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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. Rainer Braendlein

    @Primewonk

    You may read Romans 1 and you would see that God gave up Adam and us (the mankind), because we didn't praise him for his great creation, by which he showed us his great love. Instead of adoring God, we adore idols like the Mammon, the god of materialism. The ancient Greeks adored their sinful Gods like Zeus and we adore the coldhearted Mammon.

    Because of that God gave us up in a sinful state. We have forsaken the source of life and thus we have to taste the death, which reigns the regions outside God.

    Hence, ho-mose-xuality, but also greed, hate, egoism, anger, murder, lie, philistinism, etc. are signs for our alienation from the loving God.

    Only if we return to the loving God by the gospel of Jesus, he will cure us from our maladies.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • BRC

      "You may read Romans 1 and you would see that God gave up Adam and us (the mankind), because we didn't praise him for his great creation, by which he showed us his great love"

      SO by your own interpretation, an all powerful un imaginably great "God" cast humans (who he supposedly made the entire universe for) into pain and sin and torment, because they didn't say thank you enough? And you feel a being who is supposed to be that great, but is actually that petty, is a being of love that is worthy of worship? I cannot understand how your thought process works.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @BRC

      You got me wrong!

      I meant it like this: God finished his protection and preservation of the human being and thus the powers of death took hold of him. There are evil power and it is yet enough, if God stops to protect someone to deliver him the death.

      God did not create the sin. Sin exists in that area of the universe, where God doesn't reign. Adam left God's realm and joined the realm of the devil, hence he had to perish and became a sinner.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • BRC

      I thought the general thought was that "God" ruled all of everything since he supposedly, you know, made it.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @BRC

      From Genesis we can learn that yet before Adam experienced his Fall, Satan was already fallen. Satan seduced Adam, hence Satan had fallen before Adam.

      Of course, God is almighty and much higher than Satan, but obvioulsy Satan is allowed to have a certain reach of power.

      God is the source of LIFE in a spiritual and biological sense. When Adam left the sphere of life he had to perish. That is actually logical. Maybe Adam first did not want to join Satan, but like a child he strayed in a dark forest, walking away from mom's lighted house. There, in the dark forest, the Beast of death take hold of him and he degenerated spiritually and biologically.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • WASP

      @rainer: huh? i couldn't understand that garbage you were spewing.....truly. i haven't ever heard anyone say "Maybe Adam first did not want to join Satan, but like a child he strayed in a dark forest, walking away from mom's lighted house. There, in the dark forest, the Beast of death take hold of him and he degenerated spiritually and biologically." or "I meant it like this: God finished his protection and preservation of the human being and thus the powers of death took hold of him. There are evil power and it is yet enough, if God stops to protect someone to deliver him the death.
      God did not create the sin. Sin exists in that area of the universe, where God doesn't reign. Adam left God's realm and joined the realm of the devil, hence he had to perish and became a sinner."

      if i read the bible correctly, i think it was eve that tempted adam with the forbidden fruit.....and ofcourse the serpent aka the devil tempted eve to begin with. so where does all this bull your spouting come from. the devil tempting adam and him leaving the sphere. seek help.....or atleast your nearest preacher and confer with him because whatever voice in your head told you this crap, needs to be exercised.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  2. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Carrier

    Oh that wily secret muslim!

    April 5, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  3. Methusalem

    "Atheist Activist Becomes Christian After Believers Show Him Compassion"

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/atheist-activist-becomes-christian-after-believers-show-him-compassion-72655/

    April 5, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • AGuest9

      Sadly, he grew weak.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • mandarax

      "Christian becomes atheist after he realizes it's all bunk"

      Happens every day, with "testimonials" to be found everywhere.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Then the person was never really an Atheist or he/she was an Atheist for the wrong reasons. A true Atheist does not convert from reality to fairy tales.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  4. karen

    It's simple. You are free to believe or not. At some point, you will die. If you chose to believe and find God, great. If there is not, you have lost nothing. If you chose not to believe and find God, eternity will be misery.

    April 5, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • AGuest9

      What eternity? You do realize that this was something made up (isn't it all) to get people to fear something other than death, which was a release when life was so miserable?

      April 5, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      How do you know that your religion is the right one?
      If the One True Deity, shaper of The Universe, wishes their words to be transmitted and adhered to, they should have been a bit less ambiguous. Expecting people to select The Truth out of limitless possibilities on faith alone seems a sloppy way to run things – especially if the punishment for a wrong choice is eternal torment.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Primewonk

      Pascal's Wager (Gambit) was refuted long ago. You, like all the others posting this drivel, assume that it is a one-off situation – your version of a god verses no god. It isn't. There are thousands of versions of your god alone. Allah is your god as is the Jewish god. Yet if either of those versions of your god are "the" god, then you are as screwed as the rest of us. Baptists claim Catholics are not "Christians". So if the Catholic version of god is "the" god, then all the Baptists are as screwed as the rest of us.

      And if Amma, Bumba, Ra, Thor, Zeus, or any of the other 10,000 gods we have invented are "the" god, then everyone is as screwed as you are.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • karen

      We will all find out in the end. I wish you well.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Primewonk

      You've got to love these fundiots like Karen. In one breath they say things like, "If you chose not to believe and find God, eternity will be misery."

      And then, in her very next post says, "I wish you well."

      April 5, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • karen

      I do you wish you well. Truth IS. Despite your attempts to make it not. Namecalling shows the weakness of your arguments.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Primewonk

      Karen, if you choose to be a fundamentalist îdiot, why is it wrong to call you a fundamentalist îdiot?

      I choose to be a fan of the Chicago Cubs, so should I take umbrage if someone calls me a Chicago Cubs fan?

      April 5, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      "If you chose not to believe and find God, eternity will be misery."

      How typical of a so called good christian to use the indirect threat of hell on people for not believing the same way they do. Any truly good christian would never wish eternal torture on anyone. In the end it does not matter, no-one has ever been resurrected to say if a heaven or hell exists...only a book written in the hopes of controlling man and creating fear tells of these places originally. All belief in god comes down to is laziness and fear.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • karen

      As I said before, we will all find out in the end.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • WASP

      @karen: so you took the "better safe than sorry" approach. that shwos a couple things about you.
      1) you are scared of dying.
      2) you are easily influenced by the majority.
      3) you require a reward system for yourself to feel good.
      4) you need a punishment system for those you don't like to.......yet again make you feel good.
      5) you're a coward
      6) you only believe because you can't fathom taking that first step out of the shadows and into the age of enlightenment.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • karen

      No. It means none of the above for me.
      It is based on faith but thanks for trying to figure it out. Keep working on it. B-....scored ok because of your effort.

      April 6, 2012 at 12:53 am |
  5. Prayer changes things

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things.

    April 5, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • BRC

      I would still love to see some explanation of why it's "unhealthy". I know this is a troll, I know that don't have any evidence, or seem to capable of saying anything else, but I still just want something. I would like to be able to believe that maybe, just maybe, there is a human behind this capable of thought, even if it's wrong.

      It's like watching Bones. Sure it's a horribly predictable show with absurd premises and awful acting, but you still want to know who teh killer is, and maybe, just maybe, someone will say something funny.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Jesus

      "Prayer changes things"

      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 5, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  6. Rainer Braendlein

    @Reality

    Indeed, the Church has entered a state of crisis and ordains gays priests, which is a spiritual crime.

    However, there will be always some few faithful Christians, which you, Reality, should take as a model for your life.

    April 5, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Why should Mr/Mrs Reality model their life on hypocritical teachings that preach both love and hate?

      Any sane person should model their life on rational thought and the silver rule.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Primewonk

      The whole "gay" thing is just one more in a line of things your god totally screwed up. People are born gay. It's a natural variant of se.xual orientation. 1500 speccies of mammals, fish, birds, insects, other vertebrates and invertebrates exhibit ho.mose.xual activity. Being born gay is no more a sin than being born left-handed.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Nii

      Yes being born gay has biological evidence like snails who are hermaphrodites. And when a lamb in play mounts another male. Ole! thats gay. Also size of human pe.nis. The longer the gayer. I can't laugh. And agriculturists didn't discover this for 5000 years for which being gay has also been around?

      April 5, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Listening to Nii's hypocrisy on gays is humorous when his facebook account clearly states that he is interested in both men and women. Sorry Nii but if you're going to call yourself bi-se.xual one place and then come here and put gays down, you deserve to be outed.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • WASP

      @Nii: so you're a hypocrite and a coward. great just add that to the long list of other things. be proud of who you are nii. no need to hide in this day and age.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  7. AGuest9

    Pascal's Wager and the "god of the gaps" make for a poor religion.

    April 5, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  8. mandarax

    Map of irreligion (no religious practice) worldwide:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Irreligion_map.png

    Notice how those Northern European countries (the ones recently identified as the happiest) are among the darkest colors on the map. Another pattern that jumps out is how the most religious countries (the lightest colors) correspond so closely to parts of the world plagued by poverty, violence, and lack of education.

    April 5, 2012 at 7:55 am |
  9. 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."

    The mystery of Jesus was that he was God and man at the same time and that his two natures did not influence each other. Jesus was actually God and actually man.

    Hence, it could happen, when somebody met Jesus 2000 years ago in Palestine that he just perceived him as an ordinary infant, child, youth and adult. Jesus obeyed his parents, he went to school, he worked as a carpenter. The only special thing, which the people perceived, was that Jesus was extraordinary humble, compassionate, meek, righteous, merciful, straight, peaceable and steadfast. For a long time (up to the comming of John the Baptist) Jesus wrought no miracles and people could not realize his glory (at the utmost they praised his extraordinary fine character).

    In a word: Jesus was a human being, indeed, even though a model one.

    Before Jesus came into the situation of the Garden Gethsemane, he had revealed his glory by working a lot of miracles. It was clear that he was not only a man, but also the Eternal God. It was a heavy crime that the Jewish and the Roman Establishment arrested him and finally killed him.

    The human will of Jesus was not influenced by his divine will and reverse. Be aware of that!

    Jesus always subordinated voluntarily his human will to his divine will. In the Garden Gethsemane it was absolutely clear for him, why he should have to die. It is only that the anguish and trouble of the situation in the eve of the crucifixion was that great that Jesus humbly asked the Father, if he could spare him from the death (cup of sorrow). However, it was not possible to spare Jesus from the death for the sake of the salvation of the mankind. Hence, Jesus accepted the will of his Father and the will of his divine nature, which was united with the Father in the Eternal Godhead.

    Jesus could have broken with God in the Garden Gethsemane. It is necessary that this was so, because otherwise Jesus had not been a complete human being. When Jesus had broken with God, the universe had colapsed. On the man Jesus leaned the future of the whole universe in the Garden Gethsemane.

    We will eternally praise and worship the Lamb of God, which has overcome for the sake of our salvation.

    Jesus lives and reigns together with the Father and the Spirit from eternity to eternity.

    April 5, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Jesus was a cat and a dog.
      Jesus was a helicopter and bowl of Ramen noodles.
      Jesus was sycamore tree and a Starbucks.
      Jesus was a laptop and Brian Dennehy's forehead.
      Jesus was man and God.

      Each as ridiculous as the other.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Rational Libertarian

      Could you please prove your blasphemous statement that Jesus was not man and God?

      What is your evidence?

      April 5, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • David

      RB-Your point is well articulated!

      April 5, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I can disprove without evidence what you can put forward without evidence.

      Also, I cream to blaspheme.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • 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/horn-blowing thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      April 5, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • just sayin

      Quotes from a dead atheist guy. How cute. Do any of you think for yourselves ? God bless

      April 5, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • AGuest9

      They are much more original than blindly following the superst.itions of several thousand year old dead men.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Rainer
      Prove that Gilgamesh wasn't a demi god.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  10. Reality

    Dear Mr. Obama,

    Obviously, you are stuck in a religious time warp. This prayer that will help you escape:

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS-

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (References used are available upon request.)

    April 5, 2012 at 7:05 am |
    • .....

      hit report abuse on all reality garbage

      April 5, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Did Jesus actually exist as a man? Has there ever been definitive proof that the man existed? I was always under the assumption that Biblical scholars (without a religious agenda) were split on Jesus' historicity.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • Reality

      Once again references and commentary to the existence of an historical Jesus as studied in depth by many contemporary NT scholars:

      From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.

      "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

      “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

      “While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "

      “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

      I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."

      See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

      Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

      Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

      There is also a search engine for this book on the right hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

      See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

      From ask.com,

      "One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

      Then there are these scriptural references:

      Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

      Added suggested readings:

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm

      April 5, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • boocat

      Actually the church ripped off the story of Jesus from the Egyptians. Google "Horus" an Egyptian god...

      April 5, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Double R

      @ Boocat:

      The historical existence of Jesus has never been in question. It's his divinity that has always been the great debate. Faith and belief in his divinity is what seperates Christians from Atheist. None of the Greek gods can be proven to have actually existed. Which is why it's referred to as mythology. Jesus' life can be proven through many historical accounts, as Reality pointed out in his post.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    April 5, 2012 at 6:52 am |
    • Zeus

      Yes, it makes you look less rational.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • just sayin

      You meet God in prayer. God bless

      April 5, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • 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 5, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  12. HITLER WAS A CHRISTIAN

    Like I did today. ummm so good!!!

    April 5, 2012 at 2:29 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      While he espoused Christianity in public, in private he was very critical of the church. He was also very interested in the occult and Odinism. He was likely a deist, but it's difficult to prove.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  13. HITLER WAS A CHRISTIAN

    HE CAN SUCK IT. LONG AND HARD.

    April 5, 2012 at 1:15 am |
  14. Charles Lee Ray

    Who cares about what that idiot is doing on or after easter blah blah blah blah. Keep religious BS out of the white house.

    April 4, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hey, like there are always folks that want to keep others out of the White House. All you hate groups are all the same.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • Middle River Moron

      You don't like something? YOU'RE A HATE GROUP!! HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE!!

      MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEH!!!

      April 5, 2012 at 3:43 am |
  15. מדהים גרייס

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOrlCYp8TgU&feature=player_detailpage

    April 4, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • What a spammy song!

      Yes, if you don't have anything to say and no thought in your head, a song will suffice.

      If you know anything about filmmaking, you will know that the purpose of music in film is to manipulate your emotional response to the scene. Guess what the purpose of music in church is.

      Notice how atheists do not use music to manipulate your thoughts and behavior?

      April 4, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Amazing story of a man touched by God's Grace

      Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction but his life's path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences that were often put into motion by his recalcitrant insubordination. He was pressed into the Royal Navy and became a sailor, eventually participating in the slave trade. One night a terrible storm battered his vessel so severely that he became frightened enough to call out to God for mercy, a moment that marked the beginning of his spiritual conversion. His career in slave trading lasted a few years more until he quit going to sea altogether and began studying theology.

      April 4, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • What a spammy song!

      Amazing Grace was written by a slave trader, who after his revelation continued to sail slaves across the ocean in absolutely miserable conditions? The grace was surviving a storm, and not a thought to the dozens of humans chained in the bilge? His conversion did not change his attitude towards the inhumanity he was perpetrating and prospering from? It took him 34 years afterwards to realize that the horror he participated in was bad? Which was 15 years AFTER he wrote the song?

      What a guy. The opening line should be "Amazing grace, except for blacks."

      Nice cut and paste from wikipedia. No thoughts or words of your own?

      April 4, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • I

      It is I and I endorse the message in this beautiful song 100%

      April 4, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • AGuest9

      That's why Newton was accused of dabbling in the occult?

      "This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail." Sound familiar, Harold Camping? They've claiming it for 2,000 years, fools!

      BTW, Newton also knew what Rome would do to him if he didn't claim this god/thing in the bible didn't "exist". Funny, actually. Come on, the guy obviously wasn't stupid!

      April 4, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • AGuest9

      s/claiming/been claiming/

      April 4, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • FYI

      AGuest9,

      Different Newton...

      April 4, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Correction

      Yes, a different Newton. This one is the slave trader Christian.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I don't care much for this song but Hayley Westenra is an excellent singer. She's marvelous on Mike Oldfield's Music of the Spheres.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  16. mandarax

    In other news, the United Nations just put out a report ranking the reported level of happiness for citizens of 158 countries. The US ranked 11th (not bad). So who's No. 1 in world happiness? Denmark, followed by other North Europe countries Finland, Netherlands and Norway. By the way, these are among the least religious countries in the world. All of their citizens are primarily atheistic.

    What are some other things that these very happiest countries have in common, you might ask? Let's see, in addition to low levels of religious belief, they have universal health care, strict gun laws, and excellent education systems. Coincidence? I don't think so, but the rednecks would never allow that sort of happiness here.

    Discuss....

    April 4, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • HITLER WAS A CHRISTIAN

      THEY'VE MISTAKENLY OVERLOOKED GERMANY.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      "Of all the religions in Denmark, the most prominent is Christianity in the form of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark, the official state church. However, pockets of virtually all faiths can be found among the population. The second largest faith is Islam, due to mass immigration in the 1980 and 90s. In general, however, Danes are secular, and church attendance is generally low."

      "Another study by Eurobarometer Poll 2005,[1] 31% of Danish citizens responded that "they believe there is a god", whereas 49% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 19% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force". "

      ===

      Yeah.... 19% Athiestic equals "All of their citizens are primarily atheistic"

      ... and with Islam growing, that 19% will be slipping even lower. So is their happiness maybe because the followers of Allah are increasing? Hmm...

      April 5, 2012 at 2:45 am |
    • mandarax

      What part of "31% believe there is a God" makes you claim that non-believers are not a majority? "Spirits" and "life forces" do not consti.tute theism. Nice attempt to twist the numbers, though.

      My point stands: in the happiest country in the world (and one of the most peaceful), only a minority profess a belief, let alone faith, in any God.

      April 5, 2012 at 6:54 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"What part of "31% believe there is a God" makes you claim that non-believers are not a majority?"

      Oh, so now you wish for Atheism to claim all beliefs that are not "Christian" or organized Religion? How despirate are you that when the facts and simple reason are presented you are willing to sway towards to count Agnostics as Atheist. Like I have said, when you listen to extremist on both the Atheist side and Faithful side, yall nuts all sound the same. Guess who also counts anything not Christian as Atheist, the 700 club folks.

      So are Athiest now to include: "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force".... now Atheism and Agnosticism are the same? See, you reached too far. From other sources the numbers are seen the same, in that in Denmark the majority believe in something and only 19% are Atheist.

      Ecch... Either way, with the growing number of Muslims... are probubly the reason for the growing happiness. 🙂

      April 5, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • mandarax

      Although atheist can be defined in a number of ways, the standard definition (merriam-websert) is one who denies the existence of deities. If 31% believe in a deity (and I'm simply taking your word for it), that means 69% don't. Atheists can believe in ghosts and muses (spirits) and vital energy (life forces) and not be religious, though most do not.

      My point is not to quibble over the definition of atheist, but that these are all among the least religious countries in the world. Give me a break – that is simply reality.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”Although atheist can be defined in a number of ways, the standard definition (merriam-webser) is one who denies the existence of deities. “

      Well, if Atheism can be defined in many ways then who defines or decides where the line is? I can understand you wishing not to quibble of the definition of Atheism vs Agnosticism but the practice of open dialogue in places such as the Belief Blog opens you up to challenges of your views. This has been the standard battle cry from many of the Atheist that post here towards Christians so why not the willingness to examine your view on Atheism?

      >>>”Atheists can believe in ghosts and muses (spirits) and vital energy (life forces) and not be religious, though most do not.”

      I do not claim to know every Atheist but at the same time, after a year of reading and posting here on the Belief Blog, I have yet to meet a Atheist that is open to the belief that there are Ghost, Spirits or other things. From what I have read here, that would be like a HeavenSent or others offering up that there might not be a God. Spirits, Ghost and similar goes against the Atheist ..”if you can not test for it ..it doesn't exist.”

      Now... Agnostics, they are the Bi-se'xuals of the Faith vs Atheist world. They can swing both ways and hide behind the standard “we can not prove or disprove”. The quote I post, speaks more to them than to Atheism.

      So my apologies but I can not “give you a break”. What you are doing is just like Al Sharpton wanting to count Indians of Southern Asian descent and Hispanics in with Blacks one day and then the next declaring we are separate.

      Ecch... Maybe it was just the Redneck silly comment you made.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • HellBent

      One can easily be an agnostic (knowledge) atheist (belief) as they deal with separate realms. I have no belief in a deity (atheist), but I am not definitively able to conclude with absolute certainty that one or more deities does not exist (agnostic).

      April 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Over It

      HellBent,

      Good explanation.

      Mark,

      I would hazard a guess that most people who consider themselves 'agnostic' do not conduct their daily lives as if there *is* a supernatural being... and with no prayer, worship, rituals, etc. to one.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Gokubi

      I think my cousin Mandarax is sort of right, but the Scandnavian countries are really atheistic, they're secular which is a pretty big difference, even though in the long run they amount to the same thing. Secular allows you to hold the belief without going through all the dumb rituals and what not. Atheism takes being secular to the next level and flat our rejects that religion. Mark is correct that these countries aren't atheist, I think the only countries that have ever been atheist are the communist ones because thats what the communist ideology forces them to be. We have yet to see a country become a purely atheists country on its own accord without being pushed to do so through political ideology, but we one day soon I think these countries might take the leap.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      And really, a country cannot become atheistic by force – it can only ban religion. You can't forcibly change what people think (and not all communist countries ban religion – actually, they tend to do a lot better and last longer if they don't).

      April 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • mandarax

      Excellent points all around. My mistake was to toss the word "atheist" around a little loosely. What I should have stated is that these are among the most irreligious countries in the world. If one cannot grant that, then they are simply in stubborn denial.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  17. Bad Kitty!

    Why religion should be in charge of everything

    The following is true: In 1232, Pope Gregory IX declared that cats are diabolical (bad kitty!). In the following certuries, millions of cats (and many of their owners) are declared witches and are killed for their satanism – I am not making this up. By 1348 rats flourished because their natural predators, those devil kitties, had been wiped out. And when the bubonic plague arrived, there were plenty of rats to carry it unhindered killing 30-60% of the European and 25% of the world population. The plague would return about every 20 years for three hundred years. Cats continued to be killed.

    That's what religion gets you.

    April 4, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Nii

      KITTY
      Woow! u r a genius! what did the chinese emperor do that made chinese cats unable to stop the plague. What about the Arab Muslim Sultans? Now this is history! Bravo!

      April 5, 2012 at 5:26 am |
    • Nii is quite a piece of work

      Gotta love it when the absurdity of religion is countered with another example of religious absurdity.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 4, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Suzie Agrees!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sd7iXASIOdA

      April 4, 2012 at 7:06 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 9:09 pm |
    • boocat

      If I pray for you to go away....WILL YOU GO AWAY WITH YOUR STUPID NONSENSE?

      April 5, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  19. Nyan

    Time for the yearly spring equinox
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzqWUy6jZJg

    April 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  20. Nyan

    Obama pandering to the religious crazies like always.

    April 4, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yep, can't stand it. he's a closeted atheist fo sho.

      April 4, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Wouldn't be in the White House if he "came out".

      April 4, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • mandarax

      I wholeheartedly agree with all three of you on all three counts.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • WASP

      well atleast obama does have one thing the pandering republicans don't have......what you may ask. atleast he has a plan and steps to get us out of the situation we are in. i would vote either direction as long as they have a workible plan to keep this country going; i have yet to hear more than non-important topics from the republicans. how sad.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:11 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.