home
RSS
10 things the Belief Blog learned in its first year
June 8th, 2011
01:01 PM ET

10 things the Belief Blog learned in its first year

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - In case you were wondering about all the balloons and cake: CNN’s Belief Blog has just marked its first birthday.

After publishing 1,840 posts and sifting through 452,603 comments (OK, we may have missed one or two) the Belief Blog feels older than its 12 months would suggest. But it also feels wiser, having followed the faith angles of big news stories, commissioned lots of commentary and, yes, paid attention to all those reader comments for a solid year.

10 things we've learned:

1. Every big news story has a faith angle. Even the ordeal of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for more than two months. Even the attempted assassination of Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Even March Madness. Even - well, you get the point.

2. Atheists are the most fervent commenters on matters religious. This became apparent immediately after the Belief Blog's first official post last May, which quickly drew such comments as:

acerider
Can we have a fairy tale blog too?

Sunil
This is nothing but America moving away from its wondrous spirit of Apollo 11 into a mindset of the perpetually intellectually challenged.
I think there was some news today about scientists having created the first artificial cell. That should have been a HUGE story. And yet, what do we get? A faith blog. Pathetic.

Rachel
This blog is terrifying. It's amazing how much power the radical religious right is amassing in our country right now. If I can't have some legislation, can I at least have some news that does not cater to zealots?

Those early comments presaged an avalanche of alternately humorous and outraged atheist responses on virtually everything the Belief Blog publishes. They're more evidence that atheists are coming out of the closet to trumpet their disbelief, argue with the faithful and evangelize their godlessness. (It's worth noting that the Belief Blog does plenty of atheism stories.)

3. People are still intensely curious about the Bible, its meaning and its origins.

It's an ancient tome, but more than any other book in the Western tradition (with the Quran being the lone exception), the Bible still fascinates us. And it still feeds our most heated debates. In February, a guest post here arguing that the Bible is more ambiguous on homosexuality than traditionally thought elicited more than 4,000 comments. A response post insisting that the Bible clearly condemns homosexuality brought in an equal number of comments - and was the most popular story on CNN.com on the day it was published.

Other Belief Blog pieces about biblical scholarship - including a recent offering about biblical misquotations - have also caught fire. More of us may be reading it on iPhones these days, but the Good Book still matters a lot more than the popular culture lets on.

4.   Most Americans are religiously illiterate. Despite the appetite for stories and commentary about the Bible, most Americans know little about it. A huge Pew survey released in September found that most Americans scored 50 percent or less on a quiz measuring knowledge of the Bible, world religions and what the Constitution says about religion in public life. Ironically, atheists and agnostics scored best. How did you do on the quiz?

5. It's impossible to understand much of the news without knowing something about religion. Why did the Egyptian revolution happen on a Friday? Why was Osama bin Laden's body buried so quickly after he was killed? Why did Afghan rioters kill seven United Nations workers in April? You simply can't answer those questions without bringing in religion.

6.  Regardless of where they fit on the spectrum, people want others to understand what they believe. That goes for pagans, fundamentalist Mormons, Native Americans, atheists - everyone.

7. Americans still have an uneasy relationship with Islam. Nearly 10 years after the September 11 attacks provoked many Americans to pay attention to Islam for the first time, much of the country is still somewhat uncomfortable about the religion, which counts 1.5 billion followers worldwide.

The biggest domestic religion story in the Belief Blog's young life was probably last year's opposition to a proposed Islamic Center and mosque near New York's ground zero. And with the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaching, domestic tensions around Islam may flare again. The Arab Spring, meanwhile is raising weighty questions about Islam's role in post-autocratic regimes, guaranteeing the religion - and its relationship with the U.S. - will be one of the world's big stories for years to come.

8. God may not prevent natural disasters, but religion is always a big part of the response. We see it play out every time Mother Nature delivers a punishing blow, from March's Japan earthquake and tsunami to the recent tornado that flattened much of Joplin, Missouri.

9. Apocalyptic movements come and go. The May 21st doomsdayers drew loads of interest, largely thanks to a massive ad campaign, but they're hardly original.

10. Most Americans don't know that President Barack Obama is a Christian. It's ironic, since church-based community organizing led him to politics and since his close relationship with a pastor almost sunk his presidential campaign, but that's what a Pew poll found last year.

Only about a third of Americans correctly identified Obama's religion, while nearly one in five said he's a Muslim. Another irony: The longer Obama's been in office, the smaller the proportion of Americans who can correctly name his faith. As the 2012 presidential race approaches, this story bears watching, since views of candidates' religion influence voting patterns.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Comments • Technology • Trends

soundoff (1,520 Responses)
  1. Sarah Palin's Amazing Exploding Panties

    If it is a TV show, then it should be mud wrestling or professional wrestling or roller derby. Hey, that's it! Each week a different ultra-violent and va-guely ridiculous sport like cage ultimate fighting or nude oil wrestling, with teams of Christians, atheists, Muslims, Jews, Wiccans, and all the rest. Like the Belief Blog, it won't prove anything at all, but the frothing spite will be fun to watch in a full-contact form.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  2. Fidei Coticula Crux

    For every opinion or belief someone may hold, there will be another party who just as strongly oppose that idea. Both sides usually claim to sit with the best arguments, the real facts, and the correct world view; and, ironically both sides regard the other as being indoctrinated, blind to the obvious, and outright stupid. Most people only expose themselves to information that matches their own beliefs or worldview. It is typically uncomfortable to do otherwise. This is what is known as Confirmation Bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) and it is just part of human nature.

    However, it saddens me when I read comments that insults people and their belief system. To some, this is only a game of one-upmanship—away for them to stroke their egos. They put people down and belittle their beliefs because they can’t understand way others don’t think or believe like they do. When a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; and, especially one who regards or treats the members of a group, be it a gender, race, ethnic, or religion, with hatred and intolerance shall be known by no other name than that of a bigot; be you a Christian or an Atheist or of any other belief system. We all should strive to be tolerant of others and to follow the Golden Rule: “…whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them...”

    June 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Fidei: I agree with you that people should not be insulting to others about their beliefs. But you seem to also be making the point that since for each argument there is an equally opposite one, they therefore all deserve merit. At least that was my interpretation. I cannot agree with that. Some positions are, simply put – wrong. I am as equally pro-gay rights as certain people are anti- gay. Should I respect their position simply because it is different? No. Different and harmless – maybe. But different and harmful deserves no leeway.
      Everything else in your post I absolutely agree with. I do not consider being rude or attacking a feasible starting position for profitable discussions. I think it only hardens people to your point.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Free

      The important thing is that the discussion occurs and that the open-minded out there can have a greater well of information in which to draw upon while making up their minds. I, like many atheists, am not at all interested in converting people, but I will defend what I believe, and I will share what I know with people because I suspect that a great many out there are sheltered from hearing my side of the issues.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      "Most people only expose themselves to information that matches their own beliefs or worldview. It is typically uncomfortable to do otherwise. This is what is known as Confirmation Bias".
      That's not true. I would be willing to bet that many of those on these boards who might identify themselves as as one of the many forms of agnostic grew up in traditions which educated them very extensively in their views and that is precisely why on these boards we hear so often that the "atheists seem to know more about religion than the religious people". All I ask is that people back up their assertions with some sort of evidence. I never take it personally. It either happens or it doesn't. If vigorous debate is too much for some, then "get out of the kitchen". The purpose of these boards is not for posters to just post sentimental clap-trap, unchallenged. If that's what someone wants, there are lots of places where that happens.
      😈

      June 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • John

      The thing i always find interesting is this. My roomate at work is an athiest. He doesnt talk about god because he doesnt care. He doesnt believe in it and ever discusses it, as it is boring. The same way i dont discuss fishing with people because i have nothing in common with it. When the athiests hung up billboards i asked him why large groups of people congregated in a common goal to put down other religions he said "why ask me, im an athiest, i dont care about religion" and from that point on i came to undresatnd there are religious athiests, and true athiests. He says he hates religious athiests because they give true athiests a bad rep. These boards are filled with athiests who are on fire for their goal. But i dont undrestand what that goal would be, other than to spend time bashing people who are religious. Which is confusing. I dont spend my time on fishing blogs telling them how boring fishing is.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Free

      John
      There are millions of Christians in America who only think of God when they find themselves in a church, and that may be very infrequently. They do it out of duty, or they just aren't interested in God very much, like your atheist co-worker. The one thing we can probably all agree upon here is that most of us who post opinions have a genuine interest in religion. That should answer why you find atheists on something called a "Belief" blog, see?

      Not all atheists appreciate the billboards, just as not all Christians enjoy the ones some Christians put up in response, just as not everyone who watches TV really cared to see Oprah's billboards advertising her new channel.

      'Radical' elements on both sides host a very loud, public debate it seems, while the great mass of people indifferent to religion, self-identified as either atheist or believer, spend their free time discussing baseball, politics, or something else that actually does interest them.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Aslyum52

      Froggist – Well put
      John and Free:
      Regarding the religious atheist and the non-religious atheist, I think you may have some points confused. I would equate your "religious" atheist to mean "apathetic" atheist – he just doesn't care (like the roommate). The religious one I would term engaged (or perhaps "activist" in your vernacular).

      The billboard aren't trying to disrespect another person's religion. They're trying to help people out there who don't believe (the extreme minority in the US) find other, like-minded people and to give encouragement. They're also making a statement: In a country where there is supposed to be religious freedom, don't be afraid to exercise it.

      Free, you make reference to talking about politics instead of religion, as something that people care about. Look at the Republican presidential field right now – I dare you to tell me that religion and politics aren't running hand in hand. The atheist population needs the outspoken activists like the labor movement and civil rights movements needed theirs. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. If all atheists said nothing about religion – just sat down and kept quiet when their rights were trod on – then those rights (for all atheists) would be slowly whittled away until essentially non-existent.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:21 am |
  3. CaseSettled Booya!

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzetqYev_AI&w=640&h=390]

    June 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • I Can Be Just As Stubborn

      Assuming, for the moment only, you are not Dr. Schroeder, why do you keep posting this piece of cr-p, but appear to be unable to engage in any reasonable debate about it. In each place you post some variation of "case closed".
      It's not, (or you wouldn't be here). You are unable to state why you think it is. However, I encourage the viewing of this video. Also go look at his, (Gerald Schroeder's) other things on the web. He is the distinguished recipient of the Moron of the Month Award, (9/08). He SHOULD be given the "Most Non Sequiturs in a Half Hour" award, and the "Let Me Show You What's Wrong with Intelligent Design" award.
      Much of his astoundingly illogical and incorrect presentation could be forgiven him, as he claims to be an (MIT) trained biologist and physicist, (and obviously not a theologian or philosopher), but his statement that "A Brief History of Time", (which is supposedly his OWN field) was written by Stephen "Dawking", and that Mcluhan's "The Medium is the mAssage",
      only leaves one to wonder how far, exactly, he is out of touch with reality.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Zippy the Wonder Chipmunk Saves the World

      And now, CaseSettled will put a shill post praising her own post. Kind of a snake-oil thing.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      ooohh, a rodent. We meet for happy hour, Beverly Hilton, Fridays 4PM

      June 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Bippy, the Lesser Squirrel God of Rapped Polka

      May I come too? Our evil secret rodenty plan to overthrow the humans would best be discussed over martinis and elegant hors d'œuvres at the Beverly Hilton.

      June 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Ratigan

      Beverly Hilton? I sh!t on the crab-stuffed mushrooms over there. They're everyone's favorite!

      June 8, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • myklds

      "Depending on the survey, atheists, agnostics, and irreligious folks are 14-17% of our population. They are coming out of the closet and being much more vocal. In Sweden and Norway 70-80% of their population are atheists, agnostics, and irreligious types. Maybe one day the USA can gravitate to that level of intelligence, logic, and reason."

      Like wars, disasters, tragedies and Harold camping, the increasing population of non-believers are not surprising. They are all in the book of Revelations.

      The only difference is the degree of significance of their role in the Apocalypse. Non-believers especially atheist holds the highest, in fact they're predestined to prepare for the way of the coming of the ultimate fulfillment of what had been written in the holy book, the coming of the marked beast.

      It's the apparent purpose of their strong cause in mocking,discrediting, undermining, trying very hard of invalidating God and His words in the Holy Bible coz it clearly speaks about them. They want us to be left unprepared so that they could go for an onslaught.

      So believers, more than any other days, this day is the best time to hold-on much stronger to our faith and to read more the Bible to avoid ourselves from becoming (their) unwitting victims.

      Be Aware, Be Informed, Be Prepared.

      BELIEVE IN GOD..READ THE BIBLE and be SAVED.

      June 12, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  4. Thanks Belief Blog

    ...For also recognizing atheist beliefs. I am genuinely impressed. I would have predicted a "belief blog" would consist of talking about everything except atheism. You have given atheism their fair voice... neither promoting it, nor diminishing it, which is exactly correct.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • William Demuth

      CNN wants us. The advertisers prefer educated eyes.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @WD- There is no evidence that you qualify in the "us" category. You are probably one of "them".

      June 8, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • JSLaw

      @Lycidas - Especially because empirical, peer-reviewed studies have shown that atheists as a belief group are NOT (on average) the most educated among demographics based on solely on personal belief. That would be Mormons.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @JSLaw-That's very true. All three of those groups ranked the highest around 20-21 answers correct out of 32. Otherwise, a D if we were in school.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • Jesus

      Depending on the survey, atheists, agnostics, and irreligious folks are 14-17% of our population. They are coming out of the closet and being much more vocal. In Sweden and Norway 70-80% of their population are atheists, agnostics, and irreligious types. Maybe one day the USA can gravitate to that level of intelligence, logic, and reason.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • Free

      Jesus
      Considering the rates of crime, divorce, scandal, and various other unChristian behaviors that are evident in this country a goodly number of those who profess to actually believing in God and his justice can't really be at all convinced, wouldn't you say?

      Many Christians only like to pull out the majority Pew statistics when it suits them. The rest of the time they spend pointing fingers at those they see as not really being 'true' Christians... like THEY are. Meanwhile, some other group is leveling their fingers at them with just as much conviction. That's the reality of Christian America.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "Maybe one day the USA can gravitate to that level of intelligence, logic, and reason."

      The information you cited isn't evidence of intelligence...it's evidence of atheism.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  5. Woody

    I just talked to GOD. He told me to tell CNN to fix the ridiculous word filter or they're going to have hell to pay.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • i wonder

      Yes, that word filter is so insane.

      Also, a 'search' feature is needed. I have to write down the page numbers on paper if I want to be able to respond later to a particular post of mine. Many posts seem to be 'hit and run' for that reason, and questions are never answered.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • BG

      CNN is already on Hell's monthly installment plan; they must be behind on the payments.

      @ CNN

      Kidding.... kiddd-ing. You've taken a topic for which it's impossible to achieve any consensus, put it out there for public consumption and enjoyed the results. Of course we'll take that "Islam is a religion" business in context... after all, you're CNN. We'd expect nothing less...

      June 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  6. ScottK

    CNN now just needs to make a few more sites like this for other groups. Like...

    The Relief Blog
    The Good Grief Blog
    The Blow Leaf Blog
    The Ground Beef blog
    The Indian Chief Blog
    The Barrier Reef Blog
    The Underwear Thief Blog
    The Very Brief Blog

    June 8, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Harry Potter

      The Underwear Thief Blog and The Very Brief Blog could be consolidated.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Hawaiikaos

      That last one should have been "The Very Brief Bl"

      June 8, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Willow

      Yes, they should also add blogs for the raw vegans (almost a religion in itself as it has been disproven by science...cooking only destroys about 10% of vitamins not all of them), skeptics, conservatives (just to provide a balance for the liberals on this site), and third party political types, just to even it out.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
  7. Eric G

    I still think the "Belief Blog" should have it's own TV show. Just don't make Sanjay Gupta the host!

    June 8, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Their first segment can be random interviews with priests asking them what kind of boys they are attracted to.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Eric G: I want Anderson Cooper. No, really. I WANT Anderson Cooper...

      June 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Eric

      He's gay. Still want him?

      June 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Frogist

      @EricG: Then he can bring along his special friend and I'll take pictures. Seriously, I don't care!

      June 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  8. Eric G

    I have enjoyed the first year of the Belief Blog and have made some new friends on both sides of the fence.

    The point that I find myself at with just about every article is this....

    A belief is an as-sumed truth. A belief is not true, just because you believe it to be.

    Belief is not fact, and faith is not a path to truth.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "and faith is not a path to truth."

      But a well examinded faith could lead to truth.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Artist

      Lycidas

      "and faith is not a path to truth."

      But a well examinded faith could lead to truth.

      ---–
      Could lead to two very different Truths. Lead me to quite a different place or at least away from accepting man's created christianity. I have a feeling the Truth or answers lay buried in this Earth. Perhaps under a large amount of ice or deep in the ocean?

      June 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Artist

      Lead??? meant led

      June 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Lycidas

      That's the interesting thing about "truth"...it could be found everywhere and in many different ways. But wherever or whenever it is found, chances are it will come through living a well examined life.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Eric G

      @Lycidas: "well examined"................. Hmmmmmmm......

      Does that mean through examination of verifiable evidencial support?

      How can you "examine" faith if you have no evidence to examine?

      June 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Not a problem, if there was another thing they could have put on their list is that everyone has grammar/spelling problems from time to time. We get too focused on our thoughts and flub our words sometimes.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "How can you "examine" faith if you have no evidence to examine?"

      Religious thought experiments. Examine what you know in relation to the religious aspect you are studying, compare it to the known variables within your life experience, put that against the facts and theories the world has provided.

      Some might arrive with varying conclusions but it will be a conclusion thought out.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Artist

      Eric G

      @Lycidas: "well examined"................. Hmmmmmmm......

      Does that mean through examination of verifiable evidencial support?

      How can you "examine" faith if you have no evidence to examine?
      --
      I took it as combination of the two physical and "spiritual". In my case, I was a Christian and reached a point one day I decided to "test" my faith. Put it all out there persey. (remember I talked in tongues etc...was quite wacky lol). Went into the wilderness/fasted etc without any expectations. Removed all distractions. And you know what I discovered? Nothing. Yep nothing. This was the starting point and it took me years to finally break away. It takes years to dismantle hardwiring of religion. My goal was to remove all man influenced thought etc. Just me and God. Amazingly when I did I discovered the same thing about god I did in the woods.... nothing. A person has to take their own journey and discovery to change. Man is on the path but it is a slow path.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "A person has to take their own journey and discovery to change. Man is on the path but it is a slow path."

      As long as Man does not percieve to know what is at the end of that path, the path has a purpose.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Artist

      Lycidas

      "A person has to take their own journey and discovery to change. Man is on the path but it is a slow path."

      As long as Man does not percieve to know what is at the end of that path, the path has a purpose.
      ------
      I agree. I noted what I went through above. Funny thing is I was excited and never dreamed I would be going the direction I did. It was my passion to be a preacher and always felt a "calling" prior to my journey. LOL interestng how things turned out.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Frogist

      @EricG: I have enjoyed meeting so many people from different points of view on here even though it can be sometimes infuriating and scary. I've esp enjoyed meeting the other atheists and agnostics – David Johnson and Peace2All particularly. I have learned a lot from the past few months of interacting with you guys. I wish I knew some of you apart from here since you guys seem like nice, sane (for the most part) people.
      To be honest, I did not know this blog was so young.
      What I can say I take away from this forum is that there are still those who are sensible and smart and well-read who are passionate to take up the fight against extremist viewpoints esp the religious kind. And sadly that battle is not going away anytime soon.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Nurse Lisa

      and just because someone refuses to believe the truth, makes it no less true.

      June 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Eric G

      @Nurse Lisa: Well said. However, you cannot "believe" in truth. "Truth" is based in fact. "Fact" is based in verifiable supporting evidence. "Verifiable evidence" does not require "belief".

      June 9, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • Free

      Eric G
      "Verifiable evidence" does not require "belief".
      I'd switch out 'belief' for 'faith' personally. To me, when science makes it's case I believe the conclusions being drawn. Religion always seems to fall short of making it's case, so it asks people to just accept it's conclusions on faith. Big difference.

      June 9, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  9. Colin

    To the CNN Belief Team.

    We spend a lot of energy criticizing your work. On this, your birthday of sorts, I would like to thank and congratulate you. This blog allows an interchange between faiths/views of all stripes, which would never otherwise occur. You posted some interesting articles throughout the year and I look forward to more stimulating discourse with my theist adversaries in the year to come.

    PS: Even Adelina and HeavenSent -

    June 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Eric G

      Uh.... Colin....... You have a little something on your nose..........

      June 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Free

      Might I add, dear CNN team, could you PLEASE do something to update the mod screen. Why must we always type periods within words like 'const.itution' and 'as.sume' to get them published. Really?

      June 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Artist

      PS: Even Adelina (aka Friend and FreshGarden) and HeavenSent
      ..
      I am still on the fence on those 2

      June 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • BG

      @ Free

      Just skip a space, i.e., consti tution. It's the WordPress filter that CNN uses, and unless WordPress changes, neither will CNN's comment boards.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Free

      BG
      Why be so absolute in declaring that nothing can be done? Can't a guy ask for a wish to be granted, or for a of some sort miracle? What, don't you have any faith? 😉

      June 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Free

      BG
      Hallelujah! The butterflies have disappeared! You are mighty indeed, oh Lords of CNN! After witnessing such a miracle how's your faith now, brother BG?

      June 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • BG

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7wc55oXWf8&w=640&h=390]

      June 8, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Free. constitution and assume

      June 8, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Free

      LinCA
      It's a miracle! 🙂

      June 8, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  10. IslandAtheist

    Happy Birthday! Where's the cake?

    June 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • anonymous

      there is no such thing as cake

      June 8, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • DoubtingThomas

      Yes there is. If you do not believe in cake you will have an upset stomach.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Physics-lite

      Physics-lite
      @ CN77 & Andrew and [ALL ] Atheist
      Andrew’s Quote “It's not all that pointless, see while you would never be convinced that your bronze age mythological beliefs about the creation of the universe are wrong, since I can rebut (with peer reviewed journal articles no less) any claim you make, in rather stunning detail, those who are not so well versed on the subject who read the dialogue could be swayed to the side of science. It's for the benefit of others, not the already horribly misinformed.” End of Quote.
      -------------------------------–
      A genius does what it must, to advance Mankind and
      Talented Intellectuals do just what their discipline allows.
      --------------------------------
      Discipline implies the teaching and enforcing of an acceptable patterns of behavior.
      Andrew; It is all in One’s Description and Everyone Else’s
      Interruptions over the Millennium.

      Here are some peer reviewed “Nobel Prize winners”, no less.
      You pick one or all, Sheldon Glashow, Steven Weinberg, Abdus Salam, Carlo
      Rubbia, Simon van der Meer, and last but not least Richard P. Feynman.

      All of the above “Nobel Winners” describe and illustrate their finding of
      millions of particle collisions in the same way.

      All of the elementary particles divide up into packets of photonic energy
      [light energy ] that Turns [or ferments,] into two or more sub-particles and
      some of the photonic energy [ light energy ] returns [or ferments,] back into
      the original elementary particles. It is called quantum electrodynamics/or QED

      The EM-fields of each particle defines the amount of light particles are in each
      particle or sub-particle. As the EM-fields collapse back. Andrew, you know QED

      “Let there be Light and let the light ferment and the light became fermented”& there was the Heavens and the Earth.

      August 27, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  11. batchoftruth

    Still no fairy tale blog why?

    June 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Try the entertainment section, look at the reality tv programming.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • LinCA

      @batchoftruth. Some might argue that you are on one. 😉

      June 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Lin- I agree...because the majority on here are atheist. What do they know but fairy tales eh? (not being serious to all that are atheist).

      June 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Lycidas. I love me some fairy tail. But then again, according to some imposter, I also like buttsex. 🙂

      June 8, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Diane

      Some imposter, huh? Sure. You're funny. 🙄

      June 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  12. The Further Adventures of Alvin Sklunkman, Accounting Assistant from Beyond the 28th Century

    The thing I learned is that religious people cannot debate for the life of them. They always resort to the most fallacious tactics and faulty reasoning, and often use totally dishonest argumentation techniques. It is only on the rarest occasions that I encounter one who tries to debate honestly.

    I find that use of dishonest techniques a strong indication of the validity of their position.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Are you also counting the atheists (or the wannabes) that come on here just randomly insulting other ppl's faith?

      June 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • The Further Adventures of Alvin Sklunkman, Accounting Assistant from Beyond the 28th Century

      Thanks for proving my point, Uncouth. The fallacy you applied is known as non-sequitor.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Since when are questions fallacies?

      Should I assume that you are not counting those kinds of ppl then? How biased of you.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • The Further Adventures of Alvin Sklunkman, Accounting Assistant from Beyond the 28th Century

      More non-sequitor, and now ad hominem. You're right on track! Thanks much.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Lol, all you have to do is answer the question. Is it so hard?

      *to the audience* See, when Christians (or those of faith) dodges questions they are called dishonest. But what of those that are atheist and such? Are they dishonest in avoiding questions?

      June 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Ed

      @The Further Adventures of Alvin Sklunkman, Accounting Assistant from Beyond the 28th Century

      Considering your original post complaining that refering to you a biased an ad hominem comment is exactly like the pot calling the kettle black. You rentire post was ad hominem to all christians as a group. uncouth comments were not. They were a question and an observation

      June 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Thanks Ed.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • The Further Adventures of Alvin Sklunkman, Accounting Assistant from Beyond the 28th Century

      Your question was answered, Uncouth. Your first question had nothing to do with the matter I raised, which by definition is non-sequitor. You used it to change the subject on a topic you do not want to address, a dishonest tactic. I do not have to answer your questions when they are off-topic and are intended to mislead.

      You have added straw man to your list of fallacies, as nobody accused you of dodging questions – your statement there is thus straw man.

      Ed, not quite but at least you are trying a bit. It is not ad hominem if it is true. And I am afraid you are applying double standards, seeing Uncouth's approach as "question and observation" but mine as "ad hominem." More dishonest reasoning, again proving the original point.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @TFAASAAB28C- You said, "They always resort to the most fallacious tactics and faulty reasoning, and often use totally dishonest argumentation techniques."

      I did not see this as a unique attribute to Christians, so that is why I asked my question.

      You will note that you said "always". That is a fallacy in of itself since their are no absolutes correct? I believe that is called, "argument from omniscience".

      "as nobody accused you of dodging questions – your statement there is thus straw man."

      If you meant in this little back and forth conversation we are having, you are right. But I was meaning in the general aspects of these threads. That is how your original statement was made. It wasn't to a specific thread, so I did no wrong in this case. Also note that my comment was not directed at you specifically there but to all that would be reading. Keep up.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Ed

      The Further Adventures of Alvin Sklunkman, Accounting Assistant from Beyond the 28th Centuury, What I said was not a dishonest tatic. Your original post said "religious people cannot debate" an opinon yopu hold but a attack none the less.
      "most fallacious tactics and faulty reasoning" again and opinon and attack. "often use totally dishonest argumentation techniques" again an attack. "dishonest techniques a strong indication of the validity of their position" again an opinon and an attack. When I responded you said I was being dishonest for pointing out you were doing what you did. ad honinem atttack of christians as a group.

      Then you complained that uncouh attacked you. He did not he stated your biased. Read your post you are biased in your opinon first of religion, you don't believe second of christians, read your post. You are doing exactly what you are complaining about christianing doing. You said "It is not ad hominem if it is true" so by your on statement uncouth was not being ad honinem.

      You on the other hand were and trying to say he was when in fact you were is a dishonest tactic in its self. As for he question being non-seguitor. It was a logical question to your statement though a little of topic. Again ignoring the question and attacking the questioner, at best an under handed tatic. So watch pointing those fingers unless your are actually going to try to avoid do what your complaining about.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • The Further Adventures of Alvin Sklunkman, Accounting Assistant from Beyond the 28th Century

      Again you are being dishonest. You said "*to the audience* See, when Christians (or those of faith) dodges questions they are called dishonest." Where do we "SEE" that I did that? Nowhere, or course; it's a straw man, and it indicates this discussion. As such, your attempted rebuttal is an attempt to prove that you said something other than what you actually said. Sorry, but anyone who looks at what you said and what you later assert you said are two different things. Dishonest.

      As to "always", well, just show me anywhere here where it is not true, and I will happily adjust it to "almost always". I might suggest that you go do another topic, because you have consistently proved the original point.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • The Further Adventures of Alvin Sklunkman, Accounting Assistant from Beyond the 28th Century

      Ed, please slow down your typing – you are getting agitated and your response is starting to get difficult to read.

      Applying double standards to what you describe as the same behavior is inherently dishonest. It is based on partisanship towards one side, which you clearly display. I have supported all my points – the tactics were fallacious, and thus dishonest. It's not ad hominem if I prove it true, which I did, repeatedly. Uncouth never was able to support his ad hominem, and cannot. Sorry. And As I told uncouth, if the question is intended to change the subject, I am not obliged under teh protocol of debate to answer it and allow the conversation to be taken off-topic.

      And here is a bit of a shocker for you, Ed. When I said "It is only on the rarest occasions that I encounter one who tries to debate honestly", I actually had some debates you did in the past in mind. Yup, you. You are capable of better, but you also can go wrestle in the mud pits, too.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "Where do we "SEE" that I did that?"

      Did you ask the question I directed toward you?

      "As to "always", well, just show me anywhere here where it is not true, and I will happily adjust it to "almost always"."

      That's the fun thing about the fallacy you fell into. I don't actually have to show you anything because there are no absolutes. It is you that have to prove your "always" since you made the claim.

      " might suggest that you go do another topic, because you have consistently proved the original point."

      Why? Your point has yet to be proven. Heck, I never even stated if I was Christian. You are assuming. Shame on you.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Bucky the Insufferabe Know-it-all Winner of the Spelling Bee

      psssttt, Alvin. It's Non sequitur.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • The Further Adventures of Alvin Sklunkman, Accounting Assistant from Beyond the 28th Century

      Uncouth achieves ad absurdum. And that's the end of that.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Ed

      @The Further Adventures of Alvin Sklunkman, Accounting Assistant from Beyond the 28th Century
      I am glad to know I am on your list of people then can debate fairly. I don't recall debating you before so you must have been under a different handle. I pretty much exclusivly use Ed. The commnet about double standards is actually my point to you. You are acussing al chirstian of dishonest practices and ad honiem attacks. But reading your post a see a lot of attacks some more valid then others you are applyi9ng the same double standard you are accusing me of applying.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Free

      Uncouth Swain
      And what of those of us who believe in evolution having monkey insults flung at us, or the ever-present threat of hellfire being leveled at all who disagree with certain believing posters? That works both ways, my friend, and I find all such commentary unhelpful, to say the least. Are you suggesting that something labeled as being taken on 'faith' cannot be ridiculed, or even criticized legitimately?

      June 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • The Further Adventures of Alvin Sklunkman, Accounting Assistant from Beyond the 28th Century

      Ooops, yes Bucky, it is spelled with a u and not an o.

      Kind of ironic that you capitalized it improperly.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @TFAASAAB28C- "And that's the end of that."

      Another mistake on your part. You are full of them today. Do you really think after all the errors you made that you have the right to declare something over?

      Again, you never answered the question. Are you unable or unwilling?

      June 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Free-"Are you suggesting that something labeled as being taken on 'faith' cannot be ridiculed, or even criticized legitimately?"

      Of course not. But to make it seem like it is a one sided thing is foolish.
      Let me make an example from The Further...blab blab blab's bag o' tricks. If I would say that all atheists are underhanded debaters, it would be false on two parts. 1) There are no absolutes. 2) It would be placing a peticular characteristic upon a group as if it was unique to that group. That would be foolish.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Willow

      I became a mod for a while on a religious debate site for those who have left organized religion. I agree with you. I left after several years because of time constraints, but it also had become very boring...circular logic just doesn't hold up.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • Free

      Uncouth Swain
      I too dislike universal characterizations like calling all Christians 'morons' or 'hateful', especially because most of us non-believers were raised in religious homes, it seems. Here's to keeping our debate paintbrushes small, eh?

      June 8, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • The Finger

      UncouthSwain/Lycidas/Mark-/Eric/ and the list goes on.
      Never a bit of honor, never a bit of shame.
      Not exactly one-of-a-kind, either.

      June 8, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @The Finger- Except I'm not Mark or Eric. Haven't denied anything yet about this username. I only created it when someone started using my other username.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  13. SeanNJ

    @Steve (the real one): You said, "The real question I pose is when this life is over, exactly what does your knowledge mean and how does that help?"

    When this life is over...it's over. Nothing helps at that point. Your need for a different answer to "what happens next?" is your own failing, not ours.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      SeanNJ
      @Steve (the real one): You said, "The real question I pose is when this life is over, exactly what does your knowledge mean and how does that help?"
      When this life is over...it's over. Nothing helps at that point. Your need for a different answer to "what happens next?" is your own failing, not ours.
      ------
      I almost missed your response as it was out of place (no fault of yours). The error of your post is your belief that I have failed! If you believe there is nothing after this life, I question the idea that you know more about faith/religion than I do!

      June 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Steve (the real one): Actually, it was entirely my fault. I failed to click "reply."

      You said, "If you believe there is nothing after this life, I question the idea that you know more about faith/religion than I do!"

      One actually has nothing to do with the other, but you don't differentiate. I get it. To you, faith and truth are the same thing. I will never understand that.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      SeanNJ
      @Steve (the real one): Actually, it was entirely my fault. I failed to click "reply."
      You said, "If you believe there is nothing after this life, I question the idea that you know more about faith/religion than I do!"
      One actually has nothing to do with the other, but you don't differentiate. I get it. To you, faith and truth are the same thing. I will never understand that.
      --------
      I was going to blame CNN but oh well! Look, faith is not always explainable and that is the great divide between you and me! If it were explainable it ceases to be faith!

      June 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  14. Colin

    I think the belief blog is a great idea and agree with the observations Dan just made. I do wish CNN would get a science section, though. Even Fox has a science section – and it is pretty good. Can you believe it – Fox!!!

    June 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Fidei Coticula Crux

      I agree. CNN should have a science blog.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      We often talk science on the Tech board.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Lookhere

      I fully expect the science blog on Fox to be filled with bad science, fraud, trickery, propaganda, and ID people who love hating scientists. Not really a point in Fox's favor, as they have shown that they are liars of the lowest sort.

      June 8, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  15. SeanNJ

    Thought it was a bad idea a year ago, still do.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Ed

      yet you're always on it

      June 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Ed: Fighting the good fight.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • BG

      @ Ed

      Ha !

      June 8, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  16. Lycidas

    1 year!? Wow, it did feel a lot longer. Hope we all can be around for another year of fun debate.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • fun debate

      you like me that much, eh?
      i think you like lying and fooling people too much to stay away, hmm?
      dishonest people who cannot stop have a real problem.
      seek help before you go to prison.

      June 8, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
  17. Free

    They should have added one more, that just because it's labeled a "Belief" blog many Christians as.sume that this means that it's a Christians-only blog. I've lost count of how many perplexed Christian questioned why atheists such as myself even bothered to post here.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Ed

      I think what perplexes us is not that you're here but that atheist seem surprised people of faith are here. I constantly see post commenting on how the religious have taken over the belief blog.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Ed: You said, "I constantly see post commenting on how the religious have taken over the belief blog."

      Always in response to the "why are atheists here?" question.

      Like I said, we fight the good fight.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Sean- have you also finished the race, and kept the faith as well?

      June 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Ed

      again Sean it does not surprise me that atheist are here it surprises me that they seemed surprise the faithful are here that was my point. Your other comment today does surprise me. If you think a beleif blog is such a bad idea why go to it at all? I get you like to claim your fighting the good fight but why envolve yourself with something you think should not be if you have choice? As for the fight there are plenty on the blog that will fight the fight so if you think its a bad idea why come?

      I not trying to say you should not come to the blog I'm just saying it seems illogical to envolve yourself with something you think is a bad idea ifyou have a choice and you did a year ago.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Free

      Ed
      Yours is the first comment I've ever heard of atheists being surprised to encounter believers in this blog. Can you direct me to historical posts where an atheist expressed such surprise?

      June 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Ed: I don't understand why you're confused. If I consider a particular arrangement to be significantly less than ideal, am I supposed to simply ignore that state of affairs? I would think that's when people should be involved.

      You're right about one thing. There are plenty of others who do a more than adequate job of making our disapproval clear. I'll probably post a lot less simply because I see very little value in it anymore. Half the people can't even keep a single username for more than a week.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • ScottK

      @Ed – Most of us don't wonder at why religious people are commenting, but I think Free is pointing out that most of the Christian commentors seem to think they have a patent on "Belief" and that everything on these boards are for them, to them and about them.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Artist

      ScottK

      @Ed – Most of us don't wonder at why religious people are commenting, but I think Free is pointing out that most of the Christian commentors seem to think they have a patent on "Belief" and that everything on these boards are for them, to them and about them.
      --------
      When you consider the % of people you come in contact with or know and their "religious views" and then look on this board, you have to wonder if the actual numbers of non-believers and agnostics is actually greater. Just in people I come in contact with, seems more and more openly admit to not being a believer or they seriosuly question religion. Just an observation I have been quietly following for the past couple of years.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Ed

      @Free sorry I don't track comments for future reference but I have seen comments like 'the thumpers have ahcked the post agian. and why are so many religious people on this blog' Those are paraphrases not quotes. I think is strange to be surprised that believers are on the belief blog,

      @ScottK I agree many religious people need to learn some humility.

      @SeanNJ I'm sorry, I did not mean to imply you should not post as often as you wish. My confusion comes from your fist statement about the blog being a bad idea a year ago. When i think something is a bad idea i don't usally involve my self with it if I have the choice. But you did think it was a bad idea and jump in any way. just seems a little weird to me I guess.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Free

      Ed
      I would think it strange to be surprised that believers are on the belief blog as well, but announcing something like "the thumpers are out in force today" (which I think I have actually seen) is just acknowledging the greater than average number present.

      An Alaskan walking into the woods wouldn't be surprised to find mosquitos there in June, but he may comment on the number. Finding them in the Alaska woods in January, however, would be a surprise. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised to encounter Christians testifying to God's glory on any blog out there, no matter how removed from religion the actual subject of that blog may be. Can you think of any blog where Christians would respectfully stay clear?

      June 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Ed

      @Free as I said I don't have specific examples. but do recall seeing some comments. I agree that is is resonable to question the number if it seems higher then normal. I don't know of any blogs were christian may not go since like ateist many of us have opinons on things beyond our faith. Most of us do not leave in a bubble of just faith but in the real word as well.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Free

      Ed
      No, I literally meant any sites where Christians would not actively give testimony to their faith, proselytize, and even judge people. Can you think of any site where Christians would think this behavior inappropriate?

      June 8, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • Dom

      I can't even imagine any Christian who could keep from doing it much less a website where they felt they should respect others.

      June 8, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Ed

      @Free "No, I literally meant any sites where Christians would not actively give testimony to their faith, proselytize, and even judge people. Can you think of any site where Christians would think this behavior inappropriate?"

      first i would like to point out not all christians proselytize their faith on this site. There is a difference between state it and proselytizing.

      Second and more importantly the answer to your question. I can not speak for all chriistian but I personal would not go to a site the I knew was expressly set up as a support group for a particular thing (ie alocholism) jusy lecture on fiath. I would also not go to a site set up as a site specificly for atheist to dicuss atheist points of few but not set up as an open forum on belief in general as this site is. I would not avoid these site because I disagree with them or something like that. I think it would be rude to use the sites to proselytize. So out of respect I would not use them for that. If I felt I had something helpful on the support site I might post but not just to express my faith.

      June 9, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • Free

      Ed
      I didn't say that all would, but some do seem compelled to bring the word everywhere they go. They do this with what can only be described as an arrogance, and maybe some atheists do this as well. I don't know, but what I do know from personal experience is that I've been accused of proselytizing by simply admitting that I am an atheist, with no explanation attached.

      I've also posted in the Freethought & Rationalism Discussion Board (http://www.freeratio.org/), what you might call an atheist site, and we had a number of regular posters who were believers. Some of them were actually quite prized as debate opponents, but others would routinely come there just to condemn and to proselytize.

      A long number of years earlier, back in the days when such discussions as this were carried out on computers dialing up to the internet and using UNIX, I was banned from a Christian site because I asked too many questions. I never said that I was an atheist, or anything, I just asked people questions, and that offended some, I suppose.

      The simple reality of it all comes down to atheists not really being all that interested in proselytizing. If we were we'd be going door-to-door handing out tracts just like everyone else who's trying to increase membership in their group. Mostly, we just want acceptance, and to be seen as 'normal' without having to hide our atheism in some figurative closet. See?

      June 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Ed

      @Free I do see and I try not to be one of those proselytizing. Mmany christian work prodominatly at the surface they don't look for a deeper meaning in their faith. Then they mistakenly read the Bible were Christ go forth and baptize all nations. They sem to think he meant by any means necessary, I don't beleive he did.

      You're right the christian site that banned you for asking questions was wrong. They should welcome questions espeacially if the want to convert you. How can you convert if you don't know what your converting too. But even if they are not trying to convert. because your questions can help them dig deeper into their faith and be better christians.

      As for acceptance I think both sides as awhole need to do a better job of that. For myself I try to accept people of all faiths or lack their of. I say it is between them and God. I have been told that is arrogant statement by a couple of atheists. I disagree, its an assumptive statement assuming God exist but how can I not assume that and be christian? I have friends who are atheist and agnostic, wiccan too they are all welcome in my home and to discuss their faith with me.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Free

      Ed
      Oh, the folks over on that site didn't mind questions that they could answer. It was the questions that they couldn't answer that seemed to have gotten them edgy. That, and my sharing sources outside of those usually sold in Christian bookstores. It didn't take long for them to simply label me a 'contrarian' and settle into trying to ignore my questions. Then I was banned.

      June 10, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
  18. Mark from Middle River

    11. That most of Stephen Prothero's will always lean drastically and very biased against all traditional forms of Christianity.

    12. That on occasions a person of Faith and a Athiest can find agreement. (Westburo and Terry Jones)

    June 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • JohnR

      13. That the blog is infested with butterflies. Call the exterminator!

      June 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Free

      JohnR
      LOL!! Spot on! 🙂

      June 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @JohnR

      LOL..!!! 😀

      Peace brother...

      June 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Ok, ... and folks can agree on the insects...

      anyone have a flame thrower?

      June 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      13. I like buttsex.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • LinCA

      14. It needs username protection immediately, if not sooner.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • JohnR

      @LinCA Absolutely right!!!!

      June 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      I agree!

      June 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Lee M

      Damn straight on the name protection.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Zeb

      It won't help. Trust me.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Free

      Has anyone had a name they use just stop working one day? My old one just quit one day and I had to switch to this one. The same e-mail account worked after the change, and the post I was trying to send didn't have to change either, but the posts just wouldn't show up in the blog under my old name. Verily I say unto you that the Lords of CNN work in mysterious ways!

      June 9, 2011 at 8:11 am |
  19. Ed

    I thinks its interesting that the secong thing learned is that atheist responded immediately and negatively about the blog. First you click on something ti-tled Belief blog and were surprised to see articles on belief. Really, why the surprise? Second The notice atheist are very evangelic they missed dogmatic. It seems counter intuitive that some is evangelic about not believing but atheist are.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • JohnR

      Aggressive evangelical Christianity in this country has spawned aggressive opposition.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Is it fair to run over the non-aggressive opposition as well?

      June 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Ziggy the Wonder Rabbit Saves the World!

      That's it in a nutshell, JohnR. They are unhappy because we don't roll over and accept their domination.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • JohnR

      @Lycidas Run over?

      June 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Ziggy- Always keep in mind that not all Christians are you to dominate the world. This is the USA (here where I am at least) and everyone is allowed to believe however they want to. Just as much as everyoen is allowed to agree or disagree on the topic of faith.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Ed

      John it is although I am not a particularly evangelic person it is logical to try to convince others of what you beleive in espeacially if you think it will help them. Evangelics are trying to save your soul, so they are trying to help you. Their methods may be wrong and you obviously disagree with them but in their opinon they are trying to help you.

      Atheism can be considered a lack of belief or a belief in nothing. It is illogical to try to convince people to believe in nothing since it is nothing.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Free

      Ed
      "Atheism can be considered a lack of belief or a belief in nothing. It is illogical to try to convince people to believe in nothing since it is nothing."

      No, atheism is the disbelief in gods. Period. We do believe in other things, but we usually require evidence first. Most atheists are skeptical, as are most believers, but the believers tend to shield their belief in God from the skepticism they use to rule out other gods, fairies, elves, aliens, astrology, zombies, and a bunch of other stuff that we atheists also rule out, for the exact same reasons usually. See?

      June 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "We do believe in other things, but we usually require evidence first. "

      You have to admit though, there comes a point where even atheists put a bit of faith in their versions of preists (scientists) in that they are telling them good information.
      Take the Big Bang, now I am guessing here, but I would think there would be a rather significant % of atheists that would say that the Big Bang is a fact but not have any basic knowledge about the event which they think is true. They hope they are right because sceientists say it is true.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • civiloutside

      Well, Ed, you just provided a wonderful example of why we post. Because even apparently well-meaning theists completely misunderstand our position and are happy to vocally spread those misconceptions about.

      Atheism is not the belief in nothing. It is the lack of a belief in gods. Atheists can and do believe all sorts of things, but we just don't believe there are supernatural enti-ties floating about influencing the course of the world and human lives. So the first reason we post is that we want people to understand.

      The second reason is exactly the same reason you credit to evangelicals – we're trying to help. Not by trying to convince people to "believe in nothing," buy by trying to get people to abandon beliefs that have no basis in reality so that they can look at and react to the world as it really is and approach its problems and pleasures in a meaningful way.

      Well, and a third reason is some of us just enjoy the debate. It provides us with impetus to think about where our understanding of the world may be lacking, so we can go and research to try and fill in those gaps.

      Oh, and to be fully honest, there are a few who do it to mock and rile up, or just for the little thrill of shocking themselves with what people believe.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Ed

      Ok that was my fault I should have been clearer my comment on Atheism being a belief in nothing was directly referencing Deities not all subjects, Sorry I should have worded the better.

      @civil most religious do see the world in real terms we also believe in God. just because you don't believe doesn't mean god is not real. as for seeking a good debate thats why some religious people come to the blog but it does not explain evangelic activities although it is fun to have a good debate its part of why I come to the blogs. As for just want to mock the faitful or rile them up. I realize some do that but you have to admit its a little childish even it it is fun.

      Da-mn I think I just admited I little childish sometime to didn't I

      June 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • IslandAtheist

      @Lycidas, The Catholic Church believes in the Big Bang and Evolution, they just don't believe in condoms.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • JohnR

      Ed, you are totally wrong. Most non-believers feel that their own lives have improved by giving up belief in a personal god and many have said as much. But we also think the lives of those that religions oppress would of course improve enormously if the aggressive evangelicals and others like them can be argued back into the corner. The latter is my main reason for posting.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Ed

      @johnr so basically you are saying you are trying to help. I don't think I said anything to suggest that atheist lives were in some way incomplete or worse then religious lives. I stated the point of view of the evangelic christian that they must save you for your own good. You basically said thats what your tryiny to job for the religious so your motives are the same.

      The problem the evangelic groups have is that the often try to convert by ridicule and fear. While fear is uncommon for the athiest stance riducule is far to common. Just like it does not work for a christian to say if you don't believe you are going to he ll or if don't believe you are being foolish, it is ineffective for an evangelic atheist to make snide comments about dim witted christians and invisible sky daddys.

      I personaly don't try very hard to convert merely discuss. I find it creates a better conversation. I my real life off the blogs I try to live by example, although I must admit I fail more then I would like too. But in conversation and on the blogs I just state my point of view and try not to degrade the other side. Although sometime I fail at that to.

      I find must evangelic of any position push people away been to agressive. You can get more flys with honey the vinegar so to speak.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Ed

      @What exactly does that mean re the Bible : the meaning and the teaching of Christ? Are we talking in terms of emotions or guidance or what? If an atheist reads the Bible and comprehends its themes, characters, and the history behind it, how is that not understanding "the meaning and teaching of Christ"? I've heard so many Christians say that "You'll never understand the Bible because you don't believe in God." But what does that mean?

      Thas a great question and a difficult one to answer. The Bible gives guidance on action, emmotions, and in general. It was intended to be a guide to your personal relationship with God and give guidance in life as well. The church is supposed to have the same basic function.

      In the old testament the Bible goes as far as telling the jews how to wash their hands to prevent germs. It say up to the elbow the same way surgeons do today before surgery. This may have been inspired by God or prehaps the leaders of the community just realized it was a good idea so they included it. When written the jews society was based heavily on agriculture and farms get dirty working the fields. So the action of washing to your elbows makes sense.

      It also advise on emmotions. For instance "Thou shalt not covet the neighbors wife or property". Basically don't be jealous. It also guides on how to behave "Love thy neighbor as you would thy self." Basically treat others how you want to be treated. If everyone did this it would prevent most personal crime and poor treatment of others. It would also solve a great many problems. for instance if you fall you would like help getting up so if you see some one fall help them up.

      It suggests how to organize a family. Granted it puts the man at the head but commands him to ocnsider the needs of the family in all decisions. If the man does this well the family will run well his wife is not his property but his partner and her needs and the needs of the kids are as important as his needs. Unfortunately to many man have use this to treat women like property but that was not the intent.

      But in my opinon the most important thing it does is gives me guidance on my relationship with God. When I read the Bible with the intent to get guidance and listen to God I get a satisfying feeling its hard to explain becaasue you can't see it but I do feel it. When I go to church I get the same feeling. Sometimes when I'm feel the need for help or guidance I pray and ask God for help again I get the feeling. I know God is real more by feeling the my thought which I think is why it is so hard to explain it to people.

      I can quote the Bible all day long and tell you nothing. You can read the bible al day long and get knowledge of the words and writtings. But until you open your heart and mind you can't find God in the Bible in a church or anywhere else for that matter. I hope this answers your question. Thanks for asking.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Free

      Lycidas
      Let me just say that I have far more faith, or should I say 'confidence', in science's methods of discerning what is true than I do religion's. More, but not absolute confidence, which I think is a rather dangerous trap to fall into having. Absolute confidence, or faith, implies that you will not be swayed from any new evidence. Most atheists will concede that some evidence could convince them that there is a God, but I have yet to meet a believer who can imagine anything that will break their faith. I prefer being open-minded, myself.

      Science, you see, can admit to being wrong and is willing to accept new ideas that better fit the current situation. Religion most often is not. It becomes bogged down in the traditions of the forefathers and insists that all that was worth knowing has been known since ancient times, which we know is simply not the case. The Bible writers got a lot of stuff wrong, which wasn't their fault because they didn't have much science at their disposal. What they didn't know they guessed about, which was common practice in the mythic age. They weren't writing science books after all, but telling tales meant to illustrate the relationship between Israel and God then, later, Jesus as the Christ.

      So, I may continue to take my medications while the consensus from the scientific community says that they are good for me, but I will likely stop as soon as that consensus says otherwise. I trust that they know their stuff just as I trust that my mechanic knows how to fix the computer systems of my car better than I do, and as Christians ought to trust biblical scholars, who are the real experts in this field, more than their pastor who graduated from a two year program being taught by another graduate from that same program a few years earlier.

      I'm middle-aged now, and I may not have researched EVERYTHING there is to know about evolution and the Big Bang, but I have gone pretty far with no indication that there are any dead ends awaiting me. That's given me confidence, the kind that doesn't need any comfort like "human knowledge is God's foolishness", or "His ways are mysterious" to soothe doubt.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Ed

      Sorry folks replied to the wrong post for that last long wind comment from me.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Free

      Ed
      I think that most atheists are far less interested in converting people than just achieving basic tolerance from the believing majority. The bigotry against us basically excludes us from holding public office, and affects our lives on virtually all other levels. Really, is our existence that hard to abide?

      June 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Ed

      @free not for me I would vote for an atheist if I agreed with their politics and thought they would do a good job

      June 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Free- This is why I like your answers. They are clear and well written. You explain your point of view very well. While I don't exactly agree with your final outcomes on such topics like faith, I do agree with much on the methods of how your reach your outcomes.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • Free

      Lycidas
      Thank you!

      I am convinced that we can hash out why you are wrong about faith in a civilized manner. 😉

      June 8, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • More's Law

      Free – Beware. Say the wrong word to that troll and you may find your name hijacked as well.
      I didn't start this, yet I will continue it if this blog doesn't get fixed and damn soon at that. I am taking a break today, but he has not. My name has been hijacked again above. Lycidas/Mark/Eric/Uncouth has no shame and has never apologized for anything that I've ever seen other than a polite nothing.
      But I am rooting for you. I may retire and leave you to it. Have fun and be glad you can't smell him. -Zeb

      June 9, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Free

      Zeb
      Although we've been in this land as long as the Christians, we atheists are like new immigrants these days, and we're fighting against the boogyman character assassination that believers have always done to us. Not that I blame them in a way. Our very existence is a direct threat to what keeps clerics in power, so it's no wonder that they preach so strongly against us. We represent an alternative that many find compelling, but they find it difficult to cross over because they are hung up on the idea that some religion is necessary to stay moral and civilized.

      So, some of them attack in a manner that is completely immoral, but justify it with the dim hope that defending the faith sanctions any act. They want to provoke you just to prove the negative stereotype they've carefully cultivated, see? Now, I'm not preaching to atheists how to act, but I am trying to point out the consequence of lashing out in kind. Any increased acceptance and tolerance we gain has to come from the general pool of believers, right? So painting all believers as being intellectually deficient is just counter-productive IMHO.

      Take care, and good luck out there.

      June 9, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Lycidas

      @Free-"I am convinced that we can hash out why you are wrong about faith in a civilized manner"

      Ah, your faith is misplaced I am afriad. Your reach exceeds your grasp on this subject.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Free

      Lycidas
      But I have no faith to misplace, remember? 😉

      Tell me, if you encountered a person who claimed to be in communication with some invisible being that nobody, including yourself, could also hear would your assessment of their mental health change depending on whose voice they claimed to be hearing? Makes you wonder how many schizophrenics go unnoticed and untreated just because they happen to think that the voice they hear is that of God, doesn't it? How could you tell the difference between him and a 'genuine' case anyway?

      June 9, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Lycidas

      You do have faith, in that reason and science are more dependable than any other form of knowledge gathering.

      As for a person who is having a religious experience, I try to keep an open mind on all subjects. Is that not what a reasonable person does until additional information is presented?

      June 10, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • Free

      Lycidas
      Correction, I have 'confidence' in reason and science because common sense generally is a good thing to rule one's life by, a healthy sense of skepticism can keep you from being conned, and science has produced many, many advances, but is also more than willing to admit mistakes and when new ideas fit the evidence better than old ones. I find that a better system than a religious one that denies the possibility that it could ever be wrong.

      I keep an open mind, and will change my mind about God if new evidence convinces me to, but how many religious people are willing to entertain the possibility that they could be wrong? Could you be wrong? Can you see yourself ever changing your mind about God?

      June 10, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  20. JohnR

    Worth re-emphasizing: The scientific least literate are also the least literate on religion, and not just other religion, but even their own. That's just classic, no?

    June 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Good point. I wish CNN would consider expanding the theme, and perhaps host live web town halls, (? teleconferences, web conferences), hosted by "experts", or even their writers, (ahem), and discuss some of their topics and perhaps take suggestions for others. And seriously, Congrats CNN !

      June 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Don't get too excited! I took the little 10 question quiz and got 10 correct but big deal! What is important is we as Christians have faith in Christ! Knowledge is important! The Apostle Paul knew enough to effectively and intelligently converse with philosophers in Greece! You atheists have some knowledge of science that I don't have BUT can get! The real question I pose is when this life is over, exactly what does your knowledge mean and how does that help?

      June 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • JohnR

      Well, Steve, it IS pretty lame for so many to have such fervent faith in what they don't even understand. And Christians are constantly accusing atheists of not understanding Christianity or failing to give it a chance, when in fact the average atheist has a demonstrably better grasp of the relevant issues than the average Christian. Yes, there are people like you on the Christian side and some serious noodleheads on the atheist side. But the tendencies are clear, and quite meaningful.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Maybe CNN can give an atheist oriented quiz in the future. To see how well everyone can do with it.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Steve (the real one)

      Hey -Steve !

      You Said: "The real question I pose is when this life is over, exactly what does your knowledge mean and how does that help?"

      As I read your posting, I note that the whole statement/question(s) I marked out above is full of unquestioned presuppositions and inferences.

      Did you mean to post that last sentence that way... or... did you not think it through...?

      Anyway, Steve... I hope that you are doing well.

      Peace...

      June 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Not fully disagreeing with you. Knowledge does have its place and so does faith. Let me pose my disagreement in a question. When it is said atheists understand faith more than typical christians does that mean you know that Bible more and if so it it Bible as literature (dates, places) or is it a understanding of the Bible as the living word of God. The reason I ask (and with respect) is the two are NOT the same. It is possible to know it as literature and have no clue about it spiritually!

      June 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Peace2All
      @Steve (the real one)
      Hey -Steve !
      You Said: "The real question I pose is when this life is over, exactly what does your knowledge mean and how does that help?"
      As I read your posting, I note that the whole statement/question(s) I marked out above is full of unquestioned presuppositions and inferences.
      Did you mean to post that last sentence that way... or... did you not think it through...?
      Anyway, Steve... I hope that you are doing well.
      Peace...
      ------
      Hello Peace. I am well and hope you are as well. What are am asking is in response to the statement (as a whole) atheists know more about religion than most Christians. Needless to say, as a Christian, I m not to thrilled to hear that, but it is what it is. I thought my question through and am asking what does that knowledge do for you. As a Christian, I believe in a coming eternity and am asking what does that knowledge of religion mean/do. My faith in Christ means everything for all eternity! I am looking to compare/contrast!

      June 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Ed

      I have to agree with Steve the real one there is more to being christian then reading the bible and quoting it. Many atheist may know more of what's written in the Bible. But do they understand its meaninfg or the teaching of Christ. granted many christians seem to lack that understanding too. The Bible is a guide to your relationship with God and to some extent in life, it is not God nor the end all and be all of faith.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Artist

      Ed

      I have to agree with Steve the real one there is more to being christian then reading the bible and quoting it. Many atheist may know more of what's written in the Bible. But do they understand its meaninfg or the teaching of Christ. granted many christians seem to lack that understanding too. The Bible is a guide to your relationship with God and to some extent in life, it is not God nor the end all and be all of faith.
      .
      Good post. When you remove the religious ignorant (meaning the ones that know very little of their Text), how big is Christianity/Islam etc? Mindless drones in masses does not equal a meaningful religion. It does equal more power to the ignorant masses in the world.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Ed
      I have to agree with Steve the real one there is more to being christian then reading the bible and quoting it. Many atheist may know more of what's written in the Bible. But do they understand its meaninfg or the teaching of Christ. granted many christians seem to lack that understanding too. The Bible is a guide to your relationship with God and to some extent in life, it is not God nor the end all and be all of faith.
      -------–
      Ed, my point is if more folks knew and understood it spiritually rather than just as literature, there would be less atheisim and strong/better Christians. Can I prove that? No! Can anbody disprove it? No! (just a preeemptive strike for future arguement).

      June 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Artist
      Good post. When you remove the religious ignorant (meaning the ones that know very little of their Text), how big is Christianity/Islam etc? Mindless drones in masses does not equal a meaningful religion. It does equal more power to the ignorant masses in the world.
      ----------
      Surprisingly I agree with you. I wouldn't remove them though, just teach them. SOME pastors are too busy posing and counting money rather than teaching! Some congregants are too lazy and feel they need to have very little role in their own spiritual education!

      You said: Mindless drones in masses does not equal a meaningful religion. It does equal more power to the ignorant masses in the world.

      I will slightly disagree. I would say it equals more power to the leaders of the ignorant masses! At the same time christianity IS a meaningful relationship with God through Christ!

      June 8, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Free

      Steve (the real one)
      "if more folks knew and understood it spiritually rather than just as literature, there would be less atheisim and strong/better Christians. "

      Ah, isn't that like say "If only more people believed that the Bible was true, especially that God is real, then less people would be atheists and Christians would have better faith"?

      Well, yeah obviously! 🙂

      June 8, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Artist

      Nothing has changed, the masses are still ignorant. Ignorance allows and perpetuates religion. Keeping people ignorant keeps people from questioning the origins of their own religion, let alone what came before their religion. Education is key to reversing this self imposed mental illness. How long? I don't know but lets look at the percentages and how they have changed in 20-30 years. I believe it is showing more and more are coming out of the dark ages....slow but still there is progress. Perhaps in 150-200 years for the United States?

      June 8, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Nothing has changed, the masses are still ignorant. "

      Though being ignorant does not equate being religious. I am a firm believer that ignorance goes through our population pretty evenly. Whether it's atheists that are ignorant on the concepts of evolution or the Big Bang, Jewish ppl on Shavuot or the Kotel, Christians on Baptism or the books of the Bible...etc.
      People will overall learn that which brings them joy and that is why we seem to have a population focused on many other things than science or theology.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Artist

      Lycidas

      "Nothing has changed, the masses are still ignorant. "

      Though being ignorant does not equate being religious. I am a firm believer that ignorance goes through our population pretty evenly. Whether it's atheists that are ignorant on the concepts of evolution or the Big Bang, Jewish ppl on Shavuot or the Kotel, Christians on Baptism or the books of the Bible...etc.
      People will overall learn that which brings them joy and that is why we seem to have a population focused on many other things than science or theology.
      -----
      I agree but I was just talking about ingorance in religion for the purposes of this blog since it pertains to such. I also agree, ignorance is easier to control when the masses are happy/fed because they don't think about anything else.
      .

      June 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Ed

      thats what I thought you meant steve I was trying to agree with you.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Ed

      @artist like steve I have to agree with you

      June 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Free

      Lycidas
      "Whether it's atheists that are ignorant on the concepts of evolution or the Big Bang,"
      Ah, I think you meant 'Christians' instead of 'atheists' here, right? Most of us know our science pretty well, which helps account for our atheism, but it's Christians who make comments about being descended from monkeys, or the universe coming into existence out of nothing at all that are showing their ignorance, right?

      June 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Steve & Ed: What exactly does that mean re the Bible : the meaning and the teaching of Christ? Are we talking in terms of emotions or guidance or what? If an atheist reads the Bible and comprehends its themes, characters, and the history behind it, how is that not understanding "the meaning and teaching of Christ"? I've heard so many Christians say that "You'll never understand the Bible because you don't believe in God." But what does that mean?

      June 8, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Free-"Ah, I think you meant 'Christians' instead of 'atheists' here, right?"

      Nope, I meant what I said. There are many ppl (again guessing since I cannot find a good poll on this...come on CNN get with it) that would say they are atheist that probably do not have a good understanding of evolution. You are assuming that since you do and are an atheist, that all atheists (or a high %) must as well.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Ed

      @Frogist "What exactly does that mean re the Bible : the meaning and the teaching of Christ? Are we talking in terms of emotions or guidance or what? If an atheist reads the Bible and comprehends its themes, characters, and the history behind it, how is that not understanding "the meaning and teaching of Christ"? I've heard so many Christians say that "You'll never understand the Bible because you don't believe in God." But what does that mean?"

      Thas a great question and a difficult one to answer. The Bible gives guidance on action, emmotions, and in general. It was intended to be a guide to your personal relationship with God and give guidance in life as well. The church is supposed to have the same basic function.

      In the old testament the Bible goes as far as telling the jews how to wash their hands to prevent germs. It say up to the elbow the same way surgeons do today before surgery. This may have been inspired by God or prehaps the leaders of the community just realized it was a good idea so they included it. When written the jews society was based heavily on agriculture and farms get dirty working the fields. So the action of washing to your elbows makes sense.

      It also advise on emmotions. For instance "Thou shalt not covet the neighbors wife or property". Basically don't be jealous. It also guides on how to behave "Love thy neighbor as you would thy self." Basically treat others how you want to be treated. If everyone did this it would prevent most personal crime and poor treatment of others. It would also solve a great many problems. for instance if you fall you would like help getting up so if you see some one fall help them up.

      It suggests how to organize a family. Granted it puts the man at the head but commands him to ocnsider the needs of the family in all decisions. If the man does this well the family will run well his wife is not his property but his partner and her needs and the needs of the kids are as important as his needs. Unfortunately to many man have use this to treat women like property but that was not the intent.

      But in my opinon the most important thing it does is gives me guidance on my relationship with God. When I read the Bible with the intent to get guidance and listen to God I get a satisfying feeling its hard to explain becaasue you can't see it but I do feel it. When I go to church I get the same feeling. Sometimes when I'm feel the need for help or guidance I pray and ask God for help again I get the feeling. I know God is real more by feeling the my thought which I think is why it is so hard to explain it to people.

      I can quote the Bible all day long and tell you nothing. You can read the bible al day long and get knowledge of the words and writtings. But until you open your heart and mind you can't find God in the Bible in a church or anywhere else for that matter. I hope this answers your question. Thanks for asking

      June 8, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Ed

      sorry that was so long but as I said its a complicated question also I hit reply to the wrong post first sorry for the double post.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • Free

      Lycidas
      They say they are atheists, yet have scientific understanding comparable to that of a typical fundamentalist? Interesting! Are they particularly inarticulate and insulting towards believers as well, because I've encountered a few like these myself.

      Have you ever considered that they might actually be believers posing as atheists either to vent their dissatisfaction at fellow believers, or to lend credence to the idea that we are bad people? Of course they could actually be real atheists. A lot of new atheists, those who have just realized that God does not likely exist, become very angry. C.S Lewis said as much about himself when he went through his atheist phase as a youth. The anger tends to fade around the same time as they learn enough to be able to articulate their beliefs well.

      Then there are a few who are just a–holes who like to insult people, but I think you find that sort everywhere, especially on the internet where they believe they won't ever get caught. Weiner, anyone? 🙂

      June 8, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Ed
      thats what I thought you meant steve I was trying to agree with you.
      ------–
      I was agreeing with you that you agreed with me. I just added more words! 🙂

      June 8, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Frogist
      @Steve & Ed: What exactly does that mean re the Bible : the meaning and the teaching of Christ? Are we talking in terms of emotions or guidance or what? If an atheist reads the Bible and comprehends its themes, characters, and the history behind it, how is that not understanding "the meaning and teaching of Christ"? I've heard so many Christians say that "You'll never understand the Bible because you don't believe in God." But what does that mean?
      --------
      Hi Frogist, y you asked an excellent question. Most atheists on this blog always quotes the Old Testament. So lets tackle an example or two. In Exodus God instructs Moses to have the Hebrews kill a lamb and sprinkle the blood on the doors posts. Only those with the blood on the door posts was spared death. This event has a deeper spiritual meaning than what appears. The spiritual meaning is unless one is covered by the blood of Christ one will not be spared spiritual death. Blood was always used to cover sin. Christ became the lamb of the passover. What I am saying is it is impossible to believe the words of an author when one does not believe in the author. We Christians believe the Bible is much more than a piece of literature. It is the living, breathing Word of God! I am not saying I fully understand it either but I do know, the deep meanings can only be understood spiritually and with the help of the Holy Spirit! I am not sure if that helped but you asked a wonderful questions.

      June 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Ed: Thank you for at least attempting to explain. I appreciate it. But all of the first part about washing hands, thou shalt nots etc are easily comprehended by anyone reading the book not just people who believe in God. I think we agree on that part. Unfortunately most times when those believers express "You can't understand", it's to dispute a different opinion held by non-believers (and believers who disagree with them) regarding a verse or tenet. This I find disingenuous. Having a different opinion doesn't mean you were inspired by god and I wasn't. It just means that particular passage is va-gue.

      The second part is the bit I think is most interesting to me. I have long tried to explain to my fellow non-believers about this sensation or emotion that believers draw on which they consider God. Logic and rationality simply don't work on emotions. so they will not help to banish their idea of God from a believer's heart. I think a huge misunderstanding or gap that believers have is that non-believers do not experience this feeling that you described. That I think is untrue. I may be atypical but I do experience feeling part of a bigger experience, feeling connected to beauty or goodness through books and nature and family. I just don't attribute it to a personal god acting on my life. I think if more believers understood that atheism and agnosticism was not as cold as they saw it, they might see us in a different light. Anyway I don't see how having that feeling means a believer understands the bible better than someone who is an atheist. It may mean you see it differently or adhere to its teachings more stringently, but it doesn't mean you are being singled out to a meaning others cannot glean from the bible as well.
      I hope that made some sense.

      As for that men are the leaders of the household... slice it anyway you wish, that's still a se-xist position IMO. Saying that others have used it to keep women in their place doesn't negate the fact that the statement itself is prejudiced against women. I know that's a bit off topic but I couldn't let that slide.
      Anyways thanks for explaining!

      @Steve: Hi! I think what you are describing is a use of metaphor which is not unusual to literature and easily understood by believers and non-believers alike. The problem with metaphors is that they can be interpreted in different ways. As I mentioned to Ed, I think the true motivation behind saying atheists can't understand the meaning of the bible like believers is so believers lend an air of authority and "special-ness" to their opinion when people disagree with them. It's also used against other believers they don't consider "true" enough.

      Again, I understand having more feeling toward something like a book but that doesn't mean you have greater insight into that book than someone else. I hate to invoke its hideousness here – but so many people LOVE the Twilight books and consider it the most amazing thing ever!!! heart sparkle heart ... But that doesn't mean they have greater knowledge or insight, it just means they liked it better. A student of literature would look at the same books and recognize them for the useless trash that they are. Does that mean the fan has better knowledge? No, not necessarily.

      Also sorry bout the double post.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • Ed

      @Frogist, I agree that some of the Bible is easily understood by anyone who reads it. Some of it requires seeking a deeper meaning. I think part of the problem is many people read it to get what they want. The score it looking for proof their point of view is right or quotes to throw out at others for various reason. They don't seek the deeper meaning. Its not that the can't its that they don't. This is true of both believers and non-believers. I have seen many a faithful put out a quote and say their you have it. But the deeper meaning is often just as important and sometimes lost.

      I don't agree that atheist can not understand the deeper meaning I think they can if the choose too. I also think many believers choose to ignore or miss the deeper meaning if its easier not to get it. Again the Bible is intended as a guide in life and more so your relationship with God. It is not in its self God but it is a guide.

      On a side note I agree the man in control of the family is a se xi st point of view. I jokingly say when my wife and I married we decided she would make all the small decisions and I would make all the big decisions. We've been married 10 years and there hasn't been a big decision yet. But in reality My wife is a very control centered person I am not so I often yeild control because it works for us. This is not to state I don't state my opinon but I don't argue over small stuff just to stoke my pride. This is what i meant when I said you ned to consider the needs of the wife and children in all decisions. Many people have used this a proof that the family is the property of the man. That is a complete misunderstanding. Frankly it means the man has to take the responsibility for seeing to the familys needs first and above their own. In short they are to serve the family not the family to serve them.

      June 9, 2011 at 9:23 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.