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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. Steve

    Give atheist a power, and they murder people and destroy churches

    June 23, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • shadrac11

      Name a current war that Atheist are engaged in? I can name over twenty that abrahamic believers are engaged in.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • billfitt

      Name them!

      June 23, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • Danny

      Kind of like how Christian KKK members used to burn down churches?

      June 23, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Vinifera

      Name an atheist state, current or historic, that you'd prefer to live in? North Korea? Soviet Russion? Revolutionary France? Nazi Germany (technically pagan). China? Vietnam? Cuba? East Germany? Socialist Italy? Mexico of the 1920's?

      An examination of atheistic nations would reveal why anyone should be afraid of atheism. It's always an engine for mass murder starting with the clergy eventually including anyone else.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      vinifera: Australia is run by an Atheist and is doing rather well. The USA is secular and so is Canada...both of which do well without christardation stepping in.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • truthiness

      The least religious nations - Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland - are very peaceful.

      The most religious nations are in the worst shape, have the most war, civil unrest, etc, and are the most misogynist. Take Saudi Arabia, a theocracy: the women are possessions. They can't go out of the house without a male chaperone, they can't drive, they have to cover every part of their body except for their eyes; they have no freedom. Theocracy is scary!

      June 23, 2013 at 10:37 am |
  2. topcat

    prayer changes things?

    9 million children under the age of 5 die every year. the tsunami that killed a quarter million people in asia is happening to children every 10 days. this death is at a scale that would embarrass the most ambitious psycopath. before you can finish reading this, many children have just died. Now think of all the parents praying for their children. and their prayers wont be answered. let us pray?

    June 23, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Steve

      Asia is not a Christian continent.... Gods punishment

      June 23, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Jessica

      The world has been cursed since the beginning of time, this is the devils world. That's why bad things happen. WE have a choice. You can choose to live by what you see or you can endure this life and help those in need knowing that there is a better life after this one free of worry, pain and disaster. His name is jesus and if you will accept him you can be free of the worries of this life

      June 23, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • The real Tom

      Hey, Steve! Why do the red states get hit by tornadoes so frequently? Lots of Christians there!

      June 23, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • UncleM

      Steve – so your god screws them because of an accident of birth? And what about the 'good' christians and innocent children that die every day in tornadoes etc. You and your religion are sick.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • Eric

      Hi Topcat,

      and what about all the millions of prayers, that have been answered?

      Sometimes G-d answer not or not yet...

      June 23, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • topcat

      @Jessica
      i wasnt raised with religion, so your curses and devils is black majic talk. so i do not accept that is why things happen.
      second. my morals make me care about this life instead of saying to hell with everything. jesus has my back for my sins.
      third. evolution is probably true. therefore genesis is false. no original sin . no need for jesus.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:43 am |
  3. Mike in SA

    Speaking as a Conservative Christian, good for them. Now, if they could just get some of the more hateful atheists out there to calm down a bit (like I try to do daily with the more hateful so-called Christians out there), the world would be a better place.

    June 23, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Good ol boy

      At least maybe these churches will help remove some of the false Christians from real churches. Win. Win. It will improve the quality of people in church and purify its teachings.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • fsds

      I agree. Live and let live. If you want your beliefs to be respected, then you should learn to respect the non-belief of others. Otherwise the world will forever be engaged in conflict.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • The real Tom

      "False christians."

      I take it you'll be attending one of them, then, won't you, GOB?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  4. ..

    FÚĆK all non-Christians !!!!

    June 23, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • fsds

      So this is how Christians are taught to behave? That's why I am proud to be an atheist.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • Good ol boy

      I suspect that was an atheist like you.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • fsds

      @Good ol boy: Nothing you say makes any sense.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:57 am |
  5. Dad Dee Oh

    My best wishes to the birth of an entirely new congregation of our atheist brothers and sisters. We can always agree to disagree and live in peace. Even the present pope acknowledges, based on the church's dogma, that it is not all that bad to be a non-believer, the same way this new congregation sees the religionists.

    Good luck, and most important, peace!

    June 23, 2013 at 9:24 am |
  6. Malefique

    I'm actually still waiting for "Christians" to start living as Jesus instructed them to. Not Paul. Jesus. The Christian religion has nothing to do with anything Jesus taught. It is a Pauline religion, that throws Jesus in there at the end as a "get out of hell free" card to be played. Imagine what the world would be like if Christians followed Jesus' teachings? There would be no atheist bashing, for one thing.

    June 23, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • G to the T

      THANK YOU! Anyone's that done any serious research on the Bible cannot come to any other conclusion. You can follow the teachings of Jesus or the teachings of Paul. Paul turned the religion OF Jesus into a religion ABOUT Jesus. They are 2 completely different religions...

      June 24, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  7. The Dude

    Why play the idiot theists game?

    June 23, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Good ol boy

      I don't know. Whay are you, idiot?

      June 23, 2013 at 9:26 am |
  8. Elliott Carlin

    2 tenents to atheism: 1. There is no God, and 2. I hate him.

    I hope my tax dollars aren't supporting this...you know...the whole separation of church and state thing.

    June 23, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • The real Tom

      It's TENETS. Not 'tenents' or 'tenants.'

      June 23, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • bmurdoc

      We don't hate that which does not exist stupid

      June 23, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • fsds

      Illogical post. Atheists don't hate God, but some atheists may hate those that believe in God.
      As for me, I don't hate you people, I just pity you.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • shadrac11

      Your tax dollars need to go to your education. Learn to spell, then your point won't look so moronic.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Yes, just like we hate Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and the Devil.

      Get a clue. It's not possible to hate something you don't believe exists.

      June 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • G to the T

      ...separation of church and state thing... So you ARE in favor of taxing the churches?

      June 24, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  9. Disanitnodicos

    They have a god. His name is Karl Marx.

    June 23, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • The real Tom

      More lies. Why do you have to lie if your beliefs are so solid?

      June 23, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • shadrac11

      Fail. I assume you are a xtrian or a believer of any of the abrahamic religions. You do realize they are stolen concepts from other earlier religions. Atheist only believe in logic, not sky fairies!

      June 23, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Hillcrester

      Atheism/nonbelief/disbelief, etc. have no political or economic philosophies attached. Erroneously linking two concepts YOU disagree with does not make them in any way related.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • fsds

      More ignorant BS from a paranoid and delusional Christian.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Groucho, actually. All hail Groucho!

      June 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • a reasonable atheist

      grouchocobite congregation?

      June 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
  10. Kosta

    Colossians 4:5-6 NLT

    Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

    June 23, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • Pearls before swine

      Matthew 7:6:
      "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."

      June 23, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Perihelium

      I normally cringe at the bible quotes, but this one was really quite thoughtful and apropos.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      I knew it would come out....there's that christian "love"...believe as I do or you are swine.

      At least swine have a great deal more intelligence than sheep.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:33 am |
  11. Good ol boy

    Yay! No Obama has a church he can regularly attend and a religion he can really believe in!

    June 23, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • I Am God

      Great now we know that you are one of them right wing extremists who never actually got an education.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • shadrac11

      You need some schooling. It probably wouldn't help though.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Elliott Carlin

      all one has to do is read the books he 'wrote'. Grew up listening to Frank Marshall-a real nice person (commie). Sat under Jeremiah Wright for 20 years.

      And they say Christians are blind. SHeesh.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • bigmicmusicmachine

      ..Congratulations on being the very first to bring up Obama.. (..and it was a redneck, too... what a surprise..)

      I bet you hope Heaven is segregated..

      June 23, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • The real Tom

      The election's over, honey. Time to move on.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Good ol boy

      Obama's still blaming Bush, even though Obama has continued almost everything Bush implemented. Someone forgot to tell Obama the election was over a long time ago. But at least Obama can now come out as the atheist everyone already knows he is.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • fsds

      @Good ol boy: Obama come out as an atheist? I thought you Republican types all thought he was a Muslim. Why don't you make up your mind and tell Obama about what to come out as? Again, as I have said, you people have no consistency, and just like to talk BS.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • The real Tom

      What has Obama blamed Bush for in recent memory? Anything in the past 2 years? Come on, GOB, even you aren't that stupid.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:37 am |
  12. MagicPanties

    This is promising. The more people are asked to question their indoctrinated "faith", the better.

    June 23, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • Saraswati

      In Cambridge religion is really so insignificant I think the membership won't necessarily be the same fleeing religion crowd you might find at a Texas humanist or atheist gathering. A lot of these kinds of organizations, Unitarians included, are just filled with people looking for a base from which to do a variety of charitable work or a group of people with whom to debate ethics without the interruption of religious belief. If you have never lived in New England you have to remember that same se'x marriage is legal everywhere, almost no one goes to church and republicans are mostly pro choice. This isn't a big deal in New England.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:28 am |
  13. Mark

    Fools without God.

    June 23, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • MagicPanties

      or, fools without invisible pink unicorns

      same thing

      June 23, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • The real Tom

      Mark, dear, you're the one who appears foolish when you make blanket statements that have no foundation in fact.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • fsds

      A fool either with or without God is still a fool. You are just a fool with God.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Linus Van Pelt

      Fools without the Great Pumpkin.

      See how silly that sounds?

      June 23, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Elliott Carlin

      Linus: "In Pumpkin We Trust".

      hmmmm.. doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
      Sounds like you should be moving....to another country.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • bmurdoc

      Ha, says the fool who basis his life on faith because his mommy told him he had to.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Elliot
      Did you just tell a cartoon character that he should move?....Really??

      June 23, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • a reasonable atheist

      I always knew those van Pelts to not be true Pumpkinites!

      June 24, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  14. Jamesbigbroda

    Disgusting fellows

    June 23, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • fsds

      Disgusting? I am proud to be an atheist, and you are beneath disgust.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Elliott Carlin

      fsds...if we are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalieable rights, please define who the Founders termed the Creator. You either don't know, or you completely disagree with the premise our country was founded upon.

      Nice try.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • bmurdoc

      how so very Christian of you redneck

      June 23, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • fsds

      @Elliott Carlin: Why should I care if the founding fathers were religious? People used to believe the earth was flat too. Times change and people learn (at least some do).

      June 23, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Elliot
      Just because the founding fathers believed in a creator, does not lend any credibility to the belief. They purposefully omitted any references in the Const!tution of any gods, since they could not agree on which version of god to put in. They realized that belief had to be separate from the laws.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Good ol boy

      I've read the founders' works, Richard, they were smarter than you, so it does lend credence.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • The real Tom

      I don't think you did anything of the kind, GOB, and Richard's smarter and better educated than you are by miles.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Perihelium

      Hey, you know what's cool? The country was founded on freedom of religion! When people start using the bible as a weapon (as in, beating atheists over the head with it), I step out of the way, do a little jig, and move on with my life. This way, we can all keep our navels and opinions (since everyone seems to have both) and live long, happy, healthy lives! So whatever your (non-)beliefs, AMEN and have a wonderful Sunday.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • Good ol boy

      You can think whatever you like. If you think my moniker says all you need to know about me, then you are definitely stupid. Read George Washington's farewell address where he shames atheism and props up religion. Oops, you made yourself look like a fool.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • fsds

      @Good ol boy: George Washington also kept slaves. Does that mean we should keep slaves too, since Washington clearly was a genius and did everything right. You people have no idea about consistency or logic. You talk in circles and have no idea what you are saying. Just pathetic.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  15. Namerike*

    Christians should go worship their mass murdering rapist god with a zombie son. Practice their mock cannibal and blood sacrifice. Use their book to hate gays justify slavery. Put down women and judge people in general. They should believe all te animals got on a boat and went for a cruise. Accept Christian's for what they are. Mindless amoral robots that are best avoided. They are not your mental equal and need to be looked at like kids with severe brain disorders and treated with compassion and if that is not working. Ignore them because they tend to be annoying illogical hypocritical judgemental. And not all that well read or interesting

    June 23, 2013 at 9:18 am |
  16. Irony is Lost

    Once formal agendas are involved things usually go downhill. I just do not see the point of this.

    June 23, 2013 at 9:18 am |
  17. BO

    Godless heathens are so shallow.

    June 23, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • shadrac11

      Imbecilic believers are so full of hatred.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • *

      Truth is never hate.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • The real Tom

      * is a troll. That's truth.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • .

      You both right.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • independant jim

      like those in the clergy that praise god in the open and molest children under cover.. the beliefs that religious teachings
      can only be believed and taught by religious folk is nonsense most Christians have no idea what their bible means and few believe in its teachings

      June 23, 2013 at 9:24 am |
  18. fsds

    "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."

    In other words, while in a regular church they may bash atheism and atheists, in atheist/humanist churches they don't bash religion or the religious. That says it all.

    June 23, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • Perihelium

      ...or while maybe not "bash", certainly implore their faithful to "save" or change us as if we are faulty or defective. +1 – Live and let die.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • fsds

      @Perihelium: Agreed. Bash is something that they like to do to gay people, not to atheists. But they do try to convert both. Sorry for the confusion.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • A

      In a church that is Christ centered, we are commanded to love God above all else and to love one another. Any teachings to the contrary are from the evil one. You are risking loss of eternal salvation if you choose to disregard this message. I urge you wholeheartedly to allow at least 1% (or more) doubt in atheistic belief so that you will be able to change your mind in the last moments that we all will face.

      June 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  19. shadrac11

    Such fear from the believers, how pathetic.

    June 23, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Hillcrester

      The edifice of religious belief–as illustrated by the amazing soaring churches built here in Paris–was supported by dear and ignorance from Roman and medieval times onward. As long as ignorance and fear persist, so will deistic worship. Only by rejecting science and reason can it maintain its stranglehold on the "faithful." Unfortunately, that still works, although it is waning in Europe,

      June 23, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 23, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • shadrac11

      Wrong, it doesn't fill their mind with nonsense.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      God kills children and other living things
      Genesis 6:17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • bmurdoc

      Another uneducated sheep. Check out the 2006 Harvard study on prayer and health. See, they actually used science to disprove the power of prayer.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • fsds

      A prayer is simply a monolog (consisting of wishes) the religious have with themselves. And while it may make them feel good to believe some powerful being is hearing your prayers, the truth is that as long as you hear your own prayers, you can still feel comforted. So, there is no need to believe in some mystical being to be able to say a prayer or to receive its benefit.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • Perihelium

      You could probably get the same result with meditation. Quiet introspection, measured breathing, calming of the mind... and no G-d required! Handy.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:49 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.