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My Take: 'Desperate Housewives' wrestled with big Christian issues
Lynette (Felicity Huffman), Gaby (Eva Longoria), Susan (Teri Hatcher) and Bree (Marcia Cross) tried to be good neighbors.
May 15th, 2012
01:26 PM ET

My Take: 'Desperate Housewives' wrestled with big Christian issues

Editor's note: Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio is an ordained Episcopal Church priest and author of "God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom."

By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Special to CNN

(CNN) - A neighbor recommended I watch "Desperate Housewives" when it premiered eight years ago, and I was hooked from the moment I saw that snake hand Eve the apple during the opening credits.

I was a grad student at the time, poor and living in an attic apartment, studying Christianity and trying to figure out who I was and who I would become.  Every Sunday night, my neighbor and I got together to cook dinner - her meals were always perfectly prepared and mine were always burnt - and watch the adventures of four neighbors, Susan, Lynette, Bree and Gaby, as they negotiated the quirky dynamics of their relationships.

Watching "Desperate Housewives," which had its series finale Sunday night, became a non-negotiable ritual that nothing interfered with, in part because I treasured my neighbor’s inspired cooking and in part because I was convinced this show had something to say to people of faith such as myself.

Just as Christians struggle with Jesus’ command to love our neighbors, the characters in "Desperate Housewives" struggled with that same principle. From the first moment of the first episode, when the seemingly perfect neighbor Mary Alice Young shoots herself in the head, leaving Lynette, Gaby, Susan and Bree wondering why they didn’t know something was wrong, to Bree’s alcoholism, Lynette’s battle with cancer and the murder of Susan’s husband, "Desperate Housewives" has been about a lot more than the antics of four eccentric women.

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

It has been about how much these eccentric women know their neighbors and how much they ought to care for them.

A long time has passed for Susan, Bree, Gaby and Lynette since that first episode. Bree married the sleazy Orson, Susan became a grandmother, Lynette found out Tom had a child from a previous relationship and Gaby confronted her stepfather Alejandro, who raped her, and whose stalker behavior led her husband, Carlos, to murder him and her friends to cover up the crime.

That last plotline dominated the final season of "Desperate Housewives" as the neighbors tried to hide Alejandro’s murder from the cops. When they failed at that, Bree allowed herself to be put on trial alone so that her friends might remain unharmed. In Sunday’s concluding episode, the women’s loyalty was pushed to its most desperate limits, and what it means to love your neighbor was literally put to the test.

In the two-hour finale, viewers saw that loving one’s neighbor isn’t always graceful or easy.  (Spoiler alert!). Renee betrayed Bree, testifying against her at the trial not because she necessarily believed in her guilt but because it was in her own best interest. Wanting to buy time so her husband wouldn’t confess to murdering Alejandro, Gaby stuck a knife in her husband’s jacket so security workers at the courthouse would be sure to detain him.

And after a divorce primarily provoked by her insatiable perfectionism and lack of appreciation for her husband, Lynette jeopardized her newfound reconciliation with her other half because she was tempted by a New York job offer.

Not the best examples of loving thy neighbor for people of faith, which makes one wonder if the women of Wisteria Lane were more successful at demonstrating how not to love your neighbor than they were at providing healthy role models.

And yet the conflicts that arose in their relationships developed because the characters are flawed like us. Despite their limits, they were trying, in an intimate and authentic way, to be neighbors to one another. As Susan said toward the end of the final episode, “It’s funny, some people never get to know the folks next door. They share a fence and nothing else, and we’ve shared everything.  How did we get to be so lucky?”

Perhaps, then, what the ladies of Wisteria Lane offer the faithful is the reality that loving one’s neighbor is challenging because it demands giving of your whole person. It requires sharing what you have with another - sharing time, emotions, stories, money, secrets, fears and vulnerabilities. It means sharing the burnt dinners as well as the perfectly prepared ones.

Living that way carries the hazard of hurt precisely because it asks that we be willing to share the most desperate, shameful parts of our lives in order to be truly loved and to love truly in return.

As Susan leaves her house in the final moments of "Desperate Housewives," the narrator says that the ghosts of those whose lives played out on Wisteria Lane are watching her. "They watched her as they watch everyone,” the narrator tells the audience, “always hoping the living could learn to put aside rage and sorrow, bitterness and regret.  These ghosts watch, wanting people to remember that even the most desperate life is oh so wonderful.”

And that might be the enduring lesson "Desperate Housewives" leaves us with: The reality that in one way or another, we are all desperate.  But when, even in our desperation, we do our best to love our neighbor by giving of ourselves, our lives may seem to be a lot less desperate after all.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Opinion • TV

soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Yuck

    I love a writer who makes their shallow ignorance so obvious that you don't have to read past the first sentence: "I was hooked from the moment I saw that snake hand Eve the apple during the opening credits."

    May 15, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  2. TommyTT

    It's smug and parochial for the author of this article to label these issues "Christian." The very idea that religion affects not just our relationship with deity but also our relationship with each other comes from Judaism, and it's now part of every major religion on earth.

    May 15, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  3. Sunny

    All I know, is that I'm not much of a TV watcher, but I never missed a single episode of Desperate Housewives. Loved that show, and hate to see it end. All that's left now for me is the Discovery Channel! (which is a good thing).

    May 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  4. Steve the Goat

    The only thing deep in the show is the cavern between their legs from all of the "frolicking" that they do. It's like throwing a hot dog down a hallway.

    May 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Crom

      roflmao!!

      May 15, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  5. WASP

    why can't we keep television the way it is. you have religious channels, and adult channels, information channels, cartoon channels, sports channels, etc etc etc. keep each genre of entertainment on their appropriate stations. religion is a hot button item that really gets people riled up. if all of a sudden an adult movie started being played on the 700 club, well that would be fair right? we have christians pushing into daytime tv, so why not have girls gone wild on religious channels to keep things fair; or have a pagan service aired at on one of those channels dedicated to christian entertainment. lmfao if things keep going the direction they are going in america, i'm taking my family and moving; because america is going to crash and burn if the religious freaks win this country.

    May 15, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  6. Chance

    @HG
    interesting thanks for the explanation.

    May 15, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  7. Guess

    It was for entertaiment purposes only. A night time soap opera. Nothing to see here. Move along now.

    May 15, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  8. Chance

    @JR
    I'm not playing any card...just wanted to see where your source of morals came from. I just pointed out society can get things wrong...nothing personal...

    May 15, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  9. Honey Badger Dont Care

    Really Danielle? Those are BIG xtian issues? What a dumb article. I wish that I could get paid to write articles that have no basis in reality.

    May 15, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  10. Reality

    Then there was the real Henry VIII, the first Episcopalian, whose many wives suffered from "bad cooking" and were "justly" rewarded 🙂 🙂

    May 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  11. Just Bloody Incredible!

    How does CNN find writers this dumb? Do they have special lack-of-talent scouts scouring the nation to find the dumbest of the dumb?

    May 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  12. sally

    Ummm....what?

    Lady, you're strange, and I can't believe they featured your "article".

    May 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  13. Colin

    Is it just me, or is the font in the second to last paragraph a little bigger than the rest?

    May 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Playboy's Girls Of Jesus Issue! (none sold)

      That's the only interesting thing about the article.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • momoya

      The last thing we want to make morality dependent upon is leadership.. We do NOT want a leader mandating morality.. We do want sensible thinking and critical appraisal to guide decisions in a "moral' manner.

      May 15, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  14. Tom Paine

    Danielle, thanks for writing your blog. I honestly have never watched an episode but felt the same way (the writers taking on big issues) as I watched Battlestar Galactica. I am not sure I will watch Desperate Housewives but you do raise a big issue about loving our neighbors (when most of us hardly know them). Keep on blogging and sharing your thoughts on faith.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  15. Wink

    'Desperate Housewives' wrestled with big Christian issues" But how do we know? I mean, they never showed their penises...

    May 15, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  16. J.R.

    First Christians claim that athiests have no source for morals, now a Christian is deriving life lessons from a secular TV show. The only ones that claimed any religion were Gabby who was a self centerd gold digger and Bree who was a recovering alchoholic who coverd up murder more than once. How do I know that? Uh, my wife watches the show.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Chance

      @JR
      Please explain your source or morals...This is a new concept to me a atheist believing in good and evil or good and bad, please explain.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chance,
      You don't need God to be good.
      What you may be confused about is "absolute" good and evil. Arbitrary decisions of good and bad handed down by non-existent beings is the pervue of faith.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • ME II

      <- purview

      May 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Chance

      @ME
      You say there are "no absolutes" are you absolutely sure about that? See the contradiction in what you just said?

      secondly I'm not bringing God up I asked for the source or morals to a atheist if no good or bad exist, you side stepped the question with a contradiction. Your saying there are no absolutes; by that your asserting a absolute.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • momoya

      What fvcking stupid argument! No morals without god, gimme a break.. God's morals are the absolute worst, anyway..

      May 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • J.R.

      What is good and bad is largely the result of society. Even within religion, over time morals change, due to societal pressures. Some cultures eat dogs. Most Americans would say that is bad. Why? it's not derived from any religion. Many things even Christians say are good or bad are merely based on ideals imprinted on them by society.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Chance

      How do you jump from atheist to no good or bad?

      May 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Chance

      @JR
      so in other words you are your own judge of what is good and bad? You have no reference point?

      May 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Chance

      @HG
      If your atheist how could you believe in evil/bad? its a question not a label I'm placing on atheist...in other words how do you reference good? Are you saying whatever the majority deems good is good?

      May 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • momoya

      Oh my gosh, he's a moron.. God's not a "reference point" for anything–nobody can even prove he exists.. That's like saying that unicorns are our reference point for how to teach plane geometry.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • J.R.

      Logic update. "I" is not equal to "society".

      May 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Chance

      In a general sense, good would be a matter of perspective, based on the culture that one is born into. I do find very few things to be intrinsically bad (or evil if you prefer). Like murder, for instance. I find murder evil because it weakens and destroys bonds that are essential to living as the social species that we are.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Chance

      @momoya
      no one is referencing God; lighten up. Its OK to be atheist we are free to do as we please, like me, I can ask a question...

      May 15, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Chance

      @HG
      I see so you do believe in evil and good but your the judge; you have no reference point just a personal feeling.

      @JR
      So you go with society to base your morals? Not sure by the response you gave just wanted to make sure. People in Germany went with society and bad things happened in the 1940s...

      May 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • J.R.

      Playing the Hitler card, how weak. Well if you want to go there, look at what Hitler did, then look at what the majority of the planet did in response. Waged war on him.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Chance

      Actually I didn't say anything about me being the judge of right and wrong. I look at the social structure of humans, and look at the best way to generally keep peace within the actual community.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • ME II

      Chance
      @ME
      "You say there are "no absolutes" are you absolutely sure about that? See the contradiction in what you just said?"
      I didn't say that. See the fallacy in what you just said.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • momoya

      @Chance

      You're asking stupid questions.. If you're an atheist then you've likely already dealt with the morality issue before now which means you're just trolling.. If you're a god-believer then you're lying about your intent..

      But do carry on.. I'm interested in seeing what you take away from this exchange with such inane questions.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Chance

      @HG
      I see; that makes sense but the majority can get it wrong do you agree?

      @ME II
      You bought up absolutes; if I mis interpreted what you meant please explain because you surely did not explain the source of your morality. Besides that this is a simple question, to use words like fallacy is a bit much I think...

      @JR
      Sorry somehow I posted outside your comment but I'm not playing any card just wanted to see where your source of morals came from. I just pointed out society can get things wrong...nothing personal...

      May 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • ME II

      Human morals are/have developed as social animals from a sense of reciprocity and empathy, among other factors. That's where the golden rule comes from, not Jesus. It has roots in Ancient Greece, Egypt, and China.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • momoya

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7xt5LtgsxQ

      May 15, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chance,
      I did mention absolutes, but I do not claim there are absolutely no absolutes. The OP here referred to Christianity, which were the subject of God came from and therefore absolutes. Generally, Christians believe in an absolute moral code handed down from God, or am I mistaken.

      Is "fallacy" a bit much more than "contradiction"? I don't think so. Is there a limit on the words now?

      May 15, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Chance

      Using a completely objective standpoint of social evolution, and what would benefit the society as a whole rather than the individual or relatively small group would give us the best foundation for peaceful living. The problems that I can see arising is from those that would put these morals forward, and questioning their reasons for what they decide. This can be countered by encouraging non-complacency in the populace.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Chance

      So I guess to answer your question, yes and no.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • momoya

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSS-88ShJfo&feature=relmfu

      May 15, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Chance

      @ME

      "What you may be confused about is "absolute" good and evil."

      You did bring up absolute. I copied it for you above, get over it; you didn't explain yourself well in the initial response. I see your source now. "social animals from a sense of reciprocity and empathy, among other factors"

      May 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Chance

      @HG
      interesting thanks for the explanation.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chance,
      Not that it is important, but you said, "You say there are "no absolutes" are you absolutely sure about that? See the contradiction in what you just said?"

      At no time did I say "no absolutes", as you quoted. Additionally, I didn't say anything about being absolutely sure. My point is that your attempted clever statement about contradictions is in fact a strawman fallacy.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • fred

      Without knowing the meaning or purpose of life you cannot know what is good.

      The godless ones claim meaning and purpose of life is that like all other animals. Does a rat or a chimp care for her young because she loves them or is love something greater in humans? If our love is not something greater then we have simply elevated instincts or emotions over our fellow animal kingdom and there is no such thing as good only another type of electrical chemical reaction in organic matter. If we are different having "touched the tree of knowledge of good and evil" then we are more than animal we are spirit (image of God) and flesh (animal). In this way man can have moral implications in his responses to external stimuli whereas a simple animal cannot. Thus you cannot know good if there is no God.

      The godless are still sprit and flesh so they believe animals have morals without God because they sense their spirit but deny it and continue after their lust of the flesh (doing godless things like being materialistic). Christians are also spirit and flesh so they behave much the same way but, they know they have sinned against a Holy God when they do not do what is good before God.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • momoya

      @fred

      Watch the two videos I posted to keep from making stupid statements like you just made.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • just sayin

      Keep smok'n the good stuff Fred. You have no credible basis for your belief. In fact it has no basis of fact which why you must have faith to believe in myths and fairytales.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Chance

      @momoya
      The videos get their point across and the ideas of the video are meant for good but they have no force behind them; a atheist doesn't have to adhere to those morals he is free of any judgment or moral stipulations. It seems like a form of religion but God is not at the helm Man is at the helm...is that your belief system? Godless with man as the enforcer of morality?

      May 15, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • momoya

      @Chance

      If you really understood those videos you'd be asking completely different questions.. Try watching again.

      Earlier you told me that we weren't discussing god as part of this issue.. Why change now?.

      Nobody is "at the helm," unless you want to claim that reason and reasonable society is.. If god can't be proved to exist (he hasn't been) then it's STUPID to say that this non-proved being has anything to do with morality.. That's like claiming that leprechauns have something to do with how gold is refined..

      May 15, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      Enough of your idiotic assertions. You're doing the exact same thing that you always do. I called you out on this on a different thread, and just in case you didn't see it (which I find hard to accept since you posted somewhere else on the same article just today), here is a direct cut and paste.

      "Stop dodging around this crap already. I've had a few conversations with you and always you use the same tactics over and over and over. Stop going off on tangents that have absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand. You continue to make claims about the kind of person YOU think god is, but when it comes to anyone else doing that, it becomes a misinterpretation. Your double standards are irritating and constant. Stop just making claims about everything you think as truth, and start actually presenting evidence for your belief, otherwise your just talking out of your ass."

      May 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • momoya

      @Chance

      It's stupid of you to say that atheists aren't subject to judgment of moral stipulations.. Every atheists is subject to whatever judgments or moral stipulations his society has put into law.. Similarly, any person who believes in god but is freed from any societal constraints is also free from judgment of moral stipulations..

      May 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • just sayin

      I find it interesting how fred presents his "beliefs" which requires wishful thinking as fact. lol

      May 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Chance

      @momoya
      I find it interesting you say that society judges immorality...yes we have laws for serious moral crimes but lets say I cheat on my spouse? I think thats immoral what is society going to do me? How will I be subject to judgment if no one knows? Its stupid to say all immorality is judged because it isn't. People do immoral stuff all the time and nothing happens, saying immoral acts are always subject to societies judgment is like say bigfoot is out and about right now...

      May 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Chance

      @momoya
      If your atheist you can follow all those videos but you don't have to it's not in the make up of the belief system to adhere to morality because being atheist can easily mean freedom from morality to anyone who practices the belief system. Like I said earlier your system seems like a religion with man on top deciding whats good and what's not. Its a interesting system you have thanks for the info...

      May 15, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • momoya

      @Chance

      You simply find unfairness "immoral.". You have made a commitment to your spouse.. You find it immoral to break a commitment because of empathy; you know how you'd feel if your spouse did it to you.. I'm not saying that "all immorality is judged," and I'm not saying that "immoral acts are always subject to societies judgment.". How about you start being honest and keep yourself from making a.ssumptions and putting words in my mouth?

      And you're a moron if you think an atheist would "follow all those videos.". That's not the point of the videos, dummy.. The videos show how humans express morality.. They don't show a "belief system.". I think it's quite possible that you just don't realize how stupid you really are.. Your a.ssumptions are incredibly incorrect, and it seems clear that you have no idea how to process new information since you'd rather express your a.ssumptions than rethink your position that doesn't have any foundation anyway.

      May 15, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Chance

      @momoya
      after reading some of your response social issues come to mind about you...you should read your comments and take some of your own advice and be open minded. I cant read your mind; so I ask question you may presume them as assumptions but it seems like you have a problem with backing up your belief system...You should view those videos again and try and learn something on how to address other people respectfully...That would be a start...I'm just asking questions

      May 15, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • momoya

      @Chance

      I am very open-minded to reasonable ideas.. If you're not using reason, then I'm not going to respect your ideas.. You're being willfully ignorant when you claim you're just asking questions and when you say stupid sh!t about this not being about god and then a few posts later acting as if god was central and when you say stupid sh!t about some atheist "belief system" when no atheist belief-system has been provided to you..

      Stop contradicting yourself, lying, and saying dumb sh!t.. That would be a start.. You think you're being clever, but everybody reading this thread knows exactly where you're coming from.

      May 15, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Chance

      @momoya
      Just because I view things a certain way why does that exclude me from trying to understand a different view point?

      I'm essentially trying to make sense of how a godless movement claims superior morality if no guidelines are in place. So I wanted to know the source of the guidelines for atheist. Yes its easy to see my motive, what difference does it make? I'm not even presenting my view point I'm questioning your system...if you cant handle it why are you still responding? Just because I view your system differently than you do doesn't make you superior to me, get over yourself guy I'm just asking questions and your morality is really coming through...

      May 15, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Melvin Snertmeyer, Purveyor of Fine Luxury Aardvarks

      Chance, there are many excellent reasons to behave decently which have nothing to do with the punishment of deities. First let me say that virtually all studies have found atheists to be somewhat MORE moral in practice than their religious counterparts, with lower levels of major crime, less support for torture and war, divorce rates equal to or lower than religious groups, and so forth. This is proven within the U.S., as well as comparing less versus more religious countries.

      So in practice, atheists are more moral.

      How can morality exist without religion? Easily. The reason to cooperate and treat people well is that you get ongoing trade and prosperity from that, which is far better long term than theft. And thieves (and other "immorals") must constantly worry about revenge, which is a real possibility if you wrong people. Which gets you a lifetime of love – considerate courtship, or rape? It has nothing to do with God. The benefits of atheist decency are long-term prosperity and cooperation, and a world in which others are acting decently as well.

      Certainly there are people who are not up to it, but religion in no way reduces that number – it seems to slightly increase it, actually. Indeed, it appears that for all its claims to be the source of morality, religion actually has nothing to do with it. The evidence is that atheists are more moral.

      There is much more to it than that, but if you were really honest with yourself, you would realize that the real reasons you act decently are actually the secular ones I just listed, and not the religion you think is at work.

      Or, to give you a reverse example that hopefully will show you the ridiculousness of your own example, why would a religious person help someone who is badly injured in a car crash? The crash is God's will, and if the person dies, he is quite possibly off to heaven, so dying is to a degree good. Not helping does not keep you from heaven as a Christian. Religiously speaking, there is nothing in it for you to help that person, but I bet you would.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Chance

      after hearing all of video 1 the message I get is ditch religion or any other model of morality and look to the scientific methods for morality. The problem is we need a leader to do the reasoning; and this system doesn't allow for a supreme leader. I guess you could have councils of moral scientists to establish moral guidelines as issues come up. I feel this concept has good intention but it gives no solution to imply it. Don't you think this system needs leadership we can't assume everyone can make the right scientific moral judgment.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • fred

      HawiiGuest
      So, you would like a godless argument on what is good yet keep God and the Bible out of the equation? That would be the same as solving a simultaneous equation without the use of any algebra. Better yet let’s use only the Bible in order to determine the mass of the earth.
      In the beginning God separated the light from the darkness and it was God that put the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the Garden. But, let us keep God out of this and see what man can come up with.

      If you were a middle aged Greek man of the firm belief that pederasty was good while Genghis Khan knew it to be evil how does one find good? Certainly one could destroy all those of opposing thought such that only good or evil remain but what is good as conflict would only produce a result not a universal good. In this context good can only result if there is a higher power that both can refer to as source and that is agreed as correct. If you wish to claim there is no higher source or authority that both can agree upon there can be no mutual agreement of good or evil.
      If there is no higher authority or source then we are left with the ridicules assumption that good results in achieving the universal purpose or meaning of existence. Unfortunately, all we can only see or know is what is before us so we study ourselves or animals and draw conclusions. We cannot by observation of the lowest or highest form of life discover purpose greater than our own. What knowledge is it that leads us to understand knowledge greater than our own?

      May 15, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Chance

      @Melvin Snertmeyer, Purveyor of Fine Luxury Aardvarks

      Thanks for the good explanation and understanding. After reading your post I must point out without a central leader or a place to go and weigh an issue of morality that arises in life I find it difficult to see how an atheist could achieve such a high standard of morality. The flaw I see is there is no standard to follow; yes you could do the scientific method but how would you know your right? On the other hand if your atheist you don't need to adhear to any moral code but it's good to see a portion of the movement do hold values. The morals held are good but with out a point of reference it feels flawed to me; I can't assume all people are educated enough to put issues of morality through the scientific method. I would be alone to make the decisions of morality. The need for moral scientist would arrive if everyone where to adopt this system.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • momoya

      Chance, you seem to not know what you're looking for.. There should be no moral "standard," but rather a moral mechanic.. Forget about a code or a list or anything like that; instead, go with a mechanism that will get you the "moral answer" in any situation..

      For example: Always do the least harm possible.. If you use that principle, you always attempt to do the least harm whether that is a really horrible choice where many suffer or whether that is a nice choice where the "least harm" was maybe a hurt feeling or something like that.. The principle works wherever it is applied.

      There is no moral "template.". We're on our own whether we make up stories and magical beings to confer morality on, or whether we study the problem from many angles and decide on a sensible solution that minimizes suffering.. When enough people feel similarly (say concerning r.a.p.e or mu.rd.er) we make that a law with punishments and deterrents.. That's all we have and it's all we've ever had..

      Watch the videos again and go through all of the Qualia Soup, Theramin Trees, and DarkMatter2525 videos.. You'll get it eventually.

      May 15, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  17. MennoKnight

    I never watched the show, now that I have the whole plot down in less than a 2 minute read, glad I never wasted my time.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  18. momoya

    Why??

    May 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  19. Bootyfunk

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    May 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Crom

      (draws a mustache on Bootyfunk with a marker and leaves quietly)

      May 15, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  20. ME II

    hmmm...
    First Prothero on Glee... now this.

    May 15, 2012 at 1:31 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.