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September 1st, 2012
11:08 AM ET

My Take: Give me Bali's empty chair over Eastwood's

An empty chair in Bali.

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 went to Bali a few years ago, I didn’t go, like most tourists, for the beaches or, like Elizabeth Gilbert, for love. I went for the religion. I wanted to learn something about the unique brand of Hinduism practiced there.

Balinese Hinduism differs from Indian Hinduism in many ways. For example, in Balinese temples there are often no images of God. But for me the most arresting religious image I encountered was the empty chair.

I saw this chair, typically crafted of stone, everywhere in Bali—on streetcorners and mountaintops, and in households and rice fields. It is a shrine to Ida Sanghyang Widhi, the High God to Balinese Hindus. And it symbolizes, among other things, the indescribability of the divine.

Historians say this icon was brought to Bali in the sixteenth century from Java. Religious Studies scholars see some Buddhist influence here, which would not be surprising since Buddhism thrives throughout the Indonesian archipelago that encompasses Bali.

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I saw the empty chair as an invitation—an invitation to reckon with God on your own terms and in your own way. I also saw it as an elegant refusal—a refusal to reduce God to simplistic terms we can understand.

Clint Eastwood has now turned “the empty chair” into a meme of a very different sort. In his speech on Thursday at the Republican National Convention, he argued with an invisible Barack Obama in an empty chair, drawing applause from the audience but upstaging Mitt Romney in the process.

What struck me as I saw this performance was how different Eastwood’s use of the empty chair was from how people use it in Bali.

In Bali, to stand in front of the empty chair is to reckon with your limits, and particularly with what you don’t know. But Eastwood and those who applauded him were driven by hubris, not humility. They claimed to know what Obama would say if he were in fact sitting in that chair, and of course the words they put in his mouth (including profanities) were words of their choosing, not his.

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My point is not that Obama is a God and should be treated with the reverence of one. Far from it. Obama is a human being, and like every human being he has made mistakes.

My point is that, even as religion has moved to the center of American political life, humility has moved to the periphery.

One of the functions of religion has traditionally been to remind us of our limits: we are sinners, and only God is God; we see through a glass darkly, and only God sees face to face. But we have turned that function off.

Today’s political religion puts human beings above God. It turns God into a pawn in our political chess games, brazenly enlisting God's support for our particular policies on tax rates or abortion or the war in Afghanistan.

Once you have accustomed yourself to putting words in the mouth of God, it is pretty easy to start putting words in the mouths of your political opponents. You run not against the real Obama, his words and his actions, but against your own made up “invisible Obama.”

Instead of taking their cues from a Hollywood director, Republicans should follow the example of a great Republican, and perhaps the greatest American, Abraham Lincoln. In the face of a culture war that turned into the Civil War, Lincoln pleaded for a civil politics in both North and South. “We are not enemies, but friends,” he said in his First Inaugural Address. “We must not be enemies.”

In his Second Inaugural, Lincoln humbly confessed his confusion over what God was doing in allowing the Civil War to drag on and take so many lives, only to conclude that “the Almighty has His own purposes.”

Lincoln’s political piety was a faith of the Balinese empty chair—a humble faith that knew its own limits and confessed its own confusion. I’ll take that over Eastwood’s variety any day.

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Church and state • Hinduism • Mitt Romney • Politics • United States

soundoff (553 Responses)
  1. Robyn123

    Beautiful piece Stevie!

    September 2, 2012 at 8:07 am |
  2. indel

    Addressing the subject "empty chair", Stephen Prothero expressed his opinion, his criticism of all of us, in these modern days. He did in a very inteligent way, he convinced me to read the article to the last line, and even to read the comments...
    BTW, I am a registered Republican who have voted (and will vote) for Obama.

    September 2, 2012 at 8:00 am |
  3. Benjolina

    Bali is very beautiful. Everything is so cheap there. Too bad it's so far away or I would go there every year.

    September 2, 2012 at 7:41 am |
  4. GWEdwards

    He only used a chair, because he couldn't find a suit.

    Nothing more than that.

    September 2, 2012 at 7:39 am |
  5. Jute

    LOL!!! It was an empty chair used for a prop people. Clint Eastwood is an entertainer. You are making a mountain out of a molehill Stephen!

    September 2, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • Johno

      (LOL)
      I guess something has struck jute are you feeling uncomfortable, are you thinking that you have overstep your bounds? lol.

      September 2, 2012 at 8:15 am |
  6. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    And "Prof" Stevie P again "sits" in judgement but who cares what he professes since he refuses to be honest about his own beliefs, something all religious "experts" should do before pontificating.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    ====================================================================================================

    September 2, 2012 at 7:30 am |
    • Johno

      Reality
      Ignorance is bliss and even with your erodite expressions you ignorance is abysmal, knowledge is not only power but the proper use of it is wisdom. Think of the menial umbrella that covers you in the storm of igborance as you wonder blindly in your faithless expressions.

      September 2, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  7. malik

    If God were to intervene in any of man's affairs on earth, we would be no more than mechanical robots. "All-loving," "all-caring," "merciful," and other attributes of God are man-made through the writings of the Bible and other religious books. Believing in God is in a different league altogether than believing in what the "holy" books say.

    September 2, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • Reality

      Assuming there is a Christian god:

      o From Father Edward Schillebeeckx's , Church: The Human Story of God,
      Crossroad, 1993, p.91 (softcover)

      "Christians must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history" .

      "Nothing is determined in advance: in nature there is chance and determinism; in the world of human
      activity there is possibility of free choices.

      Therefore the historical future is not known even to God; otherwise we
      and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings.

      For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women." (and there developing children).

      September 2, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • Reality

      Or assuming there is no Christian god:

      The Agnostics' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (references used are available upon request)

      September 2, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • horse fox fish

      To Reality.
      It is amazing how many cliche's you can string together and say nothing.

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I ask you, Does a Higgs field exist?, Will a Higgs Field exist? Did a Higgs Field Exist? I think if you answer the Higgs question as consistently as the God question you would not be as happy. The first two Higgs questions would be answered no because there is no proof. The third would be answered possibly. I am using the same reasoning you use for God. No proof. But going one step further, I you take a piece of paper and spend a bit of time writing down every thing that happened in1 second of time, and I mean everything that happened, my guess is you would miss a few things. So ask yourself, do those things you missed, exist or not?

      September 2, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  8. trollol

    The guy who made the first chair probably thought of it as just a chair. A merchant comes along, buys the chair, and gives the chair a back story to make it easier to sell. The story spreads and more chairs are sold using the same silly story. A chair as a centerpiece. Crazy people.

    September 2, 2012 at 7:12 am |
  9. clarke

    i liked the article,

    September 2, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • trollol

      Clint Eastwood likes to suck Mitt Romney's c0ck.

      September 2, 2012 at 7:16 am |
  10. Centrist

    I find that the "bali" empty chair brings humility, calmness and patience. Coming to understand that the person you don't see in the chair understands what they are doing. The person has no idea what the person looks like, is made of nor is currently planning. You can't put a name or an idea on the invisible person. You have only your perceptions. What RNC did was a skit. It would of been better if they put a poster of him next to the actor.

    September 2, 2012 at 7:06 am |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    September 2, 2012 at 6:55 am |
    • Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just go to http://santorum.com to find out more.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
      Prayer makes you fat, pale, weak, and sedentary.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
      Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
      Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
      Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
      Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
      Prayer dulls your senses.
      Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
      Prayer wastes time.

      September 2, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  12. Geoff

    You are kidding! You got paid to write that? Really? You got paid money for that?

    September 2, 2012 at 5:36 am |
    • Independent from New Hampshire

      The Faux News Republicans sure out this morning. What a bunch of trolls. You are obviously entirely too ignorant and are reading way beyond what the author intends. There is little to be read between the lines. The author has stated a case that is exceptionally true. The ignorance of "American Exceptionalism" will most-assuredly be our downfall. And I can't wait. Time for a new leader in this world as the Republicans, in all their self-absorbed failed capitalistic theory (see "The Great Philosophers"), have dragged down this country to the dredges of humanity because of idealistic virtues that are, ironically, very much inline with fascism-a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

      September 2, 2012 at 6:37 am |
  13. mark

    Come on, today's 'political religion' of claiming God is on your side of an issue is only a recently stooped-to phenomenon? That trick is about 1,000 times older than that chair in Bali, and has been pulled more times than grandfather's fingers.

    September 2, 2012 at 4:37 am |
  14. janice

    Eastwood's empty chair speech was great. What a stretch and absolutely ridiculous to bring in something about the Hindu religion to critique it with. And speaking of humility, I believe President Obama Is a prime example of the lack thereof. So there.

    September 2, 2012 at 4:25 am |
    • Bill C

      It was no speech, it was a rambling mostly incoherent muddle, designed to show the failings of the GOP. Clint couldn't even stand up tp a real Obama

      September 2, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  15. Colin

    Many believers say things like "God cannot be reduced to simplistic terms we can understand" or "the Almighty has His own purposes" or "our mind is too small to understand the greatness of God." This is a very convenient safe harbor to which any believer can retreat whenever confronted with a raging inconsistency in their faith.

    Can't explain why an "all caring" god allows millions of innocent children to die each day from starvation or child abuse, just say "it's all part of God's plan". Want to claim that prayers are always answered then need an explaination as to why they are not, claim "God has a bigger plan for us".

    Christians create a god and ascribe traits to it – loving, merciful, caring etc. – and then have this universal fall back position whenever they are proven wrong. Such a retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered fool. it is also self-contradictory, in that, if we cannot know God, as they claim, how can they even say it is all loivng, all knowing etc.

    September 2, 2012 at 4:12 am |
    • Damocles

      Yeah, I'm always puzzled when they say things like that as well. 'No one can know my deity, but I can tell you he's a straight white guy'. Its really amazing on how they can twist their minds into such odd angles.

      September 2, 2012 at 4:21 am |
  16. JS

    The author is asking for a more civil politics from the right. I think he must have been asleep for
    the past several years. The sheer flood of rancor and hate from the left has been appalling. And
    he is busy chiding the right. Um, Mr. Prothero – Christians believe that Jesus was God, and the
    words of Jesus are the words of God. (I am agnostic.) So here are some words of God for you
    to ponder: "Thou hypocrite, first remove the log from your own eye, then you will see clearly to
    remove the speck from your neighbor's eye."

    In case Mr. Prothero has been asleep for a few years, here is a recap. Obama decided that
    the U.S. should switch to government healthcare. Pelosi and the democrats started writing
    the ACA, having private meetings with lobbyists and keeping its contents a secret from the
    public. Conservatives balked. Since when is turning the nation's healthcare into a giant
    government bureaucracy a good idea? Government is wasteful, slow to adopt to change, and
    people have no recourse when it messes up. What a terrible idea! We should have had a
    national debate on how the nation could have the best heathcare, with the highest availability,
    at the lowest cost. Liberals would have to defend the position that a new gargantuan government
    bureaucracy was the best way to achieve this goal. They knew they could never win that
    argument. Liberals are in love with government control of everything, but any reasonable
    person can easily see that a government bureaucracy would result it higher costs, longer
    wait times, rationing, and causing more deaths and suffering. The correct solution is of course
    a free market system but with adequate government regulation to keep the profit minded
    companies in check. The free market system has been shown repeatedly to best match
    producers and consumers, adopt new technology quickest, and result in more options and
    lower costs. Of course the government would also need to tax and provide money so the
    poor etc. would be able to get good care.

    September 2, 2012 at 4:10 am |
    • JS

      test

      September 2, 2012 at 4:19 am |
    • Helpful Hints

      JS,

      When I see someone go, "test", I wonder if they have run head to head with the silly word filter here, so just in case that has happened to you:

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ---
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-oters…as in sho-oters
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-oon… as in sp-oon, lamp-oon, harp-oon
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      que-er
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sl-ut
      sm-ut…..as in transm-utation
      sn-atch
      sp-ank
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      strip-per
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, t-itle, ent-ity, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, salt-water, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!
      There's another phrase that someone found, "wo-nderful us" (have no idea what sets that one off).

      September 2, 2012 at 4:23 am |
    • JS

      Conservatives got fed up, and the tea party was born. STOP the government from taking
      over functions that it has no business in. The 10th amendment to the Const-itution, supposedly
      the law of the land, states that any functions not listed in the Const-itution are specifically
      reserved to the states or the people. Liberals did not want a debate on the merits of a
      government bureaucracy for healthcare. They would never win that debate. So they decided
      to run a smear campaign against the right. They call the tea party members racists. Decent,
      hard working Americans who were fed up with government overreach. But instead of getting
      an honest debate on the legitimate role of government and whether a government bureaucracy
      to manage healthcare was a good idea, they got a lot of foul, below the belt name calling by
      the left. Racists, they were called. "Tea baggers" – a foul se-xual reference. One of the reps
      marching to sign the bill said he was called the N word 17 times. Yet video after video emerged
      of the march, and not even one instance of someone using the N word could be found. He
      claimed it was shouted as he marched up the capital steps. A video showed that was false.
      Then he claimed he misspoke, it was said as he left the capital. A video showed that was
      also false. There was absolutely no evidence of racism, not at the rallies, or debates, or on
      the steps of the capital, or anywhere at all. The whole thing was a complete lie by the left
      to shut down honest debate on heathcare. Even with a Dem president and a Dem super-
      majority congress, they couldn't get the pig of a bill through without buyouts like the Louisiana
      purchase, and legal maneuvers like deeming the bill to have passed. And in the face of this
      outrageous behavior calling decent hard-working Americans racists and other foul, false names.

      September 2, 2012 at 4:31 am |
    • JS

      Goebbels said, a lie repeated often enough becomes truth. If people hear a lie often enough,
      they believe it, even though it is false. The smears of the left had a terrible consequence –
      many black Americans began to believe that the right really was filled with racists. This brought
      race relations to an all time low, and had many terrible effects for all Americans. But the left
      didn't care, the important thing was they got ACA through. Instead of having a discussion to
      examine healthcare from all angles and viewpoints, and arrive at the best understanding of the
      issues, and the best solutions, they felt they were all-knowing, like God; their way was obviously
      best. Even though almost anyone could see that a government bureaucracy was a terrible idea.
      Their solution WILL kill many Americans who would have lived, and cause massive suffering that
      would not have occurred otherwise. An honest discussion of the issues would have revealed that
      the biggest problems with the nation's healthcare have been caused directly by bad government
      policy, and the best way to get cheaper more available care would be to repeal or alter the bad
      policies that were causing the healthcare crisis in the first place.

      September 2, 2012 at 4:32 am |
    • JS

      Lets talk civility. Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a sl-ut, getting his facts mixed up,
      thinking she was sleeping around a lot. He later apologized. Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a
      c*-nt. The vulgarity of the left is ten times worse than the right. Yet liberals were up in arms over
      what Limbaugh said. But calling a woman a c*-nt was hilarious. Nothing wrong with that. And then
      they tell you that they are pro-woman. So if you are a successful woman, but who believes differently
      than they do, it is completely acceptable to use the foulest vulgarity to demean you.

      Mr. Prothero – you want a more civil discourse? How about this – let the left remove Bill Maher
      for his vulgarity first. He constantly smeared the good, concerned, tea party citizens, falsely
      calling them racists. He constantly uses vulgarity and lies to smear the right. Then lets repeal
      ACA agreeing it was only passed through the use of dirty and dishonest methods. Then lets
      have a real debate about what is the appropriate role of government should be to produce the
      best, cheapest, and most available healthcare in the world. Then lets implement the results of
      that debate. How about that?

      Take Bill Maher off the air – remove the log from you own eye first, then worry about the speck
      of Clint Eastwood's comedy. I'm waiting...

      September 2, 2012 at 4:37 am |
    • JS

      @Helpful Hints – thank you! It doesn't like the word Const-itution...

      September 2, 2012 at 4:38 am |
    • swipedcard

      "The correct solution is of course a free market system but with adequate government regulation to keep the profit minded companies in check" and then you say " Of course the government would also need to tax and provide money so the
      poor etc. would be able to get good care."

      Your ideas expressed in your moment of clarity and candor are actually anathema to your own party and you've just essentially summarized the main thrust of Democratic arguments.

      And this is indeed the whole problem. People pull the lever of the "party of God," when it reality, it's the Uber-wealthy pulling the strings and using "God," and a variety of other manipulations, to get ordinary Americans to vote counter to their economic interests. Most Americans believe the wealthy should pay more than Romney's 13%, and that they should pay AT LEAST as much as a typical middle-class family. Most Americans also believe that a return to market free-for-alls that leads to the depression and the recent meltdown is NOT a good idea. Most also believe that children should have healthcare. Now, if they could actually figure out which party is better supporting their economic interests, and not allow themselves to be manipulated by the monied interests, there could actually be hope for a future American middle-class.

      September 2, 2012 at 4:40 am |
    • JW

      That was well said but totally off base..Asa black person who grew up around mostly white people I can tell you that yes some of the members of the tea party are racist.. I say this first becaues i know a few personally and second look at your policies.. dont want amnesty because Mexicans are draining our tax dollars by using our government services. It seems to me instead of spending money trying to deport them why not have them be on work visas and put them in a slightly higher tax bracket... problem solved, but since the tea party hates this idea it stands to reason that it is not the money but the mexican people ypu find fault with. Next the ACA, you got to pick your argument on this because on one hand you hate big government, but you want to use government to skew the free market by regulating the profits of thousands of health care companies to keep health care affordable..... and thats just a start on how GOP/tea party policies make no sense

      September 2, 2012 at 5:55 am |
    • Independent from New Hampshire

      The Faux News Republicans sure out this morning. What a bunch of trolls. You are obviously entirely too ignorant and are reading way beyond what the author intends. There is little to be read between the lines. The author has stated a case that is exceptionally true. The ignorance of "American Exceptionalism" will most-assuredly be our downfall. And I can't wait. Time for a new leader in this world as the Republicans, in all their self-absorbed failed capitalistic theory (see "The Great Philosophers"), have dragged down this country to the dredges of humanity because of idealistic virtues that are, ironically, very much inline with fascism-a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

      September 2, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • God

      Yeah right and we live in wonderland, stop being a fool and wake up to reality.The right only breed greed and distrust. And stop quoteing me. LOL

      September 2, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  17. YouHaveNoFaith

    All I can say is that it is a sad day indeed when people start talking to empty chairs....and the audience reacts to it...as if a real person were sitting there...the emperor has clothes, and a voice! Indeed...

    September 2, 2012 at 4:08 am |
  18. Saorise72

    Yet you did not comment that the whole empty chair (as a modern day construct) started with Mr. Morgan. You chose to attack Clint Eastwood's version, as Clint chose to attack Mr. Morgan's version. There are a lot of empty apartment buildings in China, and one can construct their own theories of why that is so, but lets stick to facts shall we. By bringing in the Bali Hindu discussion into the political realm you are really doing a disservice to the Hindu faith!

    September 2, 2012 at 3:39 am |
  19. blerg

    This article is absolutely correct on one point: Humility is dead. Americans are arrogant, ignorant and proud of it.

    September 2, 2012 at 3:34 am |
  20. lamb of dog

    This article is definitely stretching it.
    But Eastwood is going a little cuckoo.

    September 2, 2012 at 3:32 am |
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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.