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Poll: America losing its religion
The Reason Rally, sponsored by secular organizations, draws a crowd to Washington.
May 29th, 2013
03:06 PM ET

Poll: America losing its religion

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – More than three in four of Americans say religion is losing its influence in the United States, according to a new survey, the highest such percentage in more than 40 years. A nearly identical percentage says that trend bodes ill for the country.

"It may be happening, but Americans don't like it," Frank Newport, Gallup's editor in chief, said of religion's waning influence. "It is clear that a lot of Americans don't think this is a good state of affairs."

According to the Gallup survey released Wednesday, 77% of Americans say religion is losing its influence. Since 1957, when the question was first asked, Americans' perception of religion's power has never been lower.

According to the poll, 75% of Americans said the country would be better off if it were more religious.

The poll doesn't reflect Americans' personal religiosity, such as church attendance, but rather how large events and trends shape shared views, Newport explained.

For example, the sexual revolution, the Vietnam War and the rise of the counterculture fed the perception that religion was on the wane during the late 1960s, he said.

Views of a secularizing America peaked in 1969 and 1970, when 75% of Americans said faith was losing its clout in society. A similar view dominated from 1991-94 and from 2007 to the present.

Americans saw religion increasing its influence in 1957, in 1962 and at a few points during the Reagan presidency in 1980. This number also spiked to its highest point ever - 71% - after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The pollster didn't speculate on the contemporary factors that led to the current views on faith's influence.

Still, the poll numbers are dramatically influenced by church attendance, according to Gallup. More than 90% of people who attend church weekly responded that a more religious America would be positive, compared with 58% of Americans who attended church "less often."

The Gallup poll was conducted via telephone from May 2 to May 7. A total of 1,535 people were sampled for the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • United States

soundoff (6,389 Responses)
  1. Truth

    Well, this will get the Christophobes all excited...

    May 29, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • asygifvasi

      We are not "Christophobes". We are "Christian Awares". Your people had 17 centuries of rule, and we know what you are like.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Cory

      Who are "you people"?

      May 29, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Why do you think that? Are you aware that most denominations foresee a decline in followers as a precursor to their end time prophecy? Most of the Christians I know are just observing the trends and abiding in their faith.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Ned

      What is a "blog".

      Do I win?

      May 29, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • gomer

      Bill, enjoy that weekly circle jerk with your buds, but it will get smaller and smaller, and you are already spraying each other.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      What do you mean "what do you mean you people?"

      May 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Catechism

      gomer
      They are not Bill's friends, they just indulge in the same sick s8xual fantasies, condoned by the RCC.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Funny, a h0m0 phobic joke from a guy named gomer

      May 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • cm

      Truth mirroring your own fears.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • conrad

      Does believing in God really have any bearing on whether God exists?

      May 29, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • ChrisA

      Not at all

      May 29, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
  2. Geest

    Thank god!

    May 29, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • SoCalMom

      Exactly what I was going to say! It's about time... I don't think humanity can take much more of the inhumanity that is organized religion...

      May 29, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • bam

      the festering virus called religion

      May 29, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
  3. Who did you poll?

    A group of 1500 atheists? Atheist wished religion had no influence, yeah!, if wishes were horses beggars would ride on it!

    May 29, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      And if horses had gods their gods would be horses.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Who did you poll?

      Revise the sample size. That is <.000047% of the population and is not representative of the total.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Khloe

      1500 people who answered their phones. It's opinion. If you don't think it's true, all right. If you do, try harder. Whatever.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      No difference really than the results of any Fox "news" poll.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • ME II

      Gallup is fairly well respected polling organization and I think 1500 is standard for a +/-3% margin. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sample_size_determination)

      That being said, it's an opinion poll which doesn't really mean a whole lot, unless it's an election.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Poll: Most Americans are unbelievers

      According to a recent survey of 100 commenters on the belief blog, we found that a 'majority' of those polled{97%} did not believe in God.Sampling error of 1%

      America is losing its belief in God.

      Note: Belief blog has a ratio of 10:1 'unbeliever' to 'believer' ratio.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • James

      You probably wanted Michelle Bachman for president

      May 30, 2013 at 9:15 am |
  4. Honey Badger Don't Care

    Someday soon we will be free of the mental shackles that religion has put on us and our race will advance to take its place in the cosmos. We will no longer have these petty reasons to start wars and throw money and resources into kiIIing each other and we can finally colonize the moon, Mars, and Ti tan like we should be in the process of doing already.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Geest

      Word up, and cats and dogs will live together in harmony.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      And the lion will lie down with the lamb

      May 29, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • rusty

      You make me laugh. The article is nothing new to any serious Christian, that is, one who believes that Jesus Christ gave his life on the cross,that those who repent of their sins and believes in Him are saved from eternal perdition.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • conrad

      Religion was never the actual reason for wars and killing. The desire for power is behind all of our ugly history. Without religion people will simply use something else as a justification for taking what they want from someone else who has it.

      May 29, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Grant

      The past 250 years of wars were tailored,financed and started by the global elites. It's fact! and they aren't religious people at all.

      May 29, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • brad

      While I do think religion causes all kinds of problems, if you think religion going away is going to bring about peace, then you are very delusional. We are a tribal species for one, second, like all living things, we will fight for diminishing resources. There will always be reasons for fighting.

      May 30, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Ryan

      We will never stop killing each other, ever. Death, including murder & Taxes are the only guarantees folks.

      May 30, 2013 at 10:01 am |
  5. Reality

    "More than three in four of Americans say religion is losing its influence in the United States......."

    And why is that?

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life.

    No koran, bible, pope, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Reality

      Using Islam as an example of a very flawed religion and showing some of the results of these flaws:

      As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

      o 24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am EDT
      o
      BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi'ite Muslim office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate.
      The bombing on a Shi'ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country's fractious Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions."

      25) BURGAS, Bulgaria | Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:27am EDT

      (Reuters) – A suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed seven people in a bus transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the interior minister said on Thursday, and Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.

      26 ) September 12, 2012
      U.S. AMBASSADOR KILLED
      Envoy to Libya dies in rocket blast

      27) Boston Marathon horror – April 2013, four dead, hundreds injured and maimed for life. A
      Continued below:

      May 29, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      The reason is the free flow of information that the internet gives us. This is just the opposite that religion has traditionally done by stifling science and technology so that they can maintain the monopoly and the status quo. When people are given the information to research why religions are the way that they are and the lies that they have been force-fed almost since birth they realize the lies for that which they are.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
  6. David Thompson

    Watching America slowly lose its religion is like waiting for your younger siblings and cousins to all figure out there is no Santa. It just seems like it takes forever for them to grow up. How can we be in the 21st century and have 80% of the people still believing in Iron Age gods. Its distressing to have to listen to these loopy evangelicals and fundamentalist. The main line religions are just a social gathering. Their not true nutso religions. Not that any are any good but their harmless.

    May 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • mama k

      And we very well could hear about Illinois and Australia within the next few days.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • mama k

      OOps – that goes at the end of my other reply to Archie, below.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • mama k

      Bill Moyers recently interviewed Daniel Dennett, an American philosopher, writer and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, science & biology. He is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University. Watch the video at:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUeQXmYVamA

      Dennett says that not for all, but for many, the dangerous thing about religion is that "it gives people a gold-plated excuse to stop thinking."

      I have been viewing several of his lectures on youtube recently, and they have all been excellent.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Kishmein Touchus

      I like and applaud your perceptive analysis. I understand the IRS has given tax free status to over 2,000 "recognized" religions. When I talked to god last night, she said this was perfectly understandable and not to worry.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      mam, I'm not really drawn to philosophy that is against something as much as I am one that is for something. For instance, earlier, I quoted Frankl whose distilled philosophy could be expressed as "transcend yourself". Before I get too attracted to your guy, could you tell me what he is for rather than what he is against?

      May 29, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  7. Archibald Smythe-Pennington, III

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if-UzXIQ5vw&w=640&h=360]

    May 29, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • mama k

      ♪ "Consider this . . . "
      "Consider this . . . " ♪

      Consider that, for the broader "America", in the past 3-4 years, gay marriage has won over most of predominantly Roman Catholic South America; Mexico is very close behind (Mexico City and all other jurisdictions must recognize).

      May 29, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Ben

      From where I grew up, "loosing your religion" just meant that you got so angry that you started cursing. That's all.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • mama k

      And golly, let's no forget our Canadian friends, the 4th country to legalize same-se-x marriage back in 2005.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • meifumado

      Sorry Arch I hate R.E.M.

      I used to have an apt. above a bar when that song came out and the friggen bartender played it over and over always at 3am till 4am almost every night.

      Cant listen to any of their songs, It just gets me angry.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • mama k

      Good point, Ben. The phrase "losing my religion" is an expression from the southern region of the United States that means losing one's temper or civility. Stipe told The New York Times the song was about romantic expression.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  8. Richard Dawkins

    Oh that's very encouraging.

    May 29, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • God

      Indeed it is.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Steve

      Hahahaha thats what u think religion is not dying its becoming more powerful.

      May 29, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
  9. Belief Blog

    You're welcome.

    May 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
  10. Alias

    I quit going to church because the christians I went to church with didn't act very christian outside of church.
    If that is typical, then 1) I wonder how much that has to do with religion's decline and 2) isn't the loss of influence a good thing?

    May 29, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • A Conversation

      But...how did you act outside of church? Why did you go to church at all? Your reason for leaving is nonsensical unless you were their for purely secular reasons. And if that is the case, again I ask, why did you go to church at all?

      May 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Logan

      Just because a person goes to Church doesn’t make them religious.

      Just because a person claims to be a Christian doesn’t make them a follower of God.

      Christians need to come to the understanding that no positive influence will ever be exerted into our communities unless we commit to making a positive change within our own hearts.
      Protesting, lashing out in hate, and speaking evil to our fellow neighbors all contribute to a negative view of Christians.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
      • Sara

        were you ever on myspace? hm

        December 10, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Religious kooks unite

      "no positive influence will ever be exerted into our communities unless we commit to making a positive change within our own hearts."

      You don't need religion or god, any god, for this. Probably easier to do without the sky fairy.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • A Conversation

      @RKU...you argue how easy it is to have a good heart without God, yet you refer to the religious as "kooks" and suggest that they worship a "sky fairy"–all to mock. Interesting.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Alias

      I was raised in a RCC family and was subjected to catholic schools.
      It took me until about 3rd grade to start asking questions the nuns didn't like and couldn't answer.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • A Conversation

      O.k. So the RCC wasn't your thing (can't say that I blame you). I would have left if I wasn't getting my questions answered as well. Unfortunately the RCC has a pattern of "don't ask so we don't have to tell." Where else did you look for answers, or did you just as.sume all churches would present the same difficulties? I'll tell you that asking questions is not "anti-christian" or "anti-god" or "anti-biblical," and it is encouraged in many Christian churches–in fact, by way of example, at our church our pastor regularly puts his sermon aside and dedicates an entire service to just answering questions from the congregation–out in the open–and nothing is off limits–my guess is that that is not unique.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Grant

      So, you let the others influence your life with respect to your faith?....don't you have a mind of your own?.

      May 29, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • A Conversation

      Grant...who are you addressing?

      May 29, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
  11. Doc Vestibule

    Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.
    Teach a man to fish and he eats for his whole life.
    Give a man religion and he dies of starvation while praying for fish.

    May 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • .

      Atheists have such little faith in their fellow humans. I am sure Doccy boy here has seen thousands of religious people dead from starvation to make such a comment.
      Oh wait, the reality authority just arrived and told me that Doc is an idiot that doesn't know what he is talking about beyond some snide premade comments.
      Well, in that case I pity Doccy for being scholastically challenged.

      May 29, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Doc is criticizing a religion.

      You, um... dot, rather than making a point, have responded with a direct attack on Doc.

      Doc gets one point added to his score. You get one point deducted.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I AM THE GAMEMASTER! YOU ARE MY PLAWNS!!
      I decide who wins and who loses for I am above it all!!!!
      And worry not that my biased judgements are a form of an ad hominem fallacy!! It matters not!

      May 29, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Plawns noun- a type of shellfish used to play board games on your yard.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The root post is an example of what some scholars refer to as "jocularity".
      Such statements are not meant to be construed as literal truth and thus do not represent observed fact.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The above comment by Bill Deacon is another example of jocularity, in this case the sub-group known as "puns".
      By combining the definitions of "pawn", "prawn", and "lawn", he has successfully illustrated the humour can than arise from wordplay based on typographical errors.

      Do you require further explanation, Dot?

      May 29, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      When did Doc turn into Sheldon Cooper?
      You see what i did there Doc? I compared you to a emotionally stunted person lacking common sense? Oh will the jocularity ever end?

      May 29, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • BukkakeJack

      Hey [.], ad hominem attacks (do you know what that means?) make your excuse for an argument that much weaker. Oh, and YOU look like the idiot.

      May 29, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • .

      Thanks BJ for your input. I am sure it will matter to someone, somwhere at sometime.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
  12. Uncouth Swain

    "Poll: America losing its religion"

    After reading the article, it would be more accurate to say

    Poll: Religion losing its influence in America

    May 29, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Akira

      I agree; CNN's headlines frequently misrepresent the content of the article.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
  13. Religious kooks unite

    as W said, if english was good enough f'r Jesus, it is good enough for him.

    May 29, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  14. Thomas Reich

    I think Colin covered just about everything.

    May 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  15. Answer

    Wondering why?

    -It's bloody foolish in the first place. Lose it for good and let all the religions die.

    May 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  16. Doc Vestibule

    That's America in the corner.
    That's America in the spotlight, losing it's religion.

    May 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  17. Casey

    How is this remotely newsworthy? I'm going to put a poll out that Washington State is the one, true Washington and that the District of Columbia is an imitating group of ne'erdowells.

    What peoples' opinions are on the state of what things ACTUALLY are aren't facts. They aren't reality. They're opinions. Some may be well-founded, some may be fair, but they have absolutely nothing to do with reality. I just asked four people if they think that atheism is a positive thing. Surprisingly, all four agreed – that means 100% of people surveyed believes atheism is sound in practice!

    Great news, everyone!

    This is nothing. Peoples' opinions on the state of things they think they know? And this is on CNN? What a joke.

    May 29, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Alias

      Your knowledge of statistics is lacking.
      your strategy of attacking a messenger whaen you don't like the message tells us a lot more.

      May 29, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      This is an opinion section of the CNN website. There's no requirement that the articles need to be about news.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  18. Religious kooks unite

    It...is....about....time.

    Slowly but surely, my friends, slowly but surely, the armies of god and their beliefs are fading into the dustbin of history.

    May 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Get back with us when atheism counts for over 50% of the US population and Christianity is somewhere around 10%. Then you might have cause to celebrate.

      May 29, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I'll bet that Uncouth Swain would not have said that when only 10% of the slaves were freed. I think he'd be all for celebration, then, because of the positive turn in the tide indicating more slave-freedom to come. Hypocrite, much?

      May 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Moby Schtick- nice bait and swich tactic. It fails obviously since comparing religion and the percentage of its followers are not compatiable in any way to you trying to wedge in the morally objectionable inst itution of slavery.

      It is very adorable that you have the audacity to compare freedom of slaves to that of the rise of atheism. I wonder how the Rev. Martin Luther King would have felt about that?

      Hmm, I guess the US took the freedom of slaves more seriously than that of atheism. From 1776 (and actually before) people in what we call the US fought to get rid of slavery and succeeded just after the Civil War was over. Alas, atheism seems more like Sisyphus pushing up his rock. A slow climb that never gets to where it wants to be.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Religious kooks unite

      Somewhere back in the 1300's, "Yeah, get back to us when more than 50% of the population believes the earth is round and the flat-earthers are around 10%. Then you might have reason to celebrate."

      The march of reason, compassion and intellect is slow but steady. Maybe you can pray to your sky fairy to help boost religion's percentages.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Lisa

      Uncouth Swain
      There's a pretty wide range of actual belief within that "Christian" majority, however. The actual number of hard-line, Conservative Christians is dropping pretty rapidly here in the USA and, since they const.itute most of the people who think this is a "Christian Nation", the opinion is sound.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Uncouth, none of that blustering means a whole lot, does it? When there's a small-yet-indicative change in percentage points for a cause you like, you are all for celebration, but when there's a small-yet-indicative change in percentage points for a cause you don't like, you're against celebration. Hypocrite much?

      May 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Rku– "Somewhere back in the 1300's,..."

      Ah..more bait and switch...how cute. It's always fun seeing people make the error of switching out a spiritually minded topic with that of a scientific one.

      "The march of reason, compassion and intellect is slow but steady. Maybe you can pray to your sky fairy to help boost religion's percentages."

      I never have prayed to a sky fairy..whatever that is. And no where has it been shown that the rise of atheism affects the rise or fall of compassion, reason or intellect in a society.

      @Lisa- "The actual number of hard-line, Conservative Christians is dropping pretty rapidly here in the USA and, since they const.itute most of the people who think this is a "Christian Nation", the opinion is sound."

      And there is a well thought out comment that I can agree with and respect.

      @Moby Schtick- "you are all for celebration,"

      Celebrating what?

      "but when there's a small-yet-indicative change in percentage points for a cause you don't like, you're against celebration. Hypocrite much?"

      No considering I haven't celebrated anything in regards to religion or the lack thereof.
      It's odd that since I disagreed with your silly notion that Christianity is ,"fading into the dustbin of history", that I must be pleased that Christianity still has a high percentage. It doesn't affect me either way.

      It's just silly and ignorant to imply something is going into the dustbin of history when 1 out of every 7 humans on Earth follows Christianity. Heck, if you really think Christianity is on the way out soon, what is going to replace it? Can't be atheism with it's minute percentage of the population. Islam is growing faster in the US than atheism by percentages.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • Pete

      "when 1 out of every 7 humans on Earth follows Christianity."

      Cite your source.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You're a hypocrite, Uncouth, as I've clearly demonstrated. You think a group you don't agree with shouldn't have cause to celebrate any gains until the numbers reach 50%, but you think that a group you do agree with should have cause to celebrate if the numbers show positive movement. You're just a hypocrite. If a small percentage gain is cause to celebrate when it's something you agree with, then it's cause to celebrate when it's something you disagree with.

      Wouldn't you have considered there to be cause to celebrate if 5% of slaves were freed instead of just 2%? Then we atheists also have cause to celebrate. What is this bvllsh!t about needing 50% to have reason to celebrate? You wouldn't have told the slaves that when their "free numbers" were so low. You aren't that stupid even if you pretend to be.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @pete- https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/xx.html

      Guess I was wrong...it's more like 1 out of 3 are Christian Where atheists are closer to 1 out of 50.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Moby Schtick- "You're a hypocrite, Uncouth, as I've clearly demonstrated."

      You have clearly demonstrated nothing.

      "You think a group you don't agree with shouldn't have cause to celebrate any gains until the numbers reach 50%"

      Umm..no. I never said that.
      I did imply that it's really foolish to say a group that boasts over 2 billion members is heading to the dustbin of history.

      "you think that a group you do agree with should have cause to celebrate if the numbers show positive movement."

      Never said that either. Dang, your reading comprehension is lacking today.
      Hey..if you want to say a group that stands at 33% of the world's population is heading toward the dustbin of history and brag on a group that represents barely 2.1%..that's on you.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Religious kooks unite

      "spiritually minded topic with that of a scientific one."

      Of course, back then, the flat-earth mentality WAS a spiritually minded topic until science came along and squashed it. So you are intellectually dishonest: it is not ok to interject science into your perceived spiritual argument when the facts go against you. But when the facts favor your, why, by all means, interject spirituality into science.

      The Chr.istard way of thinking on full display.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Rku- "Of course, back then, the flat-earth mentality WAS a spiritually minded topic until science came along and squashed it."

      Guess you are ignorant on the topic of Dante's Purgatorio back in the 1300's and what a religious person like him understood about the earth. Of course it seems you are nothing more than a sheep that has this wrong notion that religious people are ignorant in the sciences.

      "So you are intellectually dishonest: it is not ok to interject science into your perceived spiritual argument when the facts go against you."

      So far you have yet to show how any facts have went against me.

      "But when the facts favor your, why, by all means, interject spirituality into science."

      I have yet to do that.
      Are you always this dishonest on here or is this just a special day for you?

      May 29, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  19. Colin

    America is losing its, religion, hey. I wonder if a small questionaire can help us figure out why.

    Q.1 The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings on the planet are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the religion of:

    (a) The ancient Celts;

    (b) Bronze Age Egyptians;

    (c) Pre-Colombian Aztecs; or

    (d) Modern Christians

    Q. 2 You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are:

    (a) a reptile handler who has severe mental issues;

    (b) a five year old boy who just read a fairytale;

    (c) a scientific fraud; or

    (d) an American Christian

    Q. 3 I believe that an all-knowing being, powerful enough to create the entire cosmos and its billions of galaxies, watches me have $ex to make sure I don't do anything "naughty" like protect myself from disease with a condom. I am

    (a) A victim of child molestation

    (b) A r.ape victim trying to recover

    (c) A mental patient with paranoid delusions; or

    (d) A Christian

    Q.4 I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am

    (a) A gifted psychologist

    (b) A well respected geneticist

    (c) A highly educated sociologist; or

    (d) A Christian with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.

    Q5. I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am

    (a) a delusional schizophrenic;

    (b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly

    (c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or

    (d) your average Christian

    Q6. Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:

    (a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;

    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;

    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or

    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.

    Q.7 The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:

    (a) Architecture;

    (b) Philosophy;

    (c) Archeology; or

    (d) Religion

    Q.8 What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from Christianity:

    (a) Christianity tells people not only what they should believe, but what they MUST believe under threat of “burning in hell” or other of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;

    (b) Christianity can make a statement, such as “God is comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;

    (c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas Christianity is regional and a person’s Christianity, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than geographical upbringing; or

    (d) All of the above.

    Q.9 If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:

    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;

    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;

    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or

    (d) my religious belief.

    Q.10 Who am I? I don’t pay any taxes. I never have. Any money my organization earns is tax free at the federal, state and local level. Despite contributing nothing to society, but still enjoying all its benefits, I feel I have the right to tell others what to do. I am

    (a) A sleazy Wall Street banker

    (b) the mafia

    (c) A drug pusher; or

    (d) any given Christian church

    Q.11 What do the following authors all have in common – Jean Paul Sartre, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, John Milton, John Locke, and Blaise Pascal:

    (a) They are among the most gifted writers the World has known;

    (b) They concentrated on opposing dogma and opening the human mind and spirit to the wonders of free thought and intellectual freedom;

    (c) They were intimidated by the Catholic Church and put on the Church’s list of prohibited authors; or

    (d) All of the above.

    Q.12 The AIDS epidemic will kill tens of millions in poor African and South American countries before we defeat it. Condoms are an effective way to curtail its spread. As the Pope still has significant influence over the less educated masses in these parts of the World, he has exercised this power by:

    (a) Using some of the Vatican’s incomprehensible wealth to educate these vulnerable people on health family planning and condom use;

    (b) Supporting government programs that distribute condoms to high risk groups;

    (c) Using its myriad of churches in these regions as “boots on the ground” to distribute condoms; or

    (d) Scaring people into NOT using condoms, based upon his disdainful and aloof view that it is better that a person die than go against the Vatican’s position on contraceptive use.

    Q.13 The statement “I believe in God because the Bible tells me to and the reason I follow the Bible is because it is the word of God” is:

    (a) Circular reasoning at its most obvious;

    (b) The reason 99% of Christians believe what they do;

    (c) Specific to the Judeo-Christian parts of the World and totally rejected by all other parts of the World; or

    (d) All of the above.

    Q.14 Probably the most fundamental tenet of Christian faith is that God sent his son Jesus to Earth to die and save us from the original sin of Adam and Eve. We now know that Adam and Eve was a myth. As such, any thinking Christian should:

    (a) Honestly and courageously question this and any other aspects of their faith that don’t make sense.

    (b) Make up some euphemistic nonsense like “well, we didn’t mean that literally” after having done exactly that for the last 1900 years until science comprehensively disproved it.

    (c) Just ignore the blatant contradiction and sweep it under the mat; or

    (d) Hold on to the myth because it makes them feel good.

    Q.15 Please choose your favorite Catholic superst.ition from those below. For the one you choose, please say why it is any more ridiculous than the rest of the garbage Catholics swallow and give an example of a non-Catholic belief which is just as stupid.

    (a) Grocery store bread and wine becomes the flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because a priest does some hocus pocus over it in church of a Sunday morning.

    (b) When I pray for something like “please god help me pass my exam tomorrow,” an invisible being reads my mind and intervenes to alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to meet my request.

    (c) You can pray to a dead person for something. This dead person will then ask God to fulfill your wish. If this happens twice, this dead person becomes a saint.

    (d) A god impregnated a virgin with himself, so he could give birth to himself and then sacrifice himself to himself to negate an “original sin” of a couple we now know never existed.

    Q16. If you are worried that your children, who you love very much, will not believe something you tell them, such as "smoking is bad for you," would you:

    (a) have your family doctor explain to them the various ill effects of smoking;

    (b) show them a film produced by the National Insti.tute for Health on the topic;

    (c) set a good example for them by not smoking; or

    (d) refuse to give them any evidence of the ill effects of smoking, insist that they rely entirely on faith and then take them out into the backyard and burn them to death if you ever catch them smoking?

    And, as a bonus question, what would you think of an "all loving Father" who chose option (d)?

    May 29, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • .

      blab blab blab copy paste blab blab blab
      yep that's about what colin said

      May 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Colin

      I assume you will not take issue with any question I posed or point I made.

      May 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • .

      Give ethically sound questions and I may answer them. Questions that are deceptive and leads the reader to a certain answers are fallicious. Do you not agree?

      May 29, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Colin

      Fine, dot, lets start with point I made in question 1. I think the fundamental Christian belief that all 7,000,000,000 human beings on the planet are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” is completely absurd. Care to disagree and support your position?

      May 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • .

      The problem with this is that there is nothing to support even your question being asked. No where does any Christian religious text state that every human on the earth is being supervised all the time. If that was the case, the concept of sin wouldn't hold water now would it?
      Also, there is nothing to imply a reward/punishment standpoint. Morality and being "saved" are not the same thing within Christianity right?

      Sure you can think it's absurd.

      But what you are wanting to succeed at it to have others think what you are stating is the standard of Christianity and it's not.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Dot
      Please elucidate the standard of Christianity.
      Faith in miracles, divinity, resurrections, and other fantastical flourishes isn't required to live a life of pacifism, charity and humility.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • .

      I never said once that a person needs any faith to be pacifisic, charitable or humble.
      I've never seen anywhere that it is a requirement in Christianity that one must have faith to be any of those things.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • TomGI

      Where's your Scientology paragraph? They consider themselves a 'church'. And they claim mankind came from some spaceman named Xenu. Kooky enough to deserve at least a paragraph.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Greg

      This was hilarious. Thanks for the laugh.

      May 29, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • .

      Colin is always good to laugh at...I mean good for a laugh.

      May 29, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • Colin

      "No where [sic] does any Christian religious text state that every human on the earth is being supervised all the time"

      Bullsh.it. That God knows everything humans do is a fundamental tenet of Christianity. HE is omniscient, remember, and people cannot "get away" with anything.

      PS: "Nowhere" is one word.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • .

      It's funny that you claim tha God knows everything humans do ias a fundamental tenet of Christianity, yet you provide no evidence or citation other than you say so.
      It's also funny how you try to replace "supervise" with omniscience. I guess you realized you couldn't prove the one so you try to change it up.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    America is losing its religion? What religion would that be?

    May 29, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Why, xtianity of course! Didn't you know that America was founded on Judeo-xtian principles? Oh, poor you, straight to hell with you to writhe in torment forever because god loves you so much! (sarcasm off)

      May 29, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Lisa

      Arthur Bryant
      You don't really mean Judeo-Christian principles, right? Any purely Jewish principles don't count because the folks who think this is a Christian nation also usually believe that Jews are going to Hell, alongside all the other non-believers.

      The Bill of Rights doesn't say "Freedom of Religion, as long as everyone understands that the majority religion gets the only say, and can impose itself on everyone."

      May 29, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Lisa

      Judeo-Christian is a term that encompasses the bible, both old testement and new. It has nothing to do with christian views on judaism.

      For instance, you might be right that some christians believe jews are going to hell just as much as the nice muslim man down the street, but christians also have no problem cribbing from leviticus to explain why they hate gay people, or why the 10 commandments (from exodus) should be placed in courthouses.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      People say that America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and the implication is that means ours laws are rooted in the Bible. It's probably more accurate to say that our legal system is based on Greco-Roman principles while our social order is generally based on Judeo-Christian values

      May 29, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Cory

      Those "Judeo-Christian" values didn't spring from nowhere. Their source was pre the invention of the Christian god, and the values continue to evolve and develop to this day.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Cory

      Chuckles, yeah you have to laugh at that standard Christian hypocrisy.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Catechism

      Well, well, the cowardly Deacon is back without cleaning up the pile of sh!t he left on page 12 of the parent thread yesterday. Pathetic.

      May 29, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • test

      =:)

      May 31, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • test

      :mrgreen:

      May 31, 2013 at 3:29 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.