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April 7th, 2012
05:00 AM ET

Sacred Spaces: Arabic Christians find a home in the U.S.

By Floyd Yarmuth, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Christians have been part of Middle Eastern culture for 2,000 years, but many people don’t realize that a small minority of Arabs are Christians.

Pastor Esper Ajaj of the Arabic Baptist Church in Washington said that people often assume he is Muslim because of his background and accent.

“I tell them that there are a lot of Christian people in the Middle East. In Egypt, there are 9 million Coptic Christians alone,” he said.

The Syrian-born pastor, an evangelical Christian, started his ministry in Washington in 1960.

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

Although most Syrian Christians are Greek Orthodox, he says, a minority of evangelicals exists in Syria. Ajaj left the country and moved to the United States to study and become a minister. There are no Christian seminaries in Syria. Even today, Syrian Greek Orthodox Christians must go to Greece to study.

Over the years, many Arab Christians have left their homelands to escape religious persecution as well as to find better economic opportunities, often settling in the United States. The fall of Iraq and the Arab Spring have had an impact in recent years, according to Albert Hickman of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity.

“The Arab Spring has created uncertainty for Arab Christians,” Hickman says. “Many look at Iraq and see how Christians there have in some ways fared worse following the downfall of Saddam Hussein than while he was still in power; they wonder whether that will prove true in their home countries as well. The pressure Iraqi Christians have felt has led many to emigrate, and it is possible this pattern will repeat itself elsewhere.”

Ajaj said that the reason to come to the United States is simple - freedom. “It’s a great commodity, freedom ... to say whatever you want, to believe whatever you want, and this is how God created man; he created him free.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Church • Sacred Spaces

soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. William Wilberforce

    I think that here in America we have the opportunity to exercise our religious freedom,we have something that humanity in the past wasn't able to enjoy,to me this is invaluable. I love reading the Bible and I have access pretty much to all of them, I own a king James, a Vulgata Latina, the SAAS(At.Athanasius Academy Septuagint) also called Orthodox ,and the Reyna-Valera,but most important I can make up my own mind without any dogma or established religion pushing me around. To me the newly translated Orthodox Study Bible is perfect because see for the New Testament used the NKJV. I really enjoy the ThirdThird Book of the Maccabees which is not to be found in any other version in the world and which also is highly prophetic. If you enjoy your freedom and Bible reading you gotta have it! Here's a little taste..Then the Lord said,"Indeed,the people are one race and one language,and they have begin to do what they said... Gen 11:6 Did you just read that ,yes it says race, No other version mentions race only language, this is amazing!

    April 7, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things*

    April 7, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  3. Dzerres

    Oh, goodie: more christians for America – like we don't have enough already we now have to import them. America is becoming more and more enlightened and church attendance is dropping all around the US but now we go overseas to get more. Darn.

    April 7, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  4. Muneef

    Just asking, can I be a Christian but believing that GOD is One and Jesus was the Prophet of GOD and that he did not die for our sins?

    April 7, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      no

      April 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Muneef..as all the crazy stuff oozing out of religions changes depending on interpretation, because it has no basis in any fact it can actually measure, any one, like just sayin or godspeople can give you any answer and feel they are right.

      April 7, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • gene1o

      if one knows the history of religious thought, there have been many who believed so in many times, but were driven out, or killed, by the orthodox, who became the victorious roman congregation. there is no one true definition of xtian, and no one true set of beliefs that is universally held – especially now. i hold that deification of any created object, be it book, person. or image, is idolatry. but i follow jesus narrow path, and treat others as i wish they would treat me. so i guess the "true believers" condemn me to hell, setting themselves up as god.

      April 7, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Muneef

      FYI;
      The dead do not return to the earthly life after they die, so if you believe that Jesus would return to earthly life then you have to believe what this verse states;
      --
      And [for] their saying, "Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah ." And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. 4:157

      Rather, Allah raised him to Himself. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise.4:158

      ---
      what was Jesus calling for as told by the Quran;
      -–
      They have certainly disbelieved who say, " Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary" while the Messiah has said, "O Children of Israel, worship Allah , my Lord and your Lord." Indeed, he who associates others with Allah – Allah has forbidden him Paradise, and his refuge is the Fire. And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers. 5:72

      They have certainly disbelieved who say, " Allah is the third of three." And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment. 5:73

      So will they not repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. 5:74

      The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded. 5:75

      Say, "Do you worship besides Allah that which holds for you no [power of] harm or benefit while it is Allah who is the Hearing, the Knowing?" 5:76

      Say, "O People of the Scripture, do not exceed limits in your religion beyond the truth and do not follow the inclinations of a people who had gone astray before and misled many and have strayed from the soundness of the way." 5:77

      ---

      And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, 'Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'" He will say, "Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen. 5:116

      I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah , my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness. 5:117

      If You should punish them – indeed they are Your servants; but if You forgive them – indeed it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. 5:118
      --

      -- 
      Indeed, the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, "Be," and he was. 3:59

      The truth is from your Lord, so do not be among the doubters. 3:60
      ----
      [The Day] when Allah will say, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Pure Spirit and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and [remember] when I taught you writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and when you designed from clay [what was] like the form of a bird with My permission, then you breathed into it, and it became a bird with My permission; and you healed the blind and the leper with My permission; and when you brought forth the dead with My permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from [killing] you when you came to them with clear proofs and those who disbelieved among them said, "This is not but obvious magic." 5:110

      And [remember] when I inspired to the disciples, "Believe in Me and in My messenger Jesus." They said, "We have believed, so bear witness that indeed we are Muslims [in submission to Allah ]." 5:111
      --

      And We did certainly give Moses the Torah and followed up after him with messengers. And We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proofs and supported him with the Pure Spirit. But is it [not] that every time a messenger came to you, [O Children of Israel], with what your souls did not desire, you were arrogant? And a party [of messengers] you denied and another party you killed. 2:87
      ---

      Those messengers – some of them We caused to exceed others. Among them were those to whom Allah spoke, and He raised some of them in degree. And We gave Jesus, the Son of Mary, clear proofs, and We supported him with the Pure Spirit. If Allah had willed, those [generations] succeeding them would not have fought each other after the clear proofs had come to them. But they differed, and some of them believed and some of them disbelieved. And if Allah had willed, they would not have fought each other, but Allah does what He intends. 2:253
      --

      Say, "We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [submitting] to Him." 3:84
      -

      They say, "Be Jews or Christians [so] you will be guided." Say, "Rather, [we follow] the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth, and he was not of the polytheists." 2:135

      Say, [O believers], "We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him." 2:136

      So if they believe in the same as you believe in, then they have been [rightly] guided; but if they turn away, they are only in dissension, and Allah will be sufficient for you against them. And He is the Hearing, the Knowing. 2:37
      --

      Q/Verses about Jesus;

      And We did certainly give Moses the Torah and followed up after him with messengers. And We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proofs and supported him with the Pure Spirit. But is it [not] that every time a messenger came to you, [O Children of Israel], with what your souls did not desire, you were arrogant? And a party [of messengers] you denied and another party you killed.2:87

      And they said, "Our hearts are wrapped." But, [in fact], Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so little is it that they believe.2:88
      --
      And when Jesus brought clear proofs, he said, "I have come to you with wisdom and to make clear to you some of that over which you differ, so fear Allah and obey me. 43:63

      Indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. This is a straight path."43:64

      But the denominations from among them differed [and separated], so woe to those who have wronged from the punishment of a painful Day.43:65

      --
      And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, "O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad." But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, "This is obvious magic."61:6

      And who is more unjust than one who invents about Allah untruth while he is being invited to Islam. And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.61:7

      They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it.61:8

      It is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion, although those who associate others with Allah dislike it.61:9
      --
      O you who have believed, be supporters of Allah , as when Jesus, the son of Mary, said to the disciples, "Who are my supporters for Allah ?" The disciples said, "We are supporters of Allah ." And a faction of the Children of Israel believed and a faction disbelieved. So We supported those who believed against their enemy, and they became dominant.61:14
      --

      April 7, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      IF Christianity changed to the point that you do not have to accept Christ as Lord and Savior, as the One and Only Son of God, then.. well, it's no longer Christianity. What Muneef wants is Judaeism or Islam.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Muneef

      Godspeople.

      Good you should mention that so let me explain.. Now you have Christianity that believes that Jesus is Son of GOD.. You as well have Christianity that whom you call Catholics whom believe that Jesus is Three in One...
      So why not allow another Christianity that accepts Jesus as being the Prophet and Messanger of GOD...? By the way from early readings I understood that there were such Christians believing of the same by were wiped and scattered out by the stronger groups during the Christianity Religious wars...

      April 8, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      No.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Muneef

      How come it is NO when you already have all of those different paths;

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nontrinitarianism

      April 9, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  5. William Wilberforce

    Last time I went to Barnes & noble I was in search for a Catholic Bible but instead I ended up buying an Orthodox study Bible I wasn't familiar with. To my surprise I found a book I didn't even know it existed that is the Third Book of the Maccabees.It is a beautiful book and this event takes place in the old city of Alexandria whose ruler Ptolemy Philopater tries to destroy the Jewish community, enslaving them, what's interesting is that he puts them in ships just as the Europeans did centuries after. I really recommend this Bible .

    April 7, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      The Orthodox Bible actually has something like 6 books that the RCC authorized bible does not. Of course, the Vatican doesn't have those scrolls either, they were kept by the Orthodox when the RCC broke off.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  6. Nii

    REASON
    It is the view held by atheists that they can rationalize their religion but other humans can't I seek to help them with. You may have met spiritually abused individuals b4 but u sound like one too. Every human who can rationalize his religion is better for it. Those who can't fare worse.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Nii..firstly ..the only difference between you and I is that you believe in a god you have no proof for, and I do not. There is no religion involved, not sure where you have that idea from. Out side of that, we may or may not have the same views, as is the case with other atheists. You are unable to rationalize your god , and if you can you have not done so ,and we are here actually to help you if you ask for it. Humanity requires everyones participation and while we have a large segment of the population happy to just pray rather look for real answers to our problems we will not find the answers to the problems that plague us..of which religion is one.

      April 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • reason

      Nii, if you think atheism is a religion you should watch this video:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6zGK-XblGA

      April 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  7. Nii

    CERTAIN
    A point of view is subjective. A matter of opinion. I respect the view that the earth is flat.
    If u insist it is a fact I will respect ur view.
    If u ask me for my view I will tell u.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Nii

      I know u won't understand but Akans consider it stupid to argue rather than work. If u want to fight then fight but if u don't then respect is the way. That is why Ghana is at peace. We keep the peace or fight the war. We dont fight if we can't benefit by winning. Religion is a war no one benefits

      April 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • reason

      That is the difference between irrational religious folks and rational people like scientists and atheists. It is totally irrational to think the Earth is flat. You will blindly respect an opinion even though it is obviously false just because someone says it. Not everything is subjective.

      Scientists and atheists are seeking an objective truth and do not respect views that are obviously totally irrational.

      April 7, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Nii

      It is irrational to think that Science and Atheism agree. The Scientific Method admits two sets of views. Objective and Subjective. If u don't know the difference u overshoot our boundaries. When we say we cant prove God it means just that.
      It doesn't make anyone right. The Agnostic is closer to us.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Nii..not sure I understand what you are saying...You have been told, but cannot , or will not understand that an atheist does not believe in any god..you have no proof..Science is our way of understanding the world and it gives us truths ..if they are wrong feel free to tell us....they are a better way to understand our world than invoking gods. I mean does an aircraft fly because of A.. god lifting the wings..or B. differential air pressure. The sun uses what to burn and warm us.. was any of this in the bible...it was science that figured it out...not wishful thinking.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:03 am |
  8. Pipe-Dreamer

    Is it not "written" We "Humans" are "adopted" Sons and Daughters of God? Is it not written that we will one day be living together with God and His Brethrens? Is it not written that we, as buildings do contain the Godliness benefisciaries of God who do so inhabit our embodiments' buildings? Can it be considered that as Godly buildings, our bodies will be re-harvested and the Godly Brethren inside our dying bodies will take our buildings' needful things toward another place in the heavens of this terrestrial world? As I see things, we have been granted Life after death and life after death etc etc thru the eternalness of the Celestial Plains within Cosmic Relativities.

    April 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  9. Pipe-Dreamer

    Atoms are nothing new if one searches ancient history regarding either the Roman or Greecian philosophers writings. We in the science of quantumn physics have taken out the gods of elemental particles and given such names such a quarks and electrons and etc etc. Nothing new here guys and gals. Only their names have changed,,,,,,,,,,,,

    April 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Pipe dreamer. you may be shocked to find out you are actually correct..atoms are not new..they're as old as the universe.. and as you and I are also made of those same atoms it follows we are also as old as the universe. Additionally the atoms in your body may have existed in any one, or many of the billions of other life forms that existed long before we and our gods appeared. It is almost a certainty that you owe your life to a dead sun that went supernova eons ago that allowed the heavier elements to seed the universe and coalesce into the planets such as our earth and find their way into your life..neat eh. so a sun did die for you to live...you have just had it spelt incorrectly all these years.

      April 7, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  10. Pipe-Dreamer

    How many buckets does it take to fill up a cesspool \? How many buckets does it take to fill up a swimming pool? I'd say it is also dependant upon what the buckets are full of. Either pool needs water and in their needing ways the waters of Life will usher inwardly within the pools no matter their charges. Likewise is God's Spirit of Holy Consecrations ever being delivered upon all shoulders from the very low to the very high, God's Spirit does and will ever reach inwardly upon God's buidlings of Life here upon this world's terrestrialness upon Celestial shores. May God grant us our mercies.

    April 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Mike

      You keep telling yourself that. 😉

      April 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      pipe dreamer.. are you using buckets of bibles or korans?

      April 7, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  11. reason

    Why would you respect a religion that is obviously make believe? There are many atheists, probably most, that do not respect organized religion. However there are very few that would strip away others' freedom of religion. Your statement does not make sense.

    April 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • reason

      * in response to Nii below. Respecting a view just for the sake of respect is an insult to human intelligence.

      April 7, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • BobRoss

      It's about respecting a person. Like I ought to respect you as a person even though your atheist views have no foundation for any objective truth or morality and you have no explanation for the origins of the universe.
      The foundations of your world view are based simply on metaphysical assumptions, but that does not justify me ridiculing or mocking you.

      April 7, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Nii

      I know that u think I'm asking u 2 reverence Xtianity, Judaism, etc. No I'm saying see their adherents as human n feel what they'll feel when u say something b4 u say it. I've had cause 2 insult people here but I don't not cos I'm a Xtian but cos Christ taught me not to imaginary or not.

      April 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • reason

      Bob, you make many assumptions. I am not an atheist and I hold no explanation for the beginning of the universe. I admit I do not know what created the big bang. Deists call that unknown "god," while atheists just say they do not know because science can not explain it. It is completely rational and you would be a fool to mock it.

      Religion however rejects reason and requires a leap of blind faith to believe in. Considering that along with how much damage religion does to society it is deserving to be mocked. I never see atheists mocking the person, they are mocking the ridiculous belief system.

      April 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Mike

      We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Nii

      EDNA/REASON
      The fact that atheism doesnt have a God doesn't mean it s not a religion. Unfortunately I cant watch ur video. It is de behaviour of atheists that makes it studied as a religion. Also if u want me to prove my God exists then I've proof. However u lump all religions 2geda. Tho I dont.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Nii

      EVOLVED
      I don't see why u deny atheism's hostility towards other religion's. Jehovah Witnesses produce the same effect when they tell their followers that they are the only true religion. Spiritual abuse is characterised primarily by denial and a superiority complex manifest as bigotry.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Nii

      If u learn to love your neighbor as yourself despite differences in religious views you break the yoke of spiritual abuse. There is no way I will think any other religion is false. if another is false then they are all false. The opposite of religion is secularism not atheism.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Nii

      EDNA
      Where do Xtian scientists fit in ur rational people scale? I don't think u r saying that atheists r scientists. Its a point of view that atheists r rational BUT OTHER RELIGIONISTS r not. Scientists follow the Scientific Method not Skepticism. We formulate things n test them. Atheists don't.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Nii..not sure what you are saying..what is a christian scientist? who cares ..why would you need to distinguish what you are. Just because a scientist does not believe in god so what ? ..science tells you what is ,,not what you hope. If you are Christian you have certain expectations of life and death.. based on what you have to believe in order to be a christian.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Nii..not sure what you are saying..what is a christian scientist? who cares ..why would you need to distinguish what you are. Just because a scientist does not believe in god so what ? ..science tells you what is ,,not what you hope. If you are Christian you have certain expectations of life and death.. based on what you have to believe in order to be a christian. What do you mean when you say that Atheists are not rational? are you sure you understand the concept. Oh and by the way feel free to produce the proof of your god...I hope you under stand what proof is...

      April 7, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  12. Nii

    The right to a religion of your choice starts to get eroded when people decide that other people's religion are false, then comes the disrespect, followed by intolerance n then persecution. Atheists u r following a well-trodden path. RAINER stop it. Learn to love ur neighbor as urself just as he is

    April 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Certain

      Nii, do you respect people who think the Earth is flat?

      April 7, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Nii

      Certain n co
      I know that as adults we all know our relationships fail when we refuse to respect our partners cos we want them to respect us first. When we give respect it is returned. I respect everyone cos I believe all men are equal. Dictators disrespect cos they think they r extra-special.

      April 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • martog

      Certain,,, you did notice Nii didn't answer the question. He won't. He is completely delusional.

      April 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Nii

      MARTOG
      My answer in the simplest of terms. I respect people who think the world is flat. Why? Because there are lots of people who don't know better and that does not make them less human.

      April 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Certain

      Ok Nii, let me reword the question. Do you respect the VIEW that the world is flat?

      April 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Nii. we have not decided that your religion is false..you have. Not one of the religions have ever produced evidence for their gods.. we say that we will not believe it til we get the proof... so far none has come up. Other religions are your biggest detractors, not atheists...which ever religion gets the proof first wins..but will really upset the others who are still waiting. Personally, I do not expect to see a winner.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  13. Pipe-Dreamer

    The "melting" pots of U.S. Americanisms have always been fired with the abundancse of multi-religious masses. Here upon the terrestrial lands of the U.S.A. lays the kettles of religious minglings that overflow and boil off from over abundancies. Keep the lids off the kettles and meander the wills to stir up consecrated efforts for stoking the firey pots of declarations always. Careful be you who try to stir up any kettle that is boiling over yet try one must to keep the soup from overflowing. The fullness of a fully fired up kettle will ever boil over the soup it churns inside its' reaches.

    April 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      pipedreamer.. do you ever get the correct items you order off a menu in a restaurant? I think i can help you understand why not.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  14. martog

    Top Ten Signs You're a Christian
    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
    9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
    8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
    2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

    April 7, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      martog,,,,

      "10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours."

      I, a closet Christian, do not deny there are many SONS & DAUGHTERS OF GOD being claimed by many polytheistical groups of people. The "existance" of there being a FIRST GOD cannot be denied when considering otherly godly entrails.

      April 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      We are the buildings made manifest by God for the godly to inhabit and thrive within our bodies' depths.

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

      Because of and due our bodies being Godly buildings, questionings become applicable. Which of our building bodies are mansion like and which are run down shanties? Also to be considered is which of our building bodies are the churches?

      April 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • martog

      Pipe Dreamer, can you quote anything other than Bible Myth? Have you ever read anything about logic, reason, science? You do realize that nothing in the bible is real right???? right????? Or is your delusion complete????

      April 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Nii

      MARTOG
      I honestly thought PIPE was an atheist until recently. However all that time I wud never choose u as the more intelligent. All u have going for u is atheist propaganda which one can read from "Animal Farm".

      April 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      @ martog,,,,,,

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

      I am the same yesterday, today and ever more a humble shanty created by the husbandry of God and God's Brethrens. I will not let others fill me up with the dissentaries in sour'd amplifications of ill'd pundrancies.

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

      April 7, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      One way to know you're an atheist:

      1. Sit on the CNN Belief Blog all day spewing bitter, angry hate speech against God.

      April 7, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • martog

      Spewing bitter angry hate speech? Sounds like you're the one who's angry.
      Besides, you must 'sitting' on the blog all day if you're responding. Shall we call you Pot or Kettle?
      BTW, I can't hate GAWD,....I don't belive he exists. Kinda nullifies your spew.

      April 7, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @Martog: LOL.. not angry in the slightest. Like most people with good sense (Christians), I tend to ignore you hatetheists as often as possible. What I posted was as true to you as what you posted was to me. It's a point to be made, a point you missed completely. Of course I realize that as an atheist, you actually lack the intellectual capacity to understand anything beyond your narrow shell of bitternes and hate, I do try to help you.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • martog

      Godspeople......You cannot refute one point I made. You are a joke. Try getting your head out of the sand.

      April 7, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Pipedreamer.." The "existance" of there being a FIRST GOD cannot be denied when considering otherly godly entrails." what proof then that cannot be denied? why does there have to be any god..you may want one to comfort you but that does make it any more real>>>

      April 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  15. Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer is delusional.

    April 7, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  16. lastofall

    Thank You for your article, and yes, we the western Christians must needs listen to our Lord Jesus Christ when He tells us, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment". We must needs learn to evaluate, determine, and conclude things with our own will denied in order for our conclusions to be just.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • pwntcha

      Sounds like you should send me all your money as a form of penance and self-denial. And whip yourself bloody while you're at it, would you? Thanks.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:21 am |
  17. YeahOk

    "Yet 300 years after Christ the whole civilized world (Roman Empire) was about to become Christian under the rule of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great."

    That's like saying Islam must be true, because look at Iran, their entire population is almost all Islamic under the rule of their great rulers.

    And what about Judaism? Didn't that historically come before Christianity; isn't that what Christianity is built from? Didn't that exist for thousands of years more than Christianity has? Wouldn't that make it more historical?

    History can show the evidence of thousands of religions. I'm not arguing the historical facts of the religions existence, just the validity of any of them.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • YeahOk

      Oops, was suppose to have been a reply to Rainer Braendlein.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @YeahOk

      It is a matter of fact that little Muhammad could not work only one miracle, but Jesus Christ worked thousands of miracles. Jesus' daily business was it to make blind men seeing and lame men going and to raise people from the dead. If he had done only a few miracles then I could concede that he perhaps had been an impostor. But his supernatural power was too obvious and thus he proved that he was the Eternal Son of God, who had come from heaven to eath by incarnation and Virgin Birth. Beside Jesus fullfilled many prophecies of the Old Testament (place of birth, flight to Egypt, virgin birth, etc.; he had no possibility to deceive).

      Muhammad was historical like Hitler, indeed, but he was an Arabic Hitler. He commanded to kill guiltless Christians and to deny the Trinity and the divine sonship of Jesus Christ. The basis of Islam is it just to be the Antichristian "faith". Islam simply means not to be Christian. It is the opposite of Christianity. The Islam is just the religion of the carnal desires of man and therefore it remains. Islam is just the Antifaith. Islam is nothing else than the full-revelation of the bad human flesh like it is by nature.

      Also Judaism is historical, but it is possible to prove by the Old Testament that yet Abraham, Moses, David and others were believers like Christians today. Abraham was a former pagan, who became righteous by faith, but not by keeping the law.

      The today Jews are actually no real Jews in the sense of Abraham, Moses and David, but have distorted the genuine faith of Jahveh.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Mirosal

      Your belief in the "supernatural" only tells others just how gullible you really are. What's next? Are we to go hunting for vampires, werewolves and zombies? Oh, wait, tomorrow is "zombie day" ... the day you celebrate someone rising from the dead, the textbook defintiion of a zombie. And as we ALL know, aside from Hollywood make-up artists, zombies don't exist at all, do they? Out of the thousands of "gods" created and worshipped by man over untold thousands of years, yours is NO different, and in time will also be relegated to the realm of mythology. Your jesus guy was born of a mortal mother, and fathered by a "god' ... can you say "Hercules"?

      April 7, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      "Muhammad was historical like Hitler"

      Muhammad was more like Jesus actually. Historical Hitler is a uniquely Christian phenomenon. As are most other "Godless people" and atheists, who are usually of judeo-christian background. You hardly see any Muslims, ex-Muslims turning into atheists or Godless Hitler like folks. Lot less mumbo-jumbo in the islamic religion compared to christianity. Easier to retain your belief in God even if you no longer believe in Islam or Muhammad. His idea of God stays with you even if you choose to betray him otherwise.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • just sayin

      Hitler was an atheist, you have your facts wrong. God bless

      April 7, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  18. johnfrichardson

    Which just goes to show once again that if you want religious freedom, you need a SECULAR state. All you wannabe theocrats will rue the day you started your efforts to make America a "Christian nation" if you ever succeed, which will mean that one sect succeeds and all others are treated as lesser religions if they are allowed to exist at all.

    April 7, 2012 at 7:04 am |
    • Bruddermon

      Amen, Brother John! Peace between any religions must be secular or religious violence is certain. We are free here because we are secular and find common ground – which is always secular and not religious. A desire for peace is not exclusive to religious peacemakers, but between anyone who wants to live together in peace. That's all it takes.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • Muneef

      Agree with the comments of both of you for any country that holds more than one Religion and more than one Branch/Path of any Religion.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    April 7, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • YeahOk

      Things prayer changes... Nothing.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:23 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Sure it does. It changes otherwise intelligent, rational people into believing they can talk to invisible super friends.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:57 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 7, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • another repentant sinner

      Prayer changed my life.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • OhPlease

      "Prayer changed my life."

      No, you changed your life, you don't need prayer for that. Duh.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • another repentant sinner

      Prayer changed my life !

      April 7, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • AGuest9

      Oh, look! Just sayin atheism has a new name!

      April 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • just sayin

      Oh look AGuest9 has a new name we call it ass hole.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  20. Rainer Braendlein

    No Arab and no Turk is foredoomed to be a Muslim. Nobody is foredoomed to believe Muhammad's fairy tales. Arabs and Turks are actually free human beings and have a right to choose their religion freely and should choose Christianity.

    Arabs and Turks are free human beings and can become Christians, if they want. Nobody should be allowed to hinder a man to join the Christian faith.

    The Western governments should do everything therewith Christians in the Near East can practize freely their religion.

    The gospel for Arabs and Turks: God, the Creator, the Father,delivered God, the Son, for our sins and raised him from the dead for our justification.

    These few words are the whole gospel. It is not more and not less.

    It is only that you have to realize your sinfulness and your inability to do works, which please God. By the gospel God wants to make you able to do works of righteousness and love. Do you share food and clothes with poor people? Do you work hard for your employer or are you a complier? If you are an employer, do you take fair prices from the customers and pay fair wages? If you are a soldier, don't you blackmail people? If you are a publican, don't you take to much customs?

    If you feel your sinfulness and want to get released, then get sacramentally baptized and born by Water and Spirit. By baptism the gospel becomes metaphysical reality for you.

    April 7, 2012 at 6:42 am |
    • YeahOk

      "No Arab and no Turk is foredoomed to be a Muslim. Nobody is foredoomed to believe Muhammad's fairy tales. Arabs and Turks are actually free human beings and have a right to choose their religion freely and should choose Christianity."

      No human, of any race, in any part of the world is foredoomed to believe in any religion, and I recommend that all choose none. Living a good and honest life does not require a religion, or a "relationship" which God or Jesus as I know some like to call it.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • YeahOk

      ...or a "relationship" WITH God or Jesus as I know some like to call it.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @YeahOk

      It is only that Christianity has an extremly solid historical basis compared with other religions.

      One could say that Christianity is THE HISTORICAL RELIGION.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • YeahOk

      "It is only that Christianity has an extremly solid historical basis compared with other religions.

      One could say that Christianity is THE HISTORICAL RELIGION."

      This is what you, and many others, *believe* to be true. Believing something is true does not make it true.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @YeahOk

      Yet 300 years after Christ the whole civilized world (Roman Empire) was about to become Christian under the rule of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.

      Every historian can confirm that. It is a fact.

      Constantine had never commandet the Edict of Milan, which allowed practizing the Christian faith, if the stories about Jesus and the apostles had not been true. Regard that 300 after Christ Constantine and his historians depended not only on papers, but there were festivals, inscriptions, certain memorials, customs and the like, which are no more available for us today.

      At Constantines time people were still aware of the events, which came to pass in Palestine, Greece and Turkey and other countries. By Constantine the new religion became publically acknowledged. This is still valid today!

      April 7, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      "One could say that Christianity is THE HISTORICAL RELIGION."

      One could also say that paganism is or any other religion/belief system that was around before christianity. Without evidence to back such claims they all remain in the same category...mythology!

      April 7, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • just sayin

      A relationship with God has always been available by grace through faith from Adam onward. It was only revealed as Christianity after the Messiah had come. In fact the term Christian was first used to insult the followers of Jesus who were known as the Way. God bless

      April 7, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • sam stone

      Rainer: No one is foredoomed to accept ANY religion, including Christianity.

      April 7, 2012 at 12:42 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.