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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. uos_spo6

    In my opinion Atheism is better served as a solitary private journey and experience. If you want to privately in the passing of your daily life engage in sharing of opinions and ideas with another atheist, that's one thing, but to specifically organize for community building based on common Atheistic thought I do not believe is keeping true half of the spirit of the ideology. It's just one step close to creating a like-minded self-serving system of thought reinforcement.

    We don't need such mechanics to sustain confidence. No hypnotists for Atheists please.

    June 24, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • ialsoagree

      There's nothing that obligates you to participate.

      I occassionally attend an atheist meetup in my community because it's nice to sit down with people you know have a similar world view and discuss topics of interest without needing to worry if someone will become offended because of their need to please an imaginary being.

      And there's nothing wrong with organizing to meet with such people. It's a great opportunity to make new friends and meet new people.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • tallulah13

      I have a friend who became an atheist after many years as a fundamental christian. He does not miss the belief, but he greatly misses the sense of community. He has since become active in humanist organizations. It is a very human thing to seek out like-minded companionship.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      I have to agree with uos
      And this is totally my personal opinion... but this "gathering" just rubs me the wrong way. The singing of atheistic songs and "preaching" of atheistic ways just seems like these individuals are attempting to make atheism a religion ... which it is not.
      I would rather them treat this 'gathering' more like a book club. No ceremony or ritual. Just get together and talk about book 'X' . Seems much more ideal

      June 24, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • skytag

      The desire to feel part of a group of like-minded people is very natural. I see no reason atheists should be denied that opportunity. I wouldn't personally be interested in attending something that felt like a religious service, but if it works for some atheists I see no reason to condemn it, just as not belonging to an organized religion works for some believers.

      June 24, 2013 at 10:22 am |
  2. kf

    II really don't understand why people think Christian are supposed to be passive. Jesus was not passive and he did defend people and stood his ground in defense of the God the Father. The only time he was passive is in his own defense because it was his purpose and a specific time and His death and resurrection took place at exactly when it was meant to according to Jewish tradition at pass over. Yes as a Christian I would defend my family with my very life. Because God has charged me as the protector of the family he gave me. He is in turn the protector and author of my fate. We are to live in the world just not be of it and the world is messed up place. We are to be a defense against evil. IF anybody has to ask what evil is or who decides, that question would explain why we see such moral decay in our society these days. I will answer just to be clear. Evil is anything that is cause harm or pain to another person whether physically, emotionally, or financially.

    June 24, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Billy Bow Dafoe

      It's Christianity's aggressive recruitment of new members and its self-promotion that turns people off. Got it now?

      June 24, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • sam stone

      " IF anybody has to ask what evil is or who decides, that question would explain why we see such moral decay in our society these days. I will answer just to be clear. Evil is anything that is cause harm or pain to another person whether physically, emotionally, or financially."

      Why do you feel that this evil is more prevalent now than before?

      Where is this uptopia you compare modern man with?

      When we could own other people?
      When a husband could legally r-a-p-e his wife?
      Where there was a wink and a tsk tsk tsk to domestic violence?
      When good old boys turned a blind eye to lynchings?

      tell us of this fantasy you envision

      June 24, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Hate Based Religion

      How passive would letting people nail you to a cross be?

      June 24, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • sam stone

      also, kf, you seem to have a very broad definition of evil.....my friend was caused emotional pain when the basketball team he supported lost in the NBA finals. did the miami heat beating the san antonio spurs qualify as evil?

      June 24, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • skytag

      Would you care to be the first Christian I've encountered who can provide even a shred of evidence that anything you believe about God is true?

      June 24, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • skytag

      "Evil is anything that is cause harm or pain to another person whether physically, emotionally, or financially."

      By this definition it's evil when the dentist works on my teeth or you break up with your girlfriend.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Billy Bow Dafoe

      I'm a Heat fan, so the Heat winning shows the Sky Fairy loves me, and not Spurs fans. The Miami Heat winning the Championship was ordained by the Holy Sky Fairy. It was His Plan to Have Lebron score 37 ponts in Game 7. Now, on to the Championship parade starting here in about 15 minutes. God will have a great overhead view up in the sky above downtown Miami.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • brad

      Based on your own comment and what history tells, all religions are evil.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:56 am |
  3. random person

    I meant it's not a church without God it's just a community center.

    June 24, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Hate Based Religion

      A sense of community is mostly what people go to church for anyway.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:42 am |
  4. DM

    As a Christian, I can see many other "Christians" here have completely missed the point of Christianity – your comments are no better than the ones who point the finger at us for following Christ!

    June 24, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • Hate Based Religion

      Christians are hateful, bigoted, backward, hypocritical, halfwits, with a pathological obsession with controlling other peoples lives.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • skytag

      That's because Christianity is a fraud. There is no God and no spirit working in the hearts of Christians. Some of them are good people and some are not. Some are downright nasty. The good ones are good because it's their nature to be good and Christian beliefs encourage them to act on that nature. The rest like being Christians because it makes them feel good about themselves and offers them a comforting narrative.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • skytag

      Hate Based Religion: There is no description that applies to all Christians. Some are indeed hateful and bigoted, as those in the Westboro Baptist Church clearly demonstrate. But there are also many Christians who are wonderful, kind people. Demonizing all of them with such a harsh stereotype says far more about you than it does Christians.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  5. random person

    If it hasn't got God than it isn't a church an Church is a house of God, not a community center.

    June 24, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  6. BoldGeorge

    I've always said it, Atheism is a religion whether you accept it or not.

    June 24, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color.

      This is just a social club ... nothing to do with a church.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • Damocles

      And you've always been wrong.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • skytag

      How is atheism a religion? Is not believing in Santa Claus also a religion? How about not believing in vampires? How is not believing in something for which there is no evidence supporting its existence a religion?

      June 24, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • The real Tom

      BoldG, why is it SO important to you boneheads to prove that atheism is a religion? It seems to be a meme here. Why does it matter to you? Will it make a difference? Why?

      June 24, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Billy Bow Dafoe

      You've always been wrong, too.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • tallulah13

      Just as I've always said that some christians simply can't grasp the rather simple concept of atheism. Really, George. It's almost embarrassing how proud you are of repeating a lie.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Hate Based Religion

      Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a s exual possition.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • sam stone

      And you've always been wrong BoldGeorge...whether YOU accept it or not

      June 24, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • just me.

      Then you would have no problem with this group filing for tax exempt status?

      June 24, 2013 at 9:50 am |
  7. Klaus Mustermann

    Someone is making money of atheists without mentioning God.....? They listen to some other idiot ..... that is really inventive...
    so it is a cult... what is new about it?

    what doe it mean... there are different people than me out there? really ... no way

    June 24, 2013 at 9:33 am |
  8. richunix

    @Bob,

    He is a question (right out of your Bible) which God(s) do you believe in. could it be Baal or Yahweh and Yahweh wife Aswher, maybe the senior God spoken of El? Again which one should we follow?

    Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

    June 24, 2013 at 9:31 am |
  9. Silly Atheist

    You Atheists like to say Christians are dumb – but based on this article – the joke is on you idiots. You guys got rid of the best part of chuch (Jesus) and kept the worst (meetings).

    Talk about stupid!

    June 24, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      learn how to spell church

      June 24, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • revraynor

      I'm glad I'm stupid enough to believe in God.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • Hate Based Religion

      Wow! I feel so dumb right now for not living my life by a book of fairytales. Thank you for setting me straight.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      doG .. I think he misspelled crutch not church. 😉

      June 24, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      nice one Sir Horse. 🙂

      June 24, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • skytag

      Actually, the good that comes from religion is a product of its ability to bond people into communities, and the bad from belief in a god. You have these reversed because to you the only point of being a Christian is to feel good about yourself.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:53 am |
  10. Rishkin

    Epstein is building a community from a position of safety and comfort in a tolerant fluffy society. If he wants to know about community building under extremely harsh conditions (Nero, barbarian invasions, etc.) , Epstein needs to read the book of Acts and other history in general. Christianity, Catholicism in particular, outgrew mere community building long ago. It went ahead and built western civilization itself.

    June 24, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • skytag

      Building "civilization" is just an extended form of building a community. The good that comes from religions is a byproduct of building communities. Things like the Spanish Inquisition are a product of believing in a god.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:56 am |
  11. DM

    As spiritually inmortal beings, Christianity (Jesus) is about the salvation of the soul after the physical death of the person – it is the sole reason Jesus came into the world – although many "Christians" preach with hatred and not love like Jesus did, Jesus himself proclaimed the rewards of those who believe and the condemnation of those who dont. That being said, all of Jesus teachings are correct and just for a good life – humans have been the ones to have perverted His wonderful message of love into one of hate and judgment.

    June 24, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Damocles

      I really want to be a deity, I can screw up all day long and people will worship me for it.

      Yesss, people I am your all powerful whatever, he who made you as you are, but it's your own damn fault for the way things are, I'm blameless now freakin worship me before I send some justified plagues your way'!

      June 24, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And Odin says that you must die bathed in the blood of your vanquished foes in order to get to Valhalla.
      Or perhaps your heart will be weighed against one of Ma'at's shu feathers to see what kind of afterlife you'll get.
      Perhaps Krishna will reward you with a life as a cow next time around.

      There are countless ideas about what comes after death and none are more or less credible than any other.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Yes DM, we all know how the tale goes .. none of it makes the tale true however.
      I agree that people mis-reinterpret this message (no matter whether factual or fairy tale) to meet their own desires .. but it's a sad truth about the human race.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • tallulah13

      Why do you fear your own mortality? Death is the only natural end to life. There is no evidence of any "afterlife". Your reasoning is exactly why christianity has succeeded - by offering empty promises that pander to human fear and vanity.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • Billy Bow Dafoe

      I'd rather have a live Jew doctor help me live life than worry about having an imaginary dead Jew carpenter play with my composting remains.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Jesus' teachings correct? Like killing your disobedient children?

      June 24, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • DM

      I dont fear my own mortality at all, quite the opposite really – as the apostle Paul said "to live is Christ and to die is gain"

      June 24, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • DM

      I'm not here to convince or convert anyone into believing God is real – you all have a right to your own opinion and decisions and are responsible for how your life plays out. I believe in the afterlife by faith as there is no proof – if you dont want to believe that's fine.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • sam stone

      lot of conjecture there, DM

      June 24, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • tallulah13

      It's not just fine to not believe in an afterlife. It's also honest.

      June 24, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • sam stone

      "I dont fear my own mortality at all, quite the opposite really – as the apostle Paul said "to live is Christ and to die is gain""

      if you truly believe that, DM, what are you doing down here in this evil world? would you not want to rush to heaven?

      June 24, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • sam stone

      DM: How is belief a choice? Can you choose to believe that Bugs Bunny is the creator of the universe?

      June 24, 2013 at 10:05 am |
  12. Billy Bow Dafoe

    Religion is for people who want to feel.

    Science and atheism is for people who want to think.

    June 24, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      Yes, because it is impossable to feel anything about reality.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • Rishkin

      People who want to only think have to ditch half of their own humanity. But people are much more than just calculating machines. People are made of of emotions, intuitions, artistic impulses, so on. The "reality" of atheist 'thinkers" (even if they CAN think) is based only on what he can discover through his instruments and calculations. If we want to know What Does it Mean to be Human, we already know the atheist's answer: man has no meaning, is the product of the blind, stupid forces of nature, with no destiny but the grave.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      I think that view is inaccurate. To say you do not beleive in God and therefore life has no meaning is wrong. I do not beleive in God, yet I find plenty of meaning. I just don't tink that the meaning of life is provided to us. I think it is up to us to fill it with meaningful things.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Billy Bow Dafoe

      That's excatly it Rishkin. Now that you've figured it all out, them's the factys of life so deal with it, live life to the fullest, and don't waste your time with imaginary friends foolishness and nursery tales.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  13. The Jackdaw

    And the closed minded Jesus Freaks will say: "See you want religion in your life. You are a bunch of hypocrites."

    And the Free Thinkers will say: "No. We just want a sense of community, like all human beings. We just don't believe in irrational things.”

    And this is somehow news.

    June 24, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      HA! see, the post below mine proves me right.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Billy Bow Dafoe

      This is where I disagree with this Church without God crap. One of the many benefits of atheism is not wasting away your Sunday mornings stuck in a room full of strangers and acquaintances.

      I get my "community" from family and fishing buddies. No need for Church, with or without the Sky Fairy.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:30 am |
  14. straighttruth

    For a bunch of folks that hate Christ, you sure want to be like Christ. First, you want to have a wedding like he put in place for man and woman, and now, you want to assemble in a congregation like a church and talk about being good, compassion, etc. Just without giving props to the "author of the faith". It is only with opposing and using Christs principles, that you are not charged for plagiarism, and not giving credit where it is due. In the end, I believe you will turn and convert. Just my 2 cents.

    June 24, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Gingeet

      Very unlikely to convert. Think you're missing the point.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      You'd better look up plagerism and the bible .. there is very little in it that wasn't taken from previous religions and pagan rituals. To coin a phrase, "The truth shall set you free" .. and Atheism is true freedom!

      June 24, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      your 2 cents are worth about 1 cent ...

      June 24, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @straighttruth
      I do not hate Christ in any way.
      The martyred pacifist is an archetype repeated in many mythologies.
      I think that Thomas Jefferson's Bible is brilliant – he kept the teachings of Christ and eliminated the fanciful, magical stuff.
      Belief in the supernatural is required to life a life of compassion, humility, charity and forgiveness.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      ARGH!
      Still working on that 1st coffee on monday.. line should read:

      "Belief in the supernatural is NOT required to live a life of compassion, humility, charity and forgiveness."

      June 24, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • sam stone

      weddings existed before jesus, straighttruth.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • skytag

      How stupid do you have to be to believe Jesus invented marriage and the practice of people with common beliefs gathering together?

      June 24, 2013 at 10:00 am |
  15. Gingeet

    The problem with the religious is that when their "beliefs" are subjected to logical scrutiny they realize that they are wrong and continue to deepen their delusion.

    June 24, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      amazing isn't it?!

      June 24, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Also known as doubling down!

      June 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • skytag

      Religions are basically conspiracy theories. They start with a few beliefs based on no evidence at all. When you challenge what they believe by pointing out inconsistencies they respond with more theories, also unsupported by any evidence.

      June 24, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  16. Dyslexic doG

    speaking with my Christian neighbor about modern scientific knowledge, he said "what do I care about facts, I have the Bible!"

    that just about sums it up for me.

    This infantile, bronze age, voodoo cult really is a sickness of the mind.

    June 24, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Your neighbor just spoke one of the most factual things I've heard from a follower!

      June 24, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • ShaneB

      Sickens me to hear you talk about your neighbor that way. When he has no less right to believe whatever he wants as you do.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      I'm sorry you are feeling sick ShaneB

      my point is really just amazement that someone would consciously choose to reject facts and follow a story book with no facts. Hence my point that it's a sickness.

      Get well soon.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Vic

      Christians Founded All Branches Of Science!

      June 24, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • skytag

      ShaneB, no one is questioning anyone's right to reject facts and reality in favor of beliefs for which he has no evidence.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Vic .. HUMANS founded all branches of science. I thought you'd appreciate the clarification.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Vic .. you do realize that most branches of science existed long BEFORE the first Christian?! What were those darn Greek astronomers and mathematicians thinking while worshiping Zeus?!

      June 24, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Vic

      Christians Founded All Branches Of Modern Science!

      June 24, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Science

      So Vic you going to say or call the paint ball war parks ........that people meet at everyday a church ?

      June 24, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Vic .. you must have missed the part where Albert Einstein (founder of relativity) was an Atheist but born Jewish. This is just too easy Vic!

      June 24, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Gotta love the argument from bold letters.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • The real Tom

      Yeah, Vic is like a kid who just discovered he can blow bubbles in milk with a straw and is so entertained by it that he forgets to stop.

      June 24, 2013 at 10:22 am |
  17. Moe

    Bob, I think this is entirely your perception.
    Atheism is not about bashing anyone. You, as a christian, I assume, seem over sensitive to anything an atheist might say that does not follow your belief. This is not bashing. This is discussion.
    It has been my experience, however, that christians do take the stand that "if they are not with us, they are agin' us."
    That simply isn't true.
    However, there is a need to protect oneself from the onslaught of christian arrogance. Christians demand they get their way all the time, other's be damned. Atheists often point this out and stand up against it.
    That is not bashing. That is the right of everyone.
    There is no hate for god or jesus. There is hate for the notion that one group should be able to impose their way on others through politics and public policy. Too often these days, this is occurring.
    An atheists existence does in no way center around trying to prove christianity is false. That fact does not matter.
    And atheism is not an organization. It is a way of thinking. A philosophy.
    Perhaps, as a christian, Bob, you should step back and read comments with the love and compassion your deity demands and not with a prejudice towards fear, anger, hate and bias. It would likely make you a better christian, if that is, in fact, even your goal.

    June 24, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      well said Moe.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • mjbrin

      excellent comment

      June 24, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • CJG

      well said. I might have to crib this for later use!

      June 24, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • mk

      Perfect, Moe.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • lol??

      moe sayz,

      "....Atheism is not about bashing anyone......."

      It's about coagulatin' as a mob on a belief blog
      With a nod to Gog and Magog
      Poured out transformational enmity
      Cloaked by anonymity

      Reason lost to dyin'
      Their most treasured friend from lyin'
      Paradise here, Paradise there
      Feels gud, dining with the bear.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • The real Tom

      lolly, why bother to write like in that style? Do you think you're cute?

      June 24, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • lol??

      Moe sayz,

      ".................Perhaps, as a christian, Bob, you should..............."

      You tryin' to come between the bride and the groom?? Sounds nutzo.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  18. bigmicmusicmachine

    ..in this interview God explains the difference between Divine Plans and coincidences..

    http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/audioPop.jsp?episodeId=29751&cmd=apop

    June 24, 2013 at 9:09 am |
  19. bigmicmusicmachine

    ..in this interview with God He explains evolution..

    http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/audioPop.jsp?episodeId=29910&cmd=apop

    June 24, 2013 at 9:02 am |
  20. Bob

    The problem is that you atheists are so obsessed about bashing Christianity and God. Most of your attacks are not about religion, it's on Christianity. You dont bash Buddhism, Hinduism and compared to Islam, you bash Christianity more. Why so much hatred for Jesus and his followers? Do you exist solely to be Anti-Chritisian. Does your existances and belief center around trying to prove that Christiantiy is false? Is that the sole prupose and meaning of your organization? Based on all the comments by ardent athesists, that seems to be the only thing they are interested. Mock and attack Christianity.

    June 24, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • Science

      What a joke below !!!

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/22/pope-francis-atheists-can-be-good

      June 24, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • skytag

      Christianity is far and away the only religion that wields any political power in this country. It's not the Buddhists who work so hard to ban abortions and it was Christianity two Republicans proposed making the state religion of North Carolina, not Islam. This would be obvious if religion hadn't made you stupid.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      America is oppressed by your infantile bronze age voodoo cult. Too many Christians telling other people what they can and can't do in this country. That's why atheists get angry. Oh, that and our frustration with your denial of science and fact.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • Lisa

      I treat them all equally.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • Billy Bow Dafoe

      It's because Chriatians are the most outspoken and aggressive about preaching their mantra. Christians are the carnival barkers of the circus, loud and obnoxious. They deserve it.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • skytag

      "Is that the sole prupose and meaning of your organization?"

      I'm an atheist. I have no organization. Also, for the record, I don't hate God because I don't hate things that don't exist, and I don't hate Jesus because he is not responsible for your arrogance and reliance on delusions to get through life.

      "Based on all the comments by ardent athesists, that seems to be the only thing they are interested. Mock and attack Christianity."

      Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. — Matthew 5:11

      You don't sound like someone who feels blessed, you sound like you're whining. Do you not believe the promise in Matthew 5:11?

      If you folks stopped using your God to claim you're better than atheists and anyone who believes anything about God that doesn't match what you believe and didn't try to impose your religious beliefs on the rest of society, maybe atheists would be a little less hostile.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • sam stone

      Bob: It is christianity that is the biggest danger to our civil liberties. I would wager that most of the posters here come from nations where christianity is the dominant religion.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • richunix

      Bob,

      We don't have to disprove or qualify our answers that any any God exist: Why are you using the Fallacy of the Complex? Question?

      June 24, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • mk

      The purpose of religion and the main problem with religion, Bob, is that you have this thought that your way and only your way is the correct way. This makes you think that you are above and better than all others. This very concept has started many a war, Bob. Christians are the biggest promoters of this.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • dalewalk

      Get over yourself Bob. We have much bigger things to do with our short lives than to spend it gazing endlessly into your pasture of mindless sheep.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • The real Tom

      I don't meet all that many Hindus, Shintoists, or Muslims, Boob, and those I do meet aren't nearly as obnoxious as people like you, whom I meet frequently. Your sort interferes with my rights under law, or attempts to do so. Your kind find it imperative to proselytize and bother.

      I've never met a Hindu who acted the way you and your ilk do.

      June 24, 2013 at 10:25 am |
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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.