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Spike in religious restrictions in U.S. and world, Pew Center finds
Alleged Fort Hood killer Nidal Hasan was recently forced to shave his beard to appear in a military court.
September 20th, 2012
03:25 PM ET

Spike in religious restrictions in U.S. and world, Pew Center finds

By Ashley Fantz, CNN

(CNN) - Restrictions on religion spiked throughout the world between mid-2009 and 2010, including in the United States, says a new study by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The U.S. was among 16 countries, including Switzerland, where hostilities jumped during that time period. Pew examined 197 countries, assigning a score between from zero to 10.

Zero represents the least restrictive and 10 the most. There are two categories - governmentally restrictive and socially restrictive.

To answer the questions that make up the indexes, Pew Forum researchers combed through 19 widely cited, publicly available sources of information, including reports by the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, the Council of the European Union, the United Kingdom's Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, Freedom House and Amnesty International.

None of the countries in the study got a zero.

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Of the 25 most populous countries examined, Brazil and Japan ranked the best in government restrictions.

The worst countries in both categories include Russia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and India.

But it's the ranking of the United States that was particularly surprising to researcher Brian Grim.

"These were surprising findings because the U.S. (and Switzerland) are not countries where we've typically seen these levels of hostilities," he said, referring to two previous studies Pew did on the topic - research that characterized the U.S. as more tolerant to different religious expressions.

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

The U.S. had previously scored a two, according to Grim. The newest study gives it a 3.4.

Grim said it's important to keep in mind that the 2009-2010 time-frame doesn't account for recent events which he said could have given the U.S. an even worse score, such as the August killings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

The study does however take into account a "number of reports involving people who were prevented from wearing religious attire, like beards, in the judicial settings and prison," he said.

There were also more reported restrictions on zoning permits to expand or build religious centers.

In 2009, Muslims living in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, saw construction of a new community center and mosque vandalized and then torched.

In Colorado in 2010, an appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that Boulder County commissioners discriminated against the Rocky Mountain Christian Church by denying it permits to expand its school and worship facilities, although commissioners had issued permits to a nearby secular school for a similar expansion, Pew found.

Pew culled from numerous sources, including various government reports and data from the Department of Justice.

Grim said a spike in religion-related terror attacks in the U.S. influenced the country's score. He pointed to the December 2009 attempt by a Nigerian Islamist to blow up an airliner arriving in Detroit, Michigan, and the Times Square attempted bombing in New York by a Pakistani-American who observed extremist Islam.

Pew also took into account the 2009 killings at Fort Hood. The alleged killer, an Army psychiatrist who had turned to radical Islam, was recently forced to shave his beard to appear in a military court.

Also in 2010, Oklahoma banned Islam's Sharia law in 2010. The change to Oklahoma's state law passed a statewide vote, but a federal appeals court struck down the amendment in January 2012, saying it violated the First Amendment.

Pew also wrote that "social hostilities" in the U.S. reflects an increase in reported religion-related workplace discrimination complaints.

Complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rose from 3,386 in the fiscal year ending on September 30, 2009, to 3,790 in the year ending on September 30, 2010.

The number of cases that the EEOC determined had "reasonable cause" rose from 136 to 314 during that period.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (233 Responses)
  1. Jihad Johnny

    *Hassan

    September 22, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  2. Jihad Johnny

    How is Assad the Muslim traitor still alive????

    September 22, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  3. Sony Bozo & Chair

    A godly person will willingly kill for gOD at any cost !!!!!

    September 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • PhH

      Yeah, here is a wise dude proclaiming the truth! Duh!

      September 23, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  4. Palo Alto

    Man is capable of so much evil as long as he is Godless and continues to worship satan.

    September 22, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Damocles

      @palo

      A person is capable of good and evil. No deity is required for either.

      September 22, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • nope

      @dumbocles
      nope

      September 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • snopes says

      nope to nope

      September 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Steven Weinberg

      Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

      -Steven Weinberg

      September 22, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  5. Giao Hoan

    Put all regidiculous nuts in assylum please 😉

    September 22, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  6. ChristLib

    The issue is that in America we profess to have religious freedom but that only seems to apply to the religion of those that scream the loudest about the superiority of their own beliefs. I'm a liberal Christian and I will NEVER understand the need to belittle, berate and vilify those that do not believe as I do.
    There is a clear and necessary separation of Church and State in this country. If kids want to pray in school? Cool, go for it! Whether you are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. No teacher or authority figure should EVER lead it.

    Don't like a particular Church/Mosque/Temple in your neighborhood? Then move...or just don't go there.

    I have no need whatsoever to push my beliefs into other people's faces but what a lot of evangelicals do not understand is that other religions simply existing or people of other religions walking about in close proximity to them does not mean THEIR religious rights are being infringed upon.

    The religious nuts in the world are ruining it for us spiritual fruits. And you do not have the right to NOT be offended.

    People, be nice....and mind your own business.

    September 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • EPAB

      Well said!

      September 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  7. hippypoet

    Religion has served a purpose and we should all be thankful to it,seriously. But lies it always was and still is and so the world is finally awakening. Science is still in its infancy. If we had the ability to understand the natural world as we do now before now the world would be a different place. Well, maybe the world would be nothing more then what the future is for us now. Asides from having answers provided by modern science now is little different from our past where notions of truth ruled! Interesting thought to ponder. Without religion however, many will find a lack of connection with complete strangers...i mean besides being a fellow human of course. The thought arises now what unifying idea can bring together a race, then the species? Or will we forever maintain the path of selfdestruction but now just be honest about the reasons? – Land. Money. Power. – This "idea" will be the power struggle of the 2100's. Mark my words. Without a unifying idea or force i fear the worst for a selfdestructive species now without reasons to be good for we now "know" heaven is just another "idea".

    world peace – how about that as an "idea"... can you get behind the belief in the human species and our ability to achieve such an actionless goal?

    September 21, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  8. EPAB

    Even if you assume this is true, it's a natural backlash against religious fundamentalists ( of ALL sects ) trying to force their beliefs on others. Either forcefully or legislatively.

    September 21, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      So if I discriminate against gayes I can blame them for it?

      September 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • SillyBoy

      Bill. Are gays forcing their beliefs on you or are they asserting rights that church generally oppose?

      September 21, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I wish they were asserting on me.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'll bet you do, Billy boy. I'll bet you wish on a star every night that a gay man would express an interest in your sorry azz.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  9. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago. (Yes, charlatan folklore and spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think they hadn't?) And they need to be taught that other things, like God, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Many religious folk have the best intentions. But too often, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). And too often, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Although there are many religious folk with good intentions – some selflessly helping others, religions and religious organizations are, as a whole, just big old clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division (often disguised as love) along the way. The problem is that people too easily buy into religion and don't realize how unfounded it all is. And when they buy into it, they buy into a lot of really old, really weird tenets that are nothing but harmful for the human species.

    Take Christianity, for instance. Just look at all the things that Christians argue about amongst themselves today – abortion, men's and women's roles in the church, celibacy, contraception, acceptance of gays, etc. Most of these issues have their roots in the conflicted, unfounded tenets of early Christianity. Non-Mormons harp on Joseph Smith these days. But we really don't have any more proof at all to believe that Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle" was anything more than an ordinary man who needed to make up religious "sales literature" to survive and spread his own personal beliefs. And yet a good chunk of the NT is attributed to Paul and accepted by many Christians. And a lot of what he wrote about has to do with many of the issues I mentioned above that have Christians fighting amongst themselves hundreds of years later. It's way too unfounded to argue over.

    Get a good cup of tea, and sit down and collect your thoughts. If you find it helpful to pray to a god (something you know nothing about), fine. But it is really healthier for the mind to leave behind all the characters that people over the centuries have invented or given powers to, for which there is little or no foundation. Because with those invented characters and powers – that's where division and hate join the little party in your mind. That's where, in your mind, you are inheriting the division and hate from ordinary politicians, lobbyists and salesmen from long ago. My goodness.

    mama kindless

    September 21, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  10. AvdBerg

    Are those that are referred to as ‘Christians’ by the media really the followers of Jesus Christ or do they follow after a false Christ (Matthew 24:24) and why is there so much division amongst religions? Please read on.

    The above mentioned article is a good example how distorted things have become in society with the media industry as the main culprit.

    The local media, including CNN, Fox and your local TV stations and newspapers are a very important element of social and political behavior, as society is shaped by what it sees, hears and reads and it is conditioned by the events that influence the mind of every person. You reap what you sow.

    To allow anyone to be directed by public opinion is dangerous because most public opinion is the view of the media. If the media does not like something, their bias taints information getting to the public, and this forms public opinion. Public opinion is never based on research and facts. The public uses the media for its sole source of information and for this reason social behavior will continue to deteriorate and wax worse and worse (2 Timothy 3:13).

    For a better understanding of the role of the media we invite you to read the articles ‘Influence of the Media’ and ‘CNN Belief Blog – Sign of the Times’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    The media does not provide accurate information on ‘Religion’ as it continues to ignore the truth and the history of deceptions (John 14:17). They only report how they want you to hear things. They have created the big chasm that now exists without offering any solutions.

    Consider the truth about Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, Judaism, Evangelicals and Christianity and all other religions and ask yourself the following question.

    Are so-called Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, Israelites and Evangelicals and all those that call themselves ‘Christians’ followers of the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God, or do they follow after an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8)?

    For a better understanding of the history of Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, Christianity, and Judaism and its spread throughout the world, we invite you to read the articles ‘The Mystery Babylon’, ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’, ‘World History and Developments in the Middle East’ and ‘Clash of Civilizations’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s faith does not stand in the teachings of Christ but rather in an image of the spirit and the god of this world and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8).

    For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and Mitt Romney’s quest for the Presidency of the USA, we invite you to read the articles ‘Mormon Church – Cult and Spiritual Harlot’ and ‘Barack Obama – President of the United States of America’, listed on our website.

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    For a better understanding of the purpose of this Blog we invite you to read the article ‘CNN Belief Blog – Sign of the Times’ listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    Mitt Romney’s faith does not stand in the teachings of Christ but rather in an image of the spirit and god of this world and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8).
    For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and Mitt Romney’s quest for the Presidency of the USA, we invite you to read the articles ‘Mormon Church – Cult and Spiritual Harlot’, ‘Barack Obama – President of the United States of America’, ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’, ‘Boston University – School of Theology and Stonehill College’ and ‘CNN Belief Blog – Sign of the Times’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
    Liberty University, BYU and all other Theological schools and seminaries are the training grounds for false apostles (Mark 13:22). The Gospel of Christ cannot be taught by mankind but can only be revealed by the Spirit of God (Gal. 1:12). For a better understanding of this mystery, we invite you to read the article ‘Ye Need Not That Any Man Teach You’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    September 21, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • mama kindless

      Revelation? Everyone knows that whoever wrote that was high as a kite. St. John the Opium Addict, evidently.

      September 21, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • EPAB

      I refer you to my comment at 10:05.

      September 21, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • TROLL ALERT

      This poster is a TROLL on this site so when you see them post, just ignore it. They are proven liars and only want to sell their book to support their cult plus their website also full of lies. Don't bother visiting their site, click the report abuse link to get rid of this TROLL!

      September 21, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • 65snake

      "Are those that are referred to as ‘Christians’ by the media really the followers of Jesus Christ or do they follow after a false Christ (Matthew 24:24) and why is there so much division amongst religions? Please read on."

      Logical fallacy. Commonly known as the "no true scotsman" argument. Not a good way to start a post, or a premise.

      September 21, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  11. Reality

    AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

    Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

    "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As does Biden and Ryan)

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    September 21, 2012 at 7:30 am |
  12. HiggsbosonIsReligion

    Ha...Ha...Ha..!!!

    Try again....atheism kills.

    Jozef Stalin 23,000,000 Million
    Mao Ze-Dong 49-78,000,000 Million
    Kim Il Sung 1.6 million – Sungism
    Hideki Tojo 5,000,000 Million –
    Pol Pot 1,700,000 Million

    September 21, 2012 at 6:35 am |
    • HiggsbosonIsReligion

      Almost forgot. atheism has no regard for life in the womb.

      So....probably another 50+ million killed.

      September 21, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • One one

      God killed more people than all of them put together. Read your bible. Do you worship the biggest mass murderer of all time?

      September 21, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • HiggsbosonIsReligion

      Read the Bible.

      Those people you're referring too....practiced child sacrifice (moloch worship) and had other deviant behavior.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:08 am |
    • One one

      Even the unborn babies in the flood ?

      September 21, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:

      M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Christians)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      *:" Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

      A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion."

      Q: So, what you're saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

      A: Arrgh... You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many doc-umented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it's more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don't even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

      In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under "Communism", 24 under Colonialism, 2 under "Railroads" and 2 under "Scapegoats". Make of that what you will."
      1.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:32 am |
    • Reality

      the Old Testament that lists the god-approved atrocities:

      To wit:

      •Exodus 32: 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf.

      •Numbers 31: After killing all men, boys and married women among the Midianites, 32,000 virgins remain as booty for the Israelites. (If unmarried girls are a quarter of the population, then 96,000 people were killed.)

      •Joshua: ◦Joshua 8: 12,000 men and women, all the people of Ai, killed.
      ◦Joshua 10: Joshua completely destroys Gibeon ("larger than Ai"), Makeddah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, Debir. "He left no survivors."
      ◦Joshua 11: Hazor destroyed. [Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews (1987), estimates the population of Hazor at ?> 50,000]
      ◦TOTAL: if Ai is average, 12,000 x 9 = 108,000 killed.

      •Judges 1: 10,000 Canaanites k. at Battle of Bezek. Jerusalem and Zephath destroyed.
      •Judges 3: ca. 10,000 Moabites k. at Jordan River.
      •Judges 8: 120,000 Midianite soldiers k. by Gideon
      •Judges 20: Benjamin attacked by other tribes. 25,000 killed.

      •1 Samuel 4: 4,000 Isrealites killed at 1st Battle of Ebenezer/Aphek. 30,000 Isr. k. at 2nd battle.
      •David: ◦2 Samuel 8: 22,000 Arameans of Damascus and 18,000 Edomites killed in 2 battles.

      ◦2 Samuel 10: 40,000 Aramean footsoldiers and 7,000 charioteers killed at Helam.
      ◦2 Samuel 18: 20,000 Israelites under Absalom killed at Ephraim.

      •1 Kings 20: 100,000 Arameans killed by Israelites at Battle of Aphek. Another 27,000 killed by collapsing wall.
      •2 Chron 13: Judah beat Israel and inflicted 500,000 casualties.
      •2 Chron 25: Amaziah, king of Judah, k. 10,000 from Seir in battle and executed 10,000 POWs. Discharged Judean soldiers pillaged and killed 3,000.
      •2 Chron 28: Pekah, king of Israel, slew 120,000 Judeans

      •TOTAL: That comes to about 1,283,000 mass killings specifically enumerated in the Old Testament/Torah.

      The New Testament has only one major atrocity, that of god committing filicide assuming you believe in this Christian mumbo jumbo. Said atrocity should be enough to vitiate all of Christianity.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • WASP

      @religion: you do know your arguement is an epic fail. you can't kill in the name of no belief. we aren't a religion, we have no doctrine, we simply believe in no gods what so ever. the gods of old and this includes yours aren't needed to explain anything in the modern world.
      those men you christians like to atribute to atheism, we merely coveting power. they killed both reliigious and none religious alike.
      as far as how many have died at the hands of those in power; let's start at the year 330 C.E. and move forward with your war-popes. they slaughtered billions throughout history; at times even exterminating a whole culture in the process. you beloved christopher columbus supervised the extermination of every life on the island of hispanola (modern day haiti/dominican republic). so if you want to get down to numbers, not only including scripture where men slaughtered in the name of god, but all the ones not accounted for in your "holy book" that number makes the actions of hitler etc etc etc seem like nothing in comparision.
      so please keep spouting your ignorance, it only make you look like an ass. 🙂

      September 21, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • Reality

      Of course, said OT atrocities could have been embellished or even invented by the Jewish scribes. See below for an update on said Old Testament/Torah:

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

      The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      September 21, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • Reality

      WASP,

      Please provide reliable references to verify your commentary.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • WASP

      @reality: it is too much to write or copy and paste, so i can only provide the link.
      hope it helps. 🙂

      link: http://www.truthbeknown.com/victims.htm

      September 21, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      WASP is correct.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Veritas

      The deaths that occurred while those leaders were in charge were mainly over power and ideology. A lot of people died in Stalin's USSR but it wasn't a religious motive, for example 4 million died in the Ukraine from starvation because of poor and misguided agricultural policy.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Veritas

      HiggsbosonIsReligion. Do you have any evidence that only atheists have abortions? If the so-called pro-life were really that instead of anti-abortion wouldn't they be addressing road safety, drug safety, gun safety, etc. not to mention the poverty and famine condtions that cause 2 children a minute to die of starvation. Only the loss of a potential life is important with little to no care for the actual living.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Higgsboson,

      "The incidence of spontaneous abortion is estimated to be 50% of all pregnancies, based on the assumption that many pregnancies abort spontaneously with no clinical recognition." The NIH reports, "It is estimated that up to half of all fertilized eggs die and are lost (aborted) spontaneously, usually before the woman knows she is pregnant. Among those women who know they are pregnant, the miscarriage rate is about 15–20%" –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscarriage

      Your "God" would be the biggest abortionist ever, then.

      September 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Reality

      And Nature or Nature's God is the #1 taker of everyone's life. That gives some rationale for killing womb babies or those suffering from de-mentia, mental disease or Alzheimer's or anyone who might inconvenience your life???

      September 23, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Reality

      "According to her website, Murdock ( Acharya S of the Truth Be Known website) received a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in Classics, Greek Civilization, from Franklin and Marshall College, after which she spent a year at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece.[5]"

      Not what you call a stellar background for biblical studies!!!

      September 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • PhH

      "God killed more people than all of them put together. Read your bible. "
      When Christ returns He will slaughter multi-tude of His enemies. Revelations is not about the God who pets the rebels. He will be their JUDGE. God is the RIGHTEOUS JUDGE

      September 23, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Reality

      Tis the Book of Revelation not Revelations:

      Added details:

      "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther once "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      September 24, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  13. One one

    Religion makes people feel good to think they have a personal relationship with THE all powerful creator of the universe who takes a personal interest in THEM, loves THEM, and will protect THEM when life gets scary.

    They believe THEY have all the answers to all the big questions.

    God is exactly what THEY want him to be.

    Their beliefs and values are aligned with god, therefore THEY must be 100% right, 100% of the time.

    When they die, THEY get to go to heaven for eternal bliss.

    Finally, THEY have the satisfaction of believing all those who did not agree with them will suffer god's eternal wrath.

    In the end, religious belief is really all about ME, ME, and, ME.

    September 21, 2012 at 6:33 am |
    • PhH

      You show such ignorance when it comes to understanding of what we Christians believe and why we believe it. You are so brainwashed, that it isn't even funny! And to think you that you claim WE are the brainwashed ones! LOL!

      September 23, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  14. jas

    Religious faith is nothing more than vanity disguised as virtue and piousness.

    September 21, 2012 at 6:14 am |
  15. jas

    Religious faith/belief does not bestow moral superiority. There are billions of examples of that fallacy.

    September 21, 2012 at 6:13 am |
    • jas

      @nope
      yep

      September 21, 2012 at 6:17 am |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    September 21, 2012 at 5:22 am |
    • mikem

      Atheism is healthy. Religion is a cancer. Don't let it spread to your children,

      September 21, 2012 at 5:38 am |
    • nope

      @mike ...
      nope

      September 21, 2012 at 5:41 am |
    • snopes says

      nope to nope

      September 21, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 21, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does 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! *

      September 21, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  17. postedbygeo

    Good, perverted midleastrn religions are not needed. Especially in America. We are endowed by our Creator not religious gods.

    September 21, 2012 at 5:04 am |
    • mikem

      But that begs the question: Who created God?

      The bible never says how God Himself was created. Some people might answer by saying that God was not created and that God "is" or God "exists" without beginning or end. But even if this is true, it still begs the question – how did God come into existence? Again, the bible never addresses this question. Maybe they will include this information in the next edition of the Bible so that prayerbot and others will finally know who to pray to. For now, pray to God's creator until an even earlier creator of the creatore is confirmed.

      September 21, 2012 at 5:36 am |
    • nope

      @mike
      nope,

      September 21, 2012 at 5:42 am |
    • EMcK

      Ummm. . . Christianity is a middle eastern religion.

      September 21, 2012 at 5:49 am |
  18. We need to get those numbers UP, people!

    We can certainly do better than a measely 3.4!

    We need to get off our butts, knuckle down, get serious and start kicking some Christian ass from here to there and back again.

    More lions! More stake burnings! Where's my hossenpheffer?

    September 21, 2012 at 4:34 am |
  19. Bootyfunk

    this is laughable. they call taking the 10 commandments out of our courthouses 'religious restriction'. christians cry when their religion is not held above all others. boo hoo hoo!

    September 21, 2012 at 4:27 am |
    • nope

      @footybunk
      nope

      September 21, 2012 at 5:36 am |
    • snopes says

      nope to nope

      September 21, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  20. mikem

    Speak the truth, break free of the religious shackles, and let freedom ring again:
    America, one Nation under Law (not God), indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

    September 21, 2012 at 4:15 am |
    • End Religion

      What if our religious shackles are literally shackles, with pink fluffy fur around them and little crucifix patterns across them, and we enjoy being confined by them?

      September 21, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
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About this blog

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