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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. C Murdock

    I was an atheist when I was young, but eventually I came to my senses. You don't have to join one of the ancient religions in order to be religious - there is lots of evidence of an afterlife out there for anyone who cares to look for it. As someone in my 60's, I don't pay much attention to the opinions of young people who have little life experience, especially young men who have deformed their ears with strange-looking earrings.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:59 am |
    • Dave

      By all means, provide this "evidence".

      January 9, 2013 at 4:01 am |
    • Carl

      WHAT??!! I'm in my 60's and I have no clue of this evidence you're talking about. Also, get off the youth for their dress, hypocrite. I'm sure you were perfect. I also don't believe you were ever atheist. You sound like a fundamental a$$.

      January 9, 2013 at 6:42 am |
    • End Religion

      @Murduck: when you say "i came to my senses" you mean "i was indoctrinated?"

      Not one teeny-tiny atom exists as "evidence of an afterlife" – please post proof. Remember the entire bible is a fraud.

      January 9, 2013 at 7:32 am |
  2. Stroud

    Sounds like the author is horrifed someone isn't interested in being in one of his boxes.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:46 am |
  3. GO_GOP

    Atheists are unholy, immoral, against basic human principles. Period.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:44 am |
    • Dave

      Aside from the fact that we're none of those things.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:49 am |
    • the AnViL

      the preponderance of evidence points clearly to the single fact that theists are unholy, immoral, and against basic human principles. exclamation point!

      cha cha cha

      January 9, 2013 at 3:49 am |
    • small 'c' christian

      Whereas thesists are responsible for such noble acts as the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the War of the Roses, the Salem Witch Trials... shall I go on?

      January 9, 2013 at 4:07 am |
    • Dave

      You forgot the Holocaust, small c.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:10 am |
    • the AnViL

      the terms "holy" and "unholy" are purely religious terms aimed at the delusional imagined divinity and requisite reverence and worship of an imaginary omnipotent man in the sky. those terms have no meaning to anyone apart from the religious.

      nothing is holy or unholy except what you imagine to be – and that's a flat fact.

      if we're to include slavery and misogyny in the "basic human principles" column – the bible supports and sustains slavery and misogyny – so there's a big fat red X there.

      on morality:

      altruism, empathy, and sympathy are are prominently displayed throughout the animal kingdom. horses and dogs and monkeys don't need gods to develop basic morality. we evolved with those things because they aid in our continued survival as a species. evolution! deal with it.

      your claims are bereft of anything intelligent, and only serve two good purposes:

      giving others the opportunity to dispel ignorance.. and making yourself look like a totally retarded dovchenozzle on a national public forum.

      snap!

      January 9, 2013 at 4:15 am |
    • small 'c' christian

      Yeah, I know. Also the genocide of the Mayans, near-elimination of the Maori, the violent subjugation of native North Americans.. we could go on all night.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:16 am |
    • Carl

      Your bible condones slavery, murder of children, and disrespect of women. Yep, it sounds like the atheist are the immoral ones. Go straighten your halo, a$$whole!

      January 9, 2013 at 6:44 am |
  4. Name-GOD'S PRINCESS

    Txt- well, I am sorry u feel that way! But it doesn't matter..... Sniffle,sniffle u really hurt my feelings-NOT!!!!

    January 9, 2013 at 3:39 am |
  5. Name-GOD'S PRINCESS

    Andy, anything I say 2 ur statement that u made @ 2:43 u wil most likely take it the wrong way or u wil pry try n turn it around on me,but
    Here we go......when I say this I truly do NOT mean this in a condemning or judging way.... U do have a choice!! Jus like I had a choice 2 either continue
    Being an alcoholic cause I was born in2 an alcoholic family n so naturally I became1- BUT GUESS WHAT STORY DOESN'T END THERE!!! I CHOSE
    2 STOP DRINKING A YEAR N 3 MONTHS AGO N GOD GIVE ME
    THE STRENGHT DAILY
    WHAT I NEED SO I DON'T PICK UP ANOTHER BOTTLE!!! N NOBODY WILL REPLACE GOD! HOW
    DO THIS STUFF BOUT GOD.... DID U HEAR IT FROM SOME ELSE OR DID U READ IT IN HIS WORD?! THAT IS SO NOT THE TRUTH THE PICTURE U PAINTED OF HIM(GOD) LIKE THAT!! I SUGGEST
    U READ THE BIBLE
    B4 U SPOUT OFF @ THE MOUTH LIKE THAT AGAIN!!

    January 9, 2013 at 3:35 am |
    • Dave

      Then explain how I walked away from being an alcoholic, with no supernatural assistance? Personal discipline was all that was required.

      History proves your "gods" will eventually be replaced by others, just as "thor" and "zeus" were.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:51 am |
    • Dave

      By the way, I have read the "bible" many times. I even own one. It sits on my science fiction shelf, next to it's cousin, the "koran". Both are extremely potent sources of atheism.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:57 am |
    • Carl

      I was an alcoholic for 15 years. and I didn't need some imaginary friend to help me stop. Grow up! In fact, your immoral religion is what started me to drinking. Get off that "holier than thou" BS.

      January 9, 2013 at 6:50 am |
  6. Dave

    Odd, my responses don;t seem to be showing up as they should.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:28 am |
    • Helpful Hints

      Dave,

      Look for these:

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ---
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      crac-ker…
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, sopho-more, etc.
      ho-oters…as in sho-oters
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      inf-orms us…
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-oon… as in sp-oon, lamp-oon, harp-oon
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      que-er
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sl-ut
      sm-ut…..as in transm-utation
      sn-atch
      sp-ank
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      strip-per
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, t-itle, ent-ity, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, salt-water, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!
      x.xx…
      There's another phrase that someone found, "wo-nderful us" (have no idea what sets that one off).

      January 9, 2013 at 3:32 am |
    • Dave

      Oh, I'm well aware of the list of words, but I'm certain I used none of them. It's only my replies to a certain poster that are failing to show up. I'm thinking they hit the "report abuse" button.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:40 am |
    • Helpful Hints

      Dave,

      Not sure that the "Report Abuse" button is even hooked up to anything, but even if so, I don't think that it blocks replies automatically. You might have a "sleeper" tricky word fragment somewhere. I can add it to my list if you find a new one.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:46 am |
    • End Religion

      'gloryhole' could be added though i don't know many would be surprised...

      January 9, 2013 at 7:37 am |
  7. small 'c' christian

    Before I leave this one for the night, I must ask- are there any professed Christians out there who are NOT bullies? Thus far, it looks to this agnostic theist that the majority of (small c) christian contributors of wisdom to this and other boards fall squarely into the category of schoolyard bullies, saying as much as "my way or the highway". Christian tolerance seems to be forgotten. Perhaps they should go back and reread their precious New Testament, recall the teachings they say they beleive in, and come back with a more tolerant outlook.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:25 am |
    • Stroud

      You're joking right? Most of the "disbelief"blogs I've read are filled with atheists taking pot shots at anybody that believes in anything other than nothing. You need to get out more.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:51 am |
    • Dave

      Oh, you're SUCH a victim. Should we erect another cross, just for you?

      January 9, 2013 at 3:53 am |
    • Carl

      Christians can dish it out, but they can't take it. Grow up, and once again, get off that "holier than thou" bs. Until you can prove your imaginary friend exists, just go hang out in your christian forums where you can mingle with other weak minded idiots.

      January 9, 2013 at 6:54 am |
    • End Religion

      "Christian tolerance" never existed. Some people are tolerant, others not. Religion doesn't play much of a part in it except that religions tend to command people against tolerance, ala endorsing slavery and killing gays, both of which are commanded in the bible.

      January 9, 2013 at 7:40 am |
  8. DA in CA

    It is more than curious to me why a being that is supposedly all-knowing, did not wait just 1900 more years to send "his son" down to earth in a time when photography and other analog recording equipment would be available to capture the "proof" of the one true god. Atheism would have died on the spot.

    January 9, 2013 at 3:20 am |
    • Carl

      Exactly! Mainly because it's all hogwash. Watch Richard Dawkins "The God Delusion" on youtube. He makes it very clear.

      January 9, 2013 at 6:56 am |
    • DA in CA

      It's beyond hogwash. You truly have to believe that this being did not want to prove his existence to us through very scientific and simple means but instead decided to use methods that would be open to criticism, refutation, and ridicule in due time as our species evolved into scientifically literate beings.

      January 9, 2013 at 10:00 am |
  9. Name-GOD'S PRINCESS

    ScepticStill- I MENT 4 my caps lock 2 b on:-)

    January 9, 2013 at 3:15 am |
  10. Name-GOD'S PRINCESS

    Haha blessedisthecheesemaker.... I wil let u no can
    talk just as proper as u can:-) sonetimes I choose not 2!! WOW I CAN BELIEVE HOW MUCH U ALL LIKE PICKING ON PEOPLE'S SPELLING! IT!S ALL GOOD;-) Dave I so do NOT think I am better or feel like I have follow God 2 think that I am more special... I was jus stating how n wat I believe just like u! I can here from ur responsives that u r bitter toward
    believers..... What
    Happen 2 make u so angry??

    January 9, 2013 at 3:11 am |
    • Dave

      I'm neither bitter, nor angry. I'm quite simply baffled that anybody could read a book as contradictory, backward, and utterly barbaric book as the "bible", and think that it was a guide to living a good life.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:43 am |
    • Dave

      And yes, I'm now aware that I made a redundant use of the word "book" in my last reply. This will teach me to proofread my comments before hitting the "post reply" button.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:45 am |
    • Carl

      If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. We're listening to your rattling without evidence and we're not crying about it. Dave, you make some great points. Thanks for your level headed comments. Anybody with the name "god's princess" is asking for trouble in the first place in a column that has comments cutting down atheist.

      January 9, 2013 at 7:00 am |
    • Bet

      Haha blessedisthecheesemaker.... I wil let u no can talk just as proper as u can:-) sonetimes I choose not 2!!

      Why would anyone choose to sound stupid?

      Maybe I should word that so you can understand.

      Y WOOD ENNYWON CHEWZ 2 SAWND STOOPY?

      January 9, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
  11. Name-GOD'S PRINCESS

    Lol, Andy, I am 29 yrs old, I hav a
    Husband n a I am allowed 2 do these things,lol:-)

    January 9, 2013 at 3:00 am |
    • Athy

      You're 29? Wow, you write like you're about eight. How did you get so good at writing? You should be a professional writer.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:16 am |
    • End Religion

      That poor man must be an alcoholic.

      January 9, 2013 at 7:44 am |
  12. Epidi

    Please keep religion out of politics. I am relieved to see diversity of any kind. I am Pagan but fervently hope an elected fellow Pagan not to allow his/her beliefs to cloud the issues that they are elected to solve. You are elected to represent ALL the people – not whom you pick & choose.

    January 9, 2013 at 2:40 am |
    • lol??

      The cup of progress isn't overflowing, yet.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:02 am |
  13. Name-GOD'S PRINCESS

    Awww,y THANKS SO MUCH 4 THE SUPPORT GODFUTUREKING!!!! SO LIKE UR NAME:-) AMEN 2 THAT I AM NOT RELIGIOUS,I AM A BELIEVER N A CHRISTIAN!!! HUGE DIFFERNCE!!!!!! I NO THAT WORKS WIL NOT GET ME IN2 HEAVEN BY ITSELF-"THRU FAITH ALONE,THRU GRACE ALONE:-)" WHEN U R WALJING WITH THE LORD UR FRUITS WIL SHOW!!!! THANKS AGAIN GODFUTUREKING 4 STANDING BY MY SIDE!!! I APPRECIATE IT!!!!:-) U
    R
    DEFINITELY REFRESHING:-)

    January 9, 2013 at 2:29 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      We don't need to teach god in school, but an English class might not hurt.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:33 am |
    • Dave

      The claim "I am not religious, I am a 'christian'." is blatantly dishonest. The fact is, you are an adherent of the religion called "christianity", and as such, are religious. This "relationship" business is just more arrogance. It's much like what you call your spell book. The term "bible" merely means "book", (derived from the Greek "blblios"). But by calling it THE book, you're attempting to exalt it over all other books. Claiming your silly mythology is a "relationship" is simply trying to elevate yourself and make yourself somehow more special than the adherents of the other mainstream religions, specifically "judaism" and "islam". The real irony here is, all three arose from the same source, and are cousins.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:34 am |
    • Athy

      Amazing! Actually contains more misspelled words than correctly spelled ones. I didn't think that would be possible. Give us more, princess.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:34 am |
    • Epidi

      Your ranting and intolerance of others makes you a zealot nutbag. It is fine to believe & worship as you wish – but isn't your God a jealous one and one who reserves the right of judgment? You seem a hypocrite as well. Useless and doing your religion a disservice and embarrassment.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:44 am |
    • Name-GOD'S PRINCESS

      Sorry I can't help but laugh, n PLEASE believe when I say I am honestly saying I am NOT MAKING fun of u scepticstill n simplicity... R u tellin me when u tx ur friends on ur phone that u dont use shortcuts??? N for my misspellings r I seriously goin 2 sit there n tell me u never ever had sent out a tx or email with a typo- not even 1 time! Oh sure there has always been killings, but what bout Newtown " the elementary mass shooting??Can u explain all the extreme superstorms,earthquakes,tsunamis, tornados, n etc.. Tallulah 13- IT IS NOT A RELIGION- IT
      IS
      MY BELIEF!!!! N MY GOD DOES NOT CONDEMN ME,HE SETS ME FREE!!!
      Lol, Dave that is jus funny.... boogeyman,huh?! Yes, people who have NOT
      EXCEPTED JESUS DO NEED 2 B SAVED:-) N BELIEV IT
      OR NOT I WAS NOT TRYIN 2 SCARE
      U JUST MERELY STATEN THE TRUTH!!:-) I NO I WUD B SCARED 2 DIE IF I WASN'T BORN AGAIN..... BUT I CAN HONESTLY SAY I AM NOT:-) I WUD LOVE 2 HAVE A COUPLE MORE YEARS WITH MY HUSBAND PREFERRABLY AS WE ONLY GOT ( on the 21st
      Of Jan it wil. Six months

      January 9, 2013 at 2:56 am |
      • Edward

        When I use my phone to text I spell out every word because I believe that proper English and grammar show respect for the reader. You show none of that to all the posters in this chat.

        August 29, 2013 at 2:30 am |
    • Dave

      No, I don't use "shortcuts". I have an adequate grasp of the English language, as do all those with whom I associate. I could forgive a typo here and there. But when virtually every word in your barely-legible tantrum is misspelled in some way, that"s not typos, that's illiteracy.

      I already saved myself...from the abysmally silly belief that I'm somehow born cursed because a mud man and a rib woman took dietary advice from a talking snake. I simply don't see the need to adhere to the beliefs of subliterate bronze-age barbarians in this modern era.

      Your belief IS a religion...and one that's stolen from a variety of older religions. Not one single aspect of the "christian" religion is original. Every single thing about it was stolen from existing religions.

      I have no need to be born again. I got it right the first time. I do not fear death.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:17 am |
    • Simplicity

      Truthfully, the importance of proper grammar and spelling can be exaggerated, but you should realize that people will often judge you on your writing. If you want to have the same credibility of an illiterate fifteen year old girl on Twitter who is oblivious to anything besides celebrities, then by all means, don't change a thing. However, if you ever want to be taken seriously, I highly recommend you turn things around.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:30 am |
    • Name-GOD'S PRINCESS

      Look Carl, I am sorry if I offended u in someway! I honestly did not mean to come across holier than tho... I was jus merely voicing how I feel n I DON'T take anything back bout how I love the LORD n how much better my life is since I opened my heart to Him! Seriously I am not who you think I am. You haven't got a clue what all I've been thru!! You guys are STRONGLY sharing what you guys believe and so am I. Thee only reason why I share bout how God sent His Son to die on the cross for the sins of all mankind is if I don't I will be held accountable someday here VERY SOON:-)
      I am so VERY PROUD to one of GOD'S children:-) Can someone please help me understand how do any of guys whom r atheist or noneist know the Bible may or may NOT contradict it's self?? I bet none of you have ever read a King James Life Application Bible all the way through!? Since you all are about being and doing everything just so so(perfectly) , why don't you who are saying things about the open it up first and read it front to back and then

      January 10, 2013 at 2:08 am |
    • Name-GOD'S PRINCESS

      Look Carl, I am sorry if I offended u in someway! I honestly did not mean to come across holier than tho... I was jus merely voicing how I feel n I DON'T take anything back bout how I love the LORD n how much better my life is since I opened my heart to Him! Seriously I am not who you think I am. You haven't got a clue what all I've been thru!! You guys are STRONGLY sharing what you guys believe and so am I. Thee only reason why I share bout how God sent His Son to die on the cross for the sins of all mankind is if I don't I will be held accountable someday here VERY SOON:-)
      I am so VERY PROUD to one of GOD'S children:-) Can someone please help me understand how do any of guys whom r atheist or noneist know the Bible may or may NOT contradict it's self?? I bet none of you have ever read a King James Life Application Bible all the way through!? Since you guys seem to all about doing things certain way(perfectly) then why don't you guys read the Bible cover to cover before you start talking about how the Bible contradicts its self! Oh and FYI I AM SUPER PROUD OF BEING GOD'S PRINCESS!! And MARK MY WORDS,someday here very very soon we ALL wil be standing before the throne of God and we wil give account for what we did here on earth, and in that moment you will realize that I am not the crazy one(lunitic) as you think now! I WIL NOT REJOICING OVER THE FACT THAT YOU WON'T KNOW HIM IF YOU CONTINUE FEELING LIKE THIS TOWARD HIM IN FACT I REALLY WILL FEEL SAD:-( I don't wish anything bad like that upon my own worst enemy. I DON'T find joy in other people's pain. I don't like rearing people down,but I will up for who I believe in and that is God and Jesus Christ!!

      January 10, 2013 at 2:27 am |
      • Edward

        Do you realize that typing in capital letters represents "shouting" the words? You are terribly offensive.

        August 29, 2013 at 2:31 am |
  14. Dave

    It's likely that she's refusing to use the term atheist because of all the misconceptions, ignorance, and the negative connotations associated with the term "atheism". I've had people ask me why I would want to "worship satan", when they find out I'm an atheist. The vast majority of Americans honestly have no flipping idea what an atheist is, beyond being convinced we're totally evil, unprincipled, and without any sort of morals.

    January 9, 2013 at 2:21 am |
    • lol??

      Dude have you read much of the belief blogs? They are bully Socialists. The Christian God is approached as a FATHER by the believers.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:33 am |
    • Dave

      I really don't care how the deluded approach their evil and venal figment.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:35 am |
    • lol??

      And they don't care.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:53 am |
    • Dave

      Oh, they clearly do care, since they take any lack of belief as some sort of personal attack against them.

      January 9, 2013 at 4:07 am |
  15. Name-GOD'S PRINCESS

    AnVil- do u mean whine instead of win?? I AM PROUD 2 BE A CHILD IF THE MOST HIGH GOD!!:-) n Jbullet-who u talkin 2?? Dave & EvidenceBased4 who r u guys talking 2?? Onemorehere- I AM PROUD OF U BROTHER!! It does talk about n Peter n as well as other Places in the Bible how we wil b mocked & persecuted 4 our belief in JESUS CHRIST N FATHER GOD!! Consider it joy..... WHEN HE WAS HERE ON EARTH HE WAS MOCKED N PERSECUTED ALSO!!!

    January 9, 2013 at 2:19 am |
    • Athy

      Can anyone translate this into English?

      January 9, 2013 at 2:21 am |
    • Dippy

      Now do you believers see what we atheists have to deal with?

      January 9, 2013 at 2:24 am |
    • Dave

      I was talking to you. Your little online tantrum was quite impressive, if only as a means to highlight the incalculable damage that religion can do to the human mind. The rambling, disjointed sentences, the mishmash amalgam of "spelling", the grotesquely incorrect grammatical structure...you've managed to encapsulate in one graceless paragraph, every single thing that's wrong with religion. Bravo!

      January 9, 2013 at 2:24 am |
    • Simplicity

      @Athy- I have summoned a team of cryptologists.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:24 am |
    • Athy

      They'll have to be pretty good to crack this one!

      January 9, 2013 at 2:31 am |
    • Edward

      Go home Princess, you are drunk!

      August 29, 2013 at 2:32 am |
  16. ScepticStill

    I feel the terms non-theist, atheist or non-believer are not relevant to my life’s work or personal character
    yours faithfully
    the Sceptic

    January 9, 2013 at 2:07 am |
  17. KRHODES

    "Atheist" is not a dirty word...just a logical contradiction. The reason she does like being called an atheist or nontheist is she simply did not want to lose votes for that announcement. I would personally not vote for an atheist because of grounding of beliefs, she has no foundation for what she believes.

    January 9, 2013 at 2:05 am |
    • Dave

      That's wildly inaccurate. Atheists have a foundation for our beliefs, just not a religious one.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:09 am |
    • tallulah13

      KRHODES: It's a shame that you judge atheists from a position of ignorance. It's not honest or fair, and it reflects very poorly on your character.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:12 am |
    • Carbonman

      Nonsense. Atheists believe that there is right and wrong but don't have belief in a mystical bogeyman that will punish them if they do wrong. Just because we don't have a deity to fear doesn't mean we don't have a moral foundation to work from. Churches and temples don't have a lock on ethics and morality.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:17 am |
    • KRHODES

      It was not meant to be an insult...merely the truth. How does someone who believes nothing have a grounding for anything? At best they can be a pragmatist but pragmatism is not always correct. If humanity is a cosmic accident then surely there is no right, wrong, good, or bad...just personal taste.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:20 am |
    • Dave

      That's a common misconception, that atheists "believe in nothing". The truth of the matter is, we believe in a wide variety of things...just not fairy tales. I believe in my family, my friends, my education, my training, my experiences, and basic human decency. Hardly the "nothing" you mistakenly claim I believe in.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:26 am |
    • Michael

      We have a grounding in ethics. In fact, it think it says better things about me as a person that I dont rob, r@pe, k1ll, etc out of respect for the rights and personhood of others, whereas you have to have your invisible friend tell you not to. What would you do without your invisible friend?

      January 9, 2013 at 3:12 am |
    • KRHODES

      Michael

      "We have a grounding in ethics. In fact, it think it says better things about me as a person that I dont rob, r@pe, k1ll, etc out of respect for the rights and personhood of others, whereas you have to have your invisible friend tell you not to. What would you do without your invisible friend?"

      Sure...you know right and wrong because God has given you the ability to know such things as he did everyone else. You do not need religion to know those. However...if one decides there is no God then those feeling and ideas become subjective to whatever works or ignored all together. What does the rights of others or respect for others have to do with anything if God does not exist and we are merely cosmic accidents? Those words mean nothing when compared to survival or wants if naturalism is true.

      January 9, 2013 at 5:19 am |
    • sam stone

      krhodes: sounds like you are confusing god and conscience

      January 9, 2013 at 5:41 am |
    • End Religion

      Khroddy, you know humans exist on a spectrum of empathy, right?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_neuron
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy

      January 9, 2013 at 7:55 am |
    • WASP

      @KRHODES: "...if one decides there is no God then those feeling and ideas become subjective to whatever works or ignored all together."
      1) we can see throughout history how well dedicated ALL religions are to being moral. just look at refusal of equal rights to blacks, native americans, women, children , asians, to understand how well religious people are at following being moral.

      " What does the rights of others or respect for others have to do with anything if God does not exist and we are merely cosmic accidents?
      2) look at history where do you see the rights of others and respect of others EVER EQUAL TO THOSE IN CHARGE?
      2a) being "a cosmic accident" as you self important chirstians fear to be TRULY MEANS ALL HUMANS and other life on earth is equal. we all come from the same cosmic dust. religion seperates people into catagories of higherarchy.

      "Those words mean nothing when compared to survival or wants if naturalism is true."
      3) our ancient ancestors weren't fracking idiots. they understood it's either work together or die alone. working as a group ensures survival and raises chances of having offspring survive as well. naturalism is the greatest thing since sliced bread. lmfao (sorry couldn't resist)
      if you have the pope eating steak everyday and drinking a glass of wine at night s being treated equally to the family having barely enough to pass as a meal at night as being "natural/equal" YOU'RE AN IDIOT

      January 9, 2013 at 10:20 am |
  18. onemorehere

    dispite all the foolishness i read here my heart still disires for the nonbelivers athiest and nonthiest to be save- so much more is the love of our lord our God that still allows the sinner to yet comtemplate unother day in disbelive of the greatness of the universe and all that exist with in it....the creation of the lord the existence that we have only through his existence, I believe in religion cause religion speaks of a creator our lord God...

    To denied God is to denied existence oneself – God is the live that allows the breathing of our heart each day none can llive with out his presence his gift of life.....Athiest/nonbelievers/ nonthiest = blindness of the heart closure of the sould departure from divinity= sinners

    if i pain the death of the soul of the nonbelievers athiest nontheist so much more does God suffer their destiny ...for only those who adknowledge God will be saved and live and rejoice in his grory...not one who trully knows him can ever depart from him, by faith he ask to be aknowledge for those who are blind in their hearts and can't see or feel Gods presence in their live it is only through beilieve that we exist- the nonbeliever are denying their on existence for to live is to believe...

    January 9, 2013 at 2:00 am |
    • Dave

      We don't need to be "saved". There's no boogeyman under the bed to be "saved" from. We're not afraid of any of your "gods".

      January 9, 2013 at 2:04 am |
    • tallulah13

      I'm sorry that your religion has convinced you that you are fundamentally bad and need a "god" in order to be a good person. The truth is, good people are good, bad people are bad, and religion really doesn't have an effect.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:11 am |
    • Andy

      So the bible says that god made each of us special, right? Then with that statement in mind it is logical to assume he made me an atheist, so since he made me this way, i get to go to hell for something i can't change? And the whole "Worship me or burn for all time" thing? I f he/she/it really was a loving and forgiving god then i would be forgiven for my so called "transgretions" and "Enter his grace". God seems to contradict him self alot, wich also means he is not perfect, which means, if he dose exist, he is not fit to be a god any ways, and should be replaced.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:43 am |
    • Michael

      Semantic content: zero.

      January 9, 2013 at 3:09 am |
  19. Name-GOD'S PRINCESS

    Ok, maybe I shouldn't of gone off a lil bout how someone said cause I spelled matter"matta" n I apologie 4 that,but I wil NOT COMPROMISE how I feel n believ!!! I BELIEV JESUS CHRIST DIED ON A CROSS 4 U N ME 2 REDEEM US IF WE CHOOSE 1 BELIEV!! I AM ETERNALLY GRATEFUL 2 HIM N I LOVE HIM WITH ALL OF MY HEART!!!!! HE SAVED ME FROM SO MUCH N I HAVE A PEACE IN MY SOUL LIKE NEVER B4:-) PRAISE THE LORD!!! R CHRISTIANS PERFECT OR BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE? NO WAY!!!! DO WE MAKE MISTAKES LIKE ANYONE ELSE... BUT OF COURSE- (NOT PROUD OF MINE,BUT
    I AM 4GIVN) !! R THERE HYPROCRITES IN THE CHRISTIANS,....SAD 2
    SAY YES,N THEY GIV THE SINCERE ONES
    A BAD NAME:-( GOD LOVES EVERYONE, HE MADE US IN HIS IMAGE...HE NEVER TURNED HIS BACK ON US!!WE REJECT N TURN OUR BACKS ON HIM:-(..... I THANK N PRAISE HIS HOLY,MOST PERCIOUS N GLORIOUS NAME 4 SAVING A WRETCH LIKE ME! I ONCE WAS LOST BUT NOW I AM FOUND,TWAS BLIND BUT NOW I C!!!! GOD IS COMING BAXK 2 CLAIM HIS SONS N DAUGHTERS HERE IN
    THE VERY NEAR FUTURE!!! N ON THAT DAY EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW, N EVERY
    TONGUE WIL CONFESS THAT HE IIS THE KING OF KINGS N LORD OF LORDS:-) OH
    WHAT A HAPPY BESUTIFUL DAY THAT WIL BE!!!!!! :-) N I
    WANNA LEAVE U WITH THIS THOUGHT... THINK BACK 2 THE 80'S N 90'S........ DO U EVER REMEMBER
    HAVING SO MANY EARTHQUAKE,TORNADOS,TSUNAMIS,HURRICANES,SUPERSTORMS LIKE WE HAVE BEEN HAVING IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS?? ALSO SO MASS KILLINGS.....

    January 9, 2013 at 1:56 am |
    • the AnViL

      this post contains so much win

      Name-GOD'S PRINCESS is by far the absolute best example of xian thinking i have ever seen on these forums.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:00 am |
    • JBullets

      No offense, but you come across as a ranting, illiterate, psycho.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:02 am |
    • Dave

      Nice tantrum. But thank you for that sterling example of how badly religion damages the mind.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:02 am |
    • EvidenceBased4

      It's the ALL CAPS that really cranks the crazy up to 11.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:03 am |
    • GODFUTUREKING

      YEAH U TELL IT LYKE IT IZ GIRL!!! ALSO IF SOMEBODY SAYS A TERM IS NOT BEFITTING FOR THEM THEN U SHOULDN'T CALL THEM THAT. MAYBE SHE IS SPIRITUAL BUT NOT RELIGIOUS.. HEY BUDDY JUST LEAVE HER ALONE.. WHATS WITH THE GAUGES IN UR EARS MAN TOTALLY UNPOROFESSIONAL 4 CNN STANDARDS AND PROTOCOL....FIRED..

      January 9, 2013 at 2:03 am |
    • Dave

      @ GODFUTUREKING – Since the author doesn't work for CNN, your comment is even more ridiculous than I originally thought. But thanks for showing the world the basic hypocrisy of that whole "christian" lie of "judge not, lest ye be judged".

      January 9, 2013 at 2:07 am |
    • the AnViL

      caps-lock = cruise control for "cool"

      January 9, 2013 at 2:08 am |
    • Athy

      Wow. Great posts to advance atheism. Keep it up, illiterates. Good work!

      January 9, 2013 at 2:09 am |
    • ScepticStill

      thinking back over all communications I have with other people I've never sen such laziness with spelling or careless use of the caps lock. I hope you're not as boring when you actually talk to people (I'm supposing that you do talk?)

      January 9, 2013 at 2:11 am |
    • Simplicity

      1. Caps lock is unnecessary.
      2. If you can't spell or properly use grammar, have someone with a higher respect for the English language to proofread before you post.
      3. I do in fact, remember a lot of killing from the 1980's and 1990's.
      4. I reject everything that you have said in your post.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:13 am |
    • Andy

      Shouldnt you be asleep ya little teenybopper? You're not going to get any thing done in school today. Don't forget to delete your browser history so you're mom dosn't find out you were up so late, she will ground you for so long, no phone or PC, how will you live?

      January 9, 2013 at 2:30 am |
    • sam stone

      "ever knee shall bow"? when are you talking about? when jeebus returns? how long has he been stuck in traffic.....couple thousand years or so?

      January 9, 2013 at 5:44 am |
  20. Nathan Wentzlaff

    Yeah I don't believe in electrons. I can't see them. Therefore they are not real.

    January 9, 2013 at 1:48 am |
    • Etalan

      you can see electrons, test them, use them, etc. that proof it is real.

      January 9, 2013 at 1:56 am |
    • EvidenceBased4

      You might test them by sticking your finger in a light socket...

      January 9, 2013 at 2:04 am |
    • tallulah13

      So what you are saying, Nathan, is that you disbelieve that which can be proven, but you believe in that which can't be proven. Where I come from, we call that a fool.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:08 am |
    • Athy

      You're absolutely correct, Nate. Electrons are not real. How did you ever see through that myth? You're amazingly perceptive. I'm in awe of your intelligence.

      January 9, 2013 at 2:14 am |
    • Andy

      I knew it! I never Trusted that Einstein, "Didin trust dem shifty lil eyes."

      January 9, 2013 at 2:35 am |
    • lol??

      Hole flow?

      January 9, 2013 at 2:44 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.