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March 9th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

Chris Tomlin, king of the sing-along

By Eric Marrapodi and Tom Foreman, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='EricCNNBelief'] [twitter-follow screen_name='tomforemancnn']

Baltimore (CNN) - The capacity crowd at the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore is bouncing in unison to the most widely sung music on the planet today. The catwalk above the arena is shaking.

Chris Tomlin grabs the microphone and asks the crowd if they’re ready.

"I feel alive, on God's great dance floor!" He leads the packed venue in singing and jumping.

Tomlin is out touring the country with his latest studio album, “Burning Lights.” In January, it topped the Billboard 200 charts. But unlike those who've enjoyed performances by Beyonce, Johnny Cash and a host of others who've played this Baltimore hall, after these fans stream out the doors they will have ample opportunity to sing Tomlin's songs again, as one.

That is the secret to Tomlin’s success – the stage, the lights, the band - aren’t about him. As lively as his shows are, the point is not to get you inside the doors. The point is to get you singing in church.

“I strive for trying to write something that people can sing, that people want to sing, and that people need to sing,” Tomlin explained before the show.

Tomlin is the undisputed king of worship music, a genre of Christian music sung on Sunday mornings all across the world and increasingly played on Christian radio stations. The music is simple, devotional and easy on the ears.

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“We would say that Chris is the most prolific songwriter in the United States now, in this past decade,” said Howard Rachinski, CEO of Christian Copyright Licensing International, the company that tracks what music is used in churches around the world.

In 2012, CCLI paid out $40 million to artists and musicians, and Tomlin got a healthy slice of that pie. Churches around the world used 128 songs he wrote or co-wrote last year, Rachinski said.

CCLI estimates that every Sunday in the United States, between 60,000 and 120,000 churches are singing Tomlin’s songs. By extrapolating that data, Rachinski says, “our best guess would be in the United States on any given Sunday, 20 to 30 million people would be singing Chris Tomlin's songs.”

In their last two reporting periods, Tomlin had the No. 1 most-sung song and five of the top 25.

Search YouTube for "How Great is Our God" or "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)." Black, white, Asian, big churches, small ones are all belting out Tomlin songs. A lot.

For perspective, consider Tomlin’s musical success against one secular counterpart. In 2012, Katy Perry's record sales dwarfed Tomlin’s, but Billboard reported her songs were played 1.4 million times on the radio. Using CCLI’s low-end calculation, Tomlin’s songs were played 3.12 million times in churches.

Growing up Tomlin

Chris Tomlin was reared in Grand Saline, Texas, heavily influenced by country music. His dad taught him to play the guitar.

“I learned all country music - Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash, all those kind of guys. Those are what my dad played and I played. And I played at my church as well,” Tomlin said.

Tomlin went to college to study sports medicine. “I just didn't know the music would take me here. I loved it and I was getting opportunities to go play, and when I say go play I was starting to write songs of worship even (as) a young kid. I didn't know really what worship music was, what a worship leader was, any of that. I didn't know any of those terms,” he said.

Today, at 40 years old, he is the artist most associated with worship music.

While in college he began singing and writing in earnest. As a senior, he said, he was getting invitations to lead the music for Christian conferences with 10,000 students.

He knew his music was resonating with crowds when he got a call from EMI Publishing after his song “We Fall Down,” which was released in 1998, starting being  played in churches.

“I was just writing songs for the church and from there they just started taking off.”

The compositions are considerably different from pop music. They are simpler, and he takes pains to write them that way.

“I'm thinking as that comes out of my heart as a song of response, I'm trying to think, how can I form this so that everybody, people who are tone deaf, who can't clap on two and four, how can I form this song so they can sing it, so that it is singable?”

Part of that process comes from his love of country music, the simplicity of that music and the stories those songs tell. His goal is to write songs that communicate what people would like to say to God.

“Now, that doesn't happen all the time. I mean, I write so many songs that you never hear because they are not any good.”

Tomlin is the worship pastor at Passion City Church in Atlanta. He leads worship there twice a month and beta tests all his new songs on the congregation. Tomlin is also a major draw as the worship leader of the Passion Conferences, a series of Christian conferences around the world. In January, the conference packed out the Georgia Dome in Atlanta with 60,000 college-age students. Billboard magazine noted the conference helped push up pre-sales of Tomlin’s latest CD.

His songs are so sought-after that, even before they're released on CD, they start showing up in CCLI’s online database.

“His songs have probably had the most immediate impact on churches that we have seen in history,” Rachinski said. “Even before you get to street release [of a CD], churches are already networked and engaged with his songs.”

Don’t look for a crossover

Other contemporary Christian musicians, as the music industry designates them, have crossed over to mainstream pop with some success. Tomlin said he has no designs on making that leap.

He also doesn’t need the money. Over the course of his career he’s sold 4.2 million albums, had 6 million digital downloads, a number of sold-out tours, and of course, the copyright royalties.

Tomlin said money isn't what motivates him to write and perform.

“I feel like I have a responsibility,  that God has given me a gift to write songs for his church that people listen to and that people are coming to expect now,” he said. “When I make a record I feel that responsibility that worship leaders, churches are going to say, 'Hey, are these some new songs we can sing in our church?' And I don't take that lightly, and I don't go, ‘Oh let's go do something else fun.’”

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“I haven't invented any new instruments, I haven't created new chords that no one has ever played. I play the same chord that every band plays, we play the same instruments up there, the melodies are melodies. The difference to me in the music is that I ask that God's presence be on it and that people, when they sing these songs, sense that God does something.”

The spotlight is on Tomlin even more than ever after starting the year a top the Billboard charts. As he tours the country at bigger and bigger venues, he would prefer to step out of the spotlight, away from the microphone, and let everyone else sing.

“People would be mad that they paid for a ticket for that. So I do that just occasionally, but that is what I love.”

He said the night before, at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, he took as much time as he could to step back and let everyone else sing.

“It was just so beautiful, because I feel like it says something. It's not just like, ‘Hey, listen to me sing.’ This is all of us together. I think when you step back from the mic and it is not about you - and yeah, the light may be on you, but this is about all of us singing. This is about a bigger story, it's about a greater story. It's about a greater name than my name. My name is on the ticket, but this is about a greater name.”

CNN's Oliver Janney, Chris Turner, and Dan Merica contributed to this post.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Music

soundoff (1,754 Responses)
  1. Jen

    John P. Tarver is stupid, can't comprehend science, and doesn't have many friends.

    March 10, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      YUP You would think that some believer with a basic science education would at least call him on these things he writes and end the embarrassment he causes, but they don't.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      I apply science for a living Jen.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • Jenna Jameson

      Bullshit, John. Furthermore, it's not only science (and commas) that you come up short on.

      March 11, 2013 at 12:46 am |
  2. John P. Tarver

    Steven Hawking is a Relativity denier, not scientific at all.

    March 10, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
  3. John P. Tarver

    Science was once the friend of the Atheist, but no more.

    March 10, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      Are you a latent appliance fetishist?

      March 10, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      I design aplianes for airplanes.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Religion is

      Superstition!

      But can you spell it?

      March 10, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
  4. CNELI

    I know his name.

    March 10, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • CNEIL

      I cnow you don't know his cname.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      Is it Barry?

      March 10, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
  5. Jen

    Chris Tomlin's music, and Christian music generally, just simply sucks. Major sucko, and dull and watered down. It's musical pablum for people who are easily numbed and can be spoonfed such garbage.

    March 10, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      You just described all popular music.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • Damocles

      @I

      Heh, I'll agree with that.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Jen

      House Painter, yeah, you're right but christian music is among the dullest of the dull and the cheesiest of the cheesy. I'd rather watch paint dry than have to listen to it.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      I dunno, Rihanna and Lady Gaga would come pretty close to Christian music in a tedium contest.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  6. Performing Arts

    Leave it to the intelligent non-believers to convert this discussion into something scientific. Really? You couldn't find the science blog to articulate your intelligence or lack thereof?

    March 10, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      To my knowledge science comments were only in response to christians using science incorrectly, but feel free to correct me.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Performing Arts' is an instance of the ad hominem fallacy.

      http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      March 10, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • Performing Arts

      huh?

      March 10, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      Are you a latent appliance fetishist?

      March 10, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
  7. Stacy

    Not skeptical? I wrestle with doubt everyday my friend. Let's say...our universe is one of trillions of universes that have come and gone for kudzillions of years. Mathematically, the improbability that any universe would present an environment friendly to life as we know it would not be that much of a long shot. The greater odds are that such an environment would remain stable enough, long enough, for the right combination of chemicals to combine to form the simplest forms of "life". And the really, really long odds are that such life would develope a consciousness ( I can buy the evolution gig in respect to 'survival of the fittest", not creation) that is so advanced as to wonder where it came from in the first place. Now, we are left with the facinating matter of where did the stuff of the universe(S) come from. I leave it to you to present a reasonable arguement of your notions of existence if you are to so quick to dismiss the idea of a universal intelligence as stupid and fantastical. I suspect your arguement would seem stupid to some. Something came nothing...or it came from God. And I know that Hawkings says that he can mathematically prove nothing can pop out of someting and visa-versa...now, to me..that's faith.......in math. I simply choose God..and He has reaffirmed that faith many times over. There you have it...can't talk about God without getting a little Christian on ya.

    March 10, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Philosophy is great if you lack the discipline for science.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      A skeptic is skeptical about everything. Jumping to the 'god' conclusion is not the action of a skeptic. Why the Christian god also? Why not L Ron Hoover's First Church of Appliantology god? S.exual gratification can only be achieved through the use of machines, some sayeth.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Stacy' is a glaring instance of the Argument from Ignorance fallacy.

      http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      March 10, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • Elephant god

      I believe everything is god. An animal is also a god that can be worshipped now can you get to the point about what you are trying to convince yourself about?

      March 10, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • Trojan horse
      March 10, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • Damocles

      You can't accept the 'something from nothing' view, yet you have no problem saying your deity came from nothing and then made something from the rest of the nothing that was around? So, you take what is an impossibility in your mind, double it, and that somehow makes more sense?

      In all honesty, we have no idea how 'advanced' humans are. If there is life on other planets we may come to find out that we occupy a very low niche compared to other things.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      “I believe the simplest explanation is, there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization that there probably is no heaven and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful.”
      _ Stephen Hawking

      “Scientists do not join hands every Sunday and sing "Yes gravity is real! I know gravity is real! I will have faith! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down, down, down. Amen!" If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about the concept.”
      _ Dan Barker, Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists

      March 10, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • Science

      Curtains Down for the Black Hole Firewall Paradox: Making Gravity Safe for Einstein Again

      Gravity WINS splat goes the fairy in the sky.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130306084151.htm

      March 11, 2013 at 8:08 am |
  8. tony

    There is only one true god.

    It is round, usually wooden, and you place money in it as it is passed along the pews.

    March 10, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • k

      we use velvet bags with handles...LOL

      March 10, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      AMEN (Wow I haven't used that word in decades, since I "found it" and went through the beautiful "spiritual" awakening of becoming an atheist.) By the way, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has set up a support group and a fund for the ever growing number of "pastors" and "preachers" who are sick of conning weak minded and ignorant people out their money with religious lies. (When they come clean about not believing they are vilified and shunned of course, only xstians receive xstian "love")

      March 10, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
  9. jamoz

    Why do some atheists feel the need to bash christianity and christians at every turn? This is just an article profiling a christian singer/songwriter, and how it devolved into an argument against religion is sad. Rabid angry atheists like 'end religion' and the 'vocal atheist' are akin to a new breed of skinhead thug of the secularist/humanist/atheist movement who work without any rationale or reasoning behind their anti-religious rants.

    Remember, you have to take science for what it is – theory. Science's two major planks, evolution and the big bang are still theories. Science can do no more than explain what has happened, maybe when it took place, but science could never tell us the reason everything has happened the way it has, or what is behind the creation of the universe.

    March 10, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • tony

      Gravity is still a theory too. Have you floated off the planet yet?

      March 10, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You should look into what a scientific theory is and how science operates. You blame science for not answering questions that it does not set out to answer and you belittle its vast efforts with comments from ignorance.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      You have answered your own question as to why we feel the need to "bash" xstians. (We only do it with words, you have murdered in the name of "faith" for centuries) YOU WROTE " Remember, you have to take science for what it is – theory. Science's two major planks, evolution and the big bang are still theories." You obviously don't know what the word theory means. Have you heard of the theory of gravity. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming. It is the foundation of modern biology. People like you are destroying our children, destroying our country by impeding intelligent thought. If being xstian meant shutting your ignorant mouth and giving up your right to vote then we would have as much compassion for you as people with other mental illnesses.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      I seriously hate being dictionary boy today. I wish you guys would do the work of looking things up before you try to regurgitate info or make a point.

      science |ˈsīəns|
      noun
      the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment: the world of science and technology.
      • a particular area of this: veterinary science | the agricultural sciences.
      • a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject: the science of criminology.
      • archaic knowledge of any kind.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      Y'know, I agreed with your first point. Ripping on Christians for the sake of it is pointless. Then you ruin it with your retarded theories sh!t and completely justified ripping on Christians.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • serjah

      Science can't even tell when. They have just agreed for a specific number to make it look like they're in agreement with each other.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @jamoz

      Please take that good advice from Moby. Would you take the time to try and understand? Can you understand or is it you're just too lazy or maybe it will make way too much sense? What is it? You said we have to take science for what it is, theory, right? Do you really know what a scientific theory is? I can frame your belief the same way; you have to take a belief in an imaginary God for what it is, imaginary.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • yahawaha

      Why does anyone need to bash christianity and christians? are you freaking kidding me?
      when have you guys become the silent sufferers from bullying? I am sorry but most of your brethren are the american taliban. why would anyone be forced by law to abstain from selling alcohol on a sunday? don't get me started on all the ridiculous laws in red states.

      March 10, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
    • End Religion

      jamoz, just this one story's comments are FILLED with rationale and reasoning. If you had read any page of them you'd probably see the refuted "it's just a theory" meme. A scientific Theory is as close to fact as we come in our reality. It is not the whim of few guys who are sitting around having a beer.

      March 11, 2013 at 7:55 am |
  10. tony

    Oh the wonder and power of religious belief. Isn't it amazing that Xtians nowadays like to adopt popular music while the Taliban want to ban it and kill people. Yet only a coupla hundred years back, Xtians used to burn innocent women as witches and discourage dancing.

    March 10, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      The Islamic world hasn't had the benefit of an Enlightenment period.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Juanito

      @TONY:

      Tony, while you may not like my faith, you MUST agree without any level of uncertainty that there are just some people in this world that SHOULD be discouraged from dancing.

      March 10, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      @houses: Yes, they did have an enlightenment period but it ended about a thousand years ago when their god freaks decided science was evil. It's a cautionary tale we should remember.

      March 10, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
  11. k

    Wow! hate a spewing.... cant we just be tolerate of each other...cant we all just coexist.......

    March 10, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      We DO coexist. We just don't cooperate.

      verb [ no obj. ]
      exist at the same time or in the same place: traditional and modern values coexist in Africa.
      • (of nations or peoples) exist in mutual tolerance despite different ideologies or interests: the task of diplomacy was to help different states to coexist.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • k

      to......GodFreeNow....I was just quoting one of "your camps" bumper stickers.......LOL
      Haven't you seen the bumper sticker that has the wickan, judism, christiam muslum symbols spelling out COEXIST.....Hahahah

      March 10, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • serjah

      We are tolerating each other, and we are coexisting. But not everybody should have a crawling personality, like you are.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      I don't live in America, so luckily I'm spared the daily annoyance of people using plati.tudes instead of providing practical solutions to life's problems.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • k

      please define "a crawling personality like you are"....that way I will know if I have one or not......

      March 10, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • k

      So you don't live in the US, do you live in one of those countries we continually send Billions to in financial aid each year?

      March 10, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      No k, I live in the country that you dropped 2 atomic bombs, killing 140k people comprised of students and families with children in one city (Hiroshima) alone.

      Can you guess the country?

      March 10, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
  12. thegadfly

    I met a girl who sang the blues, and I asked her for some happy news. But she just smiled and turned away. So I went down to the sacred store, where I'd heard the music years before. But the man there said the music wouldn't play. And in the streets the children screamed. Lovers cried and poets dreamed. But not a word was spoken. The church bells all were broken. And the three men I admire most, the father, son, and the holy ghost, they caught the last train for the coast the day the music died.

    March 10, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      I hope you know this song is about the fatal crash of the plane "American Pie" (the name of the plane) that was carrying Buddy Holly, Richie Valence, and The Big Bopper, and has NOTHING to do with cheeseball xstian music that came around later.
      Also, FYI "Spirit in the Sky" (I've got a friend in Jesus) was written by Norman Greenbaum, a Jew.!!!!!!!

      March 10, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • Juanito

      @NIETODARWIN:

      Jesus WAS a JEW, TOO! And so were almost ALL Of His FOLLOWERS! He lived in an area that was largely JEWISH, surrounded by mostly JEWS, and He attended and spoke in synagogues, which most likely had JEWS in them!

      Makes perfect sense Jesus would have a friend or two who were Jewish. And because of who He was, had a few Jewish enemies as well.

      While my tone is touched with sarcasm, i hope you truly find Him. He doesn't have any prejudices. If He can love me, He can love anybody!

      In His Love, Juanito

      March 10, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      Except gays, of course. And the wealthy.

      March 10, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Juanito

      @ I PAINT HOUSES:

      It's the sin He hates, not the sinner. And it's ALL sin: lies, stealing, anger, murder, covetous, adulterers, fornicators, anything that separates us from Him.

      We Christians, and those claiming to be Christians, don't do a very good job in spreading His Good News, especially when it's done in condemnation. Jesus said He didn't come to condemn but save us.

      I'm no less a sinner now than before i truly believed because He counts one sin no less than the others all added together.

      I just accept God's provision, Jesus, as my Savior, pray when temptation strikes and try hardest not to fail Him.

      In His Love, Juanito

      March 10, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
  13. Nietodarwin

    I wonder if this guy is really ignorant enough to be a believer, he's smart enough to make himself rich off of this religious drivel so I have my doubts. He obviously knows how to market it. I used to say 30 years ago that I should pretend to still be a believer and start making dollars from the sick religious music market. I am, unfortunately, too principled and too happy being a "born again" atheist and man of reason to do so. There's really no difference singing praise to the lord or praise to the devil. I don't believe in either of the two, so I just couldn't live with myself pulling off such a sham.

    March 10, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      Being ignorant of the non-existence of deities and intelligence aren't necessarily related.

      March 10, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Obviously it's a huge market. It looks as though they have their own licensing company like BMI and ASCAP. They're not dumb by any measure, anytime a Christian song is played the licensing company grabs a piece of the pie.
      Who said "A sucker is born every minute"? While I agree with your morality and ethics on not taking advantage of this huge opportunity its obvious that the so-called good people of this earth push and shove their way to the front of the line without one ounce of remorse.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
  14. TruthBeTold

    I believe all men and women are born equal, regardless race and religion.
    No one race is above another.
    No one religion is above another.

    March 10, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      How is a child born with AIDS equal to a healthy child born to a loving, billionaire family?

      March 10, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • TruthBeTold

      @I Paint Houses
      AIDS or not, billionaire or not, they have same right - the human right.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      What's 'the human right'?

      March 10, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • thegadfly

      The equality of one individual to another has nothing to do with the abilities of each, nor the disabilities. It has nothing to do with wealth, status, or a lack thereof. That equality is based on the fact that each of us - every single one of us - is a living being, aware of and experiencing the mixed blessing that is life on this planet. In fact, we are NOTHING more than that, as we shall all learn when it is our turn to go.

      These words of wisdom were brought to you by an atheist, who would no sooner listen to the the work of Chris Tomlin than to the work of Barney the Purple Dinosaur.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      Doesn't sound very equal to me.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • Jen

      TruthBeTold, your beliefs are really fscking stupid.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
  15. Nietodarwin

    Pop and rock n roll start getting popular, so hypocritical xstianity steals it, warps it and calls it theirs. They did the same thing with the xmas tree from the pagans, even though the beloved stinking BIBLE TELLS XSTIANS TO NOT HAVE XMAS TREES.!!
    Christmas trees. –Many other Christmas traditions have their roots in pagan practices, such as the holly wreath, a fertility symbol. Even the date of Christmas, near the winter solstice, is linked to sun worship. Modern Christians have stolen Christmas from the pagans.
    "Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. . . . They are altogether brutish and foolish." (Jeremiah 10:2-8)

    March 10, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      How did they steal it?

      March 10, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
  16. Nietodarwin

    I don't know this guy's music because I find xstian music as nauseating as xstianity. My personal experience aside, this article is just STUPID to begin with "bouncing in unison to the most widely sung music on the planet today" Are they bouncing to it in China, Africa, the former Soviet Union? Obviously the authors are deluded xstians. Pitiful journalism.

    March 10, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      What's pitiful about it?

      March 10, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • thegadfly

      Yo, I Paint Houses: Go paint houses. It's pitiful because it's nothing more than an advertisement. For a defective product most people have no intention of buying, but which the powers that be will never stop selling: Kool Aid, a.k.a. the opiate of the masses. Drink up, you house painter, you.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      Are you a latent appliance fetishist?

      March 10, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • Juanito

      Actually, Tomlin's songs are being played in those regions of the world. In fact, China is experiencing a tremendous resurgence of Christian converts. It's all underground with threats of imprisonment, slave labor and death. The new believers covet single pages of the Scripture as Bibles translated to their provincial languages are incredible hard to come by.

      We Christians in the U.S. don't know how easy we have it compared to our brothers and sisters in Christ in less hospital countries. We may get ridiculed by non-believers here but we don't have the fear of jackboots kicking in our doors and taking our families away.

      Please pray for those in other countries who are struggling because of their faith in Christ.

      The Lord bless you all, believers and non-believers, alike.

      In His Love, Juanito.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      Hospitable.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
  17. Jesus Messiah

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwJzTV1uurU&feature=player_detailpage

    March 10, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • New Day

      Another awesome number by Tomlin.

      March 10, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • thegadfly

      New Day: Please check yourself for a pulse.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  18. Stacy

    In reference to an earlier post, I apologize to the atheists that did not fall into the "disdaining" category. We seem to address the most vocal in these discussions. The message of Christ is love, tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness. Where's the harm in that? And that message is not for the so-called "righteous", it is for those who do not believe. We "righteous" should have that part down by now. Don't confuse the Christian with the Christ. We often drop the ball...I often drop the ball. The only thing that separates us is that our screw-ups are covered by the blood of Christ. And I realize the "blood" reference carries implications of violence..but you gotta kinda read the book on that one. I am as skeptical as the most staunch atheist on this blog, but I must ask you to, at least, entertain the possibility that there is a truth out there..one that does not agree with our basic sensibilities until we openly consider a Creator. Ray Bradbury said that we are an impossibility in an impossible universe. But we are here, nonetheless. What other impossibility does that imply? Just give it some thought, read the words of Christ with an open mind..if for nothing else than to strengthen your arguement against Christianity in that you would understand it more. Just leave open the possiblilty that the universe is not doomed to entrophy...not that's unhealthy for society right thar.
    Let's agree to overlook the somewhat unreasonable in both our camps. When Paul came into Athens and faced all the different theologies–or the lack, thereof– he said, "Let us reason together". Now I fully realize that I sound like I am coming across like the master of reason here, but would you prefer the repent or burn in hell approach? Can't have it both ways.

    March 10, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      "I am as skeptical as the most staunch atheist on this blog"

      No, you're not.

      March 10, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • End Religion

      You choose to live by fact and reason or you choose fantasy. If you choose fantasy we really don't have much to talk about. Threats of hell only work on believers, obviously.

      March 10, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      So, now Ray Bradbury offers a snippet of speculation does he? You're skeptical? Why is it that you believers try and insert obvious lies into your posts to try and deceive us into thinking that you're critical thinkers? It just makes you look desperate and very stupid.

      March 10, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      The fact that we exist despite improbably long odds against, doesn't mean that a god did it. If you feel that a god can be eternal why not the essence of the universe, Inventing a creator only leads to "what created the creator"?

      March 10, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • Stacy

      "Desperate and stupid" and in the land of "fantasy"...now we are back to my earlier post on the disdaining atheists. So, there is no tolerance of "reason" or the "repent or burn" approach. Man, I'm running out of options here. I guess the only thing left is to agree with you if I am to avoid the childish namecalling. But hey, thanks for indulging me all the same.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Stacy

      You don't have to agree with me or anyone but when you use deceptive tactics to weasel your message in its open for criticizing. You said you were a skeptic? How so?

      March 10, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      I don't see any reason in your post. There is no reason involved in faith. You believe despite the absence of any evidence. Science shows that the creation myths of all religions are not correct and more. You wouldn't take the word of an uneducated sheepherder from thousands of years ago over modern knowledge in any other field and yet you do when it comes to god and religion.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • Damocles

      That the universe is 'doomed to entropy' does not affect society, or at least it shouldn't. I have yet to come across any crazy person wearing a sign saying 'the end is coming.... in 6 billion years.' Now, you want everyone to have an open mind, open to the point that they agree with you and no further. You can believe whatever you want to believe, this doesn't mean I have to agree, or that you are right.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • End Religion

      She's not skeptical. She tells herself she's skeptical because she wants to believe she's fair to atheists. Apparently though she's constantly on the verge of telling us all to repent or burn, so it just doesn't sound skeptical at all to me. I know plenty of skeptical religious people – they're moderate Christians who may go to church but can't envision a hell or heaven as being real. These moderates are definitely not "repent or burn" type of people.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The uncanny feeling that there is a looming transcendental being, longing for a relationship with it, all that never really worked in me. It seems to be at work in other people, perhaps you. I'm curious about it, but I've little patience for people who try try to prop up their beliefs through false interpretations of things that actually need no god at all to explain them – our origins, for example. If you have a genuine feeling that your God is even more present and real than anything else you know or experience then, with respect, I'd be very interested to hear about it.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • Stacy

      Not skeptical? Every Christian is at some point or another. I wrestle with doubt everyday my friend. Let's say...our universe is one of trillions of universes that have come and gone for kudzillions of years. Mathematically, the improbability that any universe would present an environment friendly to life as we know it would not be that much of a long shot. The greater odds are that such an environment would remain stable enough, long enough, for the right combination of chemicals to combine to form the simplest forms of "life". And the really, really long odds are that such life would develope a consciousness ( I can buy the evolution gig in respect to 'survival of the fittest", not creation) that is so advanced as to wonder where it came from in the first place. Now, we are left with the facinating matter of where did the stuff of the universe(S) come from. I leave it to you to present a reasonable arguement of your notions of existence if you are to so quick to dismiss the idea of a universal intelligence as stupid and fantastical. I suspect your arguement would seem stupid to some. Something came nothing...or it came from God. And I know that Hawkings says that he can mathematically prove nothing can pop out of someting and visa-versa...now, to me..that's faith.......in math. I simply choose God..and He has reaffirmed that faith many times over. There you have it...can't talk about God without getting a little Christian on ya.

      But yeah, we are all wonderin' what truth is...any intelligent being would be. I'm very aware of the damage Christians do to everyday...that's an arguement no one would win. Take it as a veiled attempt to be all cushy if you like, but I do appreciate the fact that y'all think about this stuff. And it's pretty much a let down when you come up with the idea that we are all alone in a universe where a big chunk of ice and rock could destroy all that we know. Hey, I'd be a little angry, too. Yeah..that was a cheap shot.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Damocles

      Good grief. I'm not alone in this world. I have friends, family, people that I care about. Can a big mean chunk of rock come crashing down and end it all? Sure. So can a host of other things. I don't run around rubbing a rabbit's foot hoping to deflect all the bad things that can happen. It's life, live it.

      March 10, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • Chad is not just a lovely country in Sub-Saharan Africa

      Stacy I love your posts. Let's get together some time and talk fine-tuning and maybe punctuated equilibrium too.

      March 10, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • Stacy

      I have learned alot during our "discussion", as it were. I am sincerely trying to word this in a way that will not offend. I'm about 0 and 5 so far. Just consider this, when that moment comes, are you gonna stick by your guns? I really hope not. .... (oops, gotta lay off the ......'s). To my most ardent "supporters", I wish you well. Now, why would I feel that way? Probably some long ingrained innate need for social acceptance, I suppose. It's comforting to know that you guys are smart enough to see through the sarcasm. By the way, I'm a dude. I know, it's a girl's name. Not so much 51 years ago.

      March 10, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • sam stone

      Stacy, if you were as skeptical as you claim, you would not be quoting as you do

      March 11, 2013 at 1:16 am |
  19. #1Christ_Fan

    I never heard of him,or his song

    March 10, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
  20. TruthBeTold

    One of the best songs ever –Imagine, by John Lennon.

    March 10, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • I Paint Houses

      Left-wing, hippy sh!t.

      March 10, 2013 at 9:26 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.