October 3rd, 2012
05:23 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, October 03

By Arielle Hawkins, CNN

Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.

From the Blog:

CNN: Pope's former butler claims innocence in 'Vatileaks' trial
Pope Benedict XVI's former butler declared himself innocent Tuesday of a charge of aggravated theft in connection with leaked documents – but said he had abused the pope's trust. Paolo Gabriele has previously admitted taking hundreds of secret papers from the pope's personal apartment and passing them to an Italian journalist.

CNN: Faith leaders sound off on role of church in public education
Dozens of faith leaders from across the country recently gathered to attend The Stand Up Education Policy Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, to talk education reform. The daylong conference was hosted by education organizations StudentsFirst, founded by Michelle Rhee and Stand Up, led by her husband, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. The purpose of the event was a call for action for clergy to take part in the national movement to transform public education.

A prominent Pakistani is offering a six-figure bounty to anyone who kills the man who produced "Innocence of Muslims."

CNN: Now 2 bounties on producer of anti-Islamic film
For the second time in less than two weeks, a prominent Pakistani is offering a six-figure bounty to anyone who kills the man who produced "Innocence of Muslims," a film that has offended many Muslims throughout the world. Former Pakistani lawmaker Ikramullah Shahid told demonstrators protesting the movie in Peshawar on Monday that he'd pay $200,000 to anyone who kills the filmmaker, according to Siraj Ul Haq, a senior leader of the religious group that organized the rally.

Tweet of the Day:

[tweet https://twitter.com/YAmericanMuslim/status/253371357943980033%5D

Enlightening Reads:

Religion News Service: Toledo mosque hit by arson
Muslim worshippers are reeling from an arson fire at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, but are grateful for an outpouring of support from the local interfaith community. Perrysburg Township police ruled that the Sunday evening (Sept. 30) fire was arson. Surveillance footage from the mosque shows a “person of interest” - a white middle-aged male wearing a camouflage sweatshirt and hat - at the mosque’s entrance shortly before the fire, which was reported about 5 p.m.

Huffington Post: Spread Over Us the Sukkah of Shalom, the Simple Huts of Peace
On Sunday night, Jews began Sukkot, the Festival of Huts - vulnerable huts with a leafy, leaky roof, open to the stars, the rain, the Holy Wind that breathes all life. Traditionally, the people were to live in them, sleep in them for seven days and nights. Are these the homes wherein we should be dwelling all our days? No, but remembering, experiencing them in our bodies for a moment, is a gift of life.

Religion Dispatches: Should Romney Be Asked about Mormon Women's Issues at the Debates?
Today at the Daily Beast, journalist Stacey Solie calls on the moderators of Wednesday night's debate to ask Mitt Romney about whether he supports what Solie characterizes as the "second class" status of women in Mormonism. Are women's issues fair game? Yes. But don't let Romney be the only voice on the subject.

Reuters: Jewish prisoner argues Texas must provide kosher food
Lawyers for an imprisoned Jewish man argued in court on Monday that the state of Texas is violating his religious freedom by failing to provide him with kosher meals. Max Moussazadeh, convicted of murder, has been in a Texas prison for 19 years after he served as a lookout during a robbery in which a partner shot and killed a man. He filed a 2005 federal lawsuit accusing the prison system of failing to offer him kosher food, though it accommodated inmates with special dietary needs such as diabetics.

Religion News Service: Poll: Most Americans don’t think Scientology is a religion
Most Americans do not believe Scientology is a real religion, according to a recent poll by 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair. The survey, conducted by CBS News, found that 70 percent of Americans say that Scientology is not a true religion; 13 percent believe it is; and 18 percent either don’t know or don’t care.

Opinion of the Day:

CNN Your Take: Author who calls 'spiritual but not religious' a cop-out responds to comments
Alan Miller, director of The New York Salon and co-founder of London's Old Truman Brewery, discusses readers’ comments to his Belief Blog piece "My Take: 'I'm spiritual but not religious' is a cop-out.” “I don't happen to believe in a religious "one true way" and in fact am not religious myself. My comments and observations are based on an increasingly common phenomenon in the past 20 years,” Miller writes.

Join the conversation…

Sarah Silverman in her 2008 video "The Great Schlep."

CNN: Viral and profane pro-Obama ads channel tradition of Jewish humor
When it comes to reaching voters, the co-founders of a Jewish super PAC aimed at re-electing President Barack Obama have this tip for you: Use humor, even if it isn’t kosher. Two campaign videos produced by the Jewish Council for Education and Research – one featuring actor Samuel L. Jackson, the other comedian Sarah Silverman – have received a flood of attention over the past few weeks. A foul-mouthed Silverman pushes people to do whatever it takes to make it to the polls in spite of voter ID laws, while an uncensored Jackson orders disenchanted Obama supporters to “wake the f*** up” and get to work.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. 12000mah行動電源

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    June 21, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
  2. Earl

    May you read the final exposition of the greatest deception made upon mankind


    October 5, 2012 at 1:27 am |
  3. PeterVN

    Like that great blog post said, religion is for the ignorant, the gullible, the cowardly, and the stupid, and for those who would profit from them.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:41 am |
    • nope


      October 4, 2012 at 4:43 am |
    • snopes says

      nope to nope

      October 4, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    October 4, 2012 at 4:27 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 truths is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent truths, 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 truths 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

      October 4, 2012 at 10:07 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!/

      October 4, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • .

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degnerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" deganerates to:
      "captain america" degnerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degnerates to
      "Bob" degnerates to
      "nope" degnerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degnerates to:
      "fred" degnerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian.

      October 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  5. Rondom Bittes

    No one will survive the coming extinction-level event.

    October 3, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Ex-Parrot

      We won't be dead. We'll just be pining for the fjords.

      October 3, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Chad

      There's a gourd in there somewhere too.

      October 4, 2012 at 1:16 am |
  6. A bit late to the party

    Even the supposed absolute morality of religion is relative. The morality of the Old Testament is mostly horrific to modern Christians. Jesus was fine with slavery, and indeed encouraged slaves to be the best slaves they could be. He also encouraged people to abandon families and children to follow him – interesting family values. The religious moralities if the Middle Ages included the horrific punishments for blasphemy, withcraft, and other things that Modern Christians find monstrous in modern Muslim behavior.

    This is true of other religions too. They do not use the same moralities they did centuries before.

    There is no absolute morality. The people who claim it are turning a blind eye to the history of their own faith.

    October 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  7. Robert Brown

    If someone has them would you post the banned words again. Thanks.

    October 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Helpful

      The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there are words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".
      • More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.
      Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post. And remember more than one full web address will also gain a "Waiting for Moderation".
      And said moderators still have not solved the chronological placement of comments once the number of comments gets above about 100. They recently have taken to dividing the comments in batches of 50 or so, for some strange reason. Maybe they did this to solve the chronology problem only to make comment reviews beyond the tedious.
      “Raison's Filter Fiber© (joking about the copyright)
      1. Here's my latest list – this seems like a good spot to set this down, as nobody's posting much on this thread.....
      bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to post that wonderful argument:
      Many, if not most are buried within other words, but I am not shooting for the perfect list, so use your imagination and add any words I have missed as a comment (no one has done this yet)
      – I found some but forgot to write them down. (shrugs).
      c-um.........as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, etc.
      sp-ic........as in disp-icable (look out Sylvester the cat!)
      ho-mo...whether ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, etc.
      t-it.........const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, (an unexpected one)
      va-g....as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant
      ar-se....yet "ass" is not filtered!
      jacka-ss...but ass is fine lol
      p-is.....as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, etc.
      o ficti-tious, repeti-tion, competi-tion.
      There are more, so do not assume that this is complete.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

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

      October 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I don't think there is a comprehensive list. Any syllable that might seem naughty to someone somewhere in the world. Sometimes I just add formatting codes near every vowel or else substitute ascii codes for every vowel. That's easier than combing through a large amount of text.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      The Helpful Hints "Raison' Filter Fiber" is the result of my friend, ("Sum Dude," "Rogue" "Raison" "Ironicus")

      Giving credit where credit is due.


      October 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Thanks helpful and tom

      October 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Helpful Hints


      Yes, gigantic thanks to go SumDude (etc.), but I have done a bit of work on the list too - I dropped the no-brainer nasty words (if folks don't know those, they're pretty hopeless), and there are quite a few new examples that I have added over time, as some tricky ones have popped up.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      add cra cker to your list

      October 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • William Demuth

      My corporate email blocks incoming emails that include the word "Specialist" because it has Cialis in it

      Took me a month to figure that one out!

      October 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      Robert Brown,

      Thanks. Will do. Odd, I recall that it used to be there - I guess MS Word ate it!

      October 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Sum Dude™©*thispostonly

      It was Kate along with Reality who came up with the first beginnings of the list, as I recall. I miss Kate. 🙁
      She was also the one who discovered the best ways to get around the filter using html.
      I started making a comprehensive list because I had a hard time remembering them all.
      I include words that do not trip the filter because they are useful to know.
      And after more than two years, CNN still refuses to remove the filter or discuss it in any way.

      October 3, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  8. ME II

    Not normally a fan of Fox News, but here's an interesting article:


    October 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  9. Ann

    It's also possible that Mary's "vision" of the angel Gabriel was due to a hallucination – food poisoning was a lot more common then, and there was no understanding of the causes of illness.

    Gabriel, a complete stranger, seemed to have let himself into the house and found Mary there by herself – perhaps he was just some transient who took advantage of the poor kid while she was too ill to defend herself or understand what was happening. "No, really, kid, it's okay – God sent me."

    October 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  10. Ann

    Mary was a nice little Jewish girl who got herself in trouble and came up with the best cover story in the history of mankind.

    October 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Huebert

      The down side is now no one else can use that story.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Pete

      I like to think that Jesus read the Old Testament prophecies and decided he was going to trick everybody.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  11. William Demuth

    Ok, it seems the majority believes morality is relative.

    This begs the next question of the day.

    What is considered immoral now, that will become totally acceptable within a few generations?

    I would like to offer one up.

    Suicide. It is turning the corner. It was once considered a horrific offense. Many were jailed when they failed.

    In time, you will be able to hire an assistant to help dispatch you.

    Any other suggestions of what might someday be moral emough for the majority that is now condemned?

    October 3, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • hippypoet

      suicide has been the most honorable way to die in many cultures and it is silly to think that it won't again being viewed as honorable.

      today it is considered the opposite, balance!

      October 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Huebert


      I would be willing to bet that use of some drugs and prost.itution will become morally acceptable.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Simran

      It is not my call to deicde if suicide or the contemplation of it by one person can be considered immoral. I am not in their shoes.
      One instance – Aruna Shanbaug ( a nurse who was ra.ped and paralysed and has been living in a hospital bed for 37 years begging for euthanasia) – I would happily assist her if it were not illegal in my country.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • WASP

      @will: youthanasia. a lot of people refuse to understand that a loved one suffering;that's the key word; from a terminal illness is there in pain due to their own need to keep them alive.
      we have no problem putting down an animal to keep it from suffering but can't give the same kindness to someone we claim to love.
      i would much rather have my loved one not in pain, then have them sitting around for my pleasure.

      i truly find that practice barbaric and hope to soon see it abolished so the patient can opt to end their suffering if their family doesn't have the heart. i would expect my children to have that much love and respect for me to let me choose how i leave this world if i'm suffering from a terminal illness.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • William Demuth

      What about cloning yourself?

      What about the pursuit of immortality?

      What about augmenting intellect by building machinery into our minds?

      Creating artificial intelligence?

      Creating new life forms?

      October 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • hippypoet

      all new things will be viewed as they always are – at a distance...with fear from a lack of understanding. the longer they exist in a culture the less misunderstood and therefore the more accepted. however since the grip to certain right wrongs the culture that accepts is a split off and now a second exists which denies that science. now the cultures will do the same thing all over again and split again...granted they don't always split, at times one kills the other off. ah morals... aren't they lovely?

      October 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      I believe I'll have another beer.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  12. William Demuth

    Question of the day

    Is morality relative or absoulute?

    October 3, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • hippypoet

      most certainly relative...it is how a creature is raise and in what environment.

      October 3, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • hippypoet

      thou i still hold to the idea that people can learn all thru out life and therefore be in constant change to their outlook (the belief of which is right to do or not) on other things and how they react to it.

      October 3, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • BRC

      Relative, with so many shades of grey that a barely capable author could easily create a quadrilogy that captured the attention of every middle aged woman in the english speaking world.

      October 3, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Huebert

      Of course morality is relative. Our morality has undergone such drastic changes over the course of history that to call it an absolute is simply untenable. Equal treatment of women, the idea of animal cruelty, and the recognition of the fact that slavery is an abomination, are all moral notions that have arose within the last hundred years.

      October 3, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Robert Brown

      From a Christian perspective it is absolutely absolute, right or wrong, no shades of grey.

      October 3, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Huebert


      Do you believe that the bible is infallible word of god?

      October 3, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Yes, Huebert.

      October 3, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • hippypoet

      robert.... should you stone your own children because they were dissrespectful to you?
      should you kill those of differing cultures or beliefs because they have differing cultures and beliefs?
      would you allow those that survive YOUR jihad to be enslaved and turned into property?
      should women be viewed as property and treated as such?

      it says you should in the bible which you just claimed is never wrong... there are many other things but this is good enough i think for now.

      October 3, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • joe

      The stoning of children is in the bible. Proven fact.

      October 3, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Huebert

      Hippypoet just asked my next set of questions for me.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Whether you agree with the interpretation or not, it is clear to me that God gave very specific instructions to the children of Israel. Some of those instructions applied to them in a particular situation while others applied for as long as they were in the Promised Land. I am not an Israelite, nor do I reside in Israel.
      I don’t kill my children or others, take slaves, or treat women as property. I think most of that stuff is illegal, even if, I wanted to do it.
      There are some great spiritual truths in the Old Testament.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • truth be told

      The problem with hippypoets interpretation of the Bible is that is its own interpretation. Differing cultures were not killed because they were different. They were given centuries to repent and accept righteousness. They came under judgement as a warning to future peoples of the eternal judgement to come, they were tried, found guilty, sentenced and executed under law. As to other illustrations they are still in effect, the wages of sin is death, physical and at the last judgement spiritual. Learn to deal with it. All will be judged.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • hippypoet

      no interpretation – its pretty clearly worded. or have you just never read the book – perhaps the whole book will be more enlightening then just random pas.sages and chapters...or you could go on faith that what i say is wrong.

      see the books of moses for further information on whom to kill and why?

      October 3, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Huebert


      So you believe that those instructions are Gods words, but they don't apply to you. Is that correct?

      October 3, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • fred

      Morality is absolute. Immorality is relative. Those without God are immoral simply on the basis of rejecting the Divine Creator after which the degree of immorality is relative. Believers are immoral yet realize they have fallen short and are saved by the grace of God. As Jesus said “no one is good but God”.
      Those who choose to mock the Divine Word of God by taking Old Testament passages out of context and out of the culture of origin demonstrate utter foolishness. If you need a clue here is a hint; you mock Old Testament verses that point to immorality thinking it condones it while at the same time personally living immoral lives. Much like the Sanhedrin who offered up the perfect lamb as attonement for sin without realizing it was Christ they put on the cross

      October 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Yes, it is clearly worded. Here are some clear words you are ignoring. For example, “When you go into the land” Who was he talking to? What land was he talking about?


      October 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Huebert


      Why would certain instructions in the bible not apply to certain individuals? Is it a simple matter of which testament the instructions are found in, or is it more nuanced than that?

      October 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Yes, certain instructions apply to certain people in certain situations. I don't think it is nuance. I think it is context, a matter of reading the whole chapter or the whole book, not just one verse.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      "Those without God are immoral simply on the basis of rejecting the Divine Creator after which the degree of immorality is relative."

      And you wonder why we think your religion is evil. You have given a nice demonstration right there. Thank you for giving us all reason to completely ignore you from now on you divisive tool.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Robert Brown

      Do you realize that you're saying that your gods morality is relative and it's not an objective morality?

      October 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • fred

      If there is a God and that God is as revealed in the Bible then morality is based on what that creator determines. I fail to understand what is so hard about that? God establishes what is Good an that can be boiled down to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself”. I do not think God could make it any easier for you than that. Now, when you reject God, mock God etc. that is not good and thus immoral (using standard definition of moral = good, immoral =bad to keep it simple).
      Amazing that somehow you twist that as God being evil. You actually just called good bad supporting the Bibles statement “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.”Isaiah 5:20

      October 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      So Pascal's Wager, understood. I guess you think your god is so powerful, yet so blindingly stupid that you think you can trick your way into his heaven. Congrats on yet another contradictory stance you immoral fuck.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Huebert

      "Yes, certain instructions apply to certain people in certain situations. I don't think it is nuance. I think it is context, a matter of reading the whole chapter or the whole book, not just one verse."

      So are you saying that some of gods moral instructions are dependent upon the situation and the person?

      October 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Huebert


      You use Pascal's wager. I'll use Marcus Aurelius's.

      "Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."

      October 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Fred Flintstone

      @Robert: "certain instructions apply to certain people in certain situations".

      That, by definition, is relative morality. But it is usually a cop out by religious people to hide the fact that earlier moralities were actually monstrous, so they pretend they were only for a few, not for all (which they obviously were). Take the "sell your goods and give the proceeds to the poor" thing. Jesus says it twice, but so many modern revisionists only note the once he says it to a wealthy boy, thinking that it only applied to him. But it does not – Jesus said the same thing before to all his disciples.

      So why don't you sell all your goods and give away the proceeds, which is Jesus' morality? Because it is really bad advice, of course. Why do people have to invent frauds like "it only applied to that boy"? Because they don't want to admit that Jesus put forth an astoundingly bad morality that would impoverish his followers.

      October 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Instructions to the children of Israel, relative, not his morality.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      God’s instructions to specific people in a specific time and place are dependent or relative. His morality is absolute.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Huebert


      Are god's instructions always moral?

      October 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Fred Flintstone,
      Go read the story again. Why do you think Jesus told him sell all he had? Could it be because he could see his heart and new that he cared more for his wealth than God?

      October 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • fred

      Certainly God will be just with such a good person including a good person that rejects God. We are not told what the eternal position of that soul will be assuming that person was not of Satan or his demons. We are told simply to let everyone know about the eternal life that is offered in Christ and not judge those who reject God as we are not in a position or have the capacity to make that call. At the cross in Luke we are given a very clear picture of the soul that gets to paradise (a criminal that had respect for a non specified God then with a kind last breath asked Jesus to remember him) in contrast with the other criminal who mocked Jesus at the cross. Take note that Jesus said “today you will be with me in Paradise” to one yet spoke not a word to the mocking criminal.

      Now, if there are no gods the life of a good man amounts to no more than the life of a good Panda Bear. All that reason gifted to man, all that ability to appreciate beauty and create beauty, intelligence to direct the existence of all life on earth, love and worship designed in the image of God to relate with and know God end up in the evolutionary waste pile.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      For those who like to use old testament quotes,
      We find it harsh what God did to the people who inhabited the land that he promised to the children of Israel. He did it because he judged them. He gave them over 400 years to repent of their gross immorality and pagan worship. He was patient with them, but when their time was up, it was up.
      He gave the children of Israel very specific instructions and consequences for disobeying his instructions, because he didn’t want them corrupted by the people they came in contact with. He didn’t want them to worship Baal and do all the immoral things they were doing.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      That was completely non-sensical.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Huebert


      I'm glad you leave space for what Dante termed the righteous pagan. But what a bleak view of humanity. Look at the magnificent things we can create, the LHC and the space station. One day we may leave our little blue marble. My hope is that we don't kill each other before we get the chance to explore the universe.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      How cute. Fred will continue to ignore the fact that two peple pointed out the use of Pascal's Wager and go on tangent after tangent. How pathetic and predictable.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Fred Flintstone

      William, before the passage you quote (Luke 18), he says it to his disciples (Luke 12:22-34). No rich person there. The instructions are to his flock (that includes you).

      Your attempts at situational ethics fails. You are shunting a morality you don't want to obey to a specific circumstance, but your own scripture makes it clear that was for everybody. Sorry, but you are in defiance of Jesus' direct orders . . . and you are strangely lawyerly in your attempts to evade your responsibilities. There is no way Luke 12:22-34 supports your narrow interpretation.

      YOU are a situational ethicist. Christianity is a long history of changing moralities.

      There is no absolute morality.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • fred

      To the contrary, it is only bleak if there is no God or eternal record. I don’t know if it is me or my hope in that Promised Land because if this life is all we have I cannot comprehend the need for a beginning.
      Genesis 1 God creates the most amazing world and said it is very good and rested. Genesis 2 on day 6 we see something very different. God formed man in the image of God with personal touch and purpose. The attributes we have are different than a Panda and they are attributes that allow us to know and enjoy God. The creative ability you speak of is the image of God. Creating beauty and wonder leading to peace and unity as you expressed is the God of Genesis and the image in us.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Yes fred continue to ignore. Show your inability to defend your position honestly. Continue to assume your Big Book of Multiple Choice is automatically true. Continue to make appeals on the basis of wanting to feel all special. All you're doing is showing the lack of thought you have put into this.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • fred

      I ignored Pascal's Wager because I did not present the wager and only in a va-gue sense did I suggest argument based on his Pensées

      October 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      You use the same illogical idiocy that the Wager is based on. "If God exists then morality is this and that and this and that", even using the exact same false dichotomy as the original Wager use. You're using the Wager, but using it to apply to your view of morality instead of whether you should believe or not.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • fred

      Finally we can agree on probability as you are most probably right on that assesment -thanks

      October 3, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Who the fuck said anything about probability? I sure as hell didn't. Are you just trying to be as fucking stuid as possible?

      October 3, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Try?" It doesn't take much effort for fred to be stupid.

      October 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • fred

      The probability you brought the wager to the table is100%. If you do not believe me just read you own post.

      I value your opinion because of your intelligence and look forward to seeing it applied in a productive capacity. Be that change you want to see in the world around you.

      October 4, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • Chad

      I get all warm and flushed when fred uses hackneyed expressions like "be the change..."

      October 4, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • fred

      That does not sound like you. Your response to change would be that there is no acceptable evidence as to gradual change when it comes to Speciation of complex higher life forms.
      For Tom to be that change he wants to see in the world it could not happen by gradual change over a geologic period of time it would need to be sudden and abrupt. This is the evidence we are presented with in the real world. That is why evolution cannot account for the sudden explosion of species in different time periods. Simply taking DNA from man and chimp that is 99% similar says only one thing; we exist in the same environment and this model was successful for the past couple hundred thousand years.

      October 4, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  13. hippypoet

    Religion, bringing families together since Abraham tried to kill his son and banished his mistress with her bas.tard!

    togetherness... isn't it great?

    October 3, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • William Demuth

      Now Hippy, lets not be cynical

      It worked wonders for the Manson Family.

      October 3, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • sally

      Manson sure has some weird powers. To this day many people still buy a Jesus face pattern for carving their pumpkins at Halloween, and somehow, from prison, he is able to make all those pumpkin faces look just like him.

      October 3, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • William Demuth

      Yeah, Charley even used his powers to make Axl Rose record his song "What's wrong with your game girl"!

      He is the king of Creepy Charisma!

      October 3, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Robert Brown

      It is great, by faith Abraham knew that even if he did kill his son, God would raise him from the dead. Abraham was outside Gods will when he had a child with Hagar, which caused strife in the family. Don’t forget Abraham prayed for Ishmael and God told him he would bless him.

      October 3, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • hippypoet

      yes robert – god blessed his by making another religion over the other child and now these two belief systems are at war with each other – balance. yay

      October 3, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • William Demuth


      Didn't Jesus know God would raise him up from the dead?

      If so, it sorta makes the whole "he sacrificed his life for us" propoganda seem a bit hollow, don't ya think?

      October 3, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • BRC

      @Robert Brown,
      If you had a child, and you felt/knew that "God" was telling you to sacrifice them, would you?

      October 3, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • God

      Paging Mr Brown.

      Please crucify yourself immediatley

      October 3, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Robert Brown

      It is clear that he made provision for the children of Ishmael. I don’t know if it is balance, it may be that the Arabs have been deceived.

      He knew. I imagine his flesh did not want to die. Read his prayer to the father in the garden. He was literally sweating what was coming.

      No, I don’t believe I have the faith Abraham did.

      October 3, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • BRC

      @Robert Brown,
      I'm glad to hear it. Faith isn't always a good thing.

      As to your response to William, what kind of a "God" fears death?

      October 3, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Robert Brown

      That is kind of hard for me to wrap my mind around also, but the idea is that Jesus was all man and all God at the same time. That is why I said his flesh dreaded its death. As God’s son he also dreaded his temporary separation from the father.

      October 3, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • BRC

      @Robert Brown,
      Pretty sure it's hard for everyone to wrap their head around, because it doesn't make any sense (technically he's never seperate from his father, because according to teh trinity he IS his father... you can't be seperate from yourself, and as an all powerful being you wouldn't fear, well anything). BUT, instead of us hashing out an issue that we're not going to find THE answer to since thousands of years of discussion before hasn't, I would instead ask you this. Why doesn't the fact that your brain, supposedly designed by "God", is uncapable of accepting the story that religion tells you is true about "God" give you pause and reason to doubt said religion? I'm not saying doubt "God", and I'm not saying doubt Jesus, I'm saying, if the words that men are telling you about "God" and Jesus don't inherently make sense (when supposedly "God" did such a great job of making the universe into one smooth flowing intelligently designed thing), why do you believe them?

      October 3, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Doubt, yes I have doubts about organized religion and have had doubts even about God. It would be enormously arrogant to think “I know”. I do have faith, sometimes it is strong but it has never been perfect.
      I have some skeptical tendencies. I listen to and read what people say about God. Some of it I know is opinion and take it as such. When I hear someone preaching something that I think based on my personal study is way out of line, I don’t ever listen to them again. So, I guess the answer to your question is I don’t believe what folks say about God, unless I can verify it for myself.

      October 3, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • BRC

      @Robert Brown,
      Fair enough, I can agree with that mentality, even if we do have different conclusions.

      October 3, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • hippypoet

      robert, you just said you need to be able to verify information – so why then believe in god when no such thing is possible? why have faith if you truly verify all information? or are you just selective?

      October 3, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Robert Brown

      I have had supernatural experiences with God. I am not talking about an emotional experience. Emotions depend entirely on the individual, some are emotional and some aren’t. I will admit I approached him with some faith because it made sense to me. If you can’t find it within yourself to see God as a possibility I don’t know if he will seek you out or not. It has happened. Ultimately, no one can come to God without him drawing them by his Holy Spirit. They may think they found him, but it is actually the other way around. If you are interested don’t just give up and say “let God come get me if he wants me”. Try seeking him in faith and see what happens. How bad do you want to find him? Is it so irrational to you that you can’t even bring yourself to believe? One day you may read or hear something and all of a sudden you will have a supernatural experience and realize he is real. Will you still deny?

      October 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • hippypoet

      have you ever seen the picture of the two faces that also looks like a lamp.... the brain can be tricked and fooled....deceived if you wish...if you lack another having also seen what you saw then you may have something....the more the merrier and with just two, your still lacking in numbers. personal experiences are not countable as evidence of anything asides from the persons claims.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • hippypoet

      consider the very real fact that there is more evidence leading one to believe in bigfoot and the loc ness monster more then there is for any god anywhere at any time in history....

      think about it.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • sally

      Robert Brown said "I have had supernatural experiences with God. " Everytime someone says this, they fail to include a complete list of all the drugs prescription and non that they've ever taken, all the other substances they've been involved with in their lives, everything they ever ate in their lives, and all the accidents that may have had an impact on their mental capability. Even after that, there is always the chance that their moms dropped them when they were young, and some parts of the brain may be damaged, but the problem only presents itself as a "vision". I mean come on. We get flare-ups from chickenpox when we are older (as shingles). What's to say some of us really think we are seeing things, when we might just be having some irregular functioning of the brain? I'd rather believe that than believe someone is have a spiritual experience thank you very much.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      hippy and sally, here is one little example, I wasn’t on drugs or otherwise mentally impaired at the time;
      When I was a boy I went to church with my family and at some point I noticed they were taking the Lord’s Supper. I asked my mom if I could. She said, no, not until you are saved. I thought about it and later I told her I wanted to be saved. Not because I believed Jesus died for my sins but because I wanted the cra-cker and gra-pe juice. I talked to the pastor he asked me if I believed, I said yes and Walla, I was a Christian. Well, not really, but I did get to eat the cra-cker and drink the gra-pe juice the next time they had the lords supper.
      A few years later I was in church, we went more than occasionally but not every Sunday, and all of a sudden God began to deal with my heart about sin. Now people don’t like to hear about sin these days but let me tell you it made a real impression on me. I don’t think I feared hell because being a young man death really didn’t enter my thoughts. It was a supernatural desire to obey God. I was under “conviction.” I resisted that Sunday and several others when the alter call was made. I prayed to God and said if you will let me wait another week and see if I can go without sinning I’ll get saved next week. That was one misconception I had, I thought if you were a Christian then you couldn’t sin anymore and worse than that I thought that you could resist sin in your own power. Now I didn’t know at the time what all sins there were, but I knew some of them and I also knew I was doing them. I couldn’t quit no matter how hard I prayed or tried. Of course, I have learned over the years that even if you are saved you still sin. You can’t help it because we still have the flesh. Granted when we yield to the spirit we can deal with unrepentant sin, but we still mess up, whether in thought or deed.
      Finally, after a few weeks of trying to be good as I understood it and failing miserably, I set on the church pew and the alter call was made. I really don’t remember the song that was playing or what the preacher was saying. I felt like I was going to explode or catch on fire, or both. I believe it was Gods Holy Spirit. I looked down at my hands and they were white from gripping the church pew so hard trying to hang on and not run up the aisle. I got up front and the preacher asked me if I wanted to be saved and I said yes and he told me what to pray and I did. Now, you might think that at the time I prayed I was saved, but thinking back I believe I was saved when I started up the aisle, because when I left my seat I surrendered to Christ at that moment. Are you ready to surrender?

      October 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  14. niknak

    Morning all.
    It's another beautiful day without god(s).

    October 3, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    October 3, 2012 at 5:43 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Perhaps you could explain how prayer changes things and give a list of things that prayer has incontrovertibly changed. You've been on square one for a while now. Your God probably wants you to work a little harder.

      October 3, 2012 at 7:05 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 truths is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent truths, 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 truths 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

      October 3, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • another repentant sinner

      Prayer changes lives every day thousands find real salvation in Christ.

      October 3, 2012 at 10:45 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!

      October 3, 2012 at 11:01 am |
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.