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April 18th, 2013
10:45 AM ET

My Take: Godless in Boston mourn, too

Editor’s note: Greg M. Epstein is the Humanist chaplain at Harvard University and author of the New York Times best-seller "Good Without God." He directs the Humanist Community Project, a national think tank helping to study and build communities for the nonreligious.

By Greg M. Epstein, Special to CNN

Cambridge, Massachusetts (CNN) — After two days of holding back my own feelings to focus on the needs of a community in mourning, what finally split my heart in two was scrolling through the list of donations to the fund-raising page for Celeste and Sydney Corcoran, a mother and daughter among the tragically injured at the Boston Marathon.

Celeste, the mother, has volunteered for my congregation. She’s basically an aunt to a senior member of our staff. So I cried for the two-sidedness: A member of our community lost her legs below the knees, and nearly lost her daughter. And, in one day, nearly 4,000 people donated more than $250,000 to support them. They seemed to be saying, through their gifts, “Please do this for me too if anything should ever happen to me or my family.”

AC360: Mother lost legs, daughter nearly died in bombing

As a chaplain, I’m struggling to make sense of this tragedy just like any other member of the clergy. And like faith communities across the country, the thousands of people I work with are doing what needs to be done when tragedy strikes close to home. We’re offering one another comfort. We’re calling around to the point of exhaustion, trying to figure out who needs help and how we can provide it.

The only difference is, we are a community of atheists — a congregation of Humanists.

You’ve probably read the statistics: With 18% of the nation’s population now nonreligious, America is less religious today than ever before. This especially applies to young Americans, up to a third of whom now have no religion. That number may be closer to half on many of the college campuses throughout Boston, like the one where I work.

What you may not have noticed, however, is that in addition to the religiously unaffiliated, or “nones” as sociologists have taken to calling them, a new and very significant group of Americans has been emerging — the nonreligiously affiliated. Relatively quietly, many thousands of mostly young Americans who identify as atheists and agnostics have been coming together to form civically active, thoughtful secular community groups that now dot nearly our whole nation.

Sometimes you hear about the debates these groups hold with religious leaders. But while Richard Dawkins and the like are eloquent and controversial speakers on behalf of atheism, most such debates are actually organized by religious organizations. The vast majority of what Humanist and secular communities do is positive, uncontroversial and entirely American. We serve. We meet throughout the year. We help one another raise good kids. We celebrate life, and we grieve death.

So I don’t relish the opportunity — or the need — to say that right now, our community is grieving too, just like any other Boston-area congregation. Boston, in fact, is home to one of the biggest secular/Humanist/atheist/nonreligious communities in the world. (Sure, we don’t know what to call ourselves. But then again neither does the LGBT — or is it GLBT? — or LGBTQ? — community, and that hasn’t stopped them from thriving.) We meet every week. We’re getting ready to open up a large community center. We sponsor service programs where we invite interfaith groups to help us package thousands of meals for hungry kids. You can even join us this Sunday: We’ll be marking our losses together in a memorial gathering.

What is so disappointing to see people do, then, is blame the horrific and traumatizing events of this Monday on the godless, or on godlessness, as way too many on Twitter and elsewhere have been doing. As one young woman in our community said to me, “It’s hard enough to deal with senseless grief, but when people write things like 'Why do people have to be so godless to want to kill innocent people?' it makes me feel like I’m not safe either, like we’re being singled out for prejudice.”

Obviously when people say “I’ll pray for you” or “May God grant you strength,” they’re only expressing their own sincere convictions. But while not everyone holds those same beliefs, we all want to be acknowledged in a way that feels right to us.

And when political leaders like Gov. Deval Patrick or President Obama try to make sense of these moments by assembling interfaith services, it is admirable — far better for a politician to bring different religions together than to only recognize one religion’s view of loss as valid. But for goodness' sake, must the nonreligious continue to be excluded from such gatherings? I’ve seen Humanists knock on the door recently at the interfaith celebrations of political conventions, or after tragedies like Hurricane Sandy or Newtown. We wanted to help and were turned away. I hope this is where people realize: We are part of the community too. We care and want to offer our support just as much as anyone. We, too, are in shock and grief.

Secular people place our faith in the human ability to value life over death. We believe in committing ourselves to love and care and help as indiscriminately as possible, because that is what makes our lives worthwhile. We try our best, despite our doubt, to ensure that the good will that comes from tragedy will ultimately exceed the bad.

All that said, I don’t have a clue what Celeste’s beliefs are, and I don’t care. I just hope she and Sydney and everyone else injured get well. After all, would you believe for a second that every Christian pastor knows whether or not every visitor to his or her congregation truly believes in the Ascension? Nor should they. The point of a congregation, to me, is just to care about the people in it, and better yet, to help bring people together to care about one another. Our community is including everyone, religious or not, in our thoughts and hopes at this tough time. It would mean a lot to us if others do the same.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (3,411 Responses)
  1. HeavenSent

    Read the Bible, it is 100% true. Studies have proven that the faithful have higher IQs than atheists. My camel-toe won't share the remote but I did find the Cup Noodle. "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" Matthew 28:19.

    Amen.

    April 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • E.

      Maybe you should look it up:

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/13/1131220/-Religious-and-Conservative-people-have-lower-IQs-than-their-counterparts

      Also, this very "blog" gave a test and found that the non-religious atheists also possessed more knowledge of the Bible that the "religious".

      April 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Science

      HS = BS'er troll

      April 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  2. Robin

    Excellent example of making a tragedy all about you. I guess it would be too hard just to see this as everyday Americans, as neighbors of people who were hurt. Why does everything have to be an object lesson in "how this affects my group"?

    April 18, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • sam

      (Congrats, you missed the point of the article)

      April 18, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Robin

      Don't think I did. Don't approve of using a tragedy to further your own agenda, and that's what he did with this piece.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • sam

      You did miss the point. It's ok to express an opinion and a worldview without having an agenda.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Rick

      Yes you did miss the point, the point of the article is everyone feels and shares this pain NOT just the religious people of Boston.

      April 18, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
  3. Olivia

    I'm a Christian and I believe that God gave us freewill. You can believe or not believe. My question is for the writer is to make it clear whether or not this family is a family of non-believers, or humanists, or whether they just happen to volunteer for his congregation. I wonder if he has noticed how many of the people that are donating to the fund he mention sin his article are God believers!

    April 18, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • OOO

      Olivia,
      Just curious.... Do you believe in god or do you just hope there is a god? And if you take the stronger position, that you believe... would you share the evidence that has influenced you in this direction?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • meow

      The author stated that he doesn't know the religion of the mother and daughter who were severely injured, then stated he doesn't care. The point he is trying to make is that the religious and non-religious can and should work together without judgement to help a community in need.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  4. flyboync

    Interesting that the writer uses terms like "chaplain" and "clergy" – clearly religious terms – to describe an atheistic group. What is the intended message? If the desire to interject distance from religion, then why try to claim those terms?

    April 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  5. Maria Delaluz

    One "water bag" killed and injured other "water bags". Who cares what one water bag does to another. Isn't that what a human being is perceived to be by atheists? If there is no Moral Law Giver – then no moral law has been broken – right?
    2 u atheists (materilists): How does an atheist account for the personhood of a human being in a purely materialist universe?
    To HIM be all the Glory forever, Christ Jesus the Great Redeemer and our Great Moral Law Giver!

    April 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Terry

      I'm glad the believers are living up to their expected mental capacity of being completely self absorbed morons. The answer to all your questions Maria is: No.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • lil' hoss

      And Jesus will be welcoming the murderer of the people you call waterbags home with open arms. Who needs morals when you can have mythological forgiveness for the worst of crimes? If atheists call children water bags (which they don't – that would be your term) what do Catholics call them, Blow Up Dolls? Or Christians: Future Bankrolls? Only a lowlife would conjure a term such as water bags to describe a dead 9 year old. I can imagine the term you used for those kids murdered in CT. (that will be sharing Jesus' love with their guy who blew them into oblivion).

      April 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Rick

      An atheist is a good person because it's the right thing to do NOT because some magical being is threatening them with eternal torture and damnation if they don't do what he says.

      How terrible of a person are you if you truely would just go around killing people if the bible didn't say "thou shalt not kill... or eat shrimp.... or touch a dead pig(football)... or wear cloths made from different fabrics.... or allow a woman to go to school) And yes those are all in the bible You should read it sometime.

      April 18, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
  6. Pullenseeker

    I think we need better understandings of "God/god/godless/Godless, religious, humanist, etc., etc." and Mr. Epstein gestures in those directions. I've been impressed with his thoughtfulness since hearing his "Speaking of Faith" (now "On Being") interview. I think that what is life-affirming, humanistic in the truest sense, needs to be identified with transcendent meaning, whether that meaning is viewed as personal or not, as a "divine being" or not. And conversely, there is much that comes from groups that are all too glad to say they believe in God that seem as bereft of true humanism, and thus of meaning that speaks of life, as one could imagine. I'm an Evangelical Christian, but I'd cast my lot with the first group.

    April 18, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • UncleM

      It's a shame your moral law giver doesn't exist. What about the all the morals that modern society has developed since the bible – slavery = bad, killing women for no reason at all = bad. Where did that come from?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  7. Basiled

    Mr. Epstein now has his 15 minutes. Does organized "humanism" need to be recognized? I have two dogs and love pets; should I organize a group of like-minded canine enthusiast, call myself a chaplain and point out to everyone that I/we exist and have a point of view.

    Give me a break. Go eat a hot-pocket and pat yourself on the back "Chaplain" – – people are paying attention to you.

    Jerk.

    April 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Simple Logic

      There are many canine enthusiast groups, look them up and join them. They are not looking for fame but do love dogs.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • sam

      What's the big deal, Basiled? What's your actual problem?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • khunickesmith

      I think all he is saying is that folks want to work together to help each other, and that we who believe in a God can tend to exclude those who don't, but that they, like us, value the benefits of community and working together to make the world a better place, even if they don't do it in service to God. Why would we refuse to acknowledge that human impulse and work along with them?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
  8. Cheryl

    America is less religious today than ever before...

    This is simply not true. At the time of the Revolution, hardly anyone in this country belonged to a church.

    April 18, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Athy

      But many studies indicate religion is declining in the US.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      @Cheryl

      You are one of the atheists on this blog that tries to twist the laws of God to suit the needs of your father, satan. The FBI returned the pillows but not the cushions. Christians come on these articles to tell atheists the truth of the Lord who is Jesus and His word.

      Amen.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Pullenseeker

      You're right, in terms of church affiliation. But we need to distinguish rates of religiosity (which was much, much lower at the time of the Revolution) and religious beliefs apart from that. By the latter measure, we are indeed much less a country of believers than in the early republic.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Cheryl,

      "At the time of the Revolution, hardly anyone in this country belonged to a church."

      Can you substantiate that for me please? I have a very different perception. Most of the colonies had established religions. In several of them, you could not vote or exercise any rights as a citizen without being a member of the established church. I had the impression that affiliation was quite high.

      This is different from religiosity.

      It is certainly true that religiosity increased dramatically in the 19th century with multiple waves of revivalism / "awakenings".

      April 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Terry

      Are we talking percentage? Because there were only about 5 million people living in the US before 1800 and by 1900 we had 75 million and we now have 308 million. And if roughly 85% profess some religious belief then we are talking around 240 million religious persons versus 5 million at the time of the revolution.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  9. Bible Clown©

    What most Christians seem to want more than life, love, or freedom is someone to punish. Losing their slaves broke their hearts, and they have been struggling to replace them ever since. They do not actually care whether or not we believe in their god; they just care that many cops would look the other way if they murdered us.

    April 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  10. Mr Hanson

    Atheism. A pointless existence in a pointless universe.

    April 18, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • OOO

      Pointless is your own conclusion. But the facts are the facts. No god as far as anyone can tell.

      April 18, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • pjones006

      And fairy tales fixes that?

      April 18, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Dippy

      Religion. A pointless existence in a pointed universe.

      April 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      My existence isn't pointless, but thank you for agreeing that the universe is also pointless.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Chutzpah

      How about: atheism... an intelligent, aware and adaptive existence in a pretty interesting (but non-moral) universe?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Simple Logic

      Whats your point? As in, what is your ultimate point or goal? Fluffy eternal existence with a spirit being in an unknown alternate plane of existence? Is that what is required in order to be happy and feel full of purpose? That along with knowing that only a small portion of creation will get the fluffy and the rest get the burny for eterny? Does that make you feel special and elite? Is that why you have such a hard time actually testing your own faith. I know blind allegiance is so much easier than to study and question your own faith, read more than just your brand of philosophy and come to conclusions on your own, but that is whats required to become enlightened. Those who do not will continue to hide in the dark like vampire c o c k roaches that scatter in horrified fear anytime the light of reason is shined at their faith.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Tim F

      theism – believing a very small sampling of ancient stories to be the ultimate description of the universe despite obvious discrepencies with observed fact .. and apparently forming baseless opinions about those in society who value evidence

      April 18, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • DustyOnes

      Pascal's wager

      April 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Christianity: preparing to spend eternity hanging around on a cloud while beneath you, non-believers are being tortured. I'm with old Jim Pike; I'd have to start digging a rescue tunnel.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Rick

      Religion a wasted existence believing a lie made up to control people, in an AMAZING universe filled with wonder and joy and limitless possibilities.

      April 18, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
  11. Teresa

    This is what I've been trying to communicate to those around me for years...I serve my community and those less fortunate than I, I pay my taxes and do my best to be a good citizen, not because I fear an eternal punishment or because I expect an eternal reward...I believe my purpose is to so what i can to make my small corner of the Earth a better place, and to have a positive impact on the people I meet. Don't shut me out because I don't believe as you do, let me help in whatever way I can. I don't begrudge others their faith...in a way, I envy the way some people can lay their burdens on their deity and escape from them for a time. I am simply not capable of that...

    But to say that because I am godless that I am incapable of mourning is insensitive. I miss my grandather every single day. His wisdom, his humor, his acceptance of me in all that I am. I miss my fellow soldiers taken before their time in defence of their country. To mourn is to grieve a loss. And these special people I have lost are gone from me forever...Truly, the better way to phrase it is the believer can't mourn because that would directly defy the principle that you will see your loved ones and friends again when you pass. Why mourn, if you believe?

    April 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • chelle

      Well put. Not believing in God does not mean I don't mourn. It simply means I don't believe in a higher being.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Teresa,

      The main crux of anti-theisms are in their surrogate climaxing in front of others to debase any and all those of theistic ascensions. I need no man-gods to believe in a Godly Father of all creations in manifestations thereof and also there about.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  12. Simple Logic

    If I were religious I would ask God remove the bribe he has offered us for our good behavior as well as the extortion of eternal torment to keep us from the bad. I would tell him that being good is it's own reward and those who give in to bribes and extortion are worthless people who do not deserve the lives they have.

    April 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I would expect such small-minded logic from an atheist. Jesus said to seek unto Him teachers, having itchy ears. I keep one of the litter boxes in the fridge next to the blood. Keep believing in the lies of satan and find yourself on the wrong side of the tracks.

      Amen.

      April 18, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Chutzpah

      So much hate from "HeavenSent"!

      What the heck is WRONG with your religion?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • sam stone

      HS: Still got that bible jammed up that overgrown weedpatch between yer legs?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  13. HeavenSent

    What part of God is the Lord and Jesus is the way to salvation do you atheists not understand? My 12-year-old daughter still smokes but her kids stopped. Read Jesus' letter to us from Heaven, the Holy Bible.

    Amen.

    April 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • G to the T

      Let's see... "God", "Lord", "Jesus" and "Salvation". Sounds like you've come up with a system that solves a problem it creates...

      April 18, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • OOO

      Very funny. How old are your grandchildren?

      April 18, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Science

      HS = BS

      April 18, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • sam

      Ah, fake HS is in top form today!

      April 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • I_get_it

      This "HeavenSent" is a parody of a frequent silly poster.

      Wait for the real HS. She/he is more fun to respond to.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      it's not what we dont understand, its what we dont believe. There is no evidence that your god exists. NONE!

      April 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Rick

      What part of Santa Clause is coming to town do you not understand? Just because someone said a phrase one time does not mean it's true. You are welcome to believe in whatever you want personally I think religion was created to control people, you think it's real can't we just elave it at that and not convert or shove beliefs on the other? I will not mention atheism and your church can stop controlling the government, enjoying tax free status, and trying to tell me how to raise my family.

      Deal?

      April 18, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  14. Ron Vazzano

    I must have missed something here: did anyone ever say that atheists don't have a right to mourn?

    I truly do not believe that because the world is dominated by those who believe in a God, that it turn makes atheist victims. It just makes them a minority.

    If in times of tragedy, people of faith tend to turn to God and tend to go to places of worship where they believe he or she resides, then accept it. It's not about you. Does EVERY single gesture have to be politicized in some way?

    Yes Chaplain Epstein, we feel your pain too. It really has to be tough being a humanist. Especially at such times like this when
    others are killed and maimed and no one seems to care that you care too.

    Ron V

    April 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Oh, Ron, you really didn't read the article did you?

      Basic points:

      1. Members of humanist congregation victimized by event
      2. Representatives from various groups invited to group memorial event
      3. Humanists not invited and refused representation when requested.

      Get it? What if that were any other group – Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists? Would that be OK?

      April 18, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "did anyone ever say that atheists don't have a right to mourn?" And then he goes on to say exactly that.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Gemus203

      Atheists a minority? I guess so......iIf you are lumping together everyone who believe's in some form of higher power.... regardless of which one. But what if you start breaking it down by god? Or by denomination? What percentage of the worlds population believes in Allah? Of that percentage, how many are extremists that are willing to kill or die for their god? What percentage of the worlds population is Christian? Of that percentage, how many are Adventists? Pentecostals? Baptists? Each religion/denomination tends to be intolerant of alternative beliefs until the subject of atheism comes up. Suddenly it doesn't matter what god you believe in......just that you believe in one.

      April 18, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
  15. mossman

    Religious "belief" it is called, not religious truth. Am I the only one who is getting sick of hearing of all the people sending their "prayers"? (I also wonder how many actually prayed).
    Thank you for caring about people. Many religious people tend to defend their particular brand of belief and seem to forget the caring for all people side of it.

    April 18, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  16. Questioningdogma

    "You don't have to believe in God to be a good person. "

    Whoever said this is totally right.

    April 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
  17. Josh

    Good article. I am religious (Christian) and I get just as annoyed at the downcasting of non-believers by some Christians. It is their choice to believe what they want. I'm not going to try and 'convert' them, if they want to have a conversation about God then I'll have it, but I'm not going to push it on them. Now, that being said, it is just as annoying to us (believers) when Atheists come out and call us stupid, ignorant, and fairy-tale believers. What do you think will happen in the Twitter-sphere from non-believers if the guy responsible ends up being some religious fanatic? ALL religion will be evil and responsible according to people without a religion. If you think that is incorrect just look on these posts... Neither party is innocent but for us to truly work together and co-exist there cannot be any of that from either party. I'll believe in God, you won't and we will all strive to help people. Atheists, need to drop this Holier-than-thou "I help people without God telling me so I'm better than you" nonsense. And religious, drop the Holier-than-thou "No good can be done without God" nonsense. Just because someone doesn't believe in God doesn't mean he/she can't love and help his/her neighbor. Just because someone believes he/she was put on this earth by God doesn't make his/her good deeds moot. There are many more examples, of course, but you get the point. We religious do have some work to do in the "inclusionary" realm but the non-religious have some work to do with their superiority complexes as well. Maybe when both practice what they preach instead of trying to get the other person to bow down to our beliefs we'll all get along.

    April 18, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Questioningdogma

      That's the most Christian post I've read in a while Josh. Thank you.

      April 18, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Neil

      Excellent post – well said – thank you.

      April 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • mossman

      You can believe whatever you want, Josh. Just love your neighbor more than your religion.

      April 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Well put.

      April 18, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • scotte4

      For the record, I choose to believe in god and Jesus. Unfortunately I was not able. I tried but reason prevailed. I would not go so far as to say I know if god does or does not exist but I believe Jesus was a myth.

      April 18, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • sam

      Thanks, Josh.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "We religious do have some work to do in the "inclusionary" realm but the non-religious have some work to do with their superiority complexes as well. " I'm not going to bother quoting the other Christians here, who are fond of sneering hatefully as they insult us with lies, but pretending we have a "superiority complex" because we don't see your imaginary friend is pretty silly. Thanks for at least trying to see the other side through your filter.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Josh

      Well I tried to reply to all of you but it didn't seem to go through... We'll see if this one does.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:51 am |
  18. lol??

    "fear not"
    occurs 62 times in 63 verses in the KJV

    The A&A's try everything in their power to get Christians to forget this and trade for their socie mob power that goes all the way back to Sodom's demobocracy. Ain't gonna happen.

    April 18, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • .

      Lol?? Translation: "Blah blah fear blah blah socie (I don't understand what that means because I'm a dolt) blah blah blah (Sodom! My favorite dirty little secret!) Blah blahdy blah blah."

      April 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @lol??

      so why are Christians so afraid all the time?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "why are Christians so afraid all the time?" They believe the universe has a human face and the mind of an old, old man who likes to send bears to eat children. It would be the worst horror movie ever if it was true, and they think it is. Every tree has a face, every star is an angel's eye, every second is a chance to do, say, or think something "sinful," and the ground is a thin shell with devils underneath. It's a wonder they gave up human sacrifice.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "It's a wonder they gave up human sacrifice."

      Essentially they didn't. They now have a symbolic one.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • lol??

      Slippery little chimplettes. Why do you need a mob? Fear? It ain't love unless it's luv for your neighbor's stuff.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:57 am |
  19. Champ

    I did not see anything where any particular group of people were excluded from the inter-faith gathering. As far as I could tell, your group was welcome. Inter-faith can certainly mean faith in nothing as well as something.

    April 18, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • ALF

      No such thing as having faith in nothing. That is an oxymoron.

      April 18, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Specific official representatives were included. Despite requesting a presence the humanists, who had victims among them, were denied. Certainly any individual who could get in could attend but you'd hardly feel welcomed at that point.

      April 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • lol??

      Interfaith is a fad. There is only one faith. It got started off on the left foot from the beginning. Abandon the BS. Doctor, please don't stop my bleeding if our religions don't match. RRRRrrriiiiiigggght.

      April 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  20. Anton Dubinski

    A real atheist has no need for 'monuments' or chaplains. What a crock.

    April 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Saraswati

      What exactly do you think an atheist is?

      April 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Chutzpah

      Huh????

      April 18, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.