My Take: 7 Ways religious diversity played in the election
November 9th, 2012
05:00 AM ET

My Take: 7 Ways religious diversity played in the election

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

“It’s demography, stupid!” is the new mantra for analyzing the 2012 election, in which African Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos cast their votes in overwhelming numbers for President Obama.

But religious diversity was another key theme. How so? Let me count the ways.

1. The first Hindu in the House

Thanks to Hawaii’s 2d congressional district, a Hindu has been elected for the first time to the House of Representatives. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat who was born in American Samoa, served in the Hawaii National Guard and was deployed to Baghdad and Kuwait, crushed Republican Kawaki Crowley with over three-quarters of the votes.

Opinion: Moving on from elections as American rite

Gabbard is a Vaishnava Hindu, which means she worships Vishnu. The key scripture in her Hindu tradition is the Bhagavad Gita, a meditation on duty in the face of war.

2. The first Buddhist in the Senate

Democrat Mazie Hirono, who vacated the House seat in Hawaii that Gabbard just won, handily defeated Republican Linda Lingle to become the first Buddhist (and the first Asian-American woman) elected to the U.S. Senate. Hirono, who describes herself as a non-practicing Buddhist, and Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) became the first Buddhists in the U.S. House when they were sworn in in 2007.

3. Out with one atheist, in with another

Pete Stark, who has served California’s 13th congressional district for 40 years, came out as an atheist in 2007 and since that time has been a standardbearer in Washington for secular Americans. He lost on Tuesday to Democrat Eric Swalwell, who criticized him during the campaign for voting against a bill that reaffirmed “In God We Trust” as our national motto.

Election results raise questions about Christian right’s power

In a very tight race in Arizona, however, Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, appears poised to win by some 2000 votes over Republican Vernon Parker. If that result holds up, Sinema would become the first member of Congress to identify herself as bisexual. Sinema, who was raised a Mormon, also describes herself as a nontheist. It looks like she will replace Stark as the only openly atheist in Congress.

4. A successful (and relatively uneventful) "Mormon moment"

As Mitt Romney started to home in on the Republican presidential nomination, many Mormons started to ask whether his run would be good for the LDS Church. The verdict right now seems to be yes.

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Although some voters on both the secular left and the Religious Right doubtless opposed his candidacy because of his faith, Romney’s Mormonism turned out to be far less of an issue than many suspected. In the end, 79 percent of white evangelicals (many of whom might have denounced Mormonism as a “cult” in prior years) cast their lot with Romney — the same portion that voted for George W. Bush in 2004.

5.  Evangelicals draw the line

Although it often seems to my friends in Boston and San Francisco that white evangelicals are a majority in U.S. politics, they, too, are a minority, accounting for 24% of the electorate. And though they voted overwhelmingly for Romney, they would not go as far as some on the right wanted to take them.

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Only a quarter of white evangelicals believe that abortion should always be illegal, and opposition of Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana to abortion even in cases of rape seem to have cut into their white evangelical base. According to Robert P. Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute, 57 % of white evangelicals supported Akin (20 points behind Romney’s 77 percent support there) while 69% of this group supported Mourdock (11 points behind Romney’s 80 percent).

6. Jewish support for Obama drops

Of all the religious groups tracked by the Pew Forum, the Jewish vote showed the biggest change between 2008 and 2012. Whereas 78 percent of U.S. Jews supported Obama in 2008, that figure fell to just 69 percent in 2012. Tensions between the president and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over over settlements in Israel and Iran's nuclear threat likely account for at least some of that shift.

7.  “Nones” on the Obama Bus

According to the Pew Forum, religiously unaffiliated voters — “nones” in poll-speak — also went strongly for Obama, but their support was more tepid this year, down from 75% in 2008 to 70% in 2012. The longstanding preference of religiously unaffiliated voters for the Democrats may be moderating as the Democratic Party continues to walk away from its historical aversion to mixing church and state.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Barack Obama • Buddhism • Church and state • Hinduism • Judaism • Mitt Romney • Politics • Polls • Uncategorized • United States

soundoff (318 Responses)
  1. Texas Panties

    Not necessary to talk about God. She exists only in your imagination.

    November 17, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  2. Byrd

    A Final Day in the Political Life: Why Mitt, FOX and the Republican’s Billions Lost the Election

    Romney began his last campaign day with a brilliant of display of his omni-benevolent multi-taking skills by announcing that through a supreme act of will, and by firing 47% of his Mormon faith and consolidating it into the remaining 53%, he'd simultaneously found the eternal wisdom of a substantial 24% savings in labor rates alone by following the Eight-fold Path, through Lao Tzu’s Art of War, to the Buddhist and Taoist vote. Two hours later he was seen riding on an elephant through Chinatown, holding pictures of Gandhi, Krishna and Mao while chanting "Harry Krenshaw(?)" in hopes of attracting Hopi Indians (because all Indian guys can ride elephants), Chinese and those bald guys wearing robes in the airports.

    Now in full Mitt mode, he next enraged practically all Latino, Hispanic and Yaqui voters at a brunch with both Mescalero and the Virgin Mary, after which Mescalero was arrested for possession of peyote in hope of securing the votes of the DEA, ATF, FBI, CIA, NSA, NRA, FOP and that wacko sheriff in Arizona.

    His next stop was Denver, where he had a good laugh about tax evasion and off-shore shelters while watching the Daily Show and Colbert Report with a promising group of now taxpaying entrepreneur investors in marijuana clinics in Colorado, California, Washington, and Washington, DC, etc., who mistakenly believed that a tax-exempt stash contribution (easy mistake for anyone) might help change the tax laws in their favor and even stop a war (they were stoned, you know) if he'd only try a bit more of the Afghani bud rolled up with the Nepalese Temple Balls to see the boundless business opportunities in their now properly illuminated light. Mitt later claimed to have had yet another religious experience/revelation which he subsequently forgot while playing with the straws at a local Wendy's. Now we’ll never know. Our loss. Oh, darn.

    (Late Update): Mescalero somehow managed to slip the handcuffs and his whereabouts remain unknown. He was last reported breezin' through town on his white horse, Mescalito.

    In yet another last ditch effort for votes, the Romney's announced over the family breakfast table and an upside down box of Wheaties that four of their five sons would marry women of different races and ethnicities, while a fifth son as yet to be identified would become gay and attempt to enlist in the Marines because Ann likes the snazzy uniforms. The Navy issued an open invitation in case he was rejected by the Marines, who after first declining, have now said that they were simply too busy at the moment to respond to hypotheticals, but to call back after the damn war was over. Or more colorful words to that effect – they are Marines.

    The last straw breaking news, at least for the afternoon, came when the Mormon Tabernacle in Washington DC announced at 3:47pm that they were replacing the wizard currently atop their temple with a statue of Mitt who was then reportedly "ascended" into heaven in an secret Mormon ceremony closed to the public, for private consultation with Joseph Smith and Jesus, where Smith reportedly refused to hand over the golden tablets which might have swayed the election in Mitt's favor. As usual, Jesus refused to appear before the cameras for comment, but a spokesman, again as usual, said he promised to get right back to us faster than Mitt can say, "I like (insert favorite cause, food, ethnicity or whatever else you can think of, and/or its antonym, here).

    It was all over by nightfall and the final nail in the Romney campaign coffin was set when he was asked in a live interview by an obviously in full-blown conniption, Megan Kelly, if he was even remotely concerned about the painfully conflicting and twisted dichotomy of duplicity he constantly and erratically displayed, to which Mitt confidently replied, "No, I'm not concerned at all. My proctologist is very gentle and Ann's behind me 100%." Kelly was momentarily restrained during the break by police after garroting a now permanently comatose Karl Rove under the anchor desk with her panty hose and Karl’s own string of pearls, but was released when everyone, including the police, paramedics, even Nancy Grace and that Greta lady agreed that no jury in this or any alternate universe would ever convict and besides, the ceaseless replays of the heinous act had sent their ratings through the roof. Judge Judy pronounced Rove’s intellectual demise an act of god and Kelly innocent of all charges, but stipulated that she would have to continue lithium and electroshock therapy for life.

    Mitt's final comment of the day was captured on a pizza delivery guy's iPhone at the airport and broadcast to the entire world for almost ten minutes before Ted Nugent could take him down with a bow shot to the leg. All he meant to say was, "It rests with the angels now...” which was just fine until he then added while slipping into a vacant stare, "...or maybe with those whirling guys with the dervish-looking things..." Someone on the staff thankfully slipped him a mickey and the cabin door was sealed while the cops hauled Nugent away. The pizza guy was immediately hired by msnbc.

    The angels and Sufis in an emphatic joint statement said, "Leave us the hell out of this."


    Maybe they’ll someday all figure out for themselves why they lost the race, but in the meantime the RNC brain-trust (meaning: trust us, we have a brain) has announced that they are going to enhance their approval ratings with Hispanic voters by presenting just the right combination of empty, non-substantive words, combined with images of Jeb Bush with his hand up the back of a Marco Rubio puppet whenever Marco’s unavailable, in an ad infinitum media loop which will begin airing next week when FOX announces the debut of the 2016 assault against reason election season.

    It would appear that duplicity, at least for a most important day in America, realized its fate as its own worst enemy. And I’m hip to that. A huge segment of our society has been lied to in a very big way, and not by us. So perhaps you might put personal animosities aside for awhile, try putting just one-tenth of your hatred into really constructive problem solving, and let’s see where we get. And then maybe you’ll contribute a twenty percent effort the next time around instead of simply obstructing everything, which is a stone-cold, guaranteed path to accomplishing absolutely nothing.

    So do yourselves and all of us a favor: Turn off FOX now. And forever.

    November 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  3. clgmm74

    For the first time in my life, I am ashamed to be a democrat. The democratic party used to be about protecting the rights of all people. Protecting the rights of all should not be at the expense of some. This us vs. them mentality goes against everything this country stands for. That mentality will serve as the beginning of the loss of freedom for the individual.

    One political party will never continuously prevail over the other.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Observer

      Guess you missed Mitch McConnell's mission statement to make sure Obama didn't win reelection. Another complete failure for Republicans.

      November 14, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • clgmm74


      Transference will accomplish what exactly?

      November 15, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  4. ronvan

    A person's religion should have nothing to do with an election! The person's integrity, hard to find, morals, and qualities to "get the job done", are what WE should be looking at! Personnally, I would vote for an atheist if they were the BEST available! WE are perverting our religion & political system by placing way to much attention to a person's religion! Church's and their leaders, preaching politics instead of religion, just look at the sign at the top of this article! Don't know about you, but when I go to church I EXPECT a good, motivational, uplifting, sermon, NOT someone's political beliefs!

    November 13, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  5. elfkat

    And for some stupid reason pagans are lumped with the nones and we are most certainly not "nones"!

    November 12, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  6. A.Yeshuratnam

    Tolerant and broadminded Americans elected Tulsi Gabbard without showing racial or religious animosity. Had they known that Gabbard would show her religious fanaticism after election, they would not voted for her. That Bhagavad Gits is a war literature. But Mihir Meghani, a co-founder of the Hindu American Foundation., has said "The Bhagavad Gita is often considered a guide as to how to make decisions in difficult situations, when the decision is often not clear cut," If we follow that guide we will end in total destruction. Krishna, the prime hero in the Bhagavad Gita, cajoles Arjun to kill his own revered teachers (gurus) and relatives in the Kurukshetra War, as opposed to Jesus' advice to love enemies and to show the other chin to receive a slap. And again, Krishna is the cause for caste oppression in India where millions belonging to Dalit community are treated worse than beasts. Krishna said in the Bhagavad Gita that he created four fold division of caste (Chaturvarnayam maya srstam). How can he become a role model?

    November 12, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • End Religion

      Here's hoping we have a female Hindu President before a white Mormon male.

      November 14, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Rachel

      So Mr. Yeshuratnam, I guess any scripture that you don't like – no one from that particular religion should be allowed to hold office? Religious bigotry to the extreme. Maybe you should try founding your own nation, where you can be the despot that decides the "allowed" religion in your nation and where you can be the arbiter of who meets your standards to serve in government or not.

      November 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  7. Paul Sartre

    The atheistic postings about God just being an imaginary construct to meet people's psychological and (dare I say?) spiritual needs, supprot a strong case FOR belief in the Existence of God (or whatever name you prefer). If people crave relief of guilt, a freeling of being loved, learning to forgive, and belonging to something that transcends human existence, wouldn't the concepts of duality, Yin-Yan, or what-have-you suggest that maybe that empty wall-socket in us suggests the existence of a matching extension-cord plug to complete the circuit? If you think you have all the answers, take a night off, buy some good popcorn and a cold brew, and watch "Bruce Almighty". It's a funny movie that includes a good point: we humans simply don't have the resume to run our country, or even the planet, much less the galaxy. If humans are the only answer to humanity's problems, we'll never get out of this mess alive.

    November 12, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • End Religion

      Wrap it up in whatever pretty bow you choose. Religion is divisive hate delivered in the Trojan Horse of love. It is dangerous and we've had enough.

      November 14, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • bembol

      Sir, please read some science books and educate yourself.

      November 16, 2012 at 4:42 am |
  8. er

    President Obama is seeking to make his case with first-time voters. Well, you can understand why. Second-time voters have graduated and can’t find a job.

    November 12, 2012 at 5:29 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Or they will wait until 204evr when President Romney will create 12 million jobs right out of thin air. Go Romney-Ryin !!!!

      November 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • derp

      That's funny because my first time voter son, voted for Obama. My second time voter daughter, who graduated from college last year and is working her new job at a law firm in DC, voted for Obama. My 6th time voter wife, and my 6th time voter self all voted for Obama.

      We are all white upper middle class educated tax payers and we all voted for Obama.

      Keep insisting that Obama voters are the leeches of society and keep supporting a GOP that is rapidly losing the swing voters, the working minority voters and the working female voters.

      In twenty years here will be three religiot Republicans left railing about abortion and gay marriage and the Democrats will be enjoying a generational supermajority.

      November 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  9. er

    This Obama robber made some pretty scary threats to the McDonald’s employees. He said, “Give me your money, or else my economic plan will have you working here for the rest of your life.”

    November 12, 2012 at 5:28 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Too late ! the Bain-Romney gang already cleaned out the safe 20 years ago. Now the Obama thief can only get the changes 😉

      November 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  10. er

    A man in Florida has been arrested for wearing a President Obama mask while robbing a McDonald’s. To show you how good this guy’s disguise was, instead of a holdup note he was reading from a teleprompter

    November 12, 2012 at 5:28 am |
  11. er

    President Obama’s re-election campaign said that this year they’ll knock on 150 percent more doors than they did in 2008. Well, of course they will. They have to. There’s so many foreclosures it’s tough to tell where people live.

    November 12, 2012 at 5:27 am |
  12. Jim

    in which African Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos cast their votes in overwhelming numbers for President Obama.

    So a bunch of people who have been taking hand outs like good little socialists voted for Obammer. Doesnt say much for the Democratic party except it is now the party of the poor and illegal immigrants. Not much suprise here, in a bad economy the minorities arent going to cut off their food source. It works out just like Stalin said it would.

    November 12, 2012 at 3:06 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Jim, but they WON, didn't they ?

      November 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • derp

      Jim, you keep pretending that only people who accept hand outs vote for Obama, and we'll keep laughing at you.

      The GOP has lost the working minority vote, the working moderate white male swing vote, and the working female vote. They don't even need the hand out crowd.

      You do realize that Romney won the welfare states don't you?

      November 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • sam stone

      wow, misspelling the president's name......how hip and edgy.

      November 13, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Those darn minorities! Why won't they stay in their place and vote as their masters tell them to? Why are they allowed to vote anyway? Heavy sarcasm intended of course.

      November 13, 2012 at 8:55 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    November 11, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), 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 can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      November 12, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" 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:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" is a degenerate.

      This troll is not a christian.

      November 12, 2012 at 8:16 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.`.

      November 12, 2012 at 8:21 am |
  14. clinky

    Democrats shouldn't rest easy. There are about 100 million evangelicals in this country. They're fervent, severely conservative and not going away anytime soon. Consider that Romney is a Mormon, that Obama had the black church all sewn up, that married women voted strongly for Romney (so Obama did not carry the "women's vote" in a significant way), and the drop off in the white vote is flattening out. Simply imagine Romney as a Protestant, and he might have won. It's fashionable right now to discount the religious vote, but that group is huge, not diminishing in any great degree, and will be loud and powerful for a long time to come.

    November 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Joe

      You must come out of your fog and face reality. This was the last chance religion had a chance to make a difference. It was the last chance Conservatives had a chance to make even a slight difference for the good. From now on, it is strictly down hill: the takers will continue to outnumber the makers; the amoral will grossly outnumber those with scruples, mainly due to the relatively imminent death of a whole race of people by birth control; legitimate residents will be overcome by those here illegally, who soon will have a quick path to citizenship and the vote. Conservatives will give up social issues, seeing the handwriting on the wall.

      One thing I am grateful for at this point in the post-election depression: the USA can return to its pre-Romney stance on Mormonism and basically ignore its presence. The media obsession over the past two years with all things LDS will come to a grinding halt and the Mormons will go back to their temples and the rest of us will be able to read about religion without daily coming face-to-face with article after article about the inner workings of the cult that is Mormonism.

      November 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Joe, your posts reads as if it were written by two completely different people. Are you sure you aren't suffering from dissociative personality disorder?

      November 11, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • sam stone

      100 million evangelicals?


      November 13, 2012 at 8:49 am |
  15. Reality

    Again, "prof" P misses the real reason for BO's win as diversity continues to shrink because of the continued increase in the Immoral Majority who have members from all religions, non-religious and races and represent the largest voting bloc in the USA.


    November 11, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Reality ..you sound like a catholic..you cannot be really trying to tell the rest of the world they are immoral.

      November 11, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Reality

      As noted many times before the election:

      The observations of an agnonstic-

      Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

      Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Mitt Romney, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

      The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

      2008 Presidential popular vote results:

      69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

      And the irony:

      And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)

      The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.


      November 12, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  16. End future labels

    I support diversity of all kinds. My hope is that by embracing diversity one day humans will end demographic labels.

    November 11, 2012 at 6:25 am |
    • End Religion

      that will be a long, long journey. Identifying "the other" is one of the most basic of human survival skills.

      November 14, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  17. Nietodarwin

    WE WON. WE WILL CONTINUE TO WIN. You crazy people want to deny the fact that gravity (oops I mean evolution) is true.
    Don't force your religious mental illness on children, maybe one day soon it will be properly classified as child abuse

    November 11, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • End future labels

      Case in point...use of phrase "You crazy people" in post by Nietodarwin. Phrases like this one imply that humanity has somehow become two or more distinct groups as a result of opinion and demographic labeling. I look forward to this no longer being the case one day..however many centuries it might take.

      November 11, 2012 at 6:22 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      True enough. It's "us vs. them" the people who rely on science, mathematics, reason, and intuition vs the mentally ill that believe in some "sky fairy"

      November 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    To avoid voting problems like that in FL in the future, we need to have a system where only a selected group of celibate men locked inside a room making deals in order to pick the next leader of our deocracy.

    November 10, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      It sure is healthy for our government!!!!! Maybe now all these delusional religious people will quit their discrimination and abuse of people who don't share their views. Just how many times is this silly post of yours going to appear, before you pass on (to your imaginary "god") and quit putting this up every day. Enjoy the next 4 and 40 years. You are HISTORY

      November 11, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • pima

      what's a deocracy?

      November 11, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  19. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    "If you hear the truth about God and Jesus Christ, and something tangible actually happens in you or your soul, this serves as evidence"


    Evidence of what though? I have had many experiences that seemed mystical that had nothing to do with religion or god. There is no evidence of a 'soul'. If god wants me to believe, he knows exactly what it will take. If he gives personal proof to some and withholds it from others and then judges people based on belief, he is immoral. Which leads to my response to your next point.

    When has there ever been undeniable evidence of prayer healing a broken leg? There is a lot of evidence of faith healers claiming to heal people who can't walk that were exposed as frauds, but none who have ever been able to scientically prove it. If faith healers can actually heal why don't they roam the halls of hospitals healing all the sick children? They would be able to show evidence of their god and get uncounted converts as well and helping all those sick children. Why doesn't god heal amputees Amanda? That would be the ultimate proof right?

    November 10, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Amanda

      @Blessed: "If he gives personal proof to some and withholds it from others and then judges people based on belief, he is immoral. Which leads to my response to your next point."

      I wanted to clarify: I never said God withholds proof from some, I essentially was saying that _the way_ He makes that proof known to one person may be different than to another (less intense or quieter to one than to another; quieter does not mean not at all, just less intense or loud), but proof is there regardless. Often some do not recognize the proof that they are being presented (not by man, but by the creation, truth, etc.) because they have already made up their mind. A mind made up is the most difficult to change no matter the proof and no matter what one believes–whether in God, gods, or none at all.

      Also, another clarification: I also am not referring to the so-called faith healers who have been found out as frauds. In every bunch there are those types unfortunately and on behalf of Christians everywhere, I apologize to you for those who are frauds, as well as those who are religious, judgmental, greedy, unkind and unloving (and beyond). For that on behalf of all Christians, I am sorry and ask your pardon. It's not about whether we agree or not, but whether we treat one another with love regardless of belief or non-belief, and for the lack of that that you have ever experienced or heard of, I apology for all Christians.

      Back to the miracle/healing clarification: What I am referring to is an every day person just like you and I going out in their every day life (buying groceries, running errands, going to the gym, etc.) and loving on people they see in need by helping them, praying for them, etc. and God showing up with the miraculous. And there are folks who go to hospitals, it just isn't happening as much as it should. Again, I'm not talking about all the names of "famous" people we see healing, but every day folks just living life like everyone else, regardless of belief system. Most of this world is not made up of the famous or well-known, but the every day people working and living on this earth. We ourselves can't decide why God does not heal one person and not another in fullness, some have found their testimony in walking through it longer than another who is miraculously healed, but I cannot answer for Him on that–God's purposes in that can only be known by Him and usually also the person experiencing this; a person's own personal testimony on their experience in that could show some of the reasons why the healing did not come as they asked or came after many years of waiting.

      The truth is, if someone does not want to believe something (has already made up their mind), then only God actually does know what it takes to bring them to believe, be it now or after it is too late. I myself have experienced this before I became a Christian, and it took God to change my mind on certain issues in my life. It's not worth me, simply a human being, trying to prove because not only am I sure you know the arguments better than I (and I'm not concerned or afraid of admitting that), but what you are really seeking is for God to do something massive to reveal proof of His existence, which no human being can do for another (honestly, I think even atheists could admit that this is true from even the questions they have proposed to believers, not to mention again that what they are truly seeking is God Himself to make it known and not to ever believe what another man/woman says). Instead I am, yes, you guessed it 🙂 ...praying that God will make Himself known to you as well as to others who do not believe (and I know that He already is even if it is unseen by even those demanding proof of Him, and He will with finality make Himself known at Jesus Christ's return).

      I'm okay with knowing that others do not believe prayer works, because I'm not here to argue anything so much as 1) engage in thoughtful conversation, and 2) I don't want anyone spending eternity in perpetual suffering (even though some don't [yet] believe hell exists) and God does not want that either. He _is_ the God of love (though I know many don't see that for several reasons that take a lot of study and encounter with God to sort out–including Christians' failure to reveal Christ as He truly is), but He did give us free will to choose whether we will receive and believe or not.

      Because I do believe and know God exists with all confidence, I am not afraid to be unable to give atheists and others the proof they seek. Sounds ridiculous, but what I'm saying is, if we as Christians really know God exists and the truth of Jesus Christ, then why do we need to work so hard to try to prove it? God is fully capable of doing that–not our way, or any human being's way of asking for this proof–but in His own way that I can confidently say He will in fact do. 🙂

      I do wish you (and others reading this) love, contentment, success and joy in life regardless of your belief or non-belief because it's what the God who saved my life would do and has put in me by His love to do also. And with all honesty, I truly mean that.

      November 10, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      You seem like a truly good person and I enjoy the conversation. I disagree with more of what you wrote than I have time for but I will make a couple of points. First, If you believe on faith alone I can't argue with that other than to say I think "faith" alone is a poor reason to believe anything, much less the question of god, or more importantly in this day and age "which god". If god expects us to believe on nothing but faith and then judges people on their belief or non-belief he is an immoral deity. If god punishes people for eternity for finite crimes he is immoral. If god expects me to think I am guilty for just being human and I need salvation just for the crime of being born, he is immoral.

      Christians like yourself don't need to apologize. The problem is not you, it is christianity itself, it is immoral in its concept. Christians like yourself believe in an all loving god and try to treat others in such a way and that is wonderful but christianity is not needed. I actually treat people better without it because I don't feel guilty about acting morally just for a later reward, no treating people well is its own reward.

      The bottom line is the world is exactly how I would expect it if there is no god. I was a believer for many years. There may be a god but there is no reason to believe it. Humans are in big trouble if the specific god of the bible exists, and I would worship that god.

      November 11, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      Put your faith in science. "god " may not heal amputees, but evolution HAS granted lizards the ability to grow new tails, after they have been torn off. Write more science to the poor religiously COMPLETELY DELUDED.
      Hopefully, this election will make some of these people start going to a true church, it's called a LIBRARY.
      (Or a cheese factory, go educate them cheesemaker!!!!!!!!

      November 11, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Maya

      A Christian appeal to ignorance. What a surprise. You know, if humanity had always subscribed to the belief that "we just can't know," we'd all still be living in caves. If you're going to claim knowledge of an absolute truth, "we can't know" is NOT an acceptable answer.

      Furthermore, I don't believe for a second that you wish us love or contentment. You come on here and basically tell us all that if we were all as enlightened and moral as you, we'd believe as you do. You can take your arrogance and shove it. You may believe whatever you believe, but you KNOW NOTHING. Until you can admit that, no respectful dialogue can occur, because there is no point in sharing your opinion with someone who believes that there is no possibility whatsoever that he is wrong. It's pointless. You might as well talk to a wall.

      Religiosity isn't born out of ignorance or lack of education (though that certainly helps). Religiosity is a response to psychological needs: the need to be loved and accepted absolutely, the need to believe that the universe is not uncertain, the need to belong to a community, and the need to believe that the good will be rewarded and the wicked punished. When these needs grow stronger than one's rationality (a trait which varies considerably among people), one becomes religious. The human ability to create mental barriers between beliefs aids a great deal in this. Some people who are otherwise quite rational are religious. This cognitive dissonance is necessary to keep their weak psyches from crumbling. After all, being a Christian is easy. Everyone accepts you, you get to believe that there is a God up there who loves you and if you just do whatever he tells you, he won't condemn you to eternal torture (but the eternal torture is still there for anyone who doesn't believe as you do). Jesus is the scapegoat for your sins; you can essentially do whatever you want as long as you're willing to debase yourself by admitting that you're a worthless sinner. If you lack self-respect, it's an easy gig. Not believing in God takes a mental strength which is literally unfathomable to devout Christians. As a non-theist, you have to live your life knowing that you only get one life, that there is no ultimate punishment for the wicked, and that there isn't some sky daddy out there watching over us. Being in control, having to actually be responsible instead of pushing it all off on God, and being hated and discriminated against by the religious is something most people will never have the courage to face.

      November 11, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • CTed


      So what you are saying is the proof is there and I tell you that there is no proof I'm not listening hard enough right? How the hell do you know the proof is there? You don't. There is no proof. I am telling you what you think is "proof" is just your own mind deciding you are "feeling" something. That is just as valid as you saying the proof is always there.

      You do not know god exists, you believe god exists... with no proof but a feeling in your own mind. That's calleda delusion when the person believes something you don't believe, like they are actually god....

      Prayer does not work, that has been proven in many studies.

      November 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • jarhead333

      Not surprised that some of you attepted to ruin an actual civilized discussion. I enjoyed reading intelligent interaction between people who share different beliefs.
      @Maya- How is it that you feel self-righteous enough to tell someone that they "you wish us love or contentment?" It is hypocritical to sit there and call people uneducated and attack their belief because they do not belive the same thing as you. Isn't that why so many of you say that you don't like Christians in the first place? I see so many atheists talking about proof. Isn't the debate about the origins of the universe? For that, even atheists do not have proof. Christans are not "delusional" just because we believe in something different than you. We CAN have respectful dialogue, and it does go on, though you choose not to participate. Your assumption on how people come to religion, while sounds nice, is not even historically accurate. Man has been trying to find answers to the mystery of life since the beginning of time.

      November 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  20. Joe in NY

    LOL, many evangelicals did not even VOTE in this election. They could not vote for Romney, as he is a Mormon. And Obama is a Muslim, well, whatever, he is not a Christian....

    November 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Mickey1313

      Joe, sadly he is christian. I hope in my lifetime people will wake up to the fact that theism is a destructive force.

      November 11, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      Obama is too smart to buy into any of this religious BS too seriously. Claiming to be xstian is still needed to WIN WIN WIN
      Guess what???? He DID WIN. I stille agree with Mickey 1313 though..........sadly he IS a xstian.

      November 11, 2012 at 1:18 am |
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About this blog

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