When religious beliefs become evil: 4 signs
The Branch Davidians, a religious sect led by David Koresh, clashed with federal agents in 1993 in Waco, Texas.
April 28th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

When religious beliefs become evil: 4 signs

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - An angry outburst at a mosque. The posting of a suspicious YouTube video. A friendship with a shadowy imam.

Those were just some of the signs that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, accused of masterminding the Boston Marathon bombings, had adopted a virulent strain of Islam that led to the deaths of four people and injury of more than 260.

But how else can you tell that someone’s religious beliefs have crossed the line? The answer may not be as simple you think, according to scholars who study all brands of religious extremism. The line between good and evil religion is thin, they say, and it’s easy to make self-righteous assumptions.

“When it’s something we like, we say it’s commitment to an idea; when it’s something we don’t like, we say it’s blind obedience,” said Douglas Jacobsen, a theology professor at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

Yet there are ways to tell that a person’s faith has drifted into fanaticism if you know what to look and listen for, say scholars who have studied some of history’s most horrific cases of religious violence.

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“There are a lot of warning signs all around us, but we usually learn about them after a Jim Jones or a David Koresh,” said Charles Kimball, author of “When Religion Becomes Evil.”

Here are four warning signs:

1. I know the truth, and you don’t.

On the morning of July 29, 1994, the Rev. Paul Hill walked up to John Britton outside an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida, and shot the doctor to death. Hill was part of a Christian extremist group called the Army of God, which taught that abortion was legalized murder.

Hill’s actions were motivated by a claim that virtually all religions espouse: We have the truth that others lack.

Those claims can turn deadly when they become absolute and there is no room for interpretation, Kimball says.

“Absolute claims can quickly move into a justification of violence against someone who rejects that claim,” Kimball said. “It’s often a short step.”

Healthy religions acknowledge that sincere people can disagree about even basic truths, Kimball says.

The history of religion is filled with examples of truths that were once considered beyond questioning but are no longer accepted by all followers: inerrancy of sacred scripture, for example, or the subjugation of women and sanctioning of slavery.

If someone like Hall believes that they know God’s truth and they cannot be wrong, watch out, Kimball says.

“Authentic religious truth claims are never as inflexible as zealous adherents insist,” he writes in “When Religion Becomes Evil.”

Yet there’s a flip side to warnings about claiming absolute truth: Much of religion couldn’t exist without them, scholars say.

Many of history’s greatest religious figures – Moses, Jesus, the Prophet Mohammed – all believed that they had discovered some truth, scholars say.

Ordinary people inflamed with a sense of self-righteousness have made the same claim and done good throughout history, says Carl Raschke, a theology professor at the University of Denver in Colorado.

The Protestant Reformation was sparked by an angry German monk who thought he had the truth, Raschke says.

“Martin Luther’s disgust at the worldliness of the papacy in the early 1500s inspired him to become a radical revolutionary whose ideas overturned the entire political structure in Europe,” Raschke said.

So how do you tell the difference between the healthy claims of absolute truth and the deadly? Scholars say to look at the results: When people start hurting others in the name of their religious truth, they’ve crossed the line.

2. Beware the charismatic leader.

It was one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in Japanese history. In March 1995, a religious sect called Aum Shinrikyo released a deadly nerve gas in a Tokyo subway station, leaving 12 people dead and 5,000 injured.

Two months later, Japanese police found Shoko Asahara, the sect’s founder, hiding in a room filled with cash and gold bars. Kimball, who tells the story of the sect in “When Religion Becomes Evil,” says Asahara had poisoned the minds of his followers years before.

Asahara demanded unquestioned devotion from members of his sect and isolated followers in communities where they were told that they no longer needed to think for themselves, Kimball says.

Any religion that limits the intellectual freedom of its followers, he says, has become dangerous. “When you start to get individuals who are the sole interpreters of truth, you get people who follow them blindly."

Charismatic leaders, though, often don’t start off being cruel. Jim Jones, who led the mass suicide of his followers in South America, was a gifted speaker who built an interracial church in San Francisco that did much good in the community. Few people at the beginning of his ministry could predict what he would become.

As time went on, though, his charisma turned cruel as he tolerated no questions to his authority and became delusional.

“Charismatic leadership is important, but in healthy religions, there’s always a process where questions are encouraged,” Kimball said.

Weaning followers away from corrupt charismatic leaders and bad religion can take years, but it can be done if one knows how to speak their language, says Ed Husain, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt will often deploy imams to reach out to young men in prison who have adopted “Islamism,” or extreme forms of Islam sanctioning violence against civilians, says Husain, who has written about Muslim extremism.

These Muslim clerics know the Quran better than the extremists and can use their knowledge to reach extremists in a place that logic and outsiders cannot penetrate, Husain said.

“The antidote to extremism is religion itself,” Husain said. “The problem is not to take Islam out of the debate but to use Islam to counter Islamism.”

3. The end is near.

In 1970, an unknown pastor from Texas wrote a book called “The Late, Great Planet Earth.” The book, which linked biblical prophecy with political events like Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, predicted the imminent return of an antichrist and the end of the world.

Author Hal Lindsey’s book has sold an estimated 15 million copies and spawned a genre of books like the “Left Behind” series. Many people are fascinated by the idea that the heavens will open soon because the end is near.

That end-times theology can turn lethal, though, when a follower decides that he or she will speed up that end-time by conducting some dramatic or violent act, says John Alverson, chairman of the theology department at Carlow University in Pittsburgh.

“A religious terrorist mistakenly believes that God has ordained or called him or her to establish the will of God on Earth now, not gradually and not according to the slow and finicky free will of other humans,” Alverson said.

Yet this impulse to see God’s intervention in human affairs now and not in some distant future can also be good, he says.

There are vibrant religious communities that teach that political and economic injustice must be addressed now. Liberation theology, for example, was a movement among pastors and theologians in Latin America that called for justice for the poor now, not in some future apocalyptic event, Alverson says.

“Hope is a good breakfast but not much of a supper,” Alverson said. “We can’t just live on the hope that justice will happen; we have to actually experience justice from time to time so that our hope can continue.”

4. The end justifies the means.

It was one of the biggest scandals the Roman Catholic Church ever faced, and the repercussions are still being felt today.

In January 2002, the Boston Globe published a story about Father John Geoghan, a priest who had been moved around various parishes after Catholic leaders learned that he had abused children. It was later revealed that Catholic officials had quietly paid at least $10 million to settle lawsuits against Geoghan.

Kimball says the Catholic scandal revealed another sign that a faith has turned toxic: Religious figures start justifying doing something wrong for a higher good.

 “The common theme was trying to protect the integrity of the church,” Kimball said of some Catholic leaders who covered up the crimes. “You get all of these rationalizations that we can’t let this scandal bring the whole church down, so we have to pay off this family and send the priests off to rehab.”

Religion is supposed to be a force for good. Still, it’s common that everyone from suicide bombers to venal church figures finds ways to justify their behavior in the name of some higher good.

Those rationalizations are so pervasive that religious movements that avoid them stand out, scholars say.

Jacobsen, the theology professor from Messiah College, cited the civil rights movement. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his fellow activists renounced violence, even as they were attacked and sometimes murdered.

“They were willing to lay down their lives for what they believed in, but what’s incredible is, they practiced not retaliating when they suffered violence,” he said. “Those people really believed that God created everyone equal, and they were committed to the point of death.”

In some ways, it’s easy to say we would never adopt a form of religion that’s evil. But when we use the word “evil” to describe those who kill in the name of their faith, we’re already mimicking what we condemn, Jacobsen says.

In his new book, “No Longer Invisible: Religion in University Education,” Jacobson writes that calling a religion evil is dangerous because “bad or wrong actions can be corrected, but typically evil needs to be destroyed.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

“To label someone or something as evil is to demonize it, putting it in a category of otherness where the rules of normal life do not apply, where the end often justifies almost any means,” Jacobson writes.

And when we do that, we don’t have to read about radical imams or look at angry YouTube videos to see how easy it is for someone to drift toward religious extremism, he says.

We need only look at ourselves.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Books • Catholic Church • Christianity • Courts • Culture wars • Egypt • Fundamentalism • History • Islam • Jesus • Leaders • Moses • Muslim • Quran

soundoff (3,810 Responses)
  1. jim

    I donate to charities. I help people that are in need or less fortunate. I volunteer in my community. I love my family, my wife and my son. I am not religious. I do not need religion to live my life happy and properous to others. I don't bash other religions, but please don't wave your religion in my face everyday.

    April 29, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  2. derp

    "Hill’s actions were motivated by a claim that virtually all religions espouse: We have the truth that others lack"

    Welcome to religion.

    April 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Just look at Chardo. He believes he can define words to mean whatever he wants and that his definitions will make him the bearer of all truth.

      April 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • faith

      the nazis believed like atheists. kill em all. it's just tissue

      April 29, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • CosmicC

      Sorry, but Nazis believed they were Christian.

      April 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Orlando

      Yeah, Christians always like to pretend that Hitler wasn't one of them.

      April 29, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      Unless you're the Kim family. Then all you need is a manefesto and a smile.

      April 29, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  3. Punchmaster

    The day that humanity evolves psychologically past the need for fairy tales to explain all the things that confuse, frustrate, and scare the masses will be a cause for celebration, indeed.......IF, of course, we make that far, in spite of religion.

    April 29, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  4. Science

    ... the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

    Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

    Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.


    No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

    Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

    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 29, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • DrJStrangepork

      Science! Yay! now explain it where religious people will believe it... ha, you can't. See, science can't do everything.

      April 29, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  5. Brittney

    Dear John Blake,
    Your april 26 edition of When religiouse belifes become evil was very good. I very much enjoyed this piece on religious beliefs. I aspscially liked when you said Religion is supposed to be a force for good. Still, it’s common that everyone from suicide bombers to venal church figures finds ways to justify their behavior in the name of some higher good. As a person of strong religious belief I am often trying to justifying the things i do or say to others who do not share in my same faith.

    I enjoyed how you looked at looking to a high leader in religion can be seen as a scary and bad thing. I like to see how people view many peoples beliefs from an outside view.

    April 29, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
  6. Daniel

    Sign 1: You would kill another human based on what your invisible man in the sky says, or rather what some other human told you was translated as the invisible man in the skys words. Better get that translation right if you are going to go shoot someone over it...

    Sign 2: You would rather close your eyes, bow your head and wish everything was the way you want it instead of opening your eyes, observing the real world, engaging others in debate about real world problems while searching for real world sollutions.

    Sign 3: You have never thought about the odds that you just happened to be born in the right place to the right parents to raise you in the only true religion on the planet even though there are thousands of faiths all over the planet. Just lucky I guess...

    Sign 4: To doubt any part of your faith is considered a failure on your part and thus you work as hard as possible training yourself to not look down because ultimately you fear being the cartoon character standing upon thin air that takes one glance at their faith and plummets to the bottom of the gorge...

    April 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • ph


      April 29, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      You realize you can both pray and take action right?

      April 29, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • mk

      Well said.

      April 29, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • David

      "You realize you can both pray and take action right?"

      Is that like wearing your lucky socks out fishing so you catch the big one? I'm pretty sure it's the action of fishing that catches the fish, not the good luck charm you brought along because of that one time 10 years ago when you caught a whopper and you havn't washed the socks since...

      Yes, you can bring along the good luck charm, but why spend that extra time fretting about having them with you when you could just go fishing? Yes, you can pray for action to be taken in making the world a better place to live, but why spend any extra time that could be spent actually making this a better place to live?

      April 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      In terms of luck charms, if you believe in any bring them. Luck or not that belief can lead to better physical/mental performance in that task. The same goes for sport teams who use mantras before a game. People often pray that their endeavors succeed, not for divine intervention to complete them. If a prayer make someone calmer and more focused on their task, that's reason enough alone for it.

      April 29, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Timothy

      "People often pray that their endeavors succeed, not for divine intervention to complete them. If a prayer make someone calmer and more focused on their task, that's reason enough alone for it."

      If a prayer isn't to get in touch with the divine and is just you having a pep talk in your head then it's called meditation, not prayer.

      April 29, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • SImran

      Good points Daniel.

      Now about calming the mind and getting better results (aka Prayer or really meditation), there is no evidence yet that prayer really changes much. But there is abundant scientific evidence that meditation and other biofeedback strategies including yoga do achieve the desired goals.



      April 29, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • SImran

      Dr. Herbert Benson, founder of the Mind-Body Medical Inst.itute, which is affiliated with Harvard University and several Boston hospitals, reports that meditation induces a host of biochemical and physical changes in the body collectively referred to as the "relaxation response".[18] The relaxation response includes changes in metabolism, heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and brain chemistry. Benson and his team have also done clinical studies at Buddhist monasteries in the Himalayan Mountains.[19]

      According to a March 2006 article in the "Psychological Bulletin", EEG activity begins to slow as a result of the practice of meditation.[21] The human nervous system is composed of a parasympathetic system, which works to regulate heart rate, breathing and other involuntary motor functions, and a sympathetic system, which arouses the body, preparing it for vigorous activity. The National Insti.tutes of Health (NIH) has written, "It is thought that some types of meditation might work by reducing activity in the sympathetic nervous system and increasing activity in the parasympathetic nervous system," or equivalently, that meditation produces a reduction in arousal and increase in relaxation.

      April 29, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  7. zaphed

    no religion is lots better.

    April 29, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  8. Thinking For Yourself

    It is not just religion, but the extreme form of every ideology that has the potential for evil. Capitalism in its extreme form fosters greed and corruption, socialism in its extreme form (communism) fosters oprression, both conservatism and libralism in their extreme forms also foster hate, intolerance and oppression etc. In a nut shell, ideas can be good, but ideas can also be bad. All ideas should be embraced with caution!

    April 29, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      True and when people forget this, they start following those 4 signs. I mean most of the threads on this board were written with rule one.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  9. Poltergiest

    Give me a bible. I'll give you some fanatics in return.

    Give me a manifesto. And I can get you some more.

    Even better toss me a consti.tution. I can get them in patriot style.

    Finally if you give me a soccer team I can destroy city blocks for you... Using fanatics.

    April 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      That is pretty deep .....

      What do you get when you add .... "It's for the children"?

      April 29, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  10. ezra

    The new religion is atheism! You can do as you please with no regard to morals or traditions. If you want to become a pervert so be it. If you want polygamy so be it....if you do not desire a monogamous relationship with your wives so be it....sooner or later only a handful will decide your God given rights but those rights will not be God given and soon fleeting.

    April 29, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • OOO

      Don't be so afraid, Ezra. You probably don't even know an athiest (I say this based upon you post filled with misconceptions).

      April 29, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • JJ

      Have you heard about the new hobby craze that's sweepting the nation? It's not collecting stamps. We nver meet or anything but it's loads of fun!

      April 29, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • sam stone

      gosh, ezra...you so nailed us. we have no morality.....

      pull your head out of your rectum, punk

      April 29, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • ezra

      Really? Misconceptions? Bless your heart.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • adibese

      Ohhh Kay. Paranoid much?

      April 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • sam

      "The new hobby is to not collect stamps!"

      That's how much sense you make, ezra. Go home before you hurt yourself.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • zaphed

      amen to atheism.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • CosmicC

      I find most atheists are good, moral people. I also find that most religious people are good, moral people. Do you need to either fear some supernatural punishment or be working for some eternal reward to be good and moral? If so, I would argue that you really aren't good and moral, rather, I'd argue that you adopt those behaviors out of selfish reasons. Atheists do not have those selfish motives and yet still manage to live a good life.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      ezra. They were being polite – ignorance is a better description of your condition.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Abraham

      Please don't feed the trolls.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • not flying

      Ezra, your response on this topic shows exactly what the problem is. You want people to conform to your own belief and use sin as an argument. Sin is practiced by all, and it is especially practiced by a bunch of religious extremists that judge others and in some cases want to kill them. For you to stick up for such an idea shows your ignorance and agenda. Thanks for showing that.

      April 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Atheist

      I don't know about you but I love magnanimous relationships...

      April 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • mk

      What scares and confuses you, ezra, is that people can be good without the threat of eternal damnation from an "all-loving" god. Gasp! Do you not know how to behave unless you have that list of ten rules or a church or a priest to tell you, ezra? How about using good old human COMMON SENSE?

      April 29, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
  11. Wootings

    "When religious beliefs become evil: 4 signs"

    1. You're religious.
    2. You're religious.
    3. You're religious.
    4. You're religious.

    April 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • ezra

      Atheism is a religion so you too are evil....hmmm.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      woot woot

      April 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • .

      Atheism isn't a religion, ezra. Stop trying to make it into one.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Apparently, Chardo agrees with you that atheism is not, indeed, a religion. That is, when it suits him to say so.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Brucholic

      Ezra- How is it a religion? Your claims will fail in the face of scrutiny.

      April 29, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
  12. Tom

    Why is it when we have a Tim Mcveigh or Eric Rudolph the immediate reaction from Americans is "These guys must be crazy! Even though they say they were motivated by their Christian faith we know these guys are just nut jobs!" but as soon as we have a bomb go off and it's an American Muslim everyone blames the Islam community as a whole saying "It's these Muslims we have to watch out for! It's the religion, not that these kid;s went crazy or anything and were hyper-radicalized. Down with Islam!"

    April 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • CosmicC

      Ignorance + fear = bigotry.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • DrJStrangepork

      I think it has something to do with the mouthpieces blaring this stuff out. I would characterize anyone that perpetrates violence on others in the name of any ideology is outside of sane (or crazy).
      The article points out that the line is when you hurt others. No religion is of itself bad, but if the tenets include oppression or violence towards any other living creature, then you have a great indicator that religion shouldn't be engaged in.

      April 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  13. Cheetahe

    Have you guys forgotten about the 9/11 Islamists? and their financiers? the fanatic Wahhabis who are the guardians of the Muslim holy places in Mecca and Medina.
    All of your philosophizing here and by CNN about the different religious deviants will not eliminate the danger to the citizens of this country and the world from the terrorist acts of the followers of the Islamist cult of Wahabiism. They have perpetrated and perpetrating the majority of the terrorist acts all over the world, USA, Europe, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Indonesia, Philippines, Russia etc.
    One of these days a WMD will be unleashed in a major populated area by these nut cases and in response this will trigger a war with unintended consequences.

    April 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      And it's probably going to be done by some whacko from the WBC or some other right wing nutjob xtian.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  14. Rosstrex

    Oh SO Islamic Terror is occurring regularly (daily) all over the globe. What does CNN do? Write articles that vilify Christianity.

    CNN you are an Islamist Propaganda Machine.

    April 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • DavidTX

      How does it feel to be an ignorant American? At least you're not alone, right?

      April 29, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Rosstrex

      David, You offer nothing to enlighten me. So please as you know so much enlighten us about Islamic Terrorism and how it is comparable to Buddhist Terrorism, Christian Terrorism, Hindu Terrorism, Atheist Terrorism and all of the other Terror that appears everywhere with the regularity that Islamic Terror occurs.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      You dont need a CNN article to vilify xtianity. Just read the big book of multiple choice and you'll see it all there.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • faith

      of course.

      and they block perfectly good posts of christians. they delete scripture.

      and post unintelligible babble and violent threats by sambo

      report sambo, tom the moron to the ADL

      April 29, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • DavidTX

      "David, You offer nothing to enlighten me."

      Just read anythig other that a News Corp article and turn off Fox, it's amazing how enlightened you will become from just those two simple steps.

      April 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • sam

      Where on the persecution scale are you feeling yourself today?

      April 29, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • CosmicC

      Islam has been around for 1300 years. When Christianity was 1300 years old Christians were burning non-believers at the stake.

      April 29, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  15. faith

    the truth is available to all. no one noes truth perfectly, thoroughly (except dodo and company) but we can recognize it.

    April 29, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • CosmicC

      If I don't accept your truth? Who is to say who is right? Your scripture? Maybe your truth is not really a truth.

      April 29, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
  16. Pete

    When religious beliefs become "evil"? The koran and bible mention killing the non-believer numerous times. How does religion 'become' evil? It is evil.

    April 29, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • ECassious2


      Where does this occur in the bible?

      April 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • faith

      take heed, moron

      April 29, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • .

      Deuteronomy. How dumb, ECassious.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Kim Hayden


      April 29, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  17. Andrew

    Good (?) religion: "I know that you don't believe the same things I believe because you were raised differently than I was, maybe even in a different country which largely practices a different religion than mine, but it still makes me sad because you will therefore not experience my god's love and will spend eternity in torment. Oh well, it's your choice."

    Evil religion: "What?! You don't believe the same things I do?! I just can't comprehend why someone would reject my god's love! If I had my way heretics like you would be wiped off the face of the earth so you don't corrupt the rest of us, especially our children, and god would sure be pleased with us for doing it! But I'll console myself that in the end god will give you what you deserve as you spend eternity in unending hellfire."

    Hey, religious people: See the difference? You know both types–which do you want to be associated with? The haters portray themselves as just having super-strong faith, but they are really just haters. Reject their hate.

    April 29, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • sam

      The 'good' version is still pretty obnoxious.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      Lol most say whatever, and then go about their lives. Mole hill meet mountain.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Franklin

      Andrew: I especially like your point about the haters portraying themselves as super faithful. Unfortunately, it works on the average believer; they don't speak out against the haters because they think it will make their faith look comparatively weak.

      April 29, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Orlando

      It's the same tactic used by extremists of all sorts. "You don't believe the same thing as I do because you're not as faithful/patriotic/accepting/etc. as I am."

      April 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Pat

      Finally some sanity. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

      April 29, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  18. Abrar Sattar

    Their is no "virulent strain of Islam". Not sure what the author means by this comment. Nowhere in any version of Islam is it allowed to harm innocent people in the street the way it was done in Boston.


    April 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Rev. Tim Lovejoy

      And so, only two of the Commandments are real, and the other eight are just filler.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Saraswati

      What would you call these people then who claim that Islam is their driving force? It's all to convenient to exclude these nuts when they become undesirable, but sociologically they will always be grouped with their closest overarching ideology. These guys with Islam, abortion bombers with Christianity and monks setting themselves on fire with Buddhism. Each group just needs to suck it up and deal with the problems within their own groups.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • sam

      People of every faith find it very handy to say "well, they weren't a REAL follower of my faith" anytime one of them goes crackers. It's so convenient!

      April 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Reality

      What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers, Flight 93 and the Pentagon?

      And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

      The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means.

      Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

      Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

      Until then, no Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

      Some of the passages that cause Islamic terrorists to justify their actions in the name of Allah:

      o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
      "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

      "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

      "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

      "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)

      "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

      "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

      "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

      "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

      "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

      "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

      "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

      "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

      "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

      "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)

      April 29, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  19. faith

    "The real Tom
    Because ANY religion has the potential to inspire violence and extremism, Chardo. What is so difficult for you to grasp? And stop already trying to pretend that Jim Jones didn't believe in a god. He did: himself. Sometimes you appear to have the same blindness."

    like atheism. so, just ask tom moron, sambo stonebo, observer, el qakira, dorothy.

    April 29, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • faith

      noed the truth. so, like atheists noed thar ain't no god

      April 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Rev. Tim Lovejoy

      Y'ever sat down and read this thing? Technically we're not supposed to go to the bathroom.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Atheism isn't a religion, honey. No matter how much you wish it were, it isn't. Stupidity, however, must be, and you're a prime example of a disciple.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • sam

      Boring troll with too much free time.....

      April 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  20. Poltergiest

    1. Kim: The communist revolution will lead us to the future.

    2. Citizens: we love Kim. He saved us all, Oh dear leader, I'm yours!

    3. Kim: We must stop American aggression into our country. Thy want to destroy the Korean people!

    4. Kim: Listen to my demands or I'm going to start nuking your friends.

    Why is it when Athiest do these things we always end up with a nation leading us to the precipice of a nuclear holocaust?

    April 29, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Rev. Tim Lovejoy

      I'd like you to remember Matthew 7:26. "The foolish man who built his house upon the sand.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • I Am God

      Why do fools like you not understand the difference between Communism and Atheism? Kim is doing his stupidity because of politics not because of Atheism. People like you are definitely uneducated.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      But the leader is. He managed to do the exact thing cult leaders do with far more success and not a single religious text.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      Plus at the end of the day he had nukes to show for it. No way I could do that with a collection plate.

      April 29, 2013 at 1:34 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.