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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. lionlylamb

    No one can just 'fall asleep' without wondering what the other side of sleeping will bring them or perhaps, no other side at all. Sweet dreams all! 🙂

    April 18, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • Maleficent

      Worst case scenario it will be like it was before we were born. Definitely not worth worrying about!

      April 18, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      "To die, to sleep;
      To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
      For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
      When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
      Must give us pause: " –Willy Shakespeare

      April 18, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Maleficent wrote on April 18, 2013 at 8:51 pm, "Worst case scenario it will be like it was before we were born. Definitely not worth worrying about!"

      Since I and most likely everyone cannot remember anything before being birthed here and now, I wouldn't call it a worse case scenario. Worrying is a trait we schizoid folks take lightly and granulize with restraining generalizations. The road less travelled is grown over and quite hard to traverse yet nevertheless it can be traveled if one's will ensues it to be so done.

      April 18, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
    • G to the T

      LL – PLEASE put away the thesaurus. You don't sound smart, you just sound obtuse...

      April 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  2. Maleficent

    Excellent article!

    April 18, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
  3. al

    in these days almost every group out there whether they are good or bad go out there to do all of these deeds just for vanity or to justify there postions. to say we the atheist are doing this things for our community. so they go out preaching against religion just like preachers preach for religion. they are the same . so please mr and mrs atheists it is your right to be godless but keep that to yourself. be happy that you live in a country where you wont be decapitated for not believing let the rest of the world roll. keep your atheism to yourself i dont want to hear about you or your good deeds.

    April 18, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Funny, we say the same about you.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • Maleficent

      As soon as you keep your beliefs to yourself...

      April 18, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • Salero21

      They may want to appear as goody two-shoes, it may give them a feeling of belonging to something that resembles a religion of sorts. Necessary self-abasement or self-aggrandizement preceding self-congratulation? I don't believe atheists when they give lip service, neither when they speak from either side of the mouth.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • al

      i dont recal ever preaching to you or anyone else or forcing my veiws on anyone but this story common there are more important things to report about this issue was settled long ago with the 1st ammendment but some people just want to bring it out to create more division and hate.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
  4. Andrew

    Great, more atheist preaching...

    April 18, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • Raider

      Kind of annoying being preached at all the time huh?

      April 19, 2013 at 2:21 am |
    • G to the T

      LOL... zing!

      April 19, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
  5. Salero21

    I don't believe in atheists which is to say I don't believe atheists when they from either side of the mouth or give lip service. All of this "wishy-washy" Ecu-menical stuff pretending is not the answer, Jesus Christ is the answer. Jesus never said that there're Many ways to Heaven or to an end, He said instead: "I' am the Way, the Truth and the Life, nobody comes to the Father but through me." So way back then He discarded modern day Ecu-menism, political gibberish, political convenience, political expediency and correctness.

    The consequences and end results of Godlessness are the strongest arguments for Godliness. It's God who gave the Commandment: Thou Shall Not commit Mur-der. Therefore is extremely Hypocritical and ridiculous for atheists to pretend to join even the silliness of Ecu-menism and expect the rest of the believers to ignore their foolish background. Thanks but no thanks! God is our Helper, He will bring about Justice in that Day!

    April 18, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      A longer post than usual, but no less moronic. Keep going salero, you give a wonderful example of the damage religion does to the mind. Your self-loathing, insecurities, and ignorance are in full display in every post you make.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      well done; it's true because your book says so...
      next!

      April 18, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • Salero21

      @ Hawaii guest uninvited intruder,

      Speaking about yourself again huh?

      April 18, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • ..

      Salero21 posting style: "I capitalize random words for no apparent reason."
      Shove it, bigot.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • Salero21

      @ ..

      A double dot is nothing more that a dot twice!

      April 18, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • Field Guide

      The animal referred to as "Salero21" is one of nature's most primitive-minded creatures.

      We have, finally been able to identify this common animal:

      Class: Mammalia
      Order: Rodentia
      Family: Cricetidae
      Subfamily: Arvicolinae
      Tribe: Lemmini

      April 18, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      That day? Which day?

      April 18, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Salero/capt., you're about as 'godly' as a cat turd.

      April 18, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • G to the T

      He said instead: "I' am the Way, the Truth and the Life, nobody comes to the Father but through me."

      No... someone esle, writing decades later, attributed those words to him because it was what THEY believed. (Hint – this is one of the many places "faith" comes in on your end).

      April 19, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
  6. Meg

    I don't take umbrage at your being an atheist/humanist. I don't think being an atheist means being without compassion or a moral compass. I am a Christian. My only issue is, here you are, an example that some groups of atheists/humanists do gather as a church and yet so many rabid atheists deny they are a religion. I just wonder what they think of humanist groups who congregate the way traditionally religious groups do. So is atheism a religion, because when I say it is, atheists deny it. I'm confused. In any case, my heart and prayers go out to those who lost their loved ones and those who were injured and our country as a whole. Blessed be.

    April 18, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Meg,

      I was with you until "rabid".

      Atheism is not a religion it is simply disbelief.

      If a group of like-minded people want to self-identify as 'humanists' and find the same kind of bonding with like minded people that church goers find, it still does not define it as a religion.

      If you want to call 'humanism' a religion, feel free. "Atheism" is not.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      firstly, your premises are false
      secondly, even while being false, you cannot get a valid conclusion to follow
      atheism is not a religion. deal with it.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Jana

      When parents get together in a PTA meeting is that considered a religious meeting? When people meet regularly in therapy groups are they considered a religious group. If a group of like minded people regularly meet to share books they read are they a religious organization? Atheists/agnostics are coming together for the sense of community and support of like minded people. We talk about charities we want to participate in. We talk about our jobs, families, and communities. We talk about the weather and the news. We talk about things that we can do to improve our lives and our communities. We talk about our children and their education. We provide play groups and social group activities for our children. We love and appreciate each other for our similarities and differences. We are not perfect, nor do we have all the answers. We just want to have a community that we can share our lives with and feel that we belong. We don't have to be religious to do that. We just have to want to be together. Peace be with you, always.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • Dan

      Theism is having a theory about the supernatural or a belief in what the supernatural is. Atheism simply means that we are without that. I have no theory about God or anything supernatural. I'm pretty sure yours is wrong, though.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • David

      atheism itself is not a religion any more than theism is a religion. however, to your point, Epstein's Humanism seems to be as much of a religion as Christianity, for example, where 'religion' is broadly construed. regardless, and as you said, "my heart and prayers go out to those who lost their loved ones and those who were injured and our country as a whole."

      April 18, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Atheists joining together in a group creates no more of a religion than bridge players joining together.

      April 18, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • G to the T

      As stated by others – "Humanism" is a philosophical outlook (which could be considred equivalent to a religion). "Atheism" is a statement of non-belief. The 2 are not interchangable. A Humanist may be an atheist, but not all atheists are humanists (and not all Humanists are atheists). As some said earlier – Atheism is to Humanism as Deism is to Christianity.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
  7. lionlylamb

    Life is to be lived, take treasure in its passing along. (Watching Dr Who,,, Good scifi!!)

    April 18, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
  8. Which is better?

    Mr. Christian:"I’ll pray for you” or “May God grant you strength,” 🙂 or,

    Mr. Atheist: "Don't worry, everything will be alright" and belts into a baritone, "don't worry, be happy" 😦

    April 18, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
    • Athy

      I'll take the atheist's condolences. The Christian spouts bullishit.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      I'm going with Mr A.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I will take music for the win.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFS4RZEuPVg&w=640&h=360]

      April 18, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • David

      definitely Mr. Athiest, though i think you have it wrong:

      Mr. Christian: You are a sinner. Repent or go to Hell. By the way, God loves you.
      Mr. Athiest: Let's picnic on Sunday; drive carefully.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • Maleficent

      I'll take the singer – not fairy tale guy.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
  9. Rusty

    Wow good for you all people are dead and hurt but your worried about how people feel about you. be an american see where you can help. go do it and get your gratification by doing not talking.

    April 18, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • available tuesday and thursday

      Thanks good to know all people are dead and hurt but I am concerned that you are not concerned about how I feel about you.be an american see what you can do to help me. stay do it and get your rocks off by jerking not talking.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
  10. HeavenSent's 12-Year-Old Daughter

    I am switchin' to menthol because I have a date tonight and mama said those people like menthols.

    April 18, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
  11. Tender Heart

    Is God pretty?

    April 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Beautiful, perfect.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • Tender Heart

      Does God like Jazz music?

      April 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • Athy

      How would anyone know? No one's ever seen him because he doesn't exist.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • Tender Heart

      Does God believe in Himself?

      April 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
  12. Olaf Big

    When do some people finally graduate from the middle ages? Religion or lack thereof has nothing to do with compassion. It does have to do with a closed mind, but that's a different story.

    April 18, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • PerceivedReality

      I have an open mind and yet love Jesus so what is your point?

      April 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • Olaf Big

      Well, you know, stubborn unrequieted love and open mind usually don't go together...

      April 18, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • lol??

      YOU explain it to the Vikings, Olaf, Mr. Big.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • Logic

      @percievedreality
      The fact that you claim to have an open mind, shows that you are close minded.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
  13. Bob

    Magic and religion is for the deluded.

    April 18, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • Union Guy

      The Atheists' Union requires proper subject-verb agreement. Don't let it happen again. You don't want to be mistaken for a Christian.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • PerceivedReality

      Basing you idea of the ultimate truth of reality with your infantesamly limited perspective is deluded.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • PerceivedReality

      Why would an athiest mourn the death of fellow bio-robots?

      April 18, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Every hindu, ignorant believes in it.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Perceived

      Because we actually give a shit about other people. We give a shit about this life and when it is gone it is a sad thing, especially when it is senseless like this bombing was. The very fact that you posted that crap shows your utter lack of humanity. Congratulations, you're just another divisive, immoral tool.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @PR

      "Why would an athiest mourn the death of fellow bio-robots?

      Why would a Christian mourn someone going to heaven?

      April 18, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • PerceivedReality

      @HG It was a serious question. If you guys think that everything will come to nothing anyway, why mourn? At least the dead will never be sad, never be in pain, never be sick again.

      @GOP'er If the person chose to deny God, it is reason to mourn, another reason to mourn would be for those left behind.

      Wasn't trying to be an a** . When I think like an athiest, I cannot see a reason to mourn the death of anything. Life is sad, death is ultimate peace.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Perceived

      It's not a serious question. You don't need eternity to make the present meaningful, that's just plain ignorance.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @PR,

      atheists are as equally human as believers. They are not robots but don't believe their 'humanity' requires a creator.

      Humans mourn loss.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • Dan

      PerceivedReality – Why would a Christian mourn the deaths of the creations of Zeus?

      April 18, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • PerceivedReality

      @ Dan, Zeus was a greek myth.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      and the resurrection of Jesus is a Christian myth.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • PerceivedReality

      @HG Well, you are more "human" than I would be if I were atheist. I would probably feel a tinge of sorrow before my logic and reason subdued my emotion. I think I would be like "Spock" from the original Star Trek.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • PerceivedReality

      @GOP'er No, there is pysical proof for the resurrection of Jesus. If you are intellectualy honest, you will find the Shroud of Turin to be at the very least compelling. Just drop on over to

      http://discussions.godandscience.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=225

      I love science!

      April 18, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Even the Catholic Church does not represent that the shroud of Turin is the death shroud of Jesus.

      They permit it as an object that inspires prayer and devotion.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • Dan

      Here's myths! Numbers 13:33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
      Genesis 6:2 4There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
      Isaiah 34:7 And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • PerceivedReality

      @GOP'er The RCC's official stand is neutral on authenticity, but the science of the Shroud is not. If this evidence were presented in a court of law there is a strong chance that they would have to rule it as authentic. The fact that even with todays technology, we cannot reproduce a cloth with all the physical characteristics speaks volumes.

      There is also the argument that since life is reproduced with DNA, which is encoded, an intelligent agent must have created it. All other instances of something being encoded (computers for instance) have been encoded by an intelligent being (Humans)

      The fact that the universe is fine tuned for life as we know it is also proof that it was intelligently designed. Just gravity alone is so finely tuned that if its strength parameter moved just one inch on a gauge as wide as the universe itself, life as we know it could not exist.

      In light of these almost infinite odds, I give the benefit of the massive doubt to a creator.

      If there is a creator, it is reasonable to me to assume that it would want to interact with its creation, the Bible records the most believable account off all mankind throughout history. Therefore I believe in the God of Abraham.

      If my perception is foolish to you so be it. For some people only absolute empirical evidence will do, but then that would defeat free will.

      Peace and love be with you, good night.

      April 18, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
    • PerceivedReality

      @Dan
      Giants exist to this day, I just saw one on "freakshow" on AMC 2013APR18 @9:35 EST

      Isa 34:7
      English Standard Version (©2001)
      Wild oxen shall fall with them, and young steers with the mighty bulls. Their land shall drink its fill of blood, and their soil shall be gorged with fat.

      There ya go.

      April 18, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Perceived

      That's really quite sad. You don't need eternity to find life meaningful. In fact, in the absence of eternity, this life is even more meaningful. Everything you do here isn't some test to see if you can prove to an immortal "thing" you've never perceived.

      April 18, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
  14. antbias reporting

    The hospital workers don't know it but he could care less about them.

    April 18, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • Athy

      Could care less, or couldn't care less? Which is it. Or do you even know?

      April 18, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
  15. PerceivedReality

    I Love Jesus!!!!

    April 18, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • Donna

      I love Westhighland White terriers!

      April 18, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      That sounds personal.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • PerceivedReality

      Are they cute?

      April 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • Jimbo

      At least terriers actually exist.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Of course their cute. That's what makes them so deadly.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • PerceivedReality

      jimbo, God exists, I will present the terriers as evidence.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • PerceivedReality

      Hey wassup HG, long time no read.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      The one who never existed, but in imagination of pot head of hindu sanatans crooked goons of hindu dark ages.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • PerceivedReality

      Islam was created by a schizo pedo named mo who was decieved by Satan to lead people from God using his classic ploy of lies and half truths. Don't believe me? Read the quran along with the hadiths and suras, then you will believe.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • Dan

      @ PerceivedReality

      Christianity was created by people who believe that someone lived in the belly of a whale.. er, I mean "great fish" for 40 days.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • G to the T

      PR – you do realize you could use the exact same logic you just did for Islam and apply it to Christianity don't you? I could easily argue that Jesus and/or Paul was actually a tool of Satan to lead people away from the true religion of Judaism...

      April 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  16. fred

    Leave it to Harvard to have a "chaplain" for non-religious people. Talk about a sweet gig for this guy

    April 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred,

      ironies aside, lots of college students have issues. I expect his job with them is no different to that of the other chaplains.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • Jerry

      Yale has a Harry Potter scholar-chick who is also an Episcopalian priest. She shares her religious fluffery here regularly.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • lol??

      dude where's my car?

      April 18, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      I wonder if he has a mansion and is completely tax exempt like the larger Christian groups. That sounds like a sweeter deal to me.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • lol??

      Jerry sayz,
      "Yale has a Harry Potter scholar-chick who is also an____________...."Alien, Hot Giant?

      April 18, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • Dan

      I agree. As soon as I heard that I started looking for something similar out here where I live. I would love to have the sense of community church provides without the fairy tales, lies and bigotry.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
    • .

      Lol??, you goddamn moron, he said Episcopalian priest. Or is that not one of your approved Christian faiths, asshat? Why do you even exist? You turn off more people to Christianity than you do ON.
      Lol??. The afterbirth that talks.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • lol??

      Silly dot, do I take that literally or metaphorically?, and prove your case with sources, scientifically peer reviewed.

      April 18, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  17. Donna

    Finally someone speaking my language! It was quite a shame that you were not asked/no allowed to represent us at the "interfaith" service today. We are quite (but not for long) and we are many.

    April 18, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • lol??

      Interfaith is a meaningless term and change and hopefully you already know that.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @lol??

      because you presume only one of them can be right?

      There is another answer.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • Jerry

      There is no greater expert on meaninglessness that lol??

      April 18, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Interfaith is just as mindless as the other kinds of faith.

      April 18, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  18. gary

    "Godless mourn too" ... is that a surprise? Belief or atheism have nothing to do with compassion, empathy, sorry, love, fairness, morality, etc. Two biggest myths today; 1) bible is needed for morality, and 2) bible is anything more than morphed ancient folklore. The most immoral people I've ever known swore there was a god. Atheism is myth understood.

    April 18, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • lol??

      ".....Atheism is myth understood......" Funny. So how do you plan on elevating the understanding of atheism?

      April 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Gary doesn't need to do a thing, loopy. No atheist does. You're doing all the heavy lifting. Thanks!

      April 18, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
  19. Tony

    Great CNN, thanks for using this tragedy as a platform for atheist self-promotion. Reminds me of when the Scientologists flooded ground zero.

    April 18, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=At9Ujm7RqU8&w=640&h=360]

      April 18, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Tony,

      did you post the same thing when Rev. Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio blogged: My Take: Light will conquer darkness in Boston

      as a self-promotion of her Episcopal faith on Tuesday?

      April 18, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Johnl

      Yea Tony! How DARE those kind and generious atheists want to be included in showing compassion for their fellow human being. What's this country coming to??? When an ATHEIST wants to be included in the effort to help! Why ... That's UNAMERICAN!

      April 18, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • Frank

      What an obnoxious, bigoted person you are. Is this what your war-mongering religion tells you to do - disparage the beliefs of BILLIONS of people around the globe who don't follow, goose-step in line with your mythological beliefs? All you're accomplishing is driving more and more people further and further from your religion. Is that what Jesus told you to do? I grew up a Catholic, then became a so-called "born again" until I saw the real truth - it's all a lie created by men to lesson the fear people have about dying.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Sharon

      It's not self promotion. It's an explanation, or a willful plea, for inclusion. Just because this community doesn't share one thing in common with the "traditional" crowd, they've been ostracized. Really, I think he's saying that next time we should let everyone come together.

      I, too, was watching the service this morning on television, and I couldn't help but feel that every notion of comfort given was that of God and his plan. To those non-believers, that's not all that comforting. There should be an avenue through which we can also come together with the community and build strength together, with our lives, by ourselves, just because we're here right now on this earth together.

      It felt very exclusionary, and I agree with the author that I would have preferred if it had been more inclusive to people of all beliefs, the "somes" and the "nones."

      But I also agree in the way that this is not an overly pressing issue. It was not a willful exclusion. I just think that he intends for the readership of this article to think twice next time, and maybe challenge their convictions, which is noble.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • FreeThinker

      Pipe down Alice. You just prove that religious nutbags happen to be to most bigoted. Every religious zealot I know is either a racist, bigot or both. People are sick and tired of religion and it's judgmental followers. Religion is, has been and will always be the number one cause of death and human suffering.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • Sharon

      @FreeThinker and others with hateful words
      You know nothing about her other than her comment. Hold up with the accusations.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Her comment said a lot. It also says a lot about you; that you are defending that vile comment.

      April 18, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • Sharon

      @Godoflunaticscreation

      Whining about self promotion and then something misinformed about scientology? Yeah, let's just throw them to the dogs.

      No justification here to call someone a racist...

      April 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
  20. Jmac

    I don't know if there is a creator or a universal mind that started this universe turning but I can tell you this...it is obvious that if it does exist, it gave us a mind capable of invention and reasoning. It gave us the ability to learn and have compassion for all life on this planet (even if it seems at times that we are more brutal and violent then any animal). Thus there is no god floating in the clouds above or a devil in the earths core, the universe was created and we are left to make our own way ,good or bad. Horrible things happen to good people and good things to total horrible people, children die for no reason and murders live on. The bible is written by man and not a god to pacify our fears and to gain control over those who are willing to have blind faith.

    April 18, 2013 at 7:24 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.