8 ways faith will matter at the Republican National Convention
Paul Ryan, left, is Catholic, while Mitt Romney is Mormon.
August 25th, 2012
06:58 PM ET

8 ways faith will matter at the Republican National Convention

By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors

(CNN)–For the next four days, the eyes of the political world will be on Tampa, Florida, the site of the Republican National Convention (which will now get started Tuesday, after Tropical Storm Isaac cancelled Monday's events).

Though politics will be the name of the game, it's a safe bet that religion will also play a major role. The convention opens with a prayer from a Hispanic evangelical leader and closes with a benediction from a Catholic cleric who's sometimes called "America's pope."

In between, balloons will drop on the first Mormon to be nominated by a major political party to be president of the United States. Here are eight ways faith will matter this week. What did we leave out? Let us know in comments and we'll expand our list as warranted.

1. The ghost of Todd Akin
Most people couldn't pick him out of lineup and he won't be attending the convention this week. But the Missouri Senate candidate who claimed that women could prevent conception in cases of "legitimate rape" opened a rift in the Republican Party, with GOP chieftains pressuring him to drop out while some powerful conservative Christian activists rally to his defense. Those activists are using the Akin episode to allege that the Republican Party wants quash their socially conservative agenda even as it happily accepts their votes. If the infighting continues into this week, there could be a battle for GOP's soul at a moment when the GOP wants to project unity.

2. The M word
Even now that he's talking more about his religious faith, Mitt Romney almost never refers specifically to Mormonism or to his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And yet Romney has held a series leadership positions in his church. Will the Republican Party continue to studiously avoid one of its presidential candidate's defining characteristics? Or will some convention speaker make a case for why Romney's Mormonism is an asset? Will Romney himself mention his religion as he accepts his party's nomination?

3. Ladies night (or week)?
For months, the GOP has been on the defensive, as Democrats say Republicans are waging a "war on women," a theme the Dems began sounding when the American bishops blasted the White House for its contraception mandate for insurance companies earlier this year. This week, Republicans face a delicate balancing act in trying to assuage the concerns of moderate women voters while also satisfying its religiously conservative base. (See ghost of Todd Akin, above). A big part of that mission falls to Ann Romney, the Republican nominee's wife, and to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, both of whom have choice speaking slots.

4. The possibility of a culture war speech
"There is a religious war going on in this country," former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan told the 1992 Republican convention in a primetime address. "It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we shall be as the Cold War itself. For this war is for the soul of America." There are still debates over whether the speech, which provoked a media frenzy, helped or hurt President George H.W. Bush, who would go on to lose to Bill Clinton. But the Republican Party is keen on avoiding such moments as it tries to win over independents this fall. There's some nervousness about what Rick Santorum will say in his convention address.

5. Religious liberty
Many conservatives are livid over the Obama administration's requirement that health insurers offer free contraceptive coverage, even for employees of Catholic institutions. Plus, talking up religious liberty is likely less of a turnoff for moderate voters than is talk about bans on abortion and gay marriage, traditionally the top concerns of religious conservatives. Catholics and evangelicals, two key voting blocs, have been buzzing about religious liberty for months, with mega-pastor Rick Warren recently canceling plans for a presidential forum with Obama and Romney and announcing plans for one on religious liberty instead.

6. Israel
When it comes to foreign policy, look for convention speakers to try outdo one another in pledging support for the Jewish State - and in railing against Obama for what they'll allege are his administration's shabby treatment of a key American ally. Israel is especially important to the GOP's evangelical base, some of whom see a biblical bond with the Jewish people and some who believe Israel must be in Jewish control before the Second Coming can happen. Mitt Romney included Israel as one of his marquee stops on his recent foreign trip, including a photo-op at Jerusalem's Western Wall.

7. Hurricane theology
Will some televangelist claim that Tropical Storm Isaac, which is headed toward the Gulf Coast, is God's way of punishing the GOP for insufficient piety? It wouldn't be the first time a prominent preacher blamed severe weather on American insubordinance.

8. "America's pope"
The convention's closing prayer will be delivered by Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who leads the American Catholic bishops and is sometimes referred to as America's pope. It's a good indication of just how important the Catholic vote is thought to be this year, with Catholics accounting for 1 in 4 Americans and considered to be the quintessential swing bloc. Whoever wins these voters will likely win the White House.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Mormonism • Politics

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soundoff (1,567 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 26, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Bo Noddy

      I see you are full of hate. Good. Maybe you'll die from it.

      August 26, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Athy

      Bullshit! Prayer never has done anything for anyone other than make them fell good inside. And that really has been proven.

      August 26, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • just sayin

      Truth is never hate. God bless

      August 26, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You never tell the truth, justlyin.

      August 26, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  2. Ty

    For a country founded on religious freedom, they sure do shove their views down everyone eles throat. Separation of Church and State should mean that what you choose politically shouldn't be influenced by religious law!

    August 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Thinker23

      I humbly disagree. FORCING people to IGNORE their beliefs when decideing which candidate to vote is non-democratic as well as non-realistic. Separation of church and state means that that the state laws should not be enforced by this or enother religion.

      August 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      USING a bunch of CAPITAL letters really doesn't HELP your cause AT all.

      How would anyone force people to ignore their beliefs when voting, exactly?

      August 26, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  3. Mohamiss Shafik-Kaddir

    The only faith that matters is Islam . Islam is America's last best hope for human right , justice based upon Allah's law , and world peace . Please , convert to Islam and know peace , before it is too late . We will be 20,000 strong at the DNC convention , and we have the power of the Muslim Brotherhood behind us . For your personal safety and the saftey of your family , convert to Islam now .

    August 26, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Thinker23

      So you're telling us "convert to Islam or die"? and you call it "human rights" Apparently, THIS is the kind of "human rights" Islam has to offer. Sorry, dear, it will not happen. Islam will be allowed to exist for as long as it it peaceful but this is as much as the world will go.

      August 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  4. GodFreeNow


    August 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  5. Quoc

    What ever happened to SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE?!

    August 26, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Jonboyyyy

      It was blatantly ignored before the ink was dry on the Consttution. We have yet to see it enforced, even after 236 years.

      August 26, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  6. MalcomR

    Is this the stupidest word filter ever created? I have to break the word const ituency to avoid including the word t_i.t but can form the word t-i_t in any number of other ways? Let's see... "That chick over there has some nice f__u.c.k.i..n.g t__i.t.s". Morons.

    August 26, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • insert within word

      August 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • insert within word

      (no periods)

      August 26, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Jonboyyyy

      The word filter is one of the main reasons hardly anyone posts comments here. One other reason would be the name-hijackers.
      When they deliberately have an article with a banned word as part of the topic, thousands of people discover they can't comment at all and leave in disgust. This is the sort of thing that shows why CNN drops in ratings, why they act like a cheap news org in other areas, and why these things never get fixed: they suck and they don't care...almost as bad as Fox.

      August 26, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Athy

      You just have to know how to do it. An example using your post: I have to break the word constituency to avoid including the word tit but can form the word tit in any number of other ways? Let's see... "That chick over there has some nice fucking tits". See if you can figure it out.

      August 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Bo Noddy

      Yeah, do it like this fucker did it. Works great.

      August 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • MalcomR

      Awesome! Why didn't I think of that before? Tits!

      August 26, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  7. Me in Austin

    If there is going to be a cultural war, where do I sign up. I'd like to be in the front lines against the delusional hate spewing children brain-washing religious zealots.

    August 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • MalcomR

      I'm in.

      August 26, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  8. mshub8

    We need to keep religion out of politics. Ever since the McCarthiasts, we can't seem to get the GOP away from the need to pander to theists.

    August 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  9. Romney Looks Like a Car Salesman/Date R@pist, and Ryan Looks Like Eddie Munster With AIDS

    you know i'm right!

    August 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  10. MalcomR

    The fact that polls show that Obama and Romney are roughly tied right now should be mightily depressing to anyone with a shred of critical intelligence. Romney is a transparent manipulator who is in it to make sure that the elite group of "people" he represents (corporations) keep growing and thriving at the expense of everyone else. At least Obama puts on a passable impression of someone who cares about real people.

    August 26, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Honestly, 45% of Americans believe that the earth is less than 10k years old, and you expect them to see through the lies of a politician?

      August 26, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • MalcomR

      And that's exactly why there is an overwhelming anti-science, anti-intellectual bias in the republican politicians mind. I truly believe that many of them are too stupid to grasp the nature of reality as demonstrated by science, but they are just smart enough to know that keeping their const ituency as dumb as they are is the way to their own success.

      August 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  11. BobInIrvine

    Christian Taliban.

    August 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • MalcomR


      August 26, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  12. An American

    =>how would you describe Jesus in the first century? What kind of person?
    what kind of question is that? does he have a time machine? or is he REALLY old?

    August 26, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  13. MalcomR

    Oh, for f*** sake. Are we six years old and still need to believe in fairies and and sky daddies? This religion crap, especially coming from people who we expect to make high level decisions about our global civilization, is getting really tedious.

    August 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  14. You have a choice. Obama or Paul.

    Thinker23, you better pack a parachute when you arrive at the pearly gates, it's a long way back down.

    August 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  15. LouAZ

    All these white Teapublican men must have done some really bad things over their life so far, as they are all begging for forgiveness from their god(s) by trying to "Out Jesus Jesus". Halejulia ! Mom and apple pie and American flag waving are NOT going to "put our Country back on the right track", but right into a prolonged depression. Ann has already told "you people" to just EAT CAKE. Never forget – Reagan Trickle Down Economics by these guys means Golden Sh owers !

    August 26, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  16. RichardSRussell

    Has anyone remarked that, of the 4 guys at the top of the 2 major tickets, the one whose religious beliefs most closely parallel those of fundamentalists and evangelicals is Barack Obama?

    August 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • iminim

      I heard he was a Muslim.....no wait, an atheist commie.......or was the anti-Christ? The truth is he says he is Protestant, but since he doesn't try to impose his religion on others or run around saying his Christianity is one of his major qualifications for office he doesn't fit the usual profile of the "religious" politician.

      August 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  17. Russ

    Yes, but a lot of Catholics are hispanics, an Mitt doesen't have hardly any of them. Then there are the liberal Catholics, who were fans of the Kennedys. Catholics are not a slolid block and many wouldn't follow MItt anywhere.

    August 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  18. RichardSRussell

    Faith is such a monumentally stupid way of arriving at conclusions it's a wonder that it has the totally unjustified good reputation that it does. I chalk it up to the fact that the best swindlers and con men in the business are pushing it, because their livelihoods depend on it.

    August 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  19. An American

    First off if you believe in a god you should NOT be able to hold any political office,ever. religion has ruined America, every bad policy that has been made is done by some one who is using their faith to make laws. Using your religion to pass laws is insane.

    August 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • iminim

      Personal belief in a religion should be neither a qualification or a disqualification to holding an elected office. Trying to pass legislation that forces others to follow the social requirementa of your religious beliefs and restricts the rights of others who may or may not share your beliefs is certainly a cause for concern, however.

      August 26, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Jonboyyyy

      The unwillingness to represent all voters should be cause for impeachment and charges of malfeasance regardless of their reasons for refusing to do their jobs. If a religious nut can keep it in their pants, I'm willing to vote for them, but as this has never happened in all of human history, I'm likely to vote on the lesser of two evils...in this case: Obama.

      August 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  20. You have a choice. Obama or Paul.

    The number one reason religion will matter, no true Christian would ever vote for a Mormon.

    August 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Are you Jesus Christ? Only Jesus can determine who is a "true Christian" and who is not.

      August 26, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Chad

      Better to vote for a Christian even though you disagree deeply with his policies. As a Christian there is always a chance that the Lord will get through to him.

      David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing. ”

      11 Before David got up the next morning, the word of the Lord had come to Gad the prophet, David’s seer: 12 “Go and tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.’”

      13 So Gad went to David and said to him, “Shall there come on you three[b] years of famine in your land? Or three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you? Or three days of plague in your land? Now then, think it over and decide how I should answer the one who sent me.”

      14 David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.” 2 Samuel 24

      August 26, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • An American

      chad please don't ever vote

      August 26, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Actually, it's Obama or Romney. Paul's only the #2 guy on the GOP ticket.

      August 26, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Unless you meant RON Paul, but he dropped out and will have only a minor role at the Republican convention.

      August 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Jonboyyyy

      Jesus is dead and it is impossible for him to "get through" to anyone because he no longer exists.

      Never vote for anyone who uses their religion as a political tool. Jesus is not coming back to save you from your mistakes.

      August 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Chad

      @Jonboyyyy "Jesus is dead and it is impossible for him to "get through" to anyone because he no longer exists."

      =>how would you describe Jesus in the first century? What kind of person?

      August 26, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • MalcomR

      @Chad: Imaginary.

      August 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Chad

      @MalcomR" Imaginary"

      =>you actually believe Jesus never existed?

      August 26, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Jim in Georgia

      In my church, the southern baptist, the mormon religion is considered a cult... until mitt romney became the republican candidate.

      August 26, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      MalColm: If you're looking to debate with a child, continue on with Chad, otherwise be warned that no amount of evidence and facts based within the recent times will get through to him...he can't seem to get past the first century and see reality. The bubble he resides in is so air tight, nothing will break through. He truly is a lost cause!

      Chad: Before you attack me...there is proof that a guy named Jesus might have existed but even if he did, there is nothing to say he was anything more than a regular man. The bible does not count as evidence because it is the only thing it has to back itself up.

      August 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Me in Austin

      Jim in Georgia. Your church is a cult. Baptists are the worst.

      August 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Jim in Georgia, That's surprising. I've never known religions to be hypocritical about anything.

      August 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Jonboyyyy

      Chad, if Jesus ever existed, he is described in the bible as being a heretic Jewish cult leader who clearly did not have a clue about reality as he lied and scammed his way around the Middle East.
      You are a sucker for bible bs. I bet you've never had s3x. It's clear you have no grasp on reality at all.

      August 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Chad

      @TruthPrevails "The bible does not count as evidence because it is the only thing it has to back itself up."

      =>I'm confused.. You are saying that we cant examine the ancient documents? There is a law that I am unaware of prohibiting critical examination of them?

      ...honestly, I did not know that..

      does this law also apply to the extra-biblical evidence for the life of Jesus?

      Cornelius Tacitus (55-120 AD), "the greatest historian" of ancient Rome:

      "Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a cla ss hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superst ition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense mult itude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compas sion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed."

      Gaius Suetonius Tranquillas, chief secretary of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD):

      "Because the Jews of Rome caused continous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, [Claudius] expelled them from the city."

      "After the great fire at Rome [during Nero's reign] ... Punishments were also inflicted on the Christians, a sect professing a new and mischievous religious belief."

      Flavius Josephus (37-97 AD), court historian for Emperor Vespasian:

      "At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders." (Arabic translation)

      Julius Africanus, writing around 221 AD, found a reference in the writings of Thallus, who wrote a history of the Eastern Mediterranean around 52 AD, which dealt with the darkness that covered the land during Jesus' crucifixion:

      "Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away the darkness as an eclipse of the sun–unreasonably, as it seems to me." [A solar eclipse could not take place during a full moon, as was the case during Pas sover season.]

      Pliny the Younger, Roman governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor around 112 AD:

      "[The Christians] were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then rea ssemble to partake of food–but food of an ordinary and innocent kind." Pliny added that Christianity attracted persons of all societal ranks, all ages, both se xes, and from both the city and the country. Late in his letter to Emperor Trajan, Pliny refers to the teachings of Jesus and his followers as excessive and contagious superst ition.

      Emperor Trajan, in reply to Pliny:

      "The method you have pursued, my dear Pliny, in sifting the cases of those denounced to you as Christians is extremely proper. It is not possible to lay down any general rule which can be applied as the fixed standard in all cases of this nature. No search should be made for these people; when they are denounced and found guilty they must be punished; with the restriction, however, that when the party denies himself to be a Christian, and shall give proof that he is not (that is, by adoring our gods) he shall be pardoned on the ground of repentance, even though he may have formerly incurred sus picion. Informations without the accuser's name subscribed must not be admitted in evidence against anyone, as it is introducing a very dangerous precedent, and by no means agreeable to the spirit of the age."

      Emporer Hadrian (117-138 AD), in a letter to Minucius Fundanus, the Asian proconsul:

      "I do not wish, therefore, that the matter should be pa ssed by without examination, so that these men may neither be hara ssed, nor opportunity of malicious proceedings be offered to informers. If, therefore, the province a ls can clearly evince their charges against the Christians, so as to answer before the tribunal, let them pursue this course only, but not by mere pet itions, and mere outcries against the Christians. For it is far more proper, if anyone would bring an accusation, that you should examine it." Hadrian further explained that if Christians were found guilty they should be judged "according to the heinousness of the crime." If the accusers were only slandering the believers, then those who inaccurately made the charges were to be punished.

      The Jewish Talmud, compiled between 70 and 200 AD:

      "On the eve of the Pas sover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, 'He is going forth to be stoned because he has practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostacy. Anyone who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.' But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Pas sover."

      [Another early reference in the Talmud speaks of five of Jesus' disciples and recounts their standing before judges who make individual decisions about each one, deciding that they should be executed. However, no actual deaths are recorded.]

      Lucian, a second century Greek satirist:

      "The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day–the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. ... You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property." Lucian also reported that the Christians had "sacred writings" which were frequently read. When something affected them, "they spare no trouble, no expense."

      Mara Bar-Serapion, of Syria, writing between 70 and 200 AD from prison to motivate his son to emulate wise teachers of the past:

      "What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burying Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise king? It was just after that that their kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three wise men: the Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the teaching of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise king die for good; he lived on in the teaching which he had given.

      August 26, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Chad: What I am saying is the bible is circular. All those ancient texts you refer to, better known as the Canon are what went in to writing the bible. There are bound to be some basic historical facts but there is no historical fact to back that if jesus existed that he was anything more than a man...nothing special about him. If I ask you how you know your god is the right god to believe in, what are you going to reference to prove your claim?
      I'm not going to change your mind obviously, but think about that...most christians refer right back to the bible to prove that claim and that's not good enough. Science does numerous tests and those tests are reviewed and back with facts and evidence and when science makes a mistake, it changes it's opinion...your belief does not give way for that.

      August 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • captain america

      8 ways liar prevails opinion doesn't mean sh it to US. #1 the ass hole doesn't live in this country. There's your sign.

      August 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Bo Noddy

      Chad, did you even read that stuff you quoted? All of it second-hand accounts of the christian cult long after the supposed death of Jesus. There are no first-hand accounts of any sort despite the Romans being very conscientious about that sort of thing, nothing written by Jesus himself, nothing written at the time he was alive that indicates he existed at all.

      And regardless of whether he existed or not, there are no gods that exist. Most of those accounts talk about the cult existing, not Jesus himself, and all of them written decades after his supposed life and death.

      Where are the words Jesus wrote? Nowhere. If he existed he was a liar and probably illiterate, just like Mohammad, so even if you produced something he wrote, it would be false: a con-man's written lies to sway his gullible followers.

      Your god does not exist. Your Jesus was a liar and a heretic if he ever existed. Your whole religion is a lie.

      And you are a gullible, ignorant, and schizophrenic cult member just like any other cult member of any other cult.
      There is nothing to separate you from them in terms of being a fool. You have more in common with a Muslim suicide bomber than not.

      August 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • ME II

      "As a Christian there is always a chance that the Lord will get through to him. "
      Are you saying your God cannot get through to a non-Christian?

      Also, there don't seem to be any first hand accounts of Jesus, other than those supposedly by believers, why do you think that is?

      August 26, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Chad

      @TruthPrevails "There are bound to be some basic historical facts but there is no historical fact to back that if jesus existed that he was anything more than a man...nothing special about him.
      @Chad "well, if you consider Him merely human, then you necessarily believe that:
      1. Jesus was a mentally ill and delusional, suffering from schizophrenia (heard voices), yet somehow managed to say (what virtually every historian, philosopher, psychologist will tell you) some of the most profound, clever and penetrating statements in human history.
      2. That someone stole the body from the tomb
      3. That hundreds of His disciples, non-believers and one former enemy of Jesus suffered from not just one, but several different instances of mass hallucination so powerful and real that they were willing to die proclaiming the truth that they had seen the resurrected Jesus.

      You dont have to read any of the bible to have ascertained that information.. right?

      August 26, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad, (reposted here)

      so from the OP: no true Christian would ever vote for a Mormon.
      And your reply: Better to vote for a Christian even though you disagree deeply with his policies.

      I take it you are voting to relect our current President?

      August 26, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "As a Christian there is always a chance that the Lord will get through to him. " Are you saying your God cannot get through to a non-Christian?"
      @Chad "could of course, but obviously the odds are far less favorable.. God lets people turn away from Him.

      @ME II "Also, there don't seem to be any first hand accounts of Jesus, other than those supposedly by believers, why do you think that is?"
      @Chad "couple reasons:
      A. Everyone that witnesses a resurrected Jesus believed (how could they not??).

      B. Believe it or not.. Reuters didnt exist in 30AD
      I know.. it's hard to believe. but it's actually true

      For example, we just recently uncovered archaeological evidence for the existence of Pontius Pilate. You may not believe this, but unlike now, not everything was recorded..

      C. Jesus only preached 3.5 years before being crucified, His following prior to His death and resurrection was not massive by any stretch, and later it was actually waning in size see John 6.

      D. Unlike today, the nation of Israel was a very small backwater province, anything of importance was happening in Rome.
      How many historians covered ANYTHING of the events in Palestine during that period, before or after?

      E. Prior to His resurrection, most of His disciples viewed Him as a powerful prophet, but few fully recognized that He was indeed divine. The resurrection from the dead, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost put Gods stamp of authenticity on Jesus as indeed the Son of God.

      August 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Rachel

      Chad, Yet another fantastic post!

      August 26, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer "I take it you are voting to relect our current President?"
      @Chad "every Christian should make up their own mind, thankfully being a Christian is NOT dependent on what we do, but what Jesus did, so it is nonsense to say "no true Christian would ever "

      first time in my life i'm voting democrat...

      August 26, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      wow. Thanks for being so direct.

      August 26, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Chadwatch, a public service

      We at Chadwatch have a hypothesis as to why "Rachel" only posts immediately after Chad and simply congratulates him for being brilliant, and yet The Chad swears on his bible he does not use sock puppets. There has to be a loophole, right?

      We submit that Rachel is either his child or his submissive (but of course!) wife.

      August 26, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Chad

      @Bo Noddy "There are no first-hand accounts of any sort despite the Romans being very conscientious about that sort of thing, nothing"

      @Chad "where are the Roman records of Pontius Pilate, fifth Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, from AD 26–36. 10 years!

      When it is said of the Romans that they were excellent record keepers, that's true.. But it's relative to the other rules of the time.. It does not in any way shape or form translate into "the keep records of everything"..

      If Rome kept records to the detail you suggest they were, find out who was prefect of Judea after Pontius Pilate (without consulting the bible of course 🙂 )

      August 26, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      For example, we just recently uncovered archaeological evidence for the existence of Pontius Pilate.

      the "Pilate" stone with the inscription below was discovered in Caesarea Maritima in 1961. (I presume 'recent' in this context means the 20th rather than the 1st century?)

      [...FECIT D]E[DICAVIT]


      August 26, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Chad

      and dont forget, there are no Roman records that Pontius Pilate was prefect of Judea.. they have no records(at least that have been recovered) at all of who held that post..

      August 26, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer "...1961..."

      =>yes, the in grand scheme of things I call that recent..

      For centuries doubters referred to the lack of any extra biblical evidence of Pilate as proving that the account was fabricated..
      then they found the stone 🙂

      Many of the details of the bible have yet to be authenticated, but NONE have been demonstrated incorrect..

      quite a record! 🙂

      August 26, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad, (reposted)

      Many of the details of the bible have yet to be authenticated, but NONE have been demonstrated incorrect.

      (Let's ignore observation that in the context on the recent discussion of Genesis 1, and assume you were specifically refering to New Testament writings here.)

      But (and I'm not asserting any expertise on these docvments) your observation could probably also be made for the Quran and the Bhagavad Gita.

      August 26, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer: "But (and I'm not asserting any expertise on these docvments) your observation could probably also be made for the Quran and the Bhagavad Gita."

      @Chad "I have no idea..
      and, unlike so many here, I dont just google "historical inaccuracies in the Quran" and copy the results back. If I'm not prepared to do some real research, I'm not going to pretend otherwise..

      August 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Rachel is nothing other than Chard's sock puppet. He'll deny it up one side and down the other, but you'll never see "her" anywhere else on these boards.

      It could be, though, that the Chard has discovered his feminine side. Perhaps Rachel is just another face of Chard..like the three faces of Eve.

      August 26, 2012 at 8:58 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.