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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. TheRationale

    America being less religious is a good thing. Unfortunately, reality TV and social media culture seems to be filling the place of prime brain function inhibitor all too well. All those hopeful physicists who thought we could move on to big wonderful things after we ditched religion must be ripping their hair out.

    May 30, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      John Raulston Saul, a Canadian philosopher, wrote a wonderful book called "Voltaire's Basta/ards – The Dictatorship of Reason in the West" that nicely explains the mechanisms of modern hero/image worship.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • 54StaryNights

      Good comment. I think the dumbing down and over commercialization of America has more to do with most of our problems than any religious shift.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Saraswati

      With the exception of a temporary IQ boost during a nations development (Flynn effect), people are not really getting as much smarter as each generation would like to believe. More students go to college now, so some basic information is better shared, but students at all levels also study far less and know less than they did in the 1970s. Intellectual laziness is ignored by younger generations that, like their parents before them, want to believe they are superior and have unique new insights. Sure there are advances, but at best it is 3 steps forward, 2 steps back...and that is the most generously optimistic scenario.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Sara, would you care to speculate on the long term effects of a decline in intellect as it intersects the decline in religious values?

      May 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Bill, it's not an overall decline of intellect since we have more people studying at each level and actually see an increase since the early 20th century in both IQ and general knowledge. What we do have, however, is a decrease at each academic level on average and a flattening of general knowledge. We do see an increase in critical writing skills, however, likely thanks in large part to word processors, so that is a plus that would increase rational thought capabilities. We're looking at some pretty complex data here and I think the most we can say is that increases in certain very specific areas of knowledge in biology, physics and psychology have led to a decrease in the power of Christianity, but that has also been replaced by a weakening in some populations (such as all college graduates) of knowledge in other broader categories such as history or mathematics (the only general intelligence area to drop, likely in relation to the rise of the calculator).

      May 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Revelation 21:8

      Amen.

      May 30, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
  2. Dyslexic doG

    @PureReligion and others who keep posting nothing but Bible quotes.

    Please help a very confused person (me) with answers to these questions:
    – How do Christians know which passages of the Bible need to be obeyed and which can be ignored?
    – What is the % of the Bible that must be obeyed and what % can be ignored?
    – Who decides which parts that once were true and the word of God, are now no longer true and no longer the word of God?

    It has to be all or nothing doesn't it? Either obey every line of the bible as God's word, or else admit that some lines can be ignored, and then the entire book is of dubious value.

    Given that most Christians are quite happy to explain away vast sections of the Bible as "no longer relevant" or "no longer applicable", how does the whole house of cards remain standing?

    May 30, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Vic

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/comment-page-87/#comment-2329514

      May 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The bits about unicorns, half man half goat beasts, flaming snakes, seven headed dragons, rocks that scream if you can't praise Jesus, talking snakes, donkeys and flaming foliage are all obviously 100% factual and must be taken literally.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Pure-Religion

      2 Timothy 3:16 – 17

      May 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • stevemanthei

      None of the Bible is ignored and all is the word of God. Jesus Christs is the one who taught us the new while of his Father and taught from the old testament to bring us the new. Some teachings are the same but many are very different. If you are still worshiping the ways of the old, one might call that Judaism what makes us Christian is the word of Jesus.

      As a Christian, the teachings of Christ is all or nothing, yes. The word of Christ who is the Trinity is God, Man and Son. So no we don't sacrifice and slaughter calves anymore as they did in the old testament but we do hold to the will of God through Jesus. The Church and the Pope make certain that they ways are protected.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • stevemanthei

      Sorry Trinity Father Son and Holy spirit.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Colin

      Pure Religion – if you are going to keep citing to Pauline Epistles, you might at least like to stop citing those that are now almost universally accepted as forgeries......

      May 30, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Tim

      The whole thing is relevant, but Jesus was the only person who ever managed to follow every rule, which is why he was the perfect sacrifice. In order for us to become 'perfect' we have to let Jesus take on our sins so we have none.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      DD, presuming your question is not facetious, maybe this will help. I think you make an error when you read the Bible as a step by step manual. There is no "in situation A, perform function B" cross reference. The people who have the most success utilizing the Bible treat it as a comprehensive guide to pray and meditation or a kind of interpersonal dialogue between them and God. The best instructions go something like this "Open your mind and heart in prayer to God. Ask Him to show you what you need to know. Read the Scripture and place yourself within the context of the dialogue. Compare what you perceive with a trusted adviser, counselor, spiritual director. Repeat on a regular basis."

      May 30, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Colin

      stevenmanthi, you said "None of the Bible is ignored and all is the word of God." You understand that the Bible mandates the death penalty for:

      Working on the Sabbath or any other holy day
      Blasphemy
      The worship of other gods
      Enticing intimates to worship other gods
      Being a stubborn and rebellious son
      Adultery
      $ex with an engaged virgin
      Striking one’s father or mother
      Cursing or saying cruel things to one’s father or mother
      Practicing as a medium or a fortune-teller

      May 30, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      "The Church and the Pope make certain that they ways are protected."

      Which would mean they are consistant and never changing, right? And every Pope was hand picked by God so is as they teach, infallibile when it comes to Church doctrine? Have you ever read the history of the Popes? From your comments I take it you have not, but you might want to do a little research before spouting off nonsense.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • ChrisA

      @Dyslexic doG
      These are good questions. I'll just answer all of them together since they each relate.

      I think a lot of christians make the mistake of saying that the old testament is no longer relevant. That's a bit misleading. What they mean is that the "laws" in the old testament are no longer applicable.

      Paul said that:
      "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" 2 Timothy 3:16

      This means that all scripture is relevant for something and shouldn't be discarded. It's through the old testament that we can affirm who Jesus is. Without it, he wouldn't have a solid basis for all the claims that he made.

      Jesus also said:

      "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." Mathew 5:17

      This means that when Jesus died he fulfilled the law. Because the law is impossible for a man to keep. Everyone's sinned, so everyone's broken it at some point in their life. Jesus was the only person who lived a sinless life. After his resurrection, we entered into a new covenant which you can read all about in the New Testament.

      The 613 laws that where given to Moses are not binding to us. They where for the Israelites at that time. But we are still to keep the law in our spirit. What does that mean? it means that I don't have to be stoned for believing in other God's but it's still sin, the same with murdering, lying, and hating someone.

      So to answer your question, everything in the Bible is relevant and the new testament is applicable. But don't take my word for it, read for yourself. And there's plenty of scholars that could answer this question far better than I did.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @ChrisA

      But how could a perfect and infallible God have said/written things that would no longer be 100% applicable at any time in the future?

      May 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Colin

      ChrisA – you said "Paul said that:
      "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" 2 Timothy 3:16

      Well, actually, he didn't. Second Timothy is widely acknowledged as a forgery under Paul's name. It is one of the three Pastoral Epistles. Why do you think an omniscient God allowed fored material into his book?

      May 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "None of the Bible is ignored and all is the word of God."

      So how many slaves do you own? How often do you beat your children? If your daughter is raped, are you going to make her marry her rapist? Do you ever work on Sunday? Does your wife speak in church?

      May 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Science

      Dyslexic doG ...............from another thread ..........To funny.

      Hey.........Sara

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

      Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

      By Dan Merica, CNN

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

      PS Do a simple search for Prof. Higgs.............the church hates that = True Comedy Gold !

      May 28, 2013 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |

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

      May 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Alias

      @ChrisA
      So what about the things in the bible that are just wrong?
      i.e. a flat earth?

      May 30, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Mike

      Nowhere does the Bible indicate that the Earth is flat. It states the Earth is round, which is a fact already known to people in ancient times.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      @Mike – the hebrew word used for "circle" was "chugh" which was a literal tool used by the ancient hebrews, and we know of it today as a drafting compass. This was a tool for drawing flat circles. There is nothing spherical in the context what so ever. Many of the ancient maps were drawn from a circular perspective since standing on a mountain top that is the horizon perspective any ancient herdman would have had. This can also be a descriptive for most Christian logic which is also circular.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • ChrisA

      @Dyslexic doG
      "But how could a perfect and infallible God have said/written things that would no longer be 100% applicable at any time in the future?"

      "For I am the Lord, I change not;" Malachi 3:6
      God doesn't change, people do. This means that God makes laws to fit people of the time and place. Israel was a young nation at the time, and they needed strict laws to govern them. Without the law there would have just been chaos. As they evolved, God didn't change the spiritual nature of the law but the details.

      Think about it like this. If your a father, and you have a 5 year old son. You give him strict rules that he has to abide by. As he gets older you start to loose the restrictions, but you hope that he will continue to obey the principles that you instilled in him. That's what laws and rules are meant for. There meant to teach you that there's consequences for your actions and that there's a right and wrong way to live.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Mike, Take a look at Daniel 4:10-11 and you'll see that's not possible on a sphere, so the bible implies it is flat.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
  3. Pure-Religion

    John 14: 6

    John 15: 1 – 8

    John 15: 18 – 25

    John 15: 11 – 17

    May 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      please answer my question (above)

      May 30, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • To the word

      👏
      👏 👏
      👏 👏 👏

      May 30, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • The Way is My Name.

      Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

      I AM THE WORD
      In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

      Revelation 19:13 ►

      He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Reality

      "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther once "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      May 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Reality

      John 1:1- only appears in this passage making it a single attestation and therefor by rigorous modern historic testing is historically nil. Most contemporary historic Jesus and NT exegetes have concluded that the passage is simply more embellishment by the "great embellisher" John (who btw was not the Apostle John)- See Father Raymond Brown's epic 800+ page book, An Introduction to the New Testament for added information.

      Actually, all of John's Gospel is of questionable historic value.

      To wit:

      From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

      "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......

      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

      "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

      "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,
      "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

      See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html

      May 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Mike

      Why would God allow the Bible to be published in its current form if the content were inaccurate or misleading? Can you point to any scholors who can answer that?

      May 30, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • ChrisA

      @Dyslexic doG

      I tried to answer your question as simply as I could above.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Reality

      Why would your god allow the following:

      Number of god's creations who died horrible deaths from the following diseases:

      1. 300,000,000 approx.
      Smallpox

      2. 200,000,000 ?
      Measles

      3. 100,000,000 approx.
      Black Death

      4. 80,000,000–250,000,000
      Malaria

      5. 50,000,000–100,000,000
      Spanish Flu

      6. 40,000,000–100,000,000
      Plague of Justinian

      7. 40,000,000–100,000,000
      Tuberculosis

      8. 30,000,000[13]
      AIDS pandemic

      9. 12,000,000 ?
      Third Pandemic of Bubonic Plague

      10. 5,000,000
      Antonine Plague

      11. 4,000,000
      Asian Flu

      12. 250,000 or more annually Seasonal influenza

      May 30, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
  4. Pure-Religion

    Hebrews 9: 24 – 28

    Genesis 2: 15 – 17, Genesis 3: 1 – 24

    Revelation 22: 1 – 5

    May 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Leviticus 19:27
      Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • To the word

      🙌

      May 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I believe in the infallible, unchaing Word of God so much that I got the words of Leviticus 19:28 tattooed on my left a.ss cheek.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • OMG

      @ Leviticus 19:27

      – But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. (Galatians 5:18)

      May 30, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
  5. lol??

    The Beast has the best religion an atheist can buy.

    May 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Huebert

      Will The Beast give me a Library? He gave one to Belle.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Alias

      @heubert
      You are not thinking this through.
      Do you really want the same relationship with Beast that Belle had?

      May 30, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  6. Rick James

    If I were to pick a God to worship, I'd pick Thor. He has a hammer...and his own day of the week!

    May 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Given that He was a carpenter by trade, I'd bet that Jesus had a hammer too.
      And if He had a hammer, He would hammer in the morning. He would hammer in the evening. All over this land.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      I'd pick Saturn – not only does he have a weekend day, but the coolest planet, and a car company.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      his car company has gone away ...

      May 30, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • I AM A MAGICAL UNICORN

      Saturn went out of business.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Huebert

      Odin, originally pronounced Wodin, and Frigga Also have their own day's of the week.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • OMG

      Doc – add that hammer thing to your list of far-fetched similarities of Jesus Christ to other ancient myths.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Rick James

      All these day named after other gods, "God" must not be happy

      May 30, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      As do Woden, Freya, Saturn and Tyr

      May 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  7. Pure-Religion

    Revelation 19: 11 – 16

    Revelation 20: 11 – 14

    Revelation 22: 12 – 13

    Genesis 1: 1

    Revelation 21: 1 – 8

    May 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      look ... we can all quote a story book:

      Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.
      – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Alkaban

      I'm not sure what quoting a story book proves but hey, I thought I'd join in. 🙂

      May 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Job 24:13

      They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof.

      Amen.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Athy

      Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog it's too dark to read.

      Groucho Marx.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  8. Rick James

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God?

    -Epicurus 343-270 BCE

    May 30, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • lol??

      "Gen 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart [is] evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done."

      May 30, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
  9. Science

    WASP...............what the hell did you do the nest is a BUZZ !

    Peace

    May 30, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  10. Right perspective

    Also, CNN, change the picture. Those people are 'nothing god' believers, they are typically confused and ask a lot of questions because their nothing god never tells them any answers for how the universe formed, or life, or species, and evolution going backwards and forwards, leaves them sea sick and throwing up all over the blog sites.

    May 30, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Once again the moron-decoder-ring is needed!

      May 30, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Well, as long as we're going to make stupid generalizations...

      – Christians do not have any morality, are heartless, soulless and cold, but think they can excuse all of the abortions they get and the children they molest by asking Jesus to forgive them.
      – Christians grew up in a bad families, without fathers, and their mothers were whores who had multiple kids by different fathers..
      – Christians brought on the French Revolution, by bankrupting their country with palaces and funding foreign powers in wars. (Sound familiar??)
      – Communism – failed economic system brought on by the evil influences of religion in politics.
      – Christians cannot prove God does not exist and how Earth was created, instead relying on an ambiguous book anonymously written.
      – All atheists contribute to charitable causes, unlike Christians, because Christians believe that people deserve whatever happens to them as some sort of "Divine" punishment.
      – Atheism makes people fight injustices such as overthrowing mass murder leaders like Stalin, Mao, Pot, and Mussolini, yet all Christians agreed with Hitler and helped murder 12 million innocent Jews and other civilians.
      – Christians are mentally ill, that’s why they have faith and belief in a non-existent deity.
      – Countries with highest rate of atheism = highest standard of living (Nordic nations).
      – Christian nation with the highest murder rate: the US. Christians couldn't care less about the "Thou Shall Not Kill" Commandment.
      – Christians tries to convert (young) people into their evil belief over the internet.
      – Christians don't believe in evolution, and yet to act like animals.
      -Christians abort their fetuses at a MUCH higher rate than any other religion/atheists (83% Christian/17% everyone else COMBINED)
      – Christians do not believe in medicine and will let their kids die rather than get them the medical help they need.
      – Christians bash people who don't believe as they do based on Jewish scriptures (Old Testament/Torah) and organize religion to make it easier to bash others, and tend to forget how they are supposed to embody Jesus Christ, who they profess to love and emulate.
      – Christians hate atheists because they do not believe in Jesus Christ; therefore Christians must hate their neighbor and enemy.
      – Christians rape more children than any other other group COMBINES.
      – Christians commit more frauds, more robberies, more CRIME than any other group COMBINED.

      -And did I mention that Christians kill more fetuses?

      May 30, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  11. Dyslexic doG

    Yesterday morning there was a knock at my door. A pleasant and enthusiastic young couple were there.

    John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."

    Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"

    John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"

    John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."

    Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."

    Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"

    Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."

    John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"

    Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."

    Me: "And has He given you a million dollars?"

    John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."

    Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"

    Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and He kicks the guts out of you."

    Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"

    John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."

    Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"

    John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."

    Me: "So what makes you think He'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"

    Mary: "Well, maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street."

    Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?"

    John: "In this town, Hank is the same as good luck. All good things are attributed to Hank'"

    Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."

    John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him..."

    Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."

    Me: "Then how do you kiss His ass?"

    John: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."

    Me: "Who's Karl?"

    Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."

    Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?"

    John: "Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."

    From the Desk of Karl
    1. Kiss Hank's ass and He'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
    2. Use alcohol in moderation.
    3. Kick the guts out of people who aren't like you.
    4. Eat right.
    5. Hank dictated this list Himself.
    6. The moon is made of green cheese.
    7. Everything Hank says is right.
    8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
    9. Don't use alcohol.
    10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
    11. Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the guts out of you.

    Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."

    Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."

    Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting."

    John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."

    Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"

    Mary: "Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people."

    Me: "I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the guts out of people just because they're different?"

    Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."

    Me: "How do you figure that?"

    Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"

    Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."

    John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."

    Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."

    John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."

    Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."

    Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."

    Me: "I'm not really an expert, but not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it plausible that it might be made of cheese."

    John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists don’t know everything, but we know Hank is always right!"

    Me: "We do?"

    Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."

    Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because He says He's right.'"

    John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."

    Me: "But...oh, never mind.

    from Jhuger.com

    May 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      That's a goodie.

      First rule of kissing Hank's ass...don't talk about not kissing Hank's ass...

      May 30, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Athy

      Oh, my Hank. That's a good story.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
  12. CommonSensed

    That's me in the corner...

    May 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
  13. Pigs can fly

    I think Mother Nature waved her magic wand over a frog and it tuned into a prince. I think we should look at Darwin as a saint/prophet and do as our cult leader richard Dawkins tells us

    May 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
  14. Right perspective

    That is a thrill to me that 75% of the population wants more belief in God. I could not agree more. Also, thank you Jesus for dying for our sins and raising up again the 3rd day. You are wonderful, the best, the rest of the crew too!

    May 30, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • ME II

      @Right perspective,
      "That is a thrill to me that 75% of the population wants more belief in God. I could not agree more."

      That's right! More belief in Odin would be much better!

      May 30, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Huebert

      And thank you Santa Clause for my new Lego set. And thank you Easter Bunny for all this nice chocolate. And thank you Lady of the Lake for Excalibur.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "Jesus for dying for our sins and raising up again the 3rd day"

      Why would someone die for the mistakes of people who weren't even born yet?? Does that not sound the slightest bit idiot to you?? And where else is there history of someone coming back from the dead after 3 days? Given that there is no other history of this happening, why the hell would you believe your Zombie friend did so?

      May 30, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Prevail. God created us. He made us for His pleasure, wishing that no one should perish.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      HS: You old hag, you know you're lying. Get back on the meds.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Huebert

      @HS

      "Wishing that none should parish"

      Well then your god certainly screwed up.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • I think...

      ...you misnamed yourself.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
  15. Prophet

    We as a nation have turned our backs on God and we are reaping His judgment. God has removed his hand of protecting from our country and is allowing the enemy to attack and win the battle over us. New International Version (©2011)
    The LORD Almighty has sworn by himself: I will surely fill you with troops, as with a swarm of locusts, and they will shout in triumph over you. We are going to be attacked SOON with enemies as numerous as locust. They will be beheading and killing men, women and children in our streets, towns and cities. They will be attacking with Mumbai style attacks in many cities at one time. I pray that in His judgment He will remember mercy.

    May 30, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Athy

      Wow! I'm quaking in my boots! What a load of bullshit.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • pjones006

      What book did you read that in?

      May 30, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • I AM A MAGICAL UNICORN

      You are incorrect. Life is good.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      @Profit

      Care to set a date for these predictions ... and perhaps a friendly wager?

      May 30, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Prophet

      @ My Dog is a jealous Dog...... these next four years.

      May 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  16. happy

    Losing religion? Good.

    We need more spirituality and less control based religion.

    May 30, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Huebert

      We need more rationality* and less control based religion.

      There I fixed that for you.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • YOGI

      Absolutely, Jesus Christ had a problem with religion and he rebuked the pharisees and sadducees for burdening the people, , Jesus came to earth to save us from our sins which the LAW could never do, and to end the old covenant, and the requirements of the law. Freedom is in Jesus Christ ALONE, FORGET RELIGION. RELIGION drives people away from the Saviour. CHRIST ALONE, CORNERSTONE, you don't need anything else, he is everything.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
  17. leilanihaywood

    Reblogged this on Keeping It Real from Leilani Haywood.

    May 30, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Huebert

      No one reads your blog.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
  18. Pure-Religion

    Galatians 3:26 through Galatians 4:7

    May 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.
      – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Alkaban

      I'm not sure what quoting a story book proves but hey, I thought I'd join in. 🙂

      May 30, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Dyin' is not much of a living boy"

      -Josie Wales

      May 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Fellowship of the Rings: pages 360-363

      May 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  19. Farooq The Great

    My community is loaded with people of faith. What a BS article.

    May 30, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • SaneGOP

      So your anecdotal evidence about the community you live in trumps the statistical mathematics that Gallup employs to determine results?

      May 30, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      yes, people of faith like to stick together. Home school their kids. Listen to religious radio and TV. Read religious books.

      They don't like it out in the real world. Too many facts. Too much reality.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      dog, too much evil by the ego of man.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  20. Reality

    "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, #6 (see also pp. 1, 9, 37, 46, 50 and 53)

    Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    earlychristianwritings.com/

    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    May 30, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Reality, Jesus warns us of this evil many times in the Bible. You'd heed His warnings if you read the Bible.

      May 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
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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.