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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 • Politics • Polls

soundoff (7,763 Responses)
  1. zeus_z

    I dont have the answer, No one does. Christ said it clearly, " No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father

    If you seek Christ and read the bible, or at least study who was Christ, and what the prophesies were before Christ..how cant you believe in Christ, and pray for fogiveness an Mercy?
    I dont know if I will be saved, as much as I love Christ and ask him to carry me everyday through this difficult life I always fall and sin, and ask for fogiveness.

    Im just amazed how many openly turned away from God. Not that I am any better, I am Worse- because I claim I love Christ and believe in God, yet I still sin..and I will be judged harsher.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      So by your logic, only god knows all... OK, then if he knew I was going to be an atheist, how can one claim that I had free will. He KNEW I was going to hell, by your logic, the moment I was born. He can't be omniscient and omnipotent and omnibenevolent all at the same time, LOGIC forbids it.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Christianity ives us the disease....and then offers us the cure.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • JustRight

      Zeus_z – perhaps my post wasnt clear – Im saying that in every time period people have said "the bible describes current events to a T", which you yourself just stated. Im asking for on simple example to back up your claim

      October 9, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      To say that "no one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" is clearly wrong, especially when your Jeezus said the following, which obviously turned out to be wrong about 2000 years ago when the generation DID PASS!

      Matthew 24:29-34 (King James Version)
      29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Zeus, are you catholic by chance? The whole original sin thing, the whole I'm evil therefore I am destined to suffer, is funny.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Leo

      thecollegeadmissionsguru, It is called foreknowledge, and yes God knew when he created man with free will there would be some that would accept and love him and some that would reject him.

      It is YOU that decides your fate, though God fully knew what you would chose he did not force you either way.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • End Religion

      you see a large number in the change because of "accelerating change"
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerating_change

      Technological advances, especially in communication and information, cause accelerated progress. In this case progress is people turning away from the delusion of religion due to the ease of access to information on the internet. This is why Iran is building its own internet, to keep the sheep in the dark.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • zeus_z

      collegeadmissionguy, I dont know what you mean; we all have free will. You can say he knew but in your heart you chose if you want to seek him and ask him to enter your heart.

      To the doubters, just like apple has an app for that, the Bible has an answer..Doubting Thomas, even when Jesus was alive he was doubted. Doubting Tomas said I do beleve you are my Lord, now that I have touched you and see your wounds. Jesus said "Blessed are those who believe without seeing"

      Isnt that amazing? Its a message for us. For everyone in the future. Of course now with technology, and all these things we feel like we are so smart; and the people in the old ages were dumb, and didnt know an imposter when they saw one? Not only what Christ did revolutionized Christianity- he was ressurected from the dead, he raised the dead, to show us there is life after death.

      On easter, we dont celebrate the easter bunny- We say "Christ has Risen". All his apostles died horrible deaths, preaching the Gospel after Christ Ascended. Why? Why would they do this if Christ was not everything we read he was? Constantine the Great, the holy wars over the Cross. All for not?
      Its amazing how arrogant we are to thing all these people died, when told to deny Christ- the reason they were not afraid to die was because they knew and believed Christ.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • JustRight

      Leo – If God creates us knowing what our choices will be then He is forcing us to make those choices.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      zeus_z,
      That was a very heartfelt post. Study the word and pray and you will find that you can know you are saved. The key is not only to believe but to trust him to do what he has promised.
      Confess and he is faithful and just to forgive. He corrects those he loves.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      zeus_z,
      That was a very heartfelt post. Study the word and pray and you will find that you can know you are saved. The key is not only to believe but to trust him to do what he has promised.
      Confess and he is faithful and just to forgive. He corrects those he loves.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • zeus_z

      collegeguy, i am greek orthodox.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Thecollegeadmissionsguru,
      How does God knowing the future prohibit your freewill? As best as humans can explain it he is all knowing, all powerful, and all love. Is it possible to know how to love without knowing how to hate?

      October 9, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Leo,

      If god knew our choice before we made it, it is not "free will". We would have to be able to change our mind without god knowing we would for it to be free will. You statement is a non-sequitor.

      Not to mention punishing people for belief or non-belief (thought crimes) is immoral.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • End Religion

      @leo

      If you believe in god and hell then there is no question god sends people to hell if they don't play his game properly. He supposedly set the game in motion and forces one to choose.

      Just like Jigsaw from the movie Saw, god supposedly puts a game in motion, forcing people to choose his way or torture. While the poor cattle in the movie indeed get to "exercise free will" they've still been bound into a game against their choice, then forced to play by its rules.

      And you call this god a loving god... lol.. He's a horror movie monster.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      G. Zeus Kreiszchte,
      Matthew 24 : 1And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
      2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
      3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

      Pay particular attention to verse 3, they actually asked him three questions. When will there not be one stone left upon another? What shall be the sign of thy coming? What shall be the sign of the end of the world?

      Rome destroyed the temple before that generation passed.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers,
      How does God knowing what you will choose effect your choice? You still get to choose.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Blessed Are the Cheesmakers

      Mr. Brown,

      It really is simple, if god knew what I would do before I did it how can you possibly claim that I have a choice? We would have to be allowed to choose independent of god's knowledge. Not to mentIon that if a god allowed me to be born knowing I Would make the wrong choice and then be punished for it, that god is a monster of the highest magnitude. I am more moral than the god of the bible and I would venture to bet you are too.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Blessed Are the Cheesmakers,
      I disagree. God knowing what will happen, but allowing you to do it anyway is freewill. If he forced you one way or another then he limits your freewill, which I think he does in some cases.
      As for our morality compared to God’s, let’s say someday you get so smart you create your own little universe and beings and such. You put it all in order so that it works just right. You make the beings similar to yourself in that they are intelligent, self conscious, and so on. You gave them some fairly simple rules to follow so they would all get along and everything would be just great. Then they rebel, they refuse to follow your instructions. They start hurting each other and themselves. It is like a contagious disease with no known cure, but alas there is one who isn’t infected. His family isn’t either. The only way to stop it is to kill all the ones who have it and preserve the ones who don’t. What would you do?

      October 9, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Blessed Are the Cheesmakers

      Mr. Brown,

      If my choices are known before I even exist how can you argue I made that choice. By your own admission my "choice" existed before I did, if my choice came before me, i did not make that choice. This is a perfect example of Christian non-sense and is one of many reasons your god by definition is illogical and can reasonably be rejected.

      And yes, if I created rules as non-sensical as you believe your god has and then punished people for infinity for finite "crimes" I would be an immoral monster. I can tell you as a parent there is no situation where I would punish my children for eternity....
      You claim your god has more love than I could ever have yet his actions say the opposite.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  2. wisdom4u2

    "The fastest growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all, ..." ~~~ Yeah, and it really does show. Look at all the people on antidepressants ....I'm not one bit surprised.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Wow! What logic!!

      October 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Nixon2

      LOL Wisdom, ain't that true.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      Duhhhh. Logic has nothing to do with it....just observe.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Well, then, wizzer and Dick-sin, you should be able to cite a study that shows that atheists are more depressed than religiatards. Go ahead and prove that more non-believers are taking anti-depressants than those who believe.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      I would be nice to see what the ratio of Christians to atheists who are taking those drugs... I wonder???

      October 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      "Logic has nothing to do with it."
      OK dumbass! I'll quote you on that!

      October 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      GAWD didn't answer my prayers to make my favorite team win the game last night. I better pop a happy pill to fix that. GAWD didn't answer my prayers to keep my 90-year-old grandfather from dying of cancer! I better pop more happy pills to fix that, too! Yakkety yak!

      October 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • mama kindless

      Well why would you be surprised about something stupid that you made up to be your own conclusion about something you didn't want to accept?

      October 9, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      So are you saying religious people don't take anti-depressants?

      October 9, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  3. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Nixon: dumb as a bag of hair and even less attractive.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Nixon2

      Tom Tom Satan Follower is getting mad and arrogant?

      October 9, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, sure. I'm just beside myself with fury because some high-school drop-out is wagging his dick around.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Nixon2

      Crawl out of your basement Tom Tom and go in the real world and get off those anti-depressants, you'll feel better trust me.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Leo

      Tom Tom, always setting the bar for mature conversation.....

      October 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      Right on, Nixon2. Notice just how bitter these 'no religion' people sound.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Nixon2

      Tom Tom became a part of the basement decors, that's how long he's been in there.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Nixon2

      I agree Wisdom, they show the real picture of what they are.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why would I "trust" an idiot like you? You're so dumb you can't write a coherent sentence that would pass muster in a 3rd grade class.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Lame-o, always quoting scripture and never understanding a bit of it.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Nixon2

      You're repeating yourself Tom Tom, that's exactly what you say in every post about anyone who don't agree with you. The "you never pass 3rd grade" and " you can't write a coherent sentence" are getting old, try to find some other things to say. And by the way, crawl out of your parent basement and get a life while you're at it.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oooh, you bear a marked resemblance the stupidest of the stupid, the Mexican hussy, who markets herself on here as a true believer but is so dumb she never learned how to read the directions on the Mr. Clean bottle. I do believe it's you, Higgy!

      October 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      Nixon2,
      don't waste your intelligence on a 'dead' person; they have no life or light. Without God they can do NOTHING.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      *dead people*

      October 9, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Nixon2

      That's exactly what i was thinking Wisdom. It's not worth it arguing with them.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Then beat it. Get out, fool. Don't let the door hit you where your good Lord split you.

      You won't be missed any more than a crutch or a cold sore.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      Nixon2, you've got it right. Keep the faith.
      Gotta make a run.... Peace out. :-)

      October 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Nixon2

      Now just remember what i've told you Tom Tom Dooley. you should move out of your parents basement now. Now i'm done. No need to argue with dead people.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Nixon2

      Same here Wisdom, got to go too. See you around again :)

      October 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why, Dick-sin, do you need to change your diaper?

      October 9, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  4. rory

    Why I love Christ, he loves all.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      Amen. Jesus first loved us, that's why I love Jesus. I love you Jesus, and thank you for dying to save my a ss. Really, thanks.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • rory

      Yes he did :)

      October 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      I have a question for Wisdom.. Why did god have to kill his own son, in order to make up his mind to forgive his own creations??? Where is the wisdom or logic in that??? HELP

      October 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • End Religion

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsKO_r76kfQ&w=640&h=390]

      October 9, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      @thecollegedropout.
      If you knew 'LOVE' then you wouldn't question it; but seeing that you don't know 'Love', and obviously not seeking it, you will never understand why God/Love was willing to sacrifice 'One' to the gain of 'many'....mind you, His Son was 'WILLING', and He is NOT dead...He conquered death, and so that I could live, and I am.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      @"Wisdom" you lost all credibility with me the moment you chose to ad hom attack me instead of taking the time to discuss my question. EPIC FAIL...

      October 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      @collegedrop
      As if I care what you think. NOT! My dead dog has more wit than you do. Hellerrrr

      October 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Wow, Wisdom, and I really hate using that term when addressing you, but you are one of the biggest Christian Fundies I have ever met on here. And angry, mouthy, arrogant, fundie... and atheists are the ones condemned,.. yeah...

      October 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Actually "Wisdumb" you DO care what I think and what I believe, otherwise, you would simply ignore me. You aren't the brightest Fundie in the world are you? Hey, IF it helps you get off and sleep at night, go for it.. hahahaha

      October 9, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @collegeadmissionsguru

      Don't bother with him. He proved long ago he's nothing more than a useless hate-monger with nothing better to do than make ad hominem attacks so he can get a self-righteous hard on because he lied for Jesus.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • wisdom4u2

      Ha-ha...if y'all only knew... :-)

      October 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  5. zeus_z

    I think its the furthest thing from the truth that people that go to church are saved; Its whats in your heart, its how you treat and help others. Its how much you love others and forgive....its being "like Chist" If you try to be Christ like living your life, and have faith in Christ. It doesnt matter what Church you go to. The common denominator is always the same.

    I dont have any answers, this is what I believe. And its difficult to do. Just think of Christ, after all he went through he loved everyone and prayed for them. He was the pure white lamb, that sacrificed himself for our sins. He did what he did so we can think of him and say "if Jesus carried his Cross, so should I". Next time you get mad at your spouse, you dont need the last word, say im sorry, and forgive. Anything you do in life.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      If it doesn't matter what church you go to, then it also shouldn't matter whether you even GO to church! I'll admit, even as an atheist, that the concept of "doing unto others as you would have them do unto you" is commendable and is readily followed by many people representing many beliefs (or non-beliefs)....perhaps because it is just so DAMN obvious and doesn't need any brainwashing religious puke to teach it to anyone....it is inherent to the human equation.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Not to mention that the "golden rule" predates Jesus....I would think "god" could have had an original thought to share with mankind.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  6. Dave

    It is easy to say you are blessed by god when you have a healthy child, as long as you ignore the fact that there are 9M children under the age of 5 with brain tumors. It is easy to look out your window, see the beautiful trees and flowers and say all of that must have been created for us, as long as you ignore the fact that we can only inhabit about 20% of the planet. It is easy for you to look at the human eye and marvel at it's complexity, knowing it must have been created by a higher power, as long as you ignore the fact that over 80% of people require vision correction. Maybe it is just too easy, but as time goes by, it becomes harder to ignore reality, and that is why religion is dying.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • zeus_z

      I couldnt agree more. I think those who suffer more in this world will be rewarded in the after life. Those who have it easy in this life, will be asked how much did they do in return to help others, etc.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Dave

      That is also asserting there is an afterlife, which there is no actual reason to suggest in the first place.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Follix

      @zeus_z

      How can that be fair since neurology has proven that free will doesn't exist?

      October 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Wow, so those who suffer in this life will be extra rewarded in the next? How do you come to that conclusion?

      October 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • zeus_z

      Read the bible about what Christ says for the sick, the suffering, the poor..

      Read what Christ says about the wealthy, the full stomachs, the arrogants...

      Christ has mercey on the meek..

      Again I do not claim to be 100% right, these are my feelings from reading the Bible. The word of God, and through the teachings of Christ, our Savior.

      Has any of you googled NDE's? Miracles of the Church? Anything? There are many signs out there, that you can look for and can serve as spiritual food.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  7. Jeremy

    Anyway, I'm still asking the honest question and looking for the honest answer why the people here do not like religion or believe in God.....by the way, I'm Christian. I'm listening.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I think it comes down to one simple equation, Jeremy. Namely, no god theory has any more validity than any other god theory. Why is it that a muslim terrorist and a pentecostal snake-handler believe in the exact same math and chemistry, but totally contradicting things about god? Why can't god communicate his will and nature as easily as he manages to communicate the will and nature of math and chemistry? And would you really want to serve a god who allows so many people to worship him incorrectly because he won't communicate his nature and will to the same degree that he communicates the nature and will of chemistry?

      October 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • JustRight

      Id say for most atheist its not that we dont like the religious, heck weve been living with them since birth. What we dont like is the Christian attack on science and Christian push to keep religion where it never should have been.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Dave

      I was once there. If you really mean you want the truth, my advice to you is to really research your religion. Christianity is very easy to research but I will warn you, if you are scared of completely losing your religion, do not do this because researching Christianity can only lead to one place. I will also tell you that the place it leads is actually pretty nice and free, much more a beautiful place than where religion leads. Best of luck.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Jeremy

      Honest question...Do people who identify as Atheists (the ones here) believe there is no god or think there is a possibility of a god?

      October 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • cindysriley

      Jeremy – I grew up in a baptist church. I have rarely met a Christian who wasn't spending more time telling others what they did wrong than trying to live a good life themselves. Most want to pick and choose what teachings they will follow. I shake my head whenever I see a church parking lot full of brand-new cars & women dripping in jewelry at a Sunday service. Didn't Jesus teach that you should give up all of your possessions to help those in need? Funny how most Christians ignore that. I do admire people who live what they preach, unfortunately, they are few and far between. As a non-believer, I don't bash other people's beliefs, but I'll respect you and your beliefs more if you don't worry about what I'm doing with my life.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Jeremy,

      I am an agnostic atheist. I am agnostic because I don't know if there's some sort of god, and I'm an atheist because I do not believe in any gods. (theist=believer atheist=notbeliever; see typical/atypical)

      As to there being some form of higher intelligence who might have something to do with the functioning of this universe, sure it's a valid possibility, but who knows? And really, what are the chances that it cares about one tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny speck and some mammals running around on that speck (do you know how vast the universe is?!?!?!!?!?) The sort of "gods" I consider as possibly existing are far more interesting and complex than the ones religions put forth, and they're much less worried about humans and what they eat and who they have s3x with and that sort of stupid sh!t.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • M

      Without getting into details I do want to point out that you're asking two different questions that are actually not related to each other. The first is "Why don't you like religion" and the second is "Why don't you believe (God exists)?"

      I have no intention in answering either, as the answers to both are long and drawn out, but I wanted to point out that there seems to be an assumption in your questioning that you cannot have one without the other. My reasons for not liking the concept of a God and/or religion are quite separate from why I think it is false.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • M

      Honest question...Do people who identify as Atheists (the ones here) believe there is no god or think there is a possibility of a god?

      Remember that "possibility" gets you nothing. Anything that is not a contradiction is logically possible. The question is one of likelihood (probability). Many false things are possible. I want to know if there is any justification to believe it is true and whether that justification is greater than, or equal to, other justifications for things of which I assent to their truth. (Ie, is the support for it's being so greater than the support for it's not being so?)

      I believe there is no God. I can (I'd rather not) show many arguments, both deductive and inductive (Does the concept of God entail contradictions? and Is God necessary?) which lead to the conclusion that their is no God.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Jeremy

      Well, what I meant was are you true atheist (not god) or agnostic (might be a god, but can't prove)

      October 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Jeremy, an atheist is simply a person who does not believe in a god. You are an atheist to several thousand gods that you don't believe in. An agnostic is someone who does not claim to have knowledge of spiritual matters. Don't be obtuse.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  8. Chris

    Live a virtuous and happy life. Beyond that why do any of us care what religion another person chooses to identify with.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Because ignorant humans are SO DAMN SUGGESTIBLE. And religion spreads like cancer! It holds back the progress of the human race! We MUST get past our ancient superstitious follies once and for all!

      October 9, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  9. Bob

    I have no aversion to logic, I make a very good living using it as an IT professional. I spent many years as an agnostic until I realized that truth is that God exists and decided to get on board and follow Him. Once you realize the truth, to ignore it would be illogical.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      "Truth" based on what evidence? Your fear of dying? Gimme a break!

      October 9, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  10. Jeremy

    "The people who claimed the most piety seemed the most ugly inside." .....I have had some church friends like that.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Nixon2

      There sure is a lot like that in Atheists people.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Be sure to brush that one tooth of yours tonight, Nixon.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Nixon2

      Here comes Tom Tom The Piper Satan Son. Don't you have anything to do in life other than just hanging in your basement and having your hate addiction posted on every Religion Articles on CNN, i've seen you on many of these articles.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How is it you see me here? Are you somehow clairvoyant, you idiot? If you're seeing me here, the YOU'RE here, reading every comment, you mutton-head.

      How friggin' stupid are you?

      October 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Nixon2

      Tom Tom you are on every darn Articles about Religions on CNN, don't pretend you're not. Admit it, you have nothing else to do than just hang in your parent basement and spit your venom on every Religious Articles.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • mama kindless

      "There sure is a lot like that in Atheists people."

      Can you please run that through the google translator one more time. Maybe it will come out in English if we are lucky.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Nixon2

      Mama is getting mad just like Tom Tom The Satan's Son? You're another Satan's followers?

      October 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Higgy doesn't speak English. Can't write it, either.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • mama kindless

      I don't get upset about most things – but i do have to point out a typo or poor grammar. I actually like it went people point it out to me. It is important to write correctly and clearly. (And both of these posts were regarding Nixon2, to be clear.)

      October 9, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  11. BigSkyHumanist

    I could never figure out how a true believer in god and in heaven and hell could ever do anything to get themselves thrown into hell. If one really thinks god can read your mind and can see what you do every minute of the day, how is it possible to sin against such god? Oh never mind, there are no true believers but the select few that belong to such and such cult/sect.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  12. Clinton

    I'm heading off the boards. The discussion got better the more i learned from folks here. I am still dissapointed in some, mostly those who don't see the folly in trying to tell others what they believe or why they believe... I understand that at times i do the same thing though.
    I will say it was interesting to see how angry many atheists got when i likened their belief system to religion. Perhaps you should consider that feeling the next time you are attacking someone's religion? I just think it's wrong to attack someone's belief system regardless of what they believe, Explain your beliefs, disagree sure, but attack? Why?

    October 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Nobody cares, dipsh!t.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Clinton,

      "I will say it was interesting to see how angry many atheists got when i likened their belief system to religion."

      that will always get a rise. I understand where it comes from but it is a misplaced idea.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Nixon2

      I totally agree with you Clinton, that's all i see on every articles post here on CNN. Atheists just jump in there and bashing people about their religion or beliefs. They don't give a clean image of themselves.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Observer

      Nixon2,

      Watch whenever there is a story about gays or abortion. Then all the Christian hypocrites crawl out of the woodwork.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Nixon2

      @ Observer

      Oh trust me, you atheists will be there as well.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Observer

      Atheists and agnostics will be there, too but the Christians will monopolize on HYPOCRISY.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Willie

      Atheism isn't a belief system, it's a lack of belief system. But, I wouldn't expect someone who bases their life on beliefs to understand the concept.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Nope!

      @ "observer"
      So, to you its OK to sling labels like "hypocrites" at Christians, but you don't consider yourself to be one, eh?

      October 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Observer

      Nope!,

      Please tell me why you think I am a hypocrite.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Nope!

      Because you pretend to be a good and fair person, but you hate people who have not done you or wished you evil. You hate them because they are telling you the truth about your own condi.tion, which you attempt to hide by putting on a front. But you can't run from truth forever.
      You will have to face it, ON YOUR OWN.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  13. Bob W

    Once again, the news media just doesn't quite get the story correct. I read the report and it was not about Americans not identifying with a religion, but not identifying with any protestant affiliation. With the rise of nondenominational churches, which the report claimed cannot be affiliated to any protestant group, protestants are now at their lowest numbers in American history and no longer the most dominant religious group.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  14. Jumacao Borikenlibre

    There's hope for the U.S. after all!

    October 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  15. David Stone

    Religion is a bastion for the weak minded...for those who simply cannot or will not face reality or apply basic logic to the world around them. Mental weaklings.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • zeus_z

      Its the sign of end of times...

      HelpfulNot Helpful

      2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV

      But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

      Mat 24:10-14 (NIV) "At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase in wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

      October 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Leo

      David,

      Check out the following little animation on a single white blood cell, and then come back and tell us all how this just happend via "Chance", Wake up before it is too late for God made it evident through his creation.

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJyUtbn0O5Y&w=640&h=390]

      October 9, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Leo

      Romans 1

      18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,

      October 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Lame-o, complexity does not equal proof of a god.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Bob

      Yeah, weaminded, like Maxmillian Kolbe, who voluntarily took a stanger's place in a Nazi gas chamber and died with courage and conviction for his beliefs. Real weak minded guy there, jyst like all the thousands of people who have willingly endured torture and death that they could have avoided if they would only renounce what they knew in their hearts to be the truth.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Leo

      Fools claim that can't see God, yet his works are before your eyes, but you can't see because you simply do not want to. Like the scriptures say,

      Professing to be wise, they became fools. How very accurate 2000 years later!!

      October 9, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Leo, nobody says that a cell works by "chance," dipsh!t.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Leo

      Still trying to get others to buy your moronic circular reasonings and confirmatory bias I see.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Leo

      Moby, sorryI forgot that you all believe in the intelligent design of evolution... LOL

      October 9, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Leo

      Hawaii, You know God created the wonders that we see, but you have fallen away exacly as the scriptures said would happen in the last days. There is still hope for you though!

      October 9, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Leo

      You know, at least before you made an attempt to defend or justify your positions, now you've just turned into another drone with nothing of any substance to type out. Good luck with your brainwashing attempts, hopefully one day you'll realize just how useless your comments are now.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Prayer to Leo's God

      Ummm... Is this moron the best you can do? You should rethink the sort of folks you let speak for you. Just a tip.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • TheTruth

      You all act like there aren't like minded Christians and claim that we keep creating profiles, have circular reasoning, etc. All I got to say is Right On Leo! The only similarities between certain posters is correct doctrine. Circular reasoning = dating fossils by what rock strata they are in and then using the rock strata to date fossils. You all got a lot of reading to do, starting with the New Testament.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  16. lamb of dog

    So clinton you believe because it feels right? And also because you can't explain the universe.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • David Stone

      You are talking to someone who worships / fears invisible fairies that live in invisible cities....what did you expect?

      October 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  17. zeus_z

    Its the sign of end of times...

    HelpfulNot Helpful

    2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV / 25 helpful votes

    But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

    Mat 24:10-14 (NIV) "At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase in wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

    October 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • David Stone

      Says the person quoting from the "invisible sky daddy guide book". True words of wisdom there.....puke.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Scare tactics? The end the end the end. Ahhhhhhh

      October 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • zeus_z

      Not scare tactics; you dont find it amazing the Bible describes exactly what is happening in this world? People turned away from Christ once, people died in his name, now they are turning away again- people are losing faith.

      Its not easy to be faithful, everyone wants proof.

      Its amazing the Bible decribes these times to a T...even the financial collapse of the world.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • JustRight

      zeus_z – Its funny you say that because people have been saying that for the past 2000 years....and none have been correct. Can you point out one single unambiguous (to Christians) passage that foretell current events?

      October 9, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • zeus_z

      Justright, I dont have the answer, No one does. Christ said it clearly, " No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father

      If you seek Christ and read the bible, or at least study who was Christ, and what the prophesies were before Christ..how cant you believe in Christ, and pray for fogiveness an Mercy?
      I dont know if I will be saved, as much as I love Christ and ask him to carry me everyday through this difficult life I always fall and sin, and ask for fogiveness.

      Im just amazed how many openly turned away from God. Not that I am any better, I am Worse- because I claim I love Christ and believe in God, yet I still sin..and I will be judged harsher.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • JustRight

      Zeus_z – perhaps my post wasnt clear – Im saying that in every time period people have said "the bible describes current events to a T", which you yourself just stated. Im asking for on simple example to back up your claim

      October 9, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  18. RBSG

    Nice to see a trend where Americans are actually getting smarter, rather than dumber!

    October 9, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  19. Moby Schtick

    @fred

    I'm not going to waste my time arguing with someone who claims that the phrase "I don't know" is a rejection of something. How stupid.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  20. Markus

    The faithful fail the Turing Test. Abandon them. Don't waste your emotions on them. Spend them on persons instead.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.