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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. more2bits

    Yeah that's typical discrimination by god fearing people. They put everyone down and blame the godless people for everythign bad instead of taking a hard look at their religions which have led them astray. Almost ALL the violence going on in the world today is a RESULT of religions run amuck and brainwashing our children into becoming suicide bombers doing what is right by their god Allah or whatever. Religions are the cause of most all the worlds grief but when things go bad they are quick to point the finger to the godless as being the responsible party. Sick. All religions are sick and should be banned from this Earth as the filth they are.

    April 19, 2013 at 6:36 am |
    • biggles

      Get out your violins

      April 19, 2013 at 10:26 am |
  2. southernwonder

    godless mourn, the godded kill.

    April 19, 2013 at 5:49 am |
  3. MOCaseA

    I see a lot of comments here about morality and ethics. They question how an Atheist can have ethics without God. The answer is simple, and often ignored. It isn't God, but society that determines ethics. A common example used is murder. Without God, what reason would there be not to commit murder. The answer is again simple; our society does not condone murder. Many societies do not condone murder. This has nothing to do with God, and everything to do with successful society. In the converse there are societies, both past and present, that have no injunctions against murder. While few actually supported it, quite a few simply accepted it as a way of life. Even our "enlightened" society used to allow, and even accept, murder as a meaningful means of settling differences (duels, vengeance, etc.).

    April 19, 2013 at 5:34 am |
    • Science

      MOCaseA MORALS AYE ! ......................... Make sure to read comments !

      You asked for it ................Have a good read !

      Where do morals come from?

      By Kelly Murray, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

      Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

      Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

      Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
      bears his name as the “God particle.”

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

      Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
      Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

      Science

      Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
      By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

      April 7th, 2012

      08:32 PM ET

      The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/comment-page-137/#comment-2281915

      Make sure to read comments

      Science

      NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.

      http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/18/us/planet-discovery/index.html

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/09/my-take-a-word-to-christians-be-nice/?iref=allsearch

      April 19, 2013 at 5:47 am |
    • redrouster

      They way I see it is that I am a Christian and I am thankful for that! I am happy in that fact! If I am totally wrong and when I die, well, I guess my ideas were wrong but I spent my life in happiness. If I am right, and when I die and go to heaven, I will live forever with my God and those who do not believe, well, I am not the judge, but I think you will have some explaining to do.................................................

      April 19, 2013 at 6:08 am |
    • MadamD

      As an atheist, my morals come from the same part of my brain that tells me not to touch a hot stove or run recklessly into a busy street. If I have to rely on a book for morality, then those aren't morals at all, but instructions.

      April 19, 2013 at 6:15 am |
    • saggyroy

      @redrouster Why would I have to explain anything? It's god that has to do the explaining. Letting people suffer like it does. What a jerk.

      April 19, 2013 at 6:17 am |
    • Shane

      @Red And what happens if the Mormons, Jews, Hindu, or Muslims are right?

      April 19, 2013 at 6:34 am |
    • Cosmic Snark

      redrouster: There's another name for your insincere "just in case" faith: Pascal's Wager. No one is impressed, especially by your smug satisfaction in your belief in divine retribution for those who don't believe as you do. Your "faith" reeks.

      April 19, 2013 at 6:40 am |
    • saggyroy

      @Shane yep, but also consider these options:

      1. No god and no afterlife.
      2. No God but afterlife.
      3. God exists, but no afterlife.

      April 19, 2013 at 6:40 am |
  4. atomD21

    Compassion needs to overtake religion and selfish desire, or nothing will ever get better.

    April 19, 2013 at 5:31 am |
  5. GunnyDinAFG

    What a selfish article. The author should change his groups name from "Humanism" to Me-ism." "In the aftermath of these horrible attacks, pay attention to me and how mean people are to me." You admittedly have no faith, so why are you whining about attending an inter-faith service? Stop calling yourself a chaplain, you're a club president for a community group. You don't have a clergy or a congregation. And there's nothing wrong with that. But the biggest problem with your "movement" is that you would use this horrible tragedy and loss to draw attention to your own group instead of the needs of so many. Selfish and shameless.

    April 19, 2013 at 5:06 am |
    • atomD21

      But isn't that exactly what Christians do in tragedies? They assemble together looking all holy and preach about how only God can offer peace to the hurting and act like they are coming down to the common man's level from their righteous pews to bestow grace and mercy on them. The whole thing is a ploy to gain converts. And regardless of whether your hope is placed in Jesus, Allah, Jehovah, Buddha, Shiva, or science and logic, none should be excluded from gathering to mourn and begin the healing process in their own way.

      April 19, 2013 at 5:17 am |
    • GunnyDinAFG

      No one excluded them, they willfully excluded themselves. It's a religious gathering. They are admittedly non-religious. No one has told them they can't mourn, grieve, gather, or provide assistance. But it's shameless to attempt to draw attention from those who've lost loved ones and those who were greviously injured to say "I wish everyone would think about me during this time."

      April 19, 2013 at 5:35 am |
    • Cosmic Snark

      AtomD21: Well said.

      April 19, 2013 at 6:42 am |
    • Mariah

      Christians are the shameless ones. They are like the biblical pharisees who attempt to exalt themselves through their public prayers.

      April 19, 2013 at 6:58 am |
  6. oh no

    hitler was the pope

    April 19, 2013 at 4:48 am |
    • oh no

      hitler loved jews and wanted what was best for them. he spent hours in prayer every day.

      manson was a bishop on the fast track to becoming pope. "i am better than Christ."

      no one can be upset with atheists who emulate both of these shining examples of sanctified wholly believers, you see?

      April 19, 2013 at 4:53 am |
    • Observer

      “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.”
      - Adolph Hitler, Munich, April, 1922

      April 19, 2013 at 4:57 am |
    • oh no

      i know. manson said the same things. very religious holy man

      April 19, 2013 at 5:06 am |
    • faith

      mao was into christ, too. loved him almost as much as adolf

      April 19, 2013 at 5:09 am |
    • Observer

      "Christian creeds and doctrines, the clergy's own fatal inventions, through all the ages has made of Christendom a slaughterhouse, and divided it into sects of inextinguishable hatred for one another."
      - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Whittemore, 6/05/1822

      April 19, 2013 at 5:14 am |
  7. dave Green

    Despite what I'm sure will be a war of hatred, intolerance and cheap car salesmen like evangelizing in these comments, I applaud this author for recognizing that ones religious views, or lack thereof, seem to have little to do with whether people are willing to help their fellow man. Thank you for that.

    April 19, 2013 at 4:38 am |
  8. biggles

    Atheists are above all, fair. All Christians suck. Sky daddy is a jerk. Hitler was devout. All things christian suck.

    April 19, 2013 at 4:07 am |
    • Red Eliphant

      Hitler... that athiest that banned the old testament?? PFFT... Yeah Lincoln was when he made his second inorgaration (bad spelling) speech! AMERICA WAS BUILD ON THE FREE MANS BIBLE... is the old saying ,even MKL that gave equal rights (if you know who that was) was a Christian. I suppose Churchill, Eisenhower, Monty,Patton, Sherman,Grant and Lee were athiests LOL!

      April 19, 2013 at 4:25 am |
    • Observer

      “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”
      - Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

      April 19, 2013 at 4:41 am |
    • atomD21

      I'm sorry for whatever Christians have done to you in the past, but blanket statements like "all Christians suck" is just as bigoted as the holier than thous that claim all atheists are morons and evil people. Your hatred is not going to promote the message of the Atheist movement any more than the Westboro cult will promote Jesus' teachings. We're all just people on the same blue marble in space and we need to stop dividing ourselves and come together to do good, not be right.

      April 19, 2013 at 4:51 am |
    • Science

      Hey biggles still in denial ? or is it you can not read that well ?

      April 19, 2013 at 5:26 am |
  9. With God

    Everyone please understand that God exists and loves each and eveyone one of us, no matter what sin has been done. Just ask for HIS forgiveness. Please try to open your eyes and ask yourself these questions about believing in God: "Can you remember a time that you did? Think back to when you were a child when you did believe in God. It does not matter what religion your parents followed. Did you believe? What changed? Was it influence by others. Did they tell you that there was a rational answer to your being in existence?"

    Once you have this, try talking to God saying this: “God if You are the Truth reveal to me the sign of Your Love. Open my heart to receive guidance. If You Exist let me feel Your Love so I can see the Truth. Pray for me now”

    Refer to http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com

    April 19, 2013 at 3:36 am |
    • Observer

      Also advocate the actual practice of the Golden Rule. It's much better than all the hypocrisy in picking on gays and the ignorance in picking on pro-choice supporters when the Bible never mentions abortion.

      If your religion makes your life better, then don't use it to make people's lives worse.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:43 am |
    • Sandra

      I never believed in a god, even when I was a child. To me, religion, and religious leaders are the biggest snake oil salesmen selling a non-existent item, without any proof. I'm not 'godless'. I'm God-free.

      April 19, 2013 at 4:02 am |
    • biggles

      I believe in dodo and in pretending to be smart cause as a first grader they put me in a special class for the criminally insane, but told me I was a genius.

      April 19, 2013 at 4:10 am |
    • MOCaseA

      So what if, as a child, we never really believed in God?

      Also, making a statement of peace and conversion, then following it up with a link that at its root is basically a threat (repent or you will be condemned to eternal damnation when Jesus returns!) doesn't sway many people any more. Fire and brimstone and only burn for so long, then it just turns to ash and emptiness...

      April 19, 2013 at 5:40 am |
    • Shane

      If god actually loved everyone then he wouldn't punish everyone that didn't believe in him eternally for minor issues.

      April 19, 2013 at 6:35 am |
  10. R Burns

    A comment such as "Why do people have to be so godless to want to kill innocent people?" is not meant to mean that all people who do not have faith in God are evil in nature. Of course those who are atheist or agnostic grieve, for that is human. What they don't have is a foundation of faith to lean on in times of grief, and that is truly sad. The comment about godless people wanting to kill innocents refers to those who are truly evil and either don't have a true faith or are misusing something they call faith. Two different groups altogether, and it seems to me that the atheists who are lately so loud in proclaiming their lack of faith and criticizing anyone who does, protest much too loudly! It is the human spirit crying out for help, with or without a moment of grief to bring it on. So pick up a Bible, read Matthew and if you want to have that faith you are so infirm without, pray for it! But stop lashing out – that just looks childish, and it certainly doesn't contribute to unity.

    April 19, 2013 at 3:35 am |
    • A non-theist

      I am concerned about your comment, "It is the human spirit crying out for help" and saying that atheists (and I shall include agnostics and non-theists) don't have faith to fall upon when tragedy strikes. Solace is given to those who don't believe in a particular god, by people with whom they can cry with and hold, animals that don't judge but can lean a head on a shoulder or jump into a lap because they feel the enormity of emotion. You could argue that your god made them that way, but in the end, when a person takes comfort, does it matter? Nobody needs faith; we all need someone or something to hug. A devout religious child will still take a stuffed animal along for a crying session to feel better. Is that faith?

      April 19, 2013 at 5:13 am |
    • Chris

      Religion is a crutch for the weak-minded.

      April 19, 2013 at 6:31 am |
  11. blankcheck123

    Teej. Many people seem to forget that America was founded by a group who had left their country to escape the corruption of organized religion. There were Quakers and deists. this is Deism (Listeni/ˈdiː.ɪzəm/[1][2] or /ˈdeɪ.ɪzəm/) is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of God, accompanied with the rejection of revelation and authority as a source of religious knowledge. Quakers are anti war, they were the first to be against slavery.
    Despite what some overly religious types would like us to think our founders were not a bunch of evangelical southern rednecks , they were men of reason

    April 19, 2013 at 3:28 am |
    • the creationist

      you forget about the protestants who were amongst the first settlers. these people where extremely religious and of an intolerant disposition which is ironic because they themselves were fleeing religious intolerance. also "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..." key word CREATOR. TJ believed in G-d as did pretty much every one of the founding fathers. It is laughable how you juxtapose faith and reason when they are not opposites, rather, they are coexisting ideals which strengthen each other.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:36 am |
    • Observer

      the creationist,

      Notice the word "CREATOR" and NOT "God". Creator refers to Zeus or whoever you might want to believe in. If they wanted to refer to God, they would have.

      April 19, 2013 at 4:05 am |
    • ss

      @ the creationist
      Notice that they use "their" and not "the"

      April 19, 2013 at 5:07 am |
  12. lol??

    What kind of american god gubmint needs a pastor-in-chief?

    "lol??
    "............once again called upon to play the pastor-in-chief .............."

    Too bad it's not a play. I wish these showboating politicians would just attend to their servant duties. If he absolutely feels compelled to say something he could say it to an empty chair, tape it, let the grievers get free copies, and sell other copies for a buck a pop. Let them grieve in peace!

    April 18, 2013 at 9:25 pm"

    April 19, 2013 at 3:08 am |
  13. the creationist

    @ observer nice try the old dance around technique. You cannot find anything legitimate so instead peruse earlier posts for something, anything, to use against me. Still I will indulge you. I don't seek to explain everything by the bible, only to live my life by it. Many believe it to be an exact history. Maybe it is and maybe it isn't. in any case it IS a life manual. If you live in the manner laid out by it, you will have a rich fulfilled life. One last note, I find it funny how you throw out the generic term "bible" which bible? almost every faith has a doctrine that could be called a bible. You don't even know what I believe in yet you try to mock it. This is the sort of irony I could find in a Shakespeare play.

    April 19, 2013 at 3:04 am |
    • Observer

      the creationist,

      Good point. No one knows what "the Bible" is since there are dozens of differing versions. Perhaps your references to God has nothing to do with the God in the Bible.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:13 am |
    • Kevin Schmidt

      What difference does it make which bible you follow?
      They were all written by blind men who can't see the way, for the purpose of controlling people, justifying horrific acts of cruelty, and separating people from experiencing God directly for themselves.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:15 am |
  14. Paul

    to the photographer: Amazing photos. I couldn't help but tear up seeing people grieving and the beauty of strangers coming together to support each other in this tragedy.

    April 19, 2013 at 3:03 am |
  15. Jessica

    ""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""

    Because their religions, in order to keep them faithful and to manipulate them, teach them that they are special and the only real "chosen ones" who will make it to the afterlife. All the other religions, and us atheists, have it wrong and will burn in hell because we are not just like them.

    April 19, 2013 at 2:55 am |
    • Wonddering

      What kind of God runs an eternal torture chamber for people who don't suck up?

      April 19, 2013 at 2:57 am |
    • lol??

      What kind of god gubmint creates prohibition?

      April 19, 2013 at 3:01 am |
    • the creationist

      umm as far as I know only one religion believes in hell. thats Christianity, Catholicism in particular. My religion does not believe in hell. G-d is forgiving and would not sentence anyone to eternal pain. However, there is a middle stage between G-d and earth. It is where our souls are purified much like how gold is purified of any impure minerals. The maximum length of time anyone can be in this stage is 3 weeks, with the exception of 6 incredibly wicked people who will remain there forever.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:18 am |
    • dennis

      I AM AMAZED AT THE IGNORANCE, OF PEOPLE WHO THINK THEY ARE INTELLIGENT.

      JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD GOD, CAN YOU USE IT TO DECLARE HE DOES NOT EXIST.
      WHO ARE YOU?????
      YOU CAN'T EVEN EXPLAIN YOUR OWN EXISTENCE, YET YOU DECLARE THAT THERE IS NO GOD.

      I have experienced the power of GOD in many ways, and its not in my mind. HEALED OF HEART DISEASE-NO DOCTORS
      That's just one, but there are Too many to even put in this comment.
      Many people have experienced the power of GOD, including those men who died for believing in him, and ended up writing the BIBLE. The BIBLE covers too much of human history for a man to have written it.

      ANY FOOL, should be able to look at BIBLE PROPHECY, and see the BIBLE is coming true.
      It is impossible for a man to have written the BIBLE, but ignorance can make some believe the lie.
      Since you do not believe there is a GOD, KEEP WATCHING THE NEWS.

      Matthew 24:21 KJV
      For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be .
      We are approaching that time of GREAT TRIBULATION.

      For those of you who do not believe there is a GOD, you only have a very short time left to believe there is no GOD.
      Soon he will show all of mankind, who do not have the common sense to just look at the BIBLE, AND SEE THAT ITS ACTUALLY COMING TRUE, that he indeed is true.

      Keep rejecting the idea that GOD IS, or better yet, that JESUS IS GOD, WHO BECAME A MAN.
      Keep on believing that the BIBLE is fake, and has no power, and is not the WORD OF GOD.
      And those of us who have experienced him, and know that he us, will keep on believing what you say is not true.
      And we will see who is right, and who is wrong.

      We don't have long for this to be proven, because the next thing on the agenda is more than likely nuclear war.
      The BIBLE says, THE LORD, will return before men destroy the earth, so that will be very soon.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:35 am |
    • Observer

      dennis,

      Yep. The end of the world is near.

      This is news from THOUSANDS of years ago.

      April 19, 2013 at 4:19 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      dennis: We're still waiting...2000 years and counting. So either your imaginary friend doesn't care or it simply doesn't exist. Now based on the lack of evidence and your use of scripture to prove your point, it is more likely that it doesn't exist and that you're the one lacking intelligence.

      April 19, 2013 at 4:51 am |
    • Colin

      Dennis, thank you for using ALL CAPS so often, or I would never have understood your post.

      April 19, 2013 at 5:32 am |
    • sam stone

      dennis: jeebus is waiting. do you have a sidearm?

      April 19, 2013 at 9:24 am |
  16. GodFree

    People that do not believe in religion are not god-less. We aren't missing a god or lost our god in some tragic accident we don't believe in any exists. That would be like me calling this guy SantaClause-less because he didn't put out cookies for Santa this year.

    April 19, 2013 at 2:44 am |
    • lol??

      You're covered.
      lol??
      "Jhn 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" So no, you are not godless.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:39 am

      April 19, 2013 at 2:51 am |
    • Actually

      Everyone is godless. Many fantasize that they have a god, but it is only their imagination.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:53 am |
    • Kevin Schmidt

      The greatest lie of all time has been told for thousands of years by religious leaders. They say, "Convert to my religion, it is the only way to God. Follow me, I know the way."
      Meanwhile, anyone can find God. It's not hard to do. Just go within. God dwells in the hearts of everyone.

      April 19, 2013 at 3:09 am |
  17. IhaveID

    Well said chaplain. "Do unto others as you have them do unto you"

    April 19, 2013 at 2:33 am |
  18. Chris

    Hey Greg, way to grab a tragedy for furthering your cause. Selfish!

    April 19, 2013 at 2:28 am |
    • TrueBlue42

      Hey Chris, way to be an uncaring a**hole.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:53 am |
    • Hypocrite spotter

      Now go say that to your pastor when he brings it up at his service on Sunday.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:54 am |
    • Jessica

      Chris, if you people would stop blaming us for random events that happen we wouldn't be needing to have this conversation...

      April 19, 2013 at 2:58 am |
    • atomD21

      Yeah, Christians never do that... oh wait... it's almost policy in protestant churches to go evangelize in the midst of tragedies, because people are more susceptible to that when they are emotionally upset. Every group will take opportunites to swell their numbers when they can, human nature is selfish...

      April 19, 2013 at 5:03 am |
  19. Max Rocketanski

    The one downside of reading the belief blog is that now view all religious people as being total nincompoops like the ones who post here. And then they talk about their religion and I realize they ARE all total nincompoops.

    Then I realize that there are a hell of a lot of nincompoops in this world, that a 100 IQ is really not too impressive, and we have a LOT of evolving left to do.

    April 19, 2013 at 2:09 am |
    • the creationist

      why read a belief blog if you are an atheist? simply because someone has a different opinion of how the world came to be and why we are here does not mean that they "are total nincompoops". In my modest opinion, to believe the world was created by some freak accident is much more foolish than believing it was created by an all powerful creator.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:16 am |
    • biobraine

      "In my modest opinion, to believe the world was created by some freak accident is much more foolish than believing it was created by an all powerful creator."

      So how did your all powerful creator come into existence? Something so complex that it was able to completely create our universe couldn't have been created by some freak accident.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:20 am |
    • ra

      Max – being a free thinker is never popular in your own lifetime. Thinkers who claimed such heresy as the world wasn't flat, that the earth wasn't the center of the universe, were detained, tortured, killed. That is why it is so hard to tell others that you've used common sense and facts to take a fresh look at your beliefs, and your beliefs are replaced by realizations. Logic rarely breaks through indoctrination. People are afraid to confront what they've accepted as fact, as much as the sun and the moon rise and fall every day.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:25 am |
    • Bob1god

      Yes, nail meet hammer head!

      April 19, 2013 at 2:34 am |
    • the creationist

      @ bio as a man of faith I don't seek to explain everything. thats what atheists attempt and fail at. G-d is eternal and was before everything and will be after everything. the great strength of faith is that I don't need to know the "whys" because that is G-d's job.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:35 am |
    • Observer

      the creationist,

      You try to use the Bible to explain everything, and that too fails.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:37 am |
    • the creationist

      @ observer If reaching enlightenment through the study of G-d is failure then I guess I don't want to succeed. what is your definition of success? intelligence? science constantly contradicts itself. wealth? money is worthless after death. popularity? people will forsake you for the next fad. Only G-d is eternal in goodness and righteousness. The best part? even though you have closed yourself to HIM G-d still helps you and believes in you. "I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me" (Isaiah 45:5)

      April 19, 2013 at 2:49 am |
    • Observer

      the creationist,

      You criticized atheist because "I don't seek to explain everything. thats what atheists attempt and fail at" and yet that's exactly what you try to do with a Bible.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:58 am |
    • biobraine

      "G-d is eternal and was before everything and will be after everything."

      How in the world could you or anyone else know that?

      April 19, 2013 at 3:41 am |
  20. TG

    Reading through the comments I am saddened by the venom and arguments on here. I'm not American and I'm an atheist. I know my heart didn't hurt any less than anyone else's when I heard of the bombings and saw the footage. I worried for the people I knew that were attending or running the race, I cried for the victims. I am so sad to see that this is yet another tragedy that is tearing the American people apart instead of bringing them back together. Mr. Epstein's article is about humanity and service regardless of religion and everyone should come together to heal. Everyone should come together to find justice. Everyone just needs to come together.

    April 19, 2013 at 2:06 am |
    • TeeJ

      #1) You're NOT American. Buzz off.

      #2) Your religion is atheism. Buzz off.

      #3) If you don't like the comments, DON'T READ THEM... and Buzz off.

      #4) Epstein is an atheist to. Like you, he can also BUZZ OFF.

      Have a nice day anyway.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:14 am |
    • Observer

      TeeJ,

      Well done. You have shown how correct TG is. You lose.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:20 am |
    • IhaveID

      TeeJ, you are exactly what is wrong with religion.

      April 19, 2013 at 2:39 am |
    • My theology is a bit off today

      TeeJ, what part of the Bible instructed you to be a brainless dickhead?

      April 19, 2013 at 2:56 am |
    • atomD21

      Hey TeeJ, practice what you preach and BUZZ OFF! TG, that is a very refreshing post to read. In times like this, who cares what religion or non religion you follow. Shelve the mindless arguments and work together.

      April 19, 2013 at 5:10 am |
    • A non-theist

      Thank you, TG. I was interested to find out that groups of non-god based groups are coming together and have chaplains. To folks like TeeJ, I'd like to point out that people from all over the world work very hard to be admitted to the Boston Marathon; it's certainly not run by only Americans. One of the dead was a student from China.

      Why is it that the angry termites have less than stellar grammar skills?

      Now we have mass violence in Boston, one of the supposed bombers dead...this is tragic in so many ways.

      April 19, 2013 at 5:34 am |
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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.