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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. Colin

    10 Commandments that every child should be taught.

    1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a parent, priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.

    2. DO NOT think that claims about magic, miracles and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.

    3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.

    4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars want to prohibit you from looking under the hood.

    5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and ghouls and believing in any of them does not make one moral.

    6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should you believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.

    7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?

    8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of God,” “God is outside the Universe” or “God moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered wrong.

    9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?

    10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.

    I sometimes think that, if we first taught our children these simple guidelines, any supernatural belief would be quickly dismissed by them as quaint nostalgia from a bygone era. I hope we get there as a species.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • forgetaboutatleast

      that's good stuff, colin. i'm especially in favor of point number 8. apologetics in regards to religion is a futile effort.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Religion

      Also DO realize is Religion is about money and power. That is its entire purpose.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Oh Really

      Excellent!

      June 12, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • 1word

      Matthew 15:14

      King James Version (KJV)

      14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Brian

      1word, I'm with you. It is very sad to read this. No wonder why our world is The way it is. I'll pray for all of you so that you can experience the love and greatness of God. The peace of the Lord be with you.

      June 13, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  2. Jim

    Jesus may have made a reasonable claim to be the Son of God–since his brth, apparently, everyone was telling him "Dude, you're the son of God"–later, in a contrivance, the Roman Catholic Church added the Trinity to unite varying sects of early Christians–and they did it with Roman money...want fund for your Church, then here's your new story–oh, and if you don't "get down" then you're going to "lay down"–the 4th c. was not a fun time in Rome.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • 1word

      It's not a story, I had Jesus Christ visit me and yes he was a white dude. I went to him sincerely in tears pleading my heart to be near him and he came to me that night in my dream. God loves us and he will continue to look out for those who loves him with all their heart, soul and mind. You actually believe Christianity would grow as fast without people actually finding Salvation from the Word of God? If you read the Book of John it explains how we would be given a comforter afer Jesus Died. It's the Holy Ghost that we receive that helps us do good. It causes you to stop living an un godly life. I was a straight sinner before I found God and he SAVED ME!

      June 12, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  3. Colin

    I believe in Leprechauns and until you provide me convincing proof they do not exist, I am going to declare victory and say they must exist. Can you see the distinction between proving a positive (possible) and a negative (impossible) or why the failure to disprove a negative is no evidence whatsoever for the existence of the thing not disproved (gods, leprechauns)?

    I believe that the Leprechaun King created the entire Universe about 6,000 years ago. I know there is a substantial amount of evidence suggesting that the Universe is significantly older than this, but I think a lot of that evidence comes from bad science, or from a worldwide conspiracy of scientists who want to deny Leprechauns. I know this because it is written in the Leprechaun Chronicles, a book cobbled together from various authors, most unknown, by our church during the Dark Ages.

    The Leprechaun King lives in Leprechaun Heaven, where he where he busies himself answering prayers, running the Universe and recording the lives of humans for their final judgment before him. He is surrounded by an entire society of magical beings – his son Merlin, the Holy Leprechaun Spirit, the good fairy Mary, thousands of Leprechaun saints, fairies, pixies and the souls of many millions of dead people.

    Each Leprechaun saint and pixie has a special task. For example, Saint Christopher is the patron-pixie of travelers and it is his job to intercede with the Leprechaun king on behalf of travelers to keep them safe. Most countries and professions similarly have a special Leprechaun who pays them special attention – even lawyers. There are strict rules governing the roles, responsibilities of the various Leprechauns, elves, pixies and other heavenly beings.

    I believe that the Leprechaun King loves me and hears my prayers. He intervenes in my life periodically by saving me from various ills. All I have to do is think to myself and he reads my mind and answers my prayers. He loves me and when I die, provided I have lived a good life, I will go to Leprechaun Heaven, where I will live happily ever after with all other humans who have ever led good lives.

    I know there is not a lot of evidence to support my beliefs, but that is just the point. The Leprechaun King wants us to have “faith,” so he never reveals himself. To make an unambiguous appearance and settle once and for all the question of his existence would deprive us of free will and, even though he is all-knowing, he would not know who his true believers were.

    In fact, I believe that the Leprechaun King is “beyond understanding”. He is “outside the Universe” and any time I am faced with something about my Leprechaun belief that makes no sense, I don’t dare question it, I just close my mind and tell myself that my mind is too small to understand the greatness of the Leprechaun King. These answers are satisfying to me.

    Some people are called “atheists,” and they are skeptical of my belief in the Leprechaun King. They point out many inherent contradictions and unsupported assumptions that underwrite my belief in Leprechauns. But, they can’t prove he doesn’t exist, so he must exist. And so what! Even if I am wrong, and go my whole life believing in Leprechauns and it turns out I am wrong, I have lost nothing. However, if they are wrong, the Leprechaun King will send them to hell to burn forever in the presence of the Evil Ground Troll.

    Perhaps if a Christian reflects on why I have not covinced you to believe in leprechauns, you will understand why I do not believe in your sky-gods.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • forgetaboutatleast

      that is exactly my point. believe in whatever you want. just don't push your faith on others. it's naughty...

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

      It does't matter what you call. If you feel there is a creator and pray to him he would answer. What you feel is important than names and forms...

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

      May the Leprechaun King guide you to an eternal pot o' gold.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Steli S.

      Don't forget about the 10% of income required contribution

      June 13, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  4. 1word

    Ezekiel 36:26-29

    King James Version (KJV)

    26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

    27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

    28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

    THESE WORDS ARE FAITHFUL AND TRUE, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR.

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

      THESE WORDS ARE FAITHFUL AND TRUE
      ----–
      Those words are the creation of human beings. Your use of capital letters does not change this fact.

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

      Posting bible verses...how breathtakingly original.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      The bible is true because it says it is true!

      Circular logic is circular.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • 1word

      We all will find out the truth, I know the truth soooooooooooooooooooooooo. lol

      June 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • forgetaboutatleast

      according to the assumption here, it's truth because it comes from a book. this logic is faulty because there are so many other books. and books do not offer proof of god.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Religion

      29 And I am invisible and live in the sky and see everything you do.

      30 Please send money.

      PRAISE DA LAWD

      June 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • 1question

      1word,

      Who wrote this? When did he/she write it? How did he/she come up with the material? How do you know the answers to the previous questions?

      June 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • 1word

      All we can do is try to help you guys, you will die in your sins. I will live forever because I believe in God and I love him the way he wants us to love him. You guys despise us because we're good? That's evil.

      John 8:24

      King James Version (KJV)

      24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • 1word

      1question
      It was written by a prophet who speaks the words of God, God used Prophets to relay what he wants to tell his people. All I can do is speak the truth after experiencing encounters with Spirits. I know the Gospel is true, that's why God said if YOU SEEK HIM WITH ALL YOUR HEART he will come to you. You have to Seek him. In all things we seek the truth but when it comes to God people just want to believe he doesn't exist. If you seek him, you will be spreading his word with the rest of us. LOL

      June 12, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • 1question

      1word,

      Your answer wasn't very satisfactory to me. How do you know he was a prophet? Because some catholics got together around 300 a.d. and decided to include his/her writings in the bible? How do you know that God told the author to write it? The inability to answer these questions is one of the reasons for the results of the survey cited in the article.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  5. bigdawg1

    Can't happen too soon!

    June 12, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  6. forgetaboutatleast

    i personally believe in god, but i don't know what she looks like. i'm thinking she's an alien that propagated the earth or some overmind from an arthur c. clarke novel. that's just my belief. and that's ok. i can't prove it, so i don't really know. i just believe.

    i can understand christians and hindus and muslims when they say it's about faith. that's cool. however, when they say believe in their faith or suffer the consequences...well, i got a major problem with that kind of talk. you can't prove faith.

    in summary, i believe it's ok to have faith as long as you're not pushing your beliefs on others.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • OOO

      As an athiest, I have as big a problem with "she" as I do with "he". There really can't be a gender definition unless you have both. Unless god is a hermaphrodite and can couple with itself to produce offspring dieties.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • manbearpig

      Two questions:
      1) Is your god hot?
      2) Can you f.uck her?

      June 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Jeff

      or there is a divine feminine and masculine that together propagate the universe... or are the universe.... or we are the thought of one eternal being that is everything both masculine and feminine or as said... a celestial hermaphrodite.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • funny

      christian, former christian, if you grew up within the boarder of one religion and now changed your mind, please speak about only that religion. do not judge other religion/way of life based on your exprience with that religion.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Arjun

      God is neither man nor women. But he might take the forms of a man or women or even animal. You would not suffer for not worshiping God. But for the trouble you caused others.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  7. Oh Really

    A God ( the Father one), sends himself (yet equally separate personage) to Earth. He doesn't really do anything of impact for 30 years, then recruits 12 men to follow him, gives a fairly simplistic message about love and commitment to God (which through the Trinity is committing to him), then is executed within two years, dies, comes back, is seen by a few hundred folks, then leaves (again). Oh, and even though none of the execution stories states this, his death is supposed to forgive the sins of his creation to appease ... HIMSELF (oh that Trinity ...) of his offense for the things people, who he gave freedom of choice, did when they didn't do what He wanted.

    And how does someone killing himself, or allowing himself to be killed do ANYTHING to absolve the crimes/sins/wrongs/immorality of other people – seriously? That simply makes no sense, and no amount of horse$#!t about love, or greatness, or forgiveness, or power does anything to explain that. Think about it, salvation and morality have nothing to do with each other. You may be a very poor example of a Christian, but there's nothing about salvation that stops a person from becoming a raping murdering pedophile or what have you after you're saved. Nor does doing those things prevent you from becoming saved. Again it makes a mockery of the whole concept of salvation, but as I've already written, the whole salvation paradigm is nonsensical.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • 1word

      By 1 man sin came into the world, By the Righteousness of 1 man all men were made free. Jesus dieing on the cross allowed for all men to be given the Holy Spirit to help us not serve sin. Read my scripture I posted, it's faithful and true. When I gave my life to Christ, I started becoming more and more like him. I stopped drinking, cursing, and doing all things that I use to do to serve sin.

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

      Hmmm,
      ive always wondered why god gets so mad from actions which he allowed us to do. if he knows these actions would bother him, why allow them in the first place? why even get offended by the action of a mere mortal? its like a human writing a program and not fixing it when they saw a problem.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Oh Really

      1Word – your reply does nothing to answer mine. Sorry, but it doesn't. BTW, I have around 5 different variants of the Bible. I'm not asking for you or anyone to recite scripture. I have plenty of my own access to it, and have read far too much of it ...

      June 12, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  8. Puzzled in Peoria

    The problem with atheists is that they demand that God be known by reason or by science. He cannot be known by either. He is far above the thinking of human beings and is independent of the universe and our science. God can only be known with the heart, and through faith.

    God reveals himself to those who sincerely seek him. Because an atheist will not do that, he assumes there is no God.

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

      "God reveales himself to those who seek him"
      Man, I've heard that a thousand times.
      You telling me in this world of 7 billion people that there isn't 1, not 1 person who sincerely opened himself to god and was disappointed when nothing happened?

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

      The problem with atheists is that they demand that The Leprechaun King be known by reason or by science. He cannot be known by either. He is far above the thinking of human beings and is independent of the universe and our science. The Leprechaun King can only be known with the heart, and through faith.

      The Leprechaun King reveals himself to those who sincerely seek him. Because an atheist will not do that, he assumes there is no Leprechaun King .

      June 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Madtown

      God can only be known with the heart, and through faith
      -----
      Good, then there's no need for organized religion at all. Good that you recognize that God cannot be known by widely verified proof. This means each person can hold his/her notion of God independently, and it will be equally legitimate to anyone else's.

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

      God also speaks to you though people like Tammy Faye Bakker, as long as you send your regular donation.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Anything that requires 'faith' in order to believe it is not worth believing.

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

      that is your opinion, not a fact. stop proselytizing. you don't really know.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  9. Joeseph L.

    Amen to that!...........I am not an atheist but people need to grow up, educate themselves and realize that Christianity ( as well as Islam) is a man created mythology.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  10. John

    To Voice of Reason....You said "If you believe in a devil then you surely are the fool."

    What are you if you follow the devil then??? You and others who reject the Heavenly Father follow Lucifer, the yellow-haired fallen angel who thought he was greater than my Father. You must follow one father or the other. The Heavenly Father is real, and Lucifer is real. Your father Lucifer has deceived you and filled you with his lies. Even Lucifer knows the Truth, and He knows God the Heavenly Father is real and the Lord Jesus is real. It is you who is blinded! So I ask...who is the one being fooled? Look in the mirror and you will get your answer.

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

      Yellow-haired?

      June 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      The devil can only exist with the approval of your god. Therefore the devil does gods bidding.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • 1question

      How can you have two fathers? Is one of them an adoptive father or are they both biological fathers? I don't have yellow hair, so that father is probably not my biological father.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Joeseph L.

      You Sir.....are an ignorant nutjob......and they type of person we need to protect our children from.

      June 13, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  11. Andsir

    And the doubts of our political system are growing faster.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  12. I am God

    No surprise. People are starting to realize that they can believe in themselves and live a wonderful life without religion.

    June 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  13. Bob

    The belief of God seems to me pretty limiting. By committing to a theistic view of the universe, there are many "molds" that will inevitably force people toward specific characteristics of God. There are many consistencies in many of these characteristics. (e.g. "If God is omni-benevolent, why does evil seem to exist?"). These contradictions lead to troubling and chaotic views that have no coherence.

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

      It's like asking why there are criminals if there is a govt...
      Evil is the choice of some people. God did not force the evil

      June 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • manbearpig

      @Arjun
      That is the worst correlation I have ever heard. Of note:
      1) The government is not all powerful
      2) The government is not omni-benevolent
      3) You're reta.rded if you think they are in any way alike.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • forgetaboutatleast

      i think people should keep an open mind. nobody can prove that there is a god or god(s). by the same token, there is no proof that god doesn't exist.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  14. Colin

    I have a quick survey. Please , any Christian, honestly answer the following:

    The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the field of:

    (a) Astronomy;

    (b) Medicine;

    (c) Economics; or

    (d) Christianity

    You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are a:

    (a) historian;

    (b) geologist;

    (c) NASA astronomer; or

    (d) Christian

    I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am

    (a) A gifted psychologist

    (b) A well respected geneticist

    (c) A highly educated sociologist

    (d) A Christian with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.

    I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am

    (a) a delusional schizophrenic;

    (b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly

    (c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or

    (d) your average Christian

    Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:

    (a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;

    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;

    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or

    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.

    I believe that an all powerful being, capable of creating the entire cosmos watches me have $ex to make sure I don't do anything "naughty". I am

    (a) A victim of child molestation

    (b) A r.ape victim trying to recover

    (c) A mental patient with paranoid delusions

    (d) A Christian

    The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:

    (a) Architecture;

    (b) Philosophy;

    (c) Archeology; or

    (d) Religion

    What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from religion:

    (a) Religion tells people not only what they should believe, but what they are morally obliged to believe on pain of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;

    (b) Religion can make a statement, such as “there is a composite god comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;

    (c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas religion is regional and a person’s religious conviction, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than an accident of birth; or

    (d) All of the above.

    If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:

    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;

    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;

    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or

    (d) my religious belief.

    Who am I? I don’t pay any taxes. I never have. Any money my organization earns is tax free and my own salary is also tax free, at the federal, state and local level. Despite contributing nothing to society, but still enjoying all its benefits, I feel I have the right to tell others what to do. I am

    (a) A sleazy Wall Street banker

    (b) A mafia boss

    (c) A drug pusher; or

    (d) A Catholic Priest, Protestant Minister or Jewish Rabbi.

    What do the following authors all have in common – Jean Paul Sartre, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, John Milton, John Locke, and Blaise Pascal:

    (a) They are among the most gifted writers the World has known;

    (b) They concentrated on opposing dogma and opening the human mind and spirit to the wonders of free thought and intellectual freedom;

    (c) They were intimidated by the Catholic Church and put on the Church’s list of prohibited authors; or

    (d) All of the above.

    The AIDS epidemic will kill tens of millions in poor African and South American countries before we defeat it. Condoms are an effective way to curtail its spread. As the Pope still has significant influence over the less educated masses in these parts of the World, he has exercised this power by:

    (a) Using some of the Vatican’s incomprehensible wealth to educate these vulnerable people on health family planning and condom use;

    (b) Supporting government programs that distribute condoms to high risk groups;

    (c) Using its myriad of churches in these regions to distribute condoms; or

    (d) Scaring people into NOT using condoms, based upon his disdainful and aloof view that it is better that a person die than go against the Vatican’s position on contraceptive use.

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

      Harsh, man. But I see your point.

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

      That was hilarious. Too bad CNN will drop it in a sec.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Puzzled in Peoria

      As if anyone is going to waste their time on your survey. So sad.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • SoSueMe

      I love you, Colin.

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

      Churches are not perfect, but I'm sure you are not either. Inform yourself about all the great things our church do everyday for the people in need, and then compare it to what you do. Only then you can talk! The peace of the Lord be with you.

      June 13, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  15. haggisdog

    This doesn't surprise me, as more information and knowledge becomes available the need to believe in a 'god' not only dissipates but there is more evidence that points to the fact that there isn't a 'god' just faith. Hopefully this means that soon we won't have to rely on our potential leaders relying on 'signs from god' to make their decisions.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  16. James Bond

    I'm sure you mean well but are some of you really so ignorant as to believe in fictional fairy tales like Santa Claus, God, or the Tooth Fairy? These are stories made up by people, an evident fact if you bothered to spend some time thinking about it and doing research. The God stories are not even consistent (even the Christian ones are not consistent) and are clearly made up. Where is the evidence for your God? Of course there is none other than your need for a simple explanation, but even as simple explanations go it fails. If the universe needs a creator to explain how it came into being then God would need a creator as well. So, who created God? Even you know that it was people who created God as a fictional character to star in an inconsistent set of 'holy books.' I do feel sorry for you religious types, but unfortunately for all of us your religion has caused countless suffering for many while providing misguided comfort only to those desperate for a fairy tale explanation to make their little lives make sense.

    Yours truly,

    James Bond

    June 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  17. Joe Bloggs

    My religion is Earth. I pray for the Earth I live on, which gives me life. I pray to the Sun, which lights up our world and gives us warmth. I also pray to the moon, which gives us normalized tides. And gravity, and the periodic table, and everything else that sustains life for us.

    The true god is the world around us. This is the one that we all pray to, without knowing it. And with all this climate change, we are all destroying our true ancestor.

    June 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  18. edsr of Dallas

    Disbelief will continue to grow because our entire society is becoming more and more scientific and less and less religious. We, who believe in God, feel that God created man. The problem exists also that man created God.No one will ever no the truth until they pass over to the other side. No one has answers. Science certainly does not because they cannot get to square one which is.....who created that terrible void where all of creation came from? It all comes down to a simple question....what came first, the chicken or the egg? Christians believe they came at the same time. We will ALL know sooner or later.

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

      If we don't know, and we can't know, then why do you believe?

      June 12, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  19. PraiseTheLard

    I wonder which "god" they had in mind when they conducted this poll... I doubt Vishnu would be amused...

    June 12, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  20. JE

    "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." – C.S. Lewis

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

      Utterly useless false dichotomy. Facile nonsense. C.S. Lewis was blinded by faith.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Actually, I can call Jesus anything I want to. My biggest complaint against the guy, is his lying. There was no flood. Jesus said there was one. Either he wasn't god, or he was god and he lied in a rather stupid manner. I'd rather just assume that the guy was a well-meaning "prophet" (as many of his time and era) and leave it at that. Deal?

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

      Lunatic, Liar, Lord... He must be one of those three. Well, no, because you/re missing another possibility, Legend.

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

      @ Moby
      You know what my biggest problem with the guy is? No one knows sh!t about him because the Bible was made up years after his death (if he ever existed) by dudes who didn't know him.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      C.S. Lewis missed the obvious choice. Legend....like Paul Bunyen.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:24 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.