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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. Neal Dakota

    http://goingtodamasc.us/why-the-marriage-debate-has-already-destroyed-us/

    May 6, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  2. Science

    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
    convictions.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

    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.

    http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscripts.htm

    May 6, 2013 at 7:15 am |
    • Science

      Backfill !
      ey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

      The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

      The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

      Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

      The fact...............the earth is to old ...........time to EVOLVE !..................Creationists...........ID believers and christians !

      Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

      Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

      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
      convictions.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

      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.

      http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscripts.htm

      Education works for children

      Where do morals come from?.............the answer is not the bible read and find out !

      By Kelly Murray, CNN

      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/12/where-do-morals-come-from/#comments

      Gravity is not up for debate ! ............E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas..........that do not lie or sin !!!...

      Peace.......

      May 6, 2013 at 8:23 am |
  3. Kindness

    kindness
    This is my experience… Thank you.

    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    I Accepted Jesus christ as my lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth….

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it …..but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else….. Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also… much the world arranges “surrounding dark matter into something to be debated” in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don’t know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently…. most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners. Even once we are saved by christs merciful grace we will still experience adversity to mold us to adhering to the truth.
    We will slip… But not fall of the ship …carrying us onward to perfection in christs grace.

    We don’t like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. “Follow me”.
    It’s the hardest thing to do… but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)… as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth…
    do we do what it says in todays society… is it relevant… so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from some other person…which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ….in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life….. You will be forgotten…. history will repeat iteslf…. the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed….. your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated….. your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix… Repent…. Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are” in” the world but not “of ” the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence….. Faith ….above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament… You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ….see and hear truth … see how christ sets an example … feel the truth….

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read romans or corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don’t get what you want ….you get what you are by faith above reason in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. …your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour…. can’t explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You’re all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I’ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don’t wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It’s just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved
    Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,
    And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
    The, looking in, I saw upon the floor
    Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
    “How many anvils have you had,” said I,
    “To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
    “Just one,” said he, and then with twinkling eye,
    “The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
    And so, thought I, the anvil of God’s Word,
    For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
    Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
    The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone.

    May 6, 2013 at 1:08 am |
  4. Super Catholic

    If I was a moslem I would absolutely support al qaeda. But I'm a Catholic. So I buy Xmas seals instead.

    May 5, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
  5. Ed

    I would add that things take a decidedly evil turn when followers start believing that God takes an inordinate interest in routine day-to-day life activities like grooming and style of dress. The Taliban are famous for executing barbers who trim beards too short (God / Allah really cares about how long your beard is?). Some offshoots of the Mormon movement believe women should all dress in frumpy looking dresses presumably designed in the mid-late 1800s. Evangelicals get all worked up about short skirts and low necklines. Hasidic Jews seem to think you can't get to the promised land if you cut your sideburns or don't wear one of those odd black hats (or maybe that's just so the Rabbi can spot you in a crowd and make sure you don't disobey some other religious law or flirt with non-Jewish women.) Sikhs wear turbans, and devout Afghan Muslim women wear Burkas, all because they think God wants them to. Get over it folks. God doesn't care which shoe you put on first, or whether or not you wear a tie to church, how long your beard is, nor whether or not your women wear pants suits. He gave us all free will to make those sort of decisions ourselves, without some holy man telling us what to do.

    Another clue...religions can get nasty when they believe they have a needy, insecure God that requires constant praise from the flock.

    May 5, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  6. william

    Every "religion" on earth violates all 4 warnings that they are evil, particularly #1.... I'm right, you're wrong.

    May 5, 2013 at 9:23 am |
  7. Science

    Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/12/where-do-morals-come-from/#comments
    Gravity is not up for debate !

    BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

    Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet..............................E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas.

    Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142250.htm

    Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

    The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

    The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

    Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

    April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

    May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

    Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418104324.htm

    And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    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.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305145821.htm

    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.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423134037.htm

    Ca-nabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®) – National Cancer Insti-tute

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/.../page4

    Mar 21, 2013 – [1,2] These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. ... have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. ... In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to ...

    Good stuff !

    The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

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

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

    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.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-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... \

    https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

    Science

    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...

    https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

    April 7th, 2012

    08:32 PM ET

    The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

    https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/comment-page-137/#comment-2281915

    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.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/18/us/planet-discovery/index.html

    NASA: Mars could have supported life

    Star Dust we are

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWdU_px9ApE&w=640&h=360]

    Holy Hallucinations 35

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XTCRdC8Dlo&w=640&h=360]

    The ORIGIN story is bullsh-it...............so is the bible............... nasty !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    Scientists have unearthed the first direct signs of cheesemaking, at a site in Poland that dates back 7,500 years.

    Human Evolution

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2cHumanevo.shtml

    BBC. Planet of the Apemen. Battle for Earth 1. Ho-mo Erectus

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUliLKSJ4bQ&w=640&h=360]

    BACKFILL on E =mc2.....

    Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being 'chosen'

    By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

    Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.

    “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

    https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/category/culture-science/

    May 4, 2013 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |

    Cheech & Chong's History of 420

    Cheech & Chong's History of 420 from CheechAndChong

    All cults...........creationists, ID believers and devil cults.................

    The fact...............the earth is to old ...........time to EVOLVE !.

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

    Peace

    May 4, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  8. Denise

    "When do religious beliefs become evil?" Whenever you have them. It's that simple.

    May 4, 2013 at 1:02 am |
  9. Rev. Rick

    Quoting from the article, "...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."

    Uhhh, no longer accepted? As a former conservative Christian myself, I can tell you that most if not all of my conservative, and especially fundamentalist Christian friends and family,still believe that sacred scripture (i.e. the Christian Bible) is STILL inerrant. That's one point that they won't concede.

    May 3, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      It is impossible to believe in the inerrancy of scripture because so many scriptures directly contradict each other. Who can claim to believe the following statement?: "This sentence does not utilize cognition of the English language."

      May 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  10. Science

    Free speech helps educate the masses

    Gravity is not up for debate !

    BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

    Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet

    Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142250.htm

    Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

    The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

    The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

    Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

    April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

    May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

    Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418104324.htm

    And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    May 3, 2013 at 9:11 am |
  11. Trance

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKxk9TvyJrs&w=640&h=360]
    ~

    May 3, 2013 at 8:44 am |
  12. Kyle Shepherd

    Religion should be demonized. It is just a con that controls people and allows these heinous acts mentioned in the article. How religion isn't fact is how it can be interpreted countless ways which can lead to many bad things. Hope can be found without a deity; that hope is humanity. Believing in a god or gods shifts the burdens of nature and chaos, but that only hides what we can do to address conflicts. We humans have evolved to have the powers of complex thought which can either fix a problem or realize that it is not a problem but reality.

    May 3, 2013 at 12:01 am |
  13. T Diemer

    Everyone is imperfect, God knows this and God made us that way. Sincer perfection is impossible it is not something to beachieved but something to strive for. All you have to worry about is doing the best you can, sincerely trying to do good and avoid evil and practice compassion. That is all God can logically ask.

    May 2, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Greg Tingey

      Errr ... what is this BigSkyFairy that you calll "god" then?
      Especially since he/she/it/they doesn't exist?

      May 3, 2013 at 4:45 am |
  14. Grafted Olive Branch

    This is the truth…
    At one time in my life I worked hard to be good enough to enter heaven; just like any good Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist or even Christian. I was always so frustrated when I failed in achieving self righteousness. Then I realized that I was flawed. My carnal mind would frequently lead me astray. I could never achieve righteousness on my own efforts. I certainly was also guilty of past sin. I could never stand before a holy God in judgment. Then I realized that Jesus Christ already achieved the righteousness that I was working so hard towards. Jesus Christ did it all for me. I was freed from my carnal limitations. I am holy in Christ. I can stand before God in judgment and have Jesus Christ plead my case before God for me.

    May 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Bob

      Awesome , fantastic and a wonderful post, loved reading it.

      May 2, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Andrew

      "The end justifies the means"

      May 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • fred

      Great post! I give thanks everyday for the goodness of God and the gift of grace.

      May 3, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I have accepted that I am flawed because I am human. This does not make me a bad person. I simply try to make amends and learn from my mistakes. One thing I will never do is allow someone else to be punished for my actions. I think that is the height of weakness and immorality. The fact that christians embrace, and indeed, celebrate the concept of a blood-sacrifice human scapegoat is something that disgusts me.

      May 4, 2013 at 2:38 am |
    • sam stone

      "sin", like "heaven" and "hell", are man made concepts.

      i do not seek heaven, i do not fear hell

      May 14, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  15. In the News

    (from radio.foxnews.com)

    By Todd Starnes

    Religious liberty groups have grave concerns after they learned the Pentagon is vetting its guide on religious tolerance with a group that compared Christian evangelism to “rape” and advocated that military personnel who proselytize should be court martialed.

    The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is calling on the Air Force to enforce a regulation that they believe calls for the court martial of any service member caught proselytizing.

    President Mikey Weinstein and others from his organization met privately with Pentagon officials on April 23. He said U.S. troops who proselytize are guilty of sedition and treason and should be punished – by the hundreds if necessary – to stave off what he called a “tidal wave of fundamentalists.”

    “Someone needs to be punished for this,” Weinstein told Fox News. “Until the Air Force or Army or Navy or Marine Corps punishes a member of the military for unconstitutional religious proselytizing and oppression, we will never have the ability to stop this horrible, horrendous, dehumanizing behavior.” . . .

    full article:

    http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/pentagon-religious-proselytizing-is-not-permitted.html

    May 2, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Reality

      Mickey Weinstein takes 50% of the donations to his "non-profit" as his salary. If he was really concerned about the situation, he would simply donate his time and effort to the cause at no cost but paying himself a quarter of a million dollars every year for writing a few op-ed pieces has the stench and ooze of a money-grab. (See his group's Form 990's at guidestar.org )

      And please note that the USA taxpayers paid for Mickey's law degree which he got while in the US Air Force. (And I do believe, Mickey also gets a US Air Force pension paid for by the USA taxpayers)

      More on Mickey W's "non-profit" as per his Form 990:

      Whereas most "non-profits" have a board of directors of a least five members, he has three members and of course he is one of them.

      And besides the quarter of a million dollars/yr. salary, he pays himself from the donations of $500,000- $700,000 per year, he lists a number of expenses paid for by his "organization" of three:

      These expenses total another $250,000/yr. which apparently end up in his pocket. (Part IX, line 5 on his 2011 Form 990).

      Another "non-profit" racket indeed!!!

      May 2, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • biggles

      Laterno, a devout christian and successful business man gave 90 percent of his income to charitable causes

      May 2, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Mr. Weinstein is fighting the good fight. No one who is serving our country should feel pressured by unwelcome religious proselytizing. Our military is a branch of our secular government, and while individuals should be allowed to follow their own faith, they not be allowed to foist that faith upon others.

      May 4, 2013 at 2:41 am |
  16. Austin

    College costs are on the rise–having increased at a rate that outpaces inflation for more than two decades, contributing to record levels of student debt. Nevertheless, Duke University saw fit to raise the cost of its program even more. This week Campus Reform reports that Duke has raised student fees in order to pay for se.x change operations for any student who wants one.

    Administrators say they will cover the cost of the reassignment surgery up to $50,000 that will be covered with a cause a 0.3 percent increase to overall student fees.LGBT advocates on campus immediately celebrated the university’s decision.

    -Drudge REport

    May 2, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • Science

      Gravity is not up for debate !

      BY the way Austin ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

      Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet

      Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142250.htm

      May 2, 2013 at 9:28 am |
  17. lol??

    "In handwritten notes, Hitler also argued for a critical review of the Bible, to discover what sections met an "Aryan" spirit. In these same notes, he took a "biogenetic" history as the main biblical emphasis, arguing that original sin was solely racial degeneration – sin against the blood." from abc.net.au

    May 2, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • reducto ad hitlerum

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/adnazium.html

      May 2, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • lol??

      This was to refute the A&A's assertions that hitler was Christian that you'll hear all day long on these blogs. It's a silly way to approach scripture that he used. I'm not playing any hitler card for whatever you are implying. The A&A's play that card.

      May 2, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • Austin

      GOOD WORK LOL! That is good information, hopefully some of the A & A's choke on it.

      May 2, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • Austin

      How smart do you really have to be to understand how twisted Hitler was.

      If you cant figure it out, and you think Hitrler was a Christian, does this not make you demented exactly like Hitler was demented? You are on the same demented side if you don't get it from natural intuition.

      May 2, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      More lies.
      Hitler was christian.
      He said it in his own words, and claimed his christian almighty was ok with what he was doing to the jews.

      Denying that FACT is just trying to distance yourself from one of your christian brothers...will you deny him three times as well?

      If Hitler, in his final moments, if he was truly repentant, he would be welcomed into heaven, so maybe you can meet him and ask him about it.

      May 2, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • lol??

      Guess Paul was smarter than you cranius. He knew false brethren existed.

      "2Cr 11:26 [In] journeyings often, [in] perils of waters, [in] perils of robbers, [in] perils by [mine own] countrymen, [in] perils by the heathen, [in] perils in the city, [in] perils in the wilderness, [in] perils in the sea, [in] perils among false brethren;"

      May 2, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Austin is a disgusting little boy

      Hitler was a Christian. Now go google the No True Scotsmen Fallacy and don't come back til you get it

      May 2, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Bea

      .. and all day long you'll hear this "Christian" calling another so-called "Christian" "not a Christian"

      It's the Christian thing to do, it's what's for dinner....

      May 2, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • lol??

      This your entertainment while waiting for judgment?

      May 2, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Bea

      No, I don't have to go to court. No jury duty or anything like that today. The electrician is scheduled for next week.

      May 2, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • WASP

      @lol: yeah that explains why hitler in most of his speeches stated " Gott ist mit uns."
      meaning GOD IS WITH US.
      yeah hitler was soooooooooooooo ATHEISTS. XD

      May 2, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Regardless of the cut of his kilt, Hitler was no friend to atheists and encouraged religion in Germany. Having been exposed to religious methods of persuasion in school at a Benedictine cloister, Hitler recognized religion’s power to keep the people compliant.
      Instead of purging faith like the Communist regimes, he purged atheism:
      "We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out".
      The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, Oxford University Press, 1942

      "By its decision to carry out the political and moral cleansing of our public life, the Government is creating and securing the conditions for a really deep and inner religious life. The advantages for the individual which may be derived from compromises with atheistic organizations do not compare in any way with the consequences which are visible in the destruction of our common religious and ethical values. The national Government sees in both Christian denominations the most important factor for the maintenance of our society."
      – Adolf Hitler, speech before the Reichstag, March 23, 1933, just before the Enabling Act is passed.

      Hitler publically professed his Christianity until his dying day and used Christian arguments to whip his people into a frenzy. This is why Nazi uniform belt buckles were emblazoned with the slogan “Gott mit uns” (God is with us).

      May 2, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • lol??

      You guys would flunk out of spy school.

      May 2, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      lol
      Hitler called for a critical review of the bible, etc etc.. And he made arguments for his actions from the bible...and you still want to deny he was christian. Hilarious

      May 2, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Science

      You know where the sand box is lol??.............

      May 2, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • lol??

      Socies, ah ha, hitler tactics!

      May 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Science

      Can't find the sand box lol??

      May 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Gabriel

      If Hitler wasn't a Christian, why did he persecute the perpetual Christian bogeymen, the Jews? Why exempt the Christians?

      May 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • lol??

      Well austin, there you have it with the little children. Wewelsburg Castle was a place you might be interested in where Himmler created the SS cult superiority religion. After 1934, it was used by the SS and was expanded into the central SS-cult-site.

      May 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • lol??

      Bet you pwogwessives really HATED the libby catholic Kennedys.

      May 2, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
  18. I didn't think you commie-progressive bobbleheads would have the guts to answer this

    Forward Progressive

    Just what does this mean?
    "We cannot continue to rely on our military....We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded"
    Well, you koolaid chuggers-what is this all about???
    I wasn't aware our military wasn't reliable anymore. Maybe this goes toward explaining the massive ammo purchases by DHS and all the mine-resistant armored vehicles they're getting?

    May 1, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply

    May 2, 2013 at 7:27 am |
    • I didn't think you commie-progressive bobbleheads would have the guts to answer this

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlN2t0oERHk&w=640&h=360]
      Put the pieces of the puzzle together if you are capable of independent thought.

      May 2, 2013 at 7:37 am |
  19. faith

    it isn't that god-hating nazis don't believe in god. no! they just haven't found a god that does what they think he oughta. they gots dodo, but she ain't been performin too many miracles herself! LOL

    sorry murdie but with the amount of criticism u b gettin lately, your days a bullyin everbody seem to b over

    May 2, 2013 at 7:12 am |
    • Science

      Made it easdy for you Austin and faith !

      Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

      The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

      The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

      Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

      April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

      May 2, 2013 at 7:15 am |
    • sam stone

      same could be said of you, failth

      May 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  20. biggles

    Satan blinds unbelievers.

    May 2, 2013 at 6:41 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      and god made satan knowing full well the consequences...so god is ok with it.

      Or.... neither exist. Join us in reality.

      May 2, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • tallulah13

      Trolls bore everybody.

      May 2, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Just Call Me Lucifer

      No I don't.

      May 7, 2013 at 6:03 am |
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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.