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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. FenceSitter

    One lot is godless the other is not, both breach beliefs and both think they know better. To me they are no different as they both want me and want to influence me. Both are no better than what they hate and wish to change.

    June 23, 2013 at 4:08 am |
    • blah

      Agreed. Anyone who thinks they have all the answers one way or the other is wrong, regardless of which side they take.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:20 am |
    • tallulah13

      This story is about a single group of people. It is certainly not a universal thing. I am an atheist and this meeting thing sounds like a big waste of time to me.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:24 am |
  2. Happythoughts13

    My husband and I are agnostic. We have not come out to our families, yet. This is something I could really get behind... A joining of people of like mind coming together with their families promoting community and compassion, not just on some "holiday", but on a regular basis. I would welcome a place to socialize our family with those of the same beliefs.

    June 23, 2013 at 4:06 am |
    • Ilene B

      This is kind of odd. Atheists who want a gathering near Harvard Square need only look up the Ethical Culture Society, which meets a couple of blocks away from Harvard Square. Also, most Unitarian groups would probably satisfy a need for community around ethical/moral issues without preaching god talk. I'm atheist, always have been, and would like a gathering of like-minded people on subjects of ethics but don't see a need for yet another gathering.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:42 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Every honest person is agnostic. Gnostic/agnostic only define knowledge, they do not define belief. Atheism/theism define disbelief or belief.

      June 23, 2013 at 5:34 am |
    • robin donald-deVallon

      Another abuse and waste of TIME.... Donah..//

      June 23, 2013 at 5:42 am |
  3. allenwoll

    .
    Atheistism is ALSO a religion, just another brand : It supplants reason with faith and promotes that which can not be verified.
    .

    June 23, 2013 at 4:01 am |
    • jomamaxx

      This is totally false.

      A) Buddhism is technical Atheist, and they have all sorts of myths.

      B) Religion, and even Deist religions are not about 'believing in stuff' – they are about Spiritual alignment. It's all the same on a metaphysical level.

      C) 'Reason' has only taught us that we are a 'collection of particles, randomly bouncing through the Universe'. Technically, reason is an empty shell. That we recognize that 'life' itself exists – which transcends any of our current materialist/constructionist Scientific views (i.e. just a bag of particles) – is actually 'reasonable' but it's firmly in the are of faith. Another way: if you believe that you are 'alive' then in fact, you're already more aligned with Faith, then the current Scientific view, for which life is a great paradox.

      God is just a word. Get over it. Once you 'turn towards the light' – you won't have a problem with the term God.

      Though I understand how some people are intimidated by the term, frankly, it's a little childish and pathetic.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:07 am |
    • TruthandConsequence

      Just a dash of reason.....not much more.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:08 am |
    • JBOOM on integrity

      "atheistism"???

      You fail on every level of understanding. Read a non-apologist book once, please.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:10 am |
    • jboom

      "Atheistism is ALSO a religion, just another brand : It supplants reason with faith and promotes that which can not be verified."

      The Supreme Court agrees. Supreme Court ruled that a belief system is religious if it is "a sincere and meaningful belief which occupies in the life of its possessor a place parallel to that filled by traditional belief in God"

      source: US vs. Seeger, 380 US 163,176; see Francis J. Beckwith: Law, Darwinism and Public Education

      Naturalism/atheism is as much a religious belief as theism.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • The real Tom

      jboom, you just continue to prove yourself a dishonest POS.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • Observer

      jboom,

      "Religion" is just a word. Who cares if atheism is or isn't a "relgion"? What's more important is the validity of the Bible.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Total crap.

      June 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  4. HarryGP

    Being somewhere without God, pretending it's the same, would be the most horrid, sickening feeling imaginable. Yuck.

    June 23, 2013 at 3:56 am |
    • JBOOM on integrity

      As Alan Watts once wrote:

      "A myth can only 'work' when it is thought to be the truth."

      June 23, 2013 at 4:06 am |
    • akis vassilleiou

      although an atheist i agree. i dont want atheism to be a replacement for religion. i dont want atheists gatherings like sunday schools. and you know harvard... another elitist crap.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:08 am |
    • jomamaxx

      God is not a 'myth' or a 'magic man in the sky'. He/it is is the difference between you and totally inanimate matter. That life is expressed in what should otherwise be lifeless bags of particles – is the miracle. *You* are literally divine expression. Wake up, turn inward, 'see the light' – and try to grasp a metaphysical concept beyond the dark and narrow minded material. Also, know that our current constructionist/materialist Scientific view of the world would have you as a 'random bag of particles' – when in fact every Scientist would admit that you are much more than that – hence the complete inability of modern Science to explain life itself. BTW evolution – a random process within a random environment = totally random doesn't 'explain' the nature of life to create more intelligence, more beauty, more triumph. The human Spirit itself stands as a testament to that life which is breathed through us, and contrasts the sad limitations of our current Scientific thinking. It's not that hard to grasp when you turn towards a metaphysical view of the world.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:12 am |
    • tallulah13

      I feel sorry for you, jomamaxx, if you need to believe in a supernatural being in order to give your life meaning.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:16 am |
    • akis vassilleiou

      @jomammaxx
      you have a distorted picture about science. but to save time i will say that science is not the panacea. science is a tool, an instrument and not a goal, an end. but that does not imply that there exist something beyond the domain of scientific research. it implies that we are imperfect and we construct imperfect concepts.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:19 am |
    • jomamaxx

      Again, you're narrow minded bigotry of 'supernatural beings' is a function of your inability – and lack of effort – to grasp metaphysical concepts.

      I'm sorry that you live in the dark trap of materialism.

      One day, probably on your death bed, you'll awaken to a much greater truth. Your ego – supported by the narrow confines our current world view – which is of course supported by pop culture, consumerism, quest for property – is what is holding you back.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:40 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      @jomamaxx....

      You've given credibility to the Watts comment above...

      @tallulah13

      Been a fan of yours for a long time. Always nice to read your remarks.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:45 am |
    • jomamaxx

      I do not have a *distorted* view of Science. I read Scientific papers daily.

      I appreciate your view that 'Science is a Tool' – well said – you are correct.

      The question you need to ask yourself is – a tool for 'what', for 'whom'? The 'tool' cannot explain or validate it's user.

      But my point is – that we are trapped in Scientific dogma, that our 'de facto' view of the world is through the lenses of this tool. We are searching for 'something more' in a very narrow scope these days – almost entirely materialist. This is evident in your answer.

      Science in it's modern form is getting is no closer to 'the Truth' – we have long abandoned metaphysical thinking because it doesn't fit the narrow dogmas of how we do 'proofs', it doesn't lend nicely to purely objective experiments etc..

      But if you spend some time pondering why Science even exists, who the users are – there are answers there, but they must by definition transcend the limitations of that tool.

      Try this: read Plato and the Bible (New Testament) – written ballpark at the same time (well, Plato is way before Jesus ...) . Plato is the 'founder of the Western Cannon' , i.e. 'rational thought', Jesus one of the 'founders' of more ecclesiastical concepts – but the two are very similar.

      Put another way: Jesus and Plato (founder of 'Science') would be far more on the side of 'faith' and metaphysics – than on the side of constructionist/materialist thinking.

      By the way – there *is no contradiction* between Faith, Spirit and Science – none whatsoever – only between religious dogmas strictly interpreted, which has it's uses but obviously leads to problems, obviously.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:48 am |
    • akis vassilleiou

      @jomammaxx
      i agree there is no contradiction. the contradiction is between anarchy and the existence of god. i dont put a starting point in the cosmos whereas you take god as a starting point (no matter if you consider god timeless or dimensionless or omni dimensions). in addition materialism is not something barren. the "dry" explanation of materialism is not how a materialist conceives materialism. matter is something exciting taking many forms and making countless combinations. it is a matter of personal taste if you want to put "soul" in the matter. i don't feel that need.

      June 23, 2013 at 5:04 am |
  5. Hillcrester

    This whole fruitless discussion/comment part is entirely irrelevant to my life. I am glad to see, in the article itself, that people of good will can come together around common themes they all agree on and work to better themselves and society. Kudos to them.

    June 23, 2013 at 3:54 am |
  6. humanjesus

    even catholic church or any other church doesnt have god... just a man iled to cross, whats godly about it?

    June 23, 2013 at 3:54 am |
    • humanjesus

      just a human (man) beaten up and nailed to a woden cross, wearing nappy like cloth

      June 23, 2013 at 3:55 am |
    • jomamaxx

      ? Yes, the 'Catholic Church' definitely has 'God'. Moreover, the 'Man on the Cross' is the most influential figure in all of history, whether you are religious or not, Christian or not, Catholic or not – this is just a simple fact. You don't need to be Christian to crack open the New Testament and read those extremely powerful words that changed the world forever.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:13 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      I find it remarkable that Jesus is supposedly the most influential man in history

      ...yet the daily lives of his followers depict no influence, whatsoever.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:46 am |
    • jomamaxx

      ? This is nonsense. The 'Western world' – which is the modern term for 'Christendom' – has triumphed quite radically, and in a noble and positive way.

      The greatest centers of excellence and Enlightenment on the planet: Harvard, Yale, Colombia (all the Ivy League!), the colleges at Oxford, Cambridge – wherein people from around the world flock to because of their legitimacy – are 100% founded by the Church and the Clergy!

      The West, is to where people flock for ideas – we are copied the world over as 'the example' on almost every issue – this is not to say we don't have a lot to learn from the rest of the world.

      John Harvard was a Priest (!) and now – his name acts like a 'magic word' (Harvard) – a badge that opens doors, dons legitimacy unto thoughts, ideas – whenever someone has the 'mark of this Priest' – people automatically give it much more credence.

      I make all of these statements not necessarily as a Christian – they are simple facts, lost in the moral ambiguity and self-loathing of modern progressiveness.

      There are definitely some fools who have don dark things in the 'name of Christ' but they are immensely outdone by the great deeds. By the way – America itself is de-facto a 'Christian nation' – this is also a fact. Though not a Christian state (the founding fathers did not want religious dogma in the governing body) Americans have always been overwhelmingly Christian. The great good that America is – is largely derive fro Abrahamic virtues. Again – this is history, not religion.

      Even this 'Atheist' , the subject of the article – wears the 'mark of the Priest', John Harvard, which has no doubt brought attention to this very cause. And that he is leading a congregation of Spiritualists ... It's hard to imagine that this has anything to do with secularism, surely ... any arguments he can make about 'God' are surely his own failings to tackle the concept – or a secret desire to evangelize those who are as of yet unwilling to handle the word either.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:57 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      LOL! jomamaxx, you don't get out much do you? Since you aren't willing to leave the safety of your insulated life, how about picking up a history book.

      And, no, jomamaxx, not one authored by FoxNews.

      June 23, 2013 at 5:02 am |
  7. Sankarshan Das Adhikari

    If it's all just chemicals, why do you need a community?

    June 23, 2013 at 3:42 am |
  8. MM

    Do they still believe that they are descendant of Apes and Monkeys?

    June 23, 2013 at 3:08 am |
    • Miss_EH

      No. Atheism simply means a lack of belief in a god or gods. It has nothing to say on the subject of evolution. However, since you brought it up, humans did not descend from apes, humans are a type of ape. And apes, monkeys and humans all share a common ancestor. If you're going to make fun of evolution because you don't get it, at least get the basics straight.

      June 23, 2013 at 3:27 am |
    • Truth

      For the one billionth time you worthless mindless idiots. HUMANS ARE NOT DESCENDANT FROM MONKEYS, WE SHARE A COMMON ANCESTOR! My goodness people are fricking mentally handicapped when it comes to biology.

      Getting past that point, us atheists should NEVER do anything that a church does. Not even mimic it. Religion is 100% terrible and nothing good ever came out of it. Nothing that mankind couldn't have done on its own.

      June 23, 2013 at 3:42 am |
    • tallulah13

      MM, if you are curious about evolution, you should learn something about it. Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne is a very good book which explains the process and gives actual examples. If you don't want to make that effort, I'm sure that there are children's books that would explain evolution simply enough so that you don't have to sound completely ignorant when you ask questions about it.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:20 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Perfect example of ignorance parading itself as truth. Apes and monkeys = different branches of the evolutionary tree. Not descended from, but a common ancestor. Except perhaps for you.

      June 24, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  9. jboom

    timothy,
    "Where are the IDers who suggest that Odin, Jupiter, Coyote, or some other creator other than God could have been responsible?

    ID constructs a scientific case against neo-Darwinian evolution. The work of the researcher should stand apart from the researcher's religous belief. Steven Weinberg hopes his work in physics will help to destroy religion. Does his motivation invalidate his science. No.

    ID gauges the explanatory power of evolutionary mechanisms to produce various biological functions or objects. ID predicts there should be structures beyond the reach of chance-based Darwinian mechanisms.
    Evolutionary explanation of the bacterial flagellum does not address all the problems raised by ID researchers.

    This in and of itself drove the need for attempts at explanation and research. ID should be welcomed on this ground alone. But its not, because Darwin theory is a theory in trouble. The more we find out, the more trouble its in.

    Its gone from a theory in crisis just a little over a decade ago to a theory seeking legal protection today!
    It will probably be protected for a couple of decades. But the process of protecting it will result in exposure of much of its weakness.

    In the end, when ID triumphs, evolutionists need not fear for job security, or lack of research funding. ID research will not show that evolution does not happen. Evolution certainly happens at certain levels and within certain bounds.

    June 23, 2013 at 2:31 am |
    • Miss_EH

      ID, or "intelligent design" (best P.R. name ever), has been proven over and over again to be merely a guise to teach creationism in schools. And creationism is a religious idea, not a scientific one. Don't believe me, believe the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, which decided that in Kitzmiller v. Dover in 2005, and prevented ID from being taught in public high school classrooms. In his decision, the judge went so far as to say this about the school board which attempted to get ID in the classroom "The breathtaking inanity of the Board's decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources."

      So yeah, you got any other breathtakingly inane ideas?

      June 23, 2013 at 3:39 am |
    • jomamaxx

      A few points:

      – Evolution's basic premises are correct. But the *allow for* something more.
      – There *is* actually some evidence for ID, in that, there is absolutely no reason that random processes would create intelligent outcomes – it's impossible.

      ID is a little 'too strong'. To say that there is a specific outcome for evolution is probably not right.

      That said – evolution seems to have a direction: more intelligence, beauty, expression – this cannot be explained through current evolutionary theory – but it does not make Darwin 'wrong'.

      Eistein did not prove Newton wrong – he just 'refined' him.

      We need the Einstein of evolution to come along and fill in the gaps of Darwin's shortcomings.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:17 am |
    • tallulah13

      jomamaxx, your ignorance is not proof of god. It is certainly not proof of "intelligent" design.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:22 am |
    • Science

      Hey jboom.................to funny prayer bot shows up.............after marriage deal ?

      Where is doogie ?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:38 am |
    • matt houston

      Are you insane? ID??? If you think it is intelligent to design mutated babies or horrible diseases that kill innocent babies and people...you really need to wake up.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • jboom

      With all due respect, in addition to reading what others say about ID, try letting the ID movement spokesmen speak for themselves:

      http://www.intelligentdesign.org/whatisid.php

      June 24, 2013 at 12:09 am |
  10. JBOOM on integrity

    So here is the jboom pattern:

    There are thousands of scientists...
    A much smaller percentage would disagree...
    ...of a lot of atheists...
    ...various ID researchers...
    I believe there is a long list there of researchers....

    Gosh, jboom, a little more specific?

    Then, in keeping with his consistent lack of integrity, he then blames others:

    "Thats an awfully broad brush you are painting with...."

    But jboom is an incarnation of the ID market and it's lack of character and integrity.

    However, in a spot of honesty, jboom confirms ID's true heart:

    ID...does not speculate on matters that pertain to religion.
    Its does not attempt to prove, or even offer evidence for any particular god or gods.

    Thank you for that...it confirms the level of lying that ID'ers ascend to and how you are woefully lost, jboom...you and all the cowards who hide behind "ID"...

    Your own scripture condems you:

    Matthew 10:33 "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.".

    Thanks, jboom...your marketable "Christianity" fits well with the American culture you were born in to. Looks like the atheists will have some swimming companions there in the Lake of Fire....

    June 23, 2013 at 1:42 am |
    • jboom

      JBOOM on integrity,

      Matthew 10:33 "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."

      You condemn ID researchers and myself because we are not evangelizing by preaching Christ crucified?

      How does any of what you cited suggest that ID researchers or myself deny Christ?

      June 23, 2013 at 1:57 am |
    • JBOOM on integrity

      jboom,

      Speaking out of both sides of your mouth, jboom. Convenient and expected:

      "ID...does not speculate on matters that pertain to religion.
      Its does not attempt to prove, or even offer evidence for any particular god or gods."

      A clear denial...Josh McDowell's discus sion (among others) and the court docu ments regarding the state/national case describe the "political" efforts of ID'ers to distance themselves from "Creationism"; these too are also clear denials. Claiming Jesus as the creator and sustainer clearly would get you laughed out of the lab, the cla ssroom and the courtroom, so, deleting "Jesus" and "the God of Israel" from the equation and renaming your Creationist product works well.

      In the end, you have denied Christ. And you are a coward.

      How ironic that Christians think that Luke 18:8 was directed at the world...

      June 23, 2013 at 2:27 am |
    • JBOOM on integrity

      ...oh, and your dishonesty described by your quotes in the initial post, where you accuse others of broad-brushing when your own words fail to narrow anything down...let's review:

      There are thousands of scientists...
      A much smaller percentage would disagree...
      ...of a lot of atheists...
      ...various ID researchers...
      I believe there is a long list there of researchers....

      Not much integrity.

      Kinda like those Christians that demand that the 10 commandments be posted in public schools...then, when they leave their churches Sunday morning and run the stop signs and red lights and speed down the local roads...all the while displaying an icthus on the tailgate of their SUV declaring their devotion to their Lord and Savior...

      We have posted "10 commandments" and the Christians can't even follow those laws....

      Thou shalt not lie is not a mere suggestion, jboom. And in your perpetual sin, you deny Christ.

      June 23, 2013 at 2:43 am |
    • JBOOM on integrity

      ...oh, and it's not me that condemns you, jboom.

      Your scriptures and your words do. But nice try in placing blame elsewhere...you're an American Christian through and through.

      June 23, 2013 at 3:01 am |
  11. Lamar VIII

    Yeah that earring is really "working" for you Epstein.

    June 23, 2013 at 1:10 am |
    • TruthandConsequence

      Doesn't Epstein seem more like a lapsed Jew than an atheist? Wonder what his Rabbi would think...or his parents and grandparents for that matter.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:13 am |
  12. PRISM 1234

    If it were not so pathetic it would be even hillarious! They Are poor lost souls going through the motions but having no life in them. Truly pitiful!

    June 23, 2013 at 1:08 am |
    • Observer

      PRISM,

      What is pitiful is your failure to realize that these people want to do good in the world and they have decided that without bribes (heaven) or threats (hell).

      June 23, 2013 at 1:14 am |
    • Hal

      PRISM 1234
      We're talking about atheists here, not Mets or Maple Leafs fans, or Rapture believers. 😛

      June 23, 2013 at 1:44 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      What's pathetic is people bowing and scraping before a figment of their own imagination.

      June 24, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
  13. Lamar VIII

    The faces in the pictures kinda tells the whole tragic tale.

    June 23, 2013 at 1:05 am |
    • Miss_EH

      Please post a picture of your church group, and then I'm sure you'd welcome the opportunity to hear my comments about their faces, right?

      June 23, 2013 at 3:50 am |
    • JBOOM on integrity

      at Miss_EH....

      Laughing my a/ss off....

      June 23, 2013 at 3:57 am |
  14. Boom

    Not an attractive looking bunch really. Not a bangable skirt in the lot. Unless your a wnba player of course.

    June 23, 2013 at 1:01 am |
    • Miss_EH

      Boom does not want to bang atheist girls. I gotta tell ya Boom, this is FANTASTIC NEWS for us non-believer gals! Because we are profoundly uninterested in you too.

      June 23, 2013 at 3:44 am |
  15. Boom

    Yipee effin skippy...Some belief blog. It's more like the gay issues and assachusetts dbag greggy epsteen blog. Your cover is blown Pravda of the western hemisphere.

    June 23, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • Observer

      lol. Guess you haven't watched Fox "News".

      June 23, 2013 at 1:01 am |
    • Lamar VIII

      Foxnews is more like the Fith Reich Times. But Ole boomy nailed this one.

      June 23, 2013 at 1:07 am |
  16. Apple Bush

    Sphincter victories;

    People have a voice just like machines birds and gerds

    & those sounds are voices

    together that sound can defeat us

    Too much of, blow a kiss.

    June 23, 2013 at 12:46 am |
  17. jboom

    So you guys uses common design as a testament to evolution
    and you use diversity of design as a testament to evolution.

    Interesting that creationists use both as a testament to creationism.

    June 22, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • Saraswati

      "So you guys uses common design as a testament to evolution
      and you use diversity of design as a testament to evolution."

      lol...you are looking at science from pfar too simplistic religious terms. The evidence is far more complex. This is how people thought about this topic well over a hundred years ago. What are you reading?

      June 23, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • jboom

      *college degree in mechanical engineering with some masters work
      *several years of Scientific American & Discover Magazine (over past several years)
      *Darwin's Black Box – read that in 1996
      *Understanding Intelligent Design – read that a year ago
      *Signature in the Cell – reading now

      From my reading, the motor flagellum has not yet been explained by evolutionary mechanisms.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:10 am |
    • jboom

      I am open to suggestions. What book would you recommend that explains, say, just the flagellum motor?

      I've only heard what appear as "muddy the waters" types of explanations.
      Or an explanation that is not understandable by the layperson.
      In that case, it becomes a "oh just trust us".

      June 23, 2013 at 12:13 am |
    • jboom

      hey real Tom, thats your cue to call somebody an idiot

      June 23, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • Roger that

      In that case, it becomes a "oh just trust us".

      That's the epitome of religion.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • PaulD

      jboom

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2xyrel-2vI&w=640&h=390]

      June 23, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • jboom

      "thats the epitome of religion"

      Thats an awfully broad brush you are painting with.

      From the Christian tradition I come, we are priests encourage to explore doubt, seek truth. St. Thomas is revered for his doubt. We believe man is of mind, body, and spirit. Its more than intellectual. And its more than "just trust us".

      June 23, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • PaulD

      jboom
      The laryngeal nerve of mammals, that runs from the brain down, around near the heart, and then back up to the larynx would be an incredibly stupid example of intelligent design. In a giraffe this is an unnecessary span of nerve running meters where smart design would require only a few inches. For that matter, why have just a single tube run down the throat for both air and food, making it sooo easy to choke? Come on, a toddler wouldn't design something that dumb, but evolution through unintelligent design explains it perfectly.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:42 am |
    • PaulD

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO1a1Ek-HD0&w=640&h=390]

      June 23, 2013 at 12:43 am |
    • Roger that

      jboom,

      What should I trust? The Bible? Because it came from antiquity? What you don't seem to get is that had you been raised in another part of the world, you would be practicing a different religion and be just as adament that it is the "true" religion.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:52 am |
    • jboom

      Imperfect design testifies to the quality of the design, not to its reality.
      Design need not be perfect to be detectable. We know there is death. So there is some level of imperfection in all.

      (Also, remember ID does not attempt to disprove all cases of evolution. It only attempts to make a scientific case that unguided, natural processes may not be the best explanation for all of evolution. )

      June 23, 2013 at 1:10 am |
    • PaulD

      jboom
      Why call it "Intelligent" design then, if we mere humans can so easily see ways of vastly improving it? Wouldn't one assume that any designer who was also capable of making such life out of whole cloth, and not based on prior life, would do a much better job when many of our own human designers of such things as buildings and bridges can lay everything down on paper and have them executed exactly, without such obvious flaws? No, such flaws are much better explained by natural evolution sans "creator".

      June 23, 2013 at 1:40 am |
    • jboom

      PaulD,
      Supposing, for the sake of argument, suppose a design is apparently less than perfect is indeed less than perfect.
      And for the same sake of argument, suppose this could be considered evidence against ID.
      It still would not refute ID, in and of itself.

      All the evidence would have to be considered. If the evidence for ID was strong elsewhere, then we would have to weigh the evidence. For example, if the bacterial flagellum motor is considered evidence by ID researchers to this day (the molecular machine is a bidirectional motor-driven propeller that spins at 100,000 RPM, it has a rotor, a stator, O-rings, bushings, mounting disks, a drive-shaft, a propeller, a hook joint for the propeller, and an acid-powered motor – all these parts are essential for operation of the flagellum and require interaction of about 30 preoteins, which in turn require about 20 proteins to direct their assembly – someone here will pipe in here as say the parts were old, re-used parts ).

      You can read more about this in "Understanding Intelligent Design – Everything You Need to Know in Plain Language."

      Now, if evidence were stronger than the giraffe evidence of less than perfect design, it might be easier to accept arguments as to why a less than perfect design is not necessarily refutation of or evidence against ID.
      If we demand a perfect design, then are we not demanding immortality? But that gets into theology. Which is where we should stop in this thread, but I will say it anyway: We are studying biology of man outside of paradise, outside of this immortal state, and so we may see less than perfect design. But even that does not mean original design was less than perfect.

      June 23, 2013 at 2:46 am |
    • Saraswati

      jboom, th ere are several potential models for the flagellum, generally covered in any half way decent freshman bio or A&P course. Just because a single one hasn't been identified tells you nothing at all.

      What is it with people with Engneering degrees thinking they have some sort of expertise in scientific fields like biology. An engineer knows about as much about biology as your average art major. Even people in other sciences (of which engineering is not one) know little outside their fields, and to cite an unrelated degree as evidence of your expertise just shows how far off the mark you are in understanding the complex issues involved here. List your actual education in anatomy, microbiology, genetics and evolutionary biology or keep whatever unrelated credentials and pop science you have to yourself and stick to discussing relevant facts.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:03 am |
    • PaulD

      jboom
      You have that exactly backwards: There are a mult.itude of differing sources of evidence supporting evolution, enough to solidify it's case against any petty nitpicking and semantic games IDers like to play.

      Again, the bacterial flagellum argument was debunked long ago. It is not irreducibly complex when you realize that the individual parts did indeed have other functions.

      Immortality was answered in the Genesis account by the denial of access to the tree of life. It explains there right in your creation myth how humans were supposedly created perfect, but not immortal (or intelligent), because God didn't want man to rival his power. This is a very common theme in ancient creation stories. Read the myth of Prometheus, and how he was punished for bringing man knowledge, and that of Pandora, who brought humankind misery just as Eve did. Nothing really new in the Hebrew creation myth at all.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • jboom

      Sarasw,

      Could you let me know which college freshman biology text answers the questions raised about bacteria flagellum?
      I will gladly read it.

      The one I have from 2008 does not even discuss it or mention it (2008 McGraw Hil Biology text for freshman Bio. Its over 1200 pages).

      June 23, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • jboom

      Paul D,

      Plenty of secular scholars recognize very meaningful differences between the account of Genesis and mythology.
      Genesis is actually demythologizing older myths. A lot of scholarly work has been done on this.

      If decides to call it myth, one cannot rightfully say its like old mythology.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • jboom

      Paul D

      One can dismiss this in any way one wants.

      The fact is that Bacterial falgellum issues raised by ID researchers have not been adequately answered as of today according to ID researchers.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
  18. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    Prince harry and I are brothers, we both are of linage hindu racist umlaties of Persia. Also known as Parsi.

    June 22, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
  19. bob

    Books of Creationism and Intelligence Design have been banned in American public schools. You know why? Because those kind of books would make young mind stupid.

    June 22, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
  20. Reality

    Just more of the following:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, pope, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    June 22, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I had my Islam removed out-patient. It was covered under the PPO.

      June 22, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • STFU

      @AB lol!!

      June 22, 2013 at 11:47 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.