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Your Take: Comments and responses on National Day of Prayer
Stephen Prothero argues that the National Day of Prayer isn't just for Christians.
May 4th, 2012
01:03 PM ET

Your Take: Comments and responses on National Day of Prayer

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

My public letter to God on how we should pray on America’s National Day of Prayer drew over 4000 comments on Thursday. Many were the online equivalent of the courtship displays the wild turkeys are doing in my yard this week — gobbling on behalf of Christianity or atheism. But some were less driven by impulse and instinct.

Many commenters accused me of irreverence. “Bill” called my letter “a cheap literary trick” full of “sarcasm and disrespect.” “I wonder if you would address Him so flippantly if he were standing in front of you?” “Ron from Jersey” said I showed “no respect or understanding of the personal and loving god of Judeo-Christian belief.”

It seems to me, however, that those who are showing disrespect for God are those who claim to divine precisely what God believes about politics or prayer.

I cut my teeth as a graduate student studying New England’s Puritans, and when they approached God (in prayer or otherwise) they did so with a healthy measure of fear. Yes, they believed God loved them. But they also believed there was a huge gap — an "infinite qualitative distinction" in the words of theologian Karl Barth — between sinful humans and the omniscient God. So out of respect for God's sovereignty they would never presume to know exactly what God was thinking about anything.

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“JC in Western U.S.” channeled the spirit of these Puritans (and of Barth) when he wrote, “If there is a God, and if He is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, it would be the height of arrogance for any mere human to claim to know His will.”

Channeling a very different spirit, many commenters claimed that my question had an easy answer. “Me” wrote: “Dear Stephen, Asked and Answered. Look up Matthew 6:5-13.”

For those who do not have a Bible close at hand, “Me” was pointing to the Lord’s Prayer. And many other comments said that the "Our Father" is the prayer we Americans should pray on our National Day of Prayer.

But this very passage from the Sermon on the Mount begins with these words from Jesus:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father.”

Picking up on this theme, “Maine Liberal” wrote, “Christ taught us to pray in private,” so we should keep our prayer out of schools and legislatures and off of the streets.

One of the most common comments was that Jesus is God so we should pray to Him. Or, as a different “Matthew” put it: “USA is a Christian country and we should pray to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Period."

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But this response begs the question, side-stepping the challenge my piece was written to present. I know how Christians pray. My question was: How should we, as citizens, pray in a country in which some are Christian and many are not?

Assume for a minute that conservative Christians are right. Assume there is one God and that this God is best described in Trinitarian terms as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Even if true, this theological reality does not change the demographic fact that millions upon millions of Americans are Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims and non-believers. It does not tell us how U.S. citizens should pray on our National Day of Prayer.

From its creation, the United States has wrestled with this problem of how to engage in God talk without dividing the nation. And it seems to me that the great generations that preceded us came up with a fairly good solution to this difficult problem.

In other words, while many comments accused me of being a liberal, on this question I am a conservative. I want to conserve what I see as a grand compromise in U.S. history — a wise tradition in which God is invoked yet not explicitly described. Simultaneously, I want to resist two relatively recent innovations: efforts to banish God from the public square, and efforts to turn public talk of God into public talk of Christ.

I understand the frustrations of the atheists who flood the comment boards of CNN’s Belief Blog every day. I sympathize with “Voice of Reason” who called for a “National Do Not Pray Day” and with “William Demuth” who said we should “forget prayer” and do good instead: “Pick up some trash . . . Feed someone who is hungry.”

But a public square stripped of all references to religion has never been the American way. Traditionally, our response to the religious (and non-religious) diversity in our midst has been to allow for God talk in American politics, but to keep that talk generic and to keep it to a minimum.

This grand compromise strikes me as wise. The atheist furor in the United States today is not responding for the most part to this tradition. It is responding to a quite recent anti-traditional innovation—an effort to make our God talk explicitly Christian (or Judeo-Christian) and to place that particular form of faith front and center in American public life.

This innovation strikes me as disrespectful to those in our midst who do not believe in God or who call God by some other name than Jesus Christ. It also strikes me as unwise and impolitic.

Striking a theme of many commenters yesterday, "ambersue" wrote, "Today is National Day of Prayer and it is for those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. This day is for Him, and Him alone." To which "NC" responded: "yep, I guess the rest of us don't exist anymore."

See the problem? If you do, you understand what I was trying to say yesterday in my open letter to God.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Christianity • Church and state • Culture wars • Opinion • Politics • Prayer • United States

soundoff (266 Responses)
  1. PerceivedReality

    Either there is a God or not.

    I think there is, and he is the God of Abraham.
    If I am right, I gain everything, and Athiests lose everything.

    If Athiests are right then we both lose everything.

    Chew on that logic and reasoning.

    Flawless Victory!

    I

    May 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Wayne

      Or it could be any other of the 1000s of Gods that man has made up. Or it could be an evil one that sends everyone to hell anyway reguardless if you believed or not. You've pretty much commited every logical fallacy there is. Last one being false diliema.

      May 4, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Flawless Stupidity!

      May 4, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Bullsh!t! Another attempt at the completely discredited Pascal's Wager!

      There are no gods...

      May 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • jimtanker

      What you are trying is a failed attempt at Pascal’s Wager and you are losing. In fact, if you want to use Pascal’s Wager YOU should be a musIim. Their heaven, getting 72 vir-gins, is much cooler than your heaven. Now if you really want the best deal then you should be a Pastafarian. The FSM heaven has a beer volcano and a stri-pper factory. And even if you don’t go there, their heII is the same as their heaven except the beer is flat and the stri-ppers all have V D.
      Can I get a R’amen?

      May 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Pascals wager?
      What if Muslims are right? What if the Greeks or Romans were right? Also, how do you know this god doesn't prefer people who don't believe in something without evidence. He would have given us the ability to think logically so why would he save people who waste this gift.

      Great logic fail.

      May 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • momoya

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg1zg_uHOQw

      May 4, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • PerceivedReality

      All the other Gods are thin charactures, obviously.

      You people are really desperate to be nothing, cracks me up!

      How does it feel to know that everything you are, all the people you love are worthless rotting meat that exist for no reason?
      If your father would have shot on the sheet it would have made no difference whatsoever, you cling to that in spite of proof there is a God

      You keep saying nature made life randomly, I do not believe it, that takes way more faith to believe than God.

      The pascal wager argument is logicly sound.

      Why wouldnt the protiens just sit there? what animated them to come together? why would they?

      But see, they did, and you know they did, but you say it was for no reason because life is meaningless.

      I think that is stupid.

      May 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Vision From Afar

      "you cling to that in spite of proof there is a God"

      -Pics or it didn't happen. Fanfiction (I mean, the Bible) doesn't count.

      May 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • momoya

      Percieved Reality misspelled,

      You're not describing me, my thoughts, any atheists I know, or their thoughts.. Go google "strawman argument" and be slightly less ignorant than a few moments before.. Your intelligence needs all the help it can get.

      May 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Wayne

      There is no way anyone can be this stupid.

      "All the other Gods are thin charactures, obviously."

      No not really, they were just as real to past and present civilizations are you claim yours to be."

      "You people are really desperate to be nothing, cracks me up!"

      By nothing you mean not pretending that we will live forever?

      "How does it feel to know that everything you are, all the people you love are worthless rotting meat that exist for no reason?"

      Much better than pretending that if i bellieve enough in a book that i'll live forever.

      "If your father would have shot on the sheet it would have made no difference whatsoever, you cling to that in spite of proof there is a God"

      There is no proof of God.

      "You keep saying nature made life randomly, I do not believe it, that takes way more faith to believe than God."

      Nobody said randomly did they? Fact of the matter is life does not need magic in anyway to be the way that it is.

      "The pascal wager argument is logicly sound."

      It would be to you since you dismiss the possibility that any God could exist other than yours. Which is stupid.

      "Why wouldnt the protiens just sit there? what animated them to come together? why would they?"

      There are plenty of answers to this question if you ever cared to look it up.

      "But see, they did, and you know they did, but you say it was for no reason because life is meaningless."

      Nobody said life is meaningless but you.

      I think that is stupid.

      We think you are stupid.

      May 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      PerceivedReality, we have been waiting 2000+ years for proof of any god. Now you say you have it! Excellent – I eagerly await your proof. Please provide soonest.

      May 4, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Yahweh made it clear that HE is the big guy and he isn't sharing the stage with anyone. Christians put a human named Jesus and some ridiculous amorphous blob of a god called the Holy Spirit on a par with Yahweh. If you are right and there is a god and he's the one who spoke to Abraham, Jews and perhaps Muslims will be in good stead, but Christians will be in deep do do.

      May 4, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • dilberth

      HA! Your argument is as weak as a new-born colt and as empty as a Christian's cerebrium. If atheists discard a god, they gain freedom in much the same way as a slave loses his chains.

      May 4, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Cq

      If there is a god, you have a thousands to one chance of being right, and with those odds you still choose to gamble with people's happiness. If you are wrong than all the witches burned, Canaanites massacred, first-born Egyptians dispatched, heretics killed, crusaders lost alone with their enemies, Jews hurt by anti-Semitism, gays bashed, and so on, and on were for not. So much misery, be God real, or not. Some of us would rather not step over people just to impress some being that only might exist. Funny how Pascal never mentioned that, eh?

      May 5, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  2. jimtanker

    William Demuth

    You got a mention in the article!!! Right on dude! Congrats. They will never mention me, too controvercial.

    May 4, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Jim, I have called for the gang bang of the Pope, and the mass poisining of the RCC's host

      He just cherrypicks the lines!

      I guess that's a skill mastered by ALL Christians

      May 4, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • jimtanker

      WD,

      Did you happen to catch my "National Day of Irreverence" posts that I was putting up everywhere yesterday? I wish that they would have quoted that. LOL.

      May 4, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • William Demuth

      jimtanker

      Nah been hitting the books.

      I have a HUGE VMware certification course I have to crush.

      1780 page manual.

      I had to even sign a waver saying I won't use the Tech in designing Nuclear Biological or Chemical weapons or their delivery systems.

      I crossed my fingers when I signed it!

      May 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  3. Cq

    How do we know that today is a special day for Jedi?

    Because, in the movies, they are always saying "May the fourth be with you!"

    🙂

    May 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  4. dude

    Prayer itself is divisive because it is not a universal religious practice. The National Day of Prayer is a concept that shows obvious bias to only certain religions and for that reason should not be a formal part of American life as dictated by the government. If Christians or any other religion want to declare such a day for themselves, more power to them.

    May 4, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Perhaps we could narrow it down further

      Perhaps "National Day of conversing with a reanimated Palestinian corpse who was begot by a supposed virgin" day?

      May 4, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  5. Voice of Reason

    @PercievedReality said:
    "Did you know that there are somewhere around 4 billion nuerons that make up your brain"

    Actually, it's closer to 86 billion neurons. They melted-down a whole human brain and took a sample and calculated the numbers of neurons. Initially it was thought to be 100 billion neurons. A staggering amount of activity going on 100% of the time. It is a myth that we only use 10% of our brain.

    May 4, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      As a point of reference; an orangutan has roughly 14 billion neurons.

      May 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Voice of Reason

      Would that be a Christian one?

      May 4, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • An Orangutan

      @William,

      I find that highly offensive

      May 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      As we move forward we are going to learn more about evolutionary psychology which may explain this in-group mentality for religion.

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

      Voice

      I recently read of some work being done with electromagnetic neuron stimulation.

      Apparently, with the proper signal, people believe they are in the presence of God.

      It is at a frequency slightly below the one that makes them have convulsion that coordinate with the song “ Achy Breaky Heart”

      But in all fairness, I suspect you are correct, which Is why I support the vivisection of the unusually devout.

      May 4, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      I do encourage them to donate. PerceivedReality stated there were only 4 billion neurons which is well below our primate relative.

      May 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  6. Dave

    I enjoy reading Prothero's articles. Even those I don't necessarily agree with are well-written and non-condemning.

    The letter yesterday was a much needed point for many Christians in America today. The Christian agenda in the US has grown more and more extreme since the "God Infusion" of government in the 1950's. For those unfamiliar with it, it was more a Cold War, anti-communist political move than a religious stance. As an outsider looking in, one can see similarities between extreme followers Islam and Christianity. It is a frightening trend. Christians try again and again to squelch those who believe differently. That is not how this nation was meant to be.

    Personally, I don't see anything wrong with believing what you want. I have no problems with religious symbols in public places. However, I do feel "In God We Trust" becoming the motto ruined the real reason this is a great nation. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one. I believe this is what our nation's founders had in mind when the US came to be. Not to judge based on faith, but to coexist.

    May 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Very well written – thank you Dave...

      "E pluribus unum"

      May 4, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  7. FoodForThought

    Most people, when listing their priorities, list something like this (highest priority first): God, family, country. So despite being Americans, they dismiss American values (like freedoms of religion, speech, and thought) if they seem to conflict with their religious values. God is their ultimate authority, after all, and who are we mere humans to decide what laws it takes for us all to get along? So their religious values often trump American values, which is ironic since so many religous folk tend to think they're more American than everyone else.

    May 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Duty, Honor, Family/Country ... no god required...

      May 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • William Demuth

      This is why our nation is so often betrayed from within.

      I am old school.

      Give em a chance to swear allegiance to the United States, first last and only..

      If they refuse, give em a lead after dinner mint delivered at 600 FPS

      May 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  8. William Demuth

    Look at that!

    I is a somebody now!!

    My name in lights!!

    Boo YAAA!

    May 4, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Kudos ... now when people tell you that the authors' never read the boards, you can tell them "nii!!"

      May 4, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  9. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    Usually Prothero comes off as a bit of a tool, but this article is actually not too bad. At least he is attempting to see different perspectives.

    May 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  10. My Take on Your take

    Apparently, most of these ardent commenters work at cnn in the belief blog team. dba's, network admin, cleaning lady etc etc

    May 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Team?

      CNN spends like a buck a day on this!

      I have seen bigger teams on Girl Scout Cookie web sites!

      May 4, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  11. J.W

    I think they had a picture of that same lady before. She looks good. I wanna go to that church.

    May 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  12. johnfrichardson

    The sad thing is that Prothero no doubt thinks he is a deep thinker. National Prayer Day is out of sync with BOTH the secular foundations of this nation AND what Jesus said (or is said to have said) about how to pray. So it is an absolute obscenity that Christians who fancy themsleves patriotic Americans try to use this day to bully others into joining in or at least remaining quiet and respectful while they hold public displays of verbosity that they call prayer. National Prayer Day is one of MANY bad ideas that have haunted our public landscape since the 1950s that were developed in the name of battling "godless" communism. Wake up, kids. The Soviet Union and the Soviet Bloc imploded two decades ago, not because a bunch of religious muttonheads held public harangues they call prayer, but because of their own economic witlessness.

    The most pressing question of the day on this forum is how did this Prothero person become the sole semi-regular contributor to this forum??? Shallower, they seldom come.

    May 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      johnfrichardson,,,,,,,,,,,, ,

      This "National Day Of Prayer" is only a malignancy upon certain socialistic nomenclatures who tend to bewail and bemoan their unleavenedness issues of fractioned groupings that delcare tantamountedly their own fruited falacies displeasurings!

      May 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for a boy's ass and other living things

      Great, more crap from God's Obnoxiousness Dick.

      May 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I believe it's CNN's desire to walk the center of the road, and this author meets that standard well.

      Regrettably, if extremists on EITHER end of the spectrum come into power, they will hang him out to dry.

      Religious politics seems to be mimicking governmental politics, with the roses going to the most militant!

      May 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • momoya

      Chad if you can make such claims from ignorance for your god, then I can make the same ignorant claim for the universe.. The universe has no beginning or end and is eternal–the universe is god.. What's the name of that razor, again?

      May 4, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Off your meds again, Richard?

      As for Prothero and the middle of the road, the TRUE middle of the road is to keep belief private and out of public affairs. Prothero is just another joker who believes tradition means stupid things that actually only a handful of people have been doing by way of public moral posturing since the 1950s. I didn't see one person praying yesterday. For most people, this day means about as much as National Pickle Day. It is shameful that the president and others in authority feel they need to drag religion into the public sphere to placate some of the biggest loons amongst us.

      May 4, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  13. Religion is not healthy for a boy's ass and other living things

    National Day of Prayer isn't just for Christians

    That's right and the National Day of Reason isn't just for atheist. Christians are also invited to use their brains on this one day.

    May 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      If some of the Christians ever tried to think, they'd pull a muscle.

      May 4, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  14. PercievedReality

    God hears all prayers, sometimes the answer is "no" or "wait"

    To all the unbelievers, your arrogant pride of percieved intellect is ironic. Since you have so much faith and trust in your beloved corrupted mind and your child's play "science" I trust you can make an exact replica of the shroud of turin, that will test to have been produced by the exact same proccess as the original. Oh! thats right! your precious science fails to make something today that was made 2000 years ago! Sometimes, reason and logic FAILS!

    Science is simply the reverse engineering of God's work. You still cannot make, from just ellements and simple compounds, a living single cell creature, even with the blueprints. I am sorry but I cannot understand why so called intelligent people cannot see the obvious signature of the creator all over this universe.

    You dellude yourself into thinking that your intelligence, logic and reason somehow exempts you from the will of God and His plan.

    He will confound your intellect, you really think he would let evil roam this universe out of control, spreading your filth everywhere you would go for your exploitive, selfish purposes? hahahahaha

    Have fun overcoming speed of light propulsion, effect of velocity on mass, and buffering the inertia hahahahahha!

    May 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Xtian fundie logic

      "your arrogant pride"

      I love the irony in someone who thinks that they get to have on demand conversations with the creator of the universe calling someone else prideful who thinks that they're relatively cosmically insignificant.

      May 4, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • momoya

      When an atheist doesn't know something, he says, "I don't know.". We don't know how life arose, but that doesn't mean that a big magic sky daddy did it by speaking a spell.

      The answer "I don't know" is always better than claiming some made up bullsh!t stories with talking snakes and undetectable beings and god needing to work through fluid dynamics to fix problems in his own plan..

      May 4, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • PercievedReality

      Xtian, is it so prideful for a child to speak to his father with humility? Your soul is worth more to God than this entire universe.

      May 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Wayne

      "Science is simply the reverse engineering of God's work."

      Science is defined as the study of the natural world. Science by it's very nature can't say anything about God. Nothing in science has every indicated anything supernatural.

      "You still cannot make, from just ellements and simple compounds, a living single cell creature, even with the blueprints"

      So that means they were poofed into existance by an incantation spell? Argument from ignorance.

      ." I am sorry but I cannot understand why so called intelligent people cannot see the obvious signature of the creator all over this universe."

      Because there is no evidence that suggests such.

      May 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      "Your soul is worth more to God than this entire universe." Besides being the height of arrogance to believe you are more important than the universe. It is also illogical since you are part of the universe along with everyone else.

      Do you realize you are just saying random stuff that sounds impressive and means absolutely nothing?

      May 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • PercievedReality

      mamoya, how can you not know something when it is so obvious? If you took all the ellements required for life, put them in some water, and waited for all of eternity, you still would not have life. Is it not absurdly obvious that life was created?

      May 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • PercievedReality

      Wayne, So if you lived in a world with no paintings, and one day in a cave you found Van Gogh's "A starry Night" you would just assume it was a natural occurence?

      Did you know that there are somewhere around 4 billion nuerons that make up your brain, and that they take up the space of about 1 cubic foot? All the complexity, interdependence, cooperation all out of chaos..amazing!

      May 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Huebert

      I have a cat that hears all prayers. He also answers with either "yes" "no" or "wait". So does this magical milk carton, or my favorite tree. Pray to ANYTHING and you will receive an answer of "yes" "no" or "wait".

      May 4, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Wayne

      "'Wayne, So if you lived in a world with no paintings, and one day in a cave you found Van Gogh's "A starry Night" you would just assume it was a natural occurence?"

      The old watchmaker argument huh? Really? No i would not assume it was a natural occurence you know why? Paintings can't reproduce, and they can't react to their envoriment. Chemicals can react to their enviroment without the need for any supernatural intevention. Living things can reproduce without the need for supernatural intervention. Do you understand the difference? Besides if a painting had a painter, then the painter had to have a creator to obviously. So who is God's daddy and where did it come from? Think for youself and quit using debunked arguments for 100 years ago.

      "Did you know that there are somewhere around 4 billion nuerons that make up your brain, and that they take up the space of about 1 cubic foot? All the complexity, interdependence, cooperation all out of chaos..amazing!"

      There for it could only be done by magic? Your ignorance of the human brain (and nature in general) is not evidence for God.

      May 4, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • momoya

      @Percieved Reality misspelled

      How can you not come to the obvious conclusion that god does not exist?!?!

      We don't know how life arose which means that there are an INFINITY of possibilities to consider.. Why make a hasty judgment without evidence that it was one particular being that can't be proved by any objective standard? That's stupid!.

      I prefer honesty.. We don't know how life arose, but there's no need to a.ssume any method until we can test the hypothesis.

      May 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      2 things,
      One, I didn't know someone had taken all the elements for life and put them in water and waited for eternity. I wouldn't mind meeting the person who did that experiment. Study some theories about how life began, some of them are entirely plausible, and they don't need magic to make it work.
      Two, about the neuron thing, its called evolution and that explains the complexity of the human body and brain.

      I have never seen proof of god, I have although seen theories and proofs that explain almost everything. Saying there is a god that did some of these things actually complicates things and raises more questions than it answers. Like why can't we scientifically find god, and how does god interact with us, and many more. God complicates things, science explains them.

      May 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Xtian fundie logic

      "I dunno, so god musta done it" is an intellectually lazy argument. It didn't work for our ancestors when trying to explain the tides and the weather, it doesn't work now.

      The interesting things about the god of the gaps is that he's always getting a smaller and more diminished role.

      May 4, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Chad

      @momoya "We don't know how life arose which means that there are an INFINITY of possibilities to consider.. "

      =>actually, nothing could be farther from the truth. The conditions that must exist for life to exist AFTER it is created are themselves infinitesimally narrow in range.
      There is no current known range of conditions that would allow life to spontaneously start, so by definition there is an infinitesimally small number of allowable states.

      May 4, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Chad

      @Xtian fundie logic ""I dunno, so god musta done it" is an intellectually lazy argument."

      =>that's not the Christian theistic argument, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmological_argument

      May 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmological_argument"

      They just came out with a study that said 60% of what is on wiki is bad information. Teachers and professors won't even allow students to use that site anymore because it contains so many errors. DUH!

      May 4, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • PercievedReality

      Still have not seen humans make even a single celled organism, yet you believe the universe made life all by its self, I simply choose a different belief, have fun believing your fertilizer.

      May 4, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      @PerceivedReality-

      Humans have also not:
      Created a supernova
      Caused an earthquake or volcano by shoving tectonic plates together
      created a star by slowly accumulating mass until a self-sustaining thermonuclear reaction ensues

      I guess those things aren't real either. Probably just part of some vast left-wing conspiracy theory.

      epic. logic. fail.

      May 4, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      @Chad,

      If you want to make your argument via wiki, perhaps you should find articles where the rebuttal to the argument isn't much longer than the argument itself. The Cosmological argument has larger logic holes than the titanic.

      Do you even read the articles you post? Thanks for basically proving xtian fundie's point.

      May 4, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • PercievedReality

      Why would or should life exist If it is created and destroyed for no apparant purpose whatsoever?

      Why does the universe exist at all since everything is meaningless?

      I bet if you Athiests try really hard you could come to the conclusion that you do not exist!

      This "life" that you are experiencing may just be some wierd energy ripple of coliding dimensions hahahahahaha!

      May 4, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Wayne

      "Still have not seen humans make even a single celled organism, yet you believe the universe made life all by its self, I simply choose a different belief, have fun believing your fertilizer"

      I have not seen God create anything either. Matter of fact, i've never seen anything created at all. Only things that currently exist that have changed form. What have you seen that was created?

      May 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      @PerceivedReality – that you NEED a reason or meaning for life only exposes your own biases and insecurities. Why should life have to have meaning? Life – matter, energy, whatever, does not require meaning – you simply want it to have meaning to feel better about yourself.

      May 4, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Wayne

      "Why would or should life exist If it is created and destroyed for no apparant purpose whatsoever?"

      So you answer that question with God? Simple people, simple answers.

      "Why does the universe exist at all since everything is meaningless?"

      So life is meaningless if you can't live forever? How sad

      May 4, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Chad

      @facepalm* "The Cosmological argument has larger logic holes than the titanic."

      =>such as.. what?
      FYI: The God of Abraham has always existed, He alone has no beginning and no end.

      May 4, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • momoya

      @Chad

      You're thinking only of Carbon based life as we have here on earth.. I'm speaking universally–the concept of life.. Are you aware of "extremophiles?". We know the basic 'rules' of how life works on earth, but we have no idea how life arose initially; thus, it may have arisen on another part of the universe, or within another epoch, or perhaps in a condition we cannot detect, or in some weird condition that we cannot conceive.. We can narrow down our search if we begin with the a.ssumptions that life began here as simple-celled water based organisms, and most scientists do start under those a.ssumptions–but we have no idea how life began.. To say it MUST have been one way versus another is premature..

      May 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • momoya

      Chad if you can make such claims from ignorance for your god, then I can make the same ignorant claim for the universe.. The universe has no beginning or end and is eternal–the universe is god.. What's the name of that razor, again?.

      May 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Chad

      @momoya " The universe has no beginning or end and is eternal–the universe is god.. "
      @Chad "except we know that our universe HAS a beginning, right? That actually is established.. Red-shift light, singularity, big bang 😉

      May 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Chad

      @YeahRight "They just came out with a study that said 60% of what is on wiki is bad information. Teachers and professors won't even allow students to use that site anymore because it contains so many errors. DUH!"

      Liar, liar pants on fire 😉
      my, my... arent you just the most intellectually dishonest person.. that study was only on business entries.. IOW, sites having to do specifically with company data. Which of course you knew, yet.. you're claim was purposefully misleading,, wasnt it? 😉
      bad boy.

      Wikipedia business sites:
      "Do you use Wikipedia? A study finds a majority of the website’s articles on companies aren’t completely accurate.
      The study, published in the Public Relations Society of America's journal, says 60 percent of business entries on the website contain factual errors, which is making it harder for PR firms to clear those errors on behalf of their clients.

      The real truth on wikipedia accuracy?
      "In 2005, it finally felt a little better saying you got your information from Wikipedia. In a study in the journal Nature, researchers chose articles from a wide range of topics from both Wikipedia and the knowledge standard-bearer, Encyclopedia Britannica. The experts sent those entries to "relevant" field experts for peer review. The verdict? The journal found eight serious errors in the articles — four from each side. However, they also discovered many more minor factual errors, like omissions and misleading statements — 162 in Wikipedia and 123 in Britannica. Even though Britannica pointed to those minor errors as proof it's the more reliable source, Wikipedia took the study as somewhat of a victory after much press criticism over the accuracy of its entries.

      May 4, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  15. Oh no! it is that scary smile again..

    🙁

    May 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  16. Chad

    "From its creation, the United States has wrestled with this problem of how to engage in God talk without dividing the nation"

    =>If you realize the God of Abraham and His son Jesus Christ is real, pray to them.
    =>If you know they ARE real, yet you dumb it down so that you pray to some abstract thing so as not to offend someone, you haven't accomplished anything, other than not offending anyone.

    are you more interested in praying to the real God, or not offending someone?

    May 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • atheist fred

      Personally, I'm more interested in reality than in fairy tales, but to each his own as they say.

      May 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Chad

      Dumbing down Christianity.

      Thats like Jumbo Shrimp!

      May 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Chad

      @William Demuth "Dumbing down Christianity." Thats like Jumbo Shrimp!

      or... "Rational atheist" 😉

      May 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  17. Nonimus

    @Steve Prothero,
    Well said.

    May 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  18. R Jones

    Why not just call it "National Talk To Yourself Day?" Same thing

    May 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  19. Mitt Romney Wears Pants In The Shower So That He Does Not Look Down On The Unemployed

    The best thing about National Day Of Trying To Make People Obey Your Religion is that it is over.

    May 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  20. God

    Prayer...lol what a joke! I don't think your all praying hard enough, you imaginary god can't seem to hear you!

    May 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.