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My Faith: Returning to church, despite my doubts
Andrea Palpant Dilley as a child with her missionary family Kenya.
May 5th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Faith: Returning to church, despite my doubts

Editor's note: Andrea Palpant Dilley is the author of “Faith and Other Flat Tires.”

By Andrea Palpant Dilley, Special to CNN

During my junior year in college, I took a butter knife from my mother’s kitchen  and scraped the Christian fish decal off the back bumper of the Plymouth hatchback I’d inherited from my older brother. Stripping off that sticker foreshadowed the day, a few years later, that I would walk out of church.

The reasons for my discontent were complicated. By most standards, I had a healthy childhood.  I grew up the daughter of Quaker missionaries in a rural Kenyan community that laid the foundation for my faith. I spent the rest of my childhood in the Pacific Northwest, raised in a stable Presbyterian church that gave me hymns and mission trips and potluck dinners.

I was surrounded by smart, conscientious Christians, the kind of people who read 19th century Russian novels and took meatloaf to firefighters when much of eastern Washington state went up in flames in the fall of 1991.

When I started into my skeptic phase, my Christian community gave me space to struggle. They listened to my doubts about faith. They took my questions seriously.

And yet when I turned 23 I left the church.

Listening to a sermon at my older brother’s church one Sunday, I stood up, leaned over to my father and said, “This is bulls**t.” I made my way to the end of the pew and marched out of the sanctuary. The sermon didn’t sit right with me. The pastor was preaching about Psalm 91, saying in so many words that a person just needed to pray and have faith in order to be protected from suffering.

More than just that sermon, I was sick of church. I was sick, too, of all the spiritual questions plaguing me: Why does the church seem so culturally insulated and dysfunctional? Why does God seem distant and uninvolved? And most of all, why does God allow suffering?

These questions didn’t come out of nowhere. I’d spent time in high school volunteering in refugee camps in Kenya and in college working with families on welfare in central Washington. I saw hungry babies. I walked into homes that were piled with garbage and dirty laundry.

In an orphanage in the slums of Nairobi, I held AIDS babies and worked with disabled kids who’d been left at the front gates of the orphanage by parents who couldn’t afford to feed them. I saw things that I couldn’t make sense of as a Christian.

Walking out of church was a way of saying “To hell with it; I’m done.”

For two years, I skipped church. My Bible gathered dust on the shelf. The local bars became my temples. I indulged in the cliché rebellions of a Christian girl, smoking cigarettes and drinking hard alcohol. I got involved with men twice my age without thinking twice about it.  I wanted a break from being “good.”

And then, strangely, I woke up one morning at age 25, climbed into my car, and drove downtown to attend a 10 a.m. church service. I won’t relate here the whole story of how I came back to the church. But if I had to follow the standard testimonial narrative for Christians, the script for my life story would go something like this:

Step 1: Grow up in a Christian church.

Step 2: Go off to college away from said church.

Step 3: Be exposed to the enticements of secular life.

Step 4: Try drugs and cigarettes and Pearl Jam.

Step 5: Leave the church because of aforementioned enticements.

Step 6: Experience epiphany; realize vapidness of secular enticements.

Step 7: Return to church with penitent heart.

Step 8: Reestablish faith, discover good living.

In reality, I left the church more because of my own internal discontent than the lure of so-called secular life. When I came back, I still carried that same discontent. I was confused, and still bothered by questions and doubts. I stayed in the back row and didn’t sing or pray. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to be there.

And yet I sat there, Sunday after Sunday, listening to the pastor and the organ pipes and trying to figure out what was going on in my dark, conflicted heart.

Although I never experienced that dramatic reconversion moment, I did come to peace with two slow-growing realizations.

First: My doubt belonged in church.

People who know my story ask what I would have changed about my spiritual journey. Nothing. I had to leave the church to find the church. And when I came back, the return wasn’t clean or conclusive. Since then, I’ve come to believe that my doubts belong inside the space of the sanctuary. My questions belong on the altar as my only offering to God.

With all its faults, I still associate the church with the pursuit of truth and justice, with community and shared humanity. It’s a place to ask the unanswerable questions and a place to be on sojourn. No other institution has given me what the church has: a space to search for God.

Second: My doubt is actually part of my faith.

In Mark 9:24, a man says to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief.” The Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor called this the foundation prayer of faith. I pray that prayer often and believe that God honors my honesty.

I also believe God honors my longing. The writer and theologian Frederick Buechner said “Faith is homesickness.” C.S. Lewis called it “Sehnsucht,” a longing for a far-off country. I feel that sense of unshakable yearning. It comes from the deepest part of my heart, a spiritual desire that’s strangely, mysteriously connected to my doubt.

Sitting in church every Sunday, my doubt is my desire – to touch the untouchable, to possess the presence of God.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Andrea Palpant Dilley.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Opinion

soundoff (3,753 Responses)
  1. J7

    65 “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
    I was found by those who did not seek me.
    To a nation that did not call on my name,
    I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
    2 All day long I have held out my hands
    to an obstinate people,
    who walk in ways not good,
    pursuing their own imaginations —
    3 a people who continually provoke me
    to my very face,

    May 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      drivel

      May 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  2. PrimeNumber

    Ms. Dilley is right. The place for doubts is INSIDE the church. St Thomas the Apostle discovered that. So did St Peter after Jesus' discourse on His body and blood (Jn 6). The church is the place to face tough questions.
    I once saw a cat tearing a baby bird limb from limb in front of it's apparently agonized parents. I remembered Carl Jung who saw hundreds of aunts attack a worm. He concluded, like I did, "what a violent brutal thing nature is." For atheists there are no questions except "do I have the guts to face the truth of my beliefs?" The atheist admits that he is nothing more then the product of mindless evolution, part of a species for whom war is the norm. He doesn't find morality anywhere in nature, yet still wants to believe that he is a nice guy.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "The place for doubts is INSIDE the church."

      Well prime that is where my doubts were, but for a doubter to remain in church the doubter has to at some point accept an unproven claim.....because that is all religion can offer. So you either accept a claim for poor reasons and stay or you leave knowing religion claims answers, but they are baseless claims.

      As far as seeing morality in nature, I see it all the time. I have seen animals attack humans when their fellow animal was being hurt, the animal that helped the other had no reason to do so other than empathy.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Snow

      So, do you find morality in a cat tearing a baby bird?

      Talking about guts, you know it is very easy (trivial even – but definitely does not take guts ) to think "god has a plan, and it is just gonna happen" or to answer every question with "god done it" rather than find solution yourself.

      What truly takes guts is to know that there is no one but yourself to solve your problems. If you do not work on it, you do not change the status-quo. What truly takes guts is to not say "god help me" when you face trouble, but bend your back and work on a solution. So, Believers LACK guts.

      Courage is not to pray to an invisible being in face of a trouble, but to work on the trouble yourself. It takes nothing to pray but everything to work.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Cq

      Why wouldn't we find morality in nature? A lot of species coexist, and even cooperate with other species, and most certainly do within their own species. Ants attacking a worm may seem brutal, but only because they do not have the means to build slaughterhouses in which to hide how they get their meat. In the same way, how we get Big Macs is actually not very different from how the folks up in Canada kill seals on the ice. We just don't want to admit that we do the same thing, but in a less visible way.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • sam

      I hate it when aunts get together and attack worms. You would think they had better things to do.

      May 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  3. Snow

    Reading the article, the author did not have struggle with faith.. all she did was go through the teenage rebellion years a little late.. the very definition of the teenage rebellion is to try and do the exact opposite of what their family does – however illogical it might be. Her whole family was full of those christian suck ups and she wanted to disassociate with that. But in the back of her mind, she simply never left that suck up mentality. Her rebellion was not based on logic or reasoning, but simply an urge to not do what her family does.

    So, like every teenage rebellion phase, once it ended,she just went straight back to where she came from.. No "struggle with faith" or "divine guiding".. Poor article, and to portray this as a struggle to find the truth is even more stupid.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      I completely agree snow.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Those used guys.

      I think she gets high on Jesus. HALLELUJAH

      May 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  4. sortakinda

    Tom, Tom even if you stole a pig and away you ran, the final choice of residence is ultimately yours. I don't wish that on anyone. Maybe you should bring the pig back, just in case.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I told you I would, but you still wouldn't get in the truck.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • sortakinda

      No room for me AND YOUR SISTER.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Poor thing. I guess that scar will heal eventually.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • sam

      @sortakinda – I can't believe you went for the sister joke on that one instead of 'your mom'. It's always better to fall back on a 'your mom' joke. I thought that was universally understood.

      May 7, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Sortakinda

      Tom, Tom is twins. Identical atheistic twins. Their momma ran off with the Fuller Brush man,destroying their faith and never delivering the cleanser he promised.

      May 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Driftin

      That there is one slow-healin scar.

      May 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  5. camp

    TTPS ANSWER – I care because I am genuinely interested in talking to someone who cares about this view. As I said having read Harris, Hitchens, Rosseau, and others, I still have questions. I thought that may you were interested in answerring some of those questions – I was wrong sorry

    May 7, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • camp

      Got it TTPS I was referenceing literature that supports your view, in order to engender discussion, you only wanted to respond through feelings, so now I am bored......

      May 7, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What makes you think I care about your questions?

      May 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Poor herbie.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • camp

      TTPS apparently you have not read much literature – my mistake in thinking you wanted dialouge

      May 7, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Camp,

      I think you should have questions after reading those authors, they do not answer everything and I have not seen where they cliam to.

      But saying they were not able to answer all your questions and....."therefore god is real" is not an answer either, it is an assertion. I have read and talked to many christian leaders, they claimed knowledge, but it is only a claim. Religion has never proven anything they claim is true, not one.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Funny that you misspell dialogue EXACTLY the same way the Piddler does.

      Outed.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Mark, how was that final exam? Did you pass with a C?

      May 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • camp

      sorry not the piddler. I am not making an assumption, I am trying to get an answer to what is the end game in your camp, Clearly you dont have the chops to get there, so yep I am bored, the only thirng I did assume incorrectly that you wanted a forum to clearly express your view, I will search elsewhere

      May 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You do that, Mark. Or use your real name and stop pizzing on my leg and telling me it's raining.

      You came on here bit@hing because I pointed out your admission that people like you believe in god because you fear death.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "I am trying to get an answer to what is the end game in your camp,"

      Camp,

      I don't think you are telling the truth. I have responded to you honestly and ernestly but you have ignored me every time. I think you want to be passive-aggressive with Tom.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • camp

      "as you wish"

      May 7, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • momoya

      @camp

      I'm not sure that atheism has an "endgame.". Why don't you list your 4 or 5 most troubling question and see if either I or NTJC can help you out?

      May 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • camp

      momya Harris says there is an end game, and it is only played on earth while you are breathing after that "game over" So here is my question. With Harris premise what compells a person to care about civil rights, a clean earth, when after I am gone it won't exsist anyway?

      May 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Camp,

      What you are really asking is "where does morality com from if not from god"?

      You say that "if you don't believe in god why should you care about the environment."

      I have seen plenty of christians claim that god would not allow us to destroy the world, so therefore we don't need to worry about the environment. The religious justify their poor behavior through myths.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • camp

      precisely what I am asking: if one camp says it comes from god where does your camp (Harris, Hitchens, et al) say it comes from, and again I wonder what compells someone with this view, that the end game ends with your last breath to care at all? Ilam rhetorically but respectfully answering so please no snarkiness I am weary of that..........

      May 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • sortakinda

      Coming soon to TV: Tyler Perry's TTPS , the Atheist Detective who doubts every clue but notices how two people have a common misspelling. What about n8263 and the problem with "Organzied religion." Is that one person with multiple personalities or multiple people with one personalities. And what is this "organzied religion" n8263 is so worried about ?

      May 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • camp

      NTJC ok so re-reading your response you answer the environment half of my question with what Christians say, I am asking what you say. I can get a Christian answer anywhere I am respectfully asking you

      May 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • n8263

      sortakinda, I made that typo probably five pages ago. Do you understand what a typo is? Why are obsessing?

      May 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Camp,

      My point is I have never found the real answer to anything to be "God" and anyone who has offered "God" as an answer is typically ducking the question.

      My answer,

      I don't know, I think we are trying to figure that out. I think morality evolving through natural selection provides at least a partial answer. Morality can be observed in nature so to think man evolved a sense of morality is not a stretch, it would be in the best interest of the species to do so.

      Just because I don't believe in an intelligent god does not mean I don't feel like I am a part of the world or nature or the universe.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • camp

      Ok so no answer from NTJC and momoya even after they asked me to ask them a question, so I will use logic reason and my own feelings to come to the conclusion, they have no answers and prefer to live with anger and no answers

      May 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • camp

      thank you for a very articulate answer. so you are saying morality comes from an evolving process, trial and error? That those who survive are doing it correctly. Again I am trying to make a personal application so how does that motivate me to civil justice?

      May 7, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • camp

      And for dialouge sake take the anticipated Christian rebutall out of it I am interested in what your view is. The morality borne out of evolution intrgues me.

      May 7, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "so how does that motivate me to civil justice?"

      Camp,

      I don't know how it would motivate you to civil justice. For me I feel empathy for those around me, I know at a base level all humans have a 'shared experience' in this world and I relate to others through that shared experience. I have felt the human emotions and I know others do to, so I share their experience of 'love, anger, happiness, sadness, ect. ect.

      I know when someone helps me I feel good and when someone hurts me I feel pain, I know others feel the same and I would rather spread positive feelings.

      You should know from experience that helping others gives you positive emotions, so therefore those actions are never entirely selfless, we benefit because we "feel good" when we help others. Claiming that action is completely selfless is disengenuious.

      May 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • camp

      NTJC – well said so the reinforcement of a good outcome produces empathy which benefits the greater good...

      May 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • camp

      NTJC another question, someone on this blog said it was not correct to quote Harris, et al as a benchmark for this view – that each of you read and are informed and come to your own conclusions. Maybe I have been in research too long but when I don't understand something I too read, discuss and reason to understand. So is this person saying there is another way to approach the understanding of this view?

      May 7, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Camp,

      I think the disconnect comes from the fact that atheism is not a world view. It is an answer to a question, the question being "do you believe in god(s)?" The only thing that makes one an atheist is the answer 'no I don't'. As with any answer to a belief you can have good reasons for them or poor reasons. There are many atheists who have poor reasons for their disbelief. Harris has many well thought out arguments but his opinions are not automatically taken as being correct by atheists. Anytime a claim is made I ask "what is the foundation for the claim?" does it make sense? I look at Harris, et al, as a good source of information but I don't consider them the atheist version of 'religious authority'. If this does not answer what you were getting at please let me know.

      May 7, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Sortakinda

      N8263, you mean you are re-typing that same post from scratch each time, a dozen or more times? Don't believe in cutting and pasting ? Goodness. Do you believe in ANYTHING?

      May 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • camp

      NTJC Actually that does help quite a bit. So does the correction on the terminolgy I only used the words view or camp because this does predicate how you look at the world and respond to things. What does come across clearly is that there is a high sense of questioning and reason attached to every idea. I really wasn't asking if Harris spoke for all, just trying to find a common definition. So it is an answer not a worldview – that is helpfull. SO this answer; I lobby for clean water and the rights of others right now, how does this answer help the next generation?

      May 7, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • camp

      NTJC Actually that does help quite a bit. So does the correction on the terminolgy I only used the words view or camp because this does predicate how you look at the world and respond to things. What does come across cleaat rly is that there is a high sense of questioning and reason attached to every idea. I really wasn't asking if Harris spoke for all, just trying to find a common definition. So it is an answer not a worldview – that is helpfull. SO this answer; I lobby for clean water and the rights of others right now, how does this answer help the next generation? I guess to ask in another way, do I have a legacy with what I do today. Or since I no longer exsist it is not worth the effort?

      May 7, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • WASP

      @camp
      precisely what I am asking: if one camp says it comes from god where does your camp (Harris, Hitchens, et al) say it comes from, and again I wonder what compells someone with this view, that the end game ends with your last breath to care at all? Ilam rhetorically but respectfully answering so please no snarkiness I am weary of that..........
      May 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm"

      i can answer this one easily. do you have children? how about a nephew or niece you are fond of? now here is the reason an atheist does care about the "end game". we love our children and don't think god is going to sweep in and play good little maid to pick up after his roudy children. humans made the mess, we are the only ones here as far as we know, so it's our mission to leave the world a better place than we found it. athiests don't have an after-life we can escape to, we have to bear the weight of our actions in this life, if i fail my son.......then i have failed him for life because this is the only one i get to share with him. that is why i'm a moral being because i want my son to learn how to be a kind and loving person without having to be scared by threats of eternal damnation, like i was as a child. btw grew up southern baptist, fire brimstone know all of it.......gave me nightmares as a child.

      May 7, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • camp

      NYJC Well thank you, after 75 years of breathing on this earth I have seen a lot of things......I do think ultimately there are answers, and my hope for both of us is that someday we will know.......thanks for the dialouge

      May 7, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Camp,

      Personally I think every person gets meaning from his/her life from themselves, even religious people who attribute their meaning from god are actually getting it from their personal internal understanding of god. When religion is looked at from a historical view what people believed in 100, 200, 500, 1000 years ago was quite different from today. People now pick and choose not only what version of their religion they believe in (Catholic, Baptist, Jahovahs Witness as examples in christianity) but they also choose what they want from within those specific religions. As an example a large amount of Catholics use birth control though the leaders are against it. People don't like to think they are the source of their own morality but in reality most often they are by the choices they make. I think if morality actually came from outside of humans (god) that morality would be much more consistant from person to person and society to society.

      I have kids, I expect my kids will most likely have children. I think it is my benefit to live a responsible life for my personal sake and that of my family. I don't want any more suffering in the world than is necessary so supporting environmental issues will help the suffering others will otherwise have to deal with. Some people could care less about others and honestly I have not seen religious affiliation significantly change that.

      May 7, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "I do think ultimately there are answers"

      I agree, there are answers but I would rather have unanswered questions that be expected to believe unquestioned answers.

      I think one person you might enjoy reading is Dan Barker, he is a former minister and the book I would recommend is "The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God". He is a very moral person and does a great job of answering the type of questions you are asking.

      May 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • camp

      WASP my mother was a JW They told us over the years, most recently in 1975 that the world is coming to an end, and at 75 I am still here. Yes I know about fear tactics in the name of religion. I admire your care and concern for your son, he is very fortunate

      May 7, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  6. Christ Fellowship

    Reblogged this on Christ Fellowship, New Port Richey and commented:
    In her blog post, Andrea Palpant Dilley talks about her struggle for faith, and why it comes so hard for many of us.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • So fricking what... peddle your little BS blog elsewhere...

      .

      May 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      That is like putting dirty underwear back on!

      May 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      From what is written she did not struggle with faith, she avoided the question, and then called that a "struggle".

      May 7, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  7. msp

    The problem is people equate God with morality, ethics and human suffering. God is so much more. The absense or presence of morality/ethics/human suffering is no indication of God's presence/absence. As we all know, that are plenty of God believing people who are immoral and unethical while plenty of people who do not believe in God are moral and ethical. Simply beleiving something does not make you "good" or "bad", much like believing in gravity. Similarly we are well familiar with the fact that plenty of God loving people suffer tremendously and plenty of people who do not believe in God are prosperous in every measure. The martyrs of the early church being a good example. Obviously the 2 has no cause and effect relationship. Looking for such relationship is what causes dilusion and confusion.

    Once you understand that, approaching God becomes an entirely different thing and that is the beginning.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      A good thought but there is no understanding on their part, they outright refuse it.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      ANd this is exactly what you would expect to find......no evidence.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  8. Adam C

    The great conversion to non-belief will not be done by the sword, but by the book.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • GodPot

      Right, after 1500 years of using the sword, you have now decided to just go with the book... and we should all be happy for you...

      May 7, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • GodPot

      sorry if I misunderstood where you were going there, thought you said "belief" :)

      May 7, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      I don't know about you but if I'm backed-into a corner I'm fighting tooth and nail!

      May 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  9. If horses had Gods ... their Gods would be horses

    Can't find where I saw this person's retort but they claimed you can't prove love like you can't prove religion ... I couldn't agree more! Religion is no more real than an emotion like love, hate, fear, happiness ... all of which comes from the human mind and it's ability for abstract thought.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • JM

      You're saying that love, hate, etc. aren't real?

      Are you real?

      May 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • JM

      The Holocaust?

      May 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • hank

      emotions aren't real but the human mind is?

      May 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • If horses had Gods ... their Gods would be horses

      I expected those types of responses. Love is real just not a tangible thing like the God(s), Angels, Demons or answered prayers that religions preach they are. They are all of the human mind and real, but only in that sense.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Lilith

      JM, love, hate, etc are emotions what don't you get here?
      and the Holocaust was a real event, not an emotion, again, what don't you get here?
      Horses point is that religion is comparable to an emotion and not comparable to a real event like the holocaust you brought up.

      May 7, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  10. closet atheist

    Time to tax the churches... I'm tired of footing the bill when this country is in financial freefall (although many don't seem to realize)....

    http://www.daylightatheism.org/2006/10/tax-the-churches.html

    May 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Go ahead...most churches probably zero out at the end of their fiscal year with deductible costs (payroll, charitable giving, etc.) anyway so the "benefit" to the government will be next to nothing.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      True for most individual local churches, but there are a number of mega-ministries that turn a VERY tidy profit.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • VanHagar

      @MarkFL...if your right (and you may be), what is done with the profit? There are no share holders and the money won't simply sit in an investment fund...it will eventually be spent on increased salaries (so say the cynic) or capital improvements, etc. In the end, it will turn into a deduction and there will be no (or little) tax. CA's argument is red herring.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      I think an annual surcharge of 10k to be able to preach to 1-100 people. Then go up from there.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • VanHagar

      voice...I could drive a truck through that First Amendment problem.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @VanHagar

      I know, but I can still put it on my wish list can't I?

      May 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      VanHagar,

      I can drive a truck through the argument that churches should not be taxed based to the 1st amendment.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • GodPot

      "most churches probably zero out at the end of their fiscal year with deductible costs (payroll, charitable giving, etc.) anyway so the "benefit" to the government will be next to nothing."

      So if it's no big deal, why fight it? Just let all the religious groups who enjoy tax exempt status prove they are spending it on charitable needs, soup kitchens, helping the homeless and the elderly, the widows and orphans. And any idea how much of the $500,000,000 the Catholic Church spent by 2007 to pay victims of abuse was taxed? I'm guessing 0% is about right, or less than zero if you count the tax dollars that are spent by the State to prosecute the offenders if they ever reach trial, though thats rare when they can just move the priest somewhere else on paid leave and then just pay off the parents who weren't the ones actually getting indicktrinated...

      May 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • sortakinda

      You may need a new tag. You are way out of the closet. In a piece of companion legislation, atheists will be charged a tax per pound on the half-baked BS they spilled on this board.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      As long as you are taxed for all yours, sorta. You've posted plenty of it.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "atheists will be charged a tax per pound on the half-baked BS they spilled on this board."

      sortakinda,

      If the claims you make rose to the level of "half-baked" it would be a huge improvement.....

      May 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • sortakinda

      Good grief, Tom, Tom and Just Claims (and No Truth) are ganging up on me. Turns out Tom, Tom has a nominal chromosome confusion. Remind me. What claims have I posted? I remember the stuff about atheists being bitter angry empty pessimists. Did I forget the word "very" before bitter, angry and empty? So sorry. But look at the bright side-you ALL get to be prodigal daughters/sons. And I get to go to the party. Happy days.

      May 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  11. camp

    ....sorry the perfection of technology just failed me. I am just exercising a method of reasoning called "the Socratic question" based your premise that I have no long term value why would my view in the FREE FORUM matter to you?

    May 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Your opinion has value? Lucky you. Mine is just for fun. At least in these forums.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The better question is: why does mine? Why do you care what I say here?

      I post here because the religious nuts attempt to legislate. They try to force their beliefs on others. They would like to take away the rights of women to choose, and prevent gays from marrying because they "believe" that such actions are "wrong". They aren't harmless-they want to control public education, force the teaching of 'creationism' and prevent schools from allowing students to take s3x education classes, even if the students' own parents approve.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • camp

      Sam Harris and hitchens, et al tell me that it is all about effecting change for the +plus years I have on this planet then I am done, so why bother effecting the future? So I dont see any end game in your camp than to just worry about my happiness while I am still breathing, why should I care about legislation now that effects the future? Let them take care of themselves If I am incoorect in referencing Harris' view I am open to reading another more accurate writer as I find this fascinating. A book called the Lunar Men – about the Enlightenment got me started on this train of thought.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It isn't about "effecting" (sic) the future. It is about the effects on the lives of people here right now.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • camp

      BTW "The Lunar Men" is not written by a Chrlistian if that helps your radar bias. It gives a historical account of men like Preistley, Darwin's grandfather, Roussaeu, etc. and how they came to their conclusions, It is the history of your belief and I found it fascinating!

      May 7, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • camp

      gee sorry TTPS technology failed me again – no spell check touche

      May 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Camp,

      You assert that without god it does not matter, it does matter, you have created a false correlation to justify your belief.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I studied the writing of Bonhoeffer. I thought it fascinating.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You need a spell-check to figure that out?

      May 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      For the record, I'm not a minority, but I care about civil rights. I'm not of child-bearing age, but I care that women who are have rights. I'm not gay, but I want those who are to be free to marry. When I die, I'll be gone. But what I do today will affect others and I do care about that.

      What part of that is hard to grasp? You seem to think atheists are somehow less moral and more selfish than believers. Where's your evidence for that?

      May 7, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • camp

      yep TTPS I do rely on Science and tech to make my words perfect, since words are a mere human codex

      May 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How sad for you. Now, are you going to make an intelligent response to my explanation of my reasons for posting, or just go driveling on?

      May 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Just FYI, spell-check wouldn't help you with your confusion anyway. Both "effect" and "affect" are correct; you simply don't know the difference in their meanings.

      Anyhow, I'm bored with you. You've said nothing of substance yet.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • GodPot

      @camp – "So I dont see any end game in your camp than to just worry about my happiness while I am still breathing, why should I care about legislation now that effects the future?"

      Are you serious? Have you really been so thoroughly brainwashed as to believe that c r a p? You think about your own life and that of others in some universal competltion where Christians happen to have a better end game? Do you believe that atheists and non-believers have no empathy for their fellow man? That the only way to care for someone is to convince them that there is an afterlife punishment/reward which is why we should behave, not just because being personally moral and taking personal responsibility for your happiness and those around you is a better way to live? Well ask yourself these questions:

      1. Why should you decide not to r a p e your 4 year old neighbors child? Because God said not to or because I would never want that done to me or my child so I should never do it to anyone else?

      2. Why should you decide not to steal from the people around you? Because God said not to or because you would not want your things stolen by others and know that working hard to earn your way in life is far mnore rewarding and creates friendships instead of enemies and distrust?

      3. Why should you not start murdering anyone and everyone that gets in the way of your su.ccess? Because God told you not to? Or because you would not like others to do the same to you and thereby cheapen all human life for some material gain?

      Most Christians want to believe that they are righteous and moral because of their God but do not recognize the reverse of that concept which is that without their God they apparently would be murdering, r a p i n g, evil, violent humans only behaving because of the threat of heII or the promise of Heaven. Talk about self serving.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • camp

      TTPS i was not making a morality statement, I was asking for a clarification on Harris' premise. If we are just here while we breath, then yes I should be concerned that I am drinking clean water, etc. What I am asking is why would anything I do now matter to the next generation? Isn't that their responsibilty to, just like what I landed in when I first drew breath? I am trying to understand Sam Harris' premise.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • camp

      TTPS How sad for you, that you get bored so easily. I have responded and I am asking in the Soractic method more questions to understand what Sam Harris a leader in your field has to say, You had a golden opportuut you and got bored, but you are right in the grand scheme it doesnt matter just mental exercises,

      May 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, I'm not easily bored. It takes a really dull person to bore me.

      Why don't you answer the question I asked you? Why do you care what I post here?

      May 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @camp,
      "What I am asking is why would anything I do now matter to the next generation?"
      I would say first, that what you do now affects you in the future, not just others. Second, concern for others, i.e. empathy/sympathy, like your own offspring, would justify looking out for their interests as well as your own.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • GodPot

      "more questions to understand what Sam Harris a leader in your field has to say"

      You'll be happy to know that atheists do not have a single person, book, theory, concept or idea that we adhere to. We think for ourselves and we read many books from many perspectives. Trying to corner us on Harris' views is like asking a Christian why they believe in Dante's nine circles of heII.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I wonder what camp assumes is my "field".

      May 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  12. camp

    ...and I have no value in your eyes nor my ideas. I am jsut asking the question, why would you care? Waste time on this?

    May 7, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • n8263

      I just made this remark on the blog about Biden's new found support of gay marriage:

      1. Christians express dismay and are "offended" when people are critical of their religion. Often they go so far as to say that nobody has the right to question their religion because by doing so you are being disrespectful.

      2. But then they have no problem imposing their subjective and irrational religious "morality" on others through politics.

      It is like they are completely ignorant about how these two things are related.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      You again are asserting that I think you have no value. That is not true. Value does not come from a god. I care what people believe because contrary to what many say beliefs are very important and what other people believe have an effect on the rest of us. I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible and I think humanity would be better off if that was its ambition.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • GodPot

      Christian camp "You cannot find true happiness unless you accept Christ as your savior"

      Atheist "I'm fine, thanks."

      Christian camp "Maybe you don't understand, only Christians can be happy, and we want this country of America to be happy so we must be Christians!"

      Atheist "No thanks, as I said, I'm fine."

      Christian camp "Well if you can't understand we will just get a majority to pass legislation to force you to obey Christian laws, we'll put references to our God on your money, we'll make your children proclaim "One nation, under God" in your pledge, we will deny the rights of legal relationships to those who don't follow our biblical custom of one man and one woman, we will ban the right of a mother to terminate a pregnancy based on our belief that a fertilized egg has an ever living soul, we will denigrate and persecute those who do not accept our truth, we will get a tax exempt status for our Church so they will not be chipping in when it comes to providing real benefits to all Americans, we will put a litmus test on any and all elected positions to make it almost impossible for a non-believer to be elected to any position of power. And on top of that if you complain we will say you are the ones being hateful. I mean, why do you spend time on these boards bashing us, why do you even care?..."

      Atheist "Fvck you guys..."

      Christian camp "See, so much hate..."

      May 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Good summary.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • n8263

      GodPot, that is a great summary. Studies show that religion makes no difference in people's happiness with one exception, in cultures that are strongly religious the non-religious are less happy.

      It is a very good case for a secular government with a real separation of church and state.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • camp

      TTP Nope I didn't make that assumption, based on harris it only matters when I am breathing. Isn't that correct?

      May 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You can't even post a reply in the right place.

      I'm not interested in discussing your views on literature.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • camp

      :-) my assumption was you are a weary retired 3rd grade teacher

      May 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Given that you are very like a 3rd grader, it's no wonder you make people weary.

      May 7, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  13. sortakinda

    God has blessed the atheists. They have this page to post over and over again self-convinced arguments that they would otherwise have no one to listen to. Believers poke them with a stick and they go off all over again. Voice of Reason's family is not interested in anything he says. n8263 loves the word "delusion" but has no idea what it means. At 3 pm eastern time, and throughout the day, believers of all stripes will pause and pray for the empty, angry bitter atheists that they might lighten up and have a dash of optimism of which their atheism brutally denies them. Peace and good cheer.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Huebert

      Thanks for the prayer's. I appreciate well wishes from anyone.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • If horses had Gods ... their Gods would be horses

      ... and at 3:01, :02, :05, :12 ... etc pm eastern time nothing will have happened.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Actually, I have all sorts of optimism and good reason for it. Year by year and decade by decade more an more people see the light of reason and shed old superst.itions embracing a clear view and new appreciation of the incredible world around them. Devoid of ghosts and demons they become free to enjoy life.

      Meanwhile, the believers and especially the users of believers desperately try to keep their hold over an increasingly educated population in a final bid to regain their old power. So while their is much to be optimistic about, there is yet a long road to travel.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      @sortakinda

      CNN has blessed the theists. They have this page to post over and over again baseless arguments for their beliefs that they would otherwise have to go door to door to spead. Non-Believers poke them with a stick and they go off all over again. Just Sayin's family believes anything he says. Nii loves the word "spiti.tual" but has no idea what it means. At 3 pm eastern time, and throughout the day, non-believers of all stripes will pause and think for the empty, angry bitter theists that they might lighten up and have a dash of reality of which their theism brutally denies them. Peace and good cheer.

      See what I did there?

      May 7, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      Ya just gotta love a good Christian who spreads pure hate and lies of "bitter angry atheists", then ends it with "Peace and good cheer."

      May 7, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • closet atheist

      GRRRRRRR.....

      ~Angry and Bitter Atheist

      May 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Heh. "You're all bad people. Have a nice day."

      May 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • sortakinda

      I am doubly blesssed. The group who responded to my post will never take my seat in Church. For the atheists, their game is over in the third inning. For believers, the final score won't be posted before the 27th out for the home team is recorded. Smile atheists, God loves you as much as He loves us. Maybe more. Cf. The parable of the prodigal son. Be of good cheer.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "I hate you and you're all going to hell and into the lake of fire. Enjoy your evening!"

      May 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      sortakinda,

      A perfect god does not need churches or require worship. So either your god is not perfect or is not real.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • sortakinda

      Bless the little atheists with their problem with authority. Each one is a god unto him/herself. "Your God is not perfect because He doesn't fit my definition of what a God must be." Having been raised by too many adults who said "Because I said so," the atheists now want their turn to say, "There's no God, BECAUSE WE SAID SO."

      May 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  14. camp

    To the exasperated Christians on this blog trying to do a tete a tete with TTPS. I think we are missing the premise of his arguement. He has no regard for your opinion. He does not value you as an individual, you are just an evolved primotial ooze, therefore his snipes at you are ok. He can sleep at night becuase as he said he answers to no one but his own reason and conSCIENCE. Bible verses are less convincing since it is a fairy tale to him. Remeber satan can quote scripture. Not that God's word will return void, but I think we are hoping for an outcome that is not ours. We are dealing with someone who could really care less about the topic, it is just mental zumba field for him. Expecting any kind of respect from him from this dialouge is futile as evidenced in the last 2 days.
    I do find it sad that he is spending all this time bashing Christians – why bother if there is no God? but he needs an antehsis to his side or else it would have no meaning for him. The only place he can find it is in a Christian forum.
    Am I close TTPS? Victory is already one guys, by his own admition thiis is all TTPS has......

    May 7, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • closet atheist

      @ Camp

      1.) Is this a christian forum?
      2.) What makes you so sure that your christianity is right? Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists (list goes on) all have it wrong and will burn in hell?

      May 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • camp

      I guess we will see..............

      May 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Camp,

      Both sides of this debate have jerks. Claiming atheists are jerks because they don't believe they will be held accountable in an afterlife is a red herring.

      I could make the claim Christians are jerks because all they have to do is ask Jesus to forgive them and them everthing is all better.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Wobbly Bob

      This is an unmoderated forum. That means it is the wild west, lawless and anarchic. If you don't like that reality, go to a moderated forum. Both sides can get pretty nasty at times. Some can handle making a legitimate argument in a wild west eenvironment, and many can't.

      Saying that a poster is getting to you like that will guarantee you are going to get more. You just made yourself fresh meat in the tiger cage.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • closet atheist

      @ camp ~~ "I guess we will see.............."

      Odds are that you will not. You will simply cease to exist like the rest of us. But if it gives you comfort in this life, that's all fine and good. Enjoy.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • camp

      NT JC perhaps a true statement, but a withered arguement, coming from your premise that in the end it doesn't matter anyway. Why would you care about wounded people of the past?

      May 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Camp,

      You are asserting it does not matter in the end. I believe it does matter, just not in the way you think it does. I don't need to believe in fairy tales to find plenty of reasons for it to matter.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • GodPot

      "Victory is already one guys" lol

      "Bible verses are less convincing since it is a fairy tale to him. Remeber satan can quote scripture." This is like saying "Egyptian hieroglyphs are less convincing since it is a fairy tale to him. Remember Anubis can quote hieroglyphs too."

      May 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Camp,
      You would probably find very few atheists in these forums if the various religions did not make such a nuisance of themselves going around trying to insist that everyone else live the way their personal religion dictates. When Christians and Muslims, etc. stop trying to restrict the civil rights of others then perhaps they will be left alone. Until then, you are fair game. Frankly, I do not care if you worship a pine cone, just don't ask me to sit on it.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sweetie, I'm flattered that you are so exercised about my posts. Unfortunately, you have no idea what you're talking about. I'm not 'bashing' Christians. I'm bashing the hypocrites here who call themselves Christians.

      And if you don't like it, tough.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      By the way, camp, I'm not a "he".

      May 7, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son,
      "By the way, camp, I'm not a 'he'."

      You do understand the confusion though, right? Piper's son and all.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Of course. That's why I pointed out the fact that I'm female.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  15. Jeanine the Banned, using yet another proxy for one more post. One proxy = one post. I got lots of proxies. :P

    Here I am using another proxy! Wheee!

    Hey, CNN "moderator", since you have a personal hate for me personally, and are not doing this to anyone but me, why don't you grow up and quit being such a big baby?
    You are no better than Herbie, who would gladly violate everyone's free speech rights out of personal enmity.

    What a punk. What a disgusting little sh!t. If I worked at CNN I would fire you so fast you'd exit the building out of the nearest window.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Sigh....thats my girl :)

      May 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Jeanine

      @Mark the Black Supremacist

      You still hungry, baby? Awww! Poor kid-troll.
      I don't have all day for this crap. Enjoy your own filth as usual. It's what you do, rite?

      May 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • CNN Moderator

      Come at me, bro.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Well, that must have been the shortest final exam in history, Mark/camp.

      When you lie, it makes the Baby Jesus cry, you know.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  16. SAS6907

    Yet, when unbelievers are trying so hard to not be held accountable, by getting others to agree with them,
    they spew hatred and degenerate remarks.

    Concerning the origins of the universe and life, what do Universities know as fact?
    Read their comments closely, they all say THEORY!

    May 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      And your point is? Do you actually know what theory is?

      May 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • The Four Fluffy Kittens of the Apocalypse

      Aerodynamics is a theory too. By your logic, that means that birds and airplanes do not actually fly. I guess your truth is that erodynamics is a lie of the universities, and it is actually God holding them up. A shame he drops a few every now and then.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • PumpNDump

      Let me clue you in Newtonian physics and Evolution, both of which are accepted as scientific FACT, are also called theories because they are constantly being tested and evaluated. Facepalm. None too bright, are you? Lol

      May 7, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Name one thing religion has claimed and then was later proven true?

      Just One.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Cq

      If you were on a jury, and the prosecution had every standard evidence against the accused. I mean, fingerprints, tire tracks, surveillance video, DNA, 911 calls, bloodstains, gun powder residue, witnesses... You name it, they have it and all that the defence has is character witnesses who all say what a good boy he was. As a jury member would you accept the "theory" that the accused did it, or not? That's what scientific theories are like; they are the best explanation for the evidence at hand, and religion is just the character testimony given by those who love the accused.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Cq

      What?

      May 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • closet atheist

      @ cq ~~ That's a good one. I'm going to reuse that one sometime. But I'll give you credit.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Nii

      JUST CLAIMS
      You claim that religion which includes atheism has no valid claims so here are three from Judaeo-Xtianity which Psychology and Psychaitry agrees with
      1) Man has a trinitarian personality
      2)Man is intuitive.
      3)EQ is better than IQ.
      You want more?

      May 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Nii

      1) What is a trinitarian personality?
      2) People being intuitive has nothing to do with psychology or the bible
      3) Saying EQ is better than IQ makes no since. that is like saying that height is better than width, they measure different things how could one be better than the other.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      Those are very strange claims, Nii.

      1) "Man has a trinitarian personality" You need to support that one. Provide your source, because it looks like total garbage.

      2) "Man is intuitive." Humans are also rational and genetic. Intuitive is pure reaction – it is based on previous experience or subconscious tendancies. Intuition is highly prone to error. It has a place in the human evolutionary and survival process, but it is an instantaneous defense mechanism useful only when higher skills like reason do not have the time or the evidence to come to a conclusion. Intuition is a lesser tendancy. Reason should always be preferred.

      3) "EQ is better than IQ." Both are in disrepute. EQ is much farther in disrepute as it is really just a trendy theory with no particular value or use. It really ends up being nothing more than an aptitude test. And neither IQ or EQ has anything at all to do with religion. Your point has no point.

      "You want more?" Yes. You didn't provide any substance to start with, so more would be good.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      @Nii

      re·li·gion /riˈlijən/

      Noun:
      The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.

      This is the definition of the word religion....well the main one anyway and the only one that is pertinent to theism and a belief in God. You could expand on other definitions of the word religion that would even go so far as to including a sports fanatic as being religious but that is beside the point.
      Please enlighten me on exactly how this definition applies to atheism?

      May 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Nii,
      "You claim that religion which includes atheism..."
      Since when is atheism a religion? Even if one considers strong atheism a belief, that still doesn't make it a religion, e.g. no doctrine, no rituals, no scripture, etc.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Nii

      JOHNNY BLAMMO
      You will realise that the more intelligent atheists steered well clear of the 3 claims straight to 'atheism' is a religion.
      Also if u know psychology u will know man is trinitarian( intuitive, intellectual n instinctive). Scientists have accepted that we emote more than we analyse.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  17. Marcio Pelegrini

    ..and the funniest thing is there are more FLIES posting on articles like that than anybody else...

    I know you have no morals, you have no common sense, disregard Science and are delusional but

    man...your faith became a cult and look what is left of you...reduced to a stinky FLY

    May 7, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Be thankful for flies there nut job! If wasn't for flies and science this world would be a pretty sick place.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      Thanks Marcio. People like you are truly excellent at recruiting atheists and agnostics. Really, thanks!

      May 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Huebert

      You must be that guy that was always saying "True science agrees with the bible".

      May 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • n8263

      Marcio, you need to watch this:

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-j8ZMMuu7MU&w=640&h=390]

      May 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • sortakinda

      Marco you are a breath of fresh air. The stodgy self convinced atheists don't know what to do except call you names. And YOU see the humor in their responses–keep on keeping on!

      May 7, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Cq

      Huebert
      That would make "true science" something that doesn't even bother to investigate things, just something that dogmatically agrees with what the clerics say, right?

      May 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Huebert

      Yep pretty much.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      sortkinda, what would you call him?

      May 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  18. Jeanine the Banned, hated by CNN, posts again using a proxy!

    To return to what seems familiar is understandable.

    If you find it easier and more comforting to deny everything around you, and prefer seeing everything through a delusional and biased viewpoint, then church is indeed the place for you. We don't have enough asylums to hold all you people, you see..

    May 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Jeanine, the only Atheist who I really felt was attractive just by the spirt of her post...even though I disagred with them, is back.

      See my Atheist friends, prayer does work. Brought Jeanine back.

      Welcome back Jeanine :)

      May 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • The Four Fluffy Kittens of the Apocalypse.

      You were not actually banned, Jeanine, and there is no human censor. The "report abuse" button does nothing.

      One of your words had a naughty word in in, like Consti-tion has a ti-t in it, and circu.mstance has cu.m it. Helpful Hints may give a more complete list.

      No human censor, just a lame program, and I will prove it. I will put a highly offensive and ugly word below that a human censor would remove and ban me for. Watch it remain. Press the "report abuse" button if you like. I even used a very racist slur last time, and it stayed. I will post again in about a half hour to show that nothing happened.

      Cocksucker!!!

      May 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Jeanine

      HI racist. You can thank CNN for keeping me away. If you don't like them banning me, complain. Otherwise go ahead and gloat.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Jeanine

      Four Fluffy Kittens, I like you a lot, but you are not the one having your IP address blocked.
      I know all about the filter. I've been avoiding it for years here. This is not the filter. This is my IP address being blocked after only one post or two without using any "bad" words whatsoever.

      So please shut up about the fcking filter.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Jeanine

      I'm surprised I've been allowed to post more than once this time. Wheeee.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Not gloating and I agree with the other poster that I do not know how you got banned.

      But, seriously... I am glad you are back. :)

      May 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Jeanine

      @Mark the Black Suprmacist Randian Republican Turd

      I frankly don't give a rat's ass what you think, Mark. I don't care what any racist thinks. You are here for the "Krystallnacht" and that's your problem. There isn't going to be any "Krystallnacht".
      Oh, did I burst your bubble yet again, you slimy bigot? Too bad.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      Jeanine,

      While a general ban on your IP address is *possible*, I think that it is highly improbable here. Take a look at the list again to see if you have one of the glitches in your post. There is another one that I don't include because it is so out there, but someone reported that "wonder-ful us" is also a bugaboo. Maybe you have come across a new one(s).

      Also, you cannot even use one of the forbidden word fragments in your screen name.

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ---
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-nthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      que-er
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sl-ut
      sn-atch
      sp-ank
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-oon
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      strip-per
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!

      May 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Jeanine

      @Helpful Hints

      FYI
      I helped WRITE that damned list. DON'T shove that fcking crap in my face!

      I am here using yet another proxy. DO shove that information up your ass.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Cq

      Between 20 (As.sociated Press poll) to 44 percent (American Demographics) of the population admits believing in superst.itions. Stuff just as kooky as believing that gay marriages will bring on the wrath of some 2000 year dead guy, yet we don't really care that the folks who think black cats are unlucky are out there because they keep their opinions to themselves. They have the right not to get one for themselves, but we would all drag them into court if they hurt our black tabby and we would shout back if they tried to make owning one illegal. So, we can't stop you folks from thinking that gay marriage, stem cell research, abortion, evolution, and a bunch of other stuff is unlucky and will bring some calamity down upon us all, but we can block your efforts to make them illegal for everyone, see?

      May 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • CNN Moderator

      Has anyone broken it to Jeanine that she's batshit crazy?

      May 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      Jeanine,

      Jeeeeeeeez!

      (I sure hope that I never have to deal with you in real life)

      May 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  19. Johnny Blammo

    Girl has legitimate doubts.

    Girl also secretly wants to party.

    Girl decides to do both.

    Girl decides she must obey her programming and returns to chuch, though doubts remain intact.

    Girl blames her partying on the doubts when in fact it is unrelated.

    Girl thinks her experience is representative of other seculars when it is not.

    Girl distorts her experience to fit a stereotype, and sell it to others eager to hear the same old cliche.

    Hers was just a tepid minor rebellion against a stifling upbringing. That is not the basis of secularism.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Actually, as her pastor noted, she's just a typical Christian feeling unduly restrained by the requirements of an ancient religion that has little relevance in the modern world. Aside from the do unto others bit ( which is already universal) it really has nothing useful for guidance in this life.
      That is why there are so many hypocrites in the churches and such a massive need for "forgiveness".

      May 7, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  20. Reality

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

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:-->

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

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

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

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

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

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

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

    Some added references to "tink-erbells".

    newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

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

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

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

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

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

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

    For added information see the review at:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    May 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Nii

      When Atheists decide that de Bible is man-written so it isnt worthy of study they cast de same veil on SCIENCE TEXTS since they r also man-written. U cant revere "peer reviewed" Science texts n revile "canonised" Scriptures since they r both similar man-made procedures. Ur position isnt analytical!

      May 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Nii

      You mean that our position isn't logical. That is wrong but it is what you mean. Science texts are changed and updated continuously they are never canonized. Scripture hasn't been updated in about 2000 years.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • WASP

      @nii: well atheists don't decide the bible is man-made, everyone knows it is. the proof is a bunch of humans decided what was going to be in the bible and what wasn't; you even named that event. the cannon. you know that crazy last part of the bible that no one really understands? yeah that one the book of revelations, it wasn't going to be in the bible; however one priest was so adament about that one book they added it. there isn't anything to study in the bible, have you read it? it's plan and simple, nothing needed to be studied in it, answer to top thousand questions in bible "god did it" and if god didn't do it? "the devil did it". we can appreciate the hard work of scientists throughout history that risked their lives to oppose the church and bring about a new age of enlightenment. everything you use in this modern world is due to scienctists. so yes we can hold their achievements that can be seen over the stories passed down to be truths by the church.......mainly we are the center of the galaxy, btw galieo was summoned to rome to refute his ideas, then put on house arrests for not backing down to the church. let's look at the word analytical? to analize.....hmmmm doesn't that mean to study? if we truly analized the bible page by page with pure logic, it would fall to pieces. logic and myth can't and don't mix, logic wins every time.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Nii

      HUEBERT
      Do you realise that the Bible is only the core of a huge body of Judaeo-Christian literature which is being reviewed everyday by scholars. Viewing Christianity as the Bible is very unfortunate. It is the core principles, thats all!

      May 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Nii

      That is exactly what I'm saying. The core principals of Christianity have never been updated. Many of the "core principals" of science have been updated within the past 100 years. A lot has changed from the time the bible was written, and my argument is simply that the bible needs updating, I'm not addressing those other text. Hell, Thomas Jefferson already did a decent job of it maybe Christians should just use his version.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Jeanine

      @Reality
      I protest your insulting the good name of Tinkerbell in this intemperate manner. Also, as an analogous reference, it sucks.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Nii

      You speak of man as being genetic? Who the hell taught you that?! You must be new here! The EQ is based on the fact that we emote. Our brain is stimulated to absorb certain information and exclude others baased on our mood. EQ is a measure of how well people can emote to gain important info. Study!

      May 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Nii

      Emotional Intelligence, or EI (which is what EQ measures to some degree), describes an ability or capacity to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of one's self, and of others.
      Basically EQ is the measure of your awareness of your and others emotional states.

      May 7, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Nii

      Where did you study psychology? And I questioned your three things dead on, you answered the first in a unsatisfactory manner so I'll rephrase my questions for you
      1) Please explain what you mean by triune personality.
      2) what does man being intuitive have to do with anything?
      3) How is one's emotional quotient "better", your word not mine, than intelligence quotient?

      May 7, 2012 at 3:51 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.