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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. NorCalMojo

    I bet if they delved deeper, they'd find out that we're starting to believe in even more implausible scenarios.

    Aliens, illuminati, gaia consciousness, karma, etc.

    May 30, 2013 at 2:01 am |
    • Saraswati

      Some more implausible, some less. The trick is to get people believing the stuff most in line with modern science and social needs and to keep the culture open enough that it will change again when needed. If you can even marginally increase the number of roughly rational thinkers that is icing on the cake.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:07 am |
  2. Jeff

    God is the devil.

    May 30, 2013 at 1:58 am |
    • Chris

      Nah. The Devil doesn't exist either.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:00 am |
    • Jeff

      Then I'm right.

      God = Devil = 0

      May 30, 2013 at 2:01 am |
    • Chris

      I suppose that is a perfectly valid argument. The empty set contains all the elements of the empty set. 😛

      May 30, 2013 at 2:03 am |
    • Mark Greenway

      I dunno! Every time I look into those burned out eyes of Michele Bachmann.........just sayin. If she doesn't simply need an exorcism, she could pass for the big "D"!!! Just like some like to think of God as Feminine, what if the Devil......!!! >;)

      May 30, 2013 at 2:20 am |
  3. cormac

    america was designed not to have 'a religion' ... it was designed to allow for religious freedom and not to have a national religion, which frankly is what these people are after ...

    it would only help america if religion was gone ... just starting listing all the atrocities perpetrated over the years in america in the name of religion and you'll start to see the point where it's done more harm, been responsible for more murdrs and torture, and acted in a completely unamerican way every chance it gets

    May 30, 2013 at 1:57 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      I would say that it is the exact opposite. It is interesting that for some folks there can peace or a better society when someone who is different than them or looks different than them is removed from society.

      I think that Faith and Religion is something that can be used for negative results but for the most part it is positive.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:38 am |
  4. RichS

    I have always said that religions are a lot of man-made rules. Not so with Christianity. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is more important than things that will pass away. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and summed it all up: For by grace are you saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift from God, not of works, so that no man could boast.

    May 30, 2013 at 1:56 am |
    • Chris

      Christianity is just made up rules like all the rest. Nothing distinguishes it from the masses.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:57 am |
    • LinCA

      @RichS

      It's still based on an infantile belief in an imaginary friend. It's no different from any oter delusion.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:58 am |
    • Madtown

      Not all humans in this world are aware of who Christ is, though. What about them?

      May 30, 2013 at 2:02 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      So, this "personal relationship" you have with Jesus Christ ...
      Does he text you often? What color are his eyes? Is his voice kind of nasal? What's his e-mail address? Got any pictures of him with his arm around you? How tall is he? Does he have a halfway decent jump shot? What's his favorite movie or TV show?

      I can answer ALL of those questions about the REAL PEOPLE that I have a REAL PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with. I bet that, even if you made up answers to cover your complete and utter ignorance of every single aspect of this Jesus with whom you have this "deep personal relationship", they wouldn't match those of anyone else making the exact same claim.

      You are delusional. You see dead people.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:12 am |
    • Geraldine

      Well, of course you have to take Paul's words by faith.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:20 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      I have a personal relationship with Santa.
      Hey, it works for me.

      May 30, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
  5. woody

    Religion is fantasy in so many ways . I was taught about Guardian angels . The Pope uses armed security and a bullet proof car . Religion is a business like any other . The product of religion is comfort in something that does not exist . Religion is a way to make reality go away for a short time . But as soon as we walk out the door reality is at our footstep . I was an altar boy and all I was taught never came true . Churches in order to stay alive will have to be less about driving in a 550,000.00 car . And be more about helping those in need rather than giving to those that are all about greed ! Today God is for sale to those who can put the most in the collection basket and need influence . Like in God we trust on the one dollar bill . When the reality is the only thing we trust in is the Gold that is gotten from the undereducated poor that cant afford to pay for hope .

    May 30, 2013 at 1:52 am |
    • Bob

      That's what happens when you believe a fantasy religion based upon misconceptions. The truth claims of Scripture have to stand or fall on their own merits. You have let the sins and failures of the church cloud your thinking.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:02 am |
    • Gramman

      Woody, don't put a space before each period. It would really make you appear to be a lot smarter.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:03 am |
  6. Chris

    An argument your God isn't real. Sorry.

    Your God is all-knowing and all-powerful. This means that he can do anything (ignoring paradoxes) and knows everything. But knowing everything includes knowing the future. It wasn't man that sinned. It was God that put us in a situation in which he KNEW we would sin. The entire thing was a setup, and has to be for God to be as described. of course, it goes far further than even that. See, because God controlled ALL of the starting variable he is, in fact, responsible for every event that has ever or will ever happen, assuming he exists. reality is,, annoyingly, rather deterministic. By changing the way things start you can change the system completely. Because God is all powerful he could make the starting variables whatever he wants, which means he could change any result down the line to be what he wanted.

    To put it another way, God was a kid in a room with a lot of buttons that said exactly what they did. Every single moment of it. And he chose this one. Ergo, he is responsible for all the evil that has ever taken place, and he could, easily, have created a world where evil didn't exist and freewill did, or a world that wasn't so very deterministic.

    And, because he knows everything, his own actions are frozen in time, he already knows the decisions he will make, so he would, in fact, be forced to send Christ down, because he knew he would.

    May 30, 2013 at 1:44 am |
    • ManKind

      That's why he kills innocent infants and kids. If he thinks life and pain is play for him, he is guilty and should be punished.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:50 am |
  7. Indy in AZ

    Since "religion" is used so much to mask hatred and bigotry, thank goodness we're losing it!!! Just be good, people!!! Thats all!! No hate, just respect and kindness, it will go far!

    May 30, 2013 at 1:40 am |
  8. Steven C

    I believe it is good that religion (which most in this survey would describe themselves as Judeo-Christian) has less influence on the Government. For the most part, all religions are INTOLERANT of other religions. How are we to accept and integrate Muslims and other religions in to our society if the Government is Judeo-Christian. Judeo-Christian beliefs and "rules" do not mesh well with many religions. Our government should be religion neutral otherwise it will be entirely valid for the Muslims to say that we are at war with them and the Sikhs and ... and we will be fighting wars we don't want forever.

    May 30, 2013 at 1:39 am |
  9. Chris

    The irony is the exact opposite is really happening, and it terrifies the rest of us.

    May 30, 2013 at 1:39 am |
    • Geraldine

      opposite of . . .?

      May 30, 2013 at 1:43 am |
    • Chris

      What the article is saying people think. The truth is religion's influence is very very strong right now in the country. The people who believe otherwise are focusing on a few small things that, in a decade, will be meaningless.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:45 am |
    • Saraswati

      Chris,the influence of religion is strong, but very much decreased over the past 50 years. What measures are you using to claim it has increased?

      May 30, 2013 at 1:48 am |
    • Chris

      Perhaps I am simply wrong. It happens. But from what i can see fundamentalism is at an all-time high, and the amount of the extremely religious has been increasing as well. People are seriously believing that the US is a Christian nation, or that it should be, which is nonsense. A state (NC) a few weeks ago tried to pass a bill allowing a state religion. Pretty much all the arguments being used against things such as gay marriage are purely religious in nature.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:53 am |
    • Geraldine

      Yeah – I saw that Chris. Crazy stuff. We must be vigilant.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:01 am |
    • Cyle in Dublin

      the religious right is screaming very loudly to be heard, but they know they're on their way out. the internet, for all it's distractions, does expose our youth to ways of thinking that differ from that of their conservative religious parents.

      kids today are slowly learning to tell reality from ancient mythology. it gives me hope.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:09 am |
    • Geraldine

      I think you're right Dublin.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:22 am |
  10. Wes Scott

    The sooner religion is dead the better off our country will be. When people start taking the personal responsibility for their words and deeds rather than just talking about responsibility, then, and only then, will America start becoming a great place to live and raise a family. As long as people believe they can commit "sins" and then ask for forgiveness there is no accountability.

    I am personally responsible for everything I say and do. Neither god, nor any other person, makes me say and so the things I say and do. In the end, each person is responsible for his or her words and deeds. The problem is that most people never accept that responsibility, and many hide behind religion to avoid taking personal responsibility. That problem is especially pervasive among religious people.

    May 30, 2013 at 1:37 am |
    • Geraldine

      I salute your Sartredness.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:40 am |
    • devin

      Funny, my observation has been that religious people seem to value personal responsibility far greater than the average joe.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:42 am |
    • Geraldine

      You have a penchant for apples and oranges, don't you, devin? Do you juggle?

      May 30, 2013 at 1:45 am |
    • Ha

      devin is as bald-faced a liar as I have ever seen.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:45 am |
  11. Frank Erb

    It's fascinating to see how many people post atheistic comments on an article like this. It is illogical that they are working so hard to argue against something that they say doesn't even exist. Why would they even care to comment? Are they out protesting about kids believing in Santa Claus and picketing alien-chasers in Roswell NM too? As for the argument that belief in God causes wars or other pain ... so what?? If there is no God then we are all just random dust particles in the universe with no more value than dirt clods and nothing matters anyway. So, their behavior doesn't make sense. Unless ... God really does exist ... and they are actually fighting against their inner awareness of Him because they don't WANT to know He is there.

    May 30, 2013 at 1:36 am |
    • devin

      Ultimately, it's all just subterfuge for a guilty, though somewhat repressed conscience.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:39 am |
    • Chris

      Because a lot of people with religious views won't be satisfied until the country follows their rules and their laws. The rest of us find that very terrifying.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:40 am |
    • Wes Scott

      You are one seriously disturbed individual. If I believed in prayer, then I would pray for you. The fact that I do not believe in something in no way prohibits me from having or expressing an opinion about it. Only a christian would even suggest that atheists are not allowed to have and express opinions about religion.

      Your hypocrisy is that you do not believe in atheism, yet that does not stop you from opining about it. Pot, meet kettle!

      May 30, 2013 at 1:40 am |
    • Saraswati

      1. If kids Santa believers and Roswell alien chasers were oppressing others people would be speaking out against them equally. As of yet, they aren't a big problem.

      2. People feel joy and pain regardless of whether there is a god. Those of us who care will always want to increase the former and reduce the latter.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:44 am |
    • Geraldine

      BS, devin. There are rights to protect. The wall does pretty good on its own, but we have to check in now and again and try to keep the sheep from eating too much poisonous grass.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:47 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      They are arguing against theists trampling all over their rights and attempting to create a christian theocracy. It's that simple. Nothing to do with whether god exists or not; his minions most definitely DO exist and pose a real threat to real liberty.

      May 30, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • The real Tom

      It just mystifies me when people like Frank make statements about those who don't believe thinking that nothing matters and that people are just "clods of dirt."

      Why do you need to believe in a god to give meaning to life? I find meaning in so many aspects of life that have nothing to do with a god or religion. Why don't you see any value to life unless some god is around?

      May 30, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
  12. ChrisA

    Religion – a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects

    Atheism is undoubtedly a belief. As an atheist you believe that reason is the highest form of human intelligence. You believe that ultimately science and reason will uncover all there is to know. You believe that there is no God. You believe that human beings alone determine what morality is. If these 2000 posts are anything to go by, then you believe that people who believe in God are intellectually inferior.

    Some of your more interesting beliefs:

    – You also believe that the universe came from nothing, but not really nothing (see physics definition of nothing).
    – You probably believe that the universe is held together by something called "dark matter" (but nobody knows what it is).
    – You believe that somehow we got life from non life, "star dust" I think is the lamemans term (even though we've never observed this and it hasn't been proven)
    – You believe that there is no inherit meaning to life, we just create our own.
    – You believe in tolerance... as long as it doesn't conflict with your world view.
    – You believe life isn't sacred but is the random and meaningless product of natural selection and the defiance of impossible probabilities.
    – You believe that intellect can evolve from non intellect (it just takes a few billions of years... it use to be a few million)
    – You believe there is no absolute truth (And see no conflict in the fact that statement)

    Some of your extreme views (doesn't apply to all of Atheists just the most vocal ones):

    – You believe religion is a cancer and should be irradiated ( and somehow this sounds tolerant to you)
    – You believe that America was never founded on any christian principles and forget that the first act of the government was to kneel, pray, and dedicate the nation to God.
    – You believe that all priests are pedophiles (but this isn't generalization)
    – You believe that everything is subjective, except your own personal world view

    May 30, 2013 at 1:35 am |
    • Wes Scott

      Personally, I believe that you are a deluded nutcase with a superiority complex.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:42 am |
    • Saraswati

      You are very confused about what atheism means. Try a dictionary.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:45 am |
    • coachp

      Whenever someone starts a conversation with "you believe...", I believe it's a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME trying to have a thoughtful conversation with them. All people like that want to do is put their words in your mouth. It's a waste of time. Don't bother.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:49 am |
    • Chris

      There is currently a theory the universe still is nothing, just a lot of things and their exact opposites, and when you collapse the whole thing back to one point you find it amounts to 0. Deep, isn't it?

      I don't feel like arguing with you, you have most of those points right, but you fail to note that pretty much all the scientific ones have plenty of evidence for them. Religions (all of them) continue to have none. The burden of proof lies on the one making the claim. We only claim that your God is nonsense till you prove otherwise. You claim he exists. Good luck proving it.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:50 am |
    • Boom

      Well said. Aww look! You riled up some little atheists!

      May 30, 2013 at 1:59 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Christians would LIKE atheism to be a belief, because then they could say "See, you're no better than we are."

      However, as in so many other things, they get this wrong as well. Atheism isn't a belief, it's the ABSENCE of a particular KIND of belief. To say it's a belief is like saying not collecting stamps is a hobby, or that "off" is a TV channel, or that abstinence is a s¢x position.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:01 am |
    • ChrisA

      @Wes Scott
      You can't attack the arguments so you attack my character and I'm the one whose deluded?

      @Saraswati
      I didn't define Atheism, but Religion. And according to the definition of "Religion" Atheism falls under this category.

      @Chris
      I wouldn't disagree that some of the scientific arguments have well thought out "theories" to them. But currently none of them have any concrete proof. Until we have absolute proof (or close too it) it's gonna be hard to convince a theist to change his or her world view.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:04 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Chris, you very much did define atheism by providing a list of what you think atheists believe.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:09 am |
    • ChrisA

      @RichardSRussell

      Maybe this is what Atheism was originally suppose to be, "the absence of belief". But it's evolved into something completely different. It's a movement now and by denying the existence of God, your forced to take on a completely new set of beliefs. You might say that some of these new beliefs are more grounded in the naturalistic world. But most of them have no undeniable proof. If they did, then I wouldn't call them beliefs. I would call them facts.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:13 am |
    • ChrisA

      @Saraswati

      If i erred in my understanding of what most Atheists believe than I'm happy to be corrected, but so far no one seems to disagree.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:16 am |
    • Saraswati

      @ChrisA,

      "your forced to take on a completely new set of beliefs"

      That's as idiotic as saying that every Christian has to believe the same thing because a few loud Christians are claiming it. Do you think there's some big atheist sign up sheet with entry requirements and you're in or you're out? Do you think that of Christianity?

      May 30, 2013 at 2:18 am |
    • Chris

      @ChrisA

      I see, so you don't believe in gravity. Or momentum. Or thermodynamics. Or biology (of any sort). Or...

      Sorry, but you really don't understand. It is IMPOSSIBLE to prove ANYTHING about the universe from our perspective. We can simply test enough times and figure "well, it keeps doing this, so it will probably keep doing this..." A very simple way to put it, but the basics behind science. The problem of trying to understand a system from within the system.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:19 am |
    • Saraswati

      @ChrisA, you claim that no one has disagreed with you but obviously they already have on the issue of a belief that there is no god and I would disagree on other points including that we will ever know all there is to know. I'm afraid your claims are just so silly most people won't even bother to address them. Who goes around making lists telling other people what they believe and expects them to bother responding?

      May 30, 2013 at 2:21 am |
    • ChrisA

      @Chris
      I do understand and I do believe in Gravity, momentum. thermodynamics. and Biology. That's why I was careful not to state any of those things in the above list because there's substantial proof for all of them.

      But things like life coming from non life, reason coming from the irrational, nothing coming from something, and dark energy holding the universe together. These things have no evidence for them. It's never been observed or tested, just theorized. That's why I can't believe in it.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:35 am |
    • ChrisA

      @Saraswati
      My claims aren't silly but I admit they could of been stated in a better way. That being said, they where a lot more tame than people on this board stating Christians have no more reason for believing in God than invisible unicorns or flying spaghetti monsters.

      Also most Atheists I've talked to have said that given enough time, "all that can be known, will be known" I'm interested in knowing why you disagree.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:44 am |
    • Chris

      @ChrisA

      Dark energy doesn't hold the universe together. It is, in fact, tearing the universe apart. It exists based on the observation that the universe's expansion has been speeding up, an impossibility unless energy is being fed into it, and given that all known forms of energy... doesn't do that, there has to be something we can't otherwise detect feeding it. Otherwise the expansion should be slowing down.

      Life coming from nonliving things is a bit complicated, but viruses are kinda like a middle step. They are proof that DNA (and RNA) can and will join up with proteins to form a "cell" all on their own, and all the ingredients to create DNA and proteins existed naturally on the ancient Earth, and it has been proven they will become DNA/proteins when exposed to energy, specifically lightning.

      Reason coming from the irrational is a foolish argument. It presumes that animals can't reason, and, well, that doesn't seem to be the case. At all. In fact, as far as I can tell humans simply presumed we were the only thinking beings... and then completely ignored all the evidence to the contrary, putting it up to "instincts." But then, where does instinct end and reasoning begin? Perhaps all we have is instincts as well, just better able to form around abstract situations.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:44 am |
    • LinCA

      @ChrisA

      You said, "Atheism is undoubtedly a belief."
      Bullshit. It's an absence of belief.

      You said, "As an atheist you believe that reason is the highest form of human intelligence."
      Not necessarily.

      You said, "You believe that ultimately science and reason will uncover all there is to know."
      Everything we know is because of science. Nothing of what we know is because of religion. I see no reason that will change anytime soon.

      You said, "You believe that there is no God."
      Not exactly. There is no reason to believe there are any. The lack of evidence for gods makes belief in them silly.

      You said, "You believe that human beings alone determine what morality is."
      Yup. Since gods are inventions of men, their morality also came from man.

      You said, "If these 2000 posts are anything to go by, then you believe that people who believe in God are intellectually inferior."
      The cognitive dissonance must be excruciating if they are not.

      You said, "You also believe that the universe came from nothing, but not really nothing (see physics definition of nothing)."
      Not necessarily. Atheism is a lack of a belief, it says nothing about the start of the universe.

      You said, "You probably believe that the universe is held together by something called "dark matter" (but nobody knows what it is)."
      Some do. It's a very promising line of reasoning. But atheism is a lack of a belief, it says nothing about the make up of the universe.

      You said, "You believe that somehow we got life from non life, "star dust" I think is the lamemans term (even though we've never observed this and it hasn't been proven)"
      Not necessarily. Atheism is a lack of a belief, it says nothing about the start of the life.

      You said, "You believe that there is no inherit meaning to life, we just create our own."
      Not necessarily. Atheism is a lack of a belief, it says nothing about the meaning of the life.

      You said, "You believe in tolerance... as long as it doesn't conflict with your world view."
      You are free to remain blissfully ignorant. You don't get to force your delusion on me. If you put your ignorance on public display, you should expect to get called on the bullshit.

      You said, "You believe life isn't sacred but is the random and meaningless product of natural selection and the defiance of impossible probabilities."
      Bullshit.

      You said, "You believe that intellect can evolve from non intellect (it just takes a few billions of years... it use to be a few million)"
      Not necessarily. Atheism is a lack of a belief, it says nothing about the start of intelligent life.

      You said, "You believe there is no absolute truth (And see no conflict in the fact that statement)"
      Bullshit. There simply isn't any found in religious texts.

      You said, "You believe religion is a cancer and should be irradiated ( and somehow this sounds tolerant to you)"
      The influence of religion on society is a cancer and should be eradicated. You are free to remain blissfully ignorant.

      You said, "You believe that America was never founded on any christian principles and forget that the first act of the government was to kneel, pray, and dedicate the nation to God."
      The first amendment of the constitution guarantees everyone freedom of religion. It's impossible to be free to pick your own if christianity is forced on you.

      You said, "You believe that all priests are pedophiles (but this isn't generalization)"
      Bullshit.

      You said, "You believe that everything is subjective, except your own personal world view"
      Bullshit.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:56 am |
    • n/a

      @LinCA – Very nicely done. You remain victorious against the fundies as per usual.

      @Chris – I wouldn't go quite so far as thinking our theories on dark matter very solid at this point.
      The Standard Model is pretty solid as far as it goes, yet it is not a GUT.
      Until it is a GUT, you have to back off on the cutting-edge stuff, because we still lack a quantum theory of gravity to tie the rest of the Standard Model together, and dark matter is not yet solid science because of that and other factors.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:23 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Personally, I agree with Wes Scott.

      May 30, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  13. Mrvicciv

    Fortunately and unfortunately we live in a time of plenty and don't have much of a need for God. The part that is gut wrenching is when some horrible catastrophe comes along and many face their end they will be terrified and unprepared, begging for one more day. This is history repeating itself over & over and disaster always seems to follow times of great prosperity.

    I have had the honor of watching my life flash before my eyes in slow motion as I rolled an SUV multiple times at 80mph – without a seatbelt. In that moment of clarity as debris was flying all around me I wasn't sure if i was going to live or die, but I found that it really didn't matter because I had complete peace. Since we are all going to die someday, my only wish is that no one dies terrified. Faith in the saving grace of Christ is the only place I have found true peace.

    He said come as you are; black, white, gay, straight, single, married, depressed or happy. All you have to say is "here I am".

    May 30, 2013 at 1:35 am |
    • Mike

      Vicarious redemption is immoral. Grow up and pay for your own sins.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:55 am |
    • tallulah13

      @Mrvicciv

      So basically, what you are saying is that when you are terrified and helpless, you appeal to a supernatural being for which there is no evidence because it comforts you.

      You do realize that is only an emotional reaction, not proof of god?

      May 30, 2013 at 2:13 am |
  14. Kris Jackson

    And the first linked story under this one is headlined "Cardinal: Abortion is bigger sin than priest abuse." Want to know why you're losing us, Cardinal? No, you don't? Well, go to hell.

    May 30, 2013 at 1:32 am |
  15. Mark

    Religion has done nothing but cause strife and pain and suffering in this country. The United States is not a christian nation, its a secular nation and it is better for it!

    May 30, 2013 at 1:31 am |
    • devin

      That first sentence is delusional on so many levels.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:37 am |
    • MormonChristian

      Mark, I suggest you travel to some countries where there is no religion and see if it's any better. You can't believe that religion is the source of all bad in society or that if religion were wiped out that crime and poverty would suddenly vanish. Really??

      May 30, 2013 at 1:41 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things, and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
      —Steven Weinberg, Nobel-winning American physicist

      May 30, 2013 at 1:56 am |
    • tallulah13

      Devin only wishes that his trolling caused as much strife and pain and suffering as religion. Sadly for him, his trolling is only a minor annoyance to everyone but his mom, who wishes that he'd get a job and make some friends and move out of the basement so she could have that crafting room she always wanted.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:16 am |
  16. AG

    The bible teaches hope, faith, love and charity. I know a lot of people are rebelling against religion, sometimes for legitimate reasons and other times for selfish reasons, but there's nothing wrong with teaching more about love.
    (Please save your comments about the bible promoting terrible things such as slavery, it doesn't. That's just a anti-Semitic misunderstanding of the Old Testament.)

    May 30, 2013 at 1:31 am |
    • Cyle in Dublin

      Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. – Ephesians 6:5

      Here's some new testament for you.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:37 am |
    • Cyle in Dublin

      Oh look... there's more in the new testament...

      Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. ~ 1 Timothy 6:1-2

      May 30, 2013 at 1:38 am |
    • Cyle in Dublin

      And a bit from the mythical Jesus character...

      The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given. ~ Luke 12:47-48

      Servant can also be translated as "slave", as most servants of that time were indeed slaves.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:42 am |
    • ChrisA

      @Cyle in Dublin

      Ephesians 6:5 – First of all, you misquoted the verse. it doesn't say slave. It says servant. There is a strong difference here. Also please quote the passage in context because the very next few verses say:

      Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. 9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

      The masters are to be patient and just. In the time Paul wrote this, a person could become a servant (and work off what they owed) if they had a large amount of debt. "The borrower is slave to the lender." This was true than and it's true now. Anybody with overwhelming credit card debt would agree.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:52 am |
    • Wes Scott

      Obviously, you selectively read what you want to believe in the Bible rather than reading precisely what it states. Try reading Deuteronomy and then tell me again how the Bible does not promote and encourage slavery. It's only prohibition is that Israelites may not be enslaved. Anybody else is fair game.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:54 am |
    • Mike

      The entire Christian concept of human sacrifice and vicarious redemption is vile and immoral. It's the core tenet, so it's kind of a hard one to get rid of.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:59 am |
    • Cyle in Dublin

      I didn't misquote – I used the New International Version

      funny how the "word of god" has so many versions.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:59 am |
    • Saraswati

      @ChrisA, I'm still getting that the servant/slave should serve his master as he would Christ for a reward after death. A very convenient line there for those in power.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:00 am |
    • ChrisA

      @Mike
      "vile and immoral" according to who? Men and women sacrifice their lives for this country everyday, so that the majority can continue to live a peaceful life. Would you consider that vile and immoral?

      May 30, 2013 at 2:24 am |
    • ChrisA

      @Saraswati
      that passage says nothing about a reward after death. Christianity is not all about the pursuit of the afterlife, that's a narrow and sort of morbid view of things. Rewards in life and death are promised to those who do the will of God.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:29 am |
    • AG

      Cyle – Luke 12 is a parable showing that those have heard the word of God and reject it will be much worse off than those who have never heard the word of God.
      As for your other verses, Civil rights leaders said the exact same thing in early American history. Work for your master, but know that you will be redeemed in the end. This is hope.

      May 31, 2013 at 1:33 am |
  17. ep tor

    The dawning of the Modern Age of Enlightenment. Unfortunately, Islam was invented about 1400 years when Mohammad had a hallucination about a wing creature that came in the night and talked to him about how he could have tighter control over his subjects. Since religion can be defined as an irrational belief in a higher power that controls us, it is an easy way for "believers" to do evil things and blame this supernatural power. It is also very difficult to disprove the existence of something that doesn't exist in the first place and therefore religions change very slowly. It will be many centuries before this particular religion catches up to current civilized norms. It took Christianity over two thousand years to get this far and they are still stuck in the past by a few hundred years.

    May 30, 2013 at 1:30 am |
    • Geraldine

      Maybe the same stupid plant is responsible for the fever and hallucinations of Mohammad, Saul of Tarsus and John of Patmos.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:37 am |
    • Jimmy G.

      @ep tor
      You wrote, "It will be many centuries before this particular religion catches up to current civilized norms. It took Christianity over two thousand years to get this far and they are still stuck in the past by a few hundred years."

      Nope. The rest of your post is pretty good though.
      Islam is not like the others. It will not catch up. Any deviation is brutally oppressed in Islam.
      Islam is not a good ideology to even allow anyone to believe. It is that bad.

      Islam is the ideology of those who followed Mohammad. They wrote the Koran, not Mohammad.

      To follow it, you must want to become like Mohammad – the original Islamic sadist / rapist / murderer / thief / liar / robber / psychotic piece of human filth and follow all of the Koran, and, since way over half of all Koranic texts say to hate and harm non-Muslims in any way that seems good to them at the moment.

      Do not give Islam any equal respect.
      It is brutally enforced on everyone, even non-Muslims. There is no freedom within Islam.
      It is a totalitarian theocracy filled with violent brutality.

      It deserves nothing but loathing.
      It is an ideology that says no secular laws should be respected.
      It is the ideology of criminals and should be wiped out utterly from the face of the Earth.
      Do not let Islam sit with the other religions in your mind. It is evil and opposes all non-Muslim cultures as a matter of course.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:47 am |
  18. shawn l

    Good. This is still the most religious country in the western hemisphere. It's sad.

    May 30, 2013 at 1:24 am |
    • Saraswati

      Where are you getting your data? If you look at Gallup (2009) thereare several more religious countries in the western hemisphere, including Mexico, Poland, Brazil, Guatemala and at least 5 or 6 others?

      May 30, 2013 at 1:33 am |
  19. vv

    I believe in a force that created us....some may call it god....but I refuse to go to clergymen or organized religious meetings....It is pure business who capitalize on vulnerable victims...I have a direct connection with god and I don't need an oracle to verify that....Also I think following good principles is more important than chanting god's name.......... committing 100 sins and asking for forgiveness makes no sense.

    May 30, 2013 at 1:20 am |
    • Dippy

      So, vv, where did this mysterious force come from? Some other superforce maybe?

      May 30, 2013 at 1:22 am |
    • Geraldine

      "I have a direct connection with god"

      is it like a nights-and-weekends plan or something else?

      May 30, 2013 at 1:24 am |
    • GodFreeNow

      I can appreciate that you see the absurdity of religious doctrine. I would, as a friend, encourage you to encourage to take that one step further by asking, "If the belief of another is absurd, how can I know that my own beliefs are not?"

      May 30, 2013 at 1:30 am |
    • GodFreeNow

      For the record, I'm only encouraging you once, not twice as my post suggests.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:32 am |
  20. RichardSRussell

    Spend any time at all on these boards, and you'll notice that atheists make arguments and supply evidence, while Christians mainly make statements and supply Biblical quotations.

    May 30, 2013 at 1:18 am |
    • Dippy

      And their statements are devoid of reason or intelligence.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:20 am |
    • ChrisA

      Out of 2000 plus comments I haven't seen an atheist supply one solid argument for the irradiation of religion, or produce any proof that there is no God. You didn't even supply evidence in the statement you just made.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:41 am |
    • Cyle in Dublin

      @ChrisA – The onus of evidence is on the positive claim. We do not have to prove that gods don't exist any more than we would have to prove that there's not a porcelain teapot orbiting the planet Venus. Assume that there isn't one until someone proves that there is.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:49 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      I for one would like to irradiate the living daylights out of religion.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:53 am |
    • LinCA

      @ChrisA

      You said, "Out of 2000 plus comments I haven't seen an atheist supply one solid argument for the irradiation of religion, or produce any proof that there is no God."
      Do you need any proof that there is no Easter Bunny?

      If you want to believe in your imaginary friend, go right ahead. Ignorance isn't illegal. You don't get to force your delusion on the rest of us.

      It's the influence of religion on society that is the cancer that needs to be eradicated.

      May 30, 2013 at 1:56 am |
    • Dippy

      ChrisA, why would we want to "irradiate" religion? Does it have cancer? Come to think of it, religion is like a cancer. But I think the word you're looking for is "eradicate." Somewhat different than "irradiate." You need to work on your vocabulary.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:49 am |
    • ChrisA

      @Cyle in Dublin

      I disagree. There's not 4 – 5 billion people claiming that a tea pot orbits venus. And there's not millions of people that would give their life for said belief.

      I think any claim that is held by the majority, and influences every aspect of that groups life and ideals, is worthy of investigating before being discredited.

      Before you call more than half the worlds population irrational, you have to tell them why, and at least take time to understand what exactly they believe, and why they believe it. Otherwise your objections hold no weight.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:51 am |
    • ChrisA

      @LinCA
      Nobodys trying to force anything onto anyone. I could give you perfectly rational reasons why I believe in God. And you would probably agree that their not as "delusional" as you think.

      I'm also 100% certain I could give you better arguments for my belief in God than you could give for why you believe my religion is a cancer.

      May 30, 2013 at 2:57 am |
    • LinCA

      @ChrisA

      You said, "Nobodys trying to force anything onto anyone."
      Try telling that to the gays and lesbians who wish to get married. Try telling that to the scientists would want to explore possible life saving therapies woth stem cells. Try telling that to people who want to buy alcohol on Sunday. Try telling to women who need contraception. Try telling that to women who need an abortion. Try telling that to students who've been taught that creationism is science.

      You said, "I could give you perfectly rational reasons why I believe in God."
      Without a shred of evidence to support the existence of your god, there is no reason to believe it exists. How rational can your reasons be?

      You said, "And you would probably agree that their not as "delusional" as you think."
      Believing in creatures for which there is no reason to believe they exists, and talking to them, and believing they talk back, fits the definition of "delusional" pretty well, don't you think?

      You said, "I'm also 100% certain I could give you better arguments for my belief in God than you could give for why you believe my religion is a cancer."
      Try me. Start with the evidence that makes you believe your imaginary friend isn't imaginary.

      May 30, 2013 at 9:39 am |
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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.