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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. jboom

    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 11:11 pm |
    • jboom

      Michael Behe first brought up the bacteria flagellum in 1996 with his book "Darwin's Black Box" as an irreducibly complex molecular machine for which modern evolutionary theory could not explain. 15 years later, the bacteria flagellum has still not been explained adequately.

      http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/03/michael_behe_hasnt_been_refute044801.html

      June 23, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • Athy

      Just what the hell is your point, Jboom? There are lots of things science hasn't yet explained. Unlike your bible babble, science is making continuing progress. Apparently that simple concept is way over your head.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • jboom

      This OP should have been posted on antoher thread.

      Athy, my point is that we now have a "Darwinism of the gaps". The "god of the gaps" argument, as you likely know, is the idea that if we cannot explain something, then we say "god must have made it." That, as evolutionists would agree, is not a valid argument. But why, then, is it ok when the shoe is on the other foot.

      Now, we have a molecular motor, the bacteria flagellum, that cannot be explained by modern evolutionary theory. It simply cannot explain it. Attempts to do so have been inadequate.

      "a lot of things cannot be expalined by science"
      and what happens when evidence conflicts with a theory

      And that is what is happening now.
      There is silent panic amongst evolutionists.

      Say what you will. Its a fact. Do your homework!

      June 23, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Give this a read, jboom:

      The Flagellum Unspun

      http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html

      June 24, 2013 at 12:26 am |
    • Athy

      Jboom's mind is made up, don't confuse him with facts.

      June 24, 2013 at 12:43 am |
    • redzoa

      Like the creationists who repeatedly argue every new fossil discovered leaves 2 more gaps to fill, jboom is resting on "adequately" to presumably mean, to his/her personal satisfaction. However, I would suspect that jboom is not adequately versed in the science to even begin to appreciate the basics, let alone the available literature demonstrating novel functionality of complex specified systems. But more telling is that jboom is resting in the gap of knowledge and throwing up his/her hands to proclaim "God did it" while actual scientists continue investigating. Because jboom would have the mechanism be supernatural, there is no possible way to investigate further. This is why ID is both non-scientific and a dangerous "science-stopper." ID indicates that we should stop conducting research and simply marvel at the mysterious and untestable ways of the designer . . .

      June 24, 2013 at 2:48 am |
    • G to the T

      Wow – it took me all of 5 seconds to google it and I found 3 separate theories for a possible evolutionary explanation for the flagellum, how you could test them and how you could falsify them. Funny, I don't see anything about how to falsify ID theory when I look it up...

      Here's a question – how would ID explain the distribution of fossils found sedimentary deposits?

      June 24, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • jboom

      G to the T,
      the ones I have found are a stretch. Could you post something.
      And the article by K.Miller posted above, though its wordy, essentially does nothing to strike down Behe's argument. So the TTSS is a sub-system of the BF. Even if those parts are repurposed, they still must be reassembled properly. Besides, that explains only about ten parts out of 40. Its typical of the articles I have seen which is why I asked for a textbook.

      redzoa
      "Like the creationists who repeatedly argue every new fossil discovered leaves 2 more gaps to fill, jboom is resting on "
      the fossil record is a joke. Darwin nkew it but hoped that we'd have more fossil finds in the future. 150 years later, we have a lot more fossils. But they do not show the gradual morphing of one form to another. So the theory gets revised. Oh let us guess again. The pace of change was interspersed with rapid changes and slow changes. The sampling rate of fossil recovery is too decimated to capture those periods of slow change that would show the gradualism.
      Its like fitting a Nth order polynomial to a data set of N points. It fits, but its not reality.

      ""adequately" to presumably mean, to his/her personal satisfaction. However, I would suspect that jboom is not adequately versed in the science to even begin to appreciate the basics, let alone the available literature demonstrating"

      Irrelevant to the points of discussion.

      " novel functionality of complex specified systems. But more telling is that jboom is resting in the gap of knowledge and throwing up his/her hands to proclaim "God did it" while actual scientists continue investigating. Because jboom would "

      again, another misrepresentation if claims of ID.
      Its not what is not known, its what IS known that drives ID proponents.
      If you flip a coin 500 times and get heads 500 times in a row, then we can say its what we DO know that gives us reason to suspect that the coin or process is not fair.

      "have the mechanism be supernatural, there is no possible way to investigate further. This is why ID is both non-scientific and a dangerous "science-stopper." ID indicates that we should stop conducting research and simply marvel at the mysterious and untestable ways of the designer . . ."

      To say ID is a show stopper merely shows you have not read any ID authors. They hold exactly the opposite view. The want more science.

      June 26, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
  2. J P

    Right on.

    The best kind of humanism takes account of all the needs of the really smart ape called man, physical AND mental.

    June 23, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Nicely said.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
  3. Dyslexic doG

    when I make a point of what a feeble job God has done with this messed up world, why do Christians always quote "free will"???

    Nothing to do with free will. If God was omnipotent instead of incompetent, he would have made man better and had him be good in all things. There is an endless array of free will still available if you are good and the only options are to do good.

    Why would an omnipotent being make man so imperfectly unless he was a sadist? A kid pulling the wings off flies.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Yep, Christians scream "free will", but yet pray for his intervention. Why pray? Doesn't he already know what's going to happen? Is he going to change his mind? Bizarre, isn't it?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • lol??

      Sorry E. Dweirdo Dweeb, but

      ""free will"
      occurs in 0 verses in the KJV "

      June 23, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @Lol – duh... dimbulb... I never said "free will" was in the bible. I said Christian's say that. Take a reading comprehension class.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • lol??

      Ed weirdo, you and yer A&A pals sure have a problem with the concept of false brethren. Y'all in over yer hades.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
    • oOo

      False brethren, lollipop? LOL. Shall we review all the gods that lead up to the current popular definition? LOL.

      June 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • G to the T

      Here's what I've never understood, even when I was a Christian – We have free will, which is why we can sin. But somehow, in heaven you still have free will, but there is no sin, so...W.T.F.?

      June 24, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Well, if gawd DID exist, it would be very much like that TV show Supernatural. He looked around, realized he really screwed everything up, said "Fvck it!" and left.

      June 25, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
  4. Paloma

    12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • Edweird69

      "Fear and trembling"...yep, he's a loving father alright!

      June 23, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      more hokey, greeting card sayings.
      like safety blankets for Christians.
      they can spit them out on demand.
      and somehow think that they proved a point.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Wow. Quoting the bible. No christian ever did that on this blog before. How exciting.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • dmwinsd

      Paloma, are you aware that there are other religions that believe just as strongly in their own holy books? And that many people in those other religions would dismiss your quotations from the bible just as you dismiss theirs? Why should we pay any particular attention to the passages you quote from your holy book? To someone who isn't a believer in the bible already then you are just quoting words from a book.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • HUH!

      Hey, weird69
      you NEED fear of God to jolt you to reality. It's the one "straw" that will keep your miserable hide from drowning in abyss of hell.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @huh .. Reality and god should never be used in the same sentence. oops... I just did it. They are mutually exclusive.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • Mirage

      Trust in God, but tie up your camel at night.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • Marc

      Only a dummy would believe that hell exists.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • Marc

      Only a big dummy would believe that heaven exists

      June 23, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • required

      Jesus said they exist.

      June 24, 2013 at 2:16 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      "What a maroon!"

      – The Book of Bugs

      June 25, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
  5. Paloma

    11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Another lie. "EVERY tongue"? Mine hasn't. Guess it should say everyone's except Edward's.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • Athy

      And mine.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Psalm 137, 9:
      Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It doesn't work like that, Paloma. See, if your god wants everybody to worship him, first he has to prove that he exists. Then he has to prove that he is worthy of worship. You seem to worship because you are afraid not to. Personally, I don't worship bullies. They aren't good people.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
  6. Paloma

    That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth

    June 23, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • Edweird69

      An obvious lie. Since my knees haven't bowed. I will never submit to a murderous, blood=thirsty god like yours.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
  7. gosathya

    What is so surprising about that? When people can do 'Yoga' and 'Meditation' which is a part of Hinduism and copy prayers and concepts from Hinduism and not acknowledge they are going the Hindu way why should atheist acknowledge anything. I saw a sign at YMCA that claims to teach Yoga and meditation there so isn't it funny ...church is dogmatic and doesn't allow any flexibility surely atheist can have all the flexibility they want.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  8. Paloma

    He loves u no matter what

    June 23, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • Colin

      Enough to burn me for all eternity becuase I don't believe in him after he elected to withhold all evidence of his existence.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • Fred Evil

      Then she'll forgive me for not being intellectually convinced of her existence. Maybe she should have kept her supposed representatives from raping children. Not that that would have convinced me, but it just seemed a sh1 tty thing to do.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  9. generalcontractor101

    Wow, lot's of hateful comments being posted here. I am not sure there is a greater divide in humanity than that of religion and non-religion. Religious people, this is why atheists hate you. Atheists, this is why religious people hate you.

    I for one believe in God. I do not fault those who do not. It's a personal choice. I do not try and push my beliefs on others, and I expect the non-religious to do the same.

    To be honest, I see a lot of hate spewing coming from both sides. This is why people hate religion, and this is why people hate atheists. Out of the thousands of comments I see no kind words.

    So I will start. Athiests, I love you all, just as I do any person who does believe in God. I wish you no ill-will, I don't think you'll go to hell for not believing. You are free to live your life as you choose, just as I am.

    And who says religion and science cannot agree? There are many religions out there that view science as supportive, not conflictive to the belief system. See Buddhism, Baha'i, Zoro, etc.

    Just remember, just because you cannot prove something, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. But you can question it's existence, and you should. The world was flat just a few hundred years ago =]. If you don't want to believe in anything that you cannot touch, see, smell, see, or feel, that's fine with me. But I prefer to live in a world where not everything can be explained. I find that people who use the religion vs science argument have an extreme need for everything to be defined and tangible. Sometimes things are not tangible at this time.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • tallulah13

      After thousands of years of humans worshiping thousands of gods without a shred of evidence that any of those gods exists, it seems logical to stop believing, at least in my opinion.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • dmwinsd

      To someone who sees their religion in conflict with science, I think they might dismiss religions that are supportive of science as not being religions at all.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • dmwinsd

      "But I prefer to live in a world where not everything can be explained." I don't understand that. The job of science is to look for explanations. There may never be an end to the investigation (look at an atom and you find a nucleus, look at a nucleus and you find a proton, look at a proton and you find a quark, etc.), but people are curious and will keep looking for explanations. Any person who said "I prefer to live in a world where atoms can't be explained" was most definitely not the person who invented the transistor. The person who said "I prefer to live in a world where fire can't be explained" either lived a cold life or died in a fire out of ignorance. The world is what it is regardless of your own preferences for the way you wish it was. If you don't care about explanations then fine, remain in ignorance, but those that look for explanations are those that make things happen.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • lol??

      Seems is a feeling, not logic......................................"Verb
      Give the impression or sensation of being something or having a particular quality: "

      Sensation, sensuous, CONsensus

      June 23, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • lol??

      that's for tally13.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Mirage

      generalcontractor101,

      Trust in God, but use Portland cement.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
  10. Colin

    If you are worried that your children, who you love very much, will not believe something you tell them, such as "smoking is bad for you," would you:

    (a) have your family doctor explain to them the various ill effects of smoking;

    (b) show them a film produced by the National Insti.tute for Health on the topic;

    (c) set a good example for them by not smoking; or

    (d) refuse to give them any evidence of the ill effects of smoking, insist that they rely entirely on faith and then take them out into the backyard and burn them to death if you ever catch them smoking?

    And, as a bonus question, what would you think of an "all loving Father" who chose option (d)?

    June 23, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
  11. Paloma

    Yeah u right and thats the place u are going if u dont want believe Him

    June 23, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Good news, Paloma! There is no proof that any god exists! You don't have to be afraid of that bully you call "god" anymore!

      June 23, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Athy

      Paloma, are you an adult?

      June 23, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
  12. Sin has consequences

    Have you read why God caused the flood? Do you think humans are behaving any better now?

    June 23, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Hey sin? The flood didn't happen. It's a story.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Out of all the possible ways (infinite?) that your god could choose to solve the problem of sin, he's such an azzhole that "kill all the fvckers" is his favorite one? Your god makes some disgusting choices.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Guess that flood thing really worked.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Marc

      Did he really cause the flood? That's against the law, and he should be put in jail, even he's god.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
  13. Paloma

    Thats the way Hes choose to do He is GOD He do whatever He wants

    June 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Colin

      Wow, he must be a sick, evil God to require that.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Does 'he' have something against coherency?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Coherency, spelling and grammar.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  14. TelephoneReader

    This is kind of pitiful, really.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
  15. Paloma

    People just want blessings but they dont want the blessings owner

    June 23, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Apologists, sheesh, more excuses than grains of sand on the beach.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Athy

      Paloma, do you know what punctuation is?

      June 23, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
  16. Paloma

    Cause He loves us more than everything

    June 23, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • Colin

      Well, why not love us without requiring the sacrifice of his own son?

      June 23, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      God. The one who loves you so much, that he created hell in case you don't love him back... LOL

      June 23, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      God. The one who loves you so much, that he'll drown you in a flood if you don't praise him and grovel to him enough ... LOL

      June 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
  17. TheVoiceOfOne

    Death is a part of life. You are mad at God because lives expire and people get hurt. I know its tough feeling powerless. Don't cry God will help you.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Now you're just trolling.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      now that's ironic.

      God was invented because people are afraid of death.

      Atheists are more at peace with the finality of death than you fairy tale believing folk with your perfect place in the sky ...

      June 23, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
  18. Paloma

    There is a God, and He is the same without u, but u without him it is nothing, he gave Hes only son to died for us

    June 23, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Colin

      Wht would he require the barbaric murder of his own son? Sounds like a maniacal pr.ick to me.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      more greeting card hokey sayings.

      like safety blankets for Christians.

      they can spit them out on demand.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • jboom

      "that the death of Jesus was needed to appease an angry God" is a huge distortion of the Gospel that is a new teaching and is foreign to the ancient Christianity as taught today by the most ancient of Churches

      When God the Son died, death swalled something it could not digest. God the Son destroyed the eternal nature of death by going there himself – and thus now we all live forever as we were originally made to do

      June 23, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • tallulah13

      wow, jboom. That's sad. Life is finite. You will die, decompose and be forgotten. It's perfectly natural. I don't know why you are so afraid.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  19. Dyslexic doG

    If I was powerful enough to have created the universe, I would have used a more foolproof way of getting my message across to future generations than this mixed, matched, confused, translated, edited, modified, twisted, perverted old book of stories. That’s the difference between me and your God.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • Buster

      It was the free will of the people that was (are) perverted, twisted, etc... Not God.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      try reading.

      the King James version of the new testament was completed in 1611 by 8 members of the church of England. There were (and still are) NO original texts to translate. The oldest manuscripts we have were written down 100's of years after the last apostle died. There are over 8,000 of these old manuscripts with no two alike. The king james translators used none of these anyway. Instead they edited previous translations to create a version their king and parliament would approve. So.... 21st century christians believe the "word of god" is a book edited in the 17th century from the 16th century translations of 8,000 contradictory copies of 4th century scrolls that claim to be copies of lost letters written in the 1st century.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
  20. Dyslexic doG

    If I was powerful enough to have created the universe, I wouldn't be so narcissistic that I would want people to worship me. That’s the difference between me and your God.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:34 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.