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My Take: Hard truths matter; I’m Mormon, and I’m voting for Obama
October 18th, 2012
07:37 AM ET

My Take: Hard truths matter; I’m Mormon, and I’m voting for Obama

Editor's Note: Joanna Brooks is a senior correspondent for ReligionDispatches.org and author of "The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith."

By Joanna Brooks, Special to CNN

(CNN)–There are two moments and two moments only that made my soul sit upright during Tuesday night’s presidential debate:

President Obama, speaking about the loss of manufacturing jobs to low-wage economies like China: “There are some jobs that are not coming back.”

Obama, speaking about four lives lost in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya: “I am the one who has to meet those coffins when they come home.”

Morbid? Not at all. I’m just a believer in the gospel of hard truths.

And as I am the mother of two school-age children, a teacher at an underfunded public university and a progressive Mormon, hard truths about the challenges our nation faces are all that makes sense to me.

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

As a mother, I am acutely aware that right now, our nation invests a smaller and smaller share of its resources in our children, the generation that will assume the debts my generation and our parents’ generation have incurred.

As an educator, I have witnessed firsthand how failure to generate responsible levels of public revenue has significantly compromised generations’ worth of investment in our public schools and universities.

And as a Mormon, I grew up with a healthy sense of respect for worst-case scenarios. I was raised, after all, with a religious aversion to debt and a year’s supply of canned wheat, beans and powdered milk in the garage, as instructed by LDS Church leaders. The Mormon food storage tradition isn’t about end-times-paranoia: It’s a lesson passed down from our pioneer ancestors, who knew the importance of being prepared for difficult seasons so you can do right by your family and community.

Profile of Brooks: Crossing the plains and kicking up dirt, a new Mormon pioneer

This nation is in a difficult season, and I listened carefully Tuesday night for a proper sense of respect for worst-case scenarios. What I heard instead were the usual rhetorical swerves.

Mitt Romney offered personal anecdotes about “binders full of women” that have nothing to do with economic security for American families. He promised allegedly revenue-neutral $5 trillion tax cuts but refused to provide solid details on how he’d balance the books. And he made throwaway references to all people being the “children of the same God” without substantial reflection on how that should translate in terms of budget and policy.

What I really wanted from the debate was more of the hard truths that Obama seemed to be on the verge of saying:

“This recession is fundamentally different than other recessions, and there are no short-term fixes.”

“Our old strategies for managing Middle Eastern conflict through military intervention or propped-up dictators don’t work. And there is no easy way forward.”

“The only thing the $3 trillion Iraq war produced for the United States was a mountain of debt and a legion of disabled Americans.”

“We need to have a serious discussion about Social Security.”

“Debts don’t get paid down without adjustments in revenues.”

These are the kind of hard truths that speak to the same part of me that took notice when Obama at his inauguration quoted the Scripture: “It is time to put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13: 11).

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And given the challenges we face in bringing down deficits while investing sensibly in the nation’s future, here are some other Scriptures I’d like to hear:

“Turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come to smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4: 6).

“Set your house in order, for you shall die” (2 Kings 20: 1)

Morbid? Not at all. But I do feel a sense of responsibility for keeping an eye on the worst-case scenarios. And a few months’ worth of rice and beans in the garage, like Mormon leaders teach me. And an ear out for the gospel of hard truths.

I have seen Obama work steadily, patiently through a difficult season. I have seen him face some hard truths and accept that there are no easy fixes. And I will vote to give him a second term.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Joanna Brooks.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Mitt Romney • Politics

soundoff (2,087 Responses)
  1. Phil

    It's ironic that you use bible quotations such as,
    “Turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come to smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4: 6).

    to support a president, and a political party, that states that children DONT NEED a father, because "two mothers" wiill do just fine.

    October 20, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  2. Sutton Parks

    Did Obama actually say those things? There is nothing wrong with voting for either candidate just because you like them. If you need to make stuff up to pick Obama, just watch MSNBC.

    October 20, 2012 at 8:00 am |
  3. TeamsterJas

    I too am a Mormon. I have served in three Bishoprics. I am also a Teamster. The novelty of voting for Romney disappered when he chose Paul Ryan as his running mate. That being said, I have never even heard of a Stake President or Bishop lying like this candidate does. He has placed politics and glory before his beliefs. It would have been nice to have somebody embrace his religion instead of his ego. We believe in being honest, true, etc. Words to live by WIllard.

    October 20, 2012 at 6:51 am |
    • zapper

      So True. Mitt Romney wasn't a very good businessman (made a lot by investing a lot of other people's money, never built a real business that created something, created some jobs but also killed a lot of jobs), wasn't a very good governor of MA (over 400 "vacation" days in four years...??) and isn't a very good Mormon.

      Get a clue folks, he won't be a very good president, either.

      October 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  4. NateSLC

    This author is wise and fearless. I've grown to learn the latter is always a prerequisite for the former.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:28 am |
    • zapper

      Great comment Nate.

      October 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    October 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Atheism is healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer is talking to yourself

      October 19, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • .

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "The Truth" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Lorraine" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian!..

      October 22, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Jesus

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

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

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

      October 22, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  6. Hearmenow

    For Christians that are not aware, Mormons believe that the dead can be baptized. They believe, contrary to the Word of God, that after death one still has an opportunity to go to heaven. This is clearly at odds with our belief that one must accept Jesus as Lord and Savior prior to dying to be saved. The Bible is clear, " And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Hebrews 9:27.There is no other course. There exists no holding area for those who die without accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. There is no hope of salvation – even for those that we love - who have passed without a saving knowledge of Jesus. The suggestion that there is a second chance after death, is a demonic attempt to diminish the relevance of our witness to the living. It suggests that they can wait until and beyond death. Mitt Romney is not merely a member of the Mormon church. He is a Bishop, Mormon leadership. He has stated that he believes in this ungodly practice. When you characterize him as a Christian like you, you imply a support for this cultish practice, which attempts to set aside the redemptive work that Christ did for us on the cross. For the Christian, this should be an immediate disqualification for the office of president. For those of you who are members of a Christian church with a pastor who is suggesting that you cast your vote for Mitt Romney as one of us, recognize that it is your vote. You will give an account to God for your deeds. As a believer, you know better. The scripture says that it is better not to know, than to know and not do. Now you know. But don't take my word for it. Do some digging. Find out for yourself.
    Blessings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    October 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • BG

      "Do some digging".

      Probably not the best choice of words considering your rant about post-death baptism....

      And about that rant – why exactly do you care if Mormons want to enact their own version of "Invasion of the Body Sna tchers?" You're not Mormon, and you're certainly not the Spanish Inquisition (of course no one expects the ... yada yada)

      You're either a baaaaad Christian, or a incompetent troll.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Debby

      Let me explain. The article was about why she was voting for Pres Obama. The article wasn't asking your opiinion of what you think of her religion

      October 20, 2012 at 2:44 am |
    • Steve

      You clearly do not fully understand LDS doctrine. Your opinion of such is misguided. I am a former Southern Baptist who converted to LDS many years ago. I served as a chaplain in the US Army. You need to do more objective research before stating something that you claim to be factual. BTW, I don't see how anyone who claims to worship Jesus Christ could even begin to think about voting for Obama–he is a "wolf in sheep's clothing" claiming to be Christian but is as Muslim as those I saw while stationed in Kuwait and Iraq. Pray about your vote–America's future hangs in the balance.

      October 20, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • zapper

      Steve, there are lot of us who likely know our doctrines and scripture just as well as you (maybe better, judging by your comment). We're Christian and we're voting Obama. Get used to it.

      October 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  7. mark

    so invest in our children & the future...WITH WHAT!?

    October 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  8. Dave

    Joanna is voting for Obama. I'm shocked. Shocked!
    You've only been telegraphing this for, what, two years?
    Yawn.
    Move along, nothing to see here.

    October 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  9. JBlake

    " I have seen Obama work steadily, patiently through a difficult season."
    Been on the golf course with him and he has trouble with his backswing?

    October 19, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Joanna, well said and I agree with everything you said. I'm not a Mormon but I believe in reality and truth. Don't pay attention to some folks who called themselves christians but cannot for one moment agree with the political and social issues on ground but chastising your religion.

    It's shame on you christians that have said something bad about this woman's religion. You should all be agreeing in unity with the issue on the table not viewing religious. Grow up folks.

    I'm a christian by the way but I think logically and I'm very analytical.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • End Religion

      If you did actually believe in reality and truth, and if you did actually think logically and were very analytical, you wouldn't be religious.

      October 19, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  11. E B

    If the liberal media were actually trustworthy on the topics of Obama and Romney, then I can see why Obama would get a lot of support. But they're not. The media is playing us for fools. They question Romney about why he doesn't provide details for his plan, when he does that all the time (see his website) and they don't report it. They label him flip-flopper when Obama shifts positions more often than Romney does. They don't want Americans to learn about Romney as a more than competent candidate for president. On the other hand, they help Obama cover up his failures such as Fast and Furious, Libya, economic numbers, the results of his policies and programs, etc. If Obama were Bush, we wouldn't be able to escape daily running totals of the deficit and unemployment on the front page. Yet Obama's numbers are far worse!

    Read both sides for balanced coverage because it sure doesn't exist in one place and both sides leave stuff out. How can you make an informed opinion on any topic if you only consider one point of view? You can't. Thanks for listening.
    http://www.conservativemormonmom.blogspot.com

    October 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • itsallaloadofbollocks

      Romney has flip-flopped on abortion, auto bail-out, taxes, healthcare, and more.
      The current Romney/Ryan tax plan reduces rates but removes unspecified loopholes or allowable deductions. If, as Ryan says, it will be revenue neutral, why reduce the tax rate? Also the deductions will be problematic – will it be pension contributions, mortgage interest, healthcare expenses, charitable donations, etc. None will be popular.
      Then there's the question of how we'll reduce the deficit and ultimately the debt if we have no additional revenue? Romney is coming across as anti-China, does he realise who is the primary funder of the debt resulting from the deficits?

      October 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • lisaspups

      LIberal, schmiberal - the media is Pavlov's and the public is the dog. They ring the bell, and we salivate. So do me a favor and leave the ridiculous labelling where it belongs, in the trash. For every media outlet you want to call liberal, there is a conservative counterpart. You want to know how to get the facts? Use the internet. There are plenty of non-partisan think tanks that are more than happy to debunk and verify. You just have to look for them and stop expecting it to be fed to you.

      October 19, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Debby

      Why do Republicans whine about the liberal media all the time. Fox News are the most biased deceivers off all time. Then, you have Rush Limbaugh that repeatedly I think to myself; that's the end of him. Now finally, I realized people actually like that. I never knew. Yes, they are coming out of the woodwork no longer hiding. I'll just say Glen Beck but I won't even make you claim him. It's just so ridicules that it ran me off. I use to study each candidate. Now, I have no intention of every supporting a Republican again. I found out I'm hated by them.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:51 am |
  12. Alex

    Obama uses language that influences people easily and believably while not saying anything at all.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Mark Taylor

      Really now? Give us just one example from Tuesday night. All we got from the governor, who was red-faced and rude throughout, was one generality after another, no specifics. The President used very specific language to answer.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • End Religion

      "Obama uses language that influences people easily and believably"
      Also known as "stating facts."

      October 19, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Debby

      I know, he makes sense.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:55 am |
  13. Kusarigama

    "What I really wanted from the debate was more of the hard truths that Obama seemed to be on the verge of saying" Pleaase note Joanna.... he never said them. You can just fill in the blanks and follow the "empty suit".

    "

    October 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  14. Kusarigama

    I have always considered Joanna to be a "Useful Idiot" for the Left. Now she goes and proves it. Another person suffering from the "Obama Reality Distortion Syndrome". How sad.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • IreneNY

      You are a rude person and your comment is useless.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  15. englishman

    this is not about religion, it´s about the election for progress or returning back to bad dark days.
    It´s hard to find an american that can think clearly and forward, like a 21 century normal guy.
    Obama is one of them, and the woman who wrote here is another one.
    I hope you can help other americans to think strait like you do, for the sake of USA and the rest of the world. After all US is the most influent country in the planet.
    congratulations for your post.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  16. End Religion

    Fire bad, woman good.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  17. BlackMormon2012

    Thoughtful and courageous

    October 19, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Anonymous

      Progressive Mormon? Every time I read how a religious group has a progressive section I can only think of heresy. God said a bunch of things, but you felt like editing. Do everyone a favor, admit that you do not actually like your religion, but you are in too deep. I can think of no wrong greater than lying to yourself during the precious moment of life. Let it go, it is understandable why you believe in god, it is the exact same reason why you eat lunch after you eat breakfast...because you have an inherent need to stay alive. You cannot fathom the nothingness of death, so god and heaven solves that by extending your existence. Think of where you were before you were born, I mean really think about it, take a week if you have to. You should realize that, in terms of existence, you only know two things: life and the absence of it. Religion can be beautiful when you get to it's core values, but more often than not it is a tribal realization that the misguided use to retain a purpose.

      You quote words from the bible as if they have some deep seeded intention, almost as they themselves carry a "soul". I never quite understood why religious people do this.

      Take life as the Kobayashi Maru (google it). I find your way of cheating death far too simple, in such a complex environment. Finally, look for a photograph of the Earth. Find the furthest one we have ever taken, then find the typical version taken by the last Apollo mission. One will be a beautiful sphere, visible will be the clouds, the oceans and Africa. The other will be a small dot in a black field. Analyze the photos for a while, take some time to realize that they are the same thing. Then, realize that nothing that humans have done is visible in either photo. It does not take long to realize that, in comparison to the universe, we barely exist. If we are the creation of god, jesus, vishnu, mithra or john smith, than we are the butt of a very cruel joke.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • End Religion

      Did you just call me a butt?

      October 19, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • BG

      @ End Religion

      Well, you answered to it...

      October 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • End Religion

      @BG: I was afraid of that.... *sigh*

      October 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Delly

      Dear Anonymous,
      I have to say, you speak so confidently about what you do not understand, & have no experience of.
      To start with man is a 3 dimensional being. Physical, Mental, and Spiritual.
      Some men choose to ignore the development of their souls, the bodies is all they care for.
      You will perhaps call them beasts, some that have lost use of their minds you may refer to as mentaly ill.
      There is also a spiritual side to you that you can choose to ignore,. You can choose to be a 2 dimensional man.
      This does not take away from the spiritual side of you taht you chose to deny.
      Those who explore God through the spirit enrich their spirits and grow in spiritual things.
      This does not mean they have to be mentally inept.
      Yes you do find some who give up mental development to focus on just body and spirit.. These the bible refers to as the pharisees- the religeous establishment Christ was so much against.
      What God wants is that you develop your body, develop your mind and develop your spirit.
      Dont ignore any of them....

      October 19, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Simone

      A hippy Jesus freak bashing a Trekkie. Neat.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:09 am |
  18. DeltaForce1

    I have wondered how mitt can make up fabrications of events to suit whomever he is talking with at any given moment. Some feel that is shape-shifting...others see it as "etch-a-sketch"...while still others think it is lying...and still others think he is a flip flopper. When mitt debated Ted Kennedy on the topic of a woman's right to choose, Senator Kennedy famously uttered these words to mitt: "mitt, you are not pro-choice, you are not anti-choice, you are multiple choice". I took that to mean that because mitt was born into wealth, he was infected with that loathing which some wealth people have towards others that are poor...that sneer, that sense of I'm better than you, that self-righteous arrogant posture. Now I'm beginning to think that mitt suffers greatly from a pathological defect that is colored greatly by his Mormon faith that condones the telling of falsehoods (Mormon belief of lying for God) if in the tellers mind, he is doing so for a greater good...as in say whatever you need to say to get elected...because once elected just think how you could spread Mormonism to Americans and the world at large. It is quite scary to contemplate this given the power of the bully pulpit the POTUS has at home and abroad.

    October 19, 2012 at 4:00 am |
  19. Reality

    Only for the eyes of Joanna Brooks, (since she has not thanked us, we are resending yet again)

    For your escape into the world of Rational Thinking:

    The Apostles' Creed 2012 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (References used are available upon request.)

    October 18, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Max

      please would you reference what you have written.

      October 19, 2012 at 3:21 am |
    • Truth

      Jesus Christ was worshipped as the Messiah and son of God even before he was murdered by the Romans. "Reality" is just using some of the many untrue and unsubstantiatied talking points so popular with Athiests today. For proof of God, for proof of Jesus Christ, one has to look only to the lives which have been transformed by following the philosophy and LOVE of Christ. There is so much mis-information out there. The unconditional love of Jesus Christ, the comfort, joy, and STRENGTH found in having FAITH, the miracles, the changes of so many lives, there is your proof. Athiests like to call Jesus a "tooth fairy" or "sky daddy" but the truth is "Faith without works is dead". The will of God is not the same as our will. Faith is a beautiful thing, such a comfort and such a joy. I would recommend it.

      October 19, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      p.4

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

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

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      October 19, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Delly

      My friend.
      You speak of spirituality and you ask us to prove it.
      Firstly their are 3 states. Physical, mental and spirit.
      If I cannot even prove your thoughts, how in the world do you expect me to prove the spirit to you.
      Its so unintelligent to say prove spirituality. Why dont you come and prove my thoughts.
      If you opened my brain you wont be able to find the existence of my mental thoughts.
      Sorry sir, but its tiring to hear people who have failed to educate themselves and experience the spiritual ask for physical proof of a state that does not exist in the physical. The spiritua is spiritual. The menatl is mental, the physical is physical.
      Try reading your dogs mind...Impossible. There are differnt states that can only be accessed individually.
      God is a spirit that lives in a spiritual state. Open your spiritual eyes and you will find him in he spirit through the vehicle of faith, ove belief.
      You dont find God through a thermometer or by perorming a liitmus test.
      Sorry i HOPE i DONT SOUND CONDESCENDING. But I have come to know god through my personbal experience.
      And quite frankly I wish more people find God rather than sit on their sofas and say God does not exist.
      Look at the universe. The earth is so tiny. God is expanding the universe daily. If you seek Him He will be found- if you have no time for HIm quite frankly you dont deserve His time. He's given you the ability to choose what you want to do. He is humble, and understand freedom and liberty. Thats not a sign of weakness or non existence, its just a sign of a just and humble. I have had the great opportunity of meeting God personally. But trust me you can find God if you seek him. He is near to those who seek him diligently. if you cant be bothered, why should He. You fear(respect) your boss, the police, authorities, and have none for the maker of the Universe. -The fear(respect) of God my good friend, is the beginning of wisdom.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Reality

      What we do know: (from the fields of astrophysics, nuclear physics, geology and the history of religion)

      1. The Sun will burn out in 3-5 billion years so we have a time frame.

      2. Asteroids continue to circle us in the nearby asteroid belt.

      3. One wayward rock/comet and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.

      4. There are enough nuclear weapons to do the same job.

      5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.

      6. All stars will eventually extinguish as there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen in the universe. When this happens (100 trillion years?), the universe will go dark. If it does not collapse and recycle, the universe will end.

      7. Super, dormant volcanoes off the coast of Africa and under Yellowstone Park could explode catalytically at any time ending life on Earth.

      Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse, 100 trillion years?

      October 20, 2012 at 12:49 am |
  20. rexdogcanadien

    The business of religion will be the the downfall of humanity if we fail to nurture humility.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Karl

      Humility? What do bath salts taste like, anyway? Eaten any good faces, lately? How's the koolaide? Tasty?
      Get mental help, you moron. Religion has always been the downfall of societies throughout history.
      There is nothing to be "humble" for and no one to be "humble" towards. Get a clue.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • BG

      Good job there, Karl. rexdog posed a perfectly reasonable thesis and you.. well, rather than offering even an iota of coherent thought...

      If you don't understand the comment, next time just ask for clarification.

      Be thankful. I'm in a good mood right now. Don't fvck with it.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Karl

      Okay, BG, let me in on the big secret. What is it that this whacko is trying to say, since you seem so well informed?

      October 18, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • BG

      With respect and in all seriousness...

      You should ask rexdog. If he doesn't answer, I'll gladly give you my opinion.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Cynicrat

      So why don't you tell us your opinion, BG?
      Karl already asked you for it.
      Here, I will ask you for it, too. PLEASE TELL US YOUR OPINION, BG!
      We couldn't possibly continue with our pale dreary lives without your amazing opinions, you know.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • BG

      Hey, the sun can't always be shining... behind every cloud there's an amazing opinion. Took a break, watched Last Resort.

      "The business of religion will be the the downfall of humanity if we fail to nurture humility."

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      From G.K Chesterton, British Victorian British philosopher, author, etc.., responsible for the quote "If something is worth doing, it's worth doing badly."

      In his 1905 essay "Heretics," he argued against Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle's view of aristocracy, i.e., those without humility or the need for humility. Carlyle specifically framed the example of the French aristocracy in his 1837 essays about The French Revolution.

      "The weak point in the whole of Carlyle's case for aristocracy lies, indeed, in his most celebrated phrase. Carlyle said that men were mostly fools. Christianity, with a surer and more reverent realism, says that they are all fools. This doctrine is sometimes called the doctrine of original sin. It may also be described as the doctrine of the equality of men. "

      "But the essential point of it is merely this, that whatever primary and far-reaching moral dangers affect any man, affect all men. All men can be criminals, if tempted; all men can be heroes, if inspired. And this doctrine does away altogether with Carlyle's pathetic belief (or any one else's pathetic belief) in "the wise few." There are no wise few. Every aristocracy that has ever existed has behaved, in all essential points, exactly like a small mob."

      Best I can do given I'm not the OP of the idea. Arrogance, absent any humility and introspection, whether ecclesiastical, autocratic, or bureaucratic, is destructive. Rex's example spoke to the church. To understand Chesterton's mind you have to divorce yourself from the eternal "science vrs. religion" argument that's been going on since Plato's time. You also have to hack your way through his Victorian metaphorical. (he doesn't mean Christianity is "surer and more real" in a physical context – only a dogmatic one.)

      Chesterton acknowledges a purpose for religion (especially in his other works) but he also freely recognizes it's limitations. He considered himself neither a progressive nor conservative, but rather a pragmatist. (:lol:)

      "The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected."

      October 18, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      If this isn't what rex meant, it should have been and BG was right, Karl jumped onto it, trying to force it back into the religion is good/religion is bad boondoggle. My compliments BG. You elevated the discussion.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • End Religion

      Religion is bad.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:03 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.