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June 14th, 2012
12:40 PM ET

My Take: More doubts about God doesn't mean religion is weakening

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

When it comes to doubt, sometimes a little skepticism is in order.

As CNN's Dan Merica reported earlier this week, a recent Pew Research Center survey sees doubt rising sharply inside the millennial generation. Between 2007 and 2012, this survey says, the portion of young Americans (those 30 and uner) who say they never doubt the existence of God dropped sharply between 2007 and 2012, from 83% to 68%.

This report has stirred up a chatstorm in the blogosphere, with 2600 comments and counting on Merica's Belief Blog post alone. But does this data really say what many atheists want it to say? Is American religion really heading for a fall?

Look carefully at the survey question. What this data is tracking is the percentage of young people for whom doubt has never creeped into their faith. I don’t know about you, but most of the religious people I know experience both doubt and faith over the course of their spiritual lives. So the fact that more than two-thirds of young people say they have never doubted God’s existence seems to me evidence of America's extraordinary religiosity, not its disbelief.

That suspicion is supported by the fact that this same Pew survey found that millennials who identify with a religion is not declining. Moreover, according to Pew's U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, only 3% of millennials are atheists.

The takeaway, it seems to me, is not that religion is declining in America but that it is changing. Or, to paraphrase my Boston University colleague and sociologist of religion Peter Berger, what is shifting here is the how of religion. In short, doubt is a part of the spiritual lives of more young people than it has been in the past.

I have been spending way too much time lately with Google’s Ngram Viewer. This website allows you to see how prominent certain key words are in books published in various languages from 1800 forward. It’s also possible to see how these key words match up against one another over time.

I searched the Ngram database for the words “faith” and “doubt” in American English from 1800 to 2008. Here’s what I found:

For much of the nineteenth century, “faith” won out over “doubt.” But as Biblical criticism, evolutionary theory, and comparative religions started to chip away at traditional understandings of Christianity, “doubt” ran past faith in the late 1880s. For roughly the next century, the two terms tracked rather closely. During the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s, however, faith bypassed doubt.

What matters here is not the horse race. More significant is the fact that, since the late Victorian period, doubt has become part of the landscape of faith in America. To see doubt as a denial of faith is to misunderstand how most Americans live their religious lives.

The fact that doubt is now a part of faith for a significant minority of American believers strikes me at least as a sign of faith’s maturity, not its demise. Perhaps, like the millennials themselves, American religion is growing up.

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • Faith • Polls • Trends • United States

soundoff (1,804 Responses)
  1. Beth

    In everyone's lives, even if you're not Christian, there is doubt. Even if Faith won over in the nineteenth century, there were still times in people's lives when the question, "Is God really there?" arose. It's not that doubt has risen, it's that doubt is coming into focus of a lot of people. I could stand here and say, "Well, if you let the Evolutionary Theory bring you down and make you question God... blah blah.." but that wouldn't be right. Everyone, in their lifetime, has to think, "Is there a God?" or there wouldn't be much of a "religion."

    June 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Anon

      Which god? The abrahamic god of the three desert blood cults or some nameless imagined god?

      June 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Glen

      Well said Beth, if we didn't stuggle with questions of God then we would not be human, so yes if people can stuggle with God, they should equally sturggle with the question of the Plausibility of Evolution but unfortunately these people seem to have more faith in it, that the real people of Faith.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I find it ironic that non-believers go out of their way to reject God who they swear doesn't exist ... proves God does work in mysterious ways with His sense of humor spinning the non-believers with this obsession.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      HS discussing humor is like a congressman discussing honesty.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • imrepostingthis

      @HeavenSent that is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. You are not allow to talk anymore...

      June 15, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  2. Anon

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

    June 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  3. QS

    People who say they were once believers then doubted and became Atheist, only to then come to some miraculous realization that their faith was the only thing that made their life good, sound very much like someone who has had an addiction, broke that addiction and got sober, then fell off the wagon and remembered just how blissful that high was to the point that they finally realize they can't cope or maintain without said addiction.

    In the context of religion and/or faith, I prefer sobriety! Life may be hard and truly miserable sometimes, but that has never been a good enough reason for me to give up and say that I'm too weak to deal with it on my own so I need a coping mechanism that eases my fears.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • imrepostingthis

      That is more like it.... well stated....

      June 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  4. Just -In

    Never doubt the Lord your God's word. He made sure that the Bible is accurate. Never doubt his word or let Anyone disscount what He says in the Bible. You are either a full believer or your not.Not even a 99.9%. They are not true believers.Your either all or nothing.You cant serve two masters.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Voxovreeson

      A perfect example of how thinking in shades of grey requires using grey matter. Which doesn't seem to apply to your post.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Don't feed the troll

      June 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  5. Anon

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSZ6st0JDuA

    June 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  6. Foreverwar

    Sorry, the dark ages are over. The earth is round, deal with it.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Voxovreeson

      OK smartipants, if the Earth is round, why are all the maps flat?

      June 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Jesse

      @Voxovreeson

      Because the round ones are called Globes..dummy

      June 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Glen

      No kidding if normal people were allowed to read the Bible thousands of years ago they would have figured it out too:

      "God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him! He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them." Isaiah 40:22

      Yup darkness was no doubt predominant back then just as it is now...

      June 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Voxovreeson

      @Jesse....thanks for the edification. Perhaps next time you can comment on the use of absurdist sarcasm meant to poke fun at the illogical arguments put forth by many to support their opinions on the article by Prothero.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Frisbee

      Glen,

      Here is an illustration of what Isaiah and the old Hebrews thought the Earth looked like:

      http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/images/genesisearth.jpg

      If people looked like the size of grasshoppers, "God" must live at around 2,000 ft. - nope, been there. Conveniently, though, the same perspective can be had from mountain tops, which is where the Hebrews got their idea.

      There is no verified evidence of the supernatural beings in the Bible.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  7. Jesse

    I don't think GOD has the time to judge individuals let alone I don't think a supreme being would care if you worshiped him. How sad of a being would you have to be to have to create your own followers.....pathetic really.

    and to say that GOD sent his son to earth to die for our sins is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. GOD could've done that with out letting his son die....and what is life and death to a GOD? Jesus would just go back to Heaven...WOO HOO..Dumb Reasoning.

    June 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Just -In

      Too bad for your lack of faith.What you said is blasphemy.You give credit to no one or another being for creating you and all you see. Blasphemy is the only sin in the Bible that is unforgivable. You will account for every word you said.Make changes in your life while you can.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Glen

      Frisbee said: If people looked like the size of grasshoppers, "God" must live at around 2,000 ft. – nope, been there. Conveniently, though, the same perspective can be had from mountain tops, which is where the Hebrews got their idea.
      There is no verified evidence of the supernatural beings in the Bible.>>

      That is because you think like a finite Human Being with a small mind, where as an infinite God and be anywhere and sit anywhere He wants including in your heart and can see things from any perspective He likes including deep in your mind heart and soul. Hear millions of prayers at a time like in Bruce Almighty. Like a video camera with superzoom functions, like you never heard of that technology.

      The point was not grasshoppers but "the circle" which you completely missed. That was the vision that was given to the prophet and that is how he described the vision as best as he could, something that should say "wow" inside of us but you just mock it. Did yo know that helicopters and submarines are also in the bible these prophets saw visions of things that would not come for thousands of years and didn't even know how to explain it but they did the best they could.

      As for Biblical evidence of the supernatural, you're right it is only experienced by those who lived thru it, so you would be a bad witness to quote something you never experience, hence S-u-p-e-r-n-a-t-u-r-a-l Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Frisbee

      Glen,

      It was described to the "prophet" quite wrong, then... why is that? Because it was described by what the primitive people *saw* around them and what they imagined for the remainder. There is no evidence that a god or gods or angels *told* them anything.

      p.s. a "circle" is not a sphere... we have been over that waaaaay too many times to even bother with it.

      Look at the illustration... http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/images/genesisearth.jpg

      June 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • imrepostingthis

      @Just -In

      "What you said is blasphemy." blasphemy happens only if you believe in the bible...

      June 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  8. jeff_000

    With the advances in science and technology I find it hard for most people to believe in religion... Considering how Adam and Eve supposedly populated the world makes it BIGTIME incest... Also when got was mad at the people he flooded the world and killed them all off and started over... Who repopulated the world, Noah's sons and their wives... BIGTIME incest again...

    Now, considering that incest has been scientifically "proven" to weaken the genepool and cause retardation and eventual extention, it is impossible for Adam aand Eve, or Noah's kids to either one populate the whole world, they would have breaded us to extenction way before Christ...

    So, as I said, considering how the world is so much farther advanced I can't understand how anyone with half an intelligent brain could believe much of anything to do with religion...

    June 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Just -In

      Who says your intelligent? There were many reasons for the Great Flood. Your a product of the aftermath of the flood.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      @Just -In,

      If you're going to waste your time trolling, why not at least try to put a little effort into it to make it a bit more believable. You're a pretty bad Poe.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Glen

      Hi Jeff_000 – There are answers to these and all such questions you pose, I suspect you didn't even bother to look it up.

      Believe it or not Christian use their minds to think things thru and like scientific answers when there are no miracles or supernatual events and not all Christians are dumb and stupid following their faith blindly including Frances Collins the father of the Genome Projects.

      One such site is http://www.answersingenesis.org/

      June 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  9. Hotas Fuchs

    Personally, I could care less what all you zealots out there believe. What I can't stand and won't tollerate any longer are those of you who FAIL to respect my right and desire NOT to drink the same Kool-Aid as you. STOP offering to "pray" for me, STOP hoping that "I'll see the error of my lack of faith", STOP pushing your idiotic religious values and quoting your moronic bible verses to me. I don't believe. I don't WANT to believe. Get that through your thick freakin' skulls!

    June 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Voxovreeson

      AMEN and HALLELUJAH!!!!!!

      June 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • JimBob

      Ill pray for you, C0CK.....beer?

      June 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • KT

      Wow, who do you hang out with? I don't have people doing that to me all the time. Perhaps you need new friends.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Jesse

      Amen!!

      June 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  10. Anon

    The sooner the better. Christianity will eventually join the ranks as other ancient religions in a museum.

    June 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Just -In

      No way1 Unbelievers will join ranks with Satan in Hell. There,you will be together with him and all of your non bel believers. Satan believes. You never hear him doubting. He knows the truth

      June 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Tal

      Uh-huh. And yet 2,000 years later we're still talking about Him and He's still stirring up all this controversy. Name me someone else who gets this many people so riled up about Him 2,000 years later. If Christianity were going anywhere it would have fizzled out by now instead of growing stronger all over the world. He is not going anywhere just because you say He is.

      Nice try though.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      @Tal,

      If Islam surpasses Christianity in popularity, are you going to change religions? Lots of people follow and worship the Buddha. Do you choose your religion based upon a popularity contest?

      The reason why Christianity was allowed to grow and thrive was because Rome made it the state religion and spread belief through the sword, killing those that wouldn't convert. Follow that up with well over a millenia of killing anyone thought to be a heretic and you have a good recipe for instilling religious beliefs into the fabric of a particular culture.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Glen

      Anon I bleive a bunch of famous people said that ages ago the only problem is they are long gone but Christianity is still here. They and the Jewish people will outlive everyone else mainly because God has a direct hand in them and a plan for the world while people like you sit and mock the faith

      June 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  11. johnfrichardson

    NO ONE said that doubts about god = atheism. But it's a start, and a likely harbinger of a lot more people rejecting the established religions. Most will NOT choose anything like militant atheism. But they will choose something a lot better than the traditional orthodoxies.

    June 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  12. Mack

    Expressing or admitting doubt is a mature response to the big questions of life. Out right accepting beliefs without any inner journeys toward personal experience is much easier. It lets one off the hook for some of the struggles of the journey of descent into the paradoxes within. Doubt is part and parcel of the spiritual journey. Doubting does not in any way detract from God...God is God...and I think God "appreciates" the effort.

    June 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  13. whatajoke

    When are we going to join the 21st century and get rid of all this voodoo nonsense.

    People still think the world is 6000 years old and god made us from dirt. Seriously????

    If you plan to continue this nonsense I expect you do obey the bible, word for word. NO Exceptions

    June 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  14. Brett

    i would suspect that most believers are running away from religion but the people that are in charge of it. Organized religion has become a joke lately and if I was one that went to church, i probably would drop out too. Don't get me wrong i religious, but i tend to listen to my own self instead of having others tell me what to do because quite frankly they have no more of a pipe line into god than I.

    June 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • PaulieJ

      No more a joke then it was say during the Crusades or the Inquisition. Different times, same idiocy.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  15. beyond ego

    how come most of my posts in this section never get posted but when I try again it says I already said that and its a duplicate?

    June 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Peter

      You have a slow internet connection.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      You're probably using banned words as part of other words. For example, you can't type Constitution because it contains the word tit. The automated filter is picking this up and banning your post. You'll have to scour your post and insert something – say a period – to get around the filter. Ex: Consti.tution.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Voxovreeson

      It can only be attributed to the guiding hand of the Almighty Father. You better shape up your life; God has spoken through CNN that you tend to repeat yourself but nobody can hear you.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Kyle Dasan

      God doesn't want it posted....

      June 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • kingdaddy

      God works in mysterious ways.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      beyond ego, Page back and look over your post for any of these, then fix it and try again.

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ---
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-nthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      que-er
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sl-ut
      sn-atch
      sp-ank
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-oon
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      strip-per
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!
      There's another phrase that someone found, "wo-nderful us" (have no idea what sets that one off).


      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  16. Great Caesar's Ghost

    Change is coming! http://caesarsghost.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/eleven-satanic-rules-to-be-displayed-in-iowa-courthouse/

    June 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  17. James

    There is no way to read the almost 600 posts, so apologies if I duplicate someone else's comments. It's a mistake to say that doubts in faith are the same as atheism. Both religious faith and atheism are positive assertions. One says that your specific religious beliefs are absolutely true. One says that absolutely no religious system is true. Doubt is everything between these two points. A Christian who doubts may conclude that the three fold nature of the Christian God is wrong and God is only one thing. Hence Islam is correct. This is still doubt. Doubt could be that the idea of a single God is wrong and that the beliefs of Buddhism are correct. Atheism denies all of these, doubt includes them all.

    June 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Believers always want to make atheism more than it is. Atheism is a lack of belief. That's it. It does not make absolute claims. Nor does theism, for that matter. Most atheists I know are also agnostic. According to this pew research poll, most believers are not agnostic – that is, they claim to have knowledge of their deities existence, not just belief.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • James

      Thanks for your comment – I'll just quibble a bit. I don't think atheism is just not believing. Agnosticism says you can't have knowledge of the truth of faith. God may exist, or may not, you can't tell. Atheism states that any religious system of beliefs is incorrect. Not quite the same, but very similar. Atheist makes an assertion about what is and is not, agnosticism says you can't know. End quibble

      Since any strong statement is potentially controversial, and, in most cases it doesn't really effect how people live their lives, most people will choose to claim the relevant local faith and then ignore what it ways when ever convenient.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  18. johnfrichardson

    What are you so afraid of, Prothero?

    June 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Voxovreeson

      Imagine if Prothero were God, how many doubers there would be...

      June 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  19. slickteigkcmo

    I can't look at a baby, an old folk, a smiling child, beautiful sunset, ,flower, animals, etc, etc, etc without KNOWING our God is existing, He is the master father, master artist, all loving, caring, sharing God. Without HIm there is no reason to HOPE, have faith, continue to struggle here , to love, care about myself and others, give thanks for life and all our blessings, God is real, thank God :))))))) Amen!!! God bless Americans and our whole home of earth, yahoo, we're so blessed and anyone can be as blessed, your heart, mind, spirit belong to Him for eternal peace and joy and all treasures worth having, please choose to love and honor HIM back as much as HE loves you, or at least try to love Him as much :)))) There is no hope without Him and why even be here??? Really ? If it's just for this life and not forever, why be here???!!! He makes all life worth having and living, thanks be to God!!!!! So choose life, choose God, choose blessings for forever!!!! It's yours to choose. With so much evil in the world, it's only God who can give you peace and hope to carry on with his constant love and help, he loves you as you are His child, love Him back :)))) You will never regret his love or loving him back 🙂 Blessings to all of you!!!!

    June 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Gods Shepard

      F A G die

      June 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Wow, that's stupid.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Shaggy

      Then you are in a minority. There is no rational reason every good event can only be caused by a benevolent God that liked talking to goatherders in the middle east a few thousand years ago.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Voxovreeson

      Another post from Missouri. Why is it these posts touting and spouting the works of the Almighty are always from Missouri?

      June 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      Are you serious? Do you not know where babies come from? And old folk are people who used to be babies. Everything gets old. Smiling children? Everyone smiles. Sunsets? Caused by the refraction of light at certain angles and particles in the atmosphere. Sorry, but all of your "wonder" can be easily explained. And none of them rely upon any sky diety. Just imagine, for only a moment, so it doesn't cause any permanent damage: what would happen if you put 50% of that effort into learning something useful like physics, chemisty or even tax law. Read a book that has facts in it, instead of one filled with ghost stories told by ancient farmers and goat-herders.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • SDFrankie

      I can't look at a starving baby, a child with bone cancer, a kid with birth defects, war, disease without KNOWING in my heart that no supreme deity could possibly allow so much evil and suffering. It makes me feel good to know this stuff just happens. It's not caused or tolerated by some cosmic monstrosity.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • G

      idiot.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • closet atheist

      "Without him there is no reason for HOPE"

      Wow. Just wow.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  20. Marc

    All believers doubt. I think the change isn't so much in the amount of faith as it is in the cultural acceptance of doubt. 500 years ago, if you openly said you had doubts about God, you might be tortured and killed. 50 years ago, if you openly said you had doubts, you might have been ostracized and shunned. These days, if you say you have doubts, it's normal.

    Doubts are normal. God is far too big to wrap your mind around. Some people just give up trying to; these become atheists. For those who believe, faith accomplishes what rational thought and creative imagination do not, bridging the gap betwen humans and God. If you read about many theologians, their struggle to understand in the face of doubt is what drove them to find new ways of understanding. They used their doubt to create great works that ultimately strengthen the faith of millions.

    June 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • planetcostarica

      You can openly have doubt....unless you are running for high political office. It seems that regular church attendance is a prerequisite or else you don't get those votes. It all seems to be a case of The Emperor's New Clothes. They aren't doubters. They are the faithless afraid espouse their true beliefs (or lack thereof).

      June 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • MZ

      Marc,

      Well said. Doubt is a natural part of faith and is not discouraged by God in the Bible when done in a sincere exchange with Him. Habbakuk is one of my favorite examples of healthy, loving doubt and God's beautiful response to it. Everything has its season and doubt is one of them. When I wrestle with God over my doubts concerning His actions or lack of action in my life, or even if He has really chosen me for His Kingdom, my faith is ultimately strengthened ten fold. He gave us the ability to question and reason. We are not mindless automatons who are commanded to love Him. It is our choice to do so.

      I feel that occasional doubt and a healthy dialogue about it through the Holy Spirit is an illustration of a very strong faith.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • MZ

      *Please replace the word commanded with the words 'forced against our will'.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Glen

      MZ

      *Please replace the word commanded with the words 'forced against our will'.

      Sure MZ as long as you realize that "it is for our own good" as in "God knows what's best for us" better than we do.

      I'm sure I don't need to tell you how many times you've screwed up in your life making bad or wrong choices/decisions. Wouldn't it be nice for someone to tell you ahead of time if this was a good or bad decision? Think about that...

      June 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Glen

      <>

      I know Frankie unfortunately the monster was you and me who said to God I think I know better so leave me alone and let me live my life, you would have done it back then, just like you're doing it now. The consequence of your actions, now you don't like the result and now you're blaming the One who told you to listen to Him. When will men ever learn.

      Through one man Adam death and destruction came to mankind for his disobedience and likewise through one man Jesus Christ the second Adam we can we made who forgiven and saved at the foot of the cross if we repent and tell Him we screwed up. What do you say? Be a man and accept God challenge and plan for your life! Stop acting like you know or care more than God cause you don't. You are a wicked and a perverse sinner in a Perfect and Holy God's eyes, just like I was but I made my peace with him how about you?

      June 14, 2012 at 5:26 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.