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December 1st, 2013
09:37 AM ET

The real-life angels of mercy

Opinion by Kerry Egan, special to CNN

(CNN)– I got pulled over on my way to work recently. I was late and I was speeding, but when the officer saw the hospice ID around my neck, with the word "chaplain" all in capital letters, she gave me just a warning.

"You're an angel," she said. "Anybody who takes care of the dying must be an angel."

Because I'm a hospice chaplain, I hear that pretty frequently. I can guarantee you I'm not an angel. I'm a flawed and struggling human, and I deserved that ticket. I also don't take care of the dying, not really.

Because I have many patients, I usually only get to visit each patient twice a month, maybe once a week. In rare cases, I'll visit daily, but only for an hour or so. It's the dying person's family that truly takes care of him or her.

While hospice aides, nurses, social workers, and chaplains go into the homes of patients to offer support, education, and help, they cannot be there 24 hours a day, and they don't do the bulk of the caregiving.

More than 65 million Americans are caregivers for dying, sick, and disabled family members, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving, and about 1.6 million people are cared for by hospice programs each year.

While I always think it's nice that people call hospice workers like me “angels,” in some ways that lessens what caring for the dying actually means. I've seen what that caregiving work is like when I've been in patients' homes.

Let's be truly honest here - it can be exhausting, heartbreaking, and bone-crushing, especially if the disease process lasts for years.

I've watched those hospice families spoon food into mouths, and clean it up when it's spit out. I've seen them hold cups of water to flaking, yellow lips.

I've watched them turn their mothers or husbands in bed, the patients' heavy flesh rolling through their exertions and sweat. I've sat with them when they come out of the bedroom, after having cleaned the diarrhea off their fathers' or wives' backs.

I've seen them stooped over, back in a spasm from having lifted someone too heavy to lift alone.

To be the caregiver to someone who is dying is probably the most difficult work in the world.

But if we believe that the work we are called to do on this earth is to give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned, then the families who care for the chronically ill and dying have done that with an intensity - an all-encompassing, daily, hourly, by-the-minute intensity - that is like nothing else.

For what else is the work of caring for the dying other than feeding, giving drink, bathing and clothing, and comforting the sick?

My Faith: What people talk about before they die

And if we believe that whatsoever we do, for even the least of people, we do for God, then the work that caregivers do is the most sacred work. More so, I think, than any missionary in a far-off place, more than a preacher in a pulpit, more than a theologian in a library, and, I can tell you with absolute certainty, more than a hospice chaplain.

That it is holy work doesn't make it lovely, or easy.

Being a caregiver might be the hardest work in the world, but the world doesn't seem to know it. Families caring for their sick are not held up as heroes. They don't get out of speeding tickets because of their job title.

People say that those who work with the dying must be angels. I think they mean that they can't imagine that they could do such physically, emotionally, and spiritually demanding work.

They think it must take the strength of angels to do such work, knowing that it ends in grief. It really does seem almost superhuman sometimes.

Ultimately, the problem with calling caregivers angels is that it implies that they don't need help. If they don't need help, we don't have to step up and offer it.

A patient's husband once told me that the old friends of his wife, a woman who had been bed-bound for eight years, stop him in the grocery store and post office all the time. They squeeze his hands and murmur softly to tell him that they are praying for her and that they love her.

"That's a cop-out! They pray because it's easy!" he shouted as tears slid down his cheeks and his body shook with grief and anger and abandonment. "She doesn't need your prayers. She needs you to come visit her!"

Too often, the dying and their caregivers are left alone and isolated, forgotten by the world that goes on with its business. Sometimes love is action. Sometimes love is the diaper change, the crushed pills in applesauce, the sponge bath. Sometimes love is taking care of someone when we hate it all.

If you've been a caregiver, you may have regrets. You may think, "If only I had done it differently." "If only I had noticed sooner." "If only I had been more patient." You may have been tired, and you may have been resentful. You may have been angry. You may have lost your faith. You may have been relieved when your loved one died, and then felt terrible guilt over that relief.

I have heard these things dozens of times over.

But remember that you did this work, not with the strength of angels, not with the unending energy of the supernatural, but with the limitations and weakness of a human being.

Maybe that's why the instructions are so simple, really. We don't need to take expensive mission trips around the world. We don't need to plan for months. We don't need special training. That bed-bound patient and her husband didn't need angels. They needed people.

When I was driving home from college with my mother and very ill father, we got a flat tire as darkness fell in the mountains in Virginia.

Seemingly out of nowhere, an elderly man in a tow truck showed up and changed the tire, accepting no payment or thanks.

At the time I thought he must be an angel. I couldn't imagine, straight out of college at 22 years old, that any person could be so willing to help another, with no reward or benefit to himself. And, because I thought he was an angel, I didn't see what he was doing as the kind of thing I should or could do myself.

But now I know better.

The hospice families, who cared for and loved and then let go of the ones they loved, have taught me that the human heart can be as big as the ocean, and that the work that God calls us to - to take care of each other - happens every moment in every place. We do not need to be angels to do it.

Kerry Egan is a hospice chaplain in South Carolina and author of "Fumbling: A Pilgrimage Tale of Love, Grief, and Spiritual Renewal on the Camino de Santiago." The views expressed in this column belong to Egan. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Death • Ethics • Faith • Heaven • Opinion

soundoff (340 Responses)
  1. palintwit

    If Sarah Palin and her tea party patriots would just quit wearing those size 34 floppy clown shoes they would be able to take ballroom dancing lessons. And maybe tap dancing too.

    December 2, 2013 at 10:54 am |
  2. Apple Bush

    I am going to be completely honest here and say how much I admire folks that give care to non-family members. I personally couldn't do it. It is not in me. I couldn't be a nurse, a doctor or a caregiver it is just not in my DNA. If I am ever on the receiving end of that care, just kill me. I don't think I could handle that either.

    December 2, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Sara(swati)

      Most people don't enjoy it. It always stuns me when people say that they don't want to see teachers or nurses get raises because the good ones should be in it for the love of the work. But except for the easiest of these jobs (I won't list them for fear of pis.sing people off) the roles are hell and emotionally draining. To think that there's some band of people millions strong happy to do this work for pennies is delusional wishful thinking. We need to cough up the money these people deserve for doing desperately hard work if we want the quality of people doing it and staying in the role that we should see there. The most underpaid are the CNAs who do the majority of the real day to day work and who make the important emotional connections with the patients. These people need to be rewarded and recognized for what they do.

      December 2, 2013 at 10:41 am |
      • Apple Bush

        My wife was a CNA before we were married. I think she got burnt out. She went into banking.

        December 2, 2013 at 10:45 am |
        • Sara(swati)

          Yeah, that sounds a lot more relaxing.

          One solution tossed around for the CNA shortage is having people going for medicine, nursing and other careers do a CNA course as an actual credit class in their programs. This would give people an introduction to the care end of the field and a way to support themselves while studying. It would also provide RNs who supervise CNAs with a real knowledge of what they do.

          December 2, 2013 at 10:52 am |
  3. Amen

    Humble servant. Keep up the kindness, Kerry.

    December 2, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  4. Sara

    Thank you, Kerry, for that very accurate and realistic description of what it means to be a caregiver. Taking care of a loved on is the hardest thing most people ever do, it cost every emotion one has, it takes money and frequently requires The vast majority could never afford long term nursing care without driving themselves into desti.tution to get government help. People have no idea the emotional and financial cost, and generally do not want to know. Someone on this site yesterday responded to a comment I made about the difficulties of caring for a parent with Alzheimer's that it was a minor issue because social security helped out! For most the options are care that is over $100,000/yr at the nursing level or quitting work only to be deemed one of the lazy by the right wing.

    December 2, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Sara

      Those who care for their familiy members deserve all the help we can give them. This means volunteering as at a nursing facility or as a respite provider so a caregiver can get out to shop once a week or have some essential social contact. This means visiting with friends who are stuck at home caring for family. Make dinner and bring it over and stay and talk. Ask before you leave if you can help with anything, and suck it up if the request is hard.

      December 2, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Madtown

      Stay strong Sara, I'm sure you're doing great work, as hard as it is!

      December 2, 2013 at 10:04 am |
      • Sara

        Thanks madtown. I've done my time as a caregiver, and will I know do it again. I am very committed to both the power of volunteer work in this area, and the need for more government assistance. This isn't a simple one way flow of money either, as millions are lost in productivity when people leave the workforce, and doing this full time can break even the best of people. And the burden falls more heavily on women who will often end up serving in this role multiple times. That is not to diminish the great caregiving many men also do, particularly for their spouses, but to recognize that women are for more likely to end up with the burden of caring for parents, siblings and children, even when from their male partner's family. But again, many of the greatest sacrifices I have seen are from men who gave their last years caring for their wives, the greatest act of love. They so need help, and the men often are less willing to seek support. Please, if any man (or woman) is reading this in this position join a caregivers support group. I have seen it as the lifeline for many, many people.

        December 2, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Sara

      And most importantly support legislation that helps caregivers. Nursing care is enormously expensive, and the workers, mostly nursing assistants, underpaid and often without good benefits. You are asking these people to care for your parents as you would, doing hard, personal and sometimes dangerous tasks (lifting and moving people causes often life altering injury) and they often make barely livable wages. These trained workers need subsidized salaries and, like all of us, decent health care. Not just for their wellbeing, but because a tired and bitter overworked nursing aid is the last person you want doing this work. If anyone deserves the name 'angel' it is the CNAs who care for the elderly and dying.

      December 2, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Sara

      And though I may not agree with your religious beliefs, Kerry,I have seen wonderful reactions to hosp.ice clergy. I saw one woman smile for hours after a visit, her entire day turned around. And I strongly encourage more men to volunteer in nursing homes. Most of the residents are women, most of whom were married to men and respond well to a caring male voice which they rarely hear. An hour's visit can mean an afternoon of happiness, and at this point it becomes so clear how important each moment is.

      December 2, 2013 at 10:08 am |
  5. Anna

    .
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeedE8vH1FQ&w=640&h=360]

    December 2, 2013 at 7:45 am |
  6. Reality # 2

    As noted previously:

    When one invokes god, heaven and angels in her commentary, her premise becomes worthless.

    AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

    Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

    "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As do BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    December 2, 2013 at 7:26 am |
    • cross eyed mary

      Prove it

      December 2, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • Reality # 2

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      For added information see the review at:

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel
      "The prophet Ezekiel described an incredible vision of cherubim angels in Ezekiel chapter 10 of the Torah and the Bible, mentioning that the angels’ wings were “completely full of eyes” (verse 12) and “under their wings was what looked like human hands” (verse 21). The angels each used their wings and something “like a wheel intersecting a wheel” (verse 10) that “sparkled like topaz” (verse 9) to move around."

      For a rather extensive review of angel wings, see http://angels.about.com/od/AngelBasics/a/Angels-Wings-And-Things.htm

      December 2, 2013 at 10:34 am |
      • Reality # 2

        From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi----–

        The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

        ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

        Are you ready?

        Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

        The First Five of the 77 Branches:

        "1. Belief in Allah"

        aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

        "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

        Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

        "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

        A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

        "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

        Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

        Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

        Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

        "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
        be upon him) alone."

        Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

        Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

        December 2, 2013 at 10:37 am |
  7. Iceman83

    The giving of yourself is the best gift you can give. Kerry found it at a early age

    December 2, 2013 at 6:19 am |
  8. Sharon

    Thank you Kerry Egan for your article. My husband had a stroke in 2005 and passed away in 2010. He also developed CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia). Until the last 6 months there was no one to care for him but myself. I have experienced every emotion and feeling you have described here. I still feel guilt to this day even though I know logically I should not feel that way. I don't care what religion you are – I pretty much detest "religion" as a whole. Yes, I had multiple friends that sqeezed my hands, and were "praying for" my husband. But I did not have anyone to come sit with him so I could get out for some time by myself. At first his care was not '24-hr. home bound care'. I was working a full-time job and worked overnight so I would be away while he was sleeping. I slept (if you can call it that) during the day, but was there if he needed anything. Because of the stroke I still had to cook, clean and also take over all the chores that he used to do as well as my own. I literally tripled my workload between work, home, his care and completely ignored myself. My days off were spent taking him out and about to keep some semblance of normalcy for him and make sure he wasn't completely cut off from the world. It is the absolute hardest job I have every done. My heart still breaks every day at my loss. However, if I can be a caregiver I will survive anything.

    December 2, 2013 at 4:42 am |
    • Sara(swati)

      This kind of care really is the hardest thing most of us will ever do. I ask everyone who knows someone in this position just to say "Please let me know if you'd like me to sit with Bob for a few hours sometime for you." Don't just ask if there's anything you can do. Caregivers know that asking you to sit with someone is a huge request and you have to make clear what you are willing to do.

      Another great offer is "Would you like to have dinner Wednesday? I can bring something over."

      Or "I'm on my way to the store...can I get you anything?" Then stop and stay and talk when dropping the groceries off. You want to let the person pay for the groceries or they will be hesitant to ask again. Unless of course it is family or the situation is dire, but usually people won't want financial help from a friend.

      If you don't know anyone contact a local agency about respite care. By allowing people to go out to dinner once a week you could save a marriage.

      It doesn't take much. Just take the plunge to care.

      December 2, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  9. Josh

    I don't really get it. I'm not a Christian, not baptized as one anyway. And I'm certainly not an atheist. I guess I would be considered an agnostic, which may be the worst of the bunch. At least the other sides are certain of something - right?

    At any rate, what I don't get is this argument. It seemed to me the point of this article was to focus on caregivers and what they sacrifice with little to no recognition. I also detected a desire from the author for more people to pitch in and help rather than the mouth service received from most. As a matter of fact, she even cited an example of Christians saying they would "pray" for them as opposed to visiting or assisting.

    So where did the religious argument come from? Is it because she is a chaplain? Are people unable to glean good from a message if they don't like the source? Doesn't that undermine the exact principles most atheists stand on? I thought atheism was about logic, and judging things purely on their merit. I believe you do your cause harm when you throw rocks at anything related to Christianity.

    There are bad Christians and bad Atheists. I think we should all be able to celebrate good for what it is when we see it - regardless of where it comes from.

    December 2, 2013 at 3:44 am |
    • wow

      shut up loser

      December 2, 2013 at 4:50 am |
      • Opposing View

        Colossians 3:8

        But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

        December 2, 2013 at 5:11 am |
      • guest

        What is your definition and image of a looser?

        December 2, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • sam stone

      most atheists do not claim certainty, josh

      December 2, 2013 at 5:46 am |
      • cross eyed mary

        Prison, girlfriend

        December 2, 2013 at 8:07 am |
        • psych ward staff

          Better hurry back, mary – you've been away from your meds way too long

          December 2, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Madtown

      I would be considered an agnostic, which may be the worst of the bunch
      -----
      Josh, I would say it's the best position of the bunch. In my opinion, it's the truest position. No matter what anyone may think or believe, no matter which conclusion someone is convinced is truth, none of us really know the answers to any of the questions debated here. That makes us all agnostic, whether we admit it or not!

      December 2, 2013 at 9:43 am |
  10. CurmudgeonTx

    Why is it you that claim there is no God come onto the 'Belief Blog' and slam those that believe there is a God? Are you that uncomfortable in your lack of belief that you must slam those that do believe? If you believe there is no God, I am not going to try and convince you otherwise, however I expect the same from you in return. We all have freedom to believe as we wish in that respect.

    December 2, 2013 at 1:54 am |
    • Miro

      There are like 5 to 8 very intolerant and hostile regular posters here that love to demean and using derogatory terms toward people with a different belief system than them.

      December 2, 2013 at 2:02 am |
  11. HotAirAce

    My wife is a real-life angel of mercy, a registered nurse for 30+ years, and an atheist. Delusional believe in unproven supernatural beings is not a requirement for doing the right thing for others.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:47 am |
    • Miro

      Does that make you feel better? You cut down other people for being "delusional" and brag about your wife and her atheism? Why you acting just like the religious people that you say you are superior to?

      December 2, 2013 at 1:13 am |
      • 1fifty

        This poster is not putting you down or bragging about his wife. You are reacting way too strongly.

        December 2, 2013 at 3:05 am |
    • mountainlady

      Atheists are perhaps the most defensive humans on the planet. I see over and over again a need to criticize and sanction those with belief in an effort to support their own position. How sad. Even more sad is that this article is about real heroes and the point of the article is lost in this religious debate. Caregivers are incredible. My own turn at this has not come yet but it may. My husband and I have agreed that neither of us want to go through what our parents went through dying slowly while burdening our children. We're making plans to die with dignity. But not everyone agrees with us on this issue and the families of those who want nature to take it's course sacrifice so much and love while they do it. Amazing. Can we just appreciate what this woman has written and acknowledge our own strengths and weaknesses without criticizing the belief choices of others? Apparently not.

      December 2, 2013 at 2:09 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Just stating a fact. Why are *you* getting worked up about it?

      December 2, 2013 at 2:32 am |
      • jmnatc

        "My wife is a real-life angel of mercy (opinion), a registered nurse for 30+ years (fact), and an atheist (fact). Delusional (opinion – also a loaded term that undermines the credibility of your entire argument) believe in unproven supernatural beings is not a requirement for doing the right thing for others (opinion)."

        Just in case you were unsure of the difference between fact and opinion. You're welcome.

        December 2, 2013 at 7:02 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Thanks for your opinion. Of course, was using "angel of mercy" in the context of this article, but I will restate my original statement:

          My wife is a nurse (fact) who delivers a certified level of care (fact supported by regular reviews and re-certifications) while being an atheist (fact). Believing supernatural claims for which there is not a shred of actual evidence (fact) is not a requirement (fact) of certification or actual delivery of services.

          December 2, 2013 at 7:12 am |
        • Miro

          Insisting your opinions are facts is just sad. Again, you are acting just like the religious people you claim to be superior to.

          December 2, 2013 at 10:09 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Which facts do you disagree with, what evidence do you have to support your contentions and where did I claim to be superior to anyone?

          December 2, 2013 at 10:17 am |
        • Miro

          jmnatc lays out what is fact and opinion quite well above.

          It is not that I don't agree with them. Not everyone will agree with your opinion. Unless you are arrogant, you should be fine with people holding opinions that differ from yours.

          December 2, 2013 at 10:21 am |
        • HotAirAce

          I don't have a problem with people with different opinions, and in an admittedly perhaps small example, used the opinions above to modify my statement. Now, where did I claim superiority?

          December 2, 2013 at 10:25 am |
        • Miro

          You decided to use derogatory terms against believers. This article did not say believers were the only "angels of mercy". Or did it state that religious belief was needed to be a good caregiver. Yet, somehow you got offended and decided to use offensive language to cut down believers.

          Basically, you just posted your opinion. Not facts.

          December 2, 2013 at 10:32 am |
        • HotAirAce

          You need to sharpen your reading skills. There's one, if not two, sentences that links caregiving with religion.

          December 2, 2013 at 10:37 am |
        • Miro

          What lines did you find so offensive?

          December 2, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Why do think I was offended? Did you re-read the article? Is caregiving really holy work? Is it really work that some unproven god calls us to do?

          December 2, 2013 at 10:48 am |
        • Miro

          Oh, so you have no supporting evidence to back your claim?

          Did you notice this is an opinion piece? And then you gave your opinion. But, you arrogantly insisted your opinions were facts. And that is where you come off as thinking you are superior. You continue to get more arrogant, again, insisting your opinions are facts and her's are delusions. That is where it appears you are offended.

          December 2, 2013 at 11:02 am |
        • HotAirAce

          That you could not find the sentences with the hints given makes me wonder about your basic ability to read and comprehend. . .

          Directly from the article:

          "That it is holy work doesn't make it lovely, or easy."

          "and that the work that God calls us to – to take care of each other"

          Now let's recap:

          -I posted my opinion using a factual example to indicate that a god delusion was not required.
          – you took exception, claiming I was bragging, behaving the same as others and claiming superiority. I did none of what you accused me of.
          -I flippantly replied that I was just stating a fact.
          – another poster chastised you for overreacting.
          – yet another poster disassembled my opinion into facts and opinions and chastised me on my choice of words
          – I took that posters advise and rewrote my opinion, using the same commenting style as they had and removing the offensive word. Note: they have not objected to my revised statement.
          – you took further exception to my statement, but when asked clear questions, wouldn't be specific.
          – given huge hints, you were unable to find the sentences linking caregiving and religion so accused me of having no evidence.
          – you have repeatedly injected emotion into this thread.

          So who really is the arrogant offended one?

          December 2, 2013 at 11:26 am |
        • Miro

          Wait... you mean on a Faith and Belief blog somebody talked about their faith and belief? She didn't discredit your belief. She just talked about her belief. But you tried (and failed) to discredit her belief.

          December 2, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Silly me, trying to express an alternative opinion, and calmly responding to criticism. You of course are 100% correct – within your own little bubble. Have a nice day.

          December 2, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • guest

      Love is something we do, not what we feel, what we feel and call “love” is passion: an emotion that may be linked to love. (I regret to say it, but Webster is wrong on this one, and a few other words.)
      Before the idea of “angel” is completely bashed, consider the origin of the word; it is Greek: meaning: messenger. I believe those that make an effort to give courage and help to those who are struggling with some unfathomable burden are messengers—angels of love.
      (P.S. Think about this you guys before you call your girlfriend an angel, there are no female angels (a typically benevolent celestial being) found in the Bible.)
      However, HotAirAce, just because you think there is no evidence of celestial beings called angels, does not mean there is “no evidence”, it’s just evidence that you do not agree with, but I do agree that your wife is most likely an “angel of mercy”, most nurses are.
      Sorry I can’t be here to read any more, but I have other things to do.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:38 am |
  12. tony

    Any real god would have no need of religious leaders to speak for him/her/it. It's obvious when you think about it. But religious leaders spend almost as much time making you feel guilty about actually thinking, than they do raising money from the non-thinkers.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • Miro

      If you think about it...all you are doing is generalizing and stereotyping.

      December 2, 2013 at 1:08 am |
  13. Answer

    Just prove it to yourself you religious freaks...

    Go on and say this to yourself:

    "I can be ALL of the things that life emboldens me to be; WITHOUT my religion!"

    ~Care to test this 'real' remark on your mind and see if it does or doesn't really reflect well on you – personally?

    December 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      I have tried doing it on my own... It was a miserable failure. The weaker I admit I am, the stronger God makes me.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
      • Answer

        Sure ... right.

        You can't say it to yourself and it doesn't ring true because you need your precious god.

        These are the two distinct sentences:

        ~
        "I can be ALL of that which life emboldens me to be; WITHOUT my religion."

        "I can not be ALL of that which life emboldens me to be; WITHOUT my religion."
        ~

        One has to make fit that he/she is useless thereof without their religion. You freaks are just that pathetic that you deceive your own mind.

        December 1, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
      • AE

        Amen. God's strength is perfected in our weaknesses.

        December 2, 2013 at 12:20 am |
      • tony

        But. . . you are on your own. You just imagine otherwise.

        December 2, 2013 at 12:24 am |
      • truthprevails1

        If you can't live without imaginary friends then you're not moral to begin with. It is sad that people do not take credit for their own good deeds in this world and feel they need a god to help them through...some people are not that weak.

        December 2, 2013 at 7:28 am |
    • Paul Dougherty

      What are you so angry about? You can hardly contain your venom, by starting your comments out by calling the faithful "freaks." I thought atheism had a civil code based on a "pure logic" driven by an understanding of the world based on only that which you see before you. If you are so confident about your "belief" that there is no God, then why do you feel so threatened by those that do believe there is a God?

      December 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
      • .

        Answer is an ass. One of this troll's many questionable characters. He is Legion.

        December 1, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
      • tony

        Not threatened, just angry and so saddened in having so many of our species passing on what is in effect a computer virus for the human brain.

        December 2, 2013 at 12:27 am |
    • Lovely

      God hates the planet and the people in it He is sick of all the lies the earth has been abominated. Who cares about Angels now. It does not matter we are in a fake world with fake people. He is tired of the earth...........AGAIN HE IS TRIED OF THE PEOPLE ON THE EARTH. HE FELL IN LOVE WITH A LITTLE GIRL . THAT IS IT. HE WANTS ME OUT OF THE PLANET WITH MY PEOPLE. HE SAID YOU FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET OUT SINCE YOU KNOW THE HEAVENS SO WELL.
      GOODLUCK..................WATCH ME AND MINE FLY AWAY WE HAVE WHAT WE NEED TO GET OUT OF THE FITHLY PLANET..................TELL ALL HE IS SICK OF THIS PLANET AND EVER WORD YOU SAY. YOU ARE NOT THE IMAGE OF 7ANGELS AND AT THIS POINT YOU NEVER WILL BE. YOU WILL STAY ON THE PLANET. THANK YOU WE ARE LEAVING. HE IS SICK OF THIS PLANET ALL THAT IS HERE. HE HAS A NEW PLANET FOR ME....................

      December 2, 2013 at 12:09 am |
      • doobzz

        You might want to consider decaf.

        December 2, 2013 at 12:15 am |
      • truthprevails1

        Mormon?

        December 2, 2013 at 7:29 am |
      • HotAirAce

        Moron?

        December 2, 2013 at 7:33 am |
    • AE

      I have trust and confidence in God. Not religion.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:18 am |
      • tony

        That's halfway to the freedom of sanity.

        December 2, 2013 at 12:28 am |
        • AE

          The "freedom of sanity"? What are you talking about?

          December 2, 2013 at 12:34 am |
        • LFP2012

          AE: He's talking about the freedom from the chains of ignorance. Realizing that "god" is a human creation frees you to take responsibility for your own actions, here and now, and to do good for its own sake, not for some imaginary reward in the afterlife.

          December 2, 2013 at 12:43 am |
        • AE

          So is that what you imagine?

          That's not God you are talking about. Sounds like an idol.

          December 2, 2013 at 12:46 am |
        • AE

          How do you *imagine* I don't take responsibility for my own actions?

          December 2, 2013 at 12:47 am |
      • sam stone

        if you define god in any way other than "god", you are espousing a religion

        December 2, 2013 at 5:51 am |
  14. Reject Religious Fairy Tales

    What is the point of this article? One not only doesn't need to believe in fairy tales to do the hard and dirty work of tending to the sick and dying; using the fairy tale as the primary motivator for providing the care is a net negative. Look at the comments from the religionists engendered by the article. Write an article that panders even a bit to religionists, and they come out in droves yapping about how the sky fairy wants us to do good works, and then debating their various versions of mythology. The energy and money the religionists spend practicing and debating their versions of the fairy tale they could devote to caring for the sick.

    December 1, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • christy

      She's a chaplain, what do you expect? Her to talk about how her atheism motivates her? There are much better things to whine about.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
      • Reject Religious Fairy Tales

        I expect the author to continue to peddle religion. The better question is what I want her to do and that is find another occupation than peddling mythology. Your comment re: "whining" is classic ad hominem. Your scorn and attempted shaming does nothing to advance debate.

        December 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Wes

      Did you read the article? The article doesn't support a religion or expunge humbling information on how to practice a faith and how certain actions can enhance that faith.... It simply supports and gives praise to those individuals who partake in the often grueling and emotionally taxing experience of caring for dying loved ones. There is no need to skim through and article and belittle a group of people that don't even necessarily pertain to the article because you have different beliefs. Grow up.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
      • G to the T

        You have a point Wes – there's no reason this article is in the "belief blog" other than to insight drama.

        December 2, 2013 at 9:02 am |
      • Reject Religious Fairy Tales

        Your comments about "belittle" and "grow up" are classic ad hominem that does nothing to advance debate. Mytho-religionists on this site seem fond of labeling those who challenge their mythology as "angry" or "raging against religion" or "belittling". That sort of emotional response generally indicates a weak to non-existent counter-argument. It is consistent with a mindset that is threatened and insecure and clings to the irrational.

        December 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Answer

      The whole point of these articles is of self-grandeurization!

      ~~
      "It is because of my religion that I am great. It is because of my religion that I am capable of loving the poor. It is because of my religion that I am so kind."
      ~~

      These putrid self embodiments are what is wrong with the freaks. They can't go on and say just the straight facts about themselves.

      "I can be ALL of those things WITHOUT my religion."

      December 1, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
      • Nope

        "It is because of my religion that I am great. It is because of my religion that I am capable of loving the poor. It is because of my religion that I am so kind."
        hu? Who said that? You?

        December 2, 2013 at 12:27 am |
      • LFP2012

        I wouldn't call them "freaks" - they are just ignorant... and they are content with their ignorance.

        “I cannot conceive of a god who rewards and punishes his creatures or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I - nor would I want to - conceive of an individual that survives his physical death. Let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egostim, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with a devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.”

        –Albert Einstein

        December 2, 2013 at 12:40 am |
        • AE

          “I’m not an atheist, and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the atti.tude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.”
          – Albert Einstein

          December 2, 2013 at 12:44 am |
    • Paul Dougherty

      If you are angry at the article because it implicitly acknowledges a "higher power" as being integral to the care this chaplain provides, then I am delighted. The really interesting thing about you atheists is that you fail to acknowledge that your absolute "certainty" there is no God, is very much a religion unto itself. No matter how much you demean the faithful and cast aspersions on all religions, you cannot disprove the existence of God and this gauls you. Because you cannot disprove this existence of God, your argument is logically inconclusive (at best).

      The reason why your "belief" is so abhorrent is that it is based on absolute cynicism which, these days, most people have grown very weary of – since cynicism abounds. What makes your "belief" so dangerous is that by logical extension, denies the existence of the devil, when most everyone can see the manifestation of the devil's work/influence every single day by simply turning on the news.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
      • Red

        Lol. I've already been down that road with the atheists on this blog Paul. They're called blind for a reason. They'll never get it, they're too full of themselves. Great post.

        December 1, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
        • Jinx

          Want to just address each person individually, instead of condemning all atheists? Or do you think all Christians should be lumped into one stereotype?

          December 1, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
        • Red

          I ain't Christian. You can stereotype them all you want. Won't get a response from me.

          December 2, 2013 at 6:20 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Red: You're either a Theist or an Atheist. Reading the words of someone condemn Atheists when they're not even intelligent enough to know that "ain't" isn't a word is laughable.

          December 2, 2013 at 6:37 am |
        • Red

          Of course I know ain't isn't a word. Doesn't mean I can't use it. This ain't English class chump. I'll write what I want to write and you can't do a damn thing about it.

          December 2, 2013 at 7:09 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Red: My point was that if you want to be taken seriously and not looked at as being ignorant, then try to use proper English. You also may want to look in to anger management courses, your last comment showed a huge amount of anger...maybe get some medication to calm you down.

          December 2, 2013 at 7:37 am |
        • Red

          Taken seriously by who? You? Get over yourself. I'm not on this blog to be "taken seriously." And apparently I'm taken seriously anyway because no matter what, I always get a response... And I don't need anger management. Sh**ting on atheism is fun. My favorite sports team losing makes me angry, not useless people who are so dumb they can't even see that they were made.

          December 2, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Red, you might always get a response but you're not very good at answering questions. One might think you run away when you can't answer. . .

          December 2, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
      • tony

        You can't twist the true meaning of atheism to fit your mindset. It just means that atheists have no belief in a universal paranormal higher power. It isn't an enemy opposed to you, just a more honest and realistic viewpoint. The same one all babies are born with. It then takes an infected human to give them religious belief subsequently.

        December 2, 2013 at 12:36 am |
  15. LFP2012

    A wonderful essay on human altruism and human love - which have absolutely NOTHING to do with an imaginary god. We should all be so grateful to those who find it within themselves to help others in this way. Deluding oneself that "god" is somehow responsible for this cheapens this human desire to help others.

    Humans have created 4,000 different gods over the centuries. Isn't it about time we start believing in ourselves?

    December 1, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
  16. Lionly Lamb

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYZpE0d7jp0&w=640&h=360]

    December 1, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
  17. khalid

    there is a big deference between an angel and human. Human have free will, they can do what ever they want, but in their capacity. BUT ANGELS dont have free will, they Do what ever Almighty God instructed them to do.

    December 1, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • LFP2012

      Also, angels don't exist.

      December 1, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
      • Will T

        Which, of course you can't prove, any more than you, personally, can prove the existence of a charm-flavored quark.

        December 1, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
      • john isner

        And you would know that because?

        December 1, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
        • LFP2012

          The more relevant question is why you think angels exist. Remember, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Not only is there no extraordinary evidence for angels, there isn't any evidence at all (personal anecdotes aren't evidence, by the way).

          December 2, 2013 at 12:36 am |
    • Reality # 2

      AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As do BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      "BUT ANGELS dont have free will, they Do what ever Almighty God instructed them to do"

      I'll probably get bashed for being a hateful person for pointing out the flaw in this statement. Now I don't for one second believe that angels exist but if they did they most certainly would have free will. After all isn't Satan a fallen angel? Didn't he choose to turn against God? If he was simply following Gods instructions then Satan is blameless and God is the source of all evil.
      The free will argument is a lame tactic used by apologists in an attempt to address the problem of evil. The claim is made that if we had unequivocal evidence of God then our free choice would be violated. That we would be simply robots. But scripture tells of angels and men alike who had direct knowledge of God but still chose to deny him. So the question remains. Why is God playing hide and seek? Clearly not because it would interfere with our free will.

      December 2, 2013 at 5:30 am |
      • Red

        God is the source to all things. So yeah, that part of your post is true. Just because that 3lb glob between your ears can't comprehend that (and it was DESIGNED not to), doesn't make it false. Tell me Steve, since you worship water, how did the first baby survive when it popped up out of the ocean? And your precious science proves that everything in this universe starts as a baby and cannot survive without a mother. I and all people of faith know damn well this started with a man and a woman being PUT here. What's your explanation on how that baby made it? And every other creature that started as a baby. I'm dying to hear this BS.

        December 2, 2013 at 6:32 am |
        • AtheistSteve

          Worship water? Baby popped out of the ocean?
          Don't know where your post is going with these incredibly stupid claims but I was talking about free will and the inconsistency that poses for an omniscient God.
          But please...do blather on.

          December 2, 2013 at 6:42 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Red, how do you *know* everything started by some (thus far unproven) god putting a man and a woman here?

          December 2, 2013 at 6:53 am |
        • Red

          Right. So your post says there is no God. I'm telling you there is and we all have free will. According to you, that's not the case. All I'm asking for is an explanation...@ Hot Air: How do I know that it started with a man and a woman? Simple. There's no baby without a man and a woman making it. So according to atheism, we just popped up out of the ocean. But where did the ocean come from? You're blind as a bat if you can't see this place was MADE.

          December 2, 2013 at 7:19 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Red, from your reply, I think it is safe to say that you reject evolution and basically believe in creationism.

          Re: knowing, I don't think you actually know – you are pretending to know. You have faith in a myth with no actual evidence to support it, while dismissing out of hand all evidence to the contrary. Or do you have some facts to support your beliefs?

          December 2, 2013 at 7:50 am |
        • Reality # 2

          Evolution's time line:

          "Basic timeline

          In its 4.6 billion years circling the sun, the Earth has harbored an increasing diversity of life forms:

          for the last 3.6 billion years, simple cells (prokaryotes);
          for the last 3.4 billion years, cyanobacteria performing photosynthesis;
          for the last 2 billion years, complex cells (eukaryotes);
          for the last 1 billion years, multicellular life;
          for the last 600 million years, simple animals;
          for the last 550 million years, bilaterians, animals with a front and a back;
          for the last 500 million years, fish and proto-amphibians;
          for the last 475 million years, land plants;
          for the last 400 million years, insects and seeds;
          for the last 360 million years, amphibians;
          for the last 300 million years, reptiles;
          for the last 200 million years, ma-mmals;
          for the last 150 million years, birds;
          for the last 130 million years, flowers;
          for the last 60 million years, the primates,
          for the last 20 million years, the family H-ominidae (great apes);
          for the last 2.5 million years, the genus H-omo (human predecessors);
          for the last 200,000 years, anatomically modern humans.

          Periodic extinctions have temporarily reduced diversity, eliminating:
          2.4 billion years ago, many obligate anaerobes, in the oxygen catastrophe;
          252 million years ago, the trilobites, in the Permian–Triassic extinction event;
          66 million years ago, the pterosaurs and nonavian dinosaurs, in the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event."

          And in 3-5 billion years it will all come to an end when our Sun absorbs the Earth. Or maybe sooner if some large asteroid visits. Ditto for some vary large volcanic eruptions or a nuclear war.

          December 3, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • sam stone

      free will and an omniscient god are incompatible

      December 2, 2013 at 6:04 am |
      • Red

        Explain yourself.

        December 2, 2013 at 6:34 am |
        • sam stone

          if god knows what i am going to do before i do it (omniscient) and god cannot be wrong, i have no choice but to do what god knows i am going to do beforeheand.

          if i (apparently) have a choice of A or B, and god knows i am going to choose B, what are the chances that i will prove god wrong (hence, not omniscient) by choosing A?

          i have read posts by several of the blog's regular christians that say that god knows before we are born whether we will accept Jesus as a savior. where is the free will in that?

          and, if god is going to punish someone for something in which they have no choice (also a claim made by blog christians), what does that say about the nature of god?

          gopher says god will punish to prove his justice or his mercy. sounds like gopher's god is a vindictive pr1ck

          December 2, 2013 at 11:30 am |
        • Reality # 2

          As per the famous contemporary theologian, Edward Schillebeeckx, his God is not omniscient. Please read, pause and contemplate the following by Schillebeeckx:

          Church: The Human Story of God,
          Crossroad, 1993, p.91 (softcover)

          "Christians (et al) must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history."

          "Nothing is determined in advance: in nature there is chance and determinism; in the world of human activity there is possibility of free choices.

          Therefore the historical future is not known even to God, otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings.

          For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."

          i.e. No one, not even Schillebeeckx's God can prophesy since that would violate the human condition of Free Will and Future.

          December 3, 2013 at 12:23 am |
    • Darwin Frick

      Really ??? How did Satan rebel against God if he didn't have a free will ???

      December 2, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • soccer1life

      actually angels do have a free will.

      January 16, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
  18. Pinecone

    That was the one of the most beautiful and perfect tributes to the simplicity and difficulty of practicing Love. Thank you.

    December 1, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
  19. Jesus' Beloved

    I should point out, you should not pray "O Lord Please heal this person"...This is a prayer of unbelief.
    God has already healed everyone. Our healing, just like our salvation was paid for 2000 yrs ago. What you're doing is appropriating what has already been done.
    So you command the sickness, pain or whatever to go in Jesus' name. For example: I command lower back pain to go, I command all discs in the spine/back to line up in Jesus' name. You can repeat the command if it's not to where you want it.
    Easy, isn't it.

    (Remember, this is part of spiritual warfare)
    Our battle is not against flesh and blood. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy only.

    You can do it. Be amazed at the power of the Holy Spirit working in you and through you.
    "Authority comes in the commission, Power comes in the encounter."

    God Bless

    December 1, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
  20. Jesus' Beloved

    "But if we believe that the work we are called to do on this earth is to give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned..."

    It doesn't stop there. We're called to: Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Matt 10:8.

    So the next time you're with a patient, Command the sickness to go in Jesus' Name. If you're a believer, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead resides within you. You've been given the authority, so just do it. Don't be intimidated if nothing happens the first time or few times, keep doing it (the Word of God is true and unchanging). When you were learning to walk, you didn't quit because you fell the first few times.

    (A word of encouragement- Todd White, initially for 3 and 1/2 mths he'd heal people and nothing happened. He didn't stop, because he believed God, he knew the Word was truth. He didn't let his experience sway him from the Word. He kept at it. Now, most people get healed at his command in Jesus' name.)

    Father I pray for your blessing and anointing over my sister in Christ. May she know her position and authority in you and act according to your will. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen. Thank you father for hearing and answering my prayer.
    God Bless you.

    December 1, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • khalid

      NO SIR YOU ARE WRONG,
      YOU CANT EVEN BREATH ON YOUR OWN BUT ONLY IF GOD PERMITTED YOU TO DO SO.
      GOD IS THE ONE WHO BRINGS SOME THING GOOD IN YOUR HEART TO HELP SOME POOR, OR NEEDY.
      YOU DONT SO PLEASE REPENT ON YOUR SINS

      December 1, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
      • Jesus' Beloved

        John 14:12 says,

        Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

        All believers will do the same works that Jesus did; it’s not limited to ministers. There’s just a shortage of believing believers.

        How do you get to the place where you can see the miraculous happen in and through you? It starts with the renewing of your mind. Faith is based on knowledge, and everything we need to know to be a victorious Christian is explained in God’s Word. That’s what the Apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 1:3-4:

        December 1, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          2 Peter was not written by the Apostle Peter. Might want to see the review of said epistle in Father Raymond Brown's book, An Introduction to the New Testament, pp. 761-772. Said book was approved by the RCC. See also, http://earlychristianwritings.com/2peter.html .

          December 1, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          And John's Gospel is of questionable historic value.

          To wit:

          From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

          "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......

          From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

          "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

          "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

          And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

          "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

          See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html

          December 1, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      December 1, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
      • Mary

        Why should we care about what some pseudo-intellectual copy/paste freak has to say?

        December 1, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
        • Red

          Exactly Mary.

          December 1, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
        • sam stone

          the same could be said about the pseudo-pious, cutting and pasting bible quotes

          December 2, 2013 at 6:22 am |
      • Reality # 2

        As a good student, you have read the reiterations of the "fems" (flaws, errors, muck and stench) of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as Rational Thinking makes its triumphant return all because of you!!!!

        December 2, 2013 at 11:00 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.