home
RSS
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. Universe

    Islamic scripture (Quran says)

    “They say , "We live only this life; we will not be resurrected. If you could only see them when they stand before their Lord! He would say, "Is this not the truth?" They would say, "Yes, by our Lord." He would say, "You have incurred the retribution by your disbelief." [6:30]

    “They do not value God as He should be valued. God is the Most Powerful, the Almighty.”[22:74]

    “If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of God. They follow only conjecture; they only guess.” [Quran 6:116]

    “Recall that your Lord said to the angels, "I am placing a representative on Earth." They said, "Will You place therein one who will spread evil therein and shed blood, while we sing Your praises, glorify You, and uphold Your absolute authority?" He said, "I know what you do not know." [2:30]

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is. [19:35]

    “Losers indeed are those who disbelieve in meeting God, until the Hour comes to them suddenly, then say, "We deeply regret wasting our lives in this world." They will carry loads of their sins on their backs; what a miserable load! [6:31]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to visit whyIslam org website.

    June 23, 2013 at 6:11 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      The Koran is not a good book any more than the buybull is. Both preach hate and intolerance; both preach that women and children are below man; both preach that rape and incest are good; both preach that something that is natural is wrong.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:23 am |
    • the greatest lie

      Is that the vicious and hate filled foreigner liar prefails has anything of value to add to any conversation.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:31 am |
    • the real Tom

      Oh, look! It's a turd! It's a fart! NO, it's Captain Asshole!

      What "value" do YOU add to the earth, dimbulb, much less to any conversation?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:41 am |
    • Bob Bales

      Truth Prevails 🙂 The fact is that the Bible preaches none of this.

      June 23, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  2. Science

    The culture/religion................ marriage.......... chad /doogie ?

    June 23, 2013 at 5:57 am |
    • Science

      Or jboom...........................is that your issues ?

      June 23, 2013 at 7:13 am |
    • Science

      Come on chadie/doogie your puppets have added how many pages ?

      The marriage issue ?

      No bible needed >

      June 23, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  3. robin donald-deVallon

    We are believers or non-believers... let´s not discuss the matter.... Donah..//

    June 23, 2013 at 5:44 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Why not discuss it? What are you afraid of?

      June 23, 2013 at 5:45 am |
  4. Greg

    HA!!!
    This is hysterical...

    They want religion so bad, they are creating their own.... might as well go visit the space spaghetti monster meetings while your are at it

    June 23, 2013 at 5:37 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      "Flying" Spaghetti Monster, not "Space" Spaghetti Monster, if you please. Very important to get the name of our imaginary god correct.

      June 23, 2013 at 5:39 am |
    • Greg

      Yeah, yeah.... whatever

      June 23, 2013 at 5:44 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Sarcasm, Greg. Relax. The point is it doesn't matter what you call an imaginary god – it's still imaginary.

      June 23, 2013 at 5:46 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Besides the Flying Spaghetti Monster is WAY cooler than the god of Abraham. Heaven has a beer volcano and strippers. Even hell is not that terrible. There is still a beer volcano and strippers except the beer is flat and the strippers all have STD's.

      June 23, 2013 at 5:52 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      @AtheistSteve

      THE best description of hell I've read!

      June 23, 2013 at 5:57 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      @S-3B Viking

      Thanks but I can't take credit for that little gem. Was funny the first time I heard it too.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:02 am |
  5. Robert

    Atheism is a religion after all!

    June 23, 2013 at 5:34 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      No moron, it is only the disbelief in gods. You too are an atheist when you deny the existence of all other gods aside from your own. This is a gathering spot for like minded people without the need for a fallacious guide book. Atheists are quite capable of knowing right from wrong without resorting to the greatest horror story ever written (aka the buybull).

      June 23, 2013 at 5:37 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      No. No, it's not.

      Is the lack of belief in the Easter Bunny a religion? No.

      Is the lack of believe that Thor was a real god a religion? No.

      June 23, 2013 at 5:38 am |
  6. Ryan

    I get this "church" completely. I came to my realization about religion when I was 13 and it scared the @#$% out of me. The idea of an eternity of oblivion after death is a horrible prospect for someone so young. When I was a teenager( I'm nineteen now so I guess I still am) I saw my life as a loading bar on a computer, with the percentage of life I had left to live before my inevitable doom slowly shrinking. I went through depression and anxiety and I feared death more than I loved life. I wanted to talk to someone about it but every person I talked to just said that we all have doubts and faith is the answer( My religious family sent me to a religious school). I had to make all my important personal discoveries about the beauty of life and the world on my own, which made me a much happier person in the long run, but caused me a lot of pain at the time. I wish I could have gone to this gathering a few years ago because it would have helped me a lot

    June 23, 2013 at 5:10 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      I would recommend looking up The Atheist Experience on Youtube or look for their website. Matt Dillahunty, the shows main host, was raised Baptist and was studying to become ordained when it all hit him. If you get to the website and message him, he'll help guide you to secular groups.
      Look up secular groups in your area...most colleges and universities have some form of them.
      Best wishes on your enlightenment in a world that does quite fine without the need for imaginary friends.

      June 23, 2013 at 5:19 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      I remember dreams I had at the age of six; dreams of falling through the ground, landing in hell and being chased by the devil. What kind of sick "religion" indoctrinates children in such a way? In any case, I completely lost my belief in the Krazy Gawd of the bible at puberty. And I don't feel the need to socialize with other unbelievers, whether it's called a "church" or a social club; but that's just me. Most people are more socially oriented than I am.
      Not sure why I posted this as a reply to Ryan, but there was something in your post that sparked it.....

      June 24, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  7. o

    It is not about a buildiing
    It is not about people being together
    It is about people being in love with God

    June 23, 2013 at 5:07 am |
    • Science

      O little knowledge.................the supreme court will be deciding the case when ?

      They ruled on the gene issue already !

      June 23, 2013 at 5:14 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      "Being in love with God."

      Okay, but one small problem: which God?

      June 23, 2013 at 5:36 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Yes and gawd being a figment of their imaginations, that means they're in love with themselves. The Narcissist-In-Chief as the Leader of the most narcissistic cult on the planet.

      June 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  8. JB

    If it has nothing to do with Christ's Church, then just call it a gathering or congregation of non-believers. Even more ironic is the fact they stuck this article in the "Belief Blog." Says a lot about CNN, reaffirms my belief that they really have no staff with a faith agenda and that the article was posted to simply troll the Christian community.

    Here, let me help you out...

    church
    noun
    1.
    a building for public Christian worship.
    2.
    public worship of God or a religious service in such a building: to attend church regularly.
    3.
    ( sometimes initial capital letter ) the whole body of Christian believers; Christendom.
    4.
    ( sometimes initial capital letter ) any division of this body professing the same creed and acknowledging the same ecclesiastical authority; a Christian denomination: the Methodist Church.
    5.
    that part of the whole Christian body, or of a particular denomination, belonging to the same city, country, nation, etc.

    June 23, 2013 at 5:02 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Meanwhile, JB is stuck on definitions...

      OMG! JB. See what happens when you don't take a few Literature clas/ses so you can understand context and comparison?

      June 23, 2013 at 5:07 am |
  9. Val

    True atheism is the ultimate manifestation of independent thought, the worldview that rejects to be framed and organized in a system of rituals, otherwise its just another form of religion. This is a bad idea for for people who, while calling themselves atheists, still miss "the guidance" of preachers and the nonsense of religious ritual system. It's for people who need a constant reminder why they call themselves atheists... From where I stand it's pathetic!

    June 23, 2013 at 4:57 am |
    • Bob Bales

      Atheism is no more indicative of independent thought than is belief in God.

      June 23, 2013 at 5:06 am |
    • Ryan

      I would never go to one of these things now, but when I first had my "atheist epiphany", i was scared beyond belief, especially since I was living with a Christian family and had grown up in the church. I would have loved to have had someone to talk to about it, so this "church" could be a good thing, as long as they are only helping people find their own way and understanding of the world.

      June 23, 2013 at 5:17 am |
  10. Lawrence

    This is pure gold – a religious equivalent of Animal Farm. Atheism is not a religion, but wants to be one.

    One could argue the whole point and history of religion was a collection of societal morals to aid the cause of building communities and togetherness to help societies function. I believe (because obviously this is my opinion, not saying I'm right), that this was the heart of the issue, regardless of whether there is a higher power or not.

    The irony here is that in forming an atheistic "church", atheism has elevated itself to a religion, raising its ideals and beliefs to the status of a god.

    But perhaps that's what mankind (or humankind these days I suppose to be PC about it) is all about – the constant push-pull against and towards community. Religion seems to be an unfortunate but possibly necessary by-product of mass cohesion. Right wing versus left, democracy versus communism, selfish individualism versus charity. Much like with anything else in nature, there's a constant gravitation towards equilibrium, and once reached, equilibrium comes tumbling down and the forces that be move in a different direction – for a while. We've moved to both extremes in recent history, and the centre is beckoning.

    Cynicism aside, this new "church" can't be a bad thing in my eyes – we've all become so selfish in the West and have destroyed so much of our own cultures and communities through greed and crime that it's about time we started focusing on the greater good – that of the advancement of humanity rather than the self.

    June 23, 2013 at 4:49 am |
    • robin donald-deVallon

      Atheisme is NO religion... is ANTI ... so what these people want is CREATE A NEW CHURCH FOR FLEECING THE POOR AND GET RICH THE GREAT AMI WAY..... My Q:-?? Where in the world do atheist (anti Christian, Muslin, Bhuda, Jehuda or Confusius) congregate and form, build a church ?? Not even in Old Rome !!! Donah..//

      June 23, 2013 at 5:07 am |
  11. Science

    Chad you are full of what ?

    The bible is BS !!!

    Biblical Marriage Not Defined Simply As One Man, One Woman: Iowa Religious Scholars' Op-Ed

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/biblical-marriage-iowa-scholars-op-ed_n_3397304.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

    That se-x deal and love ?

    Face it: Monogamy is unnatural

    By Meghan Laslocky, Special to CNN

    updated 11:02 AM EDT, Fri June 21, 2013

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/21/opinion/laslocky-monogamy-marriage/index.html?eref=rss_opinion&cid=sf_twitter

    June 23, 2013 at 4:48 am |
  12. CN

    The GOD of the Jews is the only GOD out there--Praise be to HIM!! These people can believe what they want but......... It is very dangerous for them to lead Humanity in that direction! All you atheists have to do is assist the POOR good guy who keeps falling on misfortune!!! You will stand in the way of Evil and the DEVIL--- they will reveal themselves in full to you !! You will flush them out and they will battle you directly and the curtain they hide behind will be thrown wide open!!!

    June 23, 2013 at 4:47 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      And your proof for such absurd ridiculous claims is?

      June 23, 2013 at 5:42 am |
    • Brewers_Fan7

      Dude, are you legit? I mean, did you see the words you typed and say to yourself "yeah, that's a reasonable position" when you wrote it? Atheists may have their own peculiar brand of faith but at least it's based on available evidence...unlike those people who base their faith on bronze age fairy tales.

      June 23, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Yes, and RANDOM capitalization makes it TRUE! Praise BE to GAWD!

      June 24, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  13. MickeyFinn

    I think this is a great idea. The postings here by christians are typical. Spout some bible verse and try that ignorant fear tactic about 'what if you're wrong and there is a god?' So what?
    The older I get the more I absolutely detest churches and 'christians'. The hypocrisy is rampant and the ignorance is off the charts. I hope that we can get to a point where we realize that the insane belief systems of the judeo/christian faiths as well as the insanity of islam is what enslaves millions upon millions of people and causes them to live untruthful lives in the service of a false 'god'.
    We used to believe that the world was flat and that women were witches and all kinds of stupid. Yay science and boo religion.

    June 23, 2013 at 4:44 am |
    • Sophia de la Fuego

      You are getting your wish sooner than you think. The godless, like yourself, murders, hater of God, sodomy(ites), sickness, etc., is all on your platter's. Have a fun look as so many more little children get killed by people like you.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:53 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Sophie here is describing the Catholic Church by the way.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:59 am |
    • Science

      Morning S-3B Viking............the old RCC..............long time ago had to board up an old assumption seminary under a police

      order................they had caught a group trespassing at the old altar.

      And they had come all the way from Texas!

      June 23, 2013 at 5:08 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Morning, Science.

      Planning a day of autorotations perchance?

      June 23, 2013 at 5:10 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Sophia de la Fuego: Riggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhtttttttttttt!! So explain why the prisoner population of the USA is 75% christard and 1% Atheist.
      That giant book of fairy tales you live by condones murder; child abuse; rape; incest; bigotry; hate and idolatry. That god you believe in is nothing more than imaginary. The book is written by man, inspired by man and it is all meant to control the gullible fools like you.
      We know right from wrong without the need of a book to guide us and are better people for it in this world. While people are suffering, you are praying and we are doing the right thing...we are offering a helping hand.

      June 23, 2013 at 5:10 am |
    • Bob Bales

      I hope that you can get to the point where you realize that you belief that Judeo/Christian faiths are insane is no indication that they actually are

      June 23, 2013 at 5:13 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      75% Christian vs. 1% atheist?

      And I'm trying calculate the impotence of the Christian god in the face of the 1%

      June 23, 2013 at 5:17 am |
    • Science

      S-3B Viking

      Have practiced many times................It happened once so far........ where I had to do it for real...........double check valve

      failed and had to autorotate down to the ground and bounce a couple of times on impact.

      June 23, 2013 at 5:27 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Science...OH-6?

      June 23, 2013 at 5:28 am |
    • Science

      The rebuilt Oh- 58c with the flat windshield. ( I was the TI guy too ) The Oh-6 is fun to fly too.

      June 23, 2013 at 5:41 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Science....sorry, keep trying to put you back in Vietnam!

      Glad you just got a bounce out of that autorotation! I took a couple of SH-60B rides and was grateful they weren't practicing them. I would have made a mess of the rear cabin.

      June 23, 2013 at 5:55 am |
    • Science

      S-3B Viking

      Don't feel bad about tossing lunch...............I got an old General once, toss his and he cleaned it up himself.

      I flew between 2 bridge pillars !

      June 23, 2013 at 6:04 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      LOL! I'm impressed he cleaned it up himself...or did he need some coaxing?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:14 am |
    • science

      Hey Sophia de la Fuego...............do you believe a stork dropped you off ?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:17 am |
    • science

      S-3B Viking

      I sort of HANDED him the barf bag and bleach and said thanks sir.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:20 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Good for you...

      Were you a CWO or an O?

      June 23, 2013 at 6:21 am |
    • Science

      Just a CWO . and the Sgt guy.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:26 am |
    • Science

      S-3B Viking and jboom pukes again with his sock puppets.

      June 23, 2013 at 7:18 am |
    • Science

      hey mickey meant to ask how is the kitty or crickets ?

      June 23, 2013 at 9:23 am |
  14. Skeptical Cat

    This makes me ashamed to call myself an atheist. Atheist church = pathetic.

    June 23, 2013 at 4:39 am |
    • Proud church-going atheist-humanist

      If you don't wish to associate with others who share your values and beliefs (after all, the root of the word "religion" is "bind together", and the origin of "church" is simply "assembly"), that's certainly your right and noone will force you to do otherwise. However, please don't ruin it for the rest of us.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:00 am |
  15. Concerned Christian

    The chance is 50/50= If you lived as if there is a God but in the end there was not, then you have lost nothing; on the other hand- if you live as if there is no God and in the end there is- then you have lost everything. Which way would you rather err for or against God?

    June 23, 2013 at 4:31 am |
    • bigmicmusicmachine

      ..there's a fifty fifty chance the Easter Bunny wants you to shove a carrot up your backside or burn in hell.. same choice.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:38 am |
    • What IF

      Concerned Christian,

      This is another tired repeti.tion of Pascal's Wager - thoroughly refuted since the 17th century.

      - What if the real "God" is Allah, or Vishnu, or Zeus, or Quetzalcoatl, or any of the other of thousands which have been dreamed up over the centuries? Some of them are very jealous and vengeful and will relegate you to nasty places for not worshiping them. You'd better cover your butt by believing in ALL of them and fulfill their wishes and demands.

      - What if the real "God" prefers those who use logic and reason and punishes you as a silly sycophant?

      - What if the real "God" detests those who believe something just to cover their butts in eternity?

      June 23, 2013 at 4:40 am |
    • Ryan

      That's ridiculous. So everything is 50/50? Santa Claus is 50/50? There is a 50% chance you are the reincarnation of Genghis Khan? What you just described is Pascal's wager and Richard Dawkins completely decimated that argument in his book "The God Delusion." I suggest reading it and rethinking your argument.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:40 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Pascals Wager fails every time.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:40 am |
    • Skeptical Cat

      Pascal's wager?
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZpJ7yUPwdU&w=640&h=390]

      June 23, 2013 at 4:41 am |
    • Ryan

      You are not a true Christian if you only believe in God so you can cover your @#$ "just in case" he is real. If God does exist, and he is the omnipotent, supreme being who knows my thoughts before I think them, then he would certainly understand that it is human nature to individually search for meaning in life, instead of blindly believing a book written 2000 years ago.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:51 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Don't think the god of the OT or NT would be too happy with a 50/50 commitment...consider Jesus' warning to the "luke warm" from that other "John 3:16" found in Revelation 3:16 "...I will spew you out of my mouth."

      and that OT guy is a real as/shole.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:57 am |
    • robin donald-deVallon

      I take it for granted that this universe is a chemical reaction... as we al are.... and if the origin is some God... let Him BE... He is NOT ours.... Donah..//

      June 23, 2013 at 5:34 am |
  16. Apple Bush

    Design without God by the Church

    June 23, 2013 at 4:29 am |
  17. John

    Church without God is for losers. I mean if you are so needy that you go to church even though you don't think there is a God just for the warm feelings and the fact that you can't make it through life then you're really pitiful aren't you? Going to the church of "God dosent exist," is just a symptom of how messed up this country has gotten. God help us.

    If you have a hole so big in your life that you need a loving community around you, then you need God, loving communities don't come out of good intentions of humans alone.

    June 23, 2013 at 4:26 am |
    • Ryan

      Wanting human connections with like minded people who are experiencing the same doubts as you is very natural

      June 23, 2013 at 4:54 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Loving communities existed long before the christard's god did. Human's are social creatures; the writers of the buybull knew this and played upon it; they took advantage of man's gullibility and sucked them in with false promises.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:29 am |
  18. Real Wisdom

    LOL. Any every one of them are bound for the lake. Atheists are truly absurd. I mean why even spend time in a "church or a chapel" or listening to a "chaplain" if you're not a religion and if you don't even believe in God? Why not call it a social meeting or something. I mean, why even mimic the real thing? Atheists hate the real thing don't they? So why even mimic it? LOL.

    There is only one Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Only one. And that church is governed by the Apostle's Doctrine (the books of the bible from Romans to Revelation). All other teaching and all other doctrines are "doctrines of devils". And that includes the doctrine the atheists teach. They think they're helping people and is showing people a better way. All they're really doing is just sending people to hell…

    1 Timothy 4:1 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

    June 23, 2013 at 4:24 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "doctrine the atheists teach"

      Atheists believe in facts and evidence, thus the reason we do not believe in your god. We do not have the need for a book to guide us in this world, we are quite capable of distinguishing right from wrong without a book. The book you believe to be so true is one of the most immoral books ever written, it condones rape; it condones child abuse; it condones murder.
      Your god can't be shown to exist in any way. However, you too are an Atheist, due to you denying all other gods...we simply take it on step further and deny all gods.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:55 am |
  19. Maria

    "As long as you can blame everything on some unseen deity, you don't ever have to be responsible for your own behavior." – Harlan Ellison

    June 23, 2013 at 4:15 am |
  20. NorthVanCan

    Finally , something smart . Nice to see humanity progress.

    June 23, 2013 at 4:09 am |
    • Wreckage

      yea but calling it a church!! its not a part of christianity like Eastern Christianity or Catholicism.

      June 23, 2013 at 4:30 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71
Advertisement
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.