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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.”

Atheist group targets Muslims, Jews with ‘myth’ billboards in Arabic and Hebrew

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. tensai13

    Americans are so "rock solid" in their "God" delusion that they have to have it printed on their money.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • New Yorker

      It's not only printed in our money; it's also our official national motto. It's in our pledge, it's in our federal/court buildings 🙂

      June 13, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Patrick

      Welcome to the West Middle East.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Dan W

      There is a creator. Rather than spending your time arguing with believers, why not try to understand them? The fact that you are using Psychology terminology to describe the G-d experience shows how incompatible science and faith currently are. Science only believes what it sees, and it doesn't see anything until it figures out that there is something to look for. We can 'see' x-rays because technology was developed to monitor them, but we don't know what we're looking for to see G-d. There will come a day when religion and science will be one and the same. When that day comes we will all be scientists and believers.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • Patrick

      Why believe something you cannot "see" (as you claim science does)?

      Why do you think we don't understand theists?

      June 13, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Cq

      Dan W
      Why would you believe in something that you cannot see, or otherwise sense? If we don't know what we're looking for to see God how does anyone know such a thing even exists?

      June 13, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  2. Mike

    Epicurius (341-270 BC)-"Then why call him God?"
    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God?
    Sounds convincing to me as well as The Problems of Evil.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • Rick James

      Epicurus destroyed the Palestinian concept of God years before they fully made him up

      June 13, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  3. Pope on a Rope

    What's more disturbing is an alarming number of children under age 12 doubt the existence of Santa Claus.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • New Yorker

      Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ.

      BTW did you know who Santa Claus really was? He was a bishop that lived in Myra (Now Turkey)
      Go get educated your i.diot

      June 13, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • Rick James

      Not really. It was a pagan holiday that Christians took up to attract more followers. Christ wasn't born in the winter, but rather April, as some believe. And since it's faith, any belief can be justified by just believing.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Patrick

      What are the numbers on the Easter Bunny?

      June 13, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  4. .

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uuc2aWJnmQ8&w=640&h=360]

    June 13, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      ew disgusting! christians are such sado-masochists, they just love suffering and pain. how gross. can't believe parents took their kids to see that awful film. sure, they rail hollywood about violent movies and then a movie which is basically an hour long torture scene they gleefully show to their kids. how terrible. children who saw that probably need counseling. and mel gibson, creator of this garbage, sure turned out to be a jew hating, ego maniac, domestic abuser. nice job, mel!

      June 13, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • tensai13

      I watched the first 10 minutes but lost it when Jesus stomped that poor snake. What a monster!

      June 13, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  5. Atheist mom

    Sad to see that over 90% of American's still believe in God and 80% Christians 😮

    June 13, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Dan W

      There is a creator. It is not sad that there are believers and non-believers, it's sad that with or without a creator we can't figure out how to get along and treat each other with respect.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      it's not really true. there are countless closeted atheists. we need to come out and be proud of our non-belief. also, there are tons of people that are atheists in all but lip service, "yes i'm a christian, but i have never read the bible and haven't been to church since i was a kid." yeah, you sound like a christian. some estimates say atheism is closer to 20% and is the fastest growing belief/non-belief system in america. so have heart, sister, it's happening. this article should give you hope, the youth aren't drawn in by the snake oil of religion anymore. they are our future.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Jeff

      How dare you not believe in a man-made myth! And I see you're a mom, so you're probably teaching your kids the worst thing imaginable...reason and critical thinking! 🙂

      June 13, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Aezel

      "There is a creator."

      Okay. You are making a positive claim vs. the atheist position of neutrality. Prove your claim or shut up.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Susan

      Dan W
      It's religion that divides people most.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Patrick

      We are a puritanical society dealing with a fundamentalist resurgence starting its fourth decade now. The movement is in the right direction, and in the right age group.

      Have faith.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Mike

      @Dan W

      The problem is, when we don't find a logical answer, we settle for a stupid one ie God/religion.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • Dan W

      You are blaming G-d and Religion for what people are responsible for doing. People come up with all kinds of justifications for abusing and scapegoating others, just because they use these texts and the idea of G-d as a weapon, doesn't mean that they are. It's like if I threw a rock through a window and you refused to blame me and insisted that the rock was at fault for the broken window. One thing we as humans need to work on is personal accountability. When I do something wrong and pray about it, that doesn't make it ok. When you do something wrong, allow yourself to feel bad about it, remember it always, learn from your mistakes and choose not to repeat them.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  6. Jeff

    The athiest-bashers have come out to show their intolerance for other people's beliefs. Bet you are the same lot that spews all that "freedom of religion" rhetoric, too. Hypocrisy at its finest!

    June 13, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Dan W

      Troll bait – – All you're practicing is 'eye for an eye'. Refrain from bashing anyone, even if you just got bashed.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Jeff

      Thanks for the tip, Dan. But I'm not responding to anyone's bash of me (didn't even see a post directed at me). My point is that it frequently seems to be those who espouse "religious freedoms" who are the first to condemn those of us who don't follow their same beliefs.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  7. unblvble

    You dont believe in marriage, you dont believe in god, you believe in gayism, what is happening to US and europe? do you want Islam to take over the world?

    June 13, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Jeff

      You realize how ridiculous that statement was. Islam has a lot more in common with your religion than it has to no-religion.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Dan W

      Troll Bait – – Please refrain from egging on Islamaphobia.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Susan

      What sane person would want any religion to take over the world?

      June 13, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • Patrick

      Given that the Koran includes Jesus as a prophet and the Virgin Mary, it is no more desirable.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  8. Mike

    There's nothing in this universe that can't be explained, eventually.

    Faith, that's another word for ignorance, isn't it?

    Faith isn't based on logic and experience.

    Rational arguments don't usually work on religious people, otherwise there would be no religious people.

    Christian dogma has convinced too many people into believing that mitzvahs (good works) have no meaning without their Jesus fealty pledge. Many people perform good works simply for the sake of doing them, not in hopes of some reward like salvation; selfless people are good for goodness sake and nothing else.

    The problem is, when we don't find a logical answer, we settle for a stupid one aka religion/God

    June 13, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  9. shawbrooke

    The existence of God can neither be proven nor unproven. So both atheists and faith groups are faith groups.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Dan W

      The creator is knowable, but not through computers and cameras. Work on bettering yourself for the whole of your life, and though you will go through ups and downs when you approach the end of your work you will know the Creator.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • manbearpig

      Yes, and anyone who doesn't believe in the Easter Bunny is a part of a faith group.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Aezel

      The existence of unicorns on the far side of Pluto can not be proven or unproven. Which faith do you belong to? Unicornians or Aunicornians?

      June 13, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Dan W

      Suspend your disbelief and stop insisting on circular logic. Comparing Unicorns to the Creator is inflammatory and will only lead to ill feelings. If you don't believe then spend your energy on something productive. Ultimately you are spending just as much time as you would perusing the creator, but instead of looking for answers, you're developing a negative based rhetoric that only fuels arguments. Seek understanding, not dispute. Moral of the story, you're still spending as much time working towards G-d as believers, you're just at a different intersection in life.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Cq

      The existence of any god can neither be proven nor unproven, but that hasn't stopped most people from dismissing 99.99% of them as pure fiction. To me, it seems more logical and rational to go the extra 0.01% than to make special pleading for one god just because he's still popular.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  10. shawbrooke

    Secular atheist groups. Just shows that atheists are a belief group just like every other faith.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • Drew

      if atheists were a faith group then how could they be "secular?"

      June 13, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Mike

      Right and bald has been declared a hair color.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Dan W

      There will always be believers and non-believers, even when faced with the global revelation of the creator.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Susan

      Dan W
      What gets me is that there are still believers after 2000 years of failed "global revelation of the creator."

      June 13, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • Dan W

      I'm not surprised at all. It takes more than 2000 years for the evolution of our species to be complete. If we don't come together as a single people and stop fighting and tearing each other down, we're going to tear the world to pieces.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:54 am |
  11. sriraa

    Specific mythology could be doubted. But the idea that some superior Consciousness and Intelligence is guiding the formation of the universe and evolution of life, cannot be doubted. Science does not conflict with this basic philosophy. Check out Anthropic Principle and Gaia Hypothesis.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Anything that cannot be tested for verification can be doubted. Don't be silly.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      well obviously it can be doubted. i doubt it. show your evidence, some substantial proof. if you have none, then it can be doubted.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • MT

      "Consciousness and Intelligence is guiding the formation of the universe and evolution of life, cannot be doubted."

      Of course it can. The moment you say it cannot, you are exposing the very weakness in your argument that makes theism utter nonsense: you begin with an unproven, unprovable assumption, accept it is true, and construct an entire belief system on it. The very foundation of your argument results in an unavoidable collapse of the belief system when exposed to even the most simple application of the scientific method.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • howart Dao

      None of that silly new age thingy for me either. Although they are rather more entertaining than any religious dogma

      June 13, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • Mike

      The problem is, when we don't find a logical answer, we settle for a stupid one aka religion/God

      June 13, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Susan

      It's philosophy, not science. Oy!

      June 13, 2012 at 12:47 am |
  12. Mahmud

    May Allah kill all who don't believe in him insallah....... come here to Pakistan and you will have your head cut off

    June 13, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • howart Dao

      Dumham

      June 13, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • TheBob

      Fukallah, inshallah. Al fukaha subhanallah. I enjoy seeing pakistan get f__ked by our drones everyday.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  13. Timetraveler

    Hmmm, maybe the millennials aren't as stupid as we thought they were. Maybe there is hope for the future.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • TheBob

      Another illiterate retard who has never read a single word of the writings of the Founding Fathers. Keep stewing in blissful your stupidity.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      @TheBob

      How proud your god must be of you and your representation of his nature and will.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • Dan W

      There is a creator. Stop looking for Him using computers and subatomic smashing machines.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • TheBob

      @Moby Schtick: My reply was intended for "Manny" below, but somehow ended up under Timetraveler. My sincere apologies to Timetraveler. We're on the same side.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  14. Manny

    Atheists... next time you look at the year of 2012.... think what year that refers too 🙂
    Shame on you for using it too.... Shame on you using US Dollars.... Shame on you living in America

    June 13, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • howart Dao

      If it is the end, sorry the Mayans already got it figured out a long long time ago, no need for Revelation 🙂

      June 13, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Rick James

      1. Everyone uses the year 2012, even people of different faiths.

      2. You must be a clown if you think that an atheist would not have cash on him just because of 4 words.

      3. The US is a secular nation, sorry to say. I can believe( or not believe) anything I god dam.n well please.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Really?

      Rick James:

      The Gregorian calendar is created by Pope Gregory after approx. year of the birth of Christ.
      It is used by the majority of World's countries, but there are also Islamic, Jewish, Chinese etc. calendars too.

      If it's only 4 "words", why are nonbelievers upset over trying to get it removed from the currency????????

      June 13, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      why do you think? separation of church and state. i don't trust god. he's a maniac that's drowned millions, killed babes, asked his followers to sacrifice their children to him, and all sorts of other blood thirsty acts. why would anyone trust a megalomaniac like yahweh? so yes, atheists want it removed from money. and you realize it wasn't always on american currency?

      June 13, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Rick James

      Really- I know that people use different calenders. The point is that 2012 is a standard year used because it is puts everyone on the same pages. Just like using English to conduct business between each other.

      And as about the currency, "In God We Trust" wasn't put there until the '50s. I personally won't lose sleep over it, but as far as I can tell, it was never meant to be there.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Mike

      @Manny shame on you for violating the First Amendment.
      Since when is being religious a requirement to be a citizen of the United States? You must be a resident in one of the bible belt states, hence your foolish argument.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Agnostic

      "Seperation of Church and State" is all BS

      If we really had one God would not be on our money, federal buildings, court houses and no Christian holidays.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • New Yorker

      bootyfunk @

      I really hope that you do not really mean it. If I were you I would wash my face, ask for forgiveness and start praying.
      Have you heard about the New testament?

      June 13, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Rick James

      New Yorker, the new testament is filled with lots of contradiction between the Gospels and a lot of weird stuff in Revelation. Why follow the New Testament at all?

      June 13, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • TheBob

      Another illiterate retard who has never read a single word of the writings of the Founding Fathers. Keep stewing in blissful stupidity.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Cq

      Manny
      Shame on you for even getting up on most days of the week, seeing that they are named after pagan gods and all. Silly argument.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Get Real

      Manny:

      The B.C./A.D dating system was the brainchild of a monk named Dionysius in the 6th century. The Church was very powerful in those days and controlled many aspects of society... still, his dating system took hundreds of years (nearly 1000) to be inst-ituted world-wide. Many cultures still keep their ancient calendars going on the side.

      Then again...

      Every week (52 times per year) in English-speaking places we have:
      Tuesday = Tiu's day (Norse god)
      Wednesday = Woden's day (Norse god)
      Thursday = Thor's day (Norse god)
      Friday = Frigga's day (Norse goddess)
      Saturday = Saturn's day (Roman god)
      And every year:
      January = in honor of Janus (Roman god)
      February = Roman purification rite, februa
      March = in honor of Mars (Roman god)
      April = in honor of Aphrodite (Greek goddess)
      May = in honor of Maia (Roman goddess)
      June = in honor of Juno (Roman goddess)
      A lot of hoopla for those gods and goddesses. I guess that means that they were/are all real too then, eh?

      June 13, 2012 at 2:54 am |
  15. Top_News

    CNN is the only media I know that has a religion blog. And a majority, if not all, of the articles printed tend to be negative on anyone's beliefs. Drop it, CNN. All you're doing is reporting your opinions.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Stir caz

      How else would closet atheists express their satanic view?!

      June 13, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      negative. haha, yeah right. there's tons of positive stories posted on CNN. and honestly, when there's what you call a 'negative' story, it always tip toes around religion, giving respect where it's not due. and if you guys could keep your religious leaders from molesting children, bashing g.ay rights, women's rights, etc., perhaps you wouldn't make the news.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      @stir caz

      you're statement doesn't make any sense. we have 'satanic' views - but we don't believe in satan, because we're atheists. derp!

      June 13, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Mike

      @Top_News aka FoxNews

      June 13, 2012 at 12:33 am |
  16. In God We Trust

    HAHA at least we have our God in the US Dollars.... what do you nonbelievers have? No sh.it because you don't deserve anything but being put in concentration camps to get your brain fixed!

    June 13, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      you'll cry one day in the future when that's removed. hehe.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Stir caz

      Sure it will be removed. Good Luck with that and keep dreaming your moron

      June 13, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Varlund

      Go ahead and try to put us in camps, fascist! They'll have to be death camps, though. I'll kill myself before I'll let anyone torture me into believing lies.
      Go to China. They like putting people in camps. You'd fit right in.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      yeah, i'm sure they thought that about the 10 commandments and other christian cr@p that's been removed from courthouses. lol.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Atheist mom

      boot

      Where is God and Christian stuff removed? I see it everywhere in my city's courthouse, federal buildings etc.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  17. In God We Trust

    HAHA at least we have our God in the US Dollars.... what do you nonbelievers have? No sh.it because you don't deserve anything but being put in concentration camps to get your brain fixed

    June 13, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Dan W

      Love thy neighbor as thy self. The only way you can fix other people is by fixing yourself. When people or things both you, the universe is pointing out where you need to change, not where things and people need to change.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:21 am |
  18. In God We Trust

    Few 100% true Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:...

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you angry, stupid, brainwashed, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet Atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists are misguided and causes problem in our religious & public society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Stalin, Hitler (Denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders.
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most Atheists are uneducated... No Atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
    **Only 2-3% of the U.S. are Atheists/Agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**

    † † Our Prayers goes to Atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator † †

    PS! the USA is a † nation and will always be. You know it's true and stop being ignorant and arrogant!
    (Take a look at our federal/state holidays, 99% of our presidents, blue laws in parts of the nation, the majority of people, some laws, calendar, culture, etc.)
    http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7

    ...............................................

    June 13, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      someone slipped over the wall at the asylum again.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • howart Dao

      Hate to bust your enthusiasm but the Pope's Catholics and the Muslims are the fastest growing groups ... Protestants may feel what is like to be minority wink, wink.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Hahahhaha

      Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!

      June 13, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Deez

      Go ahead and believe in your God, but at least understand what it means to be Atheist. Nothing you listed is true!

      June 13, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • tensai13

      "Atheists commit the most crime" Really? Visit any American Jail or Prison you like, they are spilling over with the religious and incarcerated atheists are as rare as a Redneck with all his teeth.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  19. Love

    Thank God for the new testament and thank God for Jesus Christ.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • The_Mick

      I thank Jesus for Jesus. But, like Thomas Jefferson who wrote a Bible treating Jesus as a non-deity, I think he was a very insightful man whose philosophy has led many to a better life. Nevertheless, note that he was a practicing Jew until his death and NEVER recommended that anyone follow a non-Jewish religion. It wasn't until the Council of Jerusalem, around the year 52 CE, that it was decided (by James, not Peter, according to Acts of the Apostles) that Christians didn't have to obey all Jewish rules. Note, by the way that Josephus -who lived in Jerusalem at the time- in his Histories of the Jews said that James "the brother of Jesus" was the head of the Christians, not Peter. The Romans wiped out all the small sects during the Jewish Revolt around 70 CE, including the Jerusalem Christian leaders, and the center of Christianity shifted to Greece and Rome and Paul and Peter. That is why we get all the pro-Peter propaganda in the Gospels.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  20. howart Dao

    A pious conquistador kills a native child. The pious guy get to go into heaven because he prays incessantly. The child goes to hell because he doesn't know Jeseus. What is WRONG with this picture and the whole dogma of the Abrahmic GoD ???

    June 13, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • numberthedays

      Which faith in particular teaches that a "pious guy" goes to heaven merely for praying incessantly? Certainly not Christianity, which generally argues that humans cannot earn salvation on their own–even by praying incessantly.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:31 am |
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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.