home
RSS
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. Jack Ketch

    To quote Christopher Hitchens " What can be asserted without evidence, can also be dismissed without evidence."

    June 23, 2013 at 10:47 am |
  2. AtheistHuman

    Traitors. > : (

    June 23, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  3. The Dude

    Atheists should not embrace the Religious cult model.

    No leaders.
    No hierarchy
    No Dogma
    No Money

    They need to make their own model rejecting the selfishness embraced by Religious Cults.

    My Salvation
    My entry into heaven
    My 47 Virgins
    My own planet

    Atheism should be about

    Our Community
    Our Society
    Our well being
    Our future

    June 23, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • tmiletus

      Amen.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • bigmicmusicmachine

      ..it's here..

      http://buildingabettergod.blogspot.dk/2010/05/god-you-dont-want.html

      June 23, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Austin

      @ dude, if God is good are you not surely robbing God?

      All that is Good is of God. There is no other Way.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      No other way, Austin? Do good by the standards of your culture, community and family. Discard the notion of God, it doesn't add anything. That seems to work well enough, and I contend that that is what believers do with the 99% of their time in which they are not thinking about God.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Austin

      8“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
      neither are your ways my ways,”
      declares the Lord.
      9“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
      so are my ways higher than your ways
      and my thoughts than your thoughts.
      10As the rain and the snow
      come down from heaven,
      and do not return to it
      without watering the earth
      and making it bud and flourish,
      so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
      11so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
      It will not return to me empty,
      but will accomplish what I desire
      and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
      12You will go out in joy
      and be led forth in peace;
      the mountains and hills
      will burst into song before you,
      and all the trees of the field
      will clap their hands.
      13Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
      and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
      This will be for the Lord’s renown,
      for an everlasting sign,
      that will endure forever.”

      Romans 3:10 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;

      June 23, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  4. Jack Ketch

    I pray for these Atheists. I worry that if they don't believe in Winnie they will spend an eternity in a pot of boiling honey...
    Whoops! wrong fairy tale, Sorry about that, I'm a Christian but it's not like I've really read my book.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • tmiletus

      Winnie? The Hairy Thunderer or the Cosmic Muffin?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Dork

      Hairy Muffin

      June 23, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  5. Austin

    Austin
    no this was revelation!!!!!!!!

    I had no clue what i was about to read, but i dreamed it the night before and wrote it down. I dreamed i went through a beautiful stone arch way, with a beautiful retaining wall and a tile patio. it was majestic looking, no cartoon, and then there was whole in the gournd chizzeled into the tile. the particles were very fine and dusty. a detatched arm reached down into the whole and pulled out a bag of gems. dust fell off. the leather pouch was opened and it was full of different colored gems.

    wrote the dream down at 3am. thought it was your normal nonsense............

    but the next day i read four more chapters in the book of Jeremiah.

    8 In Tahpanhes the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 9 “While the Jews are watching, take some large stones with you and bury them in clay in the brick pavement at the entrance to Pharaoh’s palace in Tahpanhes. 10 Then say to them, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will set his throne over these stones I have buried here; he will spread his royal canopy above them. 11 He will come and attack Egypt, bringing death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for captivity, and the sword to those destined for the sword.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Spreading your delusions again in the hope that someone will be dumb enough to accept them???

      June 23, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Austin

      26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

      Acts 2:17
      New International Version (NIV)
      17 “‘In the last days, God says,
      I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
      Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
      your young men will see visions,
      your old men will dream dreams.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Austin

      Prepare ye, the Way of the Lord.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • oOo

      Austin loves to share his crazy dreams on the BB. Tell them about driving your truck through a church naked, Austin. Oh wait that wasn't a dream was it?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Topher

      Austin, is that me?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • The real Tom

      Why aren't you posting your recent dreams, you fraud?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Austin

      none of you have a clue if i am a fraud or not. and you will not find that answer from me. You can receive it only if the spirit i am boasting about is real and true.

      Is this a true statement?

      June 23, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • The real Tom

      It's pretty clear from your posts that you are a phony, Austin.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Austin

      there is not one phony thing that I have done. Maybe I am not God's spokesman, which i am not.

      But I did experience the spirit of God. and this was supernatural, and beyond anything you can reproduce.

      Try me on my posts in court.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • The real Tom

      I'm trying you right here and now, you fake. Produce your evidence. If you have none, then you're a fraud for claiming something for which you have shown no proof or evidence whatsoever.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Lettuce Prey

      Produce is my evidence.

      Spinach 4:13
      And the earth did swell and break, giving way to the life beneath, and it was green and it was good.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:53 am |
  6. Surthurfurd

    When did the 10 Commandments become optional to a few claiming to be Christian? - bearing false witness? We need to all stop attacking each other for holding different views.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:43 am |
  7. ATHEISM = RELIGION

    What is it about God that even atheists can't seem to stop talking or think about Him. It's like bees being attracted to honey. God sure is sweeter then a honey comes, even atheists can't help to feed off of the sweetness of God.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • tmiletus

      It's so sweet it makes me want to puke.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Danny

      OR, perhaps many of us care enough about our fellow human beings and don't want to see them continue to cling to religion for very bad reasons.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      The "sweetness of god"?
      Have you not read the bible. God wiped out all but a few of humanity along with all life on the planet. He smote sodom and gomorrah, tortured men, killed many innocent children. the stories of his "kindness" go on and on. Such a sweet gentle compassionate destroyer.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • mustardseedhead

      It is because all good and righteous things are from God. It does not matter who performs the deed. It is all from and for Him. He is an awesome God. The content of what you said is what makes God so great, because He will allow this to be – as perplexing as it may seem – because it is still His will being worked out and done.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:08 am |
  8. Let's check in and see how well religious fanatics are doing at verifying their beliefs

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YIj4rLYo0c&w=640&h=390]

    June 23, 2013 at 10:43 am |
  9. tmiletus

    “In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in his cosmic loneliness.

    And God said, "Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done." And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close to mud as man sat, looked around, and spoke. "What is the purpose of all this?" he asked politely.

    "Everything must have a purpose?" asked God.

    "Certainly," said man.

    "Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this," said God.

    And He went away.”

    –Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

    June 23, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Revelation 4:11

      Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

      Amen.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Austin

      Amen

      June 23, 2013 at 11:53 am |
  10. Charlotte, NC

    You cannot make this stuff up

    June 23, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  11. eyeswideopen

    Jesus demonstrated that He had complete control of all things in both atomic and sub-atomic scale .He had complete control of things both alive and inert, which is witnessed in the gospel writings. He performed miracles everyday in front of thousands of people . He did this day after day , after day , after day , after day , after day , after day , after day , after day , after day ,after day , after day , for three years until he was put to death. NOTHING was hidden . Everything was done in the open for all to see. He came to us, tell us that our lives do not end after death. . By Him doing these things (miracles) He validated His word as the truth. Were their others who performed wondrous signs? Of course, but not near the scale to which He did nor the caliber. As a former atheist of almost forty years I thank Him everyday for opening my eyes and allowing me to "see". I wish you all the best .

    June 23, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • snowboarder

      just tall tales grown taller in the retelling.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Austin

      The supernatural Spirit is there.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • The real Tom

      Sure. So is Sasquatch and Abominable Snowman.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Austin

      Tom, I apprecaite it that you toned it way down for that last rip.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • The real Tom

      I'm sure you do. Your pal Fortuna thinks you're the real deal, Austin. Why don't you explain what your 'visions' signify? What does an ABOVE GROUND POOL represent?

      What dreams have you had recently? Why not share them?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Due to big, humungous, gigantic egos of the unbeliever, they can not see God. Why? They refuse to go humble. That's why they whine all the time aka meltdowns.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • The real Tom

      I don't think you have a clue what the word "humble" means, HS. You're arrogant beyond all measure.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Tom, Jesus tells us throughout the Bible, living in ego is the opposite of being humble. Hence, why you can't hear or see His truth.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • G to the T

      Is it more egotistical to believe that the entire universe was created for our benefit and "I" (which is the deinfition of the ego) will live on after I die or to believe that we are only a VERY small and VERY temporary part of a universe so large we have no hope of ever understanding it all?

      June 25, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • Saraswati

      Off topic, but what does G to the T mean?

      June 25, 2013 at 9:50 am |
  12. TheTruth

    Church without God- by design, is kinda contradicting it self... If its " by design" someone must of designed it...the design does appear from nothing!!

    June 23, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Both your logic and English are flawed.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • ATHEISM = RELIGION

      GLORY!!!!! Well said!!

      June 23, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Lisa

      I think that is the point. Not knowing who or what designed it or how it happened doesn't mean it can't be appreciated and isn't inspiring to humanity.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Now all you need to do is provide evidence that the 'designer' exists, until then it is a bunch of crap designed by man to fool man.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • Austin

      TP . I have proof, and just because you cant accept it, does not mean that you deserve to use the word crap in your unbelief. That is an offence.

      Just pointing out that you are not even neutral.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • TheTruth

      "Church without God- by design, is kinda contradicting it self... If its " by design" someone must of designed it...the design does appear from nothing!!"

      No, that's not The Truth at all.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:02 am |
  13. ATHEISM = RELIGION

    HALLELUJAH, I AM NOT AN ATHEIST!!!!! PRAISE THE MIGHTY NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF MY FAITH, THE ROCK OF MY SALVATION, AND MY REDEEMER!!! I CAN'T THANK YOU ENOUGH, JESUS, FROM SAVING ME FROM STAYING IN ATHEISM!!!

    June 23, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Observer

      Your caps lock is on. It's usually on the left side of the keyboard.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Reality frightens you, doesn't it??? Some of us don't need an imaginary friend to make life worth living.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  14. Surthurfurd

    I don't need to believe a deity will punish me for eternity to seek to do as much good in the world as I can.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  15. Jaimie

    It is still ok to ask the lord for forgiveness in your last dying breath.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • tom jones

      Comic book fairy tale.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Lisa

      I doubt if these people would feel the need to do that.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • bob

      There is no god. It's probably more meaningful to ask for forgiveness for those you have hurt and rest in peace.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      So Hitler, a brother in Christ...if he asked for forgiveness in his final moments, a distinct possibility considering his faith, could ask for forgiveness and the pearly gates would open?...I want no part of any god that would allow that.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • bob

      And don't count on an afterlife either. Make the most out of this one is your best bet.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  16. redgrandad

    christianity
    The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.
    Yeah, christianity makes sense.

    religion is a mental illness

    Science may one day find a cure for the ‘mental’ in religious fundamentalism, says Oxford professor

    DURING a presentation on brain research at the Hays Literary Festival in Wales earlier this week an Oxford University researcher and author specializing in neuroscience suggested that one day religious fundamentalism may be treated as a curable mental illness.

    Kathleen Taylor, a science writer affiliated to the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, was responding to a question about the future of neuroscience.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • HeavenSent

      1 John 2:16  

      For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

      Amen.
      __________________________________________________________________________
      1939   //  epiyumia  //  epithumia   //  ep-ee-thoo-mee'-ah  // 
      from   1937  ; TDNT – 3:168,339; n f
      AV – lust 31, concupiscence 3, desire 3, lust after 1; 38
      1) desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust
      For Synonyms see entry   5845  &   5906 
      __________________________________________________________________________
      4561   //  sarx  //  sarx   //  sarx  // 
      probably from the base of   4563  ; TDNT – 7:98,1000; n f
      AV – flesh 147, carnal 2, carnally minded +   5427  1, fleshly 1; 151
      1) flesh (the soft substance of the living body, which covers
      the bones and is permeated with blood) of both man and beasts
      2) the body
      2a) the body of a man
      2b) used of natural or physical origin, generation or
      relationship
      2b1) born of natural generation
      2c) the sensuous nature of man, "the animal nature"
      2c1) without any suggestion of depravity
      2c2) the animal nature with cravings which incite to sin
      2c3) the physical nature of man as subject to suffering
      3) a living creature (because possessed of a body of flesh)
      whether man or beast
      4) the flesh, denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart
      from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God
      __________________________________________________________________________
      3788   //  oftalmov  //  ophthalmos   //  of-thal-mos'  // 
      from   3700  ; TDNT – 5:375,706; n m
      AV – eye 101, sight 1; 102
      1) the eye
      2) metaph. the eyes of the mind, the faculty of knowing
      __________________________________________________________________________
      212   //  alazoneia  //  alazoneia   //  al-ad-zon-i'-a  // 
      from   213  ; TDNT – 1:226,36; n f
      AV – boasting 1, pride 1; 2
      1) empty, braggart talk
      2) an insolent and empty assurance, which trusts in its own
      power and resources and shamefully despises and violates
      divine laws and human rights
      3) an impious and empty presumption which trusts in the
      stability of earthy things
      __________________________________________________________________________
      979   //  biov  //  bios   //  bee'-os  // 
      a primary word; TDNT – 2:832,290; n m
      AV – life 5, living 5, good 1; 11
      1) life
      1a) life extensively
      1a1) the period or course of life
      1b) that by which life is sustained, resources, wealth, goods
      For Synonyms see entry   5821 

      June 23, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  17. Austin

    The Holy Spirit is a sanctifying spirit that bears the truth of God's Word on a persons heart. I have experienced the revelation of God's spirit and Word. This was supernatural experience.

    And anyone indwelt by the Holy Spirit is the recipient of the supernatural spirit of God.. This is not an act or accomplishment that man earned. this is the work of God. He has intervened with man.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • midwest rail

      You experienced what every human being who ever lived has experienced – you had dreams.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • ATHEISM = RELIGION

      Amen!!

      June 23, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • Gadflie

      I'm sure that believing that myth gives you comfort.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • ATHEISM = RELIGION

      midwest rail – Hmmmmm, if it's just a "dream", why are billions of us having the same dream and the same experience, eh?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • midwest rail

      Really ? Ask Austin about his dreams – if millions of you are dreaming about swimming pools, you may have something.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • snowboarder

      ironically, you can find similar testimonials from adherents to every religion.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Observer

      ATHEISM = RELIGION,

      If atheism is considered to be a "religion", so what? It doesn't do a thing to change the failings of the Bible. which helps create atheists.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • The real Tom

      Ask Austin about his dreams, dearie. You'll read about dead cats and ABOVE GROUND POOLS!

      Then ask Austin what such dreams signify about god. You'll get crickets chirping.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • tom jones

      You know, they've got shots for this these days.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Austin

      no this was revelation!!!!!!!!

      I had no clue what i was about to read, but i dreamed it the night before and wrote it down. I dreamed i went through a beautiful stone arch way, with a beautiful retaining wall and a tile patio. it was majestic looking, no cartoon, and then there was whole in the gournd chizzeled into the tile. the particles were very fine and dusty. a detatched arm reached down into the whole and pulled out a bag of gems. dust fell off. the leather pouch was opened and it was full of different colored gems.

      wrote the dream down at 3am. thought it was your normal nonsense............

      but the next day i read four more chapters in the book of Jeremiah.

      8 In Tahpanhes the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 9 “While the Jews are watching, take some large stones with you and bury them in clay in the brick pavement at the entrance to Pharaoh’s palace in Tahpanhes. 10 Then say to them, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will set his throne over these stones I have buried here; he will spread his royal canopy above them. 11 He will come and attack Egypt, bringing death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for captivity, and the sword to those destined for the sword.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • The real Tom

      Where are the descriptions of the dreams you had this past week, you phony?

      You're just another carney barker, Austin. You don't have any evidence that you ever had ANY dream or that anything occurred afterward. You can't even make any pretense of knowing what your alleged 'visions' had to do with any god at all.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Candiano

      "It was revelation"!! So, what was revealed? What prphecy? Do you even know what "revelation" even means, Austin?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Fortune holds more for the bold

      "If they don't believe the veracity of His words, they are not going to believe the veracity of His works" as evidence by Tom's incessant demands for more proof....

      June 23, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • The real Tom

      Do you have any evidence, Fortune? By the way, where did you get your screen name?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Fortune holds more for the bold

      Tom I am not claiming to have evidence, I am calling out your presumption that you don't believe the words you are not going to believe the works...
      Btw the moniker comes from a chapter in a book called Wonder, by R J Palicio,month worry secular author, it is about bullying and misunderstanding

      June 23, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • The real Tom

      "I am calling out your presumption that you don't believe the words you are not going to believe the works..."

      Here you go, dear: "I am actually Queen Elizabeth II. You'll just have to take me at my word, since I cannot prove to you that I am truly the queen."

      How's that workin' for you, you moron?

      "Btw the moniker comes from a chapter in a book called Wonder, by R J Palicio,month worry secular author, it is about bullying and misunderstanding"

      "month worry secular author"? Translation into English, please.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • The real Tom

      I looked up your novel–it's a children's book. Are you a teen?

      June 23, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Austin

      Fortune,

      You have a great point! We need the Holy Spirit.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Fortune holds more for the bold

      @tom, I am in education, and sorry about the spell check confusion, I meant don't worry it is a secular author. Sad that you literally want to judge this book by just googling it, but perhaps that is how you come to most of your conclusions. It is an intriguing book about being misunderstood and bullied. I use it with parents and student to engender discussion. I would be curious to hear your thoughts if you were inclined to read it....

      June 23, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • The real Tom

      Fortune, sad that you jump to the conclusion that I made any kind of "judgment" about your book. I simply asked you a question.

      You seem to think I should simply take the ninny Austin at his word and believe what he does because he says it's true. Only an idiot would do that after reading Austin's ridiculous claims and idiotic assumptions.

      That he cannot even manage to come up with a plausible interpretation of his "visions" and refuses to divulge any current dreams while claiming he had revelations following previous ones should tell you much about his veracity. If you believe his tale, you're more gullible than most.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Fortune holds more for the bold

      @tom, hmmm another presumption... Am I wrong? Your argument is that the bible is not a proof text therefore any point made using this source is invalid.
      Sorry if I presumed... I do think you would enjoy the book, because respectfully I do see your compassion for the misunderstood, unless of course it is a faith approach

      June 23, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Your argument is that the bible is not a proof text therefore any point made using this source is invalid."

      And your argument is that the bible is proof a god exists, is it not?

      Too bad that it doesn't prove a thing.

      I don't require proof, Fortune. I do ask for evidence and I don't consider the bible reliable evidence of anything, since it was written by men who are fallible and dishonest by nature. If you have corroborating evidence, I'll be happy to look at it. Do you?

      As for your acceptance of Austentasia's claims, you're welcome to buy into his malarkey if you want. I'm sure you and he have much in common.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Fortune holds more for the bold

      @tom, I have not said anything about supporting Austin, I was merely confirming that you require evidence or proof and you are invalidating the Bible as a proof text. Anyone who has done a verbal defense of a dissertation would understand this as a statement of process...

      June 23, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  18. rplat

    These fools spend more time and energy not believing in God than Christians do believing in God. A very disturbed gaggle.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Lisa

      Did you read the article? Doesn't sound like it.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  19. Giac77

    As if someone has build a stadium only for spectators and not to play football.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:31 am |
  20. Atheists are Apes

    Atheists say their opinions. You have no monopoly and often no grasp of the difference between your views and that of reality. More liberal atheists are on mood meds to deal with today's world and thus, drugged, their inabilities are obvious to all but them.

    Atheists commit suicide more then religious people do.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • Gadflie

      It's amusing watching a believer pretend a grasp of reality.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      If you don't have comprehension of evolution try researching it before sounding like an idiot. We don't say we are apes, we only state that the evidence points to a common ancestor, there is evidence to support that fact....there is no evidence to support the story of incestuous relations that stem from the Adam and Eve crap.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • bmurdoc

      Atheist also have higher I.Q.'s

      June 23, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • biobraine

      Wow you guys sure are full of hate. Glad I don't waste my life hating over other people's beliefs.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Observer

      Atheists,

      "More liberal atheists are on mood meds"

      Brainless and factless comment.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      TP
      In fact we are apes...h0m0 sapiens, literally wise ape. We are just a separate species of ape, but ape is correct.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Richard: I stand corrected. Thank you.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:51 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71
Advertisement
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.