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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. Bootyfunk

    woohoo! buh-bye religion! haha, the internet is killing you. internet = information

    June 12, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Joey

      IKR!! thank god for the internet:)

      June 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • jerry148

      Internet=4chan=cancer

      June 12, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • JENNA

      @BOOTYFUNK: You state that you rely only on information & facts, so here are some for you to consider:

      The universe is finite in both size and time. The universe had a beginning in finite time at the moment of the Big Bang. How did this universe decide to create itself? How did the universe design itself with physical laws and parameters exactly fine tuned to support life? The laws of physics are designed with such precision that it is almost inconceivable that they could be the result of chance.

      For example, take the ratio of the number of electrons to protons. This ratio must be exactly equal to one to one to better than one part in 1037 (10 to the 37th power, or "1" followed by 37 zeros), otherwise electromagnetic forces would have superseded gravitational forces and no galaxies, stars or planets would have ever formed in the entire history of the universe. The likelihood of this occurring by chance is described below:

      One part in 1037 is such an incredibly sensitive balance that it is hard to visualize. The following analogy might help: Cover the entire North American continent in dimes all the way up to the moon, a height of about 239,000 miles. Next, pile dimes from here to the moon on a billion other continents the same size as North America. Paint one dime red and mix it into the billion of piles of dimes. Blindfold a friend and ask him to pick out one dime. The odds that he will pick the red dime are one in 1037.11.

      Other constants of physics, such as the expansion rate of the universe, are fine-tuned even more delicately, as small as one part in 1055. Random chance does not design such a well-crafted universe. All the atheistic explanations for such an exquisitely defined universe require the presence of trillions of other universes, of which ours is the one which happened, by chance, to have the exact physics required for the formation of galaxies, stars and planets.

      Therefore the atheistic explanation requires some mechanism by which universes can sprout from some super universe and randomly change their laws of physics. If one were to calculate the number of universes required, by chance, to have the exact physics required for the formation of galaxies, stars and planets, it would exceed 1010000. The mechanism by which physical laws could randomly evolve would add further complexity.

      Design by an intelligent designer is a much more scientific probability, which strongly supports the existence of God.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • TheOracle8191

      AMEN, JENNA!!

      June 12, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Vampsh Black Sheep League of Doom Gardamun Family Circle Master Vampire High Priest

      @Jenna – LOL wtf nice try

      @Jerry – stay off 4chan dude

      June 12, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Bad Religion

      Jenna, I highly doubt your rationale and logic as to how you justify the existence of god. Just b/c science doesn't have an answer as to why somethings are the way they are doesn't automatically (from a truly logical perspective) mean that it must be because of intelligent design, it simply means our understanding of the universe hasn't grown enough yet to sufficiently explain such things. But, hopefully, one day it will. That's the entire point behind what science is... to eventually one day understand through hard work, experimentation, questioning, and searching for the answers. Simply stating that it must be a creator that does it is a logical fallacy as all you have done is point out the areas where we are still coming to some degree of understanding and provide no evidence to back up your a claim....... That's where people are increasingly having issues with religion. It says the world must be one way and one way only. When questioned as to why all religion ever says is "because" with no further follow through. *hint* That's not an acceptable answer.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • DarthWoo

      OK Jenna, so what created (your) god?

      June 12, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • sam stone

      jenna: how do you make the logical leap from a creator to a God?

      June 12, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Atheist

      JENNA: The probability of any one particular arrangement of cards in a deck (assuming a 52-card deck) is 1 in 8.06581751709e+67 (1 over 52 factorial). Yet every time you shuffle the deck, you seemingly "defy all statistical odds" and produce one of those combinations.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Tony29inDallas

      Game, set, match goes to Jenna.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Atheist

      Jenna, even if what you said had some truth to it, what makes you assume it must have been the god YOU worship that created the universe? Your god is just one of many many thousands in human history. You have a bad case of apologetics, I recommend staying away from the crap "statisticians" at AnswersInGenesis.org and taking a course in critical thinking.

      June 12, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • jim

      @Jenna, And earth is only 6,000 years old,,,,,,

      June 12, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  2. WDinDallas

    There are so few atheists in America, we must have 60% of them on this blog.

    June 12, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you think that. there are a lot more of us than you know.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Bad Religion

      We are everywhere!

      June 12, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Atheist

      We grow in numbers ever year as more and more people discover just how ridiculous and untrue religion is. The internet is atheism's best friend. The day will come when Christians are the minority in the US. It will take decades, but it is inevitable. Christianity in America is declining by one million members a year on average (ARIS study). Slowly, America is becoming more sane.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  3. Bad Religion

    Yes!!!! THERE IS HOPE!!!!! One day, in the not so distant future, when our generation finally asserts its control and authority there will be no more backwards bronze aged beliefs getting in the way of social, scientific, and civic progress!

    Oh. I. Can. Not. Wait! The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel can be seen.

    June 12, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Go team Go!

      June 12, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      par-tay!

      June 12, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • TheOracle8191

      There is only one hope, only one salvation and only one truth: Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! When he returns in all his majesty and great glory, every knee will bow to him and every single tongue on earth will confess that Jesus is the resurrected son of Almighty God!

      "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11

      June 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • JWT

      Oracle there is nothing that could make me kneel willingly to your version of god.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  4. yikesboy

    Jerry148,
    There is a fundamental difference when comparing "faith" to "science". A difference that cuts to the heart of what I feel is most important: faith accepts no real question and offers no evidence, while science continues to question continually and demands evidence. Supernatural vs natural.
    Let's also move on from the notion, implied in your post, that morality is the sole dominion of those whose worldview includes the supernatural (or religion). There are plenty of secular charities and good people with naturalistic world views.
    By the way, I believe that the post you were mocking was essentially saying that "only religion can make good people do wicked things"...I tend to disagree with this and would heap other forms of tribalism on to that summary. However, religion is surely one of the most wicked forms of tribalism.

    June 12, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • greg

      But Science hasnt provided the proof we all decended from apes. On hypothisis. to some the mighty scientist's best guess is good enough for them,

      June 12, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • DTS

      No. Faith asks "why" – science asks "how." And when it's all said and done – your gravitational singularity where mass is defined, density is infinite and volume approaches zero still has defined mass. And Science has yet to explain where mass came from. After all – the Law of Conservatism states that matter cannot be created nor destroyed. Yet matter exists.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @greg

      Why don't you stop the deception about evolution, you know nothing about it and you sound stupid.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • TheOracle8191

      @ Greg

      Watch out, that's starting to sound like they have *GASP*, faith!

      June 12, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • greg

      VR Im questioning the scientific proof of your ape forefathers, do you have it, can you point out the proof that somewhere in your family history is an ape. The reason I ask is because some folks here want me to believe in a big guy in the sky looking down over all of us and you want me to believe I depended from an ape based on Science that has yet to be proven. I think both of this groups are crazy.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • yikesboy

      DTS,
      A fine herring you've put on the plate. I think that you have illustrated my point brilliantly – science does accept that we humans don't know much at all but doggedly continues to shed light into dark places. Religion claims to have all the answers and tells us to turn off the light. A huge difference and hopefully one day, will explain why there's still mass there. I think you would agree that simply shrugging ones shoulders and saying "must be god" is not sufficient.
      And to those who fall into the very common knee jerk "Science is just another religion" accusation – don't bother. Science continually assails Darwin's theories and all other assumptions...there are no sacred cows 😉

      June 12, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @greg

      Do you ever read? Your perception about evolution is way off base and I'm not about to train you. Educate yourself, be informed then know.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • D.Hung

      @yikesboy: You've clearly thought about this more clearly than many of the other naturalists here. However, allow me to point out a few problems with your reasoning. The fundamental difference that you feel is most important is nothing but an urban legend. The English word "faith" means many things, including that irrational blind faith that "accepts no real questions and offers no evidence." But the Greek word "faith," which is the one used in the Bible, is extremely clear: it means TO BE PERSUADED BY EVIDENCE. This confusion afflicts most English-speakers, but just because such Christians engage in blind faith does not mean that Christianity teaches it. It teaches the opposite. The Greek word "faith" embodies an idea for which there is NO word in English: to take the evidence so seriously that you are persuaded to live by it. This is not a religious concept, it is an straightforward epistemic one. I intellectually believe that saturated fat will clog my arteries, but I do not have faith until I live by it (which I don't!).

      As for morality: the argument is often poorly expressed, but it is a valid argument all the same. The notion is NOT that naturalists cannot be good. Indeed, many atheists put Christians to shame, when it comes to goodness. The problem is that naturalism is incapable of providing an objective definition of what is good and what is evil. If you think that religion is a "wicked" form of tribalism, on what basis do you define "wicked" that could possibly apply to those tribes? Under naturalism, you are merely imposing your opinion on another culture. But if you think there is an objective and universal standard by which you CAN discern one thing to be wicked and another to be good, a standard that gives rise to inalienable human rights, then I would love to hear why you think such a notion is possible given a naturalistic worldview. Most naturalists do believe passionately in human rights, but that means they are not taking naturalism seriously enough (cue Nietzsche).

      June 12, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  5. TheOracle8191

    1 Timothy 4:1 says "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons." Christ's return is nearing and this is one of the many things the Bible prophesied to come to pass before he does. Many people will say that this has been happening for hundreds of years, which is true but never to the extent that it has been now. Older religions are making a return, along with new ones cropping up to deter Christ's teachings. These are the things the above verse warns about. Don't wait any longer. Turn to God through his son Jesus and ask forgiveness and to learn the absolute truth 🙂

    June 12, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Bad Religion

      Do us a favor then, and drink the poison kool-aide quickly to get to your magical sky daddy. The faster you do the sooner we can get on with societal progress. If there is no one left to believe in your antiquated ways, there is no chance for the second coming, and nothing that was "prophesied" will ever happen............. regardless, i never believe in prophecies kind of like I don't believe in the powers of Excalibur from King Arthur, the easter bunny, Harry Potter, etc.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • TheOracle8191

      Sorry brother, whether you like it or not, some have already come true. All you have to do is read and accept the truth.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Hawk

      It has been "the later times" for centuries now. Give it a rest. All you are doing is saying, "why things used to be so much better in my day".

      June 12, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  6. Name*Chedar

    As more and more Americans are educated, the population of gullible Americans are rapidly shrinking. The only predominantly gullible population left are in the central states and the south. They will remain gullible at the end of this century.

    June 12, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Change is coming much quicker, it won't take until the end of the century for this religious nonsense to be dramatically challenged.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • jerry148

      You assert that since you are educated, you don't have a need for God/gods. Can you explain why you believe that?

      June 12, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  7. Art

    This is good news. The fat that more than half of Americans don't believe in evolution is scarey even though we have proof of it.

    June 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Evolution makes too much sense, too many big words.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • greg

      You have no more factual proof that man descended from apes then bible thumpers have of a God. religious folks have faith and you have trust in scientists hypothesis. (Best guess) From where I sit your both the same.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @greg

      From where I sit you are uneducated thus uninformed. You lose.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • DarthWoo

      What you have, greg, is a total lack of understanding of evolution and science in general. Evolution is a theory, on the same level as the Theory of Gravity, Theory of Heliocentrism, Germ Theory and so on. Contrary to what the fundies would tell you, a theory is much, much more than a "best guess." Over a hundred years of experimentation, observation and research has gone into the development of the theory, and year after year, new research only confirms the generalities of the theory. Sure, there are occasionally some interesting new finds such as lateral genetic transfer, but nothing at all that has disproved the theory. Yes, greg, theories can be disproved. Something drastic like lifeforms dated to periods that are completely inconsistent with the currently understood tree of life would go a long way towards that, but no such things have been found.

      Science starts with a hypothesis, gathers data to see if that hypothesis is most likely correct, at which point it is elevated to a theory. Religion starts with a conclusion, and no amount of contrary data or information can sway that conclusion. Now which of the two do you think is the more faulty?

      June 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • greg

      Because I dont buy into a scientist's best guess this makes me uneducated, right! How humans arrived on this planet deserves more then a guess It requires absolute proof before I shout it to the masses, until you get that its just another form of religion.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Vampsh Black Sheep League of Doom Gardamun Family Circle Master Vampire High Priest

      Greg...evidence is not a best guess...stfu

      June 12, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  8. Paul

    One of the main reasons for WAR is Religion. it's gone on since the beginning of time in a way. I don't believe in "church" I don't think it's necessary to have to gather at a place at specific times and can be "required" to donate money at some places. I believe there is a Higer Power. like when you think to your self with out speaking, you still hear your own voice. and think of the past, it's all there in your mind, and I dream in Color, do you? One "source" says Adam and Eve Started it all. well if that's true, then we're all bread from Insist. just makes you think. Then you have Aliens, and all those other Galaxies out there, Can ONE God do all that? Hmmm.....

    June 12, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  9. Bob the Cat

    72% of re-tards do not believe in santa claus.

    June 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  10. BoldGeorge

    This is not something new as Christ Himself prophesied this over 2,000 years ago inthat many will grow cold, begin doubting about God and the things of God and eventually fall away. This is due to false religion and doctrine (even within Christianity), inaccurate interpretation of God's word and just plain rebellion and disobedience to God's commandments. [Matthew 24:11-13 > And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the ONE WHO ENDURES TO THE END will be SAVED.] Wow, what a promise! The opposite of growing cold and falling away is salvation

    I sincerely and passionately implore all doubters (not to the ones who have already made up their minds about the 'non-existence' of God) to please consider once again and have faith in Christ. Pray for your inner-doubts, read your Bible and open your hearts and mind to Christ and you will definitely see how He will become evident to you. DO NOT be open to fasle teachers and doctrines that come and go like the wind. The doctrine of Christ is Rock solid.

    I have heard so many times (countless times) people say, "There is no evidence of God", "Where is this God of yours?", or the best line of all, "If God really existed, why does He allow suffering in this world." All of these may seem legitimate questions, but to say that there is no God or ask for proof thereof is a self-destructing statement or question in it by itself. Let me put it to you this way, you can argue and question someone's interpretation of the Bible [Ususally people say it like this: "Well, that's your interpretation of the Bible], but you can never argue people's own personal experience with Christ. In other words, you can never say, "Well, that's your interpretation of your experience. EXPERIENCE my friend is the proof of all proof. If you have not experienced God, Christ and the Holy Spirit, then of course, it will be very EVIDENT that there is nor there can never be a God for you. But, you can never argue nor minimize someone's true Godly experience.

    June 12, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Atheist's wait for articles like these so they can get fired up!!(:

    June 12, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Henry

      And you are on this forum because...?

      June 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • jerry148

      I think you mean "CNN writes articles like these, not so that religious people can read them, but so that 2/3 comments can consist of atheists saying how the article is redundant, God doesn't exist, religious people are brainwashed, yada yada yada, and the other 1/3 is religious people trying to say why religion has changed their life (for better or worse), and then read a dozen replies about why religion is redundant.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Happy Gilmore

      I agree! god is great

      June 12, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Pathetic, isn't it!

      June 12, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  12. skinsrock

    It's real simple... The bible over time has never lied... It states this "generation' shall not pass from the time Israel becomes a state regarding his return... This occurred in 1947... A generation in the bible is typically 70-80 years, but I'll give it until 2040. January 1, 2040 is the date I will accept death is nothing but a dark, non-existence.

    June 12, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Drew

      Do you believe that bats are birds? that snakes talk? that the earth is less than 10,000 years old? The bible lies all the time

      June 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Art

      The bible states that a generation is about 70-80 years? Well there's your lie.. A generation is anywhere from 15 to 25 years. Also wasn't it church doctrine that said that the sun and stars revolve around the earth? Lies and more lies.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • D.Hung

      @Art: My, my, you really need to do your homework. Yes, the church did hold that the sun revolves around the earth... because the best scientists of the time all held that view. When Galileo advanced his theory of heliocentrism, his primary opponents were those very Ptolemaic scientists, and they opposed him because Galileo's equations were INFERIOR. The flawed Ptolemaic system had been refined for hundreds of years and worked better than Galileo's elegant but naive system. The Pope was an admirer of Galileo, and invited him to present EVIDENCE that his theory worked better. Galileo couldn't, because he didn't HAVE any evidence - his telescopes were not good enough. So instead he wrote a book insulting the Pope, and got himself arrested. Remember that it was not until Kepler that telescopes were good enough to reject geocentrism.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  13. adrifter

    I've been an atheist since I was 11 years old. That was just a few years after I figured out Santa Claus is a myth – a pleasant little story to make children happy. The same thing with god. It's a story to make people feel happy and give them some purpose. It all nonsense, of course, but many people need it. Some of us have grown up.

    June 12, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Art

      Jerry148.. In theory yes...In reality religion has caused more deaths than any other reason.
      Yeah, we can do this all day but in the end your argument is weak.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • D.Hung

      So, when you were 11, your adolescent arguments for atheism triumphed over your childhood arguments for theism. Nice work. But you're neither a child nor a pre-teen anymore, so if you want to claim the intellectual high ground, you'll have to read adult arguments on both sides of the issue. "I grew up" is not an argument, it's an ad hominem fallacy.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Bob the Cat

      No one can prove there is a god, or gods... Period.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • D.Hung

      @Art: You're responding to the wrong comment. Cite your sources, if you can, for the oft-repeated myth that religion has caused more deaths than atheism. Please do keep in mind the 100+ million killed under secular regimes in the 20th century; Stalin and Mao had over 50 million between just the two of 'em. Jerry148's argument was stated weakly, but that's just him. I'll do it more firmly: I challenge you to provide an atheistic rationale to believe that there is any such thing as universal, inalienable human rights. Unless you can do that, then there is no way for you to rationally complain about the killing of millions of people in wars.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • jerry148

      @Art First of all, religion has NOT killed more people than anything else. I think you'll find that death (the usual culprit) has caused pretty much all of history's death. But I understand what you mean.....and religion STILL hasn't caused most of history's death.

      Second.....what argument? I was simply showing how the commentator's example was poor, and easily countered.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • adrifter

      D.Hung.... I don't have to make any argument about the existence or non-existence of god. You know as well as I do that it's impossible to disprove something imaginary. I can't 'prove" that there are no ghosts or UFOs, no Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, or no god. If religious people are making the claim that there is a god, it's up to them to prove it. Problem is it can't be proven, which is why religion makes a virtue ot faith. That is basically believing something that can't be proven.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • D.Hung

      @Art: Except, you didn't answer my question. I never asked you to prove atheism or disprove theism. My request is much more straightforward: since you seem to have a problem with millions of innocents being killed in religious wars, does that mean you think human rights exist? If so, provide an explanation for how a universal standard of rights can exist, starting from atheistic premises.

      See, this is the way science progresses: you don't inductively prove or disprove things; instead, you take the available evidence and see if it challenges your theories. I claim that the existence of human rights contradicts the theory of atheism. All I'm asking is for you to demonstrate that there is no such contradiction. If you are right, and I am wrong, this should be easy to accomplish.

      June 12, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • D.Hung

      @Art: Sorry, it was adrifter who wrote that response. My mistake.

      @adrifter: Like I said, you need to read up on the state of the art in the debate. There are good arguments on both the atheist side and the theist side, and you are simply misinformed if you think that it's impossible to make arguments about the existence or non-existence of God. Why do atheists write so many books arguing for atheism, then?

      Also, you are misinformed about the correct definition of faith. The English word "faith" might mean "believing in something without evidence," but this is completely opposite of the Greek word "faith" used in the Bible, which means BEING PERSUADED BY EVIDENCE. Go and look up the word "pistis" in a good ancient Greek dictionary. So actually, Christianity makes a virtue of trusting evidence, which indeed makes a sin of blind faith.

      I'm sorry to shatter your tidy little defense of atheism. But you really need to have better reasons for your beliefs.

      June 12, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • memyself

      @D.Hung. Don't be such an a$$. I contend that belief in Santa Claus demonstrates that God does not exist. Prove that it is not so. I contend that men arrived on Earth from flying saucers. Prove that it is not so. You cannot prove a negative. All you can do is evaluate how much supporting evidence exists for a positive assertion. Your positive assertion would be that human rights would not exist without religion. Show us all you supporting evidence for this claim, that we might evaluate it.

      June 12, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • D.Hung

      @memyself: And I never suggested that it is possible to prove a negative, but rather that there are well-known anti-theistic arguments that don't have that problem. For example, there are lines of argument (mostly now abandoned) that seek to find logical paradoxes in the concept of god in general or the Christian God in particular. One that ALMOST works is to ask how God can be a Trinity prior to his creating the number 3. No need to prove a negative there, yes? There are other lines of argument that attempt to show that the existence of God is highly unlikely, which is much easier to do than to show that it is impossible. To be unfamiliar with potent arguments for your own position, and to simply stop with, "You can't prove a negative!" is to be uninformed.

      As for my positive assertion: I did state the argument, but perhaps was too terse. A "human right" is one that is universal (every human possesses these rights just for being human) and inalienable (no human can take these rights away). They are rights that you possess no matter what your culture or your government says. This is why protest is justified when cultures and governments try to violate them; human rights represent a standard that all humans are subject to. It should be evident that such a standard cannot be of human invention, as anything granted by humans can be taken away by humans. So what can possibly explain the existence of such a standard? You have only a few well-known choices.

      1. You could thoroughly relinquish the idea of human rights, following Friedrich Nietzsche and Peter Singer.

      2. You could insist, as Louise Antony does, that this standard simply exists as a brute fact of the universe, and no further explanation is necessary; however, I find it deeply unsatisfactory to simply wave away the notion that a naturalistic cosmos could contain laws that refer to human beings.

      3. You could miss the point, as the late Christopher Hitchens does, by saying that atheists don't need religion to be good. No, that is not the argument at all. The argument is that human rights are real, which is why anyone can perceive their existence and live by them; but it is the fact of that existence that demands an explanation.

      4. You could take the route of C.S. Lewis, who fought tooth and nail against this line of reasoning, but to no avail as its inexorable logic drove him to renounce his atheism.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:40 am |
  14. nolimits3333

    Science flies you to the moon.

    Religion flies you into buildings.

    June 12, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • jerry148

      Science annihilates millions in a flash of light.

      Religion promotes love and charity.

      (We can do this all day, buddy.)

      June 12, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Joe

      Science and Religion are not innately good or evil but man makes both possible.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • adrifter

      jerry148... Religion promotes love and charity? I have to assume you have never read The Bible. It's full of hatred and violence. There is even that amazing verse in which God was looking for Moses because he wanted to kill him. As for why an omnipresent God couldn't find Moses is a separate question best left to theologians to explain. Or, perhaps you can explain it to me.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • jerry148

      @adrifter Well what is the Bible? It's essentially a book containing stories, poetry, history, and accounts. Your argument goes along the lines of "well in the Bible, women weren't equal to men, you could own slaves, they didn't have science, etc, etc". Most of this is true, since the Bible was written in that era, and basically recorded what the customs were at the time. The Bible isn't telling us to keep women at home, or to enslave people, or even to take vengeance upon another man when you are wronged.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Apophis

      so true!! Hey Jerry148 how can you tell me that this is about love and charity?.....
      Exodus 21:20-21

      King James Version (KJV)

      20 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.

      21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

      And this is just a very small example. I'd go to church just hear the preacher try to explain how this is right because it's in the bible! Oh, wait i'll bet that page is skipped! IDIOTS!! lol

      June 12, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • CC

      @Jerry148 Yes we can do this all day but all you have is lies.

      August 5, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  15. Drew

    The reason more young people doubt god is that god is no longer "needed" to explain the way the world is

    June 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  16. danial54

    I've always felt that the microscope people use to look at this issue is way to big. I say "Step back and look at the planet, the seas, the natural wonders of the world and then ask yourself, 'Is this just a chemical soup bowl? By accident?' " I don't think so. I honestly feel that there is a hand stirring that soup bowl and adding just the right things to make this all perfect. Call him what you want, I call him God. Yes, science explores but they are, in my opinion, are discovering the work of God.
    Remember, nothing is black or white. There is always shades of grey. If science says there is no God, don't go black or white. That is what they are doing. Remember to step back and at least consider that what science discovers is the work of God.

    June 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Why is it that you have to fill in the gap with a god? There lies the problem.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • jerry148

      I'm going to be Voice of Reason's mouthpiece for a minute, here. The "wonders" of nature are as you perceive them. Beauty and love are opinions. There is no such thing as God. Religions are fairy tales. I want a hug.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • jerry148

      Oh, it seems he beat me to the punch...

      June 12, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  17. Paul Wilson

    I am not an atheist,in that I find eternal UNconsciousness after death inconceivable. Otherwise I can not accept all these so-called "one true churches" that teach a hell for all and a heaven for none, because they try to shut and lock the door to heaven in the faces of as many people as they can. Some, esp.Koreans , even set exact dates for the Second Coming.

    June 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • DarthWoo

      The unconsciousness after death is no more inconceivable than the unconsciousness before birth.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  18. yobi

    here men are proud for taking it in the ass and are seen waving a flag while where i come from simply the people would get together and kill them. in this day and age we`re seeing devil at his best, controlling the human being on greed and laziness – and kids will grow up in this society thinking this is the way to live life not knowing God. if you were devil, what country would you try to take over... i would say the country that has the most influence over the world right ... well welcome to U.S.A boys and girls.
    but my favorite devil`s trick has to be that gays and lesbians fighting to get married in church... i mean, under God we are all sinners. but it takes a whole lot of nerve for devil to posses somebody that they would go to church to celebrate their sin – not to ask forgiveness. i go to church to confess and as for forgiveness for all the things i`ve done knowing that he said don`t do. yet these fools want to go to church and ask for his blessing for something he said don`t do. either these people don`t believe in God ( if they did, i hope their brain is broken) or they are completely under the possession of the enemy Satan.
    -The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist

    June 12, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Drew

      People like you are the reason that people like me are wary of religion

      June 12, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • DarthWoo

      You're absolutely right Drew. Religious fundies are the atheist's greatest weapon.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Atheist

      Blecch. You and others like you are what is wrong with religion.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • iheartyou

      "that gays and lesbians fighting to get married in church"

      Not only is your whole rant nonsensical, but also incredibly inaccurate. Gays and lesbians are NOT fighting to get married in church. They are fighting for the same legal rights under the government that everyone else has. The government, not the church.

      Yobi – I very rarely say this to people, but you sir/madam are an idiot. And you are exactly the reason why more and more people are doubting god and moving away from religion.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • yobi

      Drew I'm not talking about per say religion but God. The topic isn't about believing in religion or which religion is more corrupted that the other, it's about believing in God. get it?

      "iheartyou

      "that gays and lesbians fighting to get married in church"

      Not only is your whole rant nonsensical, but also incredibly inaccurate. Gays and lesbians are NOT fighting to get married in church. They are fighting for the same legal rights under the government that everyone else has. The government, not the church.

      Yobi – I very rarely say this to people, but you sir/madam are an idiot. And you are exactly the reason why more and more people are doubting god and moving away from religion."

      Gay Danish couples win right to marry in church:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/denmark/9317447/Gay-Danish-couples-win-right-to-marry-in-church.html

      iheartyou don't worry i won't call you idiot – we have establish that. next time just try to educate yourself on subject to avoid this kind of humiliation.

      June 13, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  19. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    80% of millennials don't believe in santa claus !

    June 12, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  20. Corey

    When you die, there is nothing. Get over it.

    June 12, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • greg

      For you this will be true.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
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About this blog

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