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June 22nd, 2012
11:27 AM ET

Prominent atheist blogger converts to Catholicism

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – She went from atheist to Catholic in just over 1,000 words.

Leah Libresco, who’d been a prominent atheist blogger for the religion website Patheos, announced on her blog this week that after years of debating many “smart Christians,” she has decided to become one herself, and that she has begun the process of converting to Catholicism.

Libresco, who had long blogged under the banner “Unequally Yoked: A geeky atheist picks fights with her Catholic boyfriend,” said that at the heart of her decision were questions of morality and how one finds a moral compass.

“I had one thing that I was most certain of, which is that morality is something we have a duty to,” Libresco told CNN in an interview this week, a small cross dangling from her neck. “And it is external from us. And when push came to shove, that is the belief I wouldn’t let go of. And that is something I can’t prove.”

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According to a Patheos post she wrote on Monday, entitled “This is my last post for the Patheos Atheist Portal,” she began to see parts of Christianity and Catholicism that fit her moral system. Though she now identifies as a Catholic, Libresco questions certain aspects of Catholicism, including the church’s positions on homosexuality, contraception and some aspects of religious liberty.

“There was one religion that seemed like the most promising way to reach back to that living Truth,” Libresco wrote about Catholicism in her conversion announcement post, which has been shared over 18,000 times on Facebook. “I asked my friend what he suggests we do now, and we prayed the night office of the Liturgy of the Hours together.”

At the end of the post, Libresco announces that she is in a Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults class and is preparing for baptism. She will continue to blog for Patheos, but under the banner, “A geeky convert picks fights in good faith.”

According to Dan Welch, director of marketing for Patheos, Libresco’s post has received around 150,000 page views so far.

“Leah's blog has gotten steadily more popular since she arrived at Patheos, but a typical post on her blog is probably closer to the range of 5,000 page views,” Welch wrote in an email. “Even now, a few days later, her blog is probably getting 20-30 times its normal traffic.”

Libresco’s announcement has left some atheists scratching their heads.

“I think atheists were surprised that she went with Catholicism, which seems like a very specific choice,” Hemant Mehta, an atheist blogger at Patheos, told CNN. “I have a hard time believing how someone could jump from I don’t believe in God to a very specific church and a very specific God.”

Mehta says that Libresco’s conversion is a “one-off thing” and not something that signals any trend in atheism. “The trends are very clear, the conversions from Catholicism to atheism are much more likely to happen than the other way around,” he said.

But while atheists were puzzled by the conversion, others commended Libresco.

“I know I’ve prayed for her conversion several times, always thinking she would make a great Catholic,” wrote Brandon Vogt, a Catholic blogger. “And with this news, it looks like that will happen. Today heaven is roaring with joy.”

Thomas L. McDonald, a Catholic Patheos blogger, welcomed Libresco to the fold: “Welcome. I know this was hard, and will continue to be so. Don’t worry if the Catholics make it as for difficult for you as the atheists. We only do it to people we love.”

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Libresco says one of the most common questions she has received is how she'll deal with atheists now.

“The great thing about a lot of the atheist and skeptic community is that people talk more critically about ideas and want to see proof provided,” Libresco said. “That kind of analytical thinking is completely useful and the Catholic Church doesn’t need to and should not be afraid of because if you’ve got the facts on your side, you hope they win.”

Libresco is just switching the side she thinks the facts are on.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Catholic Church

soundoff (7,475 Responses)
  1. Mark Taylor

    Most of the posters who bark about science, rationality and mock people of faith don't even know what the Higgs Bosson is (hypothetically) and that fact that it is fundamentally important to what we think we know about the universe; it is accepted on faith. That's right. Faith. Never been seen, never been detected. If physicists are wrong about the Higgs Bosson they've got almost everything else wrong. While I believe it will eventually be detected I just find people who think Science can answer everything (even though they don't even take the time to investigate) amusing. Einstein was a theist by the way.

    June 22, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      If the Higgs boson doesn't show up, we'll find other interesting things as we spend time looking for it. If science DISPROVES the Higgs Boson, then all of science will be grateful for the solid data that helps lead to more accurate theories about the nature of reality.

      And NO Einstein was NOT a theist in the way you mean it to sound. Don't lie. He believed in an ultimate "formula" but NEVER a personal god. Does your god really appreciate your blatant dishonesty?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Mark Taylor

      I did not use the term "personal God" nor did I intend it to be used that way. Now bring me proof of the Higgs.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Mark

      First and foremost, "faith" isn't a bad word. I have "faith" that the sun will rise tomorrow, just as I have faith that the Higgs Boson most likely exists because even though we have no been able to detect it doesn't mean the facts don't point towards that conclusion or something like it. Now, will my life be ruined if we can't detect it? No, we just simply change, because change is a good thing. The same can not really be said for religion, but thats a different topic.

      As for Einstein being a theist... he was more of a deist, but even so, so what? Newton had a religion, some prominent scientists who have respectable works might concede or even take the step further that they believe there is some sort of all powerful being that created the universe, but keep in mind, it's the same as believe that the earth itself, or mother nature, is an actual organism. It doesn't have any "feelings" but it will correct itself, it has seasons to renew itself. The universe could have the same idea and saying that Einstein is a deist, or a "theist" as you put it, in no way validates your particular faith in your particular god as saying Ghandi was a hindu.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Mark Taylor is right about Einstein being a Deist.
      In fact, Einstein was apparently a Poly-Pagan, believing in MANY gods:

      "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." – Albert Einstein

      June 22, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Chuckles

      "Now bring me proof of the Higgs"

      So impatient, is it really that hard to accept that you might never get all the answers and that's ok? I mean seriously, just because a particular branch of science can not feed you every answer you want does not in any way imply that your unsubstantiated claim of a god is anymore true.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Mark

      Proof of the Higgs doesn't do anything for your position, and it's stupid for you to think that it does.

      And yes, you were lying when you used Einstein's "belief" in god as an appeal to authority. You may be able to fool yourself here and now about it, but is your god really buying it?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Mark Taylor,

      yes, you are right. Belief in science requires faith. Many people here don't realize that.

      It is however a much more plausible faith to believe something measurable, repeatable and predictable, based on the scientific method than long handed down stories of miracles that are anything but repeatable.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Corr: Einstein's statement allows a pluarity of merely two gods, so maybe Einstein believed in as few as two gods.....

      June 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @b4bigbang,

      That quote is specious in the context of "gods". The reference to multiple gods is clearly metaphorical. As we discussed yesterday, Einstein's beliefs were Spinozan – a religion that is very hard to label.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      So, ok, Einstein was insincere in his statement (euphemism for lying)......

      June 22, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Mark,

      you say Einstein is a theist. OK, but you have to work pretty hard to understand what he actually thought:

      In a letter to an atheist:
      "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

      Also ...
      "If one purges the Judaism of the Prophets and Christianity as Jesus Christ taught it of all subsequent additions, especially those of the priests, one is left with a teaching which is capable of curing all the social ills of humanity. It is the duty of every man of good will to strive steadfastly in his own little world to make this teaching of pure humanity a living force, so far as he can."

      Clearly he believes in Jesus' message of love, but not an anthropomorphized God.

      Most atheists will happily agree with Jesus' teachings of love, and the Buddha, and Lao Tzu etc.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @b4bigbang,

      this is the best direct quote from Einstein I have found that expresses his beliefs:
      "We followers of Spinoza see our God in the wonderful order and lawfulness of all that exists and in its soul ("Beseeltheit") as it reveals itself in man and animal."

      June 22, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Einstein's Spinozism apparently allowed him to believe in a plurality of personal gods who laugh.....

      June 22, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Humanist11

      Do some simple research.

      Quote from Einsrein

      "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it." From a letter Einstein wrote in English, dated 24 March 1954. It is included in Albert Einstein:

      June 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Mark Taylor

      Moby – my point went right over your head. It was directed at those bashing people of faith in the name of Science when Science can't possibly prove God doesn't exist. I used the example of the Higgs Bosson to show that faith comes in many forms and that most of these folks screaming science science science have probably never cracked a book beyond a high-school text – maybe. They have no clue as to the age of the universe, rate of expansion, how hydrogen formed and why that's even important. I've come no where close to mentioning a personal God. One could also say the very same thing about people talking the opposing view – they know very little about the tenants of their faith.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • spoddney

      Einstein was a DEIST at most and most certainly NOT a theist.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Mark Taylor

      If you really think that faith in a particular god and belief in the current theories put for by science are similar, then you're as fvcking stupid as a doorknob. Science provides us USEFUL tools of incredible power and accuracy and invites criticism in order to sharpen its theories more and more. Now see if you can figure out how that's absolutely nothing at all like religious faith. dumbazz.

      June 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  2. Youwhat

    Genesis is unclear because the bible was made by flat-earthers. I'm glad some people at least try to mold science to their archaic sense of reality.

    Or maybe a lot of people can't deal with the fact that we're alone in a huge chaotic universe and just a blip in the history of universe unless we get our crap together.

    And to whoever said Darwin couldn't explain it all is right, but anyone that tells you they know everything is just lying to you.

    June 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Youwhat,

      I assume that you were responding to the point I made to Mike at the bottom of this page.

      Please understand my purpose. Evangelical literalists dismiss science because it does not conform to a literal reading of Genesis – 6,000 years etc. Yet they are happy to "interpret" other parts of the bible (like some parts of Leviticus about shellfish and bacon).

      I cannot understand why these literalists cannot apply the same kinds of "interpretation" to the Genesis story which without too much cognitive dissonance allows the Hebrew cosmology to be an allegory for what science has observed. Despite the fact that many religious sects are comfortable with this approach, I have noticed that Evangelicals are rarely willing to explain why this is so.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  3. spoddney

    Christians use the line "atheism has killed more people in the past 100 years than all religion combined with Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot etc"

    Lets not forget that It was everyday Germans who participated in the Holocaust (I accept that it was instigated by Hitler and pals – particularly Himmler). In the late 1930's 50% of Germans were Protestant and approximately 40% were Catholic.

    And lets not forget that God killed EVERY living thing on the planet (including innocent animals) save Noah, his family and some animals. But wait a minute...god was 'just' in his actions. In order to think/believe this means accepting the Divine Command Theory as espoused by 'Professor' William Lane Craig and others. It is a very dangerous argument/position to agree with and has MANY holes in it.

    But my FAVOURITE part of the bible is when God afflicts Jeroboam's Child with a resultingly fatal illness in order to punish Jeroboam for not being as pious as David.

    So if one takes the stance of Divine Command Theory then God is 'just' in causing the suffering of an innocent child in order to punish the parent, Incomprehensible and reprehnsable.

    June 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Biblegod is just way too contradictory in nature and deed to even be debated as an actual being or not. The question doesn't even apply. But yes, when he's not being loving and forgiving, he's a sick ba st ard who loves torturing people for all sorts of unjust reasons.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • truth be told

      Nazis were catholic only in the sense the German nation was considered catholic. Truth be told nazis were atheists by thought word and deed, if they had a god it was der furher. All those murdered in the camps and the countless millions who perished in WW 2 were the victims of atheism.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Many catholics and christians–even pastors–(perhaps this lady) are really atheists in word and deed and are only "christians" in the sense that they identify with the religion of their country and so call themselves "christian" when asked.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      moby, i agree that there is a huge segment of the population, like myself, that having grown up in a religious environment identify and try to believe.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Humanist11

      Excellent point spoddney. Let's not forget that Genghis Khan is directly responsible for killing 30-50 million people in the 10th century. He claimed that his gods demanded he take over the world by any means possible. It will take a lot of atheist killing to catch up to him!

      June 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  4. nowayjesus212

    On the positive side, she won't have to worry about the priests. They prefer boys.

    June 22, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  5. Fredrick Lickalot

    One more body to be banged by priests ... even though they prefer males...

    June 22, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  6. Jack

    Welcome to the Kingdom of God. See you soon. 🙂

    June 22, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Bet

      Not soon enough.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Bad troll Bet – no magic mushroom for you!

      June 22, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  7. aure22

    but maybe she is a...just a troll?

    June 22, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Dana

      If she is she's good, 2669 comments and counting on my counter. But I doubt it.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  8. cpc65

    I've always found the saying, "There are no atheists in foxholes" to be very amusing and true.

    June 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Rick James

      Like Pat Tillman? You know, the guy who gave up football to protect ignorant people like yourself?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Facts prove it stupid and inaccurate, though. Facts are likely to change your mind, thought, are they?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • You are an idiot

      No atheists in foxhole , , , except for the entire Red Army as they crushed Hitler. And the North Vietnamese as they beat the Japanese then the French then the Americans. Or the Chinese Red Army as they beat the Nationalists and the Japanese simultaneously.

      Yeah, no atheists in foxholes. Maybe atheists don't use foxholes or something.

      Oh, this atheist has been in extreme danger situations where survival was heavily in doubt a couple times, and I and those with me never even considered some desperate plea to an imaginary friend.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      as a veteran i can give you first hand feedback that you are completely wrong.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Humanist11

      My advice to you is to read and understand opinions that are contrary to your own. It will make you a more credible person.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  9. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    @Mike,

    Genesis 1:26
    Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;

    If you interpret a "day" as a period of time, why can't evolution be the mechanism that "makes" man? Genesis is unclear as to how God performs this.

    June 22, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Ooops – bottom of the page. (I really must remember to hit "reply".

      June 22, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  10. LOLWHOISTHIS

    I don't know who this "prominent atheist blogger" is but I would like to congratulate her for picking faith over rationality. Clearly, you were never REALLY an atheist in the first place.

    June 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      I guess that someone who is REALLY an atheist can never stop being an atheist. I thought atheists were supposed to be able to defend their views with reason (not that I actually think that), but it seems all they can come up with are ad hominums.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      thousands of believers are becoming atheists every week. Inevitably, some do it hastily and are destined to reconvert. I know people who were raised atheistic but became religious muslim/christian/hindu and other religions.

      When an atheist gets religion it just means they're no longer an atheist. I don't see the problem.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things*

    June 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      when confronted with a problem, it is better to have one man with a sharp mind and a strong back than one thousand men on their knees in prayer.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • truth be told

      Tell it to Samson

      June 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Samson tells it to us.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      samson is a fable. how are you so uneducated?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  12. nottolate

    @The True Scotsman,

    One has only to read the Ante-Nicene, Nicene, and Post Nicene Fathers to fdiscover the true nature and origin of the Catholic Church. Its a log of events as they occurred back then. The Catholic Church was formed by heretics who were excommunicated from the authentic church for being heretics in 139 AD. The bishop of Rome who voted to excommunicate the heretics later readmitted them and was himself excommunicated from the authentic Church. That would have been proper. He then went on to name himself the first pope and the RCC was born. Meanwhile, the authentic Christian church has always carried on. The RCC of course has labored greatly to sweep this under the rug and concoct a different history. But its all there in black and white. A little leaven leavens the whole lump, remember? And so that entire church is leavened and fake born of heretics. Log entry from the early church fathers covering this:

    "So, then, after many controversies among them, which are not worthy of mention, a Synod was assembled at Saragossa, at which even the Aquitanian bishops were present. But the heretics did not venture to submit themselves to the judgment of the council; sentence, however, was passed against them in their absence, and Instantius and Salvianus, bishops, with Helpidius and Priscillian, laymen, were condemned. It was also added that if any one should admit the p. 120 condemned persons to communion, he should understand that the same sentence would be pronounced against himself. And the duty was entrusted to Ithacius, bishop of Sossuba, of seeing that the decree of the bishops was brought to the knowledge of all, and that Hyginus especially should be excluded from communion, who, though he had been the first to commence open proceedings against the heretics, had afterwards fallen away shamefully and admitted them to communion."

    June 22, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  13. aure22

    Changing a socks. Atheism did not fit, now she is trying catholicism. What next?

    June 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Bet

      Depends on the religion of her next boyfriend.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Blast Hardcheese

      ZING

      June 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  14. Dana

    Just believing there is a God is a major, no need to pick a religion yet. Study a few first then decide which denomination to side with. God speed Leah.

    June 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  15. nottolate

    Can someone please tell me in an age of information such as 2012 how come most people don't know that Catholicism is not even Christianity??? The author of this article don't even know.

    June 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • The True Scotsman

      Please explain why it is not.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • nottolate

      One has only to read the Ante-Nicene, Nicene, and Post Nicene Fathers to fdiscover the true nature and origin of the Catholic Church. Its a log of events as they occurred back then. The Catholic Church was formed by heretics who were excommunicated from the authentic church for being heretics in 139 AD. The bishop of Rome who voted to excommunicate the heretics later readmitted them and was himself excommunicated from the authentic Church. That would have been proper. He then went on to name himself the first pope and the RCC was born. Meanwhile, the authentic Christian church has always carried on. The RCC of course has labored greatly to sweep this under the rug and concoct a different history. But its all there in black and white. A little leaven leavens the whole lump, remember? And so that entire church is leavened and fake born of heretics. Log entry from the early church fathers covering this:

      "So, then, after many controversies among them, which are not worthy of mention, a Synod was assembled at Saragossa, at which even the Aquitanian bishops were present. But the heretics did not venture to submit themselves to the judgment of the council; sentence, however, was passed against them in their absence, and Instantius and Salvianus, bishops, with Helpidius and Priscillian, laymen, were condemned. It was also added that if any one should admit the p. 120 condemned persons to communion, he should understand that the same sentence would be pronounced against himself. And the duty was entrusted to Ithacius, bishop of Sossuba, of seeing that the decree of the bishops was brought to the knowledge of all, and that Hyginus especially should be excluded from communion, who, though he had been the first to commence open proceedings against the heretics, had afterwards fallen away shamefully and admitted them to communion."

      June 22, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Steve

      "Nothing" does not require an explanation. Something does. God is clearly not nothing, hence it requires an explanation. With no explanation, one needs to adopt of the default position, that there is indeed nothing (although one needs to stay open to the possibility that this may change). Therefore, until there is evidence of God, it is fair to say that there isn't one (the default position). The burden of proof is not on us to prove there is nothing but on you to prove there is something.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Michelle

      The second paragraph of your explanation is in quotes. What are you quoting? Please cite the works you read that caused you to arrive at this position.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • nottolate

      @Michelle,

      I am quoting the writings of the early church fathers.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Irrespective of the all competing patriarchs, and the claim for the "one true church" Catholicism is fundamentally based on the teachings of Christ. They are therefore, Christians. So who is the "true" church in your opinion? Coptic Orthodox under the patriarch of Alexandria? The Greek orthodox, the Armenians, the Russians, the Ethiopians. They're all Christians anyway.

      The ancestry of Evangelical protestantism is the Latin (Roman) Christianity of the Catholic Church.

      Just because your dogma may differ, it doesn't permit exclusive ownership of the "Christian" brand. This is pure narcissism.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  16. KRHODES

    TruthPrevails 🙂

    How exactly is Atheism fantasy? Atheism is a disbelief in god...it makes no further claims. Theists claim a god exists, they do so using this nifty book that feeds you the virus and offers the cure without a shred of evidence to back it. There is no scientific evidence that a god has ever existed and until you provide said evidence, reality is lost on you and you are living in a fantasy world.

    Atheism is a disbelief in God...it is also claiming an absolute negative which you and i both know cannot be proven.

    "There is no scientific evidence that a god has ever existed and until you provide said evidence, reality is lost on you and you are living in a fantasy world."

    Well your whole statement just came apart...now you are asking for proof. Why would God have to provide more evidence of his existence?

    June 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • bubbles

      but the atheist makes the claim of "No God" without proof.It avoids their stance on life.Its an easy way out.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Atheists say we do not believe a god exists...we make this claim based on the fact that there is no scientific evidence to prove one exists or ever existed. This is reality...it is based on facts as we presently have them.
      Theists claim god exists and do so based on one book...everything thing regarding theism goes right back to the bible. All theism does is makes you either a promise or a threat of some after life that can't be proven to exist. This is fantasy, not reality.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • bubbles

      yet science has not proven atheism correct?

      so in short atheism is a religion.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Prayer for the country

      God keep our land – prayer borrowed from the Canadian national anthem. A nation of self righteous bigots like liar prevails that think they are so much better than the rest of the world that they spend hours in a futile attempt to influence the rest of us.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @bubbles

      You still do not understand atheism, the concept of burden of proof, or what evidentiary support is do you?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      bubbles, your assertion is just plain stupid. humans have created countless deities and religions over their history. you seem to think that yours is unique or possibly you are unaware of all the others. regardless, religions and gods have been invented by humanity for thousands of years. the evidence is everywhere for the creativity of the human imagination.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • bubbles

      want proof?

      search for that on your own.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      bubbles: Science can't prove a negative. Did you totally fail to comprehend this? What the hell is so hard about the fact that we do not see the evidence thus we do not believe your god exists? You're a complete moron...go take some basic science classes.
      Can you prove with evidence that your god exists?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      LOL well that answers my question on whether you know what "burden of proof" is.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • bubbles

      I know people believe in other gods and personally I love searching other religions.You think its all fake etc but I do not care.I can study them without believing it.

      I dont think you atheists can do the same.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      bubbles: You're the one making the claim...it is up to you to prove it is factual. We're saying we don't believe your imaginary friend exist...it is up to you to prove us wrong. It is no different than if I told you there were fluffy pink and silver unicorns in my backyard.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      bubbles – atheists have the ability to study them all without believing. it is called anthropology. a fascinating field.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Okey Dokey

      Oh dear, we're getting a lot of the definition-shifting today. Once again have to teach Christians the obvious.

      The applicable definition for "religion" is "the service and worship of God or the supernatural", which cannot apply to atheism. There is another definition, more coloquial, that applies to non-theological entities: "a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith" – it has similarities, but is in fact a separate word, just as yellow means a color but also means a coward. Sorry, but both do not apply.

      No more sleazy word games. Atheism is not a faith or a religion in the same way that Christianity or Islam are. Not at all. You are just playing a perverted word game.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • bubbles

      "No God" is a claim.Now prove that claim

      June 22, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      bubbles, prove there are no leprechauns.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      bubbles, prove there are no mermaids.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • bubbles

      oh there is

      June 22, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      bubbles, an atheist simply says that they do not believe in gods. until someone submits proof, that is a stance built upon fact.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • bubbles

      i didnt make that claim and by your standards I dont have to prove it.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      bubbles. exactly. you didn't make that claim about mermaids or leprewhatevers, but you did make a claim about god.

      i make no claims about god. how would i make a claim about something that doesn't exist.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'd love to see proof that bubbles has a brain, but I doubt that's forthcoming.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • bubbles

      Never said ANYTHING about God.Nothing at all.

      Didnt make a single claim about anything.

      Stop lying

      June 22, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @bubbles

      To my knowledge, no one on this thread has claimed that "there are no gods". You should really stop listening to preachers and apologists on what atheism is, and perhaps actually listen to what atheists are saying.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The only poster who said "No God" was you, bubbles.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • bubbles

      I heard you claim "there is no God" several times.

      now can you prove that claim or do you just avoid it altogether?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      now you are just playing semantics bubbles. your stance from the beginning has been that atheists need to disprove god.

      it is intellectually dishonest for christians to require atheists to disprove god when they blatantly dismiss all other gods without a single bit of evidence.

      remember bubbles. i only disbelieve in one more god than you. how do you justify your disbelief in all of the rest of them?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Steve

      @Bubbles and others: "Nothing" does not require an explanation. Something does. God is clearly not nothing, hence it requires an explanation. With no explanation, one needs to adopt of the default position, that there is indeed nothing (although one needs to stay open to the possibility that this may change). Therefore, until there is evidence of God, it is fair to say that there isn't one (the default position). The burden of proof is not on us to prove there is nothing but on you to prove there is something.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You can hear me?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Bet

      Bubbles is the new Evangelical/HeavenSent.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • bubbles

      its what YOU believe right? YOU believe its true correct?

      by your standards you now must prove its correct.

      dont like it? dont say others should if you cant do it yourself either.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @bubbles

      I have stated that the god of the bible is impossible due to contradictory and mutually exclusive characteristics that have been put forth. But then again I can actually back that up.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      bubbles, thousands of religions, countless deities, no evidence of any of them. the complete lack of evidence other than the occasional grilled cheese sandwich, heavenly potato chip or grease spot on the road, is more than sufficient proof.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Bubbles is just a troll

      Ignore. Don't feed. You know the gig.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • truth be told

      @hawaii guest
      no you can't

      June 22, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @truth be told

      Infinite torment for finite (crimes) and all-loving are mutually exclusive terms.
      Being the "author of morality" and advocating and commiting genocide, slavery, murder, ra..pe, and accepting human sacrifice to name just a few immoral acts by god.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  17. blinky

    View single Christian hotties on ChristianShingle... not. (Sorry, couldn't resist a little joke.)

    Back here wondering if the atheists have decided to tolerate deviance from their metaphysical opinion, or if they're a cult which can't even admit that some people defect from they're outlook with some good reason.

    Nope, still looks like atheism is a cult.

    June 22, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      And believing in invisible, immeasurable beings is stupid.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • blinky

      Moby, Instead of taking the opportunity to demonstrate how atheism is not a cult, you just toss off a remark that satisfies your own position but does not bother to answer the believer's. How self-serving. Atheism is a cult because it cannot come to terms with defections. If somebody leaves, atheists take it like that person has upturned the whole meaning of the organization. When people walk away from Christian churches, in most cases congregations just continue on and let those people go with little to no fuss. In fact, many churches advertise to try them out without strings attached. But when an atheist leaves the circle, they are ridiculed and slandered. The remaining atheists stare on in utter disbelief that someone has left the flock. Witness what's happening with this young woman.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I couldn't possibly care less what you call atheism or what label you choose to slap on it for your own peace of mind.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      blinky, apparently you are in need of a dictionary. you're welcome.

      cult/kəlt/

      Noun:

      1.A system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.
      2.A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • LittleHero

      To be a cult, we would have to form groups and since we've been burned in the Inquisition and gassed in WWII along with our fellow inferior humans – few of us are ready to step forward. The vast majority of atheists in this country are in the closet and will continue to lie to the people around us. We maintain religious "cover" for the sake of our families and lie on polls and surveys because of the way the taker will pull away (clutching purses and shielding children).

      We are just intellectually honest people and mingle in with the rest of you. We politely divert the conversation when the topic turn intolerant and often just quietly walk away when it becomes to much.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      littlehero, i disagree. in this country the minority has stepped forward and made themselves heard. nolonger are they silenced by fear of the majority.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • blinky

      Let's say atheists are cult-like, then, since they cannot cope with those who turn away and take departure as a threat to their belief system. No doubt, there are a few atheists who respect differences with believers and simply say, Live and let live. But I'm finding very, very little of that sort of tolerance on this board. Moby lodged an ad hominem argument against me, though he doesn't even know my own position (I started off with a small joke on Christians). Yet that kind of heedless assumption seems to typify how atheists talk, at least on this board.

      Atheism is a metaphysical assertion like any other. "No" is no less of an assertion than "Yes." Atheists are not agnostics, because atheists venture the firm opinion that God does not exist. That is categorically different from saying the subject, for example, doesn't matter, can't be settled, or is nonsensical. Atheism says the opposite to all three of those positions.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @blinky

      If the existence of a thing can't be settled, reasonable people disbelieve it. Unicorns. God. Thus, atheism is the more logical position, and why believers have to rely upon "faith."

      June 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • blinky

      Moby, A crucial difference is that unicorns, if they exist, are physically existing things. No such claim is made about God. Moreover, if God exists, God does not truly seem to be a "thing" so much as infinite and timeless. There's a book I found interesting called "The Faces of Existence: An Essay in Nonreductive Metaphysics" by John F. Post, that has a last chapter on what God might be and some reasons pro and con to think there is a version of God. Interestingly, Post puts forth an idea that "God" is not in the inventory of things which do and do not exist, but there nevertheless may be talk of God which is true. He gives what I find a hearty discussion. Just one book in the debate, anyway.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      It doesn't make a difference to logic. If you can't prove that your being exists, then the proper logical stance is disbelief.

      Anybody can define their god outside of the realm of human ability to prove. That's what most believers do, too.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • blinky

      First of all, a correction. My next-to-last sentence should read, "Interestingly, Post puts forth an idea that 'God' is not in the inventory of things which exist, but there nevertheless may be talk of God which is true."

      Moby, You might be looking at this subject just narrowly enough to avoid the believer's terms entirely. And that seems like a bad faith argument on your part, doubly so since the believer tries to meet your points on your terms. There are lots of non-physical things–and again, "things" which might be wholly different from whatever God could be–that people seriously look at as though they exist, or might. For instance, physical laws of nature: not the things which obey them, but the laws themselves. Those don't exist in any specific physical place, right? Numbers have a long history of debate over whether they actually exist. Along different lines, most people believe freedom is non-reductive and exists. Just about everybody earnestly believes the same about love.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
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    June 22, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  19. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    @bubbles,

    you state "atheists killing millions disproves its religion" There are some words missing to make this a coherent sentence. It is impossible to understand what you mean. Please restate your thesis more clearly.

    June 22, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Oops – belongs on page 45.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • bubbles

      atheists kill it disproves the source of evil is religion.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Evil is a label, nothing more. Religion has killed millions in the name of god..the Crusades; the Salem Witch Trials, the numerous children who die because their parents pray for them instead of getting them proper medical attention (you somehow don't see this as wrong??).
      No-one has ever killed in the name of something they do not believe. That's about as absurd as your imaginary friend.
      You're delusional!

      June 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @bubbles,

      It is not my premise that religion is the source of evil. (Some people here will say that, but I won't).

      People can choose to be good or be bad. You can call it 'freedom of choice" if you like, but it's just the normal state of a sentient being.

      Your original point was that atheists killed 100,000,000 people in the 20th century, presumably to imply that non-religious people are evil. Religious people also killed millions of people in the 20th century. The fact that there were people who did evil and may have been atheists is neither here nor there.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • bubbles

      no duhhh.The source is man..i already said that

      June 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  20. mike

    Excerpt from "Darwin and Evolution" by Randall Keynes (2001) p.88 "some year later he wrote to his friend:'how awfully flat I feel, if when I get my notes together on species the whole thing explodes like an empty puff-ball" says the man of science...........

    June 22, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • mike

      BTW the author, Randal Keynes is Darwin's great, great grandson.....

      June 22, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Darwin was a religious man and struggled with the implication of what his scientific discoveries meant in religious terms.

      He originally went to Cambridge to be an Anglican clergyman.

      Good scientist that he was, he didn't let the beliefs he was raised with cloud his ability to follow the scientific method.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • mike

      but his theories failed to satisfy all his questions

      June 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @mike

      No theory answers all the questions of humans. And that's not the function of theories. Philosophy attempts to answer them, but can't prove its claims.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • mike

      but I thought his theory was the answer to the question of deity

      June 22, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Mike,

      absolutely not. There are many beliverers in God who accept that evolution is the mechanism designed by God to create living things – and, ultimately life in his image.

      It in no way pre-supposes God cannot exist.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @mike

      What? The theory of evolution was put forth as an explanation for the diversity of life on the planet. Nothing to do with god. And btw, NO SCIENCTIFIC THEORY attempts to answer any kind of question of whether there is or is not a god.
      I don't usually type in caps, but I thought it important to emphasize that point.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Nope.

      Science describes HOW a process takes place. A scientific theory is the best possible explanation of that "HOW" when placing all the facts together in the most reasonable way.

      Philosophy (religions are philosophies) attempt to explain WHY we are here and think and feel and etc.. It's only when a philosophy says things that are stupid and can be disproved by science that the philosophy/religion looks silly. For instance, the event of a world-wide flood. Never happened, yet the bible describes and jesus affirmed it. Silly, when we know it didn't happen for thousands of reasons–one of which is that it couldn't have physically happened.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Mike,

      Genesis 1:26
      Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;

      If you interpret a "day" as a period of time, why can't evolution be the mechanism that "makes" man? Genesis is unclear as to how God performs this.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Moby Schtick,

      well, at some point there was a great flood of the Tigris and Euphrates in ancient Mesapotamia. There were probably lots of them. They probably covered the entire world (as far as they knew the extent of the world) bordered by the Tigris and Euphrates in the fertile cresent.

      Why do we know this, look up the "Epic of Gilgamesh" (tablet 11). It is almost exactly the story of the flood of Noah, but it was written down in Sumeria. It is not surprising that this story enters the Jewish tradition. After all, Ibrahim is from Ur in Sumer and probably brought the story with him.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      the bible teaches a global flood that destroys every living thing for not living up to god's standards so that he can start anew. Nice try, though.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • mike

      Darwin and his colleagues of the time called themselves "natural philosophers" and had no problem working their theories against the traditional beliefs..

      June 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @ mike

      NO scientific theory makes any attempt to "answer all questions." Are you dumb or just trolling?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Bad Approach

      Basically, GOPer, you are taking the supernatural out of the supernatural with arguments like that. It is like the documentary where religious guys tried to explain the Plagues of Egypt in scientifically plausible terms. The fundamental problem with doing that? There is no faith or supernatural anymore. If these are ancient accounts of phenomenon that actually occured and could occur again, then all you have are natural phenomenon, and nothing supernatural. Meaning that if they are what you say, then the religious interpretation was just ancient ignorance trying to explain what we now know to be natural occurances.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Mike.

      absolutely. They were "natural" philosophers. We still hand out PhDs in science (Doctors of Philosophy) today.

      There are many scientists who believe in God. Can you also believe in science?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • mike

      Neither, just trying to understand,,....when I quote dawkins, or Harris, or Darwin's own words in order to understand yourr side of things, the responses end up being defensive....... just asking the questions.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • mike

      I actually do believe in science and have seen valid results from the scientific process. I was not questioning that

      June 22, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @mike

      You are not asking questions. You are making statments based on presuppositions of the positions people will take.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @BadApproach,

      I don't understand your argument. There are people who are able to reconclie the existince of a deity and understand that his 'creation' swirling around 14 billion years after the big bang is according to his plan (aka the 'laws of physics').

      It is the most rational way of combining what is empirically evident in science with a belief in metaphysics.

      Do you find this approach harmful in anyway?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Mike,

      fair enough. Feel free to ask a direct question. I will happily answer it.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • mike

      I started this with a quote from Darwin, asking anyone out there to engage in a dialogue about Darwin's position, and struggle as he composed his theory.....

      June 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Darwin's idea about evolution was correct, even though many of his smaller assertions were proved wrong by SCIENCE that was much more interested in finding the actual facts than whether or not they hurt Darwin's feelings by finding out some portions of his text were very wrong.

      Genetics proves the theory of Evolution to unimaginable degrees. Yep, Darwin had his doubts, but he didn't have modern genetics. Poor fella. We should all wish to be so proved correct by a few hundreds years of research past our own deaths.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @mike

      First off, Darwin put together a hypothesis and attempted to make observations to confirm the hypothesis. Evolution was not considered a theory by the scientific community until after Darwin's death I think. But either way, what would anything about his character matter to the actual theory? If he struggled to reconcile his religious views with his findings, then so what? It doesn't matter. The fact of the matter is, he got a lot of things right when it came to evolution, and evolution has been confirmed to happen, and has been observed in lab testings. What are you hoping to accomplish with the quote?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @mike,

      Sorry, that was abundantly unclear. Yes, Darwin struggled with the theological implications, and despite all the mental trauma he remained convinced of the accuracy of his discovery.

      His old college dons 'unfriended' him. He ended up taking walks while his family attended church serivces.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • mike

      well said......But in Keynes book Darwin still struggled with the personal tragedy of losing his young daughter, Science was not able to answer his grief...i find that interesting.....

      June 22, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @mike

      What the hell is your point mike? None of what you're saying has any relevance to the original discussion.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Mike,

      who wouldn't be deeply distressed by the death of a child? He was still a religious man. Neither God nor science saved his daughter. Science in the form of medicine has not triumphed over death yet, and nor will it, unless we all become cyborgs.

      I think there is a tendency amongst religious people to presume that because Darwin had a disruptive idea, it was his purpose to destroy religion. I don't think he intended or desired any such thing.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • mike

      I would agree, and clearly in Keynes book supports your statement. He was in the middle of the enlightment where these ideas began to clash. and despite what people are saying on this blog. I think Darwin and his colleagues could not make the easy disctinction......

      June 22, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @mike

      I still don't see what you are trying to accomplish with your statements.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Mike,

      I don't think they made a distinction. People remained religious, and integrated scientific understanding into their appreciation for the 'works of God'. I think they saw that science was God's plan in action in the world. Lots of people (excepting significantly, Evangelical Protestantism) accept this.

      What happens in forums like this is a kind of tiresome bait and bite. People automatically run into opposing corners and make assumptions. The Evangelical Christians attack atheists on Darwin, and the atheists rush to defend him. There are lots of people who can accept noth.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Errr – "both" not "noth"

      June 22, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • mike

      Thanks GOPer and i agree. I thank you for responding and I will keep an open mind on this dilemma

      June 22, 2012 at 9:27 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.