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Would Jesus support health care reform?
Jesus depicted healing a sick child.
June 28th, 2012
08:45 AM ET

Would Jesus support health care reform?

Editor’s note: This piece ran earlier this year, but we’re spotlighting it now because of Thursday’s health care decision from the Supreme Court. The story generated more than 3,000 comments, including these two:

David Nelson
It is sad that Jesus has been demoted to being a politician. Jesus plainly said "My Kingdom is not of this world." Movements to use Him to promote their agendas, whether they be on the Left or Right, are extremely suspect in the eyes of this Christian.

kateslate
Jesus would SO have been a democrat. He taught us to care for the sick...not to profit off illness. I don't know how Republicans can live with themselves and call themselves Christian.

What’s your take?

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - He was a healer, a provider of universal health care, a man of compassion who treated those with preexisting medical conditions.

We don’t know what Jesus thought about the individual mandate or buying broccoli. But we do know how the New Testament describes him. The Gospels are filled with stories of Jesus physically healing the most vulnerable and despised people in his society.

References to Jesus, of course, didn’t make into the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s hearings on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Yet there is a moral dimension to this epic legal debate:

How should the nation help its “least of these,” an estimated 50 million Americans who can’t afford health insurance, as well as those who could go broke or die because they can’t afford medical care?

Christians are as divided about this question as others. Many cite Jesus, but come up with completely different conclusions.

Trust God or government?

Tom Prichard, a Lutheran and president of the Minnesota Family Council, said it’s ultimately about faith.  Who do we trust – God or government?

He opposes “Obamacare” because he has more faith in the market and people, than government.

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

“Here Jesus’ words come to mind about not worrying and trusting God to meet our basic needs,” Prichard wrote in an online post warning about the dangers of “government run health care.” “Or if we believe it all depends on us, we’ll look to government.”

When reached at his Minnesota office,Prichard elaborated: He said the nation should empower families and individuals to make health-care decisions. If families can’t afford health insurance, private and public entities like churches and nonprofits should step in, he said.

“We all have the same goal,”Prichard said. “We want all people to have health care, even people who can’t afford it. I would argue that having the government be the primary vehicle for providing it is not going to get us to that goal. It’s going to make the situation worse.”

Carl Raschke, a religious studies professor at the University of Denver, evoked Jesus’ words about Rome and taxation.

Raschke cited the New Testament passage when Jesus, after being asked if Jews should pay taxes to Rome, said that people should "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."

Jesus was against strictly political or economic solutions because he thought they were too easy when it comes to the real challenges of human life, Raschke said.

“Writing checks won’t solve social problems,” Raschke said. “One has to get involved. If we see someone in need, we just don’t throw a dollar at him or her. You get to know them, you offer yourself, and ask what you can do for them.”

Helping the Good Samaritans of our day

There are some Christians, though, who say that charity isn’t enough to solve the nation’s health care problems.

An estimated 32 million Americans could lose health insurance if “Obamacare” is struck down, including children who can stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26 and seniors who get help paying for their drug prescriptions. Most observers say health care costs would continue to rise.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

Some people believe the health care situation in America would be scandalous to Jesus because he was a prophet concerned about social justice.

Steven Kraftchick, a religious scholar, said Jesus comes out of the tradition of Jewish prophets who preached that the health of a society could be measured by how well they took care of “its widows and orphans,” those who had the least power.

Kraftchick said there’s a famous story in the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus heals such a person. He was the man who called himself Legion. He might have been called homeless and mentally ill. The man roamed a graveyard, so tormented that even chains could not hold him and everyone feared him, Mark wrote.

Jesus healed the man not only physically, but socially as well, according to Mark. The man returned to his community with a sense of dignity, said Kraftchick, a professor at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta.

“A move toward universal health care would be fitting with the prophetic traditions,” Kraftchick said. “When you read the New Testament and look at the signs of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God, it’s always connected to being physically healed.”

Yet Marcia Pally, an authority on evangelicals, said many evangelicals are wary of government doing the healing.  Their reasons go back centuries.

Many are the descendants of people who fled Europe because of religious persecution from countries and state churches. They fought a revolution against a government in England.  And they settled a frontier, where the virtue of self-reliance was critical, said Pally, author of “The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good.”

Suspicion of government is part of their historical and religious experience, said Pally, a professor at Fordham University and New York University.

Those attitudes, though, may be changing. Pally said she spent six years traveling across America to interview evangelicals. She discovered that a new generation of evangelists now believes that certain issues are too big and complex to be addressed by charity alone.

“Some note that charity is very good at the moment of emergency relief but it doesn’t change the underlying problem  unless structures that keep people poor, sick or deny their access to health insurance are changed,” she said.

No matter what the Supreme Court decides, the legal debate will continue. If more Americans go broke or die because they do not have health insurance, more Americans may ask, what would Jesus do?

But don’t expect any easy answers from the Bible, said Raschke, the religious studies professor at the University of Denver.

“People are always looking for support from the Bible for American political positions,” Rashke said. “Would Jesus be against abortion, or would he support a woman’s right to choose? It’s almost become a standard joke in the theological world that you quote Jesus in American politics to support your political views.

“The teachings of Jesus do not fit into the views of any political party."

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Health care • Jesus • Politics

soundoff (5,234 Responses)
  1. Perpetua

    "There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
    -Albert Einstein

    June 30, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."
      - Albert Einstein

      June 30, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  2. Just call me Lucifer

    Asking if jesus would support healthcare reform is tantamount to asking if Spiderman would support healthcare reform.
    They are both fictional characters.

    June 30, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      oh, but what would Hercules do?

      CNN = fail journalism

      June 30, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  3. Jack

    Hello. Everyone is cordially invited to visit ... thestarofkaduri.com

    June 30, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      looks like your typical religious zealot website.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  4. Bootyfunk

    here's jesus being a complete jerk.

    a woman comes to jesus begging him to heal her demon-possessed daughter. jesus berates her for crying then says he is only here to heal jews. then he calls her race dogs. once she finally agrees she's a dog, he decides to help her. cruel and racist.

    Mathew 15:21-28
    21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
    22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
    23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
    24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
    25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
    26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
    27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
    28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

    yeah, jesus sure sounds like a loving and compassionate guy...

    June 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • nope

      @bottyfunk
      Here is you being a complete jerk

      June 30, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • nottolate

      @Bootyfunk,

      "here's jesus being a complete jerk."

      No, that is you not understanding fully what you are reading.:

      it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs; which he said, to try her faith the more, and make it the more illustrious; and that not so much from his own sense of things, as in the language of the Jewish people, and which she might not be a stranger to. By "the children", are meant the Jews, to whom the adoption belonged; who, as a nation and people, were the children of God in a large sense; being distinguished by many blessings and favours, which others had not, and being under the more peculiar care and notice of God; not that all of them were the children of God by special grace: by "the bread"; which belonged to them, is meant the external ministry of the word, and the miracles of Christ wrought among them: and particularly such outward favours which related to the good of the bodies of men, by healing their diseases, and dispossessing them of devils: and by "the dogs" are designed the Gentiles, so called by the Jews in a way of contempt, because of their ignorance, idolatry, and impurity. Christ here speaks not his own mind, as if he reproached the Gentiles, and held them in scorn and contempt, but uses the common dialect of the people; and which, this woman, living upon the borders of the Israelitish nation, was acquainted with; so that it was not so shocking and surprising, or quite so discouraging, as it would otherwise have been. The Jewish doctors say {k}, that the idolatrous Gentiles are not called men, that they are comparable to the beasts or the field {l}, to oxen, rams, goats {m}, and asses {n}: the foetus in the bowels of a Canaanitish servant, they say {o},

      June 30, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Perpetua

      Who was God's first covenant with? If you knew that Funky chapter 15 would make sense.

      June 30, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @not

      wrong. i would wager i have more understanding of the bible than you do. i've read the bible from cover to cover with historical, religious and skeptical study guides. you are making excuses for the cruelty of the bible. read that passage again and be a little more honest with yourself.

      "it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs; which he said, to try her faith the more, and make it the more illustrious"

      yes, by degrading her, jesus was trying to make her a better person. basically, jesus says bow down to me and my father or your child is undeserving of my help.

      i've read your christian excuses for this and other awful views expressed in the bible, like the support of slavery. they are excuses what our modern sense of ethics/morality would find atrocious. so you twist the words until something disgusting, like how jesus made this woman beg and degrade herself before he would help her, and you make it into something "good". it's almost laughable. anyone that doesn't agree with your feeble excuses just doesn't understand what they're reading. pathetic excuse for the cruelty of the bible.

      June 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • nope

      @bottyfunk
      You have proved to be ignorant of the Bible repeatedly.

      June 30, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • nope

      @bottyfunk
      Rarely is someone shown to be as ignorant of Bible knowledge as you. A Christian child could outsmart you in Bible knowledge with no effort.

      June 30, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows.
      - Mark Twain

      June 30, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you've got to be kidding me. stop making excuses for bad behavior. i know he's your messiah. i know you're in a cult that discourages critical thinking. but stop and read that passage and try to be honest. jesus isn't being cruel? you're not being honest. jesus was a jerk to that woman.

      @nope
      you throw out insults, but fail to explain how i'm wrong. you're just... fail.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Multiple posts by 'nope' in this thread are instances of the ad hominem fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      June 30, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      ty Fallacy 🙂

      christians hate facts.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • it has been established

      many times that fallacy spotter knows less about fallacy than bottyfunk knows about Bible ...an almost impossible accomplishment

      June 30, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      another fail post by a religious zombie.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • nope

      sounds like Truth to me.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • nottolate

      @Bootyfunk,

      "wrong. i would wager i have more understanding of the bible than you do. i've read the bible from cover to cover with historical, religious and skeptical study guides. you are making excuses for the cruelty of the bible. read that passage again and be a little more honest with yourself."

      Dude, every single one of your post shows without question that you would lose such a wager badly. You claim to have read the bible, but we know you do not understand what you read having not having the Spirit of God to illuminate the text for you. You did know about that, right?

      "it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs; which he said, to try her faith the more, and make it the more illustrious"

      "i've read your christian excuses for this and other awful views expressed in the bible, like the support of slavery. they are excuses what our modern sense of ethics/morality"

      Excuses, what excuses? I find absolutely nothing wrong with slavery as long as one adheres to the law. Don't you know every single Christian spoke just as you before God came and got us and show us we were wrong the whole time? Know your true condition.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • looks like no one

      buys bottyfunks lame ramblings
      bottyfunk = loser

      June 30, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "You claim to have read the bible, but we know you do not understand what you read having not having the Spirit of God to illuminate the text for you. You did know about that, right?"

      no, i knew about the 'spirit of god'. i was a bapt.ist in my youth before i started thinking for myself. basically, you're saying only if you're in the christian cult can you understand how jesus doing something cruel was actually doing something nice. lol. perfect example of brainwashing.

      June 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "Excuses, what excuses? I find absolutely nothing wrong with slavery as long as one adheres to the law. Don't you know every single Christian spoke just as you before God came and got us and show us we were wrong the whole time? Know your true condition."

      wow. i can't believe you just said you don't see anything wrong with slavery, arguably the most evil inst.itution ever inflicted by man on his fellow man. are you absolutely insane? or just a terrible person? the funny thing is, i give you credit for not making excuses about slavery and saying you support it - it matches the views of yahweh and the bible. but it does show what a desp.icable person you are and how disgusting the bible is.

      anytime christians don't like a criticism of the bible, they cry "you just don't understand." wrong. you don't understand. take off the rose colored glasses.

      June 30, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • nottolate

      "no, i knew about the 'spirit of god'. i was a bapt.ist in my youth before i started thinking for myself. basically, you're saying only if you're in the christian cult can you understand how jesus doing something cruel was actually doing something nice. lol. perfect example of brainwashing."

      You poor fool, for do you not know that out of thy own mouth you proclaim your reprobation? And for this very cause it is written,

      1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,1
      2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
      3 And this will we do, if God permit.
      4 For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
      5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
      6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame.

      You are in a very dangerous place. Examine your own words.

      July 1, 2012 at 1:20 am |
  5. Robert Brown

    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=JB02JJNU

    June 30, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  6. billdeacons

    We despise all reverences and all the objects of reverence which are outside the pale of our own list of sacred things. And yet, with strange inconsistency, we are shocked when other people despise and defile the things which are holy to us.
    – Following the Equator

    Mark Twai

    June 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Man is a marvelous curiosity … he thinks he is the Creator's pet … he even believes the Creator loves him; has a passion for him; sits up nights to admire him; yes and watch over him and keep him out of trouble. He prays to him and thinks He listens. Isn't it a quaint idea.
      - Mark Twain: Satan, writing back to his friends in Heaven upon visiting Earth, showing his contempt toward this curious invention, Man, after having a few days earlier earlier been banished for a thousand years for so doing prior to investigation, in Letters from the Earth (1909?; published in 1962)

      June 30, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  7. Voice of Reason

    You guys could have saved trillions of dollars if your Congress just mandated that every American had to serve in the military. You all wouldn't be so fat and lazy and poor mannered and mentally weak any more.

    June 30, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      I don't know about trillions, but it probably wouldn't hurt. They could also end tax exemption for religioius organizations. That would put hundreds of billions back into the system according to some estimations. As a compromise, that money could go to things that religious groups claim to be doing like feeding the hungry and getting medical attention for the sick.

      June 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      nah, they wake up too early.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  8. Jill

    Rainer Brandlein, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

    So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

    Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

    Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

    Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

    And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

    June 30, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Jill

      I don't see any similarity between my text and yours.

      Your text is foolish, hence my text must be meaningful, because it is the opposite of yours.

      June 30, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Rainer Brandlein' is an instance of an illicit conversion fallacy.

      http://fallacyfiles.org

      June 30, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Paul

      Brandlein I think she was making a comment on the length of your rambling. Geez get a life.

      June 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Rainer, you post and this post are identical.

      June 30, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  9. Rainer Braendlein

    Health care is a good thing in itself, but it comprises some perils.

    The mankind consists of two kinds of people: believers in Christ and disbelievers.

    If someone is a believer in Christ, the Christian Church is the community, which takes care of him, spiritually and physically.

    The state is not a community, but a power of order and progress and security. The state insures order and progress and security of the people of a country. This task of the state does not depend on the fact, if someone is a believer or not. Doubtlessly health care is something good for everybody, believer or not.

    The only danger, I see, is that the state exaggerates his care and wants to be something like a church. That would be terrible and harmful.

    Furthermore by too much health care possibly the state can keep away sick people from the Church or the Lord of the Church. Athough a disease is something uncomfortable, it can be a blessing, if someone understands it spiritually. There is some connection between sin and diseases. Diseases can be visible signs for our deep sinfulness, which actually needs to be treated. Hence, when we get ill, we should first think about our spiritual state and after that about health care and physician. Maybe our disease could lead us to the supreme physician Jesus, which can cure soul and body, not only body.

    June 30, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      I am the Lord, your Physician!

      (by the theologian Dr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

      In the middle of the merry nature we see, how a paralyzed child is driven in a wheelchair. Somebody, who still has a heart, which is not insensible to his neighbour, he will realize in that moment that something is wrong with our world, that the world, in which such a torture and sadness is possible, cannot be the genuine creation of God. Something anti-divine must have befallen the world. The world has apostated from her genesis. Destroying powers have seized rule in this world.

      Only in a world having become godless, there is malady. Because the world suffers from God, therefore there are sick people. Solely a world, which would be secure in God, a delivered world, would be without any malady. In the Bible we encounter a strange sentence: “12 And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease [was] exceeding [great]: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians.” (2. Chron. 16, 12). It is about a devout man there, which the Bible else gives high praise for his zeal, regarding God’s matter. But this man, despite his devoutness, thought very modern, so that he strictly distinguished between matters of religion, in which someone calls on God, and the earthly matters, in which someone asks for help at earthly bodies. Diseases, particularly physical diseases are earthly matters with earthly causes and earthly cures. Consequently diseases are matters of physicians, but not of God. How could someone be allowed to bother God, the Lord of the world, with his small physical maladies? God has other concerns.

      That is thought pretty reasonable and maybe even religious. But it is wrong. Surely, diseases have their earthly causes and earthly cures. But with that is stated not at all everything and not the crucial thing about the essence of disease. For sure, the invalid shall call on a physician. But the most important thing is not done solely with that, and is not realized. Behind the earthly causes and cures there are supernatural causes and supernatural cures of the disease. As long as someone passes by thereon, someone lives, ignoring his disease, and doesn’t realize its essence. Its blessing or curse remain unrecognized.

      The disease belongs to God in a special way. The Bible doesn’t blame a man for calling on a physician, when he is sick, but for not calling also on God. Not by chance, Christ lived noticeably close by the invalids, not by chance, blind man, paralytics, deaf-mutes, lepers, lunatics were irresistibly attracted by him and seeked his community. Why didn’t Christ send them to the physician? Surely not, in order to damage the reputation of the physicians or to present his own skills and suggestiv powers, but in order to make clear that God and malady and that Christ and invalids belong strongly together.

      Christ wants to be the real physician of the invalids. “I am the Lord, your physician!” (Exodus 15, 26). God says that, Christ says that. The Creator and Deliverer of the world wants to be the physician of the invalid. Do we want to spurn this offer, after we have accepted so many less offers with more or less success?

      One, who merely intuits the connection between God and malady, one, who takes serious the unexpected offer, can get a pointer to the sin of the human beings, to the destruction of the community of the creatures with their Creator.

      Here are the supernatural reasons and abysses of the malady. It is the sin of the world and it is my personal sin, I get reminded. My disease doesn’t have to be the consequence of or the punishment for a certain sin, which I had to accuse myself of, that may happen, but it is not necessaryly the case. Yet every disease will let me look into the depth of the sin of the world and the depth of my personal godlessness. This look drives me to God. When I looked into the abyss (of my sin), I don’t first ask for redemption of this or that malady, but I will confess my longly hidden guilt in the face of God. The physical malady wants to show me that my actual malady goes much deeper, so deep that no earthly physician can cure it, because my actual disease is my sin. Not merely my body, my nerves, my temper is sick, but my whole essence, my heart is sick, sick by disbelieve, by fear, by the godlessness of my life. And which healthy man doesn’t suffer from that furtive and at the same time eerie disease?

      Now I know that I can be helped, if my whole essence becomes healthy, safe and new. How can that happen? The answer is very simple and yet touches the ultimate depth of our life: by true private confession and by divine forgiveness of all my sins. That may seem to be a strange turn and solution of this question for some people, but yet only for someone, who has not yet experienced the cure of the whole man by confession and forgiveness. What is confession? To open up oneself with all one’s sins, weaknesses, vices, maladies to Jesus Christ and to give him the whole heart without any reservation, according to his command. That is not easy and may seem to us harder than a dangerous surgery. Normally, the most of us will need a fraternal helper for that, who assists us at confession, may it be the pastor holding an ecclesiastical office, may it be any member of the congregation, who knows more about Christ than I. What is forgiveness? Extinction of all my whole hopeless, messy, failed past (of which maybe only I know) by God’s decree and by the present of a new and happy beginning of my life.

      Who can give me such a new beginning? Nobody else than solely the crucified and living Jesus Christ, who himself experienced the hopelessness of life on himself and overcame it in the communion of God. He is the sole physician, who knows my deepest malady, who himself has beared it. He is the saviour, who can cure heart, soul and body.

      How is forgivness of sins connected with physical cure? More than the most people intuit. Of course it is a mysterious connection. But isn’t it at least so much comprehensible, that a man, who got again a happy and released heart, will get rid of some physical complaint? The body often becomes ill, because it is not ruled, because it has become its own Lord. But now the body has get again his right Lord, who rules it. The body is no longer the Lord. It is only tool, even more than that, it has become “temple of the Holy Spirit”. There are many maladies, which are not visibly subdued and eradicated by the assurance of forgiveness. But the hidden connection of received forgiveness and physical cure can become visible in such a way that medical limits are bursted, and the physicians face a mystery. One is sure: The faith is a source for cure like the disbelief is a source for destruction and sickness of the body and the soul.

      When Christ calls himself the physician of the invalid, then the divine mercy shines upon every invalid. The sick one belongs to God. At him God wants to materialize his salvation. In the ill brother we encounter God’s mercy, who is the physician of the invalid in Jesus Christ. The sick man wants cure, but Christ gives him more: Salvation.

      Originator of the above sermon: Dr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (in my eyes, he is a king)

      June 30, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Arvoasitis

      A couple of points:
      A certain bishop once remarked that there are two classes of people; those who divide people into two classes, and those who don't.
      The argument has been made that pain is physical, suffering is mental (or spiritual, if you prefer). The job of the clinics and hospitals is the physical aspects of health care. Your worry that they might usurp the spiritual functions of the religious community seems to have no foundation.

      June 30, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Arvoasitis

      I think the thought that there is a connection between our sinfulness and our diseases more and more disappears in our Western societies.

      Of course, the state is responsible for the health of all citizens, no matter if they believe in Christ or not. But beside delivering physical health care the state could give some pointers sometimes that there is a marvelous place, where people could find holistic health: The Christian Church.

      I am no Pentecostal but a Lutheran. The great mistake of the Pentecostals and charismatic churches is that they make a public show out of healing and a business. They don't understand, how cure should be handled today.

      Correct handling of cure: Cure must be always connected with confession of sins in the face of a pastor or any Christian brother. This act takes place very privatly and only inside the Church. The point is to help the sick person, not more.

      The miracles of Jesus were also connected with cure of the soul, but had the further meaning to prove his divine sonship. Today miracles inside the Church have no more the meaning to prove anything, but only to heal the invalid physically and mentally.

      June 30, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Jill

      Rainer Brandlein, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

      So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

      Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas. Verify before strumming.

      Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

      Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

      And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      June 30, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "I think the thought that there is a connection between our sinfulness and our diseases more and more disappears in our Western societies."

      God keeps getting smaller and smaller.

      June 30, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  10. ElmerGantry

    Well gotta go for a while.

    Everyone have a great day! 🙂

    Special thanks to posters "....." and "Atheism is not..." for the laughter. You two are simply hilarious.;)

    June 30, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  11. ElmerGantry

    "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things" was perfectly created by a perfect god just for our entertainment.

    June 30, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Keep up the good work "Atheism is not..."

      I count on you for my daily dose of medical laughter.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • .....

      Multiple bull sh it alert avoid reading and hit report abuse on all Elmer Gantry garbage posts

      June 30, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Danger Will Robinson, danger danger!

      Censor censor.

      Silence this opposing view.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • .....

      Don't talk with your mouth full Elmer

      June 30, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      @.....

      Since when is the use of "sentence enhancers", like the one you used, a Christian family value?

      P.S. most unimaginative screen name ever.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Boy really hit a nerve here.

      "....." is so strongly defending that it seems very likely that "....." and "Atheism is not..." are the same person with different screen names.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • .....

      nope, just concerned that you do not know the difference between sh it and shineola and do not want you infecting others with the stupid virus. Motivated by concern for 7 billion on the planet , no "nerve" involved.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Thanks for your never ending supply of chuckles.

      Hey have considered a job as a comedian.

      You could make biiiiiig money on FOX

      June 30, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • billdeacons

      The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also. I would not interfere with any one's religion, either to strengthen it or to weaken it. I am not able to believe one's religion can affect his hereafter one way or the other, no matter what that religion may be. But it may easily be a great comfort to him in this life–hence it is a valuable possession to him.
      – Mark Twain, a Biography

      June 30, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • ROBERT RAY

      TO ELMER FUDD..YOU DELUSIONAL FOOL. WHILE ATHIEST HAVE KILLED NOONE,YOU CHRISTIAN IDIOTS HAVE MURDERED 60 MILLIOION PEOPLE IN THE NAME OF god. AND YOU TALK TO MUCH.

      June 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • ROBERT RAY

      TO ELMER FUDD..YOU DELUSIONAL FOOL. WHILE ATHIEST HAVE KILLED NOONE,YOU CHRISTIAN IDIOTS HAVE MURDERED 60 MILLIOION PEOPLE IN THE NAME OF god. AND YOU TALK TO MUCH. THE CNN PROTECTORS AT WORK..

      June 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things,

    June 30, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Trolling, trolling, trolling.

      Yeeeee Haaaaaaw

      June 30, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Mirosal

      It cannot change anything. This according to Christian doctrine.

      June 30, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • truth be told

      Truth is never trolling

      June 30, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • .....

      Bull sh it alert , avoid reading Mirosal posts and hit report abuse on all its garbage.

      June 30, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      A troll is as a troll does,

      If the shoe fits then wear it!

      June 30, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Mirosal

      Just exactly WHAT does prayer change? Be specific, and cite your CREDIBLE sources.

      June 30, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven
      Powerful

      June 30, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      @.....

      There we have the disinformation tactic of trying to censor opposing views.

      One of the tactics of one who has no viable, logical, or well reasoned comment.

      Silence the opposition!

      June 30, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      @Mirosal why bother asking for logical, viable, well reasoned reply.
      You will not get a logical, viable, well reasoned response.

      You already got one call for censorship.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • .....

      Try to learn the difference between sh it and shineola. In Elmers case it may come to taste.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      @.....

      Most intelligent comment of the day.

      Just kidding

      These are the type of comments posted by someone with no viable, logical, or well reasoning.

      You know where you would have fun posting, at FOX NEWS. Try that and see how it works.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      @.....

      Tell me how is that name calling and general innuendo workin fo ya?

      June 30, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • .....

      The truth always works. How is the tasting going for you?

      June 30, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      @.....

      So you are not denying that you use the disinformation tactics of name calling and innuendo.

      Only using the disinformation tactic of attempting to redirect the conversation. Failed.

      The conversation is about you use of name calling and innuendo.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • .....

      Swallow it or spit it out Elmer.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Keep it up "....."

      This laughter is very healthy.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • billdeacons

      Mark Twain on teh occasion of his 67th birth day:

      We were good boys, good Presbyterian boys, and loyal and all that; anyway, we were good Presbyterian boys when the weather was doubtful; when it was fair, we did wander a little from the fold.

      June 30, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  13. humayankabir

    If God fix this & our all problam,May u must be thanks God? U People so Good,dont be carze.your country must be Win,u all USA must be vote -is God say....OMABA.....is Good. No more ..........& fath Me & parra Me? I am "hk" u all of Doaa Me............ OMABA IS THE BEAST IN THE WORLD. Jesus ............u follow......am i comeing back.

    June 30, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Mirosal

      Next time you post, please use English, and have someone who isn't speaking English as a 4th language check your spelling.

      June 30, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Most intelligent comment of the day award,

      JUST KIDDING😉

      However I do suspect that this is an example of Poe's Law.

      June 30, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • billdeacons

      From Eruption by Mark Twain:

      I do not know what we should do without the pulpit. We could better spare the sun–the moon, anyway

      June 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  14. ElmerGantry

    Sorry that this is a double post, but I am putting this reply to a different post so it does not get "lost" below,

    Then why do have to pray to make changes in the world?

    Would not an all perfect, all knowing, all powerful, all caring god already,
    1) have the knowledge of what problems need to be changed?
    2) have the compassion to change them
    3) have the ability to change them.
    4) actually change them

    All without a need for us to pray to god to do it?

    Did not a perfect god create everything in a perfect world? How could a perfect god greate anything less than a perfect world?
    That means that god created the following as part of god's perfect world.

    1) the devil, this perfect god created everything and every created thing is perfect, right?
    2) Malaria
    3) Polio,
    4) Chicken Pox
    5) Dengue
    6) Small Pox
    7) Bubonic Plague
    8) Swine Flu
    9) the appropriate vectors to transmitt the above and more diseases among people
    10) a less than perfect genome in which mutations and other mechanisms can wreck havoc with our bodies
    11) homösëxuality
    12) hatred
    13) jealousy
    14) much much more

    A perfect, all-caring, all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present god created this and much much more as part of this perfect world.

    And then if we mere mortals want to make changes to god's perfect world we must pray to have that done?
    Why do we mere mortals think we are smarter than god that we should pray to change gods perfectly created world?
    Do we really think that we can change the mind of an all-knowing god? What arrogance Christians are displaying!

    Why would a perfect god make changes to gods perfect creation?

    June 30, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Error,
      ... perfect god create anything less...

      June 30, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  15. Shwmin

    Maybe obamacare can cure the disease of atheism that is infecting this country....

    June 30, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • JWT

      What could possibly be wrong with atheism ?>

      June 30, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • common sense needed

      Atheists have murdered more people in the last100 years than were killed in all previous centuries.

      June 30, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • Mirosal

      Because philosophy is all about life's questions that you might never find an answer to. Religion is all about "answers" that you may NEVER question. Atheists question the religious, and the religious give answers from a 2000 year old book filled with 3000 year old stories. When we question about the source of that book, then the religious get riled up.

      June 30, 2012 at 7:18 am |
    • great intellect my ass

      Stupidity tends to rile people up. Mensa my ass

      June 30, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • JWT

      Atheists don't kill people because they are atheists.

      June 30, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • common sense needed

      @jwt
      Explain that to the 24 million atheist Joe Stalin murdered.

      June 30, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • JWT

      24 million – proobably way on the low side.

      He didn't murder them because he was an atheist – he would have killed them just as quick if he;d been religious too.

      June 30, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • common sense needed

      But he wasn't religious. Stalin murdered because he was an atheist as did Mao,Ho, Pol Pot, Castro, Hitler and all the others in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe. Whenever an atheist has ruled as a dictator millions have died. Atheism = murderer. A direct factual link.

      June 30, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • Mirosal

      @ common sense ... try developing a little common sense, and while you're at it, take a political science class, along with a little world history. Then you'll know why Stalin did what he did.

      June 30, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • JWT

      You can believe that if you want – although Hitler was very religious.

      Religion is not some magical pathway to morality. Common sense distates that also

      June 30, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • WASP

      @no common sense: stalin, hitler, pao all the other quote unquote atheist leaders;
      1) never killed as many people as all the war-lord popes throughout history
      2) couldn't match the number of people murdered by regular people using the bible as their excuse for genocide/ ethnic cleansing
      3) murdered people for power not due to any religious belief or lack there of.
      4) christians keep beating that dead horse over those few individuals but that horse don't run, so let it go you all lose on that point everytime.

      June 30, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • Mirosal

      And while you're at it, research the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the early exploration of the New world. Read about the atrocities suffered by the native peoples of North and South America, all in the name of your "christian god"

      June 30, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • common sense needed

      The facts are there, atheists have killed more people in the last 100 years than were killed in all previous centuries.

      June 30, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • great intellect my ass

      @mirosal
      mensa my ass

      June 30, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • JWT

      Even if it were true – your average atheist is no different than your average religious person – and just as moral.

      June 30, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • WASP

      the biggest mistake mother nature did was give a hairless,violent ape higher brain function.

      June 30, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • Mirosal

      Let us not forget that in your own "holy text", your "god" killed EVERYTHING on this planet, except for one little boat, and also the genocide of entire races. Killing all life on this planet ... hmmm... I think what paraniod political rulers did pales by comparison to that.

      June 30, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • tallulah13

      I think that this person who called them self "common sense needed" chose a correct name. He/She could use some common sense, or at least some historical education.

      June 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 30, 2012 at 6:33 am |
  17. spoddney

    I obtained my medical degree 32 years ago, have been a lung transplant physician for 15 years(5 years as an intensivist before that) in Australia. I have also worked in the US and the UK.

    A couple of months ago I had a conversation with an experienced physician who was also a devout Southern Baptist.
    He is an editor of The Journal of Biblical and Medical Ethics.

    It was his opinion that from a biblical perspective Health Care should only ever be funded by private insurance and the Church.
    The government should never be involved.

    Interestingly he considered transplantation to be gravely immoral as he ferverently disagreed with the concept of brain death.
    He felt that the discontinuation of ventilation etc amounted to murder of the donor.

    Needless to say we disagreed (amicably) about these and many other issues.

    June 30, 2012 at 4:16 am |
    • just wondering

      You do transplants but can't figure out how not to double post the same comment?

      June 30, 2012 at 6:42 am |
  18. spoddney

    I obtained my medical degree 32 years ago, have been a lung transplant physician for 15 years(5 years as an intensivist before that) in Australia. I have also worked in the US and the UK.

    A couple of months ago I had a conversation with an experienced physician who was also a devout Southern Baptist.
    He is an editor of The Journal of Biblical and Medical Ethics.

    It was his opinion that from a biblical perspective Health Care should only ever be funded by private insurance and the Church.
    The government should never be involved.

    Interestingly he considered transplantation to be gravely immoral as he ferverently disagreed with the concept of brain death.

    Needless to say we disagreed (amicably) about these and many other issues.

    June 30, 2012 at 4:14 am |
  19. ElmerGantry

    I happened to be scrolling thru previous posts and found these two very insightful posts by Tom, Tom the Piper's Son
    They deserve reposting at the top.

    Congrats Tom, Tom

    Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
    Hey, if Jesus needs me to fix problems, he's not omnipotent.

    June 29, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |

    Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
    If God is omnipotent, then he's the one allowing people to be born gay. If he doesn't want them that way, he should stop making them that way.

    June 29, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |

    Very well stated.

    June 30, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      the short answer, of course, is there's no such thing as god.

      June 30, 2012 at 3:21 am |
    • just sayin

      The basic premise is wrong in both statements. God never needs our help. God allows us partnership with Him in a loving relationship, and no one is born ho mo se xual although we are all born with a sin nature. God bless

      June 30, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Then why do have to pray to make changes in the world?

      Would not an all perfect, all knowing, all powerful, all caring god already,
      1) have the knowledge of what problems need to be changed?
      2) have the compassion to change them
      3) have the ability to change them.
      4) actually change them

      All without a need for us to pray to god to do it?

      Did not a perfect god create everything in a perfect world? How could a perfect god greate anything less than a perfect world?
      That means that god created the following as part of god's perfect world.

      1) the devil, this perfect god created everything and every created thing is perfect, right?
      2) Malaria
      3) Polio,
      4) Chicken Pox
      5) Dengue
      6) Small Pox
      7) Bubonic Plague
      8) Swine Flu
      9) the appropriate vectors to transmitt the above and more diseases among people
      10) a less than perfect genome in which mutations and other mechanisms can wreck havoc with our bodies
      11) homösëxuality
      12) hatred
      13) jealousy
      14) much much more

      A perfect, all-caring, all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present god created this and much much more as part of this perfect world.

      And then if we mere mortals want to make changes to god's perfect world we must pray to have that done?
      Why do we mere mortals think we are smarter than god that we should pray to change gods perfectly created world?
      Do we really think that we can change the mind of an all-knowing god? What arrogance Christians are displaying!

      Why would a perfect god make changes to gods perfect creation?

      June 30, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • billdeacons

      Mark twin in a letter to a San Fransisco news paper:

      A religion that comes of thought, and study, and deliberate conviction, sticks best.

      June 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      When one reads Bibles, one is less surprised at what the Deity knows than at what He doesn't know.
      - Mark Twain

      June 30, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  20. shep

    First Jesus would track down Mitt Romney and ask him about his magic Mormon diaper. Then he would forgive him for being a blasphemer.

    June 30, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      hilarious when christians make fun of another religion without realizing their own religion is just as crazy.

      the bible has talking snakes and talking donkeys (just like in shrek!) there are unicorns, dragons, satyrs and c.ockatrice in the bible. jesus walks on water and turns water into wine. moses parts a sea. a man live in a giant fish (just like in pinnochio).

      there is so much ridiculous cr@p in the bible - hilarious to hear you put down another religion.

      June 30, 2012 at 3:19 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      That's right Bootyfunk,

      The bible does have that and much more.

      One would think that the cognitive dissonance in people's brains would be huge when considering such things.

      It seems though that as part of this belief thingy, is that the brain becomes severely compartmented and logic, reasoning, etc are effectively walled off and have no influence when considering such biblical things

      June 30, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • billdeacons

      More Mark Twain for Elmer:

      Let us all be content with the tried and safe old regular religions, and take no chances on wildcat.
      – "The New Wildcat Religion"

      June 30, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Surely the ass who invented the first religion ought to be the first ass damned.
      - Mark Twain

      June 30, 2012 at 8:24 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.