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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. Rim

    You missed the most important thing about religion that Belief Blog has learned in its first year: Religion still doesn't win any arguments when it's up against scientific facts.

    June 9, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • OG Readmore

      da bible don't be saying that tha world only is 6000 years old. you should investigates that. that be a misinterprotashun. even st. augustine, in like, 300AD be knowin that. dont you be knowin? fer reals... look up that on some google.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • Wrizong!

      Ha! wrong again!
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxxFh0Kn5Tk&w=640&h=390]

      😀 😉

      June 9, 2011 at 1:57 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      And all the Science still can not prove there is no God. 🙂

      June 9, 2011 at 2:11 am |
    • Matt

      When did science discover concrete evidence on the creation of our universe? Hell the more we find out the more we realize we don't know. Infact now many scientists believe there are more than one universe. Science and spirituality can learn a lot from eachother. Einstein was a determinist agnostic,knowing that I find it hard to believe any of you that just believe in "science" can be so sure there is nothing more to this life.

      June 9, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • Jaw drop

      @Rim
      Wow. Just. Wow.

      June 9, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • Rim

      We also cant prove there is no unicorn monster from mars that controls the orbit of earth but somehow we manage to not have faith in that...And I didnt say anything about the creation of the universe...Science has had about 700 years (in which we've split the atom) religion has had since thinking man has come along. The thinking man has gone from the God of lightning, to a sun god, to god that kills first borns. Point is, as we evolve so does our portrayal of life and how we came to be. We get smarter. When will the religious folks jump on board??

      June 9, 2011 at 5:16 am |
    • Juan2Post

      Rim
      That top post should have been Number 10 – it is the perfect finish to the list.

      June 9, 2011 at 7:06 am |
  2. Monica

    Yeah, I notice that whatever religious forum or blog you go to that Atheists seem to flood the comments, some to the point of being petty. Which really puzzles me because if Atheists are godless and believe that this life is all their is, I wouldn't spend my time trying to oppose and refute religion. I would be living it up because that's all I got. Drink and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die! Why be so indulged in something that doesn't interest you, or does it? I agree as the blogger said they are trying to "evangelize their godlessness". So, Atheism is a religion. Ironic.

    June 9, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • Rim

      Not true. Atheist just dont want countries (particularly our own) being run and laws being made by people with religious agendas. We simply want to show people of faith that the amount of evidence and facts out there with everything from DNA to fossil records refutes claims by the bible. So generally speaking we want to progress mankind not set it back to an age where people believe in talking snakes and earth only being a few thousand years old.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:57 am |
    • Wrizong!

      Rim: Sorry dude, but you're just wrong on this bro.

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WY8P-V3Iqxk&w=640&h=390]

      June 9, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • Wrizong!

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nJl3dF7xKc&w=640&h=390]

      June 9, 2011 at 2:02 am |
    • Juan Post

      "drink and be merry"
      Wha?....are you serious?
      THAT'S what you think atheists should be doing? Really?
      Why would you think something like that? Is God keeping anyone from doing that now?
      Why would the absence of a deity make someone want to drink and be merry?
      Or do you feel oppressed by God's thousands of "directives" with different interpretations by each person?
      Well, let's face it. All those contradictory passages in the Bible ARE oppressive...and inconsistent as well.
      Actually, I am feeling like that calls for a drink. (burp) It must be God telling me to drink. He's really great that way. (burp)

      June 9, 2011 at 2:47 am |
  3. cyberCMDR

    Of course few minds (of the religious bent) would be changed by the comments. You can't logic a person out of a position they didn't logic themselves into. Regarding the equivalence of religious beliefs and science, anyone saying this does not understand science. Everything science posits as our current understanding of the universe is based on data, rigorously collected, analyzed, peer reviewed data. Scientists are always trying to poke holes in current theory, to see if they can expand or disprove it. Religious beliefs face no such rigorous challenges, and disconnects between beliefs and observed real world data are dismissed out of hand. "If the universe is less than 6000 years old, why can we see objects more than 6000 light years away? Answer: Maybe God made it look that way to test our faith!"
    Believe what you want; just don't push it into school curricula or public policy.

    June 9, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    • OG Readmore

      da bible don't be saying that tha world only is 6000 years old. you should investigates that. that be a misinterprotashun. even st. augustine, in like, 300AD be knowin that. dont you be knowin? fer reals... look up that on some google.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>“Religious beliefs face no such rigorous challenges, and disconnects between beliefs and observed real world data are dismissed out of hand. "

      Nice post. I would disagree about this statement. Just as you stated that other Scientist are always challenging other Scientific views. I would say the same thing about the Faiths. The rigorous challenges that we of Faith face are from other persons of Faith.

      One of the things that Atheist do not understand respectfully is that they are not even close to a challenge to us. Those who are polar opposites than you can only fight a one side of a debate. Now take the Muslim vs Jews debate, even outside of the Palestinian debate. Its not because they are polar opposites but because they are not that far apart.

      I have been in debates between people of Faith that make these post on the Belief Blog between Athiest and those who are of Faith seem like a pie throwing contest. Take a look at the Church in Isreal that has been in contention between three Christian sects to a point that they can not move a ladder that has been standing against a wall since the time of the founding of our country. It was so bad the dissagreement between the Faiths that Saladin had to place the control of the keys to open up the church in a small Muslim families hands. This practice still goes on today.

      Respectfully just as you would not expect a priest to jump into a scientific debate to challenge a theory, it can not be a person of Science who can jump in and rigorously challenge a issue of Faith.

      Its two different fields and both are better challenged from within.

      June 9, 2011 at 2:05 am |
    • lefty

      "You can't logic a person out of a position they didn't logic themselves into". That has got to be one of the greatest lines ever regarding religion. I will be using that in the future. Thanks

      June 9, 2011 at 7:42 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > Its two different fields and both are better challenged from within.

      Except that one has been proven to lead people to the wrong conclusion based on no evidence. The other has been shown to expand our knowledge of reality.

      Which one do you think faith is?

      June 9, 2011 at 7:43 am |
  4. TheFallGuy

    Ok, seriously, before I go, I will go ahead and divulge to you the TRUTH. Prepare yourselves!

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVSAGv4kUgk&w=640&h=390]

    June 9, 2011 at 1:43 am |
  5. Matt

    Apparently there are now two "matt"'s here. so I will have to differentiate. I don't want to confuse my words with those of Matts words.

    Peace

    June 9, 2011 at 1:39 am |
  6. TheFallGuy

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QV-YXcEcDY&w=640&h=390]

    June 9, 2011 at 1:31 am |
  7. Casey

    A Logical Argument:

    In the sciences, we observe the world around us, dissect how it works, and based on that knowledge, apply that thinking to other areas (called hypotheses), to try to describe how something else works. We test, continue to study, and figure things out.

    Now, in the universe we live in, if I observe an object like a chair, a pickle bucket, or a can of Coke, and I can conclude that someone made that chair/bucket/coke. I know this because I have observed people making hammers/buckets/TV sets/Jello Molds/cheese sticks/automobiles/guitars, and have never observed any of these artifacts just popping into existence. I also understand that there isn't some nice lady sitting at a table and stirring up a can of Coke one at a time... but I have seen people build machines that stir the Cokes and package them. I know of nothing in our observable universe that would lead me to conclude that tootsie rolls have ever popped into existance.

    Applying this observation to the universe, I can come to no other conclusion except that somebody/something made it. Now, I would further apply the Coke observation that leads me to conclude that probably there isn't one nice lady sitting at a table individually making every tree/animal/planet/star/atom/quark, but somebody/something made the machine/engine which in turn makes each of these things in the Universe... Trees grow, people are born, Stars are formed... and indeed the Universe and space-time itself had to be created by someone/something.

    Therefore, I conclude that God exists.

    I use the word God because I don't know what else to call this somebody/something. Others may call it Bob, or Allah.

    Whatever floats your boat.

    June 9, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • Gadflie

      Casey,

      That totally, utterly fails as a logical argument. All it does is push the "what caused?" argument back one step. You pretend that it shows that God caused the universe but MUST ignore the question about what caused God. Either that or change the rules.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • Juan2Post

      Another "intelligent design" fallacy. Your "logic" fails badly at several points, and makes many unwarranted assumptions.
      Instead of "Bob" maybe it should be BYOB.

      June 9, 2011 at 7:45 am |
    • LinCA

      @Casey.

      "I don't know" is a perfectly acceptable answer when you reach the end of your reasoning. It at least leaves the door open for further investigation and/or education. Claiming "my <insert mythical being here> did it!", is intellectually dishonest. It's nice and tidy because it provides an "answer", but it closes the issue for further study and greater understanding.

      June 9, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Casey

      o @Gadflie: Not sure why it "fails". It takes when we can observe (cause and effect) and applies that to the larger question. Clearly, none of us now alive have directly observed, or can fully understand the nature of a being that created all... or how such a being can simply "Be". Undoubtedly such an ent-ity has elements beyond our comprehension... and at that point, it is clear to me that the "rules have indeed changed". Such a being must, by definition, be outside the universe we observe as 3 spatial dimensions, and a single linear dimension of time.
      @Juan2Post: Please point out where my logic fails badly, or the unwarranted assumptions I have made.
      @LinCA: On the contrary... this provides a starting point for further examination and investigation. I think would be very interesting to correlate the thought experiment I have provided with the latest theories of physics (Super String Theory, and the Higgs-Boson Partical.) If the predictions of these theories prove to be viable (Multiple space and time dimensions being one) what implications would this have to the nature and abilities of the Creator?
      Intellectually Dishonest? Really? I think you have simply written off the idea because it doesn't fit with your belief ... wouldn't it be more intellectually honest to explore the possibility and how it correlates with our latest science?

      June 9, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Juan2Post

      Casey, your epistemology is erratic and illogical. You make the grossest assumptions without any appearance of self-awareness, so I am going to leave it there. You aren't worth debating at all as you cannot use the simplest concepts without distorting them in a most irrational manner. Perhaps this is due to your religious outlook, as it appears to be the only way you view anything at all.
      No, debate is not worth it from my point of view. All I can do is mention your errors. If you aren't willing to look for them or even attempt to understand them, then your mind is closed.

      June 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  8. TheFallGuy

    Actually, the main point that the person was making was not so much about the fact that.... wait.... what?! Oh.. nooo!!! OH NO!!! This comment is comment # 666 !!!! AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3ZAGBL6UBA&w=640&h=390]

    June 9, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • Bippy, the Lesser Squirrel-God of Flatulent Window-Washers (I got demoted again)

      So yours is the peanut butter jelly of the Anti-Christ?!?!?!

      THE END IS NEAR ! ! ! THE PROPHECY OF THE PUREED LEGUMES HAS BEEN FULFILLED ! ! ! WE ARE AT THE END OF DAYS ! ! ! PREPARE FOR THE LONG-AWAITED RAPTURE OF THE SMALL FURRY RODENTS ! ! !

      WE ARE FINALLY FREE OF THE HUMAN MENACE ! ! ! NO MORE CARS TO SQUISH US ALL PANCAKEY-FLAT ! ! ! NO MORE SICKING THEIR DEVIL-DOG POODLES ON US ! ! ! NOODLES, THE OVERLORD WOMBAT GOD WILL CAST THEM INTO THEIR WELL-DESERVED HELL, WHERE THERE WILL BE MUCH WAILING AND GNASHING OF TEETH ! ! !

      June 9, 2011 at 1:27 am |
  9. HERO

    Allah is Greatest.

    June 9, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • Maxx

      "Allah is the greatest"

      The greatest what, exactly?"

      June 9, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • Jennifer

      At inspiring Darwin awards...

      June 9, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • I_get _it

      "Allah is Greatest"

      Nah, you are confused... that's Ali (Cassius Clay)... he said so.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:56 am |
  10. yoda

    Religion is based on faith. The problem is that too many confuse faith with fact. When faith becomes fact, someone else's faith becomes falsehood. And that's when the conflict begins.

    June 9, 2011 at 12:54 am |
    • Maxx

      "yoda – Religion is based on faith. The problem is that too many confuse faith with fact. When faith becomes fact, someone else's faith becomes falsehood. And that's when the conflict begins."

      Yoda, you will have to prove that religions is based on faith only and not on any facts. The idea that faith on facts causes a counter-set of faiths becomes falsehood is inevitable. Conflict begins when any set of beliefs based on facts conflicts with another. History is filled with such ideas.

      You cannot escape the exclusivity of truth any more than you can escape the laws of non-contradiction because to deny them – you affirm them. You have only a couple of options: 1. Either all religions are wrong, or 2. One of them is the truth and by definition the rest are wrong. But, you do not have the option that they are all right because many of them blatantly contradict each other. There is no way out of this – none. This is a logical reality, not one based on faith but on the fact that the laws on non-contradiction cannot be legitimately broken. That is fact, not faith.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • yoda

      Maxx: First the correct option is your option 1: All religions are wrong. There is no God beyond man's creation of God to fill the vacuum of ignorance toward the world around him and the need to exert some influence over an environment he did not understand. This is done via prayer toward whatever God or Gods were created and assigned to that particular element of their lives.

      Second, if anything needs to be proved is that what your believe to be facts are indeed facts. It is not up to me to prove that something does not exist. Until you do, religion remains faith based.

      June 9, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Fin

      "Faith is beliving in something you know is not true"

      August 9, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  11. frank

    orly?

    June 9, 2011 at 12:48 am |
  12. frank

    It's bizarre when believers contend that the "beliefs" of science have no higher degree of likelihood of truth than belief in a god, since "nothing can be known for sure!", as though something with a fricktillion zipzillion gagatons of support for it is no likelier to be true than something that's on its face ludicrous....

    June 9, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • Maxx

      Frank'

      You will need to prove that scientific beliefs are either higher or lower than beliefs in God. You are assuming that science and "religion" per se, are in conflict, and no doubt, some religious faiths are. However, the belief in the superiority of science over religion is itself a system of faith and you will need to provide the logical justification that natural science is qualified to make any, any supernatural determinations. This will of course, be likened to pounding a square peg into a round hole. Wrong tool.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • MikinAZ

      Thats the problem Maxx – you believe there is something "supernatural".

      June 9, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • Gadflie

      Actually Max, science doesn't even aim for proof. Sorry to burst your bubble there. The best science does is "theory", it REQUIRES that a valid theory be falsifiable. And, as to your previous argument that stated that the non-existence of God cannot be proven, that is nothing but a logical fallacy known as "negative proof". It is ALWAYS impossible to prove that something doesn't exist. So, this shifts the burden of evidence to the side that wants to claim that it does exist. And, there is none for God.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • Maxx

      Interesting;

      But, neither of your replies proves nor disproves anything. Religion does not attempt to prove anything that is a priori – falsifiable, unless you are willing to falsify experience. I understand that scientific proof must, on one hand, be falsifiable, but you are also assuming the supernatural does not exist which you cannot scientifically prove. You cannot burst a bubble that does not exist with the tool of scientific methodology that is unqualified to make any such statement.

      It is up to you to prove that the supernatural does not exist. And, if science does not aim at proof, you cannot appeal to science to either prove nor disprove the existence of God. Where else, therefore can you appeal? It is an axiom that science, as a natural pursuit, can make no declarations about the supernatural in the affirmative or the negative. What does it take to drive this home? If you put your faith in science, you cannot make any coherent statements about the supernatural period. The most you can claim is agnosticism which says you can not really know. Therefore, you cannot make any absolute statements about the natural or the supernatural whatsoever.

      Do they not teach critical logic and critical theory in our schools anymore? Good grief, we're in trouble.

      June 9, 2011 at 2:40 am |
    • Juan2Post

      If the "supernatural" can actually be RULED OUT using real facts and evidence, then there is no need to go looking for stuff that simply is not there.
      THAT is science proving that there is no supernatural stuff discovered "as yet" (leaving the door always open for more facts to be included in a more streamlined theory or change it altogether), so science has indeed proved that there is no evidence for anything supernatural when we can rule out anything you mis-guided people bring forward as proof for your "supernatural" god's existence.
      Maybe you are not understanding what I mean. When hard-nosed science is used to analyze religious matters, anything supernatural can always be ruled out. A mere assertion carries no weight in matters of fact and truth.
      Evidence must be examined and analyzed by independent people, such as peer review (a cut-throat business which ensures no favoritism) and anything that CAN be ruled out MUST be ruled out regardless of how differently we wish things had turned out.
      Look, prayers don't work. You can't even cure a simple cold. You can only move mountains using physical means. (as a metaphor it still doesn't work), and simply pointing to an event and saying it's your "spiritual proof" of your god is not good enough.
      Prayers should work. They don't
      Healing should work. It doesn't.
      What else is there? Emotional responses inside your own head? Emotions are not supernatural events.
      The brain of humans is not really all that great. It sucks pretty bad. Our glands make a big influence too.
      And that's all it takes for you to "feel" your "god".
      So your god gets ruled out again.
      That's why, if prayers worked, there would already be proof and we wouldn't be having this conversation.
      Your "super-natural" stuff is supposedly creating real physical effects, yet there is nothing to suggest this is so anywhere throughout the universe.
      Try it from the other direction. What IS happening in "God's realm" that CANNOT be ruled out using facts and logic?
      Toss something out there if you've got anything beyond the mere assertion, because so many say their god is "doing stuff", yet there is nothing that hasn't already been debunked. Finding a city named in the Bible is not proof, just in case you were thinking of something like that.
      Mental hallucinations are not proof of anything and that's all anyone seems to have. Give us something REAL where there can be no other explanation, and you'd find most honest scientists digging deeper until they got to the bottom of it.

      So far, there has always been a non-supernatural explanation for what is brought forth. But threaten a priest with the loss of his welfare money by debunking your god and guess what? We are "bad" for insisting on honest truth.
      But maybe you've got something real? Let's hear it. CNN is the place to report that stuff.

      June 9, 2011 at 3:25 am |
    • lefty

      Maxx,

      Your right, no one can prove “the supernatural does not exist”. As an atheist I will even allow that there is the chance that something does exist. The problem with opening that can of worms is that everyone and his brother will then claim that they “know” what this supernatural thing wants us to do/ believe/ and how to act. That is where all the problems start. If believers could just accept that there may be something supernatural out there and leave it at that, then we would all basically be on the same page.

      June 9, 2011 at 8:05 am |
  13. Ben

    Unfortunately, you still haven't figured out that god doesn't exist.

    June 9, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • Matt

      .....and you know how everything came to be with 100% certainty, this I must hear.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • JesusCrust

      Matt, it's ok to say that you don't have an explanation for something.. it's just plain stupid to say god did it

      June 9, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • HasAnyoneSeenThisOne?

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

      🙂 😀 😉

      June 9, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • Maxx

      Yes, Ben – please:

      Enlighten us all with The Answer that will finally end a couple thousand years of this ancient riddle. Please provide us with the "proof", the universal, irrefutable, conclusive "proof" that will finally end the debate of the millenniums.

      Let me even help you my friend – you cannot do it. You cannot prove that God does exist any more than I can prove that God does exist. That has been the dilemma of the millenniums. Richard Dawkins cannot do it, Sam Harris cannot do it, Christopher Hitchens cannot do it, etc... You're in good company.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Maxx

      JesusCr-t;

      You will need to show exactly how and why this would be "stupid" as well as proving that your position has any merit whatsoever through a better logical argument other than what you've offered. What you are saying is that you yourself do not know how everything started – just that whatever started it, it wasn't God. This is circular reasoning and a blatant logical fallacy – you're assuming what you're trying to prove. Doesn't work.

      Besides, if God does exist, then "God did it" may not be stupid after all. You will need to show that God does not exist in order to make such a proposition and to give you a head start – you cannot do it. The problem is that you cannot affirm a negative in the absolute. But, many do still try...

      June 9, 2011 at 12:42 am |
    • Matt

      Why is it stupid to say that god did it? How do you know what god is? For example to me god is whatever it is that created this universe(s). I just find it ironic that anyone claims that others are stupid for believing something when they themselves are completely clueless on our origins. Disagreeing with someones beliefs is one thing, saying thy are stupid because you don't believe it is another.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • C. Smythe

      I love how they state atheists have no beliefs. Moronic supposition! Atheists BELIEVE there is no god. Atheists believe in science. Atheists believe in reality not smoke and mirrors . . .

      June 9, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • Juan2Post

      Perhaps your ideas of your god are incorrect so that they do not match up with reality.
      Did anyone ever think of that?
      *
      So try to look at reality and see what, if anything, your god might actually be doing according to what you see around you.
      Prayers working? Nope.
      Healing anyone? Nope.
      Hearing voices inside your head? Anti-psychotic medication should clear that right up.
      If your god isn't stronger than some crud squeezed out by Big Pharma, then is there anything he CAN do?
      To point at anything to say "God did it", is surely a fool's errand, for you have no way of proving it beyond your...well, let's be nice and call it a guess.
      A guess is not proof of anything. It is just a guess.
      Your interpretation of what you point at is just a guess.
      Your interpretation of your Bible is as individual as you are.
      How you interpret your own faith is nothing but a guess that you are more than willing to modify based on your lack of reasoning and erratic brain chemicals as you "feel" what is only an echo of your own feelings.
      Those are just a few reasons why saying "God did it" are so patently false.
      Understand the universe and you will see no evidence anywhere.
      So do only fools seek understanding? Because that's what leads to atheism in many cases.
      Nobody is saying in their heart "there is no god" because there is no need to say the obvious.
      When someone comes up with proof that cannot be refuted, then who could argue against that?
      Only fools deny the truth for the sake of their own foolish ideas about what they want to be real.
      Disillusionment is good, but painful. Cling to your fantasy if you like, but don't let it harm others in any way or else you will have shown that you have no self-control.
      People with no self-control sometimes let others control them. Maybe this has happened to you.

      June 9, 2011 at 5:50 am |
  14. Jim

    I don't believe a word in the article.

    June 9, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • oh yeah?

      I don't believe that statement.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:48 am |
  15. Steve

    I think the Bible is if nothing else an intresting book with wisdom and stories. I think more than that of the Bible to say it is more than that.

    June 8, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  16. Maxx

    Matt;
    That ancient Greek was Socrates and he was only making a play on words to see if anyone was paying attention. If you claim to no nothing at all, you've just made a knowledge claim and contradicted yourself. Socrates knew this. The problem is that in attempting to claim epistemological nihilism, you violate the very principle itself. Gotta love Socrates, but it seems that you are more of an advocate of agnosticism.
    Good evening

    June 8, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • Matt

      Socratese is open to interpretation since he never wrote down his thoughts for fear they would be twisted. He believed a life in which we didn't seek knowledge was no life at all. Did he believe we could know certain things, sure, but in the broader context from what I've learned in my philosophy classes he would never claim to know our true origins. To me that is where, "the only thing we know is that we know nothing at all" is the most applicable. When coming to atheism and religiion it fits pefectly IMO because there is no way you can know.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Matt

      I'm an agnostic theist by the way.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:22 am |
  17. nirettocs

    Pay attention to number four. Why do you suppose those who know the most about the Bible are more likely to NOT believe in it?

    June 8, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • Steve

      Does it say that?

      June 8, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Caleb

      Simply untrue. I believe in the bible and I Can pretty much guarantee you that I would get nearly every question right on that quiz based on the topics covered. I also know that my understanding of the bible trumps that of every atheist I know or have ever talked to.

      June 8, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Bobbb

      The devil is in the details. If you don't want to believe then it is easy to be critical (of anything).

      June 9, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • That's What's Up

      Do you think having the name CALEB has anything to do with your beliefs?
      I'm sure your parents didn't encourage or force religion on you, no chance. "found" it all on your own i bet

      June 9, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • MikinAZ

      to Caleb – thats the core problem with you religious nut-jobs – you think you know when you really don't. Its always the idiots in the room that are the surest of themselves. If you did know things they would come from learning...not from what you call "faith". Accepting things blindly without looking at real science is not education or smart, nor is relinquishing one's responsibility as a human to make right vs wrong choices and instead opting to go by things written in a book between 1800 and 2000 years ago...before they knew science would disprove religion. Sheep...thats why they call a group of you a "flock".

      June 9, 2011 at 12:54 am |
  18. Matt

    Honestly, I find atheists just as annoying as I do Bible thumpers. The fact is nobody knows how the universe(s) was created and I don't believe any living person ever will, which is why I find both sides to be so ridiculous. As many ancient Greeks would say, the only thing we know is that we don't know anything.

    June 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Anon

      There's a difference. I'm willing to bet that you would call someone an idiot if they insisted there was an invisible elephant in the room. If you used all of your senses and logic to deduce there was not an elephant in the room, you would be willing to conclude to a fairly certain degree that it did not exist. This is the same way with God. In all of human existence, there is no irrefutable evidence that God exists. Like the invisible elephant, it is fair to make the claim that it God does not exist. On the other hand, to say that God definitely exists without any tangible evidence.. it defies logic.

      Unless you're willing to truly admit that you don't know anything (and spare the abstract concept), then you too, through logic should agree with atheists. It's one thing to say that you don't know anything. It's another to truly believe it. We use our judgement and senses to understand our world, and without this trust in logic, we have nothing. Why don't you jump off a cliff? Most likely because it will kill you and you don't want to die. But you don't KNOW that it'll kill you. You do however, make the judgement that logic dictates that it most likely will so you live by that standard: don't jump off cliffs. In the same vein, logic dictates that there is no proof that God exists, therefore you should live by the standard to not believe in God unless proven otherwise.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Matt

      Your first paragraph is nothing like the belief in god for lack of a better word. The reason many believe there is something that created the universe(s) is because it's logical to believe that somehow all of this was created by something. I use the word god, you may use another word. In order for your comparison of an imaginary elephant to be comparable at all to believing in god there would need to be some reason to believe that elephant was actually in the room in the first place. So no that first part is not the same at all because it is logical whether you believe it or not that SOMETHING created everything. Some may call that a god, the force or other terms but a creator the same.

      Your second part assumes that it is somehow logical to believe that nothing created all of this and that somehow it came from nothing. I'm sorry but I find that something creating all of this is much more logical than to believe it happened from absolutely nothing. Anyway you look at the universe(s) in it self is completely illogical if you are being honest with yourself so believing in some type of creator is not far fetched at all. The problem is when you think of god I'm assuming you are thinking of the biblical god when I'm not thinking of that at all.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • apostate

      "I find that something creating all of this is much more logical"

      You are a tiny ant on a blue marble circling a very mediocre star on the edge of a huge galaxy out of billions and billions of galaxies in an incredibly hostile enormous universe. To believe in some loving caring supernatural father figure isn't "more logical," it's just more comforting and pacifies believers from the harsh reality of our tiny place in the universe. It's a mistake to call it "created." It's also a strawman to state a non-theists position is "everything from nothing" unless your opponent has directly stated such as their position.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • apostate

      "Some may call that a god"

      I could call my coffee table a god.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:49 am |
    • Matt

      Apostate you clearly missed the part where I said that I don't believe in the bibilical god and that I am a agnostic theist which is someone who believes in a higher power of some form but doesn't clame to know what that is. Also everytime I refer to something "creating all of this" I'm referring to the universe as a whole not earth. You, like many people on the other side of the spectrum of belief jump to conclusions on what others believe. Just because I'm not atheist does not automaticall make me Christian or a Muslim or any other religion you would try and pigeon hold me to.

      June 9, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • Juan2Post

      Cosmology is mostly based upon our advanced physics, including theoretical physics. You are trying to interject an "Intelligent Design" argument all by itself without being particular about what sort of god might have "done it".
      There is no pattern to the universe, or anything in it, that suggests a supernatural force causing any of it anywhere.
      Everything we see so far is the happenstance of essentially random physics functions. No god needed or implied anywhere.
      Without anything to suggest a deity, your position makes no sense. A simple multi-dimensional event is sufficient to explain the theoretical beginnings of our space-time continuum. It's all dimensional energy with no pattern, no design, and no reason to go down a rabbit hole looking for a deity that clearly does not exist.
      If there is anything "super-natural" it is not showing anything of itself in this space-time continuum. Maybe things are different in another dimension, but there is no indication that any of that is affecting anything here.
      No deity needed to explain the whole universe. Dimensional energy is the only thing suggested by events we can measure and test and agree on using real facts, logic, reasoning, and math.

      June 9, 2011 at 6:11 am |
  19. Maxx

    For Interplexer:

    "I am not Athiest per say, But I also don't believe an all knowing omnipotent being is responsible for our existence. If you cannot believe in Scientific Fact, then you will never be able to view life through truly knowledgeable eyes."

    Interplexer, you are going to have to show how your statement can be proven scientifically. You will have to show that Scientific Fact is the only way to view life through truly knowledgeable eyes qualifies as a scientific, testable proclamation versus a philosophical exclamation.. I am not attempting to be a jerk.

    The late American philosopher W.V.O. Quine said, "science is the final arbiter of all truth." The problem – you cannot scientifically prove this statement is true. There are two rules to logical argument that so many people seem to forget: 1. Learn the difference between a philosophical statement and a scientific statement, and 2. Learn the difference between a subjective statement and an objective statement. It will make a difference. Now, have I made a scientific, objective claim, or a subjective philosophical claim? or vice versa? Forget the word salad excuse.

    Good evening.

    June 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • MikinAZ

      you forgot invisible...he's invisible too

      June 9, 2011 at 12:56 am |
  20. Response

    #11. The belief blog has the largest WPC (words per comment).
    #12. Few minds (if any) are ever changed through the comments.

    June 8, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.