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Bucking previous trends, survey finds growth of the religiously unaffiliated slowing
January 10th, 2013
01:30 PM ET

Bucking previous trends, survey finds growth of the religiously unaffiliated slowing

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – After years of marked growth, the size of Americans who identify with no religion slowed in 2012, according to a study released Thursday.

Since 2008, the percentage of Americans who identify as religious "nones" has grown from 14.6% to 17.8% in 2012, according to the Gallup survey. That number, which grew nearly one percentage point every year from 2008 to 2011, grew only 0.3% last year – from 17.5% in 2011 to 17.8% in 2012 – making it the smallest increase over the past five years.

This study contrasts with headlines from previous studies on religious “nones,” including a 2012 study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life that found the group was the fastest growing "religious" group in America and that one in five Americans now identify with no religion.

“Although this ‘rise of the nones’ has increased dramatically over recent decades, the rate of increase slowed last year, suggesting the possibility that there may be a leveling off in this measure in the years ahead,” reports the Gallup study, which is made up of more than 350,000 interviews.

Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of Gallup, says these results suggest “that religion may be maintaining itself or even increasing in the years ahead.”

“Our current ability to look at it over five years with these big surveys suggests the possibility that the growth [of the nones] may not be inexorable,” Newport says.

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In his book, “God is Alive and Well: The Future of Religion in America,” Newport argues that a number of factors, including baby boomers reaching senior ages, migration to more religious states, recognition of health and well being of religion and an increase in a Hispanic population, are all reasons that “we are going to continue to have a quite religious nation going forward.”

Atheist and humanist activists disagree and pushed back against the Gallup study.

“The truth is, it doesn't really matter whether one of these surveys – even a big one like Gallup – shows the number leveling off a bit this past year,” Greg Epstein, humanist chaplain at Harvard University, says. “First of all, the numbers for young Americans are still dramatically higher, and secondly, it is beyond dispute now that the "nones" are one of the largest demographic groups in the United States, and we're going to stay that way for a long, long time.”

The Gallup study also found that 27% of Americans age 18 to 29 identified as religious nones, making the age group the largest subgroup in the study. The finding tracks with other studies on religious nones, many of which have found the growth among the religiously unaffiliated has been most notable among people who are 18 to 29 years old.

“There's no slowing here at the Secular Student Alliance. We're up to 394 campus groups from 310 a year ago,” Jesse Galef, communications director at the organization, says in response to the survey. “You can see the religious future of America just by looking at the demographics: Young Americans (18-29) are almost three times as likely to be unaffiliated with religion than senior citizens are.”

In particular, Galef points out, the Secular Student Alliance has experienced growth in ages below 18, an age group that Gallup did not survey. In the last year, says Galef, the number of Secular Student Alliance affiliates at high schools doubled to 60 campuses.

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News of strong growth among nones had long been heralded by their community.

As study after study began to report that religious nones in America were growing, many atheist, agnostic and humanist activists began to stress the need for these relative non-believers to come together and turn their numbers into political and social influence. Though some leaders split on what wielding that influence would look like, the size of religious nones became the impetus for many leaders to call for more recognition.

In response to the Gallup study, those calls continued.

“The real question now is when are our historically large numbers going to start turning into more votes and influence,” Epstein says. “The nones can become a steady and inspiring powerhouse in American life if we focus on what we do believe in.”

And even though the Gallup study found a relative leveling off of growth among the nones, David Silverman, the president of America Atheists, says he finds the survey “not at all troubling.”

“This underscores what American Atheists has been saying for years - that every person in America knows more nonreligious people than they think they know,” Silverman says. “America has to get used to the fact that atheists are everywhere, you already know us, and we are a vibrant and growing portion of society.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Nones

soundoff (1,615 Responses)
  1. Jesus was a space alien

    Whether more or less people belief in the mythical sky fairy, who cares? Small wisdom beats mass ignorance any day.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  2. Bails

    I don't "have to get used to anything". I no more acknowledge an aethiest person anymore than they do me or the God that I believe in. I worship God, not any man or thing on this earth. I refuse to conform, I'm not ashamed of it, and I don't care what you think of it. There is a heaven and there is a hell and we all have a choice. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Amen.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • jwt

      A choice ? Do you mean we choose to believe. I certainly never chose.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Handsome Johnny

      So much for that "love thy neighbor" thing. But hey, being a Christian is never having to obey your own rules.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Kevan

      If 17.8% of the country is irreligious, that means 82.2% still subscribe. Explain how you're not the conformist.

      January 11, 2013 at 1:23 am |
  3. Tom LI

    Labels. When will Humans escape from the burden of Labels....? So few people are adequately described by the labels they or others apply to them.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
  4. Oscar Pitchfork

    God's always been there, it's just people that have changed. In the year 1900, 97% of america lived on farms and in small towns,and Believed in god, the Bible and went to church on Sunday. After 2 world wars, the Swing Era, The Rock and Roll era, Women's Lib, the Internet and now, Social media, is it any wonder people have been able to slowly sink to their lowest common denominator: Narcissism, where they're SURE they're the greatest, Where they're SURE they can become a super model, a rock star, a Captain of Industry, a Pro player. They are SURE, they're doing just fine, and they don't need God. The saddest thing is, they don't even know what God possible has to offer...

    January 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Tanker

      So, its rock and rolls fault?

      January 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • jwt

      We don't need what does not exist when it comes to god.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Bigot

      Not believing in a religion does not equate to narcissism you dolt.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Blue Sox

      I trust in God. Above all other things.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Handsome Johnny

      I definitely blame Swing for the increase in prosperity and improved medications and all the other bad things that have come in the last 100 years. Much better before anti-biotics.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Barry

      I agree that in 1900, 97% would have called themselves religious. However, actions speak louder than words. 1900 was the era of Jim Crow, the vicious treatment of immigrants, the poor, the mentally ill. Women were routinely subjugated, children were forced to work long hours in dangerous conditions. Our world is not all it could be, but it is foolish imagining some mythical "once upon a time" that never actually existed.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Muri

      Cool story bro!

      Regressive social policies encompassed by controlling the ultimate fallacy =/= saving the country.

      Over half this country seems to agree with me and that's all you need in a Democracy. You are sure welcome to try to push this through somewhere else though.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • LIF52

      I disagree. I'm pretty sure we hit height of our Godlessness during the disco era.

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

      It's far more narcissistic to believe:
      1) your soul is eternal
      2) your religion is the only correct worldview and everyone else be damned (literally)
      3) you were created in the image of a god

      January 11, 2013 at 1:30 am |
  5. Salero21

    mmm... :-P I have observed (observation is the first step in a process) over time that it appears to be 2 types of atheists. That I'll call the useless and the practical but that's a whole other subject matter for further study and research.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Tanker

      There is only one kind of religious though:

      The Wrong...

      January 10, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
  6. LeeCMH

    Gallup is run by a hateful Christian. Gallup polls should be viewed with this knowledge. I wonder if Tony Perkins of the hateful Family Research Council was in on this "poll."

    January 10, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
  7. TheGoldenBrett

    I'll be glad when this starts happening in Muslim countries too.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
  8. KLARGAR

    Is god willing to prevent evil,but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able but not willing ?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    The from where does evil come?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him god?

    January 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • centeredpiece

      Love your little closed mind conundrum, only it is devoid of reason and hardly "proves" that god does or does not exist. You define god as either non-powerful, non-compassionate, or non-existent. But there is at least one other explanation (and probably many others). Perhaps we humans have a role to play in preventing evil and healing its after-effects. Maybe God could blink (o burp) and eradicate all evil in the world, but maybe that's not the goal – for God to do it. Maybe the goal is for us to evolve beyond the self-absorbed idiots that we now are into beings who themselves work to eradicate evil in the world. Perhaps this is where we are headed – thanks to religion – but it is a process that will take a long, long time. Maybe God is fine with this process because God knows that our lives here on this tiny rock in space are only a small part of our existence. Just because your image of god is so small doesn't mean that there is no god.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Todd

      perhaps it's because you're using the word perhaps that leaves room for something open to doubt or conjecture because deep down you know there is no proof of a god.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Jay

      Wow you are so deep, you think of that one all by yourself or do you pride yourself as the copy and paste king!

      January 10, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
  9. GOD

    I hate to break it to you, but I made the world for the Dolphins.

    If I knew the Primates were going to be THIS much of a problem, I wouldn't have made them...

    January 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • I wonder

      @God

      You did that on porpoise, didn't you!

      January 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • GOD

      Thats the tuna I dance too..

      January 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • I wonder

      And you didn't find the gorilla your dreams?

      January 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • GOD

      Well, there was this girl named Mary.

      It was a one-night thing. I hear she married a guy and had a kid.

      Hope its not mine. That puts me 2000 years behind on child support and the Church has spent all that money they collected in my name on pedophile priests.

      If it wasn't for the investments the Jews manage for me, I'd be broke...

      January 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Remember god, you can tuna piano but you can't tuna fish.

      January 12, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  10. John Doh!

    Religion is nothing more than a metaphysical teddy bear for those lost and lonely. Grow up and realize is just doesn't matter. If Jesus came down on a flying bicycle and told me to love everyone and do right I'd say, "Already there but thanks for the notion" Did he really do anything for me that I didn't innately know for myself? Not at all. Calm down, embrace your neighbors and stop teaching your children to NEED god in their lives. The human heart is much more capable of the devine.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • suppressed feelings

      "The lady doth protest too much, methinks"

      January 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • frespech

      Does a Great Ape share your innate qualities, doubtful, so where did you discover this innate ability of yours.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • the colosseum is full

      you do what you life but don't presume to think that you have any veracity to tell others what to do...Jesus is just fine seated at the right hand of his Father in heaven and dwelling in me at the same time....it's too bad that you have already judged as I have ...only I know for sure.. and you, you're misinformed

      January 10, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Alip

      I have always wondered why people attack religion so much. Maybe you can enlighten me...? Sure, there are people who have misused religion now and historically, but there are so many more who use if for good on a daily basis. If they believe, why does it matter to others? I have seen great benefits in my own life and the life of others through practicing a religion and believing in God. Your experience is obviously different, but why try to attack something that brings other people peace?

      January 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • SarahH

      Alip- I think the point you are missing is that many people who are religious seem to take it upon themselves to judge the people who are not religious. If people didn't use religion to push their own agenda, I don't think it would be attacked. If people solely used religion for inner peace and happiness, I think the world would be a very different place. However, most religions force the issue that any non-believer must be converted. Therein lies the problem. Many people do not choose the same religion or any religion at all. The only way that religious people of all denominations, atheists and agnostics can all co-exist is to accept each others beliefs, and that will NEVER happen.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • centeredpiece

      So you alone among humans has a compassionate, loving, caring heart? That's interesting. Can you explain why you would care about anyone but yourself if the material world is all that exists? Why not hate and cheat and steal, as long as you don't get caught. Whyever would you go out of your way to help anyone else? I always find it amusing when non-believers argue that they can be "good" without God but then go right ahead and define "good" in Judeo-Christian terms. The Romans were "good" while they enslaved people and conquered people and set people to fight to the death in the arena. Is that the type of "good" you ascribe to?

      January 10, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Huh?

      " I always find it amusing when non-believers argue that they can be "good" without God"

      Religious people find it very annoying that people don't need God to be good, as science has now incontestably proved.

      For millennia, we've been brainwashed into believing that we needed the Almighty to redeem us from an essentially corrupt nature. Left to our own devices, people would quickly devolve into beasts, more violent, tactless, aggressive, and selfish, than we already are.

      Today, we know that this isn't true. With the discovery of mirror neurons by Italian neuroscientist Giaccomo Rizzolatti in the 1990s, we now have physiological proof of why - and how - our species became hard-wired for goodness. Mirror neurons are miraculous cells in the brain whose sole purpose is to harmonize us with our environments. By reflecting the outside world inward, we actually become each other - a little bit; neurologically changed by what is happening around us. Mirror neurons are the reason that we have empathy and can feel each other's pain. It is because of mirror neurons that you blush when you see someone else humiliated, flinch when someone else is struck, and can't resist the urge to laugh when seeing a group struck with the giggles. (Indeed, people who test for "contagious yawning" tend to be more empathic.) These tiny mirrors are the key to most things noble and good inside us.

      It is through mirror neurons - not God - that we redeem ourselves, achieve salvation, and are "reborn" in virtuous ways once co-opted by religions. Evolution knew what she was doing. A group of successful cooperators has a much higher chance of thriving than a population of selfish liars. In spite of what we read in the headlines, the ratio of bad to good deeds done on any given day across our planet holds at close to zero any day of the year. Although we are ethical works-in-progress, the vast majority of us are naturally positive creatures - meaning not harmful to our environments - most of the time in most of the ways that matter. And God has nothing to do with it.

      Spirituality does but God doesn't. Evolutionary psychologists tell us that our brains are hard-wired with a five-toned moral organ that focuses on a quintet of ethical values - one of which is purity, or sacredness. In a world that can sometimes be disgusting, we evolved an upper tier of emotional longing - the aspiration for purity - to keep us balanced in this satyricon of carnal delights (where animality beckons and frequently wins). Our need for sacredness is part of our ancient survival apparatus, and manifests in what we call faith, the need to connect with that sacred dimension. This has been the primary purpose of religion, of course - to congregate people for the Greater Good - but God has been, in fact, the divine carrot. The important part was communion, a context in which to transcend ourselves, if only for an hour on Sundays. Without this ability "to turn off the Me and turn on the We," moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt tells us, our species would still be wandering around as groups of nomads, unable to create a civilization.

      Aside from mirror neurons, there's oxytocin, the molecule of connection (also known as the molecule of love). It's fascinating to learn that the vagus nerve produces more oxytocin when we witness virtuous behavior in others that makes us want to be better people ourselves. We are wired by nature to be elevated at the sight of other people's goodness, mirror neurons and oxytocin conspiring to improve the species. Miraculous though it is, this natural human phenomenon has nothing to do with theology.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • a reasonable atheist

      I cannot speak for the OP, but attempts by some to codify their religious beliefs into civil law motivates me to speak out. I really don't care what others believe, but the moment they try to push irrational faith-based laws onto the books, my hackles get up. You believe based on faith? Mazel tov. You want to proscribe your own behavior based on faith? Fine – free country. You don't get to proscribe my behavior based on your faith, though.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  11. Kevin O.

    It's very hard to love a God who speaks to people so bent on destroying you. Thus why I became a Deist. I believe their is a God HOWEVER I would never proclaim to know my God's will. That is idolatry.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Kevin O.

      And a note to "Auto-Correct". Stop 'correcting' my words. I used 'there' and you replaced it with 'their', making me look under-ecuated. Stop it.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Kevin O.

      OMG and then you replaced "under-educated" with your own version. Stop the madness.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • the colosseum is full

      I know God directly and personally.. he is real and he is sending a lot of people to hell..not because he wants to ; but it's his only choice for people who refused his ultimatum... believe or die is his demand... though I can see why a lot of people turn away, with the bad examples a lot of people make in his name :)

      January 10, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • jwt

      believe or go to hell. What a load.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • SarahH

      @the coliseum is full- why is your religion right and every other religion wrong? Who is to say yours is right. Every culture has it's own religion, so why is it that theirs are all wrong? Just to posing the questions as the devil's advocate (no pun intended)...

      January 10, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  12. Banjo Ferret

    The obvious answer here is that theists and atheists alike are finally learning that Ferretianism is the one true religion. What we are seeing here is rampant conversion. Be not afraid. Embrace Tim. Repent!
    http://www.banjoferret.com

    January 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  13. KLARGAR

    Science flys you to the moon , Religion flys you into buildings.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • the colosseum is full

      Jesus takes us into the heavens forever! :) :)

      January 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Raj_Alexander

      and Jesus flys you to heaven.No Jesus ,no peace, Know Jesus, Know Peace.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • centeredpiece

      Science also conducts experiments on twins – like sewing them together as Dr. Mengele did under Hitler's atheist Third Reich. It creates the killing fields as did Pol Pot in Cambodia. It kills millions who will not be reeducated, as did Mao in his communist regime. And Stalin killed 12 million Russians in the name of his godless and oh-so-science based communism. So, please, open your eyes and see that people have killed for many reasons. Yes, sometimes in the name of religion (and for Judeo-Christians this is what "taking the Lord's name in vain really means). But we know it is wrong to kill people; for those who worship scientism, there is no right or wrong, there's just whatever they can get away with.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Jay

      OMG 0 for 2 now, jeez you use reddit as your bible I see! HA Enlighten me some more!

      January 10, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • cm

      Really?? How about all those docs and scientists who killed people with their experiments. Or all those lovely white coats who will do all those unnecessary surgeries for profit or pimp out some RX where he also profits. The field of Science is just as corrupt as any other arena.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Pete

      "did under Hitler's atheist Third Reich."

      Hitler was a xtian.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  14. David Brenchley

    I don't believe in Atheists .. through anybody off a 1000' cliff .. they're taking to somebody on the way down.
    This trend is a fulfillment of prophecy .. we know what comes next ..

    January 10, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • David Brenchley

      * throw ..

      January 10, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Tanker

      Atheists don't believe in you either...

      January 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Alip

      Luckily we don't have to believe in each other....just respect that we all have experiences that lead us to believe in or not believe in God. Why must we be so angry at someone who believes differently than we do?? If you are an atheist then don't push that belief on others and if you do believe in God don't push that on someone that is an atheist....it is pretty simple.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  15. pugh7755

    That's the problem with atheists, they think Christians care about what they think. They also pit Christians down for cramming their religion down others throats, looks like atheists are not practicing what they preach. They are trying to abolish anything Christian in favor of a non-religious alternative, like "HAPPY HOLIDAYS" instead of "MERRY CHRIATMAS" well to me that's cramming their non-beliefe down my throat. So quit your crying, there will be plenty of time to cry when you're burning in hell for eternity.

    January 10, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Southern Humanist

      very sweet message.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @pugh,

      They are trying to abolish anything Christian in favor of a non-religious alternative, like "HAPPY HOLIDAYS" instead of "MERRY CHRIATMAS" well to me that's cramming their non-beliefe down my throat.

      ...

      That's the problem with atheists, they think Christians care about what they think.

      So, ... apparently you do care what atheists think.

      By the way the tradition of using "Happy Holidays" goes back decades to department stores not wanting to alienate wealthy Jewish shoppers. It has very little to do with atheists.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • mulehead

      Really? Burning in hell for eternity? Not even the Catholics believe in that one anymore....

      January 10, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Tanker

      In guess being a christian means you enjoy the idea of people burning in hell.

      You learn something new every day...

      January 10, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • KLARGAR

      When Allah calls you who will be laughing then. I would love to see what the FSM is gonna do with you Imbecile.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • New Generation

      That's not a very "Christ Love" comment there...

      January 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Alip

      I learned recently that the word holiday actually is derived from the phrase "Holy Days". I wish that we all could just interpret "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" (or Happy Anything for that matter) to mean that someone wishes us well. Additionally, it tells us something about them...they are religious or not...great either way in my opinion. I wonder why we must take things so personally? It just creates division.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • frespech

      Anyone who has looked at the origins of Christmas, Christian or otherwise knows it is steeped in paganism. Secondly when Adam sinned try looking in Genesis to see what became of him. Dust to dust. In the book of creation where do you see the creation of hell? Just a couple of things to think about.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • billym67

      Actually, you're wrong (which shouldn't be surprising since in the end, all "believers" are). Athiests don't care care what you think because you are delusional and believe in fairytales and ghosts. Anyone who has actually read the bible, understands the size, scope and complexity of the universe and still thinks "god" is real, based on the silly primitive stories written in said bible, is mentally unstable and has little to say that I would be interested in. By the way, I say "Merry Christmas", out of habit, and have no issue with it. Have a great day!

      January 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • the colosseum is full

      No it is not ... happy holidays is their doing own thing.. when they seek to make yo stop your Merry Christmas then that's shoving it down another's throat ...to try to make them say Merry Christmas is shoving it down their throats ..
      I get real sick of Christians who defame the name of Jesus this way with their hypocrisy... :) :)

      January 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • SarahH

      You realize that Christ was actually born during summer but when people were trying to convert pagans they chose to celebrate at the winter solstice to make it more likely for the pagans to convert. Additionally, the Christmas tree is a pagan symbol. It is actually against the word of god to cut down a tree from the forest and worship it, as it becomes a false idol and is what the heathens did.....

      January 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • a reasonable atheist

      @Klargar

      If the FSM is feeling vengeful, I imagine drowning in a vat of tepid and poorly-seasoned marinara might be the consequence.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  16. Yep

    Atheists: "If there is a God then he wouldn't let bad things happen; since bad things happen there can't be a God". This is wrong. This perspective clearly views God as a fairy-tale creature who is a loving lah-dee-dah hippy who wants to give us all candy for breakfast and let us sleep on marshmallow clouds in perfect, mild weather. Of course, this is an exaggeration and a simplification of the Atheist perspective – I am well aware that there are more than one reason for being an Atheist. What is common to most Atheists, however, is that they have not arrived at a mature understanding of God since they obviously do not value it's pursuit as worthy. They are thus left with this skewed fairy-tale concept and projecting this crude fairy-tale concept within the minds of all those who believe in God, reinforcing their notions that all monotheists are idiots when in fact, their use of the word God is totally different. It is in fact their own undereducation that they are perceiving within those they degrade.

    January 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • mulehead

      "What is common to most Atheists, however, is that they have not arrived at a mature understanding of God since they obviously do not value it's pursuit as worthy."

      Actually, you're incorrect – most atheists are well educated in many religions, but have seen them for what they really are...and god for that matter – a man-made creation that has more loop-holes than the tax code. (I prayed to god and my credit card got paid off – GOD IS GREAT; 250,000 died in an tsunami.....GOD IS MYSTERIOUS!)

      January 10, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • billym67

      There can be no mature understanding of something that doesn't exist. Your "god" is a delusion that you are unwilling to open your eyes to. Not sure why, and personally I really don't care why. What I do care about is that all of you "believers" are constantly using your delusion to try and make laws that affects everyone or that cause wars. Once your delusion affects me or my family or causes the death of others, I have a problem with it.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • centeredpiece

      Yep, Yep, you are right. Atheists think that because god isn't some fairy godfather who rescues us from all unpleasantness, this proves taht there is no god. But there are many other explanations, one being that we humans have a part to play here, too. We are supposed to grow in understanding and ourselves stop doing evil, tolerating evil and start healing the world. If God did it all for us, we would be superfluous, wouldn't we?

      January 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • sean

      Mulehead nailed it....Yep, what you dont understand is that you will never be able to see these truths because you are looking for someone else to tell you both the question and the answer, your mind is closed to all other perceptions and realities because you are scared to be without faith. You depend on religion to reach your full potential because they have made you feel inadequate without your faith. Many atheist are well educated and have taken the time to see what everyone else is saying, trying to find answers and most of them started off looking for a religion that suits them. You probably just took the one your parents gave you. It becomes redundant after multiple people , from different religions, keep telling you that their story is the single, most important story for mankind and these religious organizations teach you to look down on the thers because of their different beliefs. Is this divine? Is this what your version of god wanted you to understand? Ask yourself Is a book, made by a man, without flaw? With every religion, this is the case. How can you take something as divine truth when it is routinely edited by man? Literally, people pick and choose which stories will lead you to the lifestyle THEY feel is best....I will not say that there is no god, I just haven't found a trustworthy religous organization that I feel represents divine beliefs instead of dollar signs or radical obsessions. I will say that when I die I will be welcomed by the next phase of life (If there is one) because of the way I chose to live my life, not because of what book I decided to read. I dont need a god to tell me not to kill for no reason, I dont want to. I dont need a god to tell me to love my parents, I do. I dont need a god to tell me how to live my life....I already accepted the challenge of finding out for myself. you can keep your book, most of you are more screwed up in the head then the rest of us anyways.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
  17. Albert Camus

    This is kind of funny since just the other day one blowhard was bragging just the opposite of this.

    January 10, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  18. truth be told

    When confronting so called atheists remember... no atheist is ever capable of telling the Truth. Knowing atheists as liars puts all their crap on these blogs in proper perspective.

    January 10, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • Tanker

      You have to be kidding?

      Going to the religious for Truth is like going to the Saraha for watermellons.

      There just aint none there...

      January 10, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • sam stone

      tbt continues to be a troll cvnt

      January 10, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Salero21

      mmm.... :-) Is funny if not a phony, how the GRAMMAR GESTAPO OF THE INTERNET never, never finds the many misspellings of our atheists "friends". That's why I think they are an atheist organization, organized by them [atheists] as their legal enforcement branch.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  19. Salero21

    Well, well here I am again my atheistic friends and foes. I'll try again if it is at all possible, to help you get rid of your fuzzyheaded ideologies. Though with all probability, a barrel full of monkeys would understand before and better than an atheist does.

    Having, following or practicing a religion is one of many things that makes the difference and SEPARATES animals and Human beings.

    You see, all animals especially the favorites of atheists the apes, do have, follow and practice religiously, routines and rituals; just as Humans do. However animals DO NOT have, follow or practice religion. That's something strictly HUMAN, something that's strictly "owned" and practice by Mankind.

    Contrary to what some atheists, some evolutionists and supposedly Darwinism in its beginning proposed as: "Survival of the fittest or the strongest" is not always a given, much less an absolute truth among animals. For centuries different species and subspecies of all animals, bugs, birds have been observed and recorded showing affections, compassion and helping members of theirs and of other species, including men.

    There should not even be a need to mention at all, the degree of affections that domestic animals and pets, even farm animals have shown their masters and owners. These animals have done so, to the point of risking their lives to protect and save a master, owner a child.

    Atheists, evolutionists et al of course don't see those similarities between animals and Humans as a Clear sign of a shared and common Creator who is God and whom ONLY Humans can also call Father. Atheists don't see that because their fuzzy heads have become reprobates due to the sophisticated form of stupidity they call atheism.

    Now there is a need to establish the difference of what religion is and it IS NOT. For example the worshipping of graven images, statues, figures, paintings etc is a grave and serious SIN. It is called by God and HIS Scriptures Idolatry. It is also known as paganism. Curiously and incidentally enough, Idolatry is also one Big thing that separates animals from Humans. See, though animals have routines and rituals but do not have religion, in the same way animals are not and do not practice Idolatry and paganism.

    January 10, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Tanker

      ALL religion is idolitry and worshiping false idols...

      January 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Salero21

      OMG, OMG!! :-o Since animals DO NOT practices Idolatry and paganism; in other words animals ARE NOT Idolaters/pagans. Some atheist may in his/her fuzzyheaded way of understanding things. Will probably come up with the absurd reasoning and twisted logic that Idolatry and paganism is the way to go, because that is above animals. OMG, OMG! I hope the legal branch of atheism the GRAMMAR GESTAPO OF THE INTERNET is not around here today. I fear them because they always club me to death with their toothpicks they use instead of floss.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Salero21

      Tanker,

      You are a tank full of monkeys [atheism]. Atheism is nothing more than a sophisticated form of stupidity.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • mulehead

      You write pretty well...for someone so incredibly thick.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Time Bandit

      I may be fuzzy-headed, so please clarify:

      Your first point appears to be: Human beings are unique in the animal kingdom; they do things that no other species does. Therefore, God exists. Did I get that right?

      Your second point appears to be: Many animal species exhibit behavior that matches or mimics human behavior. Therefore, Darwin was wrong, and God exists. Right?

      When a dog buries a bone, we perceive that to be a non-religious routine or ritual. When a mobster takes the sacrament, what are we to make of that? Anyone is capable of participating in a religious activity without belief, so how do we know who is and who isn't communicating with God? Shall I take your word that God exists, and give up my graven images because you tell me it is a sin, which you believe because you think God insisted it be written down thousands of years ago? How do I know you got it right, or that you even believe this yourself? Maybe you're trying to trick me. Maybe you really believe in a here-after with room for only some of us, and you need to make room for yourself.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Erk

      You know what else is exclusive to humans? Medicine.Science. Cars. Space Travel. Discovery and deep levels of self-awareness, and the one most important to the religious: Creative minds.

      January 10, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Nope

      I would think that most Atheists know that humans ARE animals. Perhaps you are suggesting that humans are bacteria, protists, fungi, or plants? I would like to hear within which of these groups Christians would place themselves.

      Why don't you put down your work of fiction and grab a clue?

      January 11, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • SarahH

      You realize humans ARE animals, right? And you think that our evolved brains somehow make us better because we can think differently? We have evolved mentally to survive our environment just as polar bears have evolved physiological characteristics to survive the extreme cold. Additionally, to assume we even begin to know what or how other animals think is preposterous to me. We don't even understand how our own brains work, what makes us so grand that we could assume to know how other animal brains work?

      January 11, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  20. God

    I'm not here.

    Please leave a message after the sound of the beep and no one will get back to you.

    January 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Yep

      They are thus left with this skewed fairy-tale concept and projecting this crude fairy-tale concept within the minds of all those who believe in God, reinforcing their notions that all monotheists are idiots when in fact, their use of the word God is totally different. It is in fact their own undereducation that they are perceiving within those they degrade.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.