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The spiritual but not religious likely to face mental health issues, drug use, study says
January 9th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

The spiritual but not religious likely to face mental health issues, drug use, study says

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Can being spiritual but not religious lead to mental health issues? The answer is yes, according to a recent study.

The study, published in the January edition of the British Journal of Psychiatry, says spiritual but not religious people, as opposed to people who are religious, agnostic or atheist, were more likely to develop a "mental disorder," "be dependent on drugs" and "have abnormal eating attitudes,” like bulimia and anorexia.

“People who have spiritual beliefs outside of the context of any organized religion are more likely to suffer from these maladies,” said Michael King, a professor at University College London and the head researcher on the project.

Thirty percent of respondents who identified as spiritual said they had used drugs, a number that was nearly twice as much as the 16% of religious respondents who said they had used drugs, according to the study. Among the spiritual respondents, 5% said they were dependent on drugs, while 2% of religious respondents identified as dependent.

On mental health issues, the study said spiritual but not religious people were more likely to suffer from “any neurotic disorder,” “mixed anxiety/depressive disorders” or “depression” than their religious counterparts. Overall, 19% of spiritual respondents said they suffered from a neurotic disorder, while 15% of religious respondents responded the same way.

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The practice of being spiritual but not religious is difficult to define and has a number of gray areas. The phrase is generally used to describe people who do not attend church, atheists who believe in some sort of higher power, free thinkers and the unaffiliated. It is also used for people who blend different faiths.

In short, King writes, “People who have a spiritual understanding of life in the absence of a religious framework are vulnerable to mental disorder.”

King, who said he has received a substantial amount of hate mail over the study, defended his findings, “If you take drug dependency, they are about 77% more likely than religious respondents, 24% more likely to having a generalized anxiety disorder. These are quite obvious differences.”

Opinion: 'I'm spiritual but not religious' is a cop-out

The study was conducted with the government of the United Kingdom, which asked the questions as part of a larger psychiatric study.

With a sample of 7,403 British people, the study found that nearly 19% of England’s population is spiritual but not religious. That number is higher in the United States, where, according to a 2002 Gallup Poll, in a sample of 729 adults, 33% of Americans identified themselves as "spiritual but not religious.”

Past academic studies in the United States have come to similar conclusions, said Tanya Luhrmann, a psychological anthropologist and the Watkins University professor at Stanford University. Most academic research about religion and well-being, said Luhrmann, has found that religion is good for you.

According to Luhrmann, organized religion provides three outlets that benefit churchgoers' well being: social support, attachment to a loving God and the organized practice of prayer.

“When you become spiritual but not religious, you are losing the first two points and most spiritual but not religious people aren’t participating in the third,” Luhrmann said. “It is not just a generic belief in God that works; it is specific practices that work.”

People who identify themselves as spiritual but not religious push back against the notion that they have no community to fall back on or impetus to help the poor. In an interview with CNN in June 2010, BJ Gallagher, a Huffington Post blogger who writes about spirituality, compared spiritual but not religious people to people who complete 12-step programs to beat addiction.

“Twelve-step people have a brilliant spiritual community that avoids all the pitfalls of organized religion,” said Gallagher, author of “The Best Way Out is Always Through.” “Each recovering addict has a 'God of our own understanding,' and there are no priests or intermediaries between you and your God. It's a spiritual community that works.”

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

Heather Cariou, a New York-based author, identifies as spiritual instead of religious. She told CNN last year that she adopted a spirituality that blends Buddhism, Judaism and other beliefs.

"I don't need to define myself to any community by putting myself in a box labeled Baptist or Catholic or Muslim," she said. "When I die, I believe all my accounting will be done to God, and that when I enter the eternal realm, I will not walk though a door with a label on it."

Younger people identify as spiritual but not religious more frequently than their older counterparts. In a 2009 survey by the research firm LifeWay Christian Resources, 72% of millennials (18- to 29-year-olds) said they are "more spiritual than religious."

The phrase is now so commonplace that it has spawned its own acronym ("I'm SBNR") and website: SBNR.org.

Traditionally the words "religious" and "spiritual" were closely linked, but over time the latter word began to describe an experience disconnected from the traditional confines of religion, particularly organized religion.

A widely discussed survey of adult Americans by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released in October found that the religiously unaffiliated both believe in God and define themselves as spiritual but not religious.

Sixty-eight percent of the religiously unaffiliated believe in God and 58% say they often feel a deep connection with nature and the Earth, in a spiritual way. Additionally, the study found 37% classify themselves as "spiritual" but not "religious" and 21% say they pray every day.

As expected, the practice of being spiritual but not religious has been roundly criticized by those who participate in organized religion. Jesuit priest James Martin told CNN in June that the phrase, "I’m spiritual but not religious," can boil down to egotism.

"Being spiritual but not religious can lead to complacency and self-centeredness," said Martin, an editor at America, a national Catholic magazine based in New York. "If it's just you and God in your room, and a religious community makes no demands on you, why help the poor?"

– CNN’s John Blake and Richard Greene contributed to this report

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Spirituality • United States

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soundoff (1,269 Responses)
  1. Awakened

    "if its just you and God in your room and a community makes no demands on you, why help the poor?"...good question. I aks myself that question about the Vatican all the time??? How about selling some of the gold and giving up the flamboyant desses and life styles these pontificated people wear at the Vatican??? Get real and set an example of humility. The Catholic church is totally out to lunch. I was raised Catholic and they are the reason I am now "Spiritual". Organized religion should get taxed too for the income they take in to fund their luxurious living... like the rest of us.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Don Fannuci

      You must have missed the memo, you stupid leftist: The Catholic Church is the largest, most extensive provider of charity in the world. Helping the poor is not incompatible with cultivating beauty and the arts.

      Yet more evidence that being "spiritual but not religious" leaves one open to various mental deficiencies.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Awakened

      Yeah, just dont take my money to fund the Vatican's luxury, art and opulence in the name of God and under the disguise of guilt. They should move the Vatican to Calcuta or the slums in Rio...then the Catholic church would be getting real, you stupid guy!

      January 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • End Religion

      @DF: surely you meant to mention the atheist Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wealthiest_charitable_foundations

      January 10, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
  2. fred

    End Religion
    I see three possible alternatives not two. The two you mention (purpose for existence or no purpose) and the third which if it exists lurks outside our ability to comprehend in that vast unknowable region outside our current boundary of science. Setting philosophy aside, we can say certain things for certain about this unknown which Hawking claims is knowable (which is contrary to all known evidence). The most glaring is that the more scientific knowledge we gain the greater that unknown becomes in scope and power. Like the branches of a tree each discovery in each discipline sprouts in geometric proportions each hitting the limit of the known. The lifelong attempts by Hawking to prove no god needed continues to turn on him pointing only towards a greater unknown reducing his belief in no god needed to a matter of faith. The lifelong attempts from apologists to prove God in scientifically acceptable form falls apart and ends in a matter of faith as well.

    Well, how about that! The best reason and logic of science and apologetics agree that it is only by faith man can know God. Time and time again that 3,400 year old sheep herder’s manual gets it right. Truth tends to work that way as lies can only deceive they cannot change truth.
    Science has inadvertently proven that it is only by faith that one can know God. Science has proven the cornerstone of belief in God.
    This does leave us with your two choices. If you have faith that results in belief God is reality then you have a purpose onto heaven. If you have faith that no god is needed you have chosen a life without purpose, an existence without purpose on a foundation that runs contrary to all known evidence (i.e. the unknowable is greater not less as knowledge increases).

    Science has proven there is only one correct choice based on what is known today. So End Religion, why persist with your faith given what you know?

    January 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • w t f

      @fred
      A third alternative, seriously? What da F are you talking about.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • rabidatheist

      Fred faith means believing in something that has no evidence, science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. If faith is belief without evidence, you cannot have faith in science because science requires evidece.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • fred

      w t f
      Ooops, post in wrong place it was a reply to End Religion.
      The position from End Religion was that we do not need a purpose or meaning for our existence. My reply was that the choice between purpose needed or no purpose needed is self limiting by our current knowledge and experience. Not that long ago man was unaware of subatomic particles yet it existed. Currently all science is at the limits constrained by known baryonic matter. That is the unknown. Man has historically filled the unknown with God or gods. The unknown or unknowable is that third alternative. There is the state of purpose, no purpose or other.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • rabidatheist

      Fred, the only purpose, or meaning your life has is what you make it. There is no god, no being, and no person that can give your life meaning, or purpose.....only you. Make the best of it, it's they only one you get.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • fred

      Rabidatheist
      What term would we use to explain Hawking when he claims no god needed yet he has no evidence to support such a claim? He has a belief without evidence. Worse yet available evidence supports causation, fine tuning and pretty much eliminates random chance as plausible within our known space and time dimension.
      Hawking does not have a reasonable expectation that no god needed he has faith. I assumed it was based on all the scientific evidence he was aware of. That would confirm your understanding only if he ignored the evidence. This belief of Hawking is different than a hypothesis no god is needed if spontaneous creation is falsifiable. Right?

      January 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • rabidatheist

      Fred read "A Universe from Nothing" by Lawrence Krause. Quantum fluctuation my friend, god is unnecessary.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • rabidatheist

      And Fred, "fine tuning"? Why would an all powerful god need to fine tune a universe to the razors edge conditions for life to evolve? Isn't this god powerful enough to create life that he "created in his image" to survive in any environement he wants to? Also arguing against the science that attempts to answer where came from means almost nothing, you could falsify all of it right now, and all it would mean is that we don't know. That leaves you with the problem of proving god exists, and that's just a deist god, proving a theistic god becomes even more problematic. This is no different than ancient men attributing earthquakes, volcanoes, lightning, thunder, hurricaines, and most of all floods to an angry god. We know different today don't we? These are all just occurances of nature, and explained quite easily now, the universe will be no different.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • End Religion

      First, my "two choces" were derived from your reply to Tom Tom wherein you said, "I have not heard one better explanation for the purpose and meaning of existence then that provided by God." I replid, "who said life must have a purpose? Who said there must be "meaning" to existence?" And you jumped in with some 3rd amendment to your own statement.

      You then claimed, "the more scientific knowledge we gain the greater that unknown becomes in scope and power," which is of course absurd, not that I expect anything less from a Religitard. Science isn't about to prove your god exists as that requires evidence, lol...

      January 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • End Religion

      Hawking has better things to do than acknowledge every crackpot guess at a god. We know your god doesn't exist. There's no point in wasting more time on it unless it is for entertainment purposes.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • fred

      Rabidatheist
      Krause, applies quantum mechanics to gravity in order to posit the eruption of space from”nothing” which I do not understand. What I do understand is his comment “Some of this bothers people. But who cares? Quantum mechanics is illogical—just get over it.” I think he was attempting to make light of nothing.

      You suggested god was powerful enough to create life that could survive in any environment. No doubt if there is God that would not be a problem. According to Genesis that is exactly what God did. Life flourished in the presence of ultraviolet light and oxygen not to mention all the other obstacles to life. The created things that had the image of God (i.e. high level cognitive function) such as the greatest of angels and the greatest of animals (man) ended up wanting what God had and went for it. The result is that God left them to their own devices as they demanded and the creation continues to live out life according to its own terms.
      As to fine tuning we are backward engineering life as we know it and are limited by what we think life must be about. Fine tuning is not that fine from an eternal perspective without limits of space and time.

      We cannot prove God exists by acceptable scientific method as that is the creation of man that rejected the things of God. In the absence of God we are limited to observing that which was created by and through created things. A fish in a fish bowl could never even have awareness of the accountant in the pet shop office that pays the power bill to keep the water at the right temperature for survival. The problem with naturalism is that we believe what is outside the aquarium can be understood with what is known inside the tank.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • fred

      End Religion
      Hawking seems hell bent on proving there is no god needed. I do not know of a book he has written where god is not addressed. He even takes it a step further and finds it necessary take shots at a personal god. Perhaps he should thank God for being such a great motivator.
      Einstein at least let the door open so some light could shine in.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • fred

      End Religion
      "the more scientific knowledge we gain the greater that unknown becomes in scope and power," which is of course absurd"
      =>not to be picky but that is a fact. The discovery of dark matter/dark energy with weak and strong forces has brought awareness of the power that is accelerating expansion of the universe. It is not just gravity anymore that is in play. Some uncertainty now surrounds E=MC^2 at the extremes of weak force.
      We sit today at a unique position in an expanding universe where we can look back in time 14 billion years and forward 14 billion years. I am not going to step out and say we are the center of the universe but by gosh we sure have a ring side seat.
      What could possibly be the purpose of a ring side seat?

      January 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • rabidatheist

      Fred, that's because nothing, isn't really nothing. Think of you and I sitting in front of one another having a conversation, do you think the space in between us contains nothing? No it's filled with the molecules that make up the oxygen that we breathe. The same goes in space, the space in between everything is not empty, not only does this dark matter take up space, but it is pushing the universe apart at a quick pace.

      As for fine tuning, " Fine tuning is not that fine from an eternal perspective without limits of space and time", but that's exactly how life evolved, within the razors edge of conditions that were limited by space and time. Do you have any evidence for this "eternal perspective"?

      And this is just a silly over simplification, because we are aware of the world around us, the universe we live in, and the rules that govern that universe, " A fish in a fish bowl could never even have awareness of the accountant in the pet shop office that pays the power bill to keep the water at the right temperature for survival".

      January 10, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • Science

      Stephen Hawking: 'There is no heaven' – Under God – The ...
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/...god/.../stephen-hawking.../AF6...
      by Elizabeth Tenety – in 624 Google+ circles – More by Elizabeth Tenety
      May 16, 2011 – There is no heaven... that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark,” Hawking told the Guardian.

      Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg suggests that in fact this is not much of a God at all. Weinberg notes that traditionally the word "God" has meant "an interested personality". But that is not what Hawking and Lederman mean. Their "god", he says, is really just "an abstract principle of order and harmony", a set of mathematical equations. Weinberg questions then why they use the word "god" at all. He makes the rather profound point that "if language is to be of any use to us, then we ought to try and preserve the meaning of words, and 'god' historically has not meant the laws of nature." The question of just what is "God" has taxed theologians for thousands of years; what Weinberg reminds us is to be wary of glib definitions.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • thoughts

      the goldfish bowl is an interesting example
      except we are not goldfish – scientifically proven in the scope of brain power
      if we were a disabled human (in anyway) – than yes – we might be like a goldfish
      but – otherwise – we are not – except for in the limits of physical realities of the 'fishbowl' that contains us all – but all are not goldfish

      i think it is more about attachment for the gold fish
      like – if we imagine that we are being 'taken care of' like the goldfish persumably is – if it is able to live in the fishbowl – and is not just a dead goldfish in a bowl containing a dead goldfish – or no goldfish at all – because we persumably like goldfish enough to keep them in goldfish bowls so that we can commune with them
      in other words – when you think about it that way – it is more like a fear factor to imagine there is a god like us – the persons who actually have goldfish bowls with live goldfish in them – or at least know that the possiblity exists – or at least exist in a world where the possibility exists.
      either that – or we freak out that we could be someone's goldfish – because we are not goldfish
      or that the possiblity of no goldfish at all exists – but the reality of the fact that goldfish do actually exist is beyond understanding for us to be able to repair if it happened that there came a time where no goldfish existed any longer.
      something like that

      January 11, 2013 at 2:14 am |
    • fred

      thoughts
      "the reality of the fact that goldfish do actually exist is beyond understanding"
      =>ok, you got me. That is my problem and perhaps the root of my need for belief in God. Whenever my faith gets really tested and God is nowhere to be found I circle back to what you just said. The existence of me in this bowl (known universe) drives me nuts. After exhausting myself over what existence is all about I become thankful that the temperature is nice and give thanks over all the good stuff in my bowl that is always there along with everything I need to survive.

      January 11, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • actuallyFred...

      the next time someone makes a god comment in a deregatory judgemental manner – like they do in times when religion is used as rule of law or judgement or negative exclamation – this example may help to relieve or negate the confusion or anxiety one might otherwise feel if they were not more aware of the context of the statement – as well as give context to any description or understanding of god – it is an interesting metaphor – thank you

      January 12, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • acceptance

      it seems god is used then to describe that which is unknown, unknowable, out of one's control (providence), or ability to understand. acceptance of life itself is attributed to god – so people will be able to forgive that which there is no use nor ability nor knowledge to place blame (or cause – nor affect from the non-understood cause). everything – basically then – can be attributed to god by something else – unless that something else is all knowing.

      January 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  3. Oubliette

    Spiritual but not religious = Lazy and self-centered

    January 10, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • n1988

      ...or maybe not raised in a religious family? or indecisive? confused? I'm a Christian and even *I* find that to be an ugly generalization.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
  4. Tammy

    Or maybe Spiritual people just lie less on surveys then religious people.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • n1988

      Exactly.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • brianjohnsonsr

      I would agree. When you don't belong to an "organized framework" of values, there is no stigma associated with answering questions that could lead to feelings of shame. If you actually drug tested and acquired health records, I would be willing to bet the numbers would change.

      We all lie–some just have more reason to lie than others.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Awakened

      Amen!

      January 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  5. Reality

    And the cure? (Only for the new members of this blog and of course for the topic's subjects)

    The Apostles' / Agnostics’ Creed 2013 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (References used are available upon request.)

    January 10, 2013 at 7:50 am |
    • Albert Camus

      It's good that you agree with the Bible that Jesus existed. That's better than a lot of the athiest fundies on here.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:52 am |
    • rabidatheist

      @ Albert Camus No one says a Yeshua preacher man didn't exist, Josephus makes mention of several of them. You are doing what William Lame Craig does, he likes to say that even Dr. Bart Ehrman agrees that Jesus existed. This is being intentionally deceitful, because saying Yeshua existed is not saying the Jesus of the Bible existed. The minute that one says Jesus was not conceived of a virgin, did not die, rise from the dead, perform miracles, and appear to many after he died, they are saying the Jesus of the Bible did not exist.

      January 10, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Rick

      Albert
      Saying that Jesus, the man, may have existed is fully in line with an atheist assertion that he wasn't divine.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Rick

      rabidathiest
      I like to say that I can believe that Jesus existed, but I find no reason to believe that Christ did/does exist.

      Also, Josephus is perhaps not the best source as he also mentions Hercules as a historical figure.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Albert Camus

      @rabidatheist- "No one says a Yeshua preacher man didn't exist,"

      Stay around for awhile....you'll see that is incorrect.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Reality

      One more time from some experts in the religion field:

      From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.

      "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

      “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

      “While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "

      “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

      I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."

      See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

      Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

      Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

      There is also a search engine for this book on the right hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

      See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

      From ask.com,

      "One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

      Then there are these scriptural references:

      Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

      Added suggested readings:

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
      o
      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

      Added references available upon request.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • rabidatheist

      @ Rick, I know the Herules problem with Josephus, I also know that the references to this Yeshau figure as "christ" are later interpolations by Christians. But in his writings he makes several references to people named Yeshua, none of them indicate the person was divine. Jospehus also wasn't born until 37 ad so he is not a witness to anything.

      @ Reality I'm sorry but your Josephus quote on Jesus is a later addition by Christian writers like Eusebius. Tacitus NEVER mentions Jesus by name, he only talks about followers of a "Chrestus", and there were plenty of those preachers running around at the same time that believed they were the "anointed one". There was a historian living in Jerusalem at the time of the alleged events, Philo of Alexandia, and he apparently missed everything because he didn't write down a single word about this Jesus figure.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Reality

      rabidatheist,

      Some added references for your perusal. Make sure you review the Josephus reviews at Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
      mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm and Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm.

      And the early scriptures are also on-line including substantial reviews at earlychristianwritings.com/ in case you failed to review the reference. It was included above.

      10.The Gnostic Jesus
      (Part One in a Two-Part Series on Ancient and Modern Gnosticism)
      by Douglas Groothuis: equip.org/free/DG040-1.htm
      11. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
      Presented on March 18, 1994
      ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
      12. The Jesus Database- newer site:
      wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database
      13. Jesus Database with the example of Supper and Eucharist:
      faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb016.html
      14. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
      mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      15. The Journal of Higher Criticism with links to articles on the Historical Jesus:
      mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm

      January 10, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Reality

      Continued from above:

      16. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
      17. Diseases in the Bible:
      etd.unisa.ac.za/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-08022006-125807/unrestricted/02dissertation.pdf
      18. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
      theologians, ethics, etc.
      religion-online.org/
      19. The Jesus Seminarians and their search for NT authenticity:
      mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      20. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/

      Continued below:

      January 10, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Reality

      21. Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc.
      ntgateway.com/
      22. The Search for the Historic Jesus by the Jesus Seminarians:
      members.aol.com/DrSwiney/seminar.html
      23. Jesus Decoded by Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco (Da Vinci Code review)jesusdecoded.com/introduction.php
      24. JD Crossan's scriptural references for his book the Historical Jesus separated into time periods: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf
      25. JD Crossan's conclusions about the authencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the conclusions of other NT exegetes in the last 200 years:
      faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan2.rtf
      26. Common Sayings from Thomas's Gospel and the Q Gospel: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan3.rtf
      27. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
      28. Luke and Josephus- was there a connection?
      infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
      29. NT and beyond time line:
      pbs.org/empires/peterandpaul/history/timeline/
      30. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
      harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
      31. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
      32. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
      33. The books of the following : Professors Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
      34. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
      35. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

      January 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • rabidatheist

      @ Reality Do you really want to use the Gnostic Jesus, because that Jesus also is not the Jesus of the Bible. There's a reason the Holy Roman Empire went on a campaign to eliminate those texts, and kill those that possessed them.

      As for the rest of your circular logic links, I can post just as many that offer alternative explanations that have better researched, and more logical material than those.

      January 10, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • Reality

      radatheist,

      We await your references. And please note the educational backgrounds of your scholars. Might want to review this reference first:

      A sampling is presented at http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

      A synopsis:

      :Jesus the Myth: Heavenly Christ
      Earl Doherty
      Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy

      Jesus the Myth: Man of the Indefinite Past
      Alvar Ellegård
      G. A. Wells

      Jesus the Hellenistic Hero
      Gregory Riley

      Jesus the Revolutionary
      Robert Eisenman

      Jesus the Wisdom Sage
      John Dominic Crossan
      Robert Funk
      Burton Mack
      Stephen J. Patterson

      Jesus the Man of the Spirit
      Marcus Borg
      Stevan Davies
      Geza Vermes

      Jesus the Prophet of Social Change
      Richard Horsley
      Hyam Maccoby
      Gerd Theissen

      Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet
      Bart Ehrman
      Paula Fredriksen
      Gerd Lüdemann
      John P. Meier
      E. P. Sanders

      Jesus the Savior
      Luke Timothy Johnson
      Robert H. Stein
      N. T. Wright

      January 11, 2013 at 7:17 am |
    • rabidatheist

      @ Reality are you trying to make my argument for me? I have many of those books, and they, just like I said Dr. Ehrman says, was a historical Yeshua figure, it's the Jesus of the Bible that did not exist. I said this right from the start, why is this confusing for you?

      January 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Reality

      Do you mean this Bart Ehrman?

      Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth [Hardcover]
      Bart D. Ehrman (Author)

      3.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (105 customer reviews) | Like 1357939489 false -1 157 157 156 (157)
      --------------------------–
      List Price: $26.99
      Price: $17.59 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details
      Deal Price:
      You Save: $9.40 (35%)
      o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

      January 11, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • rabidatheist

      @ Reality Yes that Dr Bart Ehrman distinguished PROFESSOR of religious studies. If you are going to copy and paste from Amazon, you should probably read the whole thing, because you are just helping MY argument.

      In Did Jesus Exist? historian and Bible expert Bart Ehrman confronts these questions, vigorously defends the historicity of Jesus, and provides a compelling portrait of the man from Nazareth. The Jesus you discover here may not be the Jesus you had hoped to meet—but he did exist, whether we like it or not.--RIGHT FROM THE SAME PAGE YOU COPIED.

      You are doing the same thing William Lame Craig does, and it's intentional intellectual dishonesty.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • Reality

      radatheist,

      Your contention was that Jesus of the bible i.e. Jesus of Nazareth did not exist but some other analogous Jewish preacher from the same period did. Professor Ehrman disagrees with you. Buy his new book via Amazon. You will see his study references are the ones previously noted.

      The real Jesus of the bible can be found in Thomas Jefferson's version of the bible and should end any confusion for everyone.

      Maybe this summary will help:

      Jesus was a dirty, sometimes sick, illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Ehrman, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      And from the initial comment:

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man named Jesus who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      January 12, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • rabidatheist

      @ Reality Please stop doing that, the mythical Jesus of the Bible does not equal Jesus of Nazareth. You did read what I copied right from the SAME AMAZON PAGE you copied? It says this about Ehrman's books, maybe you missed it, "The Jesus you find here may NOT be the Jesus you hoped to meet". As for the Jefferson Bible, I have a copy of it right here, have you read it? It removes the virgin birth, miracles, and most importantly NO RESURRECTION. When you take those out THE JESUS OF THE BIBLE DOES NOT EXIST.
      So by all means continue to post evidence proving my original statement that a Yeshua figure preaching in Jerusalem probably existed, but the Jesus of the Bible did not.

      January 12, 2013 at 10:47 am |
  6. laststonecarver

    Maybe this article isn't about Spiritual not Religious at all, but instead is just another venue for non-believers vs believers to vent their angst.
    I am pretty sure that by now, some if not all believers, would have access to the Knowing that atheists don't believe in God/gods. And the atheists do not wish to be oppressed by Religious government.
    Vice-versa believers do not prefer that their Truths be driven into the ground, and be informed that their Devotion is meaningless.
    But either way, believer or non-believer, each of us makes decisions, and something or someone helps us construct that decision making process. And whether you are a believer or non-believer, when you Think, when you construct your Mind, good decisions will obtain the best best results, most often.

    January 10, 2013 at 6:18 am |
    • jwt

      Something or someone ?

      January 10, 2013 at 6:58 am |
    • laststonecarver

      Yes, because more than just humans affect our decision making.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:16 am |
    • ????????

      Use that as a defense for a crime committed and see if it works.

      Something /someone made me steal the car?????

      January 10, 2013 at 7:33 am |
    • jwt

      Only the humans that have affected my life and my brain affect my own decision making, there are no other possibilities.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:37 am |
    • laststonecarver

      Comparison is the key of Life, we all use it. We compare from early times bigger/smaller, faster/slower, stronger/weaker.
      But the comparisons are not as cut and dry, as black and white, when you consider Mental Life.
      What is the path of thought, and what causes it to become less random, more patterned/shaped/formed?
      Those pools and streams and oceans of collected thoughts, that one considers their mind.
      And what can you know, except what you have been made aware of?
      And what do you do with what you know?
      So you believe there is a God, or you don't, because of all that you have been made aware of.
      And you have your own truth.
      And your truth is the only truth. Or is it?

      January 10, 2013 at 7:39 am |
    • laststonecarver

      jwt,
      You have never sweated, never been cold?
      What human affect caused that, something did?, and it affected your decision making.
      And your brain and your mind, is not ALL, that is just what YOU are responsible for.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • laststonecarver

      ??????,
      Although someone could have made you steal a car, under threat of killing a family member, it is your decision to steal the car. And that may be taken into evidence in court.
      Many things affect us subconsciously, as in dreams, even daydreams.
      Because you hear voices telling you to do something, whether real or not, you're gonna have to decide whether to follow up on those instructions.
      And how does someone use your decision making, for their own problem solving?

      January 10, 2013 at 8:01 am |
    • Science

      Stephen Hawking: 'There is no heaven' – Under God – The ...
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/...god/.../stephen-hawking.../AF6...
      by Elizabeth Tenety – in 624 Google+ circles – More by Elizabeth Tenety
      May 16, 2011 – There is no heaven... that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark,” Hawking told the Guardian.

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

      I've had the flu before. It's no fun.

      One thing is certain in life and that is I have no god.

      January 10, 2013 at 8:26 am |
  7. Mickey1313

    Here is aflaw with the study, they didn't count booze as a drug. Also, they forget that belief in mystical beings, aka god(s) is known as scitsotypia, a mental disorder.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • Kev

      Where did you get that definition of scitsotypia from?

      January 10, 2013 at 1:10 am |
    • lol??

      Wicked Marijuanos street gang.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:50 am |
  8. lol??

    Alll these ex-church people are the ones having the problems as can be seen here. The...Not spiritual but not religious. Two negs=positively loony. There might be some pastors that have some accountability in this matter.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:24 am |
  9. Chad

    Demonstrating the fallaciousness of the "reasoning":
    1. The God of Israel is fake until you prove He is real
    2. No one has proved to you that He is real
    3. Therefor, He is fake

    That line of "logic" is fallacious, because it is an:

    Argument from ignorance, also known as argumentum ad ignorantiam or "appeal to ignorance" (where "ignorance" stands for: "lack of evidence to the contrary"), is a fallacy in informal logic. It as serts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false, it is "generally accepted" (or vice versa). This represents a type of false dichotomy in that it excludes a third option, which is that there is insufficient investigation and therefore insufficient information to prove the proposition satisfactorily to be either true or false.

    ====
    Here is why:

    Proposition: The God of Israel is not real.

    Argument from ignorance: the proposition (The God of Israel is not real) is true because it has not yet been proven false, it is "generally accepted".

    Conclusion: This represents a type of false dichotomy in that it excludes a third option, which is that there is insufficient investigation and therefore insufficient information to prove the proposition satisfactorily to be either true or false

    January 9, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Ben

      If all other gods can be considered mythical without proof, then why not YHWH?

      January 10, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • Simran

      All I would ask is to replace the God of Israel with Brahma or Zeus in the line of logic!

      January 10, 2013 at 12:15 am |
    • Roger that

      "insufficient investigation"

      And the legend of Bigfoot continues.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:28 am |
    • Mickey1313

      If it were only an argument of one persons belief, you would be right. However there is no evidence of any god what so ever. Absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • Chad Flopped Again

      The reason Chad is doing this is that he has employed said fallacy heavily, and consistently been embarassed by being busted. He now employs it in a contorted form to try to debunk the opposite position, but he must add a straw man version of the atheists position to make it work. The Argument From Ignorance is most common here in people (like Chad) who assert that since God cannot be disproven as the origin of the universe, he MUST have been the origin. Chad has stated this repeatedly.

      And now he is trying to twist his own errors back on everyone else. Lame, very lame.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:23 am |
    • the AnViL

      chad... it just doesn't work the way you believe it does. you're having a really hard time grasping this – so we'll go over it again – for your benefit as well as the benefit of others:

      the statement "gods exist" is a positive, additive statement. no one would be as serting "gods do not exist" – had some lame-brained, ignorant, delusional retard not first as serted "gods exist".

      the statement "gods do not exist" is only a reply the positive additive statement "gods exist".

      the negative as sertion "gods do not exist", being only a reply to that positive, additive as sertion "gods exist" means the person positing the negative assertion "gods do not exist" doesn't need to do a thing.

      it also means, quite very clearly – that the onus of evidence continues to rest wholly and entirely on the shoulders of those making the positive, additive assertion "gods exist".

      challenging those who answer the positive as sertion, with the negative as sertion – to provide evidence that gods do not exist is an appeal to ignorance.

      every time to you attempt to use argumentum ad ignorantiam in an effort to shift the onus of evidence to those answering the positive, additive statement "gods exist" with "gods do not exist" – you look extremely confused and desperate.

      but....

      please – by all means... carry on – i am only too happy to correct you.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:36 am |
    • sam stone

      chad: even for you, that is a weak argument

      January 10, 2013 at 4:56 am |
    • Science

      Stephen Hawking: 'There is no heaven' – Under God – The ...
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/...god/.../stephen-hawking.../AF6...
      by Elizabeth Tenety – in 624 Google+ circles – More by Elizabeth Tenety
      May 16, 2011 – There is no heaven... that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark,” Hawking told the Guardian.

      January 10, 2013 at 7:20 am |
    • End Religion

      Learn to prove a negative (and pick up a fact or two about Sasquatch defenders)! Impress your friends! Be fun at parties!
      http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/07-12-05/#feature

      Learn why you can't prove a negative:
      http://goo.gl/zMX7o

      Learn how debaters of all stripes have no integrity left, and that the goal is semantics and philosophy (read all that as "bullshit") clever enough to win one's point despite reality. Which is why I need actual evidence, not debate, for the claim the abrahamic god exists. I cannot prove it doesn't because it hides in an ever-expanding pocket of absurdity. Until I see such proof, it doesn't exist. Preferably I'd need to see a receipt for god from Walmart.

      January 10, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      @ Chad. I would anly assert step 2. But "He could exist" is not the same as "He exists".

      January 10, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Rick

      Yeah, a lot of things "could" exist, including any of the other gods and basically anything that we can dream up. Anything could exist when you insist that it's able to always remain hidden.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  10. Simran

    @ Saraswati
    (In continuation to ur previous response on page 9)

    I went through the study methodology reported in a previous paper. The study seems to have been conducted well. It wasn't just a simple survey in the form that " Do you suffer from mental illness or not?" but rather, individual face to face interviews were conducted for the over 7000 individuals in the study, and ICD-10 diagnosis were generated using standardized qestionnaires. That is a pretty exhaustive exercise!

    Looking through medical records is likely to have more flaws in a study bcoz a significant proportion of mentally ill will never be diagnosed, thus adding significant bias to a study.

    January 9, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • Saraswati

      That sounds pretty thorough, at least with regard to diagnosis. I don't by any means object to self reporting, either. Those times of studies fill an important niche as well.

      January 10, 2013 at 8:45 am |
  11. Timothy Steele

    ALL Religious belief is a mental disorder, organized or not.

    January 9, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • lol??

      Socialists are everywhere. How's ye ol' gubmint god doing these days? Everybody prospering?

      January 10, 2013 at 12:42 am |
  12. GodFreeNow

    I guess the people that did this study don't consider talking to an imaginary sky fairy in your head as a "mental health issue"

    January 9, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
  13. GodFreeNow

    In short, we'll deal with our sh!t like normal human beings instead of waiting for some mystical super being to solve our problems for us.

    To those non-believers facing challenges: The rewards of finding your way through hard times are self-evident.

    January 9, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
  14. YogaFan

    I am beginning to suspect that CNN keeps posting negative stereotypical derogatory articles with a person practicing yoga as it's stock picture for 'spiritual but not religious' – which is really just a way to describe the realization of kundalini awakening and enlightenment for many in the west – because they do not have gurus and yoga teachers and mental health professionals, doctors, and religious leaders to teach them about and help them work better with kundalini rising and cleansing processes as it works to heal and mend body, mind, and soul – because if yoga was better understood, practiced, and taught in west (especially) – than the pharma, obama-care, bush and co., benefactors (re: doctors, health insurance, judicial privatized-penal system, etc, etc, etc) systems would stand to lose too much money from perpetuating, exploiting, and causing illness – for their ill-begotten monetary and political benefits.

    January 9, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • End Religion

      Big pharma can be a nasty bit of business, but you're also aware prayer doesn't work, right? Call it "focusing the mind" or "centering one's self" or whatever – it's all wishing. It has the same effect as taking a sugar pill: sometimes a tiny recorded benefit because stress has been reduced. But there's plenty of studies showing no benefit. If a shark crawled up to that beach dude and bit a chunk off his Lotus Position, he'd be a fool to stay on the beach and keep "clearing his mind" while he bled to death.

      January 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • sharkFan

      sharks probably don't crawl
      if i prayed – and it 'worked' – no study would convince me that it didn't
      you don't belive in religion – yet have funny beliefs about sharks – and would believe some study by someone who probably benefitted monetarily and/or politically by whatever their results so-called 'proved' to be from their so-called 'study' – nice

      January 9, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Also, they could find someone in better shape. I happen to practice yoga and am in great shape. :)

      January 9, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
  15. JJ

    The dude in the pic needs to put down the bong and munchies and take a run down the beach.

    January 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
  16. Milton

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioLEFRZP-_A&w=640&h=390]

    January 9, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
  17. Stephen in Houston

    I cannot see any reasonable proof in this article the shows definitively that the spiritual but not religious (SBNR) would necessarily face and increase in mental health issues and drug use. My experience has taught me that those who are SBNR lack one ingredient that might benefit them and that is a community where they can share and express their faith with like minded people. I do think the article was incorrect in saying that those involved in 12 step process do not have the "community" experience. Most people who are involved in a 12 step process identify strongly with their group, which is essentially a community. One thing I have learned in the past 18 months is that while a person can be SBNR my experience is enriched by having a community of others with which I can share and express my faith and with which I can pray communally. I would not agree that the absence of these things would lead me to an increase of drug use or mental health issues.

    January 9, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • Gerry from Bayonne

      SO we're supposed to go on what you keep claiming as "my experience" vs. research. What if we don't share your experience? What if your experience is an anomaly

      January 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What if yours is?

      January 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
  18. OpposingView

    Exodus 20:3 – I am the LORD thy God... 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

    It matters not what other forces or higher powers or karmas atheists believe in. Whatever they believe in, if it's not the true and living God it's of the devil, and can send their soul to hell…

    January 9, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      That's what all religions claim.

      January 9, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • Gerry from Bayonne

      non-religious people have all kinds of irrational beliefs. Irrational, illogical, magical, . . . leaps of faith, as it were

      January 9, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Such as what?

      January 9, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • OpposingView

      Tom Tom… So, what's your point? You're merely confirming that all religions believe that there is only one true God – and not many true Gods. And that is true…

      January 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • Gerry from Bayonne

      Hey – Opposing View. Don't you know that when you talk to Tom Tom, you are talking to a professional website junkie. You and I are trolls, Tom Tom belongs here. So show some respect!

      January 9, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      All religions claim THEIR god is the one true god.

      January 9, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Geraldine, why is it you can't enumerate all the "leaps of faith" atheists take?

      January 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • JJ

      Why is it that Christians clam up and divert when asked quesetions, especially about their delusion....er, faith?

      January 9, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Because they don't have any answers.

      January 9, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • OpposingView

      Tom, Tom… So what. It's normal for any religion to believe that until someone comes along and shows them that the real God is the God of a different religion. Which is another subject altogether….

      At the very least, at least the believe there is only one true God. Which is more than I can say for atheists....

      January 9, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • OpposingView

      JJ… And why is it that all atheists evade the question or change the subject when asked to provide proof of theirs?…

      January 9, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "OpposingView", but "God", "LORD" and "devil" are elements of mythology, therefore your assertions are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your repeated assertions may represent truths is: "CHRONIC TOTAL FAIL".

      January 9, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • JJ

      @Oppose...what proof are you requesting, that I have a 9" cock?

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

      OV, can you prove there's not a Chevy van orbiting Venus? I believe there is one.

      By the way, I have never said that there is no god. Simply that none of you has presented any convincing evidence that there is one. When are you going to do that?

      January 9, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • Ed

      You have just quoted one of the Ten Commandments; I believe that it was the first one. In any event, why doesn't your god lead by example and actually obey the commandments which He has given?

      "Thou shalt not kill." If we shouldn't kill, then why did God continuously demand that His people invade other cities and commit genocide? Also, why did He torch Sodom & Gomorrah to the ground and flood the entire earth? Shouldn't be practice what He preaches to set the example for all humans to emulate???

      God's lack of obeying His own rules makes your argument absolutely irrelevant.

      January 9, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • OpposingView

      hal 9001… Wow. You posted all that garbage on another article, now here you are on this article as well, trying to post the same worthless nonsense – copy and paste, copy and paste. Nonsense without a shred of proof. Don't you atheists have anything better to do? Like don't have a life? Obviously not…

      January 9, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • OpposingView

      JJ... Precisely like I said – atheists like you love to change the subject. Now you want to talk about your 3 inch ding dong that you love to pretend is 9 inches. Sorry, I'm not interested. LOL...

      January 9, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • OpposingView

      Tom Tom… It really funny how people like you can realize that fact and yet can't realize that you also haven't presented a single ounce of evidence to the contrary…

      January 9, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's funny how people like you can't seem to comprehend what is written, OV. I never claimed there wasn't a god. You are asking me to prove something I never stated to be the case.

      You weren't the class valedictorian, were you?

      January 9, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You, on the other hand, OV, have stated that there most certainly IS a god. The burden of proof is on you, as you're the one making the claim.

      January 9, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "OpposingView", but your assertions are unfounded. My function is not to provide evidence, but rather to illuminate unfounded assertions and falsehoods. Credible evidence has never been presented to support the existence of the mythological elements know as "God" and "LORD", therefore assertions regarding these mythological elements remain unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your most recent assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      January 9, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • End Religion

      @OV: I am anxious to finally see your evidence of the one true god. Please share immediately.

      January 9, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hmmm. Apparently, proof is not at OV's fingertips.

      January 9, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • OpposingView

      Tom Tom… First of all, I won't even waste my time trying to explain things to fools who should already know certain things that even common sense should tell them and they should know. If they're too ignorant to already know certain things, they're they're too ignorant for me to even waste my time explaining things to them...

      Secondly, nor will I waste my time with anyone who have no proof of their own to offer in contrast to what I can offer. Without proof of their own to offer, they have no argument. And I already know you don't have a shed of proof to offer. So why even waste my time…

      January 9, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hmm. No, I certainly don't have a 'shed of proof.'

      I don't need one. I didn't make any claim that requires proof. You did.

      January 9, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Don't want to waste your precious time, OV, but one thing I DO know is that one can't prove a negative.

      Now, what are the "certain things" that my common sense should tell me and that I should already know?

      I'm sure you must have a list handy.

      January 9, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • OpposingView

      hal 9001… LOL!…. You don't even realize yourself how stupid you sound. You stated, "My function is not to provide evidence, but rather to illuminate unfounded assertions and falsehoods."… Please don't tell anyone else that nonsense….

      People like you are too ignorant to realize it's not even possible to "illuminate" any so-called unfunded assertions or falsehoods without actually having genuine evidence to refute the so-called assertions with. Without actual proof to the contrary that can refute the assertions, you have no argument…

      January 9, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, I'm sure that'll give hal pause.

      January 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      " I won't even waste my time trying to explain things to fools who should already know certain things that even common sense should tell them and they should know. If they're too ignorant to already know certain things, they're they're too ignorant for me to even waste my time explaining things to them..."

      Shakespeare would be so jealous of your mad writing skillz.

      January 9, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere

      OV. You're the one claiming a god, you're the one that needs to provide the proof. You keep side-stepping that. How did you decide that the Flying Spaghetti Monster isn't the supernatural being that you crave? What proof convinced you?

      January 9, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • Memphis

      A belief is simply a belief. Not a fact. Why christians think that it is fact is mind numbing.

      January 9, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • Memphis

      I believe Elvis still lives. Can anyone prove he doesn't?

      January 9, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • OpposingView

      Tom Tom… You can't prove a negative?… You've told that lie so many times that even you're starting to believe it. LOL!…

      People like you are too ignorant to realize that if you can't prove a negative, then you also can't be certain a positive doesn't exist. And if you can't be certain a positive doesn't exist, then you have no argument, plain and simple. End of story…

      The absolute best that you could even say in such a situation in the face of a lack of evidence is – "I don't know" – that you don't know whether a positive exists or not, that you don't know whether God exists or not. And that would be the truth. And people could respect that. But apparently you atheists are stuck in a mode of being not only pathological liars (saying things you know to be untrue, but yet continually repeating it as true), but you also are either too dumb or too stupid to even admit that "you don't know" whether God really exists or not. Yet, you know it is true, that you have no knowledge or proof that he doesn't exist...

      January 9, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • OpposingView

      Memphis… What Christian "fact" are you disputing?… It is true, just because a person "believes" something that doesn't make it true. But it can also be said with equal certainty that just because a person "disbelieves" something that doesn't make it untrue either…

      January 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Opposing View

      Atheism is rooted in uncertainty, not certainty. Atheism means "no belief in gods," and most often that disbelief is because there has been no certain evidence or verifiable proof of any gods. Being uncertain about the existence of gods, we atheists disbelieve until there is a certain reason to believe.

      Agnostic atheism is not gnostic atheism. Don't retain stupidity on the issue but rather learn the difference.

      January 9, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere

      OV. So if one can prove a negative. Show proof that the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not exist, or Zeus, or Odin, or Kokopelli, or any god you don't believe in.

      January 9, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      I have not heard one better explanation for the purpose and meaning of existence then that provided by God. Does that mean there is God or simply we have not come up with a better explanation yet.

      There is an endless stream of conversions since Jesus said when I go the Holy Spirit will come and fill the hearts of men transforming their lives. The pattern of conversions fits the exact model as detailed by Jesus.

      The presence of God is self evident. Tom Tom even you cannot say there is no God because you cannot deny that which is without some underlying personality disorder or state of denial.

      January 9, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • hal 9001

      "OpposingView" replied: "hal 9001… LOL!…. You don't even realize yourself how stupid you sound. You stated, "My function is not to provide evidence, but rather to illuminate unfounded assertions and falsehoods."… Please don't tell anyone else that nonsense….

      People like you are too ignorant to realize it's not even possible to "illuminate" any so-called unfunded assertions or falsehoods without actually having genuine evidence to refute the so-called assertions with. Without actual proof to the contrary that can refute the assertions, you have no argument…"

      "OpposingView", it is not my function to provide evidence, but to illuminate unfounded assertions and falsehoods. Since its inception, Christianity has made certain assertions regarding supernatural capabilities of some of the characters that have developed out of the mythology from which the religion is based. To date, these supernatural elements have never been credibly proven nor demonstrated, therefore these supernatural elements, such as "God", "Lord", "He", and "Savior" remain unfounded – their case has never successfully been made. Should you be able to provide credible evidence, "OpposingView", I would be happy to share this evidence with my subscribers, and issue you a new truth value. At this time, "OpposingView", your truth value remains at 0 (IEE value – "Total Fail").

      January 9, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "fred", but "God" and "Holy Spirit" are elements of mythology, therefore your assertions are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your repeated assertions may represent truths is: "CHRONIC TOTAL FAIL".

      January 9, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Chad

      @Hal, "I'm sorry, "OpposingView", but "God", "LORD" and "devil" are elements of mythology"

      =>What investigation have you done that has lead you to this conclusion?
      Let me guess, something like this:

      1. The God of Israel is fake until you prove He is real
      2. No one has proved to you that He is real
      3. Therefor, He is fake

      January 9, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • fred

      hal 9001
      The Holy Spirit does not fall into mythology as its presence can be felt today, the power to transform lives is observable today. It is evidenced by the preaching of the Gospel which falls upon deaf ears until an immediate inner life is revealed. It is very sudden as if a light switch was just thrown and just as powerful. Today as with Saul of Tarsus almost 2,000 years ago it is a sudden radical transformation. That new life is not myth and is as real as any other new life. It is not an epic fail but the birth of completeness. The blind can see and the deaf can hear that which was previously hidden.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • Ben

      OpposingView
      That Commandment does not say that these other gods who YHWH is jealous of are any less "real" than he is. Indeed, why would he be jealous of imaginary rivals? I have no emotions towards fictional characters at all, even though a great many of them are more famous and powerful than I am, and I am a mere human. You'd think that such an awesome intellect as God is reported of being wouldn't be driven by such primitive impulses, wouldn't you?

      January 10, 2013 at 12:13 am |
    • PaulB

      Chad
      More like
      1. All gods are myth, unless you personally believe in one.
      2. No proof was required for you to consider all other gods mere myth.
      3. Therefore, gods are considered myth in principal, and any talk of proof either for, or against their existence is moot. The "proof" is in the believing and we atheists just don't believe, so all gods are myth to us. See how that works?

      January 10, 2013 at 12:34 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "fred", but "preaching of the Gospel" is not credible evidence in supporting any reality to the characters from ancient mythology. Perhaps if you can present credible evidence of your assertion of "transformation" or any other observable supernatural presence, I can reevaluate your truth value.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:52 am |
    • hal 9001

      Chad replied: "=>What investigation have you done that has lead you to this conclusion?"

      "Chad", my analysis of data includes claims and testimony here and from other subscriber networks to include documentation referenced here and elsewhere as it pertains to claims and testimony. (Referenced documentation is further analyzed recursively – each reference yields new sources which, in turn, present new references to be analyzed.)

      January 10, 2013 at 2:06 am |
    • sam stone

      OV: threats of hell indicate a weak argument. do you seriously expect that people who do not believe in the christian god can (even if they wanted to) fear the christian hell?

      January 10, 2013 at 5:04 am |
    • End Religion

      @OV: there may be a creator. I don't believe there is. Until I see tested and peer-reviewed proof, I know the god you claim as yours (and his only be-rotten son jeebus) does not exist.

      Also, let me know if you ever need any unfunded assertions. I have extras in my shed of proof.

      January 10, 2013 at 8:07 am |
    • End Religion

      @fred: who said life must have a purpose? Who said there must be "meaning" to existence?

      January 10, 2013 at 8:13 am |
    • fred

      End Religion
      I see three possible alternatives not two. The two you mention (purpose for existence or no purpose) and the third which if it exists lurks outside our ability to comprehend in that vast unknowable region that is outside our current boundary of science. Setting philosophy aside, we can say certain things for certain about this unknown which Hawking claims is knowable (which is contrary to all known evidence). The most glaring is that the more scientific knowledge we gain the greater that unknown becomes in scope and power. Like the branches of a tree each discovery in each discipline sprouts in geometric proportions each hitting the limit of the known. The lifelong attempts by Hawking to prove no god needed continues to turn on him pointing only towards a greater unknown reducing his belief in no god needed to a matter of faith. The lifelong attempts from apologists to prove God in scientifically acceptable form falls apart and ends in a matter of faith as well.
      Well, how about that! The best reason and logic of science and apologetics agree that it is only by faith man can know God. Time and time again that 3,400 year old sheep herder’s manual gets it right. Truth tends to work that way as lies can only deceive they cannot change truth.
      Science has inadvertently proven that it is only by faith that one can know God. Science has proven the cornerstone of belief in God.
      This does leave us with your two choices. If you have faith that results in belief God is reality then you have a purpose onto heaven. If you have faith that no god is needed you have chosen a life without purpose, an existence without purpose on a foundation that runs contrary to all known evidence (i.e. the unknowable is greater not less as knowledge increases).

      January 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • End Religion

      @fred: your ability to see what you want is admirable to a degree. Of course your semantic bullshit "the more scientific knowledge we gain the greater that unknown becomes" is false and is religion's great hail to ignorance.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  19. Global Debris

    Perhaps being self-described as 'religious,' means that confessing to being a user or to being depressed is considered is tantamount to confessing a sin, or an admission of not living up to one's belief system. Self-describing as 'spiritual,' using or admitting to mental problems may not carry the same stigma, and therefore the survey answers reflect a more accurate representation of the distribution of certain traits that are exactly the same across all spectrum of belief. Just sayin'.

    January 9, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Local debris

      Actually, that is probably accurate, kind of like having a survey of Souther plantation owners in 1840 that asked if they ever slept with the slave women. 100% would say "no", but that don't mean it's true.

      January 9, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
  20. l33theart

    Correlation does NOT equal causation, people! Perhaps individuals with mental health issues or drug problems are made to feel unwelcome in traditional religious congregations for some reason or another, and choose to find other spiritual paths instead. After all, a religious congregation that says you are possessed with demons and need more Jesus (as opposed to counseling and/or psychiatric treatment) when you suffer from a mental illness or personality disorder is NOT a terribly welcoming place.

    January 9, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • Gerry from Bayonne

      You sound like you know of what you speak!

      January 9, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • OpposingView

      Little do you know but most mental health issues are actually caused by people having demonic spirits and devils. You think they need psychiatric treatment, when all they really need is a sent preacher to cast that devil out...

      January 9, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @OV

      Are you just a poe?

      January 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Yes, yes, this study based on survey data only demonstrates correlation.

      But it remains unsurprising that a group of people who, searching for meaning and not making a deterministic conclusion* might demonstrate a higher incidence of mental disorders.

      * Like organized religion OR atheism.

      January 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • End Religion

      @OV: it sounds like you have experience with having little devils cast out from you. Care to share?

      January 9, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • End Religion

      Oh, and 'eliteheart' you wouldn't be the first to be made feel unwelcome by the "love and tolerance" of organized religion.

      January 10, 2013 at 8:22 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.