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. truth be trolled

    Farewell to Faith

    September 23, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  2. tony

    I hope you change your thinking before it is too late, The lord Jesus loves you and he died for you.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Jesus is hinduism, innovation of hindu Jew's, criminal self centered, no one ever existed by this hindu funny name. J E S U S, no one know's, what it means.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • TomPaine

      Um, but he came back after a few days, right? I've never understood what the big "sacrifice" was in dying when you know you're coming back. Nice and symbolic, I suppose, but hardly a sacrifice.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      and Mohammad was a camel shepherd, innovation of, ALLAH, AL, the, LA, limited time, H, Height criminal self centered, no one ever existed by this funny eeh!

      September 23, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  3. Tina

    God has always existed since that was how Earth was created. Let's not be arrogant!

    September 23, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Tina", but your assertions regarding God and creation 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 23, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Christlink

      hal 9001; An the FOOL said there is no God

      September 23, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Christtard, a FOOL can't figure out how to spell simple one-syllable words.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Christlink

      Tom, Tom....Poor litle tommy – rejected by his family, now whinning that 'God' let him down. Get a life Little Tommy

      September 23, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      " An the FOOL said there is no God"

      A quite old and sometimes effective tactic – declaring that those who do not believe your story are 'fools'. Nobody wants to be considered 'dumb' for not seeing the Emperor's new clothes, or a 'bas.tard' for not seeing the Sultan's new turban, or a 'cuckold' for not being able to see the Miller's gold thumb.

      Even Joseph Smith used it when he gathered his 'witnesses' to his golden plates. He told them that only those with 'true faith' would be able to 'see' them.

      The ancient, primitive Hebrews who originated those Bible stories were quite adept at manipulative mind-games.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, look, Chisttard is showing his true stripes. By the way, fvcktard, it's "whining". Not "whinning', you azzhole high-school drop-out.

      Could you BE more of a retard?

      September 23, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  4. Mary

    I am not religious, but I think religion is useful because it makes life easier. Otherwise, it is very disturbing to know that death is final. It gives people hope that they do not live in vain. It also gives a sense of control over your destiny – as in, if I obey the rules, I will live forever. So it's nice to believe that. It's totally made up, but nice. I wish I didn't know in my heart it is all a fraud.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  5. Philoneus Monk

    Hell does not exist...God would not permit such an eternal existence for anyone. Hell is simply a creation of earthly people who wish to convert souls to a better life. Which, interestingly enough, leads to a supposition that Heaven does not exist. Hmmm...WOW!...This raises all sorts of problems for all of Christianity and, also, for all religions.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Christlink

      If you are wrong: Hell does not exist......that's where you will end up

      September 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • old ben

      Hmm. Like me some T. Monk. I may open my iTunes yet tonight.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  6. Christlink

    "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." THIS STATEMENT IS A LIE. Christians pray that EVERYONE will go to heaven!

    September 23, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You know every Christian? Do tell! Did you know the one that I saw purposely run over someone's cat and then pull into his Christard church parking lot on a Sunday morning?

      You can go suck dick, dude.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Kait

      I've met a great many Christians who love the idea of people going to hell.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  7. Sontha

    I wish I was born before Christ because everyone who lived before Jesus wouldn't have had the opportunity to believe in him. But yet Jesus died for their sins and they would therefore automatically go to Heaven no matter how sinful they were. Also, think about all the good people who were never introduced to Christianity or are ignorant of it. Surely they need to go to Hell for being uninformed!!!

    September 23, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Christlink

      Maybe you should make an attempt to study the Bible. For the TRUTH will set you free.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      It is nothing but hinduism, criminality of hindu's, deniers of truth absolute, to keep business of hinduism, illegality going. It has nothing to do with truth absolute.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Mary

      That's *exactly* what I have always been thinking myself. That's why I couldn't be religious, it just makes so little sense. I mean, really – so, for instance, the aborigenes that have no contact with others beyond their tribe have to go to hell for no reason other than not knowing about one of the 5 major religions on earth? Come on. This is nuts.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Christtard, maybe YOU should make an attempt to educate yourself. If you had done so, you'd know that the bible isn't factual and your beliefs are not proven; that's why they're called beliefs.

      And that's why you're an idiot.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Why Knot


      Very old joke:

      “Eskimo: "If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?"

      Priest: "No, not if you did not know."

      Eskimo: "Then why did you tell me?"”

      September 23, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Kait

      Sontha, that's not exactly true. Many Christian denominations believe that these people were only "saved" if they were Jews who expected "the" messiah.

      The problem is that this messiah is not Jesus. There's no way to make him fit into the role.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Christlink

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son: Here we go again...little whinny Tom. no willy to pull. Rejected again,awhhh

      September 23, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  8. Cheyla

    I wish I could live on the Earth that has outgrown these stupid, medieval beliefs. It would be an Earth that works for the betterment of all, not the divisiveness that religions bring to the table.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Thanks to hindu Jew's, criminal self centered, humanity is in this mess.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • tony

      Hello, i hope you find Jesus before it is too late and i would not want to live in HELL forever.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      You are heading right in to it with your hindu Mithraism pagan savior ism christianity by denying truth absolute.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  9. BFOTO

    Beware of the extremists on any side of an agruement, or conflict. Believers, or atheists. Liberals, or conservatives. The list goes on, and on, and on. There is no opportunity for meaningful dialogue, or any attempt to understand the other side with them. This will never change.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  10. Will

    Yes, Hell is real. I am aware of some individuals psychically experiencing individuals descending into the pit and this experience has hopefully changed them for the better knowing that place exist. I am still waiting to see the evidence of this transformation. Needless to say, if hell is real then heaven is real. I believe in Jesus Christ and God and I worship only GOD. May GOD's WILL be done.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you're a delusional, illiterate nut-case who should be seeking psychiatric care.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      (Will goes and p00ps as "Joe" in the "My Take: I don't know if Jesus was married (and I don't care)" article i see.)

      September 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Joe Brown

      So the spiritually unaffiliated goes on ad hominem attacks? Usually atheists have better manners than that! 😉

      September 23, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Boo hoo, Joey. Don't like it? Tough sh!t, dear. Get a new website.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Christlink

      Tom,Tom.....Here comes the guy who celebrates Aril 1 as his divine holiday

      September 23, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, is that what you do, Christlicker? What a shock.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Dan

      My own cousin visited hell while he was in ICU few years ago in a real death experience, he says that it was very real and he knew he was there (in the bowel of the earth) for rejecting the salvation of Christ Jesus. The experience was very similar to those who wrote about it. The extreme heat, total hopelessness, the vivid memory of mocking God’s salvation on earth. . . etc. I knew he was telling the truth.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You knew nothing of the sort, Dan. You believed him. You don't know that what he claimed was true. Furthermore, he doesn't even know that what he thinks he saw was "hell", you simpleton. Why are you people so friggin' gullible?

      September 23, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  11. David V

    Let me be frank: the Gods we have are not the Gods we deserve.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The only gods that exist are the ones some idiots manufacture: thus, some of us create the gods we deserve. The rest of us, who actually possess brains, just ignore the idiocies of the lot of you.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Yes, get rid of your hindu filthy Jew self centered man god's and follow truth absolute, the only GOD.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Shut up, hindoofus.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      hindu Jew's, filthy self centered hind hurt's.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  12. LetUsReason

    Of course Hell is for real...ever heard of "helling potatoes"?!? Any farmer will tell you that it simply means burying the plants. Likewise, Hell simply means the grave (i.e., we are buried after we die), so regarless of whether you are a Christian or not, all of us are going to 'hell'. Indeed, our Lord is the only means of salvation, but sadly the Dark Age doctrine of the Catholics came up with the burning torment to scare poeple and add billions to their coffers since then. Anyway, if you're sincerely interested in finding out the Truth about hell, then grab your Bible and simply do a word study for the words rendered 'hell' in the OT/NT and you'll be not only enlightened, but more importantly, empowered to spread the good news that God is a God of love, not torment to others!! For a great start on your word study I'd recommend reading this booklet first: http://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/hell.htm Take care and may the Lord bless your diligent effort to search for the Truth!

    September 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Nance

      Re: "Of course Hell is for real...ever heard of "helling potatoes"?!? Any farmer will tell you that it simply means burying the plants."
      Hells Bells that would be "Hilling Potatoes"! Being a Farmer's Daughter, we had a rather large garden & when the Potato Plants were well established, we'd go out & pull dirt up around the base of the plant. This would prevent potatoes from growing above the surface & potentially getting sunburned (that funny green color). I was always told never to eat sun burned potatoes – something about it makes them poisonous to eat!:{

      September 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  13. ....

    ST. JUSTIN, martyr stated in 116 A. D.
    "The Jews were behind all the persecutions of the Christians. They wandered through the country everywhere hating and undermining the Christian faith."

    September 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Jew' means, self centered, secular or a hindu, denier of truth absolute, they wanted to be truth absolute, God, but best they got are hindu gentile, stupid slave Christians, proud to be hindu gentile, ignorant slaves of another man.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  14. jim

    I've always wondered- if our souls are "eternal", where was mine before I was born? Was I in hell then, heaven, what. Or did I not exist at all which totally busts the theory of an "eternal" soul.
    Religious people, give me some guidance here. I am trying to figure it out, but am kind of leaning towards atheism, or at least agnosticism, until I can get some rational answers to these questions.
    Also0, what happens to babies who die, or people so mentally handicapped they dont know they are alive? Do they go to heaven, hell, does thier mind become "healed". I understand the painting "the scream" more and more each day,.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Brad

      Your soul is eternal from the point you are conceived. There was no soul of jim before then, only when you were created was there also a soul created. As far babies and severely mentally handicapped people; sin is what seperates people from God-babies and severely handicapped people have no sin(they dont know right from wrong) therefore are not seperated from God. They will be in heaven with God forever.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • hithere

      I like this thinking. It's called critical thinking. It is good to have. Unfortunately because you have it you'll probably not be able to stick to religion. Bless your heart!

      September 23, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Dan

      Eternal does not mean from everlasting. God creates it in conception and from there on the soul is eternal. As I grow in the knowledge of the scripture I understand that it is man who sends himself to hell; by refusing God's salvation plan to redeem you out of his own love to you, you by choice choose hell, another words, you do not choose God, you don't get what God have arranged for you in Heaven, rather you have sold your life to Satan. Hell is made of Satan and his angels and by choice you go where they end up. By the way many people specially famous ones sold their soul to the devil in return of some temporal success. Google it up.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Andy

      I appreciate your questions as coming from one who is honestly trying to understand. As a Christian firmly founded in my faith, I would expect any honest seeker of truth to wonder just the things you have expressed. I have found answers, and I believe God, who is our Father, wants you to know these truths before you decide what your belief system will be.

      God is our Father and we lived with Him as spirits before we were born. We are eternal. He taught us His plan for our progression which included the opportunity to come to the earth, receive bodies, and learn by experience to be more like Him. The memory of this pre-mortal life is taken from us so that we may learn to live by faith. (http://mormon.org/plan-of-happiness)

      Jesus Christ suffered for the sins of all mankind. When we accept Him as our Savior, we accept the fact that we are in debt to Him and must do whatever He asks to gain the blessings He alone can offer. This includes having faith in Him, repenting and being baptized. However, if you have access to all that God has said on the matter, He makes it clear that only those who have reached a level of accountability are required to do these things. He has said, " I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin." (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/moro/8?lang=eng#) This same concept extends to those who are not mentally capable to understand right from wrong. These will be restored to their full capacity after this life.

      I am a Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I hold no animosity against followers of different religions. I do not claim to understand the answer to every religious question that has endured the centuries. However, I understand the source of many of these issues being the fact that Jesus Christ's church has splintered many times over as people have rejected the teaching of His prophets. When people try to understand God and the scriptures solely by their own abilities, confusion and anger and division ensues. But Christ has restored His church again- everything that was lost has been brought back. To really understand religion as God intends it to be, you have to have the full picture of God's plan as He has revealed it through His prophets. Anything less is like walking into a movie half-way through and pretending to try and make sense of all the information you don't even have. I invite you to learn a little more at mormon.org.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  15. 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, 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 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Dan

      Mama k.
      You are mistaken, Atheism is a religion, If you do not beleive in a creator is by itself a belief and you will find yourself fighting to make your point through. I understand religion is bad and will always be bad, but real Christianity is not a religion at all; it is a relationship with God through Christ Jesus and this you can not understand until you experience it.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Christlink

      Can you find you wily, Dan? I don't beleive you can.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Dan, if atheism is a religion, then bald is a hairdo.

      You're beyond stupid.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  16. BOB

    So who are we to say anything about these issues. There is no scientific proof to any of it Belief is in the mind of the believer, but not in the realities of the universe.
    As for the "Gods", they will return someday......from the universe.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  17. truth be trolled

    Lewis Black – "In God We Rust" – (Complete)

    September 23, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • cobe

      and who would like to waste an hour to watch some idiot unable to proove that "nothing" egsists..

      September 23, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      Ha ha – you're the idiot cobe. This video has nothing to do with proving anything. It is political in nature about values of the country. Tard.

      September 24, 2012 at 12:19 am |
  18. roberto


    September 23, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What? Die? Gee, because no one ever died before, right?

      September 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      hmm.. it must be "roberto" now as "Joe" on the article "My Take: I don't know if Jesus was married (and I don't care)" that is boo hooing over there . . .

      September 23, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  19. !

    Few 100% true Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you angry, stupid, brainwashed, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists are misguided and causes problem in our religious & public society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler (denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders who killed religious people because of their religious cult!
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most atheists are uneducated... No atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
    **Only 2-3% of the U.S. are atheists/agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**

    † † Our Prayers goes to atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator † †

    PS! the USA is a † nation and will always be. You know it's true and stop being ignorant and arrogant!
    (Take a look at our federal/state holidays, 99% of our presidents, blue laws in parts of the nation, name of some cities/counties/streets, the majority of people, some laws, calendar, culture, etc.).

    September 23, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Observer

      Mindless drivel and lies.

      People with guts and integrity stick around and answer questions.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "!", but your assertions regarding atheism 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 23, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • David V

      Hilarious. Now go back into your hole.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • TomPaine

      Whoa, if you really believe everything you posted you've got some real issues.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  20. aderedit

    What a sad doctrine, to think that Jesus would rule over the torment of others. No one has ever been able to answer the question, "How can I be happy in heaven, knowing my loved ones are suffering in hell?"

    September 23, 2012 at 9:59 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.