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Unbelieving preachers get help to 'come out' as open atheists
Minister-turned-atheist Jerry DeWitt speaks at ReasonFest in Kansas earlier this year.
June 13th, 2012
10:47 AM ET

Unbelieving preachers get help to 'come out' as open atheists

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) - Jerry DeWitt entered the ministry when he was 17, launching a 25-year career as a Pentecostal preacher. He traveled all around his home state of Louisiana, preaching and ministering wherever he could.

All these years later, DeWitt, 42, is still on the road, and now takes his message all over the United States. But the nature of that message, along with his audience, has changed dramatically.

DeWitt is now an avowed atheist, and his audiences are made up of religious “nones,” the growing number of Americans who are atheist, agnostic, humanist or just plain disinterested in identifying with a religion. Today, DeWitt preaches a gospel of disbelief.

During his speeches, he talks about the process of leaving his preacher job. “If you don’t believe, then you will be like me - you’ll suddenly find yourself where you only have two choices,” DeWitt told a group in Johnson County, Kansas, earlier this year.

“You can either be honest that you don’t believe ... or you can pretend that you do,” he said. “Which is what so many people are doing and that is called faith.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

The transition from preacher to outspoken atheist has not been easy, and DeWitt is trying to smooth the way for other former believers. He is executive director of Recovering from Religion, an organization founded in 2009. Its slogan: “Thousands of organizations will help you get INTO religion, but we’re the only one helping you OUT.”

But a relatively new effort goes a step further than his own group by focusing on helping clergy in particular. In March 2011, a coalition that includes national groups such as American Atheists, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Richard Dawkins Foundation helped launch the Clergy Project, which is aimed at giving doubting and atheist preachers a community in which they can talk about their disbelief.

The program's ultimate goal: to help unbelieving preachers to “come out” in real life.

A safe online community

The Clergy Project’s key component is a private online community of active and former pastors discussing their conversions to lives of active disbelief. It lets congregational leaders come out anonymously, using an alias.

“It is important to focus on any group of people who are in a lot of pain,” said Linda LaScola, a co-founder of the Clergy Project. “That is why the Clergy Project exists, and it wouldn’t be growing if there wasn’t a need for it.”

When it launched last year, 52 clergy signed up for the online community, according to LaScola. A little more than a year later, 270 members are contributing to the message boards and connecting anonymously with one another.

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According to LaScola, the community includes some rabbis, imams and Catholic priests, but the majority are Protestants.

Members are barred from disclosing what is discussed on the boards, but DeWitt said it’s a blend of humor, advice and encouragement. DeWitt, who left his congregation just over a year ago, is considered the group’s first graduate.

“It gave me confidence to come out,” DeWitt said of the Clergy Project. “Knowing that I was not alone, that I was not a fluke, that I was not a freak of religious nature, but that this is a process; it most definitely gave me confidence and a purpose.”

Jerry DeWitt, far right, in his days as a minister.

DeWitt said that after connecting with people on the message boards, he realized he faced fewer obstacles than some others who are trying to leave the ministry. For example, DeWitt's wife and son already knew about his disbelief, while other questioning preachers had not yet told their families.

“I think it is important when you are struggling that you talk it out, that you write about it, that you find support,” said Teresa MacBain, acting executive director of the Clergy Project. “I still try to reach out to people who are questioning, who are doubting, clergy people and laypeople alike, and let them know they are not alone, that there are people who care.”

How does he feed his family?

For 44 years, MacBain was involved in some sort of ministry, from organizing worship music to being a senior pastor at a Methodist church in Florida.

At a recent American Atheists convention in North Bethesda, Maryland, MacBain first publicly announced her atheism, inspiring a roaring round of applause. American Atheists President David Silverman walked onstage and hugged her as MacBain began to cry.

"I was the one on the right track, and you were the ones that were going to burn in hell," MacBain told the crowd. "And I'm happy to say as I stand before you right now, I'm going to burn with you."

She said she sees plenty of growth potential in the Clergy Project. In the near future, she said she hopes to incorporate it as a nonprofit and begin raising funds for clergy who have decided to leave ministry jobs. She also wants to compile a group of employment recruiters to help former clergy find new jobs.

DeWitt, for his part, is struggling financially and said his house could be foreclosed on in the next few months.

For former preachers in search of work, their old skills can be hard to translate into new fields. What references do former ministers use if they have disappointed their congregants by leaving the pulpit?

MacBain said that some “formers,” as she calls ex-clergy, have left their hometowns for new jobs in fields ranging from radio to counseling.

To aid those transitions, Recovering from Religion has started the Clergy Professional Relief Fund, dedicated to “helping ex-ministers have a soft landing after coming out of the ministry.” Though little money has been collected so far, the hope is to help former ministers with job training and relocation expenses.

“Even if you have a degree in divinity, that doesn’t really mean anything,” DeWitt said. “That is the biggest fear that a nonbelieving clergy member has. How does he feed his family?”

Losing faith, losing friends

As a young fresh-faced minister, DeWitt was first confronted with his disbelief when he “became the person who got the burden of preaching about hell,” he said. “I really loved the people I preached to, I loved them like family. So imagine preaching that if you don’t do this, you are going to burn in hell. That wasn’t easy for me.”

After doubt about hell, DeWitt began to research other schools of thought about God and belief. He began to develop other doubts, about certain biblical translations and about healing.

“The next big issue was the failure of prayer,” DeWitt said. “People are passing away, whenever we pray for them to live. People aren’t getting jobs, whenever we pray for them to have jobs.

“The harder we tried to alleviate suffering within our church, it seemed like the worse things got,” he said. “It didn’t seem like prayer made any difference. It just continually crushed my heart.”

When DeWitt decided to come out as an atheist, some in his congregation appeared shocked.

“I was very heartbroken actually because his family means so much to me; they are actually like family,” said Natosha Davis, 30, who attended DeWitt’s church for four years. “I was very heartbroken for him that he had to go through that and struggle.”

Many congregants were less charitable. “Some people where he lives just totally turned their backs on him,” Davis said. “He was ostracized, excommunicated. It is like he has a disease, but he doesn’t.”

When DeWitt runs into people he used to preach to, he still averts his eyes. Going to the post office and to Walmart, he said, can be stressful because of the possibility of running into a former congregant.

“It is because places in which you were once admired now you are suddenly scorned or pitied,” DeWitt said, who admits not having many friends anymore. “It makes for an extremely uncomfortable life.”

And yet DeWitt said his atheist life mirrors his old religious one in some key respects. In some ways, he said, he’s still a minister.

“The origin of the symmetry is me, is my personality, my love for people, my love for ministering,” DeWitt said. “What I have always tried to do is to minster from where I personally am at.

“When I was 17, I preached what I believed was best for people at the time; when I was 20, it was a little different; at 25 it was different, too,” he said. “And now at 42, I am still the same guy preaching what I see is best for people.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Christianity

soundoff (5,298 Responses)
  1. vulpecula

    wouldn't it be weird if we came to find out we were actually visited by aliens in our distant past and somehow humans taught them the concept of deities. Only to have them return to their own world and the teaching result in their annihilation?

    June 14, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • jungleboo

      OK, A+ on that theory. Get yourself to Hollywood and take Screenplay 101. You will succeed.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • vulpecula

      hehe, or what would happen if an evangelical somehow was incorporated into the borg. How would that effect the collective.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Cq

      I've wondered what would happen if a modern-day Christian went back in time to meet Jesus, found him to be completely different than what he expected, and ended up deciding to replace him, quoting the right lines out of the Gospels and marching to the cross, in order to make the New Testament turn out "right."

      June 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  2. Leo

    The Great Apostasy being fulfilled before our eyes!! Exactly as the scriptures teach!

    June 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Leo

      Matthew 24 4 And Jesus answered and said to them, “ See to it that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 6 You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

      9 “ Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • vulpecula

      @Leo
      people have been seeing the end times around the corner sense Jesus was crucified. So it's rather egotistical of you to think that somehow you have the inside scoop.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Bet

      How exciting! The end of the world is nigh! Again! Yay!

      June 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Get Real

      Leo,

      " For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,"
      - Nation against nation? Kingdom against kingdom? Say it isn't so! Ah, now that'd be something that NEVER happened before, eh?

      "and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes."
      - Shocking! Another thing that has NEVER happened all over the Earth for eons, eh?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Leo, I sense an excitement in the eyes of Sunday Fundies when they speak of End Times. To wish for annihilation is right up the alley of a 2 yr old, apoplectic tantrum included. Your egotistical post is monstrous, to say the least. Might I suggest that the only end times you may be witnessing are the death throes of your religion. OF COURSE the Bible would preach annihilation when those offering a different opinion show up. How else do you think the stranglehold on freedom of thought was managed by those in power? Adios.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Leo –

      Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

      June 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • vulpecula

      Harold Camping? Is that you again?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Cq

      Leo
      There have always been non-believers. Since before Jesus, during Jesus' time, during early Church history all the way up to now; just as there have always been people who just know that Jesus will return any day now. Nothing to get excited about here; just status quo.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Get Real

      p.s. Will the morning daylight begin in the eastern sky too?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Get Real

      Leo is like the guy, who when he found out that a Thermos keeps hot things hot and cold things cold said, "How do it know?"

      June 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • vulpecula

      @Leo
      Hey! Do you have a date yet? I need time to schedule another Rapture party.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Leo, I'll see you in the rapture capsule with the unicorns. Remember to wear your nose ring – the big steel one that I padlocked the chain onto when we were practicing for the uplifting.

      This time, though, remember to plug your nose and mouth when I pull the chain and your head goes down into the swirling waters, so the brown floaters don't get in like they did last time you went down.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  3. Strong Man

    Personally I give up all my posessions and freedoms to the aliens. Because you never know. If you do it now, it won't be too late.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Cq

      "Your superior intellect is no match for our puny weapons!" Kang and Kodos
      Simpsons – Treehouse of Horror II

      🙂

      June 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  4. May Pelletier

    And Mr. DeWitt is concerned about 'pain' in THIS world?

    June 14, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Bet

      Yes, this world. The only one that exists, unless there are other worlds and life forms that we haven't discovered yet. When they are found, you can start talking about other worlds.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • holdin on to JESUS

      they only are concerned with pain of this world..... it is a mask used to hide the truth... we like to research and study material but have no idea how to go beyond that.... we are a part of something much greater than this world thanks to GOD, he was sent here so we would have a way.... the road appears to be very wide in this world(it's an illusion if you look at the earth in the universe it's only a dot)... the road to the truth , however is eternal and massive but appears to be very small because it can't be seen with our physical eyes.... sad but true...

      June 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Holdin

      Putting...between...every...six...words...doesn't...make...them...any...more...valid. It...just...shows...your...lack...of...education.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Cq

      Notice the difference. He is concerned over the actual pain that others suffer in this world, and you are alluding to supposed pain that he might be selfish enough to worry about happening to him after he dies. Empathy for others over being primarily concerned over your own neck; that's the choice he made.

      Which choice are you making?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @Bet: but holdin' doesn't NEED a grade-school education to get where it's going, don't you know?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Bet –

      Don't be so hard on the humble ellipsis...it serves a purpose in creating a conversational tone in informal writing. (I'm, sheepishly, guilty of overusing it...apologies).

      June 14, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Tom

      Yeah, I don't think too much education will be a problem.

      @ Really

      Lol. I'm a writer, and I can just picture my editor turning red.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  5. Jack

    All Atheists! ... Please view video #2 @ ... thestarofkaduri.com

    June 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • ME II

      again...Why?

      June 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Bet

      No.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • HappyMadison

      Here's a video for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSLkQnCurgs&feature=relmfu

      June 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • HappyMadison

      ... Oh and Jack, why don't you just host your video on YouTube instead of trying to steer people to your web site in order to get higher ad revenue?

      June 14, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Strong Man

      Get your firewall checked... Viruses everywhere on that site.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  6. kindness

    This is my experience... Thank you.

    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

    June 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Thom

      uhmmm, what?

      June 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • .

      Click the report abuse link to get rid of this troll. Hopefully soon they'll block their IP address from posting.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • holdin on to JESUS

      Jesus is revealed to those who seek the truth... the world is the veil. Most of us are blind to the truth because of our own fear. Fear of knowing, it is much easier to be free from God than to walk with him. Very few will find their way because their self will gets in the way of God's will. You don't understand because you can't understand.. you will not allow yourself to. It's funny how we ask for proof of God when the fact that we have a beating hearts is all the proof we need. Though you can't see the physical image of GREED, LUST, ANGER, JEALOUSY, HATE, ETC... doesn't mean they aren't real or don't exist... These are all very real and evil spirits that live among us... just as all these live among us, ONE who conquered all of these also lives among us.. He is Jesus Christ and he will send his HOLY SPIRIT to all who ask and we can conquer all of those things too. Jesus isn't of this world... like so many people are... and He overcame the world so that we as people could too. OPEN you eyes before the world overtakes you like it does , has and always will so many.... don't be left behind with rose colored glasses. Jesus loves you.. all of you. You don't have to believe in him for him to believe in you!

      June 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Bet

      @ holdin

      So I have an organ in my chest that pumps blood, therefore god exists. When it stops, does god stop existing?

      June 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • bob

      with all that rubbish you posted you forgot to mention you never finished grade school

      June 14, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • holdin on to JESUS

      GOD is,was and always will be... your bleeding organ in your chest is flesh.. it will perish... and so will you ...to dust you came to be and to dust you will return.... to be born of flesh isn't a godly thing.... to be born of GOD is... He is, was and always will be... note (I said to have a beating heart is proof of GOD not that a beating heart is GOD)

      June 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How does a beating heart prove there's a god, exactly?

      June 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • holdin on to JESUS

      no need to finish grade school to get where i'm going 🙂

      June 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Where is it you think you're going? And wouldn't being at least literate make you more credible to those you are attempting to persuade?

      June 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • holdin on to JESUS

      no Jesus, no Peace.... know Jesus, know Peace.... GOD is LOVE

      June 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • holdin on to JESUS

      I'm not here to persuade anyone... only to testify to the TRUTH.... GOD is LOVE... PEACE be with you all 🙂

      June 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Bet

      Holdin has all the bumper sticker cliches right at his/her fingertips. I love this one though:

      "no need to finish grade school to get where i'm going" Priceless.

      You're right, you need absolutely no education to believe in god and the bible. In fact, thinking is discouraged. You might learn the truth, that religion is a lie and a money making scam.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  7. Allan G

    I see alot of intellectual arguments here, in my experience, intellect is linked to pride, and pride was the sin of the Red Dood downstairs himself. I suggest, "lean not on your own understanding, but trust in God"...

    June 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • The Dog Delusion

      what if you're like jerry dewitt and have neither?

      June 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Bet

      Yeah, your god seems to have issues with anyone who thinks for himself.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Trumpy

      I also noticed the distrust of intellect by those in my faith. It was one of the very reasons I chose to leave my faith and pursue intellect.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • The Dog Delusion

      Yikes, Trumpy. I didn't realize they were mutually exclusive. So you had no intellect prior to leaving your faith?

      June 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Dog

      You said "Yikes, Trumpy. I didn't realize they were mutually exclusive. So you had no intellect prior to leaving your faith?"

      What an inane comment. Not everything is an all or nothing proposition. People who leave their faith usually cite the conflict between their intellect and the teachings of their religion as the driving force that leads them to leave. They have both faith and intellect, and eventually intellect overrides blind faith.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • HappyMadison

      I'll tell you what pride is – telling everyone that you were selected by God to go to heaven while everyone else is going to hell.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Cq

      Intellect usually leads to getting the right answer. Most people learn as school children to feel some pride in getting answers correct.

      You'd prefer people feel pride in getting the wrong answers?!?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  8. Animus_liber

    "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster." (Nietzsche)

    June 14, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  9. Me

    It's HILARIOUS to read all of the comments on here, asserting that 'religion' is the cause of wars and hatred. Yes, in Biblical times, wars were fought and ended by the 'people of God' and God himself. But nowhere in the Bible does it assert, or even imply, that we are to handle things that way these days. But back then, that's how society worked. The Bible tells us to, above all else, love one another. And then you go from there. You can't love someone and murder them. You can't love someone and, without regret, hurt them in some way. It's not possible. That's what the Bible teaches, first and foremost.

    The problem comes when 'Christian extremism' comes into play. People take things to the extreme, and unfortunately with that comes condemnation, which they think is justified, but is actually in no way justified. And that puts them at fault, and makes other Christians look bad by taking that stereotype and popularizing it. And just as unfortunate is the fact that those extremists, along with televangelists and *some* megachurch pastors, seem to set the standard for 'Christian beliefs' in America because they are more outspoken. They take small parts of the Bible and BLAST them in people's faces while leaving out the parts calling them to love and operate in meekness. This is what makes it so easy to poke holes in their arguments and call them hypocritical, because the reality is, there are lots of ways to prove them incredible and hypocritical when they only use the parts of the Bible that they deem important and leave out the parts that would regulate them, and even keep their mouths shut most of the time.

    Note, that I am in no way saying that it's wrong to spread the Gospel by Biblical standards, but I am calling out many of the methods used by modern day pastors, preachers, disciples, whatever you want to call them, that are not in line with Biblical outlines.

    Also, to further address my original point, a simple way to put it is this: to put the blame on religion for war is a simple-minded, uneducated, mass-appeal excuse for an argument. Religion doesn't kill people, people who take religions to the extreme kill people. It's kind of like saying 'The planes didn't kill people on 9/11, the people flying them did'. (And yes, those people were compelled by their extreme religious beliefs to do so, but they could've made the choice to not do it.)

    Religious extremism causes both the extremist and their 'adversaries' to be blind to the truth of its core religion. It causes unfair stereotypes to be placed on the Christians who actually follow the fulness of Biblical principles, kind of like the Athiests on this board who use name-calling to get their point across give fuel to the stereotype of the 'hateful athiest'.

    Just trying to level the playing field. Christians, stop being hateful and speak your peace in love. Atheists, stop being hateful and speak your peace with respect for someone's beliefs.

    I don't believe Christians are stupid or have mental issues because they believe what they do. I don't believe Athiests are devil-worshippers or are ignorant because they don't believe what they do. I believe if everyone would calm down and speak to each other with respect, not only would there be intelligent discussion, but you'd be much better received, and you'd be able to get your point across without looking just plain ignorant and mean.

    Fighting over beliefs is what starts wars. The people fighting, not the religion itself. Everyone on this board using hostility to argue that religion is the cause of war and hatred is actuallly starting the fight! If you're gonna advocate for peace, then do so with peace. Otherwise you're just making it worse. That goes for Athiests and Christians alike.

    If you can't respectfully disagree with someone, then keep your words to yourself. Don't fuel the fire with your venomous words of 'peace' or 'truth'. You're only going to make things worse and make your side of the argument look ignorant and childishly unfounded.

    June 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • .

      pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Me

      Geez I'm long-winded! Maybe I should become a Baptist preacher 😉

      June 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Kafir

      What's so extremist about following the bible to the letter?

      June 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Me

      ".",

      That's exactly my point. Both sides calling for peace while continuing to pull the trigger. There will never be a cease-fire if people don't speak calmly and respectfully.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Me

      If you are, however, implying that I've said something in hostility, please show me where so I can either explain its innocence or concede to your notion.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Me

      Kafir,

      There is nothing extremist by following the Bible to the letter, as long as it's EVERY letter. My point is that people like to pick certain parts and take just those parts to the extreme while simultaneously ignoring other parts that would pull in the reigns a little bit on their crusade.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • .

      "If you are, however, implying that I've said something in hostility, please show me where so I can either explain its innocence or concede to your notion."

      “It's HILARIOUS to read all of the comments on here”

      “ People take things to the extreme, and unfortunately with that comes condemnation, which they think is justified, but is actually in no way justified.”

      “ there are lots of ways to prove them incredible and hypocritical “

      “I don't believe Christians are stupid or have mental issues because they believe what they do. I don't believe Athiests are devil-worshippers or are ignorant because they don't believe what they do. “

      “ Everyone on this board using hostility to argue that religion is the cause of war and hatred is actuallly starting the fight!”

      “If you can't respectfully disagree with someone, then keep your words to yourself. Don't fuel the fire with your venomous words of 'peace' or 'truth'. You're only going to make things worse and make your side of the argument look ignorant and childishly unfounded.”

      Pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Open Minded

      the problem is that people pick and choose what they want to believe in and follow. no one follows the bible, or any other religious text, "to the letter". they tend to follow what suits them the best or is closest to whatever they believe.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Me

      “It's HILARIOUS to read all of the comments on here”//Why is that hostile? It's funny to watch people go at it with no other purpose than to bring each other down. They end up being very humorous.

      “ People take things to the extreme, and unfortunately with that comes condemnation, which they think is justified, but is actually in no way justified.”//I don't see your point here. I'm saying that when people take things to extremes, they put condemnation on people who they view as being in the wrong instead of showing concern or love. This isn't hostile in any way.

      “ there are lots of ways to prove them incredible and hypocritical “//This is a fact based on comments that people have left, calling for peace while simultaneously taking shots at people. Also, it's showing how people who are taking only bits and pieces of the Bible and targeting people with them, are easily discredited. Again, this isn't said with hostility, just disappointment, especially since I love dearly some people who do this very thing.

      “I don't believe Christians are stupid or have mental issues because they believe what they do. I don't believe Athiests are devil-worshippers or are ignorant because they don't believe what they do. “//How in the world is saying that I don't believe the stereotypes often placed on groups of people are wrong, hostile? In this sentence it's clear that I'm saying that I believe that, contrary to what some people have posted, Christians are intelligent and Athiests are actually kind, normal people. How is that hostile?

      “ Everyone on this board using hostility to argue that religion is the cause of war and hatred is actuallly starting the fight!”//Again, how is this hostile? It is again directed at comments of people calling for peace while simultaneously taking shots at the other side. It's showing the contradictory nature of comments.

      “If you can't respectfully disagree with someone, then keep your words to yourself. Don't fuel the fire with your venomous words of 'peace' or 'truth'. You're only going to make things worse and make your side of the argument look ignorant and childishly unfounded.”//This isn't said with any hostility either. It was said in a very respectful tone and giving advice to both sides.

      I think if you re-read the post with a calm tone and know that none of it was said out of anger or hostility, you may have a different opinion. It's a very neutral opinion, not taking arms against one side or another, but instead asking for the peace that each side seeks to be considered before writing words that are mean or intended to harm or cause tempers to flare.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Me

      Open Minded,
      That is the truth, I've found, at least with concern to the Bible. And that is the biggest problem with 'religious arguments', both in-and-out-side Christian circles. And honestly, I haven't delved as deeply into other religious texts, so I can't speak for them. But I completely agree with regard to the Bible.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • ME II

      @Me,
      "But back then, that's how society worked."
      So it's moral relativism then? What was right then may not be right now?

      "You can't love someone and murder them."
      Unless God tells you to, right? Like Abraham. Or is that not "murder" as arbitrarily defined by someone/something else?

      June 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • ME II

      ...nevermind

      June 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Me

      @Me II,

      Why the retraction of your questions?

      June 14, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Cq

      If you're chucking out biblical practices because they're just not how our modern-day society does things then I suppose you support gay marriage?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Me

      @Cq,

      I'm not 'chucking out' Biblical principles. I'm 'chucking out' the old methods of carrying out Biblical principles, like going to war over differences and slaughtering people because they don't like you. That's how they handled things back then, but not today. Today that would be 'holocaust'. Another example: killing a man for sleeping with your wife. Common then, not accepted today (except in some other countries where extemism is the norm).

      June 15, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  10. fred

    GodFreeNow
    It does not matter if God is real or a delusion the fact remains modern man has lived in a God centered world. This includes all your eastern religions and other misguided god based religions as well. At the core of modern man is the same as what was at the core of the Neanderthal. This “instinct” that can sense something greater than this temporal physical existence exists and cannot be denied. 98% of modern man has the ability to sense purpose greater than self. This is why I can confidently say modern man has never known a world without God /gods /reincarnation/ etc.
    The notion you and Tom Tom put forth that an atheist world would somehow be better is nonsense! That is a complete delusion and a pipe dream because you have nothing whatsoever to go on. You just make up a new world order out of thin air and claim all these great things about that dream world. Such a world no modern man has know. You and your fellow atheists are promoting a grand social experiment on a world wide scale with no basis of what the result would be.

    June 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Kafir

      You'd only need to look at the secular nations where religion plays a negligible or nonexistent role in civil society to see how well it can get.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Bob

      Yeah, fred, we have no idea how much better a world without Christian inquisitions, witch burning by Christians, persecution of scientists by Christians, limiting of free speech by Christians, and persecution of various groups by bigoted Christians would be.

      No, really.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Um, no. That instinct that you feel has been bred into over millions of years of evolution. We see the same type of primitive morals in other animals. Man developed religion as a bridge to a system of laws and justice. Studies have shown that people behave better if they think people are watching, regardless of whether anyone is.

      You're not 'perceiving' anything supernatural. It's all in your head.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • ME II

      "98% of modern man has the ability to sense purpose greater than self. "

      Your source for this figure?

      June 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "98% of modern man has the ability to sense purpose greater than self"

      That's a lie. Religious people find it very annoying that people don't need God to be good, as science has now incontestably proved.

      For millennia, we've been brainwashed into believing that we needed the Almighty to redeem us from an essentially corrupt nature. Left to our own devices, people would quickly devolve into beasts, more violent, tactless, aggressive, and selfish, than we already are.

      Today, we know that this isn't true. With the discovery of mirror neurons by Italian neuroscientist Giaccomo Rizzolatti in the 1990s, we now have physiological proof of why - and how - our species became hard-wired for goodness. Mirror neurons are miraculous cells in the brain whose sole purpose is to harmonize us with our environments. By reflecting the outside world inward, we actually become each other - a little bit; neurologically changed by what is happening around us. Mirror neurons are the reason that we have empathy and can feel each other's pain. It is because of mirror neurons that you blush when you see someone else humiliated, flinch when someone else is struck, and can't resist the urge to laugh when seeing a group struck with the giggles. (Indeed, people who test for "contagious yawning" tend to be more empathic.) These tiny mirrors are the key to most things noble and good inside us.

      It is through mirror neurons - not God - that we redeem ourselves, achieve salvation, and are "reborn" in virtuous ways once co-opted by religions. Evolution knew what she was doing. A group of successful cooperators has a much higher chance of thriving than a population of selfish liars. In spite of what we read in the headlines, the ratio of bad to good deeds done on any given day across our planet holds at close to zero any day of the year. Although we are ethical works-in-progress, the vast majority of us are naturally positive creatures - meaning not harmful to our environments - most of the time in most of the ways that matter. And God has nothing to do with it.

      Spirituality does but God doesn't. Evolutionary psychologists tell us that our brains are hard-wired with a five-toned moral organ that focuses on a quintet of ethical values - one of which is purity, or sacredness. In a world that can sometimes be disgusting, we evolved an upper tier of emotional longing - the aspiration for purity - to keep us balanced in this satyricon of carnal delights (where animality beckons and frequently wins). Our need for sacredness is part of our ancient survival apparatus, and manifests in what we call faith, the need to connect with that sacred dimension. This has been the primary purpose of religion, of course - to congregate people for the Greater Good - but God has been, in fact, the divine carrot. The important part was communion, a context in which to transcend ourselves, if only for an hour on Sundays. Without this ability "to turn off the Me and turn on the We," moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt tells us, our species would still be wandering around as groups of nomads, unable to create a civilization.

      Aside from mirror neurons, there's oxytocin, the molecule of connection (also known as the molecule of love). It's fascinating to learn that the vagus nerve produces more oxytocin when we witness virtuous behavior in others that makes us want to be better people ourselves. We are wired by nature to be elevated at the sight of other people's goodness, mirror neurons and oxytocin conspiring to improve the species. Miraculous though it is, this natural human phenomenon has nothing to do with theology.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • fred

      ME II
      Since 8,000 BC there have been 107,602,7017,791 estimated births. Before 1950 few if any would acknowledge being an atheist and before 700 AD we find little evidence that atheist existed in any significant degree. Being generous if you take today’s estimate of 16% atheist / no God that would represent 2.56 billion people. 2.56 billion people represent 2% of the estimated births.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Since 8,000 BC there have been 107,602,7017,791 estimated births. Before 1950 few if any would acknowledge being an atheist and before 700 AD we find little evidence that atheist existed in any significant degree. Being generous if you take today’s estimate of 16% atheist / no God that would represent 2.56 billion people. 2.56 billion people represent 2% of the estimated births."

      LMAO! LOL! LOL! LOL! No facts just assumptions. LOL!

      June 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • fred

      FacePalm
      You said: “Man developed religion as a bridge to a system of laws and justice.”
      =>there is no way to know that it is just a wild guess.

      “ Studies have shown that people behave better if they think people are watching, regardless of whether anyone is.”
      =>Thank You! Would that not support the case an atheist world could not be any better than what we know?

      “You're not 'perceiving' anything supernatural. It's all in your head.”
      =>does it matter if God is real or simply in our head while we are alive? Based on the Bible and observation God has gone to great lengths to avoid leaving evidence that can be accepted outside of faith. Knowing God or seeing God requires faith which reveals that which cannot be seen. The origin of life and the after-life exists in the supernatural outside our time and space. Not sure how we could experience that dimension in the physical and life to talk about it.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • fred

      Kafir
      “You'd only need to look at the secular nations where religion plays a negligible or nonexistent role in civil society to see how well it can get.”
      =>No, you cannot do that. Those secular nations receive protection from the world around it by God fearing peoples. To the extent you wish to refer to the Nordic nations they have incorporated the ways of the Christ deep into their culture. You can trace the origin of those core beliefs to Christianity even though overtime “Christ” has been removed.

      =>with the exception of a few remote tribes all civilization has been subjected to a God centered world view.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      Provide your data for that fred.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fred

      Then again, your god of the gaps is pretty easy to stick wherever you want it.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • HappyMadison

      @fred – Sounds like you should have taken the blue pill.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • fred

      Hawaii Guest
      In 1536 Denmark became a Lutheran country under the King as the t-itular head of the Danish National Church

      Norway. The Norwegian archdiocese at Nidaros is dated November 30, 1154

      Iceland King Olaf converted the pagan factions in 10th century Iceland. Sweden Christianized by the 12th century when king Sigurd the Crusader undertook a crusade

      Finland became christian in the 13th century by the Finnish "crusade" of Birger Jarl

      June 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • fred

      HappyMadison
      I have not yet discovered the end to the rabbit hole but knowing Christ has been a wonderland I never imagined.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • ME II

      @fred,
      So you are equating non-Atheists with those who "sense" a "purpose greater than self." That is a ridiculous assertion. What's your evidence that all of them sense that "purpose"? What's your evidence that such a "purpose," isn't just the last storm that blew through or last seasons flood or the volcano up the path? What's your evidence that the "sense" wasn't completely faked due to the the local priest, police, and/or warlord?

      June 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • ME II

      @fred,
      Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Finland... so you are admitting that it wasn't Christianity, but in fact a carry over of aspects from prior pagan beliefs that have only now reasserted themselves after centuries of Christian oppression.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • ME II

      /satire

      June 14, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • fred

      ME II
      “So you are equating non-Atheists with those who "sense" a "purpose greater than self." That is a ridiculous assertion.”
      =>Yes, if there is God or illusion of God there is a sense that we exist for a purpose greater than that of a frog or dog. We are more than organic matter and electrical chemical reactions.
      “ What's your evidence that all of them sense that "purpose"?”
      =.> I cannot comment on all or degree of sense in that purpose. The evidence we have is thousands of years of writings expressing purpose and essence of a mans soul outside this physical world and the relationship between the two worlds. Lives dedicated to God / gods / etc.
      “ What's your evidence that such a "purpose," isn't just the last storm that blew through”
      =>the consistent pattern of non-Atheists looking towards something greater that is beyond this life points to a common sense. The consistent pattern of relationship between this life and another existence points to cause and effect.
      “What's your evidence that the "sense" wasn't completely faked due to the the local priest, police, and/or warlord?”
      =>yes, even atheists would fake it. Scientists fake lack of belief before their piers etc.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • fred

      ME II
      From pagan to Christianity to a unique blend that never escaped the Western World View (Judeo-Christian) simply because that would take many generations existing without the lingering effect.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Cq

      fred
      Why do you assume that atheists don't sense any purpose greater than themselves? The betterment of society qualifies as a purpose greater than one's self, and so is the former pastor's desire to help other non-believing preachers. If he was an overly selfish person he'd be preoccupied with thoughts of his own well-being, and believer's threats of awaiting hellfire because of his decision might actually convince him to rejoin the Church, right?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • fred

      Cq
      How does one equate the purpose of existence of whale and human? If we are but organic matter and chemical reactions one could equate their purpose of existence. A believer knows God and the purpose for existence is unique for man. An atheist does not know God which is why they cannot comprehend the origin of life. The origin of life remains a mystery because if man is but animal no God is needed. DeWitt now finds himself in a position where he claims to have “known” God and now no longer knows God. This cannot be. Either he did not know God in the first place or as you say represents an opportunity for God to reveal his glory anew. Just as Adam and Eve could not un-know the knowledge of good and evil anyone that has touched God cannot un-know God. If you “knew” God based on anything but a personal experience that resulted in transformation then you did not really know God you just knew of God.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  11. Jack

    If you have some time, please visit my web site... thestarofkaduri.com

    June 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • ME II

      why?

      June 14, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  12. peter

    when mormons knock on my door i take the book of mormon and urinate on it after i smack one in the face–Mormons are brainwashed and a weak cursed people–We put those freaks in utah for a reason in the 1800s

    June 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      But you have no problems supporting a cannibal. Right. Nice double standards. Why is one set of beliefs wackier than another?

      June 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Bet

      You didn't put Mormons anywhere. They went to Utah to escape religious persecution from christians like you.

      It's revealing that you take such pride in your hatred of anyone who disagrees with you though.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  13. WASP

    LORD: one having power and authority over others:
    a : a ruler by hereditary right or preeminence to whom service and obedience are due
    b : one of whom a fee or estate is held in feudal tenure
    c : an owner of land or other real property
    d obsolete : the male head of a household
    e : husband
    f : one that has achieved mastery or that exercises leadership or great power in some area
    2capitalized a : god 1 b : jesus
    3: a man of rank or high position:

    GOD: the supreme or ultimate reality: as a : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe b Christian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind
    2: a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality
    3: a person or thing of supreme value
    4: a powerful ruler

    FAITH:allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
    2a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
    3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs

    RELIGION: the state of a religious b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
    2: a personal set or insti-tutionalized system of religious atti-tudes, beliefs, and practices
    3archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
    4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

    CULT: formal religious veneration : worship
    2: a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents
    3: a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents
    4: a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator
    5a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b : the object of such devotion c : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion

    ALL FOUND IN WEBSTERS DICTIONARY.

    June 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • peter

      the church of scientology and the church of latter day saints are cults

      June 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • WASP

      @peter: how do you know joseph smith was cursed? he had trouble with becoming a preacher of other christian faiths until god sent an angel to help teah him the "new" way. so what makes his inspired book any less inspired by god than your book? you had quite a few men claiming in the bible to be inspired by god to do things, god sent two angels to lot( a pediphile mind you) to save him and his family. so now that i have clarified please prove to me the book of mormon is any less credible than the bible or the koran and torah.

      you say other beliefs are evil or cults, well atheists think all religions are cults. they request sums of money for things they can't do, like cure your grandmother of cancer but when they fail they say "it was god's plan" then why pray at all if god is going to do what he wants any how?

      June 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • peter

      wasp –well people claim testaments of jesus christ from an angels, they are the antichrist–But since you are an atheist ill put it this way–joeseph smith was a con artist and a liar. Mormonism is not part of christendom any more than sceintology is

      June 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Nii

      WASP
      The way u make things up one will wonder how u wud have fared as a Preacher I sure am glad u r Atheist. That said the daughters of Lot ra.ped him cos they thought they were getting past their prime. Hardly little girls! And knowing u this will stick for 30 minutes or till the board is wipe!

      June 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Nii

      WASP
      WHEN DID AN ANGLICAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC OR EASTERN ORTHODOX PRIEST ASK TO CURE UR GRANDMA FOR A FEE! Mind u that makes up 75% of Christianity! Generalization will not get u anywhere! I can as well say Atheists promise utopias where there is only one person alive! the one true Atheist!

      June 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Nii

      Religious people are always in danger of losing their faith! Spiritual men hold on tight. The foundation of spirituality is atheism! Most people are ignoring religion and calling themselves such. These people are just religious people without faith. A spiritual Atheist will soon enuff find his God

      June 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • bignevermo

      no nii...Lots daughters thought he was the last man on earth...so they tricked him with wine and had their way with Lot...Ammon and Moab were the resulting children.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Nii

      De fact that most so-called Atheists practise Yoga or Zen Bhuddhism is very significant not to talk of those who r Atheists among de churches! Its funny that anyone will argue argainst de fact that humans are intuitive n suffer a moral dillemma de cure of which is spirituality offered by religion.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Nii

      BIGNEVERMO
      Is it that u think they were that naive. They actually indicated there were other men whom their dad wudn't have them marry! Seems like he'd become depressed and insular after watching his life work go up in smoke! He was as rich as Abraham was, remember? And had nothing now!

      June 14, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Nii

      YR
      I find what u r saying about mirror neurons good but remember basically that science answers how not why! De extrapolations 2 fulfil ur Atheist mindset is not actually very accurate! We have de ability to need to b good but we mostly don't fulfill it whether mirror or telescope neurons r involved

      June 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Bet

      Most atheists practice Buddhism and/or yoga? Please provide the citation for this scholarly research.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • WASP

      @Nii:"The way u make things up one will wonder how u wud have fared as a Preacher I sure am glad u r Atheist. That said the daughters of Lot ra.ped him cos they thought they were getting past their prime. Hardly little girls! And knowing u this will stick for 30 minutes or till the board is wipe!
      June 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm "

      no i don't make things up, try studying something outside what your preacher tells you is ok.
      lot's daughters didn't r.a.p.e him they did what they thought they had learned. no child, mind you they would be cla.ssified as children now days due to marrying age and breeding age due to life expectancy during that time period was 13 years of age. let's also put in context that they had just left zoar inwhich lot had begged god to allow them to flee to, but he still found it fitting to take his daughters into the mountains where god had commanded him to go in the first place. his daughters had to have seen their father drunk on wine before to know what effect it would have on him, which begs the question, when he offered them to the angry mob outside his door were they truly virgins, or just virgins to other men? not to mention once they got lot drunk they had no quams with sleeping with their father, which they bible even speaks against such acts. sorry for the delay i was one break, :p i have many times gone around with you even once you got angry and swore all atheists were going to burn in hell and you weren't ever going to return to these blogs; hmmmm wonder what happen to that? lmfao

      June 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Berk

      @Bet
      He probably has Lisa Simpson in mind. Probably thinks we're all vegans and sax players too.

      Too bad Nii isn't Flanders. A lot more people would like him if he were that humble.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  14. WASP

    @BoldGeorge
    he just didn't decide to stop believeing. he began questioning his faith after the corner stones failed him; i.e. prayer didn't save the sick from dying, he prayed for families to get jobs and they would lose their homes, etc etc etc..... let me guess those people were not meant to get jobs to be able to feed their families as part of god's plan even though a preacher was asking for these things.
    how is magic truth? it's a book from 2000 years ago. it's no different from any other "faith". prayer does nothing, it can't save lives, it can't get you a job or money to pay bills, it can't get you food for your children. it's just a fracking means to not feel alone, to fill that human need to belong. religion has played most of humanity for fools throughout history from witchdoctors and medicinemen to war-popes and ordained kings. it is all a lie fed to you by your parents to make you obediant. i know there is no hope for brain-dead screws like you, but the advancement in knowledge will cure this evil called religion from the world,..............or atleast drive it to the shunned outter fringes of human exsistance.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • peter

      wasp–i voted for santorum and will be sitting out the gen election because i don't vote for mormons

      June 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "wasp–i voted for santorum and will be sitting out the gen election because i don't vote for mormons"

      Way to vote for the next leader of the free world based on 2000+ year old myths created by a bunch of humans. Are you r3tard3d or do you just act like it?

      June 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Bet

      @peter

      So you'll toss out your vote, which many in the world don't have the privilege of doing, just because you disagree with one of the candidate's choice of fairy tale beliefs? There are more than two candidates, you know.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • peter

      I don't like my republican nom–mormonism is a mental illness–ill wait till 2016 and vote for a real republican–i don't have to vote in 2012–i don't care how you feel about it

      June 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Lewis Keseberg

      But you'd vote for a cannibal. Who's the one with the mental illness?

      June 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      I love the 'my version of our mythology is better than your version of our mythology' argument. Very amusing.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Bet

      Of course you don't. I didn't say that. I said there are alternatives to Republicans or Democrats.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • WASP

      @peter: it is so lovely to sit here and know all those soldiers that have lost their lives and are still putting their lives on the line for you to just decide not to vote. me and my buddies fought for your right to vote, you don't want to vote fine GET THE FRACK OUT OF MY COUNTRY YOU BRAIN DEAD WORTHLESS PIECE OF SEWER TRASH! most people don't have control over what happens in their government, you do and sick f......s like you spit in the face of every soldier that fought to protect your rights. people like you make me so angry, i could snap your neck if i could get my hands on you for disrespecting them as such.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • peter

      wasp–you are a lying peice of crap like your trash mormon canidate–no one in iraq or anywhere else thinks they are losing a leg for me to vote–It's childish to even lie about it–Now i want you to do something–You tell that stinking mormon to get on his knees and reject the book of mormon on tv–and maybe i will think about voting for the flip flopping romneycare moderate from mass

      June 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • bignevermo

      Hey WASP!!! I thought you fought for our RIGHT TO VOTE OR NOT...isnt that what freedom is all about? choices? I used to work for an atheist marine who never voted...just because you served our country does not mean you get to dictate what our freedoms mean! That would be after all a DICTATORSHIP... perhaps Peter should vote...but we live in the US where we have the OPTION to vote...or would you like us to change to a dictatorship where we HAVE to vote? You make no sense sir!

      just sayin!

      June 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • WASP

      to clear my point, if you want to complain about things vote get active in what your government is doing. don't choose to sit down and do nothing because you're not getting things your way. i am not mormon, i'm atheist and i fought for everyones right to do as they see fit, you don't vote then don't cry when you don't get what you want. i vote every chance i get, i might not always given the choices i would prefer, but i choose the best of my options. blunt truth, yes i think everyone should vote. don't like it tough and plenty of soldiers think how i do, regardless of their political choice they believe we can only build a stronger nation by actively pertisapating in our government.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  15. Centrist

    All this reminds me a bit of people enthusiastically discussing Star Wars or Harry Potter.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Moot point, Harry Potter is clearly the best.

      June 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Open Minded

      i was thinking more the Star Wars vs Star Trek debate or Potter vs Twilight myself...

      June 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Travis

      Sort of, though to my knowledge while those debates sound as silly on paper and in internet forums as this one, no one has ever escalated the Star Wars/Harry Potter debate to the status of a massive call to arms to harm others or used either as an excuse to restrict the lives, liberty, property, and rights of their fellow man.
      No one has ever sought to say, ban gay marriage on the grounds that it wasn't shown in Star Wars or fly a plane into a building in the hopes that Harry Potter will give them 72 virgins in the afterlife...

      June 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Berk

      With Christians being the fanboys and atheists being their parents, telling them to grow up, become responsible for themselves, and put aside the childish fantasies.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  16. Readdeeply

    God lives only in the amygdala

    June 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • heavensent

      And at mudfallss.com

      June 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  17. peter

    boldgeorge–"no exuse in the end" Lets forget hell for a moment, what if you don't want to go to heaven. Eternity is a very long time and you can't tell the lord you want to leave. Think before you leap mr bold guy

    June 14, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • The Dog Delusion

      this is a valid point in a way. even if everyone on earth knew for a fact that god exists and heaven is reality for those that follow christ, there would still be those that rejected him.

      however, if you are talking about an eternity with finite good then yes that we become unbearable. but that certainly would not be the case if you consider god to be infinitely good.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  18. heavensent

    prolapsed.net has the answers for those seeking guiding light from the one true lord.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Bet

      Why don't you take care of your prolapsed bladder before you start telling others what to do?

      June 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • JWT

      I have no lord I am not British.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Me

      HeavenSent,

      Please stop. From an Athiest stand point, you look like a fool. From a Christian standpoint, you not only look like a fool, but you're hurting everyone's credibility with what seems like ignorance. Speak the truth in love, and stop speaking like a brainwashed child. And please stop saying "Amen" after every post. You're not in prayer, you're speaking to people. It devalues your actual prayer-oriented 'Amen.' Take a look at my earlier post. I'm sorry for the matter-of-factness and blatant meanness of this post, but you're really getting on my nerves, and I don't know another way to put it.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • IMMACULATE DECEPTION

      My name's Jesus, yes I'm the real Jesus. All you other fake gods are just bein divas. Won't the one true lord please stand up, please stand up, please stand up?

      June 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  19. BushelandaPeck

    Aaah, c'mon. People who are called to be preachers seem to generally enjoy getting up in front of crowds and talking. I think that Jerry is providing a valuable and necessary outlet for people on that particular path. Especially in a small town in the South, where the first or second question your new neighbors ask you is, "Where do you go to church?" Recovering from Religion offers community to people feeling ostracized by the religious communities they were a part of until their reason trumped their faith.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  20. BoldGeorge

    One thing Jesus Christ did NOT tolerate (yeah, that's right...as in intolerant) was false teachers, deceivers and hypocrites. He did however, "hung-out" with sinners, talked and dined with prost.itutes, tax collectors (back then they were the worse of the worse–I guess they still are), murderers, etc. Of course He wanted to save them, because that was His mission.

    So, to admit that you were an unbeliever while preaching and teaching, please note that you are to be considered within the same category as the Pharisees, scribes and false prophets the bible so adamantly wants us (people in general) to avoid. That is why it is critical for each individual to be like the Bereans (Acts 17: 10-12) and study the Scriptures for ourselves. This way, we cannot be deceived. A

    June 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • peter

      boldgeorge–this dewitt guy in fact 100 percent believed in christ and christendom-for many years he did–than he changed his mind

      June 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      Same difference...oh you know what? It is actually worse to have believed and then just decide not to believe for whatever reason. I mean, you have the truth right in front of you, and then to reject it, makes no sense whatsoever...and obviously, there will be no excuse in the end.

      June 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • peter

      boldgeorge–im sure the decompression is really bad for him–it's like a husband who loses his wife to an accident and has to young children to take care of–This dewitt really believed and does not anymore–it's almost like he lost a loved one to death

      June 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • sam

      Well, then feel free to avoid him, george.

      June 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Real truth can be backed up with evidence. What you call 'truth' rational people call 'conjecture' and 'assertions'.

      June 14, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Bet

      I didn't "just decide" to leave religion after 50 years of brainwashing and indoctrination. It was a years-long, thoughtful, well-researched, fact-based quest that ended with the conclusion that the bible and god are man made tools for controlling people who don't have the will or intellect to question authority figures. For you to think otherwise is an assumption with no basis in fact.

      You are trying to make it sound like he woke up one morning and thought, "Gee, I think I'll become an atheist." It may fit better into your argument that way, but it's just not true. People who decide to leave religion after growing up that way have spent a long time thinking about it, and probably know what the bible says better than you.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Bet –

      I can only imagine how light and free you must feel after putting down the burden of belief after fifty years. Welcome.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Really-O

      Like a butterfly after crawling out of a dark chrysalis!

      June 14, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Travis

      "So, to admit that you were an unbeliever while preaching and teaching, please note that you are to be considered within the same category as the Pharisees, scribes and false prophets the bible so adamantly wants us (people in general) to avoid. "

      But if he was an unbeliever, then he wouldn't care, would he? Citing the Bible to chastise someone who doesn't believe in the Bible is pointless.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • HappyMadison

      @BoldGeorge -If you had grown up in Iran do you think you would still be the devout Christian you are now? Whose side would you be arguing for?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Cq

      BoldGeorge
      "false teachers, deceivers and hypocrites"

      Every Christian I've ever met believed that they were on the right path, but for your comment to be true a lot of them must have deluded themselves, right? How do you know that you're not being influenced by people like these, or aren't one yourself?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:11 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.