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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. Earl

    How can the pope promise heaven for Atheists when the "Jesus" they had preached as the son of God who was sent to die for the sins of all men was a lie?

    Be informed of the Bible revelations of Teacher Eraño Evangelista in the link: http://www.thename.ph/thename/revelations/jesusreal-en.html

    There is a Word of God about Jesus-the descendant/offspring of King David that we should know:
    2 Samuel 7:12-14 (NIV)
    12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. WHEN HE DOES WRONG, I WILL PUNISH HIM WITH A ROD WIELDED BY MEN, WITH FLOGGINGS INFLICTED BY HUMAN HANDS

    In the said verses: 2 Samuel 7:12-14 – we can read that God speaks of a coming offspring of David and not a literal "son of God" as what the religions preach.

    Is it really true that Jesus was a descendant of David?
    …to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. Luke 1:27 (NIV)
    Jesus' true father is Joseph who belongs to the house of David. So if we are to believe the teaching of the religions that Jesus is the “son of God,” then it should be Mary who should belong to the house of David.
    And in:
    You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.
    Luke 1:31 (NIV)
    And who was Jesus' father?
    He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. Luke 1:32 (NIV)
    "will be called" – As you have read it, Jesus was only a son or a descendant of David not a real son of God;" he was just a man.

    Is it true that Jesus is a son of David? Let us read in:
    A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham- Matt 1:1(NIV)
    Now we can see that the prophecy in 2 Sam7:12-14 about a coming descendant of David and not a son of God has been fulfilled.
    Considering the prophecy in II Samuel 7:12-14 that if the descendant of David commits a wrong or an iniquity, he will be punished with the rod of men. Was Jesus-the descendant of King David punished by the rod and floggings of men?

    All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!" Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. Matthew 27:25-26 (NIV)
    Indeed, Jesus was flogged by men which when we read again what God stated in the prophecy in 2 Sam 7:14: “I will be his father, and he will be my son. WHEN HE DOES WRONG, I WILL PUNISH HIM WITH A ROD WIELDED BY MEN, WITH FLOGGINGS INFLICTED BY HUMAN HANDS”
    We can discover for ourselves that based on what God said in the prophecy that the real reason why He allowed Jesus -the descendant of king David to be beaten by men was not for our sins but for his (Jesus) own wrongdoing.

    We know that the son who succeeded David was Solomon (I Chronicles 22:9-13) and although the house (with God’s Name) was built, Solomon failed to show his people the Name of God during his time (I Kings 11:1-13). Jesus came to continue the mission of making his people know the Name of God. Read this link: http://thename.ph/thename/testimony/jes07-en.html and http://thename.ph/thename/testimony/jes08-en.html. More importantly Solomon wasn't flogged by men when he committed sin against God. It was Jesus -the offspring of David – who was flogged and beaten by the rod of men.

    Isaiah 53 was never a prophecy about Jesus but a recollection of what Moses did, for Moses was the man to whom God revealed His Arm of Power(Exo.32:11) Read this link:http://www.thename.ph/thename/revelations/suffvant-en.html.

    To know what wrongdoings Jesus had done :read this link:http://www.thename.ph/thename/revelations/greatestdeception-en.htm

    What you are reading now about Jesus as only a son of David who was punished by God by the floggings of men and not a son of God is what Jesus wants all of us to know about him as this is his testimony in Revelation 22:16

    “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
    Revelation 22:16 (NIV)

    Jesus said in Revelation 22:16 that he has sent an "angel" or a messenger who will testify or show to us that he is only a root and offspring of David and the bright morning star- When Jesus said “he is a root and offspring of David,” this means he is not a literal son of God; but only an offspring or descendant of David. Jesus also said he is the "bright morning star" which means he was the man described in Isaiah 14:9-20 as the man whom the whole world will shockingly know as one who was punished by God for claiming to be god (Isa.14:12-16)

    As to why Jesus said that he was the bright morning star in Rev.22:16 kindly read this link:http://www.thename.ph/thename/testimony/jes10-en.html

    This testimony about Jesus as only a son of David (2 Samuel 7:12-14 NIV) who was punished by God with the floggings of men for claiming to be god thus becoming the “bright morning star” (Isa.14:9-20) was revealed through the Bible by Maestro Evangelista in http://www.thename.ph which proves he is the "angel" or messenger sent by Jesus to deliver his testimony or HIS ADMISSION that he is not a son of God and as the "bright morning star "to all churches (or believers of Jesus) thus proving the “antichrist” as a lie made by the apostle John.

    Also,the writer of the book of Revelation is not an apostle but a prophet whose name is also “John.”

    I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”

    Revelation 22:8-9 (NIV)

    “your brothers the prophets “-The book was written by John of Patmos, who was also a prophet of God. If the apostles had testified the truth about Jesus and his works then why did Jesus say in Rev.22:16 that he has sent an “angel” or messenger who will TESTIFY about him (Jesus) that he is the “root and offspring of David” and the “Bright morning star?”
    It only clarifies that what the apostles had written and testified about Jesus as Son of God, as God, and as one who had died for the sins of mankind, who was raised to life and will return literally in this world in their writings ARE ALL FALSE TESTIMONIES about Jesus, which means the apostles had presented to us a false ‘Jesus’, for Jesus still says in Rev.22:16 that he will send an ‘angel’ or messenger to testify about him (Jesus).

    Is it true that the apostles are false witnesses?

    I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance.
    I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have
    tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
    Revelation 2:2 (NIV)

    Maestro Evangelista says: If Jesus had successfully fulfilled his mission from God as written in the prophecy then there would be no need for a book of Revelation. Since he failed his mission, was deceived by Satan and later followed Satan and taught its teachings, the book of Revelation has to be written so that the deception of Jesus and his apostles may be exposed!

    How can the Pope or any Christian pastor or Muslim preacher promise heaven now that their fundamental teaching that jesus is in heaven is a lie since the truth in the prophecy is that God punished him with the beatings of men because of his own wrong?

    Disastrous events will continue to happen and even worsen as long as the people do not accept and acknowledge the true name of God in the Bible (that Jesus failed to make known) that was revealed by Teacher Evangelista in http://www.thename.ph
    All your questions may be answered if you complete reading all the revelations in the said website. Whether you choose to open your mind to accept the said Bible revelations in the said website or not is not important- what is important is that you were informed. Thank you.

    May 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Earl

      In the Bible we can read: “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”
      Ecclesiastes 3:20-21 (NIV)

      There is no place for man to go when he dies, he remains on the earth. What is the conclusion?

      “So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because
      that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?”
      Ecclesiastes 3:22 (NIV)

      The heaven that was promised by the religions to mankind is not true!

      There is no heaven NOR hell for man when he dies. He is intended to be born in this world and die in this world. God gave the earth to man. God wanted man to enjoy his life on earth and to make the very best for oneself.

      Why did God give the earth to mankind?

      For this is what the Lord says –
      he who created the heavens, he is God;
      he who fashioned and made the earth,he founded it;
      he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited
      he says: I am the Lord, and there is no other.
      Isaiah 45:18

      As it is written God created the Earth to be inhabited. God presages the earth to be created for us to live in and NOT THE HEAVENS. We are intended for this world and for this world alone.

      We were also not under His control, since God had given us a choice to worship Him or not. (Deut.11:26-28) The reason i know that God exists and that what i am sharing with you as written in the Bible is truly from God is because the man whom i learned about the scriptures is the one whom God had foretold long ago whom He will teach how to explain His words that His prophets had written long ago and make known His real Name has now come. In: Deut.18:18-19 NIV.
      “18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. 19 And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.”.

      This means that when it comes to the word of God, especially about His Name- there is only ONE man (not the apostles, not the pastors, rabbis, imams or priests) but ONLY ONE MAN who was given authority by God to speak about it and this is the ‘prophet like Moses’ whom God foretold long before in Deut.18:18-19.

      This prophecy in Deut.18:18-19 has now come in the person of Maestro (teacher) Eraño Martin Evangelista of the website: thename.ph. Kindly visit the said website as he had already revealed God's message most especially His true Name as written in the Bible not from his personal research but according to what was revealed to him by God IN the Bible.
      Since the word of God in Deut.18:18-19 about a prophet like Moses came to be fulfilled through Maestro Erano Evangelista, then it follows that Moses did existed and so what God did during the Exodus. However to know and understand the word of God in the scriptures, it is the prophet like Moses, Maestro Evangelista whom we should listen to and not the religions.

      Now how do we know that the coming prophet like Moses was sent to reveal the Name of God and not to perform miracles?
      Micah 6:9 (KJV)
      9 The Lord's voice crieth unto the city, and THE MAN OF WISDOM SHALL SEE THY NAME: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it. –

      Since the prophet Micah says "hear the rod and the One who hath appointed it" this means that the sign of the prophet like Moses is not through miracles ,as Moses' miracles are associated with his rod before, but through the Name of God that God had revealed to him through the scriptures and had put into his mouth for him to reveal to all of us so that we may know His Name.

      When it also says "hear the rod and the one who hath appointed it " it also means that peoples of the world are in a position to hear the words of God in the scriptures that God had sent Maestro Evangelista to proclaim in His Name, for if anyone who will not listen , God will "will require it of him" (Deut.18:19)
      Since what God had spoken in Deut.18:18-19 about a coming prophet was fulfilled through Maestro Evangelista's Bible-based revelation of the one true Name of God, this means that no intelligent man or woman may say anymore that there is no God; and no one can say now that the God of Moses and the prophets-The God of gods (Psalm 95:3) does not exist.

      This is not promoting a religion or cult but only informing all about a message from God through the Bible that will EXPOSE all religions and cults. All your questions about the messages that God sent the prophet like Moses, Maestro Evangelista to reveal through the Bible may be answered as you patiently read all the articles in the said site. Whether you accept the 'Prophet like Moses'-Maestro Evangelista's Bible revelations in http://www.thename.ph or not is not important -what is important is you have been informed of God's true message. Thank you.

      May 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Observer

      Atheists should fit in fine with the millions of Christian hypocrites who supposedly are going to heaven.

      Just pick-and-choose the sins you want to condemn and those you want to ignore.

      May 28, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Science

      Hey Earl ............is that you Austin ?

      Vatican: Pope didn't perform exorcism...................No sh-it !...........Never has been evil like the red horn-y devil !

      By Dan Merica, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/21/vatican-pope-didnt-perform-exorcism/#comments

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/25/for-oklahoma-a-balm-after-the-storm/comment-page-6/

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/24/prosecutor-parents-refusal-to-seek-medical-attention-led-to-infants-death/#comments

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/24/has-the-oklahoma-atheist-been-saved/#comments

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/23/my-take-why-my-family-is-quitting-the-boy-scouts/#comments

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/23/heaven-for-atheists-pope-sparks-debate/#comments

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/22/this-oklahoma-atheist-isnt-thanking-the-lord/#comments

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/22/this-oklahoma-atheist-isnt-thanking-the-lord/#comments

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/21/who-hears-prayersforoklahoma/#comments

      May 28, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Neal Dakota

      As a Bible-believing Christian there are two things that make it so we can't have nice things:

      1) Two faced hypocrites
      2) False Cult Teachers like Eraño Evangelista

      May 28, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You spent a lot of time answering a question that wasn't asked. The pope didn't promise heaven to atheists. He said he would meet them whenever they are doing good works.

      May 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • stardust

      it's simple, the bible is full of contradictions. the pope is just adding to it.

      June 1, 2013 at 9:36 am |
  2. drfallon

    @Dan Merica: "...core tenet of the faith," not "core tenant." A tenant is someone who pays you rent to live on your property. Honestly, this is embarrassing.

    May 28, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  3. Science

    And............Biggest JOKE under the SUN.................NO heaven or horn-y red devil..........never has been !

    Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

    By Dan Merica, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/23/heaven-for-atheists-pope-sparks-debate/comment-page-43/#comment-2372761

    PS Do a simple search for Prof. Higgs.............the church hates that

    May 28, 2013 at 9:59 am |
  4. Bruce

    Atheists are some of the most hateful folks I've met, I could write a book full of the most vile hateful things people have said to me merely in response to something as simple as "I believe in God".

    May 27, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • Did you miss the article?

      Where an evangelical was telling evangelicals that they are disliked not because of their religion; but, because of their behavior.
      I've lost count of all the times a christian has told me I deserved to go to hell

      May 27, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Agnostic

      I've noticed a few differences between myself and most of the atheists on belief blog and I'd like to illustrate the point as I've been giving it alot of thought.

      1.) Most of the atheists on belief blog look at religions in terms of political afilliation (liberal or conservative)..they look for trends in behaviors and statistics. Personally I track all politics in the category of human behavior and am still examining my thoughts on the connection between politics and religions.

      2.) Most of the atheists have come to belief blog with the sincere hope of influencing someone in a direction that I believe they sincerely feel will better society. Personally I feel a preference towards staying out of other's decisions for the most part.

      3.) Many of the atheists on belief blog look for discrepancies between religions and what is different. Personaly I like to look at what is similar between religions.

      4.) Many of the atheists whose posts I've read look at religion as fixed, as in if someone follows a religion they feel it is an indicator of that person's behavior. I personally look at religions as fluid, and a thing people can follow or not follow depending on their own decisions.

      5.) Most of them seem to look at religions in terms of what definitively is or is not as opposed to what might be or what could be. I do not look at religions in terms of their probability only as remote possibilities, wishes, or general ideas.

      It's been an interesting read.

      May 27, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Bruce

      You said, "Atheists are some of the most hateful folks I've met, I could write a book full of the most vile hateful things people have said to me merely in response to something as simple as "I believe in God"."
      Questioning why you believe isn't hateful. From a rational perspective there is no more reason to believe in any god, not just yours, than there is to believe in the Tooth Fairy. The evidence for each is the same.

      You can't fault us for being flabbergasted at adults still believing in creatures like the Tooth Fairy. I really want to know why.

      May 27, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Agnostic

      A very thoughtful post. Thank you. I would like to expand your perspective on some of these if you would indulge me and accept that I cannot truly know what most atheists believe. I can however speak from personal experience and from the encounters I've had with atheists.

      1.) Most of the atheists on belief blog look at religions in terms of political afilliation (liberal or conservative)..they look for trends in behaviors and statistics. I suspect this it mostly true, but purely from a self-informing perspective. We do seek to confirm what we've been told. That is, religion in it's most ignorant form has an overwhelmingly higher connection to conservatism than otherwise.

      2.) Most of the atheists have come to belief blog with the sincere hope of influencing someone in a direction that I believe they sincerely feel will better society. Agree. Thank you for seeing the truth of it.

      3.) Many of the atheists on belief blog look for discrepancies between religions and what is different. Personaly I like to look at what is similar between religions. This is the one point that I found the most incorrect. Such a comparison, while intellectually satisfying would lead to the result of preference of one religion over another. To us, it's like comparing the theory of whether a fairy has 6 wings or 4. Beyond the grounds of being able to participate in the discussion, the distinctions are meaningless.

      4.) Many of the atheists whose posts I've read look at religion as fixed, as in if someone follows a religion they feel it is an indicator of that person's behavior. As someone who has come from religion, I know this isn't true. Religion evolves to survive just like any other meme. I've seen many iterations in my own lifetime. A particular gem of mine is the not being unequally yoked bible verse. I've seen it defined as basely as anti-interracial marriage, to the now more acceptable meme of not being married to someone who is unsaved.

      5.) Most of them seem to look at religions in terms of what definitively is or is not as opposed to what might be or what could Kind of. It's not so much "what is" that concerns us, but why do you accept this as "IS?" as the more important question. I think your latter statement is true, but from our perspective, we have only history to judge religion by. Certainly a radical change in religion's policy is possible, but the question then becomes, "how likely is it?"

      May 28, 2013 at 2:14 am |
    • sam stone

      Probably as hateful as the vile, empty proixy threats spewing forth fom the pious

      May 28, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • tallulah13

      Another christian martyr, pretending to suffer for his god!

      May 28, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Rubadub your face in my chubb

      With a name like Bruce, you sure are a whiny fuck.

      May 28, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • sam stone

      it makes folks like bruce feel all godly.....thinking they are suffering like jeebus gives them wood

      May 28, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • ME II

      @Bruce,
      There are atheists who are vile and mean-spirited, true. There are also many atheists who are kind. There are also believers who are vile and mean-spirited, as well as many believers who are kind.

      I suspect that belief in god(s) has little to do with a person's behavior in the long run and while there may be cases of a significant and lasting change in behavior coinciding with 'finding' religion, I suspect that it is often the behavior change that 'finds' the religion and not the religion that changes the behavior.

      @Agnostic,
      I would not take the atheists posting here on Belief Blog as representative. I suspect that the amount vitriol and name-calling is out of proportion for most atheists. Its just the volume, figuratively and literally.

      May 28, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • What does the word "God" mean?

      Godfree.

      I enjoyed your post especially #3. I think that is the largest difference there. I think most atheists will look at religions as all ultimately useless. I agree also that religions do modify and the more time goes by the less religious man is over all.

      May 28, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Thanks to Agnostic for demonstrating that you don't have to believe in any gods (atheism, by the way) in order to think yourself better than others and freely judge them with obvious condecension. No need to be specific when you can just generalize, eh?

      May 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
  5. aallen333

    Trying to explain God to atheist can be likened to trying to explain how a TV works to jungle bushman. When someone has a primitive predisposed worldview of what is and isn't possible and what can and cannot be, their primitive minds are unable to wrap around concepts that blows up their safe reality.

    May 27, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • Kevo

      A "Jungle Bushman" has no need for TV, nor a need for an explanation of it...like an atheist has no need for god, nor an explanation of god.

      And one who believes in a 2000 year old Palestinian carpenter's son is, by definition, "primitive."

      And one who believes in god(s), when confronted by the atheistic viewpoint, is the one terrified...unable to wrap their mind around the concepts supported by the evidence...for such mind wraping would instigate a deconstruction (thus a destruction) of their "safe reality."

      May 28, 2013 at 5:15 am |
    • sam stone

      aallen...you are delusional, and a condescending cvnt.

      May 28, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • tallulah13

      Silly aallen. We understand your god, possibly better than you do. Some of us simply don't require emotional crutches to make us feel safe in a world full of unknowns.

      May 28, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • Dan

      Trying to explain science to a Christian can be likened to trying to explain how a TV works to jungle bushman. When someone has a primitive predisposed worldview of what is and isn't possible and what can and cannot be, their primitive minds are unable to wrap around concepts that blows up their safe reality.

      May 28, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Amuzed

      Trying to explain religion to an atheist is like trying to explain how the Earth is flat to an astronaut!

      May 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • stardust

      @aallen33

      i don't think your analogy makes any sense but i recommend you watch star trek the next generation season 3 episode 4: "who watches the watchers" and maybe that will help you look at things a little differently. it's on netflix.

      June 1, 2013 at 9:50 am |
  6. Wayfaring Stranger

    The ultimate religion is universal brotherhood. There can only be one; Primal, Eternal, Pure, Immortal and immutable. Perhaps we have separated off like a drop of water to the ocean and we think we are the faculties of mind an body. No one here is free from the results of their actions. The mind can be purified by an eternal vigilance of humility, forbearance. continence, contentment and non-violence. The ultimate goal should not be a continued separated in some heaven but the drop going back into the ocean and becoming the ocean.

    May 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Rubadub your face in my chubb

      Ahhh, I love it when you talk dirty!! Kiss me you fool! Muah!

      May 28, 2013 at 9:59 am |
  7. AndyB

    If The USA kicked out all Atheists, it would lose 93% of its scientific community and 0.3% of its prison community.

    May 27, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  8. faith

    "Jeebus
    That's nice, maybe he can tweet that to his followers. I vividly remember being told I was going to burn in hell by door to door missionaries because I'm Jewish. I was 8 years old at the time. Real nice folks, you Christians."

    when u cry out to god for mercy as u burn in hell, remember, we told u so

    May 27, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • jeebus

      hell is for fairies

      May 27, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • sam stone

      awww.....sweet little faith, still pleasing the boys behind her trailer

      May 28, 2013 at 9:49 am |
  9. Linda

    i agree with the pope to a large extent. good works are an integral part of Catholicism. i know many Christians who say they are Christian but would not lift a finger who help most people, or help only those that belong to their sect, or even only those who belong to their church. Really? If Jesus is watching, I'm certain he is dismayed at those who talk but don't follow through.
    As for atheists or agnostics who do good works, ALL people should acknowledge their good works and realize that the God that is believed in is watching and appreciating what they do.

    May 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • faith

      faith
      .. me too
      F u c k o ff , you u n t. If you don't want a reaction from people, q uit po sting your b u l l s h i, yo u stu pi d h illb illy. Not even Jes us lo v es you.

      how? talk 2 me dodo. how?

      i wan na b ur back door girl

      shake 4 me girl

      pink

      i have never read bill Nye's posts

      May 27, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  10. Blue Dog

    Sounds about right. People forget the religion came into existence to guide society how to lead a moral life and help humanity. If an atheist can do this without a book guiding him what to do, good for him and he should go to heaven (whichever galaxy or plant it is on). Accepting Jesus or any other prophet as savior does nothing to help this cause.

    May 27, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Blue Dog

      You said, "People forget the religion came into existence to guide society how to lead a moral life and help humanity."
      Bullshit. Religion came about to control the sheeple. It has nothing to do with morality, and even less with helping humanity. Religion is crowd control. It provides power and wealth for the few that control the message. Always has, always will, as long as there are sheeple to be led by the nose.

      You said, "Accepting Jesus or any other prophet as savior does nothing to help this cause."
      According to some fairy tales, that is actually the only way. Even worse, it is the only requirement. You can be a murderer, but as long as you turn to Jesus at the last moment, you'll get your ticket punched.

      May 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Does it matter?

      Does it matter what people tell themselves happens to them when they lay down to die? The purpose of religions isn't social order it is to comfort ones self in one's demise.

      May 27, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • faith

      "Blue Dog
      Sounds about right. People forget the religion came into existence to guide society how to lead a moral life and help humanity. If an atheist can do this without a book guiding him what to do, good for him and he should go to heaven (whichever galaxy or plant it is on). Accepting Jesus or any other prophet as savior does nothing to help this cause."

      preach it dod

      btw, once again, u r clueless.

      lol

      May 27, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    I am losing my mind from all the prayings. Please help me.

    May 27, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • AndyB

      Okay. Stop doing it. No one's listening.

      May 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Religion is NOT healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer is nothing more than delusional thinking! It is no different than wishing on a star or throwing a penny into a "wishing well"! Same lack of results either way! Does that help you see the light?

      May 28, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • stardust

      haha good one troll

      June 1, 2013 at 9:53 am |
  12. Reality

    Again the problem is in the history. Did Jesus, a simple preacher man, an illiterate rabbi at best, establish a church?

    Based on the lack of historical proof, NO he did not !! e.g. "Thou art Peter" (Matt 16: 18-19) passage only appears in one gospel." i.e. a single attestation failing a major requirement of rigorous historical testing.

    Matthew, whoever he was, was therefore a part founder/"necessary accessory" of the Catholic Church, as was Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James his brother, Mary Magdalene, Mary, Joseph and another father if you believe the mamzer stories, the Apostles and Pilate (and Constantine). It was a team effort with Pilate being the strangest "necessary accessory".

    Were economics an important influence? Yes indeed, and even more so nowl

    May 27, 2013 at 7:21 am |
    • faith

      you can't b serious

      May 27, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • faith

      where do these idiots come from?

      May 27, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Brandon

      Try to explain what is wrong faith. All I hear is barking. Is Reality hitting some uncomfortable truth? Is that why you're barking?

      May 27, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Science

      GOOD NEWS...............faith the peachy one......chad too.......you know all creationists too......... story = truth !

      http://www.ibtimes.com/atheists-fight-gideon-bibles-books-christopher-hitchens-richard-dawkins-georgia-state-parks-
      1271125

      Science books and education TRUMPS the 666 beast and the red horn-y devil !

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/

      Have a great life and Memorial day.

      Peace

      PS...........by the way there has NEVER been a red horn-y devil.

      And

      Hey dot the space cadet

      Education = the motivator for the truth.

      So you know.

      May 27, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • faith

      Brandon
      Try to explain what is wrong faith. All I hear is barking. Is Reality hitting some uncomfortable truth? Is that why you're barking?

      yes

      May 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Reality

      Continuing to be serious:

      Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sihkism.

      Added details available upon written request.

      A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

      e.g. Taoism

      "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

      Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

      May 27, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    May 27, 2013 at 6:24 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      God is not healthy for children or other living things. In the story of Noah's ark, he killed all of them.

      May 27, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • .

      where do you find children in the historical telling of noahs ark

      May 27, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • Steve

      .

      Are you kidding? I don't know what "historical" telling of Noah's ark you're talking about, but in the mythical telling every living creature except for those on the ark was wiped out. One can logically infer that included the children.

      May 27, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • .

      how do qu eers conceive children

      May 27, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • apparently

      your logical inference is assumed when you assume you make an ass of u and me

      May 27, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Brandon

      Change the subject much, dot? What about all those children before the flood?

      May 27, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • faith

      Richard Cranium
      God is not healthy for children or other living things. In the story of Noah's ark, he killed all of them.

      problem?

      how many did he abort?

      May 27, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • AndyB

      The fish got a pretty easy ride.

      May 27, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Dan

      One could make the case that the Flood was the largest single act of abortion in human history, killing off not only the babies and young children of the supposed sinners but of every creature on the planet, all because God didn't like how his children turned out.

      May 28, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      May 28, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Really?

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"

      That's why the data, has shown that atheists have happier and healthier lives than conservative Christians. Your post is built on a lie!

      May 28, 2013 at 10:47 am |
  14. GOOD NEWS

    Heaven is for all good people

    who will truly work for the good deeds!

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES

    May 27, 2013 at 4:48 am |
    • .

      you are totally wrong

      May 27, 2013 at 6:25 am |
    • ..

      I don't have proof of anything and neither do you two.

      May 27, 2013 at 6:50 am |
    • Science

      GOOD NEWS

      http://www.ibtimes.com/atheists-fight-gideon-bibles-books-christopher-hitchens-richard-dawkins-georgia-state-parks-
      1271125

      Science books and education TRUMPS the 666 beast and the red horn-y devil !

      May 27, 2013 at 7:55 am |
    • .

      i do

      May 27, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  15. kp

    More importantly and more dangerously is the implication that as long as one "believes" in Jesus, one will go to heaven even though one does bad all his life. The implication that religion is the free and unconditional pass to eternal salvation; the implication that one can do and continue to do evil and not have to worry about repercussions. This is where the religion fails most miserably and it must be corrected as the society progresses. Religions are only useful if they play a useful role in creating a better society.

    May 27, 2013 at 2:56 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      if they play a useful role in creating a better society.

      Is there or has there ever been a overwhelming consensus on the definition of a "better society"?

      May 27, 2013 at 3:12 am |
    • A different idea

      What if society is made up of individuals with individual needs and not just a collective designed to suit your needs?

      May 27, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • faith

      baby dodo.

      the soul that sins will die

      May 27, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  16. Justin

    The Vatican's spokesman is at odds with an infallible decree of the Church: All who die in mortal sin "or original sin alone" suffer hell with unequal pains. This is immutable Church teaching solemnly defined by the Lord's Church. All are redeemed per se, but the fruits of the Redemption are only applied to the elect.

    May 26, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • Athy

      Faith, why don't you write your comments in English? Don't you know how to use that language?

      May 27, 2013 at 12:08 am |
  17. Adh

    These comments are giving me a headache, mostly because of the arguing. Also, I'm not too sure about this article....not going to say why because it would start another dumb argument or something. >.<

    May 26, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • Karl Marx

      Best post.

      May 27, 2013 at 2:32 am |
  18. God

    No hope for human kind.

    May 26, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  19. faith

    bill nye our stalker has a purpose in life.

    beat it punk

    May 26, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Science

      Hey faith .....use link below........enter email share story

      CNN logo CNN 3 weeks ago
      When Christians become a 'hated minority'

      https://give.liveunited.org/page/share/StoryThanks?blue_daisychain_id=7e4095e4-c644-11e2-a474-000000000000&action_code=FgxRWxYUOVIKQV0YAlweUQ&td=VVHLbtswEPwVQqcUiBRS1iO2L70URQ9pgSpAUDQBQZEre1GKFEgqhlP037uy3brliTu7nJkd_sxgVGizTXbYA9heheAPw2ytH-KkNASvf7y3-AqF9mN2mw0YYnJqBHrRaQSngVCr_oIfwVu_OxL4hhPVdV1VFVU9xJRr75LSKU94miU4gMEAOsk52DMidzOay1X2ipykS-WnJF-XniN_t1n0cyD1P9Xc_w9Me–u3eRJSQ5oIWab7y-E4M7Nkxx8GOVJb7UmDR1AJZBmkSy5WOW8zsuGlXxT8U1ZXydwksqYQGNtUwixKsS6LcR9e52YIwSpduAWrgf_htaq57u64OyGopxUwt7Clj10nz4wwQu-ZU_ojD9E9vmRESfVX56aasseAxpieb5rCv5u4d-rKRH3ybVYorUzWVYYj9RCd260IAaoSp7rpqpyIaDM16Zscv7PWf6T9r_8HO3LGW9pWfYVDCwBgWEdJmDdXgVgR8qXdZTkkd1EesNUZN8IO0GLs9Gb2cKF7hxw9us3

      May 26, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |

      May 26, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  20. faith

    u r a sick atheist

    take a hike

    u, my dear pig, r going to jail. i no u r a felon, guilty of seeecksual crimes. bye bye

    i guarantee it

    May 26, 2013 at 4:14 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.