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Church without God - by design
Members of an atheist congregation at Harvard listen to music during a recent gathering.
June 22nd, 2013
11:25 AM ET

Church without God - by design

By Dan Merica, CNN

Boston (CNN)-– It’s Sunday in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a rapt congregation listens to a chaplain preach about the importance of building a community.

A few dozen people sit quietly for the hourlong service. Music is played, announcements are made and scholars wax poetic about the importance of compassion and community.

Outsiders could be forgiven for believing this service, with its homilies, its passing of the plate, its uplifting songs, belongs in a church.

If so, it’s a church without one big player: God.

Sunday’s congregation in Cambridge is a meeting of the Humanist Community at Harvard University and the brainchild of Greg Epstein, the school’s Humanist chaplain.

A longtime advocate for community building, Epstein and his group of atheists have begun to build their Cambridge community and solemnize its Sunday meetings to resemble a traditional religious service.

To Epstein, religion is not all bad, and there is no reason to reject its helpful aspects.

“My point to my fellow atheists is, why do we need to paint things with such a broad brush? We can learn from the positive while learning how to get rid of the negative," he said.

Godless congregations

For Epstein, who started community-building at Harvard nearly 10 years ago, the idea of a godless congregation is not an oxymoron.

“We decided recently that we want to use the word congregation more and more often because that is a word that strongly evokes a certain kind of community - a really close knit, strong community that can make strong change happen in the world,” he said.

“It doesn’t require and it doesn't even imply a specific set of beliefs about anything.”

Epstein is not alone in his endeavor. Jerry DeWitt, who became an atheist and left his job as an evangelical minister, is using his pastoral experience to building an atheist church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

This Sunday, DeWitt's congregation will hold its first meeting as a "Community Mission Chapel."

"When you become a part of this congregation, this community, you are going to become part of a family," DeWitt told CNN. "There is an infrastructure there for you to land in. There is going to be someone there to do weddings and to do, unfortunately, the funerals."

READ MORE: Unbelieving preachers get help to 'come out' as open atheists

Sunday school for atheists

As members of the Cambridge congregation file into a wood-paneled classroom at Harvard, singer Shelley Segal greets them with a few songs from her latest recording, called simply, “An Atheist Album.”

Taking a hint from the theme of the event, Segal strums on her guitar and belts her song, “Gratitude.”

“I don't believe in a great power to say thank you to,” Segal sings. “But that won’t take away from my gratitude.”

Harvard's humanist chaplain Greg Epstein leads an atheist gathering.

After the music, Epstein offers a few words of greeting before the meeting gets to its heart: a discussion about compassion.

A four academics and a journalist discuss the effects of religion on raising children and their ideas about compassion. Congregants listen intently, some even taking notes.

Each service has a message – compassion, evolution or acceptance - after which congregants engage in a lengthy discussion.

Before the main event, kids are invited to what some parents refer to as “Sunday school,” where Tony Debono, a biologist Massachusetts Institute of Technology, teaches the youngsters about evolution, DNA and cells.

There's little talk about organized religion, positive or negative.

Likewise, down in Louisiana, said his atheist services will not be anti-religion.

"What we are looking at doing is different," DeWitt said. "If you are a religionist and you come and sit in our pew, the only way you can leave offended is because of what you don’t hear and what you don’t see. We won’t be there to make a stance against religion or against God."

Coming out of the closet

In the last few years, the number of “nones” – those who don’t associate with any organized religion – has grown at a rate faster than any other group. Nones now represent one in five Americans, according to a 2012 Pew Research Center poll.

Although the number of atheists has grown, too, there are still a large number of “nones” that choose not to associate with the label “atheist.”

Some at Harvard’s Humanist congregation fall into this category.

“I don’t particularly have a religion,” said Anil Nyer, a neurologist who brought his daughter to Humanist Sunday school. But Nyer also said he didn’t want to label himself as an atheist.

One reason to shy away from the atheist label: Many Americans hold a negative impression of nonbelievers.

According to a recent Public Religion Research Institute poll, nearly 40 percent of Americans believe that atheists are changing American culture for the worse.

“Whenever we put atheists on a list like this and we compare them to other groups, atheists tend to come in towards the bottom of that list,” said Robert P. Jones is the CEO of Public Religion Research Institute.

“Americans tend to hold a lot of reservations about atheists.”

Epstein hopes his congregation can change that.

By formalizing meetings and building a strong community, the Harvard group hopes it can be a model for other atheist congregations forming around the country.

A group meets during an atheist gathering in Boston.

More atheists may come of the closet if they know a congregation will be there to support them, Epstein said,

“Being an atheist is something we want people to come out and be,” said the Humanist chaplain. “There are so many people, probably millions, who are humanists or atheists or nonreligious in private and nobody knows."

Epstein said he gets e-mails daily from people founding atheist meet-up groups.

“Tulsa, Oklahoma; North Carolina; London; Vancouver, Canada; Houston, Texas,” Epstein said, listing the sources of the most recent e-mails.

“One part of what we are saying is come on out and let your neighbors know” about your disbelief, he said. “It is not going to make you worse of a person, it is going to make you a better person to be more open about who you are.”

Rituals for the irreligious

For the last few years, the Humanist Community at Harvard has operated out of a small three-floor walk-up off the bustling streets of Harvard Square. The walls are littered with posters about atheism – tributes to famed atheists Eddie Izzard, Seth MacFarlane and Stephen Fry.

Because of the scattered furniture and the Harvard dorm feel, Epstein jokingly describes the space as “college broke chic.” That’s being generous – but it's also about to change.

Starting in the fall, the Humanist Community at Harvard will begin meeting in a nearly 3,000-square-foot community center with an event space for nearly 100 people.

Although the plan is to use the space at the group’s headquarters, it will also serve as a broader community center for the group that Epstein and others are trying to build in the Boston area.

“What we really would like to see is a community center where people can come by at anytime and to use it as a space to study or have a meeting for various committee,” said Chris Stedman, the assistant humanist chaplain at Harvard.

Stedman said he sees the new building as a place for people to gather, not only to become part of a humanist community, but to also become more engaged with the world.

When he talks about his plans for the future, Epstein appears to long for a time when the new community center could mimic aspects of church - a place for baby-naming ceremonies, weddings and funerals.

The success of an atheist church will depend on walking the thin line between too much and too little ritual, Epstein said.

Humanists boast a proud freethinking streak, and some at the Harvard event said they don’t want to be associated with any sort of dogma or belief system - or even a system based on disbelief.

Anyway, Esptein said his congregation will be less a group of people united by beliefs - or disbelief - and more like an opera, or a painting.

“Our community is like a work of art," he said. "Hopefully people will respond to that work of art and it will garner controversy and discussion like a work of art."

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church • Houses of worship • United States

soundoff (6,897 Responses)
  1. children of Israel

    The most high God gave his people the book of Judges, to judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28) *Deuteronomy 33:21*

    June 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Deuteronomy is a great reference for morality.

      "When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your hand, so that you take captives, if you see a comely woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house. But before she may live there, she must shave her head and pare her nails and lay aside her captive's garb."
      – Deuteronomy 21:10

      " If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife."
      – Deuteronomy 22:23

      June 24, 2013 at 9:52 am |
  2. Secular Humanist from Ohio

    I don't see that atheist is more negative than afairyist.

    June 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Colin

      Right a fairy or qu eer is as negative as an atheist and represents the same low percentage of the human population.

      June 22, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Wow, you've added qu eer to your vocabulary. And they say some people can't learn.

      June 22, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Athy

      I'm sure Colin can learn, it just takes him a little longer than other folks.

      June 22, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Tbay

      what a negative thing to say

      June 24, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  3. lol??

    They'd solve HALF their problems by tellin' the woemen to ask their hubbies the questions at home. Then it would be clearer where the commiie leaders are leadin'. Bloom and the Frankfurt School----NO ESCAPE!!!!!!

    BBbbbbwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahaha

    June 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  4. children of Israel

    Psalm 108:8 Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver; *Genesis 37:26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? *Genesis 27:41 then will I slay my brother Jacob. (Romans 9:13-14)

    June 22, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      From hindu corrupted Torah, called Greek Torah, reject of son of blessed Mary, Easu, anointed one, corrupted to justify hinduism, racism, by hindus racist by faith of hindu pagan Egypt to justify hindu Mithra ism, pagan savior ism, labeled as Christianity, savior ism to hind fool humanity in to hindu Judaism, racist secular ism of hindu, dark ages. A hind, crime against humanity and truth absolute GOD, foundation of America.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  5. Colin

    Ever noticed how ugly of soul translates into ugly of countenance. The photo close up represents the entire gathering, only a handful but off the norm enough to warrant a story?

    June 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Perhaps you should reflect on the ugliness of your own nature, Colin, before judging the physical appearances of others.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Colin

      One picture, particularly the one at the top of this story is worth a thousand words. No personal reflection needed, I've got eyes.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • R U Serious

      Colin,

      - I guess you have never taken a gander at Mother Teresa, then, huh?

      - Tallulah is not 'foreign' – her real name is probably quite American, it that's your goofy beef.

      - I guess you should go back to Ireland, eh?

      June 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • R U Serious

      *if* that's your goofy beef.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      @Colin

      I don't understand what you are trying to say in your root post, and I don't understand why you are upset at Talluah. Explanations?

      June 22, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Colin

      Mother Teresa has an inner warmth and beauty that leaves those sk ank atheists looking like plague victims. Do note there is an overabundance of Colins. As previously noted there is more than one Colin in this world.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Colin

      Not upset what would give you that impression. Is common observation lost on you?

      June 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      @Colin

      What? Do you ever make any sense?

      June 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Colin

      normal people understand the correlation between a dead soul and an ugly face, sorry it is a mystery to you. i guess that's why you are only a corporal.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I suspect Colin is a troll. The only person he makes look bad is himself.

      June 22, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • 90210

      Why do those ladies look so forlorn in that picture. Almost as if they have lost all hope. Sad.

      June 22, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      @Colin

      "Not upset what would give you that impression." The "fvck off tallulah13 you foreign pos" posted 4 times was my observation.

      June 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Colin

      There are a lot of different Colins on this thread. Sop for atheists on these blogs.

      June 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Dunno. The people in the photo look like normal people in a normal photo. I don't see anyone particularly sad or happy, but there are several smiling faces or interested looks-about what I would expect. Even if they did all look "sad," it wouldn't mean anything, would it?

      June 22, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • tallulah13

      90210: It appears to me that these women are actually listening to what is being said and giving it the appropriate consideration. Not sad or hopeless at all. There is a lot of joy to be found in thinking and forming opinions, but it's not the sort of mindless joy people get from being told what they want to hear.

      June 22, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It's actually fairly easy to tell the "Colin"s apart. The one who has been posting here for a long time is well-spoken and intelligent. The one who started this little thread demonstrates neither of those qualities.

      June 22, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
  6. STFU

    Churches are without God is true for last 2000 years.

    June 22, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  7. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    This seems OK, as long as we aren't guaranteed an eternal reward or threatened with eternal punishment. No "love" offerings either, right? Still, I worry. There's still a person who stands up in front of a flock(?) and uses something pulpit-like to expound on ideas about what's right and what's wrong.

    June 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I'm not a fan of this sort of lecture-meeting. If people feel the need for community, they should take a class. It's a great way to meet people with common interests, and you learn while you're at it.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • JMEF

      The one point I did not like is that they "passed the plate" as if asking in an unsubtle way for donations. Should have been more of a donation box that people could donate without any peer pressure. This type of assembly should not require a formal location, could be a park or some ones home. If Humanist people want to congregate it should be without the trappings of religions. Just my opinion as a Humanist Deist.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • tallulah13

      What country do you come from, Colin? As an citizen of the United States, I have the right to free speech.

      June 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Athy

      It's assholes like Colin that make me glad I'm an atheist.

      June 22, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • lol??

      If free speech is a right, all humanoids have it. Not all will fight for it.

      June 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
  8. children of Israel

    *Matthew 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. *Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. *Mark 14:62 And Jesus said, I am: *Ezekiel 34:11 For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. *John 13:18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: *Psalm 100:5 O seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. *Deuteronomy 32:9 For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. *Daniel 12:13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

    June 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • tallulah13

      "I cannot let us battle the Father any longer,
      Not for mortal men...
      Men – let one of them die, another live
      However their luck may run, Let Zeus decide." The Iliad, Book 8, lines 491-494

      "No, no put our trust in the will of mighty Zeus,
      King of the deathless gods and men who die.
      Bird signs!
      Fight for your country – that is the best, the only omen!" The Iliad, Book 12, lines 278-281

      June 22, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  9. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    A place of worship, without some one to worship to, place can be called nothing else, but a hindu temple, dungeon of illegality in absence of truth absolute GOD, a hindu idea, ignorant thought by hindu idiotic, ignorant secularist, self centered mind.

    June 22, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • STFU

      "A place of worship, without someone to worship" is called a mosque dum bass, put a picture of Mohammad in mosque and enjoy the firework.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • HINDU FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTlTUTION

      A place of worship, without some one to worship to, place can be called nothing else, but a muslim temple, dungeon of illegality in absence of truth absolute GOD, a muslim idea, ignorant thought by muslim idiotic, ignorant secularist, self centered mind. Truth absolute. Ismism.

      June 22, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  10. tallulah13

    I have a friend who was a fundamental christian almost his entire life. He went to bible college, did the missionary gig and truly believed. Only later in life realized that he no longer believed in god. It was not difficult at all for him to stop believing in god. The hard part was losing the sense of community he found in the church. He still struggles with that. I can see how these "godless churches" might appeal so someone like him."

    On the other hand, I'm a very solitary creature and would rather drill holes in my toenails than attend Sunday services, even humanist ones.

    June 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Your thinking is correct. I have been involved with 'church life' and "church community" for the huge majority of my life (several decades). Although I did struggle to follow my reasoning courageously and give up my brainwashing, the harder aspect has been not having a near-instantaneous "church family" when moving to a new area (I've had to do this twice since becoming an atheist). In times past, when I would find myself in a new environment, I would find a decent "church home" and voila! instant "family support."

      Cults are good at keeping loneliness at bay.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • James C

      I'm of the same boat... I was raised a Southern Baptist, taught Sunday School, even... and then came to the realization that I no longer believed in a god. I continued to teach Sunday School for a good year and a half after that because I didn't want to lose the community I had grown up in for a decade and a half, and also because I believed that there was a good in teaching family values and being a role model (I never made it known where my true beliefs lay until after I had left for college). The sense of community can still be had if people are accepting, and I've found that, largely, they are. I still go every once in a while to say hi to folks and to pay my respects to the older generation and support my mother, but I'm still a staunch non-believer, and don't engage in any religious activities. It's somewhat conflicted sometimes, but I mean, hey, no one ever said that Christians and Atheists can't co-exist in a community peacefully, right?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
  11. Reality

    Hammurabi was one of the first: (1772 BC)

    His godless rules of human conduct ( 1-25 of the 282 rules),

    1. If any one ensnare another, putting a ban upon him, but he can not prove it, then he that ensnared him shall be put to death.

    2. If any one bring an accusation against a man, and the accused go to the river and leap into the river, if he sink in the river his accuser shall take possession of his house. But if the river prove that the accused is not guilty, and he escape unhurt, then he who had brought the accusation shall be put to death, while he who leaped into the river shall take possession of the house that had belonged to his accuser.

    3. If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death.

    4. If he satisfy the elders to impose a fine of grain or money, he shall receive the fine that the action produces.

    5. If a judge try a case, reach a decision, and present his judgment in writing; if later error shall appear in his decision, and it be through his own fault, then he shall pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case, and he shall be publicly removed from the judge's bench, and never again shall he sit there to render judgement.

    6. If any one steal the property of a temple or of the court, he shall be put to death, and also the one who receives the stolen thing from him shall be put to death.

    7. If any one buy from the son or the slave of another man, without witnesses or a contract, silver or gold, a male or female slave, an ox or a sheep, an ass or anything, or if he take it in charge, he is considered a thief and shall be put to death.
    8. If any one steal cattle or sheep, or an ass, or a pig or a goat, if it belong to a god or to the court, the thief shall pay thirtyfold therefor; if they belonged to a freed man of the king he shall pay tenfold; if the thief has nothing with which to pay he shall be put to death.

    9. If any one lose an article, and find it in the possession of another: if the person in whose possession the thing is found say "A merchant sold it to me, I paid for it before witnesses," and if the owner of the thing say, "I will bring witnesses who know my property," then shall the purchaser bring the merchant who sold it to him, and the witnesses before whom he bought it, and the owner shall bring witnesses who can identify his property. The judge shall examine their testimony - both of the witnesses before whom the price was paid, and of the witnesses who identify the lost article on oath. The merchant is then proved to be a thief and shall be put to death. The owner of the lost article receives his property, and he who bought it receives the money he paid from the estate of the merchant.

    10. If the purchaser does not bring the merchant and the witnesses before whom he bought the article, but its owner bring witnesses who identify it, then the buyer is the thief and shall be put to death, and the owner receives the lost article.

    11. If the owner do not bring witnesses to identify the lost article, he is an evil-doer, he has traduced, and shall be put to death.

    12. If the witnesses be not at hand, then shall the judge set a limit, at the expiration of six months. If his witnesses have not appeared within the six months, he is an evil-doer, and shall bear the fine of the pending case.

    14. If any one steal the minor son of another, he shall be put to death.

    15. If any one take a male or female slave of the court, or a male or female slave of a freed man, outside the city gates, he shall be put to death.

    16. If any one receive into his house a runaway male or female slave of the court, or of a freedman, and does not bring it out at the public proclamation of the major domus, the master of the house shall be put to death.

    17. If any one find runaway male or female slaves in the open country and bring them to their masters, the master of the slaves shall pay him two shekels of silver.

    18. If the slave will not give the name of the master, the finder shall bring him to the palace; a further investigation must follow, and the slave shall be returned to his master.

    19. If he hold the slaves in his house, and they are caught there, he shall be put to death.

    20. If the slave that he caught run away from him, then shall he swear to the owners of the slave, and he is free of all blame.

    21. If any one break a hole into a house (break in to steal), he shall be put to death before that hole and be buried.

    22. If any one is committing a robbery and is caught, then he shall be put to death.

    23. If the robber is not caught, then shall he who was robbed claim under oath the amount of his loss; then shall the community, and ... on whose ground and territory and in whose domain it was compensate him for the goods stolen.

    24. If persons are stolen, then shall the community and ... pay one mina of silver to their relatives.

    25. If fire break out in a house, and some one who comes to put it out cast his eye upon the property of the owner of the house, and take the property of the master of the house, he shall be thrown into that self-same fire.

    June 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  12. children of Israel

    Jeremiah 12:10 Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. *Isaiah 5:7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry. *Matthew 26:29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. *Revelation 16:19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came into remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

    June 22, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      How is this in any way relevant?

      June 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It's not relevant. It's just more pointless ramblings from a believer.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:47 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

      As with all NT passages, Matt 26: 29 has been thoroughly analyzed for historic authenticity by many contemporary NT scholars. Most of these experts conclude that is historically nil.

      http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb016.html

      Professer Gerd Luedemann concludes that the portrayal of Jesus celebrating such a ritual on the night before his death is not historical. He is clear that there is "no generic relationship" between any actual final meal and the Lord's Supper understood in cultic terms. He also denies the Passover character of the supper as a Markan creation. "

      And lastly, origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

      The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation. "

      June 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  13. A humanist

    “We have a choice. We have two options as human beings. We have a choice between conversation and war. That's it. Conversation and violence. And faith is a conversation stopper.”
    ― Sam Harris

    Now, tell us how you have successfully engaged in a conversation with Kim Jong un

    June 22, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  14. children of Israel

    What ever happened to dropping science? If you are worshipping in the sunday churches, you are against the most high God. Love truth, hate opinions *1st Kings 18:21* (Jeremiah 2:8)

    June 22, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  15. Secular Humanist from Ohio

    Thanks CNN for giving the religies ammunition to call atheism a religion. Characterizing a meeting place for atheists as a church is misleading and incorrect.

    June 22, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  16. LIGHT

    Do you know why the US forces are there in the Middle east region?

    Do you know why they are talking too much about the NEW Middle east?

    Do you know why events are running very fast in the Middle east area?

    Because the Christ will come back again in the Middle east area ( where he born) and where the final battle will take place.

    So the antichrist is preparing the stage for that by sending his forces (US forces) to fight Muslims and the Christ (his killer)
    When he comes back.

    So in the media all Muslims must be terrorists and must be killers to make it easy to convince peoples to fight them.

    The media will show the antichrist as the hero who came to save the mankind.

    The antichrist succeeded in making people forget about him.

    But he is there planning for the final battle.

    June 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • alex

      Let there be light, not IDIOT .

      June 22, 2013 at 12:11 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 "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      June 22, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Yes, well apparently according to your Christian PR he must have been there for the last 2,000 years "preparing for the final battle". If it takes THAT long to prepare for, guess it'll be a hell (pun intended) of a battle.

      June 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  17. alex

    Let there be light, not idiot.

    June 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    June 22, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • alex

      Let there be light, not idiot.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Colin

      If idiot was removed alex could not exist

      June 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  19. atheism is now officially a religion

    'A church building, often simply called a church, is a building used for religious activities particularly worship services' if they are congregating to worship, they have become religious. Way to go, atheists! woohoo!

    June 22, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • Colin

      Stupid has been a life option anyway now you can be official.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • alex

      Let there be light, not idiot.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Colin

      If idiot was taken out there would be no alex

      June 22, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Atheist worship song

      Now thank we all ourselves,
      To all ourselves belong greatness,
      We sing unto ourselves,
      With great itude to myself

      Chorus:
      How great we are, how great we are,
      How great you are, how great you are.

      Music set to the style of ' gangnam style'

      June 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Atheism does not have the necessary components to be a religion, and atheists don't typically "worship," and certainly not in "congregations."

      But i'm curious. Why do you insist that atheism is a religion? What advantage is it to you if atheism were a religion?

      June 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Christians believe that a being that is powerful enough to create the universe is obsessively watching and listening to them, answering their prayers and protecting them from danger. On top of that, they believe that this being has created a paradise where they can live forever (after they die) if only they say they like him best.

      And you think atheists are arrogant?

      June 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
  20. LIGHT

    Actually CNN is a very respectable channel...they always want to remind us with 9-11 attacks so they designed their logo by that way to remind us with the attacks.

    See now how they are very clever in that:

    Read the logo upside down you will get MD..............means (M)onth and (D)ay.

    Read it from left to right you will get.............. 9111....... means 9-11-01.

    Read it from right to left you will get.............. WTC...... read the T upside down.

    Thanks CNN for that.

    June 22, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • alex

      Let there be light, not idiot.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Wolfen00

      You have got to get a better hobby than "conspiracy theorist". That CNN logo has been around way before 9/11 and I still see plenty from NBC and Fox in regards to reminding us of 9/11.

      June 24, 2013 at 7:46 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.