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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. Secular Humanist from Ohio

    Where's Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things?

    June 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Shelia

      The religion of anti religion..

      June 23, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • *

      Where is "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things?"
      Everywhere !

      June 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
  2. 1word

    Here's why Christianity is the true religion.

    Not every religion teach of the Father Son, and Holy Ghost. That teaching is solely to Christianity, even the Jehovah witness does not believe God came in the Flesh. If you don't believe that truth, you're on the wrong path. Lets take yourself, if you wanted your children to learn how to act you would want to teach them. If you expect them to do what's right you would be considered a hypocrite to ask your child to do something you couldn't do. That's why God had to show us the way, there is no savior besides him. He was Jesus!

    Isaiah 43:11
    I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.

    June 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Crap on a stick.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      you're trying to apply human reason to your deity; isn't that a bit presumptuous?
      Anyhow, you don't see a son of your god around now, so did it abandon his children? If you're analogy is correct, then mine is too.
      Cheers

      June 23, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • Bostontola

      I know a lot of Christians. Most of them are very intelligent. They never make statements like 1word.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • tony

      Sorry. The true religion is the worship of Me. I'm here to talk back to you in the flesh. Try doing that with your guy. And I'm not jealous like he "is".

      Let me send you the address to send money to.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      1word: You claimed that you were going to show why christianity is the true religion. When are you going to get around to doing that? For that matter, when are you christians going to prove that your god actually exists?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
  3. Joe Smoe

    These groups make ridiculous statements.These include statements such as, “There is no truth!” (Is that true?); “All truth is relative!” (Is that a relative truth?); and “You can’t know truth!” (Then how do you know that?). Basically, any statement that is unaf-firmable (because it contradicts itself) must be false. Relativists are defeated by their own logic.

    June 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      You've been to "Proof That God Exists?"

      June 23, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • gaylord fokker jr.

      what about blind faith?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • tony

      Blind faith works like being blind physically and walking along the edge of a cliff.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • gaylord fokker jr.

      LMAO tony

      June 23, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • George Karlson

      Our entire world is complete randomness and chaos. Our brains–also chaotic and they seem to work, at least for most of us.
      How could anyone know that science is 100% truth. Sounds to me like faith that there is an underlying truth to our known universe that nobody wants to talk about.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Unlike you, I actually went to this organizations website and did a search for "truth". Here is the first quote I found:

      "To gain this understanding, reason, science and critical inquiry must be given free rein to discover the truth about the world, human nature, and what makes people happy."

      The second was a reference to the validity of specific Jewish texts (true or not).

      The third read "In truth, an alternative spring break is one of the best things any community can do"

      The fourth "It took real bravery for her to publish the truth, in the face of the anger of a scientist that would be left with a hole."

      I see nothing at all claiming there is no truth. Please identify any places you believe they say this and post them here.

      It may be more convenient for you to believe all non-believers in gods are relativists, but that is very far from the case. All people are relativistic in some areas and less so in others, but only a very small number of people genuinely believe there is no truth, and even then it is rare that they meananything like what you think they do.

      It's easy to dismiss people when you are ignorant of their beliefs and replace this knowledge with a charicature. I think you would find it much less so if you actually became familiar with what real people actually believe.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Joe, to put it bluntly, that's just not true.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  4. No way Atheists!!

    If Evolution changes things.....why are things going from bad to worse with atheism?

    June 23, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • gaylord fokker jr.

      who said tat evolution was changing things for the better, you just assume anything?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • gaylord fokker jr.

      Also things are bad because of organized religions run by humans (average folks with absolutely no intelligence to comprehend the creation or its beauty). Also thanks to Abraham, all his descendants are fighting each other the most. Daggone burning bush (weed).

      June 23, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • tony

      Damn all those inter-atheist sects wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • gaylord fokker jr.

      yeah absolutely right tony :).

      June 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • Saraswati

      The lowest murder rate in 60 years as the power of religion drops is bad to worse?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
  5. gaylord fokker jr.

    I believe he is still resting after the 7th day. Any ideas on his schedule after that?

    June 23, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • gaylord fokker jr.

      come on now, not one troll can answer this one?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  6. George Karlson

    So this is like every other religious congregation I have ever seen. I can't fault them as they are probs making a killing.
    It's near impossible to walk into any house of worship any hear people speak about God. It's always them projecting their own dreams of what/who He is.
    Congrats to the atheists though. When your kids grow old enough to hate you for dragging them to "church" they will rebel. Then they can become E.I.BS. (Everything Is BS) and torment your silly constructs.

    June 23, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
  7. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    Christers, followers of hindu Mithra ism, pagan savior ism labeled as Christianity, do not follow GOD of Abraham, corrupted to be called Yaway, meaning I AM, not a name, Yaway Elah, meanings I AM TRUTH ABSOLUTE, AS HE INTRODUCED HIMSELF., but they follow a hind, fabrication called Jesus, a brewery master, with plenty of contradictions as their god, just as hindus pagans pray to a man of incest, using same fundamentals as Christians, of hindu origin. Not of truth but hinduism, fabrication promoted to be GOD by hindu atheism, criminal self center ism, to hind, fool humanity.

    June 23, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • Questioning

      Was there actual effort put into this paragraph? You have to read it a good 4 times to figure out what you're saying.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      I am glad, you figured it out, do you have any thing to say.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • gaylord fokker jr.

      I agree @questioning, let's start with this person's name, it is not even english

      June 23, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
  8. meh...

    ....And spaghetti without pasta isn't spaghetti. So what?!?!?!

    June 23, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
  9. gaylord fokker jr.

    I thought that overcoming anger was one step closer to salvation. If this god gets angry, then he is no different from any human being with human tendencies like anger, jealousy, greed, etc..

    June 23, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
  10. antiintellectualintellectual

    I think that these atheist congregations are an interesting start, but, I wish they were more inclusive. I think theists and atheists have a lot in common, especially when considering morality. I am a theist, and I think we could learn a lot from each other. The issue usually comes when religion takes a role. The exclusive "atheist" meetings will not do much to bring together community, if they reject people who believe in god. I think there is room for believers in god and for those who do not in a humanist church. I look forward to when we have a purely community centered congregation where both groups find solace in each others different ideas about morality and the universe. I know religion has done a lot to stop this from happening, but I still have hope for both sects of existential belief.

    June 23, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • snowboarder

      humanists are inclusive. everyone can be a humanist. unfortunately, religions are exclusive and declarative. if you don't follow their particular doctrine you must be wrong.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • antiintellectualintellectual

      According to this article, the congregation is not inclusive, because theism isn't accepted. I agree with you that religion has been very exclusive too, but to say that the atheist church is inclusive wouldn't be correct. (I do know there is a difference between atheism and humanism, so I probably should have worded my OP differently. I am just making the point that these startup atheist congregations may be heading down a similar path as religiously exclusive congregations. I just wish we had a congregation where both sects, theists and atheists could talk to each other about their hope, experiences, and community direction. I know that religion wouldn't allow for this exchange, but I am hoping that this wave of atheism changes the course from pure rhetoric and debate to a congregation focused on dialogism and dialectal forms of philosophy.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Interesting concept. I'd be down for an experiment of that sort. I wonder if it's possible to collect enough atheists and believers of similar mindset? That might be the hard part.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      Anyone who is an "antiintellectual" is by definition someone who prefers to be STUPID. Look it up – Oh, wait, you won't.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • Saraswati

      That would be Unitarianism. But you will be expected to develop and be able to defend a more intelligent version of your theism or atheism.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
  11. tony

    Head line should read "Some possibly Atheists . . . "

    June 23, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Why?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • tony

      Because it sounds like all atheists are doing this otherwise, and that all attending are self described atheists.

      Same problem as bad logic – All swans are white – so if it's white, it must be a swan.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      You are correct. But CNN loves to troll. I doubt they even bother to bathe, either.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Did you not actually read the headline?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
  12. tony

    And first, astrophysicists. Genesis 1:14 – Watch the heavens for signs – i.e updates to the bible.

    June 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • gaylord fokker jr.

      i am watching the heavens for signs and see san pedro j.e.r.k.i.n.g off at the pearly gates, cause he just let some s.l.u.t in

      June 23, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
  13. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Perhaps God will show up in some humanist congregation some day. Do such congregations have confession of any sort? Perhaps God will confess shame to everyone that it asked people to believe a tremendous load of rubbish, including the existence of hell to which we are, it said, destined if we don't believe the tremendous load of rubbish. At last (and high time too) it will ask for us to forgive it for making people feel that at all times they were the ones who needed to be forgiven. I could forgive God. After all, it is by nature God and can't really help that. But I'd really want to see it around more often and I would definitely want to see it try to be more like us.

    June 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I'll sign that pet.ition.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      There is a pet.ition at We the People to ban the teaching of creationism in science classes.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      "Perhaps God..."
      Well, you just sound like an idiot right there. Hard to get past that "god" thing when there is no god and never has been.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
  14. dfasdfsdfs

    science is the study of how God creates.

    June 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      God is an unproven hypothesis. Science is the study of natural world. The god experiment does not yield consistent results and has been disqualified.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Science is the study of how the world works. But your statement was close.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • snowboarder

      there is no legitimate reason to believe that.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • tony

      If man is made in god's image, and men create in teams (companies for example), then creationism is the belief in multiple gods.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • George Karlson

      I have yet to encounter any people foolish enough to think that since we are made in His image, anything we do is the only way He does things. It doesn't read God made man his equal.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      Science shows a definitive lack of any evidence for any deity.
      But delusional people can always be counted upon to say delusional things if you let them.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
  15. robot diIdo

    proof that christians dont read their bibles-:

    if christians read their bibles they would be atheists

    June 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • *

      Not so, the grace of God reads beautifully throughout Gods Holy word.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • robot diIdo

      wrong

      June 23, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • tony

      Apparently the Koran reads far more beautifully than the bible.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 23, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Observer

      Atheism,

      Speaking of not healthy for children and other living things, here's how God treated them:

      Genesis 7:21 “And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all human beings”

      June 23, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Evolution changes things, troll.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • tony

      Your late. I've been setting the clock by you, every 5 mins.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • *

      Evolution is meatball science and unproven.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Wat to go tony!

      June 23, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • tony

      Meatballs are science. Gravity is called a theory also. So don't float away while waiting for it become fact.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • *

      God is the creator of this world and the judge of this world . If God chose to judge the sin of the ancient world rest assured it was a righteous judgement and a righteous penalty paid by the guilty. Since the observer knows God is a judge and will judge it, it is without excuse.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • tony

      Away damned Spot!

      June 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Dam.n. Gravity verified.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • Observer

      dot,

      Tell us what were the sins of the CHILDREN, BABIES, FETUSES and ANIMALS that were so CRUELLY KILLED by God.

      Oooops.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • *

      Sin is sin, the wages of sin is death. The sins would be as many and as varied as sin is today. Any sin is deserving of death at Gods righteous judgement.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • *

      we are not given a list of specific sins but at its core we are told that every thought of every creature was continually evil.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Observer

      dot,

      Sorry you missed the question. Is reading comprehension a big problem for you?

      What were the sins of the CHILDREN, BABIES, FETUSES and ANIMALS that were so CRUELLY KILLED by God?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Observer

      Dot,

      Fetuses had evil thoughts? lol. lol.

      Do you think AT ALL before answering?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • *

      Apparently if there were fetus' they would have been as evil in their thoughts as those who bred them. In sin they were conceived and their guilt has been clearly established in righteous summary. Knowing this what will become of your sin?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • *

      the question has been answered several times you seem to have a problem accepting the answer. too bad for you, you are more to be pitied then. what will become of your sin?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Observer

      dot,

      Here's something that you apparently haven't been bright enough to figure out:

      There are good atheists and there are bad atheists just like there are good Christians and there are bad Christians.

      So as long as you spam this LIE about atheists, I will continue to tell the TRUTH about what God did to children and other living things. Keep spamming that LIE all you want. I have the quotes from the Bible ready.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • tony

      Jesus is quoted in the bible as saying that sickness and misfortune is not caused by sin. Spot must not be a Christian

      June 23, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Dottie, have you adopted any children who are disabled, of another race, or teen-aged?

      If not, then: SHUT YOUR FVCKING TRAP, you hypocritical swine.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • *

      good and bad are not relevant to the judgement, by definition all sin and fall short of the glory of God. The pathway to heaven is by grace through faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ and by no other.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • *

      since I have not "shut my trap"we may assume i have met your demented rant as to righteousness?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • Observer

      dot,

      No problem. Keep spamming your LIE. I will keep answering with the TRUTH on how God treats children.

      Hosea 13:16 “Samaria will be punished for turning against me. It will be destroyed in war– children will be beaten against rocks, and pregnant women will be ripped open.” – God

      June 23, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  17. I went to the house of God

    But he moved.

    June 23, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • *

      Those God loves God finds

      June 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • tony

      But you were still asked for a donation for his "upkeep"?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • tony

      Those god loves are addressed as to "occupier".

      June 23, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • *

      Those God knows God loves and knows each hair on their heads, there is a grace given that is personal and powerful. Maybe the lost are occupants. The child of God knows they belong.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • tony

      . . .and sees each sparrow fall. So why doesn't he stop them falling? They are all innocent.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • *

      the natural order of things is currently corrupted by sin. sparrows fall as all creation falls because death entered this world through sin.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • *

      misconception is that there is innocence on this earth, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

      June 23, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Why would god kill sparrows? What did they ever do to him?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • *

      God didn't" kill" sparrows sin did

      June 23, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      *
      "God didn't" kill" sparrows sin did"

      But this omniscient "God" character knew ahead of time that would happen - and created them anyway? Good thing 'he' doesn't exist.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  18. William Wallace

    Only one word of advice for the "congregation" – Read C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity and then have a discussion.

    June 23, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • tony

      But he wrote the Lion, Witch and Wardrobe stuff that includes magic.Like Harry Potter.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Why when it clearly isn't relevant to their interests?

      To be honest, I've read it and wasn't all that impressed by it.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Jack

      C. S. Lewis is a no-talent hack. End of discussion.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Why should they? I read it and found it unimpressive.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • Aslan

      Trust me. Don't read those books.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • tallulah13

      All the propaganda in the world can never change the simple fact that there isn't a single shred of evidence to support the existence of any god.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
  19. The Flamingo Kid

    Serves the same purpose as a typical "church" to fleece the public.

    June 23, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • tony

      Yup. I see the "listen to me. I'm doing the important talking" genetic disorder that church leaders have.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  20. snowboarder

    community is a good thing, especially without the religious mumbo jumbo.

    June 23, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • New Age freak

      Funny, I always figured it was just the opposite.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @new, you like the religious mumbo jumbo without the community?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:24 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.