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'Recovering Catholics' reveal spiritual journeys
According to a 2008 poll, 31% of Americans were raised Catholic, but only 24% describe themselves as Catholic.
June 19th, 2012
09:36 AM ET

'Recovering Catholics' reveal spiritual journeys

By Jim Spellman, CNN

Denver (CNN) - Kristen Kelly was raised Roman Catholic, attended Catholic elementary school and considered herself a good Catholic, but when she was 21-years-old that changed.

“A coworker asked me if I believe in Jesus Christ,” she says.

Despite spending her entire life in the Roman Catholic Church she couldn’t answer the question.

“I never really got exposed to Christ," she says. "It was more about Mary and the Church and a condemnation of everything I was doing wrong.”

She looked at her coworker and saw someone who appeared to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and decided that was what she wanted. She said this prayer:

“Jesus I accept that you are my lord and savior, and I ask you to come into my life.”

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

And from that moment Kelly, now 41 and living in Florida, considered herself born-again, and an ex-Catholic.

“I like to call us recovering Catholics,” she says with a laugh.

According to a 2008 study by the Pew Forum on Religious Life and Public Life, 31% of Americans were raised Catholic, but only 24% now describe themselves as Catholic. Read the study (PDF).

That means about 1 in 10 Americans is an ex-Catholic. If they were a denomination they would be bigger than Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans and Presbyterians.

The total U.S. Catholic population has remained at about 24%, as immigrants have filled the pews the ex-Catholics have left behind.

Video: Why do some Catholic outsiders remain inside the flock?  

Kathleen Cummings , associate director at the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at Notre Dame, says that some people leave the Catholic Church after a defining event like the priest abuse scandals or because of a disagreement with the Church over social issues, but most leave because they feel their needs are not being met.

“They are not experiencing something that fulfills them spiritually,” Cummings says.

Church supporters are urging wayward Catholics to return to the fold. For example, Catholics Come Home, a nonprofit lay organization formed in 1997, has been putting out the welcome mat via the media.

The group has an interactive website www.Catholicscomehome.org and airs what it calls “evangomercials” on radio and television. The group says that since 2008 more than 350,000 people have “come home” to the Catholic Church through their campaign.

Tom Peterson, president of Catholics Come Home, says some worshipers who've returned to the Catholic Church report leaving because they had disagreements with church officials or had divorced and feared they wouldn’t be welcome. But, he says, the majority never really gave up on the Church.

“They just drifted away and life got too busy," Peterson says. "Most say they didn’t dislike the Church, nor were they opposed to the Church teachings.

“An overwhelming majority of returnees tell our diocesan partners that they came home to the Catholic Church, 'because you invited me,'" he says.

But it may not be so simple to lure back ex-Catholics like Matt Rowe, a 35-year-old married father of two living in Denver. Rowe attended 16 years of Catholic School in Illinois and attended a Catholic university.

But by the end of college, Rowe was adrift. He found himself disagreeing with the Church on everything from the role of women to the concept of original sin and what he saw as the Catholic Church’s dependence on guilt as a motivating factor.

Rowe gave up on religion for most of his 20s but never stopped believing in God. When he got married and had kids, he started feeling a void in his life.

“I wanted my kids to grow up in a religion, but not Catholicism,” he says.

After “church-hopping” for a few years, Rowe ended up at Pathways Wash Park, a multidenominational Christian church in Denver.

After years of feeling disconnected in the Catholic Church where he says sermons rarely connected to his life, he has finally found the connection he has been looking for at Pathways.

“I wanted spirituality. I wanted God. I wanted all those points to go back to what I’m dealing with today,” Rowe says.

Fred Viarrial, 59, grew up as an altar boy at St. Leo’s in Denver. Six days a week he donned his cassock and worked the 6 a.m. Mass.

“Books or bells. You are ringing the bells or moving the books for the priests,” Viarrial says.

But as he grew up he began questioning elements of Catholicism. One day, when Viarrial was somewhere between age 10 and 12, he had something especially embarrassing to confess, so he trekked over to a Spanish language parish where he was unknown.

“The priest pulled me out and spanked me on the spot,” Viarrial says with a laugh. “That got me to question this whole thing of confession.”

When he was just 14 the precocious teenager went so far as to schedule an appointment with Denver ‘s then-Archbishop James Casey to discuss his doubts.

“I took a two-page list of questions starting with the Hail Mary. I wanted to find them in the Bible, their origin … where is that in the Bible?”

Viarrial says the archbishop humored him but ultimately did not answer his questions.

He still believed in God, but was losing faith in the Church.

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By his 20s he was searching for a new church and ended up at Arvada Covenant Church, an evangelical congregation in a Denver suburb.

At Arvada Covenant he says the focus is on a personal relationship with Jesus and that his questions about his faith and the Bible are not met with derision, but with a search for answers through Bible study.

He has found a home at Arvada Covenant, but says he holds no grudge against the Catholic Church and still feels echoes of his Catholic upbringing in his faith today.

“It’s like a spiritual tattoo that you receive as a kid," Viarrial says. "Those roots don’t ever disappear, you just better try to understand them.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Colorado • Faith

soundoff (2,511 Responses)
  1. Russ

    For most Catholics, including at one time me, their religion was inherited. They were then expected to blindly follow it under pain of everlasting hell. How many people have the balls to go against that?

    June 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Willie James

      Lots. You are right, it takes balls to be free, to think what you want, be what you want. It takes little to follow.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Nothing solidifies socio-economic, racial and geographic strata like an invented deity.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  2. BAM

    “Jesus I accept that you are my lord and savior, and I ask you to come into my life.”

    So millions of innocent men, women and children die across the globe and because they were born into a different faith, they are condemned to hell. But a serial kill can say the above prayer right before getting a lethal injection and he's given access to heaven. That's a fallacy in itself.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Jeff from Columbus

      Where did you get the idea the Catholic Church believes a serial murderer can get access to heaven simply by reciting the above line? Talk about your fallacies...

      June 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      You can't just recite a passage and be granted entrance to Heaven.
      Indulgences cost money, you know!

      June 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Now if your only a serial abuser, or even a cereal abuser, it takes just a few hail marys and a transfer to another Church out of State to alright with their Lord...

      June 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • BAM

      Being raised Catholic, I know that's not the case. What I was referencing was born-again Christians who believe just accepting Jesus into your life somehow absolves you of your past wrong doings.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  3. john

    When do you think CNN will start reporting on Muslims and all their many, many faults? I'm sure there are just as many if not a whole lot more child abuse cases there...just no courage to report it. Aren't they the tolerant religion? Guess they are afraid of retaliation. (Wonder why?) In many countries, it is death when you convert or stop practicing...I guess Jews and Catholics are open game for the left...and in true fashion, they don't waste any time bashing and reporting every thing wrong with them

    June 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  4. Wanderer81

    Run an article on Islam!...chicken?

    June 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  5. Art Gregoire

    I was raised to be a Catjholic, attended Catholic Church and School. I no longer believe in the Catholic Church. It would be wonderful if there was a god but I no longer believe. I guess you would consider me to be an Atheist. I live my life by a strong moral code that is not faith based.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  6. Joe Lawrence

    This is one of the most biased stories I've ever seen on CNN. Where are the stories of converts to Catholicism? These people exist in large numbers around the globe, but good luck finding a CNN article about them. People leave every religion and join every religion. I'm sure the drop-out rate of people raised in every single one of the protestant congregations mentioned is much higher than the 23% figure mentioned for Catholics (7 out of 31 according to the article). Where is the story about that? Why not mention this in this article? It would give it a much different tone, and would be good reporting.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Jeff from Columbus

      You're absolutely right. The % of Americans who are Catholics has held constant at about 25%. The number of people leaving has been offset by the number of people entering the Catholic Church. So, there's no "crisis" or mass exodus from the Catholic Church, no matter how much CNN wants to spin it that way.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • KMW

      Joe and Jeff,

      I agree with your sentiments. CNN is very, very biased and they (CNN) wonder why their ratings are so low. They are the lowest-rated cable channel; and if we pray hard enough, they may soon disappear.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • sam

      Just because you don't agree with it doesn't make it biased.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Catholics are not true Christians.

      Amen.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Paul

      It's in the article for those who read. The infllux of immigrants has covered the outflow of Catholics they are referring to.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Joe Lawrence

      Paul, the article does say that, but it was not my original concern. I am wondering: why not tell at least one Catholic conversion story? Why not compare the rate of people leaving the Catholic church to the rate leaving the other Christian groups mentioned? I'm willing to bet, as I mentioned before, that the rate for Catholics is actually lower (i.e. the Catholic retention rate is higher than most particular protestant congregations). Without some of these considerations the reader does not get a fair picture of the situation. They have no point of reference. If you present the number in a different way by saying that the church has a 77% retention rate, then it may actually sound high. In fact, I bet it is much higher than Pathways Wash Park and Arvada Covenant Church. Why not break down the numbers better or give some point of reference instead of just spewing banal sensationalism?

      June 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Joe Lawrence

      p.s. If any of you are still following this thread (I think I will stop), I just ran across this. Perhaps CNN could insert it:
      http://www.theblaze.com/stories/atheist-blogger-stuns-secular-community-with-announcement-shes-converting-to-catholicism/

      June 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  7. 7Virtues7

    I personally invite all x-Catholics to come back to their church. I am sure you will find the same Jesus, you just weren't paying attention!

    I also invite anyone else who wants to be close to God to discover the Catholic Church, simply because we are the original Christians, and we have the faith in it's fullness. We have 100% of the truth, not just some of it. History, music, culture, and Jesus in the Holy Communion.

    Until Henry the VIII we were all one, holy, Catholic (which means universal), apostolic church. We are one because God is one, we are holy because God makes us holy, we are universal because all are welcome, and we are apostolic because we are founded by the apostles who were the desciples of Jesus who saw Christ rise from the dead and went on to preach about the truth!

    God doesn't move away from us, we move away from Him. He is there, but you might have to put a little effort into it! Ask not what the Catholic Church can do for you, but what can you do for the Catholic Church and God?

    June 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      The Catholic Church is not a Christian Church. Catholics are not Christians...they are Catholics. God can smell the stench from your Church.

      Amen.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Sean

      Heaven Sent,

      Do you read the Catholic Bible or the Christian Bible, who saved the bible from extinction in the dark ages? What are you protesting from Luther, do you even know your history.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • sam

      Whaaaaat, since when is there a catholic bible and a christian bible??

      June 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  8. andy

    I've been a born again atheist for nearly 20 years. I was raised catholic but when I turned 18 I decided (for the first time) to listen, really listen, during Easter mass. I could hardly believe the drivel coming from the dude with the purple robe on. What a strange fairy tale it all is, and people really buy into it. It boggles my mind. To me, all religions are silly and pointless.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Sean

      Try he had on a white robe if you were at Easter Mass buddy.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Chase

      It was a purple robe at my mass too...while I was still going.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  9. Stopabortion

    People leave the Catholic Church out of ignorance, specially in the scriptures, if They knew the Church and Jesus, they would have stayed. How can somebody leave the Eucharist for an "inspiring sermon", Our Lord founded ONE Church, the " Universal" Catholic Church, the rest are "man made" sects, read your Bibles.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Oh God!

      I will make a deal with you. No tax dollars for abortion and also no tax dollars for pedophiles.

      Since the church uses tax dollars it doesn't pay to support child molesters, I figure the church owes America a ton of money.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If only we could read the ENTIRE Bible, including those scriptures omitted by the Nicene Council some 300 years after Christ's death.
      Even the oh-so revered catholic dogma of the Trinity didn't become canonical until then....

      June 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • PantyRaid

      You want people to have kids, but you don't want to pay for them.

      Unfortunately in this world we live in, you can't have it both ways.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • The Truth

      I don't wish Catholics, evangelicals or any religious zealots any harm, but I wouldn't mind seeing you all swim around in the sea of vomit and feces that your disgusting religions represent.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Sean

      Oh God!

      Please inform me of where the Church uses tax dollars? I believe the church saves the tax payers billions of dollars each year by educating, feeding, counseling, clothing and housing. If the Catholic church shut down it schools your tax dollars will go up because every school system would not be able to support the number of new students.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • sam

      Watch out, guys, Sean is under the delusion that the church accepts no federal funds...

      June 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  10. fardarter

    Some of the comments so far are really funny but logically contemptible. All religions are bogus–but when organized in churches and hater clubs, they are the greatest obstacle to justice and human progress.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Willie James

      Well said. The Catholic church is out of touch with people today. Many have evolved past fear and servitude based religions. I've seen studies that indicate church attendence will decline another 30% with the current generation. The more educated and free we become, the less organized church matters.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  11. Colin

    Perhaps the three greatest movements in history, which, in the cu.mulative, mark the emergence of the Western World from the Dark Ages are the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment. All three are defined by their rejection of Catholicism and religious dogma in favor of science, free thought and reason.

    If religion (as opposed to morality) was anything other than empty promises meant to sate human insecurities, would we not expect movements TOWARD greater religiosity to be predominant in World history and viewed in a positive light?

    The Catholic sky-fairy is in full flight. Science has flushed him out of all the unknowns he used to inhabit. He exists now only in the soft, uncritical mind of the remaining believers. I sadly expect he will be there for some time to come.

    The gods, ghosts and goblins are in full retreat. The penetrating light of science and knowledge has driven these make-believe beings into the last dark holes that science has not yet fully illuminated. The uncritical mind of the believer is perhaps the most obstinate.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • fardarter

      Well said on the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Ancient science was obscured and scientific progress effectively arrested in ten-century stall when the bishops in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Eastern Roman Empire effectively took over the political leadership in the vast Roman bureaucracies of the Empire. This was in the 4th century. One lone soul, the emperor Julian, tried to stop them for the wrong reason (the re-establishment of polytheism). Religiousness has reigned virtually unchallenged on Western morality for the past 15 centuries and I am certain that it will continue to exist - hopefully increasingly reducing itself to negligible influence. It will take, however, a few more centuries. Science, too, however, could become an object of blind faith and replace one harm with another. The need to believe in a supreme and separate system that governs us all seems to be ancestral–might it have been planted by whatever or whomever first grew life on Earth? The human imagination is unstoppable and the Jesus story of turning the other cheek in a world where love makes all things go round is a beautiful story. I love Alice in Wonderland too.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  12. Gail

    When the Church in the US did away with the Latin – I left too for many years, but I am back now even though half the songs are sung in Spanish, I can kind of follow, just like the Spanish-speaking can kind of follow the English. I do miss the Latin, though. Our town isn't big enough to have a church with a Sunday Mass in Latin.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  13. Kate

    I was born and reared into the Presbyterian Church. Then I finally found the love of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church. Maybe because I came after Vatican II, I never had the bad feelings that many former Catholics express. Jesus certainly is the center of our faith! For those of you who have left the Catholic Church, try visiting. You may be amazed at how scriptural and Christ centered the services are. If not, try another congregation. Believe me, they are there. The opportunities for mission are more available in the Catholic Church than any other. Our hospitals, orphanages, schools, around the world (especially in third world countries) bear witness to our faith and love for the less fortunate. The mega-churches that are becoming so popular in the USA have criticism for Catholics....but can they walk our path of generosity for others?

    June 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Kate you are going to hell because you are not a true Christian. Learn Jesus's Truth, which you cannto find in the Catholic Church.

      Amen.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • KMW

      Kate,

      Thank you for your lovely response. I was born into the Catholic Church and remain a Catholic because of the points you have mentioned. I love my Church and feel sorry for those Catholics who have lost their way. I will pray they see the LIGHT. (They sound so bitter and angry which is true of so many fallen away Catholics. )

      June 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Stopabortion

      Very well said, my friend.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • fardarter

      Heavensent – you are going to hell for telling people they are going to hell. See you there!

      June 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  14. The Church

    Did you know who came up with the theory of expanding universe and the Big Bang Theory?
    A good Catholic priest, father Georges Lemaître.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Colin

      So what, Pythagoras theory was formulated by a Greek who believed in all sorts of nonsense too.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Blind leading the blind.

      The church is pwnd.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • PantyRaid

      It was Satan and his minions.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And it only took the Vatican 300 years to admit that Copernicus might have had a valid point....

      June 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  15. Glazed Look

    Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim, Mormon, you are all nuts..... there is no God, unless you believe in Santa Claus.... move on ! geeze

    June 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Jez

      "Glazed Look", I love your name!

      June 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Thanks to the Catholic Church, we know that Santa Claus was indeed a real person.
      Santa Claus = Saint Nikolaos of Myra. He was present at the Council of Nicea where they decided what bits of the bible would be canonized.
      One of the myths about him is that in the middle of the night, he tossed bags of gold through the window of poor man so that he might have a proper dowry for his daughters.
      Hence Santa Claus brings presents after the kids are asleep...

      After a mellenia, he rides a magic sleigh and drink Coca-Cola.
      Kind of like how Jesus might have been a real person whose life has been mythologized as the centuries passed...

      June 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  16. The Jackdaw

    puke puke puke

    June 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  17. Jeff from Columbus

    The bigotry toward Catholics by liberals and Democrats is nothing short of appalling.

    There's really no defense for the bigotry, either. If a person wants to be a Catholic, what's wrong with that? Now, if a Catholic got into your face and attacked YOU for not being a Catholic, then I could see attacking the Catholic Church as a rebuttal.

    But, simply coming onto these message boards and insulting Catholics simply because there's a news story about the Catholic Church is bigotry, plain and simple.

    As with all bigots, the only purpose of these attacks is to make small people feel better about themselves.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • BRC

      @Jeff,
      Insults do not equal bigorty, plain an dsimple. Bigotry requires hatred and intolerance, and is generally manifested in overt acts that negatively effect other's lives becuase of soemthing they just naturally are.

      ie. If I refuse to let you sit next to me because I don't like what color your skin is, I'm a bigot.
      BUT, if I call someone foolish for believing something that has been scientifically been proven false, say for instance the account of genesis, I'm not being a bigot, I'm pointing out that they are making a foolish choice. I can still respect them as a person, and just think that they are foolish or naive. That's not bigotry.

      Also, you're liberal/democrat crack is a baseless assumption. I am as far from religious as you're going to get, and you would have a VERY hard time calling me a democrat. I just can't support the other side becuase it's shoulder deep in religion.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • linda Operle

      It's not about bigotry. It's about telling the church to "but out" of our lives. Massive corruption, child abuse and total dismissal of women and their needs. It's not bigotry that is hurting the Catholic church. We're all tired of the level of control the church tries to impose not just on their flock but the world at large. It's offensive and just plain wrong. I'm an athiest so if you want to discuss bigotry I've had my share of it!

      June 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • PantyRaid

      Jeff just learned the definition of bigotry and tried to use it as many times in his post as possible, just look.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • SkepticalOne

      For those Catholics who are whining about being attacked on the forums. If your church would stay out of politics and stop trying to push your beliefs on the rest of us you might be a little more popular.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • sam

      I have the feeling dinner at your house most nights consists of hungry man frozen dinners and you railing at CNN on the TV yelling "::sob sob:: LIBERAAAALS, DEMOCRAAAATS!"

      June 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Jeff doesn't get it

      Nice attempt at logic, Jeff. You haven't posted anything smarter since you've been here, so no shock.

      Next time you try to vote to pass legislation based on something in the bible or that your church insisted should be law, sit back and wonder why everyone reacts to you the way they do.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • callie B

      Be nice you guys he's from Ohio, he can't help it

      June 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Jeff from Columbus

      The replies have just reinforced my statement. Apparently, us Catholics need to "know our place". That sounds familiar, doesn't it?

      Sorry if the truth hurts. But, I'm not going to stand by and let these ignorant attacks go on without the ignorance being called out.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • sam

      "LIBERAAAALS, BIGOTS, BAAAAAAAAAAAW." lol

      June 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  18. PumpNDump

    It's all a myth. Allow me to help those who are trying to convince themselves it's not:

    The whole parting of Red Sea and "Noah's Ark" situations, total fabrications, like all the other parts of the bible. You can't pick and choose.
    Evolution is a Scientific FACT.
    The earth is approximately 4.5 BILLION years old.
    Dinosaurs existed, just not with man. Man's ancestors go back more than 7 MILLION years.
    "Jesus" and "god", myths invented by man. You'd think the most important "person" in christianity would have proof of life. There is NO accreditted academically accepted, peer reviewed proof that "jesus" ever existed.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      I am an atheist. I do think Jesus existed though. Or at least somebody like him or several people like him, naturally, without the supernatural powers. A groovy Gandhi like character, although far less influential during his life. The story/stories have been embellished over the centuries until we see the giant pile of garbage people pray to today. I still think there must be a core truth behind it. Maybe it was just a nice guy that was crucified.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • PantyRaid

      You think they would have had some type of historical reference to Jesus, but no.

      The historians back then knew how ridiculous the story of him was since it was nothing more than a copy of other "saviors," even 2000 years before he supposedly existed.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • k

      Similarly, there's no proof (of they kind you are demanding) that Archimedes existed either. Or Aristotle. Or Ovid. But there is a good written history of these individuals, just as there is of Jesus. As for the bible being a hoax/myth/whatever, remember that the bible is a collection of books (think of the word bibliotheque). It's a library. Some are reasonable history (think 1st & 2nd Samuel, the Gospels, etc.), some is love poetry (Song of Songs), some are songs (Psalms), and some are more qualitative descriptions of God's interactions with us (Genesis). You're looking for the bible to be a science book ... but it's chiefly a theological text. So read it that way You wouldn't read a chemistry book to learn about love poetry, would you? So don't similarly mis-read the bible.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • n222s

      However, pumpsie, there are accredited dictionaries floating around that could instruct you in the proper spelling of "accredited". Your display of a public school education discredits your attempt to discredit religion.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  19. David

    The corruption thru out the centuries in that Church has people running. They tortured and killed people in the midievil days to todays pedophiles. The Irish alcoholics have ruined it since WW2. Find a safe/ clean Christian church to worship Christianity.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Thomas

      Find a safe/ clean Christian church to worship Christianity.

      Now that's funny. I never realized that christianity is what's being worshipped. Actually it all makes sense now...

      June 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • PantyRaid

      Where are those?

      June 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • moises

      irish alcoholics , thats just a stereotype. And as for the Christian church they also massacre millions all in the name of god learn about the Holy Crusades.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • KMW

      David,

      I do not understand your comment about Irish Catholics. Have you been drinking liquor?

      June 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  20. Colin

    Ya gotta love it when a Catholic scorns you with the admonition that you will "go to hell" .

    Out of all the silly superst.itious beliefs of the Christians, I think the myth of hell is my favorite. Think it through. I don't have to kill, I don't have to steal, hell, I don't even have to litter. All I have to do is have a reasonable, honest and rational disbelief in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty upon me an infinite times worse than the death penalty. And he loves me.

    Let's subject this "cherished Christian doctrine" to the probing light of say.......fifth grade mathematics.

    Approximately one hundred and ten thousand million (110,000,000,000) people have lived on Earth. Given all those who have, over the centuries, rejected the Christian god, or who have otherwise committed mortal sins, there must be literally thousands of millions of people burning for all eternity in the cosmic oven of hell set up by their all-loving god. Some must have been burning for thousands of years by now.

    About 100,000 people die every day. There must be a constant stream of thousands of forlorn souls every day into the one way pit of hell their “all-merciful” god set up and maintains.

    But, far, far worse than sheer overwhelming numbers is the extent of the punishment. There is no way out, no parole, no time off for good behavior. You don’t just burn, you burn for all eternity. Billions of people and thousands of daily new arrivals burning for all eternity!

    No criminal justice system in the history of the Human race, even those established by the most despotic of tyrants, comes close to matching the unfathomable barbarity of their “infinitely benevolent” god.

    Hitler murdered six million Jews in his concentration camps, but compared to the Judeo-Christian god, Hitler was a bleeding-hearted wimp. A goose-stepping girlie-man. Their “all-caring” god not only burns billions more than Hitler, Pol Pot and all other dictators and tyrants added up, he keeps doing so to them for all eternity! I would not wish a bad sunburn on a person simply because they have a different religion to me, let alone fry them for all eternity.

    It is also odd that their all-loving god is also all-knowing and knows which souls will go to hell before they do. He even knows it before they are born, and yet he still creates them. He is worse than a psychopathic teenager than breeds litter after litter of kittens so he can slowly roast them in ovens.

    That is the problem with using the same deity to be both the carrot and the stick. It gets really silly really quickly.

    How they believe this utter garbage in the 21st century completely eludes me.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • kme

      Don't forget the tiny babies whose only misfortune was still birth or early death. Oh, and unbaptized children...or those unforgivables in remote areas who never heard of the Christian god or starved without parents to guide them to the "one true god".

      To bad, it's hell-fire and perpetual torment for you! Sorry you think the wrong things!!

      Folks, Hell is a low-life pressure-sales method invented by colonialist missionaries looking for donations. It's a huckster, used-car-level idea, not worthy of your spiritual attention.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Primewonk

      It is my theory (colloquial usage) that you will get the following answers:

      You cannot know the mind of god.

      It's god's universe, he can do what he wants.

      God doesn't want to punish anybody, we get what we deserve.

      And of course, the old standby – Die you lying libtard and move to Iraq.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:38 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.