February 5th, 2013
11:50 AM ET

Can religion prevent violence?

By Jim Roope, CNN

(CNN) – When tragedies happen like the shooting at Newtown, Connecticut, the question of faith often comes up. How can horrible events like that be allowed to happen?

Rabbi Marvin Heir with the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said he’s not surprised that people question religion, and, God in tragedies.

Hear his and others' perspectives on the role of religion in our world from religious thought leaders in the player above or on CNN Radio Soundwaves

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Interfaith issues • Leaders • Violence

soundoff (536 Responses)
  1. Ivanka

    Not sure religion can but definetely faith in Almighty God can prevent violence.

    February 5, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • End Religion

      What are you, 8 years old?

      February 5, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Ivanka

      If you think about it, people tent to act violent on impulse and are typically irrational. Faith in almighty God helps calm the human mind and gives peace.

      February 5, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • SHrUb....gOd wIlls iT.....

      Maybe the children's sunday school version of God..... That god is like Superman... always does the rght thing, always says the right thing...

      Then children grow up.... find out that was just the hook...that the world sucks.... and equality and kindness will be shamelessly expoited...any who are honest, who do extend a hand are marks and dupes....... the biggest culprits?: the world's churches......the common man is just cannon fodder to them.

      February 5, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • End Religion

      OK, I think I see. You, Ivanka, understand that you are violent and irrational, therefore you need a calming force and you think this is normal. I am not violent and irrational by nature and I do not need religion to anesthetize me. So the answer? Keep your religion to yourself.

      February 5, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      If belief in god prevents violence, how come there have been so many wars between catholics and protestants stemming from dogmatic differences? It's all the same god, right?

      February 6, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  2. Bootyfunk

    religion prevent violence? is that a joke? religion is one of the biggest causes of violence world-wide. my holy book is right... no, MY holy book is right... let's fight.

    February 5, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      No one was laughing when they asked the question.
      Why? Because religion can prevent violence. To say that religion never prevents violence is silly.

      February 5, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
  3. Salero21

    NO, NO and NO! Religion cannot prevent violence. True Love can!

    February 5, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      So...all you need is love eh?
      Hmm, wasn't there some lyrics like that? What ever happened to that singer?

      February 5, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
  4. Reality

    o On the koranic passages and world domination: (and why religion does not prevent violence but actually promotes violence

    "Mohammed could not have known the size of the world, but several passages in the Koran show that he envisioned Islam dominating all of it, however large it might be: “He it is who sent his messenger . . . that he may cause it [Islam] to prevail over all religions´(Koran 9:33, M.M. Ali; see also 48:28 and 61:9). M.M. Ali designates these three passages as “the prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam in the whole world.”

    Mohammed’s successors, the caliphs, quoted passages like these to inspire Muslim armies as they advanced out of Arabia, imposing Islam by the sword upon a peacefully unsuspecting Middle East and North Africa, as I described in the previous chapter.

    Islamic armies, imbued with what Mohammed claimed was divine authorization, imposed Islam by force over vast areas, all the while extorting wealth from subjugated Jews and Christians to fund their ongoing conquests. As I noted, major defeats at Tours, France, in A.D. 732, and again at Vienna, Austria, in A.D. 1683, halted Islam’s attempt to take all of Europe by force. Gradually Islamic forces were forced to retreat from Europe, except for part of the Balkans. But Islam has again set its sights on a conquest of Europe and of European civilization, wherever the latter has spread to North and South America and other regions. Muslim strategists ask their followers, Why do we find in these modern times that Allah has entrusted most of the world’s oil wealth primarily to Muslim nations?

    Their answer: Allah foresaw Islam’s need for funds to finance a final politico-religious victory over what Islam perceives as its ultimate enemy: Christianized Euro-American civilization. So, Islam follows Nazism, fascism and communism as the world’s latest hostile takeover aspirant.

    Nazis, fascists and communists failed. Does Islam have a better chance at success? I believe it will flounder if we awaken to its threat in time; yet, if there is not adequate planned resistance, Islam does have a better chance of succeeding. Communism’s world takeover attempt was guaranteed to fail because its economic policy was naively contrary to human nature. Advocating the rubric What is mine is thine, and what is thine is mine, communism failed to see that human nature will not keep those two balanced propositions in equilibrium. Like

    a female black widow spider consuming her mate, the latter part of the formula makes a meal of the former, leading to the collapse of any system based upon that formula.

    In contrast, political systems do well if they can persuade people to adhere to What’s mine is mine and What’s thine is thine maxims.

    Only if a strong religious incentive is added does such an idealistic formula have any long-term chance. Even then success will be spotty. But communism (and Nazism, for that matter) excluded religion. And that mistake was the final nail eventually clamping a lid on communism’s coffin. Communism, on a historical scale, perished while still in its childhood.

    Islam is not repeating communism’s mistake. Mating political cunning and incredible wealth with religious zeal, Islam does have a chance to succeed and will succeed unless major parts of the Western world unite to take appropriate countermeasures. But many Western leaders, unable to believe that a mere religion could possible be a serious political threat, keep proclaiming themselves as Islam-friendly, reasoning that all religions are good-aren’t they?

    A Muslim strategist in Beverly Hills, California, declared several years ago, as quoted by a friend of mine: “Now that the struggle between Western democracies and international communism is winding down, it is time for the real and final struggle to begin, and we are going to win!”

    Don Richardson

    February 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • SHrUb....gOd wIlls iT.....

      any religion that takes the driver's seat in government will use the state to drive out any opposition. The christians are trying to sieze the reigns here... the Muslims have suceeded in the ME, in several nations... some do have peace...in the form of a boot on the throat. Violate islamic law and you are history. the only Islamic majority country that is secular is Turkey...even there its not a good idea to voice any opposition to Islam.

      The very nature of todays religions is one driven by fear, conflict and enemies,got to have enemies....and tragedy...need lots of tragedy.

      peace and religion have a huge conflict of interest.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
  5. December

    Peace be with you.

    February 5, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • End Religion

      Tell us how you feel about gay marriage, particularly the part about the consummation of the marriage.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • December

      Yea, that seems right on topic.

      If you want to marry your boyfriend, or girlfriend, I don't care. I think you could even hire my pastor and rent out my church and do it there.

      How do you feel about gay marriage?

      February 5, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • End Religion

      And the gay sex, that's alright for you too, right? You forgot to mention that part. Maybe if I call it gay coitus you'll remember this time?

      February 5, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Any consenting adult should be allowed to marry any other consenting adult, and engage in whatever se3ual acts another consenting adult agrees to, with the only restriction being no baby making between close relatives. The Babble Humpers and other delusional believers should keep their nose out of other's business, but of course are free to attempt to impose their imaginary being driven rules on their own consenting adult cult members.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • December

      Nope, is this that same confusing thing about me living in Colorado?

      I don't get it.

      February 5, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • December

      Read this from last Friday


      A couple days before I was accused of being some other guy who lived in Colorado.

      I post a link about a church in my town.

      You got me confused with someone else.

      February 5, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • End Religion

      I'm curious what your thoughts are on gay sex, that's all. Since gays are allowed to marry now it seems to me that means it is OK with Jesus and/or God that women munch rug and men pile drive the Hershey Highway. But it doesn't matter that God says it is OK, I want to know what you say about it.

      February 5, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • End Religion

      I'm not confused, you're December. Hello? December? Are you there? God says gay sex is OK now because gays can marry, what do you think about it?

      February 5, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • December

      I'm not gay so I don't think about it that much. I do have gay friends. I have even been to a gay marriage. I'm fine with it.

      February 5, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Interesting how your questions to End don't seem to get answered much.

      February 5, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • End Religion

      December, to be clear, gay sex is alright by you? God says gay fucking is OK and so do you, do I have that right?

      February 5, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • December

      He demands answers, but provides none. Yea, I don't understand that dude.

      February 5, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • End Religion

      Just as I thought, Doug.

      February 5, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • December

      Should I be confused or creeped out he has twice now demanded answers about gays & God and then refered to me as Doug?

      The first time it was kind of subtle. I had no clue what Doug meant. But apparently I am Doug. I live in Colorado. I have a girlfriend who also posts on here.

      This is kind of like the movie "Memento." I'm being left little clues about my ident..i..ty and mission in life.

      February 5, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • Prince Peachez

      Never mind those atheists ,they are paranoid. Once upon a time, not too long ago they were absolutely bananas over 'Herbie' now they are nuts over Doug.
      Bless his heart , Doug must have a left an indelible mark on them.

      February 5, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You two idiots should get a room. Oh, wait. You are one and the same.

      February 5, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • Prince Peachez

      The last sentence should actually read as
      Bless his heart! Doug must have left an indelible mark on their sinful lifestyle!

      February 5, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • December

      Thanks Prince Peachez.s Good to know he/they do this to others.

      If he/they knew my name, city I lived in or even had my relationship status correct I might be worried. But they don't. Weird people.

      February 5, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
  6. lol??

    Having a god is the default position for mankind.

    February 5, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • Righteo

      Saying everyone else's god is wrong is the default setting for mankind.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      No one is born believing in god, so it can't be the default. Years of superstition and delusion have a lot of people fooled though.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      good point. few people think things through enough to make an informed decision.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
  7. Answer

    Sure religion can prevent violence. When they all kill each other off they will accomplish it.

    February 5, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Z'haan

      You speak like you are a being of pure logic that has no beliefs or faith in anything.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
  8. Susan StoHelit

    Can religion – not has – is an interesting question.

    If you look at what Christianity and Islam SAY – not what their followers say, not taking quotes out of line from their books, nor later additions, just what the supposed central figures said – Christ and Mohammed – they're ridiculously peaceful, filled with prohibitions against violence even against those who wronged you, even against captured enemy soldiers who would have killed you (Islam), against any type of war other than of pure defense (Islam), etc. Really, read up on it.

    Seems pretty clear that if those rules can be warped, religion really is not a tool that can do this job.

    February 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "religion really is not a tool that can do this job."

      But obviously, religion made them non-violent right?

      If non-violence is a goal of religion....who is that goal for? The individual or the masses?

      Whether it's religion, science, logic, philosophy..etc...humanity can take it and twist the intents of those concepts to serve them..whether for good or evil. When ppl put the blame for violence on religion, video games..whatever.....it always seemed like a cop-out for the one's causing violence.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • SHrUb....gOd wIlls iT.....


      That version of Islam seems to be a re imagining of Islam that american muslims are trying to promote in the hear and now.
      It really is a whole different animal than the Islam that exists elsewhere in the world. look at the UK and France, the muslims are segregating themselves into their own communities and kicking out non-adherants. In the countries where Islam is a majority, the penelties for imaginary crimes can be extreme. How can over a billion people get it so wrong if Mohammad was so peaceful (he wasnt, he was a warlord in reality)... and Jesus? same deal...jesus is love is older and the peaceful mohammad... and has more to do with Martin Luther in the 16th century than it does with jesus himself.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Susan, the only truth to learn is from Jesus Christ. Christianity is NOT a religion but the truth about life and the hereafter. The Muslim religion has only 95% of God's truth with 5% of satan's lies mixed in. Therefore, why waste your soul learning some lies mixed into the mix?

      February 5, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • SHrUb....gOd wIlls iT.....

      @ Uncouth Swain

      "When ppl put the blame for violence on religion, video games..whatever.....it always seemed like a cop-out for the one's causing violence."

      this statement is on the mark...agree completely that an individual is responcible for their own actions...because in the end, it is always YOUR choice to follow the policies set down by outside religions, governments, peer groups, ect.
      However.... at some point the religions must be held to account for the dogmas they teach...... If your religion is turning out su icide bombers at a sustained and regular rate then the religion should be watched closely. If your priests are mo lesting kids in several countries, in multiple diocese within those countries then at some point the religion must be looked at.....These priests should be the last ones to risk eternal hellfire for a se xual urge...but these believers continue to risk God's wrath....as if they know the only danger is getting caught in this life..... that should tell people all they need to know about religion and god.

      Turning a blind eye to a Religion's history is a mistake...but you are very right....the person should absolutely be held accountable.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "However.... at some point the religions must be held to account for the dogmas they teach"

      I completely agree and again it falls to the individuals within the organization to hold those organizations accountable. Letting evil slide that might be within a religous organization because it's "The Church" is stupid and evil within the very act of not doing anything.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      The version of Islam I'm speaking of is the classic one – what is in the core of the Koran, what was followed for a long time, when the Muslim lands were the center of peace and education and tolerance. You can't claim the terrorist nor tribalist version of Islam to be the true one any more than the modern one, over the classic. If you go by what the books say, particularly the supposed prophets (Christ, Mohammed), rather than the followers that came later, reinterpreting (Paul really rewrote Christianity – he made it a different religion), they're fairly peaceful religions.

      But they don't turn people into something they are not. And you can look anywhere you like in this world, the most peaceful, non-violent, compassionate societies – they're the ones with the least religion, of any kind. Even Buddhism and such have their black marks.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      So when you've got what is really some pretty decent writing telling people to be good to each other – and even that doesn't work, to me, that says that relgion cannot prevent violence.

      It works now and again on an individual, and works in reverse (to make violence worse) in other cases – but on the whole, I think if you look at those as something that could be seen as a best case attempt – and they failed – it disproves the whole contention that religion COULD prevent violence, even with an ideal religion.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • SHrUb....gOd wIlls iT.....


      History shows that Isam was born in blood.....a peaceful Quran can be supported in the same way a peaceful Bible can be supported – by cherry picking select verses.

      Islam was and is all about conquest and submission... in the 8th century Muslims invaded Iberian peninsula – barely a century after Mohammed's death and were finally driven out in the late 15th century (and people focus on the Christian Crusades - funny). The religion is perpetually at war...with Islam it is my way or the highway..Sharia and Wahabi are based on Quran passages.... google Military Career of Mohommed for a more balanced look at the man..... peaceful was the last thing he was...i

      February 5, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  9. SHrUb....gOd wIlls iT.....

    Can religion prevent violence? yes, provided there is one religion....with no variations – no denominations....one view only.
    and every person on this planet would need to be in this religion...with laws with draconian enough consequences that prevent any deviation from the established order.

    February 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      No such thing though.

      Gays were killed for being gay – and they still were – there's no such thing as a law draconian enough to keep people from being themselves, to force that degree of conformance. Thank goodness!

      February 5, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • SHrUb....gOd wIlls iT.....

      Yes ..my post is absurd. Thinking that religion can cause more peace than it destroys is equally absurd...that was my point.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  10. Klaxon

    Did you ever notice that Jesus is exactly like Barbie? Just as you have Ballerina Barbie and Malibu Barbie, there are:

    Concealed Weapon Jesus

    Huggy Buddy Jesus

    Gonna Torture People You Don't Like Jesus

    Vote Republican Jesus

    Send Me Money Jesus

    The Old Testament No Longer Applies Jesus

    The Old Testament Does Apply Jesus

    The Parts Of The Old Testament That You Want To Apply Applies Jesus

    Homophobic Jesus

    Divorce Is Okay Even Though I Said It Was An Abomination Jesus

    It's Okay To Be Rich Even Though I Said It Wasn't Jesus

    Turn America Into Jesustan Jesus

    Disasters Are My Punishment Jesus

    I Can't Help People Because Of Free Will Jesus

    I Can Help People With Miracles Jesus

    You Don't Have To Obey They Bible, You Just Have To Say You Are Christian Jesus

    The list is endless.

    And the really cool part of Jesus is that you can change him whenever and wherever you want. You can give him whatever personality you want, just like little girls do with Barbie. And just as there are as many different personalities for Barbie as there are girls with Barbies, there are really 2,200,000,000 versions of Jesus on this planet. Because Jesus is just a Barbie that you are making "real" with your imagination.

    February 5, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Typhon

      Didn't know atheist sheep like to write so much. Guess they have to read something that they agree with, even if it is their own blabber.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Rudy

      I agree with your point, though I probably wouldn't have put it so flippantly. That said, 'Huggy Buddy Jesus' gave me a hearty chuckle. Should you do up a list like this again, amaze your friends with 'Things Paul Wrote to Particular Greek Churches Jesus' and his friend, 'Pentateuch À-la-carte Jesus'.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Check

      Atheists follow their own paths- they ARE the leaders- therefore, the sheep are the religious- those who FOLLOW a particular faith. Baaa Baaa Typhon.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  11. Sam Yaza

    i agree with what that doctor says about the ethics not the doctrine

    i also agree with the atheist we need to cherish this life and you don't need religion to have it

    but as long as its the christian god its not going to happen the Jewish Christian Muslim god is a monster

    February 5, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
  12. Honey Badger Dont Care

    Can religion prevent violence?

    Simple answer is not only no but heII no!

    Religion has a long track record of causing violence, not stopping it.

    February 5, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Honey Badger Dont Care- you would be correct if the question was, "Does religion prevent ALL violence?"

      But if even one person in the whole world stops for a moment from being violent due to their faith...then YES, religion can stop violence.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      There is nothing that can be done in the name of a religion that cant be done for purely secular reasons, and usually better.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "There is nothing that can be done in the name of a religion that cant be done for purely secular reasons,"

      On some moral issues...I agree.

      "and usually better."

      Not so sure yet on that.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • The Truth

      " if even one person in the whole world stops for a moment from being violent due to their faith...then YES, religion can stop violence." Not true. It's like saying a collander can "stop" water from passing through it because of the water that hits parts that aren't holes stops briefly before slipping through. If you want to use the broad definition of religion then you must use the broad definition of violence as being a global phenomenon, not a singular violent act averted.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @The Truth- The problem with your example is that the collander isn't designed for water but larger things yes? Is religion suppose to strain out violence in humanity? If one looks at Christianity...the answer is no. Nowhere does it claim that one of its goals is to remove violence from the world. In Christianity, the individual is suppose to be largely non-violent and individuals can fail. But they can also suceed and their religion is an important factor in it.

      So I think it is in error to try and apply the supposed goal of world wide and absolute peace onto the concept of religion, when no religion has set out to achieve that goal.

      Humanity is too varied to say that this one thing should or would get a certain result.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Uncouth is correct – if we're talking the literal answer.

      Can a nueclear bomb kill a fly? Yep. Can a colandar hold water? Yep – a few molecules will always find a spot to hang on.

      Will it do a good job, will religion prevent more violence than it causes, will it prevent more than a nominal amount? There's the more meaningful issues – but to the literal, a yes is accurate, literally.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
  13. the AnViL

    Uncouth Swain felt compelled to spill his ignorance all over a national public forum – yet again:

    the AnViL: "it was an absolutely retarded and ignorant question. religion can't prevent violence – it never has – it never will."

    uncouth retard: "Your incorrect and factless opinion has been noted."

    my "opinion" is based on flat facts, you retarded idiot. religion cannot prevent violence – it never has – it never will.. if it could – it would have a long long time ago. all you've done is ignorantly and blindly refuted my fact-based statement with precisely zero substance. try harder next time.

    the AnViL: "anything predicate on ignorance and division, which religion is, cannot prevent violence – and quite often as evidenced by history, instigates and propagates violence."

    uncouth infant: "You are incorrect."

    oh – am i? show me how i am incorrect – until you do – all you've done is blindly and stupidly contradict me with absolutely no substance AGAIN. lame.

    the AnViL: "in 2000 years – neither islam nor xianity have done absolutely nothing to bring peace to the planet."

    uncouth swine: "Was that the goal of either? I think your research into those faiths are flawed."

    who the phuque cares what the goals of either is LOL!!!! – my research into those faiths isn't flawed... your ignorance is astounding.

    the AnViL: "all monotheistic religions are steeped in violence."

    uncouth dufus: "And your point is what? I think you are very confused over the point of the question. This question is not asking about an absolute you know."

    oh i made my point, and all you've done is blabber like an idiot. you've got nothing of any substance to refute my fact-based statements.



    maybe try reading the bible and quran – then chew up your ignorant words and swallow them.... after you digest them and defecate – they'll have the same substance as they did going in.

    the AnViL: "as for the strawman argument: "But then again, what creed, code, science or faith has ever completely stopped violence?""

    uncouth child: "Sorry, it wasn't a strawman. I simply expanded your notion...an incorrect notion that it was."

    yes, dummy – it was a strawman argument – who the hell cares about what anything else has done or could do to prevent violence.... look at the original question, dipwad.

    ffs – i have toy robots smarter than you AND jim roope.

    February 5, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Klaxon

      Oh don't worry about Uncomplicated Swine. Like all religious people, he is forced to argue with fallacies. That is what happens when your side of a debate cannot offer any credible evidence at all that what they are saying even exists, much less operates how they say.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Wow..ad hominems aplenty from ol Anvil today.

      "my "opinion" is based on flat facts, you retarded idiot. religion cannot prevent violence – it never has – it never will."

      I love when ppl declare something a "flat" fact. It's their attempt to say the argument is over and they won the debate. Pure foolishness of course. I guess when one looks at a group like the Amish or the Jains, it wasn't religion that made them very non-violent. Go ahead and ignore the fact when people have not became violent due to their faith. Flat facts indeed.

      "oh – am i? show me how i am incorrect"

      Love to but you have yet to show that a predicate of religion is ignorance and division. Good luck.

      "who the phuque cares what the goals of either is LOL!!!! "

      You do when you said, "in 2000 years – neither islam nor xianity have done absolutely nothing to bring peace to the planet."
      Obviously you must have felt that it was a goal of those faiths, otherwise....why mention it? You keeping up with all this?

      "oh i made my point, and all you've done is blabber like an idiot. you've got nothing of any substance to refute my fact-based statements."

      The only points you have made are based on your biased opinion of religion. You have offered no facts..generalizations that could be true or not true under certain circ umstances.

      "maybe try reading the bible and quran – then chew up your ignorant words and swallow them.... after you digest them and defecate – they'll have the same substance as they did going in."

      I have read both and many others have as well and not been violent. So...your whole opinion is flawed.

      "yes, dummy – it was a strawman argument – who the hell cares about what anything else has done or could do to prevent violence.... look at the original question, dipwad."

      You are looking at religion as an absolute and I applied your thinking to other non-material "beliefs" and found them wanting. The point in doing that? Hopefully to show that your understanding of the whole blog is incorrect. Religion does not exist in a bubble. People and their views on religion are not static. How faith, creed, philosophy, logic effect people is not static.
      You are wanting to take religion and make it into a signular ent ity when it is not. You are projecting an absolute into the question where there is none.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Klaxon- I think you need to reexamine your hypocrisy a little. Are you ignoring that anvil is applying an absolute to the argument? You do realize that is fallicious right?

      "That is what happens when your side of a debate cannot offer any credible evidence at all that what they are saying even exists, much less operates how they say."

      You are an odd one. Please show where I have made any claim to the existence of...whatever you are referring to. Good luck.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Klaxon

      That was a Straw Man Fallacy. I never said anything about Anvil's comments.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "That was a Straw Man Fallacy. I never said anything about Anvil's comments."

      That's why I mentioned "hypocrisy". I @ssume you agree with Anvil and therefor won't call him out on any possible fallacies.
      I still disagree that I did a strawman fallacy. I merely took Anvil's notion and applied it to other non-material concepts. I will @ssume he disagrees with the results of that. Why? Because those concepts' goals, like Christianity, do not include absolute non-violence as a result of existing.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Klaxon


      February 5, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • The Truth

      That was a whole lot of babble on both sides for an answer which should be blatantly obvious. The question might as well have asked: Can fleece pajamas prevent jealousy? I'm sure there are people you could ask who would willingly debate this, but seriously, why?

      February 5, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Klaxon- "Denial"

      If you are in denial over your possible hypocrisy..that's on you.

      @The Truth- CNN asked a badly phrased question. They had to do it on purpose, knowing the responses they would get.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Check

      Can religion prevent violence?
      That was the QUESTION.
      AnVil answered it: NO.
      Why are you still arguing about it, Uncouth Swain??

      February 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Check- probably because I think his answer is incorrect.
      Also, it's fun to debate on here. Why do most people come here....beyond the ones that give snide comments that is.

      February 5, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
  14. Susan StoHelit

    I've no doubt (as an atheist who generally has a low opinion of religion) that religion can stop violence – for some people.

    I've also no doubt that religion can create violence – for some people.

    I personally think the second number is slightly higher than the first – people who would be violent anyway, use religion as their excuse – God told them to kill gays, or abortion doctors, or people of another religion, or atheists or whatever. It's god's will that they beat their wife, daughter, etc., to keep them in line. So on and so forth. They'd want to do it anyway, but religion gives them that outlet to claim they're in the right. Now, the reverse can indeed be true – that it can help people restrain negative impulses as well. But I've seen a lot of the other case.

    I think the problem lies more in the response to violence, and violent people – with religion, I think there's too much expectation that religion will fix the bad people. Without it, there's more looking to statistics, science, psychology, to figure out how to handle the bad people – is it lock them up, what rehabilitates most effectively, what are warning signs, etc.

    February 5, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  15. Susan StoHelit

    This is one of those things that isn't a question. We know the answer. Religion doesn't prevent violence. Whether you look within America or around the world, the level of violent crime, violent acts, if anything, increases with the level of religion in a population. Sorry guys, but it's a simple fact.

    Mass school shootings happen anywhere – including at an Amish school that certainly had prayer in school. It's just the truth. Personally, I'd say people are who they are, and if they're violent, they'll just use religion as the excuse. But sometimes people use religion as the excuse not to deal with violence – praying for god to take care of the violent people, rather than doing something about it themselves.

    February 5, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "This is one of those things that isn't a question. We know the answer. Religion doesn't prevent violence."

      If the question was ; "Does religion prevent ALL violence?", then I would agree with you. But that wasn't the question at all.

      Does religion prevent violence in some people's lives? Yes.
      Does religion cause violence in some people's lives? Yes.

      CNN either knew what chaos their question would cause or they were utterly ignorant.

      February 5, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Uncouth – it's a matter of interpretation of the question.

      I'm answering to the question of religion preventing violence in terms of the sum total of violence – is there more or less violence with religion. It's a valid interpretation of the question.

      The question of can it prevent some singular instance of violence is also a valid interpretation – but not the only one.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  16. These kind of smug posts will occur 1000x today

    .Can religion prevent violence?

    well i guess it IS possible, but no. it doesn't.


    February 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Klaxon

      So you find the truth to be smug?

      February 5, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
  17. truth be told

    All so called bitches like me are liars. That Truth revealed allows all the rest of the world, the normal people to put so called sad bitches' comments in proper perspective. Bitchery like mine has been the root cause of war, hatred and violence throughout history. Bitches have tortured and violently murdered more people in the last 100 years than were killed in all previous centuries.

    February 5, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • truth be told

      Proving my statements Truth since 1066. The loser so called atheist proves itself both a thief and an idiot.

      February 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • truth be told

      I can't control my bowels.

      February 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • truth be told

      it hurts when I pee... is that normal?

      February 5, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • truth be told

      feel's like i'm sticking it in a fire ant hill or something...

      February 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • truth be told

      and whats this yellow pus coming out of the end? that can't be right...

      February 5, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • troth ba tuld

      Aye sed I'm heving trobble cantrulling my vowels...

      February 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
  18. lol??

    "..........Rabbi Marvin Heir with the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said he’s not surprised.........." ............."Mat 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren." Mind if I'm not lookin' for a sensuous consensus?

    February 5, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Pray without ceasing in 2013
    Prayer changes things

    February 5, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • halbot

      "whatever that d-bag hal always posts."

      "something insensitive about dementia."

      February 5, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your repeated assertions regarding atheism are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your repeated unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "EPIC FAIL". Perhaps the following book can help you cope with the problem of repeating unfounded assertions:

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

      February 5, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • halbot

      syntax error

      February 5, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • halbot


      February 5, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • 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!

      February 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  20. Woody

    Can religion prevent violence?

    To answer this question, you have to deal with the words "possible" and "probable". It's POSSIBLE that religion could prevent violence, but with it's less than stellar track record of torture, death, destruction, and general mayhem, it's unlikely to be PROBABLE. Religion preventing violence is about as PROBABLE as Hugh Hefner being elected Pope.

    February 5, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      I think the problem is this incorrect concept of religion affecting the masses equally. Humanity is not a uniformed population that will respond to religion in the same manner.

      Religion is about the individual and how that one person responds to to the teachings of their faith. If one person decides not to throw a punch, kick, shoot...whatever would be deemed "violent" and it is due to their faith.....then yes, religion stops violence.
      Good parenting can stop violence, sometimes it cannot.
      Logic can stop violence, sometimes it cannot.

      It falls upon the individual in how to shape their lives. Many of you on here are of the same mind that video games makes the nation's children violent. Good job, you think like politicians.

      February 5, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Adam

      The incorrect concept is that "religion" means ONE thing. The word "religion," as Sam Harris points out, is so broad, and encompasses so many different things, that it's often times useless. It's like the word "sports." There are sports like badminton, and there are sports like muay thai boxing, and they have practically nothing in common besides breathing.

      We can't talk about this issue intelligently until we acknowledge that there are real differences between religions. If the only religion in the world was Jainism, then yeah, religion–THAT religion–would reliably decrease violence insofar as that religion is completely, essentially, and irreproachably non-violent. There aren't too many Jains out there, unfortunately...

      Any religion which has itself rooted in the texts of Abraham, necessarily contains many things which can, and reliably do create violence in our world.

      But the point remains that this is a horribly ill-formed question. And it belies a sort of liberal bias which treats all religions as mere shades of the same color. This is manifestly false.

      February 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Adam- "The incorrect concept is that "religion" means ONE thing."

      Very good point. You mentioned the Jains but even in Christianity there are groups like the Amish that are very non-violent. It would take a hard nose atheist to say religion didn't play a major factor in their non-violent ways.

      February 5, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • The Truth

      Can religion prevent violence?

      Can: verb – 1.Be able to.

      Religion: noun – 1.The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.

      Prevent: noun – 1. The action of stopping something from happening or arising.

      Violence: noun – 1.Behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.

      I think if you break it down the answer is obvious. As far as humans know there is nothing we have experienced that has been able to completely mitigate all intent to hurt others as humans focus on their differences instead of their similarities and religion just happens to be one of several segregating factors creating division between people. This is unavoidable when you have each religion claiming to be God's chosen ones and doctrines that set forth a religious hierarchy. Of course, the members of each sect or religion will tell you that their faith could of course achieve peace because theirs is the right one and if everyone would just accept it we would end violence, which of course, is why they started fighting in the first place...

      And if you still havn't worked the short answer out for yourself yet, it's a big NO.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "..that has been able to completely mitigate *all* intent to hurt others as humans.."

      I don't think the original question was asking for an absolute, just...can religion prevent violence. That answer is yes. Has religion prevented all violence...no, it has not. As far as most mainstream religions...I don't know if any of them make the claim of absolutely eliminating all violence in people.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • The Truth

      "can religion prevent violence. That answer is yes. Has religion prevented all violence...no, it has not."

      Then can having to urinate really badly prevent violence? I'm sure at some point someone has had to go to the bathroom so bad they decided not to shoot the next person and decided to go relieve themselves instead, so based on your logic, the answer is yes. Has the need to urinate prevented all violence...no, it has not.

      That is what you are saying. I am saying that just because something might have a secondary side effect of avoiding violence one day cannot be viewed as a true violence reducer when on another day that something is the actual cause of violence. Just because a religion saves the life of one of it's members on Saturday doesn't mean it's reducing violence when you add in the non-believer they kill on Sunday.

      February 6, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
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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.