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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. GO_GOP

    Question: Why are atheists so angry? Answer: Because they have no social life, low self belief and confidence and no real purpose in life.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • Gaunt

      Question: Dont you have anything better to do with your life than post silly, obvious lies and then flee like a coward when they are destroyed? Seriously little boy, what is wrong with you?

      October 10, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Wow, you are so wrong!!! We're not angry, you only think that because we refuse to accept your imaginary friend without evidence to support it. We do not feel that religion has any place in the public square and we want equal rights for all. Christians are angry especially when confronted with facts that do not meld with what their big book of multiple choise says.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • GO_GOP

      Most medical courses in USA now have a sub specialty called "faith healing". This science cures patients with incurable diseases by installing faith in their minds. This is now a hot topic among leading doctors. If only atheist would understand and accept (sigh).

      October 10, 2012 at 6:43 am |
    • wes

      angry? no. and I have no purpose in life? wrong again. I told you I study astronomy. looking at planets, and nebula, searching for how things work.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • Ashley

      I guess I must be doing atheism wrong since I have all of the above. Friends (of all beliefs), wonderful family members, an amazing boyfriend, confidence and in belief in myself and my abilities, a happy life with solid goals... Yeah, not an angry atheist here.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:49 am |
    • Mama

      Go_GOP
      4 degrees
      Dumb
      Dumber
      Dumbest
      Bag Of Hammers-PhD

      October 10, 2012 at 6:57 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What is "low self belief'? Did you perhaps mean "low self-esteem" but couldn't recall the words? What are you, 15?

      October 10, 2012 at 7:05 am |
    • a reasonable atheist

      @Tom Tom

      Low self-belief is a very real and painful condition. I will be brave and admit that I suffer from said condition. On average, I only believe that I exist 2-4 hours per week. The rest of the time, I am either collapsed from the exhaustion of my self-disbelief or shouting angry things at mirrors. "Who is that devilshly-handsome man on the other side of this bizarre looking glass? Why does he continuously mock me? Oh, the horror!"

      October 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  2. Refute This

    "As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice."

    - Adolf Hitler, April 12, 1922.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:33 am |
    • George

      The Nazi party used the German churches as political tools, some liked atheism and others wanted to return to some Pre-Christian Norse/Germanic paganism. In private, Hitler referred to Christianity as "Bolshevism in a tinsel of metaphysics"

      October 10, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • JubJub

      Hitler could have said, "as an atheist, I will follow my own moral code. What difference does killing people make anyway, since we're all going to die without consequences for our lives?" Some people pretend to be Christians to raise their status and make themselves seem more benevolent for their own purposes. Hitler, child abusers, etc., were not following the teaching of the Bible – if they were, a lot of suffering would not have happened.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:02 am |
    • Refute This

      Are you trying to say that today's politicians are following in his footsteps of using church affiliation as a political tool too?

      If it ain't broke...

      October 10, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • JubJub

      There may even be some who pretend to be atheists to get more votes.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • pugh7755

      Just because someone calls themselves a Christian does not mean that they are a Christian. Try this experiment, call yourself a cow. Let me know when you begin to moo.

      October 10, 2012 at 8:06 am |
  3. GO_GOP

    World renowned psychologist Dr.Chris Zeemansky conducted an experiment some years back. He took 20 children of age 2-6months to a remote island in the Pacific. There the children grew up over a period of 10 years. After that time it was seen that 19 of the 20 children became believers in the Christian God. This with no external influence or help. The only child who became an atheist was later diagnosed as being psychotic and depressed. Also since the study was published in the most respected peer reviewed journal of psychology, Dr.Zeemansky has been receiving death threats from various atheist groups. So atheists angry much???

    October 10, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • Gaunt

      Yopu posted this already, were completely annihilated, and fled like a dickless coward.

      This is complete unmitigates lies kid. There is no such study, the name you provided does not exist in any serch engine (despite him being 'workld famous' as you claim).

      You were asked for the name and issue of the journal, or ANY link to anything substantiating this lie.

      You provied none (as always) fled like a dickless coward, and instead posted a mewling of topic insult trying to disguise your utter humiliation.

      Go away kid, you are so boring.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:36 am |
    • Refute This

      Link?

      Didn't think so.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      A simple google search comes up with nothing to substantiate this claim.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:45 am |
  4. GO_GOP

    So Gaunt you finally left (with your bag full of lies and contradictions). Am sure you admire Hitler ( a fellow atheist). And yes I have my degrees(all 4) from Harvard.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:27 am |
    • Gaunt

      Left? I have been slapping you around post after post kid. I linked directly to the NATURE study you flat out lied about. You have been totally humiliated every time you post.

      Like this one.

      (Direct cut and past from GO_GOP, this thread, page 13, halfwaydown. Go see for yourself.

      GO_GOP: "I have 3 degrees from the best universities and a great job."

      Yopu are so stupid you cant even keep your lies straight kid. yesterday you had three degrees from different universities. Today you have four degrees from harvard. Seriously, how old are you kid, 12?

      October 10, 2012 at 6:31 am |
    • GO_GOP

      Gaunt: Nice try. Putting my name there , adding a colon and claiming I said it. Nice try. But you know what, it just proves how low in integrity you atheists are. This is the reason our prisons are overflowing with atheists. And yes I do have 4 degrees from Harvard.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • Refute This

      Hitler was raised as a catholic, and remained so all his life. The sources for quotes and evidence of this are abundant. Sorry to burst your precious little bubble of lies. Better to have no religion than to be associated with the greatest evil this world has ever known. Try and deny it, the evidence is against you.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • Gaunt

      page 13 of this very thread. The numbers are at the bottom, just click on 13. Do a search for 'degrees' and its the first hit.

      Your words. said by you.

      You cans quirm and lie all you like kid, even you cant escape this. How pathetic are you right now?

      Oh, and its a technical impossibility to get 4 degrees from harvard kid. You are not even smart enough to come up with plausible lies. Go away you boring little troll.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • wes

      well let me see, I belive gaunt over you. theres more facts supporting No god. you religious people think the earth is what about 10K years old? so tell me do you still belive the sun orbits the earth, and the earth is flat? or have you moved on?

      October 10, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • Seperation

      Apparently you are unable to even read the posts above you before you go on unfounded rants as you declare, "Am sure you admire Hitler ( a fellow atheist)." Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi party in Germany, was a christian not an atheist. Also you are implying that a lack of religion has a direct correlation with Nazism and thus equate an atheist with a sociopath. Before you start making illogical accusations, such as Nazi affiliations, do ten seconds of research, preferably more, and think about your implications of your statement rather than just declaring whatever you please.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:58 am |
    • Kebos

      You've been reported for abuse by me. You've crossed the line. Typical that when one doesn't have a credible argument they fall back to insults.

      I'm resigning from this forum altogether. There is very little good discussin that occurs here.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:17 am |
  5. wes

    gosh I wonder why? could it be that people have opened there eyes? could it be that people dont want the bible to control there life anymore? could it be that people are embracing science? the bibles number 1 enemy is science. piece by piece the bible has been proven wrong. but they just re write it. well I choose science.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:24 am |
  6. Refute This

    Today Christians ... stand at the head of [this country]... I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit ... We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press – in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past ... (few) years.

    - Adolf Hitler, quoted in: The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pg. 871-872

    Sounds way too similar to all the Jesus-loving conservatives today.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:24 am |
  7. GO_GOP

    I myself went to Harvard- got 4 degrees from there and every one of the great professors / scientists I met there was a believer in the Christian God. And Gaunt with his elementary school knowledge thinks he knows more!! He is funny no doubt.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:21 am |
    • Mama

      @GO_GOP You silly fibbing boy, they don't give degrees in Harvard for cleaning toilets and scrubbing floors. If you do have 4 degrees you should return them to the scientists who you stole them from while cleaning their offices. The christian thing to do.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:42 am |
    • fintastic

      @GOP Congratulations! you've graduated to troll.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  8. Refute This

    I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.

    - Adolf Hitler, to General Gerhard Engel, 1941

    I wonder if he went to heaven too?

    October 10, 2012 at 6:21 am |
  9. GO_GOP

    Most scientists are now believers. A study in the famous science journal Nature (you heard of it?) says 98% of all scientists in Harvard, Yale and CERN (in Europe) believe in God. So stop embarrassing yourself.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:16 am |
    • Gaunt

      Oh you poor pathetic liar. A 'famous study' in Nature? yes I have heard of it. And for once, you are NOT LYING!

      There was indeed a famous study in the journal Nature on the religion of scientists. And it said the exact OPPOSITE of what you claim, you dickless little liar.

      Only SEVEN (7%) of scientists believed in god. SEVEN percent. The rest (93%) were athiest or agnostic.

      But wait, why should anyone believe me, over your silly lies? Simple. here is the actualy study, published in NATURE magazine, 394, No. 6691, p. 313 (1998) Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

      stephenjaygould. org/ctrl/news/file002. html

      Oh you poor little fool. How stupid do you look right now, GOGOP?

      October 10, 2012 at 6:26 am |
    • wes

      then you cant embrace science. plain and simple. science is about facts, last I checked there are zero facts about the bible. for myself I study astronomy. the universe happened with the big bang. you me and everyone here were created from star dust.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:30 am |
    • fintastic

      Congratuations again GOP. You've now graduated to a lie spreading troll.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  10. Gaunt

    Hey Christians.

    Jesus was the Son of God, right? But according to the principle of the Trinity (and to avoid polytheism) he also WAS God himself. Separate yet the same: also a ghost, who is also separate but still the same god. Makes no sense at all, and is fundamentally silly, but whatever.

    So why did Jesus proclaim on the Cross "Dear God, why have you forsaken me?" Was he talking to himself?

    (PS: I'll admit, this is a trick question. There actually is a reason he says this in the Bible, but the vast majority of Christians are far to ignorant of their own basic theology to know it)

    October 10, 2012 at 6:10 am |
    • GO_GOP

      Most scientists are now believers. A study in the famous science journal Nature (you heard of it?) says 98% of all scientists in Harvard, Yale and CERN (in Europe) believe in God. So stop embarrassing yourself!

      October 10, 2012 at 6:17 am |
    • Gaunt

      I note you totally failed to anaswer my question. How unsurprising you whimpering little coward.

      As to your 'poll of scientists' lie, Oh you poor pathetic liar. A 'famous study' in Nature? yes I have heard of it. And for once, you are NOT LYING!

      There was indeed a famous study in the journal Nature on the religion of scientists. And it said the exact OPPOSITE of what you claim, you dickless little liar.

      Only SEVEN (7%) of scientists believed in god. SEVEN percent. The rest (93%) were athiest or agnostic.

      But wait, why should anyone believe me, over your silly lies? Simple. here is the actualy study, published in NATURE magazine, 394, No. 6691, p. 313 (1998) Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

      stephenjaygould. org/ctrl/news/file002. html

      Oh you poor little fool. How stupid do you look right now, GOGOP?

      October 10, 2012 at 6:27 am |
  11. Jonline

    Yet if you are to look at this election, you would think we are two steps away from setting up a Taliban government.

    October 10, 2012 at 6:04 am |
  12. Kebos

    This article seems to have brought a good share of religious whackos out. Of course non-religion is growing. Either the education system is improving (the real reason) or it is the end of times just like Revelations says (the reason religious whackos will claim).

    October 10, 2012 at 5:48 am |
  13. Gaunt

    (This has been Reposted, for truthbetold, or anyone else who feels like dealing with this fundamental contradiction on Christian doctrine)

    Person A lives a good, life, start to finish. They are selflessly generous, kind, charitable, humble, tolerant, loving, patient, peaceful, and embody everything we as humans define as Good. They are also Sikh.

    According to Christianity, does this person go to heaven or hell?

    Person B is a horrific monstrosity. They violate and murder children, steal, abuse the elderly, blaspheme, commit arson and torture among young and old. They embody everything our modern society considers evil. On their deathbed, they genuinely repent and turn to God.

    According to Chrisrianity, is this person in Heaven or Hell?

    And you DARE call the Christian God 'good'?

    October 10, 2012 at 5:44 am |
    • Kebos

      Yes, Person A goes straight to the hot place whilst Person B enjoys the land of milk and honey for an eternity. Or 72 virgins. Or whatever God has on the menu that day. It's laughable and frankly embarrassing to think some people (shrinking all the time thankfully) would actually believe in such rubbish.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:55 am |
    • GO_GOP

      Give up Gaunt: The Bible is the most tested book in the history and proved correct countless times. Whatever it says is true to the word. An atheist goes to hell. Period. Sad but your place is booked there. I can understand your frustration. And yes answer this: Why isn't anything in science ever a fact? Everything there is a theory. It seems scientists have a problem with confidence. We religious people know Bible is a fact.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:55 am |
    • Gaunt

      GOGOP, the great thing about a post as stupid as yours is that it does not require me to rebut it. The insanity of the claims you made are so laughable, you instantly discredit yourself just by typing that crap.

      Oh, I also notice you didnt even try and respond to the fundamnetal doctrinal contradiction in your religion that I posted. I'm not surprised. You have, after all, proven yourself to be a dickless coward repeatedly. Why should today be any different?

      October 10, 2012 at 6:01 am |
    • GO_GOP

      Gaunt: You still haven't answered my question. Why is everything in science a theory? No answers? ha ha ha ha

      October 10, 2012 at 6:03 am |
    • Gaunt

      You sad, boring little troll. You really are just doing this in a desperate bid for attention, arent you? What a sad, pathetic little cowardly liar you are, still lacking the balls to even stand behind your own lies.

      Not everything is a 'theory' kid, when you hit grade 9, they will explain to you what a scientific theory is, just as what a scientific law is. I'm not kidding, this is grade 9 high school knowledge. How come you dont have it? After all, ysterday you claimed to be a genius with three university degrees (though you refused to say in what or from where). Now you have not even made it to high school yet?

      I feel sorry for you.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:08 am |
    • JubJub

      If you read the teachings of Jesus, he provided several parables where the person who did the right thing was neither a Christian or a Jew. He also said that the good things we do for others, we do for him. Finally, Jesus will be our judge, so I think the Sihk in your example has a shot. As for person B, yes, they are saved too, just as the man who received forgiveness as he was about to die on a cross next to Jesus did. As the parable of the laborers in the field explains, God can be as generous as he want to be.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:41 am |
  14. GO_GOP

    World renowned psychologist Dr.Chris Zeemansky conducted an experiment some years back. He took 20 children of age 2-6 months to a remote island in the Pacific. There the children grew up over a period of 10 years. After that time it was seen that 19 of the 20 children became believers in the Christian God. This with no external influence or help. The only child who became an atheist was later diagnosed as being psychotic and depressed. Also since the study was published in the most respected peer reviewed journal of psychology, Dr.Zeemansky has been receiving death threats from various atheist groups. So atheists angry much??

    October 10, 2012 at 5:30 am |
    • Gaunt

      You are, of course. Lying. As always. So, lets follow through your pattern of behaviour, shall we?

      You post an absurd, completely made-up lie.

      Your betters point out the flaws with it, and demand you provide a single shred of evidence, or a single source backing up your claim.

      You squirm away like a coward, refuse to respond, refuse to evidence your lies (because you cannot, of course) and try and distract people from your failure.

      Is that about right?

      So, lets get on with it.

      You are full of shlt. No such study exist, nor does this 'world famous phychologist' have a single hit anywhere in any of three search engines. Please stop LYING every time you post, you dickless coward.

      (Now its your turn: squirm away like a little bltch without backing up your lies, as always. Go ahead, we all know its coming.)

      October 10, 2012 at 5:38 am |
    • GO_GOP

      Hey Gaunt boy: You ran away again when I presented actual data like the one above? Atheists don't like facts I can see.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:39 am |
    • mikem

      Only a pedophile would take 20 children to a remote island for 10 years.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:40 am |
    • Gaunt

      (Reposted, for truthbetold)

      Person A lives a good, life, start to finish. They are selflessly generous, kind, charitable, humble, tolerant, loving, patient, peaceful, and embody everything we as humans define as Good. They are also Sikh.

      According to Christianity, does this person go to heaven or hell?

      Person B is a horrific monstrosity. They violate and murder children, steal, abuse the elderly, blaspheme, commit arson and torture among young and old. They embody everything our modern society considers evil. On their deathbed, they genuinely repent and turn to God.

      According to Chrisrianity, is this person in Heaven or Hell?

      And you DARE call the Christian God 'good'?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:42 am |
    • Kebos

      To GO_DOPE: Link to the study please. Back your ridiculous claim up with facts and the necessary supporting data and information to support your ludicrous claim. BTW, the fact that you have GOP in your name says a lot. Suggest you change your name in this forum to at least give yourself an ounce of credibility.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:45 am |
    • Gaunt

      Yopu always do this. Your lies are SO obvious kid.

      'Some years back. When? exactly?
      'most respected peer reviewed journal of psychology', which was called what? issue number please?

      Your silly lies always lack any specifics, and when your betters demand specifics, you scurry away like a limp-dicked coward, as you know you cannot provide them. same thing every single time.

      Its not just that you are a pathalogical liar, its that you are a very bad liar. You dont even have the intelligence to make up reasonable lies.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:47 am |
    • GO_GOP

      Gaunt: You still have time to come back to Christianity and be saved. I can understand from your anger you are frustrated with life and you had (perhaps) a bad childhood. Join a church, pray daily, contribute to it and be saved. You still have time. And as a bonus I also promise not to copy paste our posts from last time where I completely destroyed you with logic and facts. That's a promise. Other readers: Please don't take gaunt seriously. I absolutely destroyed him last night in this very thread and he seems a little upset. :-)

      October 10, 2012 at 5:47 am |
    • Kebos

      Yes, don't forget to contribute to it. We do need your cash!

      October 10, 2012 at 5:49 am |
    • Gaunt

      I predicted you would be too dickless a coward to back up your lies. I predicted you would engage in posturing and juvinile insults, I wrote this all out for all to see.

      You acted exactly as I predicted. No substance, no effort to back up your lies, no answers, no facts. As ALWAYS. As every time you do this, today and yesterday.

      You make up insane lies, and as soon as they are challenged, evidence is demanded, specifics are called for, you flee like a COWARD, and engage in puffed up posturing as a weak cover to your public humiliation.

      Get a new set of tricks little boy, you are becoming completely boring.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:50 am |
    • Kebos

      In fact, on second thought, just send your cash.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:51 am |
  15. mikem

    America: one Nation under Law (not God), indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
    In Law we Trust.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:14 am |
    • pugh7755

      ONE NATION UNDER GOD...always has been, always will be. DON'T LIKE it? THERE ARE PLENTY OF MUSLIM NATION FOR YOU TO GO TO.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:50 am |
    • Gaunt

      (laughter)

      I love watching home-schooled zealots humiliate themselves.

      "Always has been"? No actually, if you had ever read a book, you would know that it was NOT always one nation under god. The pledge of alleigance as written by Bellamy (an open socialist, by the way) had no reference to God whatsoever. The two words 'Under god' were added in 1954 by Congress.

      If you got an education, you would feel a lot less foolish right now.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:04 am |
    • GO_GOP

      Pugh7755 is absolutely correct. Gaunt: Please leave my country ASAP. We don't want you here. Also do some reading. Most scientists are now believers. A study in the famous science journal Nature (you heard of it?) says 98% of all scientists in Harvard, Yale and CERN (in Europe) believe in God. So stop embarrassing yourself.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:10 am |
    • Gaunt

      AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

      Oh you poor pathetic liar. A 'famous study' in Nature? yes I have heard of it. And for once, you are NOT LYING!

      There was indeed a famous study in the journal Nature on the religion of scientists. And it said the exact OPPOSITE of what you claim, you dickless little liar.

      Only SEVEN (7%) of scientists believed in god. SEVEN percent. The rest (93%) were athiest or agnostic.

      But wait, why should anyone believe me, over your silly lies? Simple. here is the actualy study, published in NATURE magazine, 394, No. 6691, p. 313 (1998) Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

      stephenjaygould. org/ctrl/news/file002. html

      Oh you poor little fool. How stupid do you look right now, GOGOP?

      October 10, 2012 at 6:15 am |
    • pugh7755

      @GAUNT, I never said anything about the Pledge of Allegiance. I just stated that the United States has always been and will always be ONE NATION UNDER GOD. Your reference to the Pledge of Allegiance is insignificant. Maybe, if you better educated yourself you know how to comprehend the written word.

      So, there is no more confusion on your part, let me amend my previous comment...ONE WORLD UNDER GOD...ALWAYS HAS BEEN, ALWAYS WILL BE. Now is that easier for you to understand or did I confuse you more by referencing the worlds pledge of allegiance and not the Untied States Pledge of Allegiance.

      This is the point where your laughter suddenly stops as you realize you have just been schooled, and my feelings of regret and sorrow for your ignorance begins.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:33 am |
  16. Gaunt

    Person A lives a good, life, start to finish. They are selflessly generous, kind, charitable, humble, tolerant, loving, patient, peaceful, and embody everything we as humans define as Good. They are also Sikh.

    According to Christianity, does this person go to heaven or hell?

    Person B is a horrific monstrosity. They violate and murder children, steal, abuse the elderly, blaspheme, commit arson and torture among young and old. They embody everything our modern society considers evil. On their deathbed, they genuinely repent and turn to god.

    According to Chrisrianity, is this person in heaven or Hell?

    And you DARE call the Christian god 'good'?

    October 10, 2012 at 5:01 am |
    • truth be told

      If a person turns to god they have turned to an idol and are deceived. If a person turns to God they may find Salvation.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:05 am |
    • Gaunt

      I note you completely failed to answer my simple question.

      Do you admit then that your god doesnt care whatsoever about good or evild deeds or acts or people? Do you admit that the most 'Good' person on planet earth would still be condemned to an eternity of shreiking torturous anguish just because they believed in the 'wrong' god?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:08 am |
    • truth be told

      You are not asking a question regarding God, you are asking about god, god is an idol and so neither instance was valid or true.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:11 am |
    • Gaunt

      Are you fuc king kidding me? You are going to completely evade and refuse to aknowledge this fundamental contradiction in your theology, based on the fact that I failed to capitalize a word? Is your defence really going to be to act like you are so stupid you didnt know EXACTLY what I was talking about?

      Stop playing the coward, man up (for once) and actually debate the premise and the issue. If you lack the courage to even stand behind your silly faith, what good are you?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:18 am |
    • truth be told

      You are not asking about God therefore your "question" has no answer. Idols are not God. It is no ones fault but your own if you cannot address God as God. A real coward hides behind its misspelling and pretends it is asking for Truth. You wouldn't know Truth if it bit you on the ass.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:25 am |
    • Gaunt

      You dickless coward. You squirm away, YET AGAIN from this simple question based on a lack of capitalisation.

      Your ONLY defence is to pretend you are so unimaginably stupid, that you could not determine what I meant, even when I specifically stated the 'Christian god'. Or maybe you are bnot pretending. maybe you actually are that stupid.

      Fine whatever, if this is the cowardly excuse you come up with to avoid actually debating like an adult, then allow me to make things easier. I'll repost for you, spelling 'corrected'.

      But I bet real money it wont matter. Cowards like you are always looking for excuses to justify your cowardice. You still dont have the balls to actually defend your own absurdist faith.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:32 am |
    • sam stone

      tbt: free people do not need salvation. only slaves do. back on your knees, b1tch

      October 10, 2012 at 7:11 am |
    • sam stone

      folks like tbt can relate to a petty dickless pr1ck god because they are petty dickless pr1cks

      October 10, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • pugh7755

      YES. In the beginning there were no monsters killing, raping, and torturing. Then satan led Eve astray and convinced her to disobey God, the one who gave her the gift of life. After which, all of God's knowledge was known to her and Adam. He tried to shield us from evil, but we were fooled by satan, which is evident in this article and most comments. The devil is still the master of lies. He is still deceiving non-believers. Lets look at Pasquale's Wager...If I live my life according to Christian principals and the is no God, I've nothing to lose at the end of my life. But, Since God exists, I lose nothing and gain everlasting life. Non-believers, however, have every thing to lose since the later is correct.

      Getting back to your original question. Yes, God is good, and merciful, and forgiving. He knows we are human and weak, unable to resist the devils deception and lies. So, in His mercy he offers forgiveness to those who seek it, those who are grateful for gift of life we are given. Just as any parent would do when their child disobeyed, he punishes those who deny him, and rightfully so. Ask yourself this: Why would a merciful God allow innocent children to be murdered by their classmates? Why would HE allow a theater full of people to be ruthlessly shot at and killed? Why would he allow people to starve, suffer terrible illnesses, and disasters worldwide? Why would a good God do all of this? The answer is...He doesn't. One of his other gifts was free will. You choose to do right (even if you previously did wrong), ask for forgiveness, honor God for all he has freely given and you will be forgiven. Choose to do wrong (which includes denying God), you will be punished. One single person was deceived and called for prayer to be removed from schools, which began the decline of mankind, and now look at the result, children murdering children in school. How many school shootings did you hear about BEFORE prayer was stolen from schools? How many after?

      All you have to do is look at societies decline and you will see evidence of the devils deceit and lies. The article says the fastest growing religion is no religion (the weak who fall for the devils deceit). That is why the quickest growing population is Hell. You can avoid this over crowding by being strong and resisting the devils deception. Christians are not the weak, or the delusional ones. Christians are strong enough to resist the devils lies, and wise enough to see that God exists. Our eyes are open and we see the works of God all around us. Likewise, we see the devils works all around us as well: the hungry, the sick, the homeless, crime, hate, and the list goes on. However, the devil deceives the non-believers in blaming God for all the bad, because they are weak, gullible, easily deceived, blinded to the glory of God.

      I was once a non-believer because I failed to see God working in my life. However, when I had no one to turn too in an hour of need I turned to God, and instantly things turned around. God answered my plea (prayer) for help, accepted my offer of giving Him my life if He honored my prayer. 30 seconds later, I received my answer. God honored my request.

      Since then, I am no longer deceived, blinded by the devils lies. I see God honoring my faithfulness. I see the works of God all around me, and at the same time I see the works of the devil more clearly as well; however, I am able to resist and avoid his deception and lies.

      So, yes, God is good, even though the world falls down around us. The days of Revelation are upon us. The 3 horses of the Apocalypse are riding, which is revealed in the state of the world around us. The prophecies of the book of Revelation are coming to pass. Yes, that book that non-believers label as fairy tales, is revealing its truth all around us, hence the book of REVELATION. All the prophecies will be fulfilled, and then and only then will the non-believers realize how deceived they were. This is why Christians try to witness to non-believers, not because we hate, but because we care what happens to them. We only want the best for them. But, the devil deceives and lies about the Christian's intentions. He makes it appear as if we are shoving our religion down their throats. That is the grand deception. He fouls the innocence of our intention with lies, and he blinds non-believers with his deception.

      And, just as the murderer on his death bed, truly repents and is forgiven, it is never too late to truly repent and be forgiven. However, the longer the delay the deeper the roots of sin take hold, the devils hold grows stronger, and the non-believer further weakens preventing true repentance, forgiveness, and victory over death. Repentance is wrongly defined as asking for forgiveness. Repentance is first turning away from sin, then asking for forgiveness, then accepting Christ's sacrifice on the cross as payment for our sins. But when we repent we cannot return to our sinning ways and expect forgiveness. That is not true repentance.

      God exists, AND is good. Don't be deceived.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • midwest rail

      " The days of Revelation are upon us. " Men have been predicting the end of days since roughly 40 A.D. They were all wrong. So are you.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • pugh7755

      @midwest rail,

      Yes you are correct they did and was wrong due to deception. The purpose was to mask the true last days as the prophecies of the book of Revelation are taking place. This tactic of deception was successful, as you believe I am wrong. Again more deception. I am not saying, like a lot of tv preachers spout, that I know when the rapture will take place and the days of tribulation will begin. It may not even occur in the next 100 years or even a 1,000. But, prophecies have begun to be fulfilled. And since those prophecies are nearly 2,000 years old and the prophets could not have just guessed what the state of our world would be in today, their prophecies could not have been the workings of a delusional mind who just got lucky with all of them, but proof of the divine knowledge given to them by God himself. The truth is there for ALL to see, but only those who are strong enough to resist the devil's deception can see it. Do not count me as wrong, just because you are not strong enough to resist deception.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • midwest rail

      "The truth is there for ALL to see, but only those who are strong enough to resist the devil's deception can see it. Do not count me as wrong, just because you are not strong enough to resist deception." And all of those who made their predictions were just as sure as you are, and were convinced that only they could see the real truth, that all others had been deceived by the devil. You are no different than they were, and are just as wrong as they were.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • pugh7755

      @midwest rail

      Once again you have proven you ignorance to your own deception. You stated that those back in 40 A.D believed in their predictions just as much as me and were wrong just like you say I am.. Well, predictions are not prophecy. Predictions are of man and can be wrong; however, prophecy is a divine revelation from God and therefore cannot be wrong. That is why it is the book of Revelation, not the book of Predictions. And the prophecies in the book of REVELATION were not wrong and are occurring today.

      October 10, 2012 at 8:23 am |
  17. Gaunt

    Statistics from the Federal Bureau of Prisons webpage, study 2007.

    The Federal Bureau of Prisons does have statistics on religious
    affiliations of inmates. The following are total number of
    inmates per religion category:

    Response Number %
    ---------- --–
    Catholic 29267 39.164%
    Protestant 26162 35.008%
    Muslim 5435 7.273%
    American Indian 2408 3.222%
    Nation 1734 2.320%
    Rasta 1485 1.987%
    Jewish 1325 1.773%
    Church of Christ 1303 1.744%
    Pentecostal 1093 1.463%
    Moorish 1066 1.426%
    Buddhist 882 1.180%
    Jehovah Witness 665 0.890%
    Adventist 621 0.831%
    Orthodox 375 0.502%
    Mormon 298 0.399%
    Scientology 190 0.254%
    Atheist 156 0.209%
    Hindu 119 0.159%
    Santeria 117 0.157%
    Sikh 14 0.019%
    Bahai 9 0.012%
    Krishna 7 0.009%
    ---------- --–
    Total Known Responses 74731 100.001% (rounding to 3 digits does this)

    Unknown/No Answer 18381
    ----------
    Total Convicted 93112 80.259% (74731) prisoners' religion is known.

    Held in Custody 3856 (not surveyed due to temporary custody)
    ----------
    Total In Federal Prisons 96968

    So why are Athiests so underrpresented in prison, while 'good godfearing christians' are so overrepresented?

    October 10, 2012 at 4:55 am |
    • truth be told

      There is a better chance of parole if you claim faith in prison. It is not unusual for an atheist to lie, and especially to lie if it is in their own interests like not paying the full penalty or any penalty for the crimes they commit.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:00 am |
    • Gaunt

      So, like all Christians, when you are faced with uncomfortable or awkward facts, you make up fairy tales about how those facts must somehow be false.

      Do you have any evidence for your assertions at all? Any actual foundation to believe that athiests are all just lying in these polls? Any actual statistics to back up your claim that the faithful get parole more often?

      No?

      Didnt think so.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:03 am |
    • truth be told

      It is the nature of an atheist to lie in its own selfish interests. You cannot even claim atheism without lying to yourself first. Atheists have tortured and murdered more people in the last 100 years than were killed in all previous centuries.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:10 am |
    • Gaunt

      I keep asking you for a shred of evidence to back up your insane lies. You keep squirming away like a whimpering coward. is this going to be your MO from here on? because if you dont even have the inteloigence to defend your silly claims, you end up being totally pointless.

      Atheists lie no more than anyone else does, and you have not a SHRED of evidence to demonstrate otherwise.

      As the above statistuics show, Christians are VASTLY overrrepresented in prison, while Atheists are vastly underrepresented. You fail.

      Speaking of your lies, No 'atheists' have not killed more people than Christians, not by a LONG shot. Like all not-very-clever theist liars, you dont know your history.

      Its also worth noting that the (only) two mass murdering dictators who actually WERE atheists (Lenin and Mao) killed nobody in the name of or because of atheism. While deaths in the name of religion plague history and continue to this very day.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:16 am |
    • truth be told

      Real life is not conducted in surveys , FACT all atheists are liars and murderers . It is in the true nature of atheism to do such things. A convicted atheist knows that people of faith are more likely to get parole, therefore they resort to their first line of defense and lie. No dodge just the way it is. Don't like the response? T.S.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:21 am |
    • Gaunt

      Its not the response I dont like, you pathalogical liar, its the fact that you refuse, again and again to provide a single shred of evidence for ANY of your illogical bull shlt. I mean seriously kid, who are you kidding? "All Atheists are liars and murderers"? Hey Loser, I just cited you PROOF that you are wrong, that in fact atheists are far LESS like to be in prison than Christians, who are VASTLY over-represented in the US federal prison population. What part of this is too complicated for your underdeveloped little mind? I cited FACTS. You tried to pretend they were all lies based on Not a SHRED of evidence. Nothing.

      No, people of faith are NOT more likely to get parole. Stop LYING.
      Real life is measured in surveys you loser. You dont like startsictical facts, well TS to YOU. Until you get the balls or education to actually substantiate your silly lies, why should anyone listen to any of your mewlings?

      Oh, and by the way, Christians are vastly overrepresented in Prison, but they are even MORE overrepresented on Death Row, where parole doesnt exist. Guess you are a LIAR!

      October 10, 2012 at 5:29 am |
    • Spddin

      Gaunt, put the facts out there and let the people who want to decipher them properly do so. Everyone else who makes up BS? Leave them alone. You can't reason with a wall, broski.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:10 am |
  18. GOOD NEWS

    Jesus said: For this is the will of my Lord,
    that everyone who sees the Son (of Man) and believes in him
    may have eternal Life!
    And (my Lord said): I shall raise him in the Last DAY (=MILLENNIUM)!
    (John 6/40)

    So that "Son of Man" has thus already come now to seek and save those WHO ARE LOST,

    in the beginning of this Third and Last DAY (=MILLENNIUM) now!
    (Luke 19/10 = John 6/27, 40)

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

    ===UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES===

    October 10, 2012 at 4:54 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    October 10, 2012 at 4:52 am |
  20. RobS

    does anyone else find it unnerving that he ends with a call to political union among unreligious citizens? kinda misses the point. Aside from that, great article.

    October 10, 2012 at 4:48 am |
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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.