home
RSS
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 • My Take • Politics

soundoff (3,637 Responses)
  1. niknak

    While enjoying my Left Hand stout, and getting some amusement from the comments here, I am listening to the latest Brownswood Bubblers compiled by Giles Peterson. Really excellent.
    Mr. Peterson is a DJ and has a radio program on BBC where he digs for music that will never get any national attention, but is awesome. He them puts out albums with the gems that he comes across.
    If you like music that is not for the masses, then go online and search for Brownswood Bubblers. I have all of the 9 albums that have been released so far, and eveyone of them is a winner and worth the money.

    OK, back to the xtian bashing!

    January 8, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • Answer

      I love the stuff coming out of the UK.

      The Brits really do a fantastic job with their shows. Especially the comedy!

      January 8, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • spent

      Actually, there is no Christian bashing here just reflecting on a lot of pain, and grief. How sad! Good thing there is a God for atheist not to believe in.

      January 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • JJ

      At least there are leprachauns for non-believers in leprachauns to not believe in.

      January 8, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
  2. Lexx

    Atheism is one of the most dirty words

    January 8, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • heliocracy

      If you say so. After all, you're the world's leading expert on the subject.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
  3. BubbaCo

    If there REALLY were a god, then dudes wouldn't wear earrings.

    January 8, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • Shecky

      If there really were a God, we wouldn't have to look at pictures of gay-boy dorks like Chris Stedman.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • Lord

      those are actually earlobe extenders

      January 8, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
  4. billy Poole

    'Atheist' is a dirty word, in fact, they were the one's who took "God" out of everything, they are the one's whom changed laws, they are the one's who said that "God" is a fake. I mean, why make everyone else suffer because you don't believe in "God". You don't like the word "God", then go to anther country. If you a Atheist, stay out of my life, stop crying because you want the laws to change. Stop crying about it and get on with your lives. Screw the Atheist's, I don't like them.

    January 8, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      I call poe.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Seconded.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • mama k

      Third.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • babeuf

      Figures. I'm glad you can't shoot anyone online. In real life, you retards can't stop, can you.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • hee hee

      hey hawaiiguest: I didn't know about poe's law. just looked it up. nice. thanks!

      January 8, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • niknak

      No wonder you still believe in santa claus Billypoo, because you write like the child you are.

      So the jist of your wondering rant was that you don't like people who don't believe in god.
      How do you feel about the people who DO believe in god, just a god that is different then the one you believe in?
      Should Jews and Muslims and Hindus and Druids all leave the country as well as us atheists?
      And what proof do you have that your god exists, and is the right one?

      January 8, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • hee hee

      @billy Poole: Nonsense. You don't get to decide what your country is. Last time I checked, your country is a democracy, not a theocracy. If you don't like it, leave (in your own ridiculous words). Or, try to change the laws... but expect resistance from more enlightened people.

      You may be surprised to learn that in many of the instances in which you think atheists are trying to change the laws, they are actually trying to insist that the laws are enforced.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • Keith

      What a hateful harangue,do you think that Jesus would agree with you or would he turn the other cheek. I am a proud and devoted ATHEIST. I, unlike the Jesus freaks have NEVER asked for any law to be changed to benefit me. I have spent my entire llife in the shadow of the Jesus freaks being insulted and threatened every day by people like billy poole. People like billy poole scream about their rights and beliefs without any consideration for my beliefs and rights. Billy, before you open your revolting mouth again just stop and consider the RIGHTS of those whose only desire is to be treated as equals and want the RESPECT that you demand for yourself.
      You poor benighted fool.

      January 8, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • bmatto

      You sew the flesh shut that would birth ideas to the world, you murder thought mid-wifery

      January 8, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • Maya

      I don't hate the word "God." I just don't want the government to treat anyone who doesn't believe in God as a second-class citizen. Separation of church and state, that is all I want. You can say "God" all you want. You can stand on a street corner and shout the word all day, for all I care.

      Maybe you should ask why you feel that the government needs to promote your belief. In my experience, a belief of which you need constant assurance is not a belief worth having. Honestly, why does it upset you if someone says that God doesn't exist? If you truly believed that God exists, believed it absolutely as a fact, then a statement to the contrary would mean nothing to you. I know that that the Christian God doesn't exist (I can't claim knowledge of the existence of any higher power, I simply don't think existence of a higher power is likely) because his existence is logically impossible, so when people tell me that he does exist, I react very much the way I would if someone told me gravity doesn't exist. I don't take them seriously, because I know for a fact that the opposite is true, and therefore it doesn't bother me at all if they say it or believe it.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
  5. Fritz Hohenheim

    The problem with being a moslem is that islam explicitely requires one to totally submit to allah. That's basically what the word means, is my understanding.
    A president can not be responsible to any god. He is responsible to the people. Christians usually are a bit more relaxed with regard to that than moslems or mormons. Nobody who puts a god over the people is fit for president in my eyes/

    January 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • Ed

      A devout Muslim wouldn't have time to be the president anyway. They must pray five times a day, and it wouldn't be feasible for a Muslim president to meet all of his obligations to the country AND meet Allah's five-prayers-a-day obligations. Therefore, I agree that a Muslim would be unfit to be a president.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Fritz

      yet where 58% of Americans would vote for a 'well qualified muslim' only 54% would vote for an atheist.

      Atheists don't submit to God.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • heliocracy

      People used to say the exact same thing about Catholics, that they were compelled to follow the Pope's every direction.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
  6. JoJo

    Chad's "Evidence" for the God of Abraham:
    1. The origin of the universe. -1 + 1 = 0. SEE LAURENCE KRAUS'S BOOK "A UNIVERSE FROM NOTHING"(2012) & RELATED COSMOLOGY.
    2. The fine tuning of the universe for the building blocks of life. READ UP ON THE MULTI-VERSE FOR STARTERS.
    3. The origin of life on earth. I'M A STATISTICIAN AND THE LAW OF LARGE NUMBERS SHOWS THAT AN EVENT HOWEVER IMPROBABLE BECOMES MORE AND MORE LIKELY AS THE NUMBER OF OPPORTUNITIES (e.g., ACROSS SPACE & TIME) THAT IT HAS TO OCCUR INCREASES. THE ORGIN OF LIFE HAD A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES, A REAL LOT.
    4. Punctuated Equilibrium: the fossil record showing species experiencing millions, 100's of millions of years of stasis (no change, random genetic mutations are weeded out of the gene pool resulting in a pool 'wobbling about the genetic mean'), followed by extremely rapid change resulting in new species appearing fully formed in the fossil record. SO WHAT?
    5. The empty tomb, and the unshakable conviction among followers and enemies alike that they had witnesses a resurrected Jesus. A conviction they held so strongly that they wen t to their deaths proclaiming its truth . YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING WRITTEN ABOUT AN ALLEGED OCCURRENCE WHICH HAPPENED AT LEAST 50 YEARS PREVIOUSLY BY FANATICS WHO HAD EVERY REASON TO WANT TO TILT THINGS ACCORDING TO WHAT THEY WANTED TO BE TRUE. WITNESSES CONTRADICT THEMSELVES ABOUT WHAT THEY ALL SAW TEN MINUTES AGO EVEN WHEN THEY HAVE NO REASON TO LIE OR EXAGGERATE.

    January 8, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • Al Roker

      I poo'd @ the white house

      January 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • Chad

      @JoJo “SEE LAURENCE KRAUS'S BOOK "A UNIVERSE FROM NOTHING"(2012) & RELATED COSMOLOGY.”
      @Chad “Krauss’s “nothing” is a “nothing” of his own invention, it isn’t “nothing” as in “the absence of everything”
      I really love it when atheists try this one. :-)
      one of the most enjoyable times in my life was listening to Craig slam Kraus for suggesting that something comes from nothing, and Kraus back pedaling by admitting that the "nothing" he was referring to "was a different kind of nothing, it was vacuum space, which has particles and laws and mas s", it was not the real meaning of nothing, as in the absence of everything.
      it was just fantastic, I so enjoyed Kraus having to acknowledge his disingenuousness and admit that indeed, nothing can come from nothing.. here is the exchange:
      http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-craig-krauss-debate-at-north-carolina-state-university

      Craig "Now what about the Big Bang confirmation? Dr. Krauss appeals to Stephen Hawking’s model. Hawking’s model involves an absolute beginning of the universe! It has the beginning of the universe, though it does not have a beginning point of infinite density. He says, “But it can come into being out of nothingness because nothing is unstable.” This is the grossly misleading use of “nothingness” for describing the quantum vacuum, which is empty space filled with vacuum energy. It is a rich, physical reality described by physical laws and having a physical structure. If a religious person were to so seriously misrepresent a scientific theory as this, he would be accused of deliberate distortion and abuse of science, and, I think, rightly so! What the quantum vacuum is is a roiling sea of energy. It is not nothing. As Dr. Krauss himself has said, “By ‘nothing,’ I don’t mean nothing. . . . Nothing isn’t nothing anymore in physics.”7 Empty space is not empty. “Nothing is really a bubbling, boiling brew of virtual particles.”

      Kraus: O.K., we don’t understand the beginning of the universe. We don’t understand if the universe had a cause. That is a fascinating possibility. By the way, [points to PowerPoint slide] there’s the picture of the vacuum that Dr. Craig so adequately described that I talked about. It’s not the nothing that I’m going to talk about in a second; it’s one version of nothing. That’s empty space [points to PowerPoint slide]; that’s what it looks like according to the laws of quantum mechanics and relativity. Empty space is indeed a boiling, bubbling brew of particles. In fact, you have ma ss because of it.

      ==========
      @JoJo “The fine tuning of the universe for the building blocks of life. READ UP ON THE MULTI-UNIVERSE FOR STARTERS.”
      @Chad “lol, ah yes, the fantasy of an infinite number of universes, and we finding ourselves in the one that can support life. :-) Of course, infinities cant exist in the real world, and the multi-verse is by definition a scientifically untestable notion (funny how atheist will embrace the supernatural, as long as ascribed to God)
      Fine Tuning of the universe

      In the past 30 or 40 years, scientists have been astonished to find that the initial conditions of our universe were fine-tuned for the existence of building blocks of life. Constants such as gravitational constant have been found, the variation of which to even the smallest degree, would have rendered the universe utterly incapable of supporting life.

      ""There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the Universe is in several respects ‘fine-tuned' for life". However, he continues, "the conclusion is not so much that the Universe is fine-tuned for life; rather it is fine-tuned for the building blocks and environments that life requires." – Paul Davies"

      "The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the mas ses of the proton and the electron. ... The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life" Stephen Hawking

      ==========
      @JoJo “The origin of life on earth I'M A STATISTICIAN AND THE LAW OF LARGE NUMBERS SHOWS THAT AN EVENT HOWEVER IMPROBABLE BECOMES MORE AND MORE LIKELY GIVEN THE NUMBER OF OPPORTUNITIES (e.g., ACROSS SPACE & TIME) THAT IT HAS TO OCCUR. THE ORGIN OF LIFE HAD A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES, A REAL LOT.
      @Chad “lol
      Otherwise known as “if you give 10 monkeys a typewriter and enough time, eventually they will bang out war and peace.
      Sorry, you should have studied more, you simply do not understand probabilities. It doesn’t matter how many heads you have flipped in a row in the past, the probability of rolling a head on the next flip is always 50/50.

      ==========
      @JoJo “ Punctuated Equilibrium: the fossil record showing species experiencing millions, 100's of millions of years of stasis (no change, random genetic mutations are weeded out of the gene pool resulting in a pool 'wobbling about the genetic mean'), followed by extremely rapid change resulting in new species appearing fully formed in the fossil record. SO WHAT?
      @Chad “so, it cant be explained via natural causes, that’s what :-)

      ==========
      @JoJo “ The empty tomb, and the unshakable conviction among followers and enemies alike that they had witnesses a resurrected Jesus. A conviction they held so strongly that they wen t to their deaths proclaiming its truth . YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING WRITTEN ABOUT AN ALLEGED OCCURRENCE WHICH HAPPENED AT LEAST 50 YEARS PREVIOUSLY BY FANATICS WHO HAD EVERY REASON TO WANT TO TILT THINGS ACCORDING TO WHAT THEY WANTED TO BE TRUE. WITNESSES CONTRADICT THEMSELVES ABOUT THEY ALL SAW TEN MINUTES AGO.”
      @Chad “they made it up? And, knowing it was a lie, they went to their deaths refusing to recant it?
      No one willingly dies for something that THEY KNOW is a lie.

      That reason, plus the inabilit y of that to explain how a movement based on a resurrected Jesus could have survived in the face of an occupied tomb, is the reason no serious scholar attempts to forward this theory, it was debunked long ago.

      January 8, 2013 at 11:36 pm |

    • Too bad God lost at the recent "Science Refutes God" Intellilgence Squared Debates. Poor Dinesh D'Souza. Poor God of Israel:

      http://intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/upcoming-debates/item/728-science-refutes-god

      January 8, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
  7. End Religion

    ATTENTION KMART CHRISTIANS!
    There's a blue light special close-out on Jesus on aisle 3. That's right, his time is done and we are BLOWING him out of here at a steep discount too good to pass up. We hope you enjoyed jesus while you had the chance because after this blue light special he'll be gone, gone, gone.

    January 8, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • sam

      It seems like a terrible idea to blow Jesus. :( DIdn't you see the article about how dirty he was??

      January 8, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • hee hee

      @sam: actually, I think that was almost the point of the "dirty jesus" article, whether or not the author was aware of it consciously.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • End Religion

      ATTENTION KMART CHRISTIANS!
      We're tickled pink to offer a mega-sale on Rusty Trombones. Quick, aisle 69 before Dirty Jesus takes them all!

      January 8, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • sam

      Yeah...you have to wonder.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
  8. Kman66

    Wow, how does it feel not to have a soul? I'm not a church-goer myself, and do not believe much of what is written in the bible, but I have always had a spiritual feeling nonetheless. Some of you people seem like lifeless drones. What a miserable existence your pathetically empty life must be. I do feel bad for you.

    January 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • Ed

      Sorry, but there's no evidence whatsoever that we possess a soul which lives on for an eternity in the afterlife. With that said, you can answer your own question as to how it feels not to have a soul, as no one has one.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • JFK

      I guess you can't miss what you never had Ed, but it is a shame you are one of the ones who have not.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • Hike Muckabee

      That's right. If they ate mor chik-fil-a, they could get right with God.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • Moravian

      Actually it feel quite OK not to rely on any imaginary friend(s)...

      January 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • sam

      So, no special feeling = lifeless drones? All that based on your review of comments on a comment board. Whew. You must feel great about yourself, being up on that high horse.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • Lucy

      You have to believe the bible because it's the word of God. If you don't, eternity is going to be very hard for you. I feel sorry for YOU.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Lucy

      And you know the bible is the word of god because it says so right?
      In other words, the bibles right because it's right because it's right....
      Do you see the circle?

      January 8, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • sam

      LOL Kman, you better get right with god! Lucy is warning you to save your soul!

      January 8, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • End Religion

      Lucy, you are so mercifully free from the ravages of intelligence.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • Ed

      @Lucy: If God is omniscient, then He already knew who would believe in Him and who would not before they were even born. If God is perfect and cannot be wrong, then there's no way for a non-believer to change their mind and choose to believe, because if they did, then God would be wrong, and that cannot occur. Therefore, God condemned the non-believers to an eternity of He ll before they were even conceived within their mother's wombs. Furthermore, if nothing happens without God allowing it, and if everything happens because it's God's will, then it was God's will for the non-believers to go to He ll.

      Does it make sense to create temptation in the tree of knowledge and then place in in the middle of the garden to tempt the young, naive humans, Adam & Eve? If God created He ll for the devil, then why did He not cast the devil into He ll in the beginning? Instead, He let the devil loose on Earth to lead billions of people to an eternity of He ll. Therefore, the sin which He despises so much was his creation to begin with. This proves that either God is high UNintelligent, or He simply does not exist. I choose to believe the latter.

      Your "god of love" seems more like a god of S & M. I'm sorry that you believe that the lie is actually true.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • niknak

      Save it Kmart66.
      We don't need or want your pity.
      We just want you and your religious fanatice to stay out of our lives and for you to stop pushing your beliefs on us.
      Let us worry about being happy and living our lives the way we want to.
      White collar conservative flashing down the street, you can't judge me.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • ZenSoapbox

      Congratulations on your spiritual feelings. But not everyone has them and not everyone needs them. I am a proud atheist. I am a husband and a father to two wonderful daughters. I serve my community in a job that is perfectly suited to me. I assure you, my life is neither miserable nor empty.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • hee hee

      You ninny. You know nothing of the lives of any of the people posting. You're just imagining something that makes you feel superior.

      Look, you don't need religion to have passion and awe. It gives me chills to know that when I look up at the night sky (as I do whenever I can), I'm looking at billions of suns. And that I share my DNA with all creatures on the planet, and that I'm one twig on a family tree with roots half a billion years ago.

      Hey, sometimes myths give me chills too, like great literature. Some passages in the bible even.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • heliocracy

      It feels exactly the same as having a soul, because souls don't exist.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  9. Joe

    Atheist should not be a dirty word. Lobbyist is a dirty filthy word. Still dirtier Republican House member.

    January 8, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • JFK

      even filthier... Obama – The Great Divider

      January 8, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Observer

      JFK,

      Must be tough for Republicans who took a beating in the elections when most of their issues were defeated across the nation.

      Obama hasn't started any $1,000,000,000,000 for false reasons like Bush and the Republicans did.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Observer

      the word "wars" was omitted. Should be "$1,000,000,000,000 WARS for false reasons"

      January 8, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
  10. spent

    I am so pleased that I believe in God and I will say in a meeting of atheist for I am not ashamed of my beliefs. I have no problem with those that do not believe in Theos it is their choice. Atheist is "A" meaning without "theist" a person(s) without God. An atheist is a person without God in their heart and life.

    January 8, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      An atheist is a person without God in their heart and life.

      And, ... loving it.

      Ohhh Max.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Ed

      You don't have God dwelling in your heart, Spent. Your heart is for pumping blood throughout your body; it's not where emotions derive or God dwells.

      It saddens me that you've been fed a lie, which your preacher believes to be true, and that you feed yourself with this lie at least once a week. Life is so much better without worrying about all of your loved ones going to He ll if you don't witness to them, because when you realize how nonsensical religion truly is, your eyes will be opened and perhaps you will accept the scientific evidence which explains the universe in which we live.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • spent

      Well, I am not gnostic. Of course I am speaking of the spirit and you are driving by a spirit to respond. Well that is your choice, of course. Scoffers are not new, nor will they end. That is fine, for scoffers have been with mankind for 1000's of years, so no problem. It is within you, and I love my Jesus, and He died for you. The Romans scoffed and killed Him and we Christians are doing quite well in our belief and have no fear of scoffers.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • Ed

      An omnipotent god who created the entire universe by merely speaking the words cannot forgive humans of their sins by any other method other than a human sacrifice, a sacrifice which is the most sadistic and cruel in nature? I'm sorry that you believe that there had to be a human sacrifice, but if God cannot forgive sin by any other method other than sacrificing Himself to Himself, all to forgive us of sins which He was responsible for bringing into the world by creating the tree of knowledge and allowing the devil to tempt the naive Adam & Eve, then God doesn't seem to be loving or omnipotent.

      By the way, the human species has been around for longer than a few thousand years. Take a biology course, please.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • spent

      I am loving having God in my life, it must be lonely and dark not having God. I was there once, and it was lonely and cold. Many of the Atheist i know and knew are quite angry, and that is so sad, for I was one myself.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • Ed

      I was indoctrinated into Christianity and drank the kool-aid for over 20 years before educating myself on science and realizing that science proves many stories within the Bible to be fallacious. My life is more fulfilling now than it ever was as a believer in the nonsense.

      Wake up and free your mind.

      January 8, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • hee hee

      It's not lonely and dark. I love it! Take the plunge. The water is cool but refreshing.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
  11. Badda Bing

    When Christians invented their superhero, they really blew it. I mean, sandals and a toga? Hippy superheroes just don't cut it. They should have given him tights, a cape and a mask, like any self-respecting superhero would have, and some kick-ass name like The Red Throbber.

    And his superpowers? Turn water into wine? What, Jesus is the superhero of winos?

    What a lousy superhero. No wonder he is being phased out.

    January 8, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • spent

      Phased out of what? I assure you, not out of many lives I know. I love Jesus, and what you are writing was written 1000's of years ago. No problem, and Jesus is alive and doing quite well, and He loves you.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • niknak

      Don't worry, they are remaking him as we speak.
      They have been doing this since they invented him back in the proverbial day.
      He no longer is middle eastern looking, but lily white.
      His hair is getting shorter every few generations.
      By the end of the century he will be more like a country music star then the hippie he is now.
      He will come equiped with an American flag, shi_tkicker cowboy boots, riding a truck with a gun rack and he will turn water into JackDaniels instead of wine. And have many cool guns to shoot and kill atheists.
      His superpower will be to always make your portfolio make money and your house go up in value.

      All this xtian bashing is making me thirsty for a brew. I have some Left Hand Milk Stout in the fridge, gonna bust one out.
      I might think about believing in jeebus is he turned water into this stuff......

      January 8, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • Steve Wilson, Canada

      And, don't forget, Bing... the dude could also walk on water – without falling in. Maybe he had some special super-duper super hero shoes that allowed to break the laws of physics.... and common sense.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • sam

      LOL 'The Red Throbber'

      January 8, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  12. Ed

    It's a shame that Mike Huckabee can become a presidential candidate, even with his beliefs that the reason why the Sandy Hook incident occurred was because our nation is too secular, but an atheist could never even be taken seriously as a viable candidate for the presidency. When will the religious zealots wake up or die away already? They're slowing down the progress of the human species.

    January 8, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • Hike Muckabee

      You should eat mor chik-fil-a.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • niknak

      The more they eat at Chik fila cra_p the faster they will die off.

      Hurry up lily white fundies, eat yourselves into an early grave.
      We can't progress as a species with you still around.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
  13. Why Christians gang up on atheists

    "When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him." Jonathan Swift

    January 8, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      You don't come on the comment boards much do you?

      January 8, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • End Religion

      Great quote! You seem pretty cool. I like you.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • Cnn belief blog reader

      Chrisitans gang up on atheists the way apples pick farmers. Have you actually read through the belief blog?

      January 8, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
  14. Rebecca

    No member of Congress has belief in God. If they did, they wouldn't sell this country off to the highest bidder.

    January 8, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • 13Monkees

      I believe this article points out that this Rep from Arizona is the ONLY one who identifies as being without a belief in god. So that means that theists have been selling us down the river for over a hundred years.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Joe mama

      because that is completely relevant.

      January 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
  15. relians

    atheist means anti god, you cannot be against something that does not exist. i prefer secular humanist.

    January 8, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Wow, do you really think that?
      anti-god is an anti-theist.

      January 8, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      How does atheist mean anti-God?

      "a" means not. It does not mean "anti"

      January 8, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • hee hee

      Atheism does not mean "anti-god", according to standard usage of the word. From my Random House dictionary, it means: 1. the doctrine or belief that there is no god. 2. disbelief in the existence of god.

      So you are in fact an atheist, since you don't believe that god exists. Welcome!

      January 8, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • 13Monkees

      Atheist does not mean "anti-god." It means quite simply without god. It describes what a person believes. For example, I do not believe any gods have met their burden of proof that they exist; however, I cannot say with 100% surety that there is no god even though I do not believe there is one. So I prefer agnostic atheist.

      January 8, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • John

      Atheist means without God.
      Jesus means God is with us.

      January 8, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @hee hee

      I don't really like dictionary definitions sometimes, because it merely gives the common usage of a word, not the history, or the actual grammatical definition. Specifically the prefix a- means to be without, or a lack of. The usage of a "dogma" or "doctrine" of believing god doesn't exists arises from misrepresentations of what atheism actually is.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • sam stone

      no, a-theist means no god, not anti god

      January 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • John

      Yes. As in "I lack God in my life. That is why I'm so miserable and spend all day on religious blogs upset about God."

      January 8, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Prefix

      a, an = not, without (such as) atheist, anonymous, apathy, aphasia, anemia, atypical, anesthesia

      For example, "a nonymous" is without a name (not anti, or against having a name)

      January 8, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • Vision

      Atheist actually is for people who hate God. They can't control him, so they claim he doesn't exist. They hate what they can't control.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Observer

      Vision,

      Massive LOGIC FAILURE. You can't hate something you don't think exists. Wow.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • niknak

      Can't speak for the rest of us atheists Johnny boy, but this one is not miserable at all.

      Been without god since I was a kid, and I love my life.

      I am in great health, have a wonderful family and friends, great rewarding job, live in a great city, travel, speak 3 other languages besides English, muscian on the side, and love every minute of it all.

      And I do it all without god(s), or guns.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Vision

      Atheist is not a dirty word.

      But t.it is.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • Footprints

      niknad

      “My precious, precious child,
      I love you and I would never ever
      leave you During your times of trial and suffering,
      when you saw only
      one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

      January 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • Hike Muckabee

      John – eat mor chik-fil-a

      January 8, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • Observer

      Footprints,

      Are you the same one who sat around and watched 20 kids and 6 adults get slaugtered without doing a thing to help?

      January 8, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • niknak

      OK footinmouth, I guess all that hard work I did to learn those languages, that piano and bass and the skill to do my job was not really me, but your god?
      And how much of that can you prove exactly?
      None, but you will still keep right on believing in it.
      I guess we should all just sit around and wait for the sky fairy to hook us up, right?

      January 8, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Footprints

      "I don’t understand why
      in times when I needed you the most, you would leave me."

      "it was then that I carried you."

      January 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • hee hee

      @John: if commenting on this board is evidence that an atheist is angry, it is also evidence that you are angry. Of course, it isn't evidence. Actually, I'm quite happy, and have a very fulfilling life in just about every way, and anger is not one of my reasons for leaving comments. Is it one of yours?

      @Vision: what are talking about? Does it comfort you to imagine a reason that people decide to be atheist? You ought to spend some time trying to find out what atheists are really like. I think you have no idea.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • Observer

      Footprints,

      Sorry you missed the question:

      Are you the same one who sat around and watched 20 kids and 6 adults get slaugtered without doing a thing to help?

      January 8, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Quoting a silly little plat itude, footie, does nothing to increase your credibility.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Footprints

      ~~OK footinmouth, I guess all that hard work I did to learn those languages, that piano and bass and the skill to do my job was not really me, but your god?
      }No. He gave you a life to live. Sounds like you are doing a good job. Congrats.
      ~~And how much of that can you prove exactly?
      }All of it.
      ~~None, but you will still keep right on believing in it.
      }Fine, none of it. Ok.
      ~~I guess we should all just sit around and wait for the sky fairy to hook us up, right?
      }No, we reap what we sow.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Vision

      @Vision: what are talking about? Does it comfort you to imagine a reason that people decide to be atheist? You ought to spend some time trying to find out what atheists are really like. I think you have no idea.

      I am an expert on atheists. I used to be one. I was an honored member of Freedom from Religion Foundation.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • hee hee

      @footprints: This is exactly what I mean. Do you really imagine that some cliche from your mom's fridge magnet is going to shake our worldview? (I know that you didn't say that explicitly, but I'm guessing based on my experience).

      I've spent my years thinking about astronomy, physics, biology, mathematics... but you're right, I just needed a hug.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Vision

      I highly doubt that. Your characterization of atheists is a fairly textbook generalization and misrepresentation of atheists. Maybe you called yourself an atheist, and you were like that. Congrats, you weren't one, because in order to hate something, you have to actually think it exists. Atheism is the lack of belief, disbelief, or rejection of a god claim.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • niknak

      Mr Clubfoot,
      You say you can prove your god hypothesis, well, we are waiting for some proof of its existence.
      Like we have been since like forever.....

      January 8, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • hee hee

      @Vision: ok, fine. But anyway, I've spent a lot of time with atheists (just about all of my friends actually), and your statement does not characterize them very well. Please consider the possibility that you are mistaken; you might be surprised.

      Actually, the thing is, the freedom from religion foundation is on the front lines of the very tense culture war. So perhaps you are assuming that their anger about some injustices (whether or not you agree with their assessment) meant that they were "angry at god". Most atheists are not fighting that battle. I'm not. In many countries, atheism is quite normal and no one is angry at all.

      But anyway, I'm probably wasting my time typing this. You've already decided.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • End Religion

      The footprints poem is why we need to realize appealing to a religious person's rationality may not be best. We need to appeal to their emotions. They prefer the good vibes over the good sense. I wonder if we should try to shoehorn some superfluous emotion into our posts.

      Attention christians, today my heart was deeply saddened to learn of this bible passage:
      "When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property." (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

      It left me feeling cold and confused to think a glorious god would say such a hurtful thing. I can't help but think about how the slaves must have felt, how their families, wives, children felt. I can't imagine the emotional scars. Tears filled me eyes when I thought about the hypocrisy of a god condoning slavery. Could it be my misty eyes were clouded? I beg of you to help me make sense. I am heartbroken.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @ER,

      but is there a beach or a sunset (preferably both) involved? (and children)

      January 8, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @ER,

      this one's always fun ...

      23 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!”
      24 When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.
      25 He went from there to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.

      January 8, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      2 Kings 2 (if anyone cares)

      January 8, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • End Religion

      @nonGOP: that's good stuff! I see he kept his hands clean by having the bears do his dirty work.

      January 8, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
  16. Larry Mandrell

    Atheism

    A He Is mmmmmm

    January 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • Lord

      i see what you did there

      January 8, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
  17. Just call me Lucifer

    Jesus Christ.... hero of the stupid.

    January 8, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
  18. really?

    This is a story, why?

    January 8, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • hee hee

      because (1) it is not yet socially acceptable to be an atheist in America (to put it mildly), and (2) non-believers don't have political representation even though they are a very large segment of the population.

      January 8, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It is a non-story.

      As I posted earlier, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, does not have to be the standard bearer for non-believers.

      She was sent to Congress to represent the legislative needs of her const!tuents in Arizona. Furthermore the Const!tution insists that no religious test should be applied – so the whole thing is wrong and misdirected on multiple levels.

      January 8, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • heliocracy

      American politics deal with two subjects: The role of the government in the economy, and putting together an electoral majority. Atheists do not need special representation in Congress, because everyone is there to advance an economic agenda and give lip service to all other issues to court voters. After all the GOP victories since Reagan, abortion is still illegal and you still can't pray in schools. It's a smoke screen to get poor people to vote for an economic philosophy that disadvantages them.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
  19. Bill

    The earrings look stupid.

    January 8, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • hee hee

      Therefore the author has no point. Thanks for catching that; I was just about to think about what he said.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • Hike Muckabee

      Bill, you are a true patriot. See that godless hippie up there? If he just ate mor chik-fil-a, he could understand what God's plan is for him.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • niknak

      Hey Bill,
      Haven't I heard you fundies all say "Don't judge lest you be judged?" Like a thousand times.

      Yet here you are judging that guy because you don't like his earings.
      To the fiery pit with you Billybob.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
  20. Jim

    The basics of Greek make it clear that an atheist is making a positive belief claim (a- no, theos- god). That is making the claim that there IS no god which is a belief.

    An agnostic (a- no, gnosis= knowledge) is someone who says he or she doesn't know if there is a god (for whatever reason).

    I'm always amazed by the so-called smart people who claim to be atheists but don't even know what the term means.

    January 8, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • GodlessOpera

      I think it's interesting when condescending people committ the etymological fallacy.

      You're correct that, etymologically, "agnosticism" is privative of knowledge - but as an epistemic position laid out by the man who coined it, Huxley, agnosticism isn't just privative. Specifically, agnosticism as coined means something more than lacking knowledge about some possibility X: it means to hold the positive belief that possibility X is insoluble. An agnostic, in Huxley's sense, doesn't say "I don't know" so much as "I can't know."

      It's you who needs to learn the terms, not the article's author.

      January 8, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Jim,

      funny that the OED doesn't state that:

      atheism, n

      Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a God. Also, Disregard of duty to God, godlessness (practical atheism).

      The operative word is 'disbelief'. Nothing in there about 'belief that there is no God'.

      It is possible to be an agnostic atheist: one who does not believe in God but cannot know that there isn't one.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • GodlessOpera

      "I'm not a GOPer" is correct.

      To be fair, Jim is *etymologically* correct, but to assume words are organically used strictly according to their etymology is fallacious.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • End Religion

      I assume many agnostic atheists.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • 13Monkees

      Jim! atheos is the Greek term from which the word atheist is derived and it means without god(s). Not "no gods". Atheists do NOT make the positive claim that there are no gods, although some do, it doesn't necessarily follow that they all do simply by virtue of being an atheist.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • hee hee

      @ GodlessOpera: Well, my random house dictionary says otherwise: see above.

      I think it's common usage that atheism means believing that there is no God. I suppose you could find distinctions within that viewpoint, such as GOPetc is making.

      While we're being extra careful, "etymology" does not mean what you think it does. It refers to the history of a word and its relation to words in other languages. In some sense etymology is the study of the family trees of words.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • Sgt_Jake

      Preposterous Jim. You're assuming that athiests are evidentialists, which is only one of 9 *philisophical* 'theories of justification'.

      Further, the "a- no, theos- god" (from your straw man greek basics course) is not a positive belief claim, because a belief requires that I hold a premise or propesition to be true. And you claim I hold the 'belief' that there is no god to be true... which pre-supposes the question of whether or not there is a god is even valid. What I'm really doing is NOT 'believing' the original (or subsequent) premise(s) – the very concept of a 'God'.

      To put it another way, not believing my buddy when he (drunkenly) claims he dated a super model does not mean I hold 'a positive belief claim' against his assertation. It means I don't believe him. I'm an a-mike-dated-a-super-model-ist. And I don't believe him in the same way I don't 'believe' in the idea (God) purposed by a bunch of sheep herders 6,000 years ago. Or the Mayans. Or any other stone age or new age culture.

      January 8, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • hee hee

      @Sgt_Jake: very nice rebuttal. I was going to try to say that, but I didn't have the energy. I'm glad I didn't, because you said it better than I would have.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
About this blog

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