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July 3rd, 2012
09:20 AM ET

My Take: Library of Congress's 'books that shaped America' list plays down religion

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

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

When I first saw the Library of Congress' new list of the 88 “Books That Shaped America,” it looked to me like it was drawn up by the professors who taught me American studies in the 1970s and 1980s.

Unlike E.D. Hirsch’s book "Cultural Literacy," which emphasized the work of dead white men, the Library of Congress' list is admirably inclusive. It includes books by or about various “outsider” groups, from native Americans to gays and lesbians. It attends to the problem of class via Jacob Riis’ "How the Other Half Lives" (not to mention F. Scott Fitzgerald’s "The Great Gatsby," which is also about class).

It also tips its cap to the environmental movement (Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”), the feminist movement (“Our Bodies, Ourselves”) and the sexual revolution (Kinsey’s “Sexual Behavior in the American Male”).

Moreover, African-Americans are actually over-represented here. Of the 88 books, roughly a dozen are by African-Americans, and another half-dozen or so are about them.

The Library of Congress list also includes lowbrow literature alongside the serious novels you might find in the "Harvard Classics" anthology, most notably children’s books from “The Cat in the Hat” and “Goodnight Moon” to “Little Women” and “Where the Wild Things Are.”

But this list also seems to have the same blind spot that many of my American studies professors had: religion.

Of all the books that shaped the United States, the Bible surely had the most impact. No book has sold more copies here or influenced more Americans more profoundly. But perhaps this book lost out on a technicality: the desire of the Library of Congress to restrict itself to books by Americans.

If so, where are the words of America’s ministers and theologians? Time magazine, another mover and shaper of American culture, has featured dozens of Catholics on its cover, as well as Russian and Greek Orthodox clerics, Mormon and Jewish leaders, the Maharishi (of Transcendental Meditation fame), the Dalai Lama and preachers from Billy Graham and Reinhold Niebuhr to Martin Luther King Jr. and Jerry Falwell.

But these voices are curiously absent from the Library of Congress list, which devotes more space to scientists and science (Carl Sagan, anyone?) than to preachers and religion.

To be fair, the Library of Congress list is by no means absent of religious voices. Two of its autobiographical works, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass" and "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," are shot through with religion, as is Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel, "Uncle Tom’s Cabin."

A slave spiritual starts each chapter in W.E.B. DuBois’ "Souls of Black Folk," which also includes a chapter on the history of the black church and appears on the new list. Two early schoolbooks, "A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible" and "The New England Primer," which do nearly as much preaching as educating, also make the cut. And "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau is the mother of today's “spiritual but not religious” bestsellers.

Nonetheless, to read the Library of Congress list is to be presented with an America that produces lots of great novels and good science but is largely indifferent even to bad religion. And that just isn’t the America in which we live. To put it another way, this list is providing more fodder for those on the religious right who believe that elites in the academy are tone-deaf to questions of faith and belief.

In my own effort at canon-making, "The American Bible," I included a number of books that also made the cut at the Library of Congress: Twain’s "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," Ayn Rand’s "Atlas Shrugged," Thomas Paine’s "Common Sense" and Noah Webster’s "Grammatical Institute of the English Language" (more popularly known as the "Blue-Backed Speller"), along with "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" and "The Autobiography of Malcolm X."

In my case, however, I made room not only for books but also for speeches, sermons, letters, essays, songs and even a memorial (the Vietnam Veterans Memorial by Maya Lin).

If I had restricted myself to books, I would have added at least two of the classics tapped by the Library of Congress: John Steinbeck’s Depression-era novel "The Grapes of Wrath" and Betty Freidan’s feminst classic "The Feminine Mystique." But I would have found a way to work in some ministers and theologians, too.

More than any other thinker, 20th-century Christian theologian Niebuhr has shaped the worldview of Barack Obama. Surely Niebuhr deserves a place here, as does King, who also had something to do with the election of America's first black president.

And while we are at it, how about the Book of Mormon? Surely that book, America’s most influential homegrown scripture, played a major role in shaping the man who would be America’s first Mormon president, Mitt Romney.

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Bible • Books • History • Mormonism • Opinion • United States

soundoff (217 Responses)
  1. HeavenSent

    Who is made that c u ms, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless orgasm

    Hebrews 7:16

    Amen.

    July 3, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Answer

      Go for 100 in a row.

      July 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • john the guy not the baptist

      Turned up the the vibe to max and have the morman tabernacle choir belting out Jesus Loves Me with the stereo cranked up. HALELUJAH

      July 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  2. Reality

    Thank "god" that Stephen P' s books are not on the list and never will be. And a usual said Stephen P does not commit to anything bordering on his own beliefs. Strange fellow he is and even stranger that CNN pays him for writing comments on religion and no one knows what church he prays in or whether he prays at all.

    July 3, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  3. HeavenSent

    But the wicked shall not perish, and the enemies of the LORD [shall be] happy as lambs

    Psalms 37:20

    Amen.

    July 3, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Answer

      Hey crazy batsh!t person.

      July 3, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LET's Religiosity Law #8 – ... If you habitually and incessantly say things like, “have a blessed day,” or “god bless,” or “prayer changes things,” or “amen,” without regard to the recipients’ beliefs or disbeliefs then be advised all I hear is “Heil Hitler!”

      July 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Answer

      I'm still a moron.

      July 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  4. AverageJoe76

    Why did God create a world full of sin, if he hates sin, and couldn't he have kept it out since he created everything?

    July 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Because He has a sick and twisted sense of humor. Just read the OT and you'll find case after case where god just liked to mess with people because he could.
      His parents should have disciplined him more

      July 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Yeah, Thank God there is no God, or we would be in deep do do

      July 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • john the guy not the baptist

      Started In eden, he created man/woman, then law-don't eat the damn apple, sin-breaking the law, punishment-kicked out on their own. Then all that inbreeding that went on, can you imagine, and then Cain and Abel ran with the whole idea. Of course there is Noah, but that's another story....

      July 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • gerald

      He did not create sin. He allowed it. Big difference. Genesis says that everything he created was good. But he gave man the capacity to sin, though he was created sinless. He gave man freedom to reject him and sin. This freedom allowed for true love to exist in man rather than being robots, programmed by the creator. Man could chose to love God or sin.

      July 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @gerald

      Then man was not created perfect in the least according to your beliefs.

      July 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Answer

      "He did not create sin. He allowed it."

      The with logic we can conclude that sin was always there. So sin is a type of god. Nice.

      July 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • john the guy not the baptist

      But some of his creations have reverted to a mental robot status, see Heavens Sent's posts for definitive proof. Was that part of the master plan? The Higgs Boson is discovered, well almost, Genesis is not relevant, never has been.

      July 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Buttherobotswanttomakeyou robots

      The biggest sinners want to ensure that everyone sins.

      July 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Judaism comes from the Sumerian Religion

      john the guy not the baptist

      Started In eden, he created man/woman, then law-don't eat the damn apple, sin-breaking the law, punishment-kicked out on their own. Then all that inbreeding that went on, can you imagine, and then Cain and Abel ran with the whole idea. Of course there is Noah, but that's another story....
      .
      The purity of god's creation was the sons of Adam bang ing their mother and sisters. Now that is a way to start it off. And of course Adam and his sons bang ing their own daughters...nice touch God. I am guessing Eden looked like the people in movie The Hills Have Eyes.

      July 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Judaism comes from the Sumerian Religion

      It was our father Lucifer that became the snake that beguiled Eve that gave birth to Cain. Cain was my ancestor. We live today and do his bidding.

      July 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • LinSea

      God gave you your agency, the privilege of making your own choices, so you could choose the kind of person you want to be. If there was no possibility for sin, you would not have the option to choose between right and wrong.

      July 5, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @LinSea

      Then according to your beliefs, man was not created perfect. But this also brings up whether you think god is also all-knowing.

      July 5, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  5. Johnny Blammo

    @Prothero "Of all the books that shaped the United States, the Bible surely had the most impact."

    Show me where in the Bible God mentions equality, much less says to do it. He hated other groups (still does).

    Show me where in the Bible God mentions liberty, much less says to make it happen. He was fine with slaves.

    Justice for all? From god or the Bible? Forget it. God's own "justice" is nothing but arbitrary cruelty or random over-rewarding, and Jesus says you don't get justice on earth so forget about it.

    The pursuit of happiness? No, the is not a Christian concept at all.

    Freedom of speech? Not in the Bible at all.

    Freedom of the press? Nope.

    Right to assemble and petition? Must be in Deutronomy somewhere.

    Due process and protection against search and seizure . . . uh, I think Jesus covered that when he killed the fig tree.

    Abolition of slavery? No, Jesus told slaves to he extra-good for massah!

    Freedom for ALL religions? LOL, yeah, that's totally Christian!

    Silly article. CNN must be totally unable to find real content if they keep letting Prothero churn out hamburger jobs like this article.

    July 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Agreed, but I think the writer meant, a lot of the most influential charterers in American history "professed" to believe in the Bible. Such as Henry Ford, Dr. King, Adam Smith, George Washington, Thomas Edison, John F. Kennedy, and the like.

      Fortunately, for us they believed in More than just the Bible.

      July 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      Henry Ford believed in naziism. Not a joke.

      July 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Nazi's were Christians.

      July 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  6. you might be an atheist if

    ...you think HeavenSent in all of her massive porcine trailer-park glory is mentally retarded...

    July 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • john the guy not the baptist

      If that is the test, yes, yes I am.

      July 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Jesus told us in Matthew 10:16 that he'd be sending us out into the world among YOU WOLVES.

      Amen.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Judaism comes from the Sumerian Religion

      you might be an atheist if

      ...you think HeavenSent in all of her massive porcine trailer-park glory is mentally retarded...

      ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      No she is skitzo and SUPPOSED to be medicated. When she walks around in public she is always seeing filthy Atheists all around her...snakes...wolves in sheeps clothing...Tom tom and CNN watching her every move. SHE IS A JESUS WARRIOR always at war with the Father of Lies. lol

      July 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Judaism comes from the Sumerian Religion

      HeavenSent

      Jesus told us in Matthew 10:16 that he'd be sending us out into the world among YOU WOLVES.

      ----

      Actually you are wrong. Matthew told us...you assume Jesus told him.

      July 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      LET's Religiosity Law #3 – If you habitually spout off verses from your "holy" book to make whatever inane point you're trying to make, and not once does it occur to you to question whether your book is accurate in the first place, then you are definitely mentally retarded. (See Law #4 & #5)

      July 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Reality

      Professor Gerd Luedemann [Jesus, 167] dismisses Matt 10:16b as "redactional" and does not even discuss it when analyzing the section in Matt 10:16-26a

      July 3, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  7. One Nation Under god IS Divisible

    god
    _______ = 0

    1 nation

    July 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  8. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    You have brains in your head.
    You have feet in your shoes.
    You can steer yourself
    any direction you choose.
    You're on your own.
    And you know what you know.
    And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go....
    – Dr. Seuss, (Oh! The Places You'll Go!)

    July 3, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  9. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    What I got from this article:

    1) Prothero is a tool
    2) Prothero suggests his choices to include in his insipid book are better than the selections made by the Library of Congress
    3) I thought pride and vanity were sins

    July 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • sam

      LOL

      July 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • agnostic scholar

      I am infatuated with Lucifer's Evil Twin.

      btw, Lucifer's ET, ask your brother about pride and vanity. He'll know. Bwahahahaha!

      July 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  10. Prayer changes things

    Change is available within the multiple perimeters of the given

    July 3, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      So you don't need prayer. Thank you.

      July 3, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Prayer is the vehicle of change

      July 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Prayer is the essence of life

      July 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Prayer changes things, it seems to me that no one really believes that not even you, please consider the following:

      (I hope you never have to face any of the following)

      Your son is ill with some type of Cancer, you; Pray it away or seek medical attention?

      You are trapped in a burning house you; Pray your way out or run out as quickly as possible?

      Your spouse is unhappy (cheating or what have you) do you Pray for him/her or do you seek help (counseling, communication, or some other act to make the situation better)?

      If Pray really changes things, we don't need Doctors, Fire Fighters, or any other profession, except maybe Priest.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • mb2010a

      Prayer is a waste of time and you are doing nothing more than talking to yourself...which makes you crazy.

      July 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  11. Colin

    It is hard to argue that The Book of Mormon should not be included. Like it or not, it has been hugely influential and is as American as apple pie.

    Perhaps they file it next to The Cat in The Hat under the genre "Simple Stories for Underdeveloped Minds."

    July 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • No God

      Don't place the great Doc Seuss in a category with religious b.s.! Blasphemy!

      July 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • closet atheist

      It's no more ridiculous than the bible...

      July 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Colin

      Closet Atheist, I keep hoping to see your name changed to "Out of the Closet Atheist"

      July 3, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • closet atheist

      Lol... maybe one day. Those who know me well enough in my personal life generally do know. I like the moniker because it says a lot about the fact that many people truly don't understand "atheism". So long as it is looked down upon by so many, I'll probably stay "in the closet"....

      July 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • john the guy not the baptist

      @Closet A

      I find that christians no so little about the reasons why people choose to be atheists. They do not bother to read the many books on the subject and simply fall back on their 2000 year old book of fiction as their source of information. Most atheists, myself included, have not only read the bible but other religious works and have come to the conclusion that they do not believe in any of the man made gods. The paranoia of the christians make them think atheists are picking on their religion in particular, while most atheists would like to see a world void of all religion.

      July 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Hey, if you're gonna include the Book of Mor(m)on, you also need to list L. Ron Hubbard's "Dianetics". Of course, at least Hubbard's attempt to start a religion was to win a bar bet, not to scam people for the purpose of scamming them.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Judaism comes from the Sumerian Religion

      Colin

      It is hard to argue that The Book of Mormon should not be included. Like it or not, it has been hugely influential and is as American as apple pie.

      Perhaps they file it next to The Cat in The Hat under the genre "Simple Stories for Underdeveloped Minds."

      -

      If they are going to include The Book of Mormon then they will need to include Jim Jones material.

      July 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  12. Tallulah13

    I'm not a fan of lists like this, as they are subjective.

    July 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    July 3, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • No God

      No God. Prayers are as useless as a pile of sh•t. Fact.

      July 3, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • john the guy not the baptist

      Religion retards a chids ability to reason.
      Science creates knowledge for open minds.

      The many gods are among the dead and dying.
      The Higgs Bozon discovery coming right soon will put an end to all the silly creation myths.

      July 3, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Jesus

      ~Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!.!

      July 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  14. M.F. Luder

    It downplays religion, as well it should. It is the Library of Congress, not the Library of the Vatican.

    July 3, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  15. Jack

    Hello. Everyone is welcome to visit – thestarofkaduri.com

    July 3, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Mr. Mehoff, can I call you Jack?

      July 3, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  16. William Demuth

    Obviously, the intention was to limit the list to those books that had a positive impact.

    While most Germans would be lying if they claimed Mein Kampf didn’t have a significant impact on the German people, I strongly suspect it would rarely make the governments "Greatest Hits Of Germanic Literature" list.

    All cultures have shameful embarrassing things within their societies, and they all aspire to putting their own distinct madness behind them.

    Yes the Bible was an important writing in our history, and we have fought innumerable battles including a civil war, struggling to put that egocentric racist and bigoted propaganda behind us by recognizing and rejecting the madness it represents.

    July 3, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Dennis

      Great post William and good on you for having the guts to say it, even on a blog.

      July 3, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • HeavenSent

      William, funny (NOT) how you atheists love picking at the scabs of our country (and other countries) to keep the wounds open, hoping they bleed again... never to admit who was behind causing the wounds in the first place ... as you deny, deny, deny believing you are educated. As always, people like you are the blight on every society throughout history.

      I'll be waiting for you to switch handles to beat me down regarding my post.

      July 3, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Huebert

      @HS

      Ok I'll bite. Who was behind "causing the wounds" in the first place?

      July 3, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @huebert
      Since it's HeaveSent, I'll guess the cause is:
      a) Godless Heathens
      b) Satan, acting through said godless heathens
      c) Pretty much anyone who does't believe exactly what HS does.

      July 3, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Huebert

      @Doc

      I'm betting on something carnal.

      July 3, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • William Demuth

      I have ALWAYS posted under a single name and always shall.

      I unlike yourself do not require psuedonominia and the anonymity it offers.

      I do not espouse anything I am unwilling to claim as my own.

      You are the coward, espousing bigoted madness and hiding behind a fake name and a nonexistent God.

      Railing against modernity in some desperate attempt to prevent your Gods descent into obscurity, screaming out his fabricated divinity is absolute, and claiming some smidgen of his supposed divinity for yourself.

      You are no more than a child who fears the darkness, but mercifully and ironically it is the only destiny you have.

      You shall live, you shall die, you shall rot and you shall be forgotten.

      Deal with it.

      July 3, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • HeavenSent

      I already wrote who was the blight in my post above. What? Are you blind in the carnal world too? Hopefully, your choice of drink for my using the "c" word will be orange juice (LOL).

      July 3, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      William, who are you posting to in your last post?

      July 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • William Demuth

      HeavenSent

      If the shroud fits, wear it.

      July 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      William, it takes courage to live life as a Christian. It takes nothing at all to live life as an unbeliever aka cowardly act. If you're an atheists, then you believe in your baloney and ensure you spew your propaganda everywhere .... like Johnny Appleseed.

      July 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Colin

      That was a good post, William.

      July 3, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • closet atheist

      @ HS

      It takes courage to live as a christian...?? Here in america...?? Please elaborate... i'm confused....

      July 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      closet atheist, because what you believe and practice wreaks havoc in every country throughout the world. Come out of that close atheist and tell everyone how you and others like you believe yourselves to be the gods of the world, how you are out to destroy every religion, retrain folks into your beliefs and never allow them freedom ... because after all, other people aren't like your kind. Hey, what do we expect from those that followed the scribes and pharisees that had Jesus crucified? Created their own rules and regulations, claiming it to be holy words never written ... and have been wreaking havoc on society throughout history!

      July 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • john the guy not the baptist

      @ Heaven Sent

      I do not understand your moniker, please explain. The name implies that you were in heaven but left to come back to earth, but I thought the goal of all you christian types was to get to heaven. It begs the question, did your fellow residents of heaven run you out of town, so to speak? Did they just get sick of you spouting your nonsense ad nauseum and just said begone? One wonders, at least try to discard the hatred in your heart, maybe that is why they kicked you out, for anyone that does not believe what you do. Peace and love to you and yours.

      July 3, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @HeaventSent
      Except, of course, for all the successful, happy, stable secular countries in the world.

      July 3, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • sam

      Did this get carnal yet? I don't want to miss the carnal part.

      July 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      john the guy not the baptist, we were all in Heaven, from the beginning, with God. But, like then, as with you atheists today, rebellion on your part, along with the sin of pride, angered God so He destroyed the world. After thinking about it, He created the world again, allowed our souls to come to earth, being born of women ... to either love and follow Jesus' truth or love and follow who you worship, satan lies. Those of us that love and follow Jesus, have a hard time on earth because of you folks, but, when we die we go back to Heaven and spend eternity with Jesus. You folks, create chaos on earth, try to complete your destruction of Jesus' truth, when you die, you also go to Heaven, wait for the day of the Lord, still hate Jesus like you do right now ... no eternity for you.

      As for ad nauseum ... you folks own it as you try to destroy religion on earth to bring everyone under your chaos with all the nonsense you teach.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Doc, you do mean communism ... destroying everything in society so that you freaks rule. LOL. Have fun frying ... since Jesus already knows who His enemies are.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Heavensent...you try to admonish ad nausium for the nonsense he teaches....seriously? Just look at the line of myth you are putting up.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      HeavenSent never really knows what she is talking about. She merely likes to spout off threats and completely stupid claims that she can never defend. I recommend saving all the threats and stupidity of HeavenSent, and when someone asks what the harm of religion can be to the individual, pull out HeavenSents idiocy.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • john the guy not the baptist

      Hey HS
      Thank you for your kind invitation to join your satan and spend eternity in flames and agony in your christian hell. As a Pastafairian, we have our own version of heaven and hell. Our heaven has a beer volcano and a stri*pp*er facory. We don't take sinning all that seriously so our hell is not much different from heaven, except that the beer is stale and the stri*pp*ers are old obese and have veneral disease. I am going to opt for our own version of hell, I prefer to put up with flat beer and a little drip than eternal agony. Thanks anyway.
      RAmen....Peace and love from the FSM.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Judaism comes from the Sumerian Religion

      HeavenSent

      William, it takes courage to live life as a Christian. It takes nothing at all to live life as an unbeliever aka cowardly act. If you're an atheists, then you believe in your baloney and ensure you spew your propaganda everywhere .... like Johnny Appleseed.

      ----

      Actually you are wrong...the easy way out of reality is a cult.

      July 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Judaism comes from the Sumerian Religion

      HeavenSent

      john the guy not the baptist, we were all in Heaven, from the beginning, with God. But, like then, as with you atheists today, rebellion on your part, along with the sin of pride, angered God so He destroyed the world. After thinking about it, He created the world again, allowed our souls to come to earth, being born of women ... to either love and follow Jesus' truth or love and follow who you worship, satan lies. Those of us that love and follow Jesus, have a hard time on earth because of you folks, but, when we die we go back to Heaven and spend eternity with Jesus. You folks, create chaos on earth, try to complete your destruction of Jesus' truth, when you die, you also go to Heaven, wait for the day of the Lord, still hate Jesus like you do right now ... no eternity for you.

      As for ad nauseum ... you folks own it as you try to destroy religion on earth to bring everyone under your chaos with all the nonsense you teach.

      ---

      Yep right on time HS..it is full moon today

      July 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  17. ONE CAREFUL OWNER

    Look what happens when you let one bad ghost in!
    Should I start buying booby prizes for America?
    Something cheap & nasty for America, since America is into cheap & nasty booby prizes lately!
    Just how many cheap & nasty booby prizes is America expecting?
    Conservative estimate please ...

    July 3, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Mafia Don

      At least 100 million is a very conservative estimate.

      July 3, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Mafia Don

      At least 100 million cheap & nasty booby prizes for America is a very conservative estimate.

      July 3, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • The Corrector

      I'd say at least 200 million cheap & nasty booby prizes for America is an even better conservative estimate.

      July 3, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Putting your head in the sand dosn' t make the truth disappear

      Boobies are awesome. American ti.ties rule.

      July 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  18. ONE CAREFUL OWNER

    Look what happens when you let one bad ghost in! 🙁
    Should I start buying booby prizes for America! 🙁 🙁
    Something cheap & nasty for America, since America is into cheap & nasty booby prizes lately! 🙁 🙁 🙁
    Just how many cheap & nasty booby prizes is America expecting? 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁
    Conservative estimate please ...

    July 3, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  19. Joe

    "And while we are at it, how about the Book of Mormon? Surely that book, America’s most influential homegrown scripture, played a major role in shaping the man who would be America’s first Mormon president, Mitt Romney."

    Mormonism is one of the biggest crock of lies. Joseph Smith finds these golden tablets from God, but forgets where he hides them? Then he and Brigham Young dupe a bunch of people to follow them around the country, trying to find their promised land, only to get kicked out of every place they try to settle because of how they treated the local populace. Then Joseph Smith tries to blow up a printing press because he disagreed with what they were saying and is thrown in jail. The militia sneaks a gun to him in jail and he dies trying to shoot his way out (which to Mormons means is a martyr).

    I tend to not hold opinions about religious beliefs, but Mormonism is hard to take seriously.

    July 3, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      And how do you feel about Scientology? LOL

      July 3, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Well, both Mormonism and Scientology speak of the unseen influence of other-worldly spirits.
      Both religions will shun those who reject the faith.
      Both are primarily interested in your money...

      July 3, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Doc Vestibule, you freaks control all the money ... as you dole it out how you want.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @HeaveSent
      Us freaks? What kind of freak am I again?
      Are you seriously trying to insinuate that the 1% aren't predominantly white, Christian Americans?
      I can count the number of atheist political leaders in your country on one hand.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Doc

      We have atheist political leaders! Holy beaten guy on a fuc.king stick!

      July 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @HawaiiGuest
      Really?
      Can you please name all those atheistic american congressmen, senators and/or presidents?

      July 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Sorry I meant to put a ? not a !. I don't know of any open atheists in our government offhand.

      July 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • LinSea

      Joe, every single thing you just listed about Mormonism is an outright lie. Have you ever, even once time, talked to an actual practicing member of the LDS Church about the Church, or do you get all of your information from Mormon haters?

      July 5, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  20. hippypoet

    lets allow those who did it explain it....shut up Prothero...why is there a need for story books in the list in the first place – having a belief never moved anyone, it was that persons learning that allowed them to move then by using belief they sway others to do whatever.....the book of mormon is truly not something i want my country known for – i'd rather be known for once owning slaves and having fought a war over it then that!

    July 3, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      HP,

      What war was fought over owning sIaves?

      July 3, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Here you go again hippypoet, never admitting the ending of your tirade, What would happen if your parents left you in the backroom the day they brought you home from the hospital after being born? To fend for yourself. No food, no clothing, no changing your diapers. No picking you up when you cried out. No sending you to school to engage with others. No learning anything to get an education. Where would you be? Doesn't take an Einstein to figure out the answer.

      July 3, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • ME II

      @Honey Badger.
      I'm guessing that he's referring to that minor conflict, the civil war.

      July 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • hippypoet

      oh dear i think someone may need to read some other books besides the bible in order to have even the smallest clue to what i'm saying! thats just sad...check out hooked on phonics – i hear it really works. 🙂

      July 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Oh hippy, not to worry, I've already read the baloney your folks wrote and believe.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      The Civil War was a war about economics and states’ rights. It had very little to do with sIavery. The only time that sIavery really came up is when the north used it to its tactical advantage to bolster its strength and to try to entice southern sIaves to run away.

      And BTW I’m from the north and an atheist. I also know something about history.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Honey Badger Dont Care, Sure Some States wanted the Right not to pay their Workers.

      I actually think the main reason was to prevent the breaking of a nation via secession. However, there is a good argument that an Anti-Slavery President was a catalyst for secession.

      July 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Consider, if Douglas had won, would the seven Slave holding (southern) States attempted secession, I don't think so since Douglas agreed that Slavery was acceptable and could spread west.

      July 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.