home
RSS
October 9th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Survey: One in five Americans has no religion

Editor's note: CNN recently won four first-place reporting awards from the Religion Newswriters Association. Read more about the awards here.

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The fastest growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all, according to a Pew survey showing that one in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion.

The number of these Americans has grown by 25% just in the past five years, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The survey found that the ranks of the unaffiliated are growing even faster among younger Americans.

Thirty-three million Americans now have no religious affiliation, with 13 million in that group identifying as either atheist or agnostic, according to the new survey.

Pew found that those who are religiously unaffiliated are strikingly less religious than the public at large. They attend church infrequently, if at all, are largely not seeking out religion and say that the lack of it in their lives is of little importance.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

And yet Pew found that 68% of the religiously unaffiliated say they believe in God, while 37% describe themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious.” One in five said that they even pray every day.

John Green, a senior research adviser at Pew, breaks the religiously unaffiliated into three groups. First, he says, are those who were raised totally outside organized religion.

Survey: Protestants no longer majority in U.S.

Second are groups of people who were unhappy with their religions and left.

The third group, Green says, comprises Americans who were never really engaged with religion in the first place, even though they were raised in religious households.

“In the past, we would describe those people as nominally affiliated. They might say, 'I am Catholic; I am a Baptist,' but they never went" to services, Green says of this last group. “Now, they feel a lot more comfortable just saying, ‘You know, I am really nothing.’ ”

According to the poll, 88% of religiously unaffiliated people are not looking for religion.

“There is much less of a stigma attached" to not being religious, Green said. “Part of what is fueling this growth is that a lot of people who were never very religious now feel comfortable saying that they don't have an affiliation.”

Demographically, the growth among the religiously unaffiliated has been most notable among people who are 18 to 29 years old.

According to the poll, 34% of “younger millennials” - those born between 1990 and 1994 - are religiously unaffiliated. Among “older millennials,” born between 1981 and 1989, 30% are religiously unaffiliated: 4 percentage points higher than in 2007.

Poll respondents 18-29 were also more likely to identify as atheist or agnostic. Nearly 42% religious unaffiliated people from that age group identified as atheist or agnostic, a number far greater than the number who identified as Christian (18%) of Catholic (18%).

Green says that these numbers are “part of a broader change in American society.”

“The unaffiliated have become a more distinct group,” he said.

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

Pew's numbers were met with elation among atheist and secular leaders. Jesse Galef, communications director for the Secular Student Alliance, said that the growth of the unaffiliated should translate into greater political representation for secular interests.

“We would love to see the political leaders lead on this issue, but we are perfectly content with them following these demographic trends, following the voters,” Galef said.

“As more of the voters are unaffiliated and identifying as atheist and agnostics, I think the politicians will follow that for votes.

“We won’t be dismissed or ignored anymore,” Galef said.

The Pew survey suggested that the Democratic Party would do well to recognize the growth of the unaffiliated, since 63% of them identify with or lean toward that political group. Only 26% of the unaffiliated do the same with the Republican Party.

"In the near future, if not this year, the unaffiliated voters will be as important as the traditionally religious are to the Republican Party collation,” Green predicted.

Green points to the 2008 exit polls as evidence for that prediction. That year, Republican presidential nominee John McCain beat President Barack Obama by 47 points among white evangelical voters, while Obama had a 52-point margin of victory over McCain among the religiously unaffiliated.

According to exit polls, the proportion of religiously unaffiliated Americans who supported the Democratic presidential candidate grew 14 points from 2000 to 2008.

In announcing the survey’s findings at the Religion Newswriters Association conference in Bethesda, Maryland, Green said the growing political power of the unaffiliated within the Democratic Party could become similar to the power the Religious Right acquired in the GOP in the 1980s.

“Given the growing numbers of the unaffiliated, there is the potential that that could be harnessed,” he said.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Faith Now • Politics • Polls

soundoff (7,763 Responses)
  1. me

    I don't believe simply due to there are zero facts ANY of it existed. No one dug up the bones of any of these people that were here, and IMO the Bible was written by a group of drunk men to F with us. Notice how the man can do no wrong but the woman does....BUT I, unlike those who believe, do not talk trash to make the believers feel stupid for believing. Much like the believers LOVE to do to those who don't believe.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Luv U

      Oh no, you don't trash talk at all, do you?

      October 9, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Alex

      Not all of us love to do what we say is wrong. Every time I lie the guilt makes me want cry. I know what I do is wrong but I am just another imperfect human attempting to live the life that a perfect God would wish for me to live.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  2. batteryinme

    So this article is really saying "THERE IS HOPE FOR HUMANITY!"

    October 9, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Luv U

      Nope. It says we're looking like a lost cause.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • snopes says

      nope to Nope (Luv U)

      October 9, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Luv U

      Nope to Snopes nope of my nope.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  3. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago. (Yes, charlatan folklore and spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think they hadn't?) And they need to be taught that other things, like God, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Many religious folk have the best intentions. But too often, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). And too often, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Although there are many religious folk with good intentions – some selflessly helping others, religions and religious organizations are, as a whole, just big old clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division (often disguised as love) along the way. The problem is that people too easily buy into religion and don't realize how unfounded it all is. And when they buy into it, they buy into a lot of really old, really weird tenets that are nothing but harmful for the human species.

    Take Christianity, for instance. Just look at all the things that Christians argue about amongst themselves today – abortion, men's and women's roles in the church, celibacy, contraception, acceptance of gays, etc. Most of these issues have their roots in the conflicted, unfounded tenets of early Christianity. Non-Mormons harp on Joseph Smith these days. But we really don't have any more proof at all to believe that Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle" was anything more than an ordinary man who needed to make up religious "sales literature" to survive and spread his own personal beliefs. And yet a good chunk of the NT is attributed to Paul and accepted by many Christians. And a lot of what he wrote about has to do with many of the issues I mentioned above that have Christians fighting amongst themselves hundreds of years later. It's way too unfounded to argue over.

    Get a good cup of tea, and sit down and collect your thoughts. If you find it helpful to pray to a god, fine. But it is really healthier for the mind to leave behind all the characters that people over the centuries have invented or given powers to, for which there is little or no foundation. Because with those invented characters and powers – that's where division and hate join the little party in your mind. That's where, in your mind, you are inheriting the division and hate from ordinary politicians, lobbyists and salesmen from long ago. My goodness.

    mama kindless.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Luv U

      Atheism is evil. You want to kill someone and think you can get away with it? Who's gonna hold you accountable? The FSM?

      October 9, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • mama kindless

      @Luv U:

      1. Atheism is not evil. (The religious somehow think they have the market on morals and ethics.)
      2. Civil law serves people. Running to a priest does not serve society.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Aezel

      Ooooooh. Is it "evil." Ooooooh scary, maybe if you are 5.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • doughnuts

      Same as always, Luv U: Your society will hold you accountable.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Luv U

      I'd say the permissibility of murder without remorse for an atheist is evil and scary. I suspect many others think he same. Who holds you accountable? The FSM? Since there's no God to hold you accountable for lying to us, how so we know you don't go out murdering people?

      October 9, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Luv U

      Read. I'm talking about things you do that society doesn't see. You're lucky to live in a society with relatively good law enforcement. Not every country is so lucky.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • aaron

      Who is this Luv U. Sounds delusional.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Quickster1

      LUV you- So we need religion so people won't kill each other? I'm an atheist and won't be killing anyone intentionally, but the religious on the other hand, are killing each other pretty much non-stop. Your argument is very weak, just like your brain.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Alex

      How is a story that has been archeologically proven several times, was written by many people over the course of several thousand years, and yet is still consistent made up?

      October 9, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Luv U

      Aaron and quick, you live in a religious society, not an atheistic one. In order for you not to look bad, you have no choice but to say you wouldn't murder. The fact is that if you did murder someone who made your life a living hell, and you were to do it in such a way as to get away with it, you have no reason for remorse. There would be no punishment for you in life, and there would be no punishment for you after death. Atheism is evil and reprehensible.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Quickster1

      LUV YOU- Your extinction is eminent. Just like the Neanderthals.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Kerry

      Luv U, you're a nutjob. Do you really need some guy in the sky to tell you not to kill? You're going to be a murderer, I can tell.

      Many religions say there is forgiveness as long as you believe and ask for it.

      So by that understanding, I could go out, kill someone, go to church say "I'm sorry" with sincerity in my heart and escape any consequences...and you want to tell me that atheism is evil?

      You're an imbecile.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  4. Guest

    This is a direct response to pop-culture feeding us lies about "Who Jesus REALLY was" and how "Religion is the biggest driver of evil in the world" and so forth. What's really sad is so many people take those messages and run with them instead of discovering the lack of reasoning behind them.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Amniculi

      Who says they're lies?

      October 9, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Lee Strain

      Please, religeous folks should never use the word "reasoning." It's contradictory to your ideology.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Luv U

      Lee, that just shows that your reason is lacking. People of religion are just as reasonable, if not more so, than you and atheists. There is one difference that sets us apart. After taking in the facts, we reason that we must choose faith in God. You may find that unreasonable, but you'd be hard-pressed to prove why. What are the chances of God's existence? How do you quantify that?

      October 9, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • JavaJoe

      @Luv U Well answer this question, which I can never get a good answer to. Why does your God exist and not Jupiter, or why does your God exist but not Amon Ra, or Thor, or any of the other countless God and Goddesses (why are those always left out).

      October 9, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  5. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    We are awash in people of faith, faith-based claims and faith-based initiatives. Let's do what we can to advance knowledge and evidence-based claims and reasoned action. Our numbers are increasing. Let's not be the ones who say "You know, I am really nothing." Become the ones who hold our society together and move it forward in a direction where rational thought prevails over faith, or at least restrains it.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Caz in BOS

      yes indeed. I urge readers to explicitly mention 'skepticism' as a virtue whenever 'faith' is mentioned as desirable. I also urge readers to instinctively ask for evidence whenever a wild claim is made. These are the basic tools of a secular outlook. Let's promote them in speech.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Luv U

      Chaz, I'd call skepticism a biblical value. The New Testament tells believers to test to find what is true. It is a dunderhead end fallacy to think believers don't use reason and skepticism in coming to their own conclusions about God.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Caz in BOS

      @Luv U – skepticism may be mentioned in the bible (like a lot of things), but you have to admit that faith (believing without evidence) is held as a high virtue, and often mentioned, while skepticism (not believing until evidence is sufficient) is not. I think that should be reversed.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Nii

      Faith is not believing without evidence. As usual you take liberties with definitions. Faith is knowledge based. What you describe is blind faith. Skepticism is approved by Christ. He asked us to count the cost of following Him. Without doubt there can be no true faith.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Nii

      If any man will hear my teaching and will do them then I will show myself to Him and He will know I am.-J.C
      That is like experiment with my teaching and you will have the evidence that I am

      October 9, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Jeff Williams

      """Faith is knowledge based."""

      Nonsense.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  6. Caz in BOS

    My wife just came out of the closet as an atheist. I am so proud of her. (It is a big step for those indoctrinated as children.) The next week, she joined the 'Open Ministries' and became an ordained priest. Now she can perform secular weddings and funerals.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Amniculi

      Does this not make any sense, or is it just me?

      October 9, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Caz in BOS

      'Open Ministries' is not Christian. It is not even a religion. It is merely an ordination service for people who want to perform weddings and funerals. Since there is a shortage of atheist chaplains, my honey thought she would become one.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Amniculi

      It was the "priest" part that was throwing me off.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • snowboarder

      amn – i think i understand it to mean that there is a segment of society that wishes for non-religious wedding ceremonies.

      a few weeks back i attended a "hand fasting" ceremony in a hay field. the ceremony was much more meaningful than the religious mumbo jumbo you see in traditional weddings.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Kevin H

      Does an atheist wedding follow similar ritual as a religious one? Or does it have it's own unique procedure?

      October 9, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Caz in BOS

      @Kevin H – The biggest difference is that the invocation of legitimacy is directed at the community, not at a god. Atheist funerals are similar, but far more interesting. The emphasis is on the community experience. (In fairness, some religions do that, too. I am thinking especially of the Quakers and Hindus.)

      October 9, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  7. Hennahands

    I grew up with a non-thiestic religion and now I am an atheist but still moral. I keep to the basic tenents of my former religion but do not fast. I do not lie, cheat, steal or murder. I try not to be judgemental and try to see things from other's point of view. However, I can see that I don't get the same curtsey from religious right. I have been told that I will be going to hell because I haven't been baptised. Try being tolerant of that – while defending your right to believe the way you want. I find it difficult to fight the herd mentality so now I don't discuss religion with most people. And for the record, I love celebrations. I celebrate pretty much every major holiday that requires gathering of family and friends and eating.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • TheZel

      If you act the way God wants you to, then you're ok. God bless you! I know that might not mean anything to you, but that's ok. Even still, try to take a chance to read the teachings of Jesus. He was a cool guy, even though you may not believe he was any more than that.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Really?

      The guy who said if you don't follow him you'll be cast into the flames like a withered branch? Sure, he said some nice things too, but no thanks, too creepy for me.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Nii

      Really
      It seems most of you with a religious mind-set but trapped in an Atheist body think the Bible is a religious book. read as a religous book it indeed makes no sense. However as a spiritual text it does indeed help. Likewise if Christ did not have the power to cast people who are evil into hell. Fine but he never said Christians were going to Heaven or non-believers were going to Hell. Belief in Christ is more complex than that. Whether or not u know his teaching if you do follow them u r acceptable to God. That is very different from what you are implying. He gave specific teaching on this in the Parable of Sheep and Goats where feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked and visiting the sick were the requirements for God accepting you in Heaven. If such is whre your heart is then why fear Him or reject Him?

      October 9, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  8. Horus

    I don't think it's suddenly grown in the past 5 years. I also think the real number is higher. People just didn't talk about religion that much in regard to questioning even the existance of God. With the age of the internet it is much harder to suppress information – granted there is probably far more misinformation out there, but there is a lot of truth as well. I choose to believe that people are choosing to take a more objective look at man-made religions and deciding that there really isn't that much benefit to compartmentalizing logic. You can choose to be a good, moral person (humanist) without religion. Morality is a choice.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Rynomite

      "I also think the real number is higher."

      I dunno....

      My wife is a religious person, and sometimes I acoompany her to church (gives my eyes good excercise with all the rolling they have to do during a service). The church she goes to seats like 4k people and is largely attended by wealthy supposedly educated people.

      The other day the minister made a comment something like "evolution is the biggest joke and biggest lie ever played on humanity.." and about 4k people started cheering.

      I have to say I lost a little faith in the future of humanity at this point.

      P.S. I don't live in Arkansas or some other redneck state. I live in Illinois.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  9. Sean Crees

    I cannot wait till the day comes that religious people in America are the minority.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Amniculi

      Agreed.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • jkee

      Jumping to a conclusion that their is no God or that Jesus Christ was a real person is sad. The historical secular evidence is overwhelming that Jesus lived, died, arose from the grave. There is more evidence of the existence of Jesus and his ministry than any other historical person including Alexander the Great and Caesar. Just because you think something is right doesn't make it right. Study the secualar evidence.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Alex

      Why would you want such a terrible thing to happen?

      October 9, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Amniculi

      There is no valid secular evidence and the claims you make are ridiculous.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Rynomite

      "There is more evidence of the existence of Jesus and his ministry than any other historical person including Alexander the Great and Caesar."

      That is a borderline retarded statement.

      While I believe a MAN named Jesus existed, evidence for his existence is much more tenuous than Alexander or Caesar Dictator for whom evidence is concrete. Any objective student of history would realize this.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  10. aginghippy

    Again, we see theists, most of whom have probably never really known an atheist, proclaiming that atheists are amoral and unethical people, who want to live lives of complete debauchery. I have a couple of questions for you:
    If, tomorrow, you suddenly discovered that there is no God, would you abandon all sense of morality, and begin a life of s e x u a l deviance, theft and even m u r d e r? Is your fear of God the only thing holding you back from being a reprehensible human being?
    If you answered yes, I don't know whether to fear you or pity you. If you answered no, then perhaps humans have evolved the quality known as empathy, which allows each of us to undertand that what hurts any one of us hurts us all. Perhaps cooperative and civilized societal groups were around for thousands of years before anyone ever heard of your God.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • requiesit

      Good question but myopic. For one people who recognize there is a God recognize that they need something more than themselves to follow. Doing this encourages a heart position that is more open, honest, and loving than would be otherwise. One's perspective of who they are would be horribly gnarled and stunted if they only had themselves and those around them as reference points. Get it? So I can see how a believer would be a little afraid of an atheist. By what are they choosing to stretch themselves beyond their own senses? I get that it is not true that all atheist have gnarled little senses of themselves and the world world around them, but I am sure there are a good amount of them are more living out of a place of hurt rather than conviction. I suppose the same can be said about some religious groups, but the difference is that following God gives plenty of reason to hope that change will happen (Sounds like an Obama tag line). I am not sure what atheists have that will provide hope when all the other candles go out in their lives. I would suppose it would be very different from each atheist if there was anything there at all..

      October 9, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Alex

      If you haven't noticed almost all the comments are by atheists saying that they are happy about this and that religious people are unintelligent. True some people are saying the same toward atheists because sadly only we Christians seem to be taking offense. This is sad because unlike what many believe we are supposed to be the best of people. We are not to judge what others believe or choose. We can say what is wrong but people are people and should always be cared about. Hate the sin but love the sinner.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  11. Quickster1

    Well, it's a start. I suspect that most of the unafiliated, that say they believe in God, don't truely have the strength of their convictions due to a lifetime of brainwashing, and are just hedging their bets. I predict that within two hundred years, religion will cease to be a political factor in this country. It already can't survive on it's own, needing corporate interest to garner enough votes to matter.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  12. MikeB

    Atheism – An organized hate group with a Social Doctrine to malign, berate, ridicule, mock, and be prejudiced against all others.
    To claim atheism is not a religion is disingenuous since it has a Social Doctrine and has a means to meet and organize.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Amniculi

      Blah, blah, blah. Pick up a dictionary sometime.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • MikeB

      Amniculi – You're in denial.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • mama kindless

      I'll second that, Amniculi.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • me

      Um, Mike. When I looked it up;

      Atheism-The theory or belief that God does not exist

      I love people like you, who think your threats will turn people over to your dark side :)

      October 9, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Tom Baker

      Damn! They know about our secret atheist meetings where we plot the downfall of all mankind through moral negligence! Everyone scatter!

      Yes. I made this sound extra-ridiculous through hyperbole. I did this to make fun of you for thinking that atheists are in any way organizing the social or moral decline of the human race. Go find a hobby.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Don't forget that they eat babies.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  13. if a liberal is a LIBtard, then what is a REpublican

    In 100 years the majority will be atheist and vegetarian and look back at us as childish, at best.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • MikeB

      You're making a big presumption. And openly showing your hate for other do not share your social doctrine.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Amniculi

      I dunno about the vegetarian part...

      October 9, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • if a liberal is a LIBtard, then what is a REpublican

      just because you fear my thoughts doesn't make them hate.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • doughnuts

      I'm perfectly willing to discard religion, but I'll give up bacon when you pry it from my cold, greasy, cholesterol-laden fingers.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • JavaJoe

      Doubt it.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Rynomite

      I'm not giving up meat......

      October 9, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  14. zaphed

    good news. I thought I was the only one in USA. Hurray, finally americans are starting to get smart. And yes, 99.9 percent of atheist are ex-christians cause christianity sucks and is built on myth of god and sons and wives of god. Wake up.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • jkee

      How much study have you done of the secular evidence of Jesus Christ? Jumping to a conclusion without study is denying your own existence.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • jkee

      How much study have you done of the secular evidence of Jesus Christ? Jumping to a conclusion without study is denying your own existence. Even Darwin doubted his theory of evolution. The Bible states what God did not how he did it. Put in your search enine the secular evidence of Jesus Christ and read it.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • doughnuts

      Let me guess: You rely on Josephus and Tecitus? Perhaps Suetonius and Pliny the Younger?

      All bogus and/or just plain wrong.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Which God?

      jkee. What a stupid statement. How can I deny my existance? Iam I To quote a famous philosopher: "I think, therefore I am."

      October 9, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  15. Luv U

    He said.a lot more, but here's George in his own words:

    ...reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

    Why do you think so many of them were Deist and Masonic?

    October 9, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."
      – James Madison

      "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it."
      – John Adams

      "I am a materialist; he takes the side of spiritualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentance towards forgiveness of sin; I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it."
      – Thomas Jefferson

      ". . . Some books against Deism fell into my hands. . . It happened that they wrought an effect on my quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist."
      – Benjamin Franklin

      October 9, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Luv U

      Way to cherry pick your quotes, Doc. You did know that Adams was more a Christian than a Deist, right? He had debates on religion with Jefferson. His quote is taken out of context and does not mean what you take it to mean. Your Franklin quote is quite interesting since he appears to agree with Deism. In short, George, our countries first and most respected President spoke right, and he spoke against morality without religion. The founding fathers were Masons, not just to belong to a fraternity, but because it promoted a sort of Deism with its syncretistic views.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  16. Amniculi

    Suck it, theists!

    October 9, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  17. TheTraveler

    It's about faith folks, not religion. Either you have faith or you don't, it's a personal choice. It doesn't take "religion" to have faith. I don't have to tell someone "I'm a Baptist" or "I'm a Methodist", etc to express my faith. I tell folks, when they ask, that I study the Scriptures and follow the Christ. Pretty simple.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  18. rudixr

    when there is a creation there is a creator also we may not know the creator......when our society is falling apart there is a reason for it....man marry's man no center moral... prist have abused...all going like chickens without head......and we are in one direction...2012 is now....its not God...its our free choice...you can see the future of us and read it at The Dimension Machine

    October 9, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  19. Oneforall777

    All these people that like to blame religion for most of the wars in history, better re-read history! The bloodiest wars and genocide in the history of the world were caused by men and governments who were either anti-religious, secular or under aetheist states. Out of 1,763 wars to date only 7% have been for religous reasons. WWII (Adolph Hitler), he was AGAINST organized religion but considered himself 'Spiritual'. He stated " We do not want any other God than Germany itself". Stalin – Atheist, deeply hated religion. Genghis Khan and the Mongul Conquests – he was a Shamanist, believed in 'altered consciousness, magic powers etc. The great Genocide called the "Great Leap" in China 1958-1961 mass killings of 18m to 45m people. Communist – anti-religious. Russian 6- 8 million people between 1932-1939 – anti religious. Even our own bloodiest American war (The Civil War) was led by George Washington who turned his back on Christianity, never took communion, attended Church for 'political reasons', it was only in later life did he read the bible, but never claimed to believe in God or Christ only 'his maker'.
    CONCLUSION: All you who are Aetheists, Anti religious or Secular had better re-think your beliefs. You cannot take a bit here and a bit there and call yourself a child of God. You either follow God wholly or follow the anti-Christ who is Satan. Satan has damaged the whole world, look up the figures of all these wars and see for yourself. HE wants you to believe the nonsense that religion causes wars, that is his M.O. Get it? The Catholic Church which calls itself Christian, is not in fact, it is ruled by Satan – another deceitful move by Satan. Careful people, follow God or Satan, one leads to eternal life the other leads to death and destruction. Please do not be conformed to this World, stop being sheep and following everyone else. Straight is the NARROW WAY that leads to everlasting life! Learn the truth from the Bible yourself, ask God to help you with this, then join a Church group who practices the truths in the Bible, our manual for life on this earth. Don't believe lies, watch and discern and pray. God bless.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • pasigiri

      This.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Aezel

      The civil war was led by George Washington huh? Ladies and gentlemen, let's give a hand to our resident brainwashed theist.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Really?

      My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness,surrounded only by a few followers,recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who,God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day,after two thousand years,with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated,but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.... When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces,then I believe I would be no Christian,but a very devil if I felt no pity for them,if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago,turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited.

      -Adolf Hitler,in his speech in Munich on 12 April 1922

      And when you have a chance, google "Paul "Francisco Franco".

      October 9, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ahahhahhhahhahahhahah!! Comedy gold.

      Oneforall, you had better re-think your ability to persuade anyone else, particularly if that person has the brains you lack.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • deadlyserious

      I like that anyone who isn't Christian apparently doesn't count as a religious person in your little breakdown.

      HItler was Christian (sorry, guys, he's all yours).
      The Crusades were an entirely Christian war.
      Muslims bombed and flew planes into the World Trade Centers in the name of their god.
      Christians in Russia led pogroms against Jews.
      Israelis and Palestinians die daily in the name of their god.
      Religious people throughout history have used their religion to justify the persecution (and slaughter) of anyone they deem to be an outsider.

      Do I really need to go on? Because there's plenty more where that came from.

      For the record: though many atheists have been responsible for atrocious deeds, none of them have ever killed in the name of atheism.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Tom Baker

      "Even our own bloodiest American war (The Civil War) was led by George Washington who turned his back on Christianity"

      Either a master troll or the biggest idiot on the planet. Either way, get this dud/dudette a medal.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • WASP

      @777: you are a great example of what is wrong with america. you believe george washington lead the civil war? you are a credit to your kind, be proud your ignorance knows no bounds.

      plus how you doing TBT,GEORGE, ATHIEISM ISN'T, ETC ETC ETC YOU GAVE YOURSELF AWAY WITH THE "GOD BLESS" BS

      October 9, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Jeff Williams

      Please, there is a human history available to all who can read. Please, PLEASE, will some of you refer to the books? This is the age of information, so there can be no more excuses for such ignorance.

      """The Crusades were an entirely Christian war."""

      No. It was a real war waged between Christians and Muslims, and the catalyst was Muslim aggression. Land conquests, interference and outright takeovers of Christian shrines and holy spots, interference and blockage of Christian pilgrimage routes, etc. It took the Christians literally centuries to get organized and angry enough to fight back.

      For some reason too many people think the poor 'ol Muslims were totally innocent during those times, when the reverse was true. How many of you even know that the Muslims had conquered much of Europe before they were finally defeated? They had Spain, Italy, and they were in France!

      Of course, mine is a rather crude summation of centuries of warfare, so read up on it yourselves.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Jeff Williams

      """Even our own bloodiest American war (The Civil War) was led by George Washington who turned his back on Christianity"""

      Somebody please invent an emoticon for "slapping one's palm against one's forehead – DUH!!!!).

      I see a lot of d u m b things here but – wow.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • JavaJoe

      @Tom Baker Didn't you know, Lincoln the vampire hunter, had George Washington resurrected ala Frankenstein to fight in the Civil War?

      October 9, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  20. pasigiri

    TO ANY RELIGIONS OTHER THAN CHRISTIAN ON THIS MESSAGE BOARD: You are safe. Atheist seem to only attack Christians.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Amniculi

      Wrong! It just seems that way because Christians are the largest and most obnoxious religion in this country.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • OverlordXenu

      First – you're delusional. Atheists go after all religions (except the atheistic ones like sects of Buddhism and Confuscianism, obviously).

      Second – I'm guessing you're American. The largest religious group in the United States is Christianity (and its various sects). Christianity has the most influence over American life. Christianity is shoved down the throats of atheists almost on a weekly basis. Of course it's going to bear the brunt of the backlash.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • WASP

      @pasi: HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. XD
      you want to know why we end up argueing more with christians than other religions?
      i think it might have something to do with the whole "this is a christian nation." BS the christian extremeists like to push. they attempt to make my son pray in school when he isn't religious. you want your children to pray before class and all that jazz, send them to a private school. leave public education paid for by our taxes alone.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • sid

      Guess they have to take they're insecurities out on someone. But that's OK. Christians have been persecuted for thousands of years. No Worries.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • JW

      They attack Christians because Jesus was and IS still right! If tomorrow comes He will still be right about what it takes (His grace) to be right with the Father. Read Scripture and you can know too.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Amniculi

      I prefer Grimm's Fairy-tales.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Amniculi

      Lol, Christians have been persecuted...what a hoot!

      October 9, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • TJ

      Sid,

      Yes, Christians have been persecuted for thousands of years, primarily by the Church itself.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • sid

      Again... NO WORRIES ...

      October 9, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Amniculi

      I think you are worried. I think you're worried that your church of cards will come crumbling around your feet and you won't have any more superst'itions to cling to and comfort you.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Jeff Williams

      Wrong. I am an equal opportunity basher of ignorance.

      All religions are bat sh!t crazy.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • sid

      whatever you say Amniculi.....

      October 9, 2012 at 10:19 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
About this blog

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