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June 19th, 2012
02:47 PM ET

Southern Baptists elect first black president

By Becky Perlow, CNN

(CNN) - More than 160 years after its founding as a pro-slavery church, the Southern Baptist Convention on Tuesday elected a black pastor for the first time to lead the denomination.

The election of the Rev. Fred Luter Jr. of New Orleans comes 17 years after Southern Baptist leaders apologized for the denomination's onetime support of white supremacist and segregationist policies.

It also cements years of effort by the church to overcome that divisive heritage.

"Just as some have said that in America race is the original sin, that certainly has been the case among the Southern Baptists," said Curtis Freeman, the director of Duke University's Baptist House of Studies. "It's something that the convention has never been quite able to [get] beyond."

Luter, 55, was unopposed in the election, which occurred Tuesday afternoon at the denomination's annual meeting in New Orleans.

He comes to the presidency after serving one term as vice president of the 16 million member organization, the second-largest denomination in the United States - behind only the Catholic Church. He will replace the Rev. Bryant Wright, the senior pastor at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia.

In February, Luter told the Baptist Press that he felt called to help solve the church's divisive racial heritage.

"It was not on my bucket list, so to speak, but I think God ordained this because of the fact that what we're dealing with right now through the convention is trying to make the convention diverse," Luter said. "I think this will speak not only to our convention but to our country and throughout the world that this convention is serious about reaching all people."

The Southern Baptist Convention was founded by Southern slaveholders in 1845 after Northern Baptists opposed their desire to serve as missionaries. In recent years, the church has tried to shed that racist imprint, reaching out to minorities as both members and members of its clergy.

In a watershed moment in 1995, during its 150th anniversary, the church issued a formal apology for its onetime support of slavery.

Along with Luter's long journey to tear down the racial walls that plague his denomination, blacks have taken over the reigns of some state Baptist organizations while the church has encouraged racially diverse congregations to reach out to one another through missionary work.

In May, Luter told PBS that it is time to close the books on what the church once represented.

"I have a past, you have a past, everybody has a past," he told PBS. "This convention, unfortunately, has a past that we're trying to move forward from, and that's how I look at it. There was apology made, and so it's now time to move on."

Anthea Butler, an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania and a contributing editor at the online magazine Religion Dispatches said Luter's election was "inevitable."

"I mean, it's historic in one sense, but in another sense, it's pretty much par for the course because they were going after this all this time. They knew they had to come into the 20th, 21st century," said Butler.

Luter began as a street preacher in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward who later built the struggling Franklin Avenue Baptist Church from 65 members to more than 8,000 congregants.

He is known for delivering sermons at breakneck speed, said Franklin Avenue church administrator Larry Johnson.

"When you're preaching on the street, you have to be quick to get the attention of the people that are passing by 'cause if you talk slow, then the people just don't get the message," Johnson said.

He has refused to build barriers between himself and parishioners as have some pastors of large churches, and that has endeared him to members, Johnson said.

"He gives of himself to his congregation, and we love him for that. There's no fake about him. He's totally genuine."

Freeman said that Luter's first moves as president will likely be to find ways to bring the racially divided church together in hopes of increasing member loyalty, although this has proved difficult in recent months.

Following the February killing of African-American teen-ager Trayvon Martin by a Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida, and the racial debates that followed, the president of the SBC's ethnic and religious liberty commission chastised President Barack Obama for taking advantage of the situation.

"The president's aides claim he was showing compassion for the victim's family. In reality, he poured gasoline on the racialist fires," Richard Land said at the time.

Critics were outraged at Land's comments, which he later retracted and apologized for to the community.

Luter's election could help change the entire ethos of the denomination, including a potential increase in minority members, Freeman said.

"Anybody who thinks this is just a kind of a show to try to say, 'Well, it's time. We have a black president of the United States, we might as well have a black president of the Southern Baptists [will be] in for a surprise because Fred Luter is a man of conviction, a man who's not just going do what other people are suggesting," he said.

Among other powers, Luter will hold authority to appoint the nominating committee that will choose the denomination's governing board, Freeman said.

"If Fred Luter's leadership in the Southern Baptist could bring at least a step toward better relations between black and white Baptists in the South, then we would all be deeply in his debt," Freeman said.

The church's membership has declined in recent years, according to an annual profile gathered by LifeWay, a resource arm of SBC.

From 2010 to 2011, although the church gained additional churches, it lost almost 160,000, or about 1%, of its members.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • United States

soundoff (379 Responses)
  1. Alien Orifice

    Human walks by worm and does not notice it. Even if human does notice it, the two have no way to communicate.

    Human walks by worm but worm but does not even recognize the human’s presence.

    Human and Worm share 98% DNA.

    In that 2% that is different, we are rendered completely alien to each other.

    Consider how this might affect other forms of life, aliens, even “God” relative to our meager faculties to perceive them.

    There could be a being right next to you, but neither of you can even perceive each other’s existence. 2%

    June 19, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Eric G

      Sorry, you have not provided verifiable evidence that your god exists. Without that verifiable evidencial support, your analogy is illogical.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      But Eric, I have FAITH. Faith makes it real.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Eric, I may have misunderstood your post. I am an atheist so I am not trying to demonstrate that God exists. I am suggesting that even if he did, and was standing (or floating or whatever God does) humans would most likely not have the ability to recognize his (it's) presence. Likewise, and alien or a god or whatever would most likely not have evolved the physical apparatus so comprehend us as living life forms. Much like we can only see the colors of the rainbow, even though if we continued on to the left or right of the visible spectrum, we would see X-Rays and Gamma Rays. We did not evolve to see beyond color.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Truth

      Sound theory I guess...maybe it can explain black's behavior, or should I say lack thereof.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  2. Alkebu

    Congratulations to Rev. Fred Luter Jr. Hope his time in office is a positive, productive, and rewarding one.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  3. myoleman

    It was long overdue. Racism has no place in Christianity. Some sins die slowly. All men were created after God's image.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • niknak

      What image would that be?
      Seems that christians think it is in their image, as every painting of jesus is of a caucasian man.
      Face it bub, we evolved from previous species which is why we are all of the same image. Skin color and body type are just the result of lviing in different environments.
      But that would be science, and I know that is a bad word in your life.
      Except when you need it to cure yourself from some illness.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Evangelical

      @nik

      Adam was created in God's image and we are all decendents of Adam. Did it ever occur to you that image encompasses more than just physical characteristics? Man is a moral being which is something the beasts do not share.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      (sixth day creation – Mankind – both male and female, all races):

      Genesis 1:27

      27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

      Acts 17:26
      26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 

      Amen.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Just Joe

      In response to niknak's comment

      "What image would that be?
      Seems that christians think it is in their image, as every painting of jesus is of a caucasian man.
      Face it bub, we evolved from previous species which is why we are all of the same image. Skin color and body type are just the result of lviing in different environments.
      But that would be science, and I know that is a bad word in your life.
      Except when you need it to cure yourself from some illness."

      to your original comment myoleman:

      niknak if you'd bother to actually learn anything about Christianity or what's in the bible before you attack it you might actually sound intellegent. The bible says we were all one race, the bible says we all came from the same place.

      "Gen.11
      [1] And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
      [2] And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
      [3] And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.
      [4] And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
      [5] And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
      [6] And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language"

      Adaptation is completely different from evolution. As far as I know most Christians readilly accept that organisms change their characteristics to match their environment, it's just evolution that we do not agree to being true. Even if evolution were to be true though it only explains the how of humanity and not the why. Why would you be satisfied with only half an answer to the most important question that has ever been presented to man?

      June 19, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Truth

      The vast differences between human beings and blacks goes WAY beyond skin color, obviously.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  4. CommonSense

    "It was not on my bucket list, so to speak, but I think God ordained this because of the fact that what we're dealing with right now through the convention is trying to make the convention diverse,"

    WOW. What language is that ??? The fictional Jesus doesn't seem to favor intellectuals.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Truth

      Well, we all know just what "diversity" has done to our country....damn near ruined it, and it's still getting worse. Thanks blacks!

      June 20, 2012 at 2:34 am |
  5. sybaris

    "President" of a religious organization.

    Now THAT's funny!

    It's like saying you're President of the Unicorn Club

    June 19, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  6. Alien Orifice

    God created the universe. Many billions of years ago, a life form evolved on a planet not so far distant and their scientists deduced the building blocks for life existed in the universe and from it, new life forms could be created. These ancient ones populated Mars with life and eventually, due to asteroid events over millions of years, life arrived here on Earth. We are a product of that primeval turbulence. Therefore, we must worship the Aliens, not God. The Aliens have to worship God. This is all true because I have faith that it happened just this way.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  7. epespinoza8143

    I belonged to the SBC when I lived in No Carolina. Ys, this is a very welcomed change. Glory to the name of the Lord.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Yes Praise the Lord with banging drums in straw skirts.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Bet

      Pea soup, pea soup, pea soup!

      You hypocritical bigot. Does god teach using the n-word in the bible?

      June 19, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • niknak

      Better yet, praise the gods with really poisonous snakes held over your head while wearing those grass skirts and banging on drums.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Yes HS,
      And praise the Lord by being a sickening bigot and an embarrassment to human beings everywhere. What is for dinner? Spam and Eggs?

      June 19, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      LOL, all the snakes spewing venom at the phony heavensent that hijacked my handle. Too funny.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Bet

      HeavyStench is just an attention wh.ore. I'm sure most christians are embarrassed by her posts.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Foolish Bet, my boss waited over 20 years to get me for providing a black co-worker, union protection. How naive you are.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Bet

      @ HeavyStench

      Pea soup.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Bet, it's not my problem that you're a fool and are clueless that someone hijacked my handle to post the nonsense you want to blast me for.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Bet

      @ HeavyStench

      Pea soup, pea soup, pea soup. Since everything you say is a lie, it doesn't even matter.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  8. darkpoetinc

    Considering Jesus is closer to black race wise then white I'm not surprised by this one bit. I bet the racist democrats known as the Westboro Baptist Cult (err wanna be church) are flipping turds about this! LOL about time someone make them even further distance themselves from the real baptist church!

    June 19, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Sorry Jesus didn't run around with a spear and big droopy lips.

      Amen.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • AZ Wildcat

      You have proven yet again that "Christians" are a hateful bunch of racists, you know, just like you.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Phony heavensent, you're a coward and a pervert for not posting you baloney under your own handle.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Truth

      If Jesus was in fact black, then that proves without a shadow of a doubt that he is no more divine than the very large dump I took this morning.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  9. DingDongIll

    I guess hell must have indeed frozen over.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  10. tevii

    this isnt really news is it?

    June 19, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Not if you care about howling monkeys bobbing around in church.

      Amen.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      What's the matter phony heavensent? Did I post truth to you that you can't handle?

      June 19, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  11. joseph

    I applaud the Southern Baptists for their decision to elect the first black president of their denomination. I am somewhat saddened however that it took this long. Pure Christianity never judges according to race or ethnicity but according to the purity of ones faith. No doubt there have been others worthy of the position in the past who were over looked because they didn't look the part. But is this not why many rejected Christ even though all of the prophecies pointed to the Messiah's appearance at that time – because He did not fit the mold they had painted in their minds. I applaud the SB's now because in doing what they have, they are presenting a more perfect picture of Christ. And isn't this what the world sorely needs – as opposed to behavior no different from the world.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Joseph, what is "pure" Christianity exactly? Additionally, isn't judging people EXACTLY what religion does? That is the whole point! "We are better than you."

      June 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      He is a token howling monkey, nothing more.

      Amen.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Phony heavensent can't handle truth that I posted to one of his posts using another dummy handle. Pathetic comes to mind for you phony heavensent. You prove your side of non-believers play any game to get your way.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Truth

      Yeah, placing a black in charge of anything is a FANTASTIC idea.... /sarcasm

      June 19, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • TaTi

      Man, I love this video. Still one of my all-time favorites.Anyone know what the last two baltte themes are from? I'm thinking the second-to-last one is Bizarro Sephiroth's music in FF7, but I've got no clue on the last one.

      November 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  12. Truth Today

    Amazing we ask if a Black is qualified and assume a White is qualified. When people get in touch with their racist tendencies such skewed assumptions will not occur.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      He is black, it is impossible for him to ever be qualified.

      amen.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Black people focus more on the show. Screaming like howling monkeys and dancing around like chickens. They make a mockery of Jesus.

      Amen.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      The only thing you're proving phony heavensent by stealing my handle to post your nonsense is what a perverted coward you are.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Phoney, phoney, phoney God knows the truth. People can see his wisdom in me and they tell me all the time I am a heaven sent. You are the one who lives a dull life full of lies.

      Amen.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Truth

      There's only one true way a black can be qualified for anything, other than a typical street thug, murder, drug dealer, etc..... affirmative action.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  13. Jake

    Two football teams have coaches that pray for a win; you know only one will. Does that mean God preferred the team that won or is it merely "coincidence" based on probability? Saying that, believing in an omnipitant being to "help you out" is actually very healthy. Those that believe that somehow they will get through hard times because some external force "wills it" are more likely to recover or get through the "hard times" emotionally. This can be illustrated in combat where religious soldiers tend to survive the mental drain more so than atheist. It's probably why more soldiers have commited suicide these days than they did in much more horrible conditions as WW1, WW2 and Vietnam. That is, soldiers these days are not as religious as they used to be. It's a lot easier "hand over your burden" to "something" than to carry it yourself...that's why we go to psychiatrist and/or counselors....to let go of our burden, regardless of how irrational the action is. I suppose it's no more "rational" than picking one color over another. Whatever helps us survive. You will find the most oppressed or most challenged economically will be the most religious as well...it gives them hope. So it's no different with blacks in our country who are more likely to be religious than whites just as Hispanics are. But when we say "southern baptist" who out there thinks "white folks"? It took them this long to elect a black guy? Consevative blacks got used to a black guy being president and they concluded "hell I suppose it's time"?

    June 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Jake, I know where you are trying to go with this, but you have nothing to support it. Any number of external factors could contribute to increased suicide rates. More tours of duty comes to mind right away. My opinion, reality always trumps bullshiit.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Which God??

      Jake, you fool. I'm a combat soldier and an athiest. Have been, even before I enlisted. I've watched your god protected fools die, thinking they were protected, and so took unnecessary chances. Time and again I heard them pray for guidance and protection, they were the good guys, doing gods will. The NVA gunnned them down. Where was their god, who was supposed to protect them in battle? Yes, onward xtian soldier, marching into their graves. They are dead. I honor them as soldiers and men. I'm sad at their false beliefs.

      June 20, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  14. Michelle

    Fred Luter is a great man who is fully qualified for the position. The people on here making racist comments clearly live in a bubble and need to catch up with the times. Pastor Luter will do a great job!

    June 19, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      He is black which means he is not qualified. Blacks have their role in the bible coming from Ham.

      Amen.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      HeavenSent
      You are a hoarder who wallows in your own feces, stepping carefully over your dead cat skeletons to get to the broken refrigerator for some moldy cheese to feed to your starving dogs, all the while not realizing that you have your keyboard stuck so far up the crack of your enormous a.s.s that your next blog is going to smell worse than your arm pits. But you still get to post. So cut a brother some slack!

      June 19, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Wasting your time with such words. God has a plan, know his truth or perish for eternity. Listen and you will hear him.

      Amen.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Bet

      @ HeavyStench

      I fling pea soup in your general direction.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You guys are wasting your talents posting to the phony heavensent that hijacked my handle to post his nonsense.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Bet

      @ HeavyStench

      Right, because you're so believable.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  15. Truth Today

    Well, congratulations to the Southern Baptist. My only question is why did it take 160 years. My hope for White Christians is that they feel that it is no offense to join majority Black churches even as Blacks should feel that there is no harm for joining majority White congregations. As the country darkens, those organizations who embrace diversity may thrive.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      It is called Catholicism

      June 19, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  16. Wilson Ranger

    The Lord is ready when you are. Call to Him. Don't live with an empty heart.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • niknak

      Yes, call to your imaginary friend. I am sure he will make you rich, cure your erectile disfunction, make your team win, help your car to get better, bring you luck and make you live forever.
      And if all those things don't happen after prayer, blame the non believers or the other religions for your personal failures.
      But never question your imaginary friends existence.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Which God??

      Yes. Dial 1-800-god-sucks. Free by-bull for the first true xtian to call.

      June 20, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  17. Na

    where are all the 'teabagger christian moron' attacks from the liberals? guess they treat people different based on skin color...

    June 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • RapidOne

      wow, you're an idiot.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Mormons are foolish in their own right. They are not Christian and will never see heaven. Same goes for Catholics.

      Amen.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      There goes HeavenSent reveling in the thought of eternal suffering. Sociopathy at it's worst folks.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      And some people ask what harm religion does. HeavenSent is your evidence.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You are one of those that refuse to hear my words of wisdom. I pity you.

      Amen.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You are only harming yourself with deaf ears. God is trying to talk to you and you refuse to hear. You will fall very far.

      Amen.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      zzzZZZzzz
      zzzZZZzzz

      Someone wake me when HEavenSent has something new, or even relevant to say.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Just a matter of time before I am blocked again.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      zzzZZZzzz
      zzzZZZzzz

      June 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      HawiiaGuest, you're just as perverted as the phony heavensent that hijacked my handle to spew their baloney. Funny how all you fools were on to post when the phony posted his baloney. Coincident? Tell it to someone who cares what baloney you spew.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      People love the real HeavenSent because the real one is Heaven sent. God's wisdom in me makes me wiser than the smartest fool. The phoney in the world choose to ignore my greatness and wisdom. You hate me because I judge with the authority from God. You will all perish for eternity blotted out.

      Amen.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Bet

      @HeavyStench

      Nothing you post is worthwhile. You're full of hatred and really need to get laid. Or at least sit on your washer during the spin cycle.

      Pea soup.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @HeavenSent

      Still the same old paranoia and persecution complex. I'm going back to sleep.

      zzzZZZzzz
      zzzZZZzzz

      June 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  18. Ashley from Ohio

    The Tea Party isn't gonna' like this news . . .

    June 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  19. A dose of reality

    A few questions should help shed light on the relationship between religion and rational thought.
    The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the field of:
    (a) Astronomy;
    (b) Medicine;
    (c) Economics; or
    (d) Christianity
    You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are a:
    (a) historian;
    (b) geologist;
    (c) NASA astronomer; or
    (d) Christian
    I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am
    (a) A gifted psychologist
    (b) A well respected geneticist
    (c) A highly educated sociologist
    (d) A Christian with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.
    I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am
    (a) a delusional schizophrenic;
    (b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly
    (c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or
    (d) your average Christian
    Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:
    (a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;
    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;
    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or
    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.
    I believe that an all powerful being, capable of creating the entire cosmos watches me have $ex to make sure I don't do anything "naughty". I am
    (a) A victim of child molestation
    (b) A r.ape victim trying to recover
    (c) A mental patient with paranoid delusions
    (d) A Christian
    The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:
    (a) Architecture;
    (b) Philosophy;
    (c) Archeology; or
    (d) Religion
    What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from religion:
    (a) Religion tells people not only what they should believe, but what they are morally obliged to believe on pain of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;
    (b) Religion can make a statement, such as “there is a composite god comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;
    (c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas religion is regional and a person’s religious conviction, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than an accident of birth; or
    (d) All of the above.
    If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:
    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;
    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;
    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or
    (d) my religious belief.
    Who am I? I don’t pay any taxes. I never have. Any money my organization earns is tax free and my own salary is also tax free, at the federal, state and local level. Despite contributing nothing to society, but still enjoying all its benefits, I feel I have the right to tell others what to do. I am
    (a) A sleazy Wall Street banker
    (b) A mafia boss
    (c) A drug pusher; or
    (d) A Catholic Priest, Protestant Minister or Jewish Rabbi.
    What do the following authors all have in common – Jean Paul Sartre, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, John Milton, John Locke, and Blaise Pascal:
    (a) They are among the most gifted writers the World has known;
    (b) They concentrated on opposing dogma and opening the human mind and spirit to the wonders of free thought and intellectual freedom;
    (c) They were intimidated by the Catholic Church and put on the Church’s list of prohibited authors; or
    (d) All of the above.
    The AIDS epidemic will kill tens of millions in poor African and South American countries before we defeat it. Condoms are an effective way to curtail its spread. As the Pope still has significant influence over the less educated masses in these parts of the World, he has exercised this power by:
    (a) Using some of the Vatican’s incomprehensible wealth to educate these vulnerable people on health family planning and condom use;
    (b) Supporting government programs that distribute condoms to high risk groups;
    (c) Using its myriad of churches in these regions to distribute condoms; or
    (d) Scaring people into NOT using condoms, based upon his disdainful and aloof view that it is better that a person die than go against the Vatican’s position on contraceptive use.

    June 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Why Care?

      I am afraid your little test must be ignored due to the lack of impartiality on your part.

      June 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • WillieLove

      sodmite is a learned art ...

      June 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Good stuff reality. Also, not just 7 billion people, but also all other (intelligent?) life in a universe with 7 trillion trillion stars and most likely more planets than stars. And that is assuming this is the only universe. What if we live in a multi-verse? What if the cosmos itself is infinate. 7 billion people taking center stage. Hilarious.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Why Care?

      Who said we are the center of it all? Rather narrow view on your part AO.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • BATTLE MAIDEN, BATTLE MAIDEN, WHO IS LIKE ALMIGHTY G-D!!!

      PRAISES AND THANKSGIVING TO THE GREAT 'I AM' HOLY FATHER, HOLY LORD JESUS MESSIAH, HOLY SPIRIT, WWNE!!!, FATHER, IN THE MIGHTY NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES, LORD JESUS, PLEASE HAVE MERCY ON THIS SOUL IN DANGER OF E-T-E-R-N-A-L DAMNATION, LEAD him or her, TO Y-O-U-!!!, Dear Dose , Just once, open 'your' mind to consider, is there the .9999999999........ percent chance that there is an eternal HELL?, would it be worth your while to just ASK? THE ALMIGHTY G-D is not deaf or dumb, 'HE' can and will speak to even 'you'. In stupid (G-D'S WORDS, foolishness of preaching) childlike faith, get on your pride-full knees and ASK! G-D are YOU real, WHO IS LORD JESUS MESSIAH, dust off your greatgrandmothers BIBLE, KING JAMES, and read the good news of JOHN, what can it hurt? but what if you don't??????

      June 19, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Why Care?

      Tone down the caps goof. Your sarcasm doesn't need to be screamed.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • My Question

      Whether you know it or not you have some type of faith, faith that the Scientific or Economist is right...but there's only one thing you may never know, just like us, we don't know but we have faith that God is there...but look...if you are right...it won't hurt me as a Christian because I'll die living as if I've helped those around me and will be at peace, and hey you may the same...but if you're wrong...I'll be going to Heaven...where on the other hand...with your non belief, you won't be...thats what faith is...so I'll keep believing until God takes me home...and I'm praying for you ma'am/sir bc you are motivation...motivation for us to keep pushing the word...nothings perfect on this Earth and we aren't not even Science, nor Astronomy, nor Economics but my belief has taught me that I serve someone who is...

      June 19, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Why Care
      Good point, BUT I have NEVER met a religious person who thinks God is concerned with anything but humans.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • niknak

      No, his test will be ignored because most religious people have closed thier minds and don't have the balls to question the adsurdity of the bull that their religion puts out.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Bet

      WillieLove said:
      "sodmite is a learned art ..."

      Is that anything like Vegemite?

      June 19, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Bet

      WillieLove said:
      "sodmite is a learned art ..."

      Is that anything like Vegem.ite?

      June 19, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  20. Naija

    I am sure he will eventually be blamed for everything real and unreal.

    June 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Thepiscopalian

      +1

      June 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
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About this blog

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