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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.

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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. correctlycenter

    What can an atheist say about Isaiah chapter 66:7-8 which says: " Before the birth pains even begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son.Who has ever seen or heard of anything as strange as this? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth ina single moment?" God revealed this to the prophet Isaiah about 690BC. Israel became a nation on May 14th, 1948. Historical facts from God's word, coming to pass...

    October 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • waitasec

      how do you know that is gods word?

      October 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Engineer

      I prefer reading the Harry Potter Series. They outsell that book he's talking about.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • bananaspy

      What am I supposed to say about it? What was prophesied here? God didn't give a specific date. We don't even know that it was written by a God.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Engineer

      What did Joseph Smith say? Which planet? Ziest?

      October 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Engineer

      It was mentioned in Highlander II

      October 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Madtown

      God's word, brought to you and edited by imperfect human beings.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • QS

      What this Atheist says about that passage is the same thing I say about the bible as a whole – great story, but nothing more.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      CC: Do you not think for one second that maybe man read that and worked to ensure it happened? Could you please describe in detail (without using your bible) what god looks like, where it came from,who its parents are? How are you so certain your imaginary friend is the right imaginary friend to have? Have you ever read a scientific study or do just just blindly accept the bible as the truth??

      October 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • lathebiosas

      Every nation has a first day being a nation, what the heck is your point? Bible toters often cite the "miracle" of old testament writings coming true in the new. Well gee, how hard would it be to read a book that already exists and write another one that makes everything come true? Just dumb.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Rob-Texas

      Engineer- you must be high!

      October 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  2. clinky

    Ninety-five per cent identified as unaffiliated by the poll either said they believe in God or are "spiritual." That sounds enlightened to me. I think we will strike a new balance between tradition and freethinking. A lot of us SBNR types love the religious art and inspiring stories in the Christian tradition and respect churchgoers, but we want no part of dogma and find it stagnating.

    October 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • blogo

      This is America, most people have been brainwashed into religion as children. The transformation won't be immediate, but it's the step in the right direction.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • clinky

      blogo, My upbringing was not religious, and I started out agnostic then atheist. By asking myself many questions, I became a believer. Looking back, two of my pivotal experiences were reading Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment" and Kierkegaard's "Fear and Trembling." All of that was over two decades ago, I still challenge my convictions constantly and find the foundation I've come up with to be solid. My faith is more sure than ever.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  3. QS

    And just like conservatives cry about the numbers being cooked by liberals when it comes to employment and polls in general, they will say these surveys are just as fraudulent and made up in order to further the "liberal attack on religion"! LOL!

    In other words, I won't hold my breath waiting for conservatives to finally admit and acknowledge that religion is losing its power and influence faster than anticipated, and for this Atheist that's a bit of welcome news today!

    October 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Rob-Texas

      Fact- The people who have given up looking for a job are not part of the unemployment figures. You can say they are right all you want.

      I wouldn't hold your breath on the second part, you might not make it.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • SnYGuY

      As if cooking the numbers on unemployment makes any sense haha. Make our economy look better than it really is in order to re elect the man running the economy. Silly GOP

      October 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Rob-Texas

      SnYGuY- Not saying they are cooking any numbers. Just using different ways to look at the figures. The current measurements were not set up with the idea that so many people would be out of work so long that they quit looking for a job in vast numbers. I have a great looking car I will sell you, but we can't look under the hood. That is not part of the deal.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  4. Scott

    I think this is a misreading and overreaction. I'm probably in that group in the headline. I rarely go to Church (but believe in God), but I find atheists to be as annoying as fundamentalist Christians. Both are trying to impose their views. Also, the last thing I want is to have some political party take up "non-affiliated" and turn it into a political movement. I just don't like religion in politics and that includes atheism and agnosticism. Why argue over something we can't prove?

    October 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Pretty sure atheism and agnosticism would const'itute a lack of religion in politics...

      October 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Been There Done That

      Did you read the article? A lot of people are believers who have no specific religious affiliation. A fifth of the "non-religious" even pray every day, they just don't affiliate with a specific sect or version of established religion.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • SnYGuY

      Athiests do not try and impose our views, we simply do not want religious views imposed on us, or involved with out government. Personally I do not care what anyone believes as long as their beliefs are not forced on me.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • blogo

      What views? Atheist (actually, just rational people, forget the acronym) believe in logic and reason, using tools such as evidence, facts and probability.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • SnYGuY

      woops, our government not out

      October 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Zjohnson

      And how do atheists try to "impose" their beliefs on others?

      October 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • lathebiosas

      As an atheist, I never even express much less impose my views unless someone asks. If you ask and don't like the answer don't tell me I'm imposing them on you. Can the religious say the same when they put up signs outside their chucrh telling me to come in and repent, or when politicians try to tie being religious to being "right"? No atheist has imposed a jet airplane into a building.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  5. Post Christian

    I'm no longer Atheist – I'm now post Christian

    October 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Karen

      Post-Christian! Love that. And I totally agree...

      October 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • lathebiosas

      You can be like Jimmy Cliff: "I graduated from religion". Love that statement. Although when I say it people don't laugh like they did when Jimmy said it on the Colbert Repor.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  6. lamb of dog

    Franklin Graham, who is the son of Billy Graham and the president of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, had a total compensation of $1.2 million in 2008. Criticism over his high compensation during a slowed economy led Graham to announce in 2009 that he would give up new contributions to his retirement plans from the two organizations he leads, according to McClatchy Newspapers. He also announced that he would give up his salary from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

    October 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Kaizen77

      that's a notable incident, but certainly not the worst of evangelical leaders lining their pockets; look up Creflo Dollar, estimated to take in $60-$80m/yr preaching the "prosperity doctrine", one can't deny that megachurches are big business...

      October 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Kaizen77

      my apologies; I scrolled down further and see that you've already covered Creflo... although the est. figures you give are the lowest estimates I've seen... regardless, it's amazing how that money just keeps flowing in, I guess they're trying to buy hope...

      October 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  7. Athiests will BURN

    Better to roast in the pits of hell than to vote for Obama.

    October 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Ok...

      October 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Dont you understand your threats are empty.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • ===o===

      Uh oh, someone done woke up Carrie's grandpappy!

      October 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Been There Done That

      Which only shows that either you don't truly believe in hell or treat the idea so lightly as to make mockery of it.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Engineer

      His comments are empty because his brain is weak. He needs a comfy blanket to make him feel safe.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Um...no

      I just love it when people feel they can impose the Lord's will and condemn others to the pits of hell. I do believe that GOD stated that is HIS judgement. You're going to have some explaining to do it seems. Better head on over to confess.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Robert

      Don't forget the marshmallows.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Engineer

      He believes he has mutant techno abilities. Power On dummy!

      October 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Zjohnson

      You are an idiot.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • amy

      I'm a Minnesota Atheist. The threat of hell actually sounds inviting during some of our winters here. I'd like to reserve 20 condos in hell for me and my friends, please.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  8. margo

    don't live your life like a grass with no meaning, believe in Jesus and His teaching it gives you peace and healing to your pains.
    thos who do not believe in anything are already living the life of sodom and gomorrah .... remember?

    October 9, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Happy Jack

      Um... No thanks

      October 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • waitasec

      that was a fairy tale dear....

      if you're living for the after life, you're already dead....sorry, not interested.
      i'm concerned about the here and now...

      October 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Doctors and medicine give me comfort for my pains. And just because we don't believe in a god doesn't mean we believe in nothing.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • SnYGuY

      I think I will just use time and strength to heal me of my pains.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      More empty threats from a brainwashed dummy.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • snowboarder

      margo – pure malarky. no gods are required for a meaningful, moral life. whoever brainwashed you did a fantastic job.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Robert

      Cool towns. Great nightlife.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • ThaGerm

      Your arguments fatal flaw and the reason you are unable to process this choice is that you believe that not believing in Jesus means you don't believe in anything. You choose to be good because of fear of punishment and the carrot-stick that is heaven. Sad really, you could draw all of this power and more from within, yet you choose to limit yourself to an external source of ethics and morals.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Rob-Texas

      ThaGerm- we follow his teachings to get closer to him, and live a happy spiritfilled life. Not becuase we fear death or need a carrot stick. Seems you speculate about something you know little about.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  9. Lex

    Atheism is where gay rights were in the mid-1990's. By around 2020, atheism shouold be the biggest religion in the country. What will happen to all those abandoned houses of worship and out of work clerics?

    October 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      They'll be turned into clubs or banks.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Museums, concert hall, retraining.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Atheism will not be the biggest religion, as it is not a religion. Atheism is a demographic, nothing more.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Rob-Texas

      Keep believing that! Good luck.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Madtown

      What will happen to all those abandoned houses of worship
      -----–
      Hopefully made into homeless shelters, where they can make a real contribution to mankind.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • J

      Atheism isn't a religion, per se - merely a worldview or belief-system.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • JJ

      Except that atheism is not a religion no more than not collecting stamps is a hobby.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Rob-Texas

      Madtown- Some churches run homeless shelters and most are run with Christian voluteers. Some churchs use very little of the money taken for operations budge and put most of the money into missions to help less fortunate people all around the world. If Christianity were to go away tomorrow, you would find allot of people helpless and starving in the world. So maybe you should know a little bit more about what your talking about instead of having diarrea of the mouth on the internet.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  10. Pliny

    Yes!

    The tide is turning.

    We will soon be rid of this millstone (a religoius reference).

    October 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  11. lamb of dog

    Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) Estimated net worth: $10 million – $15 million Nigeria’s most controversial clergyman is also one of its richest and most philanthropic. T.B Joshua heads the Synagogue Church of all Nations (SCOAN), a congregation he founded in 1987, which accommodates over 15,000 worshippers on Sundays.
    According to the Memphis Flyer, Bishop Charles Blake of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ "earns a $900,000 salary and owns a 10,000-square-foot mansion in Beverly Hills while most of his congregation lives in impoverished South Central Los Angeles."
    The pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, the country's biggest church, is also one of the richest pastors in the nation. Joel Osteen stopped taking his $200,000 annual salary several years ago after being critiqued for his massive wealth. But he has made tens of millions of dollars off his numerous books. He and his wife, Victoria Osteen, moved to a luxurious $10.5 million, 17,000 square-foot mansion in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston in 2010.

    October 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  12. Tom

    Atheist for many years. Can only hope that one day the government picks up the mantle of Atheism, you know, separation of church and state...

    October 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Gnome

      If it makes you a better person, I'll support it..
      But I live in a State, where there is no Separation from Church and State.
      Religion has caused more pain, and war on man kind then anything else.
      That that goes for all Religious beliefs....
      It has stopped Science from healing the sick in America..
      It divides people the people... No that is not a socialist statement.. in a socialist society.. 3% of the Hierarchy in a Socialist society are wealthy, and everyone else is "equal" – See where I'm going with this.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  13. SnYGuY

    I would just like a Christian to provide an answer to what the Bible says about the age of the earth, and the scientific evidence that proves it is a lie. If the bible is really the word of God, then science proves he is a liar, which reduces the credibility of the bible to nothing.

    October 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • ThaGerm

      It really isn't the Bible that is lying and that's the crux of the issue. People who wanted to cash-in on the power the Bible wields due to it's followers, pushed these young-earth ideas (among others) as a power-play. Now you have to either believe science or believe the Bible. It didn't have to be this way and the Bible didn't make it so. The clergy and politicians made it so, and they did so out of fear and greed. This is why many who do not claim a religion still believe in God; science and God are not mutually exclusive; though, certain political parties would have you believe this, it's a common "Us against them" argument that plays well with the older crowd. It's effective in the short-term; however, it is becoming apparent that the Christian Right sold their future for short-term gains.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Robert

      The Creation story is a metaphor. It is certainly not a requirement for Christians to read it as literal fact. The Bible is a religious text, not a science text. That some people misuse it does not detract from its value as a work of spirituality and philosophy that has survived (in its current form) for nearly two thousand years.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Common Sense

      The Bible never states how long each creative day was. Those who say that the earth is only 7000 years old are wrong. The description for each creative day is not specific to the length of that day. i.e. In his day...how long is that day? It's a metaphore to help understand the process. Each creative day is an undetermined amount of time and could be billions of years in length. However, the descriptive order of the creative process in Genesis is compatible with scientific findings and observations of our times. Pretty impresive for something written over 2000 years ago. That's my belief and if someone wants to ridicule me for it, fine. FYI, most who claim to practice christianity today are not really doing it, especially so called christian leaders. Religion has been politicized and abused by those in power over us. That is why Jesus himself strongly advocated for separation of Church and State and was killed for it by the political and religious leaders of his time. Read the Bible for more details, particulary the book of Matthew and Luke. For those who say they don't waste their time on such fairy tales, open minds just a little bit and entertain the notion of "possibilities". Besides, it's good to have knowledge about something before you criticize it.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • SnYGuY

      Thoughs on evolution and its role in the bible? that is if you choose to believe in evolution.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Christian one

      you just lazy to read the bible, read the books or you are coming up over what the others told you about Christianity, read the old testament you will find your answer at the first pages, you want to be smarter than the most successful people?, what about “Noah's Ark” that have been discovered in Turk? The bible said it was from 1000s of years, I’m sorry for that but I always want to meet a successful business person who isn't Christian, I never found, I just meet people success in one side of their life and they are always not Christian, but the church (for whom follow God truly) has implemented us as a true success at all sides of our life and the most success that we don’t fear death! Your fear death because you are going to somewhere you don’t know? So where is your success!
      Or you fear death because this is your end? So where is the success in understanding this life?
      Or you fear death that you are not able to stop it? Where is your success?
      You stated you understand this world, what after that?! What if you discover that you are wrong, how can you correct that?

      October 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • SnYGuY

      @Christian
      Why do you assume that those who do not believe in God fear death? Why do I need an answer for what happens to us after we die. Personally I believe their is nothing after I die, as before I was born, and that is not something that scares me I am fine in honestly not knowing what will happen.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Rob-Texas

      SnYGuY- Everything on this planet evolves and there is nothing in the Bible the contradicts that everything evolves. However, humans did not evolve from Apes. What science likes to leave out is that the missing link will never be found. The length of gap between Apes and early Humans is to short for any missing link to have evolved in that short a time. It would have take warp drive evolution not see by any creature on earth in history. That is why you have stopped seeing headlines and articles about the search for the missing link.. Science would like to avoid that subject.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  14. menotyou

    People who believe in the bible are seriously mentally ill. I'm proud to be an atheist who thinks for myself.

    October 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Claudius

      Absolutely correct!!!

      October 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • david benson

      You don,t have to believe but you will SHOW RESPECT.This is a Christian Nation like it or not.If not then get OUT.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Engineer

      David Benson sounds like a critic from the middle east once when a video on youtube was shown about Mohammed. David, get over yourself. Time has past. lol.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Ricky

      As you can read in the article, this will not be a Christian nation, or religious, for too long.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • QS

      Make ya a deal – I'll show religion some respect when religion shows respect for others and not just those who follow said religion.

      We are no longer fooled and swindled into believing that religion is wholly benevolent and altruistic – religion itself has proven that to be false. So you may want to come up with something better than "show respect" as respect is a two-way street.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • erin

      David, this is decidedly NOT a "Christian nation." The people who built this country came here to escape people like you.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Christian one

      you just lazy to read the bible, read the books or you are coming up over what the others told you about Christianity, read the old testament you will find your answer at the first pages, you want to be smarter than the most successful people?, what about “Noah's Ark” that have been discovered in Turk? The bible said it was from 1000s of years, I’m sorry for that but I always want to meet a successful business person who isn't Christian, I never found, I just meet people success in one side of their life and they are always not Christian, but the church (for whom follow God truly) has implemented us as a true success at all sides of our life and the most success that we don’t fear death! Your fear death because you are going to somewhere you don’t know? So where is your success!
      Or you fear death because this is your end? So where is the success in understanding this life?
      Or you fear death that you are not able to stop it? Where is your success?

      You stated you understand this world, what after that?! What if you discover that you are wrong, how can you correct that?
      ?!

      October 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  15. Richard

    "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."

    These are brainwashing victims in recovery. This kind of behavior is transient in nature and will eventually evolve into full-blown atheism. Why? Because, it is based on nothing that matters to them any more. They don't care about religion and religion is the only reason they even know anything about "God" . Walking away from religion is tantamount to walking away from God, even if they have not consciously processed it as such.

    "God" is merely a power play. It is an attempt to steal the authority of an all powerful being. It matters not whether that being actually exists. What matters is that people believe He exists and that certain people speak/spoke for Him.

    As for myself, if there is such a thing as a "God" and He has anything to say to me, I have FAITH that He knows where I am and how to say it so I know it is really Him. Therefore, I ignore ALL the clowns who pretend to speak for Him – especially, if they lived and died thousands of years ago.

    And, religion is for those who would have others tell them how they should act, think, feel, and believe, That is counterfeit spirituality. True spirituality is figuring those things out for yourself.

    As long as there are those who would have others tell them how they should act, think, feel, and believe, there will be religions – and, those exploiting them for their own agendas.

    God believers fail to realize that, regardless of whether "God" (whatever that is) exists, or not, "it" will ALWAYS be a construct in their imagination that they created for themselves. And, "God" doesn't have to be anything like that. So, it's just an imaginary friend.

    October 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Have fun with that.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Rob-Texas

      You don't know me or all Christians. You don't know my experiances or my life, or my imagination. So your commet is arrogent and snide.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  16. lamb of dog

    American Bible teacher, pastor, and the founder and the founder of World Changers Church International,Creflo Dollar, has an estimated net worth of $27 million.
    Televangelist,Toufik Benedictus “Benny” Hinn has an estimated net worth of $42 million.He is best known for his regular “Miracle Crusades” – revival meeting/faith healing summits that are usually held in large stadiums in major cities, which are later broadcast worldwide on his television program, This Is Your Day. Hinn was born on December 3, 1952
    American evangelical Christian evangelist, William Franklin “Billy” Graham, Jr., has a net worth of $25 million. The Southern Baptist evangelist,rose to celebrity status as his sermons were broadcast on radio and television. Graham was born on a dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina in 1918, he has conducted many evangelistic crusades since 1948.
    Organized religion is a joke. I thought the point was to help the needy not build financial empires.

    October 9, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Jpack

      atheists will burn: for one shut up. you're the reason people who dont believe in God look at Christians with such disdain. I am a Christian. I believe in God as creator and that we have seperated ourselves from him and that we can have forgiveness. I do not hate those who do not believe in God. To me, that's ridiculous and counterproductive. So please to everyone who looks at people like that and thinks that how Christians are, please know that not all are like that.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Jpack

      but to lamb of dog – sorry i posted on your comment for someone else – but while those individuals are worth that and net that, many of them are not in it for true reasons. Many Christians do not even consider men like Benny Hinn and others like him to be Christians b/c they are so phony and fake and are out for money. I look at men like Francis Chan and Shane Claiborne who have started homeless facilities and feed the hungry. Shane C started the Simple Way in Philly to house homeless and actually became homeless himself in order to help those in need. These men do this out of compassion and not greed. Please do not lump all of us in the ranks as those fakes mentioned earlier.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  17. JohnQuest

    At this rate we will Kill off God within my lifetime (if we are very lucky).

    October 9, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • lamb of dog

      Crossing my fingers.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Rob-Texas

      Christianity is growing three times as fast in Africa, Asia, and the middle east as it is delcining in the US and Europe. God will not leave you, even though you have turned your back on God.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • fintastic

      Religion grows where ignorance abounds......

      October 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  18. RustyHinges8

    The one thing that keeps any religion together….is a good, old fashioned “ritual”. For some reason, a ritual seems to bind us to something. It creates an emotional attachment. I always thought Catholics got first place in the ritual department. Incense, candles…singing….not bad, but then….a ritual involving witchcraft is pretty good, too. Marriage rituals…..funeral rituals….and there’s the Shriners. I think they’re much better than the Catholics. The reason people don’t go to church anymore? There’s not enough rituals. If everyone had to have a secret password, a handshake, a few moves like the “moon walk”….and a decoder ring….to get into church....the place would be packed.

    October 9, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Engineer

      Hahahaha. Is that all it would take? You have put a smile on my face.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Rob-Texas

      Christans will always gather together, even if you take away the churches and outlaw religion. That is what is happening now in other parts of the world and it would happen here too.

      October 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  19. Dr Gonzo

    Yeah, either do right or admit you are a villain.

    October 9, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Amniculi

      I would argue that villains don't believe they are villains. Except fict'itious ones, that is.

      October 9, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  20. Athiests will BURN

    All you non-believers will BURN with God's Love as you anguish and suffer in the fiery pits of HELL!

    October 9, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • waitasec

      another self defeating tactic done by no other than an insecure theist.

      i remain unimpressed.

      October 9, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • BU2B

      How very loving of "Him". Living in fear of god is not living.

      October 9, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Madtown

      Troll, and not a very good one. Don't feed.

      October 9, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      "All you non-believers will BURN " Not me, I paid a pedo priest five bucks to disenchant me. That's all it takes. Read the fine print.

      October 9, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Spoken like a true Christian... Thank God nothing like a God exist.

      October 9, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • TheLightbringer

      Why are people leaving organized religion in droves? Belief at the point of a bayonet is hardly a belief

      October 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Sample

      All the believers' comments that start with YOU WILL BURN, should be FLAGGED immediately for violation of TOU. I don't like be threatened. Why are their threats tolerated CNN moderators? Is it because you think they are nonsensical too?

      October 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • fred

      ha ha, without a material body, what can you burn?

      and if god is everywhere, surely he will burn in hell as well.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Amniculi

      I don't mind. It's entertaining to poke fun at such people.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • RRickard

      You are such a 'good christian'. Sorry, but there IS no hell, only the one that you make on earth with your hate.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      St. Paul said only the redeemed had eternal life. Learn about your own cult, before you delight in the sufferings of others, you sicko.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Billsf

      If heaven really does exist, you religious nutcases will be killing each other up there too!

      October 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Wastrel

      Oh, sorry. Here, have some money. Yippee, I'm saved.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Rynomite

      I submit that if the bible Gawd and Devils are actually real, then logically you should worship the devil.

      Consider:
      1. God wanted to keep humans ignorant. The Devil wanted to give us the gift of knowledge.
      2. God kicked us out of his garden for accepting knowledge even though he knew the outcome in advance and he knew that we didn't posess the appropriate knowledge to make the correct decision. (the equivalent of punishing a menatlly handicap child for not understanding calculus)
      3. The Devil is attributed with 1-2 deaths in the bible.
      4. God is attributed to millions upon millions of deaths in the bible.

      I can only conclude that if hell actually exists, then it is the gathering place for the enlightened who stand arm in arm in rebellion against the cruel and intolerant abrahamic god. It is not a place of torture but a place of shelter given to us by the patron of mankind – the devil!

      October 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • ===o===

      Oh, I see Carrie's grandpappy woke up a while ago. The only kind of real burning is at the disco inferno. lol.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • snowboarder

      burn – hell is an imaginary place with which to scare the children. nothing more.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Jugger

      "As an athiest, having a christian threaten me with hell is like a hippy threatening to punch me in my aura." – Josh Thomas, comedian

      October 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Which God?

      Burn with god's love? Does that mean I won't get singed?

      October 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
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About this blog

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