September 22nd, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Different Takes: Should we abandon idea of hell?

Editor’s note: The new documentary "Hellbound?" explores Americans' ideas about hell. We asked two prominent Christians who featured in the film to give us their very different takes on hell.

My Faith: The dangerous effects of believing in hell

Editor’s note: Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times bestselling author. His latest book is "Crazy For God."

By Frank Schaeffer, Special to CNN

Is it any coincidence that the latest war of religion that started on September 11, 2001, is being fought primarily between the United States and the Islamic world? It just so happens that no subgroups of humanity are more ingrained with the doctrine of hell than conservative Muslims and conservative Christians.

And nowhere on earth have conservative Christians been closer to controlling foreign policy than here in the United States. And nowhere on earth have conservative Muslims been more dominant than in the countries from which the 9/11 extremists originated – Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

What a pair George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden made! On the one hand, an American president who was a born-again evangelical with a special "heart" for the state of Israel and its importance to the so-called end times, and on the other hand a terrorist leader who believed that he was serving God by ridding the Arabian Peninsula of an American presence and cleansing the "defiled" land of Palestine of what he believed were “invader Jews.”

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So whether you're an atheist or not, the issue of who's going to hell or not matters because there are a lot of folks on this planet – many of them extraordinarily well-armed - from born-again American military personnel to Muslim fanatics, who seriously believe that God smiles upon them when they send their enemies to hell.

And so my view of "hell" encompasses two things: First, the theological question about whether a land of eternal suffering exists as God's "great plan" for most of humanity.

Second, the question of the political implications of having a huge chunk of humanity believe in damnation for those who disagree with their theology, politics and culture, as if somehow simply killing one's enemies is not enough.

What most people don't know is that there's another thread running through both Christianity and Islam that is far more merciful than the fundamentalists’ take on salvation, judgment and damnation.

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Paradise, which Muslims believe is the final destination of the society of God’s choice, is referred to in the Quran as "the home of peace"

“Our God,” Muslims are asked to recite, “You are peace, and peace is from You.”

Since Christianity is my tradition, I can say more about it. One view of God - the more fundamentalist view - is of a retributive God just itching to punish those who "stray."

The other equally ancient view, going right back into the New Testament era, is of an all-forgiving God who in the person of Jesus Christ ended the era of scapegoat sacrifice, retribution and punishment forever.

As Jesus said on the cross: "Forgive them for they know not what they do."

That redemptive view holds that far from God being a retributive God seeking justice, God is a merciful father who loves all his children equally. This is the less-known view today because fundamentalists - through televangelists and others - have been so loud and dominant in North American culture.

But for all that, this redemptive view is no less real.

Why does our view of hell matter? Because believers in hell believe in revenge. And according to brain chemistry studies, taking revenge and nurturing resentment is a major source of life-destroying stress.

For a profound exploration of the madness caused by embracing the “justice” of “godly” revenge and retribution, watch the film “Hellbound?”

The film shows how the "hell" of revenge thinking, and the resulting unhinging of some people’s brains through their denial of human empathy, leads them to relish the violent future of suffering that they predict awaits the “lost” in hell.

Do we really want to go back to a time of literalistic religion. Wasn’t 9/11 enough of an argument against retributive religion?

We need “hell” like a hole in the head. It’s time for the alternative of empathetic merciful religion to be understood.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Frank Schaeffer.

My Faith: Hell is for real and Jesus is the only way out

Editor's Note: Mark Driscoll is founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.

By Mark Driscoll, Special to CNN

As a pastor, my job is to tell the truth. Your job is to make a decision.

When controversies over biblical doctrines arise, it’s a humbling opportunity to answer questions about what the Bible teaches without getting into name-calling and mudslinging. Near the very top of the controversial doctrines is hell.

What happens when we die?

Human beings were created by God with both a physical body and a spiritual soul. When someone dies, their body goes into the grave and their spirit goes into an afterlife to face judgment.

But death is not normal or natural—it’s an enemy and the consequence of sin.

Think of it in this way: God is the source of life. When we choose to live independently of God and rebelliously against God it is akin to unplugging something from its power source. It begins to lose power until it eventually dies.

The Bible is clear that one day there will be a bodily resurrection for everyone, to either eternal salvation in heaven or eternal condemnation in hell.

Christians believe a person’s eternal status depends on their relationship with Jesus and that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Our lives are shaped by the reality that “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

What does Jesus say about hell?

Jesus was emphatically clear on the subject of hell. He alone has risen from death and knows what awaits us on the other side of this life. A day of judgment is coming when all of us — even you — will rise from our graves and stand before him for eternal sentencing to either worshiping in his kingdom or suffering in his hell.

The Bible could not be clearer: “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

These are not just obscure Bible verses. In fact, Jesus talks about hell more than anyone else in Scripture. Amazingly, 13% of his sayings are about hell and judgment, and more than half of his parables relate to the eternal judgment of sinners.

Keep in mind that Jesus’ words come in the context of the rest of Scripture, which says that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Furthermore, he “is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

God is far more loving, kind and patient with his enemies than we are with our enemies.

What does the rest of the Bible say about hell?

The Bible gives us many descriptions of hell including (1) fire; (2) darkness; (3) punishment; (4) exclusion from God’s presence; (5) restlessness; (6) second death; and (7) weeping and gnashing of teeth in agony.

A common misperception of Satan is that he’s in a red suit, holding a pitchfork at the gates of hell. But Satan will not[j1]  reign there. Hell is a place of punishment that God prepared for the devil and his angels, and it’s where those who live apart from God will, according to Revelation:

. . . drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb [Jesus Christ]. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night.

At the end of the age, the devil will be “thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

Hell will be ruled over by Jesus, and everyone present — humans and demons and Satan alike — will be tormented there continually in perfect justice.

Jesus says, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. ... And these will go away into eternal punishment.”

Is there a second chance after death?

The Bible is clear that we die once and are then judged without any second chance at salvation. As one clear example, Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”

We live. We die. We face judgment. Period.

How long does the punishment last?

Some argue that the punishment of sinners is not eternal, a view called annihilationism. This means that after someone dies apart from Jesus, they suffer for a while and then simply cease to exist.

Annihilationism is simply not what the Bible teaches. Daniel 12:2 says, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Jesus speaks of those who “will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Grammatically, there is no difference here between the length of time mentioned for “life” and that for “punishment”; rather, there is simply eternal life and eternal death.

Am I going to hell?

The good news is that the closing verses of the Bible say, “Come!” Everyone is invited to receive the free gift of God’s saving grace in Jesus. Jesus is God become a man to reconcile mankind to God.

He lived the sinless life we have not lived, died a substitutionary death on the cross for our sins. He endured our wrath, rose to conquer our enemies of sin and death, and ascended to heaven where he is ruling as Lord over all today. He did this all in love.

The stark reality is this: either Jesus suffered for your sins to rescue you from hell, or you will suffer for your sins in hell. These are the only two options and you have an eternal decision to make.

My hope and prayer is that you would become a Christian.

Have you confessed your sins to Jesus Christ, seeking forgiveness and salvation?

If not, you are hellbound, and there is no clever scholar who will be of any help when you stand before Jesus Christ for judgment. You’re not required to like hell as much as you need to believe in it, turn from your sin, trust in Jesus, and be saved from an eternal death into an eternal life.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Driscoll.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Devil • Opinion

soundoff (7,963 Responses)
  1. Peteyroo

    Unicorns, God, leprechauns, the Tooth Fairy, Jesus, Tinker Bell, hell, the Easter Bunny, heaven, Santa Claus–the list goes on. Fantasies for children.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  2. Richard

    10 Then the devil who had led them astray [deceiving and seducing them] was hurled into the fiery lake of burning brimstone, where the beast and false prophet were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (through the ages of the ages).
    11 Then I saw a great white throne and the One Who was seated upon it, from Whose presence and from the sight of Whose face earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.
    12 I [also] saw the dead, great and small; they stood before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is [the Book] of Life. And the dead were judged (sentenced) by what they had done their whole way of feeling and acting, their aims and endeavors] in accordance with what was recorded in the books.
    13 And the sea delivered up the dead who were in it, death and Hades the state of death or disembodied existence) surrendered the dead in them, and all were tried and their cases determined by what they had done [according to their motives, aims, and works].
    14 Then death and Hades the state of death or disembodied existence) were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
    15 And if anyone’s [name] was not found recorded in the Book of Life, he was hurled into the lake of fire. Revelation 20

    September 24, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Are you fukking serious? Absolutely hilarious video. Hey – Richard? Ever watch Family Guy? Where a bunch of the characters' different voices are done by the same guy? Just sad.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Dickie, why do you post this crap? It's ridiculous.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Blessed Are the Cheesmakers

      Bob Larson? Really?

      September 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Richard

      "for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

      September 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Sam Yaza


      you people are idiots

      hay kids how about a lesson

      two souls cannot be in the same vessel, you see sols are like flames and when you put two flames together they merge; and neither soul is the same, so demon possession does not really happen, no could you cast them out if they did,.. the two souls are one, now in instants of Dubakis, the Demons that poses humans in the Jewish lore, the only take dead bodies the one were the human souls have left. so in a nut shell this is a lie. and check it out get your friend who is a girl and have her attempt the same voice. you'll be amazed. in addition humans are a lesser Animal; even the beast and plants in the fielded are greater then you; Gaia made you to serve them, even to demons we have ever right to play with you however we like.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • End Religion

      if this woman is not a plant, which she likely is, it would be an inexcusable abuse of a deranged woman for the "preacher's" financial gain. If she is a plant, then its excusable that they steal every dime from anyone who believes this to be real.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  3. Tajwani

    Fist of all we should know what "hell" is?
    It's a place, where we beleive all the sinners will get the punishment of their evil activties.
    The Hell is supposed to be full of fire and other things.
    it's like the cold doesnot exisst, it's just an absenceof heat. and scince proofs that.

    same like darkness doesnot exsist, it's just and absence of light.
    The truth is, the hell is a normal place... just like an open ground or sumthing. where every sinner bring it's own fire own punishment with him..
    For Example.. I Killed someone with a knife.. i will be punished by several deaths there n will feel the pain like the victom did.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      And you know this for sure how and why?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Athy

      How old are you, Tajwani?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Tajwani

      4 – but I'll be 5 in a couple of years. Why?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Athy

      You write pretty good for a four-year old. I figured you to be about ten.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Talulah, do the attendants know where you are? Did you forget to take your medicine?

      September 24, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Peterdoofus, do YOU know where YOU are? Apparently not, if your post is evidence.

      Grow a brain, idiot.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Who exactly were you talking to, Petey?

      September 25, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  4. John The Canadian

    So this is what American's consider news coverage?

    September 24, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • JT

      No, this is a blog. Do you Canadians have blogs.....or opinion pieces?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Bob and/or Doug Mckenzie

      Blog, eh? No way – we have bacon and beers, eh? Oh, and we've got tons of oil and fresh water so – oh, not good. Hey – look over there – isn't that jesus?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Jarno

      The doctrine of hell is a horrendous plague upon the minds it infects.

      It makes you fearful of questioning the dogma that you are handed, which, of course, is why religions that threaten the disbeliever with hell are most widespread. If you put two doctrines head to head, with the only difference between the two being that one preaches hellfire for disbelief, and one doesn't, guess which one wins out?

      The hell-belief is a way of employing our self-preservation instinct to protect the belief from any close scrutiny.

      And it is truly sad, because if that close scrutiny was allowed, the hell belief wouldn't survive – the concept that an all powerful, all-loving being would allow any conscious being to suffer for eternity, is a direct contradiction. A god that would allow that is not, by any strech of imagination, loving at all, much less "all loving". So believing in both hell, and an all loving, all powerful god, is as contradictory as believing in a square circle.

      But the human mind isn't perfectly rational. It takes threats, even absurd, and over-the-top threats, seriously. That is why people pass on even a chain letter that threatens that their mom will die if they don't pass it off to ten people within a week. The threat is obviously absurd, and even a moments thought reveals that there is no plausible mechanism by which doing one thing would lead to the threatened outcome, but the uncritical human mind says "but what if...." and does as asked, just in case.

      This sort of psychology is wide open for the over-the-top, implausible carrot and stick methods of many religions.

      The world would be a much better place if people learned some basic critical thinking skills, and would let go of the damaging, horrible, hell-belief.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  5. Steve

    So what happens to those who have never heard of Jesus? What happened to the souls of Indians roaming the western wilderness in modern-day Montana, say 500 years ago? They certainly never heard of Jesus? If a person's "eternal status" depends upon their relationship with Jesus, yet they are unaware of him, then are they damned? According to your definition, they are. The smug look on Mr. Driscoll's face tells the whole story. These people are arrogant and seem to have the answers to all of life's questions. The 90% of the rest of the world is simply living in "darkness".

    September 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • JT

      Only 1% of all humans will escape the eternal flames of hell. Fetuses that Jesus aborts every day are roasting as we speak. Keep singing "Jesus loves the little children...".

      September 24, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  6. jacob47rt

    Do I hate religion? Yes. Do I wish it had never existed? No. I'm glad everything went exactly how it went. It may appear to be two thousand years of ridiculous stories, brutal wars, pointless deaths, and devoted morons...but if it didn't go exactly how it did, none of us would exist. We exist because of an exact series of events that took place. Your great, great, great, great, great, great, great (..etc) grandfather and grandmother got together and thousands of years later, you exist. If religion hadn't existed, we might not be here. So religion was necessary for your own existence.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Steve

      And if your great great x10 grandfather had taken a left instead of a right at the fork in the road, then you might not exist either. Religion may or may not have had any influence in your existance.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • jacob47rt

      there's no 'may or may not'. Religion was a series of events that led to your own birth. Yes there's other factors...like taking lefts and rights...but all that religion and all those left and rights had to go exactly how they went.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Steve

      Well, really EVERYTHING that has ever taken place prior to one's birth factored into our existance. Including religion..including famines...including seasons....including educaton, including butterfly's. I think you're putting too much emphasis on the influence of religion, is all.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  7. Biff

    Nobody here is actually stating what hell is! Nobody has any idea? I thought the fundies would at least agree, they all have to go by the letter of their magic book. But nobody can even define the word! So some brilliant fanatic out there can certainly tell me, what is hell? Why would someone go there? If you are a dick but ask forgiveness, do you get in? How about if you are an innocent child who died before baptism or being able to speak let alone understand the trinity? What if you are a good person who gives to the poor, helps the sick, sews clothes for the needy, but you've never heard of jesus? Or if you really just think that there couldn't be a god, but you are nice to everyone anyways and somehow get through life without murdering or raping anybody? Do you get in? Is hell just some cave 25 miles below the crust of the earth? Is it part of the physical world? Can there be fire and brimstone and pain in a non-physical world?

    Ok enough garbage.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Qman

      I do apologize, but you do not understand the context of 'sin'. Just living your life, refusing gods love is a 'sin' in its self. Thus, you go to hell. You cannot go to heaven unless you are sinless. The only way to be sinless is to seek forgiveness in jesus' name – of which we will be forgiven and thus be 'holy' in gods eyes.

      You also need to recognise how limited our minds / knowledge truely are. You ask where hell is, and what it's like when we the people can't even tell you everything that lives in the deepest part of the sea.

      There are, and always will be things of whch we will never understand. To attempt to understand everything would be ignorant. ..

      And for your last statement "how can their be pain in a non-physical world"

      When we face judgement, we are given our physical form. And I must add, pain is so much more than physical. Think of the pain so many will feel after living their lives in sin, then finding out their salvation was always within their reach, but they failed to see it? Just in that, would create pain.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Qman

      I also must add – we are born of the flesh. Thus we are born sinners. Regardless of how we live our lives we will end up in hell, with out jesus.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Athy

      Do you honestly believe this shit, Qman?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      @ Qguy – born of the flesh and therefore sinners? Wow – that is such a sick, twisted bit of doctrinal cr-ap. A newborn is a sinner? Seriously, go to hell

      September 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sez you. I don't believe a word of it. Why would any omnipotent being put us here only to consign us to torture unless we fall on our knees to worship him? What for? To what end? What's he get out of it? Why would it matter to him that his slaves abase themselves for him? So he can sun himself in their adoration? When he threatens them with eternal torment if they don't?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why create a world and beings to inhabit it only to threaten them with eternal retribution if they behave as they were created to behave?

      To hear you tell it, it's just a huge version of a pin-ball game. Nothing more. And even less meaningful.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Qman's god is a weenie! Qman's god is a weenie! Qman's god is a weenie!Qman's god is a weenie! Qman's god is a weenie! Qman's god is a weenie!

      September 24, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Qman

      "attack of the 50"

      Don't get defensive. I understand you do not know everything that was meant in that statement I made.

      Being born of the flesh DOES mean you are a sinner.

      Being a new born or a child puts you in another category. You have NOT been given the chance to know the lord. Thus you are not included in this "criteria" for say. I really incourage you to read the bible so you do understand, even if you do not choose to believe.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Qman

      In response to Tom Tom :

      That world was created, we ruined it with our god given right of "free choice". Many... MANY generations ago we chose against the will of the lord who concieved us, thus we live in world we live in now.

      For instance – we know robbing a store is wrong. We know the penalty, but people do it anyways.

      God gave us a law with adam and eve. They knew the penalty. But they did it anyways. Thus, here we are.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Qman – you mentioned Adam and Eve. Do you believe the literal story of the garden of Eden – God made Adam from a turnip or some mud or something, then made Eve from Adam's rib, then a talking snake convinced Eve to take a bite of the apple, and becasue of that, we are all born sinners and damned to hell unless we accept jesus as our saviour?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Biff

      Q – you recognize that we can't know much more than our physical reality, and yet you are convinced of your story as truth. You can not have it both ways. Either you know or you don't. You don't get to play on both sides of the tracks, the train is coming.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Qman

      Regardless of the simplicity of the matter – yes. I do – even if you dont understand the context outlined when the bible explains that scenerio. Many words that were used in the bible were symbolistic.

      For instance, satan has always been seen as a serpant as his mythical being because of his ability to lure/decieve people. Thus – when people use the terminology "You snake!" They aren't calling you a reptile.

      The devil was one of gods most beautiful angels. And has (had) the ability to walk the earth.

      Now that you understand that, do you know fully understand the usage of"snake, in the bible?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Qman

      Biff – That is true, if you only believe there are one pair of tracks.

      But in reality – there is more than one pair of train tracks. I pass them all the time.

      Another note – you always limit yourself to what you believe. If you chose to limit yourself to nothing. Thats exactly what you will see.


      September 24, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      @ Qman – you say that many words in the bible are symbolistic. Many christians believe the literal truth of the words – who are you to say they are incorrect and you are correct?

      But say that they are symbolic – again, who are you to say what the correct interpretation is? It is merely your opinion. If you want to present it as opinion – fine, go ahead. What is bothersome, however, is your presentation of things as absolute facts, when they are just your opinion. Believers would be far less insufferable if they showed a bit of humility. And your earlier comment about not being superior? By your words you are inherently claiming that – yes – you ARE superior. So, have a look in the mirror, and try to admit to yourself that you don't have all of the answers.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey, Qtip! You are hereby disqualified as any sort of authority on any subject whatsoever. You can't write for sh!t. You misspell the simplest words: "will of the lord who concieved us". It's 'conceived', you fvckin' idiot. If you can't figure out how to write, and can't be bothered to look up words you are unable to spell, you're too fvckin' stupid to explain Scripture, God, or anything more complicated than a can opener, you nitwit. Get a clue, imbecile. You're irrelevant.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Idiots like Qtip don't get it. No one is required to abide by the Commandments. There's no punishment for failing to observe the Sabbath or for failing to honor one's parents. There IS, however, a consequence for breaking the laws of a secular government like ours: you will be held accountable for stealing, murdering, and otherwise infringing on the civil rights of others. Nobody gives a sh!t if you "honor" your parents. They do, however, give a sh!t if you murder, steal, or otherwise infringe on the rights the Const itution guarantees us. The Bible? Doesn't count; it's not law. What matters is the Const itution, if you live here in the US.

      As for the Bible? Pffft. Not relevant. Not applicable. Not important. At all.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • TR6

      @Qman: "Being born of the flesh DOES mean you are a sinner."
      So was god lyeing?
      (Ezekiel 18:20) – "The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself."

      September 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Biff

      Q. Where does it say in the bible that babies and children who have not been exposed to god are safe from hell? What about pygmy tribes who live entire lives in their own world? At what point do you inherit this original sin? You mention the choice to rob a bank. That choice can be punished. Does that punishment belong to the robbers' children, and for posterity?

      September 24, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • Biff

      Hmm, so nobody can describe hell then? Even the believers can't get this one right.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  8. JohnA

    This is no joke, friends. you choose life/heaven by believing in Jesus and you choose hell by rejecting him. This is the greatest decision each of us will have to make whilst alive. Once you die you can change your decision. We must stop toying with hell. It's real! It's no PC ame!

    September 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Sweepe

      Brain washed

      September 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      John, replace "Jesus" in your post with the following:
      Bigfoot's Wang
      The Flying Spaghetti monster

      Now, read it back to yourself – sounds ridiculous, right? Now you understand how we believe when we put the word "jesus" back in your post

      September 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Athy

      But what you wrote is, indeed, a joke. At least I'm laughing my ass off!

      September 24, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Blessed Are the Cheesmakers

      That is cult logic John.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Once you die you can change your decision."

      I can? That's the first I've heard any such thing! Good news! I can hedge my bets just like you Christards do.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'JohnA' is a form of the flawed argument known as Pascal's Wager.


      September 24, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Madtown

      choose life/heaven by believing in Jesus and you choose hell by rejecting him
      Sucks to be someone born into a place in the world where christianity doesn't exist. Millions of people will never hear the name Jesus, simply because of where they were born, not because of a choice they made. What ridiculous thinking.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      LittleJohnson, there is no such choice. The choice is between leprechauns and unicorns. Which are real and which are not? Choosing between heaven and hell is the same choice.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • ormaybeitsjust

      Yes, it is very real. Just vote GOP or risk going to Hell. All that stuff in the bible about help the poor, forget that stuff. The poor, the old, the 47% of total losers that just mooch off government handouts i.e. social security, well they are hopeless, and even God has abandoned those people. They belong in Hell. It's the true job creator hero's like Mitt Romney that belong in the devine kingdom with The Lord. Oh, wait, Mitt believes he will become a God himself...

      September 24, 2012 at 9:27 pm |

    to all : idiots are forever!! Christianity is very simple : accept Jesus as your savior (He died for our sins ) and have eternal life or do not accept Him and even though you will live forever ii will be in Hades..........He told us un every posible,gentle,lovable
    way..........so if somebody chooses not to get it again : idiots are forever!

    September 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Hey, I thought diamonds were forever!

      Oh, and Chris? You're delusional.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Snow

      So, your motivation for accepting jesus is to keep yourself out of the hell.. and nothing more.. no good deeds, no charity, no conscientious decision to lead a good life for the sake of being good.. only keeping yourself out of hell.

      Don't you think your all knowing god would see that motivation as lacking and chuck you in the fire pit? who's the idiot here?

      September 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Athy

      And he can't write worth a damn. Typical for a bible babbler.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So, Chrissie, as long as you profess belief in jee bus, you can screw around, cheat on your taxes and your wife, steal, murder, and commit all sorts of mayhem and still go to heaven?

      Wow. Great system your jeebus has there.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Biff

      Hades? Do i need my coins for Charon or a steak for the Hydra? Does Styx play all day down there? Please define hell for us all or go there.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Pam

      Jesus didn't tell me a damn thing. So your contention is that people who never heard of that guy are going to hell because they aren't as delusional as you are? I'm still so amazed at the idiocy of people like you and all the other religiious nut cases. You are all dupes. What a vicious thing to believe – people who don't believe in the same fairy tales as you, are going to hell? Yeah, right. You must be a republican.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      I'm looking forward to hell. All the interesting people will be there. I am especially looking forward to a place devoid of evangelical morons. The haterade will be in heaven for all the angry Christians to drink to their black hearts' content.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  10. johnE

    Reality tells me that "GOD" ( like Allah and Santa Clause) is a figment of the human imagination.
    A hocus pocus that promotes inner peace. A means of feeling superior to others.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Athy

      Claus, not Clause.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Biff

      That's Cathy, not Athy. Or perhaps it's Kathy? 😉

      September 24, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Athy

      Athy, short for atheist.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Qman


      Talk to any true Christian and they will not tell you they are superior to you or anyone. The difference is that we believe we are saved – and those who do not, are not.

      The "superiority" is something people who do not understand add because that is the feeling that resides when they ask.

      In truth, Christians SHOULD want all people to be saved, and help those who are not. Does this happen? No. Unfortunately we are human. And NONE of us are perfect, or more superior than another.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Qman, who decides what a "true" christian is? I bet you dollars to doughnuts that there are many christians out there who would say that they are the "true" christians, and you are not. So, who decides? Millions of people call themselves christians – there are thousands of christian sects and denominations. Are you saying that you above all the others have "the answer" and know "the truth"?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey, Peterdoofus, have you figured out how the "reply" function works? Doesn't look like it, from the appearance of your idiotic posts. Poor you. What a moron you are.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Biff

      Athy, I like your style, other than the spell check stuff..

      September 25, 2012 at 12:06 am |
  11. Ron

    So many crazy liberals know everything including that God does not exist. They know everything for everybody and are intolerant and disrespectful of everyone that does not agree with them. They want to make rules for everyone to follow because they are so intellectual and wise in their own sick way. Want proof? Try having a conversation with an Obama supporter. It's over the minute you disagree with them & ask a question they can't answer. Which isn't difficult. Parents have fewer problems talking to bratty 5-year-olds.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What have "they" dictated? You've made a slew of generalizations. Back them up.

      For one thing, atheists do not all deny that a god may exist. Many simply do not believe there is any evidence for one. Can you prove them wrong? If so, notify the media. It'll be the biggest story in history.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What questions have you posed that atheists have been unable to answer to your satisfaction? What rules have atheists forced on you? How did they manage to do that when this is a nation of laws and one in which church and state are separate?

      September 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'll wager the real issue you have with liberals, Ronny, is that one or more of them handed you your azz in a debate right here on this blog and it irritates the bejeezus out of you that you lost the argument, probably due to your intellectual inferiority. Poor little thing! My heart bleeds for you, honey.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Snow

      " They want to make rules for everyone to follow because they are so intellectual and wise in their own sick way"

      pot calling kettle black? isn't that exactly what you say about your religion as well..

      September 24, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • The Moderator

      Tom, come on – your posts are not fair. Why, you're using words with 2 and sometimes 3 syllables! Get off your elitist, Eastern New York, Starbucks-drinking horse and keep your comments to 1 syllable or less.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ooops. Sorry, Moderator! My bad. I'll try to emulate Truth Be Told in the future. Doing so should ensure that my posts are dumbed down enough for even the slowest fvcktard here.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • The Moderator

      Excelle – oops! Good. tom good. make small word for ron.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Run, Ron, run! See Ron run. Look! Ron is dumb. Dumb Ron! Dumb! Poor dumb Ron! See Ron cry! Boo hoo, Ron!

      September 24, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      how does this become about politics, d-bag?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      WrongRon, I detect a bit of racism in your Obama insult. You hate him and those who support him because he is Muslim, born outside the US, he is black, he is liberal? He's as good a Christian as you are (probably better). He was born in Hawaii, which is part of the US.He is half black (on his father's side), which makes him all black in the eyes of racists. And since he is a Democrat, he must be liberal, right? Democrats are not simply people who believe differently, but rather evil monsters who prey on the souls of lily white evangelicals.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • sam stone

      you are everything you described, punk

      September 24, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • ormaybeitsjust

      All Conservatives are worthless uneducated liars. All of them. Get off your lazy ass, get a job, and pay taxes like the rest of us.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
  12. Bryan

    Yes. It's called 'The South'.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  13. Ron

    Pretty much blaming 9/11 on the US Frank? Really? Because a predominantly Christian nation is armed is your justification for fanatic and also armed Muslims doing what they do? You really don't have the right or the education to talk about either religion. It's not a matter of "we need or don't need" hell. If God is absolutely fair then we all belong there. No one any less than anyone else. If God doesn't exist and hell doesn't either than you're safe in your beliefs. If not, the choice you've been given to reject the grace of God is absolutely fair. This country has not marched around the world killing innocent people. People in need of being defended against the handful of govt jerk-offs that deny humans freedom and liberty are the main reason that our country has intervened in the affairs of other countries. A country that is peaceful with citizens that are not free and ruled by fear is the problem. The problem is not free people who desire freedom for others. Hell is reading and listening to self-centered, self-important people like you and the rest of the main stream media.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Athy

      Who are you responding to?

      September 24, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Apparently he's talking to frank – his imaginary friend. Sort of like talking to god, or jesus, or bigfoot

      September 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • An Iraqi Civilian and his family

      @ ron: "This country has not marched around the world killing innocent people."

      Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha HaHa Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

      Yer killin' me!!!!!

      No – really – more than 100,000 of us – yer killing us – men, women, and children. Innocent men, women and children.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      HAHAHHA. sometimes truth be told is so funny because he is so obvious and stuuupid!! LOL. Oh, so it's Ron short for Ronald Regonzo. lol. ok.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  14. teamroper

    Atheists are haters.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, they aren't. They're just not going to endure your azzholish behavior any longer and that's what really gripes your butt.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • midwest rail

      thank you for that scintillating contribution.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Athy

      No, we don't hate. We just don't believe in any gods, that's not hate. If you can't understand that go get a grownup to help you.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      But we're also great lovers.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      And spuds are taters

      September 24, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Snow

      and you lot are cowards hiding your hatred and bigotry behind the religion, at the same time showing yourself as the prophets of love..

      Wolf in sheep's clothing you preach about? ya, just look in the mirror to find the worst ones..

      September 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Qman

      Haters? No.
      Misunderstood? Yes.

      Do they understand the things they are protesting? No.

      One thing they miss? All religious people were once athiests, but are able to beleive in something besides themselves.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Qman, you're an atheist, right? You don't believe in Thor, or Zeus, right? Or Ra? Or any of the thousands of other gods throughout history? Why not? Why don't you?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      GoatRoper, atheists are good and decent people who get worn out fending off the attacks of feeble-minded evangelicals who want to sodomize the world with their hateful, intolerant messages. So, we get a little cranky once in a while. It's not our fault that Mother Nature gave us the intelligence and good looks while giving you droolers low IQs and no imagination. That's just how things worked out.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      teamroper??? LMAO!! what twit. Now Ronald.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • ormaybeitsjust

      So true! I don't think you should be allowed to get married even, I think all conservatives should be foreced to have abortions until there are none left.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ,

    September 24, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Like the number of intact limbs a double amputee who had his legs blown off by an IED has?

      September 24, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • 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 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Blessed Are the Cheesmakers

      In one study of heart patients prayer made things worse.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • All hail

      Trolling with the same comments as usual, thanks captain troll

      September 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Sweepe

      Ohh man this guy makes a career posting same crap over and over

      September 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • ormaybeitsjust

      This is true. Science has proven that daily meditation alone alleviates stress. Also, I prayed the other day during my favorite teams football game, and they won! Bam, proof enough.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • MDAT

      Give me a link.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Believe in God and you will be rewarded in paradise.

    September 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • sam stone

      unless it's the wrong god

      September 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • truth be told

      It would be impossible for sam to be more wrong than it already is.

      September 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      So the 9/11 hijackers are in paradise? No doubt they were praying to their god for success, and what a success it was! Surely their god was very pleased and rewarded them with eternal pleasure

      September 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • sam stone

      point out where i am wrong, tbt, or fvck off.....

      September 24, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • truth be told

      Muslims do not pray to God. allah is not God allah is a demonic idol. There were no rewards awaiting the rag heads of 9/11 only justice and unimaginable terror.

      September 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • truth be told

      Sam you are wrong on everything, wrong for America and useless to society and yourself.

      September 24, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Athy

      Should we believe in all possible gods just to make sure. And how are these gods going to know that we believe in them? Can we just say we believe in all gods and be done with it? Or do we have to say it once for each one? Or would it have to be more often? Twice a year, maybe? Once a day? Five times a day? What are the rules? I'm sure your answer, if any, will be stupider than these questions. But that's just the way it is with religion.

      September 24, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ahahhha! The idiot TuBeTop is embarrassing itself and all believers yet again. Really, Tuby, does your ego have no bounds?

      September 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm |

      truth be told,

      And you are an evil djinn and your god has halitosis... neener, neener, neener!

      September 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Hey, truth – you're sounding as fanatical as those hijackers. Don't you think they were just as convinced about their god as you. in fact, they had the conviction, and the balls, to kill themselves on what they saw was a mission for god. And guess what – they succeeded? Why did their god allow them to win, while your god stood around with his thumb up his divine b-utthole? Do you have that same level of conviction and certainty to take yourself out right now, in the name of your god?

      September 24, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      This just in to CNN: TBT is a moron. Just in case you didn't already know.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Snow

      TBT.. if you do not understand the fact that every religion thinks all the followers of other religions are going to hell for following the wrong god, and do not understand why the same applies to you as well, you are either a brainwashed tool or an ignorant tool... take a pick..

      September 24, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Blessed Are the Cheesmakers

      So don't believe in god and get punished for a crime of thought.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Athy

      I think he is both.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • truth be told

      Your opinion and two bits will get you a good time at tom toms fun house.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Too bad you'll be denied entrance for being a boring-azz dolt, TBT.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • End Religion

      A pair of dice? What kind of reward is that?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      I don't want a pair of dice in your paradise.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      "your god is weaker then my god"
      seriously your God cant even save a demon from hellfire but Amaterasu can.... so you lose there, also you gods power is in his speech, Amaterasu power is in her being and is so eminence she cant control it it just happens.

      hell didn't Yahweh get his @ss handed to him by Eve the first human. why are we still talking about this guy

      hes one of Gaia children that makes Gaia greater.
      + Oceanus
      =El Elyon
      +El Elyon
      =Baal ( the rest of the Canaan Gods)
      +Asherah (forcefully).

      and I'm like screw this family, I'm sick of the inbreeding,...Hay pops this is my girlfriend Istahar(shes human)
      Yahweh; Get out of her and take the rest of the Grigori with you, Gabriel/Mastema kill the humans and the offspring.
      Me. oh its war now

      regardless Yahweh is Jehovah is Allah is God
      you guys are fighting over a name, and whose real name only i know.
      it ridicules.
      cant all gods just get along, they did before Yahweh, why does your god want to ruin the peace.
      oh yeah because he is the God of hatred, destruction and lies

      September 24, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • sam stone

      tbt: perhaps you should go fvck yourself

      September 25, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  17. more2bits

    Yes it's called Iran.

    September 24, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  18. Carl, Secaucus, NJ

    If the only two choices are either accepting Christ or being made to suffer for eternity, it's kind of hard to call that a free choice or say that the one who offers it to you is good. It's more like the mafia's "offer you can't refuse."

    September 24, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • sam stone

      seems that way to me

      September 24, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  19. longtooth

    What a sad thing that the teachings of Jesus, the greatest man that ever lived, have been so twisted by lesser minds. A loving God will not damn you to eternal hell because you are human and weak. Ridiculous!

    September 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • JT

      I hear ya! I keep saying Santa won't leave you with only a lump of coal for being bad but people scoff at me too. Don't let the hell bound unbelievers bring you down.

      September 24, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  20. Elias Godinez

    This earth is the hell due to the influencial acction of the devil over people, that results in such violence, greed, an malicius acts agaisnt our peers. Revelation describe why the Evil will suffer destruction for ever. Yahveh our God is Mercifull and promised a resurecction and judge for all. We Know wath to change before tha final judge, we have to act now.

    September 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      no, we don't

      September 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Athy

      Act now to do what?

      September 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      A "resurecction"? Is that like a new erection – but only better? Bigger? Harder? Faster? Oh – hang on a sec, scratch that last one.

      Well, don't actually scratch it. well, unless you want to.

      September 24, 2012 at 6:56 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.