'Mr. Spock goes to church': How one Christian copes with Asperger's syndrome
Brant Hansen, a host on Christian radio, says his Asperger's syndrome once made him feel like an alien at church.
October 19th, 2013
10:28 AM ET

'Mr. Spock goes to church': How one Christian copes with Asperger's syndrome

Opinion by Brant Hansen, special to CNN

[twitter-follow screen_name='branthansen']

(CNN) - In the book “Jim and Caspar Go to Church,” an atheist turns to a Christian minister as they're watching a Sunday morning church service and earnestly asks, "Is this what Jesus told you guys to do?"

I've grown up in churches and I'm a Christian, and I'm right there with the atheist.

I honestly don't get the connection. (To be fair, I've grown up on Earth, too, and there are times that I don't understand any part of this place.)

You see, years ago, I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome - and like a lot of "Aspies," sometimes I'm convinced that I've landed on the wrong planet.

For those of you who don't know the medical lingo, Asperger's syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder, but not as severe as what most people think of as autism.

It basically comes down to this: those "normal human" rules for things like eye contact, when to smile, personal distance - we just don't get them.

What's more, Aspies like me don't like those rules. They make no sense to us. So usually, we just say stuff - bluntly - and stare uncomfortably at the ground. That's how we roll.

But it gets even trickier for people of faith like me.

Feeling out of place at work is one thing. Feeling like an alien at church is a whole other matter.

Imagine Mr. Spock at an evangelical Christian tent revival, and you’ll get the idea.

And my father is a pastor, so I was in church a lot.

Multiple times, each week, every week, I found myself wishing I'd be moved by the worship music, or that I could shut off my skeptical mind during the sermons.

I'd see people in church services, Christian concerts and Bible camps overcome by emotion and enraptured with charismatic speakers, and I wondered why I didn't feel that way.

Why did I always feel like a cold observer?

After going to college, I was convinced my lack of feeling meant I was missing something, spiritually, so I joined charismatic Christian groups in which emotional manifestations of the Holy Spirit are common.

I desperately wanted to have what they had - an emotional experience of God's presence - and asked them to pray over me.

It didn't work.

When I didn’t move with the Holy Spirit or speak in tongues, they told me it was because I had rejected God.

I worried that it was the other way around: God had rejected me.

Maybe I felt like an alien because I deserved it. I deserved to be alienated, irretrievably and forever far from God.

I tried to pray, read the Bible, and do all the "right stuff." But I still felt out-of-touch.

I wondered if I was so broken, such a misfit that God simply took a look at me and decided to move on.

I wish I’d known then that I was an Aspie. And that God loves Aspies.

I still feel alienated from many parts of Christian culture, but Jesus himself finally reached me.

And man, did I feel that.

To people who are beaten down or befuddled by religious rules, Jesus offers something that no one else does: rest. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest," he says.

And he sums up the entirety of complex and confusing religious laws with this: “Love God, and love your neighbor.”

Beautiful. Even children can understand that.

The Bible tells a story about a man who approaches Jesus and admits that he has faith, but also strong doubts.

"Help me in my unbelief," he asks Jesus.

Jesus doesn't blast him. He loves him. To me, Jesus is the only one who really makes any sense.

Oddly enough, considering my medical condition, I'm now a radio personality on a network that plays Christian music.

It’s a beautiful fit, in many ways, because I get to talk to many people who also don’t fit in, and wonder if God loves them.

It’s true, though, others won’t understand me. I know that. I’m still an alien in the American Christian subculture.

Each evening I retreat from it, and I go straight to the Gospels.

It's not out of duty that I read about Jesus; it's a respite.

I long for it, because I'm awash in two strange and baffling cultures, both the irreligious and religious.

And I long for someone I can finally understand, and someone who might finally understand me.

Brant Hansen is a radio host on the Air1 network, where his show airs from 3-7 p.m. CT. He also writes a popular blog at air1.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Hansen. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Faith • Health • Jesus • Opinion • Spirituality

soundoff (3,030 Responses)
  1. Steve

    Bret – God has taught me more things about my development than I posted, so email me for them, if you choose.

    October 25, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  2. Steve

    After I was saved in 2007, each year God started teaching me what was wrong with me brain wise. That my brain had not developed to the fullest. This year the Holy Spirit helped me to stumble on asperger syndrom, and now we have a name. It explained everything Bret has described. There are different degrees or levels of this, and I am slightly or more affected. Wow, I had no idea, that within this year, many people are acknowledging this difference. A year ago God taught me, when speaking to people, to look in a man's right eye (my left), and a woman's left eye (my right). I am not sure why, but I have been practicing this since.

    October 25, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • sam stone.

      What were you saved from?

      October 28, 2013 at 4:51 am |
      • Mario P

        He has been saved from Sin which The Lord died for us, the whole world it is a free gift.

        October 29, 2013 at 9:09 am |
        • LanceThruster

          Sorry – the above was meant to be a reply to Mario P -

          God sent God to die for God so that God could forgive God's creations according to God's unbending rules ~ LanceThruster

          Too Rube Goldberg for me.

          October 29, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  3. Brett

    The writer of the article has a personal relatioionship with God through Jesus Christ His Son. Awesome! I received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord when I was 17 and my life has not been the same since. Before, I was lacking peace and direction and purpose in my life, which made me unpleasant to be around. After I received Christ, I had peace and clarity of purpose that made me full of joy and contentment which others noticed right away, still do. I thank God for His gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. God Bless

    October 25, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      infantile slave mind ...

      October 25, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
      • gigglez

        We know what you daydream about doG.

        October 25, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Annette

      Well said Brett!!!

      November 7, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
  4. Atheism is the natural state of children and every living thing

    Their lies couldn't change things

    October 24, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
  5. LanceThruster

    I'm an atheist and I get the same 'out of place' feeling at xian funerals. First they explain how the deceased is now happy in Paradise with Jesus, and how the rest of those present better get with the program if they don't want to miss the party at the end of the rainbow (or worse, burn for all eternity).

    I sit quietly and remember the departed and try to show support for those left behind.

    October 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • sam stone.

      i did the same at a friend's funeral this past weekend

      October 24, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
      • LanceThruster

        As is said, Sam...funerals are for the living, not the dead.

        October 24, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Lance... Have you ever considered that what you should have been doing was focusing on what they said about not going to hell? That would have been far more beneficial to you than remembering the departed. I know unbelievers hate to think about going to hell. But if the terror you feel from thinking about going to hell, is enough to scare you into getting saved so you can avoid going to hell, then it is terror that is well worth it…

      October 25, 2013 at 10:24 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Isn't fear a wonderful conversion tool?
        Just ask the Manmasi National Christian Army and the National Liberation Front of Tripura.
        They bring heathen Hindus to Christ by holding their children at gunpoint.
        Who do you love more... Your god or your children?
        "Cognite Intrare" – by any means necessary.

        October 25, 2013 at 10:39 am |
        • LanceThruster

          If there is a God, he is a malign thug ~ Mark Twain

          October 25, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • Mario P

          Jesus specifically spoke of Loving thy enemy quote Matthew 5:43 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[g] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[h] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[i] only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors[j] do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect". This specifically address anyone who kills in the name of God/Jesus That would be a Hypocrisy killing in the name of Jesus is contrary to scripture and would make them non Christians. The bible says to test Christians by their Fruits. Killing people to convert them is not what Jesus told us to do. He further discusses in that chapter that if you even hate someone you have committed Murder. Killing is wrong.

          October 29, 2013 at 9:21 am |
        • LanceThruster

          @Mario P –

          ...a God who could make good children as easily a bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave is angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice, and invented hell–mouths mercy, and invented hell–mouths Golden Rules and foregiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people, and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man's acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites his poor abused slave to worship him!

          ~ Mark Twain – No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger

          October 29, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
      • Betty

        "Have you ever considered that what you should have been doing was focusing on what they said about not going to hell?"

        And don't forget to warn them about stepping on cracks.

        October 25, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • LanceThruster


          October 25, 2013 at 11:53 am |
      • LanceThruster

        I'm glad that works for you.

        For myself, I cannot pretend to believe when I don't...God would know, true?

        Whatever my ethical framework, it is not based on the notions of rewards and punishments after death.

        I accept whatever the ultimate consequences of my godlessness (not that I'd have much of a choice if I'm wrong).

        Secular humanists are agnostics or skeptics concerning the God question. They examine the evidence. As for myself, having been a professor of philosophy all my life, I have examined this question year in and year out. Does God exist? I've probably spent more time on the God question than anyone else here - unless there are philosophy professors around - and I find that none of the arguments can stand up to scrutiny. Many people have asked me, "Aren't you afraid that you don't believe in God? What will you do when you meet your Maker?" I quote Bertrand Russell, who would say, "You didn't give me sufficient evidence." If God is a rational being, surely He's not going to punish me for using my mind. ~ Paul Kurtz


        October 25, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • Opposing View

          Lance... Then your ultimate consequence will be hell. Don't complain when you get there. PS – And try not to scream too loud. LOL...

          October 26, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
        • sam stone.

          OV: Wow, hell. Pretty scary stuff for the chumps who believe in it

          Jeebus is waiting on you. Meet him halfway.

          October 27, 2013 at 6:52 am |
        • LanceThruster

          @Opposing View – So you apparently get off on the screams of agony of those whom your God has sent to Hell for not believing as you do.

          Why am I not surprised?


          October 28, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
      • LanceThruster

        @Opposing View –

        Lance... Have you ever considered that what you should have been doing was focusing on what they said about not going to hell?

        I actually thought it better to sit quietly and respectfully, as a funeral service is not the place to debate my own personal doubts about God's existence and the prospect of a place called "Hell." It's not as if I had not already pondered the notion before the preacher brought it up. I respectfully disagree, but he's running the show.

        October 25, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
      • LanceThruster

        And for the record, Opposing View – I am not worried about myself in the least, but do wish that the "Creator of all things" would look out for Its creations better -

        “We Pray for Children” by Ina Hughes

        We pray for children
        Who put chocolate fingers everywhere,
        Who like to be tickled,
        Who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants,
        Who sneak Popsicles before supper,
        Who erase holes in math workbooks,
        Who can never find their shoes.

        And we pray for those
        Who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
        Who can’t bound down the street in new sneakers,
        Who never “counted potatoes,”
        Who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead in,
        Who never go to the circus,
        Who live in an X-rated world.

        We pray for children
        Who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
        Who sleep with the cat and bury goldfish,
        Who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money,
        Who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink,
        Who slurp their soup.

        And we pray for those
        Who never get dessert,
        Who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
        Who can’t find any bread to steal,
        Who don’t have any rooms to clean up,
        Whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser,
        Whose monsters are real.

        We pray for children
        Who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
        Who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
        Who like ghost stories,
        Who shove dirty clothes under the bed,
        Who get visits from the tooth fairy,
        Who don’t like to be kissed in front of the car pool,
        Who squirm in church and scream on the phone,
        Whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.

        And we pray for those
        Whose nightmares come in the daytime,
        Who will eat anything,
        Who have never seen a dentist,
        Who are never spoiled by anyone,
        Who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
        Who live and move, but have no being.

        We pray for children
        Who want to be carried
        And for those who must,
        For those we never give up on
        And for those who never get a second chance,
        For those we smother.
        And for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind
        enough to offer it.

        We pray for children. Amen.

        (We pray for Children, 1995, William Morrow publishers)

        October 25, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
        • Opposing View

          You are indeed worried, only you're just in denial, and have convinced yourself there's nothing to worry about. A billion other fools tried that same trick. And guess what? They are all now in hell...

          October 26, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
        • Observer

          Opposing View,

          "A billion other fools tried that same trick. And guess what? They are all now in hell..."

          Guess what? You are just GUESSING. You have ZERO proof. Guess again.

          October 26, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Observer… Those who have truth don't have to guess. There are plenty of scriptures that says unbelievers are going to hell. There is also a scripture that says it's impossible for God to lie…

          Mark 16:16 – He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

          Revelation 2:18 – But the fearful, and UNBELIEVING...and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

          October 27, 2013 at 9:54 am |
        • Billy

          Proxy threats for the gullible. Nothing new here.

          October 27, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • Check

          Opposing View,

          Scripture? There are scriptures that say:

          – You cure leprosy by having a dove killed, dipping a live one in its blood and having it fly around. Also, you have to anoint the toes of the suffer with the blood.–Leviticus 14

          – You discover unfaithful wives when their bellies swell and their thighs rot after they are made to drink some magical water. – Numbers 5

          – Prized striped goats are bred by having the mating parents stare at striped objects. –Genesis 30

          – You may buy, own, sell, and will slaves to your descendants (only foreigners for slaves, though, no Israelis) –Leviticus 25

          There are several other similar instances of absolute rubbish that this "God" "spoke", along with a bunch of other rules and laws that are obviously only from the minds of primitive men. How anyone can believe that this stuff came from an intelligent divine being is ludicrous.

          October 27, 2013 at 11:56 am |
      • Ben

        Okay I am a gay Christian with aspbergers, yeah I'm a total outsider to the church, but if there is one thing God doesn't like I am sure, it is hell-preaching. In my mind, there are no verses in the bible that say not believing in Jesus means hellfire. It is not our place to say who goes where, or even care about the afterlife period. It is our place to show God's love here

        October 28, 2013 at 7:43 am |
        • LanceThruster

          @Ben – Thank you sincerely for stepping up to defend those who believe (or not) differently. Recently, the Pope came out and agreed with you. God (if it exists) will know what's in our hearts and our reasons for dis-/unbelief.

          I acquired mine honestly. I can be no more true to myself and my worldview/godview than that.

          Best regards to you on your journey through life.

          'Again, sincere thanks for your supportive words.


          October 28, 2013 at 11:46 am |
      • LanceThruster

        Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

        – Epicurus [341–270 B.C.]

        October 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  6. Helaman

    Mr. Hansen,

    What a wonderful piece of thought. Thank you.

    My wife also struggles with the fact that all around her seem to feel an emotional connection to religion (as do I). Just as the two on the road said "did not our hearts burn within us", I suspect she sometimes wonders why hers does not. I have come to define my testimony in God based on those tender and personal moments when I have felt my heart burn within me, but with others it cannot be so.

    While teaching a youth class a number of months ago, I was following a group of people who had been Christians, but after 210 years fell away into diverse sects and currupted the true Christianity. Why would they do that? I think it was because they thought they knew what would make them happy. They had their own ideas of what the true path of correct living is, probably based on selfish reasons.

    Emotions aside, I think that a Man lived on earth who taught the only correct way of living. His philosophy, compassion, love, and self-sacrificing life is the only template that we all follow for true, enduring happiness. When we start getting our own ideas of what is best for us, we will find something less. We will discover that our way is not as beautiful as His way,and whoever teaches something in line with those teachings is also correct.

    That's my two cents. Thanks again for a terrific article.

    Pete K.

    October 24, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • tallulah13

      You are free to live however you want (of course) but many people do not share your need to stay within the herd. Some of us realize that there is a great deal of good and wonder to be found outside off the constraints of religion. Perhaps your wife is one of those people.

      Personally, I could no longer maintain the religious beliefs of my childhood once I realized that there is no proof of existence for any of the thousands of gods ever worshiped by humanity. The wonders of reality are so much greater to me than anything I ever found in a church.

      October 24, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And which of the thousands of Christians tartans is worn by the TRUE Scotsmen?
      Who are you to say that Buddhists, Shintoists, Hindus, or adherents of any other theology are getting any less from their beliefs than you get from yours?

      October 24, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Maddy

      "While teaching a youth class a number of months ago, I was following a group of people who had been Christians, but after 210 years fell away into diverse sects and currupted the true Christianity."
      What does this even mean? Do you not realize that this kind of thinking is precisely why people say Christianity is divisive? You're drawing lines in the sand that needn't exist.
      Like Doc said, 'no true Scotsman'.

      October 24, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  7. joncraft84

    Reblogged this on Handicap and commented:
    Some of the holiest people feel lost, and I am one of them! I don't know why that is, probably because we feel like we're alone in the world even though we know we're not. A lot of handicap people with disabilities feel that way, but we have to learn how to seek out our own support groups and that can be hard. That is what I eventually need to figure out how to do online because I feel like everybody is looking for support groups and can't find any. So that will be my next project. I got one off the ground, now I need to start another project. But this is how we survive as you have seen. As you will read in this blog if you choose to read it. You may not get what I mean but that's how he survived to by being on the radio, not the same way I have done but I survive by this blog. That's pretty much how I see this guy surviving he's survived by being on the radio everyday and I myself survive by trying to reach out to people through my blog. I think I do that. We all need to learn how to seek out the positives in life, and not the negative parts of life. I know sometimes this is the hardest thing to do, trust me I have been there...and will be there many times more. But now I have something to raise me out of that slump which we all know how our life can be a roller coaster. For the handicap people in this world it is a big roller coaster that people don't realize.

    October 23, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "Some of the holiest people feel lost, and I am one of them!"

      Humble much?

      October 23, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
      • 3rd party

        I just looked up the word "holy" it means dedicated to the service of God. So he would be able to speak to his own commitment to a concept without being arrogant.

        October 24, 2013 at 8:05 am |
    • Jesus

      "Some of the holiest people feel lost, and I am one of them!"

      When it comes to holey, I'm your guy! Just look at my hands and feet!

      October 23, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
      • yoozyerbrain

        i just yoozed my brain to laugh!! thanks!

        November 1, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  8. jknbt

    hello Richard Cranium....are you still reading & posting here? Pls respond

    October 23, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Richard Cranium


      October 23, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
      • jknbt

        hello Richard– I'm offering to continue our discussion offline if you like. Or we can discuss anything you like about religion. Pls reply with one of your email addresses here, & I will reply to it...

        October 23, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • Truth28

          You have GOT to be kidding! Richard is extremely smart; why would he want to do something as risky as post his email online? Post YOURS.

          October 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
        • jknbt

          Richard is smart enough to know I am not asking for his main email address. Everyone has a couple of extra email accounts for use like I have suggested. Don't you?

          So Richard, pls do not post your main email account....any one of your secondary accounts will do just fine if you care to discuss. This is an invitation to discuss, not to debate or to wage war. Interested?

          October 23, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
        • Waaaaaa!


          Don't lure Richard Cranium away from spending time here! I understand your frustration with all of the unexplained deletin', though.

          October 23, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Not interested in dicussing religion offline. I come here when I have a few minutes and want to distract my mind.
          I have studied enough about religion to know that all religions draw on mans feelings and knowledge, but then incorporate stories that are made up to bring home their points, so none are reality. More along the lines of analogies, metaphors.

          It surprises me that the religions of the bible don't see one thing that is very plain for me to see. The whole thing boils down to a metaphor. Satan is the embobiment of evil, all of the "bad" we have within, the thing we do not want to give into...anger, stealing, violence, etc....Jesus is the living embodiment of all the good within us kindness, love, self scarifice etc.
          It is not an external struggle...it is a metaphor for the conflicting thoughts within each of us...do the "right" thing or not...and it is the choices we make that will then be judged, not by some grandfatherly figure, but rather the whole of society. The whole of it ...metaphoric...satan and christ...good and evil...a metaphoric descrition of the thoughts in our own heads and the choices we make.

          Further discussion would need to drop the presumption that there is some sentient driving force to the universe. That is just building on myth and hypothesis. There are certainly things in the universe that we have not yet discovered, and filling in the blanks is fun for philosophy but that doesn't progress our actual knowledge.

          You may find me here from time to time, and I am open to discussion...If you see me here, you'd be welcome to chat.

          October 24, 2013 at 8:50 am |
        • Robert Brown

          That is close, Richard. Although, I don’t believe it is all metaphor. You represented the strife between good and evil well. Evil is termed as the devil, the flesh, and the world. Good represented by God the father, God the son, and God the holy spirit. Paul summed it up like this in his letter to the Galatians using the desires of the natural human to represent evil and the desires of the Holy Spirit of God to represent good.

          “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal 5: 16-17)

          October 24, 2013 at 10:30 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          Robert Brown
          Incorporating an external aspect, the spirit, god, the force...whatever.... I don't think we have a definition that fits.

          We are alive, but what does that really mean. I am different than just the chemicals and electricity that comprise my body, but since we do not know exactly what it is, any definition we try to use will not be accurate.
          There is likely no god...as any religion has it defined. There may be something...but what is it.
          If I look at something...say a ball...I can say it is a ball....on closer look it is an orange ball....even closer, it is an orange...and only when we actually open it do we see all that comprises an orange. Initial look ...it is a ball.
          I think it is the same with god (s)....we do not have enough information to have a decent definition. All of the religious texts that have ever been.... mens interpretation of the ball...not of the orange , or the god...not what is really there.

          So as an atheist...I don't believe there are any as any definition that is sufficient and we do not have enough information for a more accurate one. As an agnostic, I know there are things that we do not know, am humbled by that and also comforted by that fact, but am open to whatever there actually is.
          All of the religions we have now, are made by men, inspired by something in them that needs definition, but not accurate enough to believe.

          October 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Richard, for a self-proclaimed agnostic atheist, you sure seem to have a lot in common with believers. Most believers, who I personally know, will readily tell you something similar to much of what you posted. Religion is manmade. We know next to nothing about God. Peace.

          October 24, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
        • Opposing View

          It is the epitome of ignorance for a person to believe that religion was made up when Jesus Christ himself, started the first church. And that same church still exists today. People who believe religion was made up are merely in denial. And it is a denial that will lead them straight to hell…

          October 25, 2013 at 10:35 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          Opposing view.
          You can scream no-no-no all you want. You clearly do not even understand the history of your religion...first church...not even close. And Jesus is a character from a book, with nothing that can be verified to back it up.
          Man made...your god, your hell, your bible, your Jesus...all made up.

          October 27, 2013 at 7:59 am |
        • Opposing View

          Richard… Like I said, some people are the epitome of ignorance. You clearly are such a person. You're too ignorant for me to even waste my time with…

          October 27, 2013 at 9:59 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          Opposing spew
          Why, because you are ignorant enough to believe your book, even though much of it has been proven false.

          If you think you know the answers for certqain, you are the epitome of delusional, and no amount of reason or logic will get through your mental illness.

          October 27, 2013 at 11:49 am |
  9. jknbt

    well, it looks like the political correctness folks at CNN have struck again. They deleted my discussion with Richard Cranium. One more example of how they want interesting and lively discussions posted here, but only if they promote the liberal humanistic atheistic agenda of CNN and its unregenerate editors. Liberals tolerate the opinions of others only as long as the others are in agreement with them. So typical.
    Has anyone else had their comments deleted? Post and say so.

    October 23, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • I wonder


      Heh. We are never given any reasons for these deletions. How do you know that the mod is not actually on your side... saw that you were losing the argument and pulled the plug?! I doubt that Richard Cranium is very happy about it either.

      October 23, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "but only if they promote the liberal humanistic atheistic"

      Then why did liberal atheist posts get deleted as well? Your persecution complex is showing....get over yourself.

      October 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
      • jknbt

        you are feeling a little persecuted also, or you wouldn't have posted this. so take your own advice!

        October 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
        • Truth28

          Are you Austin? You sound exactly like him. He had the same persecuted outlook on life.

          October 23, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          If you scroll down jknbt you will see I commented on the disappearing posts and it had noting to do with singling out one view point or another. You are projecting.

          October 23, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Jknbt, you are far from the only person here to have comments deleted. Stop trying to play the martyr.

          October 24, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I've had plenty of posts deleted, including some that generated long threads – and I'm sure most of folk on here would classify me as "liberal humanist atheist".
      The ways of gods and moderators are mysterious....

      October 24, 2013 at 10:08 am |
  10. Sparki

    Mr. Hansen, you're just at the wrong church, one that emphasizes emotional connections (which is not scriptural) and dubious "gifts" of the Holy Spirit that they think believers control (if you just love Jesus more, pray harder, hate your sin more effectively, etc., you get them????). I get it – I used to belong to one of those churches, too. Try the Catholic Church. There's order, no pressure to demonstrate emotion, and an emphasis on faith + reason.

    October 23, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      So ye dinnae like the cut ae Hansen's kilt?
      'E cannae be a true Scotsman if his tartan isnae like yuirs.

      October 23, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Wrong church for him because you think the order of the Catholic Church would be beneficial for his type of condition or wrong church because they are theologically wrong? Or maybe both?

      I would agree that the Catholic church is extremely adept at giving the illusion of reason for their faith.

      October 23, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      Faith + REASON? LOL, that is so funny. You should be on Comedy Central with your jokes.

      If you had any reason at all you wouldn't be believing in fairy tales.

      October 23, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  11. Howard

    Inspirational & uplifting, even for those who may have a struggle in faith, God meets people at their greatest point of need.

    Your point about a relationship with Christ is well made.

    On the whole an inspiring read.

    Thank you, Brant Hansen! 🙂

    October 23, 2013 at 7:57 am |
  12. I wonder

    It looks like a whole bunch of posts just went away. *sigh*

    October 23, 2013 at 4:33 am |
    • DeathHoodie

      They went to be with Jesus because they were so wonderful and innocent. Their blood stains the walls of this blog.

      October 23, 2013 at 4:49 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I understand moderating comments that are just insults thrown back and forth, but there were a number of respectful, decent theads that disappeared. There doesn't seem to be rhyme nor reason as to the motivation of the mods anymore.

      October 23, 2013 at 8:48 am |
  13. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Who thought of imaginary beings that
    hate us and want to ensnare us
    love us and want to save us?
    # None are indifferent

    That's the real crazy-ass evil in the world.
    Really, how many people would come up with such a thing on their own?

    October 22, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
  14. umm

    I am sure some church somewhere must have "therapy sessions" to deal with this problem as well.

    October 22, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  15. Robert

    A great opinion piece! Nicely articulated!

    October 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • PA Joe


      October 22, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  16. bostontola

    Did mathematics exist before the Big Bang?
    The word "before" the Big Bang isn't proper with respect to Big Bang theories. Time itself is not uniform, it bends like space. Asking what happened before the Big Bang is like asking what is north of the North Pole.

    Why would an abstraction like mathematics exist on their own?
    That is a philosophical question, not scientific or mathematical.

    How could mathematical abstractions exist on their own?
    Also philosophical, analogous to the tree falling in the woods question.

    October 21, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • bostontola

      Sorry, meant as a reply.

      October 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
      • William

        I forgive you 🙂

        October 21, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
  17. William

    In principle, the right to discriminate should be fought for just as hard as abortion rights are, because both have to do with the body. If they are our bodies, then we can decide for ourselves with whom we put our bodies. It should go without saying that we should have a right to decide who we are with, and who we are not with, regardless of motivation, which is irrelevant if a right is fundamental.

    October 21, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Can you give an example of discrimination you would like to practice but are not allowed to?

      October 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Private business owners are forced to serve people they may not wish to do business with. A business cannot refuse somebody service based on race, which fundamentally inhibits the business owner's right to property. Employment discrimination laws also force private employers to employ people they do not wish to employ. This kind of discrimination may not be ethical, but ethics is not the concern of government.

        October 22, 2013 at 7:19 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I think you are wrong here, allowing businesses to discriminate in hiring practices, service practices, ect. would end up creating an extreme instability in society. You may say "so what, and so be it", and have the atti.tude it would have to work itself out, history proves otherwise. People do not have a fundamental right to run their buisness any way they choose any more than people have a fundamental right to drive their car anyway they choose.

          October 22, 2013 at 9:20 am |
      • Regular Reader

        I read your posts a lot Cheesemaker. I think that you have a lot of insight and a gift with words. I don't always like what you post but in this instance I definitely do. That is a very good point.

        October 23, 2013 at 5:21 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          That is very kind of you to say.

          Feel free to tell me what you don't like, I enjoy discourse.

          I actually consider myself a moderate libertarian though I am sure many libertarians would take issue with that. I think businesses, especially small businesses, are often unnecessarily regulated. At the same time businesses, especially large businesses can do a lot of damage if left to their own devices.

          October 23, 2013 at 9:19 am |
        • Regular Reader

          Well what do you know, another moderate libertarian. Nice to meet you. I also agree that big businesses are under regulated and little ones over regulated. I'll keep you posted if I see a comment I don't agree in the future though if I find one and I'm looking forward to the debate. 😉

          October 23, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Vic

      That is a very intriguing argument, indeed. That's why, I believe, we shall always apply God's Natural Law. We shall not deny service to anyone based on anything other than disorderly conduct and/or safety hazard. Also, we shall have the right to choose whom we associate and/or be with as a personal matter and preference while not being inappropriate.

      October 22, 2013 at 11:39 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        God's natural law? You mean the Christian god of the bible? The bible that condons slavery and multiple acts of restricting and infringing on the rights of others? Yeah....I don't think so.

        October 22, 2013 at 11:59 am |
      • Crom

        Physics is the only natural law, predating the Big Bang and causing this continuum to have baryonic matter.
        Your bible is a crapulous collection of lies. There is no such thing as magic and no such thing as a "god".
        Should you attempt to live by the crap-filled delusions engendered by your bible, you will find yourself at odds with reality quite often, driving you deeper into delusion as you lack the ability to throw off the delusion. Same ol crap.

        October 22, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
        • Bobby Brown

          It's my prerogative.
          It's a free country.
          That's like giving warnings to gays about AIDs, or smokers about smoking, or motorcyclists about not wearing helmets.

          October 23, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          CRAPULOUS!! Why didn't I think of that? Thank you Crom, that's wordifying at its finest!

          November 1, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        "We shall not deny service to anyone based on anything other than disorderly conduct and/or safety hazard."

        Sounds more like the book of Issac Asimov than God's "Natual Law".

        A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. etc.

        October 22, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
      • Ken

        "God's natural law" got a lot of things wrong in Genesis.


        October 23, 2013 at 10:22 am |
        • Ken

          The good stuff starts with part 2


          October 23, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  18. bostontola

    "Where did the laws of physics come from?"

    The same place god(s) came from, from the mind of humans. Laws of physics are human concepts and constructions and are not truth, and are often shown to be incomplete and wrong. Newton's laws of gravity are not right, Einstein's laws of gravity are better but not complete. The law of conservation of energy had to be updated to be conservation of mass-energy, etc.

    October 21, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • bananas

      2nd law of thermodynamics crushes your evolutionary hypotheses

      October 21, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
      • bostontola

        Not at all, why?

        October 21, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        I'm curious too. You know that nearly everything that happens here is driven by the huge delta-S of the sun? Life is barely noticeable.

        October 21, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
        • bostontola

          It's a common misunderstanding about the 2nd law, which only applies in a closed system at equilibrium. The earth is far from equilibrium and is quite open (huge influx of energy from the sun, influx of mass from meteorites, comets, etc.).

          October 21, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
      • Sara

        I'm more curious as to why regular commenters here answer LOL?? like he's making serious posts?

        October 21, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
        • bostontola

          No harm being polite to regulars.

          October 21, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
        • Max

          Sara, bananas isn't lol??. Bananas is faith/hhari et al, the one who keeps threatening us all with her ridiculous lawsuit. Lol?? is someone completely different. Bith, however, are completely sill at times.

          October 22, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  19. Here's something

    People always vote according to their own opinion. We all put laws into place (some more than others). Beyond that being a Christian is no guarantee that you don't support marriage equality just as being an atheist is no guarantee that you will support it.
    You can aim for trends but that only goes so far.

    October 21, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
  20. William

    How has religion ever harmed atheists?
    If religion is so harmful to atheists, why don't the atheists ever sue in small claims court under tort law?
    Where is the concrete, tangible proof and evidence of the harm?
    If there is none, then why so much hatred toward something that has never harmed them?
    They seem to be the ones living in a delusional, fantasy land of paranoia.
    The harm done to them by religion is all in their heads.
    Where is the solid evidence?

    October 21, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • JWT

      Religious people voting against gay marriage. There ya go.

      October 21, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
      • William

        That doesn't count.

        October 21, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
        • JWT

          It harms people – so it sure does count.

          October 21, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
        • William

          No, it does not.

          October 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
        • sam stone

          william: why doesn't it count?

          speaking of paranoia, aren't christians convinced that god is watching not only their every move, but monitoring their thoughts lest they lust over someone not their spouse?

          October 21, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
        • sealchan

          It counts because telling someone that they have no legal right to make decisions for an ailing loved one because they cannot have the same legal relationship hurts.

          October 21, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
        • tallulah13

          It doesn't count because William doesn't want it to count. William is apparently five years old.

          October 22, 2013 at 9:53 am |
      • Fed

        Atheist people vote against gay marriage.

        Gay people can also be religious.

        October 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
        • JWT

          Of course but there seems to be so many that use their religion as an excuse to discriminate. It needs to stop.

          October 21, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
        • Sara

          Only 6% of atheists opposed same se x marriage last July, 73% of white evangelicals:


          October 21, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
        • William

          Here's a radical idea. What if people had a right to discriminate? Who's to say they don't? How do people know that they have they rights that they have? What makes them so sure? Because they say they do? Why shouldn't the right to discriminate be a fundamental right? What's the rationale for letting rights tilt in one direction over another?

          October 21, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
        • William

          In principle, the right to discriminate should be fought for just as hard as abortion rights are, because both have to do with the body. If they are our bodies, then we can decide for ourselves with whom we put our bodies. It should go without saying that we should have a right to decide who we are with, and who we are not with, regardless of motivation, which is irrelevant if a right is fundamental.

          October 21, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
      • William

        That's absurd. Can the loser of an election sue because he did not get elected? Of course not. People have a right to vote for whatever they want. Do you want to decide what people can and cannot vote for? That would defeat the purpose of voting. If you did this, then it's the voters who would be harmed.

        October 21, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
        • JWT

          If people vote against gay marriage because of their particular religious bent then they are denying the rights of people not of their religion. Which is why some of these things should never be open votes to start with.

          October 21, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Civil rights are not open to vote on.

          October 21, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
      • RS

        That logic should, I think, then be applied to the unbeliever who votes against believers' "rights." In both cases, one desires to abridge the perceived rights of the other. Unless, of course, "fairness" isn't the issue. If it's important only to win, neither position is overly convincing.

        October 22, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      Religion harms atheists because Christians continually try to put their beliefs and practices into law, even when noone is harmed, such as in gay marriage. Also, our children have been shamed in schools by either having to recite the pledge of allegience with the God thing in it, or opt out, causing other children to belittle them. We are harmed when Christians try to teach "intelligent design" in our schools or put religious teachings on state or federal government property. We're harmed because there's never been a SINGLE atheist president or supreme court justice, due to the unfair and inflammatory stigma associated with atheists.

      Lawsuits? Take a look around. It happens all the time- it has to, or you Christians would just run roughshod over anyone with a different faith, or no faith at all.

      Get real.

      October 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
      • William

        Define harm.

        October 21, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
        • WhenCowsAttack

          Discrimination, bullying (again, our children), LOSS of const-tutional rights (gay marriage).

          I could go on and on. Do you think harm can be only physical? Are you kidding? If not, I wouldn't bother anymore, you'll lose. I could go on and on about how religion harms society, and the nonreligious as a whole.

          October 21, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
        • William

          I'm harmed when the bank won't give me a million dollars.

          October 21, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
        • William

          I don't accept your definition of what harm is.

          October 21, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
        • sam

          William, no one gives a rat's ass what you accept. It's not for you to decide. Hurry up and whip out some idiot bible quote to make yourself feel better/more righteous, then go find something better to do.

          October 21, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
        • William

          Do you want me to accept your definition of harm as a given without question? Sounds a bit dogmatic.

          October 21, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
        • Peregrine

          William, it's not just WCA's definition that you're disputing.There is ample case law that recognizes mental distress and it is well established in both criminal and civil actions.

          October 21, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
        • Crom

          World English Dictionary
          harm (hɑːm)

          1. physical or mental injury or damage
          2. moral evil or wrongdoing

          3. (tr) to injure physically, morally, or mentally

          October 21, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
      • JWT

        Very well put WCA.

        October 21, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
      • William

        Saying that you're harmed is one thing, but proving it is quite another.

        October 21, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
        • Crom

          Yes, it's so easy to terrorize the children you've raped into remaining silent it becomes hard to "prove" it in court.
          And all those people burned alive, some because of their skin color, based upon your bible, are now ashes, so they cannot testify in court against you anymore.
          And all those other dead people, tortured to death, were forced to sign "confessions" before the final murderous act, so there is no "proof" that they were tortured and their orders of execution and torture have been destroyed.
          Damage? How about we burn you alive and ask you if you feel "damaged"? Oh, your "soul" will still be "undamaged" right so we can burn your body alive and it's okay with you then? No "damage", no "evidence", no foul regardless of the actual truth, is that it?
          Yeah, you sound like a Catholic. Tell me I'm wrong.

          October 21, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
        • William


          October 21, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
        • sam

          Hey William – what would Jesus do?

          October 21, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
        • William

          I don't honestly know what Jesus would do. I guess it would depend on what kind of mood he was in.

          October 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
        • Crom

          So are you a Catholic or not? I notice you don't respond to some questions and dance away from others.
          Anyone so criminally insane as to pretend all the past 10,000 years of religious violence never happened, including the Holocaust, then you are just another insane idiot troll and would be laughed out of any adult discussion.

          October 21, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
      • jknbt

        HEY COWS– ALL laws have a moral basis. Moral standards are tuned into legal standards. Religion teaches morality and morals. Hence, all laws are ultimately based in religious moral belief. This includes the moral beliefs arising out of the religion/religious philosophy of Humanism. Humanist lobby Congress and the Legislatures all the time with their own agendas.
        This is why there is majority rule in democracy. The trouble is, liberals and humanists believe in Minority Rule when they are in the minority. They do this through political correctness, advocating tolerance, and rushing to the Courts when they know they don't have the votes to pass their agenda into law in a legislative session.
        Liberals and Humanists believe in majority rule when they are in the majority. They believe in minority rule when they are in the minority, since after all, they know much better than the befuddled masses. Those backward minded, old fashioned, silly moralistic people are forced to benefit by the re-education provided by the Liberal Humanistic minority. They define this sort of manipulation of the system as "Progress", since we all want to be progressive.

        October 22, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      First, let me just say that rarely do those treading on others rights recognize it so you are not in the minority. Second, there are many lawsuits that have been submitted and many still pending with some big wins for freedom but mostly discouragment at the status quo of the Christian stranglehold on this country and our legislation. Just because 90% of your town may be Christian and love to see the Christmas decorations on private homes and businesses doesn't mean the 10% should have to just deal with it when the Christmas cheer crosses the line from the private sector to our court houses, post offices and police departments.

      We need those three little letters "G" "o" "d" off our money, out of our pledge and out of our schools. Until then we are not a free country but beholden to a specific brand of religious ideology.

      October 21, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Crom

      The ACLU sues a great many religious idiots, as does the DOJ, for human rights violations.
      Are you suggesting these things have never happened? LOL
      You must live in a bubble of excrement because that is how stupid you sound.

      October 21, 2013 at 10:07 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.