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Survey: Religiously unaffiliated, minority Christians propelled Obama’s victory
A quarter of President Barack Obama's supporters were religiously unaffiliated, the Public Religion Research Institute says.
November 15th, 2012
02:24 PM ET

Survey: Religiously unaffiliated, minority Christians propelled Obama’s victory

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama’s victory relied largely on two dramatically different religious coalitions - minority Christians and those with no religion according to a survey released Thursday.

“This presidential election is the last in which a white Christian strategy will be considered a plausible path to victory,” said Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, which conducted the survey. “The American religious and ethnic landscape is becoming increasingly diverse, and any campaigns relying on outdated maps are destined to lose their way.”

One-in-four Obama voters were religiously unaffiliated, the second-largest “religious” demographic in the president’s coalition, according to the study (PDF). Minority Christians - consisting of black, Asian, Hispanic and mixed-race Americans made up 31% of Obama’s coalition, the largest religious group.

Among major religious demographics, Obama struggled most with white Christians, including Catholics, mainline Protestants and evangelical Protestants. When these three groups were added up, they accounted for just 35% of Obama’s religious coalition. In comparison, Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s coalition was overwhelmingly white and Christian, with 79% of Romney voters identifying as such.

The Public Religion Research Institute numbers flesh out exit polls released after Election Day. According to those numbers, 70% of the religiously unaffiliated supported Obama, compared with 26% who backed Romney. Ninety-five percent of black Protestants voted for Obama, according to the exit polls, while 75% of Hispanic Catholics supported the president.

Romney, according to the exit polls, overwhelmingly won white evangelical Christians (79% voted for him) and white Catholics (59% voted for him).

The rise of the religiously unaffiliated has been a major recent trend. A survey by Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released this year found that the fastest-growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all. According to the survey, 20% of adult Americans have no religious affiliation.

At an event announcing the Pew results, senior research adviser John Green said the growing political power of the unaffiliated within the Democratic Party could become similar to the power the religious right acquired in the GOP in the 1980s.

The 2012 election results have some political experts questioning whether the religious right’s influence is fading.

The Rev. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, tweeted after the election that the results show “we are witnessing a fundamental moral realignment of the country.”

Conservative evangelist Franklin Graham, CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and son of the Rev. Billy Graham, told CNN that while he doesn’t believe the movement is fading, “there is a lot of work we need to do.”

“I just think there are a lot of conservative Christians who did not vote for whatever reason,” Franklin Graham said.

Like Graham, Jones said the legalization of same-sex marriage by ballot initiative in three states last week shows that America is changing.

“For the first time tonight, same-sex marriage has been passed by popular vote in Maine and Maryland,” Jones said last week. “The historic nature of these results are hard to overstate. Given the strong support of younger Americans for same-sex marriage, it is unlikely this issue will reappear as a major national wedge issue.”

The results of the Public Religion Research Institute survey were based on 1,410 telephone interviews in both Spanish and English conducted between November 7 and Sunday. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

- CNN’s Dan Gilgoff contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Catholic Church • Christianity • Faith • Politics • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (1,305 Responses)
  1. ricker2

    Who said religious people are stupid? They're just uneducated. Nine times outa ten, when one ends their education in the elementary K – 12 system, they're more likely to end up as part of the pseudo-religious fox news audience. The only chance they have of furthering their education is by accidentally landing on a PBS channel while surfing tv. Hell, even an associates from a local community college is enough to teach someone right from wrong & fact from fiction......or take the shortcut, as Steve Jobs and many, many others did......a little orange sunshine goes a long way. Take care.

    November 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      ricker2

      For a Being such as us to be educatively ascribed is not your strongest suit is it? How did one such as yourself become gradually versed?

      November 15, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Christian

      Education has nothing to do with it. What is so smart about choosing eternal damnation over paradise. There is no way to prove that God does not exist. It seems the facts are stack very strongly for God's existence.

      "I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily."– Issac Newton

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpnU_4a1BCw&feature=player_embedded

      November 16, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  2. Name*penguin

    I'm opposed to abortion (to me its a civil rights issue- not a religous issue) but have never voted for a politician who made abortion part of his/her platform because antiabortionists are almost always wrong on all the other issues. I am a Christian but do not belong to (or believe in) a religion nor do I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God. As an "unaffiliated" Christian I supported Obama in part because I oppose having someone's religious beliefs forced upon me in the form of laws.

    November 15, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • saraswati

      It will be interesting to see how many times the Republican's have to hear "Because I didn't want your religion shoved down my throat" before they hear it.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      For a single mother to abort is but a matter for her decision making processes. For a married woman to abort it should be made between them. I am for any woman with whom finds plausible reason to abort to be allowed to so do irregardless anyones opposing perpectives.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  3. Athiest

    All I can tell you is, this is one Athiest who voted for Obama and amonst my other Athiest friends almost all of them voted for Obama. Why would we do that......think about it people, we had a choice between one right wing fanatic Romney and one left wind ordinary. In this case, the ordinary will do less harm.

    November 15, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It's disturbing that you self-identify as atheist and then capitalize atheism like its some sort of cult. Really, I hope the day comes when we don't need a word for atheism, theism having completely disappeared.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Athiest

      Of course, this world would be a grand place if labels didn't exist, but unfortunately, that world doesn't exist. I use the term as a statement, which is exactly how it's perceived.

      There is no such thing as damnation, by the way, that's all psychological brainwashing, the only damning is what we do to ourselves. You can chalk that up there, right next to the proverbial heaven and hell.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      I call 'it' as I see 'it' which is "Labeliscious"! 🙂

      November 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Christian

      Athiest, You do not know that damnation does not exist. You have probably jumped to conclusions so early on, that you have not even considered such things possible. If I had a choice between a billion dollars and believing in Jesus, I would chose Jesus. You can not spend money in hell. In fact, multi, millionairs don't kill themselves because they don't have enough money; they kill themselves because they do not have enough peace. Why did the lead vocalist for Boston or Junior Seau kill themselves? Seau had a lot of money, and no peace. A strong belief in Jesus gives you peace of mind. No pun intended.

      November 16, 2012 at 2:11 am |
  4. Dyslexic doG

    and I'll repeat it because it needs repeating:

    “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
    – Stephen Roberts

    November 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • DougNJ

      I like that. thanx for repeating.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
    – Stephen Roberts

    November 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  6. moose

    "I wanna get down on my knees and start pleasing Jesus, I wanna feel his salvation all over my face"

    November 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  7. Insight

    All the ethics will be thrown into hell with Donald Trump

    November 15, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  8. Dyslexic doG

    Christianity: a religion based on an invisible sky daddy that impregnated another mans virgin wife to recreate itself then "sacrifice" itself to itself to atone for a faulty creation it made but knew full well before hand that it's creation would be faulty. LOLOL

    November 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  9. Dyslexic doG

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=88GTUXvp-50

    November 15, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  10. ILOVEJESUS69

    YALL GONNA BURN IN HELL!!! HELLFIRE!! BURN IN HELL!!!1 BURN BUR BURNN!!!

    November 15, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • jamin11

      Obviously ILoveJesus69 is not a true Christian based on his actions. Jesus came to save the world from Hell, not condemn people. Bible clearly shows that. Furthermore, I suspect that you are purely trying to make Christianity look bad by your posts, which is sad considering you are a fraud.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  11. Roger Marks

    why would atheist vote for super xtian obama?

    after the theater shooting obama asked americans to PRAY to a magick man in the SKY.

    think about it......the leader of the USA talks to magical beings who float around in the sky.

    the leader of the united states delacres he has eternal life.

    who agrees with me that obama is a loon?

    why would an atheist vote for a born again xtian like obama?
    obama believes the earth is only 6000 years old and in adam and eve.
    obama believes his sins were washed away by the blood of a zombie and now he has eternal life.

    as an atheist i am appalled atheist would vote for obama.

    In an interview with the evangelical periodical Christianity Today, Obama stated: "I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life.

    November 15, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Observer

      Roger,

      As an atheist, you should have figured out by now that the official statements of presidents do not always agree with their true feelings. Thomas Jefferson was no Christian, but he didn't advertize that.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Al

      They all have to be Christian to get elected.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Akira

      Was there a viable candidate in the election that was atheist?

      November 15, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Roger Marks

      so you are saying obama lies to get votes? observer? and that he is not a xtian?

      before he was elected president he went to a xtian chucrch for 20 years. was that all ruse?

      November 15, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Observer

      Roger,

      I don't know Obama's true religious beliefs and neither do you.

      IF you think President Obama is actually ignorant enough to think the world is 6,000 years old, that is more a reflection of your intelligence rather than his.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Akira

      The POTUS differs in one distinct way: he doesn't try to legislate his religious beliefs into law.
      Which is the way is should freaking be.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • larry

      Al politicians have to play the religious card. It is the great lie both parties need to use to get elected.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      President Obama may believe in a higher power but he knows better that to believe is the foolishness that is the iron age storybook nonsense pushed by Christians!

      November 15, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Roger Marks

      i do know obamas true religious beliefs as he has stated them.

      he said he has eternal life and had his sins washed away by the blood of jeebus.

      he said that in an interview.

      so yes i do know he is a born again xtian.

      he also asked all americans to pray to supernatural beings several times

      November 15, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Ting

      Roger,

      There are religious leaders that are atheists. They fool their congregations every Sunday. How difficult can it be for a president to do this? A lot of people claim to be religious to appease family members and friends.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  12. kjr

    The Republican platform on social issues is severely antiquated. I would rather have President Obama in the office to manage our social change than Governor Romney. The democrats have a better record supporting equal rights for ALL people.

    However, I voted for Gary Johnson in the last election because he had the most effective record for reducing government overspending and keeping religion out of government.

    sincerely, An independent Atheist

    November 15, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Saraswati

      The only way you can have more than 2 parties in any meaningful way is by introducing ranked balloting. Otherwise you're just risking a nightmare vote splitting outcome. Fight for ranked balloting first, then plug for your candidate.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  13. Keep it up

    If you doubt their is a God ....np....He's coming to show you who He is real soon ..I hope you have as much mouth for Him as you do on here 😉

    Do not take the Lords name in vain !

    November 15, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheese makers

      There could be a god, just not your god. I wouldn't worship your immoral god even on the extreme slim chance he did exist.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Answer

      "He's coming in your mouth."

      You religious idiots should stick to that phrase instead.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • matt

      you think god is coming back soon, just like your parents, their parents, their parents, their parents, their parents... all the way back to Jesus's followers who he told that he'd be back in their life time. Do us all a favor and hold your breath.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • sybaris

      real soon?

      Your ilk have been saying "real soon" for 2000 years.

      Grow up, put down the religion

      November 15, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • RBSG

      Which god?

      November 15, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • phil

      I bet if you pay more money to your church you have a better chance at salvation, don't you? How weird that God cares about thinks like monetary donations.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  14. lionlylamb

    Mathew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God."

    John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world"

    Luke 17:21 "The kingdom of God is inside you."

    1Cr 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building."

    My Words for Truth

    What was first made can never again become that which was made first for only in varying differential constructs can another thing be made to be outdone against that which was firstly made. The pillars of one's DNA, the spirals of all celestial life forms and formations is where God's Sons and their given wives are taken in as residents there abouts.

    The Kingdoms of God lay where the inner structures of celestial Life do share in the abundancies of Living Fractals in Cosmological Paradigms. As mankinds' hunting for the Codifying of Life's laws in Cellularized Confinements continues onwards, we will ever become non-complacent in our societal grandeurs for wants sakes never to be outdone by those who tend to be in simplifications' adjuring. May we be merciful upon those who deservidely aspire to be merciful toward others.

    A scattering is upon us in these trying days and Age. Leave your wantings behind and never take wind of one's longings for the weightiness of one's longings will smite even the most influential. Carry away nothing and leave. Head to the places inside one's being and do not keep ajar your door for many will want to enter in and should not. Your loving this Life is for the world to have and you should not heed the rumors from others as to just what is truly right. It is therefore best for mankind to simmer in their juvenile pottages never rationalizingly 'assaying' one's diffuse detriments, the very smallest of life's grains. As smitten breeds, our splendors reveal one's characters to be traitorous to one's analogous fold. Where then does Life end and living begin?

    Who before this day's Age is found worthy of Goodly praises? Who after us will find peace set before them? Who in today;s timeline is this "son of man" that many should fear him for his worthiness stance? Who above can see the below? Who that is below can see what be above? From the very smallest crevice to the most high chasms, the Sea of Nothingness is the Holy Spirit. May the elemental Gods find favor in this found son of man that he may not be afflicted with this world's power but rather he should carry upon him the angst from his manhood till his natural death.

    What I spiritually believe in is that the Families of God including God Himself lives upon the very first created Cosmos which is the inner Cosmos. Our being but upon this celestial cosmos is due our being cast out of the Inner Cosmos for many reasons. Some were cast out of this Inner Cosmos for faultering and some for continuing to do the Lord's Will here upon this celestial realm of gigantic life forms whereupon their insides are living many families of God's members. We live upon this realm doing what we want while many of us unify ourselves in the communal. My way is not your way and yet when we cross paths we receive each other and after a spell do walk on and are parted.Therefore, walk placidly amid the noise and waste ever being mindful of the peace one finds in finding peace there about.

    Is God to be made a mockery by those who tend to instill anti-leveraged pragmatisms? Are we to believe in the godless and the ungodly who care little about the piecemeal subjectives' ordinates?

    Jesus, was the very first of many immeasurable 'elemental beings' and was in the Beginning an elemental king of all the elemental Gods. Jesus, in His cunning, did thru Chaos' manueverings, established the gravimetrical waves for the elementals to gather in broods thusly was formed the beginnings of celestial nebulas.

    As time did force the nebulas to progressively surround the gravimetric oscillations where from did come about galactic formations of the elementals' soundness. As systems of photonic elementals, the infinitesimal finite elemental Gods did shower the solarized systems with their embodied beings. And in the Now, we are but made from the photonic elementals' stillnesses, the stardusts of the Ages.

    My "Physicist" knows very well the quantum physicalities of natured atomic stimulations. I call this "Physicist" God. He has strewn His Sea of Nothingness with 'photogenitisms' or the stillness of the photons creating all manner of the first materials needed to become thru timeliness all the elementals' members of our declared Periodic Table of Materialized Photogenitis.

    Sciences are but the dreams dreamt and are atheists' treasure troves of good books they hardly ever do read, for many atheists aren't too bright yet they stand by these scientists without one iota of deniability to question science books that even the commoner seldom reads nor truly understands. Who among us knows about the 'Self-Similar Cosmological Paradigm'? Who among us truly understands that energy equals mass times light squared and its' true potential? What is the point in adoring scientific reasoning when one's IQ level can be counted on ten fingers?

    I feel a compelling want to tell you about some verses in Gospel scripture. Is it not written to above all things to seek firstly the "Kingdom of God". This said, have you ascribed to doing so? Where does one look to or towards in order to find that which we are told to seek as scripture does declare one to do?

    Mathew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God."

    I've searched the Gospel writings and have found a single verse telling all who have found it as to the true and literal location of God's Kingdomly Domains!

    Luk 17:21 "The kingdom of God is inside you."

    I take Luke 17:21 quite literally and so should all who believe in One God and His One Son of perhaps oodles upon oodles of otherly Sons and Daughters too numerous to really expound upon! Christ is special because he was born to take upon his being the sins of those who were and then were also and of times yet to come! God's Kingdoms being inside us and within our ownliness bodies can also be associated with another verse of scripture ,,,,

    ,
    1Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

    The just above verse does tell much more than just glimpsing over it could proclude! Our being labourers with God may well seem to give us all an equal footing with God and his aspirations for our betterment's sakes! His being our husbandry may well regard God as having a firm footing in our conceptions of childbirthing beyond mere genetic understandings!

    But in the aboveness verse, the very understanding that we or our bodies are God's buildings may well inspire one to disavow such a claim due one's foresightedness sakes and lacking of rationalisms' of credible resources. Yet, as I see things, we, our bodies are not only God established and God created buildings for the benefits of the Godly who reside inside of us, but are for our benefits for learning and understanding the precepts of "Fractal Cosmologies"!

    We have seen that which our bodies are made up of and they are of cellularized structures not "unlike" nebula structures in outer space places! These celestial nebula structures are yet a work-in-progress and our body-like buildings are a progress in the works!

    These words are revelations of my Faith as to my Godly understandings regarding the Kingdom Domains of God, his Sons and his Daughters and all forms and mannerisms of Life-ever-lasting principles and principalities of ever living progressives!

    Written by God's Oldest Dreamer

    November 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheese makers

      He can make a really big word salad.

      November 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • sybaris

      Proof positive that religion and the worship of god(s) is a filthy perverted disease of the mind

      November 15, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Hide Behind

      Catch up with me on this just in.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • moose

      Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property-Exodus

      November 15, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • saraswati

      I'm genuinely curious; who do you think is going to read that post?

      November 15, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • BUSTED

      I KNEW YOU WERE HIDE BEHIND, YOU RAMBLE ON INCOHERENTLY ON THIS JUST IN, TOO!!!
      Think you sound deep and pensive? You sound NUTS!

      BATCMakers: words salad is as good a term as any for "makes no sense!"

      November 15, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  15. FUQ

    Jesus loved chickens more than he loved his fellow man. The onions have turned green cried the shepard.

    November 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
  16. Observer

    Christian,

    I never said I know everything.

    YOU are the one who says millions of people NEVER had a shot at heaven.

    November 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  17. William

    It is my belief that evolution is vastly more complex than is currently recognized. I believe that the whole concept of religion is an evolutionary trait that is keeping us from destroying ourselves until we have evolved to the point where a belief in a supernatural being (having the fear of god) wont be required to keep us from doing terrible things in life. I know religion has been the cause of terrible atrocities all carried out "in the name of god" but imagine the state we would be in if no one had the fear of paying for their actions in life.

    November 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • FUQ

      That might be the stupidest thing I have ever heard in my entire pointless life. I believe in turtles but I don't fear them.

      November 15, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Russ

      @ William: major problem for you summed up around the 4th minute...

      if evolution explains away belief-forming faculties, that includes evolution itself...

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK0mjVcmcIo

      November 15, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • kjr

      Listen to the intelligent gentleman laugh at 4:40.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Throughout most of human evolution we didn't have the written word, and so religion could rapidly evolve to suit the changing needs of society. No we are stuck with books, and the people who refuse to believe they are infallible. Only a religion in which change is an established norm can evolve now as we would need it.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  18. Roger Marks

    why would an atheist vote for a born again xtian like obama?
    obama believes the earth is only 6000 years old and in adam and eve.
    obama believes his sins were washed away by the blood of a zombie and now he has eternal life.

    as an atheist i am appalled atheist would vote for obama.

    In an interview with the evangelical periodical Christianity Today, Obama stated: "I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life.

    November 15, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      I'm not aware of any statement of young earth creationism from Obama.

      November 15, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • I Am God

      He is open-minded that's why we voted for him

      November 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • DougNJ

      Mitt Romney along with the other Republican candidates raised their hands to show they do not believe in science. Mitt is the Creationist adherant.

      November 15, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Al

      They all have to be Christian to get elected. At least he is not fanatical about it like the previous president.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • JT

      As an Atheist, everyone, ignore this person.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  19. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Something he is said to have said by an anonymous writer two thousand years ago.

    November 15, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  20. Christian

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

    November 15, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Observer

      Yes. What a HORRENDOUS thing to do to the millions of people who lived in the Western Hemisphere and never heard of him for a millenium or two.

      November 15, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Christian

      Observer, You do not know everything. You are betting your eternal destiny on the idea that the statement I posted there is wrong. What if you are wrong? The offer only last while you are a live; then it is too late.

      November 15, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Observer: are you implying that if there is a Higher Being, he/she/it can only act in a way *you* approve of?

      November 15, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Faced with several choices, mutually exclusive, that promise eternal damnation if I choose wrong I think I'd choose not to choose.

      November 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • bystander

      How arrogant to think that this is the only way and that all those who follow other religions do not have a way to reach god. If your god is that arrogant, I really dont want to believe in him or respect him.

      November 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Observer

      Russ,

      Nope. You are certainly free to believe it's fair that millions of people were forced into hell because they never heard of God.

      November 15, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheese makers

      Cult logic....

      November 15, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • M.E.

      Personally I'm not "coming to the father" anyway, so why would I bother dealing with his kid? If I get lucky I'll be reincarnated but I realize the most likely path is that I will simply cease to exist, get burnt up, stuck in a box, and chucked in the ocean. In the unlikely event that there is some sort of father/son gauntlet to pass through, I'm not too worried. It's not like I've hurt or killed anyone and I'm perfectly capable of accepting something as fact if it is proven to me, so if some day I meet god and Jesus, it won't be hard to shrug and say "you exist, that's acceptable, nice to meet you." At which point one would hope we'd have a cup of tea and chat over the merits of my entry into whatever next world I qualify for.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • DougNJ

      Every religion purports to be the "One True" religion and only they can and will be saved. It is more a matter of where you were born as to which theology yours parents would have drummed into you. I was raised Catholic. We were taught "Catholic is the one true church because Catholic means Universal". Can't argue with that.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Answer

      Hey d-u-m-b-f-u-c-k christian, when are you going to provide the proof that you stated a couple days ago.. about the moon being created by your imaginary friend?

      November 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • akmac65

      Actually, it is extremely unlikely that Jesus, assuming he was an individual as described, would ever have said that. That statement is a gross violation of the first commandment and no Jew would ever say such a thing. Christianity as seen today owes more to the Roman Emperor Constantine than it does to a simple devout Jewish Rabbi.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Observer: that's not what Christianity claims. It states rather plainly that we are *saved* from what we have already done to ourselves. Not "forced into Hell" – but rather we "stand condemned already" (Jn.3:18) by what we've done.
      Which is exactly why Rom.1 says all of humanity is without excuse.

      you are confusing mercy with justice. and that's why you think you're enti.tled to it.
      the fundamental claim of a Christian is not: "give me what I deserve" but "save me from what I deserve."
      unlike almost every other religion, Christianity is not about getting what you have earned. it's entirely the opposite.

      which goes back to my former point: must God get *your* approval to act? seems a bit contradictory...

      November 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Russ

      @ akmac65: then you've got a historical problem.
      b/c Christianity began with Jews. and was already 300 years old and about 40% of all Roman cities' population by the time of Constantine. how did that happen if Constantine "created" it?

      November 15, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Answer

      @Russ

      ==quote==
      "save me from what I deserve."
      ==end==

      And the whole thing is crap because you don't even have a god to back this up. That saying is a man created crock.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Observer

      Russ,

      Where do the MILLIONS of people end up if they didn't know of Jesus and therefore couldn't "come to the Father"?

      November 15, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • froodley

      @Christian, it may surprise you to learn that some very serious Christian theologians view your understanding of that phrase as blasphemous and the root of a very great evil in the Christian world. While some Christians understand it the way you do, others understand Christ as an avatar energy in the Creation that appears periodically in human form, and believe Jesus meant for us to find the father through emulating his deep faith and spirit of sacrifice. From this perspective, the first interpretation is completely, totally inside out and incorrect, and leads to persecution of non-Christians and a misunderstanding of what counts as a Christian religion. For instance, Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism are all Christian religions under the latter definition, as they teach the spirit of peace and faith...

      November 15, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Observer: that's the whole point.

      the cross states two things very clearly:
      1) it's worse than we want to admit (he had to die – that's what we deserve)
      2) it's better than we ever dared hope (he was willing to do it for us)

      but you want to make God owe you this rescue, when the Bible makes it clear we did this to ourselves.

      an image: if a lamp unplugs itself from the wall, it has no power to plug itself back in. it cut itself off from the Source, and is in the condition it brought upon itself. the Source does not *owe* the lamp anything. if anything, the lamp has exactly what it deserves.

      the message of Jesus is that God came to save. your complaint: he didn't do it the way I would approve of.
      it's like a drowning man complaining that his rescue doesn't come in the form he preferred. to complain in that situation is a failure to understand the actual nature of his predicament. it's a deadly form of enti.tlement.

      again: does God have to get your approval to act? who is the *higher* being?

      November 15, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Answer

      "when the Bible makes it clear " <<– source of the stupidity.

      No wonder.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Answer: name-calling is not a substi.tute for intelligent dialogue.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Observer

      Russ,

      Where did I ever say God needed my approval? Get serious.

      I'm sorry you were unable to answer my question about what happens to the millions of people who NEVER had a shot at heaven because they lived in the "wrong" place.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Observer: I am speaking directly at your question.

      1) you're objecting to HOW God brought salvation to the world. that assumes God has to get your approval to do it the way you'd dictate to him.

      2) your geographic objection fails to understand our predicament. NO ONE deserves a shot. that ANYONE at all gets one is mercy. assuming we deserve one is mistaking mercy for justice. it's like a death row inmate shouting "give me what i deserve!" and thinking that means letting him out rather than execution.

      see, the problem is not: why didn't God save those people?
      the problem is: why did God save *anyone at all*?

      November 15, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Eric1334

      @Russ Akmac65 was entirely correct in there comment. They did NOT suggest COnstantine created christianity as you so incorrectly assumed. He did however convert the entire Roman Empire to christianty in the 4th century (most likely due to falesly believing a meteorite as a sign from god) which then evnetually grew into the largest sect of christiantiy today. If not for Constantine the Christian religion would most likely be relegated to the eastern Orthodoxy sects like Koptic. It certainly would not be the global force it is today and oh yeah,that would mean no pope either and also no reformation and therefore no Protestantism or any of those suceeding sects.Its a very valid point indeed

      November 15, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Answer

      @Russ

      " intelligent dialogue?" You?

      That's a joke.

      November 15, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Eric: that's simply historically inaccurate. Just do some fact-checking.

      Christianity exploded in the Roman Empire PRIOR TO Constantine. By the time Constantine converted in AD 312, over 40% of all Roman urban centers were Christian. Sure, Constantine probably converted b/c he was no political idiot. He saw what was happening. But you can't have it both ways. It was ALREADY happening.

      Just read the non-Christian Emperor Julian's famous letter complaining about the rapid spread of Christianity within the Roman Empire (again, PRIOR TO Constantine)...
      http://www.thenagain.info/classes/sources/julian.html

      For a scholarly look, check out Rodney Stark's book: "The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries" – again, all about Christianity PRIOR TO Constantine.

      November 15, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Answer: you're proving my point.
      I enjoy substantive discussions, even if you disagree.
      Insults tend to be a cheap way of covering up that you don't have anything else to add.

      November 15, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Eric1334

      @ Russ
      Regardless of how much christianity existed in Rome before Constantine he was still the one to make it a licit religion of the Roman empire with the result of churches being built to accomodate this minority. Saying it exploded doesnt seem to be what your reference really suggests as it seems to be a more gradual progression he mentions but i'll admit i didn't delve too deep into the book reference between my posts.I think its fair to say Constantine stil had a lot to do with the acceptance and rapid expansion of Christianity and to discount it seems illogical and the comment saying acmak65 suggested constantine "created it" doesn't seem to be the case either. Fair argument though i do see where you're coming from and i appreciate references being thrown in there.

      November 15, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Eric: I appreciate your balance. To be clear, I didn't mean to imply that akmac65 was saying Constantine invented Christianity – but it is clear that akmac65 was claiming Christianity was somehow believed in a radically different Jesus prior to Constantine. in that regard (seeing as how Jesus is the center of the faith), akmac65 was claiming Constantine "created" something new (in terms of the person of Jesus, aka Christology).

      per the book, Stark states very plainly that the rapid expansion of Christianity was largely due to factors that were particularly not political. among them, 2 widespread plagues came through that killed a substantial percentage of the population in the Roman Empire over the course of 200 years. during that time, when family members were tossing out family members for the sake of survival, Christians were doing the opposite. not only were they taking care of their own, but they were taking in others. and while sometimes the patient would die, sometimes the Christian would also die, and other times the Christian would die and the patient wouldn't. regardless, the entirety of the Empire could not avoid one clear thing: (as the Emperor Julian put it) these folks cared not only for their own, but for everyone. even to the point of giving up their own lives. why? b/c it's what they believe their God did for them.

      All of that transpired in a time when Christianity was largely persecuted, yet nonetheless continued to thrive and overtake the urban populations. this growing "minority" (as you put it) was clearly going to be the majority very soon. and so Constantine (whether or not he was genuine) made his famous conversion...

      "exploded" may be a term that comes with rhetorical flourish. but statistically, the exponential growth of Christianity is somewhat unparalleled. it's somewhat difficult to argue (by the numbers) that there's been a more influential movement in history. but it's exponential growth started long before Constantine. let's not dodge the primary issue: the rapid expansion of Christianity predates Constantine and has its cause in something other than political clout (seeing as how they were under persecution while growing).

      November 16, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Eric1334

      @ Russ

      I did not see where akmac stated the word "created" which you have put in quotes to suggest they had said that. I appreciate the back story on your reference but all in all its really irrelevant and we kind of got bogged down in the perceived history of it. That part i can concede without lament , it was primarily the suggestion that akmac suggested Constantine created christianity which i had no reason to believe was the intent. This is tending to get a big hard to explain lol. It seems to be more of a misunderstanding and i can see you've cleared that up to my satisfaction.Although you did use quotes around the word created! lol you might see how i misunderstood that comment.

      November 16, 2012 at 12:29 am |
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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.