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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. John Walsh

    People are always looking for something as the U2 song goes "still haven't found what Im looking for" , That one thing of course is the creator. They don't know it but only happiness and understanding is found there. MAN is too arrogant and too full of importance to humble himself before the son of man. Just look at nature , see how everything works , open your heart etc...There is enough proof out there that God exists, the Virgin calls us today from Medjugorje and in previous times at Fatima (thousands of people witnessed this event including the press". Faith is Hidden from the wise and learned and you have to listen to the parables to understand and have faith. Oh yes they say where is this great God , Well due to our arrogance and sinful ways a price was paid 2000 yrs ago by a naked man on a cross who called all of mankind to him. John Walsh RC.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • Bostontola

      I hike and hunt in nature. No proof of god, not even evidence. Plenty of evidence that the bible is wrong though.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • tony

      There is no proof that god exists. Lots in the bible that suggest the pro god writers were seriously mistaken [Exodus 14:18 for example], or just biased or self interested (popes)

      June 23, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • sbp

      A naked man on a cross? What a pervert.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      The earth was created for mankind and he will have dominance over all the animals. There's a humble position.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • yay theist

      you sound arrogant. ps. the event you describe is consistent with mass hysteria.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • tallulah13

      There is something really disgusting about the way christians are so happy that an innocent man was tortured to death so that they don't have to be responsible for their own actions. And then they pretend that they are humble for believing that they are too important to die and that a being powerful enough to create the universe is paying attention to their every thought and action.

      As for "looking" for something, I am enjoying the journey far too much to worry about the destination. All I know is that there isn't a single reason to believe that there is a god.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      Hey John Walsh, go die in a fire somewhere and leave decent people alone.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      "Well due to our arrogance and sinful ways a price was paid 2000 yrs ago by a naked man on a cross" Really John, if it was a price that was payed, who required that it be payed? Who was it payed to? Something with more arrogance, if it were real, than I could ever manage.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      "...Virgin calls us today ..." Ok, so, what? Virgin Airlines is going to fly us to Heaven?

      If there's a point, you're failing to make it.

      June 25, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
  2. The real Tom

    It's entertaining to see the lengths to which the trolls will go to try to make their point. Too bad they don't have a point worth making.

    It's fun to watch 'em try, though.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • Akira

      What gets me is the dishonesty of stealing someone else's handle to try and make a point. As if their own unique handle won't do the job.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, I agree. DISHONESTY to the utmost highest. I can't function in real life when someone STEALS my handle. Handle stealerers can rot in Jesus' stupid name. I have to whine about it and try to play master detectivemansmith every time and try to guess who it is, slinging insults along the way while hypocritically judging that handle thiefman.

      So far I have been wrong on every account in my guesses. I'm not as intelligent as I project here. I'm REALLY terrible at doing anything of any value. That's why I'm ALWAYS here saying the same crap over and over again, all the while calling people names because it makes me feel soooooooooooooo good inside.

      YOLO Akira! YOLO LOLOLOLOLOL

      June 23, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • Akira

      Says the troll who just stole TRT's handle. You have illustrated my point nicely.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • The real Tom

      You as usual, are incorrect.

      : )

      June 23, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • The real Tom

      By the way, Tom is the true troll. I am merely an observer. If you weren't so busy taking part in its spite for others, you might be able to see it. But with your nose buried so far in its posterior, well, you're just never going to understand.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Truly bothered, aren't you, you poor thing. What a sad case.

      What will you do with your life?

      June 23, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • Science

      The trolls are

      Someone loves to post fake sh0it............you know fred/Austin/chad/pryer bot.............ass hat !

      June 25, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  3. I Am God

    MIKES HARD LEMONADE MAKES ME WANT TO PEEL OFF MY ELASTIC WAISTBAND PLEATED AND STONEWASHED JEANS

    June 23, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • I Am God

      Yawn. Did you pass Middle School John? I'm going to presume you didn't.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
  4. TG

    Mr Jerry Dewitt is among many who have left the churches (although he was supposed to be the one who provides some spiritual substance for his "flock"). And why ? Part of the reason can be found in an illustration that Jesus gave of a "rich man and Lazarus" at Luke 16.

    Here Jesus said that the "rich man", who pictured the Jewish religious leaders that decked "himself with purple and linen, enjoying himself from day to day with magnificence" (Luke 16:19), gave only spiritual "crumbs" to Lazarus, who pictured the common people that longed for something with which to be fed spiritually.(Luke 16:20, 21)

    Likewise of today, the churches have provided nothing of any substance to facilitate belief in a Creator. Mostly "Just believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be be saved." Two brochures published by Jehovah's Witnesses, (1) The Origin of Life – Five Questions Worth Asking, and (2) Was Life Created, give detailed information that can give real impetus to believing in a Creator.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • tony

      My last Jehovah's Witness ended up telling me that every tree had a spirit inside. Had to call her supervisor over.
      I asked why god sent the Tsunamis. He said that was just physics, not god. So I said than he thought that about parting the red sea then also? So he got really angry and stalked away. They haven't come back since.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      How about wherein the book of Genesis it is written that God himself is of flesh and bones and his days are numbered to be a hundred and twenty years?

      June 23, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • fred

      My dog knows just how to deal with the JWs. He's actually smarter than they are too.

      June 25, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  5. H.B.

    Let's get something straight about the "it's JUST a THEORY" garbage. To the average citizen, a theory is an educated guess, a hypothesis. In SCIENCE, there is nothing higher than a scientific Theory. The germ Theory, the atomic Theory, the plate tectonic Theory, AND the evolution Theory – they are called Theories because they eloquently knit together the mountains of scientific observation, testing and data, and describe just how they hold together, and how they function the way they do. A scientific Theory is a scaffolding for all the data on a subject. Before gaining the name of Theory, it must have passed rigorous testing and retesting, and managed to overcome any of the objections scientists could think of. Theories are proven frameworks that explain how nature works. Data alone can't do that. When mountains, and years, worth of collected data fit into a proposed theory, and new data, over a long time, also fits, the theory becomes a Theory. It could be destroyed if any data that should fit the scaffolding doesn't do so, and is thoroughly confirmed not to fit. Then the Theory itself would be likely subject to intense review. Nothing yet has been adequate to undermine most Theories. Nor is it likely to, because the testing, the skepticism, and the constant fitting of new data into the scaffolding, is too rigorous. If anything, Evolution has undergone more rigorous testing than any other Theory – and it's because of the wrath of the "believers" that the testing was much more profound than for any other Theory – yet the Theory remains standing, quite firmly, in spite of that.

    Nobody today doubts the validity of the germ Theory – not even the righteous theocrats, because upon the validity of it depends their own health. They can choose to ignore it, to ignore basic hygiene, and, of course, suffer the consequences. You may have noticed that few of them are claiming that germ Theory is "Just a theory." They prefer to be selective about such things, and therein lies their hypocrisy.

    The Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection offends the religious community, because it makes much of the Bible into so much hogwash. That isn't science's fault. Nothing in the Bible is required by them to meet any standards of data or testing, as all scientific Theories MUST. To believe that the Bible is right and science is wrong has no basis whatsoever in reality. It is based entirely upon "faith," and the believers themselves have nothing to say about what they're required to believe. They're only required to believe it, come what may. That's irrational.

    But when they say that Evolution is "Just a theory" they are DELIBERATELY playing on the public's common definition of the word and omitting to mention that "Theory" has a radically different meaning to scientists. There, it is a word that has EARNED respect and acceptance, a thing which no religion feels any urge to do.

    So before you reveal your ignorance by saying something in science is "Just a theory," you'd better realize how profoundly you are revealing your own abysmal ignorance.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • tony

      Oh the gravity of that situation

      June 23, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Trumper101

      Wow... theory is just that...a theory...not the "Truth"... not a Fact...just a theory. Theories are often re-aligned and modified to better suit an expected result. Einstein's theory of general relativity is one of the biggest examples of this....when he added the Cosmological Constant to his equation.... which was later dis-proven (the universe/ at least the observable universe is expanding at an increasing rate).... So yeah...theories are ALL relative to the anthropomorphic comprehension of the day.... which is always changing due to our growing and comprehension of universal truths....

      June 23, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • fred

      The existence of "universal truths" is merely a hope, not a proven fact.

      June 25, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      I'm reasonably sure there's a word to describe the stubborn ignorance of those who simply refuse to absorb and understand the point you're making – but I'm not sure what that word would be. They will continue to pounce on the word "theory" and continue to believe (after all, belief that flies in the face of the facts is their hallmark) it means "unproven". Nice try though.

      June 25, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  6. tony

    Prayer changes those who pray into people who have lowered expectations.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • fred

      We have a winner.

      June 25, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  7. I Am God

    CROCS ARE THE UNIVERSAL SYMBOL THAT A PERSON HAS GIVEN UP ALL HOPE. I OWN 30 PAIRS.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • I Am God

      Still trying to pretend your someone else? I bet you are the troll John below. Didn't like my little facts that I gave you?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Couldn't agree more. Crocs are hardly "shoes."

      June 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Studypeople

      Only 30? If you were god... You would own them all. Are you running away from your own "creation?" I know a Doctor who might be able to help you.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
  8. George

    I get a kick out of the people that use the same tired excuse , that how did things get here without god. Until, they can answer how god got here, they have nothing. I admit, I do not understand how everything got here. Surely a magnificent god that came out of nowhere makes no sense.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Gigi

      I get a kick out of people who can't think beyond "if we don't know the answer yet, goddidit." Lemming.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
  9. I Am God

    I NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE IN REMOVING STAINS FROM MY SHEETS THEY ARE YELLOWED AND FILTHY LIKE THE UNDERGARMENTS OF THE MORMONS

    June 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • gaylord fokker jr.

      you are an evil god for discriminating your children that thy create

      June 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • tony

      You should sleep with a horse of a different color.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • I Am God

      Sad state of affairs when you have a coward stealing profile names. Then he claims that you shouldn't take God's name in vain, yet that is exactly what he is doing.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • Trumper101

      So your picking on the Mormans??? Just because they believe in a prophet that was a con-artist...have modified what was "God's true words" hundreds of times.... Pay their top leaders very very handsomely .... dumped BILLIONS of dollars into running and owning the most expensive mall (lined the pockets of LDS contractors)...and did not, until recently allow women to lead prayer in General Counsel (just to name a few) is no reason to call out Mormans......

      June 23, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • fred

      *Mormons*, you mean. And I agree that religion is based on fraudulently created and false premises. A lot like Christianity.

      June 25, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  10. The New Atheist

    Whether there is or is not a god, i don't need any of you religious idiots telling me how i should live. period......

    June 23, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • George Karlson

      At least you can be honest about it.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
  11. Bostontola

    I just joined a religion that has the most power god of all time. This god promised that my spirit would live forever in bliss if I believed. This god said all other gods are false, created by the evil in man. There was a bunch of other stuff that contradicts known science, but what the heck.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • gaylord fokker jr.

      Instead of this god focusing on other gods, let's have him focus on his message for once

      June 23, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • Bostontola

      gaylord, don't presume to understand god.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • George Karlson

      You are being suckered pal.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Bostontola

      No way George, I feel god's love.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • gaylord fokker jr.

      just like all those who spoke to him (burning bush of weed) felt his love too...

      June 23, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Bostontola

      gaylord, if you seek god you will find him.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • gaylord fokker jr.

      i have @bostontola. but it is not like yours that kill what it creates. what wrong had the citizens of jericho done to be butchered by joshua?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Bostontola, really? You're killing me here.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • gaylord fokker jr.

      if that's the gold you have found @bostontola, you can keep him 🙂

      June 23, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • Bostontola

      My god knows Jesus personally and told me he is more powerful than Jesus. Why stay with a second rate god?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • gaylord fokker jr.

      bostontola, can you tell me if jesus is the lord or the god is the lord? or both 🙂

      June 23, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • fred

      Bostontola must be a great prophet. Bostontola, your god has honored you and you shall be exalted among us. Time to start adding to your wife collection. You don't happen to have a young gal in your life named Aisha, do you?

      June 25, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • fred

      Your god says science is OK. You just have to hear his words the right way. Try thinking about his words while spinning around as fast as you can with your eyes closed. That must be what the Christians do, to reconcile their B S with reality.

      June 25, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  12. gaylord fokker jr.

    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 7:12 pm |
    • tony

      Do you know what thanks means?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • gaylord fokker jr.

      tony am being sarcastic brother

      June 23, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
  13. lol??

    Christians love the Word of God. They were chosen to be born that way.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
  14. I Am God

    I STINK LIKE CRUSTED, YELLOW GROOL.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • I Am God

      Figured a clueless troll would steal my profile name. Shows that the individual has no life period.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
  15. Mennoknight

    So why is Belief Blog's feature articles on Sunday almost always have to do with the Atheism each week? This blog needs to be renamed the agnostic blog.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Uncut Mail

      That doesn't any make sense whatsoever. Atheism and agnosticism are not the same thing.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Proven

    June 23, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • I Am God

      No it doesn't. Prayer does not change a thing (unless you account for the mass killings during the Dark Ages by the church in the name of prayer to God).

      June 23, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • nope

      @i...
      nope

      June 23, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • *

      By the way God counts it as sin to take His name in vain. What will you do about your sin?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • tony

      The great god Me. has answered your prayer. Here it is. Pfffffpt!

      Hey at least something happened this time. Must be a First. Eh?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • George Karlson

      Seriously now, I'm starting to think this guy is an atheist serving up softballs every time another page of comments goes by. It's getting tired.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • Observer

      God and how he views treating children:

      Deuteronomy 28:45-55 “Israel, if you don't obey the laws and teachings that the Lord your God is giving you. .Because of hunger, a man who had been gentle and kind will eat his own children and refuse to share the meal with his brother or wife or with his other children.” [Moses]

      June 23, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Evolution changed things. Proven! (Notice how the exclamation point adds weight to my statement)

      June 23, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • I Am God

      The random guy with strange profile name. I don't believe in god, hence no belief in sins.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • *

      @observer
      what will you do about your sin?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • *

      You may not believe in speed limits either but sooner or later you will be found out. what will you do about your sin?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • Ed

      How would you know? I belong to a church that is very simliar in belief. Our children grow up with the knowledge that they can be whatever they want. They become professors, doctors, lawyers and good upstanding members of society. The best people I have ever know go to that church.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      @ Observer

      I knew atheists eat their babies!

      June 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • *

      Truth is NEVER tiring george, what will you do about your sin?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Observer

      dot,

      When did telling the TRUTH about what the Bible says (complete with EXACT QUOTES) become a sin? Ooops again.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I think the only thing "proven" here is that "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things" is a liar and a redundant one at that.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • *

      @observer
      you know your sin problem, what will you do about your sin?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • *

      @tallulah 13
      what will you do about your sin?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Observer

      dot,

      Yes I sin according to God and the Bible. I don't support slavery. I don't support discrimination against women. I don't support discrimination against the handicapped. I don't support discrimination against gays. I am PROUD of having those sins. You should be ashamed of supporting them.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • tallulah13

      dot, if I do harm, I do my best to make amends to the person, being or thing that I harmed, and try to learn from the experience. I don't waste my time talking to the air then claiming I'm forgiven.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
  17. tony

    In the beginning was . . .
    Something that hasn't happened since in the last 13,700,000,000 years
    So why believe it still is?

    June 23, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • *

      When i was a child science thought the universe was a million years old now we see 13,700,000,000. Wow that creation has sure aged in a few short years.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • tony

      My telescope is bigger that your telescope. They've evolved since yours.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
  18. JesusIsTheTruth&Light

    A church without God is not a church, but a gathering of lost individuals. HE (JESUS) is the TRUTH, the WAY, and the LIGHT without HIM there is no peace in your life. Mark my words!

    June 23, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • tony

      You've never been to a railway station or airport?

      Lots of people who know full well where they are going, and no god needed.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Joseph

      Here's the funny thing, for the naysayers, is that Jesus was really solidly committed to healthy community and bringing healing to those around you and ministering grace and mercy, etc... Why would Jesus be offended by this? I can damned well tell you that there are churches a plenty that the real jesus would have been flipping tables at, but I think this is an atmosphere he would have cherished.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • Joseph

      And millions of people have encountered peace apart from Jesus (in my case more peace than ever after I left the church and came out as gay finally). This no Jesus no peace thing is a church slogan that doesn't bother to ask people outside its four walls if it actually holds true. Instead the church makes the assumption that what these people have is truly not peace. That's not ok.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • sbp

      Why should anyone mark YOUR words? The followers of Zeus say exactly the same thing.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The word "church" seems to be something applied to the story by the author, not the subjects of the article.

      And atheists actually life fine, peaceful lives. I'm sorry that you need to believe in a myth in order to find peace. You must have a very sad existence.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Oh, well, that's a relief! For a minute there I thought the foaming-at-the-mouth christards had left for the day, and there went my entertainment. Good to see you back! Got any more comedy for us?

      June 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  19. John

    If there is no God, why is there something rather than nothing? And in light of the evidence, we are left with only two options: either no one created something out of nothing, or else someone created something out of nothing. Which view is more reasonable? Nothing created something? No.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • I Am God

      Clueless one. I suggest you read the Big Bang Theory thoroughly before spouting stuff you obviously don't understand.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Uncut Mail

      Scientists have discovered that matter can appear and disappear without magic.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101208130038.htm

      http://www.livescience.com/18946-antimatter-neutrino-disappearing-oscillations.html

      No need for god.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • tony

      Why is there a why?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • ME II

      If there was someone, then who created them?
      Or are you claiming that they came from nothing?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Why is there a why?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • In Reason I Trust

      'Nothing' is impossible. 'Nothing' never happened.

      'Nothingness' would be proof of a god, not 'something'.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • Typical Christian

      Yeah, obviously the only something that can come from nothing is the all knowing, all loving, all powerful creator of the universe.

      June 25, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      The answer, historically, to any mystery by the believers...."I don't know how it happened, so goddidit". We finally figured out thunder and eventually science will have the answers.....the real answers ....to the current crop of unknowns without sounding like bullfrogs...."Goddidit. Goddidit. Goddidit".

      June 25, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      John.
      You A$$ume there was nothing. we do not know that. it is very possible that all of our universe was made from the remnants of a previous universe, or that the matter has always existed and it has just changed states to something we can now percieve. The fact is, we do not know. You seem to have jumped to an unjustified A$$umption, and then judged from it....we say we do not know. And that is all we do know.

      June 25, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  20. chris

    If an Atheist says ,"we need to be more loving" and God originateD the concept of love....is not the Atheist teaching theIR congregation about God with out even knowing it?

    June 23, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • tony

      I invented the concept of the Internet yesterday. So if you use it now, it's because of Me! Halelujah

      June 23, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • sbp

      Huh? Bit of a problem with presupposing that God invented love, there, champ.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Actually chris, love has been around far longer than your god. (For that matter, the hindu gods have been around far longer than your god.) Love has existed in cultures that never even heard of your god. It is rather selfish and ignorant to believe that love can't exist outside of your religion.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:26 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.