April 16th, 2013
01:28 PM ET

My Take: Light will conquer darkness in Boston

Editor's note: Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio is an ordained Episcopal Church priest and author of "God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom."

By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Special to CNN

Boston (CNN) — At 4 a.m. on Patriot’s Day, I huddled in the cold and dark on the Lexington town green that’s across from the church where I work as a priest, awaiting the reenactment of the first battle of the American Revolution.

As the sun rose, a small group of haggard colonists assembled. None were in military uniform; they seemed to have difficulty forming a straight line. And when the British marched towards them with their elegant uniforms and disciplined formation, they outnumbered the colonists more than 2-1.

It looked to be a slaughter.

As the “shot heard 'round the world” fired, the colonists scrambled, some dying in the skirmish and others retreating, running away to safety.

To the casual observer like myself, it looked like defeat — defeat of their hopes for freedom, liberty and democracy; defeat of goodness and light. But that defeat turned out to be the call that brought out reservists from all over the Boston area. Ordinary colonists left their homes to hide behind trees with their weapons, haunting the British as they marched back to Boston. The efforts of those ordinary men and women eventually led to victory for our country and the ideals it sought — and continues to seek—to embody.

Less than 12 hours after I attended the reenactment, I heard a different “shot heard 'round the world,” this time a few miles from my home where I was working. The Boston Marathon bombing shook me, as it shook many of my fellow Bostonians. It was a reminder that our world carries hazards and injustice.

An 8-year old boy dies.

Marathon runners have their legs amputated.

Since the blast, I’ve heard some people say this changes everything for Boston, for the marathon, for Americans’ sense of safety in the world. I don’t agree. Our world is scary, unstable, dark as 4 a.m. on the Lexington town green. In the collective history of humanity, it’s been a long time since there hasn’t been tragedy — a life taken too soon, a body hurt by a bomb or a gun or a crippling disease.

The Boston bombings are nothing new. They are simply one more reminder that, at some level, our world is not secure, even though, as comedian Patton Oswalt famously posted on Facebook Monday, “If it's one person or a HUNDRED people [who bombed Boston], that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out.”

It creates a paradox for me as a religious leader to acknowledge the seemingly eternal presence of this darkness while I stand with the fundamental Christian tenet that light overcomes it. That paradox can test any person’s faith, rendering hope complex, messy. That paradox challenges me as I think about this Sunday morning, and what I will preach to my congregation as I stand in the pulpit of my Lexington church.

So what I will tell them is this: I will not deny the darkness. I will not deny its power. But I will remind them — and perhaps myself a little bit too — to think about tragedy the same way our forebears did. It may seem we are outnumbered in our battle against evil. It may seem we’re standing alone and haggard, outgunned like those militiamen who fought for our country’s independence 238 years ago.

Yet just as in those early battles of the Revolution, there are reservists who want the light to win.  There are ordinary people who step out into danger, into darkness, to shine a light. On the day of the marathon bombings, bystanders who could have protected themselves rushed to help the injured. Doctors, nurses, and their assistants worked overtime to make sure that those affected received the care they deserved, while law enforcement officials sought justice on the city’s behalf. Bostonians came out to offer marathoners juice and a bathroom, even as officials told them to stay indoors. A nearby restaurant called El Pelon Taqueria gave out free food, drinks, cell phone charger outlets, and the 9-year old daughter of the owner, Addison Hoben, decorated to-go bags with the words, “It’s going to be alright” and “We’re not afraid.”

Those are some of our nation’s reservists, though not all of them by far. Many of us shine light into the dark in quieter ways: by volunteering at a soup kitchen or a prison, by donating blood, by sitting in the waiting room during a friend’s surgery, by caring for an aging parent. Not for naught did the famous Mr. Rogers — who was also a Presbyterian minister — say the words that have been so often quoted in social media since the bombings: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ ”

What I will tell my congregation Sunday is that I believe in the power of darkness, and I believe that humans can do horrible things. But I also believe that light will eventually outshine the dark, that the reservists among us are fighting a war to defeat violence and evil, and that one day they will permanently win it. That is what makes me a Christian, and it is also what makes me an American, the descendant of the patriots who gave their life on the Lexington battle green so many years ago.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Massachusetts • Terrorism • Violence

soundoff (715 Responses)
  1. Julie

    PRISM 1234 is exactly correct – that is what I believe totally –

    April 30, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
  2. Mary

    Why doesn't Richard Dawkins go back to hosting Family Feud?

    April 30, 2013 at 9:53 am |
  3. Religions

    It may be just my opinion but I think the reason all of you have so many issues with religion is you are trying to look at them in the context of other people and politics.

    A religion (or even the absence of one) is supposed to be your private thoughts..you alone with your own mind and what you come up with there.


    April 29, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  4. tony

    In the beginning was the first Used Car Salesman . . . . .

    April 28, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
  5. Thomas

    The real Tom, I did not make a claim. I used the word "probably." Here is a claim: I believe he is in hell right now.

    April 28, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Dumbbell, when are you going to figure out how to use the reply function?

      Never mind. You haven't said a single thing you can support with any facts at all. There is no heaven or hell. We live and we die just like any other mammal.

      Prove otherwise or stop your whining.

      April 28, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Shannon

      I agree with you Tom..no hell, no heaven nothing but a big bunch of desolate nothingness..forever. I've been thinking of that myself alot lately. But throwing an insult every second word at total strangers sure does take the sting out for a little while, doesn't it?


      April 28, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
  6. Breathing....

    Thank you to the author for sharing what works for her to console herself as well as others. When tragedy comes, and it will, sometimes it feels that one another is all we've got. All human beings are a complex mix of behaviors with goodness at our core. Each of us is capable of acting unconsciously, being harmful. The point is to have ways of seeing/feeling insightfully into our own hearts/minds, acting or having restraint when needed. Seeing or bringing kindness within the worst of the world's situations is a part of bringing about the calm needed to carry on in ways that help us all. If what we believe in works to bring about a sense of relief to ourselves and others then so be it. Beliefs are just a part of the picture in what works and what doesn't.

    April 28, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  7. Burden of proof

    Why do you atheists always keep asking believers for proof? There isn't any. There will never be any. That's why it's called religion. If there was proof of a belief it wouldn't be a belief anymore at all.
    There is no burden of proof.

    April 27, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Chad

      This notion that Christianity requires belief in the absence of proof is not biblical.

      You can claim that God isnt real, but you can claim the bible says that faith requires absence of proof, or proof obviates faith..

      A. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
      B. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

      Faith has essentially two accepted usages in the English language; atheists In this case discard ‘A’ over ‘B’, then attack Christians in that context only, making a further critical and purposeful redefinition of the word “faith”, claiming that proof obviates it.
      Atheists claim that faith and knowledge of, or evidence of the existence of that which faith is being placed, are incompatible. This is patently nonsense in both current secular usage and biblical context.
      Secular usage: “faith” is an accepted concept in modern law. “Good faith”, fiduciary duty is ingrained in contract law, and nowhere does it require a lack of knowledge about the object in which faith is being expressed. “I have faith in John, he will do what he says”, it does not require that one has no knowledge of the true existence of John. Indeed it is nonsensical to have a faith in something you don’t know exists.

      Biblical context: “ And without faith it is impossible to please God Hebrews 11
      Which faith is being discussed? A faith for which there is no proof? Does proof obviate faith?
      Throughout the bible it is crystal clear that people, whom are commended for their faith, had ample proof of the existence of God PRIOR to their faith being commended.
      Abraham commended for his faith (Hebrews 11) had ample proof (God speaking to him).
      Moses commended for his faith (Hebrews 11) had ample proof (multiple miracles in Egypt, God speaking directly to him, etc, etc).
      In fact, NO WHERE in the bible is definitive proof of the existence of God EVER shown to obviate a person’s faith. Quite the contrary in fact, God promises to reveal Himself, and make Himself known to you if you search after Him. The biblical pattern is ALWAYS the same, God reveals Himself, then asks for a person’s trust in Him. That is biblical faith.

      There is simply no biblical support for proof obviating faith, or the faith that God desires requires a lack of proof as to His reality.

      That atheists attempt to make this case is clear evidence of their utter lack of familiarity with the bible, and their complete willingness to suspend objective critical thought when it comes to criticizing Christians.

      April 27, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Chad

      Should have read: "but you can not claim the bible.."

      April 27, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Science

      Scientists Find Genes Linked to Human Neurological Disorders in Sea Lamprey Genome



      Trolling away is chad/.rachael

      April 27, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • The real Tom

      There's a burden of proof when believers insist they "know" god exists. There's a burden of proof when they claim they can prove he does.

      April 27, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Science

      From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life


      April 27, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • Science

      Chad ............... education does work ..............maybe you should try IT !

      April 28, 2013 at 6:46 am |
    • dennis

      there is certainly proof that GOD IS. There is also proof that JESUS IS GOD.
      I was healed of heart disease, and many others of cancer, and other disease's. prophecy is also proof the he is GOD, because only GOD, THE ONE AND ONLY GOD, knows the future. There are many other proofs that GOD IS TRUE.

      May 1, 2013 at 5:49 am |
  8. PRISM 1234

    Human beings are defined by what is in their hearts.... some love light, some love darkness. Sometimes it is hard to tell who is who. Only the Sword of the Spirit of God , which is the Word of God, reveals and defined who is who.
    Yes, Light will surely conquer the darkness, but only when Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, the Prince of Peace comes and establishes His Kingdom on this earth. Nothing in this present world is sure, or lasting. But this one thing is, and it will come to pass.

    April 25, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Bo

      That crazy talk

      April 25, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
    • Pete

      PRISM 1234
      I can agree with you to some extent that one man's light is another man's darkness, and vice versa, but then you make the claim that only Christians are actually on the side of Light, which ruins what you said before. Christians do hurt people, you know. They just like to feel justified in doing it by labelling their victims as "sinners" first.

      April 25, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      If it is true that Christ Jesus is what/who he claimed to be (and I i'm sure of it beyond the shadow of doubt), then that makes the ones who acknowledge Him and believe His testimony followers of true light. Jesus said, i am the WAY, THE TRUT AND LIFE. No man comes to the Father but by Me. HE also said there are many false shepherds, but His sheep will not follow them, because they recognize only the voice of the shepherd, the TRUE Shepherd. So, what I said is in no way co/ntradi/ctory. But I never said that Christians don't' hurt people. But I will say and emphasize again: Those who truly know their Shepherd, Lord Jesus Christ, are not proud to admit that any good thing that may be found in them is only by the mercy and grace of God and f their lives are hidden in Christ , their Lord. And every true follower of Christ will not live and indulge in sin. He may slip up, but will never remain there.
      I also want to mention that what you see of Christianity today, especially in this country is polluted and warped to the core!

      April 26, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Tina

      Like Bo said, PRISM is all crazy talk. Prism, go see a shrink fast. Seriously, you've got serious mental issues.

      April 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      No, dear! it doesn't matter what Bo said or what you said.. It Is what Jesus , the Christ said...He, to whom you, I and every human being will have to account for their lives.

      HE will have the Last Word.

      ....but in meantime here is something for you to consider:

      "..the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
      Where is the wise man ? Where is the scribe ? Where is the debater of this age ? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?....But it pleased God that by foolishness of preaching the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ His son, mankind should be saved: that whoever belives, and puts his trust in Him, will not perish but have eternal life.

      But it is because of the darkness that's in human heart that those who refuse Him do not come to Him.
      Go ahead, mock Him, and mock and insult those who speak the truth to you, if you wish...
      But one day the One you mocked , He will be YOUR JUDGE!

      April 26, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Science

      PRISM 1234

      From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life


      April 27, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @ "science"
      You listened put your hope into claims of man's lame science... I honestly think that some of you are so dense that it never dawns on you that all their claims are no more than guesswork. It is like having a frame of puzzle put together, yet missing what gives the meaning to it, and what's all about... the heart of it.

      Do you know what's the biggest stumbling block to the human race? Our intellect....our own confidence in it.... .

      But we will always be blind and lame, and totally lost, when we shut out the One who is the Creator of all that exists, and Giver of all life.
      That's where you are, and those whom you rely on: lost and stumbling in darkness, grabbing for straws.But we have the life of Christ in us,given to us by the Spirit of God when we humbled ourselves acknowledging our own poverty and f need for Him in our lives. Proud man will never see the truth because he is blinded by his sin. Pride is what separates man from his Maker and damns his soul. We truly live in times when man thinks he is his own god. I think if you're honest, you'll understand the meaning what is said here.
      No need to say anything else!

      April 27, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      MTS "You listened to, and put your hope into claims of man's lame science..."

      April 27, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Prissy says: "all their claims are no more than guesswork"

      AHAHAHAHAHHHHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHA. This from the idiot who didn't know Samuel Barber was gay.

      April 27, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • Science

      Scientists Find Genes Linked to Human Neurological Disorders in Sea Lamprey Genome



      April 27, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Kelly

      What does barber's personal life have to do with his music? You are an idiot

      April 27, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Not a thing as far as I'm concerned, honey. I love Barber's music. I love "Adagio for Strings." But Prissy posted a video of it and claimed that only a composer inspired by god could have written something so lovely. The ass didn't know Barber was gay and the minute it was informed thusly, back pedaled furiously.

      April 27, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Kelly

      Doesn't have any bearing on his music either way. It is what he created that is to be enjoyed

      April 27, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • The real Tom

      No kidding, Kelly. I know that and you know that but the fact that he was gay was big news to Prissy. Prissy thinks being gay is a sin. It couldn't stomach the idea that a gay man could compose a gorgeous piece of music such as "Agnus Dei."

      April 27, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Kelly

      Do you honestly think Barber wanted this to be a postscript to his music or did he want his music to speak. Both of you guys turning this into a gender issue...you both miss the point

      April 27, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • The real Tom

      No, Kelly, sweetie, YOU miss the point.

      Let me know when you catch on.

      April 27, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • Kelly

      No YOU miss the point it is about the music! Man you are thick if you have to make it about something else

      April 27, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • The real Tom

      You really have trouble reading and understanding, don't you, dear? I don't have any problem with Barber. Prissy does.

      April 27, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Kelly

      Well good, then rise above it make it about the music then.

      April 27, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • The real Tom

      You are completely incapable of comprehending the written word, Kelly.

      April 27, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • Kelly

      AND Barber's amazing talent!!

      April 27, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • Kelly

      Not falling for your insipid remarks just because I am a stranger on a blog. barber's music can stand on it's own without having to be a social issue, done here moving on, no intelligent life form here

      April 27, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • The real Tom

      That too, probably.

      April 27, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • The real Tom

      An intelligent life form would know when to use "its" and when to use "it's", dearie. You don't qualify, Kelly, dear.

      April 27, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      There are many brilliant brains out there who have lost their taste for what you call "cosmic soup". Anyone honest can understand why!
      Check it out..... http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1207 ..... just for a starter....
      There are many more if you're willing to research, who see the stupidity of "cosmic soup", so perfectly seasoned and put together, to have come into existence out of nothing. This foolishness has gone long enough. You should see it too!

      April 29, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Annnny day now, Jeebus is comin', yessir annyyyy day now"

      April 30, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
  9. Timbo

    Got to ask this question. How many people posting here have swayed the opinion of another poster...ever? Please raise your hand really high so EVERYONE can see- you can even scream really really loud if you want to.

    April 25, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Kelly

      Couldn't agree with you more, having just jumped on this. Neither side is impressing the other, zero sum game, and not even an interesting debate.

      April 27, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • The real Tom

      What is it Timbo said that you agree with?

      April 27, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • Science

      Not a problem Timid.........................education works for children !

      From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life


      April 27, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
  10. Seyedibar

    Light will conquer darkness? Yes, and the darkness will be back tomorrow as the sun goes down. One of the problems with religion is their incapability to describe their world around them accurately without resorting to meaningless faith-based semantic terms like light, glory, faith.

    April 23, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Since light and dark are only aspects of the same thing, light cannot conquer darkness. Light replaces dark as dark is only the absence of light

      Poor analogy.

      April 23, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • moon moon crazy moon

      moon, moon, crazy moon
      natural moon
      torn apart and snoozing moon;
      lovely moon, romantic moon
      poor poor moon
      the romance
      plucked out of its drab surface;
      moon moon going wild
      moon moon running away
      from the earth –

      April 24, 2013 at 6:04 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Curious seyedibar about how you feel about this description "I am the light of the world: he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

      Are you saying you have trouble comprehending symbolism?

      April 24, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Jim

      "I am the light of the world: he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

      Wasn't that Galadriels quote in Lord of the Rings? I know some mythical figure said it, guess it doesn't really matter who.

      April 24, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Seyedibar

      I have problems not with people who use symbolism, but with people who accept the symbolism literally.

      April 24, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • Ben

      Yes, the Light of reason and critical thinking will conquer the darkness of superst.ition and religion.

      April 25, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
  11. biggles

    Now ain't that special. Adolf acharya dodo brain can't find nothing to trash the korn man wit. Golly sarge! It only hates reborners that don't play popular music. It might take some criticism if it mocked korn
    I love dodo

    April 22, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • biggles

      Sometimes even I can't get used to how I can predict these useless idiots' moves.

      April 22, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • Science

      Hey biggles ...........................you in denial ?

      April 23, 2013 at 6:51 am |
    • Science

      For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !

      Where do morals come from?

      By Kelly Murray, CNN


      Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

      Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

      Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
      bears his name as the “God particle.”


      Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
      Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \



      Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
      By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...


      April 7th, 2012

      08:32 PM ET

      The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth


      Make sure to read comments

      April 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |

      Breaking News

      NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.


      April 23, 2013 at 8:25 am |
    • Science

      Hey biggles one for the road !

      No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !

      Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

      Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.



      April 23, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
  12. OOO

    It's a very self centerd look at things. Light will win because there is a god out there. (grimace)
    Well, we've only been around for a few million years, and will certainly not be here as long as the dinosaurs were.
    Light is winning out now not because someone up there is pulling for us. It is winning because we, right now, are making it so.

    April 22, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • biggles

      The kingdom of god is within you

      April 26, 2013 at 1:11 am |
  13. lol??

    1Sa 2:9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

    April 22, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • sam stone

      quoting ancient comic books as if they had any relevance is a sign of insanity

      April 22, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  14. clarity

    God is real. Jesus is the answer. Atheism is a delusional form of stupidity and stubbornness.

    April 22, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • sam stone

      jesus was a loudmouth who got whacked by the romans. hardly the first, nor the last. he just happened to have mythology attached to his rotting corpse

      April 22, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      Do you have evidence for any of those statements?

      April 22, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Hans

      "Atheism is a delusional form of stupidity and stubbornness"

      You are not a Christian and you bring shame to Christ.

      James 4:11-12
      Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

      James 1:26
      If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.

      Ephesians 4:31-32
      Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

      April 22, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • oOo

      Ah so the name thief was at it early today. Christians lying for their God once again.

      April 22, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      Which god is real? Your old testament features around 60 different gods. Even the god Jesus worshiped (Yahweh) is not the same god that created the garden of Eden (El). In fact Yahweh was only one of 70 child-gods born from El and Eliat. Though the truth is that not even Yahweh existed. He is the personification of a lineage of Egyptian kings known as the Jacobs that were sent to quell dissent in the mediterranean by spreading the religion of Pharoah ThutMOSES .

      April 23, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  15. mickinmd

    Nice "take" but I think Patton Oswalt [who plays Spencer on King of Queens] said it much more clearly, without all the distracting verbal clutter, when he said to say to anyone doing any kind of evil: "The good outnumber you and we always will."

    April 21, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • lol??

      Did you learn your demobocracy doctrines from Sodom?

      April 22, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  16. Chris L

    A finely written wordwall, but I'm afraid entropy disagrees with you, Ms. Tumminio.

    April 21, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
  17. Pete

    Light will never conquer darkness. That's just reality. Light can only ever seep through the tiniest of gaps in a world of darkness. In REAL life, the bad guys always win; it's a constant struggle on the part of the good.

    April 21, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      a world of darkness? i disagree with you. i do not feel this is a dark world. i tend to believe tht people are generally good. if you feel otherwise, tell me why

      April 21, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Darkness wins, Witness the vast expanses and voids in the universe of nothingness with only a few scant stars and dust scattered loosely about failing towards cold stasis by the work of entropy.

      April 22, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
  18. faith

    me too. i am pretty busted up. never thought for a second god-hating pukes would avoid criticizing a real born again christian. i never saw them as discriminatory, divisive, haters of religious slime. don't know what to do.


    April 21, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • faith

      DODO, HELP ME!

      April 21, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • sam stone

      still on your knees, begging for forgiveness, pen-day-ho?

      April 21, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
  19. bob

    I don't like this article and I'd like to point out that Canada Free Press is reporting that Muslims are celebrating Boston Bombings. Interesting how the American press is in the back pocket of the USA president and the entire Democratic party. That's why this type of story won't show up in the American press down here. Thank you Canada Free Press for having the guts to tell the disturbing but yet important story. We Americans have to be woken up to who we are dealing worth and start keeping a watchful eye on our neighbors of certain descent. Sad but true. Please share this message fellow Americans. God bless all those harmed and the brave police officers who brought this incident to an end. Best wishes to all true Americans. Keep your eyes open for neighbors cooking in pressure cookers ion a heap of cow dung.

    April 21, 2013 at 2:06 am |
    • Science

      It would be NICE......... but
      Maybe they should not have created the wedge !!!
      The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Insti-tute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Insti-tute manifesto known as the Wedge Docu-ment,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to defeat materialism, naturalism, evolution, and "reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic


      Please watch

      The African Rift


      Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

      Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.



      Scientists Find Genes Linked to Human Neurological Disorders in Sea Lamprey Genome



      Facts work .

      April 21, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • Tjt

      I disagree with you comments about the press being a bunch of liberal pansies. Watch Fox news. if you want to hear the neo conservative view point, tune into Hannity.

      April 21, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • Doobs

      @ Russ

      It absolutely matters who wrote the article. He doesn't cite any source for his information. The entire thing is merely his opinion.

      The rest of your post is just your opinion. Your opinion isn't necessarily correct.

      I don't get where you say I dodged anything. You are stating your opinions, and some other minister's opinion, as truth. I just pointed it out. Feel free to blather for another ten paragraphs though.

      April 23, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • Doobs

      Oops, misfire.

      April 23, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
  20. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    And a much more reflective (and less jingoistic) essay on this topic is now posted by Rev. Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio here:

    My Take: Reconsidering a sermon amid SWAT teams


    At this point it will be interesting to see how her sermon actually turns out tomorrow.

    April 20, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • Russ

      @ GOP: sermon? maybe. Christian? i've yet to hear anything particularly Christian from her.

      you're concerned about her preoccupation with American exceptionalism.
      as a Christian, I'm concerned about her rather glaring lack of preoccupation with Christ.

      Here she talks generically about light outshining the dark.
      In the other piece, she doubts if the light is bright enough.
      What is clear: she's not talking about the Light that *already* overcame the ultimate darkness.

      her version of Christianity reminds me of this sad, old ER scene...

      April 20, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • ...

      Yeah, right, Russ, the "No True Scotsman" logic. I get the feeling, based on the posts I've read by you, that you feel you are a far better Christian with a better grasp of the faith than anyone alive. Perhaps you should take her place, since you obviously feel you would be a much better Episcopalian priest than she could ever be.

      April 21, 2013 at 12:55 am |
    • Russ

      @ ...
      no. the "no true scotsman" fallacy assumes a sliding set of criteria.
      the problem for Tumminio is she fails the ORIGINAL set of criteria – as given by Jesus himself.

      per Episcopalians... Dick Lucas would be a much better example.
      as for me – if you've read my posts you should know... i readily admit being a loser who needed someone to die for me.

      April 21, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • Doobs

      "no. the "no true scotsman" fallacy assumes a sliding set of criteria."

      No, it doesn't. What you are doing is moving the goalposts.

      "the problem for Tumminio is she fails the ORIGINAL set of criteria – as given by Jesus himself."

      Are you saying that you know her personally and have discussed her religious experience with her? If not, you don't know squat about what criteria she has met or failed.You only have your opinion, based on what you read here. Pretty arrogant of you to assume you're in a position to speak as to her relationship with Jeebus or lack thereof based on a short blog piece.

      April 21, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Doobs:

      1) let's walk down this 'no true Scotsman' issue. by your reckoning, i'm "moving the goalposts" by appealing to the ORIGINAL definition... but that allows for NO actual Scotsman at all. think about it: what makes a actual Scotsman? DNA? being a citizen of Scotland? You are saying "no, you can't appeal to that." so there's no real definition of a Scotsman... ever? it's as if you were saying Apple can't define what makes an Apple product – when they are the ones who *originally defined* it. Who, then – if anyone – can actually define anything? your position is irrational.

      it's not "moving the goalposts" to appeal to the ORIGINAL definition. that's why there are ACTUAL Scotsmen. the fallacy is moving the definition. In this instance, I'm appealing to the origin / the manufacturer / etc. Your objection does not allow for ANY definition at all, which – while maybe convenient for your position on religion – when applied across various topics is utterly useless & irrational.

      2) you are correct that I overstepped my bounds in being able to speak on her personal convictions. she did actually articulate a somewhat biblical formulation of the atonement in her piece on Harry Potter:

      but that just begs the question: why not here? why not now? is Harry Potter a more pressing situation than terrorism?

      my initial point holds. in the face of great evil, Christians talk about our greatest hope... namely Jesus (not just his ethics, but his life, death & resurrection... he did what we can't... he overcame where we fail... etc.). why is that consistently lacking in her response to Boston's bombing? She can talk about Jesus with fictional literature, but not in the face of terrorism?

      tragedies most readily draw out your primary belief. the notion that one day 'the light will outshine the darkness' is not uniquely Christian (for example, Muslims also believe that but mean something very different by it) – and yet she cites that as her reason for being a Christian. that's what i'm pushing against. that's what echoes the ER scene above. fluffy generalizations in the face of crisis.

      some people think when a crisis hits we are least ourselves, but more often the opposite is true: it is most revealing. if you're carrying a cup of water & someone bumps your arm, causing you to spill the water – what comes out? now, you can blame somebody else for bumping your arm, but whatever came out was already in the cup. terrorism is more than an arm bump... what's coming out in response?

      Tumminio had TWO pieces in a few days on a 'belief' blog to respond to this crisis... but no mention of Jesus? where is her main hope? (generic light over dark? no cross? no resurrection? no Jesus?!) And note well: she's telling us what she was planning to tell her *congregation.* it's worse than bringing a knife to a gun fight... it's having the Good News that overcomes evil and choosing not to speak of it. why?

      April 22, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Doobs

      @ Russ

      1) Take a logic class. You're just trying to baffle with bullshit.

      2) You admit that you made assumptions about her beliefs and stated them as fact. The rest of your post is merely more hogwash trying to justify it.

      April 22, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Russ

      @ Doobs:

      1) for lack of substantive reply, hurl an insult.
      go read the definition of the fallacy. it's an "unreasoned assertion." i'm not pulling a definition from the air. i'm appealing to the origin of the definition.

      2) again, for lack of a substantive reply...
      the point holds. she claims to be a minister of Christ... so where is Jesus?

      April 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Doobs


      1) It's not an insult to point out someone's attempt to obfuscate things by going off on tangents that aren't applicable.

      2) See #1.

      April 22, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Doobs: illogical appeals to logic don't trump logic.

      here, let me help you...
      NOTE WELL: "how is this fallacious? It isn’t! Only when set (Y) is not demonstrated to be nonintersecting to (X) does the expression become a fallacy."

      April 23, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Doobs


      Thanks for the link, that was entertaining. Pastor Thomas Shirk, christian apologist and pastor of Calvary Bible Church in Boulder, CO, wrote a page about the NTS fallacy, big fackin' whoop de do. I haven't read such a confused, poorly researched POS since the last time Austin posted.

      If I am interpreting your comments correctly, you have a beef with the blog author because she doesn't mention Jesus often enough for your satisfaction. From this, you conclude that she is a poor minister, and a poor christian. You use your own standards of what a christian should be like, which is where NTS fits in. That is your opinion, and you are entitled to it. But it's only your opinion, and your opinion is not necessarily correct.

      If I could present another point for you to consider, she may have deliberately chosen to deliver her message in words that were rather nondenominational. She may have referred to "light" and "dark" because those are images that most people can relate to, regardless of belief in one or more deities, or non belief as well. It could be that she felt, as a minister, that her responsibility was to offer comfort to everyone, not just christians. Since not all faiths follow Jesus, a public blog about him would offer no comfort to them. Her sermons to her own congregation may be very different.

      I know that you feel this is soft balling it, again, you have a right to your opinion. I don't really care one way or the other, I see no reason to believe in deities at all.

      April 23, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Science

      Hey Russ can you read ?.............................. take awhile and learn something !

      ... you might want to check where your head is at !

      Unusual Anal Fin Offers New Insight Into Evolution

      Apr. 10, 2013 — An unusual fossil fish that has fins behind its anus


      Adam and Eve does not work !

      April 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Doobs:

      1) who wrote the piece is immaterial. the logic holds. your appeal to the "no true Scotsman" fallacy is mistaken. can you not own that? i appealed to the ORIGINAL criterion. it's illogical to claim there is no basis there.

      the example he gave echoes my earlier point about DNA/citizenship...

      Suppose, instead of the quibbling over their tea, the story went like thus:
      Boris Ivanovich and Scotty McDougal are drinking tea while at a UN meeting in Brussels. Boris, a big fan of “Braveheart” finds out during their conversation that Scotty is a Scotsman.
      “I too,” exclaims Boris, “I’m a Scotsman!”
      “Are you from Scotland?” Scotty asks, “Or your parents perhaps?”
      “No, no of course not,” answers Boris, “I and my entire ancestry are from Russia!”
      “Well then,” Scotty quips, “You are no TRUE Scotsman, then!”
      Scotty in this case would not be committing a fallacy: since the word “Scotsman” is a racial/ethnic label referring to those born, or with ancestry, in Scotland. Since Boris, born of Russian parents in Russia, does not meet these criteria, he is in fact not a Scotsman, no matter how big a Mel Gibson fan he is.

      2) along those same lines (and I think this is the primary thing you continue to miss), being a Christian is not merely a subjective category. I am not appealing to a random set of ideas I myself created. I'm appealing to the basic tenets of the Christian faith – as clearly presented for almost 2000 years. with over 2 billion of us, we may disagree on a lot – but we all agree on certain basics (that are intrinsic to the faith and have been for millennia)... for example, read the Apostles' Creed.

      a) it's not that she doesn't mention Christ enough. She doesn't mention him AT ALL.

      b) she was willing to mention Christ in regard to Harry Potter. is this somehow less important?

      c) if her 'intended audience' is the issue... is the Huffington Post less diverse than CNN? somehow more receptive to Christianity? She's willing to talk about Jesus there, but not here?

      d) you assume comfort comes in an inspirational thought of life overcoming dark. that's where you are reading the discussion through your own lens. since you see no difference between various religions, you don't understand the uniqueness of what Christians believe Christ is offering in the cross & resurrection. this is not a "well, God'll just take care of it one day if you're good enough" inspirational thought. that fits a works-based religiosity – which is essentially the thing that made Jesus most angry over & over again. the whole point of the faith is that Jesus uniquely does what no one else can or does. that's the Light that overcomes (Jn.8-9).

      SUM: i fully expect more of your dodging here, but i think Tumminio (at whom I aimed the thought in the first place) will understand well enough. as a Christian, the calling is not to extend a false or merely 'inspirational' comfort to people on their way to Hell. Christ called us to give the Truth (him) to the world. you can disagree with Christianity, but – again – Christ was rather blunt about that (Mt.28:19-20; Acts 1:8; etc.). Our hope is not in what we do – but in what he did. Pointing people to a false comfort by (at best) purposefully equivocating is not loving them. It's deluding them.

      April 23, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Science: your ongoing attempt to explain away religion via science fails to understand one basic criticism... (which, as the video below references, your *fellow atheists* are advancing against your argument here)

      this appears to be your line of thought... so think it out...
      why do so many people on the planet believe in something supernatural? 'they were just programmed that way'
      why do so many people on the planet believe in a transcendent morality? 'they were just programmed that way'
      why do you believe in evolution? ...
      as the New Republic points out: your critique fails because it undoes YOUR OWN POSITION. (roughly 2:15 mark below)


      Evolution and/or science is not an answer to metaphysics. it *presupposes* metaphysics. to claim science somehow eliminates metaphysics is to fail to understand the difference between science (a *human* [& thus philosophically subjective] discipline of observation) and scientism (putting objective faith in science).

      along those lines...

      April 23, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Doobs

      @ Russ

      It absolutely matters who wrote the article. He doesn't cite any source for his information. The entire thing is merely his opinion.

      The rest of your post is just your opinion. Your opinion isn't necessarily correct.

      I don't get where you say I dodged anything. You are stating your opinions, and some other minister's opinion, as truth. I just pointed it out. Feel free to blather for another ten paragraphs though.

      April 23, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • Austin

      Doobs, I have evidence, and personal data that God is sovereign.

      April 24, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • Russ

      @ Doobs: yet again, you avoid any substantive interaction. you mock the length of my response instead of even choosing ONE thing to interact with. one or two times, maybe that's a coincidence. but it is clear now, that is your mode of operating. that's dodging.

      so to be blunt & expose *your* fallacy: what – if anything – actually does make one a Scotsman?

      April 24, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Doobs

      @ Russ

      I pointed out that the article you linked to is pure conjecture and only one man's opinion. He cites no other person's published work in logic to back up his assertions. His examples are ridiculous and don't even apply to the argument. That is substantive enough to discredit his article as merely opinion.

      So to be blunt and expose "your" fallacy, Do you apply the same criteria to determine one's ancestry as you do to one's faith? In other words, while genetics or citizenship can define a Scotsman, how does that apply to christians? Is a christian defined by genetics and/or nationality?

      One's nationality and genetic heritage can be definitively easily proved.

      Just to be clear, when I refer to genetics, I mean DNA, something that has been proven to exist and pass on genetic information. I do not mean "inherited sin" from Adam, as that is merely a belief and has nothing to do with genetics.

      April 27, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • Doobs

      @ Austin

      No, you don't have evidence of god. You have dreams. You choose to interpret them as evidence of god.

      Dreams about dead cats and above ground swimming pools do not prove god. No matter how real you think it is, it's not. It's just your brain sifting through and categorizing your daily thoughts and experiences while you sleep.

      April 27, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • Science

      Evening Doobs................Russ won't get this but ......... a child could !


      From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life


      Trolling away is chad /rachael

      April 27, 2013 at 7:44 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.