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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. Jean-Paul Sartre

    It is not so bad being an atheist. Death does not need to be explained to us with complex mythology. The available evidence supports the conclusion that when we die we go to the same place we were before we were born. I was completely unconscious during the eternity that preceded my birth and I will be the same for the eternity that follows my death. The only disappointment that comes with this understanding is that I will not be conscious of the fact that this conclusion is correct.

    June 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      But that understanding of yours is irrelevant...in fact, you are as well.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sartre is still read by people today, long after his death. You are the one that'll be as irrelevant as you are right now, Ecc, since I doubt you've written anything much.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      Sartre is irrelevant..you are, I am. If one goes with the atheist (no faith) route....everything is irrelevant. We live...scratch out a mortal living and die. In the grandness of time...we are all irrelevant.

      Or do you think their is such a thing as purpose beyond that which we delude ourselves with to take up our finite amount of time on this rock? If so...then you have a form of faith.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hate to disappoint you, Ecc, but it requires no faith in any invisible being to know that the works of art and literature that men and women create live on after they're gone. There is no need to believe in an eternal life if you use this one well.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Nope, our only natural purpose is to live, reproduce and help our prodigy to do the same. Then we are done. Any other purpose is of our own making. Our continued survival as a species is a reasonable purpose. The universe may not care whether we continue to exist, but we personally care that our children have this wonderful existence for themselves and they will probably want the same for their children, etc. etc.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • WASP

      @ECC: you want to know the main difference between your death and mine? when i die i live on in the genetics of my children and the teachings i give to them about how to be a productive member of society; i live on in their happy memories of time we shared together; your death will have no meaning it is the vain thought that you are special because you believe in a certain "god" that you will become immortal. how could you tell your children if they are a good person according to an old ass book that one day they may be able to see me again but if they are sinful they will burn for eternity while you spend it in heaven kissing god's ego?

      June 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • vulpecula

      "We live...scratch out a mortal living and die. In the grandness of time...we are all irrelevant."

      Not irrelavent of the smaller scale of our sense of family and community. but on a cosmic scale, yes we are not much more than a collection of dust. And I'm perfectly fine with that.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • myklds

      "It is not so bad being an atheist."

      Granted. So now, what is wrong of being theists?

      June 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Who said there was?

      June 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • myklds

      Then, what's the sense of all these arguments?

      June 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      @Tom- "Who said there was?"

      ??Do you not read what is posted on here by atheists everyday? They make it abundantly clear that they feel there is something wrong with being a theist.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      @WASP- arrogence and ignorance does not become you.

      I am afriad that your overbloated ego doesn't make you special. Genetic code to children....not that special since anyone that has children has done that.
      Happy memories are not the monopoly of atheists you silly child. No more than morality is the monoploy of those with faith.

      Lol...I do not beleive I am special for any belief I have. However, you seem quite prideful of the faith in the good memories you have passed on.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • vulpecula

      @Ecclesiastes 7:17

      "??Do you not read what is posted on here by atheists everyday? They make it abundantly clear that they feel there is something wrong with being a theist"

      Do you not know of the hundreds of years doubters have suffered persecution? On the scale of things, your have not endured even 1/1000th of what we have. At least when the day comes when no believers out number beleivers, you won't have to worry about being burned at the stake.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      "Do you not know of the hundreds of years doubters have suffered persecution? On the scale of things, your have not endured even 1/1000th of what we have. At least when the day comes when no believers out number beleivers, you won't have to worry about being burned at the stake."

      Please...we humans are irrational. I am quite certain that atheists could be driven to burn a theist at a stake. Being an atheist doesn't mean you are immune to doing stupid stuff or that being a theist means you have no choice but to do stupid stuff.
      Also....it doesn't matter what past atheists had to go through. This is the here and now. I won't be condemned for the actions of those in the past. It's as foolish as those that demand reparations for what happened to the slaves of 200 years ago.

      June 13, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  2. vulpecula

    faith is the cessation of critical thinking.

    June 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      Keep that in mind the next time you think that someone loves you. That our critical thinking is skewed.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Vulpecula,

      Yes it is. It can also be the beginning of spiritual thinking.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      I do not assume that anyone loves me. I would not base something like that on faith. It really is not my business whether anyone else loves me. It is my business to treat the people I love as best as I can. If I earn their love in return, I am grateful for it.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Robert, yes, that is the danger.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      A wise response Mark.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • vulpecula

      Ecclesiastes 7:17

      Oh, I'm well loved. Do you thing your faith has a monopoly on love or something? Or have you had a cessation of critical thinking again?

      June 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Ecclesiastes wrote, "Keep that in mind the next time you think that someone loves you. That our critical thinking is skewed."

      Perhaps if you understood science you would know that love is a function of the neuromodulator oxytocin.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • vulpecula

      Robert Brown
      by that logic I should be entertaining belief in the tooth fairy, or Santa Claus. Sorry, they method of thinking didn't work out to well.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      "Oh, I'm well loved. Do you thing your faith has a monopoly on love or something? Or have you had a cessation of critical thinking again?"

      Lol...cute tactic...a fail however. I never have thought that love or morality is the monopoly of any faith or those that do not carry any faith.
      However, you are expressing a certainty that you are loved when you really do not know. You have faith that the reactions and actions of those that you want to love you are genuine.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      @Primewonk- "Perhaps if you understood science you would know that love is a function of the neuromodulator oxytocin"

      I understand it fine. Perhaps it would help if you understood the difference of being IN love and believing that you are loved.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • vulpecula

      Ecclesiastes 7:17

      I'm no fail. And I have no doubts about some of the people that love me. That you can get all warm and fuzzy about someone that isn't even there is kind of weird though.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Vulpecula,

      Tooth fairy – a spirit? No

      Santa Claus – a spirit? No

      God – a spirit? Yes

      Not the same.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • vulpecula

      Robert Brown

      No proof of spirits as you call them either. Thats part of being an atheist. it's not just the lack in a belief in a god or gods, but al thinks mystical. no spirits, no ghosts, no devil, no unicorns, etc. I hope your not one of those folks that takes those ghost TV shows seriously.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • AtheismIsCrap

      "faith is the cessation of critical thinking."

      While atheism is cessation of both.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ Ecclesiastes – I have no doubt that you are totally ignorant about the science of evolution of emotions, or the biochemistry of those emotions. You have made that painfully evident.

      @ Robert – If you claim that your god is a spirit and thus "different" from Santa and the Easter Bunny, then the onus is on you to post the scientific evidence to support this claim.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • vulpecula

      @AtheismIsCrap

      your mistaken. atheism is the logical outcome of critical thinking.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      Primewonk- "I have no doubt that you are totally ignorant about the science of evolution of emotions, or the biochemistry of those emotions. You have made that painfully evident."

      You'll forgive me that your factless opinion won't carry much of a concern from me. The only thing painful is that you are confusing biochemistry with the concept of hope.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      "your mistaken. atheism is the logical outcome of critical thinking."

      So says the athiest faithful.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • vulpecula

      Ecclesiastes 7:17

      "so says the atheist faithful"

      Thats rather a childish remark. seems you fail

      June 13, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • limbodog

      >Robert Brown
      >
      >Vulpecula,
      >
      >Tooth fairy – a spirit? No
      >
      >Santa Claus – a spirit? No
      >
      >God – a spirit? Yes
      >
      >Not the same.

      Osiris – real? No.

      Odin – real? No.

      Zoroaster – real? No.

      Zeus – real? No.

      Buddha – real? Yes. But he said himself that he wasn't a god and his teaching wasn't a religion.

      God of the Jews/Christians/Mormons/etc. – real? No.

      The same logic you use to dismiss all the other gods that have ever been created applies equally to the ones you chose to believe in because of how you were raised. Look at the reason for you to believe and tell me that it could not equally be true of Vishnu or Izanagi or any other deity.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      vulpecula- "Thats rather a childish remark. seems you fail"

      It was more of an accurate remark. But I doubt an atheist sheep like you would understand that.

      June 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  3. Omar

    How they will tremble at the coming of their Creator, Jesus Christ.

    June 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • vulpecula

      Oh, I'm so scared!...NOT

      June 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      That fear grows faint after 2000 years of waiting.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Horus

      I thought Jesus was supposed to be the son of the creator?

      June 13, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • sam stone

      Omar: Get off your knees.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • vulpecula

      If you actually studied theology, you'd learn that the desciples thought that Jesus would return in their lifetime. It didn't happen. Every successive genaration has thought so too. Didn't happen. Christians are nothing but a bunch of Harold Camping type nuts.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      "If you actually studied theology, you'd learn that the desciples thought that Jesus would return in their lifetime."

      Not really. There is no hard core evidence of that. One may come to that conclusion, but you would be no better than the faithful that put their own spin on the scriptures.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Well, any normal direct reading would imply so. However, the fact that it did not happen causes the faithful to assume that they meant otherwise. That understanding is the one that requires the logical gymnastics.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      JESUS IS COMING?

      I didn't even know he was breathing hard...!

      June 13, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • vulpecula

      Ecclesiastes 7:17
      I agree there is no hard core evidence. of course, the evidence I was refering too is written in your bible. So your saying you don't beleive your bible?

      June 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      Implication is a funny thing Mark because for a great deal of it, one has to put their own opinion into it. Atheists will read the scriptures and say it implies one thing while the faithful will say another.

      I find it most amusing when atheists (who say that scriptures are false, lies and hearsay) will then argue what the scriptures really mean. Kind of hypocritical.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      vulpecula- "I agree there is no hard core evidence. of course, the evidence I was refering too is written in your bible. So your saying you don't beleive your bible?"

      Interesting...I did not know I had a Bible that you did not have. Seems we both have the same Bible do we not?
      As for your question....I am not a literalist. Also, the Bible is not a singular creation but a collection of books written through the centuries by different people with differen background. It's foolish to ignore that fact.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • vulpecula

      Our bibles might be the same, though there are quite a few different versions of it. The original version of course is long lost. But the words say what they say. But your right, I think I was using the more literal meaning.
      As for the education on it being several books, tell me something I didn't know already. Not only is it a collection of books, there are a large number of books and interpretations of the same events that were left out. Are you aware that recent studies have shown that atheists are ranked as one of the most religiously informed groups?

      http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1745/religious-knowledge-in-america-survey-atheists-agnostics-score-highest

      June 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      @vulpecula- "Our bibles might be the same, though there are quite a few different versions of it. The original version of course is long lost. But the words say what they say. But your right, I think I was using the more literal meaning."

      ~There are many versions but did you know that the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah is essentially identical to the modern translation of the book. Just an interesting tidbit.

      "Are you aware that recent studies have shown that atheists are ranked as one of the most religiously informed groups?"

      Lol..so what? I took that sample online test and got them all correct. As far as atheists being informed doesn't mean they are correct in the outcomes.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • vulpecula

      "@Ecclesiastes 7:17

      As far as atheists being informed doesn't mean they are correct in the outcomes"

      Ah, but we base our beliefs on evidence. you just have faith

      June 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • limbodog

      Jesus was supposed to be the messiah of the Hebrew people. He was supposed to be a baddass king of kings who swept the enemies of the Jews and led them into a new era. His claim on that ended abruptly when he was executed as a common criminal. It took his followers a number of years and some linguistic legerdemain to change his story around so that he allowed himself to be executed in order to save us from... well... himself. (really, how does that make any sense??) The only real miracle is that people bought this PR campaign.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Tom

      Boy are you going to be embarrassed when Zeus and Poseidon come back and you've been worshiping Jesus all this time.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      "Ah, but we base our beliefs on evidence. you just have faith"

      Written records, personal experience, archaeology, theology....none of this equals evidence to you? I am sorry, but you don't know what you are talking about. You are making the all too common error is @ssuming that the religious only have faith.

      June 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Thinker

      Ecclesiastes 7:17

      "Written records, personal experience, archaeology, theology....none of this equals evidence to you? I am sorry, but you don't know what you are talking about. You are making the all too common error is @ssuming that the religious only have faith."

      None of the 'written records' are primary sources and are thus questionable. These same records were also compiled by the church fathers from 100+ other records as the only ones that were true or are a collection of tales from a warlike nomadic tribe. And at a time when noone who had met Yeshua was still alive at that. Prior to being set in the bible, most of the books were transmited verbaly anyway, so exaggeration is probable.

      Personal experience is only evidence if the experience can be reproduced by the person who you are trying to convince. If they cannot experience what you did (or they know the root cause of what you experienced) then they have no reason to accept your experiance as evidence.

      Archaeology cannot prove divinity at all. It can say there was indeed a large flood, or that the cities of the plain may have burned, or that Yeshua may have been a real person (still not certain), but proving events happened does not mean they were divine events.

      Theology is the study of the divine through interpretation of the bible (or whichever holy book is used) and doc.uments of the various religious organisations related to it. Theology does not require reproducability of results to prove something, only that more people with power agree with your interpretation than the other interpretations (except in a free society were one interpretation cannot be forced on all).

      At the most you have enough evidence to say there 'might' be a god, not that there is one. I for one do not deny the possibility of there being a god or even gods. I do, however, think that a god such as the one in the abrahamic religions or any other anthropomorphic god is extremely improbable.

      (ARGH this filter is HORRIBLE)

      June 14, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      "None of the 'written records' are primary sources and are thus questionable."

      True but that doesn't mean they should just be dismissed. That would be like dismissing all the writings about Socrates since we do not have any primary sources for his life.

      "most of the books were transmited verbaly anyway, so exaggeration is probable."

      Perhaps...perhaps not.

      "Personal experience is only evidence if the experience can be reproduced by the person who you are trying to convince."

      I agree if you are using it to prove something to someone..however, I am looking at it from "proof" for an individual.

      "Archaeology cannot prove divinity at all. It can say there was indeed a large flood, or that the cities of the plain may have burned, or that Yeshua may have been a real person (still not certain), but proving events happened does not mean they were divine events."

      It doesn't have to prove divinity to help support aspects of the Bible. Far too many atheists will throw out the whole Bible as if it is false. But archaeology has shown many times that the Bible is based in historical facts.

      "Theology is the study of.."

      It is a study just like philosophy. It can assist in the thinking process to arrive at an answer.

      "At the most you have enough evidence to say there 'might' be a god, not that there is one."

      Wasn't trying to prove that God exists...only that atheists are incorrect to proclaim that there is no god with definity.

      "(ARGH this filter is HORRIBLE)"

      It does sux

      June 14, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      "None of the 'written records' are primary sources and are thus questionable."

      True but that doesn't mean they should just be dismissed. That would be like dismissing all the writings about Socrates since we do not have any primary sources for his life.

      "most of the books were transmited verbaly anyway, so exaggeration is probable."

      Perhaps...perhaps not.

      "Personal experience is only evidence if the experience can be reproduced by the person who you are trying to convince."

      I agree if you are using it to prove something to someone..however, I am looking at it from "proof" for an individual.

      "Archaeology cannot prove divinity at all. It can say there was indeed a large flood, or that the cities of the plain may have burned, or that Yeshua may have been a real person (still not certain), but proving events happened does not mean they were divine events."

      It doesn't have to prove divinity to help support aspects of the Bible. Far too many atheists will throw out the whole Bible as if it is false. But archaeology has shown many times that the Bible is based in historical facts.

      "Theology is the study of.."

      It is a study just like philosophy. It can assist in the thinking process to arrive at an answer.

      "At the most you have enough evidence to say there 'might' be a god, not that there is one."

      Wasn't trying to prove that God exists...only that atheists are incorrect to proclaim that there is no god with definity.

      "(ARGH this filter is HORRIBLE)"

      It does s u x

      June 14, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  4. Omar

    Put these unbelievers in a plane crashig to the ground at over 500 miles an hour and I GUARANTY they will beocme believers instantly. Went at deaths door they all believe but unfortunately they're pleads will be in vain and ultimately to late.

    June 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Good grief. Learn to write.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • snowboarder

      a lifetime of being told that unbelievers will be tormented for an eternity is difficult brainwashing to overcome.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Your little death fantasy for atheists has no basis in reality. Perhaps agnostics. I've faced death (mine and family) and have yet to feel an urge to pray to the Easter Bunny.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • vulpecula

      Actually, this atheist has been on the edge of death before and god never crossed my mind. So you are wrong.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Horus

      You guarantee this, eh? So if you are wrong how do I excercise the guarantee part? Oh crap, I'll be dead.

      The crazy thing about assertions is they tend to be better received when coupled with reason and evidence; you have neither.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      Omar: Perhaps if you did not write like such an imbecile, you would be taken more seriously

      June 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Melissa

      Honey, I've come as close to death as you can come without actually dying permanently. God never entered into my mind. Not once.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • limbodog

      Does that make it true? They might also be desperately looking out the window for Superman too. I don't think that means that he's real.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Tom

      You couldn't be more wrong. The fact that you think belief can be "scared" into someone only shows the shallowness of your own belief.

      When I die I'll die knowing that I dealt with the world as it really is, not the way I wish it would be. We'd all love to believe that Superman is real and that he'll save us when we fall off that building, but it isn't true. Wish all you want, pray all you want, it will never happen.

      Real courage is being able to look at the meaningless of the universe and find comfort in it. It is the great equalizer. I don't need some reward in an afterlife as a bribe to behave morally. I'm a good person because it's the right thing to do, and I've never needed a God to tell me that.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  5. Sy2502

    In the last decades two things have decreased: belief in god and crime. How interesting.

    June 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Ecclesiastes 7:17

      Hmm...faith has dropped in Europe and so has the Euro...shocking..it must all be connected!! Lol.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  6. RAB

    Thank God!!

    June 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  7. No atheists in foxholes

    There's no MILITARY atheists but a HANDFUL of MILITANT atheists.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      That would be clever if it were true.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Primewonk

      militaryatheists.org

      Why do you fundiots lie?

      June 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • snowboarder

      your statement is an outright lie.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • WASP

      @no: ummmm i can tell you first hand from an iraq veteran, that while the enemy was shelling my tower with mortars, i didn't once ask any figment of my imagination, nor of anyone elses to save me or protect me................i just accepted i was going to die and i felt at peace; however when i came to, i wanted to send those ass holes to their god for trying to kill me!

      June 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • sam stone

      they lie because they think they are clever. perhaps among themselves, they are. sort of like being the best ballerina in galveston

      June 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Pat Tillman

      June 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Primewonk

      WASP has just won the internets.

      Well done sir, well done.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • LIathEistS

      @PrimeWonk

      No, it's militantatheists.org

      June 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, it's exactly what prime said it was: http://www.militaryatheists.org

      June 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Max Powers

      Yeah, reminds of me of the home schooled kid that came to public high school. After years of their parents telling them how clever and funny they were, they just got made fun of for not knowing how to make a joke.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • LIathEistS

      Nope, it's militantatheists.org.y

      June 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  8. snowboarder

    it is good to see that the stranglehold of indoctrination is loosening in american youth. it is heartening to see that religious dogma is finally being challenged.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Finally being challenged? There have been doubters since before Thomas.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Bill, doubters, many hundreds of years, were killed for doubting – something that your god commanded. That tends to keep a lot of people quiet.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  9. Rainer Braendlein

    @WASP

    You always meet God, when you meet a person, which behaves like Jesus. Only people, which are led by the Holy Spirit of God, love their neigbours unbiasedly.

    May God give you such an encounter.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • snowboarder

      that is just plain BS. you have no way of knowing the mind of another person.

      i don't understand why people persist in pretending that their religion has a monopoly on morals or love when it is plainly clear that those things exist around the world completely separate from their religion.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      I have never met a person that behaves like Jesus. I've only heard of a couple that actually try to. The last Christian died on the cross 2000 years ago. Certainly no teabagger behaves like Jesus is said to have behaved.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • WASP

      @rain: thanks but no thanks, seen first hand how believers show the whole "love thy neighbor" thing......either they are cheating on their husband/wife with said neighbor or they only love the neighbor that is like them. do you support same gender marriage? how about assisting others to become legalized citizens as long as the don't have a criminal record and attending college? what about advocating equal pay for females in the work place? if you don't see fit to make all things equal for all humans, then you aren't loving all of your neighbors.........

      June 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  10. shep

    For years the Republican party has screamed that America is a christian country. Yet they have nominated a Mormon as their presidential candidate. Mormons are not Christians. They are cult members. Can someone explain this to me??

    June 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • snowboarder

      cult – an unpopular religion

      religion – a popular cult

      June 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      He's not black or a democrat and was the only one running for their party that had a shot at beating Obama.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Madtown

      Mormons are not Christians. They are cult members. Can someone explain this to me??
      ------
      They're just a cult of a different flavor than the one you're a member of.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Limper

      Every religion is, by definition, a cult. People just stop using the negative connotation of the word once the religion becomes old/accepted enough.

      To someone neither Christian nor Mormon the difference between the two is superficial.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      LOL snowboarder..

      June 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  11. Jack

    Hello. Everyone is invited to visit thestarofkaduri.com

    June 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  12. Rod in Texas

    Wow, people are getting smarter.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Texas Road

      Yeah, that's why they never turn to atheism.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  13. jill

    Rainer, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Mix the granite octave in the autumn.

    Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent.Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

    And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  14. Rainer Braendlein

    @Madtown

    As soon as Jesus Christ reveals himself in glory Judgement Day is at hand.

    It was God's Grace that Jesus first came as a very harmless, humble and meek man and did not reveal his glory completely.

    At his second coming everybody will see him.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • jill

      Rainer, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Mix the granite octave in the autumn dawn.

      Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent.Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

      And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How do you know?

      June 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Madtown

      Rainer Braendlein
      @Madtown
      As soon as Jesus Christ reveals himself in glory Judgement Day is at hand.
      -----
      Only ignorant and arrogant fools actually claim to "know" the details of any of these questions. You have no way of knowing what you suggest as "truth". But, you do give us all plenty of laughs, I give you that.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Jill, Right on! Keep the faith!!!!

      June 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • sam stone

      rainy: wasn't this supposed to be happening within one generation?

      did the savior get caught in traffic?

      "annnnny day now, he's coming annnnnny day now"

      what a chump

      June 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • WASP

      @Rainer Braendlein
      "As soon as Jesus Christ reveals himself in glory Judgement Day is at hand."

      ROFLMFAO when skynet goes online and brings it's glory to bear on mankind it will be JUDGEMENT DAY........after that i doubt there will be a sequeal.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • limbodog

      @Rainer
      humble and meek? Luke 19:27 – "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."

      Maybe not so much?

      June 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  15. Austin

    "There is strong historical evidence that God exists:"

    It's obvious that some parts of the Bible were only ever intended to be metaphorical or allegorical stories — the Bible is, after all, a collection of texts written over a long period of time and they represent many different genres of writing. Even those intended to relate actual events, though, were not written from the perspective of purely factual, objective history because that genre didn't exist at the time — for most of history, writing "history" meant pursuing a political, ideological, or religious agenda at the same time.

    Even if we ignore that, however, distinguishing between the portions that are allegories or metaphors and the portions which are meant to be historical isn't always easy. Sometimes there are markers, but so often religious believers insist that some stories are allegories even though no such markers are present — apparently, anything that obviously couldn't be true must have been intended to be allegory all along while anything that might be true must be true.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      There is not logic that says that anything that might be true must be true. It might be true that Abraham Lincoln secretly adored little boys...............

      June 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      "no logic"

      June 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  16. Shawn

    The polling question is too broad. I don't doubt that God exists. I'm quite confident that he doesn't. I strayed, but I've seen the light. I'm a born again atheist.
    If Calvin was correct, I can't do anything but either be saved or go to Hell. So I might as well rip it up. Nothing I can do about it.

    If Arminius got it right, then I'll always have to wonder if that last sin I committed was enough to kick me out of the club....No thanks.

    Oh, and if you are saved, you get the opportunity to spend the rest of eternity essentially kissing God's rear end. Telling him he's the best... the Man...the most awesome..... Top Dog... the O.G. God etc., etc., etc. forever and ever and ever. At some point you're going to want to say "Enough already". Talk about Hell...

    June 13, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  17. Joey

    My father died recently, are you saying he's nothing now?? yea atheist's can go choke themselves

    June 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • preacherman

      Truly sorry to hear of your loss. It's not fair to take it out on others, though.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      My mother died in a horrible head on collision. That does not make my argument stronger or weaker. An attempt to use emotion and sympathy to win an argument is slightly pathetic. I am sorry for your loss, as I am sorry for mine. But our wishes are just that and reality is what it is.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • vulpecula

      Are you a christian? Because even thoughmost christians like to believe they go straight to heaven, you book makes it very clear that no one goes to heaven until judgement day. A lot of dead people in the past 2000+ years have thought they would see it in their lifetime. Still hasn't happened obviously.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • WASP

      @joey: sorry for your loss. i lost my grandmother a while back and being atheist, didn't effect my memories of her one bit. she died of cancer of the bladder, so now she isn't suffering. whichever brings you peace i say go with it, but don't attack atheists because we see things differently.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Melissa

      No, he's something because you remember him. Yes, he's gone now. Completely. That's life.

      And btw, in my life I've lost my best friend when I was 12 (in a house fire), two of my cousins when I was 22 (in a nasty car accident), my uncle when I was 23 (in a head on collision), and my mother when I was 25 (long term lung cancer).

      Yes, they are gone and I miss them terribly. And you know what? That's ok. I don't need to believe they are in a heaven. I really really hate having lost any of them, but they all died horribly. Trust me, it's better to have lost them than to have them alive and suffering.

      I came to my peace with death a long time ago. I don't need to believe in a deity for that. I'm an atheist, and glad to be one.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Joey,

      My father died a while back too, I loved him dearly but he was not perfect and according to many christians he is being punished for eternity. Now imagine people get to know certian loved ones are being punished forever while they are in heaven. Would that be enjoyable?

      Good thing it is all a load of crap.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • sam stone

      joey....your dad is the same place each of us will be. if that bothers you, put on your big boy pants and deal with it

      June 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Max Powers

      His matter/energy are in roughly the same place cosmicly that they always have been. They just change form and become other things. That's miraculous in my mind.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  18. Melissa

    People are starting to grow out of their infancy. Starting to understand that a deity is imaginary is only one part of that. Millenials also seem to be more responsible than any generation tracked before them.

    My personal experience having come as close to death as you can come without dying permanently due to a car accident in 2004? There is no god, no devil, or any other fearsome end of life imaginary stuff. It's simply the end. You have nothing to be afraid of either way. Don't waste your life worshiping something that is imaginary. Be a good person because that's the way to live your life. Don't be a good person and the rest of the world will make your life hell. The only thing good to come out of that ancient book is "do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

    Believing in a deity just because you might be wrong is immature and childish. And frankly, if there is a deity, that deity will know you don't really believe anyway.

    If I am wrong, then I'd rather be honest and punished than lie and punished worse.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Tom

      Bravo! Well said.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  19. Allen Roundtree

    Rainer Braendlein, where is your Evidence. Why are you judging Atheist by calling them MORONIC? Did read anything in the bible about judging people! O' YA it says not too! So you have proven that you do not believe what the bible says by your remark. Also where's your Evidence. The Odyssey and Iliad wher good stories also.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  20. Rainer Braendlein

    It is absolutely moronic to be an atheist.

    Why?

    There is strong historical evidence that God exists:

    God once visited the earth. That is a matter of fact. This happened 2000 years ago, when God came to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

    How can we be sure that Jesus was no impostor, but came down from heaven?

    Answer: He constantly worked miracles, which were observed by many eyewitness (some of them wrote the New Testament, which belongs to the Bible) and the whole people of Israel.

    If Jesus had been an impostor, a copy of a refutation of his doctrine by any contemporary of him had survived. But there is no such a refutation. No contemporary of Jesus dared to doubt the truth of Jesus' doctrine or the reality of his miracles. And even if some criminal dared to draft a refutation, it was not accepted by the public and society of the Roman Empire, otherwise we had got a lot of copies of such a nasty work. Today one could deny the Holocaust, but such a book would not spread, because everybody knows that the Holocaust was real. Hence, in 500 years you will not find copies of such a book, because they never existed.

    Furthermore, simply consider the works of creation like the stars and tne moon, the sun, the sea, the plants, the animals, the human beings, and yourself. It is foolish to assume all that had emerged randomly. God made all these thing.

    June 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • sam stone

      Absolutely moronic to be an atheist?

      You sure seem to have a problem confusing fact with opinion.

      Get back on your knees, slaveboy

      June 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So because we don't know how every element of the universe came to be, it MUST mean that GODIDIT?

      Why?

      June 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      sam responds with his usual vindictive

      June 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @sam stone

      You waste your time with writing meaningless comments. How poor!

      June 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      his usual vindictive what?

      June 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Madtown

      when God came to us in the person of Jesus Christ.
      -----–
      How come God didn't choose to visit all groups of human beings in the world at that time, to serve as proof for all of humanity? Why such a small sub-set of the human population at that time? Was there something wrong with the native Americans or the people of the far east? Why weren't they included in this?

      June 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Come on, Rainer. Answer the question.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • JellyBean@Rainer Braendlein the Troll

      Hahaha! Thanks for the great gut busting laugh!

      June 13, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Where to start. Hmmmm......
      How about the fact that publishing was a little different 2000 years ago. Also, why would his contemporaries bother publishing such a book if they did not feel his words were significant. Or especially if at the time of his life he was insignificant and only grew with his martyrdom. (If he existed at all) Christianity at the time was just a few Jews deciding that things had changed. Christianity was only for Jews and certainly the Jewish hierarchy disputed him. I think that is supposed to be a major point in his story.

      BTW, plenty of books have been published that dispute the holocaust. And plenty have been written that illustrate its reality.
      However, only the official religious text of a religion talks of Jesus. Pretty thin. I may as well read the Book of Mormon or Dianetics.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • WASP

      @Rainer Braendlein
      "It is absolutely moronic to be an atheist.
      Why?
      There is strong historical evidence that God exists:
      God once visited the earth. That is a matter of fact. This happened 2000 years ago, when God came to us in the person of Jesus Christ."

      hmmmm so you were there.......correct? i mean you sound so sure that it happen just the way you said it did. or could it be that you are reciting what you were taught not to question as a child? again i will ask a "follower of christ" without using scripture, prove god or even the concept of god. i can prove one plus one is two without needing a math book; i can prove many other things without needing a book to do so. so you claim "it" exsists, then simply prove it. use your prayer and send me a simple image of "god".......which i find ironic is people claim to see images of the virgin mary and of jesus, but not once has anyone not a single person seen an image of god in their toast or on a wall; i wonder why? maybe because we can't project an image of something that doesn't appear real to the logic center of our minds, even in the minds of a "believer"

      June 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      For that matter, who really has ANY idea what Jesus or Mary even looked like? People see an artists personal conception in a some natural formation and get all excited.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      "There is strong historical evidence that God exists:"

      Lets hear it and don't even mention the bible because christian bible scholars admit that it is full of forgeries, errors and additions. That being the case it cannot be relied on as historical evidence of the god.

      June 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Howie

      I find your comments to be ig norant to the extreme. Historical evidence for the existence of god?!? Really? What evidence? There is no evidence of ANY of the hoopla in any of those 2000+ year old books. No one wrote a thing about this supposed 'jesus' until over 100 years after his alleged death. If you want to talk about what any scholar would consider to be historical evidence, there is absolutely none that indicates there ever was a jesus, let alone a god. Your source material is a bunch of random writings by various insane desert wanderers over a span of several hundred years. Hardly a reputable source for any kind of information. You might as well believe in everything from Mother Goose's fairy tales, there is the same level of historical evidence for their veracity.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, Piper's Son

      Hey guys, I'm here.

      June 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Primewonk

      "...which were observed by many eyewitness (some of them wrote the New Testament, ...)"

      LOL WOT?

      Which eyewitnesses are these?

      June 13, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Jen

      They wrote the new testament?????? They would have been long dead when that book came along. Why don't you go by the old testament?? That would be more historically accurate as it was written closer to when Jesus was around.

      Let me guess...that book is a little too violent so you just pretend it doesn't exist......

      June 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • sam stone

      billy boy....sometimes vindictiveness is the only way to deal with unbridled arrogance

      June 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • sam stone

      As do you, Rainy. How poor

      June 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • sam stone

      Also, billy boy, you don't think Rainy calling atheists "moronic" is vindictive?

      June 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Max Powers

      Most of the miracles that he is said to have done were written about 100's of years after his death. He was not considered relevant by most people during his life.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • limbodog

      No contemporary of Jesus refuted him? What about the Romans who nailed him to a tree and executed him? What about the Jews who did not buy him as being their messiah? What about the fact that these witnesses didn't appear for as much as a century afterwards? What about the fact that these witnesses contradict each other? What about the fact that the number of miracles reportedly witnessed goes up the greater the duration between the death of the man and the writing of the witness account?

      June 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Tom

      "God once visited the earth. That is a matter of fact."

      Ummmm, actually it's not. Not even close. There were dozens of historians living and writing in the geographic region where Jesus supposedly lived and not one of them ever mentioned him. Not one.

      Don't you think a man with a huge following who was performing miracles all the time would have gotten a little more publicity?

      There is no historical proof that Jesus existed whatsoever. You might as well be trying to prove or disprove the existence of King Arthur.

      June 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Bet

      Well, I'm pretty sure that someone who held catered picnics for thousands, raised people from the dead, and healed people would have made some historic record other than a book whose authors are unknown, that was written long after this "miracle worker's" death, and has been revised over and over by rich white men.

      I'm also fairly certain that word that this "miracle worker" came back from the dead would have attracted the attention of the Roman guard, his being an executed criminal and all. There were two Jewish guards at his tomb, according to your book. Wasn't there supposedly a violent earthquake, and they "saw" this dead guy? Yet there's no corroborating historical record of these miraculous events?

      There's no book refuting Jesus because he was nothing more than some wacko who was executed. Nobody bothered to refute anything because there wasn't anything to refute. No catered picnics, no healings, no dead men walking. Executing some guy who claimed to be god, or whatever he got whacked for, was just another day at the office for Pontius Pilate.

      June 13, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.