poor diets (esp those high in sugar) can lead to tooth decay

      I'm sure you can see where I'm going....

      April 4, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • J.W

      If that is true, why do british people have bad teeth generally? Aren't most of them non-believers?

      April 4, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • William Demuth

      J.W

      Tell the folks in Belfast that, and then run and hide

      April 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • closet atheist

      @ J.W. ~~ I was joking around... but thank you for taking the time to construct a response. Corellation does not imply causation. If I liked using flawed logic, I'd probably become a christian.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Actually, don't pick on JW.

      I think he is being deprogramed!

      Soon he shall be godless.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  12. Big Jilm

    Prayer doesn't affect anything if you're a believer. It may be a placebo effect for yourself but do you really expect God to change his master plan for your selfish reasons -a mechanism he set in motion long ago? Are you that egotistical to think God's going to change his master plan for little ol' you just because you want a touchdown or more cheese whiz while millions are starving?

    Double-blind tests on prayers show that it makes no difference. Pray to a different god and see if your results are the same.

    April 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • electrovibe11

      Prayer is for those who don't want to actually 'do' anything about the problems they are facing. If I hear someone tell me 'I'll pray for you' it's basically the same as saying 'well, I'm thinking about you'.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      electrovibe11, I thought I heard all the nonsense I could from the non-believers that post on this blog. Your assumption takes the cake.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Snow

      Truth is a bitter pill, HS.. of course you wouldn't like it..

      April 4, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • HellBent

      "-a mechanism he set in motion long ago"

      Because of passages that state that explicitly in the bible. Have you ever read it?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  13. Ken in NC

    In the last election they said he was a Muslim and in this campaign Romney is saying he is an Atheist. The Right can't even make up it's mind what religion it wants President Obama to be.

    April 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Politics and religion make for ugly kids!

      April 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Billy Boy, stop blaming us for what your parents did.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  14. Chad

    "Obama said that Easter is an opportunity to appreciate “all that Christ endured – not just as a son of God, but as a human being,” according to a White House transcript. “It is only because Jesus conquered his own anguish, conquered his fear, that we’re able to celebrate the resurrection,” Obama said.

    well said indeed Mr. President.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Why would a super hero Palestinian fear anything?

      Your fables are irrational.

      If your God is not omnipotent, then he isn't a God. If he IS omnipotent, then he was just toying with the Romans and sacrificed NOTHING

      April 4, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Chad

      @William Demuth "Why would a super hero Palestinian fear anything?"
      @Chad "Any person who knew they were facing flogging and crucifixion would understandably be extremely fearful"

      @William Demuth "If your God is not omnipotent, then he isn't a God. If he IS omnipotent, then he was just toying with the Romans and sacrificed NOTHING"
      @Chad
      Omnipotent "Having unlimited or universal power, authority, or force; all-powerful"

      Indeed God is all powerful, but He chose placing His Son on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for us all.
      Imagine the pain endured by God the father as He watched it.

      Parents experience somewhat similar emotions for example, having the power to do nothing to address little Johnny's misbehavior, but knowing that they would be abrogating their responsibility as a parent if they didnt address it.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      You are delusional

      April 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Chad

      So Jeebus's powers are less than the boss Gods?

      He didn't have the power to stop his crucifiction? The trinity is a stool with uneven legs?

      Is THAT what you are saying?

      Get your dogma straight dude, you just trashed a thousand years of propoganda in one posting

      April 4, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • your god is irreducibly complex

      So "He" is all powerful, but had to sacrafice "His" son for atonement for us all? If he is so powerful, why is the sacrafice needed? Oh wait, just because it says so in your book. A 2,000 year old game of telephone is fun, isn't it?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • HellBent

      The concept alone of an omnipotent god making a 'sacrifice' is laughably ridiculous.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Snow

      if God was omnipotent, isn't Romans created by god too? so, you are saying, your god sent his son so some of his creations would sacrifice his son to him in repentance to their sins? how is that repentance for anything? it is like saying your kid didn't do his homework, so you go to his class and yell at his teacher/give his teacher a timeout?? how does that make sense?

      April 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Chad

      Stop twisting my words, you're making it hard for me to keep my facts straight.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Chad

      @William Demuth "He didn't have the power to stop his crucifiction? The trinity is a stool with uneven legs?"
      @Chad "Jesus DID have the power to stop it, and God had the power to stop it, but both proceeded as it was necessary to atone for our sins"

      "Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba,[f] Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”" – Mark 14

      April 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • tchtch

      chad, you clearly can't keep your lies straight and no one is going to believe your b.s. about them being "facts", so why don't you just shut the hell up and go find something more intelligent to do with your time?

      April 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Colin

      I have never understood the core Christian claim, that Christ "had to" be sacrificed to save us from original sin.This single concept is riddled with a plethora of logical inconsistencies.

      It’s God. It makes the rules. Why did it “have to” go through the gruesome act of the crucifixion to forgive us? Why not just forgive us? Why did we need forgiving anyway? Holding us accountable for things that happened before we were born is ludicrously unjust. What about when we realized Adam and Eve was a myth and there was no original sin? What does it even mean for a god to have a human “son” and then demand him as a sacrifice? The whole thing is preposterous.

      Is it not more feasible that early Christians invented the story to explain why the Messiah (that Jews were expecting to be a great military leader) was a total flop in all areas other than pure philosophy/theology.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Chad

      @Snow "if God was omnipotent, isn't Romans created by god too?
      @Chad "well, in the mythology the Roman god is omnipotent, the difference is the God of Abraham is omnipotent in reality"

      @Snow "so, you are saying, your god sent his son so some of his creations would sacrifice his son to him in repentance to their sins? how is that repentance for anything? it is like saying your kid didn't do his homework, so you go to his class and yell at his teacher/give his teacher a timeout?? how does that make sense?"
      @Chad "The concepts of sacrifice and scapegoat as atonement for sin are an integral part of Judaism, providing the only way to reconcile yourself with God. That's just the way God set it up from the beginning."

      April 4, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Chad

      If Jeebus could stop it, he didn't sacrifice anything except your common sense.

      If Jeebus has all power, yet suffers us with evil, he is no God, he is a DOG beneath our contempt.

      I suggest you read Epicurus. He refuted your God before your guys made him up.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Chad

      @Colin "I have never understood the core Christian claim, that Christ "had to" be sacrificed to save us from original sin.This single concept is riddled with a plethora of logical inconsistencies."
      @Chad "sacrifice as atonement for sin has been a central Jewish tenant for 4000 years. It is in no way shape or form a Christian invention, the temple sacrificial system was in place up until the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70"

      "And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being." Genesis 9

      April 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Chad

      @William Demuth "If Jeebus could stop it, he didn't sacrifice anything except your common sense."
      @Chad "not exactly sure how you think that makes sense.. I "sacrifice" my time volunteering.. I dont have to do it, but I do.. Is the fact that I do it willingly any less of a sacrifice than if I do it under duress?

      sac·ri·fice (skr-fs)
      n.
      1.
      a. The act of offering something to a deity in propitiation or homage, especially the ritual slaughter of an animal or a person.
      b. A victim offered in this way.

      2.
      a. Forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater value or claim.
      b. Something so forfeited.

      3.
      a. Relinquishment of something at less than its presumed value.
      b. Something so relinquished.
      c. A loss so sustained.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Chad

      Silly boy.

      If Jesus is God that means he was sacrificing to himself.

      I have heard of vain, but that takes balls even for a God.

      Big ego on a Little God

      April 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  15. Joyce

    well..it really doesn't matter what any human being "thinks"..it is about what God knows..and I must say,I feel sad that some of you ,that are Obama- haters, will one day have to face Jesus Christ,and face up to all your meanness no matter what you may say you believe..It seems it really doesn't matter what this President says or does there are going to be Mr.Trump types,the Tea party extremist,most Republicans,much of the Media,some who say they are Christians etc. that condemn him..but as a white 75 year old Christian white lady.I am thankful for President Obama who is not corrupt,dishonest,a big money pleaser, but is trying to have a fair government for all people and work to bring back to America trust and respect from other Countries ..that is the real job of any U.S.President..it is sad so much igrroance is in our Country in this age..may God be mericiful on all who are persecuting President Obama and the Fisrt Lady...it is heart-breaking there are still serious prejudices that are now coming to the forefront of many in America..well,God still owns everything and He will have the last word!!!Joyce/Florida

    April 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Joyce

      I will respect your age, but your beliefs are from a distant time.

      Religion is being recognized as corrupt, and many are working to reduce its power.

      Believe as you will, but rest assured your great grand children will at best believe your faith is "quaint".

      April 4, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Tom

      Exactly. You've passionate expressed what I see happening. How sad that in the Christian tribe there is so much hatred for one of their own who happens to be the president.

      April 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Annie

      You are foolish and have drunk the Kool-Aide.

      April 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Faithful

      If Romney or Santorum haters did this – had breakfast prayers – You liberals would be slobbering into your coffee about "Separation of church and state" and "We don't want a wingnut turning the USA into a Theocracy"

      You are SO hypocritical, it's not true. Get over yourselves!

      April 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Chima

      As much as I prefer a more well-meaning President like Obama is compared to the others, I do not approve of his violating the spirit and letter of the Constltution this way and would gladly see him impeached over it the same as I would any President who swore the Presidential Oath of Office that clearly bars such activity.
      But who would step into the breach? We'd have lots of fun with the VP stepping up, and who I think might do a better job in many respects, but nothing will be done anyway. Obama will get a second slam-dunk term in office and we'll have another four years of a half-as.sed pseudo-scholar pretending to know how politics works, yet who means well and has better intentions than any Republican twu.nt.
      Four years and he still doesn't get it. DC is not Chicago. Trying too little too late will only slow the recovery even more, but never as badly as a Republicnt would do things.
      In other words, Obama su.cks as a President, but he is still a thousands times better than anything the Republicans could produce in a thousand years. Yes, he's violating the separation clause. Yes, he should be impeached for it. But it'll never happen, so who cares anymore? Let's just watch the country sink further into the toilet the right-wing has turned the country into so determinedly. Can't let all that ret.arded right-wing effort go to waste, can we?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Joyce-
      I'm nearly your age and I have recently understood the meaning of prejudice as I have become an atheist. You have been blinded by lies and deception and grown intolerant to anything that might not suit your god world view. Yes, you are prejudice, really. While we embrace critical thinking, logic and reason you live in a world of the supernatural. Our world view is one of humanity and the betterment of its progress while religion forces its morality into our schools and government. We do not need a god or religion to be a good person but we do need to be reasonable and non delusional.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  16. Tylenol

    So dont! and eat the food that WE the TAX Payers provided for you and your guests!

    April 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  17. PraiseTheLard

    Another "Prayer Breakfast"... Another reason I won't for Obama... again...

    April 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • momoya

      All the candidates are religious; who will you vote for?!!?

      April 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Lizzie

      Momoya, the only differance is Pres.Obama now is going to church and prayer meetings, which he has not done in 3 years, I guess he needs the votes of Christians now, just like he used his grandmother to get white votes, but did not have time to visit her when she was gravely ill even that she raised him, because he was campaigning.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  18. Pipe-Dreamer

    1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Num 23:19 God [is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do [it]? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

      April 4, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is "INSIDE" you.

      April 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      1Cr 15:40 [There are] also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial [is] one, and the [glory] of the terrestrial [is] another.

      April 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Teh Preacher

      And it came upon him then that he felt the truth of the Lord at that moment and how it needed to be let loose. And he did then let it loose and it was the biggest fart he had ever loosed.
      "The Truth of the Lord is huge and smelly" he told his followers. "Let nothing loose but the Lord's Truth and you shall feel your bowels loosen with righteousness."
      And it was good. GHF 32:32

      April 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Reality

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      @ Reality,,,,,

      Why in scripture are there verses that tell people as to the whereabouts of the Gods and His Kingdoms' Domains and like you, why are many people ushered away from such verses? It seems quite clear to me that our bodies are God's Buildings and these buildings of our emvodiments are the Kingdoms of the Gods. A singular body of celestial Life has a single God, hence many of oud bodies have many Gods. 1 Corinthians chapter 3, verse 9 states rather nicely that we "labour together with God" and are therefore equal in working ways. The same verse does also state that God is our bodies' husbandry simply meaning that God is the one who is at the helm of our bodies being created. Lastly but not least in the same verse is written that we are His, (God's) building ergo He and His generations do inhabit our bodies that are but buildings..

      Science of today's timeline is no better off than if we would be in the 1st century. Science's "THEORIES" are just that, theories and they cannot be righteously substantiated as being factual and truthful even though people tend to take science as being the know-it-all truth which is not the case. Just because science cannot prove "Atomic relativisms" via provable photographs regarding science's precievements and proposals, people in mass will lean and sway with the scientific minorities' simplicisms.WE, our bodies are Gods' buildings and are inhabited by the Gods within the inner spaces of what we have labelled as being the atomic Cosmos.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Typo King am I,,,, LoL,,,

      It seems quite clear to me that our bodies are God's Buildings and these buildings of our emBodiments are the Kingdoms of the Gods. A singular body of celestial Life has a single God, hence many of ouR bodies have many Gods.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Yup... it lowers your intellect...

      April 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • just sayin

      Be honest how much lower could your intellect get Lard? Do your knuckles still drag when you walk upright? God bless

      April 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are so full of crap and lies. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!"

      April 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • just sayin

      yes it do

      April 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Jesus

      "yes it do"

      No it doesn't it's a waste of time.

      April 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • YeahOk

      Things prayer changes.... Nothing.

      April 4, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • just sayin

      Everything

      April 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • YeahOk

      So exactly how does this prayer thing work? Is it a majority thing?

      If 51% of people pray for rain, and 49% of people pray for sunshine, god goes with the majority? Of course, the 51% will swear that god heard their prayers while the 49% will declare that it was not what god wished to be.

      What if it's a 50/50 split, then he goes with the side he likes the most?

      Anyone who believes that prayers are actually doing something is making themselves look and sound foolish, only fools see it differently.

      April 4, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • George

      @ Jesus
      Prayer, must have faith and must be directed in the right form for the right purpose. But it cannot over-ride God's divine purpose.
      Prayer should not be for wants, but for strength in adversity, to ensure that God's glory is revealed in the outcome.

      April 4, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • YeahOk

      @George

      Since you're the prayer expert, care to give some examples of the types of prayers God actually grants and is revealed in the outcome? I wouldn't want to become frustrated praying for the wrong things you know.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • YeahOk

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things" says prayer changes "things", but doesn't say what things.

      "just sayin" says prayer changes "everything".

      George says there are limitations on what prayer changes.

      Is this why there is an estimated 30,000 Christian denominations in the world, cause none of you can seem to agree? Even people I know who go to the same church really can't see to agree on everything. Hmmmm. Maybe it has more to do with personal beliefs and morals, and not anything to really do with the church and Christianity, or any other religion.

      You don't need religion to be a good person.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  20. Reality

    The "professionals" in the audience should have raised in chorus and shouted, "JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED BUT THAT IS ABOUT ALL WE KNOW. FOR EXAMPLE, THERE WAS NO SCENE IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE AND NO TRIAL BEFORE PILATE".

    Added information can be found in Professor Gerd Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 98-99, Mark 14:32-42, "The historical value is nil". See also http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=203_Prayer_Against_Temptation

    April 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • electrovibe11

      Jesus was also not born in Bethlehem and Mary was not a virgin, but who needs historical fact when you've got the #1 fiction book in the world telling you different?

      April 4, 2012 at 2:16 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.