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Yom Kippur started Tuesday night. What are you atoning for?
September 25th, 2012
03:46 PM ET

Yom Kippur started Tuesday night. What are you atoning for?

(CNN) - What have you atoned for? What would you atone for if you were into that sort of thing?

Tuesday evening marked the beginning of Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, which Jews consider to be holiest day of the year. It's marked by a day-long fast.

Photos: Yom Kippur in Israel

In the spirit of the holiday, we put the question "What would you atone for?" to Twitter and got a range of responses, from silly to serious:

@JuneMDriedger
For faithlessness.

@heatherjochens
I would atone for my laziness and impatience. However, I am Catholic and I atone for about 40 days in Spring also.

@PennyofaThought
I don't need to atone for anything. Jesus Christ already atoned for every wrong thing I've ever done or will do.

@llieNOtreB
in 3rd grade I pushed my sister down the stairs and blamed it on the dog.

What about you? What are you atoning for? What would you atone for if you did celebrate the holiday?

Or maybe you already did some serious atoning this year, during Lent or Ramadan. Whatever the case, share your atonement stories with us, and we'll update this post with the best responses.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Holidays • Judaism

soundoff (349 Responses)
  1. Marcus

    For struggling to forgive my brother for his cruelty and bigotry.

    September 26, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  2. truthalonewins

    All these religious atonements are nothing but to make people commit more crimes. I am not against religion or God but I feel uncomfortable when I see the very same persons who talk about God all the time are involved in hurting children, raping women and killing innocents in the name of God. Such false sense of atonements given by these festivals make these criminals (as per modern day laws) justify their actions by asking forgiveness from God. I guess some traditions are there to be observed and forgotton the next moment. Is it 'Happy Yom Kippur'? then Happy Yom Kippur.

    September 26, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  3. Imperfect

    I am sure that there are many quotes regarding forgiveness, the need to forgive, and the need that we feel to be forgiven. There are a few quotes that are not necessarily about forgiveness but about learning that help understand why it is important to admit our flaws and change.

    Plato stated, "The unexamined life is not worth living." If we don't examine our lives how are we going to see how we can improve them.

    George Santayana is notable for the quote, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." which is something that we need to do on an individual level and as a country.

    Muhammad Ali said, "“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” I think it is wise not to wait 30 years but the essense is still there.

    On a personal level, forgiveness is for the forgiver and not the forgiven. To go around in life hanging onto this burden that sometimes borders on insanity holds individuals back. Even in the Bible it says that you can't be forgiven unless you forgive. There is a practicality that is wonderfully evident here. Carrying anger and hate is a truly heavy burden.

    Forgiveness or being forgiven without any intention of changing your ways is a waste. Acknowledging the need to be forgiven implies that the same person acknowledges that something needs to change. Instead of a Day of Atonement, which originally for the Nation of Israel, would be good for many nations. On a personal level, I try to do it on a daily basis. But it does no good to ask for forgiveness and to not be willing to change.

    Also remember that it does not say, "Forgive and Forget" in the Bible. Forgiveness and trust are two completely different issues.

    To Jim111506 who said that he was perfect and other things... Maybe you need to do some self examination.

    As for me, I work hard to be the best that I can be as a husband, as a son, as a brother, as a nephew, as an employee, or as a Citizen, but I depend on forgiveness when I have shortcomings. I will endeavor to improve. I will never be able to atone for my failings but in the end when somebody has seen what is different about me from one point in time to another, I hope that will be a much better product.

    September 26, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Kaye

      Words well spoken!

      September 26, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • JPX

      1. Creationists make it sound like a ‘theory’ is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night — Isaac Asimov

      2. I don’t believe in God. My god is patriotism. Teach a man to be a good citizen and you have solved the problem of life. — Andrew Carnegie

      3. All thinking men are atheists. — Ernest Hemingway

      4. Lighthouses are more helpful then churches. — Benjamin Franklin

      5. Faith means not wanting to know what is true. — Friedrich Nietzsche

      6. The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. — George Bernard Shaw

      7. Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile. — Kurt Vonnegut

      September 26, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  4. oops

    Killing Jesus.

    September 26, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Matthew 27

      22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked.

      They all answered, “Crucify him!”

      23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

      But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

      24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

      25 All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!”

      September 26, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • softly with your song?
      September 26, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • fairy tale alert

      (Matty)

      September 26, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Atone to an imaginary God for a crime committed 2000 years ago?

      September 26, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Huebert

      Why do Christians get so mad about the whole "killing Jesus" thing? According to christian mythology Jesus's purpose was to come to earth and die for the sins of man kind. If no one killed him how would he have been able to accomplish that purpose? And furthermore it's not like he was really dead, he came back three days later. At worst, his death was a minor inconvenience.

      September 26, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • truthalonewins

      the persons who believe that a human being died 2000 years ago to atone for the sins to be committed by the future generatons need to rationalize their thoughts. for one it is not possible for a dead person to know what all sins (I still do not know what is a sin and why should I bother about hell when I do not know about it or seen it or experienced it) and secondly is the sin transferable and if yes why cannot I give my sins to an ant or a plant or to a glass and feel relieved? then what is Karma and personal ownership and if we expand the theory of Jesus dying for future generations why cannot I commit a crime and ask a goat to serve the prison sentence since I can pass on my sins and crimes to another living thing. and when the god did not appear to prevent the world war I or world War II or did not come to stop Hitler from killing so many innocents should i think he will come now? and what was the need for him to be born 2000 years ago when his need was more during world wars and in another angle, by appearing 2000 years ago what did he really change in this world, other than making some people rich and super rich for preaching his name. or even if he comes now what is stopping him from starting another religion. also when a person who was so close to God, ate, drank, and lived with GOD could sell the God for few silvers and the God could not even change one person or the God's presence did not make one bad person good, how can he be good to future generations who just heard or read about him. Religion is nothing but money making business.

      September 26, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • thetruth

      @truthalonewins - You can tell by your close attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation that you are obviously credible.

      September 26, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  5. Paul Wilson

    Not only do I NOT observe Yom Kippur -or Ramadan,for that matter- I also defile it. I ate pork.

    I wouldn't be doing this, were it not for, that not just Jews -but heretic Christians whose Jesus (or Yahshuah) did not abolish the laws of the Old Testament. That means we HAVE to obey ~510 not just 10 commandments.

    Sorry, i CAN'T live that way.

    September 26, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Huebert

      Holding a grudge against a mythical figure who supposedly died 2000 years ago seems like a massive waste of time.

      September 26, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Imperfect

      Paul,

      Please remember that God gave 10 Commandments. The other 500 that you mention are man created. Jesus did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. Those are regulations versus laws. Yes, there was a lot of clarification that needed to be made. And of course it is typical that human beings try to find out what they can do and still get away with it, what ever "it" is.

      According to Jesus the two greatest commandments in the Bible were "To love your God with all your heart, soul mind, and strength" and to love your neighbor as yourself.

      The 10 Commandments can be broken down into two categories. Those that fall under the Love the God and the others to Love your neighbors.

      I like a shirt that I heard about one time. It said, "Bless them all and let God sort it out in the end." I get annoyed that people seem to think that what it says in John 3:16 is about Christians. It's about God and the world. For God so loved the world... He did not love the Christians, the whites, the conservative, the do gooders, the Jews, the Muslims, the atheists... He loved the world.

      We need to get by the need to condemn because even in John 3:17 it says, that He (Jesus) did not come to condemn bu that they might be saved.

      God Bless

      September 26, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  6. katsarfati

    You do realize posting this ON Yom Kippur, you probably won't get the responses you are looking for.... given Jews aren't supposed to use the internet on Yom Kippur. Next year try doing this a couple days before.

    September 26, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  7. Ryan

    No need for atonement, there's no right or wrong. Straight nihilism is the way to go! All of these atheists who wanna pick and choose morals are just as delusional as theists. Open the jail cells and let nature be nature. Death is inevitable and life is meaningless, let’s get this over with.

    This would be my line of thinking if I could've ever had enough faith to be an atheist an deny emotion and the very core of my thought process that has a moral law built in that I've chosen to sear most of my life. Otherwise self-deification was my only other alternative, which we can just call postmodernism, and as crappy of a person as I've been my whole life I'd make a horrible god. But I guess many of you militants feel otherwise. Wish you the best.

    September 26, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Mike W

      Who's picking and choosing morals? First of all, a particular society has law. If parents are doing the right thing, they make sure their children are following the law. Doesn't that make it better for everyone if we all follow the same set of rules? Secondly, a huge misconception is that theists created and are the only people with morals. Utter nonsense.

      September 26, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • snowboarder

      morals evolve, just like everything else.

      the argument over self-deification is just absurd.

      September 26, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Ryan

      Not sure that my replies are being approved and or posted.

      September 26, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Ryan

      I guess "JEW MAGGOT" is acceptable to the administrator but not my little rambling on objective and subjective morality. Oh well, was probably falling on deaf ears and hards hearts anyways...maybe not. If so, can we say "bias"?

      September 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  8. 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 26, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  9. snowboarder

    everyone has things in their life they regret, but of course i would not pretend to atone to some mythical deity. any atonement would be due the one wronged.

    September 26, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Linda

      That was the original intent for Yom Kippur, go ask forgiveness from the people you wronged. Only after you asked three times and they would not give forgiveness could you go to the Rabbi for forgiveness. I may be mistaken, but that is what I was told by my Mother-in-Law. I do believe it is an excellent example of reflection on one's actions and then taking responsibility for them to the ones you've wronged. I don't care if you believe or don't believe in a diety, we all should consider the lesson of asking for forgiveness.

      September 26, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  10. Reality

    Most people suffer from the Three B Syndrome ( Bred, Born and Brainwashed in their religion). Needless and wasted acts/holydays of atonement are some of the symptoms of this syndrome.

    September 26, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Reality

      “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

      The Situation Today

      Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

      It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

      September 26, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  11. Guest

    "Sez you" would have been quite a valid reply. Certainly on an intellectual level equal to yours.

    September 26, 2012 at 8:14 am |
  12. amino

    My father was a muslim, my mother catholic. My wife is a catholic and my sister-in-law is a hindu. My niece married a parsi. My adopted son goes to a Jewish School and I am agnostic. I am proud of my diverse family and respect everyone's beliefs and faiths. Why can't we all coexist? The world would be a much better place if we all did.
    Have a peaceful Yom-kippur my Jewish Brothers!

    September 26, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • snowboarder

      i am guessing no one in the group is particularly stringent in their beliefs, probably due to education.

      it is no coincidence that increased education is increased religious tolerance.

      September 26, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • snowboarder

      "it is no coincidence that increased education is correlated to increased religious tolerance"

      September 26, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • LittleOne

      Beautifully said, my friend.

      September 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  13. DIane

    How sad that there is still so much hatred for the jews. All jealousies because you are uneducated and unloved.
    Jews are successful becasue we a re raised that way to think tobe successful....all out there who vilify the jews are very sad indeed

    September 26, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • WASP

      @dlane: the only hater here is jim......and no one is truly listening to it any how. again i restate " regardless of faith all humans deserve respect for just being human."
      have a good day dlane and smile. 🙂

      September 26, 2012 at 8:23 am |
  14. Brian Bloomfield

    The only vile person here is you.

    September 26, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  15. Brian Bloomfield

    Who are you to speak for everyone?

    September 26, 2012 at 8:02 am |
  16. Paul II

    The holiest day of the Jewish year and all CNN Religion can produce is a Twitter feed?

    September 26, 2012 at 7:56 am |
  17. WASP

    @jim11: you are a truly vile creature and an embarrassment to be called human. regardless of anyone faith, they deserve respect for being human. thankfully people such as you can't get real power to cause another holocaust.

    September 26, 2012 at 7:35 am |
  18. Thomas

    The wicked as well as the righteous will be resurrected. So, the atonement satisfies the demand of Justice, since the pure mercy of Jesus Christ will cover your sins – BUT, you have to repent of your sins; you can't just say Christ had paid for my sins. He will only atone for sins you have repented of. Meaning that you have to forsake the sin – this means not to do that sin again. If you are successful at this, Christ will make up the rest. Good luck everyone.

    September 26, 2012 at 7:22 am |
  19. WASP

    yom kippur: i atone for nothing because there isn't anyone to atone to, or anything i need to atone for.

    September 26, 2012 at 7:08 am |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    September 26, 2012 at 5:32 am |
    • Guest

      Why has no one banned this bot?

      September 26, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • hal 9001

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

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

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

      September 26, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!~.

      September 26, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • NotABot

      Too bad it's not a bot. Sadly, it's some old person who got brainwashed as a child, and when they saw people outraged about children being brainwashed, they started up this nonsense (because deep down they know it's true, and the truth scares these people to death). Every once in a while you can get them to reply, but rarely, and never any argument with any real substance. Obviously they are scared to death of getting their buts handed to them in any real debate on the subject. Average Christian.

      September 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.