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Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate
Pope Francis greets the faithful as he leaves St. Peter's Square at the end of his weekly audience April 10 at the Vatican.
May 23rd, 2013
03:59 PM ET

Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) -– American atheists welcomed Pope Francis’ comments that God redeems nonbelievers, saying that the new pontiff's historic outreach is helping to topple longstanding barriers.

“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone,” the pope told worshipers at morning Mass on Wednesday. “‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”

Francis continued, “We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, said that although he has been skeptical of Francis' outreach to the nonreligious, he welcomed Wednesday’s comments.

“I gather from this statement that his view of the world's religious and philosophical diversity is expanding,” Speckhardt said. “While humanists have been saying for years that one can be good without a god, hearing this from the leader of the Catholic Church is quite heartening."

He continued, “If other religious leaders join him, it could do much to reduce the automatic distrust and discrimination that atheists, humanists, and other nontheists so regularly face. “

Francis’ comments received a great deal of attention on social media, with a number of people asking whether the Catholic leader believes that atheists and agnostics go to heaven, too.

On Thursday, the Vatican issued an “explanatory note on the meaning to ‘salvation.'"

The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who aware of the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

At the same time, Rosica writes, “every man or woman, whatever their situation, can be saved. Even non-Christians can respond to this saving action of the Spirit. No person is excluded from salvation simply because of so-called original sin.”

Rosica also said that Francis had “no intention of provoking a theological debate on the nature of salvation,” during his homily on Wednesday.

Although the pope's comments about salvation surprised some, bishops and experts in Catholicism say Francis was expressing a core tenet of the faith.

"Francis was clear that whatever graces are offered to atheists (such that they may be saved) are from Christ," the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a conservative Catholic priest, wrote on his blog.

"He was clear that salvation is only through Christ’s Sacrifice.  In other words, he is not suggesting – and I think some are taking it this way – that you can be saved, get to heaven, without Christ."

Chad Pecknold, an assistant professor of theology at the Catholic University of America, agreed with Zuhlsdorf, pointing out that the pope’s comments came on the Feast of Saint Rita, the Catholic patron saint of impossible things.

“The remarks about atheists show that there is even a saint for atheists,” Pecknold said. “Including all of humanity, on this day especially, remarks like that are almost called for.”

“To stress that the gospel redeems all people, including atheists, is the teaching of the church,” he added. “This is an objective fact that the church believes.”

Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain at Harvard University, said Francis' comments reflect “the interfaith and inter-community work many of us nontheists are dedicated to.”

That said, Epstein hopes that lay Catholics are listening.

“I hope Catholics, and all people hearing the pope's statement, will recognize that his words about atheists need to symbolize much more than just a curiosity or an exception to the rule,” Epstein said. “If someone thinks there are only a few atheists out there doing good just like Catholics do, that's a major misunderstanding that can lead to prejudice and discrimination.”

The pope’s comments come a few months after he told worshipers that Catholics should be close to all men and women, including those who don’t belong to any religious tradition.

"In this we feel the closeness also of those men and women who, while not belonging to any religious tradition, feel, however the need to search for the truth, the goodness and the beauty of God, and who are our precious allies in efforts to defend the dignity of man, in the building of a peaceful coexistence between peoples and in the careful protection of creation,” Francis said shortly after his election as pope in March.

Even atheists like David Silverman, president of American Atheists, who has had an antagonistic relationship with the Catholic church, welcomed the pope’s remarks.

“While the concept of Jesus dying for atheists is wrong on many levels (especially given that Jesus himself promised hell for blasphemers), I can appreciate the pope's `good faith' effort to include atheists in the moral discussion,” Silverman said.

“Atheists on the whole want no part in Catholicism, of course, but we are all interested in basic human rights.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Francis • Vatican

soundoff (3,731 Responses)
  1. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    Mithra, savior of Mithra ism, savior ism called Christianity, according to Bible, who never died on cross.

    According to Bible Jesus compaired himself to be like Jonah,

    Jonah jumped off of a ship, he was alive. Jesus put on the cross, he was alive.
    Jonah swallowed by a fish, he was alive. Jesus put in tomb, he was not dead, but alive.
    Jonah was in the belly of fish, he was alive. Jesus was in side the tomb, he was not dead, alive.
    Jonah was spitted out by fish, Jonah was alive. Jesus came out of tomb, he was alive.

    May 24, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

      Troll ism wants to go boom ism

      May 24, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
  2. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    Mithra, savior of Mithra ism, savior ism called Christianity, according to Bible, who never died on cross.

    According to Bible Jesus compaired himself to be like Jonah,

    Jonah jumped off of a ship, he was alive. Jesus put on the cross, he was alive.
    Jonah swallowed by a fish, he was alive. Jesus put in tomb, he was not dead, but alive.
    Jonah was in the belly of fish, he was alive. Jesus was in side the tomb, he was not dead, alive.
    Jonah was spitted out by fish, Jonah was alive. Jesus came out of tomb, he was alive.

    Claim of of jesus dying on a cross is hoax, by hindu Pharisees, crooked secular s by faith, it has no marits, but a tool to hind fool humanity in to hinduism, racism.

    May 24, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
  3. Vic

    @ c "....."

    God is Eternal in Generation; He always IS. He is metaphysical and is NOT subject to this physical world and its science (laws of physics) that He created all. He is outside the realm of this existence and outside the realm of time! He is NOT created!

    Related Previous Posts:

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/comment-page-100/#comment-2333852

    http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/22/science-seat-another-earth-called-a-certainty/#comment-138045

    May 24, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      And your proof?

      May 24, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
  4. imABeliever

    Heaven for atheists? Nope

    May 24, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • One one

      Please explain, why not ?

      May 24, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
  5. Elmer

    The statement of the Pope is fundimental to the Christian faith. That man are sinners. That all woman are sinners. That they can not follow the scriptures because they are fallen from birth. Christ the only man to have ever lived a sin free live died so that the billions of people who can save themselfs can get into heaven. Christ stated whom so ever beliveth in me though he was dead shall have everlasting live. The church moved away from this whne the chuch became political and was more interesting in controling peoples lives. The pope is moving back to 1st century christianity,

    May 24, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
  6. Travis

    It's about time a pope stood up and said what the men in his position should have been saying long ago – we won't condemn you just because you don't agree with us.

    May 24, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  7. Shawn Irwin

    The thing that makes religion so negative in the first place, is that it creates a group of people who believe that they are special in relation to others, whom they think are not, and, that it is ok to discriminate against, harange, harrass, kill, or torture non-believers. Pope Francis is possibly the wisest pope that has ever existed.

    May 24, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • M

      So why do you get upset because they think they are more special than you? Are you not comfortable in your own skin?

      May 24, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  8. Ivan A. Rogers

    Some Christians are dead-set against the thought of Christ just hauling off and forgiving sinners who sin, saying, "It's not fair! If those sinners are forgiven and admitted into heaven, then I've wasted my time trying to be good. I could have been sinning, too, and having a good time."

    May 24, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
  9. Ken

    Other primates walking around in robes and burning incense have no relation to reality. There is nothing to be "saved" from, except perhaps ignorance. Why are people like the pope taken seriously? All religions are man-made systems from a pre-scientific, pre-Enlightenment time in human history. All religions are harmful to our progress as a species and should be relegated to the trash heap of history.

    May 24, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • faith

      kenny wants some exercise. watch her run.

      ok big mouth, back up your statements with proof u stupid, lying idiot

      "Ken
      Other primates walking around in robes and burning incense have no relation to reality. There is nothing to be "saved" from, except perhaps ignorance. Why are people like the pope taken seriously? All religions are man-made systems from a pre-scientific, pre-Enlightenment time in human history. All religions are harmful to our progress as a species and should be relegated to the trash heap of history."

      May 24, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      No, not as you hind, absurd, but hinduism corruption of commandments of truth absolute GOD, subordinated to fundamentals of hinduism, racism of hind, dark ages by hindu atheists, crook self centered.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Saving from the Bolsheviks might have been useful? From drug addiction? From uncontrollable serial monogamy? Lots of people are weakminded; is that hard to understand?

      May 24, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Oh, Faith, dearie, you seem grumpie wumpie!
      Maybe Ken was referring to things like the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch burning, 9/11, the Catholic s-ex abuse scandal. You know – religious stuff like that.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Ken wrote, "All religions are harmful to our progress as a species and should be relegated to the trash heap of history".

      Funny thing religions. Even though much good has been done "in the name of religion" rumor has it that other branches of humanisms were the culprits who wrongly did so, "in the name of religion". Truthfully, I could care less regarding the history trails of humanistic endeavors whatever their secularisms franchises dare delegate! For, there is plenty of room to be had at the very bottoms of the atomized chasms for one and all to inhabit once one dies and the body's synergisms of spirited atomic beings take flights and we with them!

      May 24, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • faith

      dodo, u r a big girl. u can answer 4 u

      duh

      Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear (aka dodo)
      Oh, Faith, dearie, you seem grumpie wumpie!
      Maybe Ken was referring to things like the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch burning, 9/11, the Catholic s-ex abuse scandal. You know – religious stuff like that.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • The real Tom

      I'd like to see what would happen if Loopy Lion stuck a lit stick of dynamite up his atomized chasm.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
  10. LP

    While I appreciate the Pope's recognition that I, as an atheist, can be a good person, I find it odd that he proposes to reward me with entry to a place I don't believe exists . . .

    May 24, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Athy

      Or, if it did, it would be filled with religies, spouting their biblebabble.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  11. Ivan A. Rogers

    Finally, a Pope who agrees with me! He said, "The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! - even atheists." Well, I'm not personally Catholic, but I kinda like this guy.

    May 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • M

      ... makes you want to maybe drop in for a mass, perhaps drop a few $ in the collection basket?

      May 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
  12. Jvc

    The catholic church has things somewhat right until they get to Salvation...Salvation has nothing to do with doing good. Salvation is believing that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead. If we believe in that (which atheists DO NOT) we will be saved. If they one day ask Jesus to come into their heart and ask for forgiveness then start leading a Christ like life then and only then will they be saved. John 3:16 For God so Loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. Works, baptism or just being a good person does not get you into heaven. Just believing does. Ephesians 2:8-9 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Through Faith and having faith in the Lord you are saved. So they got part of it right. But Atheists do not believe in God so until they do, they are not saved. They believe there is no afterlife...

    May 24, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • sam

      Because there is none.

      Leading a Christly life would include doing good works, btw.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • Horses

      What's with this whole "God's only son" BS, as if an omnipotent being couldn't make as many sons as he wanted. The reason for this silly "Sacrifice of Jesus" story, is, in my view, as follows:

      When the various books which now make up the bible were being written, some 2000 odd years ago, about the worst thing a man could imagine would be that he only had ONE son, and that his ONE son died, thus ending his lineage. So imagine a god who loves you so much he gives up his ONLY son as a sacrifice. Note that it isn't god's only daughter – that would not have resonated with bronze age goat herders.

      Just stop and actually THINK about how silly the whole thing is: god sends a tiny piece of himself to earth, knowing in advance that tiny piece of him – Jesus – will live as a human for a bit, die, come back to live 3 days later, then rejoin god.

      God didn't sacrifice ANYTHING. He didn't lose anything. As for the suffering of human Jesus, sure, that would have hurt, but lots of people have suffered greater pain and adversity. People back then were crucified by the thousands.

      So what's the big deal? Anyone? Can anyone explain this for me? I honestly do not understand.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • One one

      Suppose a person asks Jesus to come into their heart and ask for forgiveness but doesn't live a Christ like life. Namely, love your enemies, sell your possessions etc., Do they still get salvation and get to go to heaven ?

      May 24, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • One one

      @horses, for that matter, why did god need the bloody drama of torture and death to lift the curse he put on all mankind in the first place ? If he is all powerful, he could just wave his magic wand and, BADDA bing !!!, mankind is saved. But the bloody sacrifice myth appeals to people's emotions, just like the only son bit.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • fred

      Horses
      The Bible is the living Word of God and reveals the true nature of the soul. In your case your soul is predisposed to mock Jesus, mock Christ and mock the Cross. I would imagine that is clear to you and you understand as does anyone who just read your post.
      Two criminals were crucified alongside Christ. One mocked Christ with his last breath while the other simply said to him “do you not fear God? This man is innocent while we deserve this. Jesus remember me and Jesus said today you will be with me in paradise.

      Is that easy enough for you to understand?

      May 24, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      fred, Do you really expect anyone to believe that the words of the person crucified next to Jesus (presuming that even happened) were recorded – they would all have been up above the crowd, the crowd would have been noisy, and only Roman soldiers would have been anywhere near them.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • fred

      In Santa we trust
      You are 100% right on!
      "Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent."

      May 24, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • One one

      @fred, at that moment, Jesus expressed doubt. "Father, why have you forsaken me" if Jesus had doubts, it's OK for you to have doubts also.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • fred

      One one
      Christ had never existed outside the presence of God. Sin separates man and God so when Jesus took on the sins of the world he was separated from God. He knew this moment was coming but had never experienced it.
      Christ having experienced it now actually knows and has felt the pain of eternal separation which happens to all who die in their sin. There should be no doubt that the one who will condemn anyone to eternal separation does not take it lightly. This is why man is given every opportunity to accept the offer of redemption.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
  13. Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohaim

    This is a fascinating interview. Dawkins interviews Jesuit priest and astronomer George Coyne.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeF5x_5zxlw&w=640&h=390]

    May 24, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
  14. JFCanton

    A question about all these atheist videos: why are these speakers always men?

    May 24, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • OMG

      Whoa – I never thought of that. Interesting.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • .

      all qu eers are men

      May 24, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • One one

      Their not. Go to YouTube. There are female atheists posting videos.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • OMG

      I searched YouTube- it was mostly women asking why there aren't more female atheists. 🙂

      May 24, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • One one

      http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=a7DJ5srihD0&feature=relmfu

      May 24, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • .

      female qu eers are dy kes

      May 24, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • Shawn Irwin

      If you say there are no female atheists on youtube, you either do not know how to search . . . . . or you do not know how to spell . . . . try the keywords "female" and "atheist".

      May 24, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • JFCanton

      I meant the people who seem to be "professionals," anyway-the professors and such. Maybe women have more useful priorities, on the whole...

      May 24, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Mary

      Some areas of philosophy are still dominated by as high as 90% men.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • OMG

      @ Shawn Irwin

      I meant notable females –

      Did you see any worth posting?

      May 24, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • JFCanton

      This is only superficially "philosophy"-someone like Dawkins cares a bit too much about the results to properly argue out the method.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
  15. The One True God

    It would be interesting for Jesus to have condemned blasphemers to hell when he blasphemed himself while hanging on the cross.

    May 24, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • One one

      I never thought of it that way, but your right, he did. i guess God works in mysterious ways.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
  16. John Stefanyszyn

    Francis continued, “We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
    Mr. Silverman said “Atheists on the whole want no part in Catholicism, of course, but we are all interested in basic human rights.”

    Jorge Bergoglio has chosen to walk in the same path as his predecessors.....redefining Christ to represent "human rights".

    He has also chosen to omit the truth that it is written that one is to worship the One and Only Creator God and Him Alone to serve in obedience....serving His Will and not one's own will.

    President Obama has declared in Jerusalem that God's Will is "freedom" for man.
    Jorge Bergoglio is working to support this way of life as a 'lamb'.
    ...But this way of life, this perceived way of peace /as a lamb", dictates that it is right to be free to worship any 'god' as per one's self-interest.

    It is not man's way of 'good' ....it is only the Way of Christ which leads to heaven.

    May 24, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • Adam C

      Maybe the new pope is smarter than your average religious individual, and realizes it much better to spread harmony & peace rather than condemn others for not following the same 2,000 year old myths he does?

      Really, if religious people are right, then they get everlasting life in the most wonderful place imaginable. So let us nonbelievers enjoy our time on this world.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • withorwithout

      It will be interesting to see how this plays out theologically.– *Full disclosure–I am an atheist*– It's a good idea to remember that Pope Francis is of the Franciscan order, which boasts a formidable intellectual tradition. The armchair theologians on this thread spouting "he obviously ain't read the good book" would undoubtedly be reduced to babbling incoherency in a theological debate with the man.

      I can guarantee you this: any Christian philosopher worth his (or her) salt can always handily demonstrate why the bible doesn't necessarily say what you think it does (to any theologian with an opposing viewpoint). If you have convinced yourself he's making it up as he goes along, you honestly haven't paid enough attention in theology class to count.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
  17. c

    If your god created humans and the earth and the universe, then who/what created your god? If you cannot exist without creating a god to create you in the first place, then it stands that that god must have come from somewhere too. Where do people who believe in a god or gods believe those god/gods came from? What/who created them? What are they composed of? What did they use to create the universe?

    May 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • JFCanton

      The physical universe has the same problem: an even bigger one in practice, because the evidence available forces us to posit a sudden explosion out of nothing.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      So then let's say we don't know, as opposed to saying, since I don't know, it must have been my god.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Fair, but then that is less convincing than being able to provide the explanation: all conclusions are from observations, but the appeal of materialism is in being able to explain the observations internally.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • Jvc

      God is eternal he has ALWAYS been! The earth has NOT always been.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      @jvc – if you get to say that God is eternal, and offer no evidence to support that claim, I'm equally ent-tiled to say that the universe is eternal, and offer no evidence to back up my claim.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • c

      RE: jvc "God is eternal he has ALWAYS been"

      Prove it.

      May 25, 2013 at 12:38 am |
  18. LT

    Sadly, what the Pope has said is not true. One does not get to Heaven by doing good works. Jesus clearly says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." The Bible also says that without repentance and faith in Jesus's death, burial, and resurrection, there is no forgiveness of sin. God does not allow sin in His presence. He can't, as He's holy and perfect. The only way we can enter His presence is by faith in what His Son, Jesus, did for us on the cross. Love and prayers for all. http://www.fathersloveletter.com/fllpreviewlarge.html

    May 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • OMG

      Jesus said he is going away... and he will prepare a place for his disciples – a place for his closest friends.

      As usual – the closest people to Jesus had no clear idea what he was talking about.

      Thomas asked – "Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?"

      Jesus said to Thomas: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."

      --

      Which verse does Jesus say this to other Jews? Or to people that aren't in his clique?

      Are you just implying that Jesus meant to say this to others, but didn't?

      --

      I realize that what Jesus was really saying is this:
      "I am the way," as in:

      "I know the way." "I've discovered it" which, by implication means, "you can, too."

      Elsewhere, he put it like this: "I and the Father are one" and he prayed that we would discover the same as well
      (John 17).

      -

      May 24, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Really? Jesus said all of that? You were there, to hear him? Or does a book say that someone named Jesus said that?

      May 24, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  19. DL

    Whew! As an atheist, I am relieved that the pope thinks I can go to heaven 🙂

    May 24, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • OMG

      You just have to stay hidden from the Catholics – they'll get mad if they find out God loves other people, too.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • JFCanton

      I suppose it's possible, but don't you mean evangelicals?

      May 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Gary Hall

      If you don't believe in God, or Heaven, why would you be relieved, or have any other emotion about the Pope's comment?

      May 24, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Pssst; Gary – I think DL might – just might, mind you – have been using sarcasm.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • Adam C

      @Gary Hall

      I'm pretty sure he was being sarcastic.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
  20. Yoda

    "Religion leads to Fear which leads to Anger, Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

    May 24, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Hahah

      “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

      Got lots of suffering people here!

      May 24, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • JFCanton

      I'll buy the end of it. But why would religion lead to fear? Uncertainty leads to fear!

      May 24, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Really, JF? You're not poe-ing us, are you? Why would religion lead to fear? Gee, I don't know. How about this: teaching a child, from a very early age, that if they sin and don't accept some invisible guy named Christ they will be tortured in a lake of fire forever? Teaching a child they must love some invisible man in the sky who, when he got angry with people, killed everyone on earth but * people in a flood? Nah! That would never give a child nightmares!

      May 24, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      8 people in a flood, not asterisk people in a flood. that would be silly.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • JFCanton

      You're focusing on just one potential aspect of religion-which, yes, some believers also focus on. But relative to the entirety that's a pretty small group of pretty poorly educated people who weren't likely to play well with others regardless.

      May 24, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.