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April 11th, 2011
11:21 AM ET

Leading atheist publishes secular Bible

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

The question arose early in British academic A.C. Grayling’s career: What if those ancient compilers who’d made Bibles, the collected religious texts that were translated, edited, arranged and published en masse, had focused instead on assembling the non-religious teachings of civilization’s greatest thinkers?

What if the book that billions have turned to for ethical guidance wasn’t tied to commandments from God or any one particular tradition but instead included the writings of Aristotle, the reflections of Confucius, the poetry of Baudelaire? What would that book look like, and what would it mean?

Decades after he started asking such questions, what Grayling calls “a lifetime’s work” has hit bookshelves. “The Good Book: A Humanist Bible,” subtitled “A Secular Bible” in the United Kingdom, was published this month. Grayling crafted it by using more than a thousand texts representing several hundred authors, collections and traditions.

The Bible would have been “a very different book and may have produced a very different history for mankind,” had it drawn on the work of philosophers and writers as opposed to prophets and apostles, says Grayling, a philosopher and professor at Birkbeck College, University of London, who is an atheist.

“Humanist ethics didn’t claim to be derived from a deity," he says. "(They) tended to start from a sympathetic understanding of human nature and accept that there’s a responsibility that each individual has to work out the values they live by and especially to recognize that the best of our good lives revolve around having good relationships with people.” 

Humanists rely on human reason as an alternative to religion or belief in God in attempting to find meaning and purpose in life.

Determined to make his material accessible, Grayling arranged his nearly 600-page "Good Book" much like the Bible, with double columns, chapters (the first is even called Genesis) and short verses. And much like the best-selling King James Bible, which is celebrating its 400th year, his book is written in a type of English that transcends time.

Like the Bible, "The Good Book," opens with a garden scene. But instead of Adam and Eve, Grayling's Genesis invokes Isaac Newton, the British scientist who pioneered the study of gravity.

"It was from the fall of fruit from such a tree that new inspiration came for inquiry into the nature of things," reads a verse from "The Good Book's" first chapter.

"When Newton sat in his garden, and saw what no one had seen before: that an apple draws the earth to itself, and the earth the apple," the verse continues, "Through a mutual force of nature that holds all things, from the planets to the stars, in unifying embrace."

The book's final chapter features a secular humanist version of the Ten Commandments: "Love well, seek the good in all things, harm no others, think for yourself, take responsibility, respect nature, do your utmost, be informed, be kind, be courageous: at least, sincerely try."

Grayling, reached Friday at a New York hotel just as he began his U.S. book tour, has been dubbed by some a “velvet atheist” or an “acceptable face of atheism,” he says, in contrast to more stridently anti-religious writers like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, both of whom he counts as friends.

In other contexts, Grayling - who will soon take over as president of the British Humanist Association - admits he’s written critically about religion. But not in "The Good Book."

“It’s not part of a quarrel,” he says of his latest work. “It’s a modest offering… another contribution to the conversation that mankind must have with itself,” and one he says he wrote for everyone, Bible lovers included.

Given where society is today, inviting that conversation is all the more important, he says.

More than 16% of Americans say they are unaffiliated religiously, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Even so, Grayling says the hunger for a spiritual connection continues. That yearning, he argues , can be satisfied for many by taking a walk in the country, curling up with a beautiful book of poetry or even in falling in love.

“In all different ways, we can celebrate the good in the world,” he says.

While many intellectual traditions – religious and otherwise – teach that there’s “one right way to live,” Grayling says he hopes “The Good Book” will encourage people to “go beyond your teachers, your text” to understand that “we have to respect and relate to one another.”

Early sales indicate that people are open to what this new "Bible" teaches. On Monday, Grayling’s book was number 41 on Amazon’s UK bestseller list and number 1 in the philosophy and spirituality categories.

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Atheism • Bible • Books • Culture & Science • Ethics

soundoff (3,021 Responses)
  1. Mabus

    Ironically, attempting and largely succeeding in eradicating the world of religion (specifically Christianity) would be a fulfillment of Biblical prophesy.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  2. dudely

    The last fool to make such arrogant pronouncements was Voltaire. My favorite factoid concerning him is that he proudly put forth the prediction that the bible would be a museum article within 100 yrs. Fast forward 100 yrs.- his residence was being used to print bibles. This present day fool will have his day of shame as well, along with all the other ape-minded fools.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Colin

      And yet, they staill are so much smarter than theists. they make up 97% of the British Royal Society of Science and 95% of the American Academy of sciences. Polls constantly show that the more intelligent a person is, the less likely they are to believe in all aspects of the supernatural, including mind reading sky-gods. This is no more arrogance than it is arrogant to say NBA players are, on average, taller than most.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      @ colin...
      you are correct, but I really can't abide the arrogance of arrogant (religious) fools!!

      April 11, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  3. Colin

    If there was a god, why did he make his believers relatively gullible, uneducated souls and the atheists and humanists so d-a-m-n smart. For some reasone, they are always the smartest people out there. I have read his work. It is reaaly good and makes the original look awful.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • jim l

      Nice stereotypes, too bad neither one is true in my experience. I've met many well educated, intelligent, open minded religious people of many different beliefs and many close minded, gullible atheists. Neither group has a monopoly on idiocy. It's just that atheism lacks a forum like a church building to expose the idiots.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      @ jiml....sorry, but intelligent christian is an oxymoron!
      There are a few intelligent people who 'say' they are christian so they don't get the 'stigma' associated with atheism, but they don't really 'practice what they preach'.

      April 11, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  4. josey

    The unexplained and bad is always God's will. So if someone is murdered than its God's will. You can't be punished for doing God's will so there is no hell. I hate it when people put their good fortune in the will of God.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  5. latenite

    Nice Chicken Soup book, but what authority does it carry? Who says that one person's concept of "good" is more valid than any other? Without an appeal to a supernatural being above humanity (i.e. God) to ground morality in an absolute sense, all we have is moral relativism, because no one person or group has the authority to elevate their morality above that of another.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • jim l

      It carries the weight of Orthodox Atheism in the form of being written by the incoming president of the British Humanist Association.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • The LORD

      Keep it simple.
      Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

      My boy boiled down 7 of the 10 commandments into one beautiful little line.

      Christians, Atheists, Zoroastrians, Muslims...it applies to all of you.

      April 11, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  6. xebob

    There is a subset of Christian Gnosticism which accepts that the Bible was written by man. It accepts that the story of Jesus was a story composed of elements from other religions to illustrate what a perfect life would be like. In other words, public service of some kind ( serving others ) would be the ideal occupation for a life well lived, as well as loving your neighbor as yourself.

    Christian Gnostics were declared heretics and hunted down and killed by the early Roman Catholic Church but they are making a comeback. So you don't have to believe that Jesus walked on water, or flew through the air, or raised the dead or existed at all to live by his teachings. You can be a Christian without having to accept the more outrageous claims of the bible.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Nurse Lisa

      Either the Bible is all true or it isn't. Picking and choosing only the parts you'd like to believe, means we could choose murder or theft as ok now.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • darp0

      @Nurse Lisa: Why cant the bible can be only partly true? It was written over a long period of time by several different authors. There are more than a few different versions of it. I gotta say I respect xebob's sensibility here, he can have his religion and sound like a reasonable person at the same time! Win, win! Stay sensible xebob, don't let the nutjobs bring you down!

      April 11, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      I agree with darpO..... Lisa is a nutjob!

      April 11, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  7. PD

    As an atheist, I like the concept of this book. But I don't understand why the need to call it a "bible" and even format it in similar fashion, including a Genesis chapter. It could have, and should have, stood alone as it's own creation, and not been constructed as a faux bible. That's disappointing to me.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • jim l

      I see where you're coming from, but I suspect it's got something to do w/publicity, advertising and marketing.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • Ryan A - Florida

      It has to do with luring/winning hearts and minds away from the lies of religion, and towards a life live d through reason and logic.

      April 12, 2011 at 5:38 am |
  8. Nurse Lisa

    Atheism – denying the existence of God – does NOT mean He doesn't exist, it just means you refuse to believe He exists. If atheists require naturalistic observation to believe anything, how can they claim they believe in reincarnation or evolution or the creation of the universe – these things have not been observed occurring? Remember, evolution is not a LAW, it may be pervasively discussed but it is still just an unproven theory of evolution – you accept ape heritage in faith, I accept a Lord and Savior in faith.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Sybaris

      You really need to go back to school.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Wisdom4u2

      Very well said!!

      Fools will never understand because they don't want to have to give an account for their sinfulness!!!
      But, they will!!!

      April 11, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Nurse Lisa

      you need to go back to church.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Ken

      I don't know anyone (at least in the scientific community) that refers to evolution as a "law." It is the theory (or model) that so far does the best job of explaining how life has come to its present form on Earth. This is the way science works - hypotheses are formed and tested and those which provide the best model for the observed phenomena live on as theories. But that doesn't mean we accept them blindly. If a new theory were to arise that provides a better fit to the empirical data, it would replace evolution.

      Belief in God, on the other hand, is usually an act of "faith." Faith, by its definition, abhors the type of methodical analysis and quantification on which science thrives. After all, just the fact of trying to prove the existence God implies that perhaps he doesn't exist, which is a notion which is disallowed by faith. Faith dictates you not only believe but you don't even question those beliefs.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • The LORD

      HAHA
      What atheists believe in reincarnation?

      You're really going to have to step up your game if you want to find eternal bliss in my kingdom!

      April 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      @ nurse lisa...... gravity is also a theory!

      April 11, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      .....Evolution HAS been observed in many animals. Even the Pope has admitted it is genuine!

      April 11, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • Scott M

      @Ken – I graduated in 1981 – The school were teachin Darwinism as law. As you aptly put it, it is only a theory. So is creationism. SO why can't that be taught as a plausible alternative? There is no evidence to suggest that intelligent design created man and the universe. Only the fact that it is unprovable... Oh Ya, so is Darwinism.

      The whole seperation of Church and State is a bad argument as far as I am concerned. If the Founding Fathers believed in in the seperation clause as it is being distorted today, then why was the Bible and Prayer not removed in1776? Why did it take unti 1960 & 1962 for us to make the changes?

      April 11, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Ihaveabridgetosellyou

      so using your fool proof logic, I can say because I don't believe in the Easter bunny, he can still exist right?

      April 11, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Scott M

      @ Intelligent Earthling
      Evolution and adaptation can be viewed as the same thing. We all adapt to out environment. That is one of the great things about how our creator made us and all animals. That does not validify Darwins theory as fact. It is called a theory because it is theoretcal and unprovable. Just as unprovable as God is. But you and others seem to translate Darwins Theory as fact. Scientists have not been able to prove it and I highly doubt that you can either

      April 11, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      @ Scottm.... because creationism is NOT plausable. It is not scientifically testable, as evolution is. Creationism has a basis in the supernatural and can never be verified. Grow up! Santa is not real, either!

      April 11, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      @ scottm.... so you are calling the Pope a liar? He said evolution is real!!! ... Better watch out, your ass.umption is showing. Evolution is most certainly testable and can be seen (by intelligent people)to be factual every day.(...and so is the THEORY of gravity!)

      April 11, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  9. Vince

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz......................

    April 11, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  10. Truth

    @ Victor,
    "Your entire argument is flawed logically. I do not need a higher law telling me to be "good."

    So, what is "good?" Who defines what good is? What may be good for you was not good for Charles Manson. So, who decides? And, even after they decide, who says they are correct?

    Jonathan said, "Why can't people just generally agree with what is right and wrong?"

    That's a logical fallacy called Argumentum Ad Populum, or appealing to poular opinion. In Nazi Germany the popular opinion was that they were the superior race. Did it justify their actions? No, popular opinion does not determine right vs. wrong. Otherwise, you get caught in the quicksand of moral relativism which is ever changing. There has to be a standard by which to determine what is right. If you are appealing to your emotions and reason, then understand that the emotions and reasoning of headhunting tribes is far different than your civilizd Western mindset.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • felixblock

      only one sin exists: causin somebody else pain (morally and or physically) admit that and religion is moot. By the way, as a scientist I am an agnostic ( only scientific logical position)

      April 11, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • darp0

      The myriad interpretations of the bible and other holy books offers its own set of moral relativity, so that's no good. No, there are some things that are just wrong, and deep down people know the difference.

      April 11, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  11. Chris

    Also, if there is a god (there isn't) it is definitely a woman.

    I can't wait to see how many angry people that draws in. haha

    April 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Scott M

      @ Chris – God is neither man or woman, He just is. We refer to him in the masculine because there is no word in the human language that describes God accurately. Read "The Shack". Not biblical or theological but puts a whole new angle on how you might look at God

      April 11, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  12. Cassi

    Since this isn't working right :/ I want to clarify: THANK YOU to Howard and his comment. Well said!

    April 11, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  13. Yoda

    Religions are paths, not God.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  14. The LORD

    I just ordered mine from Amazon!!!!
    Can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  15. Mitch Thompson

    Awesome! Grayling invokes Sir Isaac Newton in his "garden" scenario. The irony is that Newton was a devout Christian! Love it!

    April 11, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Sybaris

      Not really ironic and you're about the hundredth person to make that "clever" observation.

      I wouldn't hang my hat on it though. Your Jesus man allegedly said some noteworthy things and atheists don't dismiss the philosophy wholesale, just the program.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • darp0

      So was Gallileo, he proved the Copernican theory of a heliocentric solar system, and was convicted of heresy by the Catholic Church for it. What of it?

      April 11, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  16. Dan

    I think the majority of you need to go back and check your dictionaries. Atheism is a religion. Well, at least according to all the major dictionary definitions I've been able to find.

    But anyways... The whole lot of you are just 2 sides of the same coin.
    For the record.. I'm picking heads.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Sybaris

      you are correct in that atheism subscibes to some central beliefs but it is not a "classical" religion in that we don't adhere to ritual(s) or worship a central figure(s).

      Regardless, atheism can be viewed as a religion, so what?

      April 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Scott

      Is thinking that tiny fairies probably don't exist a form of faith?

      April 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  17. Leftist

    I always chuckle when I hear Christians defend their mythology. They have no sense of history. Every age, every civilization had it's mythology. Some lasted thousands of years, some much less. As a civilization matured and came into contact with other civilizations, their mythology transformed or, perhaps, was overtaken. Christianity has transformed tremendously during it's lifespan, but it's disintegration is now evident. Fewer and fewer of the worlds population adhere to it with any real measure of fidelity. Within the next thousand years it will be gone and looked back upon much as we look upon Greek and Roman mythology – as historically interesting but irrelevant as a framework for living.

    Science will surely lead us to the truth of atheism, but it will never suffice as a replacment mythology. No, a new mythology, a new framework for living will emerge. I can't imagine today what it will look like, but humans always have their myths!!

    April 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Bullfeathers

      Your idea of science leading to the truth of atheism belies historical fact. Science has headed down tremendously long dead ends in the past, is now and will in the future. Here's a test, do you understand the science you so ardently believe in? Not just understand the concepts but the actual mathematics involved in the current theories of multiple universes and 11 dimensions? If you answer no, then you are practicing a religion. More proof? By posting your beliefs here you attempting to convert others. Atheism as practice by 99% of all humans is, in fact, a religion.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • bojangles

      Actually, regardless of what "religion" you associate yourself with, a lot of scientists are beginning to lean towards the fact that there is a God because there are things out there that just plain cannot be explained through numbers. For example, the Big Bang Theory explains the creation of our Universe but it does not explain where the energy and atoms came from to cause the Big Bang. Science teaches that something can't come from nothing, and that includes the energy that created the Big Bang. We all had to come from something, but that something can't be nothing

      April 11, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Victor

      Hello Leftist, What do you mean 'fewer and fewer people adhere...'? Wrong information. More and more people in Asia, Africa and Latin America are becoming Christians than anytime in the history of the world. There must be something that is beyond mythology, or our human comprehension, that such things could happen in these part of the world. Go figure it out!

      April 11, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • shelly

      The author's first example in "Genesis" from The Good Book, the secular bible is Sir Isaac Newton. Please research "Famous scientists who believed in God." Its says and I quote...

      6.Isaac Newton (1642-1727) –
      In optics, mechanics, and mathematics, Newton was a figure of undisputed genius and innovation. In all his science (including chemistry) he saw mathematics and numbers as central. What is less well known is that he was devoutly religious and saw numbers as involved in understanding God's plan for history from the Bible. He did a considerable work on biblical numerology, and, though aspects of his beliefs were not orthodox, he thought theology was very important. In his system of physics, God is essential to the nature and absoluteness of space. In Principia he stated, "The most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion on an intelligent and powerful Being."

      The heavens declare His glory! God loves you.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      @ victor.... they have been lying to you!!! Muslims are the ones growing!
      @ shelly.... even great scientists can be WRONG!!!

      April 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • theweeston

      @bojangles What proof do you have that many scientists are coming around to accepting the notion of God? I hear this line of crap uttered all the time, but there is never any hard statistical data to support such a ludicrous claim. The fact of the matter is that the higher educated a person is the less likely they are to believe in God. That is a statistical fact that you can google (I won't like here as it's like advertising, and I'm not a fan of that). This isn't to say that there are no scientists who believe in God; but the numbers are extremely low. This is a fact.

      As for you other comments about the universe and "things we cannot currently explain," well that is just the nature of science. Science is always showing us new and exciting things, and we are always learning and expanding our knowledge – rather than accepting 2,000 year old philosophical and religious ideas statically for all time – or, infinitely worse, adapting said ideas to modern times, even though that was never their original intent.

      The big bang, as it is commonly referred to, deals with the start of the universe, you're correct. There is no real solid theory (yet!) as to where the energy/mass came from that allowed the big bang to happen. However, that doesn't mean that we will NEVER know.

      Where you see God – in the "mystery and wonder" of the universe, I see chance and random selection. I see this life as a miracle, in the broadest sense, because it was so unlikely to happen. You don't need God to explain this life or this universe. Over 15% of the world's population accept that to be true, and I proudly count myself as one of that group.

      April 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Ihaveabridgetosellyou

      Ha ha. You religious people just crack me up. Seriously. Atheism is the lack of beliefs. And as for more people becoming Christians in Africa, thats something to be proud of, especially now that gays there are being killed because the church says they are sinners? Good Job guys. You just set those countries back another thousand years. Name me one theocratic country that supports human and womens rights? None.

      April 11, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • darp0

      Scientology will replace Christianity in the west, Zoroastrianism will make a fierce comeback in the east. Mark my words...

      April 11, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      @ theweeston .... You are exactly right!!!!
      Why do we never hear such intelligence of thought from the 'religious' ones?.....Oh, never mind!

      April 11, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      @ theweeston
      .....but actually, I think worldwide, it is way more than 15%.... it's just in this backward country there are a lot of 'uninformed' people(being kind).

      April 11, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  18. Wisdom4u2

    @ Man created God
    You said: "So you know him personally ?
    If a plane crashes and 99 of 100 people die
    Why would people say god spared the last one
    instead of, why did god allow the other 99 to die ?

    Nice god ya got there."

    I say:
    DUHHHH!!!! You're SOOOOO STUPID!!!

    I see where God brought 99 precious souls back home to Him, and then left the one to deal with his injuries and unfinished business!!!! U Dummy!!!

    He is a nice, Good and Righteous God, it's all in the way that one perceives Him!!
    U bozo!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • germ1976

      Stay classy christians.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      Hey 'myth lover'..... who is the stupid one?????

      April 11, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • ScubaGolfJim

      "He is a nice, Good and Righteous God, it's all in the way that one perceives Him!!
      U bozo!!!"

      So you admit he's just a figment of your imagination and is as loving or hateful as an individual wants. Interesting.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Wisdom4u2

      Your god will be exactly as you perceive him, but it doesn't mean he is the God that Christ Jesus came and showed us!!! U FOOLS!!!
      If you want to know the TRUE God, then learn of Jesus the Christ!!
      He said if we know him then we will know God, and when you know Jesus you can‘t deny the love of God.
      Get over yourselves!!

      April 11, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • ScubaGolfJim

      "Get over yourselves!!"

      Seems like you're speaking to yourself there supposed "wisdom." And just when did "Jesus" call people 'fools' or call someone a 'dummy?'

      Want to live by your "god's word" then live by them all. If you're wearing, or have ever worn, more than one type of fiber, if you've ever worked on your "sabbath" or eaten any type of pork, we'll gladly wait 10 minutes and then never hear from you again.

      Get over yourself before advising others to do the same.

      April 11, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • Scott M

      @ScubaGolfJim – you are referring to the old testament. Jesus did not come to replace it, he came to inhanse it. In the New Testament, even jJsus healed on the "sabboth" for which the religious scribes chactised him for. As for eating pork, that is ok as per Jesus too.He removed all the "religious rituals and now wants us to consentrate on "Loving Our Neighbor", helping those in need, ad trating our wives with te love and respect Jesus has for the Church. You did point out one accuracy. We are to remove the plank from our own eye before trying to remove a splinter from our neighbor's eye. Jesus came because we cannot and never will be able to live up to God's standard. He is the living sacrifice for our sins. How can that be bad?

      April 11, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      @ scottm.... do all christians spell as badly as you do? Talk about lack of intelligence. I guess that's why you are so gullible.

      April 11, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  19. JamesD

    I think Carl Sagan should be high priest of the Neo-Atheist Church. Afterall, he wished to find aliens (superior beings with answers for life's problems), eternal life (aliens must have solved the ageing conundrum) , a spiritual body (teleportation) but without all the baggage of a God ("the cosmos is all that there is, has been or ever will be").

    April 11, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Ed

      Sagan identified as agnostic. In fact, he was critical of atheism.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Scott

      Cite your source, Ed. That's jut not true.
      He was a gentle man, and spoke gently- that much is true.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Ed

      The Washington Post has a write-up about Sagan by Joel Achenbach (do a search).

      Sagan himself professed to be agnostic and defined an atheist as someone who would have to know a lot more than himself – a person who would have to know for certain that there was no god.

      Quoth the man – "By some definitions atheism is very stupid."

      April 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  20. Scott

    I don't believe in atheists; therefore they do not exist.

    April 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Wisdom4u2

      I agree, Scott!!!

      April 11, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • ScottK

      To bad we can prove our existence, but you still can't prove Gods.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • settino

      LOL, Scott, they can prove Gods. They have a movie of Godzilla!!!!

      April 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Intelligent Earthling

      @ ScottK......exactly right!!!!!
      Too bad the 'simpletons' can't be bothered with silly things like FACTS!

      April 11, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Emmitt Langley

      If it's like all other atheist rantings, I'm sure it's more about Jesus and Christians than anything else. That's the irony of atheism...they prove more than any other group that to be human is to be infatuated with God.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • JaC

      I'll become an atheist when atheists can provide the same proof for atheistic evolution that they demand for God.

      At least we admit the thing we can't prove is faith. You've convinced yourselves that the thing you can't prove is science.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Shawn Irwin

      Likewise with your god.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • shelly

      You want to see something so cool?! Do a Google search on the Messier 51 galaxy (M51 galaxy). Look at the pictures of it. It is called the whirlpool galaxy. Now find a picture of the center of the galaxy taken by the Hubble telescope. God loves us! He sent His Son Jesus Christ to save us through His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. God loves us so much that He made a way for sinful man to be reconciled to Him and He does not keep it to Himself. His message is everywhere, even the edges of space! Science only proves it!

      April 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • Scott

      Emmitt- you should at least try reading the article if you going to comment without looking at the book.

      It has absolutely nothing to do with religion, and makes no references to it whatsoever.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Scott

      @scottk – At some point in the past, the scientists of the day could not prove there were other planets in our solar system, or that gravity existed. Does that mean that they doesn't exist until provable? No it doesn't. it simply meant that science can't prove to you that there is a God right now. But they can't prove he doesn't exist either!!! All you are going on is your desire to live how you want to without worrying about the consequences. If you really think about how perfectly the planet is positioned on it's axis, how if it were off just slightly we would hurl into space, or how the earth and all it's inhabitants can heal themselves. The odds are in favor of a God creating and planning it out rather than a large explosion creating all we have. Common sence has to prevail. Besides, If you are right and there is no God I will never know the difference, but if I am right, your consequences are eternal. Not preaching to you, hoever I think you would be wise to actually investigate and study the bible just to hedge your bets.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • theweeston

      If I were to say, "I don't believe the world is round" literally millions of people could come and prove to me how wrong I am. Atheism, then, is not about the statement "I don't believe in God" as much as it is the fact that no proof can be brought forth to prove his/her/its existence. There is "Biblical" proof, but that is not the same as empirical proof.

      The fact remains that science cannot prove God exists because science only deals with things in the natural world, and God, by his/her/its very nature is supernatural. This brings us to the point of the matter: No one can prove God exists without accepting a supernatural means of proof. A belief system, a religious text, etc. But, none of those can be tested in a subjective way that will ever be enough for me, and millions of other atheists to accept as "proof" of God's existence.

      So, when you make your psuedo-clever remark about "I don't believe in atheists..." just remember that we can prove we exist. We can do so because of what science has allowed us to know about ourselves, our world and our universe. You know this for a fact. However, there is no way you can ever prove that your god (or idea of god) is real. God is not testable, God is not something that can be put under a microscope or in a lab; and because of that no one will ever be able to prove that God exists. It will forever remain a leap of faith that some are willing to accept, and others will not. It doesn't make you or I smarter than the other...it just makes us different. If that's something you cannot accept or grasp, then I pity you, and pity any others that think like you.

      April 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Scott

      @ Scott The artlicle is about atheism which by definition is a religion. His book is anti religion which is what sparks the religious debate

      April 11, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • darp0

      Ha! Good one... but seriously, do we exist, or are we just part of your dream?

      April 11, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
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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.