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.
As I write this, you have only to look at the caption above this one on CNN's page see to see why.
Care to elaborate?
Here is something to ponder about.
1. Religion is man-made
2. All religions essentially "preach" the same thing – i.e., be a good human being
3. Belief in GOD is something else – we believe in a Supreme Being that is said to guide us.
4. One need not be religious to have belief or faith in GOD
5. Religion tends to "brain wash" people (more so by the so-called religious leaders)
6. If you allow yourself to be carried away by religious beliefs, most of which are archaic, then you are in trouble. Unfortunately this is what is happening in the world around us today.
7. Finally, have faith in yourself, your family and friends. Do good to others. Do not harm anyone. Try to be helpful; even if you cannot be of help, don't be a nuisance.
Basically these are just my observations over several years. I am NOT a religious person, but I do believe in GOD.
Sorry to break it to you dude, but if you believe in god, then you sir are religious.
And yet Christian Conservatives try to ram their beliefs down our throats by saying they are American values. Just watch the Supreme Court support their agenda if the Republicans win the election.
Right, becasue 80 % of us are affiliated with a religion, of that 80 % the VAST majority are Christian. So, yup, if you want to make a democracy out of this, you're damned right we will walk all over you.
Some things should not be determined by democratic consensus.
America would still ban women from voting and would remain racially segregated if majority opinion truly ruled.
Uhhh, "1 in 5 classifies themselves as not affiliated with a religion." Ok, that means that 80% of the country is, in fact affiliated with a religion.
CNN trying to make people believe that athiesim is somehow catching on.....Yawn.
I don't need a CNN article to tell me that reality it inevitable .. I already know that.
The numbers aren't even that high. I personally am "not affiliated" but am a Christian and have a firm belief in God (with my Bible by my bedside and a 45 lying on top of it – really). There are many like me. The number of true atheists is small -although, as you stated, the media would try to convince us that the numbers are much higher.
but isn't there a "war" on christmas going on? While the details of where my local skirmish will be are still being hashed out, I've been cleaning off my weapons and training for months.
First off, non-affiliation simply means that they don't consider themselves part of an organized religion. This does not mean that they don't believe in god(s).
Secondly, "The number of these Americans has grown by 25% just in the past five years", which means that non-religion is growing and religion is shrinking in terms of popularity.
Thirdly, it is clear you did not read the article and you just wanted to display your bias to the entire world.
Rob and UtahProf are in denial.
No News Flash, I am not in denial of anything – just pointing out (as did Rob) that the data is being reported in a way that creates a false conclusion. In my world, people are free to believe how they want to. I have never been a "trend follower" so it really is not a problem for me.
Uhhh, "1 in 5 classifies themselves as not affiliated with a religion." Ok, that means that 80% of the country is, in fact affiliated with a religion."
Just because 80% of the nation refuses to take responsibility for their actions and think for themselves and throws the blame for bad things on wicked little invisible spirits while giving credit to the good things to other nicer invisible spirits doesn't mean we are totally insane. It just means that a majority of the country is which puts more pressure on the 20% to remain sane.
This is a very good thing! Spirituality and belief or non-belief in whatever is fine, it's where capital-R-Religion comes in that the problems start. Religion has nothing to do with any god, it's just power-hungry men attempting to make themselves the gateway to god. You don't need a man in a pulpit to tell you how to appreciate god. My great grandpa figured this out a hundred years ago, he'd go hiking instead of attending services on sundays so he could admire the world he believed god created. To him, humans built churches but god built trees and flowers therefore enjoying those was much closer to worshiping god than sitting in a pew was.
Personally, I was raised mostly godless heathen so I've never really had to wake up on sundays except when my grandma came around. Then we'd troop off to church but since she was Methodist it was really more about coffee and gossip than worship, lol.
I am willing to trade my Belief in God to follow a Man who bows down before copper plates brought by Space aliens...God Bless John Smith and the copper plates to Hell with Jesus and His Teachings!!! Romney 2012 !!
Jesus wants you to vote for Romney. Love the sick, poor, and elderly but kick those moochers into the gutter. The 47% have exempted themselves from Christian charity.
'...John McCain beat President Barack Obama by 47 points among white evangelical voters"
God don't like blacks.
I'm surprised that being 'excommunicated' wasn't included in the reasons why people have no specific religion. I was brought up Byzantine Catholic and married in a Roman Catholic church. However, I divorced my husband due to physical, emotional, verbal, and every other type of abuse a person can suffer. I stayed in the church and raised my children in the Catholic church, but when my current husband and I decided to get married, I was excommunicated from the church for not first paying $300 (I understand it costs MUCH more now) to have my first marriage annulled. (I was on disability by then and was barely making it, but it also went against my belief because I KNEW that God KNEW why my first marriage ended). So, it was the church that kicked me out rather than me leaving the church. I'm sure this happened to many other ex-Catholics as well. But I have no regrets for not getting their annulment because they humiliate you mercilessly when you have your 'hearing.' I would have walked out rather than let anyone treat me like they do. Those I know who stayed and endured that trauma must have a very low self-esteem. It's worse than the verbal and emotional abuse I withstood in my first marriage. I since became a Methodist but I think I joined the wrong church. Now I don't go to church, but my beliefs have brought me back to the Byzantine Catholic Church I grew up in, even though I will never be allowed in the Church again. I guess I'll just have to be content serving God on my own.
My guess is, the number of excommunications is very small (considering only the Roman Catholics do that).
There are many more than you would think I suspect, and many many more who begrudgingly paid the extortion price.
When you leave the Catholic church, you remain on their roster to boost their member numbers.
I need you in my life, Jesus. I can't live without you, Jesus.
And I just want to feel you deep inside me, Jesus.
Don't ever leave me, Jesus. I couldn't stand to see you go.
My heart would simply snap, my Lord, if you walked on out that door.
I promise I'll be good to you, and keep you warm at night.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, why don't we just... shut off the lights.
I love you, Jesus, I want you to walk with me.
I'll take good care of you baby. Call you my baby, baby!
You died for my sins, and you know that I would die for you, right?
What's the matter, baby? You tremble at Jesus, baby! Your love, is my life!
You'ld know when I talk too, there's a blackhole in my life! Ooooh!
I want'a believe, it's alright, cause I get lonely in the night and it's up to you to save me, Jesus, baby!
And this contributes to the discussion how exactly?
so jesus is your boi toy?
It's a demonstration of IQ
NandN, go watch South Park, lol.
"And I just want to feel you deep inside me, Jesus"
I bet you do.
It's from South Park for those who do not watch. Cartman starts a Christian Rock band and takes existing songs and replaces "baby" with "Jesus"
So you want jesus to fill your black hole and get deep inside you and in exchange you will keep him warm at night?
He probably would if you paid him enough.
No, my post about Islamists wasn't a scare tactic, it is just a statement of how I feel the polarization of society will play out. As I responded to an earlier post, a belief in God and belonging to (or following) the doctrine of an organized religious sect are two completely different things. Personally, I don't believe people would feel the same way about God if His word had not been perverted by organized religion and people understood the concept of "free will". Personally, I have never found a "version" of organized religion that I could stomach. In the end, I answer to God and Him alone. I cannot deny that people who have perverted religion for their own gain (really no different than politicians perverting government for their own gain) have committed atrocities over the centuries. However, God Himself is no more responsible for that than a random man on the street would be if someone committed a crime "in their name". To simply (attempt) to throw God out of our lives because the human manifestation/perversion of religion is something we don't care for is a mistake – just my opinion. In the end, laws may be changed and punishments may be doled out (ironic) in the name of "religious neutering" but, in the end, you simply cannot destroy faith.
nothing but unverifiable nonsensical claims...
pretending to know isn't knowing anything.
Gee waitasec, both sides "pretend to know" ...
Though I do not believe in a god I do agree with you on many things. However it is a very common thing for organized religion to resort to scare tactics. And so I tend to point them out in order to keep people honest.
Lamb of Dog – I agree with you completely. Personally, I am not an "activist". I have my faith, others have theirs. I respect that and am always appreciative when others respect me. Thanks for that.
Scientists that are Atheists generally spend their time asking the question, "How was the Universe made?" The more interesting question is "Why was the Universe Made?"
1) I don't agree that it is more interesting.
2) I think the very question, by its nature, risks introducing bias and selective perception.
3) It isn't a scientific question, so why would scientists bother with it?
A question that does not work.the universe was made in the eyes of nothing.
According to Christianity, the entire Universe exists just to have us in it as humans are the predilect object of the anthropomorphic, anthropocentric Creator.
There may be no "why". The question presumes there is a reason.
I'm more interested in how it was made.
Even in Space Science today – which I derisively call cosmetology and astrology – "scientists" spend a great deal of time "inventing" scientific postulataions they know can never be tested. Brane Theory for one, Dark Matter for another.....they desperately want to believe too – only they want to "invent" the Universe that suits them.
It can be tested.God can't.
" the anthropomorphic, anthropocentric Creator."
Yep... and ethnocentric too, considering that the Jews are da' Best.
@FloydZepp – You will never find a better quality aluminum foil hat than these here extra special quark infused radion strobificating. Not a single mind altering biode or ear turning wigglywave will get through our patented design which covers both the interior and anterior of your mind from dangerous radiation and other evil influences like aliens and Satan, and all for the low low price of just infinity monthly payment of $19.99 but you have to act now!
At Floyd, many of those ideas CAN be tested, even if we don't have the means to test them yet. Heck, it took 70 years to devise certain tests to confirm many claims of Einstein. In fact, many ARE being tested now. Scientists have already predicted possible signs of collisions between branes and what form they might take and are actively looking for evidence of such collisions in the CMB right now. Making specific predictions and testing them. That's valid science.
Astrology is not a science for starters. I actually believe that you know very, very little about anything pertaining to the subject of astronomy or astrophysics. Scientists do not just make things up, they thrive on not knowing. They love to solve problems and unravel mysteries. That is how they make their living. Go check out some Sagan, Tyson, Hawking, or the numerous others who have contributed to real, solid fact..
Huh...so THAT'S why the country is going to Hell. And all tthis time, I had been blaming Obama...
So why do you think the world is in the crapper?
Why do you think it is?
Overall, average IQ is up, average life span is up, average personal wealth is up, in America many trends like teen pregnancy and drug use are in decline...when people live longer, make more, and are smarter than ever before, why do you think the world is in the crapper?
easy!! because people fight on which imaginary friend is real... and none of them are...
There will never be a vacuum of Social Doctrine; whether it be anchored in a designated meeting place where people go to pay homage/derision or not.
Whether it be some -ism like Atheism, Catholicism, Mormonism, Judaism, ... There will always be a group claiming supremacy or imposing its influence over the rest.
The claim that Atheism is not a 'belief', but still has a 'belief' that there is no Deity, is disingenuous. When it congregates to scheme how to malign, disenfranchise, mock, deride, displace, and remove from the public square other groups; it adopts a collective Social Doctrine to impose upon the masses.
The House of Representatives is supposed to be composed of various demographics. To deny that is to deny Representation.
We must stop Supremacy groups of any -ism from displacing our diversity from the 'Public Square'. The Public Square is where our diversity can identify themselves and dispelled prejudices.
Mourndsay, Tearsday, Wasteday, Thirsday, Fightday, Shatterday and Sinday – Without God, that makes one weak... Ugh...just give God a chance – just one chance – you may be pleasantly surprised!!
You might be ripped off, lied to or buggered by a priest, but only an idiot or a Christian would be surprised by that.
Ok 1 chance......
God, where are you....????
Lost your chance.
Wow, that is so dumb, that even Jesus thinks it's dumb.
"you may be pleasantly surprised!!"
If you bend over near a priest, you will be VERY surprised
Sunday - Sun's day
Middle English sone(n)day or sun(nen)day
Old English sunnandæg "day of the sun"
Germanic sunnon-dagaz "day of the sun"
Latin dies solis "day of the sun"
Ancient Greek hemera heli(o)u, "day of the sun"
Monday - Moon's day
Middle English monday or mone(n)day
Old English mon(an)dæg "day of the moon"
Latin dies lunae "day of the moon"
Ancient Greek hemera selenes "day of the moon"
Tuesday - Tiu's day
Middle English tiwesday or tewesday
Old English tiwesdæg "Tiw's (Tiu's) day"
Latin dies Martis "day of Mars"
Ancient Greek hemera Areos "day of Ares"
Tiu (Twia) is the English/Germanic god of war and the sky. He is identified with the Norse god Tyr.
Mars is the Roman god of war.
Ares is the Greek god of war.
Wednesday - Woden's day
Middle English wodnesday, wednesday, or wednesdai
Old English wodnesdæg "Woden's day"
Latin dies Mercurii "day of Mercury"
Ancient Greek hemera Hermu "day of Hermes"
Woden is the chief Anglo-Saxon/Teutonic god. Woden is the leader of the Wild Hunt. Woden is from wod "violently insane" + -en "headship". He is identified with the Norse Odin.
Mercury is the Roman god of commerce, travel, theivery, eloquence and science. He is the messenger of the other gods.
Hermes is the Greek god of commerce, invention, cunning, and theft. He is the messenger and herald of the other gods. He serves as patron of travelers and rogues, and as the conductor of the dead to Hades.
Thursday - Thor's day
Middle English thur(e)sday
Old English thursdæg
Old Norse thorsdagr "Thor's day"
Old English thunresdæg "thunder's day"
Latin dies Jovis "day of Jupiter"
Ancient Greek hemera Dios "day of Zeus".
Thor is the Norse god of thunder. He is represented as riding a chariot drawn by goats and wielding the hammer Miölnir. He is the defender of the Aesir, destined to kill and be killed by the Midgard Serpent.
Jupiter (Jove) is the supreme Roman god and patron of the Roman state. He is noted for creating thunder and lightning.
Zeus is Greek god of the heavens and the supreme Greek god.
Friday - Freya's day
Middle English fridai
Old English frigedæg "Freya's day"
composed of Frige (genetive singular of Freo) + dæg "day" (most likely)
or composed of Frig "Frigg" + dæg "day" (least likely)
Germanic frije-dagaz "Freya's (or Frigg's) day"
Latin dies Veneris "Venus's day"
Ancient Greek hemera Aphrodites "day of Aphrodite"
Freo is identical with freo, meaning free. It is from the Germanic frijaz meaning "beloved, belonging to the loved ones, not in bondage, free".
Freya (Fria) is the Teutonic goddess of love, beauty, and fecundity (prolific procreation). She is identified with the Norse god Freya. She is leader of the Valkyries and one of the Vanir. She is confused in Germany with Frigg.
Frigg (Frigga) is the Teutonic goddess of clouds, the sky, and conjugal (married) love. She is identified with Frigg, the Norse goddess of love and the heavens and the wife of Odin. She is one of the Aesir. She is confused in Germany with Freya.
Venus is the Roman goddess of love and beauty.
Aphrodite (Cytherea) is the Greek goddess of love and beauty.
Saturday - Saturn's day
Middle English saterday
Old English sæter(nes)dæg "Saturn's day"
Latin dies Saturni "day of Saturn"
Ancient Greek hemera Khronu "day of Cronus"
Saturn is the Roman and Italic god of agriculture and the consort of Ops. He is believed to have ruled the earth during an age of happiness and virtue.
Actually my life has gotten quite a bit better since I left religion. No to mention, my finances have improved considerably since I've stopped giving money to churches.
No sirree. I'm not drinking that kool-aid.
Over 40 years' worth of 'chances' - nada.
Wake up!!! god is a lie told by people who thought the world was flat, the sun revolved around the sun, and stars were actual people. Its 2012 not 2000 b.c.e.
The Bible is true because it is the Word of God, and the Bible says that God cannot lie.
The bible is true because it is the word of something that does not exist.
Prove God doesn't exist....
So what about the "you wait right here, and I'll be right back" part was true?
Ya wanna buy a bridge?
Simple.We know the big bang was because of sudden expansion,yet we do not know how god was made.Also,the bible was made by humans.
I've heard many reasons why some say the Bible MAY be true and the Word of God, but never anything remotely close 100% proof. I think we all know not to trust that something 'seems' or 'feels' right since in many non-religion aspects of life such feelings and such have proven wrong.
"The Bible is true because it is the Word of God, and the Bible says that God cannot lie"
And the bible is true because the bible says it's true. And the bible is right because the bible says it is right. And I believe the bible because the bible says I have to believe in the bible.
Dick, believers are the ones that claim god exists. The onus is on you to prove your claim, but no evidence has ever been provided. We're waiting....
Rick, prove unicorns don't exist on some planet somewhere. Countless things don't exist and we can't prove them. Too many to deal with so we're probably best focusing on what we know to exist or at least suspect to exist in which case you then set out to find hard evidence.
The most perfect example of circular logic if I ever saw one!
You sir are a complete idiot.
Why is it the non-believer's job to disprove something that doesn't exist? How about you take the route we use for EVERYTHING else and prove it first? I don't believe in mythical creatures, or heroic fables because they are not proven to exist. Crack open your bible and actually read it. Read the made-up children's stories and asinine fables. Explain to me that your god is perfect, without knowing what perfection is. Claim his word as infallible, then look what he demands of his followers. The wars he has caused, the lives he has robbed, the biases and prejudices that he has set in place..the slavery that he supported, the woman abuse he helped to harbor. Explain a 6-thousand year old earth to me without ever reading a history book. Deny evolution without understanding a damned thing about it or ever visiting a museum. No..I won't disprove your God. I really don't have to. How about you pick up a book or do a little research for yourself instead of fooling around with your Bible. Read the stories that it borrows from word for word which have been in existence for thousands of years prior to Christianity. I am so incredibly sick of theists being lazy and using arguments from ignorance.
Prove god does exist. The burden of proof is on you my friend.
Reminds me of that commercial where the girl tells the guy on the sidewalk "I read it on the internet....and they can't put anything on the internet that isn't true! Oh, here comes my date – he's a french model!"
best news ive read today
Lots of people spend a lot of time trying to convince others to believe their way. Whether its Atheism or Evangelicalism, it seems to me that the only true reason they argue is because they fear that if others won't believe, then what they belive isn't true through external validation.
I think if people simply let others believe what or how they wish to believe or not the world would be a much better place.
We don't care, we just want to be left alone.
We non believers continue to be peacefull, but I can not guarantee we will stay that way much longer.
Affixing a name to someone who doesn't believe in some sort of supreme being makes no more sense than affixing a name to someone who doesn't believe in witches or fairies.
Rick, I am afraid you are incorrect, if we simply let everyone have whatever faith they wish then you end up with faiths such as extremist islam in which women are subjugated and relegated to cattle.
How about we all stop believing in fairy tales and set to work on making the world we live in a better place.
I argue because theists use their beliefs to affect my rights, life, liberty, and property on a daily basis. And if I do convince a few more to stop, then that's that many fewer trying to force their religious practices and morality onto me through the force of law.
I can't buy a car on Sunday where I live because some Christians go together and decided MY doing so violated THEIR notion of the sabbath. My own state const.itution declares me unfit to hold public office if I won't declare a public belief in a higher power. I routinely fight to keep creationism out of my child's school. From gay marriage to abortion to 100 other issues, theism affects my LEGAL rights constantly.
And THAT is why I fight back.
I think religion is sort of like politics today. Mainstream religions pigeonhole you into their strict set of beliefs. Because of that, I classify myself as nondenominational. I believe what I read in my Bible, not what a minister tells me. I have friends who are atheists, agnostic, and of other religions. Although I don't agree with their thinking, we get along because we don't try to force our beliefs on each other. My thinking is God gave everyone free will and He said "Love thy neighbor", not love thy neighbor only if he is of the same faith. People have a right to believe or disbelieve as they choose.
Well said! Some people find truth and comfort in their faith, and some people don't. We'd be better off if we just left each other alone.
Come on people!! Do you really believe the whole world is in a world of sh!t because a talking snake told a naked lady to eat a piece of fruit?
"God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that's getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time moves on." – Neil Degrasse Tyson
Firstly, DeGrassi is a second tier astronomer, otherwise he wouldn't be on TV. Second DeGrassi can neither prove nor disporve the existence of "God" so his statement is pure conjecture.
Science has also proven itself ignorant when some new change is invented promising to change the world. One must be ignorant to think humans evolved here on their own. We can't even get along with each other.
God can be disproven.And evolution is true.We evolved together,but now we have ideals and hate.
God can be disproven.And evolution is true.We evolved together,but now we have ideals and hate.We already know.
mdat- Exactly how can God be disproven? Where is your fact? You can't prove God doesn't exist any more than I can prove God does exist.
We don't know how god was made.Also we have never found.It is just a belief of yours,and I have no problem with that.But god can be disproven until there is evidence.
"You can't prove God doesn't exist any more than I can prove God does exist."
The default stance when an hypothesis cannot be proved nor disproved is to withhold belief.
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.