Religion, readability and the presidency: a historic combination
Presidential displays of piety, like this, are common and historians say they make presidents more relatable.
February 7th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Religion, readability and the presidency: a historic combination

By Dan Merica, CNN
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Washington (CNN) – Employing faith, whether calling for nationwide prayer or healing the nation by quoting scripture, is a presidential tradition as old as the office itself.

The nation’s first president, George Washington, was also the first to call for a National Day of Prayer, one of “fasting, humiliation and prayer” to “acknowledge the gracious interpositions of Providence.”

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in his famous fireside chats, promised “salvation” from the economic doldrums of the Great Depression. And President Barack Obama, in the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, quoted scripture as a way to comfort those grieving.

Obama will continue this tradition on Thursday when he attends the National Prayer Breakfast, a longstanding Washington event that has hosted every president since Dwight Eisenhower.

The breakfast is organized by The Fellowship Foundation, a nonprofit religious organization, and is designed to bring together leaders from the political, religious and business realm.

Obama has participated in the breakfast each year of his presidency. Last year he used his remarks to discuss his personal faith. “I wake up each morning and I say a brief prayer, and I spend a little time in scripture and devotion,” he said.

Religious and presidential scholars told CNN that while some critics may question whether events like the prayer breakfast blur the line between separation of church and state, the use of religious language helps presidents connect with the people they were elected to lead.

“I think that it is pretty clear that presidents have employed religious terms, not just in times of tragedy, but throughout their career, in order to seem more relatable and a little bit more like their constituencies,” said Darrin Grinder, co-author of “The Presidents and Their Faith.”

“We like to see our presidents as reflecting our values and actually being better than we are,” he said. “As a largely Christian nation in terms of self-identification, even though we don’t talk about the Bible, when the president speaks in that kind of language, it is a better version of ourselves.”

The most common use of religion by presidents is after national tragedies or when the country faces difficult times.

George W. Bush used scripture and religious language to comfort the nation after the September 11 terrorists attacks; Bill Clinton did, too, after the Oklahoma City bombing, as did Ronald Reagan after the space shuttle Challenger explosion.

Using scripture this way, said Richard Norton Smith, a professor at George Mason University, fulfills the “emphasizer in chief, mourner in chief, grief counselor in chief” role of the presidency.

But use of religion has also changed over the years, Smith said. The nation’s founding fathers “did not spend the revolution on their knees praying to an anthropomorphic god.” Instead, he said, they used religion as “an effective tool of state,” but were generally mum about their own personal religious beliefs.

“At that time, there was still a fear that we could become a religious state,” Grinder said.

The use of faith began to change around the turn of the 20th century. During the Depression, Roosevelt used religious language and faith in an attempt to uplift people.

Then there was the presidency of John F. Kennedy and questions about whether a Catholic would follow the Constitution or the pope. Kennedy delivered a speech just weeks before the 1960 election, stating he believed “in a president whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation, or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office.”

Kennedy’s speech was ironic. Though it quashed concerns about his faith and helped lead to his presidential victory, it also made it normal for a president to publicly address his faith, the opposite of what Kennedy’s speech intended.

The “big sea change,” as Grinder put it, was with President Jimmy Carter and the 1976 election.

Carter is widely considered the most outwardly religious man to occupy the Oval Office. While in office, Carter was known for quoting scripture, talking about his Baptist faith and continuing to teach a Sunday school class during his presidency.

Before he was president, Carter also used to “testify” his faith by going house to house.

“Hi! I’m Jimmy Carter, a peanut farmer. Do you accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior,” he would ask, according to the book “The Faiths of the Postwar Presidents: From Truman to Obama.”

Reagan, the man who beat him in 1980, would cement the impact that faith would have on the presidency. According to Grinder, Reagan was able to tap into the idea of the United States being a chosen country, a promised land.

“That rhetoric was very helpful and hopeful to people compared to what they had been experiencing since Watergate,” he said.

Since then, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama have regularly professed their faith in public and quoted scripture in speeches.

When asked why he was a Christian at a backyard town hall in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2010, Obama said he was “a Christian by choice.”

Obama went on to say that he “came to my Christian faith later in life and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead — being my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, treating others as they would treat me.“

For Smith, this sort of overt religious identification is standard for today’s presidency.

“The fact that a president alludes to biblical passages or quotes the Bible or overt expression of religious faith, is par for the course,” Smith concluded. “It can be both a public ministry of healing and a personal expression of faith that however bad things are now, they are part of a large plan that ultimately is better.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Barack Obama • Belief • Faith • Politics • United States

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soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. DrPhil

    I think the picture illustrates the axe of evil. Clinton, billy Graham... If these evangelicals were in power they would blow all the money just to try to protect Israel, just because they think Israel is a holy nation...

    February 7, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  2. Brampt

    Rev 16:14: 14They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and perform signs, and they go forth to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty.

    February 7, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • sam stone

      Not really convincing, Brampt

      February 7, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  3. Robert Holt

    "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." Psalm 9:17.

    February 7, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Any cult would teach the same thing...... drivel.

      February 7, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • sam stone

      "blah, blah, fvcking blah" – sam stone 1:1

      February 7, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "I would not eat them in a box, I would not each them with some rocks. I would not eat green eggs and ham..." Seuss

      February 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Akira

      Booty: LOL

      February 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Seuss had many words of wisdom. lot more than the bible. 🙂

      February 7, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
  4. No Gods No Master

    Religion was useful at one time however it has no useful purpose in mdern day society other than to convince others to commit atrocities, encourage hate, hinder social progress and scientific progress.

    February 7, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  5. mm

    What the 'faithful' don't seem to be aware of is that it is up to them to not only recognize hypocrisy in their own systems of religion, it is up to them to call it out. Not doing so is actually condoning it.

    February 7, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Akira

      You are absolutely correct. Silence is tacit consent.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
  6. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    A politician would profess to believe in unicorns and flying monkeys if they thought it would win them elections, and the public is too stupid to tell them to keep it to themselves.

    February 7, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Correctlycenter

      Flying monkeys didn't create the heavens and the earth, the Creator, the Lord God Almighty did. Atheists will realize this some day. Hopefully, while they are still alive...

      February 7, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • ME II

      "Flying monkeys didn't create the heavens and the earth..."
      As some creasionists says, "prove they didn't"

      February 7, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • ME II


      February 7, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      Va.gue threats of eternal punishment betrays a weak argument.

      February 7, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • sam stone

      CorruptlyCenter: Fvck you and your empty proxy threats.

      February 7, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • bobk52

      You took the words right out my brain! Please stop I starving to death?

      February 7, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      the bible mentions unicorns 7 times.

      February 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Akira

      Bootyfunk, it was either Robert Brown or Bill Deacon, (I forget which one, sorry) who suggested that they were talking about a rhino.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  7. michaelthewriterguy

    Reblogged this on michaelthewriterguy and commented:
    I found this article very interesting in the context of religion in politics. It is no secret that many people in our government will openly speak about their faith. Where this becomes dangerous, however, is when that faith clouds the ability to govern. The overt nature of religion in our politicos is in some ways disturbing because it essentially re-builds the bridge of church and state. When religion plays the biggest role in governing for an individual that takes away from many pragmatic approaches to politics. It also subjugates portions of the population who are not Christian or do not identify with a certain faith. From the perspective of someone who neither identifies with a faith nor believes in a God, religion is something that needs to be left out of politics.

    February 7, 2013 at 10:59 am |
  8. alias

    This is one stupid article from a completely out of touch fundamentalist.
    Politicians say what they think most people want to hear.
    With very few exceptions, they would show respect to Satan for more votes.
    All this interpretation of political speech is intellectually shallow BS.

    February 7, 2013 at 10:33 am |
  9. Brother Maynard

    Totally off topic but ... Xtians please answer the following example:
    Jim is a christian. He has accepted Jesus Christ as is personal savior.
    He is a good man, never cheated ( or even thought about cheating ) on his wife.
    He has raised two daughters in the faith and they, like him, are up standing believers in faith.
    Jim volunteers at a food shelter one day a week and has done this for 15 years.
    He is financially secure and could retire today comfortably, but even with this he donates a portion of his personal paycheck to numerous charities consistantly
    Everyone likes Jim. Basically he is your model christian.
    One day Jim goes the Doctor. The Doctor tells Jim that he has cancer and unless he starts treatment immediately he has only 6 months to live.
    Why would Jim choose treatment?
    Think about this
    Jim is a believer. He knows that heaven is a better place than this current life.
    He is financially secure. He has provided for his family. He has 6 months to get all of his earthly affairs in order and to say good bye to his family
    This cancer is obviously god's will and god is calling Jim to heaven. Why seek treatment and defy gods will?

    February 7, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • NClaw441

      I don't see it as much different than the reaction if he broke his arm. You get treatment. He might be healed and do more to serve God. The logical end of your argument, it seems, is that those who believe in God and heaven ought to consider suicide in order to "get the party started." I don't know about the fictional "Jim" but my wife and have discussed how we would react to bad cancer news. If recovery is likely with reasonably priced treatment, we'd get it. If even expensive treatment would only give a few months of extra life, we will opt out.

      February 7, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Austin

      Might be Satan's will to prevent him from kingdom building. maybe there is some guy at coffee in his path.

      February 7, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      Thank you NClaw

      Couple points.
      A broken arm is not life threatening ... In that example god is clearly saying "I want you to stick around and do more of my work here on Earth"
      Committing suicide is not an option either. This would be premeditated murder ( of oneself ) and Jim would instantly go to hell.

      I think it is smart to discuss "bad cancer news" ... but again THAT is obviously god calling one to heaven Why FIX that ?

      February 7, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Rick 7809

      It is not out of the question to consider the availability of a treatment to be the product of God's will and grace.

      February 7, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • just wondering

      So if Jim had a sliver in his hand would you be upset if Jim removed it ? Would you be offended if someone else removed it ? Would it bother your preconceived hatred of the divine? Would Jim lack faith if the sliver was taken out?

      February 7, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  10. Free Man in the Republic of Texas


    "This is our first task as a society - keeping our children safe,"

    "We MUST examine our conscience"

    OBAMA has taken action !!!

    For the mental health issues involved in gun control OBAMA has tapped
    Health and Human Services (HHS), under Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

    You know Kathleen Sebelius... The one who rose to power funded by a
    LATE TERM abortion Dr. who became a 1%er with
    The Partial Birth Abortion Procedure:

    Guided by ultrasound,
    the abortionist grabs the baby's
    leg with forceps.

    The baby's leg is pulled out
    into the birth canal.

    The abortionist delivers
    the baby's entire body,
    except for the head.

    The abortionist jams scissors
    into the baby's skull.

    The scissors are then opened
    to enlarge the hole...

    The scissors are removed
    and a suction catheter is inserted.

    The child's brains are sucked out,
    causing the skull to collapse.

    The dead baby is then removed.

    She is the PERFECT appointment;
    to... to... "save the children" !!!

    FORWARD > > > > > > > >
    To saving the children !!!

    Nancy Pelosi:
    "Get OVER your conscience."

    February 7, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • End Religion

      3.5 more years of Obama, yeah! Then we elect another Dem because Repubs have lost touch with reality altogether. Religion has retarded this once great nation.

      February 7, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Logic N LA

      What a load of crap!

      February 7, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • cb

      Texas, hopefully Ms Sebelius will come up with some plans that will help with your mental issues.

      February 7, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Akira

      All yiu have done was to use this blog as a diatribe against President Obama...as if every President since Roe v Wade weren't working under that same law...even your little Republican ones. Grow up.

      February 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • bobk52

      If you are a free man in Republic of Texas? I'm the free man in the Moon!
      Get to a mental professional proto pardner
      Side note Texas is a state in USA

      February 7, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  11. Thoth

    I yearn for the day when a politician running for President has the fort.itude to exempt religion from his/her platform entirely. I believe many politicians simply use religion as a tool – including Washington, whose journal indicates that he viewed religion as useful in keeping troops in line, and reducing abandonment. I'd like to see someone like Sam Harris run for office.

    February 7, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • NClaw441

      Thoth, I imagine you are right that many politicians may use religion as a means to reach voters. Others, though (only the individual knows his own heart), truly are faithful. This faith likely influences their positions on policy issues. That is important for voters to know– whether it makes it more or less likely that a particular voter will vote for him/her. Voters have the right to know what serves as the basis for their policy decisions.

      February 7, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Akira

      JFK had it right.
      Being as this is a nation of separation of church and state, actually, NO religion a president belongs to should affect their policies. If it does, it is going directly against what the founding fathers intended.

      February 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
  12. Paris_Burning

    Each president has their "fall to" method. Sometimes a lot of these presidents do this to attract attention. I comes down to the point where it doest seem genuine for a president to pray ( not that there is anyrthing wrong with that)

    February 7, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • ???????

      For the brand new F-35 fighter plane to work well....at a cost of over a billion dollars

      February 7, 2013 at 9:23 am |
  13. Atheism is Healthy for Everyone - Kids Too!

    Different kinds of fundamentalist Christians now as much as ever are arguing with each other with as much sense and rationality as a flock of chickens. They can't support their beliefs by any reasonable means, yet they deem themselves fit to judge others from those beliefs or attempt to put others in the midst of their religious infighting. Their beliefs have a very weak foundation and are not consistent, ergo the over 30,000 different denominations.

    Thomas Jefferson (POTUS #3, principle author of the Declaration of Independence)

    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    John Adams (POTUS #2, Patriot of the American Revolution)

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

    James Madison (POTUS #4, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights)

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    Thomas Paine (Patriot of the American Revolution)

    I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

    February 7, 2013 at 9:07 am |
  14. Chad

    Prayer is not telepathy. God knows our prayers before we make them. Actually from the beginning and His response is ordained from the beginning.

    February 7, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • truth be trolled

      Prayer is talking to yourself, and pretending it's to "god". Time to stop pretending.

      February 7, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • sam stone

      if "god" knows your prayers before you make them, what is the point of making them?

      February 7, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • NClaw441

      Sam, your wife and children probably love you, and you know that. But don't you like to hear it from time to time?

      February 7, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • End Religion

      Evidently unlike the rest of us Chad evolved through "punctuated delirium".

      February 7, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • End Religion

      NClaw441 you think like a child. If you agree with Chad then your god already "hears" the prayer. No need to verbalize it, doofus.

      February 7, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Austin

      Jesus is awesome. He is not a religion, He as alive, supernatural, and His living word speaks.
      John 15:26-27

      The work of the Holy Spirit

      26 ‘When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

      February 7, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • ME II

      "God knows our prayers before we make them. "
      Then what's the point of prayer?

      February 7, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • tallulah13

      I love how Chad knows what god thinks. It's almost like he's worshiping himself.

      February 7, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • sam stone

      NClaw: Do you equate the feelings of a human being with that of an omnipotent, omniscient god? Is god that insecure?

      February 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • sam stone

      Austin: You do know that quoting a book is only relevant to those who accept the supposed authority of the book, don't you?

      February 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • bobk52

      Chad u r Mad! Insane in membrane. Insane in the Brain.

      February 7, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  15. Reality

    Fellowship ("Coe Family Con") Foundation –Sponsors of the National Prayer Breakfast

    Total revenue reported on their IRS Form 990 for 2008 was $16,265,873.

    Their highest paid employees are four associates who average about $120,000/yr each including benefits.

    The Coe family appears to be heavily involved with this non-profit with two members being associates as noted above and with five other family members working for the group averaging about $12,000/yr.

    Strangest grant made in 2008 was to the Golf Ministry of Argentina for $11,000.

    On the 2006 IRS Forms, they list the Wilberforce Foundation as a related exempt organization located at the C Street Center. Wilburforce’s treasurer is David Coe. One of the VP’s is his brother Tim Coe. Both brothers are also associates at the Fellowship Foundation . David’s salary from Wilburforce is $125,000/yr including benefits. Tim Coe’s salary is $116,000. These are the same salaries listed on the Fellowship Foundation’s 2008 IRS 990 Form. One assumes that the brothers are getting salaries from both organizations i.e. $250,000 and $232,000/yr to include benefits. Marty Sherman also works for both organizations and one assumes gets the double salary of approximately $250,000.

    The Fellowship Foundation sponsors the National Prayer breakfast every year. On the 2008 Form 990, the breakfast cost $1,097,465 but was offset by ticket sales and donations of $1,173,584.

    The Family Coe involvement: (from Wikipedia)

    Hillary Clinton described meeting the leader of the Fellowship in 1993: “Doug Coe, the longtime National Prayer Breakfast organizer, is a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship to God.”[25]

    There has been much debate over some of Doug Coe’s previous comments about a number of Nazi leaders and their efficiency. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fellowship_(Christian_organization

    February 7, 2013 at 8:21 am |
  16. Reality

    Free Will and Future are inherent to all the thinking beings in the Universe. This being the case, it is not possible to alter life with prayers. Statistically, your request might come true but it is simply the result of the variability/randomness of Nature..

    So put down your rosaries and prayer beads and stop worshiping/revering cows or bowing to Mecca five times a day. Instead work hard at your job, take care of aging parents, volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate to charities and the poor and continue to follow the proper rules of your religion or any good rules of living as gracious and good human beings.

    February 7, 2013 at 8:11 am |
  17. atheism is healthy

    atheism is healthy for children because they grow up to take responsibility for their own actions, become forward thinking, happy, healthy people. the atheist children of today will grow up to solve the worlds problems rather than being stuck in a centuries old fairy tale.

    prayer changes nothing. prayer is a futile waste of time.
    imagine what our world would be like if all of the emotional energy and time spent praying was spent doing something productive.

    February 7, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • ???????

      Drone in the sky .

      February 7, 2013 at 8:04 am |
    • truth be told

      A report on the "healthy " aspects of atheism
      Atheists have brutally tortured and murdered more healthy people in the last 100 years than were killed in all previous centuries. If mass murder is your idea of healthy than atheism is just about right for you.

      February 7, 2013 at 8:10 am |
    • == o ==

      The only kind of "trickle-down" that actually works:

      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" degenerates to:
      "Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "nope" degenerates to:
      and many other names, but of course it's the disgruntled ex Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. "writer".

      February 7, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • truth be trolled

      TBT, those murders you are referring to were not in the name of atheism. But, if you want to go this route, it is nothing compared to the 5 billion people your loving god is going to punish by eternal fire, not including the ones who are supposedly already burning. Your loving god puts any previous mass murderer to shame.

      February 7, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • truth be told

      The atheist as a liar cannot distinguish between justice and murder. Murder by atheist is a crime, justice by God gives the criminal its earned reward.

      February 7, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • NClaw441

      Religious belief is not inconsistent with personal responsibility, in my view.

      February 7, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Which God?

      tbt. back up your stats. Oh, you can't. You just run your filthy mouth. You are a lying, immoral, xtian. We now see you for the sick, evil person you are.

      February 7, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • truth be turd

      The turtle as a liar cannot distinguish between swimming and murder. Murder by turtle is a crime, justice by God gives the criminal its earned seagrass.

      February 7, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Austin

      this post takes morals and virtues that are instatuted by God, and pushes Him out of the picture. this is spiritual theft to talk like that. God is love, He is good, . saying that xianity is irresponsibility is slander.

      no one derserves a pat of the back for mentalizing and agreeing with virtue, if you insist on denying God why dont you do it without slandering?

      Men will always be found as sinners, is Christ therefore the minister of sin? certainly not
      Is athiesm the minister of sin.............only in truth, not in deed.

      February 7, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • truth be told

      Once again the facts...
      atheist Joe Stalin credited with over 60 million murders, atheist Mao credited by some sources with over 800 million murders, atheist adolf hitler credited with over 250 million deaths and murders, atheist Pol Pot credited with over 2 million murders, atheist doctors with over 200 million murdered in abortions... the list is as long as the list of atheist despots. The healthy fruit of atheism over 1 billion dispatched in horror and without remorse.

      February 7, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Austin

      as a way for you discredit God, you sey "hey look at what Israel did to caananites...slavery...yadayada."

      if you look at the rest of the world at that day and time, look at how Irsael started off as slave (400 years of it promised to Abraham). Now , this was the way the world was. God using Israel as a vehicle, does not make the day and time perfect, or the people of Israel. and the entire old testament is about depravity. you cant point your finger when God did not reach down, perfect the world, and then reveal himself. He simply made His name available, and atonement readily available to the world. he performed miracles as proof. And He is a God that expects and gives faith. This is our greatest responsibility in life.

      February 7, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Austin, who or what is this god thingy you, and others, go on about as if it is real? I have searched high and low, including spending time in churches, and cannot find any objective, factual, verifiable or independent evidence for any god. If you have same, please provide, or seek the help of a mental health professional.

      February 7, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Austin

      Then why if you have searched do you ask for proof if you understand the scriptures regarding that attatude. That is simply on the wrong path. This is a faulty approach. You are making a demand from God from your surroundings.

      You can find the living God, within yourself. Press inwardly, cry out for God within yourself. This is where He reveals Himself. Slow down, and meditate. Take a bible verse, ask for personal revelation, get a dictionary, and define every word in one verse. Write out the definitions of the word from the dictionary. This Holy spirit will see your act of faith and communicate with you as a genius and sovereign God. forget church and religion, God is personal and supernatural. I say no to religion for you.

      February 7, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Austin, in summary, you have no evidence for any god – just the things that go on in your head. You are mentally ill.

      February 7, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Akira

      Tbt, writing 'Hitler' in lower case doesn't change the facts that he was a CHRISTIAN, and you've been told this many times, yet you persist in your lies. And Stalin was a seminary student befor he decided he didn't believe in God...and Stalin didn't do this in the name of Atheism, so please, stop your childish lying. These were GOVERNMENTS that did this, you loon.

      February 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • End Religion

      Imposed irreligion is not atheism.

      February 7, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Wicked Heart

      anyone who says that Adolf Hitler was a Christian, not only is a pervert for their own pleasure in slander, but clearly reveals the desperate wicked condition of your deceit wanton soul. You are a blatant liar and pervert.

      February 7, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Akira

      Wicked, no one has claimed he was a good Christian; only that he was one. Because he freaking WAS. It is people like you, perverting the truth to satisfy their own agenda, that are the real perverters of truth.
      Besides, you are merely another name for the same tbt troll. YOUR heart has hatred in it; your screen name exemplifies what is really in your heart.

      February 7, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • truth be told

      hitler was an atheist as were all the others mentioned. Mass murder and atheism go hand in hand... historical fact. Those that knew hitler best knew him as an atheist. I write in lower case to disrespect the atheist liar. Since all so called atheists are liars anyway I do not expect you to acknowledge the Truth about anything.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Akira

      Tbt, research just how many people Christianity has killed since its inception...and yes, Hitler was a Christian. I don't claim that he did it in the name of Christianity, only that he was one. You have yet to prove that these GOVERNMENTS committed these atrocities in the name of atheism. Probably because you don't understand what governments ARE when reconciling the two. You merely persist in your lies because you think it makes atheists look bad. It doesn't. It just makes you look extremely uneducated, and unwilling to GET educated.
      Keep on Lying For God. Trust me, you'll be in hell for all of your lying. May you journey there soon.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      "Once again the facts...
      atheist Joe Stalin credited with over 60 million murders, atheist Mao credited by some sources with over 800 million murders, atheist adolf hitler credited with over 250 million deaths and murders"

      Facts? Bwaaahaaahaaahaaa!

      You're claiming 800 million murders by Mao again? If you said 80 million, you'd still be exaggerating, but I wouldn't argue with that interpretation. Your number of 800 million was absurd and wrong the first time you claimed it and it is still absurd and wrong.

      Similarly, your other data for Stalin and Hitler is also inflated.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      In 1960 there were 3 billion people in the world. For Mao to have killed 800 million, he would have killed more than one in four people on the planet.

      Only a fool or someone without a grasp of numbers could believe that Mao killed 800 million people.

      For the record, there were somewhere between 40-80 million excess deaths in the PRC in the mid-20th century during the Mao era. Numbers are not very precise, but it's a horrible statistic. It is categorically NOT 800 million people.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The number of 'excess deaths' in the 20th century is staggering but here is an estimate which appears to be as good as any serious estimate:

      20th century TOTAL: 203 million
      inclulding: 87M deaths by Communism.
      RESIDUE: 116M deaths by non-Communism.


      February 7, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Pray without ceasing
    Prayer changes things

    February 7, 2013 at 7:15 am |
    • laststonecarver

      Isn't prayer about people, and how they think, and because of how they think, their following actions?
      So what is happening when prayer changes things, do you mean like, poof it is not a gun anymore its a flower?
      That could be a good trick, if you weren't on a battlefield, with your flower.
      I'm guessing that the relatabilty factor, for the presidents maxes out, when they close their eyes, and bow their heads, and quote from a Special Book. That is proof, that they are on the up and up, that they would do no evil. And that they can think more clearly, to do their job.
      Or maybe they can do the thinking correctly thing, without closing their eyes, and bowing their heads, and I'm guessing, holding their hands on their hearts (the ultimate proof of sincerity). If they just had a good decision making process.
      All religion is decision making process, but not all decision making process is religion.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:53 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!

      February 7, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • == o ==

      The only kind of "trickle-down" that actually works:

      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" degenerates to:
      "Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "nope" degenerates to:
      and many other names, but of course it's the disgruntled ex Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. "writer".

      February 7, 2013 at 8:40 am |
    • Akira

      ==o==, degenerate describes them very well.

      February 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  19. laststonecarver

    North, South, East and West don't matter on a moral compass. Only up and down do.

    February 7, 2013 at 7:09 am |
    • sam stone

      If you need the promise of heaven, or the threat of hell to be moral, then you are not moral, you are a sycophant

      February 7, 2013 at 7:36 am |
    • laststonecarver

      Or if i needed to be More Al, I could change my name to Al –
      Belief is a mind quality – it is thinking, and so doing, in a formatted pattern.
      And the one's who are not of that Belief, still think, and act, sometimes in a similar formatted pattern.
      That is because thinking takes place either way, whether one is a believer or not.
      And because of thinking, there will be some decision.
      You can be sure that the decisions you make, affect your life, and other lifes.
      That doesn't happen only after you die.
      The heaven and hell thing, aren't they supposed to be eternal, and if so then I would say maybe it is just a vision problem, that one would not be able to perceive them, if they were so inclined.

      February 7, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Science


      Science Facts where is hell for these folks ?

      Check your god(S) at the cave enterance before entering.. No god(s) required for studying humans on this thread

      updated 1 hour 55 minutes ago
      Jan. 29 2013

      Scientists have unearthed and dated some of the oldest stone hand axes on Earth. The ancient tools, unearthed in Ethiopia in the last two decades, date to 1.75 million years ago.


      Ancient DNA reveals humans living 40,000 years ago in Beijing area related to present-day Asians, Native Americans January 21, 2013

      Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-ancient-dna-reveals-humans-years.html#jCp

      February 7, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • truth be trolled

      It's a good thing our moral compass is not based on religion.

      February 7, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • laststonecarver

      Consider this fact – War is Hell – i certainly believe that that hell exists.

      February 7, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • Science

      Provide map please.


      February 7, 2013 at 9:25 am |
  20. Science

    Sorry creation lost need to evolve .


    News Release

    3-D structure of the evolved enzyme (an RNA ligase), using 10 overlaid snapshots. In the top region, the overlays show the range of bending and folding flexibility in the amino acid chain that forms the molecule. The two gray balls are zinc ions. (University of Minnesota)

    University of Minnesota researchers unveil first artificial enzyme created by evolution in a test tube

    Thanks Doc.

    February 7, 2013 at 6:43 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.