home
RSS
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.

Atheist organizer takes ‘movement’ to nation’s capital

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.”

Atheist rally continues in spite of rain; students highlighted throughout

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. Laura

    I have tried to believe in god and I just plain don't. I don't see it as a choice, my brain needs evidence to believe in the supernatural and I see no evidence of god whatsoever. To me, it is all just a big fairy tale that people tell themselves. People who pray may as well be praying to Tinkerbell. Religion/spirituality is little more than putting a lot of energy into nothing.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:43 am |
    • Atheist4Evr

      Please populate the world...we need more sound-minded and rational-thinking people like you to breed religion off the face of the earth. 🙂

      June 13, 2012 at 6:55 am |
  2. Colin

    First, foffe, it actually could all happen on its own. Quantum fluctuations are sufficient to bring a Universe into existence provided the overall energy in the system is zero. With the discovery of dark matter and dark energy, it appears that is very plausible.

    Second, there are other alternatives; (i) the Universe we live in is one of an infinite number stretching back in time with no start in time, but a series of expansions and contractions; (ii) we are one of an infinite number of universes in a multiverse; or (iii) the Universe exists in a steady state stretching back in time with no beginning and no big bang. The latter is not well accepted as a viable theory nowadays, but it cannot be conclusively ruled out.

    But, none of this necessitates a resort to magic and gods.

    Now, my questions.

    Let's pretend you are right and there is no alternative other than a superior intelligence in creating the Universe 13,720,000,000 years ago. How in hell do you get from there to Bronze Age Palestinian mythology about Yahweh and Jesus? This is just one of thousands of beliefs on one of 2 billion planets in one of 2 billion galaxies. I mean, come off it!!

    Second, if a universe required a creator, who created the creator? If your answer is "he was always there" why not just say the Universe was always there.

    I am sorry, but far from presenting a conundrum for atheists, the Big Bang pretty much rules out your Bronze Age Palestinian sky-fairy as the answer.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • mudfoot

      What's dark matter? What's dark energy? How do these things operate? Have you seen or touched these things? So I guess YOU also believe in things you can't see, touch OR understand!!!!

      June 13, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • Colin

      oh please. There is significant evidence for their existence, not least of which is their cu.mulative effects on the expansion of the Universe. I did not look them up in a 2,000 year old collection of silly Middle Eastern mythology full of talking snakes, the dead rising, seas splitting and all the animals in the World on an ark.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:45 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      So if we are to accept the existence of dark matter and energy based upon their effects on the expansion of the universe, can we then accept a Divine God based on his effects on creation? If so, I submit that when people report the certainty of God within their heart that this is quantifiable evidence within the parameters of your criteria

      June 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  3. Alex

    I have seen this debate for almost 60 years. So I made the decision to believe in God. I figure what does it hurt? If I am wrong and there is NO God then I will just die and fade into oblivion like everyone else.
    However, if I am right and there is a God and an after life then I will be fine but those who don't believe will have the problem. Either way, believing in God seems the best way to go since regardless of the truth it is a WIn WIn situation as opposed to non believers being in a Win Lose situation.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:31 am |
    • Colin

      Yes Alex, the same iron clad logic led me to believe in Allah. Then Shiva got mad at me and God was furious. Spin the wheel and see what god it stops on. Any god will do?

      June 13, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • sam stone

      What if you believe in the wrong one?

      June 13, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      wrong.

      that's pascal's wager, french philosopher. look up the holes in that theory.
      1) it's not a 50-50 guess, atheist or christian. there are thousands of gods, a mult.itude of kinds of christianity. what if it's allah? or vishnu? osiris? odin? raiden? quetzalcoatl? what if... it's a god of logic that says he was testing us. if we came to the conclusion that he didn't exist, then when we die we get into his logic only heaven. if you did believe in god, since he gave you no proof - you go to ignorance hell. what if my dog is god?

      2) if your cousin joined a cult and lived by wacky rules his whole life, some of which were very self-destructive and prejudicial, would you say he gave up nothing by being a member? same goes to christianity, just another cult. they teach people to hate g.ays. that's not a bad thing?

      many more reasons pascal's wager doesn't hold water.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:37 am |
    • Kris

      Coward. If God is real I don't like his SOPs.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:49 am |
  4. gad attias

    its natural for us to question everything. we are growing more and more inquisitive with time.
    let us not digress, this is not an "issue" it just means more people need to understand their existence better and need time to explore their inner beings. everyone will find their own "god" at some point

    June 13, 2012 at 6:29 am |
  5. Jesus Is Lord

    Jesus is the answer. He is the ONLY way to the Father in Heaven. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent, obey and be saved!

    June 13, 2012 at 6:25 am |
    • wasso

      Actually, from research on the subject, the human brain is hardwired to believe in God. Atheists are simply trying to rewire.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:29 am |
    • LT

      Amen!!!! and AMEN!!!!!!!!

      June 13, 2012 at 6:29 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      Revelation 2:23, Jesus said:
      'And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.'

      uh oh, looks like Jesus is a baby killer. don't think i'll have him over for dinner.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:29 am |
    • yeenko

      Wait a minute, according to bootyjunk and Colin you are only believing one persons word ... Gods Word... your also giving only one choice and assuming people want to listen... They dont understand God , so they will settle with making up one in their own head.. atheism

      June 13, 2012 at 6:33 am |
    • sam stone

      Free people do not need to be saved, only slaves do

      June 13, 2012 at 6:36 am |
    • OneOf

      This approach has driven more people away from God than most. Would a true God originate such a divisive "magnet"? I doubt it and so I doubt the validity of such biblical claims. God isn't subtle or tricky, but rather as pervasive as the air we breath or the atoms we are made of. We feel his presence, but just can't see him and so we make stuff up. The fires of hell – what loving father would devise such a fate for nearly all of his children? Such preachings are so often attributed to God and yet are so obviously non-Godlike in origin. You are wrong, but the good news is that there's no hell awaiting you for getting it wrong. We will all return to whence we came, and therein lies the mystery.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:54 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "Wait a minute, according to bootyjunk and Colin you are only believing one persons word ... Gods Word... your also giving only one choice and assuming people want to listen... They dont understand God , so they will settle with making up one in their own head.. atheism"

      Too bad "gods word" is not really the word of god but the words of fallible humans over a long period of time, then edited by more humans to fit their agenda. Time to research the history of your religion.

      June 13, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  6. foffe1

    Atheists will call a genius a scientist who claims that the whole universe which is made up of billions of galaxies and trillions of stars and planets was compacted into a space smaller than a pin head before the Big Bang. But will call a man a fool for believing that a superior intelligence or God designed and created everything that exists. BTW, atheists claim that God does not exist because we can't see Him. I don't see the brains of atheists, so it must mean they don't have one.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:19 am |
    • Jesus Is Lord

      Keep praying for the atheists in your life.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:22 am |
    • wasso

      I am sure even an Atheist would call out to God if his/her plane is in a nosedive !

      June 13, 2012 at 6:26 am |
    • yeenko

      Now your talking...... nice thing is as you can read the many Rage comments of people who not only deny God but hate others who know and love Him... they hate Him, yet he says of them.. "God is not willing that any Perish, but that all should come to repentance."

      June 13, 2012 at 6:27 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      "BTW, atheists claim that God does not exist because we can't see Him. I don't see the brains of atheists, so it must mean they don't have one."

      awwww, look who uses third grade logic. lol.

      there is proof for the big bang. look it up. it's true. empirical proof. again, there is ZERO proof for god. see a difference? of course you don't. you don't have a frontal lobe.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:27 am |
    • Colin

      foffe – well, that is what the evidence, such as the uniform background microwave radiation, the Hubble red shift and the preponderence of hydrogen in the cosmos suggests. It may be wrong, but the default is not a god. That is pure mythology

      June 13, 2012 at 6:28 am |
    • sam stone

      foffe: do you see your own brain?

      June 13, 2012 at 6:37 am |
    • Atheist4Evr

      That has to be the STUPIDEST thing I have read lately...you don't have a brain because I can't see it!? Really? LOL! You theists are so out of excuses to prove your god it's not even funny. It's good to see the younger generations moving passed your ignorant dogma and embracing reason and intelligence as a means to go through life. Your religion is dying. Thank your god (and its moronic followers) for that.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:40 am |
  7. rdshal

    It does not really matter if god exists or not since each person is free to act, and expect to be rewarded, according to his/her belief. The core issue is belief itself, and how it's radical interpretation is too often terribly misused to fulfill human agendas and enforce conformity.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:18 am |
  8. PEDO-BEAR

    The current church's belief system is just Ancient Greek Mythology 2.0! You have your main Zues (God) and his support staff of dieties (the numerous Saints for evey possible thing out there). I am suprised the mindless sheep have never picked up on this. All the current church did was rehash the old Ancient Greek gods into fitting in with the society's needs at the time. Nothing more nothing less.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:14 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Except we know that the Saints really lived.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  9. Josef Bleaux

    Christianity, like all religions, is nothing more than ancient mythology, written thousands of years ago by members of a primitive society in an effort to explain existence and comfort people in the face of their mortality. I've read both the old and new testaments cover to cover. I've read many other religious texts as well. They're all just ancient mythology from primitive cultures, nothing more. Period.

    When I look around, I don't see a god flying around in a cloud or pillar of fire, I don't see sticks turning into snakes, I don't see rivers turning to blood or wine, seas parting, etc. etc. If that stuff was real and happened then, it would be happening now. I don't see miracles happening, all I see is a lot of ignorant people blindly accepting ancient mythology as fact, while rejecting modern scientific knowledge. If people would use their brains for a change, THINK about it using logic, reason and objectivity, then they would understand that it's just old myths. It's just so utterly obvious.
    What religion you are is mostly determined by where you were born and which mythology you’ve been indoctrinated with since birth. That right there should tell you it’s not real.
    All the gods that have been worshipped throughout history would fill 10 football stadiums, but of course everyone believes that THEIRS is the only one that’s real. It’s just all so stupid.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:14 am |
    • Colin

      Agreed. When you read these "sacred texts" they are obviously ancient regional mythology. Either that or all the Christian god created the Universe, sat back and waited 13,720,000,000 years then sent his "son" to the Middle East to talk about sheep and goats.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:18 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      when a cult becomes accepted by society, it becomes a religion. when a religion has no more cult members to worship, it becomes a mythology. christianity is on its way.

      buh-bye.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:19 am |
    • LT

      "Logic" "Reason" AND "Science" says that nothing can come from nothing. From nothing shall nothing come. If there was ever NOTHING, there would STILL be NOTHING. Matter CAN NOT create itself in and of itself. Nothing can come from Nothing. Explosion into a Universe??? What caused the explosion??? Where did the matter that exploded come from??? If there is existence PERIOD... the law of causality DEMANDS an ETERNAL and INTELLIGENT SOURCE. If there is existence which there certainly is God MUST be. God has no beginning and he certainly has no end. ALL that exists did NOT create itself. Absolutely RIDICULOUS!!!!!! AND ILLOGICAL!!!!! God is eternal but you are not. Don't worry about your science. I would think about my end if I were you.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:25 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      where did god come from? he come from nothing?

      June 13, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • LT

      Bootyfunk, God has no beginning. Why will you not just except his perfect love for you?

      June 13, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      LT – You really are brainwashed with that ignorant nonsense aren't you. You're pathetic.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:55 am |
    • richunix

      Says it the best:

      Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

      June 13, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • WASP

      @LT
      "Bootyfunk, God has no beginning. Why will you not just except his perfect love for you?
      June 13, 2012 at 6:40 am"

      you just explained how the universe was created, congrats. no one claimed the universe had a beginning or a definite end; just how the seasons cycle through the universe does the same. explode, expand, slow, cool, retreat, collapse, condense........repeat. for all we know as scienctists the "universe" has done this billions of times.
      "god's perfect love" hmmmm let me think? nope if the only way to recieve love is to live in submission to him and attempt to get others to submit, nah i'll stick with the logical side of my brain.

      June 13, 2012 at 7:55 am |
  10. Josef Bleaux

    Younger generations are usually more intelligent and open minded than prior generations. So it stands to reason that a lot of them would reject ancient mythology and superst!tion in favor of logic, reason and science.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:09 am |
    • moina G

      The reason the numbers are up is because youth are influenced by the media which is horrifically biased against any sort of faith. The sad reality is that many youth are no longer taught to think for themselves. They eat rhetoric without any real analysis. Most young people of this generation have not lived through any real hardship to the point where they start asking the big questions. They rarely see death and live in a shelter of constant entertainment. When you really start to ask the big questions you find yourself either standing in awe of the world with every created detailed wonder or you find yourself facing complete and utter despair. Science cannot disprove the existence of God. In fact science, I believe only points to the existence of a divine creator by the sheer intricacy and detail that is constantly being uncovered. You can say that it is an accident or you can say it is deliberate design. What you ultimately believe about the matter has been and will always be a matter of faith.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      No longer taught to think for themselves??? Hah, just the opposite. Instead of blindly accepting ancient mythology as fact, they're open minded and thinking for themselves instead of letting an archaic old book of nonsense do their thinking for them.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:56 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      BWAHAHAHA! GOOD ONE!

      June 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  11. LT

    Doubt of God growing??? Nothing could be further from the truth. The Gospel of Jesus Christ continues to rapidly cover the earth. And millions of people continue to come to faith in Christ every day. Sure, life is hard in this world, but as people are beginning to discover, and for some, to re-discover the Word of God, they are realizing that this present world is only temporary. All that is now will come to an end. Because our eternity where we will be forever in the presence of God are Creator, awaits us after this life.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:09 am |
    • Atheist4Evr

      LOL! You mean the gospel of jesus is FORCED upon others across the globe.

      By the way...you do know that Islam is the fastest growing religion, right? Your jesus is a fading memory. Hopefully in 100 years, he'll be talkers about only in history books as a false prophet and as a wasted ideology that oppressed humans for 2100 years.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • I Believe

      AMEN..........Only intelligent post on the whole website.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      LOL Atheist thinks the Gospel is being FORCED on people and can't wait until Christianity fades away. Then he and his atheists buddies can have a logical discussion on the nature of God with Islam. If you were truly logical and cared for your comfortable, free and tolerant western civilization, you'd race right down and join the first church you came to.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  12. Justin H

    I am probably different from most atheists in that religion has never had anything to do with why I don't believe in a god. I am a science minded person; I believe the natural laws of the universe are the only explanation we need to understand the universe. I believe the answers we don't currently have will be discovered by science, not by attributing them to some god. And I am perfectly content to accept "I don't know" as an answer for things I don't know or understand.

    Rejecting the idea of god is simply a byproduct of a world view based in science. If science can help me understand things like life, the Earth, and the universe, what reason would I have to attribute those things to a god for which there is no evidence of existence.

    I used to be content to leave the religious to their beliefs and keep mine to myself. But I see the harm religion does and I can't keep to myself. I see (and hear) the vile things people say and do in the name of religion – the way they treat people from different religions or who have a lifestyle they don't approve of. I see the close-mindedness when religious people stick to their faith in the face of overwhelming evidence their faith is wrong. And I see the wars people fight in the name of religion.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:09 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Well the wars you decry, specifically the Crusades, were fought to prevent medieval Islam from taking over Europe. Would you prefer that war had not been fought so that you could live in a society that would behead you for your current mindset?

      June 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  13. Colin

    I have never read a convincing arument for the existence of god. The arguments are either silly mind games (the cosmological argument or the ontological argument, for example) or simple "god of the gaps" arguments where we use "god" to plug something we don't know yet. Examples of the latter are, "you can't explain where life on Earth came from, therefore [the Christian] god did it" or "you can't explain what happened before the Big Bang, therefore [the Christian] god did it".

    Why is god considered an explanation for anything? It isn't. It is a cop out, a shrug of the sholders. All we have done is put a halo on a question mark and walked away from the challange.

    June 13, 2012 at 6:04 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      heya colin

      occam's razor - if it's unnecessary for the explanation, cut it away. god in not necessary for any explanation - get rid of him. and no, there is no convincing argument for god, none that logic doesn't tear apart.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:08 am |
    • yeenko

      Colin all thats left for you is to read Jerrico's post below and then cross your fingers

      June 13, 2012 at 6:10 am |
    • Colin

      Agreed bootyfunk. Silly stuff.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:10 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      read mine below too, yeenko.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:12 am |
    • Colin

      And will you be crossing your fingers Yeenko, given that you reject Shiva, Vishnu, Allah, Yahweh, and a thousand or so other gods?

      June 13, 2012 at 6:12 am |
    • RealMan

      Colin, read "Rumors of Another World" by Philip Yancey, then see what you think. It's not a in your face book or Hell and Damnation either. It just makes you think and you can come to your own conclusions.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:17 am |
    • yeenko

      Sounds like colin and bootyjunk are starting a Rage column

      June 13, 2012 at 6:18 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      yep. we rage against ignorance. so you better run and hide.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:20 am |
    • Colin

      yeenko, how quickly you resort to ad hominin attacks. Look, not believeing in the Christian god is no more an indication of a personality flaw than a failure to believe in Shiva or Vishnu is.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:21 am |
    • yeenko

      Sooo.. i was right.. lmao

      June 13, 2012 at 6:24 am |
  14. David Levant

    People,for the most part,have been denying the existence of a benevolent God for many generations.People became disillusioned,because of all the atrocities man has committed against one another.Newspapers once declared that"God is dead",but he is not.He is there for those who seek him.Wise men still do!

    June 13, 2012 at 6:03 am |
    • Shelley

      Just like Santa Claus is there for children who believe in him too.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:10 am |
  15. Jerrico

    it will continue to rise, but one thigh is for sure – at the deathbed, these people will change.
    I hope at that time, it will not be too late for them.

    June 13, 2012 at 5:56 am |
    • Colin

      Rarely happens, but even if it was common, that is no reason to believe in a god, it is a simple example of human infirmities.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:08 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      Delusional much?

      June 13, 2012 at 6:08 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      propaganda put out by the religious haters. they tried to say that cr@p with darwin. but his super fundie christian wife was there at his death bed and wrote that darwin never recanted. it's a silly attack to say atheists don't have conviction in their disbelief of your fairy tales and just untrue.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:11 am |
    • sam stone

      "one thigh for sure"?

      June 13, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • Thinker

      Possibly two thighs, but he can't be sure.

      June 13, 2012 at 7:39 am |
  16. M. Rose

    It truly ironic how someone who I assume believes she/he is open minded and good, can be so hateful toward Christians and believers with mean spiriting words such as we are believing in a "fairy tale". I respect all views and people of different viewpoints, and will not mock them. I was firm athiest but as person above, I now know that I know God is real, Christ is real, and He died for my sins – no reason to argue or debate specific scriptual references. My father, a college professor and firm atheist recently died, a good man with good belief, now does know the truth – we will all be in that position some. M. Rose, may God Bless you and show you the truth, God will if you ask.

    June 13, 2012 at 5:54 am |
    • Atheist4Evr

      Hateful towards Christians?? LOL! You remember the last Atheist Inquisition? Yeah, neither does nobody else. You remember the last time an abortion clinic was bombed in the name of atheism? Yeah, neither does nobody else. Christians and their ideology deserve nothing but ire. You do not follow the path of love; you follow the path of bigotry, hatred, and irrationality. Disguised by any other costume and you would hate yourself, too.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:50 am |
    • M. Rose

      The purges of Christians by the atheist governments of the U.S.S.R. under Stalin and Mao in China are just 2 examples of atheist slaughters. In certain countries today believing in God can cost one's job, freedom or even life. I've given you examples.

      Yes, much evil has been done by those claiming Christian authority, but they, like the communist regimes above, had ulterior motives for it that don't align with God: Personal and political power.

      I was referring to the hate spewing from the mouths of the atheists on this board who constantly complain about hatred towards others by Christians. I've stated this is unacceptable behavior by Christians. If you want me to take atheists seriously in these comments, do it without hate spewing towards Christians – otherwise you've become what you despise.

      June 13, 2012 at 7:58 am |
  17. k

    Believe what you will. But how many of you (believers and nonbelievers alike) have taken the time to read Irenaeus? Augustine? Or, better yet, Aquinas? (I suspect very few commenters here have read through the Summa Theologica). It's easy to dismiss a belief that seems foreign by simply saying, "that's stupid". But perhaps if you take the time to understand the arguments involved (for the existence of God), it won't be quite so foreign. And, just perhaps, you will be less dismissive. And look at it this way, even if you remain unconvinced, you will have read an exceedingly important piece of medieval literature. It's a win-win.

    June 13, 2012 at 5:51 am |
  18. RDM

    The religious believe, without any actual basis inf fact, that some all-powerful being suddenly appeared out of nothing, and created the whole universe and all life on earth out of nothing. I guess it is easier to believe that, than to just accept that we don't know – and probably won't ever know – where or how our universe and our existence started. To me, admitting that we don't know is better than just making something up!

    June 13, 2012 at 5:43 am |
    • yeenko

      the foolish believe also... that some speck of Dirt was magically transformed into everything you see today... they would rather prefer to honor that speck of dirt , rather than give God the glory and thank Him for giving us oxygen from that big explosion that never happened. I'm still waiting for a dark bug to evolve, there's been plenty of time.. A lightning bug gives off light at night time, wheres a darkening bug that gives off dark during the day? we've had Billions of years for one to evolve havent we? come on i want to believe Evolution, i want to believe that annual flowers somehow made it through Billions of years, even though they die every year... I want to believe that a coke can can evolve out of a speck of dirt if we just wait long enough....

      June 13, 2012 at 5:56 am |
    • k

      No. That's not what Christians (or, at least, Catholics) believe. The all powerful being (i.e., God) didn't simply come into being and then create everything else. Catholic theology clearly expresses that God has always existed and will always exist. Your argument is the concept of contingency. We in this world are all contingent beings (I am contingent on my parents ... they on their parents, etc.). We all come from some identifiable past. But at some point as you go back, something has to be "non-contingent". That's God! You are, of course, right in saying that "we don't completely understand". How could our finite minds truly grasp something as big and ubiquitous as the "prime mover"?

      June 13, 2012 at 6:01 am |
  19. yeenko

    This is no surprise, in fact God says this will happen in the last days, people will turn away from the Truth. Believing there is a God is no more difficult than believing that Inertia exist ! Just drive around a sharp curve and feel your body lean in the direction of the turn.... Interesting you have to experience in order to know it was there.... I can tell someone Inertia exists all day , but until they experience it they will not understand that it really does exist.. same goes for denying God, deny him all day doesn't mean hes not there. Poor Unfortunate souls..

    June 13, 2012 at 5:42 am |
    • keith a dewey

      So let me see if I got this? I can prove the force and demonstrate the effect of speed in a turn. I can show in a classroom the same. It is done everyday in HS classes. Now prove there are, which ever God you believe, God exists in a demo and in a class room. Your logic is proof that you can't think. Want to take up black cats crossing your path?

      June 13, 2012 at 6:00 am |
    • yeenko

      @ keith a dewey
      Also prove in a class room that we evolved from monkeys and that the world came from a big bang.. you obviously have formed you feeble mind in a class room, anything else you find in a class room? paint on the walls? Did that evolve? can you prove it didn't. God doesnt need to be proven here.. just like a building , what more proof can you give that there was a builder than the fact of the building itself... Now look at a photo of the world.. in a classroom if you like..

      June 13, 2012 at 6:06 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      yeenko, they've proven evolution. there is a mountain of evidence. seriously, take an evolutionary biology class – they can trace DNA markers. take an anthropology class, an archeology class, geology, social evolution, etc. all the sciences agree with one another 99.9% of the time. if you don't believe in evolution, you have to ignore tons and tons of available evidence that supports it - as compared to the zero evidence for the existence of your sky god.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:15 am |
    • k

      To Keith A Dewey: So it sounds like you want to use the scientific method to prove or disprove the existence of God, in much the same way that a HS physics teacher might demonstration Newton's laws. To begin, you misunderstand the nature of the issue. There are all kinds of problems that don't "fit" the scientific method. Moreover, important contributions by Archimedes, Homer, Aristotle, Aquinas, etc. were all done without the benefit of the modern scientific method. So get out of the mindset that God can be proved/disproved via a method that isn't well suited to theological argumentation. BUT if you want to have well reasoned arguments for God's existence ... you should read Thomas Aquinas. He offers five "proofs" (though "arguments" might be a better expression). They are found in his Summa Theologica.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:18 am |
    • Shelley

      You can't "prove" in your sense of the word either evolution or God. You can only look at evidence and draw conclusions. That is what scientists do. There are MOUNTAINS of physical evidence, backed up by genetics, for evolution. There is NONE for the existence of God or the creation myth from the bible. NONE.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:21 am |
    • yeenko

      @ bootyfunk
      . God created Adam as a mature middle aged man, The Bible doesnt say God created him as an infant.. therefore when God created a mountain or a rock etc, he could have created it as a mature "aged" mountain and of course if you examined it and tested it would show as being aged, when in fact it was just created.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:22 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      @ K
      you're making excuses for zero evidence. you bring up thomas aquinas. this "proofs" are easily refuted and proved illogical. you can look up thomas aquinas, but obviously not his critiques. whole papers have been written showing how bad his 'logic' is. are you unaware or purposely staying ignorant of the arguments that tear acquinas to shreds?

      June 13, 2012 at 6:24 am |
    • k

      Bootyfunk. You're right! There is a ton of evidence for evolution. And, while I can't speak for all Christian denominations, I can say that this is not incompatible with the Catholic tradition. So what if God works over millennia to create? What's a few millennia here or there to Him? He's timeless. Yes, yes, yes ... before you point to the book of Genesis, let me head you off at the pass. Genesis (again, in the Catholic tradition) should not be read as a scientific text. It's not. It's a theological text that tells us of God's love for us ... in that He created us out love, willing our good simply for our own good [what could we possibly offer Him?]. And, as for the evidence for God, look around you brother! I'm a scientist and it is simply inconceivable that the level of mathematical precision that governs the world we live in is purely the result of random chance. The probability is astronomically low. Here's an analogy. I could throw paint at a canvas from 10 feet away. This random process could, statistically, lead to me creating a perfect replica of the Mona Lisa. What are the odds? Not good (particularly if you knew how bad of an artist I am). Similarly, the likelihood that the mathematical precision of this universe was the result of an unexplainable random process seems (to me) to be absurd. I'm just sayin'.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:33 am |
    • k

      Bootyfunk: Yes, I've read Aquinas and many, many of his detractors. But perhaps you can provide me with the specific arguments to which you are referring (the ones that "tear him to shreds"). I would be very interested in hearing your specific responses to Aquinas' arguments.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • k

      Bootyfunk: 12 hours later and still waiting to hear a reply from you re. arguments made that "tear Aquinas to shreds"? I didn't actually expect a reply; it's much easier for you to say "that's stupid" and run away, rather than actually face a reasoned discussion. It's not an effective way to persuade, my friend.

      June 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Welcome to the boards k. Touche.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  20. Bootyfunk

    i know there's a lot of you christians out there that don't believe in god. you're just a christian by lip service - you say you are, but you haven't been to church in years. you know it's not true. you know it's a fairy tale. you know god made man right after man made god. you believe in evolution, not a garden with a talking snake. you know modern ethics are far superior to the morals offered in the bible.

    take the next step. stop believing in the fairy tale you were taught as a kid. you can be a good person without religion. science, through DNA mapping has shown all humans really are brothers and sisters - we all share a common ancestor way back on the evolutionary tree.

    let reason, responsibility and compassion guide you instead of a book written in the bronze/iron age. become a free thinker. stop living in fear of big brother always watching you, of eternal tortures if you don't follow god's rules. i encourage you to actually sit down and read the bible. read the parts telling good christians to kill g.ays, no-virgin brides, disobedient children and anyone working the weekend. see how the bible supports slavery. read it with a historical, religious and skeptical guide, so you gain different perspectives. now see how many mistakes and contradictions are in the bible and realize it's only a book written by man a long time ago.

    atheism, you know you wanna! 🙂

    June 13, 2012 at 5:39 am |
    • M. Rose

      There are those of us who know beyond the shadow of a doubt God exists. I am one of them. I've seen too much evidence (sorry, no scientific studies aside from one stating those who are prayed for do get better) not to believe. However, I know that Christians need to focus more on living our beliefs and being Christ to the people they come in contact with. I don't blame others for rejecting Christianity if all they see are the hate that is exhibited towards anyone who is different or who doesn't agree with them. These Christians aren't much different than a lot of the postings I've seen from atheists on this site who spew hatred towards anyone who believes differently than they do. Perhaps those atheists need to start treating their fellow man better as well.

      June 13, 2012 at 5:46 am |
    • yeenko

      Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.. Interesting how you have to try and reason God away, in fact God doesnt believe in Atheism.. you are plain a simple an Idiot...To be an Atheist you must have absolute knowledge that God exist, Do you have all the knowledge in the Universe? if not , it stands to reason , as you just tried, that since you do not have all the knowledge in the Universe that God existence is in that knowledge you do not have.. therefore you can only be an agnostic by your own feeble excuses. and being an agnostic puts you back in the sad position of having to have faith in your belief of evolution and belief that God isnt there... sounds like a religion to me...

      June 13, 2012 at 5:48 am |
    • M. Rose

      Forgot to mention as well, that there are many Christians – and I am one – who believes in science, who do believe in evolution over millions of years if one has an understanding of the Bible and interpretation of scripture. And reason, responsibility and compassion do guide many of us. If there were no heaven at the end of this life it wouldn't matter to me. I am not in fear of "Big Brother" in the sky. Fear of judgment is not why I'm a Christian, I'm a Christian because I have had a glimpse of who God is.

      June 13, 2012 at 5:53 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      @M. Rose
      yes, there are a lot of christians that believe in evolution. but you must then know the stories of the bible are real, but stories. can't believe in evolution and that god magicked humans into the form they have today with the snap of his fingers. so you don't take the bible literally. but you take god's existence literally? where do you draw the line? you know there are talking donkeys in the bible? also unicorns, satyrs, dragons and c.ockatrice? all kinds of nonsense you know isn't true.

      how do you explain the commands to kill innocents, like g.ays, non-virgin brides and disobedient children? how do you get around the bible's support of slavery? i know most christians are good people - most people are good people. but following the bible won't make you a good person unless you cut out all the bad parts. seems like you don't want to acknowledge the naughty bits.

      June 13, 2012 at 5:59 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      @ yeenko
      yeah, i notice you offer zero proof.

      "To be an Atheist you must have absolute knowledge that God exist, Do you have all the knowledge in the Universe? if not , it stands to reason , as you just tried, that since you do not have all the knowledge in the Universe that God existence is in that knowledge you do not have.."
      gibberish. sounds like you're trying to talk at a college level with a jr. high school education. looks like your fingers threw up on the keyboard.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:03 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      @M. Rose
      you wrote "Perhaps those atheists need to start treating their fellow man better as well."

      i agree. we all need to treat each other better. 100% agree. try Humanism, an atheistic philosophy. the ethics of Humanism are much better than the morals of the bible for leading a good life. honestly, i challenge you to take a look at Humanism and what it offers in terms of ethical guides and compare those to christianity's morals. Humanism never says to kill people. can the bible make that claim?

      June 13, 2012 at 6:06 am |
    • yeenko

      @ bootyjunk
      maybe you should read the definition of the word Atheist and then try posting on a help wanted add or something. then you can realize you have obviously thrown up any ability to think or reason within.

      June 13, 2012 at 6:14 am |
    • M. Rose

      Actually, Genesis interpreted in light of other passages in the Bible as well as realizing they were written in didn't have the terminology to accurately describe the evolution (which is still creation) process means to me there is no conflict. For example elsewhere there is a verse explaining that all things seen are made up of things unseen, which I believe is the only way atoms and molecules could be described. One has to keep in mind scriptures were written in a totally different time and in languages that don't always translate well.

      There are still things in modern science that we can't "prove" but are generally accepted as true. Perhaps someday we'll have the keys to all and I believe a true understanding of both God and science will prevail.

      As to Christian morals being to love Jesus stated there are only 2 commandments that matter: Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as you love yourself. I take it to mean anyone that is disobeying loving others isn't acting as a Christian, but under their own power trip. Christians need to obey those 2 commandments and start being Christ to everyone else.

      June 13, 2012 at 8:08 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45
Advertisement
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.