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July 2nd, 2014
08:50 AM ET

The new American dream: Searching for spirituality

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - To discover one’s self. To find enlightenment. To take a spiritual journey.

What does this language mean? Are these pursuits, these aspirations, really possible? And if they are, what do the results look like?

I can’t pretend to have the answers. What I do know is that I went to India this year on a journalism fellowship to write about religion and spirituality. I landed in a place called Rishikesh, a holy spot for Hindus and magnet for Westerners seeking inner peace.

For two weeks, I set judgment aside and dove in to see what this place was all about. What I found touched me more than I anticipated and left me feeling somewhat transformed. I chronicled all of this in "Indian Awakenings" last month.

Since then, I've had a different sort of awakening.

The flood of responses, including hundreds of long and thoughtful e-mails from readers around the world, made it clear: People are hungry for stories of spiritual discoveries – and for mainstream platforms willing to explore them.

No surprise there, said Lisa Miller, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University, Teachers College, and director of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute.

“This is part of a huge cultural shift,” said Miller, who'd barely heard about spirituality in academia when she started out 20 years ago. “We’re evolving – as a collective – and finding something deeper, more true and more permanent.”

The story from India “stimulated not only my intellect but also awakened my soul,” wrote one of the readers.

“It inspired me to live my life with a more open heart,” said another.

“An energy forced me to read your article,” wrote a third. “While reading, I cried, reflected on my life, felt the wounds of my daughters, exclaimed pain from my sister’s suicide, gave thanks to my parents and even sent advice to a guy I just met. I’m not sure where this will all lead.”

Miller attributes this opening up, at least in part, to a loss of security, a response to challenges. Financial downturns and, for some, implosions. Natural disasters. School shootings. Domestic terrorism. Pick your pain.

“People who’ve never suffered aren’t very deep,” she said. “In this country, there’s been a shattering of the golden calf. Idolatry of the material side of the American dream is fading, and we need to come up with a new American dream.”

The letters, however, came from countries far and wide. People weighed in from all different faith backgrounds – Hindu, Catholic, Muslim, Protestant, Mormon, Buddhist, Jewish, atheist and agnostic.

Most shared enthusiasm about peering outside their normal perspective and learning about others' views.  But the ones who were least willing to bend or be open seemed to fit into two distinct categories, firmly set on opposite ends of the spiritual spectrum: those who believe the Bible is the literal word of God, and those who don't believe in God at all.

If sitting in front of idols and not sticking to the Bible wasn’t going to be the end of me, the literalists seemed to say, the devout atheists thought my gullibility and being a sucker would.

Those diametrically opposed criticisms made sense to Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist who helped pioneer a field called “neurotheology,” or the neurological study of religious and spiritual experiences.

A person’s reactions come down to how the brain is wired, said Newberg, the co-author of books including “How God Changes Your Brain.” Those who can look outside their own views will do so. Those who are firmly wired may not be capable of challenging the information they hold dear.

“Our brains are belief-making machines, so we gravitate to different beliefs,” whether we find them in science, religion or art, he said. “Each of our brains is doing its best job to figure out the world.”

How we are raised, our genetics, even infections we had as children help shape how our brains work and how necessary it is for us to lock into a specific sort of mindset, Newberg said.

When we engage in rituals, we strengthen our connections to a belief. And this doesn’t just apply to religion. It plays out, too, in our politics and morals - even where we get our news.

“The connections that make sense to us or comfort us, we keep feeding them,” he said.

We are, as a result, drawn to the people and ideas that support our wiring, Newberg said. For those who may seem less flexible on either end of the spectrum, it can generate prejudice.

But for those who believe in a loving, non-punishing God, he says, the benefits of spiritual practice and prayer are real.  This sort of mindset, even just 12 minutes of meditation a day, can slow the aging process, scale back anxiety, reduce depression and increase compassion, security and feelings of love. He says the brain scans he's studied prove it.

I didn’t find my guru in India, nor did I develop a consistent yoga or meditation practice. But I returned feeling like something had shifted inside of me.

This recent Father’s Day, unlike previous ones since my dad died, didn’t wreck me. I’ve slept better. I’m in the healthiest relationship I’ve ever known. I don’t feel like I've failed because I didn't have children, nor do I have those days at work when I think, “I suck.”

And I like to think that my being open to possibilities, my looking at the world and people with wonder instead of judgment, helped bring me there. Whether I technically found myself or got enlightened, I can’t say. All I know is I’m in a better place.

Gauging from readers’ reactions, no matter where they come from, it appears many of them want to get there, too.

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Faith • India • Spirituality

soundoff (514 Responses)
  1. sethlabecker

    Thanks for your article. It moved me just to read it. I believe that you hit the real story of America since the 60's right on the mark, and I will look forward to any articles about this. Good luck on your journey.

    July 6, 2014 at 11:46 am |
  2. kingliberal

    The religious types keep trying to convince us that religion is not slowly but surely becoming irrelevant. It's not working. Religious observance is declining year after year at a predictable rate. It will never be completely gone, but at least it's heading the the right direction.

    July 6, 2014 at 11:46 am |
    • joseph

      It's all a matter of opinion isn't it. God is real for some and a myth for others, the truth is an individual thing. You claim religion is disappearing however what you haven't addressed is that spirituality is increasing. Just because people are turning away from organized religion doesn't mean they turning away from believing there's something greater to our existence than just "because" . Personally I'm open to it all because math really doesn't explain the mystery of life, so maybe there's more maybe not but I won't close off to the idea its a shame some do

      July 6, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
      • SeaVik

        "It's all a matter of opinion isn't it. God is real for some and a myth for others, the truth is an individual thing."

        Uh, no, it's not a matter of opinion. There is a truth and no one knows what it is.

        July 6, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
      • basehitter

        What "mysteries" has spirituality explained that goes beyond simple imagination ?

        July 6, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
      • igaftr

        " the truth is an individual thing"

        It most certainly is not.
        truth is truth.
        Belief is belief.
        there may be a god or gods. There likely are not, since no indication of any gods exist.

        Whichever is correct is the truth. there is not two different truths.

        July 6, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • basehitter

          Christians have the old and new testaments. They have different rules for different people presumably fom the same god. Which one is true ?

          July 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • igaftr

          The truth is that men wrote the bible.
          The truth is that there is no evidence that any god had anything to do with it.
          As far as the bible, in the NT, Jesus ADDS to the OT, but claims that every word of it is gods word, eternal and never changing. Jesus did not take anything away from the OT, just added the new commandment of love your fellow man.
          The truth is, there is nothing showing that Jesus actually ever said anything that he allegedly said, and that a great deal Jesus allegedly taught, was taught by the Buddha 400 years earlier.

          July 6, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
      • tomnerva

        There is a fight against religion, which was created by humankind in order to speak of a greater Truth. Now humankind is destroying their own myths because they forgot why they created them in the first place. Humankind now prides itself in its accomplishment of destroying tradition, but has completely missed the bigger picture. Destroying religion does not destroy what those myths were intended to represent. Yet, people seem to think that if they can discredit the old ways then Brahma, Wakan Tanka, God, the Dharma, the Great Spirit, etc. does not exist.

        July 6, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • igaftr

          " in order to speak of a greater Truth."

          What "greater truth" is that?
          And why have you capitalized the word truth?

          July 6, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • tomnerva

          @igaftr

          I capitalized the T out of habit. My capitalization of the T was not intended to mean anything other than what the word represents. If you like, I can make it lowercase.

          The greater truth is that the corporeal and incorporeal come from the same source. Everything we perceive and cannot perceive have the same origin, but simply expresses itself in different forms. For just as the present aeon is single, yet divided into ages, ages into years, years into seasons, seasons into months, months into days, days into hours, and hours into moments. The true source is single yet multiple, being glorified by small as well as by great names according to what each is able to comprehend. It is like a spring that remains what it is even if it flows into rivers, lakes, streams, and canals.

          July 6, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
        • igaftr

          an even greater truth is that "The greater truth is that the corporeal and incorporeal come from the same source" is belief.

          By all means, show the incorporeal to exist.
          The whole of your statement is not a truth at all.
          It is a musing, a belief.

          July 6, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • tomnerva

          An example of something incorporeal is Gravity. I did not use the word incorporeal to imply something mystical, e.g. an angel. There is nothing more mystical than reality, which one can realize if they take the time to contemplate what it is they are experiencing. Reality is mystical by its very nature. Yet we have taken it for granted and pass it off as something other than miraculous.

          This goes back to religion. Religions create places such as heaven and hell, and personify virtues, in order to tell the story Life. Yet, many have taken these myths to be describing a reality other than what we are experiencing.

          July 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • tomnerva

          In addition, you calling my statement: "The greater truth is that the corporeal and incorporeal come from the same source" just a belief, and musing is interesting, because it is not that different from the Big Bang. If you believe in the Big Bang, than you must believe that everything we are experiencing has come from the same source. You and I are not different, but merely expressions of a source the size of a pea.

          July 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • igaftr

          Not even close to the same with the Big Bang.
          We know the big bang happened. We can only speculate as to why...so again...belief and musings to claim it is all from one source.
          We do not know what initiated the Big Bang.

          See...sometimes the correct answer is we do not know.
          Truth is not a moving target. Our perception of what the truth is...that can change, but what is true, will remain true.

          July 6, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • tomnerva

          I agree that the best answer is “we do not know”. Even my deceleration of “the greater truth” is an attempt to conceptualize something which language fails to articulate accurately. Much in the same way, we cannot truly grasp the magnitude of the number Googolplexian, no matter how we try to conceptualize it.

          July 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
  3. kudlak

    In a way, the American Dream was always to become a "success", right? That would work with either

    a) Picking a religion that best suits you.
    b) Picking a religion that best tells you that you are a success, or
    c) Creating a new variety of religion that becomes a popular success.

    Any of these would still fit the dream, correct? Religion has become a marketplace in the USA, with multiple choices and stiff compet.ition between rival "corporations". The same concerns over advertising, packaging and corporate image all apply. Churches can make it big, or go out of business because bigger churches take away all their customers. Religion is big business in the USA, and the American Dream is now to belong to a successful church. If people pick a "winner" it gives them the impression that they're winners too, I suppose?

    July 6, 2014 at 11:32 am |
  4. brad4nyc

    God is imaginary. The bible is a book of myths. Those who quote the bible to prove the bible are not applying simple logic.

    July 6, 2014 at 11:02 am |
    • wilburw7

      brad4nyc, Your statement is illogical. You have no way to determine that God is imaginary.

      July 6, 2014 at 11:36 am |
      • igaftr

        wilbur
        You have no way of showing your god is NOT imaginary.

        No one knows either way for certain, but each believer imagines a different god.

        July 6, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • wilburw7

          Most humans that have walked the earth already know God is not imaginary. God has away to prove He exists. That is not the problem. People in hell know God exists and that does not help them at all. That is not the issue. Only faith saves you.

          July 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          wilbur, Before you can make statements like that you need to be able to show that heaven and hell exist, that god exists, and that god controls entry to them. So far no evidence of any of that.

          July 6, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • igaftr

          wilbur
          "Most humans that have walked the earth already know God is not imaginary."

          Now you speak for most humans that have walked the earth...do tell, how do you know them?

          Not one "knows" anything about god...they believe, they imagine, they have faith....they do not know.

          By the way, most people, even today, do not believe in YOUR god.

          July 6, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
      • archtopopotamus

        The evidence is strong that gods are imaginary. There is no evidence they are real.

        July 6, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • tomnerva

          What evidence is that?

          July 6, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          That the creation myths are all incorrect, that there is no positive evidence for a god.

          July 6, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • igaftr

          tom
          the evidence god is imaginary? Simple. There are thousands of gods, over 400 "one true" gods, over 100 creator "gods".
          Men create gods to answer his own ignorance. Many gods created to explain lightning, volcoanoes, etc.
          the history of man's existance is wrought with belief in myriad gods.

          They can't all be right, but they can all be wrong.

          you have an image of "god" in your head, a concept of what "god" is. No two individuals will imagine the same god, you will imagine something different about your god than anyone else imagines, so the image of god people have in their head compared to what might actually be, is likely inaccurate in some way, if there are any gods at all.
          All of that is strong evidence that all gods are imaginary, because the concept of god must be imagined.

          July 6, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
      • freefromtheism

        Sure you can determine whether "God" is imaginary.
        If Judeo-Christian-Muslim god (i.e., the omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient god) were real, we would have a reliable way to determine its existence.
        We don't have a reliable way to determine its existence.
        Therefore the Judeo-Christian-Muslim god is not real.
        If something is not real, it must be imaginary.
        Therefore the Judeo-Christian-Muslim god is imaginary.

        There's your proof.
        You're welcome.

        July 6, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • wilburw7

          freefromtheism wrote:"We don't have a reliable way to determine its existence.
          Therefore the Judeo-Christian-Muslim god is not real."

          I think most atheist would even be willing to call out your logic on that one.

          First, The Muslim god is completely and totally different from the Judeo-Christian God. You not having anyway to determine God's existence at this moment does not prove that God does not exist. Your limitation does not stop things from existing. You are promised absolute proof of God's existence after you die. People in hell have zero doubt about God.

          July 6, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • freefromtheism

          1. The Muslim god is the same god, whether you like it or not.
          2. I clearly defined the sort of god that I was talking about because those assumptions are necessary to the argument. Because this is not a scientific question, or at least I didn't think it could be, given that science deals with natural phenomena and god is, by definition, super-natural, the "reliable way to determine its existence" is not technology/science dependent.
          You could why one would assume that such a deity would make its existence reliably determinable, and I would be happy to explain that. However, as I have explained, the issue you raised is irrelevant.
          Cheers

          July 6, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • observer

          wilburw7

          "First, The Muslim god is completely and totally different from the Judeo-Christian God."

          There is NO Judeo-Christian God. Jews do not believe in any god who impregnated an engaged woman and had a child.

          July 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • basehitter

          If such things are known only after death how do you know them now ?

          July 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "People in hell have zero doubt about God."

          People in hell would have zero doubt that your god is a petty, egotistical asshat.

          July 6, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
        • wilburw7

          freefromtheism wrote:"1. The Muslim god is the same god, whether you like it or not."

          Explain how they are the same

          July 6, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
        • observer

          wilburw7,

          The Muslim god is very close to the Christian god. Radical Muslims are following MANY of the same commands that God demanded when he set up all the rules for mankind. The long list of reasons to KILL people are very similar.

          July 6, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • G to the T

          "First, The Muslim god is completely and totally different from the Judeo-Christian God. "

          Perhaps different from the Christian god. But I would content that the Christian god is different from the Jewish god so you are all in pretty much the same boat.

          July 8, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
      • observer

        wilburw7

        "brad4nyc, Your statement is illogical. You have no way to determine that God is imaginary."

        wilburw7, Your statement is illogical. You have no way to determine that Zeus is imaginary.

        July 6, 2014 at 11:50 am |
        • wilburw7

          I never said Zeus was imaginary so explain why that makes me illogical?

          July 6, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • observer

          wilburw7,

          You said there were only the 2 choices of heaven or hell. The existence of Zeus would be neither. Why didn't you figure that out?

          July 6, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          wilbur, So you believe in Zeus? So your god didn't create the universe? Interesting.

          July 6, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • wilburw7

          In Santa We Trust,

          I never said I believe in Zeus. I never said I do not believe in Zeus at the time I wrote this statement.
          I did say "I never said Zeus was imaginary."

          July 6, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • wilburw7

          observer wrote:"You said there were only the 2 choices of heaven or hell. The existence of Zeus would be neither. Why didn't you figure that out?"

          I did figure it out. Those that except Jesus Christ go to heaven, and those that do not go to hell. There are two possibilities. The existence of Zeus does not change that.

          "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

          July 6, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • observer

          wilburw7,

          If, as you said, the ONLY choices are the Christian heaven or hell, you CAN'T believe in Zeus.

          You just make one ILLOGICAL statement after another. THINK before you comment in the future.

          July 6, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • wilburw7

          observer wrote;"
          If, as you said, the ONLY choices are the Christian heaven or hell, you CAN'T believe in Zeus.
          You just make one ILLOGICAL statement after another. THINK before you comment in the future."

          I certainly don't think as highly of your intelligence as you do. No you failed to understand the situation. For example, what if Zeus was Satan? Hmm? Satan is a liar. There are only two possibilities: Heaven and hell. You think that I don't actually know. That is your problem. You THINK that I know as much as you do. Wrong. Jesus did not lie, so there are two possibilities. You are betting your entire eternal existence that Jesus Christ is a liar. What a stupid bet. Seek God while you have time.

          July 6, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
        • observer

          wilburw7,

          Since you KNOW what George Carlin is thinking today, certainly you must know if Zeus exists and that the Bible FAILED to mention that.

          So let's end this ILLOGICAL nonsense: Do you BELIEVE that Zeus exists? YES or NO?

          July 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
    • tomnerva

      Your concept of God is imaginary. The bible was always intended to be a myth; a myth that provides a teaching using personification. Finally, I agree that those who use quotes to prove the bible are not applying logic. Then again, people that do that usually have a superficial understanding.

      July 6, 2014 at 11:49 am |
  5. Joeseph Eclaire

    No,,,it is not the new American Dream. We Americans have been going on 'vision Quest' now for a few decades. And like being a idealist under 30, if you are not searching for some deeper meaning before age 35 it's only cause you are a doper a drunk or a criminal. Possibly even satisfied with life even your own life, which begs to be said about as enlighten as burn out light bulb.

    July 6, 2014 at 10:55 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "if you are not searching for some deeper meaning before age 35 it's only cause you are a doper a drunk or a criminal."

      If you think you are justified in determining what defines "meaning" for other people, and people that don't search for "meaning" to your satisfaction therefore be a "doper, a drunk or a criminal" ...makes you more than a little egotistical and self impotant.

      July 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
  6. basehitter

    Same old wine, different bottle.

    July 6, 2014 at 10:52 am |
  7. BringBackTheFlex

    They got it right! It is a dream.

    July 6, 2014 at 10:46 am |
  8. bthoman

    You don't have to go to the near East and outside the western culture for a spiritual journey. It's called pilgrimage and we've had them in Christianity since the 5th century when pilgrims went to the Holy Land to visit the sites of the apostles and Christ. In the 11th-15th centuries they went to Rome, Compostela, Monte Sant'Angelo, Assisi, and Assisi. In the 20th-21st centuries, they're still going to the same places in addition to Fatima/Lourdes, Medjugorje, and others. I've taken 1,200 catholics on the journey and many graces and blessings come: stfrancispilgrimages . com

    July 6, 2014 at 9:46 am |
  9. wilburw7

    Where is George Carlin at this exact moment?

    "I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily."– Isaac Newton (One of the smartest humans of all time)

    July 6, 2014 at 9:12 am |
    • igaftr

      So?
      He stated his belief. That does not validate the belief.
      It lends no credibility to the belief.
      Did you have a point?

      July 6, 2014 at 9:17 am |
      • wilburw7

        Where is George Carlin at this exact moment?
        Where is Christopher Hitchens?

        Do you know? How much are you willing to bet they are not in hell? Remember the decision will last FOREVER. So whatever you do don't look into it.

        July 6, 2014 at 9:23 am |
      • igaftr

        What are you talking about wibur? Is this your attempt at pascals wager? A silly logical fallacy?

        Considering the infinite number of possibilities...one can only conclude that no one knows...including the men who made up the bible.

        July 6, 2014 at 9:28 am |
      • wilburw7

        Igaftr, There are not in infinite number of possibilities. There are only two: heaven and hell.

        Where is George Carlin at this exact moment?

        “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’" Luke 16:27-28

        July 6, 2014 at 9:38 am |
      • igaftr

        wilbur
        "There are not in infinite number of possibilities. There are only two: heaven and hell. "
        THAT IS the fallacy.

        Since your "only two possibilities" are based on belief, it could be wrong...that is another possibiliy.
        I can come up with thousands of other possibilities as well. since there is no way to verify any single possibility.

        There are an infinite number of possibilities, which makes pascals wager ( the fallacy you are employing) completely invalid.

        July 6, 2014 at 10:00 am |
      • wilburw7

        igaftr, Anyone who seeks God, finds God. You have not even looked into it, yet you want to tell me. You know nothing.

        July 6, 2014 at 10:04 am |
      • igaftr

        "Anyone who seeks God, finds God"

        False. Sought for decades...found nothing but baseless belief.
        You imagine a god, imagine he is there and that comforts you.
        you want there to be a god, and you want it to be exactly as you imagine.
        You have allowed your desire for there to be a god, to cloud your judgment, allowing you to leap to an unjustified conclusion based on what you want.
        So far, no one has ever shown this "god" of yours to exist.

        You are not looking for truth, you want your belief to be truth.

        July 6, 2014 at 10:10 am |
      • observer

        wilburw7

        "There are only two: heaven and hell. "

        Don't be simple-minded. There have been THOUSANDS of gods. You have ZERO PROOF that Zeus isn't real.

        There might be no gods or there could be an infinite number of other explanations for life as we know it. For all we know, we could all be avatars in a giant cosmic video game. You DON'T KNOW.

        You and atheists could BOTH be wrong. Maybe there is a God but one who is much more like Jesus than his often-vain, mass-killing father.

        July 6, 2014 at 10:18 am |
      • MidwestKen

        @wilburw7
        "Where is George Carlin at this exact moment?
        Where is Christopher Hitchens?"

        Are you claiming to know? How?
        Most likely they are both, like everyone else in history, exactly where they were before they were born.

        July 6, 2014 at 11:10 am |
    • Seth

      And in those days he would have been ruthlessly penalized for saying otherwise in those days. Now we know better and have free speech too.

      Now get back to watching the video 99,999 more times, you stupid spamming shiteater. P!ss off with your spam already. You suck.

      July 6, 2014 at 9:20 am |
      • wilburw7

        Seth Your statement is either ignorant or illogical. Newton wrote things the church would have considered heresies, so it does not follow that he would write it to gain approval from the church. He knew that no one would read it until after he died. He wrote 7,500 pages about religion. That far exceeds what he wrote about science.

        July 6, 2014 at 9:30 am |
    • observer

      wilburw7,

      Why didn't you quote Einstein?

      July 6, 2014 at 11:09 am |
    • Relictus

      Issac lived in a time when you could be imprisoned and tortured for being an Atheist. His statement of belief should be considered in light of that fact.

      July 6, 2014 at 11:36 am |
      • wilburw7

        Relictus, Newton wrote things that he knew with certainty the church would find heretical. How do you explain that? He knew that what he wrote would only be read after he died. What he wrote was 100s of times more objectionable to the church than anything Galileo said and he knew it. Your random guess about Newton's religious beliefs are completely wrong. Newton was definitely not an atheist.

        July 6, 2014 at 11:42 am |
    • jasonhunt007

      Wiburt, What did you think about Carlin's video? Did Carlin say anything you disagree with? Why?

      July 6, 2014 at 11:39 am |
      • wilburw7

        God is not invisible. Before Carlin died, he could not see God. That does not make God invisible.
        God does not need money.
        Radio and TV stations ask churches for money.
        The people that build churches ask for money.
        The electricity company ask church for money to pay for the electricity.
        The poor are feed with money from churches.
        Carlin very much regrets every word he said there.
        Do you really want to follow the wisdom of a man that completely destroyed his health with illegal drugs?
        Why do people that do massive drugs always telling the sober people like me what reality is?

        July 6, 2014 at 11:52 am |
      • observer

        wilburw7

        "Carlin very much regrets every word he said there."

        Do you have ANY PROOF AT ALL or are you just HUGELY DELUSIONAL?

        July 6, 2014 at 11:55 am |
      • In Santa We Trust

        wilbur, Carlin is worm food – same as I will be – same as you will be. God, heaven, and hell are all without evidence.

        July 6, 2014 at 11:56 am |
      • igaftr

        wibur
        "Carlin very much regrets every word he said there"

        Stop lying. You have no idea. You only have baseless belief, nothing at all to support that.

        July 6, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • wilburw7

        observer wrote:""Carlin very much regrets every word he said there."
        Do you have ANY PROOF AT ALL or are you just HUGELY DELUSIONAL?"

        Delusional means you believe something even though there are obvious facts showing otherwise. If I had no reason for believing something, as you contend, that still does not mean I could not accidentally get it correct. In order for the use of the word DELUSIONAL to be used correctly you must have facts that argue against Carlin regretting his words. Delusional means you believe something even though facts clearly show otherwise. You have misused the word DELUSIONAL regardless if my religious beliefs are true or not.

        July 6, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
      • igaftr

        wilbur.
        you forgot part of the definition.
        this is from the encyclopeadia brittanica, and it is the definition as used by psychology.
        "delusion, in psychology, a rigid system of beliefs with which a person is preoccupied and to which the person firmly holds, despite the logical absurdity of the beliefs and a lack of supporting evidence. Delusions are symptomatic of such mental disorders as paranoia, schizophrenia, and major depression and of such physiological conditions as senile psychosis and delirium. They vary in intensity, extent, and coherence and may represent pathological exaggeration of normal tendencies to rationalization, wishful thinking, and the like. Among the most common are delusions of persecution and grandeur; others include delusions of bodily functioning, guilt, love, and control.

        Note that it specifies belief WITH NO EVIDENCE at all, such as your delusion that Carlin is in hell.

        To correct the error, you can either acknowledge that it is belief, such as "i believe Carlin regrets his words", but to say it as if you had some authority...delusional.

        July 6, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
      • wilburw7

        igaftr, Did George Carlin accept redemption through Jesus Christ? No. Then according to Jesus, who historians say actually existed, Carlin would go to hell because he died in sin. I contend, that Jesus Christ lying is more absurd than saying that sinful people go to hell. There are many people claiming to see hell, some of which were of different religions. There are cases of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhist that converted to Christianity after near death experiences. They say they saw hell, talked to Jesus, and then came back to life. People dying and then being resuscitated has occurred millions of times. Thousands are saying they saw the afterlife.

        July 6, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
      • observer

        wilburw7,

        Since historians can show that Davy Crockett existed, then you do believe he killed a bear when he was 3-years-old, right?

        July 6, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
    • mickmastergeneral

      Yes, Newton believed in the Bible. But rather than blindly following the strongly held dogmas of his time, as most were doing, he tested those ideas through experimentation. His contributions to science owe nothing to the Bible; he made them by keeping religion out of science.

      July 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
      • wilburw7

        Before I read Newton's biography and religious writings that is exactly what I would have thought. But Newton actually made no distinction between science and religion. Newton viewed God as the creator and all the laws of nature spoke of the creator. Newton clearly wrote in his own handwriting that he believed Jesus Christ died for the sins of humanity and rose from the dead 3 days later by the power of God.

        July 6, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
  10. jasonhunt007

    Babies are born atheist and then they are brainwashed.

    July 6, 2014 at 9:02 am |
    • demfromsc

      Exactly. It is very clear that early men/women invented gods to explain things they couldn't understand. As science has peeled away layers of ignorance over hundreds of years, we no longer need gods to explain things like earthquakes, thunderstorms, etc. Let's get rid of that last layer of ignorance and quit killing each other over "holy lands", "Allah", and "God".

      July 6, 2014 at 9:16 am |
    • wilburw7

      atheists die condemned.

      July 6, 2014 at 9:17 am |
      • igaftr

        This is more basless belief.
        Is you judging also getting you condemned?

        July 6, 2014 at 9:19 am |
        • wilburw7

          No. I am obligated to warn people according to the Bible. It is not judging it is warning.

          Ezekiel 3:18
          "When I say to a wicked person, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn
          them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save
          their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold
          you accountable for their blood."

          July 6, 2014 at 9:45 am |
        • igaftr

          wilbur
          Have you considered the possibility that Satan actually inspired your bible, and your religion is actually following satan's word, leadng you away from the truth?
          Considering how belief in the bible has been the cause of so much death and destruction, it makes more sense.

          there is just as much evidence that "god" inspired the bible as satan...there is no evidence whatsoever of either.
          there is much more evidence showing men made up the whole thing.

          It is my obligation as a human to try to show you the truth.

          July 6, 2014 at 10:05 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          wilbur, I am obligated to warn you you that you'll only be worm food – just the same as every other living thing.

          July 6, 2014 at 11:58 am |
      • colin31714

        We all just die. You will have spent your entire life laboring under your late Bronze Age Jewish superst.ition while those around you laugh at you behind your back. Atheists will have lived a full life, free of the silly childish fancies that haunt the simple mind of the believer.

        July 6, 2014 at 9:53 am |
  11. Reality

     AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC/SATANIC/HEAVENLY BLISS CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

    Joe Smith had his Moroni and Satan/Perdition/Lucifer. (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 and of course Satan and his demons.

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around) and of course the jinn.

    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/ugly/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.

    July 6, 2014 at 9:00 am |
  12. igaftr

    Testimony of peoples imaginings is moot.

    July 6, 2014 at 8:12 am |
  13. Reality

    Hallucinations are quite common especially for those severely brainwashed in religion.

    Some examples:

    Paul et al have had significant impacts on how we act and think but their "seeing"/contacting/relationships with God amounted tohallucinations brought about by too much fasting, lack of sleep or drinking with
    added embellishments by Christian scribes seeing the economic benefits of the Devine Right of Kings, Queens, Popes and theirunderlings.

    Luther, Calvin, Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley et al, founders of Christian-based religions, also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty, wingy thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immaculate conceptions).

    Which brings us to Islam. Muslims refuse to accept the reality of history i.e. Mohammed was a "holey hallucinator" as he supposedly saw visions of Gabriel. From these hallucinations, came one of the most violent/terror religions humankind has ever seen as evidenced by the Third Axis of Evil aka Iran and the "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia and the following contemporary acts of terror in general supported by Iran and the "Wannabees" financially and "theologically" with the blood money of oil profits:

    July 6, 2014 at 8:03 am |
    • wilburw7

      Reality, wrote:" Hallucinations are quite common especially for those severely brainwashed in religion. "

      That is so dishonest and ridiculous. First, you do drugs huh? I don't. You are telling me about reality? Get sober first.
      Second. Atheist have a higher suicide rate than Christians. Is this a result of not hallucinating? I don't think so.

      July 6, 2014 at 8:13 am |
      • midwest rail

        " Atheist have a higher suicide rate than Christians."
        Another unfounded assertion. Please provide a link.

        July 6, 2014 at 8:33 am |
      • igaftr

        ":" Hallucinations are quite common especially for those severely brainwashed in religion. "

        That is so dishonest and ridiculous"

        Not dishonest nor ridiculous...accurate is the term you are looking for.
        Try googling hallucinations and religion, and you can see a direct correlation.
        Religious individuals tend to have higher rates of hallucinations.

        July 6, 2014 at 8:35 am |
      • wilburw7

        igaftr, No. You are wrong. Who was more likely to have Hallucinations: John F Kennedy (Christian) or John Lennon(Atheist)

        "Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
        With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
        Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly;
        A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.

        Cellophane flowers of yellow and green
        Towering over your head;
        Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes,
        And she’s gone.

        Lucy in the sky with diamonds!" - John Lennon

        July 6, 2014 at 8:40 am |
      • igaftr

        midwest

        Wilbur is really misrepresenting data.

        People with higher intelligence tend to be less religious and have a higher suicide rate.( note TEND to)

        To twist it to say that atheists have a higher suicide rate is really drawing correlations that really don't have a correlative relatioship.
        To then leap from correlation to causation is really dishonest. and wilbur implied the latter.

        July 6, 2014 at 8:42 am |
      • millieneon

        Here's a link that explains why that one study about atheists and suicide is invalid. One reason is the study was based on depressed patients (including depressed atheists). But it has nothing to do with all atheists, and depression among atheists is not greater than depression among other groups.

        http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/5181

        July 6, 2014 at 8:46 am |
      • igaftr

        wilbur

        Seriously?...I am looking at reports from psychologists and psychiatrists that have studied the correlation between hallucinations and religion, and you bring up two people as a representative sample?
        Who is being ridiculous now?
        The studies look at TENDENCIES...it is not a rule. So to look at any given individual is not going to show you a thing.

        July 6, 2014 at 8:47 am |
      • wilburw7

        midwest rail wrote:"" Atheist have a higher suicide rate than Christians."
        Another unfounded assertion. Please provide a link"

        I don't need to provide you with a link. Google it and find hundreds of links to that subject. It has been shown in scientific clinical test that are peer reviewed. It is considered a fact.

        July 6, 2014 at 8:47 am |
      • midwest rail

        " It is considered a fact."
        No, it is not.

        July 6, 2014 at 8:49 am |
      • wilburw7

        millieneon, Your statement is incorrect. Atheists tend to have greater depression. Do this exercise for yourself. List some people you know killed themselves and then notice their religion. Then realize that atheist are only a small fraction of the people. What you are going to find is that your list is mostly composed of atheists or athletes with brain damage or people with painful diseases.

        July 6, 2014 at 9:00 am |
      • igaftr

        wilbur
        "Do this exercise for yourself."

        So that is how you come by your "information". That explains a lot. Here's a list of people I know....and they represent enough people to leap to a biased conclusion.

        Leave science to scientists wilbur, you clearly are not cut out for it.

        July 6, 2014 at 9:06 am |
    • rrbb333

      You materialistic reductionism is not uncommon. It does lead to some very interesting questions.
      You believe that consciences and thought are entirely produces of your brain and nervous system?
      Well then you must believe that you have no free will. Your brian is fully imprinted at birth....so nothing that you "think" is your own, there is actually no such thing as "your own"....even you reply to me is "pre-determined"...how very Calvin. Your world view is that modern ways of knowing the truth are vastly superior to those held in the past. But, as Hitchens states "great claims require great evidence". But you have no evidence at all for your world view...you just "assume" it. I think you way of thinking has way too many holes.

      July 6, 2014 at 8:46 am |
      • wilburw7

        Who are you talking too?

        July 6, 2014 at 8:50 am |
  14. wilburw7

    What does alien abduction have to do with it?

    July 6, 2014 at 8:02 am |
  15. freefromtheism

    "But for those who believe in a loving, non-punishing God, he says, the benefits of spiritual practice and prayer are real. "
    Let's even assume that there are actual benefits that come with "spiritual practice" (whatever it consists of) and praying (albeit, meditation is the actual causal component here, the rest are just forms of this). Does this mean that one ought to believe in a deity or subscribe to a religion purely out of utility? Should we not care about whether it is true at all?
    Can one even choose what to believe in?

    July 6, 2014 at 7:46 am |
    • millieneon

      Interesting that so many people think spirituality must involve some kind of deity. In my experience it's not about worshipping a deity, it's about experiencing the interconnectedness of everything and everyone. This experience opens one's heart in a particular way that both enhances one's ability for unconditional love and evaporates fear. But one generally has to do the work to get to there . . . like meditation. And a note of caution. It's one thing to read or listen to Gurus/Clergy (depending upon the path you are exploring). But it's quite another to give up your own exploration to follow a Guru/Clergy leader type. Following is not good. It's good to learn, but keep one's mind skeptical AND open. Let your own experience be your guide.

      July 6, 2014 at 8:55 am |
  16. freefromtheism

    "the devout atheists"
    lol

    July 6, 2014 at 7:42 am |
  17. americanasanguine

    There are many more people in the West deconverting from Christianity than anything.

    July 6, 2014 at 7:40 am |
  18. wilburw7

    The problem with calling it a certain brain wiring or a product of cultural socialization (programing) or whatever else you want to call it is that Jesus Christ is real, hell is real, and heaven is real. It is not close minded or a failure to consider other ideas to know the truth. Jesus is the truth.

    July 6, 2014 at 7:29 am |
    • freefromtheism

      But you have no evidence to support any of these assertions.
      GG

      July 6, 2014 at 7:42 am |
      • midwest rail

        He did not "die". He had a near death experience fueled by lack of oxygen to the brain. Big difference.

        July 6, 2014 at 7:46 am |
      • freefromtheism

        And some are abducted by aliens.
        What can you do?

        July 6, 2014 at 7:47 am |
      • wilburw7

        midwest rail, Provide proof that he did not die.

        July 6, 2014 at 7:48 am |
      • midwest rail

        The proof is that he is still here.

        July 6, 2014 at 7:53 am |
      • wilburw7

        midwest rail, No. He could have died and then come back to life. As one medical doctor that researched near death experience stated: the idea that NDE was a chemical reaction in the brain or the result of oxygen deprivation was a good hypothesis that turned out to be wrong.

        July 6, 2014 at 7:59 am |
      • freefromtheism

        But, of course, he could be wrong as well about the "hypothesis" being wrong.

        July 6, 2014 at 8:01 am |
      • midwest rail

        I'm sure the medical professional you speak of has his research published in a peer reviewed journal, yes ? And I'm sure you can provide a link to this peer reviewed study, yes ?

        July 6, 2014 at 8:01 am |
      • igaftr

        Wilbur
        The man had a near death experience. If he died, he would have stayed that way...sort of the definition of death.
        His experience of a near death experience is akin to someone telling you how they almost fell of a cliff, as opposed to someone who actually fell.
        We learn nothing of death from NEAR death experiences. We only learn more about how the brain functions.

        July 6, 2014 at 8:08 am |
      • wilburw7

        igaftr, IF you go to eternal damnation, what are you going to learn?

        July 6, 2014 at 8:22 am |
      • millieneon

        Near Death experiences are pretty common. And often the person experiences scenarios that fit their spiritual beliefs. This has been researched and written about a lot. Non-believers say this proves that the experience is "all in a person's head". Believers say that this first experience of being "out-of-body" resembling one's spiritual beliefs is to help ease the experience of being dead. Whatever. Most of the NDEs do not support Jesus, Yahweh, Allah, or the Bible.

        July 6, 2014 at 8:22 am |
      • igaftr

        "igaftr, IF you go to eternal damnation, what are you going to learn?"

        Nothing, same as you. Silly question...musing over one of an infinite number of possibilities.
        Do you honestly think "eternal damnation" exists?...Your god is so unforgiving that he would throw away a soul for eternity?
        that is contradictory to the other parts of your religion, you know the one who teaches forgiveness...

        Wilbur....what if there is a god, and he has no problem with people that don't believe...but has a problem with those that believe in the wrong god....you'd be the one who is pretty well screwed iin that case, and I would be the one with no worries....and there is just as much evidence that the scenario I describe, and your scenario are accurate...that evidence being none...none at all.

        July 6, 2014 at 8:29 am |
      • wilburw7

        igaftr, God exists and there is only one way to avoid hell. God is not going to send anyone to hell that accepts redemption through Jesus Christ. It is very simple to avoid eternal damnation while you are alive.

        July 6, 2014 at 8:36 am |
      • igaftr

        "God exists and there is only one way to avoid hell"

        Baseless belief. Men wrote that in your bible...men claim god said this and that. Men said god said this and that. No where did god say anything that anyone can show. There is a great deal of evidence men made up the whole thing.

        For you to say god exists.... odd you would say such a thing when there is no evidence. Maybe god exists...maybe not.
        Each believer imagines god differently than the next. Which ones imagination is more accurate? Is the god you think exists exactly like what you imagine? Can anyone show this god you imagine to exist?

        July 6, 2014 at 8:52 am |
    • Reality

      And once again returning to the 21st century:

      The Apostles' Creed 2014 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.)

      July 6, 2014 at 7:50 am |
    • colin31714

      Wilbuw7. There are some pretty fundamental objections to Christianity that are pretty hard to get around.

      At its most fundamental level, Christianity requires a belief that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,720,000,000 years ago (the approximate age of the current iteration of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,720,000,000 years for human beings to gradually evolve, then, at some point in our evolution from Hom.o Erectus, gave us eternal life and a soul, and about 180,000 years later, sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.

      While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Greco-Roman Middle East, including Australia, North and South America, Europe, Asia, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies. One would have thought that a visitor from the creator of the Universe would visit (or at least mention) the millions upon millions of Chinese and other Asians, all the people spread throughout North, Central and South America, the Australian Aboriginals, the ancient Europeans or the Sub-Saharan Africans. Instead, his entire visit and his entire Holy Book, the Bible, is 100% concentrated on the Jews. It seems obvious to any thinking person that the Jews made God in their image and not vice-versa.

      This ‘all loving’ god spends his time running the Universe and observing the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic/divine telepathic powers. He also keeps his telepathic eye on them when they are not praying, so as to know if they think bad thoughts (such as coveting their neighbor) so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.

      Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is harbor an honest, reasonable and rational disbelieve in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me.

      The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze Age and Greco-Roman Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, that was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages. I mean, let me ask a believer this. Do you even have the slightest damn idea who any of the 100+ authors of the Bible were? Do you have any idea who complied it? Who decided what Bronze Age Jewish writings to include and what to exclude and the criteria they used?

      The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Horus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).

      The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, r.ape and the complete subjugation of women. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.

      A rejection of the supernatural elements of Christianity does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent we reject Christian morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian. We just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral.

      Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.

      We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.

      When backed into a corner, Christianity admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. This is probably the mother of all understatements. In any event, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not, any more than “faith” that pixies exist is) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Christian based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. In a dark room without features, any guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 359 degrees.

      Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?

      The entire Christian faith is not a belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, or, even more accurately, a simple wish for a god, no more substantial than the hope for a good future and no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

      July 6, 2014 at 8:15 am |
  19. dick0645

    Proud of CNN for the Belief Blog!
    Encouraged that the writer believes folks are looking for some deeper meaning in their lives than drugs, alcohol, and material stuff. Sorry to say I think the writer has no clue about the real world. If anything the golden calf has grown and is doing very well. The elite 1% in the US are reinforcing the gold standard-those who have the gold set the standard! Christians are persecuted and any symbols of their faith are being cast aside by agnostics and atheists. Belief in God and his Son Jesus is still the only way to true meaning in this life.

    July 6, 2014 at 6:45 am |
    • americanasanguine

      People disagreeing with you isn't persecution you nincompoop.

      July 6, 2014 at 7:50 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      You poor poor baby!! Geez, how dare you scream persecution when it is your ilk's churches that are not paying taxes (the tune of $79 billion); or when it is Easter and Christmas (holidays that Christians stole from the 'pagans' as a conversion method) that are declared special holidays; or when it is your ilk going door to door selling their snake oil; or when it is your ilk using the beliefs to deny equal rights to all (see the recent ruling on Hobby Lobby).
      Just because people are standing up to the lies and intrusive nature of your belief system doesn't mean you're being persecuted against, it simply means that progress is being made towards a world without religion, at least one without Christianity-not a bad thing.

      July 6, 2014 at 7:59 am |
    • igaftr

      "Christians are persecuted and any symbols of their faith are being cast aside by agnostics and atheists. Belief in God and his Son Jesus is still the only way to true meaning in this life."

      Poor little picked on christian.
      There are churches on nearly every corner, symbols of your religion everywhere.
      The christians hijacked the Pledge of Allegience, excluding all who don't believe their story.
      The christians hijacked the national motto, and now print a lie on our money.
      There are no laws preventing christians from holding public office...there are against atheists.
      There are no laws preventing a christian from testifying in court...there are against atheists.

      Christians have forced their beliefs into laws, and made themselves the norm, pushing out other beliefs and YOU have the nerve to claim you are being forced out? Persecuted?
      Take a look around you, christian...you can't go anywhere in America without seeing your little idols and symbols, and self righteous, self serving hypocrits like yourself.

      July 6, 2014 at 8:19 am |
  20. wranglerick

    Different strokes for different folks

    July 6, 2014 at 6:29 am |
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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.