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October 12th, 2013
08:50 PM ET

A journey of faith in five tattoos

Opinion by the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, special to CNN

(CNN) - The first tattoo I got was meant to set me apart from my conservative suburban Christian community, a way to signify “I don't belong to your tribe.”

Little did I realize that if I lived long enough I’d eventually become mainstream.

Tattoos now cover me from shoulder to wrist, but with the ubiquity of body art today, in many of the places I hang out I look more like a soccer mom than an outlaw.

Even the ill-advised and regrettable tattoos are part of my story, and ultimately, that’s what tattoos are: a way to wear stories–– our mistakes, celebrations, relationships, insights and losses–– on the skin.

Today, as an ordained Lutheran pastor, when I stand behind the altar table on Sundays and lift up the bread and wine and tell the story of the night Jesus gathered with his faltering friends for a meal that tasted of freedom, the arms that lift those common and holy things are themselves, common.

But they are covered in images of the holy.

These tattoos, both the Christian and decidedly non-Christian ones, tell the story of how I became who I am today. An unlikely lady preacher who loves Jesus a lot, but also swears a little.

1. The long-stemmed rose

It was 1986 and I was dating an older man when I got my first tattoo.

He was 20. I was in high school and not legally of age to do many of the things he introduced me to.

The biker dude at the tattoo shop didn’t ask my age. We were in and out of the dingy, little converted bungalow in half an hour. My body was forever altered. As was my attitude. The long-stemmed rose inked on my right hip set me apart. Now I. Was. An. Outlaw. The most Outlaw Church of Christ girl out there.

I don’t show a lot of people that very first tattoo. I tipped the scale at 236 pounds when I was pregnant with my first child, so that long-stemmed rose tattoo, which at the time was the self-affirmation of a really tall teenage girl, is now an unidentifiable blobby stretch mark which can easily double as a Rorschach test. So…what do YOU think this is?

2. The Peace Dove

I would get my second tattoo a year or two later after hitchhiking up Highway 101 to San Francisco from Pepperdine University, where I failed out after a single term, having succeeded more in impressing frat boys with my ability to drink like a man than in actually showing up for class.

I got a peace dove tattooed onto my ankle at the famous Lyle Tuttle Tattoo shop. I fancied myself a revolutionary at the time, and was getting arrested at protests–– when I was coherent enough to show up for them. I wanted to change the world but I had a hard enough time remembering to change my socks.

3. The Snake Goddess

When I was a young adult, everything felt like a crisis, as though my skin was letting too much in. Too many emotions and fears and threats and uncertainties.

I needed my skin to protect me, so I had tattooed on my arm an image of the Snake Goddess from a pre-historic Minoan society. She wore a long skirt, and was shirtless, and in each hand she held snakes above her head.

At 21, I needed to be strong and so I did the next best thing: I pretended I was. I claimed the strongest sacred image of a woman I could find, since my fundamentalist Christian upbringing had nothing helpful to offer in this area, and I knew I needed to borrow something from somewhere holy.

4. Saint Mary Magdalen

I got my first Christian tattoo in seminary: an image of Saint Mary Magdalen taken from Saint Alban’s Psalter, a 12th-century illuminated manuscript.

One hand is opened to heaven, while the other makes a pointing gesture as though to say “Shut the hell up, I have something to tell you.”

The other half of this depiction of Mary Magdalen announcing the resurrection did not fit on my arm. It’s a huddled mass of male disciples with befuddled looks on their faces, several of them pointing stupidly at scrolls.

I’d returned to the religion (but not the denomination) I was raised in, after 10 years searching elsewhere. I was struggling with my call to ordained Christian ministry for many reasons, including my own checkered past and a decidedly non-pastoral personality.

I started to study more about Mary Magdalen, again borrowing strength from a sacred female figure.

On my right forearm is the image of this deeply faithful, yet deeply flawed woman, who, like me, had been delivered from so much, and who had dropped everything to follow Jesus. Jesus, who loves like crazy and eats with all the wrong people and touches the unclean, chose Mary to be the first witness to his resurrection.

She was the one he chose to “go and tell”. Maybe to those more pious and good disciples, she seemed a questionable choice for the job. But Jesus is just like that.

5. The Liturgical Year

As a seminary graduation present to myself, my Snake Goddess was covered by the Advent image of a night sky from which the angel Gabriel announces to Elizabeth and Zechariah that they are going to have a bug-eating desert-dwelling baby boy: John the Baptist.

From this flows images of the church’s entire liturgical year. My arm has turned into a sort of stained-glass window telling the story of Jesus: a nativity for Christmas; Jesus in the desert for Lent; the Marys at either side of Jesus’ crucifixion for Good Friday; the angel and the women at the empty tomb for Easter; and Mary and the apostles with flames on their heads for Pentecost at my wrist.

I didn’t see it as a cover-up of the Snake Goddess as much as a layering of my story. My tattoos create a colorful confession of my journey to the cranky, beautiful faith I hold today.

The enormous image of the Annunciation currently in progress on my back that hides the black scratchy tattoo Jimmy the Junkie gave me in his living room….now that’s a coverup.

But that’s another story for another time.

The Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber is author of the New York Times Best Selling memoir, "Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint," and the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Faith • Jesus • Opinion

soundoff (809 Responses)
  1. Missed the point?

    Did you miss the point of the story?

    October 13, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • tallulah13

      Kinda sounds like the point to me. "Look how special I am! I'm a lutheran pastor! In fact, I'm so cool I use a pseudo-word as my job tile! I was rebellious for a while! I have tattoos! Woo! My "journey" is special! Buy my book!"

      October 13, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  2. Colin

    I was very lucky. I grew up in the one part of the World where the one true god is worshipped. Had I been born in Iran, I would be a Shiite Muslim, in Iraq, a Sunni Muslim, in India, a Hindu, in Ja.pan a Buddhist or Shinto.

    Actually, I was very, very lucky, because I grew up in the one true Christian denomination. I could have been born a Lutheran. Methodist, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox or even Amish. Luckily, however, I grew up a Catholic, the one true, correct Christian belief.

    Come to think of it, I was very, very, very lucky, because I was born now, one point in history when we Catholics finally have it right. I could have been born 300, 500 or 800 years ago when Catholic views on Grace, Salvation, the Incarnation, the Immaculate Conception of Mary etc. evolution v. Adam and Eve were all wrong.

    Wow, out of all of the countless millions of people who have lived in the countless thousands of cultures, my god, for whom there is no evidence, is the right one, and all their gods and beliefs are factually wrong.

    October 13, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Essentially, they're all claiming that.

      October 13, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • devin

      All silliness aside, I'm curious as to the cause of this God axe you perpetually feel the need to grind. Is there some deep, dark Deity psychosis at work here? Perhaps a rogue Sunday school teacher caused you untold harm as a child?

      October 13, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        What damaged me as a child were all of these adults trying to tell me a story that was very cleearly false. I have been fascinated for the need to "tell everyone the good news" or "save" people, based on a book that not only cannot be verified as to its validity, but parts have been proven wrong.
        It is the fascination with the psychology of it that brings me to discussions such as are here.

        October 13, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  3. Billy

    Whaaat?? Where does cnn get these photos? I'm pretty sure that's a Rachel Maddow photo from last Halloween.

    October 13, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  4. NOTA

    Eat, drink, be merry and get a tattoo for tomorrow we die.

    October 13, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • El Pibe

      Thats only for the non believers...the believer still dies like the non believer, but God promises to bring back to life his friends!

      October 13, 2013 at 10:41 am |
      • Pete Zanko

        What's a promise from something that doesn't exist worth?

        October 13, 2013 at 11:22 am |
  5. Fred Phred

    Why is it that every recovering alcoholic feels the need to preach to others – who've not had any issues? These are people that have had no discipline for much of their adult lives, and yet they want to tell me how I should live?

    How's this for advice, stay off the juice and go to work in a rehab center if you so need to preach. Most of us live content lives with no substance issues. You don't need to tell us how to avoid the devil.

    October 13, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • The devil

      Why does everybody want to avoid me?

      October 13, 2013 at 10:41 am |
      • midwest rail

        You just can't stop yourself, can you ? No matter the post, you are compelled to steal advertising.

        October 13, 2013 at 10:47 am |
      • The devil

        No I'm not. Don't you watch South Park?

        October 13, 2013 at 10:51 am |
      • TROLL ALERT

        Don't bother going to AvdBerg site, the site is full of lies. Just click the report abuse link instead.

        October 13, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
      • TROLL ALERT

        "You just can't stop yourself, can you ? No matter the post, you are compelled to steal advertising."

        Not only that they are breaking the rules of the boards, but of course they won't get why.

        October 13, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • nodat1

      I don't get the purpose of the story a female preacher with tattoos woop woop who cares seams like she expending a lot of energy proving an unknown point to no one I have tattoos and I'm a preacher so you better accept me as I am and if you don't I will get the internet to cry foul. I not a church going soul but if I was I would focus less on what the individuals up front thinks of themselves and more on how they can convey the core teaching of the scripture that they claim to believe in

      October 13, 2013 at 10:49 am |
      • Pete Zanko

        She's a flaky chick moving onto her latest fad.

        October 13, 2013 at 11:10 am |
      • nclaw441

        I can't speak for the author or CNN, but I guess the idea is to show the breadth of religious belief and believers. I don't care much for tattoos personaly, but then again, I don't have any. I confess that the tattoos I see on this woman make me think a little less of her, which I know is wrong. That's one more thing for me to work on.

        October 14, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • JiminNM

      Maybe it is not preaching but a joyous celebration of the journey and discovery.

      October 13, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  6. ?

    The times they are a changing, used to be that you would find the tattooed lady in a carny freak show.

    October 13, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • snowboarder

      just a passing fad, not significantly different than bell bottom jeans.

      October 13, 2013 at 10:25 am |
      • nclaw441

        Snowboarder, except that bell bottom jeans are a little more easily removed...

        October 14, 2013 at 8:01 am |
  7. Daniel

    It's the 21st century, time to put the fairy tales to rest...

    October 13, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • dax312

      your name comes from those 'fairy tales'

      October 13, 2013 at 10:28 am |
      • Pete Zanko

        So does mine. What's your point? I could name a kid "Snow White" and it would the same as naming her "Mary Magdalene."

        October 13, 2013 at 11:11 am |
  8. Mr. Conservative

    Better read through that Bible again. Women are not to be leaders of the church nor are believers to be mutilating their bodies. This whole tattoo/piercing craze is just primitive.

    October 13, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  9. Colin Morgan

    Nice tats. As an Atheist, I choose to get none. Get it? None!? Bad joke. hurrrrrrr. I have one tat. The Rod of Asclepius. I got it on on the inside of my bicep when I got my M.D., which is where I choose to place my faith – in science and medicine. However, I respect anyone who chooses otherwise. I do so wish they taught more religious humanities courses on my road. My personal views often conflict with those I treat and I find myself having to play verbal Sudoku in conversations with them. My previous neighbour was a man of the cloth and I chatted him up quite a bit in:re to approach such things and yet maintain my views. It's a difficult line to walk. No matter, the author seems like she'd be a cool hang.

    October 13, 2013 at 10:05 am |
  10. snowboarder

    you certainly have to admit that christian doctrine is downright kooky!

    October 13, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  11. Won

    There's only one faith: JESUS CHRIST. Tattoo doesn't give you eternal life. Period. SMH..

    October 13, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • snowboarder

      of course, there are lots of faiths. your declaration is meaningless.

      October 13, 2013 at 9:47 am |
      • ed dugan

        He needs to change his tag to LOST.

        October 13, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Colin

      I am yet to hear a believer say "There is only one god, the one the other guy believes in," or even acknowledge that their god is one of many with equal validity. Religion is always based on the assumption that, out of all the many thousands of belief systems and gods, the one I was brought up to believe in is the right one. Fact is, they are interchangeable.

      October 13, 2013 at 9:56 am |
      • snowboarder

        quite true. a person's "choice" of religions is almost invariably a factor of the time and location of their life and no real choice at all. it is no coincidence that iran is overwhelmingly muslim and the u.s. vast majority christian.

        October 13, 2013 at 9:59 am |
      • Fruitcake

        I'll admit that the god I've been fixated on probably isn't the right one...add it to your list of firsts. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to run quick before Won tries to convert me.

        October 13, 2013 at 10:04 am |
        • nclaw441

          Why would anyone claim to believe in a god who "is probably not the right one?" In fact, is it even possible to truly believe in a god (or anything else) that you don't think probably exists? The very concept of faith (in whatever you believe) needs a very close review.

          October 14, 2013 at 8:04 am |
    • ed dugan

      Aside from the fact that you are pathetic in your beliefs, as far as the story is concerned, this woman is the poster child for christianity. If I were trying to show someone the face and body of a true christian she would win hands down. All show, no substance but do what ever you need to do to get in people's faces. She is perfect!!!!!

      October 13, 2013 at 10:09 am |
      • Nice

        Do you think they should have separate bathrooms and drinking fountains too?

        October 13, 2013 at 10:49 am |
        • Pete Zanko

          Sigh... Christians trying to pretend they're oppressed. F off.

          October 13, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Fred Phred

      So Riddle me this batman. If the only way to heaven is through Christ.. what happen to all those souls that died before Christ was born? Are they NOT in heaven? Moses, David, Noah, Abraham, Jacob.. and you want to tell me NONE are in heaven?

      Did God suddenly change the rules? "Oh before you're in but now only this way".

      I call baloney.

      Religion was founded as a way to keep the masses under control. People with money.. actually like money. They don't want poor people killing them for it. Hence – religion. The secret Santa in the sky sees you when you're evil. They are promised greater things – in the next life to keep them content in this one.

      October 13, 2013 at 10:32 am |
      • WellUm

        It's a fair question. I've heard two answers. One, they get a pass. Like being a child. You're innocent because you didn't know better. The other answer is funnier: they knew Jesus in their hearts and still had to make a choice, even if they didn't know his name. Either answer is bullspit.

        October 13, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
      • nclaw441

        Those are tough questions, among many that I hope to be able to ask God at a later time. For now, I work on my faith and try to live it by loving God and others.

        October 14, 2013 at 8:05 am |
    • sam stone

      Do you seriously desire ETERNAL life?

      If so, and you are certain you are going to recieve it, what are you doing down here?

      Should you not be doing anything you can to pass on to the next life?

      Or, are you yet another cowardly christian blowhard?

      October 13, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  12. snowboarder

    tattoos, a study in how to be unique, like everyone else.

    October 13, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  13. Frank Matheis

    We live in a world of body illustrations. Each his own.
    As a Lutheran who is neither conservative nor particularly fond of right-wing Christian ideology and money centered Christianity, I nonetheless don't like or agree with anything as written in the article above.
    To this ordained Lutheran pastor, it seems to be all about her self-centered egotism. The article reads "Me, me, me".
    Her favorite subject, it seems.

    Christianity is not about her or her story, as interesting as it may be. It's not about being hip. It's not about existentialist struggle.
    It's not about her, no matter how much she likes to put herself in the forefront with her autobiographies of various sorts.

    It's about this guy named Jesus and the path he showed us to redemption.

    October 13, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • ed dugan

      As the son of an ordained minister I grew up with that crap, and that is exactly what you last sentence is – crap! However, I'll bet you have enjoyed a nice living telling other people what to believe, just like the rest of the religious hucksters do. Although I must say I have enjoyed a few nice evenings at the Norwegian Club.

      October 13, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • toki

      Pr.Bolz-Webber was speaking about herself in this article because she was asked to write a piece to explain her tattoos. She wrote the book because her story is unusual and inspiring. It wouldn't be on the best seller list if it were not. Your assumptions are dismissive and demeaning to a woman who actually is out in the world doing God's work, while you sit behind your computer finding fault. I think you are just jealous? Her book is a best seller. Her church, pod-casts, blogs, are reaching and bringing wounded people to Christ. What there is to criticize? Those who can't DO criticize others who are successful...

      October 13, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Sue

      Our job is to invite people into the house and love them. People go to Nadias house who would never go to mine or yours. God is using her, and any judging and sorting to be done is God's job, not ours.

      October 14, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  14. hank

    All tatts are totally retarded,buy a t-shirt. For all of you "Christian bashers" one thought, What if you're wrong? exactly..

    October 13, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • James

      We aren't.

      October 13, 2013 at 9:37 am |
      • Pete Zanko

        We aren't wrong. We're smarter than you.

        October 13, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Colin

      The logic you posit is called "Pascal's Wager."

      This is why it is a fallacy:

      a) Pascal's Wager assumes that there are only two options – believe in the Judeo-Christian god or nothing.

      b) Pascal's Wager assumes the Christian god doesn't care whether someone actually believes, or simply goes through the motions;

      c) Pascal's Wager vastly overestimates the likelihood of the risk times the gravity of the risk.

      a. Positing only two options is ridiculous and a Christian prejudice to value the likelihood of the existence of the Christian god over all others. There are, of course, thousands of possibilities when it comes to gods. A non-exhaustive list of gods that various human societies have believed in at one time or another includes Azura Mazda, Angus, Belenos, Brigid, Dana, Lugh, Dagda, Epona, Allah Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Atehna, Demeter, Dionysus, Eris, Eos, Gaia, God, Hades, Hekate, Helios, Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, Hestia, Pan, Poseidon, Selene, Uranus, Zeus, Mathilde, Elves, Eostre, Frigg, Ganesh, Hretha, Saxnot, Shef, Shiva Thuno, Tir, Vishnu, Weyland, Woden, Yahweh, Alfar, Balder, Beyla, Bil, Bragi, Byggvir, Dagr, Disir, Eir, Forseti, Freya, Freyr, Frigga, Heimdall, Hel, Hoenir, Idunn, Jord, Lofn, Loki, Mon, Njord, Norns, Nott, Odin, Ran, Saga, Sif, Siofn, Skadi, Snotra, Sol, Syn, Ull, Thor, Tyr, Var, Vali, Vidar, Vor, Herne, Holda, Nehalennia, Nerthus, Endovelicus, Ataegina, Runesocesius, Apollo, Bacchus, Ceres, Cupid, Diana, Janus, Juno, Jupiter, Maia, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Neptune, Pluto, Plutus, Proserpina, Venus, Vesta, Vulcan, Attis, Cybele, El-Gabal, Isis, Mithras, Sol Invictus, Endovelicus, Anubis, Aten, Atum, Bast, Bes, Geb, Hapi, Hathor, Heget, Horus, Imhotep, Isis, Khepry, Khnum, Maahes, Ma’at, Menhit, Mont, Naunet, Neith, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Ptah, Ra, Sekhmnet, Sobek, Set, Tefnut, Thoth, An, Anshar, Anu, Apsu, Ashur, Damkina, Ea, Enki, Enlil, Ereshkigal, Nunurta, Hadad, Inanna, Ishtar, Kingu, Kishar, Marduk, Mummu, Nabu, Nammu, Nanna, Nergal, Ninhursag, Ninlil, Nintu, Shamash, Sin, Tiamat, Utu, Mitra, Amaterasu, Susanoo, Tsukiyomi, Inari, Tengu, Izanami, Izanagi, Daikoku, Ebisu, Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Fukurokuju, Jurojin, Hotei, Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, Inti, Kon, Mama Cocha, Mama Quilla, Manco Capac, Pachacamac and Zaramama

      To increase the odds of a positive outcome of Pascal’s Wager to the point where it is even plausible, the believer would have to believe in many, many gods, including the ones that haven't been invented yet. This is obviously impossible – particularly as most of them require(d) monotheistic devotion!!

      b. One cannot “choose to believe” something. That has to be an honest conclusion drawn from the facts. I could not “choose” to believe in the Hindu god Shiva or Leprechauns, for example, as that would make no sense. What I can do is SAY I believe or PRETEND to believe. But going through the motions and pretending to believe may fool your community, but it can't fool an all-knowing god. It is very unlikely that anyone would gain the ultimate reward for simply faking belief.

      c. In estimating whether the cost of any given action is worth it, an evaluation the likelihood of a negative outcome and the gravity of that negative outcome must be performed. Here is where proponents of the wager say they have a leg up, as an eternity of perdition must be valued very highly. However, if the concomitant likelihood is close to infinitely low, it balances out to close enough to zero to be ignored. Given that the evidence for the existence of the Judeo-Christian god is zero, much less for the vindictive personality you posit he has, the likelihood must be valued close to zero. If one were to take the believer’s approach, one should live about a mile down an abandoned coal mine to avoid a very, very unlikely, but fatal meteor impact.

      When extrapolated to the extreme of a god, the math becomes meaningless. For e.g., if I posited a god a billion times more vengeful and gruesome than yours, would you drop your belief in God and run over to my super-god based on your Pascal’s Wager logic?

      October 13, 2013 at 9:42 am |
      • Steve

        Wow, you typed all that in 6 minutes?

        October 13, 2013 at 9:57 am |
      • nerdy_christian_13

        The slight issue being that the Christian God does care if you believe or simply go through the motions. Teeny tiny problem.

        October 13, 2013 at 11:44 am |
      • richard miller

        Well,when you die a horrible death,alone,I bet you cry out for god

        October 15, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Daniel

      No, we are not wrong. Jesus was the greatest salesman humanity has ever seen. Judeo-Christian-Islamic ideologies are all based on one extremely critical lie; Humans are NOT the reason for all of existence. Sorry to tell you that. Mankind's ego will be his downfall.

      October 13, 2013 at 10:12 am |
      • snowboarder

        jesus was at best a decent philosopher who's life was grossly embellished after his death. I imagine he would be shocked and dismayed at what his teachings have been turned into.

        October 13, 2013 at 10:22 am |
  15. AE

    I've always been intrigued by Mary Magdalen, too. And Jesus choosing her as the first to spread the Good News. I've found a lot of male preachers who try to keep women from serving in equal leadership roles at church dislike that fact.

    October 13, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • James

      Jesus didn't choose her for anything. The church chose her.

      October 13, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      What good would women clergy be, They aren't allowed to speak in church.
      1cor 14:34 "King James Bible
      Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law."

      A woman clergy could take the pulpit and then just stand there? Maybe sign language?

      October 13, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  16. Judson Vaughn

    Rev. Nadia, thanks for the tattoo tour. They indeed do tell a story from ashes to ascendancy. I appreciate your mission to reach out to the disenfranchised, or whatever we're calling them these days. Christ's message is for all, not just the handsome, the cleaned up, the forgiven.

    October 13, 2013 at 9:34 am |
  17. El Pibe

    Gods view on tattoos:

    The Israelites were forbidden to engage in this practice, one that was common among some other ancient peoples. (Le 19:28) For example, there were times when the Egyptians tattooed the names or symbols of their deities on their breast or arms. By complying with Jehovah’s law not to disfigure their bodies, the Israelites would have stood out as different from other nations. (De 14:1, 2) The prohibition would also have impressed upon them a proper respect for the human body as God’s creation, to be used in honoring him.—Ps 100:3; 139:13-16; Ro 12:1.

    October 13, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • AE

      Do you obey all of the laws of Leviticus and Deuteronomy? You will probably violating God's rules on clothing according to Leviticus, no?

      October 13, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Pirate Kate

      That is assuming that your fairy tale book is actually the word of the actual Creator.

      October 13, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • snowboarder

      @pibe, we all know that people only follow the parts of the bible that suit them.

      October 13, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  18. Charles

    To each his own, but they all look ridicules.

    October 13, 2013 at 9:28 am |
  19. Colin

    This is where religion serves a purpose. Religious insti.tutions can act as a kind of waste paper basket for lost souls who seek some kind of identi.ty. Christianity and its myths are easy to understand and provide a sense of purpose to many people who might otherwise struggle with reality and the exigencies of life. A kind of safe harbor, albeit a totally ficti.tious one.

    October 13, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      With the proper outreach program in place that might be a ok. We mustn't give up on the religious when they can still be helped.

      October 13, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      With the proper outreach program in place that might be a OK. We mustn't give up on the religious when they can still be helped.

      October 13, 2013 at 9:40 am |
  20. Richard Cranium

    Here's Andy Van deBerg, once again , stealing advertisement for his god. Your god must be proud of you...oh wait....what does your god say about stealing?

    October 13, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • AvdBerg

      @ Richard Cranium

      No prophesy of the scripture is of any private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20) and unless you repent and turn from darkness (whose spirit you are of) to light and from the power of Satan unto God (Acts 26:18) you will remain spiritually blind and you will not be able to understand the Word of God (1 Cor. 2:14).

      October 13, 2013 at 9:30 am |
      • LB

        The scripture itself IS a private interpretation. It's funny to throw around phrases like "spiritually blind". In your situation, I will look to this definition for blind: "accepting the actions or decisions of someone or something without any questions or criticism" (Merriam-Webster).

        October 13, 2013 at 9:46 am |
      • Richard Cranium

        Andy Van deBerg.
        You are a theif. Per terms of use as stated below..." You agree not to upload, post or otherwise transmit, without CNN's express prior approval, User Content which contains advertising or any solicitation with respect to products or services; "

        You are clearly not abiding by that, and are stealing advertisement space for your site.

        Stop stealing, theif.

        October 13, 2013 at 10:10 am |
      • Richard Cranium

        Andy Van deBerg
        "unless you repent and turn from darkness (whose spirit you are of)"

        That is another commandment you have broken.
        You have born false witness. My "sprit" is not "of darkness. Unless you can prove it is, you are bearing false witness. That's two commandments you have already violated today....how many more?

        October 13, 2013 at 11:45 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.