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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. Reality

    Only for new members of this blog:

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

    And why is that? Let us count the ways, #4: (see pp. 1, 9, and 37)

    The Apostles' / Agnostics’/Atheists' Creed 2013 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (References used are available upon request.)

    May 30, 2013 at 7:30 am |
    • Name*jamesrini

      Luke 6/22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.

      – King James Bible

      May 30, 2013 at 7:57 am |
    • Religion?

      So this is your Religion? This is what you Believe? and put your Faith in? When in reality your last paragraph says that you have more "Faith" in one ancient story over another. I say Religion is alive and well in this country.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:01 am |
    • Reality

      As with all NT passages, Luke 6: 22 ( Matt 5:11) has been thoroughly analyzed for historic authenticity by many contemporary NT scholars. Most of these scholars to include Professor John Meier of Notre Dame give it a thumbs down. See for example, . See:

      ttp://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb056.html Mark 7: 6-7 for a review.

      May 30, 2013 at 9:59 am |
  2. airraistlin@yahoo.com

    America ranks 7 for freedom. No one wants to fight back against the push against us.

    May 30, 2013 at 7:23 am |
    • Chikkipop

      Reading your comment gives me a good idea about what's wrong with America.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:34 am |
  3. Mike

    Wow, the comments about God have been very scary to read. Obviously through the hateful comments about God you are looking for peace that you will never find. That peace only comes from God and knowing Jesus Christ as your Saviour. One day all of you that reject will believe and it will be too late. Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. One day you will believe. Satan has brain washed you and you have fallen into his trap.
    I lay my head down each night in peace that if I did die I would spend an eternity with God. Its sad you cannot sleep with that same peace. I pray God gets a hold of your heart and you change before its too late. Once in hell there is no getting out. Its full of pain suffering and darkness. No one will be partying. No one will be happy. No one will be happy they are there. I thank God every day He showed me the way the truth and the life.

    May 30, 2013 at 7:20 am |
    • Chris

      Bleep blop bloop? Zip zip zangity speed spoot!

      May 30, 2013 at 7:24 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      Please feel free to prove your statements using sources other than a man made bible. Until then, your words are nothing but speculation.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:26 am |
    • sam stone

      Sorry, Mike....true peace comes in knowing you do not need a savior

      May 30, 2013 at 7:30 am |
    • sam stone

      while we are at it, mikey, your empty proxy threats are nonsense.....more christian blather

      May 30, 2013 at 7:32 am |
    • Chikkipop

      Mike,

      I feel sorry for you. It might seem nice to stay childlike, & believe fancy tales about powerful beings and scary places, but growing up and being an adult is a good thing.

      The real world is a fascinating place; come be a part of it!

      May 30, 2013 at 7:32 am |
    • sam stone

      Mike: Your god is a petty, vindictive pr1ck, and you are a snivelling sycophant

      May 30, 2013 at 7:33 am |
    • Lovecrafty

      How can we trust a God that is suppose to give us freewill, but floods and drowns every child on Earth if we don't act the way he wants us too? And how can a non-believer suddenly make themselves believe to save their soul? Just flip a switch and believe in talking serpents, people turning to salt pillars and a pair of 3 Toed Sloth that walked from the Middle East after Noah's Ark set ground after the flood all the way to the South American rainforest at a whopping 6.5 FEET per minute??? And why do we need salvation? From what? Are you saying we are all born going to hell by DEFAULT? This miserable fait awaits us all UNLESS we can get our minds to believe in sky Gods and magic? AND we have freewill but not really...You believers don't even understand how we atheists got that why do you?

      May 30, 2013 at 7:36 am |
    • silvawebdev

      What we really need to say is not "Religion", but the "Conservative Christian Religion" as we cannot fool ourselves as that is the "acceptable" religion we are talking about here. And again we are not talking freedom, but freedom within "Conservative Christian" viewpoints. Let's close businesses on Sunday, pray after dinner and perhaps we should give 10% of the taxes to churches like we used to do in the 1700's... .. of course we would have a problem as with all the stoning of adulterers and unwed mothers we might loose a generation...

      May 30, 2013 at 7:37 am |
    • Austin

      Sam, I experienced supernatural revelation through the word of God. At that point in my life I was clinging to God's word for insight. and His presence was clearly unveiled. This is God we are talking about . Be careful.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:37 am |
    • dvintin69

      no, none of us will believe in the nonsense you call God. Ever. Because we arent idiots. Idiots are people who believe in impossible, irrational nonsense. I believe they are call Christians. But good luck with your religion. Glad its the one thing you have in life. Perhaps you should find something with more substance and something which has an actual basis in reality. Have A Good Day. May Science Bless You With It's Infinite Knowledge. Atheists Lead The Way

      May 30, 2013 at 7:39 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      Austin, you do realize that the word you claim to be the "word of god" is really only the words of mere mortals written over long periods of time, right? You do also understand that those words men wrote were also edited by more men throughout history, right?

      May 30, 2013 at 7:40 am |
    • dvintin69

      MIke, I am guessing you "found God" when you were going through some deep, emotional crisis, correct? Yeah, thats how they get you. They seek out the downtrodden, the uncouth, the people with nothing left to lose. Then they fill their heads with stories of magical people and places who LOVE you and WATCH over you. They tell you to follow God or you will be sorry. They say the Bible is the know all, end all . Mike, I am sure you are probably a nice guy who only wants to feel loved and admired but do you really think believing in a supernatural being is going to give you the peace you so desperately seek? Come on, brother. Free yourself of that archaic train of thought. Leave the cult that is Christianity. ( actually, when you think about it, all religions are basically just a socially acceptable cult). Who wants to be a cultist?

      May 30, 2013 at 7:46 am |
    • richunix

      appeal to ignorance (argumentum ex silentio) appealing to ignorance as evidence for something. (e.g., We have no evidence that God doesn't exist, therefore, he must exist. Or: Because we have no knowledge of alien visitors, that means they do not exist). Ignorance about something says nothing about its existence or non-existence.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "I experienced supernatural revelation through the word of God."

      We've tried over and over and over again to explain this to you Austin...your personal delusions are not evidence for god. How hard is that for you to comprehend? Try opening your mind a little child and educating yourself on that which is backed with evidence opposed to that which isn't.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • dvintin69

      P.S.
      Mike,
      Much like Heaven, Hell does not exist. It is not physically possible. Science has proven it impossible. Science has basis in reality. Christianity is a bunch of garbage. Which should a smart person believe?

      May 30, 2013 at 7:49 am |
    • Austin

      Revelation 19:13 ►
      He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

      John 1:1 ►
      1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcomea it.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:50 am |
    • dvintin69

      Austin,
      Those voices you heard in your head WERE NOT GOD. It's actually a form of mental illness called schizophrenia. Many insane people claim to have spoken to God. Those same people often are admitted into asylums for psychiatric evaluations.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:51 am |
    • dvintin69

      Austin,
      !) Congratulations on being able to use Google and furthermore, congratulations on mastering the art of copy&paste. Your awesome bible quotes gave me a good laugh.
      2) That bible quote is hilarious. I wonder how many times it has been rewritten in the last 2000 years?

      May 30, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      again, and read slowly this time and try to comprehend.

      The words of men are hardly the words of a god or gods.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • Sleeping Beauty

      I sleep with the peace of knowing when I die it will be like having surgery...forever. Explain, Mike, where we go when we get old and Alzheimer's erases our memory and cognitive abilities? Do you not see the bio-mechanical nature of consciousness? Our thoughts, dreams, and memories are all only as good as the nice wet brain they reside in. When that brain starts to decay, so does the consciousness. That memory you have of your dead Grandma..your child...that relationship with your wife..all are subject to deletion. Severe data loss. So unless our consciousness is getting backed-up in some cloud storage server, when the brain dies so do you. If you can rationally explain where my 95-year old Grandmothers memory of me has gone, and why I have to introduce myself to her each time I go see her, then maybe you can begin to explain how our consciousness survives the death of the brain. If you can't, we can never get to the particulars of your religion at all! I have to first believe I can survive death to believe in a God! .

      May 30, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • Austin

      @tp
      i have recorded data as evidence. what do they have in evidence lockers at the city couty building? files? i have files with my dreams written down ahead of what happened. God undoubtedly unveiled His sovereign power to show me that He is alive and that He communicates through the bible. This is a fact. TP> you keep talking about delusions, i have everthing doc.umented to show exactly the opposite of a delusion.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:54 am |
    • sam stone

      "Sam, I experienced supernatural revelation through the word of God"

      Sure you did.

      I did the same through a handful of magic mushrooms.

      "This is God we are talking about . Be careful."

      Wow, a proxy warning. How scary

      you just changed drugs, from booze to jeebus. a drunk is a drunk, is a drunk

      May 30, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • sam stone

      Wow....you got files

      Pretty darn impressive, I tell you

      May 30, 2013 at 7:59 am |
    • sam stone

      If you truly had CONVINCING "evidence" for the existence of the God of Israel, you should bring it forward. What better way to bring people to Jeebus? You would be rich and famous......a gen-you-whine prophet

      May 30, 2013 at 8:02 am |
    • jungleboo

      Austin, from your post, we are left to believe that The Pearly Gates are the actually the entrance to an insane asylum, a heavenly place where all your needs are attended to, you have no responsibilities, and your neighbors are beatifically clueless, just like you. Congrats.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:04 am |
    • sam stone

      "This is a fact."

      Then prove it.

      Until then, you are just delusional

      May 30, 2013 at 8:04 am |
    • Austin

      Jungle boo, I cant lie about what happened. it happened for a reason. and what God did is simply supernaturally radical.

      I understand how you cant grasp what i experienced. but i can plead with you to hear me say, that I was writing my dreams down first, and the Holy Spirit was revealing His majesty through the Bible. I was dreaming about what I was going to read, and other experiences, before they happened, all details pertaining to scripture as reality. This is why there is a God there to do such a thing. He is risen.

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

      Austintatious, putting cat treats out in the middle of a busy road to validate your squished kitty delusion is not what the holy spirit had in mind.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:13 am |
    • Veronica

      Mike, you are oh so wrong. I sleep very well at night, thank you very much. I sleep knowing that I am a good person and I do good on this planet, and when I die, I will go back to nothingness, just like before I was born. And if the only thing that keeps you from being a horrible person is your fear of spending eternity in hell, then you are already a horrible person.

      May 30, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Veronica

      Austin, I had almost the exact same experience as you did! Wow! Except it was 1976 and I had dropped some bad acid. You are either uneducated and dumb, or you are mentally ill. You choose.

      May 30, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  4. lol??

    Flatter the young with degrees of flatulence and they'll follow you anywhere. Blowing in their itching ears is such a sweet wind. Bachelors and Masters of arrogance are quite popular with the spin doctors at the Frankfurt School, giving them out to all the little franks, err weenies.

    May 30, 2013 at 7:19 am |
    • Austin

      uhhhh hu. can I get a weenie?

      May 30, 2013 at 7:38 am |
  5. BaddyLaBooBoo

    On TBN, that lady with the pink hair says Jesus is comin any minute so put on your wig and mascara.

    May 30, 2013 at 7:16 am |
    • Austin

      that is not a wig.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:46 am |
    • Veronica

      There is nothing more amusing than those idiots on TV. The sad part is that they don't believe a word of what they say. They are after your MONEY, folks. Get a clue.

      May 30, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Austin

      doesnt change who Jesus is.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  6. Mark Bernadiner

    Try to ban islam in US to avoid US to be controlled by fascist cult.

    May 30, 2013 at 7:13 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      You want to ban one religion? Ban them all then.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:16 am |
    • Chris

      For the love of crumb cake.....dude. Go back and read what you wrote. It was basically "Let's be fascists so that we don't beoome fascists."

      May 30, 2013 at 7:20 am |
    • sam stone

      sorry, marky-mark, we have freedom of religion in this country. that includes islam. too bad, so sad

      May 30, 2013 at 7:20 am |
    • WASP

      hey mark :" to avoid US to be controlled by fascist cult."

      we are already fighting a fascist cult...............it's called christians.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:27 am |
    • Austin

      The truth is One. I can tell you that God reveals Himself through His word. What God has done can not be undone. Jehovah Shammah, The Lord is There. Religion is an english word. God is not an english word.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • lol??

      Y'all don't understand. Salt is used in the preservation of dead meat.

      "2Pe 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:"

      May 30, 2013 at 7:46 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      " I can tell you that God reveals Himself through His word."

      The bible is not the word of god, its the word of men.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:55 am |
    • Austin

      religion.............no this is what I am right here right now telling you. God supernaturally gave me dreams about scripture that night before i read it the next day. this happened on a consecutive basis over a few months, it happened about 12 times where i would keep reading and come to find out, in the middle of the night i had written a dream down about details that i had no clue about pertaining to the bible. this is the holy spirit's work, a sanctifying spirit that bears the truth of God's word on ones heart.

      God communicated His power through the Bible. Fact.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:06 am |
  7. One one

    Great news. It's about time.

    May 30, 2013 at 7:11 am |
  8. Joel

    Good.

    Religion is holding us back. Ban it all. It is of no use to us. You pass faith based laws that force the rest of the nation to oblige to your dogma without consideration of how that makes the rest of us feel. The next war will be one to take this nation back so we can get on track.

    Screw your gods. Screw your scripture. Screw your holy wars.

    We're fed up with it all.

    This is not a nation founded on God. This is a nation founded on freedom and liberty. Get over it. Move on, or move out.

    May 30, 2013 at 7:09 am |
    • lol??

      Making refugees is held in the highest esteem by socialists.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:22 am |
    • Chris

      Hear, hear!

      May 30, 2013 at 7:22 am |
  9. dvintin69

    Let's say, for argument's sake that God IS REAL. Ok fine, he exists. So then why does he let 20 6 year olds meet untimely deaths via the gun of a mad man? What kind of God stands idly by as little children are murdered in cold blood? Justify your God's actions. Give me a logical reason as to why he let the tragedies in Newtown CT occur. Give me a rational reason why he kills children at all. Nothing? I didn't think so. If there were a God, it would be understandable why everyone would hate him. The "church" that follows him condones molestation and murder of children. Is that really what you want to be associated with? Just saying.

    May 30, 2013 at 7:06 am |
    • richunix

      As long as you say Unicorns are real, then we can “say” for argument sake.

      Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

      May 30, 2013 at 7:10 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      inevitably they'll come back with the free will argument. The only problem with that is that free will only seems to benefit the lawbreakers. The innocent victims of crime have no choice in the matter. Their free will is ignored.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:12 am |
    • One one

      The believers would say its because of free will . But that argument doesn't work for disease or natural, disasters like the Oklahoma tornado that killed innocent children.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:16 am |
    • Simple

      Easy answer to your question. Free will!

      May 30, 2013 at 7:21 am |
    • Austin

      dealing with evil requires the only One who can truly solve the problem of evil, and the glory isn't meant for this earth.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:28 am |
    • Chris

      "Um, hello? It's free will, silly! You see, the pastor, reverend, priest, or compatible religious leader at the church, temple, synagogue, or comparable building which I frequent explained it to me in a way that was easy for me to understand. I am confident that if you stopped thinking about things and simply had it explained to you...like a five-year-old...that you would understand it, too!"

      May 30, 2013 at 7:33 am |
    • Austin

      yall sit here and act like God is responsible for what Satan does? Or someone who is out of tune with spiritual light.?

      and you want free will at the same time to reject God and mock HIm, you excercise your free will and then ponder why God didn't control the masses out of becoming evil? What is God going to do to you? Well He gives you forgiveness and eternal life. That should motivate you to stay centered in His will through His judgments. I doubt you will go to the nearest school with a gun.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:34 am |
    • Simple

      Yes free will for people who decide to kill others not for weather issues. If you decide to live in an area where you may encounter tornado like tornado alley well you decided to live there. Stop worrying about solving issues you cannot solve.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:34 am |
    • sam stone

      simple: free will and an omniscient god are incompatible.

      try again

      May 30, 2013 at 7:35 am |
    • Bob Smith

      Assuming God is real, there is no reason to expect that God would simply control all events on the earth such that nothing bad happens to anyone. Your argument makes no logical sense. None at all. It's just something you've pulled out of your hindquarters and mistakenly thought it is somehow proof of something.

      Heck, your argument would be equally bogus if you made it about parents taking care of their kids. Do good parents never let their kids experience negative consequeses of their actions?

      May 30, 2013 at 7:37 am |
    • sam stone

      austin: you cannot mock a being you do not believe exists.

      have another drink

      May 30, 2013 at 7:37 am |
    • Science

      There is NO horn-y red devil Austin...............never has been one !

      May 30, 2013 at 7:39 am |
    • really??

      your number one mistake is blaming God for all this. This is not his doing. The Bible says God IS LOVE. How could a God of LOVE do this??? He can't he is all perfect.....so the question is what is causing this if not God?

      May 30, 2013 at 7:40 am |
    • Bob Smith

      Free will and being all-knowing are not incompatible. Heck, I can frequently predict the behavior of others. That doesn't mean I'm controlling them, now does it?

      Science tells me how the physical world will behave, allowing me to "predict the future". Does that mean I am controlling the future? Of course not.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:41 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Austin

      The problem with that is your assumption that god will make final judgment. For the sake of argument if God doesn't exist then the only judgment will be what humans decide. So for crimes committed against others we must rely totally on our laws, courts and punishments. In the case of natural disaster the loss of life is not evil. It's merely unfortunate and as a society we need to prepare as best we can for such eventualities. For instance a tiny portion of the extremely bloated defense budget could have been used to make storm shelters for every community in tornado alley.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:41 am |
    • dvintin69

      Oh, Bob Smith..... here comes Bob Smith, the GENIUS who believes in a supernatural being. LOL> Come on, Bobby. I know you don't actually think using a couple big words makes you an expert on religion, do ya? But I guess if it makes you feel better, then whats the harm, right? Keep clinging to those ridiculous beliefs!!! even when every form of science has proven you wrong a thousand times over, there's Ole Bobby Smith, still clinging to his religion and "God" like a scared school girl. There ya go, Bobby! you really showed me up !!! hahahaha you pathetic turd.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      "your number one mistake is blaming God for all this. This is not his doing."

      So for the people of Moore God didn't create the tornado. As it approached the town God didn't alter its course. As it destroyed buildings and set dangerous debris flying everywhere he didn't prevent it from killing 24 people. But for nearly every survivor they thank God for sparing their lives. See the problem here? At nearly every turn God is utterly ineffective at changing anything until the fortunate look back in hindsight.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • dvintin69

      LOL @ THE FREE WILL explanation. If God is so powerful, he should be able to over ride anyones free will. Debate that

      May 30, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • Austin

      steve, interesting . I can agree with you about budget choices. my city spent 200 mil on a new sports arena. and they contract out the business to people on the city council. private people talk the city into taking a 200 mil loan out, then they hire themselves to build.

      on another note, Athiest steve, all im saying is that God is there. I am not lying about the revealing work of the Holy Spirit that I experienced.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:03 am |
    • dvintin69

      Austin,
      Much like God, Satan is NOT REAL. Satan is a scapegoat humans created to blame every time a human being dishes out a dose of evil. "oh, Satan made that boy go into that school and kill all the little kids". Well we aren't buying it. Its a little too convenient of an excuse.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:05 am |
    • Austin

      dvintin69, Satan is undoubtedly real. and demonic oppression is such a thing that has you convinced that it isn't so. . When you start to grasp this and struggle with truth, you will understand more about the curse.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      In a universe without God the problem of evil doesn't exist. Bad people visit harm on unfortunate victims. People die needlessly, whether by acts of violence or natural disaster. Everything makes sense.
      It's only when an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful God is introduced that evil in any form becomes problematic. By any stretch god is allowing evil to exist. The free will argument fails because it only serves the evildoers. The free will of the innocent victims is circumvented.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It is a God of disaster, you should know:

      Isaiah 45:7
      I form the light and create darkness,
      I bring prosperity and create disaster;
      I, the Lord, do all these things.

      Ezekiel: 10
      And they will know that I am the Lord; I did not threaten in vain to bring this calamity on them.

      Micah 2:3
      Therefore, the Lord says: “I am planning disaster against this people, from which you cannot save yourselves. You will no longer walk proudly, for it will be a time of calamity.

      etc.
      etc.

      So people believe it causes these things and are thankful when they are spared. Their beliefs are consistent with what they have learned from their bible.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:25 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Austin

      If Satan is real then God is allowing a supernatural being to mess with humans. Circumventing their free will. How are humans supposed to fight against that? And how can we be held responsible for being manipulated by Satan( A being nearly as powerful as God)?

      May 30, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • Austin

      Good verse Tom Tom. the beauty of this is seen in revelation, how satan calls a multi.tude of followers who he then turns around and persecutes. Satan persecutes the false religion of people.

      God does test His people, and uncomfortable circu.mstances can be seen in Abraham, who was told His people would be in slavery 400 years. trial and tirbulation, pain and suffering, is nothing in light of ETERNAL LIFE. Once you grasp the truth of the resurrection, death , pain , suffering, are trivial. The reality is eternal glory. I don't condone evil. but it will surely come. this is the side to life that encourages you to be a warrior for the procession of the light of TRUTH.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • Austin

      do you see the way Christ Himself suffered? We are called to suffer and imitate Christ and His disciples. We are called to suffering and pain. The strength of evil is so great that spiritual war, and serious willingness to battle and suffer, is exactly the only way and reason we live. we dont live just to survive and waste away. There is no end to life. pain and death are simply momentary and we should learn to shoulder it and let it make us stronger and more willing to offer ourselves as living sacrifices. There is no greater honor than to serve the creator and God, the God of life. You are called to do just that.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:35 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      "Once you grasp the truth of the resurrection, death , pain , suffering, are trivial."

      And this highlights just how evil a belief in the supernatural really is. Death, pain and suffering are not trivial. They are vitally important and we as a race should be working hard to limit and prevent such.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • Austin

      steve, you cant turn my point in to a license to cause pain. I am saying that God allows and sometimes causes pain. Gods judgments are merciful punishments. We should desire God's discipline. We should understand the reason God allows pain. the killer who took the innocent lives , is one example of someone who needs the Holy spirit to over rule, and heal, the evil commands that the sick person is hearing. sometimes people get so far out that they only hear the evil, and this goes for apostate "christians" like hitler. this is the result of the absence of God. Sin leads to death. All pain is a result of sin.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      I meant to say species, not "race" above. And Austin...Jesus suffered only a little compared to the horrible suffering visited on countless humans every day. Torture and sickness suffered by people throughout history make your Jesus incident little more than a bad weekend.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:44 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      No Austin

      I didn't turn your words into a reason to cause pain. I said that viewing pain and suffering as trivial is sickening. From my perspective there is no afterlife so all suffering is unnecessary and if at all possible avoided. You are saying it is both required and unimportant because in comparison to the afterlife it is nothing. That's demented. This is why non-believers label your faith a death cult. You have no regard really for life...only the afterlife.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Austin

      if we could choose perspectives i would side with you Steve. But we are required to assume the pain, because evil is real, reaps havoc, and this is spiritual war. Emotional and physical . We will all die. Isaiah the prophet was sawed into 2 halves. Jeremiah was thrown into the bottom of a cistern. All to God's glory. The disciples were murdered. Christ crucified.

      Jesus Christ was crucified, and is risen .
      God Himself was nailed to a tree. This is the way it's going to go on this earth because Satan is real.

      May 30, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • Austin

      thanks for talking. gotta Go. Have a great day.

      May 30, 2013 at 9:04 am |
  10. Fonz

    This country has been going downhill ever since religion has been put on the back burner.

    May 30, 2013 at 7:02 am |
    • richunix

      Right were it belongs.

      Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

      May 30, 2013 at 7:08 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "This country has been going downhill ever since religion has been put on the back burner."

      To change that around slightly: The country has been going downhill ever since religion has forced its way in to the public square.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:19 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      "This country has been going downhill ever since religion has been put on the back burner."

      Only from your perspective. Certainly if you want a world where everyone is god-fearing like you, then yes it's getting worse. But if you're not then this century has seen a great deal of progress in human rights and liberties. Black equality, women's equality, gay rights, contraception, abortion..etc.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:21 am |
    • Chikkipop

      Well then, let's get it off the burner and toss it out!

      May 30, 2013 at 7:39 am |
    • Austin

      God is not American, Jesus is not a republican or democrat. America and religion don't mix. Life and God do.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:57 am |
  11. Pigs can fly

    Puff the magic dragon lived by the sea, and then he turned into a monkey

    May 30, 2013 at 7:00 am |
  12. Christopher

    I have never been religious, never group up going to churches. Dad didn't care, mom was an atheist.
    I cannot ever covert to a religion, that would be ridiculous because I would never truly believe in it.

    Like all those white females in England converting to Islam, that's laughable, they think covering up in burkas makes them a muslim. I mean seriously, do think they are going to get 72 lesbian virgins or do they want to be one of the virgins for a muslim? I don't know, all I know is, they have no self esteem and they are weak.

    Regardless, history has shown that nations that lose their religion, lose everything as well.

    May 30, 2013 at 6:55 am |
    • salina

      You are right a burkah or a beard will not make a muslim. I don't believe people becoming a muslim even thinks about the virgins in heaven, thats too shallow a reason to be a muslim.that reason is given by people who have very little understanding of islam. Try reading and find out more, not to be a muslim but just to find out about it.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:22 am |
    • kirk

      "Regardless, history has shown that nations that lose their religion, lose everything as well."

      Christopher, please cite what history you are refering to. Seems to me you are confusing losing morals with losing religion. It is NOT the same thing. Transcending religion does not mean to fall into immoral and unethical behavior. It means doing good for the love of humanity, not to please an imaginary "god" or out of fear of punishment from that god. While god and religion becomes irrelevant, doing good becomes even more relevant because it is now done for the right reasons.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:55 am |
  13. dvintin69

    Another thing that irks me about religion: the collection plates they pass around every Sunday. If God is so powerful and omnipotent, why does he need something as petty as money? Why do men build the churches? Shouldn't God, with all his magic and super powers be able to snap his fingers and erect churches in seconds? Why does God feel jealousy and anger, much like a human being? Sounds to me like God is more a product of human imagination . Much like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. The world is so much better off without religion. We are rallying to outlaw religion totally. Join the cause. Help end war, famine and molestation of kids. Help end the church

    May 30, 2013 at 6:53 am |
    • scott

      You know what really irks me about religion is people like you who get so irked about my being religious. Maybe you are so angry against God because he is trying to speak to you but you are too angry or ignorant to listen. Stop worrying about other people having religion as it is not doing anything to you. LET IT GO. Have a nice day. God bless.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:00 am |
    • Scotty

      I couldn't agree more. Man created god(s) in his own image. The moment a person realizes this the whole world suddenly makes sense. It's tough to maintain some days, but I do have hope that the fog of stupidity and ignorance that religion has blanketed this world with will be gone in a few generations. Knowledge and truth is much harder to restrict and control these days.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • 33316

      The Amish do not build churches. They practice religion in their homes and they pay taxes on those homes and farms.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:09 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "Stop worrying about other people having religion as it is not doing anything to you."

      From your previous posts we know you lack knowledge of your own belief. Religion does a lot in this world-oppressing women's rights; oppressing the rights of gays/lesbians; supporting the use of prayer over medical attention; supports child abuse...shall we go on or are you going to admit that your imaginary friend is a vindictive prick that has no place in the real world?

      May 30, 2013 at 7:10 am |
    • dvintin69

      Oh, scotty. Don't be mad I destroyed your warped views and pathetic beliefs. I think you know in your heart God is a joke. But keep preaching nonsense if it makes your tiny brain feel better. I feel for the mentally inferior such as yourself. Have a nice day, Scotty. Keep Believin' !!!! Its working wonders for you.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:13 am |
    • Scotty

      Hey!!! Drop the "y" Ha! 🙂 🙂

      May 30, 2013 at 7:39 am |
    • Bob Smith

      dvintin69, you seem to think very highly of yourself. However, your arguments make no sense at all. And I'm not saying that as someone trying to defend religion. I'm saying it as someone who recognizes c.r.a.p. when he sees it. There is not a lick of logic in what you are saying. You're just making stuff up or parroting what you've heard other people say, and it makes no sense.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • Scotty

      @ dvintin69
      I am sorry people like you with your low IQ and being mentally challenge are having a hard time grapsing the concept of Gods love. But God still loves you, embrace him and he will make you better if you pray for it.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:49 am |
    • Scotty

      How in the heck are there so many Scotts and Scottys on here this morning? One Scott and at least two Scottys. I'm not sure which one I am anymore. Ha! Oh yeah, I'm the one going to Hell.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:59 am |
    • kirk

      "We are rallying to outlaw religion totally. Join the cause."

      Who are "We" and how are we to join to cause? You have provided no information on how to do this.

      May 30, 2013 at 8:01 am |
  14. A frog can turn into a prince

    Richard Dawkins believes that space aliens planted the seeds of life on earth. Lol! U atheists are a joke! U slap a label of science on your fairy tales and call yourselves smarty pants.

    May 30, 2013 at 6:51 am |
    • Kevin

      No he doesn't. Try again.

      May 30, 2013 at 6:54 am |
    • Tanker

      Yes...

      And invisible man in the sky is SO much better an explanation for life on Earth than aliens...

      May 30, 2013 at 6:56 am |
    • jungleboo

      I've read several of his books, including The God Delusion, and I have never encountered your bizarre claim. Source and publication date pls.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:04 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
      ...Stephen F Roberts

      May 30, 2013 at 7:06 am |
    • Seyedibar

      You're an atheist too. Everyone on earth is. There have been over 3700 gods recorded. Chances are you don't believe in 3700 gods, so that makes you by definition an atheist for each of those religions. Perhaps someday you'll apply the same logic to your own belief system that you use to discredit the ones you disbelieve.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:13 am |
    • say what

      Wrong. He said it was a POSSIBILITY, if I remember correctly. You are lying.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:14 am |
  15. dvintin69

    Religion is often used as a guise to hide more malevolent, less noble activities. And yes, its basically a money making scheme. Its also a cover for many, many pedophiles( I believe the religious goons call them "priests".) Anyone who worships a religion which condones and encourages molestation of children should be shot in the face.

    May 30, 2013 at 6:48 am |
    • N2it

      Amen!

      May 30, 2013 at 6:55 am |
    • Scotty

      You must have been an abused child, to have such a cynical view on things. But that is ok, God still loves and forgives you. May you find peace and happiness in god's love.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:40 am |
  16. Kenyon O'Conner

    I had no idea that this country had a religion! Another slow news day CNN?

    May 30, 2013 at 6:43 am |
    • jungleboo

      The lead picture is creepy, at best. The photographer managed to observe the juxtaposition of oxymoronic icons. It might win a prize, because it is a comment on current events in America.

      In the same vein, I saw a disturbing art object in a gallery over the weekend. A full size American flag had been woven in wool (like an oriental rug), and embedded in the weaving was a Middle Eastern overall motif of gold curving lines, like stylized vines. Frightening to see, frightening to think about.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:15 am |
  17. Scotty

    America needs to be more religious. Mississippi, as the most religious state in America, is leading the charge! Low education levels, high poverty and unemployment, high obesity, high teen pregnancy and high infant mortality(mmmm, dead babies! What's not to love about that?) Thank you, Jesus! It's gonna be awesome when the whole country becomes Mississippi!

    May 30, 2013 at 6:41 am |
    • chris

      not gonna lie i laughed harder than i should have at that.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:34 am |
  18. lol??

    It's a fitting place, washington, where the unwashed get washed. Looks like quite a mob of gubmint workers.

    May 30, 2013 at 6:37 am |
    • Science

      lol??.......................EVOLUTION WINS THUMBS UP NO horn-y red devil !

      Apes Get Emotional Over Games of Chance

      May 29, 2013 — Like some humans, chimpanzees and bonobos exhibit emotional responses to outcomes of their decisions by pouting or throwing angry tantrums when a risk-taking strategy fails to pay off, according to research published May 29 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Alexandra Rosati from Yale University and Brian Hare from Duke University.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130529190933.htm

      May 30, 2013 at 6:44 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      change your handle from lol?? to lame??

      May 30, 2013 at 6:44 am |
  19. Renee

    When America believed in God there was more peace in the country, we really need to turn back to God, and quit saying He's a fairy tale, and all that nonsense. God is judging this nation for saying all the sin is now okay, and all the Christian are right wing nuts. When the majority of this nation went to church and taught their kids right from wrong, there were less killing and all this other madness...That's just this Christian woman's opinion.

    May 30, 2013 at 6:36 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "He's a fairy tale, and all that nonsense."

      How exactly do you see it as nonsense? There is no evidence to support your god or any god and until there is, there is no reason to believe it and thus much like Santa, the Easter Bunny, Cinderella; it falls under a similar category of make believe.

      May 30, 2013 at 6:39 am |
    • dvintin69

      Come on , nobody can actually be that dumb. I refuse to believe you are that stupid. You actually believe in that nonsense? LOL. I know the thought of what awaits us after death is terrifying but does it actually make you feel better to think you are going to float up to Heaven when you die? I think the rational part of you knows God is not a real thing. He doesn't judge us because he does not exist. You cannot possibly be that easily mislead. Nobody is that dumb.

      May 30, 2013 at 6:41 am |
    • Sadie Boyd

      The Gallup poll was conducted via telephone from May 2 to May 7. Don't worry...most people have cell phones...they used land lines...and we know only the ungodly have land lines!

      May 30, 2013 at 6:49 am |
    • Scott

      God forgives the nonbelivers, even misguided ones. Stand by your faith Renee, I am by mine.

      May 30, 2013 at 6:49 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      yes, aside from the massacring of the indians, the revolution, the war of 1812, mexican-american war, civil war, spanish-american war, the countless occupations of american neo-colonial forces in native lands around the world, WWI, WWII, koren conflict, vietname war... the list goes on. please do some research before you type.

      May 30, 2013 at 6:50 am |
    • Jody

      Unfortunately, your opinion is wrong. Ridiculously wrong. You clearly put very little thought into your statement. Gun rights advocates will be the first to tell you that the number of mass shootings have not changed over the past 40 years. They were just as bad during the Reagan presidency, where the country was more religious now, as they are now with Obama. You don't get to have your cake and eat it, too, Marie.

      Correlation is not causation. Can you provide any evidence that supports a direct correlation between the influence of religion and how violent this country gets? I'll go ahead and answer for you. No, you cannot, because there is no such evidence.

      I'm glad that your country is dying, and I am happy as hell that mine is on the rise. Bye bye, anachronism...

      May 30, 2013 at 7:02 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "God forgives the nonbelivers, even misguided ones"

      No he doesn't, you lie! Non-belief is the one unforgivable 'sin'.
      Christians think they have the key to all that is good in this world but yet they are the group who have the highest population of prisoners; the highest rate of teenage pregnancy; the highest divorce rate; the greatest amount of blood on their historical hands. They choose to believe in a god that is vindictive and plays heavily on using mass murder; raped a 14 year old (Mary); demands idolization even though it claims this to be a 'sin'.
      You might want to go to godchecker.com to see if you have the right god (not that any of them are anything more than man's use of his/her imagination).

      May 30, 2013 at 7:03 am |
    • Seyedibar

      When America believed in God, you would not have been able to vote or own land. Your religion relegated 50% of our citizenry to household slavery and babymaking. And if you spoke up about it, you may have been hung as a witch.

      May 30, 2013 at 7:16 am |
    • WASP

      @renee:"...That's just this Christian woman's opinion"

      then be a good little christian woman and follow what your bible saids.

      "timothy2:11Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
      2:12But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13For Adam was first formed, then Eve."

      so shut up and get back in the kitchen. XD

      May 30, 2013 at 7:39 am |
  20. OCCUPY WALLSTREET FOR CONGRESS

    I could care less about religion.

    But I must admit.

    Religion brought discipline and gave people goals in life. It kinda built a work ethic of sorts.

    Things lacking in modern society.

    May 30, 2013 at 6:31 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      religion brought discipline
      - wrong. laws brought discipline - religion brought blind obedience

      religion gave goals in life
      - wrong. people had goals long before religion. religion gave goals that took away from life and made people focus on the afterlife (which doesn't exist). you can have goals without religion.

      religion built a work of ethics of sorts
      - wrong. ethics existed long before religion. it was never legal in any town to walk up and kill someone because you felt like it. don't give credit where it's not due. you don't need religion to have ethics. in fact, religion can make you have a twisted sense of what is ethical - like killing g.ays, as the bible commands.

      if you think discipline, goals and ethics don't exist in modern society, you haven't checked the statistics. violence is lower than it has ever been through history. slavery is now illegal in every country in the world - it used to be legal in every country in the world. bill gates foundation is about to wipe out polio world-wide. btw, atheists have a much lower crime/incarceration rate than christians, who you seem to think are so ethical. in biblical days, it was okay to beat your wife - modern society calls that domestic abuse. there are endless examples of the discipline, goals and ethics in modern society if you open your eyes.

      May 30, 2013 at 6:43 am |
    • Kenyon O'Conner

      I may be wrong but don't you mean that you couldn't care less.

      May 30, 2013 at 6:47 am |
    • Tanker

      I think you are touching on the truth.

      Religion was never about a diety, it was about social control.

      May 30, 2013 at 6:58 am |
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About this blog

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