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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. Jack

    Good afternoon everyone, you all are more than welcome to visit ... thestarofkaduri.com

    June 15, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  2. FoodForThought

    Everyone is an atheist. Even if you accept the existence of a particular god, you probably don't accept the existence of all the other possible gods. So people who identify themselves as atheist have just taken the final step of dismissing that one last god.

    June 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • The Dog Delusion

      (sigh)

      athe·ist
      noun \ˈā-thē-ist\
      : one who believes that there is no deity

      June 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Nii

      The religious atheist dillemma- If we r all atheist then conversely we r all theists! Therefore Atheism is as much a religion as another.

      June 15, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • FoodForThought

      @Dog Delusion –

      Fair point. My point was that people who can't understand how atheists don't accept their god don't realize they are actually in the same position regarding all other religions.

      June 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • mandarax

      Nii, that makes no sense at all. Just because something is true, that doesn't mean the opposite is true. This is what you are saying: "If we all reject some gods, then we all must believe in a god." Nonsense.

      June 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      sorry, Nii, atheism is more a philosophy than a religion

      June 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • The Dog Delusion

      i don't think the problem (at least with me) is that theists don't understand how atheists don't accept their god. i think it's just that theists think they are wrong. i can understand how someone is an atheist. i just think they are wrong.

      June 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • HappyMadison

      @NII – How about the card players dilemma? If none of us play cards, than we all play cards. Therefore all of us are card players. I guess that also makes me a professional boxer, a brilliant musician, a Navy Seal, etc etc. Oh, and since I'm not a dolphin, than I am a dolphin as well. Hey, I'm not God either – so I guess that means I am God! I like this logic!

      June 15, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Steve

      Then, you have become your own god. Everyone has one or more "gods". Most, are just plain silly though.

      June 15, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  3. J.W

    Is there any theist here that has never had any doubt?

    June 15, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Nii

      Is there any Atheist here who has never experienced faith?

      June 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • HappyMadison

      Yes, and that faith is awfully similar to a child's faith in Santa and large bunnies that hide colorful eggs. The difference is that so many have trouble growing of this particular faith.

      June 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  4. my new religion.

    beginning 1-1
    everything I write down is fact and if you don't believe that, you are going to hell and all people who believe what I believe will hate you and/or do you harm.
    middle 1-1
    I have made up enough written stories in the middle here that you can pick and choose any words or sentences you like to judge other people and look down on them and feel better about yourself.
    middle 1-2
    speak in your mind or out loud to God and ask for things. If by chance you ever get something you asked for, that will serve as proof that God exists and our religion is the right religion.
    ending 1-1
    we believe in love of all man, unless you don't believe what we do in which case we hate you.

    June 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Bob

      appendix 1-1: PROFIT

      At least that is what the christian televangelists are in it for.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Nii

      Christians don't believe in loving all man! Thats humanism maybe a sort of hippie fad. God says we shud love our neighbors as much as we love ourself. Very specific. This is charitable love. The highest form of love there is!

      June 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • sam stone

      Nii: You have no authority to speak for god

      June 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • The Dog Delusion

      beginning 1-1 is gonna lead to some heated debates. does "write" mean anything that literally is written down by hand? can that apply to the typed word? i think we'll see an inevitable split. we'll have the "orthodox my new religioners" and the "reformed my new religioners".

      June 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • HappyMadison

      I tried to love my neighbor, but she filed a restraining order.

      June 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  5. love

    Christianity is the religion of love. Don't worry about bumping into your Christian friends, they'll still love you for who you are. They won't go against their religion and hate you just because you don't believe the same as them. Yeah right! What a crock.

    June 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • closet atheist

      Christians talk a big game...

      June 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Bob

      No, "love", Christianity according to the Christian book of horros AKA the bible is a religion of sickening hate, horrors, bigotry, violence, and unfairness. Consider horrors like these that the bible has Christian god demanding of you, in both OT and NT:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      June 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Bob

      No, "love", Christianity according to the Christian book of horrors AKA the bible is a religion of sickening hate, horrors, bigotry, violence, and unfairness. Consider horrors like these that the bible has Christian god demanding of you, in both OT and NT:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      June 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Adam

      Christianity is a religion which worships a single human sacrifice as though it were effective.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Steve

      Bob,

      You don't seem to realise that Satan also has children running around this planet. THESE are the ones that God instructed His people to kill......

      Do your homework before making your own "leap of faith" about what the Bible is saying, please.

      Thanks.

      June 15, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Bet

      Satan has children? Do they have horns and tails too?

      June 15, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  6. Gothic Tragedy

    True Piety:
    "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:26-27

    The World:
    "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world." I John 2:14-16

    Reason why any 'believer' would become an athiest:
    "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools..." Romans 1:21-22

    Science is influenced and motivated by human bias and desire and is not a purified form of reason (pure reason comes only from God who is motivated by pure love and humility, not the depraved, self-seeking, and proud human mind):
    Genesis 11:1-9
    James 4:1-11
    "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
    But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." James 3:13-17

    What happens to believers who lose faith ("twice dead"):
    Jude 1
    2 Peter 2
    "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace." Hebrews 6:4-6

    (all verses 1984 NIV)

    June 15, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Bob

      You can hardly consider Christians to be "enlightened", morally or otherwise, when their book of horrors AKA the bible contains nasty instructions from their god like these, alongside all the internal contradictions, errors, and so on in that rotten book:

      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      June 15, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Gothic Tragedy

      So Bob, are you a perfectly righteous person that I should follow you? Is your logic perfect that I should listen to your Gospel of unbelief? Does truth and wisdom and understanding begin with you, or are you just it's ambassodor and can tell me the source of your perfect knoweldge? WHY should I listen to you, by whose authority do you speak? Are you the embodiment of the voice of reason? If not, whom?

      To understand all of the Scriptures you quoted, and many others like you love to camp on and twist out of context to negate the Truth, you have to come to the Bible with a noncritical mind. I recommend "An Old Testament Theology" by Bruce Waltke, for starters.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • SLArbiter

      @ Gothic Tragedy

      The better question is why are you so intent on looking for someone/something to tell you what to do?

      June 15, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Bet

      Why do you need to follow anyone? Can't you think for yourself? Are you so intellectually bereft that you just have to find someone or something to lead you around like a sheep? Oh, wait a minute...lol. Nevermind, I just answered my own question.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Steve

      Bob,

      Do you real think it is appropriate to talk so harshly about a book that you have only read bits and pieces of??? If you REALLY wanted to take the time to find out what it is REALLY saying, you would inevitably come to a vastly different conclusion that what you currently have.

      Do yourself a favour, dig deeper.....

      Steve

      June 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Bob

      Been there, done that steve. What part of your book of horrors would you like to examine with me?

      And again, read more carefully what I said regarding reading your book of nasty AKA the bible:

      If you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      June 15, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • FoodForThought

      @Steve –
      The problem is there are so many different and contradictory ideas (even when taken in context) that just about everyone can find what they're looking for in it. Hence, so many ideas about what it contains.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Steve

      Food For Thought,

      I will definitely agree with you that it is difficult and time consuming to get anywhere near the truth. I have personally found that it is best to work with a King James version and a Storng's Concordance. When you find out how the original languages should have been transalted, it will begin to come into alighnment, and one day, the proverbial lightbulb will go off.

      Good luck and God bless you on your journey.

      "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter."
      Proverbs 25:2

      Steve

      June 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • FoodForThought

      Steve –

      But should it really be that difficult? Not everyone in the world has the leisure time you suggest is required, and even then I imagine everyone who puts that effort into it still arrives at their own "truth". It seems to me that such truth should be far more easily reached.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Steve

      Why do you assume that anyone who disagrees with the bible just hasn't read it, or hasn't read it the "right" way?

      I've studied it as a believer in Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin, Greek and English, including 10 years of private study with a born again bible scholar, using Strong's Concordance and just about every other reference published. The more I studied, the more contradiction and inconsistency I saw, and the less I believed in it. And the light bulb did go off. I saw it was all just made up lies to control those too weak willed or uneducated to question it beyond what they heard on Sunday.

      As Food for Thought and many others have said, a god who wanted to communicate with his "creation" would surely have done a better job of making his wishes clear, and without having to buy expensive reference materials to do it. If your god truly loves his "creation", he'd let them know directly, not through some revision of a revision of a revision that no one can agree on.

      We haven't even talked about how the poor of the world, or those who are born into cultures with another religious system, are going to figure your bible out. Are you suggesting that some dirt poor Somalian woman needs to buy Strong's Concordance? She's too busy looking for food for her children and trying to avoid being ra.ped.

      June 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Steve

      Bet,

      I'm not saying that lifelong study of the original languages is the only way to find God. The poor lady in Somalia can simply ask Him directly. I was only speaking to those who take bits and oieces of the Bible and then act as if those few bits and pieces make up the entirety (effectively, making their own relgion from those bits and pieces).

      June 15, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Steve

      First you said, "I will definitely agree with you that it is difficult and time consuming to get anywhere near the truth. I have personally found that it is best to work with a King James version and a Storng's Concordance. When you find out how the original languages should have been transalted, it will begin to come into alighnment, and one day, the proverbial lightbulb will go off."

      Then you said "I'm not saying that lifelong study of the original languages is the only way to find God. The poor lady in Somalia can simply ask Him directly. I was only speaking to those who take bits and oieces of the Bible and then act as if those few bits and pieces make up the entirety (effectively, making their own relgion from those bits and pieces)."

      That doesn't answer my question. Why do you assume that anyone who disagrees with your interpretation of the bible hasn't studied it, or hasn't studied it right?

      If a woman in Somalia only has to ask your god directly what he wants, why can't he do that for us here in the USA? Why do we need expensive reference materials to figure out what god wants? What if she doesn't know or hear about your god, since she's probably been raised a Muslim?

      June 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  7. mandarax

    I am so tired of hearing Christians claim that non-believers are arrogant and see themselves and human beings in general as being of ultimate importance, while claiming that their views are oh-so-humble before a higher power.

    Christians believe the entire universe was made to be their stage, that the most powerful force in the universe created them in his own image and listens to their every silent prayer and watches over them every minute. They believe that this God desperately needs their praise and attention, and it is just a matter of time before he will make them perfect and immortal while all others are punished eternally. The ultimate absurdity is that among the religious this passes for humility. These beliefs are not the least bit humble – they are outrageously self-important.

    June 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Know What

      mandarax,

      I agree... we will possibly be accused of building a straw man here, but these beliefs are recounted again and again.

      I also see believers as being the epitome of greed. They are not satisfied with this life and crave more afterwards - and not only MORE, but a PERFECT, ETERNAL more.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • mandarax

      I actually considered whether or not I was building a strawman as I wrote it, but each of those concepts is at the very core of Christian philosophy.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      And apparently none of them can see how anyone would be a good person without this carrot on a stick for they believe anyone who does not accept some brand of deity must be a horrible violent person. So not only are they greedily claiming a blissful and perfect eternity for themselves they are admitting that without that prize waiting for them at the end of the rainbow they would be out murdering, stealing and abusing everyone around them without constraint.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Mark Edward Noonan

      Actually, no Christian – heck, no believer in God of any type – believes that God needs us for anything; God freely created us because He wanted to. You're thinking in human terms – you're not stretching your mind to understand God as the central Fact which sustains all other facts.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • mandarax

      So, he doesn't need our praise and attention, but he threatens us with eternal torture anyway if we don't?

      June 15, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Mark Edward Noonan

      Debater; While sins such as murder and adultery are, indeed, very bad the worse sins are those which corrupt a person in to thinking himself some sort of free agent. Perhaps you are the kindest of all people and atheist as all get out – but if you are thinking that you are kind because you're just oh, so special and no one but your own, special self made you kind, then you're living in immense pride. You are, even if you don't acknowledge it, acting out the first lie of hell: "you shall be as gods". If you want to boil it down, for you to be what you have always been meant to be you first have to acknowledge that everything good thing you have is a freely granted gift of God. Of yourself, you are nothing – acknowledge God and you will have everything...including far more than you can possibly imagine.

      June 15, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • SLArbiter

      @ Mark Edward Noonan

      A god that requires our acknoledgement is a god that requires us. You're correct that it is a human concept, which in turn is one of the arguments that suggests that god is manmade.

      As for the idea that to not believe in god leads us to believing that we outselves are gods, that's only a belief held by people like yourself. In fact, the idea of being "special individuals" is more strongly supported by the idea that we were specially made by an almighty creator.

      June 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • mandarax

      Noonan: "you are living in immense pride."

      Did you miss the root post?

      I counter that you are thinking in terms that put humans at the top (second only to God). I believe that I am just a mere mortal, just another organism among many. My belief that I am just one of billions of equally significant organisms on one insignificant planet at one arbitrary point in time in the vastness of the universe ... how is that more prideful than believing you are among the eternal chosen of God?

      What you seem to be failing to grasp is that not believing in God doesn't mean that one believes humans are the ultimate thing in existence. I not only believe in "a" higher power, I understand that there are innumerable powers that are far greater than me.

      June 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • The Dog Delusion

      "They believe that this God desperately needs their praise and attention"

      strawman

      June 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • mandarax

      Okay, granting that, how about "they believe god requires their praise and attention" (or sends them to hell).

      Regardless, if that's the only exaggeration in my description, then surely you get my point. These beliefs are nothing that resembles humility.

      June 15, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      @M E N "if you are thinking that you are kind because you're just oh, so special and no one but your own, special self made you kind, then you're living in immense pride."

      No, I think that I am a good person because I have empathy for my fellow humans and attempt to view the world through everyone elses eyes as well as my own. This helps me not believe that I am so special as to have some telepathic relationship with the creator of the universe who I seceretly chat with about all those people "who just don't know" your Gods power and "how sorry they will be" when the truth about your imaginary friend is exposed which he keeps saying he will do but hasn't for the last 2000 years. Yeah, i'm the one with the pride problem...

      June 15, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  8. Me

    I want to hear the Athiest view of the following...

    You don't believe in God because your expectations of God haven't been fulfilled in any way. Therefore, he must not be real.

    I, as a human, have come to understand that Athiests believe in doing what is right just for the sake of it being right, not because they're trying to please God. And they do believe in a higher purpose, which is bettering society.

    Is this right?

    June 15, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • sam stone

      Gosh, what a ridiculous assumption about the nature of atheist's disbelief.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • ME II

      @Me, (I feel a bit schizophrenic right now)
      "You don't believe in God because your expectations of God haven't been fulfilled in any way. Therefore, he must not be real."
      I don't speak for Atheists, but generally it's not a lack of results in believing in God, but a lack of evidence of any kind for a god, that results in a lack of belief. In other words, it's not a negative result, but a lack of positive evidence. IMO

      June 15, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Me' is an instance of the Begging The Question fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      June 15, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • TR6

      @Me: “You don't believe in God because your expectations of God haven't been fulfilled in any way. Therefore, he must not be real.”

      The bible makes many specific claims about god’s attributes and the way the world works because this god exists. When I compare what god actually does Vs the claimed attributes and the way the world actually works Vs the claims of how god makes it work, I see the claims fail miserably and conclude there is no god.

      It’s like Santa Claus. He has many claimed attributes, like flying reindeer and delivering presents to every good child in the world each Christmas eve. I compare the claims to reality, see that the claims fail miserably and conclude there is no Santa

      June 15, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Me

      @Sam Stone,

      I'm simply asking a question of an aspect of Athiesm, gathered from the posts on this board. This point has been made by MANY an Athiest on this board, and I wanted clarification. Stop looking for a fight, and you might see someone who actually wants to be educated.

      Chill.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Me

      @Fallacy Spotting 101,

      You and Heaven Sent with your websites. If you have something to say, say it. Nobody wants to risk a virus to give your webiste more views.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • ME II

      @Me,
      I think he said what he meant to say, 'you are committing a begging the question fallacy'. The link is for reference purposes.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Me

      @Me II,

      Can you explain it to me? I'm not taking any chances going to a webiste posted on a message board.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Me

      @Fallacy Spotting 101,

      You might wanna explain it to the other Athiests on this message board. A vast majority have been making this exact point, which is why I asked the question. If it's a fallacy, why do so many Athiests profess it? It seems like your 'Fallcies" may be fallicies...

      June 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • ME II

      Begging the Question is generally begging that the question at hand be assumed to be true. The classic example, I think, is "When did you stop beating your wife?" Begging the truth of the beating your wife part.

      In your case, "You don't believe in God because..." begs the existence of God before you even finish the question. At least I thiink that's what s/he is saying.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • ME II

      p.s. you can just google "begging the question" !

      June 15, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Travis

      I have no more "expectations of god" than I have "expectations of the Easter Bunny." I don't believe in god not because of some "expectations" he didn't meet, but because there is not one single shred of empirical evidence for the existence of such a being. You also don't believe in MANY gods. Assuming you are a Christian, why don't you believe in Zeus? Or Thor? Or Ra? Or Quetzlcoatl? At the end of the day, as has been said, the only difference is that I disbelieve in one more god than you do. Your reason for not believing the religious claims of Hindus, are probably pretty similar to the same for my not believing the religious claims of your faith.

      As for why to do "right?" It's more complex than that. I don't feel I need a cosmic moral arbiter to tell me what "right" is, nor the fear of eternal reprisal for not doing "right." Basically, I do right because I have no desire not to do right and because I want to live in a stable, progressive, literate social system. Social stability demands we not go around wantonly murdering, raping, and pillaging one another. We got to the moon through mutual cooperation, but we'd never have made it if every engineer in the room was worried that every other was waiting for an opportunity to kill him. Doing "right" advances society and I have a vested interest in an advancing society.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Me

      Oh wow. I thought s/he acutually had a point. That is very nit-picky and non-constructive. It has absolutely nothing to do with what we're talking about.

      If you wanna start pointing out such innane fallacies in posts, you're gonna be on this board for years. This is further evidence that they're just trying to get people to visit their site. (I know, fallacy police, that statement was one too)

      Get into the real discussion.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • ME II

      @Me,
      Your question is directly related to the fallacy as both I and Travis have pointed out. You are questioning why Atheists don't believe. It is not because of a bad experience with God, because God probably doesn't exist and therefore one can't have a bad experience with Him.
      Does that make sense, yet?

      June 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • SLArbiter

      @ Me and your original post

      Well, your wording is a bit funky, but I'll take a shot (though I'd call myself an agnostic instead of an atheist).

      I wouldn't use the word "expectations" to discern why atheists don't believe in supernatural beings since that suggests that atheists DO believe in supernatural beings but these ones in particular don't meet the criteria. Instead, it's more about plausibility and finding evidence for something. By definition, something supernatural is not of this world and for educated people to believe that such being(s) could exist takes a HUGE leap of faith.

      As for morality, we really could not have gotten very far as a species if a basic understanding of the Golden Rule wasn't "hard wired" in us. It's just something that is necessary for a social species to thrive.

      I guess "bettering society" could be called our "higher purpose". It certainly isn't up for debate that no matter what a person believes in, they are going to have people around them that they care about. As such, proactively making this world a better place is indeed a worthwhile endeavour, regardless of what that person believes will happen after they die.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Me

      @Travis,

      Thank you for your answer. There are a lot of Athiests arguing this point. They don't believe because the expectations of God set forth in the Bible aren't met in their eyes. A LOT who are arguing this point. I wanted to single it out and get further explanation, so thank you.

      As for your explanation for 'doing right', it all boils down to what I said: doing right because it's right. If you want to show the complexities of it, great. But I do ask that everyone fairly extend the same courtesy to the Christians and not boil their beliefs down to a simple notion.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • mandarax

      "You don't believe in God because your expectations of God haven't been fulfilled in any way. Therefore, he must not be real."

      Not quite. My only expectations of God are what people of various "faiths" have insisted to be true of God. So far, all of them have failed to stand up to scrutiny, therefore I don't believe them. I guess my innate expectations of "God" is the seemingly infinite complexity that is the universe. I have no expectations for magical beings with superpowers based on anything that has been observed so far.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Recent posts by 'Me' are instances of the ad hominem fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      June 15, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Me

      @Me II,

      Oh my word. Do you need me to put the word 'ficticious' before God? Geez, I understand your point, but a lot of Athiests on this board are arguing the point that I'm inquiring about, so this question was for them. I'm so glad that you have your own beliefs. Good for you. Go talk to someone who is referring to those beliefs. I am not. I'm talking to the OTHER Athiests who have stated what I originally addressed.

      Do you understand, yet?

      June 15, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • ME II

      @Me,
      Yes, I'm afraid I do.
      My apologies for attempting to provide you with information.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Me

      @SLA,

      Right. I understand. My original post is a question more directed at those who were on the fence, studied, and decided in favor of Athiesm because they felt that God didn't live up to the 'expectations' that were proposed, as well as those who were 'Christians' and no longer are for the same reason. People who never believed there was a God to question are exempt from my original question.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Me

      @Me II,

      There are Athiests on the board who reached their conclusion in a different way than others. This question is for them. There is no fallacy, I'm asking a direct question related to direct posts from some Athiests. If it doesn't apply to you, you don't have to respond.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Me

      @Fallacy Spotting 101,

      What is the name for the 'fallacy' in which you 'assume that I didn't ask my question based on actual quotes from professed Athiests on this board'?

      OR,

      What is the name for the 'fallacy' in which you 'post nonsense on someone's post in order to get hits on your website'?

      You either mistakenly made the first assumption, or you're in it for the hits. Only one of those can be correct, so pick one.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "Athiests believe in doing what is right just for the sake of it being right, not because they're trying to please God. And they do believe in a higher purpose, which is bettering society."

      I think you are confusing atheism with humanism, though many atheists are humanists, not all humanists are atheist.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Me

      @Mass Debater,

      Ahh, good point. I stand corrected.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • SLArbiter

      @ Me

      "My original post is a question more directed at those who were on the fence, studied, and decided in favor of Athiesm because they felt that God didn't live up to the 'expectations' that were proposed, as well as those who were 'Christians' and no longer are for the same reason."

      So you're asking why these people don't believe in a god that for them doesn't live up to YOUR expectations. It still boils down to that leap of faith. No one believes or disbelieves in god one way or another when they are born. They have to grown and learn, and from that learning eventually decide whether they can make that leap of faith or not. There is no universal reason though. People can come to the conclusion on many different grounds.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Prior post by 'Me' is an instance of the ad hominem fallacy and presents a False Dichotomy while Begging the Question.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      June 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Me

      @Master Debater,

      Hahahaha! Your name is hilarious! I find humor in the small things 🙂

      Uh oh, it was probably a fallacy to assume that there is humor in your name.

      That was probably another fallacy.

      So was that.

      And that.

      And that...

      June 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Me

      @SLA,

      You're mostly right. But I'm not asking on the basis of what MY expectations are, rather on the expectations that they were taught to have by whomever they were taught, be it parents, teachers, etc.

      True on the leap of faith as well. Many Christians believe in an 'age of accountability' for that very reason. To clairfy, before they're able to grasp the concept of a relationship with Christ, they're not responsible for their outcome in eternity. So stillborn babies, ones who die young, etc., would go to heaven even though they never accepted Christ. That issue is heavily debated too because it calls into question the concept of being 'born into sin', and also, what about the people who are born, raised, and die in places where they NEVER learn about Christianity or Jesus? To that question I say, it's not my place to decide. I'm no judge, and I'm certainly in no place to decide anyone's eternal fate. But most of us have the choice because we were given it by someone in our life. Take the leap of faith or don't. We have the free will to choose.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Me

      @Fallacy Spotting,

      Hahaha, you're like an adorable parrot. Please keep it up. You're adding lots of laughter to my day.

      Ahh, kids!

      June 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • SLArbiter

      @ Me

      I can understand how it would be difficult for someone on the other side of the fence to see this, but it is getting a bit ridiculous. People change their beliefs for various different reasons and maybe some do so as a result of unmet expectations. However, that isn't the case for everyone. The best way for you to understand why people might reject your particular religion is to explain to yourself why you reject all other religions but your own.

      I'll take your bait though just to see where this goes:
      I was born into Christianity. I went to Catholic schools, attended church, etc. when I was young. I'm agnostic now, though I would go so far as to say that I'm an atheist when it comes to the established deities (for instance, the Christian God). I was told that God is kind, and loving. That he takes care of his children, that the Bible is his word, and that I should be a good Christian so that I could get into heaven when I die. If you want to call those my expectations, then ok, Christianity didn't live up to any of my expectations. I see no evidence that a god who is kind and loving AND intercedes in human affairs exists. I also see nothing particularly special about the bible. To me it clearly appears to be a glorified game of telephone played over the course of several centuries by a variety of different people from different cultures and in different languages. I see nothing of worth in it that isn't innate in human nature or found elsewhere as well. I'm comfortable with my mortality and my place in this world, so I find no need to conjure up some type of afterlife reward. So there you go. My expectations concerning the fundamental tenets of Christianity are not met and as such the whole religion (to me) is invalid and not worth my time.

      June 15, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  9. Artie

    We are studying about heaven and hell right now. I have to admit the idea of hell has always bothered me. I was raised Catholic and I just don't understand why a loving Creator would allow one of His creatures to suffer eternal torment–no matter what they did on earth. It does not make sense and I think the current description of hell is a stumbling block for people. It has occurred to me that we are choosing in life what we will do after death and also the kind of people we will be spending eternity with. In other words, if you choose to be a thief or a liar or just unkind while living-that is the kind of people you will have as companions after you die. If you choose to sit around and watch TV all day and ignore other's needs, that is the boring thing that you will be stuck doing in eternity. This is the scary and glorious thing, our souls live forever. What is going to happen to your soul when you die? It seems to me that this gives rise to the question of "What are we here for?" I think a belief in God answers both of those questions in a comforting way. The first, we are going to be with God, if we want. The second, to share God's love.

    June 15, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • SLArbiter

      Your concept of hell is completely off (at least in terms of hell being a place you don't want to go to). For thieves and couch potatoes to be stuck in afterlives with likeminded people doesn't at all seem like it would be hell for them (regardless of how unpleasant it would be for you if you were neither a thief nor a couch potato).

      Oh and you can't really use "our souls are immortal" as a reason to believe in god since people who don't believe in god are unlikely to believe in souls in the first place...

      June 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  10. RFBJR

    This gentleman was never a true Christian in the first place. He may have been raised in the church, gone to church, went to Sunday school, taught Sunday school, been baptized, taken communion, laid his hands on congregants, prayed emphatically...however, none of these things make you Christian. The only thing that makes you Christian is receiving Christ as your Saviour. That's it. It's not complicated. When you truly admit you are a sinner, repent, and ask Jesus to save you, He will. He spirit will overcome you and you will weep as He breaks your heart and changes it for anew. Only those that have experienced this will say amen. Others will be cynical and say I'm nuts. Whatever the case may be, I know there is a God, I know I am going to heaven and I know that Jesus is real. It is not faith; it is the knowledge of saving grace. Nothing can change that experience and conviction that lives in my mind and heart. So save your sarcasm, I don't care.

    June 15, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Terry

      There are No True Scotsmen...

      June 15, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Travis

      I can almost hear the bagpipes playing for this untrue Scotsman...

      June 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Artie

      I agree with you, the salvation experience is real. I experienced God's power and it is not something I conjured up in my mind as I had no expectations. It seems to me the key is to repent in Jesus' name and to do it in Spirit and in truth. I actually expected nothing from this, I was very very surprised to feel God's power in my mind. What I took away from this experience was an absolute certainty that God does exists and that He wants us to love each other.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  11. catholic engineer

    The cult of Reason is getting more silly all the time. Atheists do not believe in God because, they say, it is against REASON. HOW it is against reason they never adequately explain. The atheist laud his pristine reasoning ability. But anger him and he collapses into emotionalism. Emotion always dilutes or eclipses reason. The atheist, like us all, desires a certain thing. This may be a piece of knowledge, satisfaction of a passion, or an object. When he acquires it, it doesn’t satisfy him and only briefly retains his interest. He demeans “hunch” – intuition. His reason pulls him one way while his emotions urge the opposite direction. On moral questions, he comes to a certain conclusion while an equally intelligent atheist arrives at different end. Reason fails to explain the dreams he has at night supplied by his subconsious. The atheists cannot use his own reason to understand himself. But he is sure that he can use it to understand the rest of the universe.

    June 15, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Where do you get this stuff?

      June 15, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • mandarax

      Maybe you could elaborate on how a lack of reasoning better explains our dreams at night. Here's an added challenge, elaborate on that without using any reasoning.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • TR6

      @catholic engineer:”The cult of Reason is getting more silly all the time. Atheists do not believe in God because, they say, it is against REASON. HOW it is against reason they never adequately explain”

      Typical mentally impaired Christian. Let me explain it to you simply. There is no more evidence that god exists then there is that UFOs exist or Santa Claus exists. Since there is the same amount (and quality) of evidence that each of them exists it would be UNREASONABLE to believe in one and reject the other 2. Or has religion warped your mind so badly that no amount reasonable evidence would “adequately explain”

      June 15, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • FoodForThought

      @catholic engineer –
      When you understand how you reason away all the other possible gods, you will understand how atheists reason away yours.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Nii

      THE FALLACY OF NON-STAMP COLLECTORS
      Non-stamp collectors don't care what stamp collectors do, I know cos I'm one. They don't come on the blog to diss stamp collectors! And no they don't have their own special non-stamp collection league trying to convert stamp collectors.

      June 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Sorry Nii, but no. Your anology is flawed. Stamp collectors don't dàmn non-collectors to hell. Stamp collectors don't dàmn other groups of stamp collectors to hell for collecting the wrong kind of stamps. Stamp collectors don't try and force their beliefs about stamps into our laws.

      June 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Nii

      I don't believe that any other God exists apart from YHWH however there r demons which seek worship so its not really that a Zeus may not exist but just that it is subservient to YHWH. They shud've taught u this about theists in general. Its more my God has de power than yours doesn't exist!

      June 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • mandarax

      Nii, with all due respect, you are clearly delusional.

      June 15, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  12. theendishere

    Well science didn't create you or bring you here, einstein...and science definitely does not sustain your life...so keep science as your belief anchor and see how you'll become its project...

    June 15, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Science doesn't sustain your life"?

      So when you're sick you don't see a doctor? When you're cold, you don't start up the furnace? You don't wear clothes? Do you use a fridge to keep your food cold or do you just let it rot?

      What a moron.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • mandarax

      So maintaining one's life is not based on the biochemistry of eating and digesting food, of the respiration of air, of metabolic processes, of maintaining oxygen supply to bodily tissues, of fending off viral and bacterial infections, etc?

      How about rejecting all of this as your "anchor" and see how long you remain alive. It's a really straightforward test of your hypothesis, actually. Reject the notion of god and see how long you remain alive, then reject these physical processes and see how long you stay alive. (hint, don't actually do the second one – the former will cause no harm, the latter will leave you dead in seconds).

      June 15, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • theendishere

      tommy-tom & mandarax- apparently you are sick and clearly you haven't seen a doctor...so who is the moron??
      keep winking at the grace that is being bestowed unto you...keep thinking that life is solely governed by science...keep thinking that life is definitive to the behavior and intelligence of man..."Reject the notion of god and see how long you remain alive"...it's evident that you'll probably remain alive for a long-long time being that you know it all, bill nye the "dead-beat" science guy...

      June 15, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • sam stone

      theendishere: keep on believing you are in need of "grace". do you beat yourself,also?

      June 15, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • mandarax

      So many fallacies, so little time. Nothing is governed by "science." Science is a method of testing ideas against observations. Science is not a thing.

      Theists are the ones who typically put humans on a pedestal. It is all about being made in the image of god and god listening to your every prayer and watching over you and preparing to make you immortal. A scientist sees humans as one kind of organism on one planet at one point in time. Stop pretending your perspective is humble – it is outrageously self-important.

      On a lighter note, why is Bill Nye a dead beat? He is obviously successful enough for you to know his name.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • SLArbiter

      @ theendishere

      I call troll!

      Since the only other explanation is that theendishere never went to school in his life yet has found his way to a computer and type up some comments on a new site article with relatively decent spelling and punctuation which is less probable...

      June 15, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  13. Ken

    Atheism is just another religion.

    June 15, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • mandarax

      You know, saying that over and over doesn't make it true. Some people might approach it like a religion (I am at a loss for how, exactly) but overall not believing in gods is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby. I must be the greatest non-stamp-collector ever, because I don't collect stamps every single minute of every single day. You see the absurdity?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • friendlypig

      What a stupid thing to post! Please try and engage your brain. Atheism is non-belief in the supernatural so how come, according to you, we belong to a religion which is the belief in the supernatural.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Douglas E

      Excellent comment. Augustine was right we he said we all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts. Atheists just choose to fill it with an inflated sense of self. There is no vacuum because "religion" just means a world-view. Everyone has a world-view. The world-view of the atheist is that man is central – secular humanism – and their morality and way of life follow. That, my friends, is a religion.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Douglas E' is an instance of an equivocation fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      June 15, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • sam stone

      Doug E:

      Claiming Augustine was right proves nothing.

      And, a world view and a religion are not synonymous

      June 15, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Douglas E

      18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:

      “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
      the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

      20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

      - You do not believe because you have not been called. I pray that you are someday called to see the real Truth.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Commenter

      Douglas E,

      Yet you think that you are "wise" to believe what you believe, don't you?

      It's turtles all the way down...

      June 15, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Douglas E

      Quite the contrary, Commenter. It is God that confounds the "wisdom" of man, including me. He has gifted me, to no credit of my own, with eyes that see Him as He really is and the world as well. Those who see themselves as wise in their own eyes are the fools.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Travis

      Atheism is no more a "religion" than "theism" is.

      Yes, there are religions WITHIN theism (Hindu, Christianity, Islam, etc), but theism merely means that one has a "belief in a god or gods." That alone is NOT a religion (any theists do believe in the existence of a god or gods and yet hold no actual religion, either because they are general deists or spiritualists or because they just haven't found one they like and remain unaffiliated despite belief in a higher power).

      The EXACT same is true of atheism. There actually ARE religions that are atheistic (many forms of Buddhism, some forms of Shinto which believe in powerful metaphysical beings but not actually gods, Scientology, etc) but all atheism actually means is that one lacks a belief in a god or gods. That's it. Period. And MOST atheists are non-religious or non-religiously affiliated, but that doesn't make their shared lack of belief in gods a "religion" any more than those who share a belief in the existence of a god or gods are of "a religion" (Hindus and Muslims both share a belief in a god or gods, but they clearly are not a singular religion any more than Christians and Muslims–who share a belief ostensibly in the SAME god–are "a" religion).

      No matter how many times you make this stupid, ignorant, futile argument, it won't make it true. Say it as much as you want and it will be as false a statement on the 1001st time you say it as it was on the 1st.

      Atheism shares no central beliefs, morals, tenets, goals, hierarchy, traditions, texts, holidays, services, facilities, expectations, rules, desires, or history. Atheism is the singular lack of belief in a singular claim. It is by NO definition a "religion."

      No more than the singular lack of belief in the claim that Stephen King is the greatest writer of all time is a "religion" or the singular lack of belief in the claim that unicorns are real is a "religion" or, to make an analogy, no more than NOT collecting stamps is a "hobby" or NOT playing baseball is a "sport."

      June 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Trumpy

      @Douglas E: "He has gifted me, to no credit of my own, with eyes that see Him as He really is and the world as well."

      So, to be clear, god has chosen to grant you the ability to know of his existence but purposefully kept that same revelation from others and for that, what? You will be rewarded with heaven and others will be punished with hell? For his choices, through "no credit" of our own?

      June 15, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Me

      @Travis,

      "Yes, there are religions WITHIN theism (Hindu, Christianity, Islam, etc), but theism merely means that one has a "belief in a god or gods." That alone is NOT a religion (any theists do believe in the existence of a god or gods and yet hold no actual religion"

      Actually, that is the exact definition of religion. Secondary definition is: "Details of belief as taught or discussed"...so if we're going by definition, not only is the above comment incorrect, but Athiesm is in and of itself religion, by the secondary definition, of which there is proof with the 45+ pages of comments here. Some Athiests even have a regular assembly to connect with their fellow Athiests. Again, this is by definition, not by my view of things. I completely understand what Athiests stand for (or against), but by definition it is a religion.

      It's kind of like this...when I was in school, people who wanted to be different and pull away from the crowd, so they went 'goth', but soon, everyone wanted to be different so a lot of people went 'goth', and it became the 'popular' thing to do, and began to defeat its own purpose. Likewise, Athiests subscribe to their beliefs (and yes, non-beliefs are beliefs too), and thus are defined as a religion, which is what they're trying to get away from (at least a majority of them are) (And no, I'm in no way saying that people are turning to Atheism because it's the popular thing to do...that only applies to the 'goth' scenario.) Again, this is by definition, not by how I view things. It's simple factual logic.

      And again, I'm not comparing goths to Athiests (although there's nothing wrong with a goth being an athiest or vice versa!) Basically, don't read more into the example than my intentions. Just get the general point.

      Have at it Fallacy Police 🙂

      June 15, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Me

      @Trumpy,

      I think he is referring to a 'seek and you will find' situation. Not that God chose to give only him wisdom, but that he sought wisdom through the eyes of God, and God granted it to him. As for your second inquiry, it's not through 'no credit' of his own. God gave man the free will to choose whether to accept Him or not, and since Douglas chose to accept Him and have a relationship with Him, he gets to go to heaven, to put it simply. So people do have a choice. God doesn't just pick and choose who He wants in heaven, he wants everyone there, but it's our individual choice to do what it takes to get there.

      Does that make sense? (As an explanation to what he was saying, not as a concept)

      @Douglas E: "He has gifted me, to no credit of my own, with eyes that see Him as He really is and the world as well."

      So, to be clear, god has chosen to grant you the ability to know of his existence but purposefully kept that same revelation from others and for that, what? You will be rewarded with heaven and others will be punished with hell? For his choices, through "no credit" of our own?

      June 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Douglas E

      Me wrote:
      >>God doesn't just pick and choose who He wants in heaven, he wants everyone there, but it's our individual choice to do what it takes to get there.<<

      Thanks for trying to explain my meaning. Your quote above is well-stated as a VIEW OF THE PATH TO GOD FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE, however, that is not the way that God explains His own nature. From our perspective, we choose Him. But according to His word, we are so depraved (totally depraved = every aspect of our life is affected by debilitating sin) that we do not have any desire in us on our own to choose Him, let alone the power to do it. Instead, we are adopted by Him, and the adoptee has no choice in the matter. In Ephesians 1:4-7, Paul makes this point clear: (New Living Translation)
      4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.

      June 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Travis

      @Me:
      That's the single worst definition I've ever heard. By that definition discussing ANY belief consti.tutes it being "a religion." Have a book forum where you argue over symbolism in Twilight and what you believe it means? Religion! Go to a cooking forum and discuss what you believe to be the best pound cake recipe is? Religion! That definition is so va.gue as to be useless (I would love to know what dictionary you got it from though. I'm dreadfully curious what those ellipses continue on to say. I did find this character string in several other blogs in google, but not a one cited which dictionary the definition actually came from).

      And still doesn't apply to many, many atheists, anyway.

      Many atheists are soft or weak atheists. This means they have no belief at all. They LACK a belief in a god or gods, but they don't have any sort of active belief that no such god or gods exist. That is to say that while they reject the existing claims of god, they don't necessarily replace those claims with a counterclaim of their own.

      How is the LACK of a belief without subst.ituting a belief in its place a religion in any way? It's like going out of your way to fight that NOT playing baseball should be clas.sified as a sport.

      June 16, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  14. Michael

    The problem most people have, is thinking that if God exists, He existrs to serve us. Answer our prayers, heal our bodies, and let us go to His heaven.... the Bible never has taught that, nor is He there to serve me. He crreated man for fellowship, and to worship Him. We are to serve Him, while loving one another. We pray, and since God sees all future, He answsers accordingly to His will, not ours. People want to specualte and believe what they want. There is only one Bible, which is God's word, and there was only one Jesus, which is the only way to get to heaven according to His own words, and there is a literal Hell which was not made for people to go to, but for the devil and His angels who had rebelled against
    God in the very beginning. It is not rocket science, butr it is FAITH. But if you do not belive all of the BIble then why belive any of it? The Bible tells us that the wisdom of God is foolish to man. So, there are things that cannot be explained, but God does not answser to us, we answer to Him. The reason the United States is messed up, is because the children run the home, just as in the churches, it is the beliver that wants to tell God what HE should do. WAKE UP BELIEVERS....Love God, Hate sin, But Love Your neighbor, whther a beliver or not, and let God work through you.

    June 15, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • WASP

      i love the whole one sided story we get in the bible, about appearantly something that happen before "god" ever created anything at all, between the devil and god. how often do you folks truly just listen and accept one side of a story? just an odd ball thought; what if "god" was a dictator in "heaven" and the lucifer was an enlightened mind that attempted to equal the playing field for everyone? i hate having only one side of a story, it never sits right with me, i like having all information.......but what can you expect from a work of fiction.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • charles

      WEN I WAS A CHILD, I READ "GRIMES FAIRY TALES". WHEN I GREW UP I READ THE BIBLE. NOW THEN I AM OLD I SEE NO DIFFERENCE IN THE BOOKS,

      June 15, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Nii

      CHARLES
      I don't know about ur culture but in mine fairy tales have moral lessons. If u can't see them in those short stories for toddlers u will find it hard to see it in the Bible. Alas, wisdom starts young!

      June 15, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Me

      @Michael,

      That was very well said. I applaud you for not letting your emotions dictate your comment. You believe what you believe, and you professed it accordingly.

      @Charles,

      1) You don't have to believe it for it to be true.

      2) Show respect for people's beliefs. Comparing them to a fairy tale isn't going to change anyone's mind, but it does make you seem childish.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  15. If stupidity could talk

    It would profess atheism

    June 15, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • Mirosal

      Gee how very "christian" of you .. typical hatred taught from that "good" book of yours.

      June 15, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • TR6

      Typical christain, making wild, inflammatory claims based on absolutely no evidence

      June 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Me

      Seriously?

      Advocating Christianity and simultaneously throwing out hate? That's not how it works my friend. If you really are a Christian, you need to delve a little deeper into the Bible. This is exactly what I was talking about before with 'Christian hypocrisy'. You're fueling the stereotype.

      How rude.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Me

      @TR6,

      It's not so much 'typical Christianity' as it is 'typical ignorance'. There are these kinds of people spewing this ignorance in every circle...including Atheists...you only have to read a couple of comments on this board to know it's coming from both sides.

      Can't we all just get along?!

      June 15, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • LARRY

      A MEN, THEM ATHISSTS IS STUPID!!!!! WHY THEY SO GOTA BE SO DUMP???? JESUSSSSSS IS LOOORRRRRRDDD

      June 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    June 15, 2012 at 6:49 am |
    • friendlypig

      It sure does. It knocks HELL out of your knees

      June 15, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • post truth

      stupid replies

      June 15, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • TR6

      Typical christain, making wild claims based on absolutely no evidence

      June 15, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  17. Nii

    Spirituality is de object of every religion. Cut from this it becomes a monster! Rev DeWitt experienced de woes of a religious man. If he had been spiritual he wud yet remain a Xtian or become atheist but he'll respect n value both religions n their adherents. It is de disrespect most people hate!

    June 15, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • jill

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

      So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril.Think about how you can stripe the sea.

      Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

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

      June 15, 2012 at 2:28 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      Jill, i you read my mind.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • Nii

      JILL
      I know how u feel as a religious Atheist. There r lots of spiritual atheists too! In fact, u can become 1. Its hard 4 a religious person to understand spirituality but u can try. Just learn 2 love yo neighbor as yoself! This is charitable love. Higher than the Golden Rule or brotherly love!

      June 15, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      check out Humanism, an ethical atheistic philosophy.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:46 am |
    • Nii

      BOOTYFUNK
      If Humanism cud solve de moral dillemma of humans we wudn't still be talking about religion or spirituality 4 that matter! Besides there've been lots of Christian humanists! Popes in fact! Open ur mind! There are endless possibilities but de easiest is 2 learn 2 love yo neighbor as yoself!

      June 15, 2012 at 2:57 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Respecting your neighbor does not require a god. "Spirituality" is the most subjective word and therefore completely meaningless. If religion or spirituality could solve the moral dillemma we wouldn't need humanism. Religion has almost nothing to do with morality.

      June 15, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • WASP

      @nii:"Just learn 2 love yo neighbor as yoself!"
      we have all seen how you "love" your neighbor as yourself. you love the neighbor that thinks and believes what you believe. you have been called out on this multiple times, especially when it came to same gender marriage or equal pay for females, or anything else that made you uncomfortible. so stuff the act and stop lying to yourself, you only love yourself and that much you have proven through your actions.

      June 15, 2012 at 7:04 am |
    • Nii

      WASP
      The history lessons u were giving were innacurate that wasn't about my love for u. If u r wrong u r wrong. My late Mom was a very rich woman n she worked hard for it. I think u r very confused as 2 who I am! I don't care about same se.x marriage n that is not a crime. Its for u to worry about!

      June 15, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  18. gofer

    Too many people associate God only with religion practices. If you truly want to find God, then get out of organized religon and seek "your own salvation". Organized religion is confusion. If you are seeking a Higher Power through organized religion, then you are on the wrong path. Too many people see the hypocrisy in religion and the different views of thousands of religions and conflate that with God doesn't exist. You don't have to be the slightest bit "religious" to be "spiritual."

    June 15, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      take the next step - you don't need god to be 'spiritual', to feel connected to something bigger than yourself. you don't need god to be a good person at all. you know what's right in your heart - follow your heart. through science, DNA markers have proven we are all truly brothers and sisters - treat everyone you meet as such.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • Karen

      Why would you expect to find salvation from a god? Why seek salvation, rather than meaning and truth? For that matter, why not just live a good full life following the Golden Rule and toss the religious gibberish?

      The answers to all of the above are that you are a weak-kneed coward and can't face the truth: there's no god.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • Nii

      BOOTYFUNK & KAREN
      Yet another religious pair trying hard to propagate religious Atheism. If u were so spiritual why r u urging this man to toss his religion with insults! where is de so-called Golden Rule, brotherly love? RELIGIOUS ppl ALWAYS TALK about being good BUT the SPIRITUAL ppl DO GOOD!

      June 15, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      please point out where i insulted gofer.

      what are you talking about?

      June 15, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • Mirosal

      You do not need any "god" or deity to be am upstanding moral person. Morality is doing what's right no matter what you're told. Religion is doing what you're told, no matter what's right. If your "god" wants to make its feelings known, tell "it" to grab a microphone or a tv camera, and let EVERYONE at once hear what it has to say. We'll be waiting a LONG LONG time for that though. Gee, I wonder why it will be such a long wait?

      June 15, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • Nii

      MIROSAL
      God is a persona n those that esteem him must do so with intuition and science-JC at the well of Avraham, Sychar, Samaria
      The last time my God had the mic thats what He said! I wonder why u need this updated translation!

      June 15, 2012 at 2:49 am |
    • Mirosal

      Intuition and science? Just WHAT science has religion taught us? For over 1000 years, the "chrisitan" church actively stopped the progreesion of science. When new discoveries were made, the church was up in arms about it, until it was proven beyond all doubt. Religion is too full of doubt. Praying to your "god" will have the exact same effect of consuling the Oracle of Delphi, and the same results.

      June 15, 2012 at 3:22 am |
    • WASP

      @mirosal: "same effect of consuling the Oracle of Delphi, and the same results."
      well atleast consulting the oracle would be more attractive than watching some over-weight, red-faced, screaming looney on a pulpit................i mean admit it, the oracles were hot in their day. hahahahaha

      June 15, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • Mirosal

      They were.. after all, it was a priestess whac'ked out on fumes .. not, as you say, a over-weight, red-faced, screaming looney on a pulpit ... I wonder how she was dressed for it? Given that it was ancient Greece, it probably wasn't more than a towel around her lol

      June 15, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • WASP

      @mirosal: "it probably wasn't more than a towel around her lol"

      (scratching head, looking around) now where did i leave that blasted timemachine, i need to go verify that the oracles were wacked out on fumes and try to sneak a peek under their towels. ROFLMFAO

      mmmmmmm hot greek babes......lol

      June 15, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • Nii

      MIROSAL
      It is funny that cos of the Church u wud make such an assertion. When did de whole Xtian Church agree to suppress science or knowledge for that matter. The RCC cud be faulted and a few others but monks, priests and other spiritual Christians have been at the forefront of scientific advances

      June 15, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Nii

      MIROSAL
      It is funny that except in a few instances where ethics r involved the Church was defending a much older scientific theory! The Church was basically where science was nurtured to fruition. Genetics, Periodic Chemistry, Evolutionary Biology, Big Bang were all by Churchmen! I cud go on n on!

      June 15, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  19. Lisa

    Jerry, We love you in the Texas panhandle! For your detractors or those who still don't understand, in the words of my favorite lyricist Neil Peart, "All that you can do is wish them well." :0) Xoxoxo!

    June 15, 2012 at 2:05 am |
  20. Kim

    If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible, since, having neither parts nor limits, He has no affinity to us. We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is.
    ..."God is, or He is not." But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us. A game is being played at the extremity of this infinite distance where heads or tails will turn up. What will you wager? According to reason, you can do neither the one thing nor the other; according to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.
    Do not, then, reprove for error those who have made a choice; for you know nothing about it. "No, but I blame them for having made, not this choice, but a choice; for again both he who chooses heads and he who chooses tails are equally at fault, they are both in the wrong. The true course is not to wager at all."
    Yes; but you must wager. It is not optional. You are embarked. Which will you choose then? Let us see. Since you must choose, let us see which interests you least. You have two things to lose, the true and the good; and two things to stake, your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to shun, error and misery. Your reason is no more shocked in choosing one rather than the other, since you must of necessity choose. This is one point settled. But your happiness? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.
    – Pascal's Wager

    June 15, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      lol, you should look up all the holes in pascal's wager. you have a computer right in front of you. it's flawed in many ways. for one thing, it's making a false choice between 2 choices, christianity and atheism. what about all the thousands of other gods? uh oh, if you include them, your chances aren't nearly as good. and what about the infinite possibilities for other gods? what if my cat is god? or my toyota? or a rock in my back yard? what if god is a god of logic and he's testing us. he left no evidence for his existence, so those that follow logic and say he doesn't exist actually get into logic heaven - those that believed he existed without evidence go to ignorance hell. there are so many possibilities that pascal's wager falls flat. you don't have any more chance of getting into the thousands of gods than i do - better hope you picked the right religion.

      pascal's wager is bad reasoning. here's a whole website that tears it apart:

      http://www.update.uu.se/~fbendz/nogod/pascal.htm

      June 15, 2012 at 2:31 am |
    • Atheism isn't a choice

      it's a stupid mistake

      June 15, 2012 at 6:51 am |
    • JWT

      If you don't believe then you don;t believe. It's not a problem – why lie about it.

      June 15, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • WASP

      @atheism/prayer/ etc etc etc: nice to see you have another handle. lol
      "Atheism isn't a choice
      it's a stupid mistake"

      atheism is the result of years of studying the bible and coming to the only logical conclussion that there isn't a god, nor was a man in israel born to a virgin(mind you not a new concept in religion), thousands of jews and christians were tortured by crusificixion by nero so possible one or more was named jesus.

      June 15, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • Kim

      Bootyfunk – Reasonn can decide nothing here. Are you mad because you have chosen?

      June 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Trumpy

      Pascal's Wager was logically eviscerated centuries ago.

      For one thing, the choice is NOT between god and no god. The choice is between ALL gods and no gods. it is not a 50/50 Christian god or not proposition, but a much longer shot for each god. And since man has worshiped some 10,000 or so gods throughout its history, the wager is really each god has a 1/10,000 chance.
      And even then, it isn't just the god, but the FLAVOR of that god that you choose. There are hundreds of sects of "Christians" all claiming to worship the same god, but in different ways, ways that many of the sects believe make the other sects invalid or not worthy of reward (many Baptists for example think Mormons are false Christians and not going to heaven...but many Mormons think the same of Baptists). So even if you chose the right god, if you worship it in the wrong way, you've chosen poorly. So that 1/10,000 chance zooms up to 1 in a million given all the possible sects you could pick.

      But even that isn't accurate because the real wager is between ANY POSSIBLE god or no gods. It is quite possible that the "real" god hasn't revealed himself yet. And since there are an infinite number of possible gods, ANY god has an infinitely small chance of being the right one according to the wager.

      And, since the logic of the wager is based on BEST REWARD vs WORST PUNISHMENT, then if ANY religion provides a better reward, worse punishment system than Christianity, THAT is the religion you should logically choose. And since there is an infinite amount of choices, one will, by definition, provide a better reward/ worst punishment option than Christianity so Christendom's greatest wager defeats itself and proves Christianity is NOT the way to go.

      Plus, most religions ONLY reward you for "true" belief, not forced belief or actions. If you pick a religion merely to avoid punishment and do not truly believe it, most religions wouldn't admit you to their versions of heaven anyway.

      On top of all this, the wager ONLY takes into account the afterlife. Assuming the reverse is true, that THIS is all there is, then THIS life would be all that mattered. And religion risks robbing one of precious limited time, resources, and choices. how many gay people have committed suicide over the years because of the conflict between their emotions and religious upbringings? And if THIS life was all that is real and there is nothing else, then they lost all FOR following religion. the wager is all about a "what if" post-death world that may or may not exist, but the reality is that the pre-death world we KNOW to exist and has to be given some, if not equal weight in the decision.

      Besides, there is no reason to use this wager. You never apply logic this bad to other parts of your life. For example, you never carry wooden stakes on you at all times "in case" vampires are real do you? I mean, if the aren't real you are only carrying a small piece of wood and have nothing to lose. But if they are real and you aren't carrying a stake you have everything to lose (or if you are, everything to gain). Why are you willing to base an entire worldview choice on such a piece of logic, but not make sure you do something as simple as carry a pencil at all times on the same advice?

      June 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Kim

      You can't prove anything except "I am" that is the point. You can't even be sure the world you created in your head exists. So why question or argue with anyone about what they believe. God is or he is not – it doesn't matter if we call him a gabillion different names and when you die you will know.

      June 15, 2012 at 4:04 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.