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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. NoOneLikeJesus

    WHY ARE ATHEISTS SO STUCK ON GOD IF THERE IS NO GOD??? WHY DO THEY CONSTANTLY TALK ABOUT GOD EVERY SINGLE DAY?

    June 23, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Dan

      Because we cannot advance until people like you start using some common sense.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • el flaco

      Many atheists, like myself, had a lot of very traumatic experiences in church as children.

      As a child, the monster who pursued me in my nightmares was Jesus Christ. In the end, when Jesus caught me, he grabbed me and threw me off this steep cliff into hell, where I would burn in excruciating pain for trillions of years, unable to die.

      That is when I woke up

      June 23, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Gadflie

      NoOne, we don't. Sorry kid, you are just ignorant.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Why do you need to shout your hate with every post? Why do christards feel the need to step in to peoples bedrooms and personal lives?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • G to the T

      Why can't you figured out your caps lock is stuck on?

      June 25, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Saraswati

      I rarely discuss gods except on this site. Everyone I know either doesn't believe in gods or doesn't care much what anyone else believes. When you come to a site like this you aren't seeing a representative sample of behavior, since the whole point of being here is to discuss. And these issues are hardly irrelevant. People's beliefs onfluence their votes which influences law.

      June 25, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  2. Dan

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHbYJfwFgOU&w=640&h=390]

    June 23, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • DJP

      Hopefully someday this video becomes the first video to completely be removed from the internet.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Vinifera

      If you can use Bill Nye, then I'll use Dr. Francis Collins.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Vinifera: Bill Nye uses facts based on evidence, your buybull crap and the guy you listed don't.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Vinifera

      @ Truth Prevails. Bill Nye is a celebrity science made for TV personality. Dr. Francis Collins 1) was an atheist 2) has both a medical degree and a Ph. D 3) headed the human genome project and mapped the human DNA 4) is the head of NIH. Suit yourself if you want to read kiss-and-tell books that have mass market appeal but when you are ready to discuss peer-reviewed journals and real scientific literature let me know. And what is your educational background?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:47 am |
  3. Dean

    The word church comes from Greek "ekklesia". This word was used to describe a group of people seeking after God They gather together to be out of the world, not in it. The purpose of church is to commune with others who believe in God and meet with God, not just with each other. I thought if you were an atheist, you did not believe in things like this. Hijacking words which have been used for centuries is not going to change anything.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Gadflie

      Waah.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      What about hijacking several other previous religions and calling it Christianity...I suppose that is OK?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • NoOneLikeJesus

      MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY!!! WELL SAID, DEAN!

      June 23, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • FreeFromTheism

      and appealing to the etymology of a word changes things?
      Perhaps you should just try to understand how the word is used in this context.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • KneonKnight

      @Dean

      We are already changes things, and for the positive. We're draining the youth away from their parents churches with logic and reason. We're beginning to see a shift downward in evangelical political clout. Fundamentalism in the military is getting cracked down upon. Important social issues like gay marriage are getting implemented despite the squawking of your faith's outraged followers. Get used to. Liberalism, progressives, freethinkers, secularists, etc are on the rise and you fairytale believers are are to benefit from it whether you like it or not.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Saraswati

      You might want to look a little further back. The word originates in the PIE "keue", to swell, or strength. Words change and this one will keep on changing.

      June 23, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
  4. George Dixon

    KEEPING THE CHURCH AS A SOCIAL CLUB; SKIPPING THE FAITH THAT MAKES "IT" A "CHURCH"

    June 23, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  5. Jason

    Atheism is the ultimate arrogance among human beings and their existence. In effect it's the atheism that becomes a god. There have been and always will be false gods and atheism is one of them. One comment suggests that more people have been killed in the name of god than for any other reason. I will not question that. Instead I look at all of the existing groups of religious people on earth and discover something very wrong. What many refer to as their god is nothing more than a false god. We all live under one God. No one understands what all of this means in our physical realm. No one knows who will enter into a realm of existence other than our physical. When I hear the word god, seldom do I hear about the teachings of Jesus Christ. To my knowledge Christ was not war like nor did He ever advocate nor speak of war. I sure did hear the word love though. I must also proclaim that those whom I know or have known personally and who are or were true Christians were also peace loving and gentle people. Most others talk the talk but do not take the walk. For those who find it fashionable to attend a synagog, church, temple, or other place of worshipping their god so too will they have emptiness in their being. I should think that any talk of war or war itself comes from this emptiness. Emptiness of spirit opens the door for what many refer to as the devil, evil, darkness, or something very bad. All of this is actually war - whether inflicted or not it brews in place of what Christianity is - love in Christ and your fellow man. Those who have never been introduced to the teachings of Christ are many. To that extent much of the trouble we experience on earth is born. To contemplate this fact is to no where. I suggest that the answer or reason for this is beyond what man/woman can even begin to understand. Most simply put is that this is part of an evil that attempts to overtake all of us. My belief is that things get worse on this evil front - much worse. War - any war - is part of this all pervasive evil.

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

      Hmmm, that's odd. I usually hear that atheism devalues human existence, the opposite of arrogance.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      First off, atheism is not a god. It is the belief that there are no gods.
      Secondly, which one of the thousands of gods is the one god?
      Thrid...if you have the one god, then why do you discount all of the other thousands?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Gadflie

      Jason, it's hard for me to be specific in my reply because I don't know which of the thousands of gods we humans have invented that you actually believe in. But, here's a clue for you since you seem to lack one. They are all false.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • NoOneLikeJesus

      AMEN, JASON, WELL SAID!!

      June 23, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Fortune holds more for the bold

      "You gotta serve somebody " words by?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Answer:

      Bob Dylan

      June 23, 2013 at 10:21 am |
  6. Dan

    Final Score:

    Science 1 – Mythology 0

    June 23, 2013 at 10:09 am |
  7. NoOneLikeJesus

    If Atheists are "THINKERS" why can't they control their thoughts? Why do they use their thinking to belittle others? Why do they constantly go around killing innocent children, committing evil crimes and frauds? Is this what atheism is all about? I SURE PASS!

    June 23, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Dan

      Please stay in your land of make believe.

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

      More lies. It is what people resort to when truth is not on their side. Have fun in fantasy land.

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

      none of that is true. why must you lie?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Surthurfurd

      Why do you project onto others what you are condoning yourself.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      I am an atheist, and I do not "constantly go around killing innocent children, committing evil crimes and frauds"
      That is flat out ridiculous. I seriously suggest you seek some professional help.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini, D.D. ©™

    As a trustee of a church, I can donate a tax-deductible "love" (or "sacrificial") offering to my church and get it back in cash for discretionary use. An example would be funds required to take my Sunday School class on an uplifting outing.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • G to the T

      Sooo... basically money laundering?

      June 25, 2013 at 8:48 am |
  9. This could be fun

    Minister: "Today's sermon comes to you from the latest article of Newsweek. Lets bow are heads for a brief fifteen second nap."

    Congregation: "Ramen"

    Minister: "If you'd all turn to page 42 in your copy of Hitchiker's guide.."

    And at the end we could all sing Delta Dawn or some other folk song..then there's coffe in the breakroom.

    Makes sense. 😀

    June 23, 2013 at 10:05 am |
  10. Gideon

    "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."
    – Whether they admit it or not, they are already associated to specific or sort of belief/disbelief systems. This "proud freethinking streak" is already a belief system of the ancient pagan people. The Bible says "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes". This is the "freethinking streak" they're talking about, and this is a humanistic point of view. No source of ultimate truth. Truth is relative so everyone could be right. Imagine a house where every member is just doing what is right in their own eyes. Or a company? Or a country? How chaotic would that be?

    One more thing, I just thought of some discussions by atheists/humanists saying that they don't believe in "design". They say that "it's seemingly designed, but it's not designed". How can they form a community without "design"? They themselves are planning/organizing/designing a community where they expect this to be nationwide, at least. So what they are saying is actually different from what is really taking place.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Gadflie

      Gideon, really? That's the best you can do? Because an atheist architect doesn't believe in Creationism/Intelligent Design you pretend that means he doesn't think that designing anything is possible? Are you truly that desperate for a valid point to make?

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

      Gideon observes: ... They say that "it's seemingly designed, but it's not designed". How can they form a community without "design"? They themselves are planning/organizing/designing a community ...

      This is what happens when you major in the libs arts. Thinking skills go out the window. 😉

      Scott

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

      You're talking as if we were all relativists. However, the fact is that, for the most part, we recognize that morality is based on our own nature; that's something quite specific, so it cannot be absolutely relative as you say.
      The problem with you appealing to 'ultimate truth' is just that. Your desire for such a thing doesn't make the thing true, no matter how much you want it.

      In regard to your last paragraph, I imagine that you're saying that the universe is what some may refer to being "seemingly designed". So, I think you're equivocating on the subject, when you go on to talk about other kinds of organization.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • pastaferian

      Why does this article bother the religious flock so much? These godless folks seem to be ethical enough (no Bibles or Qurans needed), and they are not preaching it at your door, or condemning you to "athiest hell". Be honest, are you worried that your brothers and sisters are dwindling in numbers? Are you scared that eventually today's religions will be "classic literature"?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  11. Danny

    Face it. Humans are knuckle-dragging, selfish, pack animals that are severely prone to gullibility. Reason and logic are our true salvation, which is why atheist congregations are a great thing.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • sybaris

      Exactly, not any difference between jungle inhabitants that worship fkjcfkjxfulu and kill you if you take their picture and religionists who worship Jesus, Mohammed, Zeus, Ra, Quezocotl and will kill you if live a lifestyle against their dogma or don't believe in it.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • NoOneLikeJesus

      Atheists are FAAAAR from understanding what Reason and logic even is, therefore, there is no salvation for them while being in atheism religion.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Lou

      Its not a good thing. Its counter productive. The most important aSpect of Atheism is the rejection of the NEED to be ritualistic.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Danny

      Lou, you are severely misinformed. There is no most important aspect of atheism, and if there was, it would be stupid if it was the rejection of rituals. I try not to engage in name calling, but your statement is the stupidest thing I've read so far on this thread.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:18 am |
  12. Joey Isotta-Fraschini, D.D. ©™

    A primary role of houses of worship is money laundering and tax dodging. A church without God will probably function as well financially for preachers, trustees, stewards, etc., as a church with God.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  13. Barbara Young

    II Spinner49: The Phenomenon "Biting the Golden Bullet" is a military statement. A miraculous intervention save a soldiers life, For Instance, a mortar Shell or land bomb blows up and everything turns a Golden for the Person, as in a Golden Bubble, and he or she are unhurt. In these cases, I investigated, and in past lives, they had been offered the Holy Grail to Drink of when Visiting the Kingdom in a Visual State – the Original Christian Awareness.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • snowboarder

      what is this post about? it makes no sense.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • G to the T

      So you're a christian AND you believe in reincarnation... well that's a new one...

      June 25, 2013 at 8:51 am |
  14. donivan

    even atheistism is a religion. a religion is a belief in a thing, diety or person. so for all you atheists out there that "believed" it would never come to this being a "church", well Christian told you it would happen. Now where would Christians get that kind of knowledge, the Bible. And many prophecies made in the Bible came and passed.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Bostontola

      Is theism a religion?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Danny

      CHECKMATE (rolleyes)

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

      Most of the bible has been disproved. It is a book of magic and fairy tales.

      This is not a church. It is a meeting of intelligent people.

      Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      A religion requires a supernatural component. Not believing in the supernatural is proof that it is not a religion.

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

      I think it's funny how religionists think they have this clever insight that Atheism is really a religion.

      So what if it is? It doesn't change anything.

      I'd rather belong to the church of reason and logic than the church of willful ignorance.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Mike

      DONIVAN:

      NO, NO, NO. Atheism is in NO way a religion. We don't BELIEVE in a thing. We don't have faith in a thing. We simply demand proof of an assertion before saying that it's true.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • IntellectualViolence

      Atheism IS a religion, if an inclusive definition of religion is used. For example, Religion is a conceptualization of the divine. Even disparate branches of Atheism have clear notions of the divine (or lack thereof).

      A less inclusive definition of the religion might be something like my operating system's built in dictionary's take: "a particular system of faith and worship." That would seem to exclude religions / belief systems like Buddhism as there is no 'worship' per sé.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
  15. Jude

    ONLY A FOOLISH MAN AND WOMAN SAYS THERE IS NO GOD...
    HE is ALPHA and OMEGA...

    HE is El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)... El Elyon (The Most High God)... Adonai (Lord, Master)... Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah)... Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner)... Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd)... Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals)... Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There)... Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness)... Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You)... El Olam (The Everlasting God)... Elohim (God)... Qanna (Jealous)... Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide)... Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace)... Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts)...

    HE IS THE ONLY TRUE GOD...

    June 23, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Barbara Young

      Jude: You are very Holy and a True Son of God. I think you lived in Jesus' time and knew Him, as you act like all of my current Students. In that twilight light time just before sleep, "think back 2000 years and Jesus' life, and if you feel like crying, then you were living at the same time and one of His Students. Let me know.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • pastaferian

      funny

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

      Jude <<<<< more evidence that religion and the worship of a god is a filthy perverted disease of the mind

      June 23, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  16. Vinifera

    Atheism: the most irrational worldview

    June 23, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Danny

      If baseless claims and rhetoric are all you have, you have nothing. No wonder religion is dwindling.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Please explain why you think that. Perhaps there are those who could enlighten you.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Dan

      You must have been brain-washed at a very early age to ignore all the facts around you and believe in mythology.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Barbara Young

      Siebarius: I guess we will just have to transfer your Spirit to a planet that is Godless for your next biological symbiosis for a comparison. The animal human evolves without love planet.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  17. Perihelium

    You know, there's a reason that 'faith' is called that. I shake my head at the idea that people bow down to the pink unicorn in the sky as much as the next non-believer, but you have to give credit where credit is due. If faith is what gets you through it, then pointy-headed horses for you it is. I promise not to try and get you on my lawn if you promise not to bring that animal near my property. Obviously, neither of us have the slightest interest. Happy happy.

    June 23, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Barbara Young

      Perihelium: I bet if you were in a fox hole and were being shelled, you would be praying, as if you Love the Family of God, your Spiritual Mother and Father. Otherwise a fool.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • sybaris

      Oh right, the atheist in the foxhole fallacy, funny that.

      What did the Christian say a split second after its last breath?

      "Oh crap, it's Mohammed!!"

      June 23, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • a reasonable atheist

      There happen to be plenty of atheists in fox holes. Here is information about a few who have banded together to show how fallacious your statement is:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_Association_of_Atheists_%26_Freethinkers

      June 24, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "The sermon was based on what he claimed was a well-known fact, that there were no Atheists in foxholes. I asked Jack what he thought of the sermon afterwards, and he said, "There's a Chaplain who never visited the front." – Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

      June 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  18. Matt

    Anyone who thinks God is necessary for a moral center doesn't have one.

    June 23, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • NoOneLikeJesus

      Anyone who thinks God is NOT necessary for a moral center doesn't have one. How are you better again??

      June 23, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Bostontola

      NoOne...,
      Did you really just use the "I know you are but what am I" response?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Since Christianity is based on the immoral idea that it is OK for someone else to take your just punishment, trying the moral high ground will get you no where.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Danny

      Good point. Scary when I hear, "I would be a murdering rapist if it wasn't for Jebus. "

      June 23, 2013 at 10:08 am |
  19. Namerike*

    Christians love to feel special so they invented a mass murdering rapist god with a zombie son. So when they are scared and alone they can say this thing loves them. They also are socially awkward so they like to judge people and dream those they don't like are going to burn in hell. This gives their ego a boost. A sick perverted introverted bunch to be sure

    June 23, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • be honest

      religions and dictators,, all the same. They love to control, create strories and use threats

      June 23, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • eyeswideopen

      As a former atheist of almost forty years , you couldn't be any farther from the truth . Your ignorance is astounding yet typical.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Barbara Young

      Gees Namerike, are you headed for the black dimension after your physical body's death? You sound like the ones that measure in the minus level in a lab. the Takers of love. When you Spiritual Project to your presence, your spirit is black, as there are no Light Psycho-Aspects of God the Father and Mother's Nature of Pure Love in your nature. You saw them in the movie Ghost. Good movie, based on facts from lab testing at UCLA.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Learn your subject material before spewing your babble on this site. Christians didn't invent God.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  20. NoOneLikeJesus

    Atheists are far from being opened minded. They are the most hateful religious people on the internet.

    June 23, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Bostontola

      Point?

      June 23, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • NoOneLikeJesus

      Bostontola – See what did I tell ya? You are too closed minded to even see my point, go back to bed, buddy.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Bostontola

      Ahhh, so there is no point, that's what I thought. By the way, your name is wrong, look up Dionysus, born of a virgin, resurrected, etc.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Gadflie

      That's called observer bias NoOne. Look it up sometime and alleviate your ignorance.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:13 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.