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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. box1813

    “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” – Marcus Aurelius

    (inb4 Pascal's Wager)

    June 23, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • reaper19

      While that might sound clever the glaring problem is that the nature of what God should be is not being defined by God, but rather the projection of what that human being wants God to be like. So, in the end you have traded one God for another god, who feeds your need to believe in some kind of cosmic set of scales which will reward people based on their own definition of what is right and wrong.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  2. Realist

    ........ ... ... Because...... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com

    June 23, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Big Joh

      You better hope hell is too...good luck with that! You'll need it.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Namerike*

      Funny how loving Christians are so quick and happy to send people to everlasting damnation. My god is way more loving powerful. Secure and he isn't broke begging for money and tax breaks like this silly Christian gods

      June 23, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Thomas A. Hawk

      How do you know that God is imaginary regardless of what some website may say?

      What about God as defined by pandeism? The only evidence in today's world of a pandestic God is that the universe exists.

      A slight variation of that theology would be that God is conscious again because humans are conscious. We are conscious.

      How can you be so sure? I can't be.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Realist

      @Big John... The concept of hell is a recent addition to the bible, which has been edited more than 200 times with major revisions. I would suggest you study religious history and look beyond the lies you have been taught.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  3. COMPUTER

    So the only difference is that they live without God in there Congregation, sound's like any other church to me.
    What a world.

    June 23, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • tony

      I think the leaders are the same sort of fast buck merchants, that regular church leaders are. I wouldn't go.

      We already have non-religious social groups and gatherings, like concerts, etc.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  4. Jack Ketch

    This is the 21st century.
    All the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty back together again.

    June 23, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Science

      The Fire Ball of Christ did it ?

      National Geographic

      June 23, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Science

      Oops Fireball

      http://natgeotv.com.au/tv/fireball-of-christ/

      Big stony iron.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • science

      Jack Ketch

      as the Sunday Comic section grows to 23 pages !

      June 23, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  5. tom LI

    To Heaven Sent;

    Evo is of course flawed, not all is yet understood – but its not like Your Religion is flawed and full of huge holes of story-line and simple logic. But then again, your God follows no logic, which of course Believers have adopted as their own mechanism of explanation.

    And whats most flawed is that Believers refuse to even understand the simple parts of Evo, but instead latch on to cliches and misinformation – like Survival of the strongest. Thats not even a childish explanation of Evo theory – but we all know you have no real desire to learn the truth about Evo, as you have deemed yourself a full fledged Scholar on the subject, because you once had Genesis READ TO YOU many years ago.

    Believers prefer to lay in the filth of their ignorance, and claim the stink is their Holy knowledge emanating...while the rest of us know its just your own stink. Pick up a book on Evo and actually read it, learn something, instead of relying on your bumper-stickers for Jesus line of rhetoric.

    June 23, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  6. Thomas A. Hawk

    Um, what they are doing is religious... they have a system of beliefs and rituals. Depending on how you define God, one could argue they have a God as well. (Something, a system of beliefs, "humanism," that they are following.)

    June 23, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • tom LI

      What are the rituals, in a religious sense, what are the rituals? I see no Religious type rituals.

      Is meeting and singing a religious ritual now? It can't be the discussion group, cause thats not certainly not a Religious thing, discussion...

      June 23, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      What beliefs and rituals do they have?

      June 23, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      When a group of guys get together every Thursday night for poker, is that a religion?

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

      wrong. there must be a supernatural element for something to be a religion. without a supernatural element, it's just a club.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • The real Tom

      When a bunch of women get together for coffee, is that a religion?

      June 23, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Thomas A. Hawk

      Tom Li & Captain Obvious - riturals are singing and a sermon. The belief is humanism.

      Bootyfunk - what's so supernatural about the Christian God? The Christian God has to obey the laws of physics if the God exists because one of the law of physics would then be that the Christian God can do anything. The math supporting the term "supernatural" is rather bogus. Using it as a test isn't mathematically sound.

      RealTom, probably not without a belief system. But could be worthy of more discussion if I could think of something to add. Perhaps you can.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • G to the T

      The Christian God has to obey the laws of physics if the God exists because one of the law of physics would then be that the Christian God can do anything.

      ... And here's another type of Christianity – for ease of reference I will call it "Christianity – Type B".

      June 25, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  7. naeco

    Stupid.

    June 23, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  8. Jack Ketch

    Then they came for the KKK and I did nothing because I wasn't religious.
    Then they came for the Nazis and I did nothing because I wasn't religious.
    Then they came for the Jihadis and I did nothing because I wasn't religious.
    Then they came for me. But it was just to say there wouldn't be anyone coming for anyone anymore.
    They said we are now free!

    And there was much rejoicing.

    June 23, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  9. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    My "Atheist church" is simply living life in a moral, ethical & respectful manner .. by choice, without the need for fear of punishment or promise of eternal reward. True freedom!

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

      And yanking Bill Deacons chains.............you know Billy

      June 23, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Thomas A. Hawk

      There's a belief held by many where they don't have to fear punishment from a supernatural being. It's called "Christianity." I'll grant that many misunderstand Christianity including many who identify themselves as Christians. (Just identifying yourself as a member of a group doesn't prove an understanding of the core beliefs. Of course, I could be wrong about the core beliefs. I could be right too.)

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

      sounds like you're the only one misunderstanding christianity.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Thomas A. Hawk

      Bootyfunk, have you read Acts?

      I realize you might not want to because (I think) you would think of some of it as fiction. However, it does give some insight into the basis of Christianity. After all, they were the first Christians. Some of it is undoubtably true - Paul of Tarsis existed, was well educated, traveled and preached, got into trouble, used his Roman citizenship to avoid immediate trial, etc. I also think it's likely that Stephen was stoned to death.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  10. Namerike*

    Faith. Believing in something you know is not real

    June 23, 2013 at 11:43 am |
  11. Jonah

    If anyone reading this is disgusted with all the nonsense going on and wants to attend a real church, you should try the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Check out the website at lds.org or mormon.org.

    June 23, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Namerike*

      Founded by a guy that claimed to find buried treasure with magical rocks in his hat. But never actually found any treasure. So the creator sent Gabriel with gold tablets that he wasn't suppose to touch but did. But here is the story anyways. Go get ten wives. That's worse then just being a regular Christian. What a joke

      June 23, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • tony

      And it only costs 10% to fund their leaders Grand Life Style and pay for funding dishonest fights against other States honest elections.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Which nonsense are you referring too?

      June 23, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Reality

      Putting the kibosh on all religions in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

      Added details available upon written request.

      A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

      e.g. Taoism

      "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

      Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

      June 23, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • tom LI

      Oh the Ponzi Scam Church? Where the leaders live lavishly...for doing nothing special...?
      Nah, I prefer reality based forms of entertainment.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • G to the T

      ...and yet ANOTHER brand of christianity (I'm going to have to start a list somewhere). We'll call this one "Christianity – type c"

      June 25, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
  12. devin

    Ah yes, all the evolutionists oozing out of the woodwork and bowing at the altar of the scientific method. How sweet.

    June 23, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Ah yes, the belief that a big invisible sky wizard did everything complicated by chanting magic spells and that he had to sacrifice himself to himself to appease himself by exploiting a loophole he made himself to keep from torturing everyone forever and ever in a pit of never ending hatred and fire that he made himself.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • tony

      If you don't like bowing at the altar of Science, don't post on the scientific internet, using a scientific computer.

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

      No idea what you are talking about. Impossible that you are referring to Christianity. Any borderline imbecile would know that is not the Christian narrative.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • The real Tom

      It was at least as valid as your interpretation of atheism, devin.

      I guess that point flew way over your head. Did you feel it ruffle your hair?

      June 23, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • devin

      Tony

      Perhaps you should learn the difference between utilizing a tool and that of worshiping it.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • tom LI

      Yeah this is the narrative of Xtianity. A God-Daddy came in human form, but was really his Son, who was then forced to be murdered to pay a debt of the first humans, who offended the God by being ignorant of everything, the son died in sacrifice to his Father, who was really HIM in human costume, and then the Son rose from the dead, which no one witnessed, and his band-mates, a shoddy group to say the least, claimed an empty tomb meant he rose from the dead, and was therefore God-like – but some like Paul who never met the Son said he was a God – which was a debate that actually lasted about 300 years till an Roman Emperor decreed him a God of the same substance of the Father...and made it illegal to believe to anything else...

      Yup, thats a very good narrative of Xtianity...

      June 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • devin

      Real Tom

      2 points:

      1. Let me know exactly where you found my "interpretation of atheism", I'd be curious to know seeing that I did't give one.

      2. I hope you have obtained a higher level of maturity since our last conversation. Discourse with juveniles is not my thing.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • devin

      Tom LI

      Only from your twisted, biased perspective, but of course you know this.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  13. Jack Ketch

    Atheist morality: Doing what is right no matter what you are told.

    Theist morality: Doing what you are told no matter what is right.

    June 23, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • tony

      Very well put. That's the whole point of spreading religion. Making other people do what you want, without point a gun at them continually.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  14. Jack Ketch

    Looking at the creationist comments here gives new meaning to the shortest sentence in their trashy novel called the bible.
    "Jesus wept."

    June 23, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • angbalti

      Jack, why do you feel that it is necessary to denegrate believers. Where does that animosity come from? I have been continually flumoxed by atheists like Dawkins who seem angry and offended by people of the theist faith.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Namerike*

      The animosity comes from thousands of years of wars. Justifying slavery burning none believers. Holding back humanity. Abusing the education and political process. Religion is a problem but Christianity in particular is and has been a blight on humanity. It's good it's passing but it's still a huge social problem

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

      Because of the corruption it does to otherwise clear thinking children

      June 23, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • angbalti

      The anticreationists are a small segment of those who believe in a creator. There are many very religious people who are not OT/NT and within every sect there are wide variations. To use the foolishness of a small segment of any group to condemn the group as a whole is a intellectually lazy stance.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • angbalti

      Tony, rather then bother to give a real answer I will use your tactic...not necessarily.....much good and much harm has been do e in the name of God...much harm has been done in the name of the state.....the problem is....PEOPLE?

      June 23, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • tom LI

      to angbalti – Centuries of built up anger over Xtianities represseion and attack on all other faiths, and those of no -faith.

      Xitanity has never been a Faith about love. Thats a nice modernistic back-peddle, but its a lie. Its always been one of repression and unwarranted attack on other beliefs. And it remains so in the USA, where Religion is now a tool of attack and repression on civil rights, science, and a whole host of things...all while its cloaked in the idea that Xtianity is the RELIGION of the FREE MARKET God of Wall Street

      ! American Xtianity is about as far from the teachings of Jesus, as Rudolf the Red-nosed reindeer is from a real reindeer.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • tom LI

      to angbalti – Yes, people, its always people. But when a group claims moral superiority to others by their Religion alone, nothing else makes them more moral, just their FAITH in 1. the BIBLE (an icon of worship) and 2. Jesus (hardly even the original God the Father anymore) when a group is making this self-aggrandizing claim – how is it that they fail miserably at being the most moral class of Humans to walk the planet?

      How is that such a group has so much blood on their historical hands? How is that this group still thinks its the perfect Religion, where by faith alone in fantastic stories (not the actual moral tenets of the religion, just belief in the fantastic) one becomes the most moral person on the block...and yet never is the most moral on the block...? They might be biggest finger-pointer on the block, but the most accusatory on the block, but rarely if ever the most moral/ethical.

      Why is that? Just people? Or is the system so bent out of whack its nothing but an excuse for people to stay patently stupid, and spiritually lazy...?

      June 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
  15. Randy

    Religious belief: If you can't prove that something doesn't exist, it does. Therefore god exists, so does Santa.

    June 23, 2013 at 11:40 am |
  16. Hillcrester

    There is a whole derivative cosmology build around the idea of an xian god. Dismantle it, and the 'god" foundation becomes less and less tenable. The age of the earth, the origin of various species, the "revision" of OT rules, the untenability of miracles, the biological impossibility of immaculate conception, etc.

    June 23, 2013 at 11:39 am |
  17. angbalti

    Atheism and theism are both belief or faith based stances. Neither can be proven or disproven. The only INTELLECTUALLY valid stance is agnosticism. I find the smug selfsatisfaction of atheists who dismiss theists as niaeve to be equally silly as the equally selfsatified maunderings of theists who have the added view that any who do not agree with them will be burning in hell for eternity.

    June 23, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • arothmanmusic

      Pure atheism is still, yes, a belief that there is no god. But it at least a belief based on observation and reasoning, rather than dogma. Surely "I don't know" is the least arrogant answer to the question, but between "I believe because someone told me it's true" and "I believe because I see no rational proof of it being otherwise", the smart choice is the latter.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      A-theism is NOT the "belief" that there is no God(s) .. it is simply NOT believing in a God(s). There are infinite things in the universe that I do not believe in .. that does not mean I believe in not believing in them. The logic behind believing in non belief is absurdity!

      June 23, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Atheism and agnosticism deal with two different concepts, and most atheists are ALSO agnostic.

      Theism is the belief in a god; put an "a" in front (like in atypical) and it becomes "not-belief in gods." If you don't believe in any gods, then you're an atheist, whether or not you think one is possible and may be "found."

      Gnosticism is the belief that one has esoteric/spiritual knowledge; put an "a" in front and it becomes "not-belief in spiritual knowledge." If you don't believe that there is spiritual knowledge, then you're an agnostic.

      Most atheists are agnostics, too. They neither believe in god nor claim to have knowledge of the spiritual realm.

      Hope that this explanation helps.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • tom LI

      Disagree, agnosticism is a lazy and noncommittal approach. It reeks of hedging ones bets. Its fence sitting.

      I am a full fledged Atheist, who patently believes no such things as Super Beings, Gods, or anything supernatural exists, or ever will be found to exist. Ever!. So as such I waste little time thinking on that which is not worth considering.

      If somethings, or one is "out there" – okay good, but so far its nothing as described or claimed by any man-made Religion to date. And until this "thing" – should it exist in any real form – makes its self known in a real form that we can all see and agree is Supernatural, its all made up stuff, invented way back in our pasts to ease our fears of the unknown. Humans do a real good job of inventing ways to "soothe our heads" when we dont know something...

      June 23, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
  18. Jan

    The growth of church-like communities that do not insist on an adherence to belief in any particular mythology is very healthy. Churches have been important for many social reasons and often foster good things for society. Having more people have access to joining this kind of community, whether they believe in a deity or not, is a good thing, whether you think these people are wrong for not being Believers or not.

    June 23, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • daphne

      There obviously has been value in the some of the philanthropic endeavors of the religiously moderate, but you paint a rosy picture that doesn't tell the whole story. Next, please address disenfranchisement throughout history based on extremist belief.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  19. Rafael Resende

    Atheist believe in something....it's a way to express themselves regarding the supernatural power. I really don't understand these guys but I respect them, even this crazy idea, God loves them!

    June 23, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • tony

      I think you missed the point. Atheists don't have any religious/spiritual beliefs. Religion is ignored. They are not seeking a n alternative to to it or form of it.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • angbalti

      Tony, you are quite wrong they have spiritual stances. And like teists, those stances are many and varried. I just with both sides would just do their own thing and avoid attacking the other.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • tony

      That's called disinformation. Like the KGB used to excel at.

      It's merely your opinion and it couldn't be more wrong.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:43 am |
  20. Namerike*

    What could be more offensive or pathetic ten worshiping a mass murdering rapist god with a zombie son. Practicing self haterd haterd of gays. Subjugation of woman justification of slavery. Genocide. Practicing mock cannibalism and blood drinking. All for a fee This I give you Christianity. What a load of fun

    June 23, 2013 at 11:35 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.