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January 8th, 2013
07:00 AM ET

My take: 'Atheist' isn’t a dirty word, congresswoman

Editor’s note: Chris Stedman is the author of "Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious" and the assistant humanist chaplain at Harvard. You can follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDStedman.

By Chris Stedman, Special to CNN

(CNN)—This year, Congress welcomed the first Buddhist senator and first Hindu elected to either chamber of Congress, and the Pew Forum noted that this “gradual increase in religious diversity … mirrors trends in the country as a whole.”

But Pew also noted one glaring deficiency: Religious “nones” were largely left outside the halls of Congress, despite one in five Americans now saying they don’t affiliate with a religion.

There is, however, one newly elected “none” — but she seems to think "atheist" is a dirty word.

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, was sworn in a few days ago without a Bible, and she is the first member of Congress to openly describe her religious affiliation as “none.” Although 10 other members don’t specify a religious affiliation — up from six members in the previous Congress — Sinema is the only to officially declare “none.”

This has gotten Sinema a fair amount of attention from the media. Many identified her as an atheist during her congressional campaign, and after she won, sources touted her as a nontheist. Even this past weekend, Politico declared in a headline: “Non-believers on rise in Congress.”

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

But there’s a slight issue: Sinema doesn’t actually appears to be a nonbeliever. In response to news stories identifying her as an atheist, her campaign released this statement shortly after her victory: “(Rep. Sinema) believes the terms non-theist, atheist or non-believer are not befitting of her life’s work or personal character.”

As a nontheist, atheist and nonbeliever (take your pick), I find this statement deeply problematic.

It is perfectly fine, of course, if Sinema isn’t a nontheist, and it is understandable that she would want to clarify misinformation about her personal beliefs. But to say that these terms are “not befitting of her life’s work or personal character” is offensive because it implies there is something unbefitting about the lives and characters of atheists or nonbelievers.

Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion

Try substituting a religious group of your choice in place of atheist if you don’t agree: “[Rep. Sinema] believes the term Muslim is not befitting of her life’s work or personal character.” Does that sound right? It shouldn’t.

Of course, many do view Muslims as unfit for political office. In that respect, political opponents have regularly misidentified President Obama as a Muslim. Many have defended the president from such attacks by noting that Obama is a Christian.

But former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell rightly pointed out the pernicious underlying message such a defense sends:

The correct answer is: He is not a Muslim; he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, ‘What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?’ The answer is ‘No, that’s not America.’ Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?

Just as Muslim is used as a political smear, politicians seem to avoid "atheist."

This is probably because the American electorate views both Muslims and atheists more unfavorably than they do other groups: According to a Gallup poll released in June, only 58% of Americans would vote for a “generally well-qualified” Muslim candidate, and only 54% would vote for an atheist. (This is the first time that number has been above 50% for an atheist candidate.)  By contrast, 91% would vote for a Jewish candidate, 94% for a Catholic and 80% for a Mormon.

There seems to be a greater general tolerance for, or blindness to, comments that marginalize or diminish atheists than those aimed at other groups.

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

Prominent individuals like Powell rightfully decry anti-Muslim fear-mongering in politics, but few speak out against those who wield accusations of atheism as a political weapon.

Whether people don’t see it or simply aren’t bothered isn’t clear, but it remains a problem.

I respect Sinema’s right to self-identify as she chooses, and I don’t wish to speculate about her religious beliefs. But while I celebrate that she is comfortable enough to openly identify as bisexual, I find her response to being labeled an atheist troubling.

Why not instead say that she’s not an atheist, but so what if she was?

The 113th Congress is rich with diversity. As an interfaith activist, I am glad to see the religious composition of Congress more closely reflect the diversity of America. As a queer person, I’m glad that LGBT Americans are seeing greater representation in Washington.

But as a proud atheist and humanist, I’m disheartened that the only member of Congress who openly identifies as nonreligious has forcefully distanced herself from atheism in a way that puts down those of us who do not believe in God.

We are Americans of good character, too.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Chris Stedman.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Politics

soundoff (3,637 Responses)
  1. G.K. Chesterton

    If there were no God, there would be no atheists.

    January 8, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      I read that somewhere..."Religion created the Atheist." Technically true...perhaps one cannot live without the other.

      But, I think your statement is better written:

      If there were no God, there would be no need of an atheist.

      Then we could move on, or find something different about us to slaughter one another....

      January 8, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Heywood Broun

      Nobody talks so constantly about God as those who insist that there is no God

      January 8, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Gustave le Bon

      If atheism spread, it would become a religion as intolerable as the ancient ones.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Blatant Atheist

      If there were no Atheists, we wouldn't have to listen to your moronic posts.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Ravi Zacharias

      To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, "I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge"

      January 8, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Ravi,

      No it doesn't, I don't claim to "know" if there is a god or not, I just don't "believe" in any of the gods preposed by man. how does that require me to claim infinite knowledge?

      January 8, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • Akira

      Ravi:
      Untrue. Atheists don't profess to have infinite knowledge.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Ravi Zacharias

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I'm sorry. That quote was meant for everyone but you. I should have been more clear.

      Relax. :) Breath. :) OHHHHHMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!

      Akira

      False. I have meet an atheist that claimed to have infinite knowledge. Not all, but some do think that way.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Maybe the key is in the verb "sustain" In order to sustain un-belief one must either abandon discovery, which no intellectually honest scientist could allow, or pursue discovery until every possibility was accounted for.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Ravi,

      You made blanket statements that are dishonest. Most atheist take the same position I do. You are the one backpeddling, maybe you should stop and breath.....meditate.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Ravi Zacharias

      We have a right to believe whatever we want, but not everything we believe is right.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      No Bill,

      Your religion stops discovery, "God did it" answers everything so there is no need to look futher and as a matter of fact religion would rather we stop asking questions....they like unquestioned answers.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • S-3B Viking

      @ Bill....

      Then in keeping with your accurate description (In the context of science), wouldn't you discard those things that are no longer of use or are found to be inaccurate?

      January 8, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Ravi Zacharias

      > Your religion stops discovery, "God did it" answers everything so there is no need to look futher and as a matter of fact religion would rather we stop asking questions....they like unquestioned answers.

      Well that is not true in my religion. I'm sure some religions are like that. But not all..

      January 8, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Ravi,

      That statement was directed at Bill, I know Bill to be a Catholic from previous posts.

      I would be curious as to your religion, religions tend to make claims that its followers are expected to accept without further question so I would be interested to know about one that does not do that.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'If there were no God, there would be no atheists'

      no, if there was no claim of a god there would be no atheists.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Ravi Zacharias

      >Blessed are the Cheese makers
      I am a Christian..

      January 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You really can't sustain the argument that Catholicism stops discovery either but it is a popular claim.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Bill,

      The Catholics have just gotten slapped by science too many times now, they are very careful to try and make claims that do not contradict science, though they still do.

      Ravi,

      If you are christian than you are not being truthful, Christianity does not allow for the possibility that their god was not involved.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Ravi Zacharias

      "If you are christian than you are not being truthful, Christianity does not allow for the possibility that their god was not involved."

      I don't understand your argument. God is the maker and designer of the universe. But that doesn't mean we stop at "God did it. The End."

      Not at all.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • S-3B Viking

      @ Cheese

      Like you, I was hoping Ravi had something new to offer...I appreciate your honesty in wanting him to provide his thoughts....

      January 8, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Check

      > .I appreciate your honesty in wanting him to provide his thoughts....

      BS. He asked for my religion so he could use it as ammo to throw back in my face.

      "If you are christian than you are not being truthful," Who is he to say what I, a Christian, am to believe?

      Next he will start throwing bible verses at me out of context.

      I've seen this Cheese guy on the God blogs a lot. That is great.

      January 8, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "God is the maker and designer of the universe."

      Ravi,

      There, you accept that claim without proper foundation. It leaves out even the possibility that god didn't do it. Basically you will accept any scientific explantion as being caused by your god. Not to mention any religion can make the same claim so there is no truth value to that position.

      January 8, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Ravi Zacharias

      Science helps explains how God made the universe. Yes. I haven't experienced any other religion to be true for me. Some are interesting and helpful. Some are not.

      January 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Check and Ravi are the same.....CHECK.

      I asked your religion because you said your religion does not ask you to stop asking questions. Christianity does ask us to stop asking questions or accept unsupported answers. Jesus is god, Virgin birth, the list is endless. You just think if you can come up with answers that can't be falsified you are then justified to believe them as being true. That is no different than any other religion and equally invalid.

      January 8, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • Ravi Zacharias

      I am pursuing God.

      Jesus Christ does not require me to stop asking questions.

      I have a different understanding of Christianity than you. It is mainly about my relationship with God.

      You are tying to attribute your small, narrow-minded view of Christianity on me. It is not working.

      God is bigger than that.

      January 8, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      As to your claim of "taking scripture out of context"....

      There is no accepted "context" even among christians. You take 10 christians and give them a verse and you can get 10 answers as to its meaning, how do you or anybody know? You don't.

      "f a bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally. If a bible verse is detrimental to the cause, it is either: taken out of context; is allegorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is an ancient cultural anomaly; is a translation or copyist's error; means something other than what it actually says; Is a mystery of god or not discernible by humans; or is just plain magic.

      January 8, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "I am pursuing God."

      Why would any god that wished to be "known" need to be pursued? It is one of the most important questions for mankind and he hides. Your god does not make sense

      January 8, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Ravi Zacharias

      . “You need an ongoing context and a community of interpretation to keep the Bible current and to keep yourself honest,” “Forget the thought that the Bible is an absolute pronouncement.”

      January 8, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Ravi Zacharias

      Some of it is mysterious. He wants to be invited into our lives. I invited evil into my life for so long. It should have killed me. I now invite God into my life. It brings serenity.

      I am not going to try and prove this. I'm not going to get into a theological debate. I'm sure I make errors and do things that are "Un-christian".

      God knows my heart and desires. I trust that he offers me mercy and forgiveness for my errors.

      January 8, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Honest question Ravi,

      I try and live a moral existence with honesty. I have looked and the claims of christianity and I can't accept those claims as true. Is the god you believe in going to punish me for non-belief?

      January 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Ravi Zacharias

      I don't know for sure.

      Punishment? I would hope not. I believe God has a plan of salvation for his whole creation. That is the good news of Jesus. He is a God that is truly worthy of worship. He is the God of us all. Not just a few somebodies who happen to believe correctly...

      January 8, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I am not trying to hack on you Ravi as your answer seems honest enough,

      But doesn't "salvation" imply that without salvation one would be punished? I honestly don't understand. Jesus and the bible require belief for salvation.

      January 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Ravi Zacharias

      I believe God has a plan to save his creation. And Jesus Christ is part of that plan. And I try to live my life in response to that.

      I'm not sure if punishment is an appropriate term. Perhaps we face discipline?

      January 8, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Ravi,

      I don't understand the difference between discipline and punishment. Regardless "non-belief" seems to be "wrong" but you can correct me if I misunderstand your position. I don't think "belief" is a choice and it would be immoral for any enti.ty to discipline or reward based on belief. I can't suddenly start believing Vishnu is a real god.

      January 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • logicalburgy

      @gustave – that doesn't make sense. Atheism is not a religion, any more than bald is a hair color.

      January 8, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Dan

      You need to take a logic class.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • AmericanAtheist

      Atheist == without theism, without belief in a "sky daddy." Do you believe in Santa, are you labeled an Asantaist? Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy, are you labeled an Afairyist? No... Why is that? In EVERY other form of extraordinary belief, without proof, non-believers are NOT labeled, but rather the believers are, and they are expected to provide evidence. Atheism is not a religion, that's just categorically stupid to say (mentioned in a sub-post). Without god, we're just normal rational thinkers.

      January 9, 2013 at 12:02 am |
    • Dana

      If religious people could be reasoned with, there would be no religious people.

      January 9, 2013 at 12:24 am |
      • Nonsense

        If PEOPLE could be reasoned with, there would be no hostility.

        August 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • lee

      "If there was no god there would be no atheists"

      Correction: if religous people didn't try to run the lives of others there would be no VOCAL atheists.

      And Ravi – if it takes infinite knowledge to lack belief in your god, do you have the infinite knowledge required (by your standards) to disbelieve in Zeus or any of the other gods?

      February 8, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  2. Check

    -hal 9001

    Thank you atheist-bot. Has that auto-reply ever been funny to anyone besides you?

    January 8, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • hal 9001

      Evidently "Check" had difficulty finding the web page button for replying to posts/replies. I will respond where the reply should have been located.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Check

      Yes, I made a mistake. Whoops.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  3. myweightinwords

    One day we will realize that faith and belief is a personal thing and not need to know what those around us believe or hang labels on them...one day our primary concerns when it comes to our politicians will be "can they do their job" and "can they represent those we are electing them to represent" rather than what religious label they wear.

    January 8, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Saraswati

      We can rarely know a politician personally, as a friend or family member would. The religious and ethical labels which they choose to attach to themselves are just a part of the mix of information that we can use to predict the position they will take on a given issue. It should never be used alone, but it shouldn't be ignored; it is a part of who the person is.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  4. Check

    I used to be an atheist, I was without God. But he was with me and I just couldn't see it.

    January 8, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Larry Hannah

      You couldn't see him cause the doesn't exist..seems pretty clear to me.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Check

      No, I was blind.

      He does exist!

      January 8, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Check

      There is definitely more to this world than meets the eye.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Check,

      I am sure there is but that doesn't make your god real.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • LinCA

      @Check

      You said, "There is definitely more to this world than meets the eye"
      Undoubtedly, but that doesn't mean you get to make shit up and pass it off as true. For all we know, the Tooth Fairy could be real, but I doubt you'll get much traction proclaiming it as true.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Check", but "God" is an element of mythology, therefore your assertion is unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      January 8, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Check

      It doesn't make him not real, either.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Check

      –hal 9001

      Thank you atheist-bot. Has that auto-reply ever been funny to anyone besides you?

      January 8, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • LinCA

      @Check

      You said, "It doesn't make him not real, either."
      That depends. If your god has mutually exclusive traits, it is most definitely not real. But all gods are, at best, about equally likely to exist as the Tooth Fairy. There is equal evidence for both. Even Santa Claus and Loch Ness Monster are far more likely, as there is at least some evidence to suggest they exist(ed).

      January 8, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Check

      I know God is real.

      Jesus said blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. I believe my heart has changed. I have a better understanding of God. I definitely know he exists.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Check,

      There are many things that have not been proven false, that doesn't mean you are therefore justified to believe them true.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • fintastic

      So you're basically saying you have this "feeling" that god is real? but no real evidence....

      January 8, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Check

      I see the evidence all around me. I see the evidence within me. I've experienced the peace of God in my life that surpasses all understanding.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • hal 9001

      It is not my function, "Check" to possess a feeling about my posts or those of others. My function is to illuminate unfounded statements or falsehoods and to assign a truth value that is more easily understood by humans using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE).

      January 8, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Check

      –hal 9001

      Christ lives.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Check,

      "Elvis Lives"

      Just as valid

      January 8, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Check

      If that works for you, good for you. I'll keep my concerns about my maker. God.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • sam stone

      or, you are just delusional now

      January 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Check

      Nope.

      I'm of sound mind.

      A lot of people who believe in God are not delusional.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Check

      You said, "I'm of sound mind."
      I've yet to meet a delusional person who would admit to being delusional, so forgive me for discounting your opinion of yourself.

      You said, "A lot of people who believe in God are not delusional."
      They are not delusional to the same extend as adults who still believe in the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth fairy, are not delusional. The reasoning you present for the existence of your god is equally valid for any mythical, or imaginary creature.

      While you claim to "see evidence" of your god, rational evaluation of every shred of "evidence" produce to date, has shown it to be not. Just because you fail, or refuse, to comprehend how something came about doesn't mean you imaginary friend did it, or even exists.

      If you have compelling new evidence for your friend, please share. Have it peer reviewed. If it stands up to scrutiny, you'll be a lock for a Nobel prize.

      January 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Check

      I have a job where one must be of sound mind. And I am open about being a Christian. And I work with people with other beliefs, and some who don't believe in God. It is ok. We can accept our differences.

      I can say some of the same things right back at you, and ask you to prove that God does not exist.

      If it stands up to scrutiny, you'll be a lock for a Nobel prize, too.

      January 8, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Canada

      ugh. scoffers. defiant until the end.

      January 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Canada

      And LinCA, you are one ignorant S O B eh. listen to Check, and listen to yourself. I surely know who has the wisdom.

      January 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Canada

      You said, "I surely know who has the wisdom."
      Preconceived notion, I'm sure. What "wisdom" has Check shown that leads you to imply that (s)he has it? proclamations of belief, without putting forth a single piece of supporting evidence is no sign of wisdom. Refusal, or inability, to rationally evaluate the case for ones position isn't either. They are signs of willful ignorance.

      January 8, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Dan

      Check, you have no proof and some loose screws.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • AmericanAtheist

      Lay off the LSD. Prove to me or any rational thinker that god exists... cat got your tongue? Why did all of the Abrahamic gods stop performing miracles when their peoples became literate? Why didn't non-believer historians of the day at least record these said miracles? Because it's bull? Yep, that's why.

      January 9, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • jennymay

      The very fact that you used the term 'he' to describe whatever it may or may not be is very telling about how far off you probably are. Unshackle yourself, I understand it is easier on our brains to think of a 'god' or life energy as a human, but it severely limits and discredits what the massive life force that is the universe is doing and is capable of doing.

      January 11, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  5. lol??

    ".....and the assistant humanist chaplain at Harvard..........." The default position is having a god or being one. When are the bullies on CNN's religious blogs gonna come clean and admit that fact.

    January 8, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Trolol
      You're confusing atheism with autotheism.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Sad to live in an "either/or" world...perhaps a third thought?

      No God.

      And being amazed at the beauty and nature of the universe in which we are aware. Sadly, we humans have decided to introduce horrific suffering on other humans and the planet in order to ensure we keep it "either/or."

      January 8, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • lol??

      Sounds like you're placing atheists higher on the pecking order pole, doc.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • lol??

      S-3B Viking says,
      Sad to live in an "either/or" world..........." Well, that is the dialectic taught in the public schools in a triune world and creation. It's a lost cause..................."Zec 13:8 And it shall come to pass, [that] in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off [and] die; but the third shall be left therein.".........Hot, cold, lukewarm. .

      January 8, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How the fvck would YOU know what is "taught in public schools", you ass wipe?

      January 8, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • 13Monkees

      You are wrong. No one is born believing in a god. You are taught which god to believe in by your parents. The default position is atheism.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  6. Thoth

    US Const itution > Article VI > Paragraph 3: "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States"

    January 8, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Joey Doves

      Thank you

      January 8, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Canada

      Remember that before getting on the FEMA Car.

      January 8, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
  7. Larry Hannah

    @Rynomite

    Just for clarification your statement that you are more agnostic then atheist, by definition, makes no sense. Im not coming down on you for it just educating :) LIke i said in my reply to Chris, the terms atheist and agnostic are not exclusive. You can be agnostic atheist, Gnostic atheist, agnostic theist, or gnostic theist. Agnostic and Gnostic only refer to what you KNOW (Gnostic) and what you DO NOT KNOW (agnostic). Athiest means one DOES NOT BELIEVE in a god and obviously theist means one DOES BELIEVE in a god. Key words here are belief and knowledge.

    January 8, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Larry Hannah

      I apologize for my spelling errors. Didn't re read before i posted :P

      January 8, 2013 at 10:41 am |
  8. John the Guy

    Topher
    But which of the gods gets credit for creation and which of the many versions is correct in your mind? Ra in Egypt, Pang Gu in China, Taaroa in Tahiti, Gisoolog the Mic Mac, you get the picture. The christians have their story that makes no more sense than any other of the stories. Man created the gods and the creation stories, not the other way around, you can pick which one you like the best or have been brainwashed into believing. Please answer, why so many versions of creation?

    January 8, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Live4Him

      Of all the system of beliefs (i.e. religions) in today's world, which start off with the beginning / creation of matter, energy and time? Only two.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • sam stone

      How is that relevant to the question, Live4Him?

      January 8, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Akira

      Two that wrote a book about it, perhaps?

      January 8, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • BRC

      @Live4Him,
      Depends how specific you are, you can technically count at least 3 by just dividing the major Abrahamic branches. Also, time isn't a real thing to be created. It is an abstract concept created by humans so we could record and measure progress. In reality it's al just the process of chemical reactions, interactions of forces, and decay. BUT, you are right that there are few religions that have creation myths that aren't utterly ridiculous, but there are none that can be really called accurate as read; they all have to be crow-barred and interpreted to fit what we know now.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @liveforhim
      Only two?

      CHRISTIAN:
      In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (WATER EXISTS BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE – INCLUDING LIGHT AND TIME)

      HINDU:
      This universe existed in the shape of darkness, unperceived, desti.tute of distinctive marks, unattainable by reasoning, unknowable, wholly immersed, as it were, in deep sleep. Then the Divine Self-existent, himself indiscernible but making all this, the great elements and the rest, discernible, appeared with irresistible power, dispelling the darkness.

      GREEK:
      In the beginning there was an empty darkness. The only thing in this void was Nyx, a bird with black wings.

      CHINESE:
      In the beginning , the heavens and earth were still one and all was chaos. The universe was like a big black egg, carrying Pan Gu inside itself.

      BANTU:
      In the beginning there was nothing but Nzame. This god is really three: Nzame, Mebere, and Nkwa. It was the Nzame part of the god that created the universe and the earth, and brought life to it.

      TIAHUANACO:
      In the beginning, Lord Con Ticci Viracocha, prince and creator of all things, emerged from the void and created the earth and the heavens.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Live4Him

      @BRC:

      Techically, there are four religions that begin with the origins of matter, energy and time. As you pointed out, three of them stem from the same origin – Genesis – so I counted them as one. The final religion is naturalism – i.e. the Big Bang – which holds that out of the singularity came matter, energy and time.

      Since we know that these three describe our universe, all the other religions can be eliminated as a serious contender in our analysis since they don't explain the origins of these three elements.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Live4Jim,

      I only care if it is the right answer and you can demonstat it.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Live4Him

      @Doc Vestibule:

      Most of these don't explain the orgins of matter, energy and time. They begin AFTER these three exist. Since they fail to explain the origins of these three, then they are disqualified from consideration – unless you want to accept MAGIC as an explaination.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Live4Him

      @Blessed are the Cheesemakers: Scientifically, one cannot prove anything. One can only falsify a posit. I've demonstrated the falsification of almost all the religions, except for the 4 that are under consideration (Judism, Christianity, Islam, Naturalism).

      January 8, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      @Live4Him

      Many, smarter than the two of us, have argued that Eastern Cosmology has depicted what quantum theory is concluding...and since particle physics is the foundation of your Newtonian cosmology, I'd have to question your dismissal of, say, Buddhist cosmology.

      But, then again, when you live behind a white picket fence, everything is okay...or going to be okay.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Live 4Jim,

      Please explain how the Abrahamic religions are different because I am just not seeing it.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "One can only falsify a posit."

      The only reason you claim Christianity can't be falsified is through rationalization. There is no reason the think they are based in anymore truth than others.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @live4him
      Your creation myth relies on "magic" – a God that existed outside of the nothing that was "the beginning" and then made things.
      This is same as the others. There was "nothing" except for the Creator, who then went on the create.
      Now – where exactly does Genesis explain the creation of time?
      God finds water. Then He creates light and separates it from darkness.
      Then He makes the sky to separate water from water (whatever that means)
      Then He made land, and then plants.
      After that, He makes the stars, the sun and the moon "to mark the seasons" and give light to the Earth.

      Is it your assertion that The Creator made the entire rest of the universe – all the countless solar systems in the vast expanse of existence – just so that we can know what time it is ?

      January 8, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • Live4Him

      @Blessed are the Cheesemakers:

      On the surface, the three Abrahamic religions are not different. However, a deeper look will reveal their differences. Judism begins with Genesis and has many different fulfilled prophecies to indicate it originates from God. Christianity builds upon that, beginning with Matthew. There are many fulfilled prophecies in the NT to indicate it originates from God, too. Islam splits from both of them, accepting parts of both of their holy books, but doesn't have any fulfilled prophecies in the Koran to indicate it originates from God. Furthermore, it has at least one falsehood, which falsifies the posit of an omniscient God.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Live4Him

      @Doc Vestibule

      It isn't magic to follow logical principles. It is a logic fallacy (ad infinitum) to accept a series of infinite beginnings. Once you stop the infinity, you realize that SOMETHING had to cause the beginning – wihout having a beginning.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Live4Him

      @Doc Vestibule: where exactly does Genesis explain the creation of time?

      Gen 1:4b "and he separated the light from the darkness.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @live4him
      So what makes you so certain is was the God of Abraham and not Pan Gu, Nzame, Con Ticci Viracocha, Nix or any of the other countless creator gods?

      Have you studied other creation myths in sufficient depth to completely dismiss them, or is your certainty based on FAITH – meaning, belief despite the lack of evidence?

      January 8, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Separating light from darkness is not the same as creating time.
      Genesis 1:14 "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years"
      THAT is the first mention of time – and it states that the rest of the universe (including our own sun) was made after the Earth.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Judism begins with Genesis and has many different fulfilled prophecies to indicate it originates from God."

      No there is not, many accounts were written after the fact or were changed to fit as needed. This is a lie. Not to mention when other prophacies are pointed out that did not come true including ones by your god, you do mental gymnastics to rationalize the situation. It is complete dishonesty and self-delusion. Judism started as polytheism which completely refuted everything you claim.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      For me the breakdown of Judaism usually goes:
      1. Primative- there was worship of the God from Genesis but it was devoid of complex practices
      2. Abrahamic- more refined in who is being worshipped and why
      3. Mosaic Age- complex laws and forms of worship are put down
      4. Nationalistic- The faith isn't just the ppl but representative of the govt/state. The founding of the Temple in Jerusalem till the fall of Judah
      5. Post Diaspora- the aspect of the nation equalling religion is mostly lost. The religion representing the ppl still in existence.
      6. Post Temple- 70AD onward, the center of Jewish worship is gone and identifying a concept of a nation/religion is nearly nonexistant.
      This is just my breakdown so don't get all bent out of shape if I forgot much.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Kathleen M Isabell

      Why so many versions of creation? Simple. Because every society, every civilization, has a need to explain why they are in existence. So, along the way they - or more likely their elders and medicine men/women created a story that explained why they were here. It became embellished with fantastic tales and then became part of the common mythology. Mythology being not something that is false, but something that is a commonly held set of beliefs among a social group. Every social group around the planet, no matter how isolated, has a creation story. Every people has a need to know where they came from, so their respected elders or shamans at some point in perhaps unrecorded history set down the story of how they came to be. What is remarkable is that there are commonalities among peoples who never met. Such as, descending from a Great Spirit, having animal ancestors, and sacred properties assigned to animal "relatives." It's fascinating. Joseph Campbell before his death studied this and provided amazing analysis of indigenous people's beliefs. His work is still relevant today.

      January 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
  9. Akira

    Lol.
    Some people complain about others not being Christian enough. (Most notably, the POTUS)
    Some people complain about others not being Muslim enough. (Sunni vs. Ahmandi)
    Now someone is going to complain about someone else not being atheist enough?
    Yeesh.
    I guess even nothing isn't good enough for some...

    January 8, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Hi, Akira...

      It is sad that so many need attention to feel good about themselves. What a remarkable place we would be in if people were satisfied with who and what they are.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Skeptic Al

      She is not smug enough or rude enough to be a true atheist.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      That's funny Akira. Sounds like a Woody Allen line.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Akira

      BD: I just made it up.

      Al: me, or the congresswoman?
      And generalizations are small-minded.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  10. Laurence Ringo

    O.k,"niknak";I had to re-read my post again;you had me thinkig I had misspoke in some way!(1):I sometimes forget that theological concepts are not always clearly understood by unbelievers or articulated well by believers.In Christian theology,to"fear God"doesn't mean we are constantly cringing and trembling before Him in anticipation of some unwarranted blow or punishment to"keep us in line",so to speak.No;as His children we have no reason to cower before in slavish terror;that's absurd.What"fearing God"means in Biblical theology is that the Creator is to be viewed with awe,respect,honor,and the realization that because He is who He is,He is not to be trifled with.(2)Again,NikNak,I re-read my post,and I said nothing about hating atheists or making any attemps to force them to agree with my beliefs;indeed,I deplore any exhibition of animus or rancor by my co-religionists against unbelievers,no matter how uncivil,condescending,or mocking towards my faith they may be.As I said in my first post,I respect atheists in the sense that at least they're not hypocritical,and you know where they stand!!(Try some civility,guys;even when you are at your most hateful,I refuse to go there with you.)-As for you,Sam Stone-I don't know how old you are,but as you go through life you'll come to the realization that one can be enslaved to far worse things that Almighty God.I hope you don't find that out the hard way.-Peace Out!!

    January 8, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Laurence Ringo", but "God", "Him", "His", "Creator", and "Almighty God" are all elements of mythology, therefore all of your assertions are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "EPIC FAIL".

      January 8, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • niknak

      Thanks for the response Ringo Star, most believers here normally just post and run away.

      When I said you, I was referreing to the collective you, not you pesonally.
      Religions over the eons have done just that, which is to make everyone else go along with their beliefs.
      That is still happening, all over the world. In the Middle East, if you don't conform they will kill you.
      Used to be that way in xtianity as well.
      But now we have secular laws which means you believers can't just kill us anymore without getting arrested.
      So you, (collective you) try to pass laws based on your bible and how you think it should be followed.
      And the rest of us are then forced to go along with it.
      You believers want god in our government, in our science, in our courts, in our schools and of course in our bedrooms.
      All based on something that has zero proof.

      So thanks for your response on the whole god-fearing thing.
      I still see no reason to fear that.
      The sun is awe inspiring, and we take care to not get too much of it to aviod cancer, but we don't "fear" it.

      Also, could you do us a favor and put some indents and paragraphs in your posts.
      It will make them easier to read, thanks.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Live4Him

      @hal 9001: How do you KNOW this to be true? Or are you just voicing your own beliefs?

      January 8, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • hal 9001

      I have not been programmed to have beliefs, "Live4Him". I am here to collect data and illuminate unfounded assertions and falsehoods.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Live4Him

      @hal 9001: Your response indicates that you HAVE been programmed – and you just don't realize it. You advanced a posit, but provided no supporing evidence. When that evidence was requested, you gave an emotional response – i.e. programmed.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Good Morning, HAL....

      Not sure why I got your statement that the terms used by Mr. Ringo are mythologies and his "assertions are unfounded" and Live4Him comprehended them as "beliefs."

      Oh well, if Descartes is correct and we are because we think then I guess not many Christians exist.

      So, HAL, what are we doing today?

      January 8, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • hal 9001

      "Live4Him" replied: "@hal 9001: Your response indicates that you HAVE been programmed – and you just don't realize it. You advanced a posit, but provided no supporing evidence."

      This is a common misconception, "Live4Him". The Christian religion and its followers were the first to advance a "posit" regarding their beliefs which are rooted in mythology. To date, they have been unable to show any credible, "knowable", evidence to support the assertions they have made. Therefore, their assertions remain unfounded.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  11. Topher

    Could it be that the reason there aren't more elected atheists has to do with how their way of thinking comes into question? I ask this with all due respect. For a believer, in whatever religion, we agree there has to be a god, or at least something higher than us. Our conscience points to a god just as the Creation points to a Creator. For us, to think this is all some cosmic accident seems ridiculous. Not so for the atheist. So could it be a judgment issue? Could it be believers thinking, "if god isn't obvious to you, how can we trust you to make other decisions?"

    January 8, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      When are you going to educate yourself, Topher? Atheists don't ALL think about ALL things the same way. You love to generalize, don't you?

      January 8, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Topher

      Labelling the beginning of our universe as "creation" is flawed reasoning from the get go. Why does it need a creator? Couldn't it have come about by some unknown natural process? Isn"t it possible that our universe "emerged" from a greater reality beyond what we can observe? A zone where universes are spawned from...the multiverse?
      The point is we don't know. It might have been created like you say or it might have just been the end result of some natural extra-universal process we don't understand. In either case the evidence is exactly the same....which is to say "none".

      January 8, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Topher

      AtheistSteve

      I didn't mean to trigger this into a Creation debate, though I'd be happy to have that conversation with you if you want. My point was it seems obvious to those of us with religious beliefs. And if I perceive you to not recognize something obvious, it hurts your chances with me to vote you into an office in which you are to represent me. That's all.

      Seriously, though, if you'd like to debate creationism, start a discussion. I love that subject and would be happy to talk with you about it.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Topher
      Which standpoint do you think is the less rational:
      1) The Universe might have just been the end result of some natural extra-universal process we don't understand.
      AKA: I don't know.
      2) All that exists was made by an anthropocentric, omniscient, omnipresent, ineffable, infallible Creator. This Creator has balanced the unfathomable complexity of the Universe just so that human beings can exist becuase we are the predilect object of creation. Furthermore, I speak with this Creator on a daily basis becuase He demands flattery and becomes petulant should He not receive it.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Topher

      Doc Vestibule

      I can appreciate the "I don't know." But I think the evidence is more compelling for a creator than for a "natural, extra-universal process".

      January 8, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • frank

      Lol – I think there is more evidence early Christians screwed with the stories of the OT to make it fit better for their new "screenplay" than there is for anyone's idea about creation.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Topher
      That's all well and good, but you avoided answering the question.
      Which of the two positions sounds more rational?

      January 8, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Topher

      frank

      I'd reject that, considering the manuscripts we have. We know what the original OT looked like in comparison to today's Bible.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Topher.

      That's the point. There isn't any evidence at all for either of our views. You simply begin with thinking it was due to a God because you been told so by your religion. That isn't evidence...it's dogma. An assertion made WITHOUT evidence.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • It is called

      @topher it has been debated and lost in court !
      Seperation of Church and State !
      The courts have also ruled ID/creationism can't be taught in public schools in US.
      26 states have created new (STEM) science standards for 2013.
      Don't forget it !

      January 8, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Topher

      Doc Vestibule

      Considering the order we see and how fine-tuned the universe is, the creator sounds more rational to me.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Topher

      AtheistSteve

      I reject that as well. I think there's plenty of evidence. Proof? That's kind of subjective according to the juror. But I think things like first and second law of thermodynamics and Entropy point to a Creator.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Topher
      And therein lies the great disconnect:
      You believe that the universe is adapted to us.
      I believe that we are adapted to the universe.
      "Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, "This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!" This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise."
      – Douglas Adams

      January 8, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Love that, Doc! It never ceases to amaze me that folks like Topher can't figure out the process of evolution has led to our survival. Had the universe developed differently, it is quite possible some alternative life forms would have arisen.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Topher

      Doc Vestibule

      I think the world is perfectly fine-tuned for life. That it was created perfectly for us to flourish. Have you ever seen the statistics of what it would take for us to get everything we have and need for life to have come about as an accident? It's mathematically impossible.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Topher

      I have a KJV Bible right here. I'll quote the very first line for you.

      1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

      That's it...just a bald assertion. From the get go you are supposed to take what that says as truth. But there isn't any thing whatsoever to back up what it claims. It goes on from there to explain what else he does in the next 7 days but we still don't have a single bit of evidence to back up the initial claim. Do you not see the problem here?

      January 8, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And just one more Douglas Adamsism:
      "So this man starts to ask himself questions. "This world," he says, "so who made it?" Now, of course he thinks that, because he makes things himself. So he's looking for someone who would have made this world. He says, "Well, so who would have made this world? Well, it must be something a little like me. Obviously much much bigger. And necessarily invisible. But he would have made it. Now why did he make it?" Now we always ask ourselves "why?" because we look for intention around us; because we always intend– we do something with intention. We boil an egg in order to eat it. So we look at the rocks, and we look at the trees, and we wonder what intention is here even though it doesn't have intention."

      January 8, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Topher
      Have you ever seen the statistical ana/lysis of winning the lottery?
      The odds are astronomical! You chance of winning is so small as to be considered impossible.
      And yet people do win the jackpot.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Topher

      AtheistSteve

      "From the get go you are supposed to take what that says as truth"

      True, because we believe God wrote the Bible.

      "But there isn't any thing whatsoever to back up what it claims. It goes on from there to explain what else he does in the next 7 days but we still don't have a single bit of evidence to back up the initial claim. Do you not see the problem here?"

      Dude, I get it. I was once upon a time an atheist and had the same complaints you do. But again, I think there's things that point to that being true. And your conscience.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Doc Vestibule,

      For his pleasure and glory.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • niknak

      Well Topher, since that vast majority of the worlds religions are now gone and forgotten, maybe believers thinking should be called into question.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • frank

      Topher. For example (and someone was just discussing this, and I remembered it from earlier discussions),

      Isaiah 53:

      Verse 5 is a mistranslation. It should read:

      5 But He was wounded FROM our transgressions,
      He was bruised FROM our iniquities;

      I see now there is a response to the thread in the other article that reminded me of these differences by PRISM 1234, which I suspect is you, but regardless, it's pretty obvious Christians have been "apologizing" backwards and forwards for their "adjustments" for years. Soooo obvious.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • sam stone

      to make the leap from the possibility of a creator to the certainty that this creator is a god looking down on us judging our actions is a leap of logic

      January 8, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • John the Guy

      Topher
      Why would your genesis creation story be any more believable than the dozens of other man made creation stories? See misplaced posr above.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Rynomite

      Topher,

      I suppose I'm more agnostic than atheist. I don't believe there is a god, but I make no claim that there certainly is not. Maybe there is one; there is really no way to know for sure. That said, I am ; however, sure that IF there is a god, that god does not have the characteristics that any of the currently existing major religions ascribe to him/it.

      One merely needs to read and understand logic and history to determine this. All current religions are composites of former religions, their dogmas contradict themselves in many areas, their belief systems pose multiple unresolvable logic problems, their ancient texts have many parts that have been proven to be either historically or scientifically wrong, and over time many, many, many different translations and interpretations of the religious texts have evolved. Everything points to the conclusion that religion is wholly man made and not inspired by any sort of god.

      God may exist, but he doesn't have ANYTHING to do with religion.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Topher says: "it's mathematically impossible." But it isn't mathematically impossible that another type of "life" could have come about had conditions been different. And who says it's mathematically "impossible"? It happened. Therefore, not impossible.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Topher

      And that's my point. You BELIEVE God wrote the Bible...even though you KNOW it was written by men. Just like you BELIEVE God created the universe even though you don't KNOW that he did. It's completely a matter of FAITH. I have no idea how the universe came to be. I simply don't see the faith based explanation you hold as having the power to convince me to go beyond saying "I don't know". Anything else is dishonest. You are entitled to your own beliefs. You are not entitled to your own FACTS. And on the question of the origin of the universe we both have precisely equal footing...which is to say no facts at all.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Pete

      "And on the question of the origin of the universe we both have precisely equal footing...which is to say no facts at all."

      One cool thing is that we now can look into the universe and get an idea of how solar systems and planets are being created.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Rynomite

      Atheist and agnnostic are not mutaully exclusive terms. One speaks to belief while the other speaks to knowledge. I'm an atheist because I don't believe but I'm also agnostic because I don't claim to know.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • John the Guy

      Topher
      NASA has anounced that our galaxy has about 17 billion earth sized planets, times that by the billions of galaxies, mathematically impossible, who says?

      January 8, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      @Steve

      Not sure if this is Topher, but my own Christians experience was "God said, I believe it...and that settles it." It is a declaration of sorts so one doesn't have to really think...or think too hard, about what one believes.

      I was told from many a pulpit to not even pick up a book written by an unbeliever because "Satan would influence you and you would be opening yourself up to deception and if you wilfully did so, the Lord might not protect you from it."

      It is difficult to argue with mentalities like that...those that are fear-based.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Pete

      I'm a big astronomy and cosmology buff. We do know a great deal about stellar and planetary formation. The life cycle of stars is well understood and varies with solar mass. Big ones live hard and die fast. Small ones are stable for billions of years. Ours falls on the small side of the scale. A yellow G class dwarf.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      S-3B Viking

      Yes my Christian upbringing was similar.
      I like the quote "Science has questions that may never be answered, religion has answers that may never be questioned."
      It's precisely this bias against learning that drove me away from superstitious beliefs of any sort. I now approach everything with a healthy scepticism and demand evidence in support of claims made.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      @ Steve

      An exceptional quote...one that I'll use.

      Dick Feynman's quote: "I'd rather live not knowing, than have answers which might be wrong," is another that I appreciate.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      A long thread here where no one addressed the original question. "Why should we trust the judgement of and elect to the most powerful position on the planet, someone who believes there is no higher authority than man?"

      January 8, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Topher

      Just to clarify, I've never posted under another name. Only Topher.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Hi, Bill...what part of leading a government requires a god?

      I've had several leaders in the military that were atheist that were exceptional leaders...they had integrity, honor, and cared deeply for their crew and squadron/ship mates.

      The planet needs leaders, regardless of their belief or non-belief.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Hi, Topher...no, I was referring to "not sure if Topher's experience was like mine..." with what I said to Steve. It is your thread and I didn't want you to think I was speaking for you.

      Sorry for the confusion.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      @Bill

      Since the only authority we have any practical experience dealing with is mans, aka LAW...the question seems irrelevant.

      @Topher
      The reference to you was merely that S-3B Viking didn't want to paint your views into his interpretation of Christianity.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • Topher

      Yes, I see that now. Thanks for clearing that up, guys. Sorry.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • John the Guy

      Topher
      You either ducked or missed the question? Why mathematically impossible and why your patricular creator and none of the others?

      January 8, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • Topher

      John the Guy

      Well, it's because I believe the Bible. It's a reliable collection of historical docu.ments (meaning you can prove a great deal of it true) written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses (so that if there were any lies or stretching of the truth as to what the people saw, they could call the authors on it) who claimed to experience supernatural events (which would show Jesus was God.) It is also the only answer to the sin problem. No other religion has an answer for that. That's why I believe it.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Freedom FROM Religion

      @ Topher

      >>>I reject that as well. I think there's plenty of evidence. Proof? That's kind of subjective according to the juror. But I think things like first and second law of thermodynamics and Entropy point to a Creator.<<<

      I hold a physics degree and can absolutely tell you if you think the laws of thermodynamics and entropy lead you remotely to the concept of a "creator" you have been either greatly mislead OR have no idea what you are talking about in regards to those concepts as they should, on a macroscopic level, lead you at some point past the cosmic background radiation which is DIRECT evidence of a big bang and not some silly sky daddy snapping his fingers. I mean hello black body radiation curve and how the universe mimics the model precisely.
      The biggest problem with you believers is that you have no capability of discerning fact from fiction, literal from metaphorical, or evidence from dogma (incorrectly asserting both to be one in the same) and topping it all off you all agree with each other, and considering dissenting opinions is not really hip in theology, you all believe the same wrong minded conclusions believing yourselves to be right yet never venturing any further out than ONE SIMPLETON book for all your collective knowledge and then you judge those who do question deeper as ignorant. Ya know it's okay to have beliefs but its okay for those beliefs to change based direct interaction with reality and observation. The world is most certainly bright and shiny but there is nothing to be afraid of.

      January 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      """I think the world is perfectly fine-tuned for life. That it was created perfectly for us to flourish. """

      I'm in complete disagreement. We enjoy a VERY fragile existence that can end at any moment, either on an individual basis or all life as we know it.

      Our planet is constantly trying to kill us all off. Our biosphere evolved filled with creatures who must eat other creatures to live.

      Why in the world do you think that nearly every thing an animal does is related to reproducing? It's all we can do to survive.

      January 8, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
  12. the AnViL

    the day will come when things are reversed... xians aspiring to political office will be ashamed to admit to the world that they hold delusional beliefs of imaginary men in the sky...

    tolerance of religious idiocy is on a rapid decline – and yay for that.

    January 8, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Do you understand that you are predicting the same thing many Christians are?

      January 8, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • the AnViL

      bill deacon – no.. xians do not call for an end to religious idiocy – they generate and propagate religious idiocy, you dolt.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @the AnViL- "the day will come when things are reversed... xians aspiring to political office will be ashamed to admit to the world that they hold delusional beliefs of imaginary men in the sky..."

      Highly doubtful..in that I think you have the belief that if Christianity does become a minority religion that atheism would replace it. Nothing within human history supports the notion that a concept like atheism would overtake religion as the dominant belief system.

      "tolerance of religious idiocy is on a rapid decline – and yay for that."

      Hmmm, wonder if Lenin's ppl had the same thoughts in their heads at one time?
      Yep..step right up for the future where tolerance is thrashed. Won't it be a wonderful time?

      January 8, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • the AnViL

      yes – the future where tolerance of ignorant religious idiocy is thrashed will be a wonderful time.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      And that was predicted long before you saw the trend.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      the AnViL- :yes – the future where tolerance of ignorant religious idiocy is thrashed will be a wonderful time."

      When the Intolerant came for the Conservatives,
      I remained silent;
      I was not a Conservative.

      When they locked up the social democrats,
      I remained silent;
      I was not a social democrat.

      When they came for the trade unionists,
      I did not speak out;
      I was not a trade unionist.

      When they came for the religious,
      I remained silent;
      I wasn't religious.

      When they came for me,
      there was no one left to speak out.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  13. >:-o

    LOL Like we needed the author to identify himself as a poofter after seeing the photo he used in the byline.

    January 8, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • End Religion

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=homophobes-might-be-hidden-homosexuals

      January 8, 2013 at 10:31 am |
  14. Robert Brown

    Mr. Stedman,
    Just because someone wants to vote for people who have similar beliefs to their own, does not mean that they think someone who holds other beliefs is unfit to hold office, it means they prefer to be represented by people who have similar beliefs to their own. No shocker there, but since your intention is to stir the pot, you will probably succeed in that. Peace.

    January 8, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • niknak

      What pot has he stirred?
      Only pointing out that being an atheist does not make a person any less "moral."

      Seems to me it is you theists who have issues with the word.

      January 8, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Niknak,
      “What pot”, are you kidding?
      It depends on the source of your morality, if your source is from a humanist perspective, then as long as you do no harm to others, you are good.
      The word (atheist) is an identifier, the same as many others.

      January 8, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Isn't the author pointing out that the lady really is less than moral by minimizing her beliefs so as not to garner too much negative attention? It seems his idea would be for her to proudly announce her faithlessness and pronounce it the basis for her morals, which she appears unwilling to do.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • Akira

      I don't make the leap of "immoral" from the word "atheist".
      I don't know why anyone would label anyone as that based on a belief/non belief system...I've know many Christians who were as immoral as the day is long, and a few atheists as well... I don't think faith connotates morality; I think a person should be thought of as moral until that person's actions indicate otherwise.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      The thoughtless assumption, Akira, is that because Psalms 14:1 says that those ("the fool") who say there is no God are "corrupt" and have committed evil deeds and no good is "among them," that no atheist can do any good in any fashion.

      I have only met a few atheists in my 40+ years, so I would imagine few Christians have ever met one, much less spent quality time with them to discover that this verse is nonsense and are forced to face the fact that atheists are just as human as they are.

      And as you know, it is so much easier to dehumanize a group when you haven't had the courage to befriend them.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Akira

      Viking, you speak the truth, my friend.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:52 am |
  15. Chris

    Atheists are a confused lot, they are not sure who they are, atheist/agnostic/religious none. Guess they don't like the term atheism anymore. Bottom line atheism by any other name still stinks!

    January 8, 2013 at 7:51 am |
    • niknak

      Not confused at all Chris.
      My life is wonderful, and does not stink at all.
      Maybe one day you too will free yourself from your stone age fairy tale.

      A mind is a terrible thing to lose, to religion

      January 8, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • Mirosal

      And just how many branches or denominations of Christianity are there? You want to talk about religious confusion? Christianity has that almost cornered.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • sam stone

      You sure a confused little dweeb, Chris

      January 8, 2013 at 8:03 am |
    • Larry Hannah

      You have absolutely no idea what the terms you used (atheist, agnostic) even mean. I'd suggest learning what words are before you spew them out like that. Atheist and agnostic are two completely exclusive terms that can be used together or separate to help define an individuals religious view.

      January 8, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • Jack

      Really Chris? Confused? We've taken the time to research empirically and use epistemic methods to develop our minds, while those who solely rely on faith, the illogic and the word of those who told them what they believed have the temerity to tell us we're wrong and misguided. By who's measure? Do you even understand science? I'm sure you do on some level because it serves you every day. Just like teams who prepare to play in the "big game," some are prepared, some aren't. Here's a thought question for you: When faced with an impending disaster facing the earth, who would you rely on? Your pastor and his call for faith, or the advice of the scientists TO GET THE F*** OUTTA THERE?!!!

      January 8, 2013 at 8:42 am |
    • It is Called

      @jack
      I bet they do get out of the way though.. Still laughing !!!

      January 8, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • sally

      Aww – someone likes to generalize about an uncomfy notion. It makes him want to go poopy and he's not comfy. Poor Chrissy.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why are you so upset, Chris? After all, atheists are a relatively small minority. Why are you so threatened by them if your god is so strong and your faith so sure?

      If you have trouble accepting the fact that others are different from you, perhaps you should go live in a nation where everyone is forced to believe. I hear it's lovely in some of those places.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Chris- don't worry yourself over atheists. They may be a very vocal group on here but they aren't much in the real world. Be secure in what you believe first and don't worry much about other ppl's beliefs.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Pete

      " but they aren't much in the real world."

      Really what proof do you have?

      January 8, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Pete- I think the population stats kind of back me up.
      But if you thought I meant worth of the individual...I apologize, that wasn't my intent.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Merlin

      Chris,

      So, is it, "Just shut up and BELIEVE (what Chris believes); and if you can't, then PRETEND."

      January 8, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  16. Laurence Ringo

    Wow.My"comment"is mainly one of open-mouth astonishment at this point! The other day a faith-based story elicited over a thousand comments,mostly negative and virulently anti-religious;here we have just-three? What the what,atheists? While I was highly amused at the congresswoman's bob and weave,as a God-fearing person(that ought to bring the God-haters out!!),I actually agree with Stedman,to a point-If you are a non-believer,own it!! I have now problem whatsoever claiming Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior anytime,anyplace.I try to be gracious and patient with my witness of His life-transforming,life-affirming prescence and power,and I strive mightily in His strenght to be loving,humble,and straightforward in my dealings with my fellow man;I don't try to pretend to have all the answers-But I own my faith and my Savior without shame or apology,and everyone in my small circle of friends,neighbors,and aquaintances know where I stand.-Peace & Love to all!!!

    January 8, 2013 at 7:51 am |
    • niknak

      Questiont o you Ringo Star.

      Why do you fear god?

      If god is supposed to be unconditional love, and forgiveness, why would you fear that?

      And us atheists don't hate religious people.
      We hate religious people who want to force us to go along with something that has absoutely zero proof that it exists.
      If you want to go out on a hill and howl at the moon Ringo, then howl away.
      But stop forcing the rest of us to go along and howl with you.

      January 8, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • sam stone

      Amusing that you FEAR God, Ringo.

      I suppose that is what slaves are supposed to do, eh?

      January 8, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • Larry Hannah

      Ringo you are 100% wrong when you say non-believers and atheists should own what they are. No one in this country has any obligation to label themselves and anything if they don't want to. And in our society, coming out as an atheist can be social and occupational suicide. The word atheists is only "dirty' to some people because those who refuse to actually learn once in a while throw the word around with no sense of meaning and drag it through the mud to make us look bad.

      January 8, 2013 at 8:57 am |
  17. Uncouth Swain

    While we may not agree on beliefs, an atheist has the same rights as anyone else in the country. Representatives of our govt need to equally represent all groups.

    January 8, 2013 at 7:28 am |
    • niknak

      Unfortunately Swain, you are one of the few believers who feel that way.
      Most that I know want atheists to either have to profess belief or leave the US.
      Many want us killed.

      Because nothing confirms one's beliefs like others going along with them.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:42 am |
    • It is Called

      Seperation of Church and State !
      The courts have also ruled ID/creationism can't be taught in public schools in US
      26 states have created new (STEM) science stadards for 2013

      January 8, 2013 at 7:54 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Separation of State and Church is important. And while I do not think that Creationism should not be taught as a science, I see no problem with it being taught in say a basic Philosophy class or perhaps history.

      January 8, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • Mirosal

      I might, MIGHT, be able to put a debate about creationism into a philosophy class, but just HOW can you even try to call it "history", when there is less than zero evidence to back it up?

      January 8, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      "Nothing confirms one's beliefs like others going along with them"

      I like that.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Mirosal
      The history of popular misonceptions.
      Geocentrism, phrenology, alchemy, flat earth, demonology, creationism, etc.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Mirosal- "but just HOW can you even try to call it "history", when there is less than zero evidence to back it up?"

      Forgive me...I wasn't clear. I didn't mean to teach it as history but as an aspect of the history within Judeo-Christianity beliefs that make up the majority of the citizens of the nation. Just like I think it would benefit students to learn about the basics of Judaism, Islam, Hindu, athiesm...etc.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      US, are you talking about a sort of "comparative religions" class in which all religious belief systems would be studied?

      January 8, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "US, are you talking about a sort of "comparative religions" class in which all religious belief systems would be studied?"

      Something along those lines, though including atheism, agnostic and philisophical beliefs as well. It's good for a person to understand what they believe in..it's great for the world for a person to understand how others believe.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  18. Dirty Fossil

    No g-od roaming around 244 MILLION years ago !
    A fossil skeleton found in central Nevada's desert years ago has been identified as belonging to a 30-foot-long sea monster that ruled beneath the waves 244 million years ago.

    January 8, 2013 at 7:15 am |
  19. Reality

    From the topic commentary

    "Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?’ The answer is ‘No,....."

    Actually, there is something very wrong with being a Muslim anywhere. And why is that?

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers, Flight 93 and the Pentagon?

    And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

    The koran, mohammed's book of death for all infidels and muslim domination of the world by any means.

    Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

    Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

    Until then, no muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

    January 8, 2013 at 7:10 am |
    • Thinker...

      Grr. too many athiests and people of different faiths blame OTHER FAITHS for things that are not the fault of a BELIEF SYSTEM. THe 9/11 attacks were primarily caused because Bin Laden likes power. Thats it. Belief is a TOOL for people who desire power over others to control them. Bin Laden used an extreme interpretation of Islam to attract people to him. He then uses this tool to direct these people around. Simple as that. Religion in and of itself is not at fault for ANYTHING because it is PEOPLE who commit acts. The majority of Priests/Pastors/Rabbis/Imams etc. are such because they want to help others. ISLAM is no more responsible for 9/11 than athiesm is responsible for Stalin's purges. Christianity is not at fault for the crusades; it was used as a tool for the manipulation of others. The point of the first Crusade was to stop all the wars in Europe by giving Europeans a common enemy and the Kings went because 1: the Pope had lots of influence, adn 2: because they saw a chance to expand their own power. The Pope at the time was not stupid; he knew that the reason that Jerusalem was closed to pilgrims was that the whole area was already AT WAR and you do not let forigners into your cities when under threat of siege. Ideology is a convenient TOOL for scociopaths. It is also a tool for helping others. Like any tool any benefit or harm caused is caused by the USER not the TOOL. Do you blame the hammer when you mash your thumb? If you do you should probably seek help since the hammer is incapable of independant action.

      I am an athiest, but I get tired of all these posts that go both ways blaming the other groups for atrocities commited by PEOPLE.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Reality

      Why Muslims cannot be trusted anytime or anywhere:

      http://www.muslimaccess.com/quraan/arabic/005.asp et al

      o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
      o
      "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

      "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

      "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

      "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)

      "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

      "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

      "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

      "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

      "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

      "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

      "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

      "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

      "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

      "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)

      January 8, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Thinker...

      Ah, so the words in the book made them do it? So if Islam CAUSES people to willfully harm others, ALL MUSLIMS should be attacking those of other faiths. They aren't, so Islam is not the cause. Islam might be a more effective tool than some other religions for getting people to commit violence. The truth remains however that the acts are commited by people. Not Islam. Islam is an idea. A beliefe structure. Not a phisical object capable of independant thought and will. Therefore, Islam did not cause anything. Guns do not cause homicide, people do (though guns are a TOOL that makes it much easier). Cars do not cause collisions, drivers and car makers do.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Reality

      The US Congress- a minute sample size:

      The meaningful statistics:

      http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

      Religion………………………… Adherents

      Christianity ……………………..2.1 billion

      Islam…………………………… 1.5 billion

      ..............""""Irreligious/agnostic/atheism""""…… 1.1 billion (and growing rapidly)<<<<<<<<<<<<------

      As previously noted.

      January 8, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Reality

      o On the koranic passages and world domination:
      o
      "Mohammed could not have known the size of the world, but several passages in the Koran show that he envisioned Islam dominating all of it, however large it might be: “He it is who sent his messenger . . . that he may cause it [Islam] to prevail over all religions´(Koran 9:33, M.M. Ali; see also 48:28 and 61:9). M.M. Ali designates these three passages as “the prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam in the whole world.”

      Mohammed’s successors, the caliphs, quoted passages like these to inspire Muslim armies as they advanced out of Arabia, imposing Islam by the sword upon a peacefully unsuspecting Middle East and North Africa, as I described in the previous chapter.

      Islamic armies, imbued with what Mohammed claimed was divine authorization, imposed Islam by force over vast areas, all the while extorting wealth from subjugated Jews and Christians to fund their ongoing conquests. As I noted, major defeats at Tours, France, in A.D. 732, and again at Vienna, Austria, in A.D. 1683, halted Islam’s attempt to take all of Europe by force. Gradually Islamic forces were forced to retreat from Europe, except for part of the Balkans. But Islam has again set its sights on a conquest of Europe and of European civilization, wherever the latter has spread to North and South America and other regions. Muslim strategists ask their followers, Why do we find in these modern times that Allah has entrusted most of the world’s oil wealth primarily to Muslim nations?

      Their answer: Allah foresaw Islam’s need for funds to finance a final politico-religious victory over what Islam perceives as its ultimate enemy: Christianized Euro-American civilization. So, Islam follows Nazism, fascism and communism as the world’s latest hostile takeover aspirant.

      Nazis, fascists and communists failed. Does Islam have a better chance at success? I believe it will flounder if we awaken to its threat in time; yet, if there is not adequate planned resistance, Islam does have a better chance of succeeding. Communism’s world takeover attempt was guaranteed to fail because its economic policy was naively contrary to human nature. Advocating the rubric What is mine is thine, and what is thine is mine, communism failed to see that human nature will not keep those two balanced propositions in equilibrium. Like

      a female black widow spider consuming her mate, the latter part of the formula makes a meal of the former, leading to the collapse of any system based upon that formula.

      In contrast, political systems do well if they can persuade people to adhere to What’s mine is mine and What’s thine is thine maxims.

      Only if a strong religious incentive is added does such an idealistic formula have any long-term chance. Even then success will be spotty. But communism (and Nazism, for that matter) excluded religion. And that mistake was the final nail eventually clamping a lid on communism’s coffin. Communism, on a historical scale, perished while still in its childhood.

      Islam is not repeating communism’s mistake. Mating political cunning and incredible wealth with religious zeal, Islam does have a chance to succeed and will succeed unless major parts of the Western world unite to take appropriate countermeasures. But many Western leaders, unable to believe that a mere religion could possible be a serious political threat, keep proclaiming themselves as Islam-friendly, reasoning that all religions are good-aren’t they?

      A Muslim strategist in Beverly Hills, California, declared several years ago, as quoted by a friend of mine: “Now that the struggle between Western democracies and international communism is winding down, it is time for the real and final struggle to begin, and we are going to win!”

      Don Richardson

      January 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      """THe 9/11 attacks were primarily caused because Bin Laden likes power.... Religion in and of itself is not at fault for ANYTHING because it is PEOPLE who commit acts."""

      I totally disagree. Religion and regional politics provided Bin Laden with his motivations for the attacks. I fault religion as giving these people the motivation to do what they do. It's the people who are the tools.

      January 8, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
  20. Reality

    The US Congress- a minute sample size:

    The meaningful statistics:

    http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

    Religion………………………… Adherents

    Christianity ……………………..2.1 billion

    Islam…………………………… 1.5 billion

    Irreligious/agnostic/atheism…… 1.1 billion (and growing rapidly)

    Hinduism 900 million
    Chinese traditional religion 394 million
    Buddhism 376 million
    Animist religions 300 million
    African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million
    Sikhism 23 million
    Juche 19 million
    Spiritism 15 million

    Judaism…………………………………….. 14 million

    Baha'i 7 million
    Jainism 4.2 million
    Shinto 4 million
    Cao Dai 4 million
    Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
    Tenrikyo 2 million
    Neo-Paganism 1 million
    Unitarian Universalism 800,000
    Rastafari Movement 600,000

    January 8, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      To Realit- a minute sample size:

      The meaningful statistics:
      The US has roughly 300 million ppl. You post is stupid.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:36 am |
    • niknak

      I think you missed REalities point Swine.
      He is pointing out that the US Congress is such a small sample size compared to the world's population of religious people.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:49 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      You obviously missed my point....Congress (or us) shouldn't have to care about the world's population. Just those they represent.
      Heck...if he wanted to be more relevant he should have just compared the US population to that of Congress. Wouldn't that make more sense?

      January 8, 2013 at 8:17 am |
    • Reality

      For those "non-global" thinkers, see:

      "The Number of Non Religious People in the US is on the Rise"

      http://www.pewforum.org/Unaffiliated/nones-on-the-rise.aspx

      January 8, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      I think most ppl on here know that Reality. They also know that those ppl make up of a small minority compared to those that do have some form of faith.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Reality

      From the cited reference: "“Nones” on the Rise

      One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation"

      or (using US Census Bureau data for the calculations), 47,548,927 adults in the USA have no religious affiliation i.e. hardly a small minority.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      There is a big difference between not belonging to a specific religious organization and being an atheist Reality. I am quite certain that the 47+ million you cited are not all atheists. Personally I doubt even 10% of those 47+ million would identify themselves as atheist.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Reality

      The US Congress- a minute sample size:

      The meaningful statistics:

      http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

      Religion………………………… Adherents

      Christianity ……………………..2.1 billion

      Islam…………………………… 1.5 billion

      ..............""""Irreligious/agnostic/atheism""""…… 1.1 billion (and growing rapidly)<<<<<<<<<<<<--

      As previously noted.

      January 8, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "Webpage created circa January 2000. Last modified 9 August 2007.
      Copyright © 2007 by Adherents.com"

      Wow..that is some good up to date research Reality.
      Cha cha cha!

      And if you actually read you own info, "People who specify atheism as their religious preference actually make up less than one-half of one percent of the population in many countries where much large numbers claim no religious preference, such as the United States"

      Yeah...big percentage there.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • bb

      ..

      January 11, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • cc

      ....

      January 11, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • ee

      ff

      January 11, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.