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June 12th, 2012
04:49 PM ET

Pew survey: Doubt of God growing quickly among millennials

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The percentage of Americans 30 and younger who harbor some doubts about God’s existence appears to be growing quickly, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. While most young Americans, 68%, told Pew they never doubt God’s existence, that’s a 15-point drop in just five years.

In 2007, 83% of American millennials said they never doubted God’s existence.

More young people are expressing doubts about God now than at any time since Pew started asking the question a decade ago. Thirty-one percent disagreed with the statement “I never doubt the existence of God,” double the number who disagreed with it in 2007.

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When asked about doubts of God, no other generation showed a change of more than 2% in the past five years.

The survey found that the percentage of millennials who identify with a religion is remaining constant, while most other generations have seen religious identification increase in the past 10 years.

The findings about millennials and religion were part of a 168-page report that Pew released June 4 but were largely overlooked.

“Notably, people younger than 30 are substantially less likely than older people to say prayer is an important part of their lives,” the report said.

“Research on generational patterns shows that this is not merely a lifecycle effect,” it continued. “The Millennial generation is far less religious than were other preceding generations when they were the same age years ago.”

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The findings are part of Pew’s 2012 American Values Survey, which touches on issues including political partisanship, gay marriage and abortion.

Despite the findings on millennials, the survey shows that the United States continues to be a highly religious nation, with most Americans identifying with a particular faith.

Seventy-six percent of all respondents said prayer is an important part of their lives and agreed that “we all will be called before god at the Judgment Day to answer for our sins.” About 80% said they have never doubted the existence of God.

The report points to a growing divide between the youngest and oldest Americans on belief, religion and social issues.

According to Jesse Galef, communications director for the Secular Student Alliance, the growth in “doubting” youths has led to a surge in secular student groups.

“For a lot of millennial atheists, they are expecting to find a group, they are coming to campus, and if they don’t find one, they are starting one,” Galef said. “This is completely different than what other generations grew up with.”

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The Secular Student Alliance has affiliates on 357 American campuses, Galef said, up from 81 such affiliates in 2007.

Galef says the Internet has created a place for young people to discuss religious doubts.

“It enables anybody to have open discussions without fearing if their parents would find out or what their communities would say,” he said. "The more safe places we create for young people to discuss their doubts, the more they can inspire questions in others."

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Polls

soundoff (4,013 Responses)
  1. CommonSense

    I know many people with PhD's that believe in God and many who do not. It amazes me how many trolls jump on CNN to bash each other. If you are sure you are smart, you are not. Almost anyone in academia tell you, the more you learn, the less you realize you know. If you cannot believe an idea and discuss it rationally online or not, then you have a lot to learn.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      I don't think it's a matter of being smart, simply a matter of common sense. Religion and god is nonsense.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Greg

      Voice – present any facts that religion and God are nonsense? Try telling yourself to stop your heart beating.... come on, can you do it? Are you not in control of your own body, your own person? How in the world does that happen. Even Einstein and Max Planck, two of the foremost scientist of all time credited all of science to a "existence of a divine being". Pretty uneducated people...

      June 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • CommonSense

      There may be a difference between book smarts and street smarts, but there is no being smart without common sense. You may think God and religion is nonsense, but you may also understand little of the mechanics of the universe, or the chemical interactions taking place inside you, and how we came to be. The more you think you know, the less you actually know. Being able to be 100% sure of something is a sign you did not think much about it.

      Even a doctor, when asked if he is sure, takes a second to rethink it. What makes you so sure of something that you cannot even prove?

      June 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Greg

      Once again my man, you prove yourself ignorant and I don't even have to respond. That's the power of knowledge my friend! Your words speaks volumes of emptiness and loss of consciousness.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Greg

      You're not dealing squarely with Einstein and Planck. Neither suggested and sort of "personal" god at all. I'll give you a deist god, but you're going to have give me that no god belief can verify its claims about god's nature, and none of them can demonstrate that theirs is "more correct" than any other.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • CommonSense

      Also, common sense is the same thing as logic. Mathematicians are driven to answers by a string understanding of principles and what the logical conclusions are. There are many famous mathematicians that believe and do not believe in God. That would leave me to believe that it is not logical or illogical to be religious.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @ CommonSense

      You do realize that your arguments could be used just as effectively for belief in unicorns or Loch Ness, right?

      June 12, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Greg

      Voice, I love it when someone replies with something like "I don't even have to point out what is wrong with what you said". That always tells me they really don't have any evidence, but are simply trying to convince everyone that there MUST be something that isn't rational about the response. All you have to do is post something that proves my statement false, yet you fail to do so.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Greg

      Moby, I will give you no personal God. I am fine with that. And I am not here to say that I can definitively prove my God is the one and true God, but the arguments being presented are that their is no God at all. I'm tackling one issue at a time. Baby steps...

      June 12, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Why believe in a being that can't be proved? If god does exist, he sure doesn't care to clear up all the confusion over his nature and will. What a dovche.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • CommonSense

      @ Moby, I don't know many doctors that believe in those things. Whats your doctorates in?

      June 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Greg

      What do you want from me? Do you want me to hold your freakin' hand? Read, learn, educate yourself for cryin' outloud! I'll be more than happy to tutor you but I'm not cheap.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Greg

      The problem is one of proof. What can one measure to verify evidence that your god exists? Usefulness is key. It's why muslim terrorists and christian tongue-talkers use the same math and chemistry but can believe drastically different when it comes to god. How stupid is god to want people to understand him, and yet he can't make himself as obvious as math or chemistry?

      June 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @CommonSense

      You're going to have to write more cogently. What "things?" Are you saying that you know doctors who treat patients without first verifying/proving that the are treating the correct disease?

      June 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • CommonSense

      @ Moby, the bible makes it clear that God gives man free choice to do good or evil. Without that a person cannot truly live. Christians obviously believe that God is not happy without many people's choices. But much like your parents when you were little, He gives you the choice to make mistakes. If a person chooses to do wrong, Christians believe the "punishment" comes a bit later.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Greg

      Moby – isn't what you described the simple definition of faith? Do you have faith that your wife (husband) will be at home when you get there at night? Why? It really can't be proved? Ultimately you have to have faith in many things in life. My faith that there is a God helps give my life purpose, direction and ultimately happiness. Why wouldn't I want to do this? And if it does this for me, wouldn't I want that for my kids and my friends. What is so wrong with this?

      June 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • CommonSense

      @ Moby, by "things" I clearly meant "unicorns and the lochness monster."

      June 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Greg

      Voice, although I cannot prove it because I do not know you, I believe I am much more educated than you. If you want to compare resumes, please go ahead and post, but you do realize that again, you actually provided nothing that are facts? You really seem to be lacking in that respect.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @CommonSense

      No, you didn't "clearly" mean that, since there were multiple messages and replies going back and forth in this thread. Delineate your terms, jackazz, and don't allow for confusion.

      Yes, there are people with Doctorates who believe in the Loch Ness Monster. Who cares? There are Ph. D.s and Engineers all over the world who believe in Islam. What's your point?

      June 12, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Moby –

      You can believe anything with faith. Unicorns, Nessie, whatever. I have reasonable assumptions/faith where it seems warranted. It's one thing to have faith that rain will get your clothes wet tomorrow, just like every other time, and it's another thing to have faith that Mohammed flew to paradise on a winged horse. What can be asserted without evidence (faith alone) can be dismissed without evidence (without faith). It takes ZERO faith to disbelieve in what has never been proved. How much faith does it take for you to disbelieve Allah or unicorns?

      If you want to maintain religious faith for your own peace of mind, then that's cool, but don't go around demanding that your laws should be automatic and you get special rights that non-believers don't get. That's where it crosses boundaries. Your faith is a philosophy. You treat it like one and you and I have no issues between us.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Sorry, that last reply was for Greg.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Greg

      @Moby – actually I did prove the existence of God in my Philosophy Logic class. Got an "A", from an Atheist professor. It is actually much harder, if not impossible, to prove that God doesn't exist. Eventually, you go back further and further in time until there had to be the very first "thing". What was that thing? What started all of this? What do you call that?

      June 12, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Greg

      @Moby – I like your last response. Sounds like we are making some headway between us. I'm not sure what you mean by "but don't go around demanding that your laws should be automatic and you get special rights that non-believers don't get. " I believe laws are voted on by the people we elect. If the majority of people believe the law is a good idea, then it gets accepted. If they don't, it doesn't. What bothers me is when the minority thinks they should get laws past that "protect their rights". Ultimately every country must have a government, be it Congress, Parliament, a dictator, etc. In the US, we have a system in which the majority rules. If you think it should be different, why not move somewhere that holds your views. I should be willing to do the same...

      June 12, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Greg

      @ CommonSense – I like your approach... very fair and logical. You don't find many people like that here.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Greg

      No, you didn't "prove god exists." If you had, you'd be the most famous person in the world, right now. You gave a good argument. But it doesn't have any bearing on the fact that NOBODY has ever proved god's existence. Tell me, what did you measure that proved god existed? What were the repeatable and verifiable steps you used so that others can repeat the experiment for themselves. You know, how math and science and chemistry self-check their work? Really, I'd like to see your methodology and run the experiments for myself.

      I assume you proved the cohesiveness of a particular shade of philosophy, and that's extremely easy to do whether it's about god or another subject.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Greg

      You better hope that it's not as simple as that. "Majority rules." Hitler was voted in by a majority. You ever heard of "tyranny of the majority?"

      June 12, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Greg

      @ Moby – No I think I proved God existed, as far as I am concerned. I actually think the difficulty is that you define God differently than I do, and I actually believe most people define it differently than someone else. How would you define God. What if I said God was nothing more than the "intelligence behind the creation of the first particle that ever existed, the spiritual being (because he cannot have any matter that is part of him), that has existed before anything else." Something had to set everything in motion, something had to make the very first matter. Can that be defined as God?

      I am an engineer by undergrad degree, so I understand using the scientific method and doing proofs. You want to define whether God exists by using physical, material means, or by mathematical means. In very simple terms, life and matter exist, something had to create life and matter at some time. I define that as God. You can start this argument with anything, like a plant exist, how did it get there, a seed fell, where did the seed come from, a plant, where did that plant come from,... eventually you get back to where did everything come from, every time. You can either choose a non-matter spiritual being or simply end with "I don't know". Are you willing to live with "I don't know". If so, then you simply don't want to find the answer.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Greg

      @ Moby

      You are right, I over simplified "majority rules". Yes, the world had Hitler and the checks and balances of the world took care of it. Ultimately there were more people in the world that didn't want Hitler's views, so again the majority ruled, just on a bigger scale. Ultimately either majority always wins or apathy of the majority allows it to happen.

      But what caused us to end Hitler's reign? Did we find something morally objectionable to what he was doing that caused people to take action? Where did these morals come from? There must have been a shared set of moral standards that many people across the globe felt where being violated. What drives us to have moral standards? Should I care about people in Sudan that are being mistreated or just say "that is their problem"?

      June 13, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  2. Joke

    Of course doubts about the existence of God are growing. When one sees the bugged-eyed, warbling, crazed masses that make up the religious these days, who wants to be around them and their God?

    June 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Rodboy

      You must hang out in the wrong places , here is a question , what country has the largest number of C hristians and is growing at the fastest rate – give up it is C H I N A imagine that in the athie capital of the world.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  3. junior

    "Religionn is in decline" P0rnogr@phy is on the upswing. My faith tells me that it is wrong and destructive. Science backs it up.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Rick James

      junior, I would need to see evidence for such a statement.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Answer

      When your faith is going down the tubes – blame something for it. That is the usual way to do things. I have read it time and time over. It always and will always be the same routine for you folks.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • junior

      So answer you think p0rn0gr@phy is not destructive?

      June 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Rick James

      Pron isn't destuctive to rational people. It's is no more than just a ma.sturbation aid.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • junior

      Who says my faith is down the tubes? It is stronger now than a year ago.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      It appears that the religious types have a fixation with s*ex, in a perverted way. For some crazy mixed-up notion that is beyond my understanding these types dwell on the natural act of innate evolutionary drive. They see it as something that is unnatural, go figure.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • junior

      The lives of men and women in the industry are shattered, many commit suicide but so long as you BELIEVE that it is ok for rational people, then those people should continue suffering for your benefit.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @junior

      Frankly junior, I do not derive any benefit from what you religious types have an unnatural problem with. To me, people make choices, that's their problem if they off themselves, oh well, guess what, they are dead.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • junior

      I rest my case. You just proved what I needed to hear.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  4. KRHODES

    No suprise..all one has to do is look at the state of the countries morality to see that.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Edwardo

      Define "morality". Your definition will differ from mine, I'm sure. The word is ambiguous.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Colin

      The word is "country's". "Countries" is plural, as in "there are many ill educated half whits who still believe in Iron Age sky-gods.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Greg

      And that Edwardo is why morality is in decline. Once, people actually had some and knew the meaning of it...

      June 12, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Rick James

      Greg, morality has always been subjective.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Greg

      Rick, I don't disagree. I apologize for oversimplifying my answer. But I believe at one time the differences where less severe than now.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Rodboy

      It is sad, when you live in a country that reveres people that wear meat on their heads and wear cones on their half na ked chest more the teachers , scientists or heros then what does that say about the community.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  5. Vanka

    Funny how the gods in which the believers place their faith NEVER APPEAR OR SPEAK! Instead, common, imaginative humans must speak for them, describe them, and tell us what the gods think and feel. And, of course, these godly people want your financial support, be ause the all powerful god who talks to them but not to you and me cant magically make them rich – he wants US to make them rich!

    How convenient.

    What a fraud!

    June 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Answer

      Yes... and all the false relationships that they profess. It is so demented.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Greg

      You view religious people the way people will view you based on your comments... completely uniformed. I can assure you God has spoken to me and to many others. Apparently he has not spoken to you... I wonder why???

      June 12, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      They only appear and speak if you believe, pretty convenient I'd say.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Answer

      @Greg

      Well congrats to your delusions. May we be blessed that your god does take you. We can hope.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Greg

      Duh! They're not delusional!

      June 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Greg

      How do you know it is a delusional? Do you know me? Do you know my life? Your uneducated response simply tells me that you want "your world" to be right regardless of reality. Your perception of reality is what you believe, regardless of reality. That is is definition of stupidity, believing something is real without even bothering to learn the facts... Do you represent all atheist?

      June 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  6. Colin

    Ten Ways You Know you are an Atheist.

    1. You were likely brought up a theist (probably a Jew or Christian if you live in the USA) and had to do your own thinking to rise above the beliefs that still occupy the mind of the believer. This usually involved being smart and working hard at school and college so as to get a good, accurate view of the natural Universe and overcoming significant social pressure to dumb yourself down and conform. In short, you had the guts to ask the hard questions and the brains to spot the weak answers. The more you came to understand the Universe, the less reason there was to believe in a god and the more you came to understand human nature, the more you understood why billions of us still do.

    2. While rejecting the supernatural elements of the Bible, you nevertheless retain a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent you reject Christian morality, it is where it is mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, your basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – you just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over your head in order to act in a manner that you consider moral.

    3. You know a great deal more about the Bible than most believers. This is because you took the time to read it yourself and did not rely on the primary-color simple stories you learned in Sunday school. You have also probably done some research into the historical Jesus and have a good handle on where he REALLY fit in to the broader picture of the Middle East at the time. Needless to say, his miracles and other magic powers soon started to look pretty unlikely.

    4. Your knowledge of basic science and history is much stronger than that of your average believer. You likely have a basic working knowledge of physics, astronomy, evolutionary biology and cosmology and a good idea of the history of life on this planet. This acc.umulated knowledge puts you in a position to judge the claims of the Bible in a critical light and they are almost always found wanting. To the theist, this makes you “elitist” and ‘arrogant”.

    5. You relish your role as a religious minority in the USA, as this gives you an impetus to fight and you understand how others with unpopular, but doubtlessly correct views have felt throughout history. There is something altogether satisfying to you about having a deep conviction you are right and being viewed with disdain for your views by the errant majority. You feel a quiet confidence that future generations will look back on you as a member of a class of trailblazers, as religious supersti.tions go into inevitable decline in popularity.

    6. You are likely more environmentally aware than your theist friends and colleagues and unlikely to fall for claims of industry and wind-bag politicians concerning the impact of man’s activities on the environment. You could no more act in an environmentally irresponsible manner because “god will keep us safe” than you could jump off a ship, believing King Neptune will keep you safe.

    7. You generally have a live and let live atti.tude, but will fiercely defend any attempts by theists to thrust their views on you or your children, directly or through control of school boards, the legislature or the executive. While you are prepared to debate and argue passionately with the theist on an intellectual level, you would never wish them harm or ill will. You know you are likely to be smugly told you will “burn in hell for all eternity” for your healthy skepticism. This highlights what you despise about religion, as you would not wish a bad sunburn on another, simply because they have a different religious view to you. You have never heard of an evolutionary biologist strapping a bomb to himself and running into a church yelling “Darwin-u akbar, Darwin-u akbar”.

    8. You likely know more about other religions than your average theist. This makes you less fearful of them and enables you to see parallels. You realize that, if you were born in India, you would have been brought up with a totally different religion. You realize that every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. They cannot all exist and you see the error all faiths make of thinking only theirs exist(s). This “rising above” the regional nature of all religions was probably instrumental in your achieving atheism.

    9. You likely have a deep, genuine appreciation of the fathomless beauty and unbelievable complexity of our Universe, from the 4 nucleotides that orchestrate every aspect of you, through to the distant quasars, without having to think it was all made for you. You likely get more out of being the irrelevant ant staring up at the cosmos than you do in having to pretend that it was all made to turn in majestic black-and-white pirouette about you.

    10. While you have a survival instinct, you cannot fear death in the way the theist does. You know that the whole final judgment story, where you may be sent to hell if you fail, is Dark Ages nonsense meant to keep the Church’s authority. You also know that you were dead for 13,720,000,000 years before you were born. It is impossible for you to fear death, for the simple reason that you know the capacity to fell pain, or to regret or fear itself dies. You will not even know you are dead. Fear of death is as meaningless to you as is the fear of a vacuum, the fear of not being born. You feel a lot more secure, and indeed a deep comfort, in this knowledge, than you would in trying to yoke yourself to some quasi-hope from Bronze Age Palestine that every part of your intellect tells you is untenable.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Hello

      That was way too long.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • rudyardK

      Well said. Too bad a calm, rational entry like yours will most likely be attacked violently...by the "Religion of Peace – Christianity"

      June 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Chris

      That was, without a doubt, the most well written item I have ever read on these pages. Whether or not you made it up on the spot or copied it from somewhere, it speaks volumes. We go to a UU church, even though I am a humanist. I hope others take the time to read it and be enlightened.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Rodboy

      Do you stay up at night and dream this stuff up, or just cut and paste from a thesis?

      June 12, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Colin

      Chris, Rodboy, I can assure you I wrote it, and I mean every sentence of it. It is high time we overcame our silly superst.itions.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Rodboy

      Colin, were are going back to basics to make it simple , where did the stuff come from that the universe is made from, once you define that in athie terms we will have a starting point, plus you will be the smartest scientist alive and win the nobel prize as the first.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Colin

      Rodboy – I don't know where the universe came from, but what the hell does that have to do with late Iron Age Palestinian mythology?

      June 12, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Greg

      Colin – That was a great post, but how can you end with a comment like "Rodboy – I don't know where the universe came from, but what the hell does that have to do with late Iron Age Palestinian mythology?" By saying I don't know, you are leaving open the possibility that it was God that created it. If this is true, please just admit that. I can't argue with almost everything you said, and that is very sad that most religious people are so very uneducated about their own religion and that of others, but it doesn't change the fact that one of those religions may actually be fact and true. You can no more prove the non-existence of God as people can prove the existence of God. If you could read my other post in a different thread above, you will find that it is actually much easier to "prove" the existence of God than it is to prove his non-existence.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  7. Jeff

    organized religion has caused great conflict since its start. Salvation lies within yourself not in some book or through artificial means. As soon as people realize that we are responsible for our own fate and what we do on this earth the better off we will all be. We have to get beyond our own ego and ourselves to understand the connectivity between everything... that is what GOD is both the divine masculine and feminine that propagates life throughout the universe. We are just an idea in the celestial beings head which makes up the entire universe. Actually we are just star dust which is the result of an electric pulse going off in Gods head.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Edwardo

      Wow man.. can I have a toke off that?

      June 12, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Rodboy

      Jeff, that is a very narrow view, I think if you study you find far more grief caused by non-believers , at least the christia ns thought so while they were lighting up Rome with their bodies. Just numbers and orders magnitude make you statement incorrect.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Jeff

      Rodboy... the romans believed in many gods in an organized way.... I have studied an awful lot...

      June 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  8. TERRY

    No big shock, already discussed in the NT, from 2nd Timothy Ch. 4, and this is referring to believers.

    "I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

    June 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Marine5484

      Yeah because the bible was talking about America...there is still the majority who do believe and there are other areas of the world where Christianity is actually growing...Africa comes to mind and so does China.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  9. Peter Pearson

    Could it be that it the problem isn't really God but God's "followers"? They (we) are doing a pretty poor job of late.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Hello

      What atheist groups are forming charities feeding the poor in Africa?

      June 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Colin

      Hello – first, that has nothing to do with whether your sky-fairy exists. Second, to answer your question:

      o Alternative Gifts International
      Amnesty International
      Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
      Doctors Without Borders
      Freedom from Hunger
      FINCA International
      International Aids Vaccine Initiative
      Kiva – Loans that change lives
      Mercy Corps
      Oxfam International
      Partners In Health (PIH), Health Care for the Poor
      PATH A catalyst for global health
      Pathfinder International Changing Lives, Saving Lives
      Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.
      Second Harvest
      Southern Poverty Law Center
      TechnoServe – Business Solutions to Rural Poverty
      The Nature Conservancy
      UNICEF
      WHO World Health Organization

      June 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • JE

      Yes. We are so busy with our church activities and judging others that we could really care less about our neighbors most of the time.

      "If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing."

      June 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Rick James

      Hello, like the Red Cross and the Gates foundation?

      June 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Rodboy

      Colin listed all the agencies to help the world, it is to bad we in America spend more money feeding and pammering dogs than taking care of the needy. You are right there is far more money spent by religious groups on taking of the needy than the secular ones. 7 of the top ten secular ones spend more on salaries than the actual work they say they do.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Marine5484

      And lest be honest the real reason churches do this is to recruit people into their ranks.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Greg

      Colin, I believe you would find many of the founders and drivers of these organizations have religious beliefs that have shaped them, regardless of whether the organization is considered religious or not...

      June 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Peter Pearson

      I'm an Episcopalian and not a fundamentalist. I do not judge, I welcome. I feed the poor. I work with the sick. I honor GLBT people. I dialog with other religious people and even lots of non-religious people. There are thousands just like me but we don't make headlines. Don't be just as bad on the atheist/agnostic side as the fundamentalists are on the other. Remember that there is no simple sound bite that will work here.

      Pay attention. Stay curious rather than certain. Remember that you are only a finite human and that there may be more to the story than you can even imagine. Peace!

      June 12, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  10. Colin

    This is wonderful news. I credit the internet and the access to information that it opens. No longer can young people be indoctrinated with some sky-fairy belief and have no independant source to measure it against.

    Religionn is in decline. The inexorable decline toward oblivion is frustratingly slow, but real. We atheists and free thinkers need to redouble our efforts to help young people rise above the Dark Ages superst.itions of religion.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Rodboy

      Colin we are rising from the plain to the depths of the muck with great joy. The people are more peaceful, loving and honest wouldn't you say, as we make man the cornerstone the depth of evil get deeper. Always remember a building falls without a cornerstone and athies have none yet – keep me posted if you find one before you die. I for one do not like the saying in scientific community, that is the way it must, if it isn't our formulas won't work.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  11. Andrew

    I don't think God exists, but then again, I just don't care. It makes no impact on my life except having to deal with people who think some random guy is gonna punish you for whatever bad stuff you do... That's just your conscience (if you have one). Spirituality has its place in evolution and I'm sure everyone has had some sort of spiritualistic experience in their lives. In the end though, it's just hormones and electrical impulses. Enjoy them and cherish them, but they are uniquely yours.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • robg8r

      only fools say there is no God

      June 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Hello

      If you believe everything was passed down as you say then your impulses aren't uniquely yours.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Andrew

      The ability to have them, not what they happen to be.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • TERRY

      Andrew: Do you believe someone created the keyboard or IPAD you typed your responses from? Compared to human life, Earth's atmosphere, the perfect mixture of the air you breath, that keypad/IPAD's complexity pale in comparison. If something comparatively simple was created...or something universally simple as a randome tangle of crayon lines were "created" by my 2 year old instead of truly random markings created by on one, how could the natural environment you and I exist in NOT be created?!

      June 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Tazzle

      Terry, if God exists...who created him?

      June 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Andrew

      There is a difference between not knowing how something was created and having actual proof something was created. when it comes to the keyboard, there is certainly one creator and I'm sure Wikipedia can divulge that answer. However, if you talk to religious people there are as many creation stories as there are religions. Which is the right one? If all of them claim to be right, my bet is on none of them being right.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Andrew

      What is existence? What is consciousness? It's all in your head.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Madtown

      robg8r
      only fools say there is no God
      ---–
      Says who?

      June 12, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  12. Answer

    I love the small minds of the religious. So many lame remarks of emotional drivel. Laughable as always.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Hello

      Answer – that was the lamest least constuctive post I've seen. So boring.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Answer

      Quickly now.. what is god's favorite flavor of ice cream? lol

      June 12, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Answer

      Does god wear boxers or plain briefs?

      June 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Greg

      Answer – Quick, stop your heart beating! First it would do everyone a favor, second, oh, you can't do it. Maybe you are not in control of your own life as much as you believe you are...

      June 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Rodboy

      In order for man to be God, they first must bury the real one. Look around us , now that we are losing faith , the world is so much better would not you say. No wars , no famine, no slavery right.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Tazzle

      Answer, gawd doesn't wear boxers or briefs. Haven't you ever read Moses' account of his dialogue with him in Exodus and how he covered Moses' eyes as he went by but then dropped them and Moses got a peep show? God goes commando.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  13. CommonSense

    This is like most online articles, filled with skewed data. It makes sense that millennials have the biggest shift in ideas and beliefs. Most of the major growth and change in beliefs starts in college and progresses through young adulthood. This doesn't even say they don't believe in God anymore, just that they have doubts. Any rational person has doubts, thats life. This is CNN when its run out of real news.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Hello

      Every Christian has a crisis of faith from time to time. And even atheists doubt whether they or right or not. If either party tells you otherwise they are liars.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Rodboy

      The nice, thing , if the athies are right we will live a good life and turn to mud just like them – if they are wrong , we will live a good life and then be roasting marshmallows on their foreheads.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  14. Vad

    The question of whether God exist or not will be answered in finality....when we are dead.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Does it really matter?

      June 12, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Vad

      I don't know. I'm not God.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  15. Aabstract

    It always amazes me when atheist are in trouble or a natural disaster they yell "Oh my GOD"...

    On the authority of Abu Harayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: Allah the Almighty said:

    I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me.
    If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and
    if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an
    assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw
    near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at
    speed.

    It was related by al-Buhkari (also by Muslim, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn-Majah).

    Imam Nawawi’s 40 Hadith QudsiOn the authority of Abu Harayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: Allah the Almighty said:

    I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me.
    If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and
    if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an
    assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw
    near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at
    speed.

    It was related by al-Buhkari (also by Muslim, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn-Majah).

    Imam Nawawi’s 40 Hadith Qudsi

    June 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Andrew

      Simple. OMG is just a common phrase of shock. It is a cultural thing at this point more so than a religious thing.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  16. Hello

    Christopher Hitchens is no longer an atheist.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Dave

      Yeah, he's dead. You're no longer anything when you're dead

      June 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Vanka

      We are all born atheists and we die atheists. Religion deludes our minds only temporarily.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Hello

      Vanka – you remember when you popped out of your mother's womb thinking there is no God?

      June 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      he is a corpse

      June 12, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • kent

      you are correct. he's dead.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Vanka

      Hello,

      Yes, I do. I testify of it in the name of ... Myself.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  17. kc10boom

    @1word Keywords, planet in our solar system. Do you realize how many billions of galaxies there are that possibly have planets that support life yet undiscovered? We can find a caveman bone 100,000 years old, but a massive ship that carried 2 of EVERY species on the planet somehow is hard to detect, lol. The Bible, Kuran, Greek mythology, ancient Egypt, etc., is just mankind trying to explain things when we realize there is something far greater than ourselves. Lets see a guy live in a whale for 3 days and see how he does, lol. Christianity is about controlling people with fear, and expecting their followers to know everything about God, yet have no clue about themselves.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Hello

      Fear? Atheists have much more to fear in death then a Christian.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • robg8r

      Christianity is about becoming more like Christ. Jesus didn't say that we had to know everything about Him before He would love us. He loved us first and simply asks that we love Him in return....it really is that simple

      June 12, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Rodboy

      It is always interesting to see athies talk about how silly belief in God is , but when asked where matter and energy came from , they say it has always been here. That was the premise that the science guys came up with to make the Laws of nature work since they are diametric oppose to evolution. Funny huh. The smart question is who is the real G O D.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  18. Gerard

    End time prophecy speaks of this precisely- Matthew 24:6-10 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.

    9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other

    June 12, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Any cult would say the same thing

      June 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Madtown

      Right, 'cuz there have never been any of those things until just recently. LOL!!!!

      June 12, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  19. Oldbiker

    I am not surprised at this statement. We took the Bible and prayer out of our schools. We don't say the pledge of allegiance any more because GOD's name is in it. We don't allow nativity scenes on County, State or Federal grounds any more. We have taken the 10 commandments down off our courthouse walls. The various liberal groups have tried to take God out of everything and then, we come up with a great deduction like this!!!!!!!! Is it any wonder. Every civilization that mocked God or deserted Him, suffered and eventually fell. Do we not learn from the past? Evidently not!!!!!!!!!!

    June 12, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Dave

      Like those godless Germans or Norwegians. Oh wait...

      June 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Vanka

      Which god are we not supposed to mock?

      There are so many, and you believers can't even keep them straight!

      June 12, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  20. hellojello

    Religion only works if the children are brainwashed early on. It seems once the brain damage is done, it stays that way. We need to make sure the children are not exposed to the religious virus until they are adults. After that, they are more or less immune!

    June 12, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • JBullets

      There is hope for the future yet!

      June 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • JE

      Religion is one thing. The truth is another. God exists; many of us have experienced Him. If He is real and loving, is it really wise to just reject Him because of a lot of idiots who claim to follow Him? That would be like shooting oneself in the foot.

      If you actually read the New Testament, the only people Jesus is judgmental of our the self-righteous, religious hypocrites who are, according to Him, trying to keep people out of the kingdom of heaven.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • mom of 2

      nope...thats not true. I know so many people who grew up in deeply religious families who have managed to find answers and make deliberate choices for themselves. I know, I am one of them....

      June 12, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Nero

      @hellojello, i whole heartedly agree with your position on brainwashing about the existence of GOD. Man just want to realate with something to justify his existence. In the next millenia, religion will be extint and man will evolve into a different thinking specie. Its a puzzle how the Greeks, Antlatis, Africans and the Romans Empire not the Roman Catholics believe in gods and elements with a vast control over the human race at that time of millenia. Man is part of the Atom that makes up the universe and so does the prophets and the fore runners that came preaching the existence of GOD.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Rodboy

      Billy Graham once said, out of the thousands of Christians I met Not one ever was sad that they believed, which can not be said of the thousands that did not. Dreams as silly as they may be to others is what useful lives are made of. Birth to mud dreams make for sad people.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
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About this blog

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