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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. devin

    Let's see, atheists comprise 2% of the worlds population, roughly the same percent of human beings who actually believe in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, et al.

    June 23, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
    • Bostontola

      There was a time when 98% or more thought the world was flat.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • I Am God

      Problem is that the 2% who believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are mostly Christians. Fail.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • kyzaadrao

      Religion and folklore are two separate things. Suggesting that they're the same is a non-starter.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      I believe in the FSM. If you would open your heart to him you would experience his eternal goodness and love.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Oh, devin. Don't you know? Just because something is popular doesn't make it true. Maybe when you grow up you'll understand.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • Roger that

      Answer: Your butt
      Question: What is your source for that number?

      June 23, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      devin, we get that you are afraid of people who don't believe what you do. But shit or get off the pot, man, you're not making any actual points or headway.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • devin

      And yet, still no valid response to that both staggering and telling statistic. Perhaps because it speaks for itself.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      I have proof the FSM exists.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Gee, devin, I wonder this: why is it so important to you? If you didn't care, you wouldn't be here, would you? Apparently, you're full of doubt. Or something less fragrant, you little boob.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      Your 'statistic' is wrong and self serving. You need to get to confession.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Hey devin, please provide your statistical sources before you complain about the statistics of others. Silly troll-child.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Hey devin, how is it that you don't fly off the surface of the earth? Did you ever really think about that?

      June 23, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • devin

      Real Tom

      Why am I here? You do realize this is the BELIEF blog don't you?. Please tell me your not that clueless, that you just had a temporary brain freeze.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • JAMES OLIVER

      Children believe in Santa and his pals not adults. If you are an adult and believe in Santa, most would think you had cognitive issues. Children believe and I suspect they are more than 2% of the population.
      Santa was invented to coerce children into behaving – sound familiar.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • Bostontola

      It doesn't matter if it was 2%,.02%, or 80%. Christians believe man is feeble minded, so they will believe anything (like the sun goes around the earth).

      June 23, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      I guess that devin does not answer because he has no answers. The FSM is the one and true god and you cannot disprove it.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • The real Tom

      devin the dull, what would you know about "brain freeze" when you don't have any brains to freeze, dearie?

      You are so cute.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Devin runs from my questions because he is a coward and has no answers. Believe in the FSM. You will be greatly rewarded with his love and grace.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
    • devin

      Secular

      Actually, devin doesn't answer because he chooses not to waste his time responding to individuals obsessed with some silly Spaghetti Monster narrative.

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

      Even if only 10% of the chinese population were atheist (and most estimates are much higher) that alone would account for 2% of the world as atheist. The actual percent if you do the math is much higher than that, but still around 5-10%.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Devin bawls: "Please tell me your not that clueless"

      Oh, honey, I'm just appalled that you are so very stupid.

      It's "you're," darling child. Send me an announcement when you make it past 3rd grade, dear. I'll be sure to mail you a gift befitting you enormous achievement in overcoming your terrible handicap.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • LinCA

      @devin

      You said, "Actually, devin doesn't answer because he chooses not to waste his time responding to individuals obsessed with some silly Spaghetti Monster narrative."
      ROTFLMAO

      The FSM is no more silly than your imaginary friend. They are exactly equal. They are exactly equally likely to exist. By dismissing it you show yourself to be a hypocrite.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • The real Tom

      OH MY GAWDS has the gassy farts

      June 23, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      devin

      If you would just open you heart and let the FSM in you would see his reality.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
  2. Dp

    It makes sense. Congregationalism provides a tested and efficient framework for voluntaryist cooperation.

    June 23, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Some people enjoy the sense of community provide by like-minded groups. Humans are generally social animals.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
  3. MarylandBill

    Note I have nothing against atheists getting together and emulating the practices that are responsible for emptying out mainline protestant churches. What I am trying to figure out is why CNN spends so much time giving them good press while virtually ignoring positive stories about more orthodox versions of Christianity?

    June 23, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • I Am God

      BECAUSE THERE ARE NO POSITIVE STORIES ABOUT CHRISTIANITY

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

      Dog bites man vs man bites dog.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Because science works, bit ches! Religion does not.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • God

      Bite Me.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      Until very recently, all you hear about is mainstream christianity.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • gaylord fokker jr.

      MarylandBill there are no positive stories of orthodox Christianity, all wars and bloodshed, including the crucifixion

      June 23, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
  4. zipties

    as ive always said atheists are a religion they keep deny it but here it is prooving our point enjoy gods judgement

    June 23, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Atheists can create a religion if they want, but atheism isn't a religion. Christianity is a religion created by Jews, but theism isn't a religion.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      My judgment is that your god is a suitable reflection on your thinking and vice versa.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • ME II

      @Bostontola,
      Well said. I may steal that at some point.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The actions of a few people are not the actions of the majority, zippy. The single common bond shared by atheists is that we don't believe in any gods. Perhaps you could understand that if you weren't personally vested in the hive mind culture of religion. How these people chose to spend their Sundays is their own business. Frankly, I'd rather shave my head than go to one of these lame-sounding meetings.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      You've also proven you have the punctuation skills of a second grader.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • Athy

      zipties, try using some punctuation next time. Your comments might be readable, even if they don't make sense.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      You sound pretty happy about something that means nothing. I guess that would have landed better if you could type english?

      June 23, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
  5. Ed

    I don't understand how any logical person could be an athiest. There is SO MUCH evidence for His existence. The Flying Spaghetti Monster created us and the universe with His Noodly Appendage in five days. All one has to do is eat at a Fazoli's or open a can of Spaghetti O's and His existence is OBVIOUS. YOU WILL ALL PAAAAAYYYYYY if you continue to deny His Supremacy.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • devin

      I'm guessing on some level this makes you feel better.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • Ed

      Devin, I am only trying to spread the truth so you and others like you will be spared ETERNAL TORMENT!!!!! Please repent to His Noodliness before it is toooooo laaaaaate!!!!

      June 23, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • devin

      Ed

      Like I said.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      @devin

      You risk ST Ds and much more, repent while there is still time.

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

      Devin, can't you see that I care about you and truly want you to be spared eternal torture. How can you refuse His free gift of eternal life? All you have to do is surrender yourself to Him and Praise His Name forever.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      R'amen.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      R'Amen!

      June 25, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
  6. Ungodly Discipline

    This is perhaps the most idiotic thing I have ever heard of. Atheist church? Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • I Am God

      It isn't really a church. Just a community congregation.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The word "church" seems to have been added rather disingenuously by the author of the article.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      They can't help trolling for idiots. We're talking Harvard here. They get money from all that.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • I like it

      I think I'll go. Afterwords I can go to a restaurant and not eat, then go to a barber (not get a haircut) and then out to the pub for a pitcher of O'douls.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      @I like it

      Then you can go to a church where they believe in something that very likely does not exist.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
  7. smartaz

    There are plenty of godless "churches" that have done this for years.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • lol??

      Yeah, try and get an XX to hush!

      June 23, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
  8. lol??

    One would surmise that an Egyptian beer festival might have more takers.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • Science

      Metal universe.............just add water..........lol??

      F-35B Ship Suitability Testing

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ki86x1WKPmE&w=640&h=390]

      June 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
  9. DP

    So how do you build a community when you are intolerant to those who believe in God?

    June 23, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • I Am God

      I don't know. Christians do it all the time so ask them.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • Really?

      Since when are they intollerant of people who believe in God?

      June 23, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      Where did you read anything about them being intolerant of others? Or did you just make that up?

      June 23, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
  10. I Am God

    I accept myself as the one true messiah Lord AMEN. Oops, got a little "amen" in my eye. If you catch my drift. Manchowder all up in my grill.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • I Am God

      So you claim you believe in God yet you are committing a sin for claiming you are God? Something wrong with you John.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • lol??

      You are not a unique god. Wegodians are everywhere. It's a sign of the age.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • I Am God

      I enjoy the age of wegodian signs. And a well-crafted cheese.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • lol??

      HHHHHmmmmm, aged Wegodian cheese product cheese. FDA approved.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • lol??

      You employed in PUblic service or a Beastie contractor??

      June 23, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • Aleks

      What r u smoking?
      if christians r wrong and there is no God, they just die like everybody else.
      if God is real, born again christians lose nothing.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • I Am God

      BEASTIE CONTRACTING IS A PUBLIC SERVICE.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Aleks, unless of course you are worshipping the wrong god. We've invented so many of them the odds are WAY against you picking the right one, even if there even is a god.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
  11. Ed

    All humanists wil DIE and go to HELL if they do not repent and accept the ONE TRUE GOD, His Noodliness the Flying Spaghetti Monster. They will be flogged by His Noodly Appendage for eternity if they do not repent!!!

    June 23, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • I Am God

      So we should accept Odin? Zeus? Ra? Etc. etc.?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      @I am God

      You've not heard of the Flying Spaghetti Monster! Has the world gone crazy!

      June 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • sbp

      No, not Odin. Weren't you listening? All hail the spaghetti monster.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Ed

      You BLASPHEMER!!! We should accept The Flying Spaghetti Monster. HE is the ONE and ONLY true God.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • I Am God

      Sorry peeps. I forgot about the flying spaghetti monster.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Doobs

      I saw a car the other day that had a FSM on the back, like one of those Jeebus fish. I almost snorted coffee onto my dashboard.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • devin

      Don't know about that Spaghetti Monster you all like to refer to because you think it makes you sound clever, but there is a God who has created you and will hold you accountable.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      @ devin

      The FSM is the only one and true God. If you do not accept him you will be doomed!

      June 23, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • Ed

      Devin, I hope for your sake you repent and accept His Noodliness as your Lord and Master or you will face Him one day and be held accountable. Ramen.

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

      There is absolutely no reason why god could not reply to to prayers by direct radio texting from space to believers cell phones.

      Just like the burning bush, the origin/source would be untraceablee. So why isn't it happening. Doesn't he know that modern humans can't read ancient greek or aramaic.

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

      "Ramen" Now that's funny. Misguided, but funny.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • devin

      It's koine Greek, and some of us can read it, but in case you haven't heard, the Bible is now in English too.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • The real Tom

      ahahahahahaahaa, devin claims he can read! Funniest thing I've read yet.

      June 23, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • pete

      Devin, you sound as crazy as Ed does to me, but I choose to have faith in the Flying Spaghetti Monster because I am more afraid of STDs and flat beer than I am of the Christian version of hell.

      June 25, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
  12. Aleks

    Check those websites, please.
    http://kgov.com/
    http://youngearth.org/
    http://creationtoday.com/
    http://kgov.com/real-science-radio

    June 23, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Why? For the humor?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Brother Brosn

      Why?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I was on damnyouautocorrect.com today. Now that's a site worth visiting.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • ME II

      Try these:
      http://evolution.berkeley.edu/
      http://ncse.com/
      http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/usgsnps/gtime/ageofearth.html
      http://humanorigins.si.edu/

      June 23, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
  13. tony

    I think they should tax churches so religion can once and for all openly influence government! Yeah I'm real bright!

    June 23, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Getting my sunglasses!

      June 23, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • tony

      this and every post below is mine. Not the one or others above.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      It doesn't work that way, tony. Paying taxes is not some sort of price of admission towards influencing government.
      The citizens have the right to ask for a redress of grievances – no taxes needed to get your basic rights dumas.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
  14. Owl Creek Observer

    Atheist chaplains, honest politicians, rap musicians - all oxymorons.

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

      You forgot: atheists possessers of truth.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Observer

      You also forgot non-hypocritical Christian.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • devin

      Observ

      Ah yes, the hypocritical Christian routine. No post on religion would be complete without that mantra. It does, however, get more tiresome and trite with the passage of time.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      Keep it up, devin! Behavior like yours just keeps driving people away from your religion. Thanks for all the help.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • Observer

      Devin

      "Ah yes, the hypocritical Christian routine. No post on religion would be complete without that mantra. It does, however, get more tiresome and trite with the passage of time."

      Yep. So why don't Christians skip the hypocrisy?

      Truth hurts.

      June 23, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
  15. I Am God

    There is nothing wrong with Atheists congregating. In my opinion, it is a good thing because we can discuss where our money actually goes and to insure it is properly going to those who are in need. The church does the same thing sure, but 3/4 of that money donated mysteriously disappears.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
  16. lol??

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

    June 23, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • Really?

      The atheists love it too. All the rest of us don't bother with it but we love to watch you guys fighting about it.

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

    Atheists attack religions and religious people (just look at many of the comments here), yet the people that believe in God (from various religions) only express hope that atheists will find a faith in God.

    Atheists attack.... the faithful share hope....

    Without God, and the influence of religions on the morality of humans.... atheists would NEVER have developed civil humanity values on their own! Now atheists wish to promote values and morals as if THEY created them out of thin air.

    Atheists are not bad people, they just lack any sense of direction or purpose other than their own selfish desires.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • I Am God

      Religion never created morals. Morals have been a part of human life since the beginning.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      So you would murder if it weren't for a book that told you it it's not OK.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Brother Brosn

      Oh GOD!...I just lost my supper....

      June 23, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @Robert, morality certainly doesn't come from any gods or religions. morality exists in every society regardless of religion.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • ME II

      @Robert
      "...the people that believe in God (from various religions) only express hope that atheists will find a faith in God."

      "Atheists are not bad people, they just lack any sense of direction or purpose other than their own selfish desires."

      It's nice to see people refute themselves.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • sbp

      An awful lot of assumptions there. This notion that without the Bible, humans couldn't be moral is comical. Without going into the sociobiology of morality, let's look at this as a simple logic issue. The Bible IS composed of words on paper. As such, it is POSSIBLE that the Bible was the work of man, not god. And accordingly, if people really WERE moral only because they are following the Bible, then they could be moral because of the works of man, not god.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • tallulah13

      On the other hand, Robert, you are an arrogant, condescending individual who speaks from a position of deep ignorance. You don't actually know all atheists, yet you judge them all the same. Nor do you know how all believers treat atheists. You present yourself as a good person while at the same time you demean those atheists that you claim care so much about. Your hypocrisy is one of those shining christian virtues that made me loathe churches in the first place.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • Logic leads me to Atheism

      "Atheists attack.... the faithful share hope...." What comment section are you reading?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Bucko

      Let me "axe" you this question, Robert. It would seem to be logical that "god" would be quite displeased with atheists. After all, "god" created the entire universe and is responsible for everything in it. Yet, there are these horrifying people, that not only don't worship this all powerful "god", THEY DENY HIS VERY EXISTENCE. Isn't one thing this "god" would do, to silence these awful, evil people, would reveal himself to his subjects, thus, ending the scourge of of atheism forever? Why does "god" insist on hiding himself, and being so subtle about his existence?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  18. The real Tom

    I really love the Lord Jesus Almighty God and the Holy Spirit with all of my heart. The following gets me through each day, and I hope they help you too:

    #1 Motivational Bible Verse

    Colossians 3:23

    Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men;

    # 2 Motivational Bible Verse

    Philippians 2:13

    for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

    #3 Motivational Bible Verse

    Deuteronomy 31:6

    "Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you."

    Bible Verses About Evangelism

    #4 Motivational Bible Verse

    John 16:33

    "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

    #5 Motivational Bible Verse

    Philippians 4:13

    I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

    #6 Motivational Bible Verse

    Isaiah 40:31

    Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

    #7 Motivational Bible Verse

    Hebrews 13:5

    Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,"

    #8 Motivational Bible Verse

    Luke 12:29-30

    "And do not seek what you shall eat, and what you shall drink, and do not keep worrying. "For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things.

    #9 Motivational Bible Verse

    Psalm 37:23-24

    The steps of a man are established by the LORD; And He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.

    #10 Motivational Bible Verse

    Ephesians 2:10

    For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them

    June 23, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • tony

      Nope. Just made me respect church goers less.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      You guys are desperate.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • tony

      I don't see why that qualifies for not paying taxes, like the honest folk have to.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • Name*

      Thanks for today's useless facts.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • Doobs

      Doesn't your book say that stealing is a sin?

      Besides, you're not fooling anyone.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Akira

      If you were such a deeply faithful person, why did you decide to break the 8th Commandment by stealing another's handle? Coward.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • I Am God

      DOTH NOT THOU FINDEST HUMOROUS IRONY IN THAT WHICH CALLETH ANOTHER A COWARD WHILEST HIDING BEHIND THINE OWN HANDLE? POSTETH THY FACEBOOK PAGE LINK LEST YE BE A COWARD!

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

      Wow, bible quotes! Right back atcha:

      Deuteronomy 7:1-2 When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations . . . then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.

      Because gawd loves us!

      June 25, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
  19. I Am God

    NOTHING IS WORSE THAN EATING THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT AND SPRAYING THE TOILET WITH A SUBSTANCE THAT LOOKS LIKE COFFEE WITH PISTACHIOS IN IT AND IT TAKES ENOUGH TOILET PAPER MADE OUT OF 12 ADULT REDWOOD TREES TO CLEAN UP THE MESS AND THEN YOU CANNOT WALK RIGHT FOR A WEEK BECAUSE YOU HAVE WIPED SO HARD AND FOR SO LONG THAT YOU HAVE LOWER INTESTINE DAMAGE

    June 23, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • I Am God

      Maybe you should stop eating rotten fruit John. Seems like you have some problems.

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

      Sunday is not a school day..

      June 23, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
  20. stevenbeto

    This is a wonderful idea that I hope catches on. I wish we had such a congregation in our area. They should be given the same tax breaks as any church or religion. Imagine that.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • tony

      Easier to just take the unfair tax exemption away from churches.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • kyzaadrao

      That would be a non profit, which is what most churches and religious organizations are. The only real difference is the registered intent of the non profit organization. Most non profits are horrible at directing funds to their causes, religious or not. Administrative costs far outweigh what actually goes to the cause. We really don't need more of them, we need better legislation for how much they're allowed to "keep".

      June 23, 2013 at 7:38 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.