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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. gclaheh

    Years ago, I used to be an atheist. I must say that while I agree with some of the points of this article. I really disagree with his approach. I do think that atheists are discriminated against. I do believe that they need to be treated with kindness and respect, especially if they treat others with kindness and respect.

    What I hate is this guy's approach and the whole atheist movement. When I was an atheist, I was a very private person and I didn't broadcast my beliefs to anyone. Not because I was afraid to, but because I felt that it was no one else's business what I believed or didn't believe. I understand that religous people have a right to express their beliefs and would never tell them that they couldn't as long as they did this is a respectful manner. I would never tell someone that they are stupid for believing in God and wouldn't want someone to tell me that because I didn't believe in God.

    I believe that there is a way to get one's point across without being disrespectful or tell a certain group of people that they can't express their views. That is intolerance and is what a lot of the atheist movement is really about.

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

      "That is intolerance and is what a lot of the atheist movement is really about."

      And that's where you totally derailed. Idiot sentiment.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Edwin

      I do not understand your post: your words agree with this man's writing, yet you say you disagree with him.

      He is a congregation leader - by that fact alone you have to expect he is going to be more outspoken about his world views. Nobody leads a congregation by being private - it just doesn't work.

      That said, he was utterly non-confrontational, so he essentially agrees with everything you said except that you are no longer an atheist (which would be completely fine by him).

      April 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Answer

      You wouldn't know what our movement is about in any case. You're an idiot who is making up as-sumptions.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @gclaheh

      Why did you change your mind? Did you see the light? Do you hear god now? What is different now?

      I keep my atheism to my self because it's not worth the aggravation trying to explain things to people. I wish religious people would do the same thing and keep it (religion) to themselves. If religious people would do that instead of preaching all the time, they wouldn't hear the criticism.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • JJ

      "Years ago, I used to be an atheist". Everyone was once an atheist. You think you're born with a belief in a god? How did you go being rational, demanding evidence to a theist? I bet you went even further and are now a Christian. If so, that's quite a leap.

      April 18, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • lol??

      "....................That is intolerance and is what a lot of the atheist movement is really about.".......... No it's about getting a bigger piece of their neighbors STUFF with an Affirmative Action slot. That's the new and improved hopey changey love thy neighbor in a new way, a changed way. A way full of hope, changed of course and EQUAL, almost forgot that changed, hopey equal. And a chicken in every pot, a hopeFULL pot, a changed pot. Happy hopey full of hope and change in the Salvation Army pot, and big change, silver dollars even, to compensate the changed dollar that lost hope in the deal. Happy days, yessiree, hopefully, you'll get yours and be changed.

      April 18, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • Leo

      Like you (were), it's a rare occasion that I speak or write about my lack of belief in a god. Believe or not, I don't care.

      But I'm surprised that you said, "I do think that atheists are discriminated against" and then seem to discriminate against ALL atheists by saying, "What I hate is this guy's approach and the whole atheist movement."

      Like you (were), most of us go about our lives without venom. Have you forgotten? Yeah, the crudest people on both sides of this issue will be the most "memorable", but they rarely represent the even-tempered majority.

      I'm not a part of any movement, I just don't believe and mind my own business.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
  2. Typical Drive-By Christian Blogger

    God good. Atheist bad. Atheist miserable.

    April 18, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Answer

      Typical religious garbage posts. Your preacher is so proud of you for repeating his hate.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Answer, any chance the original poster was being sarcastic?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
  3. Tati

    @ Apple Bush....my...EVERYTHING/GOD dosent NEED me to do anything...but its a PRIVLEDGE and a HONOR to praise my EVERYTHING/GOD...

    April 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Answer

      Hilarious.

      Your god needs you? You want to be so special. That's a laugh.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Why?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • mk

      What's he done for you lately?

      April 18, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
  4. Kenfolk

    You speak of a community of atheists and agnostics. What about the 3rd branch of freethinking, Deists? Like Ben Franklin, Tom Paine, Ethan Allen and many of the others who founded this country!

    April 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I think it most likely that if those learned men were alive today, they would be atheists and very excited about science.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Other word for atheism is pig ism, self center ism and no need to include Benjamin Franklin among them, Word Deist does not mean, as ypu make it in your hindu atheism, ignorant self center ism, but, De, means The, or HE, and Ist means, is, used in Latin, Persian and French. Word is about truth absolute GOD, HE IS, not as you hind lie in your hindu secular ism, ignorant self center ism.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  5. Tati

    Umn...Helping people is great but in my beliefs to believe in nothing at all is the most silly thing ive ever heard.NO LIFE AFTER DEATH???...im so happy that i willrecieve eternal life after this life that only last a seond in comparison to time is over.I mean I pray for them because prayer changes things...

    April 18, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Tati, after 5 billion years your God still needs YOU to go to heaven and worship him for eternity? I don't follow. How is the going to be paradise for you?

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

      Hi Prayerbot.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      No life after death doesn't exist, to believe otherwise is to waste this life. Atheists tend to live fuller lives because we're not deluded by mythology.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Edwin

      Is it necessary for you to agree with everyone else's beliefs? As an atheist, I think it is silly that you believe that your "soul" - a physical manifestation of organic nervous tissue - will continue after the nervous system ceases.

      That said, I would not have told you if we met. I only mention it because you brought it up as if it were the most sensible belief in the world.

      I can certainly see why you want to believe that, and I have no desire whatsoever to get you to stop believing it. We will all find out, after we die, what happens, and I'd bet most of us are wrong. The real benefit of belief is for the here-and-now. If the belief in an Afterlife gives you comfort, it has benefit.

      For me, the belief that we are transient offers comfort. I am able to accept that my "self" is transitory rather than permanent, that I am merely part of the Universal Story, and a small part at that. When I go, I will release the burden, the obligation to help others - because I will no longer be there. If I am good, I will be remembered fondly, and my "spirit" will linger in hearts and minds - the better parts of my nature will still continue even if my consciousness does not.

      If that makes no sense to you, it is okay... because it makes sense to me. We do not have to agree on theology to help each other and make a better world.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • sticks

      Let's go through this scenario, you come across a person from this bombing with his leg blown off below the knee, so you either:
      A: tie a tourniquet above the lost limb.
      B: form a prayer circle around him and pray.

      What are the individuals chances of survival with each choice?

      April 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
  6. Jake

    Ok, If God doesn't exist then neither does ionizing radiation ex: alpha, beta, or gamma rays/X-rays! YOU CAN'T SEE IT, HEAR IT, TASTE IT, OR FEEL IT. IT DOESN'T EXIST? WELL GUESS WHAT YOU IGNORANT RELIGION HATING ATHEISTS IT DOES!!!

    April 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Dudus57

      I can stand in a room with your God for 30 mins and walk back out. Try that with lots of a radiation.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • sam

      Again, we're going to need you to at least give us some mustard to go with this pretzel logic.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Jake, so you are saying that something that has been proven to exist scientifically does not exist because you can't see it? Are you 2 months old?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Wow, such a hateful christian...back your claim with evidence! Not understanding science is not justification for god!

      April 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Evolver

      Wow, Jake, just because someone doesn't believe what you believe, you fly off the handle? Get a grip. Radiation can be proven with scientific methods. Your religion cannot.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @jake....................You can see the result of x-rays. Ya know, black and white. Usually have a bone in them. Hello is anyone home?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      Huh?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Anyone else think "Jake" is actually Topher, John or Austin trying to help out Chad?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Science

      YEP!!! can't forget L4H

      April 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • sticks

      Let's see now can we measure ionizing radiation? Have we harnessed the power of Xrays for medical use?

      April 18, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Edwin

      The hater, Jake, is you. Sorry if you cannot see it, but your post clearly demonstrates hate rather than tolerance.

      Hopefully one day you will see the error of your ways. Not the error of your beliefs, the error of your anger and intolerance towards others who do not believe as you do.

      Maybe, if we are all lucky, you will understand in time to make amends for the intolerance you display here and probably in other aspects of your life.

      As an atheist, I have absolutely no interest in 'converting' you - you should believe what you think is true. If you think God exists, that is great. But please do not attempt to insult or attack others for not believing - that is not okay.

      It is also foolish. Your argument is based on the premise that unseen things can exist, so God *must* exist. What you have proven, instead, is that an unseen God *could* exist. So could vampires and unicorns, if they were good enough at hiding. Do you believe in them, too? I know people who truly believe in vampires. They are (in my opinion) nuts. Their argument is very much like yours, just the punch line is different.

      Like I said, I do not seek to disparage your belief in God. But you need to understand that your belief is not based on evidence or facts, but on deep philosophical feelings. So is my belief. It is something I know in the core of my being, just as you know in the core of your being. The fact that our deep beliefs are different is not important - what is important is how we respect each other as humans.

      April 18, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
  7. Kevin

    So this guy is hired by Harvard??? Hmmm, explains a lot!!

    April 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • sticks

      Kev you a yale man?

      April 18, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
  8. Skeptic639

    Great article Greg. As one of the many uncounted and often unheard Athiests, I thank you for speaking out!

    April 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  9. HeavenSent

    The atheists on this blog steal my name and post lies about Jesus' truth. Tommy tom "cough" Scotty was fired from his other web site for kicking off the Christians. My camel-toe will answer to "Niagra Falls". Walk in the light of the Lord and find paradise in Heaven.

    Amen.

    April 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  10. IT IS ALL GOOD AND GOD IS AT THE END

    Shame on us Christians, we do such a poor job of public relations for Christ. We should be a light to our brothers and sisters everywhere no matter their beliefs.

    April 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Christ the God, the all powerful creater of the universe needs human PR. LOL!

      April 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Why would god need public relations? It's not like no one has never heard of him. Maybe if Christians were more consistent with their actions maybe more would believe.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Wait a minute, our denying that your god exists is the greatest sin possible and according to most christians the most unforgivable...if this is the case, then we're already doomed, so why the need to spread his word when accordingly we're going to suffer regardless?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
  11. Wow

    It does have to be depressing to be an atheist. If this world is the best we can expect then that is truly sad. Why would you want to be included in an interfaith service, if by your own admission you do not believe in anything? Doesn't being considered a "faith" mean you actually have to have "faith" in something? What exactly does an atheist chaplain do? That has to be an oxymoron of some type.

    April 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      I believe in a lot of things. I just care that what I believe is real, unlike you.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • ME II

      @Wow,
      "by your own admission you do not believe in anything"
      Wow. try reading the article:
      "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. "

      April 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      No it's not depressing being who we are. I wouldn't feel good about what happened in Boston even if I was a born again christian. I felt anger, hurt, fear, shock and all the other emotions everyone else felt when this happened. The difference is I'm not holding out hope that prayer will solve the issue or keep it from happening in the future.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • sticks

      II am sure he has faith, faith in himself, faith in his fellow citizens, faith in humanity. Atheists have faith just not in any supernatural invisible god creature.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • happyfrenchman

      What does an atheist chaplain do.... probably about as much as a religious one does. Take that for what it is worth.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Greg B.

      What must be depressing is going through life believing that the only reason humans are good and moral is because they fear punishment by some invisible omnipotent being. Believing in the inherent good of humanity is anything but depressing.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "It does have to be depressing to be an atheist."

      I respectfully disagree. I live a very happy life with a like minded boyfriend...life is very interesting to be honest.

      "If this world is the best we can expect then that is truly sad."

      We face that head on...we look at it from a facts based point of view...cause and effect. We live in a horrible world but that is man's own doing.

      "Why would you want to be included in an interfaith service, if by your own admission you do not believe in anything?"

      In times of grief, we are big enough (or so I would hope) to set aside our differences and stand with our fellow man. I will attend church out of respect for the people the service is about. I do not by any means par-take of any of the ritualistic things involved but my love for humanity far outweighs my distaste for belief in any god.

      "Doesn't being considered a "faith" mean you actually have to have "faith" in something? What exactly does an atheist chaplain do? That has to be an oxymoron of some type."

      I think using the term faith and atheism together is an oxymoron...faith is belief without evidence and I prefer that what I believe is true.
      We do have numerous secular ordained minister's/chaplains out there. I know of numerous people who have been married without a word of god spoken...we have our rights too :-).

      April 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
  12. Kevin

    OK, so I'm a dick, but I gotta wonder. If an athiest doesn't believe in God, who do they cry out to when their world gets blown apart?

    April 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • OOO

      One less make believe fairy than you!

      April 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • eric

      Nobody. There actually are atheists in foxholes. If they started preying every time they get in a bind they aren't atheists.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      I yell out a short word meaning bodily wastes, same as everyone else. Most people call upon that when there's a crisis.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • sticks

      we cry out to each other, people who can actually provide comfort and healing.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • Kevin

      Must be a tanker, that plays the drums!

      April 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Skeptic639

      Our families. Our communities. Our own congregations. People who care. See a theme here?–all things that actually exist and can help.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Kevin

      Oh, OK,,,,,,yeah; I see now – faith in mankind; "that's comforting!"

      April 18, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Kevin

      Eric, if you're in a foxhole, you are "preying!" I wouldn't expect an athiest to Pray!

      April 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • happyfrenchman

      You are right.. you must be a dick.

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

      It's an honest question. I will only speak for myself. I don't need to cry out to anybody, I don't need to ask questions to someone/something that can't answer. I talk to my fellow man, friends, family. We discuss things, good and bad. I talk to my Daughter, my Wife.

      I understand that someone with faith has a hard time understanding a world without "God". But it is very easy for me. I would rather call out to someone who can answer than someone who I can't see or hear. I say things like "Only God knows" or "God bless you" when someone sneezes....but, like the bible, I don't mean it literally. It's just an expression, no different than saying "I acknowledge you sneezed and out of politeness I respond".

      April 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • sticks

      Yup mankind is responsible for all the things we have today, if it were left up to an imaginary invisible god creature we would still be living in caves, rooting around in the bushes for something to eat, and pooping behind a rock.

      All hail mankind, thank you humanity.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Kevin

      Frenchy, lets get it straight once and for all.... I'm a real phuquehing DICK! Just so you know!!

      April 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Dash Riprock

      We don't cry. We deal with it.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Kevin

      Well Sticks, I don't know what the force was that pulled me away from an oncoming bus that I ran right into the path of when I was 6. Something grabbed me around the waist and held me away.

      Nor can I explain what caused the corporal in Vietnam, whose foot got stuck on something when he was walking "point" on a patrol. When he couldn't move, the rest of the platoon feared the worst, and quickly did a booby-trap search with bayonets..... When they go around his feet, they couldn't find anything.. They continued to look, and about 5 yards up the trail, they found a trip wire, and only THEN did his foot bgecome magically, "unstuck!"

      Call me silly, but I consider both to be Devine intervention! But why should I waste my time??

      April 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Kevin

      If "The Book of Ancient Prophecy" is such BS to you all. How can you explain ancient predictions made centuries ago that have come true??

      ..................just sayin!

      April 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • OOO

      Kevin,
      I won't necessarily call you silly, but the idea that this one random stroke of luck in a world where for each of those there are uncountable bad-luck situations that are ignored... that does not point to anything more than random chance.

      You realize this, don't you?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Kevin

      000; "luck," or "open to the possibilities of the mystery of faith??" If you close it down, it won't happen to you so of course you'll call it "luck!"

      I look at it in a different way! It's truly awesome! Sorry you don't "get-it!"

      April 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • sticks

      Kev, I wouldn't ever call you silly. I have heard stories like yours of peoples close encounters with death but somehow they were spared. I don't know how that happens, right place right time type of thing. So I am assuming that you feel that what pulled you away from the bus at six was either God or Jesus(or are they the same) being with you and intervening. So was God and or Jesus with that little 8 year old boy killed in the bombing and just didn't feel compelled to intervene, or was God and/or Jesus just not there in the first place?

      Just curious.

      April 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Kevin

      Stcks; "That's the mystery!!"

      (btw, I play yamaha's, with Zildjians!)

      April 18, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • sam stone

      because we have compassion and don't like to see people suffer

      April 18, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      " How can you explain ancient predictions made centuries ago that have come true??"
      None of them ever have. Jesus was coming back in a thousand years. The Mayans said the world was ending this year (luckily, Romney lost). I don't see Zeus or Thor returning either, or the Frost Giants marching down from Norway. did you have a special favorite ancient prediction that you especially believe?

      April 19, 2013 at 9:08 am |
  13. HeavenSent

    Believe the lies of the Devil and spend an eternity burning in the fires of his playground hell, which is hot. My camel-toe is a licensed Cosmetologist. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

    Amen.

    April 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      I can quote from works of fiction too:

      May the hair on your toes never fall out!”
      ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

      April 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man." – Dr. Sam Johnson

      April 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Licensed Cosmetologist©

      May the hair on your camel-toe never fall out.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Licensed Cosmetologist, LOL.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
  14. Kevin

    "Proof of Heaven" by Dr. Eban Alexander:
    It is the most comforting thing beyond any kind of comfort and joy and bliss you could ever feel in this world.” — Dr. Eben Alexander.

    April 18, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • OOO

      Just another person who has a near-death experience and suddenly believes in heaven. This is not proof.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      Replace comforting with delusional and you're right.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Kevin

      We'll see,,,won't we?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • sticks

      Actually we WON'T see, because your eyes don't work when your dead. You just need some basic biology classes to understand how the body works.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Hardly "proof." Dr. Alexander had a gruelling brain operation, during which his brain was actually stopped, and yet he says he had memories of a weird experience when he woke up. Since there was no mechanism to 'write' these memories chemically into his brain cells, it had to have been during the second that his brain was reactivating. But the man suffered brain damage, and he had a dream, and that's all it amounts to. Sorry.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Chikkipop

      Apparently, you already have seen; otherwise, how would you be so sure?

      If we don't see while we're alive, there's no reason to believe silly stories that were obviously created by men.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  15. BP

    If we truly care about people, we will care where we are, when we have opportunity, no matter if it's organized, public, private, large, small. If secular humanists truly care about helping, then they will find a way to help. It's strange to me that this group wants to knock on the door of any faith celebrations or gatherings. If one truly does not believe, then why knock? Make your own organization and clubs, develop your own outreach, write your own definitions, establish your own style of caring, don't copy the faith community. If Humanists think they can do it on their own, with no faith, no God, just themselves, then do it! Don't whine because you want all the benefits of congregation without the God part. "I really wanted to care and help, but couldn't." We can all make a difference in our sphere of influence for the greater good.

    I find it hard to believe that anyone who needed help after Hurricane Sandy, said no.

    April 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  16. Dr. Jack Klingman

    This is almost more shocking than the tragedy for which we all grieve. The athiests are upset because they were left out of the faith based service at a Cathedral? Seriously? The irony is almost too much. In the face of such human tragedy you are actually asking people to instead feel sympath and sorrow for you and your fellow atheists because you weren't invited to pray in God's house with those grieving such tremendous loss.....Give me a break. Narcissistic, Arrogant, Idiots.

    April 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      I dont give a rat's ass what the religious do. I just dont want my tax dollars to support your goofy garbage.

      Tax the churches!!!!

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

      Thanks doc for reminding me why I'm glad I'm not Christian anymore.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • ME II

      So only those neighbors who believe as you do are worthy of your love and inclusion?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Skeptic639

      I don't think that was the point of the article, Dr. Jack. Read it again and think about it. But "thinking" is isn't really your strong point, is it.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • sam

      Your inherent bias has caused you to miss the point of the article. Wonder how much of your life is the same.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Koko The Great

      Calling those who have different beliefs than you 'arrogant idiots.' How very Christian of you...

      April 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Dr. Jack Klingman

      Yep, without question, completely Narcissistic, shameless, idiots. Let us now turn our sympathy to the hurt feelings of Atheists that weren't invited to church instead of the reality of the tragedy in front of us. How is this guy an Atheist Chaplain....is this a real article or a joke?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • jshawncampbell

      "I dont give a rat's ass what the religious do. I just dont want my tax dollars to support your goofy garbage.

      Tax the churches!!!!"

      What? This makes no sense at all. How does the absence of some church dollars going into the tax system equate to your tax dollars going to the church? That is simply illogical. The logical statement is that the church is tax exempt so that its dollars can be efficiently self-administered for the public good, which churches across the country contribute in high rates. In fact, the church could rightly say what you just said "we don't want our tax dollars going to support your goofy garbage," which is likely the burgeoning of government bureaucracy to inefficiently administer public programs, wasting tax dollars.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Pale Horseman

      "Give me a break. Narcissistic, Arrogant, Idiots." I can feel God's love coming out of you like big spurts of puke. He has done so much for your spirit.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      " The logical statement is that the church is tax exempt so that its dollars can be efficiently self-administered for the public good" by going to soldiers' funerals waving hateful signs? Pay taxes and let US decide how to distribute them, like every other private club does.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • sam

      Can you breathe ok with your knickers in that much of a twist?

      April 18, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Pale Horseman

      "completely Narcissistic, shameless, idiots. Let us now turn our sympathy to the hurt feelings of Atheists "

      Are you a "real Christian" or a joke? Your dead faith on display is a sad thing.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • David

      Very well said, and it's an added bonus that it's making all of these idiots mad... ha

      April 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • David

      I just agree with whoever seems to not be an atheist anyway.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Chikkipop

      "Let us now turn our sympathy to the hurt feelings of Atheists that weren't invited to church instead of the reality of the tragedy in front of us."

      It isn't either/or!

      You'd be offended if people holding your belief were excluded from paying respect to those who were killed or injured.

      What fools the religious so often are! Fortunately, many of the good ones are coming to their senses.

      April 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • Dr. Jack Klingman

      I'm a little low on atheist sympathy today........all sympathy and PRAYERS for those that had their limbs blown off and lost sons and daughters.

      April 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • sam

      No worries, Dr Jack – just make sure and go rant and complain on every other article that isn't solely dedicated to details of the bombing. We'll wait here.

      April 18, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Dash Riprock

      Your "sympathy" sure sounds like arrogant abusiveness.

      April 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • ME II

      @Dr. Jack Klingman,
      "I'm a little low on atheist sympathy today........all sympathy and PRAYERS for those that had their limbs blown off and lost sons and daughters."

      Some of those victims were atheists, or at least in the author's congregation, have you no sympathy for them?

      April 18, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
  17. Ares

    Obtuse, scared humans afraid of death. Need a super being overlord to tell you to be good? People who believe in gods are as pathetic as those that threw rocks at the moon or hid in a cave when thunder rumbled. I still can't believe this boloney lasted this long. Brainwash your children people it works well.
    NOW!!!!
    BOW!!!!
    YIELD!!!!
    KNEEL!!!!
    AND GIVE ME YOUR MONEY, ERRR UMMM, I MEAN DONATION!!!!

    April 18, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • William Demuth Sr

      Speaking of rocks, please climb back under yours.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  18. Thoughtful and Pensive

    I have to commend you for your honesty and sincerity. As a believer of Christianity, I am often troubled by how to communicate on deeper levels with agnostics and atheists. I think that your "congregration" is perhaps more "Christian" in actions that most Christian groups I know. I think at times we all have to look beyond our belief systems and accept that we each have a responsibility for each other (whether or not are belief in God is involved). Thank you.

    April 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Fokken Rite

      T and P, your post is exactly why I don't like this article. Delusional and Condescending. Bad.

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

      What a thoughtful and considerate reply. Your answer gives me hope.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
  19. Yolanda Fleischer

    Bravo, Greg. Head-clear and heart-felt!

    April 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  20. Jenny B

    Stop whining!

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

      Talking to yourself is a sign of early dementia.

      April 18, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • .

      Practice what you preach.

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

      Clean up on isle 12! Another speck upon the screen!

      April 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
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About this blog

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