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.
Humans are afraid of death, therefore they need a god and an afterlife. I'm a nonbeliever (athiest) and have no fear of death, god or any other myth.
The anxiety complex surrounding death is infinitely more profound than mere "fear". It is the basis of almost all that we do in life beyond the biological.
and i make grand, sweeping statements on religion
I fear death twice as much as anybody but I cannot bring myself to believe in nonsense to suppress that fear. Cheating oneself is immensely harder than tickling oneself.
Humans and animals are afraid of death. That's why some run and some fight.
Humans don't just run. We invent life insurance, and nukes. A bit of difference in magnitude I'd say.
Is it ironic that the only people who seem to want to talk about religion are atheists? Just an observation. I don't like pro basketball and I never discuss it with people. Why are atheists so interested in religion?
Not religious by the way
I am concerned for you Aaron.
Did you get hurt playing basketball as a youngster?
Would you be talking about basketball, and why you don't like it if all the basketball lovers attempted to legislate watching basketall, or make laws based on basketball? It's the same with religion (mainly Christianity in this nation). The constant barrage of religious legislation, personal attacks, marginalization, and revisionist history on their part prompts speaking out.
Mantras are often just a symptom of active denial.
2357's posts are a symptom of dipsomania.
And regarding religion, well atheists have been persecuted by religious folk down through history, so they always want to be aware of when the religious are trying to grab more power than is, let's say, healthy for the atheist. This has always been an issue. It is also one of the reasons many of the founders wanted to break away from England. Persecution. I posted this several time earlier, but check out what James Madison said – he was our 4th president and he was the chief architect of the U.S. Const!tution (he was a Diest and was by far not alone in his thinking among the founders):
During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, supersti tion, bigotry, and persecution.
–A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the Virginia General Assembly, 1785
No Mama K, it's just annoying when I get together with my atheiest friends and all they want to talk about is religion. When I get together with my religious friends we rarely talk about religion. Is it just smugness, a need to feel some sort of (false) superiority? Thoughts?
I'd say those particular friends have some other reason rather than being atheist for talking about religion so often. Why not ask them about it?
I consider it a cry for help, disguised as a middle finger.
@ hawaiiguest because I don't care about religion or lack thereof. I mean it seems like some of these atheists are as bad to proselytize as some of those Johovias witness freaks.
I agree with hawaii. Do you attend church with your religious friends?
And hawaii – we should talk sometime – if you are interested. I seem to remember you saying something a while back about possible big bangs before the last one – that fascinates me.
OK yeah I see the 2357 (TBT) character.
If religious people kept their beliefs to themselves, we wouldn't be in a position to criticize it.
Maybe religious friends talk more about religion at or near church or church-related functions, whereas atheists talk about it anywhere else? Just guessing.
No never go to church or rarely if ever talk about it with my church going friends. But all it seems atheists want to talk about is what they most disdain. Why would the person who hates something immerse themselves in it.
Sorry about your persecution mama kind. Was it 30 lashes, was your house burned down. Branded with a hot iron?
Inevitably when speaking with someone religious they will assert some religious tidbit as fact. They barely even notice when they do it. It may be "did you see that rainbow today? god surely smiled on us" or "I hope the Cowboys are blessed with a win today" - or it may something more insidious like making children pledge allegiance to an imaginary being every day at school. And then we are obligated to help them understand the fact of the matter.
It seems like we're being bitter and talking about religion at every turn, but all it is, is that we are ending our silence in the face of what is actually religion shoving our nose into the bullshit at every turn.
I get that you don't care, but that's somewhat irrelevant to them talking about it. Find out why, and once you understand, you can better determine the action to take. More than likely you can just tell them to lay off the religious talk while you're around them. Without trying to understand the why, you're just making assumptions about it and doing a disservice to your friends. And if you're not telling them that you don't want to talk about it or hear about it, then how will they know not to?
Did I mention that? I know that it's a hypothesis that's been kicked around where the universe goes through an expansion then a contraction over and over. Once it compacts to a singularity, then momentum from the contraction would trigger the next expansion. Not sure on any specifics on the hypothesis, but that's the general idea.
Aaron brings up a good point. Shouldn't all you atheists be on some other blog? Surely the web is full of "unbelief and irreligion" blogs. What are you all doing here hanging out month after month? Is CNN paying you to be grassroots agitators? Looking for statues to behead? Tom tom and the other one, hawaiian, end religion, damocles, athy and mama k, I've become fond of you, but I also feel a growing sense of pity. Will you invite me to your 666 halloween party so I can give you all a cross shaped lollipop with bible verses inside?
You saying that other people are here to agitate others is a lovely example of projection.
2357: we shouldn't take candy from you. Religious types kill for their convictions.
LET'S ALL MAKE "BELIEVE" THE FOLLOWING IS NOT HISTORICALLY TRUE SO WE CAN ALSO "BELIEVE" THAT WE ALL END UP IN THE SAME PLACE IN THE END, WITH NO ULTIMATE "CONSEQUENCE" FOR OUR MORAL TRANSGRESSIONS. BY THE WAY, WHO HAS THE AUTHORITY TO TELL OTHERS WHAT IS MORAL OR NOT? AND ON WHAT BASIS IS THIS SO CALLED "AUTHORITY" FOUNDED?
Luke 1:1-4 (LIE #1?)
1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us,
2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.
3With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,
4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
1 Corinthians 15:1-24 (LIE #2?)...I PRAY THAT SOMEONE WILL READ IT AND WEEP WITH REPENTANCE UNTO SALVATION...BUT I FEAR MOST WILL LAUGH WITH SELF RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION
The Resurrection of Christ
1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.
2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.
6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,
8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born (i.e. Did not become an Apostle in the same way the othersd did).
9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
The Resurrection of the Dead
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.
16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
21 For since death came through a man,the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
24 Then the end will come..."
IT'S ALL MAKE BELIEVE, RIGHT? DOES ANY REALY "BELIEVE" THAT? WHAT IF WE WORK WITH THE BIBLICAL PROPOSITION THAT YOU (WE) DON'T WANT IT TO BE TRUE?
Mindless blather. Meaningless drivel. Time to grow up.
If you can't be bothered to figure out how "really" is spelled, you're either too stupid, too ignorant, or too careless to bother with.
Belief does not equal fact.
So you believe what you believe because if you did not believe what you believe, you would feel foolish believing what you don't believe. Makes perfect sense.
Tom, is this the TBT character that posts this junk, or is this the Chard character?
Of course, it's true because a book says it is... that's called circular logic.
WHATEVER...Accoeding you I end up in the same place as you, whether my spelling is right or wrong. – whether I have 2 degrees like you (one no doubtedly in English) or nearly make 6 figures like you. WHATEVER, Tom Tom...WHAT-THE-HECK EVER...My heart breaks for you...Now it's your turn to say WHATEVER, since it's fundamentally what you believe. Grade that paper...
Without tHe religion of the Old Testament there is no need for Jesus. Your name is a non-sequitur.
Je sus, s'cular, self centered, corruption of truth absolute, absurdity of a hindu GAWD
When are you going to realize that you are all promoting an oxymoronic proposition of "meaninglessness" to this existence, and that there is nothing that any of you can say here that ultimately matters. You will, according to your own argument, be going to the same place in the end as me. It would be laughable if it were true. And if it were true, you are all wasting your time here (unless CNN is paying you to be their bloggernauts) when you could be watching Gumby on Netflix...Lord have mercy...
What does any of this have to do with anything? You might as well have just hit the keyboard with your fist a few times and then hit "post."
Well whoever you all are, I know you must find Tom very nit-picky, but we don't converse here over the phone. Everything you express here is in writing, so don't in such a rush. Key it correctly in the English language and expect to be corrected when you flub up. There is a lot of poor writing here that goes well beyond just typos and misspelling. That's not helpful to anyone in these comments, including the person writing them.
Oh, you poor little baby, JNR. If you don't like having your wrist slapped, dummy, then stop writing like the witless wonder you are.
Why should anyone with a brain and an education pay the slightest bit of respect to some dumbazz who can't write to save his life? If you're not smart enough, educated enough, or careful enough to express your beliefs in any sort of coherent, grammatical fashion, then I have no qualms about dismissing your silly nonsense out of hand. Too dumb to write=to dumb to take seriously.
You want to make a point? Get a clue and learn to express one in some sort of cogent fashion. As of now, you've fvcked it up every single time you've posted, and I'm finished with giving anything BUT short shrift, you moron.
@mamakindless, I have no idea who this moron JNR is. I doubt it's Chard. It's probably some other dimwit who posts under a dozen different names and never has a thing to say that's more meaningful than the spoor of some bush critter.
I correct the spelling/grammar of those with whom I agree. Let the rest swing in the wind... and look like dopes. :twisted:
IAs a Forester and Wildlife Biologist steeped in science and arts, I find that common sense tells us that matter cannot organize Itself. It needs information to do that, and information is a manifestation of intelligence. If we think about DNA, we understand that it is a code that is information, which is the first part of a syllogistic analysis. Next, codes need information, and information is a manifestation of intelligence. Therefore, the proposition is that DNA was created by an intelligent conscious mind. I often wondered why 11 apostles gave up their lives. I guess they were fortunate to experience an event that was real. For us we can only have faith and scientific logic as far as our minds can comprehend, even though there are those that believe that matter is the only reality!
So what if you could prove that there's some sort of higher "intelligence?" It doesn't prove any gods or the one you happen to believe in.
"Therefore, the proposition is that DNA was created by an intelligent conscious mind."
Wow. Are you truly interested in learning and discuss different ideas as I am, or are you here to, you know, just express your own suspi cions and hope they will be validated by lots of repliers? And maybe I'm being too quick to draw so to speak, but within that statement is a huge leap of assumption.
That is not common sense, that is an argument from ignorance.
"I don't know how it happened therefore god did it."
And for the record, I am an agnostic atheist.
If you're truly trying to learn something from others here, you need to ask and discuss less when pondering. (I know some of my posts are huge – like the bit about James Madison, but not so much when I'm trying to engage someone else.) And you have to be careful not to answer your own questions. Just learn some more things. It doesn't necessarily mean it will threaten your current stand on something.
Gnostic. Your ideas aren't new.
Biochemistry is, though, and biochemists, orgainc chemists and biochemcal engineers see self-organization all the time. They're working together quite well and making extraordinary advances in the field of paleobiogenesis. They're not far from proof that primordial Earth could easily have formed the basis of what we know as life without outside influence.
"I find that common sense tells us that matter cannot organize Itself."
So it's little angels and daemons that make each and every one of those pretty snowflakes in winter.
The thing about common sense is that it doesn't seem to be that common, especially among the brainwashed.
@wyoforester: First, I propose whatever college gave you a degree be shuttered. How a Biologist received a degree and yet still attempts to discover facts via "common sense" is beyond me. You have a degree in a field of science. Use the scientific method or rely on substantiated theory.
Learn about self-assembly: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-assembly
Learn about DNA evolution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNA_world_hypothesis
Those links are not substitutes for true research. It should help you get started.
No apostles gave up their lives. Religion is a fraud. Now get on with the science. I cannot believe I have to tell you these things.
II welcome all the comments from atheist and agnostic, for I was one at one time. In simplistic terms, I once knew an atheist that concluded that no mixture of random cosmic events could fully account why such beauty, diversity, color and arrangement could, or should, exist in birds.
your god, to my knowledge, does not exist.
Even as secular people, we can always wish for a better tomorrow, a better state of things, and that we stay able to help others. People with no religion need a higher order of consciousness and a morality better than the one that is usually displayed by people with religion. Non-religious need to exhibit higher ethics and standards because they have no religion to guide themselves by, otherwise, what is the use? There would be no humanity within a person unable to guide himself or herself. Just a zombie, robot, sheep, or a puppet dancing at whatever the rythm; or even worse, a low class animal following the dictations of its gonads.
Holy crap! Have you ever picked up a Bible? Jeez...Open your eyes.
What you want to believe (theist or atheist) doesn't change what you can believe. No matter how much I may want to believe I can flap my arms and fly, I cannot bring myself to believing it. I can no more make myself believe a "higher" morality, nor is it necessary for me to believe such a thing to give purpose to my life. I accept existence with all it's quirks and don't try to make things up. Honest existence is interesting and fulfilling enough.
The curse of God includes the grace of God. One woud be wise to see the beauty of that grace in the crucified Son. Then there is perdition, proof of which is right there in the heart of the scoffer. Death is not the norm. Seek grace, while there is life.
horribly twisted sado-masochistic delusional knumbskull. You're the reason. Remember, when it all crumbles, you're the reason.
Don't forget about drinking Jesus' blood. That also a beautiful thing.
"Then there is perdition, proof of which is right there in the heart of the scoffer." The fact that someone else doubts something is proof that it actually does exist? That doesn't even qualify as an attempt at logic. It's just inane.
So your god gives the disease and then offers us the cure. How nice of him.
Seek grace. It's our only hope.
In other news: God kills again!
@Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son "If they're HERE, you idiot, they aren't THERE. If I want or need YOUR help, you bonehead, I'll ask for it. Until then, I don't need the "help" of some thumper who can't spell "dog" without sounding out the consonants and vowels."
Well, Einstein. I'm here, and I'm there!
No, you aren't. You're here. If you're devoting your efforts or even a portion of them to bloviating on some anonymous blog, you could obviously be doing more good than you are were your efforts focused on those who need help.
Instead, you're here because you need to feed that ego of yours so you can feel important.
Yippee. I'm sure the kids in Africa are thrilled.
Is this a reply? If so, please learn to use the reply button.
You have no clue who I am or what I do, TT.
You have no clue how much time and money I donate. You have no clue the type of people I go visit at the prison. The people that you have openly accused me of hating, that's precisley who they are.
And, if I am here only to build up my ego, then what, pray tell, are you here for?????????
I'm here to puncture you inflated ego, blind and stupid. You aren't all that. You just like to preen and boast. I'm here to keep azzholes like you honest. You don't do good works because you care; you do them because you like to brag. Otherwise, you wouldn't have mentioned your "good works" here. You'd be too busy out doing them to post. You're a phony. A real Christian wouldn't even BE posting here. A REAL Christian wouldn't bother with an anonymous board because a REAL Christian wouldn't NEED to lambaste others or criticize them or judge them. You're a friggin' hypocrite. If you weren't, you wouldn't BE here.
@mama kindless "Is this a reply? If so, please learn to use the reply button."
It wasn't obvious to you that TTPS was "replying"???
No, you dumbfvck, it wasn't. Grow up and figure out how the site works, idiot.
You need serious help, TT. More than anybody here can give you. Don't think we are so dumb to think any differently.
What's the matter, blind, deaf, and stupid? Can't refute what I wrote?
Not my problem. Yours. You're the claimant. Produce proof or be branded a liar.
Now, you're cursing at me for supporting you! You need to chill out, TTPS. You are chasing your own tail around and around and around.....
Do tell. I doubt anyone but your sock puppet azz-kisser agrees.
No, TTPS, I can't. You see, communication takes a speaker/writer and a listener/reader. You are not a listener; therefore, by definition, I cannot prove anything to you.
The day you write something substantive instead of drivel, blind, deaf and stupid, alert the media. Until then, you're just more white noise.
What Atheist's don't get is that Agnostic's believe in a higher power. Kinda sucks for those Atheist's huh?
Um, no.. what? I don't even... what? Look, Run,Forrest,Run, you don't seem to understand what you're talking about.
Wrong. Guess again.
define higher power.
1: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
2: a person who is unwilling to commit to an opinion about something.
We're all atheists. You don't believe in Zeus do you?
I believe in a higher power,, sure, she's sitting right next to me and married me ten years ago.. much higher power..
Lizzy, dear, look up "agnostic" in a dictionary. You don't have a clue what the word means.
And, Lizzy, don't use apostrophes to form plurals. It merely advertises your obvious stupidity for all to see.
@Athy, they must all go to the same sh!tty-azz school.
Wow. Just wow.
@college Smart man. You'll have a long prosperous marriage.
@ Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son "Encountering zealots here and elsewhere who want to force others to give up the rights they have under law because "their" god doesn't approve of abortion or gay marriage has driven me further from any interest in religion or a god."
Why do you not care about the rights of the baby??? Perhaps you hold it against yout Christian mother for not aborting you??? (rhetorical question)
There is no "baby" in a uterus, idiot. There's a fetus and until it's capable of surviving outside the uterus, it has no rights. None.
Why don't YOU care about the rights of women? Why are you placing more value on a clump of cells, which is exactly what most embryos are when aborted, than you do about the women whose rights are guaranteed under law?
Don't even bother to respond. You have already made my point for me. Thanks ever so!
Ha ha ha ha ha
Oh, and, was blind, you are still blind. You obviously approve of abortion, as long as YOU get to choose who is aborted. You'd happily allow abortions of any fetuses that might likely be atheists, wouldn't you?
Yeah, that's what I figured, you moron.
If you care so much for the rights of the baby, why don't you help pay for it. Children are not free. I NEVER hear or see pro lifers offering any money to help these kids they want so badly to be born. CNN/Money reported it cost over $230,000 to raise a child from birth to 18. If the parents can't take care of the child guess who the cost falls upon. THE TAXPAYER. Republicans claim we're broke yet want to ban abortion and birth control to give us more children we can't take care of.
Oh Tom Tom was born alright, they just threw the baby in the bin and they kept the bag, that's what became of him.
Because I am being forced to pay for the murder of people like your's "inconveniences". Dope!
Dickless, didn't you claim you were "leaving?" Do you lie about everything?
Tom Tom i'm neither Here or There, now i'm gone.lol
Murder? somebody needs a reality check.
Still blind and stupid, you're as dumb as Dick-witless.
Grow a brain. Until then, you're a worthless POS.
@Ken.. that's one of my biggest issues with the Fundies who want to make abortion illegal, they fight for the "life" of the fetus, but then want to cut EVERY social program that cares for those babies once they are born.
@college Thanks. People should know pro choice people aren't fans of abortion either. NOBODY likes abortions. If you take away a woman's right to choose, she looses control of her body. Which would make her a slave. If you take away abortions and birth control and make women afraid to have intercourse, Who are the men gonna be with?
Believe or don't believe...just keep it to yourself , don't need no preacher from either side.
what about discussing our opinions, should we not be allowed to do so? What about simply expressing our beliefs, does that annoy you?
Sure , blather away , but don't be offended if I tune you out.
That is NOT a very democratic statement... debate is healthy for the most part...
Democracy doesn't exist in my space.
@Had. Don't be offended if I don't care if you tune me out, or anyone else. If you chose to enter the debate, good, if you chose to remain silent, better.. however, you can't chose to enter the debate then say to people to not debate.. that's silly
Why did YOU not keep your own opinions to yourself?
One feeling I get from the atheists, is that "God owes us".. is this true?
In reading the Bible, God did something for us already, he gave his only begotten son, Christ. Christ died for us and our salvation. He was mocked, beaten like an animal, while he is Lord. The biggest example of humility and humbling. As we should be. Just think of what a good world this would be if people were like that?
@zeuz_z, an atheist doesn't believe that a being such as your god exist, so how could they hold that it owes them?
No, you're wrong.
No. god does not exist. Santa doesn't owe me anything, either, by the way.
Ha! Prayer to Leo's god nailed it! Yes, god owes me, and so does the Easter Bunny and I'm pi ssed at unicorns for never giving me a free ride down to the Wal-Mart. Fvckers!
God cant "owe" me anything any more than NOTHING owes me something. To me, god is NOTHING, therefore, he can't be held accountable.
Now, you second contention that god gave us his son... Why? Seriously, WHY did Jesus have to die in order for god to decide to forgive us? It makes NO sense at all... Further, I do not believe that Jesus, at least not the magic one who died and rose from the dead, ever existed. There is simply not enough evidence to support the Biblical Jesus.
That is, on its face, inane. Atheists don't, and I know this is hard for you, beleive there is a god. Any god. Not the Christian one. Not the Hindi. Not the various indigenous ones. None.Thus it is inane to posit that Atheists believe that something that, according to them, doesn't even exist owes them anything. Or is even capable of owing anything. Quoting your scripture to prove your deity's existence is very much like quoting Winnie The Pooh to prove his.
god doesn't exist. Some may feel he owes Satan $5 and an ice cream cone over the loss of my soul, however. If you're one to play that game.
Ok. I have to carry it over to the next page. Well, what I meant was are you true atheist (not god) or agnostic (might be a god, but can't prove)
I am personally an Atheist...
@Jeremny, that's false. An atheist can hold that there might be a god, but that there is no reason to believe that one actually exists.
That's not actually what atheism means. Atheism ONLY means that you lack a belief in a god or gods. Period.
The word atheism is comprised of two parts.
The root, theism, deals with spiritual BELIEF. Theists BELIEVE that there are one or more gods. The prefix, a-, means "not" or "lacking" and thus an "a-theist" is "NOT a theist" or, in other words, one who lacks a BELIEF in a god.
The word agnosticism is also comprised of two parts.
The root, gnosticism, deals with intellectual and spiritual KNOWLEDGE. Gnostics possess (or truly feel that they possess) actual knowledge of god. The word "a-gnostic" has the same "not" or "lacking" prefix and means that one does NOT profess actual KNOWLEDGE about whether or not god exists.
Agnostics generally feel that proof for a god is inherently unknowable. Gnostics feel that knowledge is possible, though it may only be revealed to those in special positions, circ.umstances, or states of mind (god may reveal "proof" of existence, but only to those who pass the prerequisite of belief; thus actual knowledge is possible, but only under particular and specific conditions).
The term theist/atheist deals with whether or not one BELIEVES that there is a God.
The term gnostic/agnostic deals with whether or not one professes to KNOW that there is a God.
The two are clearly different just by their construction and root word origins.
So, now that we have defined the terms, what does it really mean? What's the purpose of differentiating knowledge from belief?
Because now we can combine the terms to create more subtle divisions of ideas, which makes understanding who one is talking to easier and more accurate.
Because the terms are different, the result is that one can be:
* An agnostic atheist
(one who doesn't claim to know if there is a God or not, but doesn't believe in one)
* A gnostic atheist
(one who does not believe in god AND professes to know that no such god does or could exist)
* An agnostic theist
(one who doesn't claim to know if there is a god or not, but does believe in one)
* A gnostic theist
(one who both claims to believe in AND know for a fact that there is a god)
The two words deal with different—albethey closely related—aspects of spirituality, understanding, awareness, and information: the profession of belief and the profession of actual knowledge.
An atheist is one who lacks a belief in a deity. That's it.
Atheism is not the automatic assertion that there is no god/gods. Atheist and Agnostic are not mutually exclusive, and don't even address the same question.
To the possibility of any god at all existing (like Spinoza's) I'm agnostic. To the possibility of the Christian God, I am 100% atheist. Just look at Televangelists. If the Christian god actually existed, we should be seeing some of them incinerated by bolts of lightening
Why is it that believers get wrapped around the axle over agnosticism?
I have formed the hypothesis, that most believers are incapable of grasping the concept of disbelief and that to them only belief is possible. They seem to see atheism as a transference of belief in God to believe in the non-existence of God.
This seems so much simpler to me:
"I don't believe in God"
It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago. (Yes, charlatan folklore and spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think they hadn't?) And they need to be taught that other things, like God, we really don't know a damn thing about.
Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Many religious folk have the best intentions. But too often, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). And too often, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!
Although there are many religious folk with good intentions – some selflessly helping others, religions and religious organizations are, as a whole, just big old clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division (often disguised as love) along the way. The problem is that people too easily buy into religion and don't realize how unfounded it all is. And when they buy into it, they buy into a lot of really old, really weird tenets that are nothing but harmful for the human species.
Take Christianity, for instance. Just look at all the things that Christians argue about amongst themselves today – abortion, men's and women's roles in the church, celibacy, contraception, acceptance of gays, etc. Most of these issues have their roots in the conflicted, unfounded tenets of early Christianity. Non-Mormons harp on Joseph Smith these days. But we really don't have any more proof at all to believe that Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle" was anything more than an ordinary man who needed to make up religious "sales literature" to survive and spread his own personal beliefs. And yet a good chunk of the NT is attributed to Paul and accepted by many Christians. And a lot of what he wrote about has to do with many of the issues I mentioned above that have Christians fighting amongst themselves hundreds of years later. It's way too unfounded to argue over.
Get a good cup of tea, and sit down and collect your thoughts. If you find it helpful to pray to a god, fine. But it is really healthier for the mind to leave behind all the characters that people over the centuries have invented or given powers to, for which there is little or no foundation. Because with those invented characters and powers – that's where division and hate join the little party in your mind. That's where, in your mind, you are inheriting the division and hate from ordinary politicians, lobbyists and salesmen from long ago. My goodness.
As a long-time atheist, it's a pleasure to see this article; and your post offered a clear, non-judgmental explanation to both theists and non theists alike. Well done.
christianity is not religion, it's about a relationship. your view of christianity is incredibly myopic and needs to be reassessed before you can form a cohesive conclusion on it.
Simply put ... well done.
@dzp: this "christianity is not a religion" bullshit must be a talking point or something the churches are distributing in their latest attempt to redefine words. I keep seeing this crop up. It's bad enough to believe in talking fairies, talking snakes and talking donkeys, but to sit there and say christianity is not a religion must feel like a lie to you even while the words pour out (or keys are struck on the keyboard). Whether its about a relationship or not, that doesn't change the definition of the fucking word.
lolol you mad??? it's not something the churches are putting in our minds. there's a reason i said it, and it's because the christianity you see out there isn't what it actually entails, but im not going to expound on that since you probably won't even care. but from man to man, i'm telling you.... grow up first and make a legitimate argument for something you really believe in, rather than just standing there and freely aimlessly criticizing what you see. man up and don't be a keyboard warrior
Typical, weak and cowardly. From man to man, eh?
"the christianity you see out there isn't what it actually entails"
You speak as if we don't know your silly games inside and out, as if it is some unknowable mystery. We know the recipe. It's parlor tricks and delusion - "a feeling that can't be explained." At your age it isn't acceptable to suck your thumb in public to soothe your fears, so you have your Buddy Christ instead. We get it.
yea u mad. its ok
The infamous 17-year old's "u mad bro?" argument. Compelling.
Oh sorry Tom Tom Dooley, i should have said your parents basement, anyhow you should move out of it and get a job and a life.
Hahahhah. You still got it wrong, even after two attempts!
There are classes for those for whom English is a second language and for people who dropped out of school before graduation. Find them. Enroll. Lather, rinse, repeat as needed until you pass.
I'm just playing with you Tom Tom Dooley, you're so naive lol. Anyhow i got to run. Now don't forget, you need to move out of that basement. Try to have a job and a life.lol
Sure honey. Whatever you need to tell yourself to feel better about your sorry azz.
Let me know when you get that GED. I'll send you a card.
Prayer changes things .
“Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children."
- Bill Nye
I totally agree.
That's because you're a total moron, Higgy.
Take your children to Sunday school every week.
Buffalo Bob Smith
@Observer, of course Bill Nye is an a respectable figure in science and Buffalo Bob Smith is well, what exactly?... There surely is a difference between the two.
My fault, I meant my post to address @observant's comment.
Yep. One of them has an engineering degree from Cornell.
Uhh, you had a couple typos there. Let me help you out...
RELIGION is not healthy for children and other living things.
Nothing FAILS like prayer.
I have been praying for months now that you grow a brain. Alas, I am starting to doubt the power of prayer.
Jeremy is just pulling our leg. He keeps reposting the same question and pretends he doesn't know what the term "atheist" means.
No. I know what the term atheist means, but is everyone on here truly atheist? It's like using the term Christian to mean you attend church.
I'm broken, as we all are...one way or another. My faith is not meant for an argument...but an assertation of who I live my life for. In living that life, I have not one thing against any of you...may God bless and keep all.
I don't believe, but when it comes to those that do, I wish more of them were more like you.
@rory, when you say "god bless" you're literally forcing your beliefs onto me.
I do not appreciate that. How would you feel if I said, 'may Satan condemn you to hell' (of course, I neither believe in satan nor your god)?
Ed, may God bless and keep you. I am no one who cannot love everyone...as my savior loved me. "For those of you who love only those that love you, where is the reward?" That is why I worship him.
There is a joy in prayer, known to quite a few. Know that as this day endures that joy is there for you. God bless
No theism, forgive the offense. When I say "God bless" I truly mean it.
@just saying, what pleasure do you get out of failure? I'm not judging YOU, I am asking given all the studies that prove prayer does NOTHING to move the needle either way, what pleasure do you get? I'm not trying to start anything, just want to understand you.
What's really a hoot is that dirtballs like Leo and his sock puppet Dick-sin are here moaning about the state of the world and the lack of faith, and bit@ching about the atheists and agnostics here. Why aren't these "exemplary Christians" busy doing the work their Christ commanded? Are there no hungry? No homeless? No refugees? Are there no orphans? No elderly languishing in nursing homes, longing for human company?
Why aren't you hypocrites with those who truly need your help?
Is it too taxing for you to get off your rump?
Tom Tom The Satan's Son, why are you still here? Don't you think you're a getting a little old to live in your parent basement?
My "parent basement," Higgy? What's the matter? Can't figure out how to make a plural possessive? Poor little dummy.
Ryan, are you doing something for Africa RIGHT NOW? Could you be if you really gave a rat's azz? Why aren't you?
Those you are listing are not only the christians' responsibility but yours and mine and all of ours. The fact that you re not a religious person does not condone your not helping others...
You need the help every bit as much (if not more) than those groups you listed.
And, how do you know they do not do precisely what you are suggesting they should be doing?
If they're HERE, you idiot, they aren't THERE. If I want or need YOUR help, you bonehead, I'll ask for it. Until then, I don't need the "help" of some thumper who can't spell "dog" without sounding out the consonants and vowels.
cacique, I gave more than 10% of my income to charity last year, in addition I gave a sum total of 100 hours of my time working with autistic children, one in particular. I think that one does not have to be religious to be socially aware, do you?
@cacique, what a presumptuous azz you are. What makes you think I DON'T help others? My life's work is helping others. I contribute more than 10% of my earnings to charity; I volunteer my time to help the homeless; I give blood on a regular basis.
I don't have to be a believer to do some good. Why do you?
Well it's not good to make assumptions, but too many Christians make wildly incorrect assumptions about the morals and activities of atheists and agnostics. That's very obvious to me in these comments. It goes both ways. Being an agnostic, I am more interested in having a serious discussion with a high atheist than with someone who is religious.
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.