February 11th, 2013
05:33 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.

“Remember we live in a very scientific age and so the man of faith is getting smaller and smaller because he can’t bring any proof to the horizon; where is this so-called God. So that’s why religion; it’s very difficult to compete, you know, in a world where there are new discoveries and they ask you as a man of faith, ‘Where’s your new discovery?’

How does religion compete with today’s world? Would more religious influence in our society and the inherent moral ethics that comes with it increase humans’ choosing good over evil?

Salam Al-Marayati, President of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles said religious doctrine must be separate from religious ethics. In religious ethics we find common threads.

Justice, mercy, compassion, doing good work believing we’re all part of one human family. That’s basically what every religion talks about when you look at the core and essence of each religion.

Hear more perspectives on the role of religion in our world from religious thought leaders in the player above.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. And listen to CNN Soundwaves on our SoundCloud page.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Violence

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soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. Answerman

    9/11 victims families have yet to see their day ib court under man's stupid laws that allow for justice to be delayed.
    Under God's righteous laws the men both foreign and domestic the FBI found to have financed that operation would all be dead the day their names were spoken. FBI WHISTLEBLOWER Sibel D. Edmonds and 24 Dehense department officials remain under federal gag orders not to make those names public. Unde God's laws, the judges who issued those gag orders and the president that gave them would be killed that very same day.

    February 11, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • Kesey

      Drank too much kool aid at the acid test, did you? Got too far out there and never came back.

      February 11, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
  2. Answerman

    Under God's righteous laws, children never talk back to their parents. If your wife is rayped, YOU are required to seek justice, or if not the man who can accomplish this simple act, your family is required to have an avenger to do it for you.
    There were zero raypes of women when Israel was ruled by God and the wise men he assigned as judges. There were no children killed for smarting-off to their parents...that thought was simply never planted in their minds from watching G rated TV Family programs where audiences laugh when children get caught disobeying their parents.
    No priest dared to fondle a boy as is commonplace today. That priest would not have lived past sundown that day, his body pelted with stones not thrown by any police. There are no police needed under God's righteous laws that see to it that only honest lovers of peace are allowed to live.
    Man's laws have loopholes designed by lawmakers who become lawyers and use those loopholes for profit knowing how to squeeze gulty parties through them.

    February 11, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Ian

      Your schizoid delusions are flaring up again. But that kind of behavior recruits atheists, so keep it up!

      February 11, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  3. Kira

    "Can religion prevent violence?"

    Considering the most religious states/nations also have the highest levels of violent crimes, I'd say no.

    February 11, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
  4. Answerman

    No. Men are not robots, Fnordz. And any fool can see that our loving God is not the ruler of this corrupt world. However, God's Kingdom Government features a King named Jesus Christ and an army of millions of powerful angels.
    ALL Christians pray for this Kingdom of God's to "come" to the earth and enforce God's will that honest lovers of God's righteous laws be left alive with this army "bringing to ruin those ruining the earth", just as in the days of Noah.

    February 11, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  5. Answerman

    The reason why guns and bloody violence play a larger role in cases where people addicted to SSRI anti-depressants go on shooting rampages is due to SSRIs being designed to inhibit the REM sleep cycle and these addicts spend so many thousands of hours playing violent RPG video games that feature guns and so these are the thoughts pounded into the minds of addicts experiencing daytime induced walking nightmares.

    February 11, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • Akira

      Gonna put out that crystal meth and Ritalin are SSRI's again? You know squat about what you're babbling about.
      Do you even know what REM sleep is? Nope. Didn't think so. Your whole post is fraught with errors and unsubstantiated claims.

      February 11, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
  6. Answerman

    ...Modernized translations of God's Holy Words have ALL been trifled with by corruopted men. Every single english translation of the old hebrew, aramaic, and geek manuscripts have direct mistranslations of words and these have caused many of the original meanings of bible writers to have been changed.
    The King James bible has over 17,000 grammatical errors and EVERY english bible mistranslates the Apostle Paul's word 'Pharmakia' recorded in greek and meaning 'Druggery' but translated as the pracice of Witchcraft, Sorcery, Spiritism, etc
    Many Christians have become addicted to legalized mind-altering drugs because of this one single error.
    It is NOT the mouth of Jesus Christ who said "Peace on earth. Goodwill toword man." That too is a direct mistranslation that alters the meaning of his manuscripted words "Peace on earth towords men of good will" Not all men want opeace...there are warmongers among mankind.

    February 11, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Fnordz

      Kinda makes you wonder if it's really the word of some divine creator, doesn't it? Wouldn't god want to get it right instead of having his words mistranslated or misconstrued for thousands of years? Just saying...

      February 11, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
  7. Answerman

    ALL organized religions are being led by the men Jesus Christ said religions would be led by after his apostles all died out. While none of Jesus Christ's 1st century Christian leaders ever involved themselves in politics to the point that they ran for public office, after they all died out those men Jesus said would sneak into the church did sneak in and did get involved with political leaders and in just a couple of centuries the Holy Roman Empire was the old Roman Empire whitewashed to appear to be something of God's and both the church and the State being led by the very same man, Pontifex Maximus who had his own wife killed for proving that his trinity doctrine was horsepucky.
    Since this apostate Christian ruled the known world and since the church of Jesus Christ's was corrupted by politics, that one church has become over 1000 different religious organizations, ALL being led by wolves wearing sheeps clothing EXACTLY how God's word described in advance of these thngs taking place.

    February 11, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
  8. Tom

    In the US we have a Catholic Church leadership trying to undermine Health Care Reform with a phony issue of birth control and rights of the church. That same leadership has not publically said one word about gun regulation even after 20 young children were mowed down. The Catholic Church is a joke.

    February 11, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • Fnordz

      Maybe because gun regulation wouldn't have prevented the children from being mowed down?

      February 11, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      We have laws against murder. People still kill. Should we repeal murder laws? Of course not. No law stops every crime it's written to prevent. Laws do two things. Allow prosecutors to prosecute and convict and act as a deterrent. Unfortunately deterrent affects some, not all.

      February 11, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
  9. Answerman

    ...I would sound-out the name of a book in order, reading them. After Revelations, I would close my eyes and start with Genesis and go until I couldn't remember any further. Then I would open my eyes and do it all over again. On the sixth day I made it all the way through and have never forgotten. Also, I have never owned a TV nor ever allowed one in my home.
    To me, a little boy looking at the glazed look in my dysfunctional family members eyes as they were being TV programmed, KNEW that box was not a gift from Jesus...that it was not Jesus who wanted that box in our home.
    The impact of electronic media on social behavior has since proved I was right about Jesus not being the one bringing those boxes into this world.

    February 11, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • Galder

      Would you be so kind as to go out and shout that verbatim on every street corner as often as you can? The world needs to see what religion does to people.

      February 11, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  10. Answerman

    I recall reading the words of Jesus Christ for the very first time as he said we must become like children to the wicked Jewish priests who were puzzled by seeing Jesus on bended knee spending his most valuable time teaching little boys and girls truths hidden from those wicked men Jesus called "offspring of snakes" to their faces and in public and in front of those children. That was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me in my life up to that point, reading those words. I thought to myself "Hay! I'm already like a child!!!" and felt something I had NEVER felt before; Loved.
    I was so filled with encouragement and now had proof thhat even a little boy could learn what Jesus taught I challenged myself to memorize the names of the books of the bible in one week.
    My parents and siblings were all TV addicts and all very stupid even in my little boy eyes. My dad used to make me sit on our wobbly old clothes washing machine so the noise wouldn't bother their TV. I would sitand with each wobble...

    February 11, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
  11. Answerman

    Who I am is of no concern and my name draws much attention from those who troll these waters and lurk for me and focus on me rather than these truths I have learned over decades of earnest and tear-filled pleas for God to show me what this world is all about.
    When I was a little boy of 9 yrs. severely being abused in every way you can imagine and heard rumors of a loving heavenly Father who could fix that which has been broken, I mustered the courage to ask my wicked dad if they were true. As I would not stop pestering him on this and as my mother was backwards to the point of experiencing REM in the middle of daytime sleeping and so was of no use whatsoever on these matters, my dad finally got very upset and his face turned red and he went into his den and came out with an old drafting set and a very old King James bible instead of one of his many favorite beating belts, he handed to me that bible and that set and said to me "Here. YOU figure it out." and so I did [begin to fugure it out].That was in 1968.

    February 11, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And? What of it?

      Do you really think you're somehow unique? Guess again, honey.

      February 11, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • Akira

      Tom tom,
      A list of my own, a la =o=

      Answerman =
      Philip on 'This Just In'.

      Known liar.
      Mostly fabricated stories that he has been called on again and again.
      You're right; not special at all, but an egotist who is very, very ill.

      February 11, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
  12. December

    Do you like me better as Answerman or my TJI name Philip?

    February 11, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • fred

      Be yourself, thought you were a real encouragement

      February 11, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
  13. Answerman

    This brings to a conclusion this free sample of God's work of Revealations to John, a dear friend of Jesus Christ, faithful and happy to the bitter ending of his life by those who hate this earth and hate our Lord and deny his existance. YES, you Jews are among the harlot in bed with the US GOVERNMENT in violation of youir own laws and covenant with your one true God who has abondoned you to your enemy, your own bedfellow.
    To address the issue of non-violent offenders making up the lions share of our prison system...70% of these non-violents are convicted of...selling a freaking weed! This weed is quickly becoming leagal and those wrongfully convicted are being released to make room for the self-righteous hypocrites who themselves are addicted to the very same pharmakia drugs they prescribe to us in violation of God's written word, Drugmoney MDs and staff obese nurses and crooked accountants. Imagine a preacherman addicted to prescription strength pharmakia drug kicking a man out of church over a weed!

    February 11, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • midwest rail

      It's not often we get to witness someone hallucinating for that long. Well done.

      February 11, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • -.-

      I want what he's smoking.

      February 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
  14. Answerman

    ...special for lovers. A world finally rid of those who raype Africa and drag her trasures home to the most overly obese drug consuming and most debt ridden peoples the world has ever known. (guess who) No more greedy polluters of this jewel of the universe, EARTH OUR HOME!!!
    Moving along past John's wonderfully graphic imagry depicting a wild beastlike government exposing those who misrepresent Christ by making him appear to be a twig of a man, even a good buddy...we see with our mind's eye as this "Harlot" riding on the backs of governments and living in luxury off of the backs of taxpayers and churchgoers is ripped to shreds! The end of organized religion has arrived in John's vision!!! Happyy Happy Joy and Joy!!!

    February 11, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
  15. Answerman

    Firstly, the book of Revealations is the happiest book of all. The third verse of the very first chapter prepares the first-time reader for the happy thoughts of God revealed to the apostle John writing this book while in imprisoned on the penal island of Patmos where he died as avery happy man and friend of God.
    Rather than the grim views and harsh criticisms of God's work some commenters posted today, the true message found brings tears of joy and smiles upon the faces of those capable of understanding written words without video picture backup. John's graphic and colorful wording is of the highest HD there ever was. No device of man could project God's thoughts in such living color as the images John recorded as they were shown to him by his true Father.
    As the first-time reader continues along from v.3, pause for thought arrives just a few verses later as John reveals God's plans to "bring to ruin those ruining the earth"!!! God has not abandoned those who love Him and love this wonderful home built...

    February 11, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • End Religion

      There is no such book in the bible.

      February 11, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
  16. Ken Margo

    if religion prevents violence, then why does violence ever exist? People wake up. God has NOTHING to do with us down here. He doesn't land planes, save lives or help people win football games. Please grow up.

    February 11, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  17. isolate

    A re-reading of Rene Girard's classic, "Violence and the Sacred," may be in order. The author demonstrates how the two are not only closely related, but interdependent.

    February 11, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  18. derp

    Our jails are overflowing with christians and the entire culture in Islam speaks for itself.

    Atheists have the lowest incarceration rates and miniscule violent crime rates.

    No, statistically, religion would appear to cause violence.

    February 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Wrathbrow

      Is that per capita? Just wondering since there are of course a LOT more religious people that atheists.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • December

      1 in every 15 African American men are incarcerated

      1 in every 36 Hispanic men are incarcerated

      1 in every 106 white men are incarcerated


      February 11, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • December

      "*nonviolent* offenders make up more than 60 percent of the prison and jail population"


      February 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  19. EX catholic

    Can religion prevent violence? How many times do I have to answer this Stupid question you morons? Of course religion does not prevent Violence. Only true Love can!!

    February 11, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      and love can create jealousy, which can turn into viloence. Love can cause violence. Look at how much the catholics "loved" their brothers. "I bring a message of love...believe it or we'll kill you"

      February 11, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • EX catholic

      Can you read Cranium? Are you dyslexic or something else? Again I said (wrote) TRUE Love. True is the opposite of False or Fake. What part of that you don't understand?

      February 11, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Your misunderstanding...not mine. If i have true love for a woman, do you not think that love can lead to jealosy and violence? What if another man started competing for my true love's affections. Do you think I will not get jealous and fight the urges to become violent? It is part of human nature, and all nature for that matter.

      Do you live in a fantasy world where strong emotions do not lead to strong emotional response?

      February 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • December


      That sounds like lust. Not love.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • EX catholic


      What you're describing is NOT the True Love I'm writing about. I agree with December for the most part.

      I'm not writing about Romance, Romantic, Pa$$ionate, Carnal or EROS Love of any type or sort.

      This is not a Blog about Romance or Jerry Springer show like situations, is called Belief Blog for a reason.

      What you describe is also Infatuation, a Love NOT corresponded. There is not much you can do when the woman you Love does not corresponds or does not have the same Love for you, in spite of your best efforts. And certainly trying to force your Love upon her (if that's the case), or resorting to violence because of jealousy toward a fellow man, is not the best neither the right thing to do. True Love the one I'm writing about here in BELIEF Blog is found in the Scriptures. In particular in texts like Ro. 13:10 which says as follows: "Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

      That’s my Belief as as a former catholic and now a Christian. That’s what I'm writing about.

      February 11, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
  20. eyesopened

    answer man wow! pretty intense, You really know your scripture. COMPLETELY by grace it is a Gift in that NO man can boast. just to make it perfectly clear GREATER is HE! you on the other hand being flesh WAR against the word of God or the indwelling spirit. Christ says apart from me you can do NOTHING. I agree with alot of what your saying. Hey I was wondering how do you feel about rebuking and whens the last time that it was that you were? by the spirit I mean, as God used one of His Faithful children to bring this conviction to your Heart? look for you later gotta run. answer man isnt it interesting how God exposes the hypocricy in others when they lash back at the truth? and end up just condemning themselves by thier ignorant responses. as they as judged by the same exact statement they accuse by?

    February 11, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • fintastic

      "Truth" requires evidence. ..... where's your's?

      February 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Akira

      Hmmm...wouldn't that depend on whether the accusation were true or not, eyes?

      February 11, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.