home
RSS
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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

And yet Pew found that 68% of the religiously unaffiliated say they believe in God, while 37% describe themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious.” One in five said that they even pray every day.

John Green, a senior research adviser at Pew, breaks the religiously unaffiliated into three groups. First, he says, are those who were raised totally outside organized religion.

Survey: Protestants no longer majority in U.S.

Second are groups of people who were unhappy with their religions and left.

The third group, Green says, comprises Americans who were never really engaged with religion in the first place, even though they were raised in religious households.

“In the past, we would describe those people as nominally affiliated. They might say, 'I am Catholic; I am a Baptist,' but they never went" to services, Green says of this last group. “Now, they feel a lot more comfortable just saying, ‘You know, I am really nothing.’ ”

According to the poll, 88% of religiously unaffiliated people are not looking for religion.

“There is much less of a stigma attached" to not being religious, Green said. “Part of what is fueling this growth is that a lot of people who were never very religious now feel comfortable saying that they don't have an affiliation.”

Demographically, the growth among the religiously unaffiliated has been most notable among people who are 18 to 29 years old.

According to the poll, 34% of “younger millennials” - those born between 1990 and 1994 - are religiously unaffiliated. Among “older millennials,” born between 1981 and 1989, 30% are religiously unaffiliated: 4 percentage points higher than in 2007.

Poll respondents 18-29 were also more likely to identify as atheist or agnostic. Nearly 42% religious unaffiliated people from that age group identified as atheist or agnostic, a number far greater than the number who identified as Christian (18%) of Catholic (18%).

Green says that these numbers are “part of a broader change in American society.”

“The unaffiliated have become a more distinct group,” he said.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Pew's numbers were met with elation among atheist and secular leaders. Jesse Galef, communications director for the Secular Student Alliance, said that the growth of the unaffiliated should translate into greater political representation for secular interests.

“We would love to see the political leaders lead on this issue, but we are perfectly content with them following these demographic trends, following the voters,” Galef said.

“As more of the voters are unaffiliated and identifying as atheist and agnostics, I think the politicians will follow that for votes.

“We won’t be dismissed or ignored anymore,” Galef said.

The Pew survey suggested that the Democratic Party would do well to recognize the growth of the unaffiliated, since 63% of them identify with or lean toward that political group. Only 26% of the unaffiliated do the same with the Republican Party.

"In the near future, if not this year, the unaffiliated voters will be as important as the traditionally religious are to the Republican Party collation,” Green predicted.

Green points to the 2008 exit polls as evidence for that prediction. That year, Republican presidential nominee John McCain beat President Barack Obama by 47 points among white evangelical voters, while Obama had a 52-point margin of victory over McCain among the religiously unaffiliated.

According to exit polls, the proportion of religiously unaffiliated Americans who supported the Democratic presidential candidate grew 14 points from 2000 to 2008.

In announcing the survey’s findings at the Religion Newswriters Association conference in Bethesda, Maryland, Green said the growing political power of the unaffiliated within the Democratic Party could become similar to the power the Religious Right acquired in the GOP in the 1980s.

“Given the growing numbers of the unaffiliated, there is the potential that that could be harnessed,” he said.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Faith Now • Politics • Polls

soundoff (7,763 Responses)
  1. Todd

    Huebert,

    There is another alternative, which I believe is the point Jesus made – no one has that kind of faith (and if you want a definition of faith I would not mind providing one). And since the point of the passage is to show that people do not have that faith, it is entirely accurate. To add to this I would say that this is precisely the reason people need a savior – because in and of ourselves we cannot have this type of faith in God.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Huebert

      The bible does not support your interpretation. Their are plenty of passages in which someone other than Jesus preforms a miracle. Peter walks on water, Paul raises a boy form the dead. So, according to the bible, humans can preform miracles.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Todd

      Humans do not perform miracles in the sense that it is by their own power. It is through the power of God that people have performed miracles. But remember the passage you quoted "....if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed (this is referring to the size of faith {for lack of a better word at this point), you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move and nothing will be impossible for you."

      The question you posed as I understood it was not about men performing miracles (by the way, Paul and Peter declined worship as if they were the ones with the power Acts 14:15). The context of the Matthew passage was about Jesus' disciples not being able to heal a boy that was demon possessed. The reason, they were not trusting (did not have faith) in the power of God. Hence Jesus' statement. There is no question that miracles happened through men, but it was not of their own power and doing.

      So as far as interpretation – what I stated is consistent with the context of the passage in Matthew and does not do anything to other passages that talk about men healing others through a power that is not their own.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Huebert

      Todd

      What I'm getting at is that the bible claims that humans can perform miracles, weather it is by their own power or channeling god's power is irrelevant. The problem with this claim is that it is untrue. People can not raise others form the dead, without medical techniques, and people cannot walk on water. These are feats that the bible claims that normal humans can perform, since these claims are false it is good to reject the bible as a valid source.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Todd

      Huebert,

      "What I'm getting at is that the bible claims that humans can perform miracles, weather it is by their own power or channeling god's power is irrelevant. The problem with this claim is that it is untrue. People can not raise others form the dead, without medical techniques, and people cannot walk on water. These are feats that the bible claims that normal humans can perform, since these claims are false it is good to reject the bible as a valid source."

      Obviously we would disagree on miracles happening – I think that is due to our worldviews being opposite. If I may ask a question regarding miracles – why can't miracles happen?

      It like Hume, "A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined." This would be a circular argument and therefore invalid reason to reject miracles.

      I think CS Lewis has an answer to this, "Now of course we must agree with Hume that if there is absolutely "uniform experience" against miracles, if in other words, they have never happened, why then they never have. Unfortunately, we know the experience against them to be uniform only if we know that all the reports of them are false. And we can know all the reports of them to be false only if we know already that miracles have never occurred. In fact, we are arguing in a circle."

      October 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Huebert

      Todd

      I never said miracles can't happen. Miracle is just a term used to describe events that are not understood. What I said is that humans can not walk on water nor raise someone from the dead, without medical techniques. Humans can not walk on water because our feet do not displace a mass of water greater than or equal to our own. The only way a human could walk on water is if the laws of physics changed. Why would God will occasionally change the way the universe works in a localized area for the benefit of one of his believers? The whole idea just doesn't make sense to me.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Todd

      Huebert,

      I agree with you that men cannot walk on water. However, Jesus was no mere man (as I firmly believe he was and is God), and Peter himself as he trusted Jesus (who again is God) was able to walk on water for a short period.

      This was not for the benefit of Peter alone. John wrote the book and wrote about the miracles including that one as he says, "so that you may believe..." The purpose of performing the miracles (and writing about them) was to show that Jesus was the Son of God and so that people would believe in him. I believe the miracles written about are true of course and for that very reason. So, we can go back to the reliability and see if the same standard is used for truth and accuracy with one set of writings is going to be used for another.

      Your thoughts....

      October 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Huebert

      The accuracy of the bible is all I have been talking about. The problem is that you are so unwilling to accept the idea that the bible is wrong that you have convinced yourself that a supernatural ent.ity exist, and that said enti.ty will occasionally alter the laws of physics. Honestly which explanation seems more likely, a mythological story embellished the hero character, or God decided to change the laws of physics for a moment?

      October 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Todd

      To answer your questions plainly – God, breaking into time and space makes sense to me. And yes, I am presupposing the existence of God.

      If God does not exist, to speak of laws which are immaterial in nature makes no sense. To speak of laws that apply to all people (laws of logic especially) is to borrow from one world view (one that is said to be untenable) to make sense of another is not sound.

      If you want to speak of the reliability of the bible lets do that. We can start with the manuscript evidence – 5600 copies and portions for the NT testament alone with an accuracy of 99%. Add to that the we have copies that come from as early as the firsts century. That is less than one hundred years from the actual events. Compare that to the closest writing of antiquity that has 643 copies and a 95% accuracy. After that the closest is Sophocles with 193 copies. The earliest copies respectively are 500years after the events and 1400 years after the events.

      So based on that alone gives an indication that the writings we have for the bible are accurate just based on numbers and that is at the surface level.

      If you want to go further into it I am happy to. If you have a resource for me to look at I would be more than willing to read or look at it and discuss it. I have one you could look at, if you are willing, and we could correspond over those.

      October 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Huebert

      While I have enjoyed the discussion I do not believe that we can make any further progress. You believe that because the modern renditions of the bible are textually similar to the earliest versions it is accurate. I as.sume that because the bible makes impossible claims, walking on water, the sun stopping in the sky, it is inaccurate. You are willing to say that physically impossible things can happen in order to maintain the integrity of your mythology.

      October 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Todd

      Huebert,

      I have enjoyed the discussion as well! Thanks for your time.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:12 am |
    • Huebert

      Thank you.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • End Religion

      Translation: You just can't argue with crazy.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  2. Imaginary Skydaddy

    I have nothing against believing in "a god" or "some type of creator", but when you start believing in crazy stories from ancient authors (i.e; the bible), I question your intelligence.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • sam stone

      not to mention the idea that folks claim that their view of god is the objectively correct one

      October 18, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Todd

      Imaginary Skydaddy

      "I have nothing against believing in "a god" or "some type of creator", but when you start believing in crazy stories from ancient authors (i.e; the bible), I question your intelligence."

      What do you accept as far as what is valid from writing s of antiquity? How do you determine that? Do you use the same standard for Plato and Aristotle? Or do you reject what is attributed to them as well?

      October 18, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Huebert

      Todd

      Neither Plato nor Aristotle claimed to have supernatural powers. Atheist do not disbelieve the bible because it is old, we disbelieve it because it makes extraordinary unsupported claims.

      October 18, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Todd

      Heubert,

      The question has to do with reliability – can we trust that what is written is accurate? What is the standard used to determine the reliability of the writings? And, is it consistent for all of the ancient writings? If not, why not?

      October 18, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Huebert

      Todd

      You are correct, it is a question of accuracy. And it is the same for all writings ancient and modern. The standard used is weather or not the claims within the writings are accurate. The problem with the bible is that it makes claims that are obviously inaccurate. For example, the bible claims that with faith one can literally move mountains by asking them to (Matthew 17:20). This is obviously a false claim.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Todd

      Huebert,

      Sorry, I meant for my reply to be here, but I made a new entry above.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Imaginary Skydaddy

      The writings of Plato and Aristotle are not dependant on their existence to be relevant. Jesus and God on the other hand, if they turn out not to exist, the entire bible is irrelevant.

      October 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Todd

      Imaginary Skydaddy

      "The writings of Plato and Aristotle are not dependant on their existence to be relevant. Jesus and God on the other hand, if they turn out not to exist, the entire bible is irrelevant."

      I believe it is relevant to the conversation. I think it applies to the standard that is used to determine reliability of ancient writings. If the same standard is used, the evidence is clear. If it is not the same standard then I would ask why?

      October 19, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  3. Imaginary Skydaddy

    I have nothing against believing in "a god" or "some type of creator", but when you start believing in crazy stories from ancient authors (i.e; the bible), I question your intelligence.

    I READ IT IN A BOOK WRITTEN BY UNKNOWN AUTHORS OVER 2000 YEARS AGO, SO IT MUST BE TRUE.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  4. brad4nyc

    How evil a monster your mythical "God" is. Thank god God is imaginary, for the story of God is a story of a cruel mass murderer. If god is all powerful and all knowing and perfectly good, he would not bring people into the world knowing that they would go to hell and be tortured forever- a perfectly good being would never do such a thing.

    If god is all powerful and all knowing and perfectly EVIL, then god would create people knowing in advance they were going to burn in hell forever. Therefore God is pure EVIL, so fortunatley he imaginary too. For proof God Is Imaginary go to http://godisimaginary.com

    October 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • sam stone

      god is personal. petty, vindictive pr1cks find comfort in a petty, vindictive pr1ck god

      October 18, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • Todd

      brad4nyc

      "How evil a monster your mythical "God" is. Thank god God is imaginary, for the story of God is a story of a cruel mass murderer. If god is all powerful and all knowing and perfectly good, he would not bring people into the world knowing that they would go to hell and be tortured forever- a perfectly good being would never do such a thing."

      Where do you get the sense of right and wrong, good and evil? What is the standard you use? Is the idea of right and wrong, good and evil immaterial in nature? If so (as it sounds like you believe that matter or the physical creation is all that there is), how can you speak of right and wrong or good and evil – if they are immaterial in nature (that is – without physical properties).

      "If god is all powerful and all knowing and perfectly EVIL, then god would create people knowing in advance they were going to burn in hell forever. Therefore God is pure EVIL, so fortunatley he imaginary too. For proof God Is Imaginary go to http://godisimaginary.com"
      ,
      It appears you equate evil with myth "..God is pure EVIL, so fortunately he (is) imaginary too." If God is equated to evil and it is thereby said that God is therefore imaginary – then evil is mythical in nature and there is nothing wrong with murder, it just is. To be evil or to be wrong indicates there is a standard by which to judge some action or person.

      October 18, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • End Religion

      todd, why do we need to keep educating religious folks on this. Read and learn. Setting your myths aside might help you.

      Morality: Using empathy as a guide for human interaction. AKA, "treat others the way you want to be treated" and "put yourself in my shoes".

      Karen Wynn of Yale has a study showing even babies have an idea of wrong versus right. Neuroscientist Christian Keysers has done research to show that the brain of those who see others receiving pain themselves have similar neurological responses. There is a curve to empathy; some feel it more than others. But it certainly doesn't come from a hateful book about imaginary people.

      Frans de Waal shows that even monkeys employ "morality"...

      October 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Todd

      End Religion,

      It's not simply about education. If that were the case then you would not have doctors, heart doctors at that smoking. But to the point I made – in a universe where the only thing that exists is that which is physical, how do you explain abstract or immaterial laws that you assume to be true (Laws of logic)? You use the laws to demonstrate what correct thinking is – yet the very fundamental piece of an atheisitic worldview precludes that which is immaterial. Or I should say the world view that states that you can only know things through study and observation. This statement is not able to be verified through study and observation – it is not empirical in nature – it is immaterial – like the laws of logic.

      The idea of right and wrong is an abstract concept – it is immaterial in nature. How do you get the concept of right and wrong or good and evil – things that are absolute in a world view that at it's core denies anything that is not physical in nature?

      How does reading or seeing videos affect the brain when it is outside of it? How do words on a page (which again have no material aspect) change the brain functions? How does the abstract and immaterial affect the material?

      October 20, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Todd, it seems that since you don't personally understand the workings of the brain (be it human or animal), you have decided to give credit to the supernatural. Congratulations! You have just given a prime example of why humans create gods.

      Perhaps someone will come on here, explain the mechanisms you don't comprehend in a manner you can understand, then you will get first-hand experience of how gods are debunked.

      October 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Todd

      tallulah13
      "Todd, it seems that since you don't personally understand the workings of the brain (be it human or animal), you have decided to give credit to the supernatural. Congratulations! You have just given a prime example of why humans create gods.

      Perhaps someone will come on here, explain the mechanisms you don't comprehend in a manner you can understand, then you will get first-hand experience of how gods are debunked."

      This is a great way to not deal with the argument I stated. I was speaking of the immaterial and how it is possible to have incorporeal laws in a universe (or world view) where all that is supposed to exist is that which is physical? Is there a an answer one that is consistent with an empirical world view?

      October 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  5. peacebyjesus

    Veritas, the conception that Christianity ignore science, or that much of history of the Bible is proven wrong is a convenient but erroneous myth. Spend some time at some apologetic sites like http://www.tektonics.org/ http://www.christian-thinktank.com/ http://www.atheistdelusion.net/ http://www.godandscience.org

    October 17, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • End Religion

      All religion and its holy books are a fraud. There was no jesus. There is no abrahamic god.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • vire70

      Much of what they write on apologetic sites are outright lies, if not total misrepresentations. Your suggestion is laughable; one would be as well served by reading pure propaganda... but oh wait, there's no real distinction between apologetics and propaganda is there?

      October 18, 2012 at 12:03 am |
  6. GOOD NEWS

    As Jesus clearly and unmistakably foretold here (=John 6/27, 40)

    the 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) here: (John 6/27, 40 = Luke 19/10)

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

    ==UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES==

    October 17, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Lorraine

      GOOD NEWS, I have even more good news. Did you know that in Exodus 4:22,23, and in Jeremiah 31:9,20, and in Deuteronomy chapters 32, and 33 teaches us who the King YHWH, not God, but His chosen people, His 'son' and 'firstborn' is? It's the chosen people 'ISRAEL' there cannot be two firstborn sons. The name jesus, nor his story is nowhere in the 'book of remembrance, the so called OT, many have been mislead by religions, they are all false, and idolatry, not of YHWH, His divine name, look it up, get off of the goodship jesus, look that up too, it was one of the first slave ships. YHWH Bless.

      October 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • vire70

      In the third and last day... why is that the second millennium? Sounds more like the third millennium to me, assuming one day is 1,000 years. Assuming Jesus likes round numbers. You know what the hilarious thing is? If three 'days' is 2,000 years, that means one day is 666.666666666 (etc) years. Maybe Jesus is Satan in disguise? Satan was certainly the more peaceful figure in the bible, in comparison to God.

      Isn't it convenient that the third day is the second millennium, which you yourself happen to be alive in? Did you know at the turn of the first millennium there existed countless Christians who thought *that* was the time Jesus would return? Humans are just inherently egocentric; of COURSE Jesus will return in YOUR lifetime. It's not like there's been 2,000 years of generations of humans who've had the same desire and failed to see it happen.

      October 18, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • tallulah13

      I have the best news of all! There is no evidence to support the existence of any god! You are praying to air and making judgements based on ancient mythology. You might as well be offering hecatombs to Zeus. At least you'd get a steak dinner out of it.

      October 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  7. Lorraine

    veritas, sam s., and o, All Religions are Idolatry, False, and not of The King YHWH. And, you guys should probably check your history lessons; the prophets of THE King, and Creator of all life YHWH, Nehemiah, and Ezra, were making history with the Persian king Artaxerxes in 465, and 444 BCE. Try looking it up next time, before you rant on about nothing. All Praise goes to YHWH, and YHWH BLESS. One cannot pick, and choose this too is part of the american history whether one wants to try and cover it up, or not it won't matter, what it is, is what it is. Selah!!

    October 17, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • sam stone

      so, all religions are idolatry, but yours?

      October 18, 2012 at 4:07 am |
    • Lorraine

      sam stone, I will say it again YHWH has NO RELIGION, His is a Spirit upon the face of this earth, He designed us, and this earth for us to do right by it, and ourselves, and others. And when we don't well we pay for our own in the end, its not rocket science, only common sense. Just read please, Genesis-Malachi, for He's doing it all, as taught in Isaiah 44:24, Deuteronomy 32:39,40, and Isaiah 45:5-7, and in Jeremiah 17:5-9, YHWH chooses the way of a man's heart, and this he, or she, shall reap, meaning we are all responsible for our own choices in this life, this is no religion, this is reality, and our Creator YHWH makes perfect sense. There is a law of life, and we have not followed it, and is why there is so much suffering, evil, in difference, perversion, hate, greed, imposed poverty, war, etc. etc..and it will continue until we understand that all life is connected, and there is no way around it, myself included. YHWH Bless.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • sam stone

      Lorraine: You say YHWH is not religion, but then quote the text that is the basis of the CHRISTIAN RELIGION.

      October 18, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  8. ronaldreagan

    Karl Marx once said that " Religion is a Cult and the Opium of People Minds ". He was right

    October 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  9. ronaldreagan

    GOD IS NOT EXCIST . THERE IS NO HEAVEN EITHER . CHARLES DARVIN IS MY " GOD ", AND THEORY OF EVOLUTION IS MY BIBLE , AND YES I STRONGLY BELIEVE WE CAME FROM MONKEYS . BTW MY FATHER IS A PREACHER AT LOCAL CHURCH .

    October 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Joe Taylor

      IWhen God sent Jesus to save the human soul
      from the destiny of eternal hell you were included. Free will is the choice to accept or reject. Why my friend would you not accept the choice to spend eternity in Heaven with friends and family or eternal agony. We do not have answers to many quetions , just the people in ancient could have imagined or understood thigs that we assume today such as TV walking on the moon. An acceptance of God requires faith. Please my friend choose God or eternal Hell awats

      October 17, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      joe: how do you expect that people could (even if they wanted to) fear retaliation from a being in which they do not believe?

      do you fear the judgement of other gods?

      your empty proxy threats of hell are valid only to those who accept the supposed authority of the bible.

      October 18, 2012 at 4:16 am |
  10. Mark

    20% of Americans can think for themselves in a logical manner.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  11. sunnylovetts

    Glad I was soooo lucky that God found me, I use to be an atheist too. The truth is Jesus Christ, and the Holy Bible. Fact is stranger than fiction!

    October 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • sam stone

      yet you buy into fiction

      October 17, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • sam stone

      which interpretation of the holy bible is the "truth"?

      October 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • ronaldreagan

      Great. How much local Church paying you to say that ? Or you just kidding yourself ? Wake up from your Dream, and look around . Noone care about G-D anymore . Welcome to the 21 st Century my Friend . Century of the Social Networking , Blackberries , Gay Marriages, Abortian Rights , Marijuana Users , and the Unemployment Pay Check

      October 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  12. Ummm - no!

    Actually, if you have no religion - THAT'S a religion. It's called atheism. Religion is a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. If you're questioning whether you have religion and/or don't think you do but don't know, that's called agnosticism. Yes, the issues are much deeper, but that's a basic overview.

    October 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • bullseye

      Atheism is not a religion. It's not even a belief. It's a lack of belief. Atheism has no doctrine or culture among other things.

      October 17, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • biobraine

      I don't believe in unicorns. Does that mean that I am a member of the Church of Unicorn Denouncers?

      October 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • sam stone

      you can have no religion and not be an atheist.

      atheism is not a religon

      October 17, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Danjak

      So, which religion is correct in it's beliefs? All religions think they are right and true.
      Chances are...none of them are right or true.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  13. Lorraine

    tallulah13, you really should check that hater mannerism in, lol. Stop hating the truth of history. YHWH Bless.

    October 17, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Lorraine

      The only One is YHWH, there is no one else with Him, taught in Isaiah 43: 3, 11, 15, and in Deuteronomy 32:12, 39, 40, our King the Creator YHWH is alone, and does it all Himself. Praise YHWH. Oh, and as YHWH taught us in the book of Isaiah chapter 53, many will call those with Him names, Isaiah 53:4; that's alright there are worst things to worry about, for He will come in His day to let us all see, said in Malachi 4:1. And, 2Theo, not true book, the only son, and firstborn YHWH has until this day are the chosen people taught in Exodus 4:22,23, there cannot be two firstborn sons, stop lying to the people. YHWH Bless.

      October 17, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • === o ===

      The only kind of "trickle-down" that actually works:

      "Lorraine" degenerates to:
      "Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert", ".", "....",
      and many other names, but of course I prefer to refer to this homophobe as
      the disgruntled Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. writer boot camp flunkie.

      October 17, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Veritas

      Quoting bible verses is neither truth nor history.

      October 17, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • sam stone

      Nor is quoting bible verses convincing to those who do not acknowledge the supposed authority of the bible

      October 17, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Lorraine, there are no facts to substantiate your belief – not one. You have devoted your life to mythology. Your reward when you die will be exactly the same as mine: We will both cease to exist, then be forgotten when those who knew us are also gone. The difference between you and me is that I don't fear this eventuality.

      October 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  14. 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-12

    Events prior to the Lord’s Second Coming

    2 Now, dear brothers and sisters,[a] let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. 2 Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. 3 Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed—the one who brings destruction.[c] 4 He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.

    5 Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? 6 And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. 7 For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. 8 Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.

    9 This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. 10 He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. 11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. 12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.

    October 17, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Thinker...

      "11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. 12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth."

      So god will cause them to be decived and then punish them for being decieved? Your god is so loving! How benevolent and good!

      Why would your god punish people for not believing when he is the CAUSE of it (as you yourself just stated in your bible quote)? I find it interesting that once this great evil-doer is revealed your god will still CAUSE thoes who followed him to be decieved (ie the evil doer is only revealed to those that are faithful) when you god supposedly allows free will. Perhaps that was a poor choice of words for the author? Or maybe it makes more sence in the original language?

      October 18, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  15. snowboarder

    one in five americans have no religion? that's a good start.

    October 17, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Danjak

      Agreed. religion is one of the detrimental forces that holds this country (and the whole world) back from real progress.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  16. Cerebral1

         
    “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”
    ~Seneca, 1st century Roman philosopher

    October 17, 2012 at 5:09 am |
    • FlawedLogic

      That is the greatest summation of religion I have heard.

      October 17, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  17. SuZieCoyote

    Within 10 years, *3* out of 5 will claim no allegiance to the women-hating men in dresses waving around crosses.

    October 17, 2012 at 12:51 am |
  18. ATHEISTWUN

    Tthis article gives a glimps into what the future could be. A place where the religious are regarded like the flat earth earth society. an antiquated orginization with old dead ideas. Gone could be the days of believing in old books as the place where morality and concience are born, replaced with a realization that they are actually the place they go to die. Here, here to a brave new world.

    October 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • biobraine

      The future you describe is all but certain. Look at how badly the religious are losing debates against athiests and agnostics on these message boards. When you remove people from the brainwashing that they have been subjected to since they could talk and expose them to logic and reason, the long term result will be the abandonment of the empty promises of religion.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Dream on

      October 16, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • biobrain

      Bill,
      The numbers showing the trend are on my side : )

      October 16, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • duckforcover

      Pope Leo X said, "It has served us well, this myth of Christ".This quote probably does apply to most Christians today but it does provide insight into the religious/political machine which leads them..

      October 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Glimpse to the future-

      4 out of 5 still are religious and a majority of the 1 in 5 still believe there is a God but don't identify with the religious.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • biobrain

      Glimpse,
      What is telling is the rate of change. For instance, as read in The Economist: "The past seven years have seen a fivefold increase in people who call themselves atheists, to 5% of the population, according to WIN-Gallup International, a network of pollsters. Meanwhile, the proportion of Americans who say they are religious has fallen from 73% in 2005 to 60% in 2011". Your statement represents a snapshot in time. No one knows if there are gods or not. As I have never seen or heard from one, I will assume that if there are any, I am not important enough for them to be troubled with me, and I will continue to live my life in peace, sans religion.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • ATHEISTWUN

      It's the 30% of respondents born in the 80's and 34% percent from the 90's cited in this article identifying as non-religious that make me a" dreamer" as bill has rightly pointed out. today the numbers may be 1 in 5 but at these percentages it can change to 2 in 5 in just a few generations. this growth points to an exponential growth rate at work."Someday' may just be closer than it appears.

      October 16, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • End Religion

      deacon, your "dream on" statement is apropos. Faced with the fact religion is in decline and heading toward extinction, you turn yet again to fantasy.

      October 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • peacebyjesus

      Rather than religious losing intelligent debates to atheists, the very attempts by the latter to justify their basis for morality as supreme, besides the contrived ideas they have about the God of the Bible and inability or unwillingness to think objectively, are arguments against them. Meanwhile, the effects of this "war against God" by rejecting transcendent moral laws of the Bible and principles is costing America greatly in lives, souls and money: http://www.peacebyjesus/RevealingStatistics.html

      October 17, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • tallulah13

      Greed is what is damaging this country, and the greediest Americans are the ones screaming "Praise the Lord" the loudest.

      October 17, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • biobraine

      PBJ,
      As an agnostic, my experience has been that those who are religious lay claim to moral superiority. The irony is that each religious group claims to have the one truth while simultaneously denouncing the very many other belief systems as well as those who don't believe in any religion. Religion by its very nature is devisive. I don't believe my moral values or your moral values are given by any gods. As such, I have no claim to moral superiority. I will treat you the same way that I would treat a Muslim, a Hindu, an athiest, or any other group. I doubt that you have the same feelings for those of other religions that you do for your fellow believers. You claim that non-believers have contrived ideas about the bible and are unwilling to think objectively. You forget that so many non-believers have read the bible cover to cover and have gone to church for years. It is after years of thought and consideration about the messages of (insert religious doctrine here) that so many of us have rejected religion. Rather than a war against god, I think the majority of non-believers just want to live in a world where they are not judged as inferior for not believing in something they view as false.

      October 17, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Veritas

      peacebyjesus
      On this board, the religious cannot offer more than "god did it" or "the bible tells me" while ignoring all scientific evidence showing that the creation myth is totally wrong and much of the history in the bible is wrong.
      There is no "war against God" just resistance to the expectation of the religious that life for all should proceed as the religious desire based upon their delusions.

      October 17, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • End Religion

      @peaceJeebus: Religion is dying. Nothing you can do about it. You can keep your god as long as you keep it to yourself, but religion, we are destroying it before it destroys the world. Get your thumb out of your mouth and grow up, or get left behind, your choice.

      There is no such such as a transcendent law. You're simply fabricating dreams from your stuff of your delusion. A lack of religion isn't the cause of lost lives: it's very plain to see religion is indeed the cause.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  19. Lorraine

    YHWHs book of remembrance, the so called OT, is what it is a book for us to remember Him, and who we all are, His creation, His mercy, grace, and love for life. And to live, in peace, and do righteously in Malachi 3:16.

    October 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  20. Lorraine

    This is because all religions are pagan, idolatry, and they are not of the King, and Creator of all Life YHWH. HE WHO CREATES! YHWH is not of religions, He is of a Spirit, from the beginning of the book of Genesis chapters 1,2, His spirit moved upon the face of the waters, and this earth until this day. Not any religion, only His law of righteousness, the 10 commandments, which He, nor it has never changed, as taught in Malachi 3:6. Read Exodus 4:22,23, this is His chosen son, and firstborn, the people 'ISRAEL' and Jeremiah 31:9,20, so stop lying to the flocks, and all people as taught in Isaiah 56. Praise YHWH the King, His divine name. Read Genesis-Malachi, for the truth of the Creator YHWH, of the book of remembrance, the so called OT. YHWH Bless.

    October 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • End Religion

      Cram a bible up your backside and see if that uplifts your spirits.

      October 16, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      riiiight, lorraine. not a religion..we gotcha.....

      October 17, 2012 at 6:49 am |
    • Lorraine

      Let me help some of us who just did not get it, End Religion, this is no religion, Genesis-Malachi, the book of remembrance, the so called OT, given to us from YHWH in Malachi 3:16; this is the spirituality, and the connection of (all) 'life' the 'holy seed of life' if life is what one values, then this is what YHWH is.

      For we are all connected one way, or another, and is why we have a universal law of righteousness from YHWH, that we must do to bring peace, but of course we are in a world of mayhem where right is an abstraction. An abstraction for the greedy, the selfish, and for those who hate, 'get it?' And, again all religions are idolatry, pagan, and are all wrong! But there is a consequence of the connection of life, and we all are responsible for it. Praise YHWH, and YHWH Bless.

      October 17, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • tallulah13

      I believe Lorraine is right. She does not have a religion. She has a psychosis.

      October 17, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • End Religion

      Your second explanation was much clearer, thank you. Please take 6 of these little purple pills and call me in the morning.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
About this blog

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