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The Gospel of Stephen King
Is this a vampire from Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot” movie or a character from one of the author’s "sermons"? Both, pastors say.
June 2nd, 2012
10:00 PM ET

The Gospel of Stephen King

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - When the horror novelist Stephen King was once asked why he wrote such gross stories, he said he did it because he had the heart of a small boy - which he kept in a jar on his desk.

With his beady eyes and I-just-killed-the-cat grin, King looks and sounds like a horror novelist. But when the Rev. Paul F.M. Zahl read several of King’s novels, he learned something new about the author: There’s a lot of faith behind his fright.

Zahl says some of the most stirring affirmations of Christian faith can be found in the chilling stories of King. The horror master has been preaching sermons to millions of readers for years, only most of King’s fans don’t know it, he says.

“People tend to think that Stephen King is anti-religious because he is a horror writer, but that’s completely mistaken,” says Zahl, a retired Episcopal priest who has written about King’s religious sensibility for Christianity Today magazine. “Several of his books are parables of grace in action.”

Want to read a powerful meditation on Jesus’ sacrificial love? Check out how King links the death of the mammoth death row inmate John Coffey (note the initials, J.C.) to Jesus’ crucifixion in “The Green Mile.” King’s “Storm of the Century” is a creepy retelling of Jesus’ eerie encounter with the demon called “Legion” in the  Gospel of Mark’s fifth chapter. And King’s epic apocalyptic novel, “The Stand,” reads like a contemporary retelling of the Book of Revelation, with a little Exodus thrown in, Zahl says.

Zahl’s claim about King's faith may sound ludicrous. King, who just released his latest novel, “The Wind Through the Keyhole,” has written at least 50 horror novels such as “Carrie” and “Misery.”

Yet there is an actual body of literature devoted to King’s religious sensibility. Several pastors and authors say King displays a sophisticated grasp of theology in his books, and his stories are stuffed with biblical references and story lines taken straight from the Bible.

“If God brought lawsuits, Stephen King would face a charge of plagiarism,” says J.M. Rawbone, an English horror novelist who has written an essay about the Christian themes in “The Stand.”

King, whose publicist did not answer a request for an interview, has talked about his faith before. He describes himself as a Christian on his website and elsewhere has said he was raised as a “hard-nosed” Methodist taught to believe in the Antichrist.

Some of his literary influences are Christian authors. In one interview, King said he was shaped by C.S. Lewis, author of “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and J.R.R. Tolkien, author of “The Lord of the Rings.” Both Lewis and Tolkien were devout Christians who layered their fiction with Christian themes.

“I’ve always tried to contrast that bright, white light of real goodness or Godliness against evil,” he said in a 1988 interview. “I’m not a proselytizer, and I hate organized religion. I think it’s one of the roots of real evil that’s in the world. If you really unmask Satan, you’ll probably find that he’s wearing a turnaround collar.”

The best way, though, to understand King’s faith is not through his words, but through his stories. There are at least three biblical themes that run through them.

A child shall lead them

Every horror writer seems to write a vampire story eventually, and King is no exception. “Salem’s Lot” is one of King’s most popular novels. It depicts a vampire’s attempt to colonize a modern-day New England town.

Traditional vampire stories are loaded with Christian symbolism, but King inserts another biblical theme into “Salem’s Lot” that would reoccur in many of his books.

It comes in a scene showing a standoff between a priest and vampire. Father Callahan tries to protect a teenage boy with him by brandishing a cross. The vampire dares the priest to toss the cross away and face him on faith alone.

Father Callahan hesitates, his faith long diluted by alcohol and skepticism. The vampire wrenches the cross from the priest’s hands, while the boy escapes and becomes one of the vampire’s most formidable enemies.

When the Rev. David Squyres read this passage from “Salem’s Lot,” one of Jesus’ most popular sayings flashed before him: “… Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

In the moral universe of King, children get God better than the adults, Squyres says.

“The vampire humiliates the priest because the priest doesn’t have real faith, but the kid has real faith,” says Squyres, pastor of the Palms Baptist Church near Palm Springs, California.

“The priest represents the Pharisees. They believe in relics. But the children, and the teenager, have a simple faith. They don’t put their trust in institutions. They trust in the Lord,” says Squyres, who has written about King’s Christian sensibility at his website, "talkstephenking."

Many of King’s most popular novels are filled with young heroines driven by faith. It’s a reflection of a famous passage from the Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament: “And a little child shall lead them.”

In “The Talisman” and “It,” King features adolescent heroes who risk their lives battling evil, according to Marylaine Block, who wrote about King’s religious sensibility in an essay called "Something Wicked This Way Comes."

“In both novels, the adults are incapable of understanding the evil that is about to envelop and destroy their world. They see the signs, but choose not to understand them. Only the children know what is happening, and know that it is up to them to save the people they care about,” she wrote.

God can be cruel

King’s most explicit Christian novel is “Desperation,” which features another adolescent hero driven by faith. The boy, David, is converted by a miracle and prays to God for help. King depicts his faith without irony and with reverence.

“Desperation,” though, contains an unusual description of God that reveals some heavy theology from King, several pastors say. During the bloody climax of the story, a character tells the boy that God is “cruel.”

That line caught the attention of Zahl, the Episcopal priest. It speaks to what he calls “the answerable sovereignty of God.”

Zahl says King is depicting a side of God that’s woven into the Bible. It is not the God whose eye is on the sparrow, but the Holy Other, incomprehensible, the one who allowed Job to suffer.

It’s the same side of God that the narrator in “The Green Mile” reflects on when he reminisces about the death of the innocent John Coffey, the Christ-like figure who never hurt anyone, but perished while a villainous guard lived on.

Zahl points to this passage from ”The Green Mile”:

“Yet this same God sacrificed John Coffey, who tried only to do good in his blind way, as savagely as an Old Testament prophet ever sacrificed a defenseless lamb. ...  If it happens, God lets it happen, and when we say, ‘I don’t understand,’ God replies, ‘I don’t care.’ ”

Zahl says King can say things about God in books that pastors can’t say in the pulpit. In King’s novels, people often suffer while doing good.

“Americans generally want to hear that everything is really terrific all the time,” Zahl says. “Americans want to control and manage everything, and they’re eager for anything that pumps them up. When you preach a message from the Bible that life is much more difficult, and there’s a huge amount of suffering, those messages don’t always go down well.”

'God chose the weak things'

As a teenager, King used to collect scrapbooks filled with newspaper clippings detailing the crimes of serial killers, says Stanley Wiater, co-author of “The Complete Stephen King Universe: A Guide to the Worlds of Stephen King.”

King's mother grew so concerned that one day she asked him why he kept the scrapbook.

Wiater says King answered with: “I think there’s evil out there. I want to know what it is, so when it comes, I can recognize it and get out of the way.”

In King’s books, characters can’t avoid evil. They have to confront it, but they often don’t fit the conventional definition of heroes.

“The Stand,” another explicitly Christian novel, illustrates this pattern. A plague has wiped out mankind, and a group of unarmed survivors are dispatched via a vision from God to confront a satanic figure called the Darkman.

The group seems to have no chance. One is an elderly, genial professor; another a deaf mute, and a third figure is a genial man with the mental capacity of a child. Against them: the Darkman’s ruthless army, which literally crucified its foes.

The makeup of the group underscores another popular religious theme in King’s work that’s reflected in this line from the apostle Paul in the first Book of Corinthians: “God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”

Zahl, the Episcopal priest, says so many heroes in King’s books are broken people: physically frail, alcoholic, disabled and lonely. Even the evil people are rendered with compassion.

“King understands grace at a deep level,” says Zahl, author of  "Grace in Practice." “He typically concentrates on the marginalized and the outsiders who ultimately carry the day. God often does his work where people are the most messed up.”

King may have converted Zahl, but the priest and others admit there’s a risk invoking the horror novelist in the pulpit.

When Zahl mentions King in church, he says many listeners think first of books they want to keep away from teenagers.

Still, there are secret converts.

“Half of the other people in the congregation have read Stephen King, though they may not want to shout it out to the world,” he says. “They know what I’m talking about. They come up later and they say I’m really thrilled that you know about him.”

The doubters shouldn’t be surprised that King’s stories contain religious themes, says Rawbone, the English horror novelist and author of "Bunker."

The Bible is filled with terror: demons, ghosts, floods wiping out mankind and the rising of the dead.

“Good horror examines the struggle between good and evil,” he says. “The Bible is the history of that struggle.

“The Bible is in many ways the ultimate horror novel.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Books • Celebrity • Christianity • Jesus • Movies

soundoff (1,461 Responses)
  1. prayer brainwashes children, it's child abuse

    Yep

    June 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Like alcohol and cigarettes, religion needs to be kept from children until 18. When they can choose for themselves then they can have all the religion they want.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  2. tony

    Camp has ducked answering how parting the red sea and the mass slaughter Tsunamis are all the work of a loving god, at least three times so far. Which suggest it's question which has him(?) completely floored. What real pity!

    But then, I don't think I've ever heard any religious leader ever DARE to try to answer that question and give a credible positive spin to it. Which I suspect means that not only is religion is too incredible to truly believe in this day and age, but that it's leaders also don't actually believe either. Just their non-thinking flocks, whom they dare not dissuade.

    June 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • camp

      Scroll down I didn't duck, I said I don't know,,,,,,heard the same response from your camp, "We don't know yet"

      June 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Abinadi

      It is very simple, Tony, it is because we live in a world that has rebelled against God. I think the Christian world is totally missing the whole point of the Bible, which is actually very clear. I see this question a lot and thought I would talk a little about it. If there is a God, why is the world such an awful place? Why does he allow bad things to happen? The fault isn't God's, it is ours. The whole thing can be understood in Deuteronomy 28. I will just quote the first verse here, "1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
      2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God."
      Before Moses was taken, he called Israel together and gave them God's vision for the earth. Chapter 28  of Deuteronomy is actually a summary of Deuteronomy which is a long sermon by Moses.  Moses must have spoken all day, if not, hours!  OGod's original intent was for Israel to conquer the whole earth and then rule it in righteousness. Eventually the prince of peace, Jesus Christ, would be born and reign over the earth in justice for ever.
      That never happened. Why? Because Israel sinned and instead of worshipping God Almighty, they worshipped Idols and actually became worse than the pagans they were supposed to rule over! So God had no choice, but to give the earth a new plan based on our rebellion from him – he called Nebuchadnezzer and Babylon to take dominion over the earth and then a succession of other pagan peoples which brings us to today. But, the promises to Israel are still in effect. He caused the reformation and again brought light and knowledge to the earth in preparation to restore Israel to its rightful place. In Daniel 2 he speaks of a little stone rolling forth and filling the whole earth and this time it will never be taken away. This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ and if we will repent and return to God, he will return to us! This is really abbreviated to not take too much space, but the reason things are such a mess is because Israel failed in it's mission – it is very simple! Christ has re-established Israel on the earth and this time we will not fail! To learn more, go to mormon.org.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Abinadi

      If we return to God, we will have the kind of world we would all like to have, but instead of taking responsibility, we blame God. God will not answer prayers that are not offererd!

      June 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • It's like this . . .

      @albinadi – The Book of Mormon was the work of a con man named Joseph Smith who formerly ran "treasure finding" scams, and did a couple bank pyramid scams as head of the Mormon movement. The papyrus that supposedly was the "Book of Solomon" was actually an ordinary funerary text, totally unrelated. The Book of Mormon is filled with archaeological impossibilities.

      Your religion is not only a lie, it's an obvious lie! All other religions are lies too, but time tends to obscure the lies so they are not as clearly discernable as lies.

      So everything you are saying is based on lies and is an extrapolation of lies. Garbage in, garbage out.

      June 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  3. Mrs. Katz

    Jack Torrance: Wendy, let me explain something to you. Whenever you come in here and interrupt me, you're breaking my concentration. You're distracting me. And it will then take me time to get back to where I was. You understand?

    Wendy Torrance: Yeah.

    Jack Torrance: Now, we're going to make a new rule. When you come in here and you hear me typing
    [types]

    Jack Torrance: or whether you DON'T hear me typing, or whatever the F*** you hear me doing; when I'm in here, it means that I am working, THAT means don't come in. Now, do you think you can handle that?

    Wendy Torrance: Yeah.

    Jack Torrance: Good. Now why don't you start right now and get the f*** out of here? Hm?

    June 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Mrs. Katz

      King most certainly displays deep spirituality in Jack's remonstrances to Wendy, I must allow..........

      June 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Bob Crane

      Forgot to change your name when you posted that second one, didn't yoou?

      June 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  4. Lance

    I fought for Christianity as an evangelical, then I fought for atheism – then I finally realized that for me it was all vain ponderings and I let it go and reached deep down inside to find out what I as a person really believed and started to live that. For me it has turned out to be a very simple life philosophy: Treat others with the kindness, dignity and respect with which I want to be treated; provide a space for others to be who they are without judging, criticizing or tearing them down; surround myself with people who love and accept me and who help me to be a better person; and to look for the good in humanity. I've found that when you become quiet in spirit and get in tune with yourself, you find answers. That's all – I doesn't matter to me if there is one God, many gods or no God or gods – I will live my life with that honesty and have no fear to face whatever comes after the grave.

    June 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Mrs. Katz

      Hey, worship any way you please. Just don't try to foist it on me............. like Romney tried to do to people as a Mormon missionary.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Arvn Huac

      That's "Apatheism", and

      I'm with you, but I don't believe you of anyone else is capable of not judging. Indeed, there is an implicit judegement of theists and atheists in your opening lines. Also, judging others is a fundamental survival tool that in many situations would be dangerous to abandon.

      But in general, I am totally with you, aside for the occasional guilty pleasure of coming here and helping theists trip themselves on their lack of logic, for (judgement) their political tendencies are actually very dangerous for people like you.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Melanie

      Unfortunately, Lane, that philosphy may be good to live by, but it's not good to die by. You need blood atonement, and that was made provision for by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without his blood covering for your sins, you will bust Hell wide open. What if I believe that it's ok to molest children? What if I have the notion that all blonde-headed or red-headed people should die because I don't like them? Who decides what's right and what's wrong and what is acceptable? The Bible should, but unfortunately, we've all decided we can make our own rules, by what WE think is right. God wrote a letter to us, a warning, and a rule to live by. We would do well to read it and put it into practice.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Bob Crane

      Unless, Melanie, Allah is the correct God, in which case you chose wrong and will suffer Islamic hell. Same with all the other religions.

      You do know that saying someone will go to hell if they don't obey is duress, and if they chose the religion based on any amount of duress, then they were not operating out of free will?

      Damn those logical inconsistencies!

      June 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  5. Ikramuddin Akbar

    CNN! what are you doing? just remove this photo,my wife fainted,when she opened the site, and i'm not going to sue you.

    June 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • cyberhackster

      Tell your wife to grow up

      June 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Mrs. Katz

      She should be used to it now.......... waking up every morning next to you............

      June 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  6. BrownSugarmama

    For all of you non christians and even believers whose minds just can't wrap around horrible things being in the bible- get over yourselves! I am a follower of Jesus Christ and the holy bible is the very essence of supernatural occurences and power. Novels that have been inspired by the likes of Stephen King and others will prove to be a great and very powerfully saught after material after the Rapture for those who are left behind. I believe that these types of books and movies will help the ones who will be left here for the 7 years of Tribulation that will follow the Rapture. Many christians really dont believe it will happen but IT WILL HAPPEN and many of us will not be taken in The Rapture but will become saved during the Tribulation years. Compared to Stephen King's and other author's imagination the horrors described during the tribulation will seem like Walt Disney land. Has anyone read the series "Left Behind"?

    June 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Arvn Huac

      Two options:

      A. Poe

      B. You are genuinely schizophrenic

      June 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      It's good to know you are out there hoping and praying for such human disaster to occur to others...

      June 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • AuntiChrist

      I wish you fanatics would hurry up and get Raptured already, and leave the rest of us in peace.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Get Real

      BrownSugarmama,

      The author of "Revelation" was the Stephen King of his day, preceded by eons-worth of horror/fantasy storytellers dating back to the cave dwellers.

      There is not a shred of verified evidence for the supernatural beings and events in that book (nor for the rest of the Middle Eastern Hebrew stories that were selected to be in the Bible).

      June 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Try wrapping your mind around the fact that there isn't a single shred of evidence to support the existence of ANY of the thousands of gods humans have worshiped throughout history. Including yours.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  7. Joey

    When believers and non-believers converse, both leave the conversation with renewed strength that they are right!

    June 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      But only one side knows for a fact they are right, for an unbeliever claims we just don't know, and that is the only fact worth contemplating.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Arvn Huac

      But only one side walks away saying "I have absolutely no evidence at all for what I believe, yet I am absolutely certain it is true in every detail."

      June 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  8. tony

    Example of Abstract Good versus Abstract Evil being impossible concepts.

    We now know that a good percentage of Stars have planets, some of which fall into the "Goldilocks" habitable zone and that it is highly likely that life exists richly throughout our galaxy and all the others.

    There is also considerable speculation and some evidence that the so-called recorded "Star of Bethlehem" was an actual "Supernova" occurring at that time. Which would of course have sterilized an incredibly large number of life supporting planets within many light years of the occurrence. And statistically, many of those could have contained "good" creatures with god worshiping religious organizations of their own. So was a god illuminated sign of the birth of Jesus, an act of some good, or actually massive evil by your reckoning?

    June 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • camp

      A good posit to consider, but can you add an abstract without the deity element? Or does the idea of good and evil only exsist with a deity component?

      June 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  9. Joey

    It never fails that when believers and non-believers discuss God, each goes away more entrenched in their own opinion.

    June 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  10. BrownSugarmama

    I really enjoyed reading this interesting article about Stephen King. I have been a fan for many years and I did not know for sure but felt that he was a believer because there are so many bible pasted themes to his novels. The Stand was excellent in the betral of what is decribed in our bible as the Rapture.

    June 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  11. Arcangelw7

    Pat, I want to know why you are not at the Bilderberg Meeting or even reporting on it? Why as a Christian, are you not standing up to this evil in this world with Prayers & Leadership, shining Gods light on their Darkness being executed in secret right now as the Global Agenda?

    You should be rallying people peacefully to be there with the protesters and leading them in prayers for this world and Country, and binding up the Principalities and Powers of Darkness as they discuss our demise right in your own backyard. Why is there not even a whisper of this event coming from CNN and who do you really stand up for, the Globalists or God? Shame on you!

    June 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • You've been outed

      HeavenSent / Just Sayin' is the person responsible for spamming us with this garbage every article.
      Keep this in mind when he/they respond to any other posts.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Get a grip thinking I have time to post under other handles other than my own. The only other handle I use when the thief phony heavensent wants to hijack my handle is HS. It's you non-believers that lie, cheat, scam and break all Jesus' commandments. Don't blame your sinful behavior on me.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Get Real

      @you've been outed

      HeavenSent is clean in this regard. @just sayin, captain america, and a few others do it, though. On a forum like this, with no registered screen names, it's a cr@pshoot. Take each post as it comes...

      June 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • You Are Busted

      That's a total lie, HeavenSent! You often use the same word constructions, spelling and grammatical errors, and even forget to change "HeavenSent" off of the "name" when you do one of your "prayer changes things" rants. You have used the same arguments verbatim under numerous names. When you used to do the Amen.. with the improper punctuation, you accidentally put it on the wrong names with the same quirky punctuation.

      Liar.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You Are Busted, you're babbling again as you posted "That's a total lie, HeavenSent! You often use the same word constructions, spelling and grammatical errors, and even forget to change "HeavenSent" off of the "name" when you do one of your "prayer changes things" rants. You have used the same arguments verbatim under numerous names. When you used to do the Amen.. with the improper punctuation, you accidentally put it on the wrong names with the same quirky punctuation."

      Answer: Some of us that have errors in our posts only care about getting our thoughts out. What? Are you going to become a patrol officer handing out citations for errors in grammatical usage? LOL. Get off your parents couch and get a job. As far as lying. That belongs to the non-believers camp that have no shame.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  13. camp

    Got it, so evil just happens, there is no ascribed reason or motivation, it just is

    June 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • tony

      Yup!

      June 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Answer

      Morons like yourself are continually asking these ridiculous questions because you want your god. Going all out to make yourself feel better for being fooled/conned into a penance system. So hilarious.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      No, it happens when a human deludes themselves to believe that their violent actions are sanctioned by their deity which they refuse to question and thus carry on the cycle of deviant behavior, all because they declare their deity the strongest and must fight for it since apparently no ones deity has been able to do any of it's own fighting.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • tony

      Sorry, I misspoke. Evil "isn't". It does not exist in the abstract. Any more than Good" does in the abstract. You just personally rate things that happen, whether caused by people, or just the Universe working, as good or bad from your point of view.

      So "Yup" in the above context.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • camp

      Again I have not ascribed a deity to my question, I am asking the non-god camp to explain and you jump to that false assumption everytime, but Tony thank you for you succinct reply

      June 3, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      A man gets hit by a car and killed while crossing the street. God thing or evil thing?

      A man gets hit by a car and killed while crossing the street on his way to r a p e his 4 year old nephew... Good thing or evil thing?

      June 3, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • camp

      Again with the deity thing, You have no deity in your camp, i get that, so tell me how you respond to awful natural events or people?

      June 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      It's called time and unforeseen occurrence coupled with low probability events.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • camp

      Ok Mass – that is a better answer thank you

      June 3, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Humans are opportunists. There will always be people willing to harm others for profit or personal satisfaction. Religion has very little effect on this.

      Also, there will always be natural disasters that will devastate thousands of human lives. Religion has no effect on this.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • camp

      So tallulah13 will evolution eventually fix these issues? With more knowledge can we improve the human condition, with science can we prtoect and improve our safety from natural diasters?

      June 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Not at all, camp. Humans are going to be humans. But religion isn't doing much either, except dividing nations and giving people one more thing to fight about. The best we can do is make people aware that living within the laws of society is in their best interest in THIS life, not some made up afterlife.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • camp

      Ok so this is it Tallulah13 no progression, we have what is before us and that is what we work with?

      June 3, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I'm not sure what you want, camp. Do you honestly think that humans are that much removed from those who lived thousands of years ago? We have the veneer of knowledge and civilization, but we are still driven by the need to amass the things and people that will allow us to succeed. There are still people who will give a stranger the shirt off their back for goodness' sake, and there are still those who will trample everyone in their way for a buck.

      Trying to control behavior with biblical threats only work when the threats are credible. Bronze age promises have little credence in the computer age. Perhaps this is why prisons are full of christians, why television evangelists are surrounded by scandal, why the catholic church is under fire for protecting pedophile priests. A lot of christians don't even seem to buy into their own mythology.

      Did you know that nations with higher atheist populations have less crime? Perhaps it's because atheists have to live with the consequences of their actions instead of being "forgiven" by supernatural beings.

      June 3, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  14. RayJacksonMS

    King hasn't written a good book in about 20 years now.

    June 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • tony

      God hasn't written one in at least the last 13 Billion years.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      At least King exists...

      June 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Matt Parks

      When was your last best seller?

      June 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  15. Abinadi

    I think the Christian world is totally missing the whole point of the Bible, which is actually very clear. I see this question a lot and thought I would talk a little about it. If there is a God, why is the world such an awful place? Why does he allow bad things to happen? The fault isn't God's, it is ours. The whole thing can be understood in Deuteronomy 28. I will just quote the first verse here, "1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
    2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God."
    Before Moses was taken, he called Israel together and gave them God's vision for the earth. Chapter 28  of Deuteronomy is actually a summary of Deuteronomy which is a long sermon by Moses.  God's original intent was for Israel to conquer the whole earth and then rule it in righteousness. Eventually the prince of peace, Jesus Christ, would be born and reign over the earth in justice for ever.
    That never happened. Why? Because Israel sinned and instead of worshipping God Almighty, they worshipped Idols and actually became worse than the pagans they were supposed to rule over! So God had no choice, but to give the earth a new plan based on our rebellion from him – he called Nebuchadnezzer and Babylon to take dominion over the earth and then a succession of other pagan peoples which brings us to today. But, the promises to Israel are still in effect. He caused the reformation and again brought light and knowledge to the earth in preparation to restore Israel to its rightful place. In Daniel 2 he speaks of a little stone rolling forth and filling the whole earth and this time it will never be taken away. This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ and if we will repent and return to God, he will return to us! This is really abbreviated to not take too much space, but the reason things are such a mess is because Israel failed in it's mission – it is very simple! Christ has re-established Israel on the earth and this time we will not fail! To learn more, go to mormon.org.

    June 3, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • martog

      At least clarify that this is 'your opinion'.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Leila

      It's Sunday and all the proselytizers are out in full force.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • DrJames

      You are one mental individual.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  16. lazyace

    These comments have been just as entertaining as a Stephen King novel, but in a different way.

    The best part is that I didn't have to pay to read them.

    June 3, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  17. Bible is the ultimate book of God's promises to mankind!
    June 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Omega

      Amen!

      June 3, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Dirigible

      Actually, Bible is the only book that establishes the connection between God and Man.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Lake Ridge, VA

      🙂 🙂

      June 3, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • martog

      It;s only a 'connection to god' if you beleive in both. But than, wasn't there a movie about a 'radio transmitter to god'? Oh yea....Indian Jones and the ARK! But but,,,the ark came before the bible.......so there must have been a connection to god before the bible.....so how can the bible be the ONLY connection to god........oh you christians are So full of contradictions. No wonder you're so confused......

      June 3, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Answer

      Too much insecurity coming out of you clowns.

      Get off the sauce.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  18. camp

    Tony pity is not deprecatoin, I am just asking questions, not compelled to defend anything....I am asking how a non-god camp explains evil, and today I have gotten some good responses, and explanations,........Gving you a forum if you will to explain your side of things, to help me understand. I am very clear about the criticism about Christian faults, what I am asking is how do others resolve the question of evil in the world............

    June 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Camp, the only one you are pitying is yourself. You are blind to your own doofiness.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • camp

      I have not attributed evil to any personage or myth, I am asking how in a non-god camp does one resolve the issue of evil

      June 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're not interested in answers, camp, you lying twit. You just come one here with idiotic questions and then get weepy when you're soundly and rightly scorned for being a phony.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • camp

      so you don't have an answer?

      June 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You don't really have a question, camp, so it's a wash.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • tony

      Just explain loving god's tsunamis as requested, and we can move on to your question. Otherwise I think you are blocking.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • camp

      Look who's blocking Tony, You answer my question with another question, so respectfully to answer your question, I don't know why natural disasters occur or kill.....I am asking you what you think?

      June 3, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Evil.

      Evil is simple to explain. There's no such thing really.... Social theory can explain selfishness and other motivators that promote people to do bad things. Its not actually evil per say but other enhancers of human nature, which I happen to believe is a negative force. Easy as pie.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • camp

      Ok evil so it just is, personal opinion, nothing more

      June 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  19. tony

    Camp and Heavensent.. Rather than just deprecate others, please simply explain how the mass slaughter of innocents in the recent Tsunamis was the work of a loving god. And please, give your own thinking explanation, not an answer dodging bible quote, or just saying that god moves in mysterious ways. And don't forget the parting of the red sea, if you want to blame someone other than god.

    June 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • camp

      tony what I am asking is how is evil explained in your camp?

      June 3, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Evil is simply something done that society condemns, and there is a lot of disagreement over what even IS evil. I consider the war on drugs evil.

      June 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      By human greed, lust, hate, envy...what more explanation do you need, camp? Why do you find it necessary to attribute human failings to some devil?

      June 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • tony

      Answering a fundamentally important question with a different question, sounds like you don't have an answer, but won't admit it. But while I'm here, I will say that in an educated nearly full lifetime on thise earth, I have found that there is no such thing as abstract evil. Just bad people or "sh#$% happens". Tough if you are a wishful thinker, but you can't prove otherwise.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And really, Mark, why have you decided to use yet another screen name? Did you wear out the Piddler? Has it lost all credibility?

      June 3, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      tony, face His truth,

      God not only slays the wicked, but the righteous as well, as Job said. Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. (Job 13:15; see also Ezekiel 21:1-4)

      Jesus warned,

      And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! (Luke 12:4-5)

      Amen.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • DrJames

      Camp is off-balance now!

      June 3, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • JeanneO

      When are we going to get out of the dark ages? really? God is responsible for everything that happens?
      It's not just life/human nature/NATURE???
      There are a lot of beautiful things in this world, but there is the uglier side as well...and to blaim it all on God – good or bad...well you might as well be living in the old testament...I am surprised there aren't still animal sacrifices to the angry, wrathful god that so many believe in...
      Oh, another question to the thumpers who believe that "God can be cruel" (And I really don't think Stephen King would say any of his work supports that)...So is God actually "perfect"? (as I was always taught)...and If so, Does this mean if you are "righteous", slaughtering the "wicked" is ok? and killing your naughty children? (like Noah and the Flood). Was God always perfect? or did it take him until the New Testament to become perfect? When did "wrath" become one of the seven deadly sins?
      When are we supposed to "turn the other cheek"?

      June 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • camp

      Ok I have to answer honestly, I don't know why awful things happen. When your camp is posed with a question like this, I do hear the "elements of natural laws" explanation, and I agree with that, or " we don't why – yet" and I get that too..........

      June 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Notice how HS simply dropped bible quotes? I guess she doesn't have an answer, either.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      tallulah13, why should any Christian have to explain Jesus' truth to you using our own words when His were already written for all eyes to see and ears to hear.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      JeanneO, the reason you and all the other sinning non-believers hate Jesus and want to convince yourselves that he's a fairy tale is because you know your lies don't hold water and that Jesus is truth.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • camp

      So it's a draw then, neither camp has a sufficient answer.................

      June 3, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  20. palintwit

    When is National Teabagger Day anyway? Every trailer park in the country is going to be jumping that day !

    June 3, 2012 at 12:49 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.