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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. Hunter

    I'm an atheist. I wouldn't at all be involved in something like this. These congregants are seeking to feel a void, because they're not yet willing to let religion go. They're like some ex-gay that runs around for thirty years reminding people he's ex-gay. Who are they trying to convince? They'll be sincere atheists when they stop being yoked by religious trappings.

    June 23, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Humans are social. Sharing experiences is built in to most. It's not anathema to atheism, its human.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  2. Adam

    There are no atheists in foxholes

    June 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Va

      How do you know that? That us just a saying that people say to make themselves feel good. I have been mugged at gunpoint, family has died, etc. and turning to a god is never an answer and none of my atheist friends turn to a god for relief. The military and government are very good at shoving religion down our throats. And my brother, an atheist, is a war veteran.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • The real Tom

      You are quite wrong, Adam. There have been many. Why do you have to lie to make a point?

      June 23, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Adam: Why are you so afraid of Atheists? Is it maybe the fact that you see your own set of delusions crumbling?

      June 23, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Max

      Saying silly things because you've heard them and they sound true is why people run around thinking impossible and unlikely things.. why they try to make choices about their lives and their children's lives on false and misleading information. Don't get drawn off the path by fairy lights. Think things through a bit more. You don't need some thing to save you, especially not a genocidal monster that treats humans like a little boy with a magnifying glass and an ant hill.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Doobs

      That's bullshit. I know several people who've served in combat and it didn't change their lack of belief in deities one bit.

      June 25, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
  3. Pablo

    I can understand how people can become atheist with all the nonsense you can read in the bible about talking snakes and burning bushes and the complete lack of evident of a higher power. However, if there is not higher power, a purpose (rather than an accident), and life after this one, nothing really matters. They may as well give it up and go home. I suppose whatever can give you some comfort for the remainder of this life will help you get to the end.

    June 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Austin

      temptation= attack with the intent to destroy.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • *

      There is really no evidence except for say the universe and all creation that declares the maker to be God.
      There is really no evidence but for the personal testimony of millions of people over thousands of years who have met God.
      There is really no evidence but the salvation of Christ available to all mankind
      There is really no evidence but the incredible complexity of the human body and all life compatible male and female
      There is really no evidence except for the personal testimony of God to man in His Holy scriptures
      There is really no evidence of God except for the fact that His chosen people have returned to Israel where He said they would be ...
      and that is just a few off the top of the head.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Your head is empty.

      June 23, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      @Pablo

      Your argument fails for very obvious reasons. It's like asking why set up tables and chairs if the party won't continue forever and ever. We do things for the present and the near future. Your argument taken another way might be, if believers get to go to heaven when they die, why don't they commit suicide.

      June 25, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
  4. cpc65

    What was the point again of becoming atheist when you go and act like a religion?

    June 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Clem

      Some of my EX-christian friends are the WORST humans ever. They cut in lines; make racist statement; and HATE other people.
      They are the ones with the problems.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Austin

      those characteristics clarify their sin and adjoin the to every other person as well. not to a false sect.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • G to the T

      Clem – ironic as some of the WORST people I know are christians. They're ignorant, rascist and look down there nose at EVERYONE no matter how bad their own behavior is.

      Maybe the lesson here is that some people are just jerks?

      June 25, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Doobs

      Lots of people get together to socialize and share common interests. Do you call the high school chess club a religion as well?

      Christians didn't invent organized meetings, although they love to take credit for inventing or discovering everything.

      June 25, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
  5. John Buchanan

    Jesus was a real guy who made such an impact on the world that they changed time IE 2013. And he came as a poor man and a friend of bad people.Haw could this be?Could it be plagiarizing? I don't think so as he made every effort to do things againt the odds like making women his first witnesses when women where not legally able to be.But he did show up on a donkey instead on a great horse on that day and year foretold by the prophets a half a dozen hundred years before, to the day (palm Sunday) Where poeple were waiting. He said everything was spoken into existence,when scientist say all matter came from nothing .go figure.....

    June 23, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Austin

      very very good!!!!!!

      June 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Doobs

      What was that date you claim was foretold? "To the day" would be month, day and year. I'd love to see that verse.

      June 25, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  6. lolCAT2000

    No other 'religious' community gets as much media coverage as atheists.

    June 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Bostontola

      No political party gets as much coverage as the Green Party. Equally true.just typing something doesn't make it true.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • kyzaadrao

      It's a CNN thing.A belief blog that specializes in doubt mongering. We get it, it sells hair tonic. Not to be confused with news.

      June 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Doobs

      You must have missed the endless pope articles.

      June 25, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
  7. reaper19

    Why would an atheist desire to live a "good" life? How illogical not to mention delusional. Product of evolution with no existence beyond drawing your last breath, yet you strive to be "good"? Based on whose concept of good and what is the benefit of restraint, compassion or sacrifice? Atheists are like a child having a temper tantrum. They adhere to a system of personal conduct reflective of God's design, yet rabidly deny the creator of that design. What a hopeless and futile existence.

    June 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • OldSchool

      A system of personal conduct reflective of God's design? What, like stoning bad children to death?

      No, morality is a normative standard that has evolved over time, including dismissing the more horrible tents that are a residue of religion. There is actually much evidence to support the evolutionary benefit of socializing and cooperation.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Roger that

      If you need church in your life to stop you from doing things that our society has deemed illegal, then please don't stop going to church. If it's the fear of the afterlife that keeps you from killing others, then do us all a favor and keep on believing.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • What IF

      roger that,

      I agree – to an extent. At least we know what we're dealing with. Who knows what coc,kamamie fantasies they'd come up with if their book was out of the picture!

      Otoh, prisons are filled with believers... part of the deal is that they can do *anything* and just say, "Sorry, Jesus, love ya' much" and they are home free for eternity!

      June 23, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Doobs

      Why would I not want to live a good life? I don't lie, steal or hurt others intentionally because I don't want to, not out of fear or because a moldy old book says it's bad. Is that the only thing keeping you from hurting people?

      June 25, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
  8. Over-the-Moon

    "If God has spoken, why is the world not convinced?"
    ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

    June 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • reaper19

      Because the "world" has the choice not to be convinced. Confronted with the choice many choose to pursue their own plan rather than God's plan. They would rather surrender their lives and minds to the delusion of humanism than to God who has provided a path for success and salvation. Look at this board. Look at all the philosophies. How can a person be convinced of something they cannot clearly hear even if they truly want to?

      June 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      @reaper

      How ridiculous. Do you know of anyone who chooses to not be convinced that 2+2= 4? OF course not. God is invisible, undetectable and irrelevant. That's why a muslim suicide bomber and a Christian fundamentalist use the same math and chemistry when azzembling their weapons but think whatever they want to about god and his desires.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  9. Randy

    Religious Belief: Do all the bad things as much as you want, and at the end god will forgive you and send you to heaven.

    June 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • SacredOblivion

      Clearly you did not read, and if you did, you did not understand.

      Loving your community is like God loving his creation.

      The values that arise from those Loves are the same.

      There is surely a place for Atheist Religion, though any religion, godless or not, can do harm if its practices, become rules, become reasons for punishing others. Religion has no place without a STRONG relationship and respect for the mystics who conduct the fire of the mystery into the community.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Merlin

      Not true. There's Karma. Forgiveness does not mean you avoid responsibility for your sins. You still have to pay the price for your sins even if forgiven. Your remorse helps you understand the reason for your negative Karma, thus helping you avoid a repeat.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  10. Vic

    What scientists don't get to tell you all the time:

    “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.”

    Albert Einstein

    “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”

    Carl Sagan

    "Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?"

    "The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?"

    "If we do discover a complete theory, it should be in time understandable in broad principle by everyone. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people be able to take part in the discussion of why we and the universe exist."

    Stephen Hawking

    Reflection

    God tests people by Faith. God wants every soul to believe in Him. If God were to show Himself or anyone to have a direct proof of Him, there can be no test, and no one can have true faith anymore. A believer has it in his/her own heart that God IS.

    We CAN NOT see God BUT we see His mighty work.

    We humans tend to take life for granted. It might escape the average person how serious this creation is because attention is not paid. However, a scientist or so is in awe of what he/she sees when studying matters of this existence! The more you dig into science, the more you realize how scary serious God is!

    The more I learn everyday, the more I know how much I DON'T know!

    This Universe & Life In It ARE "Prima Facie" EVIDENCE Of God

    June 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Doobs

      You must be a masochist, Vic. You got a beat down yesterday when you posted this, and yet, here you are again.

      June 25, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
  11. pbernasc

    A world without mystery of the almighty .. I do recognize God, but only as a human made idea ... therefore I do not take any word from anyone for granted .. however preaching a world without God only is a bit shortsighted

    Replacing that with a build your community movement is a smart thing it however underestimate the role of the almighty mystery plays in the psyche of the idlots ...

    The Buddhists are the smartest one .. they do not call anything a god ... but they talk about achieving elevation above earthly sufferance , so they the mystic of life beyond earthly suffering and yet do not fall for the God BS. On top of it they preach tolerance and community

    I think Epstein should travel to Buddha home town 😉 it might help him tune its theme

    June 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Nclaw441

      I see your view. It isn't sufficient for me because it doesn't consider the source of creation. My faith in God answers the question of how all of creation got here. My faith, so far, doesn't answer all of my questions, but it gets me closer....

      June 23, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
      • pbernasc

        ?

        June 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
      • pbernasc

        yeah good for you .. God simply makes no sense .. but I don't need all the answers .. actually the journey into discovery is what makes sense ...

        October 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • G to the T

      NClaw41 – "god did it" isn't an answer, it only begs the question and stops all further inquiry... If your god only lives in the gaps of our understanding then your god will only get smaller and smaller as time goes by.

      June 25, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
      • pbernasc

        my God? God is an idea ... all you are saying is that over time the God idea will become less and less meaningful because knowledge will replace mystery .

        Yeah ... I take that any time ...

        Note: God is the gap of understanding

        June 26, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
      • pbernasc

        yes .. and it's not my God anyway .. there is no God, rather it's its myth that will become smaller and smaller ..

        October 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  12. Grampa

    The inexorable rise of atheism is and was inevitable. Humans grow up and, eventually, even humanity grows up. Children come to understand that Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy don't really exist and never did. But believing in them with a child's simple faith was fun while it lasted. That faith is eventually displaced by the evidence of reality whether we like it or not. Many cling to a belief in God because it brings them peace of mind. It helps them make some sense out of an otherwise senseless existence. Increasingly, though, people are discarding their silly dogmas while retaining the wisdom of their former beliefs. And they find that life can still make sense. No, there's no God hovering around out there. There is no Devil, no Heaven or Hell, no angels or demons. But there is an incredibly complex and beautiful universe that we are capable of understanding. And there is priceless wisdom in the scriptures regarding such noble concepts as humility, gentleness, and compassion that teach us how to appreciate ourselves and the universe we inhabit. The silly dogmas need to go up on humanity's toy shelf along with other memories of more naive times. The wisdom needs to be cultivated, added to and cherished.

    June 23, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 23, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • pbernasc

      it does , but has nothing to do with God

      June 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Grampa

      No. Prayer change the one praying.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • *

      Prayer is defined as a conversation with the one true God and only the one true God.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Raoul Duke, Jr.

      And the proof? Has any amputee ever regrown a limb after praying or being prayed over? Do you go to doctor? Why? If you are ill, why don't you just pray if it actually works? Every study ever done shows it does not work. After natural disasters did all the prayer assist in rescue and recovery efforts, rebuilding, anything at all? (crickets chirping). All it does is make the person praying feel like they are actually doing something. That, and a quarter ($4 at Starbucks) will get you a cup of coffee.

      June 23, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  14. creative36

    I always thought

    June 23, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  15. Molly

    God was involved, they are just too prideful to realized it. Where do they think they get their morals or their ideas about loving one another and the community? It's all in the Bible.

    June 23, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • The real Tom

      It's part of MANY religions, not just Christianity. And it's part of societies both secular and religious.

      It's not unique to the bible. At all.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Roger that

      Really? This is from your book of morals.

      They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13

      June 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Clem

      Some of my EX-christian friends are the WORST humans ever. They cut in lines; make racist statement; and HATE other people.
      They are the ones with the problems.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Doobs

      So you'd lie, steal and murder if the bible wasn't around to tell you it's bad to do those things? Sucks to be you.

      I was born with my morals. I always knew that hurting others was bad.

      June 25, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
  16. In God We Trust

    Reasons why atheism is horrible and unhealthy for our children and living things:

    – Atheists do not have any morality, are heartless, soulless and cold.
    – Atheists grew up in a bad family, not being loved and treated bad..
    – Atheism was brought upon during the French Revolution, one of the most evil time of history.
    – Communism – evil system created by atheists!
    – Atheists cannot prove God does not exist and how Earth was created.
    – No atheists contribute to charitable causes, unlike Christians, due to atheism beliefs in Darwinism.
    – Atheism making you agree with mass murder leaders like Stalin, Mao, Pot, Mussolini and even Hitler!
    – Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith and belief.
    – Countries with high rate of atheism = high suicide rate (Nordic nations).
    – Atheists tries to convert (young) people into their evil belief over the internet.
    – Atheists believe in evolutions, and want us to act like animals.
    – Atheists bash Christianity based on Jewish scriptures (Old Testament/Torah) and organized religion, and tend to ignore or forget how amazing, loving, friendly, supportive, and excellent the most influential person who has even walked on Earth, Jesus Christ, was.
    – Atheists do not believe in Jesus Christ; therefore they must hate their neighbor and enemy.

    Atheists are minority in the U.S. and the world no matter what "secular" sources and polls voted by few thousands of people tells you that were made up by silly atheists dreaming about making America more atheist, unbiblical and unGodly than what it actually is. More than 90% of Americans believe in God. Period!!

    June 23, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Over-the-Moon

      God NEVER existed!

      "Religion is the most malevolent of all mind viruses."
      ~Arthur C. Clarke

      June 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • pbernasc

      roll over die and join God .. thank you

      June 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Grampa

      What sad, pathetic nonsense.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Patrick

      Religion – Keeping a tradition of spreading lies to indoctrinate the masses.
      Where do you get these hair brained "facts." ? The only one that IS true is "-Atheists cannot prove God does not exist and how Earth was created." And that is because you cannot prove a negative.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Doobs

      Liar.

      June 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  17. Jim970

    Atheists have worked to force religion out of America. They have convinced the government to ignore half of the religion requirements of the First Amendment (the "free exercise thereof" part). But in reality, atheism is a religion and they are forcing their religion on everyone else. That is contrary to the First Amendment. Will the government ever wake up to this?

    June 23, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • pbernasc

      you are a pathetic idlot, there is no reasoning with you .. so roll over and die ... join God, man the dude is going to regret being God with you around all the time

      June 23, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Doobs

      Please teil us what civil rights you are being denied because of atheism.

      June 25, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
  18. Rainer Braendlein

    The best way to face any damage is ignorance. Simply imagine you would ignore a stop sign, and continue driving without looking right or left. There would be a high probability of a crash.

    The commandments are simply stop signs which warn us not to forsake God who is the Life and the Love. When we harm our neighbour we harm also ourselves; this is a metaphysical mechanism. When we sin that means when we act selfishly we leave the sphere of life or love which is God himself, and enter the sphere of death. We will feel depression, lonelyness, diseases – attributes of the death.

    June 23, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • pbernasc

      any of things you said have anything to do with God

      June 23, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Doobs

      So you'd lie, steal and murder if the bible didn't tell you it was bad? Wow.

      June 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  19. garwin1

    The nonChristian church of unGod?

    June 23, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • pbernasc

      yes .. think how much fun it can be .. to laugh at your stupidity

      June 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  20. mlg4035

    Greeeeaaaaat! The athiests are creating a "church".....Haven't they learned ANYTHING????
    They're just replacing one "god" with another! Next thing you know, they'll be instating a "Grand Poobah" or something else as idiotic as their "spiritual" leader..!
    Will humans NEVER learn???!!

    June 23, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Doobs

      You can tell I'm right because of all the unnecessary punctuation I'm using!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      June 25, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
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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.