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July 30th, 2013
02:17 PM ET

Why are millennials leaving church? Try atheism

Opinion by Hemant Mehta, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Articles and books about why millennials are leaving Christianity often focus on what churches are doing "wrong."

They're anti-gay, anti-women, anti-science, anti-sex-education and anti-doubt, 
to name a few of the most common criticisms.

I don't disagree with those critiques, but there's another side to the story.

While Christians have played sloppy defense, secular Americans have been showing off some impressive offense, giving young Christians plenty of reasons to lose faith in organized religion.

For instance, atheists dominate the Internet, rallying to thriving websites and online communities in lieu of physical meeting spaces.

Even a writer for the evangelical magazine Relevant admitted that “While Christianity enjoys a robust online presence, the edge still seems to belong to its unbelievers.”

Atheists outnumber Christians on popular discussion forums like Reddit, where subscribers to the atheism section number more than 2 million. The Christianity section is not even 5% of that.

The Internet-based Foundation Beyond Belief, which encourages atheists to donate to charitable organizations, just celebrated raising $1 million for worthwhile causes. (Disclosure: I serve on its board of directors.)

Moreover, blogs and websites espousing non-religious viewpoints and criticizing Christianity draw tons of Internet traffic these days. For every Christian apologist's argument, it seems, there's an equal and opposite rebuttal to be found online. I call that "Hitchens' Third Law.”

READ MORE: Why millennials are leaving the church 

Christians can no longer hide in a bubble, sheltered from opposing perspectives, and church leaders can't protect young people from finding information that contradicts traditional beliefs.

If there's an open comment thread to be found on a Christian's YouTube video or opinion piece online, there's inevitably going to be pushback from atheists.

There has also been a push by atheists to get non-religious individuals to "come out of the closet" and let people know that they don't believe in God.

Among other things, this proves that anti-atheist stereotypes aren't accurate and, just as important, that atheists aren’t alone in their communities.

There's the Richard Dawkins Foundation's Out Campaign, with its Scarlet A badges.

There are atheist-encouraging billboards in 33 states financed by groups like the United Coalition of Reason.

There's even going to be an 1-800 hot line for people "recovering" from religion.

READ MORE: Atheists to start 1-800 hot line for doubters

And last year, an estimated 20,000 atheists turned out for the Reason Rally in Washington, a tenfold increase from the previous atheist rally in 2002.

But more than anything else, atheism's best advertisements may be the words of Christian leaders themselves.

When Pastor Mark Driscoll belittles women, Rick Warren argues against same-sex rights or Rob Bell equivocates on the concept of hell, we amplify those messages for them - and it helps us make our point.

(It goes without saying that the pairing of Pat Robertson and YouTube has been great for atheists.)

Pastors are no longer the final authority on the truth, and millennials know it.

Even if they hold Jesus' message in high esteem, the Bible as it has traditionally been preached by many evangelical pastors is becoming less and less attractive to them.

A 2012 study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PDF) showed that many Christians aged 18-24 felt that Christianity was hypocritical (49%), judgmental (54%) and anti-gay (58%).

In addition, Christianity Today reported last year that fewer than half of born-again Christians under 35 opposed same-sex marriage.

When millennials' pastors and hearts are going in different directions, church leaders should be worried.

Can churches win back the youth?

Barring a complete shift in beliefs, that may not be possible. Some of the proposed solutions seem ludicrous to millennial atheists like myself.

For instance, there's been talk of finding a better way to reconcile science and religion. Whenever that battle takes place, religion loses.

There are some questions we may never know the answer to, but for the ones we can eventually answer, the scientific explanation will devour the religious one. Mixing science and religion requires a distortion of one or the other.

READ MORE: Behold, the six tribes of atheism 

What about focusing on the message and life of Jesus?

While this sounds good philosophically, the myth surrounding Jesus is part of the problem with Christianity.

To believe in Jesus means believing that he was born of a virgin, rose from the dead and performed a number of miracles.

There's no proof of any of that ever happened, and atheists place those stories in the same box as "young Earth creationism" and Noah's Great Flood.

To be sure, if Christians followed the positive ideas Jesus had, we'd all be better off, but it's very hard to separate the myth from the reality.

In short, there are many reasons the percentage of millennials who say they've never doubted God's existence is at a record low, and nearly a quarter of adults under 30 no longer affiliate with a faith.

The church has pushed young people away, yes, but there are also forces actively pulling them in the other direction.

It appears that atheists and Christians are finally working together on the same task: getting millennials to leave the church.

Hemant Mehta blogs at The Friendly Atheist. The views expressed in this column belong to Mehta. 

Photos: Famous atheists and their beliefs

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church • Culture & Science • Faith • Internet • Nones • Opinion • Science • United States

soundoff (5,653 Responses)
  1. Henry

    I am against the flying spaghetti monster and pastafarian. I think evolution definitely exists.

    August 1, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Henry

      And I am a religious person. You see my religion LETS me believe in evolution and teaches it in their schools!

      August 1, 2013 at 9:51 am |
      • Ken

        So, in your opinion then, it was never a question whether evolution was actually true, just whether your religion would allow you to believe in it. Isn't it an unacceptable level of control when someone can tell you what to believe, even when it goes against your common sense?

        August 1, 2013 at 10:03 am |
        • Henry

          You’re reading me all wrong my good man. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be part of a religion that discourages evolution. If that was the case, I would consider leaving my current church. Which is what I would recommend the Pastafarians from doing. Studying evolution has given society so much and this group discourages its growth.

          August 1, 2013 at 10:11 am |
        • Ken

          Henry
          So, your common sense has told you that evolution has made its case, therefore any religion that insists otherwise must be teaching a falsehood, and how can you possibly trust any system that teaches falsehoods, correct?

          August 1, 2013 at 10:26 am |
        • Henry

          I’m afraid where you’re going with this, Ken. :)
          It would depend on the falsehood and if they’re still teaching it.

          August 1, 2013 at 10:33 am |
        • Ken

          Doesn't the teaching of any known falsehood cast doubt?

          Gotta go, for now. I'll check in later. Good chat.

          August 1, 2013 at 10:36 am |
        • Henry

          Yes, teaching any falsehoods would cast doubts. What are you referring to, Ken?

          August 1, 2013 at 10:46 am |
        • lol??

          lol??
          Your comment is awaiting moderation.
          A&A's are the controllin' mob. Look how they took over the belief blogs, silly.

          August 1, 2013 at 10:48 am |
        • lol??

          lol??
          Your comment is awaiting moderation.
          Lazarus evoluted outta the grave??

          August 1, 2013 at 10:52 am |
  2. halfbakedlunatic

    'god' is an idiotic idea promoted by immoral people to control and pacify the weak minded.

    August 1, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • joe

      Well, out of 7 billion total people there's about 5 weak minded people on the planet. But don't let me discourage you.

      August 1, 2013 at 8:53 am |
      • joe

        5 weak should have been 5 billion weak

        August 1, 2013 at 9:06 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        And yet those people don't all believe in the same god.
        Even amongst those that do believe in the same god, there are myriad ideas about what it wants, how it behaves and what it is against.
        You'd think if there was 1 True God – Ruler and Shaper of the Universe, there wouldn't be so much confusion about it.

        August 1, 2013 at 9:52 am |
      • Ken

        Well, Jews and Muslims certainly don't believe in the god Jesus, or the Holy Spirit god either. The Christian Trinity god is way too different from the strictly monotheist single god of the other two faiths. Muslims and Jews may come to some kind of "agree to disagree" understanding between themselves on the status of Muhammad as a prophet, and the Qur'an as scripture, but there is no way that either really recognizes the Christian god as their own.

        August 1, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Henry

      Oh, come one. Just b/c there is no proof that God does exist doesn’t mean that he doesn’t. No need to insult those who believe.

      August 1, 2013 at 9:55 am |
      • Ken

        By that same note, there is nothing disproving any god, or goddess, that has ever been worshipped by man. Any of them could be hidden out there somewhere slowly gaining in anger that people have stopped giving them tribute. Either you honestly worry about all of them, or concede that you have an irrational fear over offending just one of them, right?

        August 1, 2013 at 10:16 am |
        • Henry

          Well, of course any one of them could exist. I would assume that no matter which if any God exists, then they would want me to live morally right and love one another. If I would harm another human, I suppose any and all God(s) wouldn’t be happy with me.

          August 1, 2013 at 10:29 am |
        • Ken

          Henry
          However, some war god may not judge you a fit man until you've killed a dozen men in single combat. You're assuming that all gods share YHWH's supposed morality, but most certainly did not, correct? What if the Mayan gods happen to be real and they still want human sacrifice?

          August 1, 2013 at 10:34 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          What about the gods of war?
          Or the ones that demand human sacrifice?

          August 1, 2013 at 10:36 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Hey Ken, you beat me to it!!

          Most gods have the manners and morals of spoiled children.
          Even Abraham's god is prone to throwing tantrums, stamping his feet like a petulant toddler.

          August 1, 2013 at 10:40 am |
        • Henry

          Of course, I’m using my own judgment. I obviously have nothing to back this up but I’d assume a higher power wouldn’t want me to harm another.

          August 1, 2013 at 10:41 am |
        • ME II

          You won't get into Valhalla, nor the Elysian Fields,, not with that weak atti.tude.

          August 1, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • Seriously

          Or you try to rationally and logically work your way through said gods till you come to the one that makes the most sense

          August 1, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  3. Reality

    Some more reasons the millennials are leaving:

    JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

    Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

    Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah/Argentine white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

    So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

    August 1, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Austin

      But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"…

      4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

      August 1, 2013 at 8:43 am |
      • Reality

        Moses?????

        origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

        New Torah For Modern Minds

        “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
        Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

        The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

        Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

        The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

        The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

        August 1, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • nclaw441

      I believe Him, in part, because He was resurrected from the dead. If it were not true, the vast majority who opposed his teachings and caused him to be killed would have paraded his dead body around as proof that he was not raised... But they did not do this– because they could not.

      August 1, 2013 at 11:37 am |
      • Roger that

        'If it were not true, the vast majority who opposed his teachings and caused him to be killed would have paraded his dead body around as proof that he was not raised... But they did not do this– because they could not.'

        You have no proof of this. Perhaps that did happen. Jesus was a nobody. Nothing about him was written down when he was alive. The story was formulated long after his death. Why not worship David Koresh. Maybe in another 10 years, people will come forward and speak of the miracles he performed, but were never written about while he was alive. One thing about Koresh that most people would prefer over Jesus, he actually was a white man.

        August 1, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  4. Austin

    John 15:26-27
    New International Version (NIV)
    The Work of the Holy Spirit

    26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

    August 1, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      You are extremely misguided. Scripture does not pertain to those who don't share your belief and we seem to be doing well without having a fall back.

      August 1, 2013 at 8:28 am |
      • Austin

        By the way, congratulations on your track record was that you that said youve' been working since you were 16 and never have drink and drived?

        August 1, 2013 at 8:33 am |
        • Austin

          what i would like to talk about is enacting a law that prohibits people for buying and using alcohol beyond the "perscribed amount" of drug, and i think you would see that alcohol business is made rich by 95 % of people who use way beyond the perscribed amount EVERY TIME.

          I am not an alcoholic and I did binge drink at bars. But I binge drink water all day too when i am thirsty.

          the end result? I would get wasted.

          August 1, 2013 at 8:47 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Austin
          You simply cannot control the amount of anything that everyone consumes – most especially not something that can be made at home with relative ease.
          It's not possible to legally impose moderation so the only recourse left is prohibition – and we all know how well that turned out.
          But if moderation were to be legally mandated, North American society would do better to limit the consumption of sugar rather than alcohol since obesity is causing more problems for more people than booze.

          August 1, 2013 at 8:58 am |
        • Truth Prevails :-)

          Austin: I have been working since I was 16. I won't say I have never had a drink but I see no excuse in this world given the amount of information available for anyone to get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of anything. My whole point on that with you is that you come across as holier than thou but seem to forget that you have admitted to drinking and driving, in turn making you sound very hypocritical. I don't tend to have an issue in my 'real' life (my life outside of this blog) with christians-my neighbors are JW's on one side and Catholics across the street...these things simply don't come up. In fact my best friend is an Ordained Minister and she's not as pushy as you are...she keeps an open mind and doesn't forget that she's not perfect. I wouldn't have a problem with your belief if you respected others rights to believe as they wish and didn't want it instilled in the public circle. If a persons actions cause no direct harm to you or society (are not breaking the laws in the country in which you reside) then live and let live. Our world has more important issues to be dealing with and as long as these better-god battles continue, we can't hope to resolve those issues. Don't be judgmental and you won't get it back.

          August 1, 2013 at 9:01 am |
        • Austin

          TP

          you know for a fact that i'm not holier than thou. and that i don't act like it either. there is a differenct with self pride, and someone who is talking only about God

          and since what i did experience, was supernatural,

          i have to be true about it. It is not an every day gift. and what would be the saddest failure ever, would be for me to hide it.

          The bed thing is rejecting God, not God.

          August 1, 2013 at 9:07 am |
        • joe

          The bed thing is rejecting God, not God.
          ---------
          So praise Allah?

          Oh wait, you meant the bad thing is rejecting your God, right?

          August 1, 2013 at 9:15 am |
        • Saraswati

          @Doc,

          We have significantly decreased the amount of alcohol people consume in the US, even moreso in several other western countries. It's just a more complicated process than banning something. Laws on drunk driving, veedeo cameras that store drunken humiliation, social stigma and bar cut-off have all been a part of this reduction.

          August 1, 2013 at 10:04 am |
        • ME II

          @Austin,
          What exactly is the "prescribed amount" of alcohol?
          1) Alcohol does not require a prescription.
          2) Many doctors, I suspect, would "recommend" no alcohol at all.
          3) Why should anyone tell anyone else how much to drink?

          August 1, 2013 at 10:57 am |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "2) Many doctors, I suspect, would "recommend" no alcohol at all."

          On the other hand, St. Paul recommends it.

          August 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
        • Saraswati

          For most people of European descent 1-2 drinks a day appears to reduce stress related illnesses and may even reduce alzheimer's. There are a lot of plusses to alcohol for a lot of people.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
        • sam stone

          ganja works better. vaporize some skunk and you won't be getting out of control.....vandalizing churches, dreaming of dead cats

          August 2, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • joe

      It does no good to try and reason with a bible thumper. They are addicts in the throws of their addiction.

      August 1, 2013 at 8:31 am |
      • Charles

        Maybe more like obsessive compulsives?

        August 1, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Reality

      From Professor Gerd Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416, "Anyone in search of the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John......This verdict is the consensus among New Testament scholars."

      August 1, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • Austin

      I found revelation spirit, which is proof that He is risen. and I do have data which I was recording for my own benefit also.

      I guess I am special, you may not ever have the spiritual gift that I did, but there is one He has for you . starting with salvation. starting with making yourself available to be a true witeness by doing what it takes to resound with the Holy Spirit.

      You cant' attest to anything you have never experienced.

      August 1, 2013 at 8:37 am |
      • HotAirAce

        You are special, being on the extreme end of delusional. We're still waiting to see "The Squished Kitty Chronicles", the next chapter in The Babble. . .

        August 1, 2013 at 9:05 am |
        • Austin

          Hot Air Ace, start writing your dreams down, and when one happens to come true, hand it to the person that happens to.

          ok, that happened to me 4 times in 2 month. and basically 3 times in a week or two. and what was I centered on at that time?

          God's Word.

          again, you will go the rest of your life and you will never do what God did.

          August 1, 2013 at 9:13 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Seems like you are claiming a repeatable experience that could be studied and tested. When can we expect you to take up the James Randi challenge and win a $1,000,000?

          August 1, 2013 at 9:32 am |
  5. tbreeden

    Don't forget the clergy project, Hemant. There are millennial's in the clergy. ;-)

    August 1, 2013 at 7:26 am |
    • tbreeden

      (Give or take an erroneous apostrophe.)

      August 1, 2013 at 7:27 am |
  6. Brent Marini

    There is only one reason why anyone, anywhere does not accept Jesus, or leaves their 'faith' They have turned away, hardened their hearts, plain and simple. Jesus is standing at the door to all mankinds hearts, knocking and hoping to come in. If you ask him to, he will. It's just that simple. All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven, and he will reveal himself. Don't believe it? Ask him for forgiveness and ask him in, it is just that simple. He will reveal himself, no amount of debate or arguing or any other thing can give a man faith, it is a first step choice for us, then he does the rest.

    August 1, 2013 at 1:55 am |
    • Fred

      Hi Brent, so how do you explain people like me who have never had a religion? or Budhists, seiks, Pagans? I've never had anything to "turn away" from. Christianity is only one of quite a few religions, why is it it the only true one? If it is so fundamentally true, why do i have to go look for it?

      August 1, 2013 at 3:02 am |
    • Josiah

      There is only one reason why anyone, anywhere beleives in God. They have turned away, hardended their hearts, plain and simple. The truth is standing at the door to all mankinds hearts, knocking and hoping to come in. If you seek the truth, it will come in. It's just that simple. All manner of ignorance and misjugment shall be forgiven, and the truth will reveal itself. Don't beleive it? Seek the truth. It's just that simple. The truth will reveal itself, no amount of faith can give a man truth, the first step is that we seek the truth no matter what it is, it is a first step for us, reality does the rest.

      August 1, 2013 at 5:06 am |
    • fintastic

      When you claim "truth" based on your imagination and mythology, you are LYING. "Truth" requires evidence...... evidence for god? NONE! ZERO!...... Believe all you want, but don't call it truth....

      August 1, 2013 at 8:12 am |
      • Austin

        i have data as evidence, and my memory is proof. That is because we are spiritual receivers. I have experienced and witnessed the revelation spirit of the Holy Spirit.

        August 1, 2013 at 8:29 am |
        • joe

          Like I said you can't reason with a fundamentalist. They are in the throws of their addiction causing severe mental delusion.

          August 1, 2013 at 8:48 am |
        • Austin

          that type of "professional " indictment is way more evil than people admit. That is really the creepiest and most evil thing you can mis-pronounce about someone.

          August 1, 2013 at 9:10 am |
        • grafactor

          Austin, no offense if I don't just take your word for it. BTW, memories are pretty unreliable.

          http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hidden-motives/201203/unreliable-memory

          August 1, 2013 at 9:14 am |
        • fintastic

          Austin, I understand you "believe" it to be true, but don't use the words "proof" and "fact", that's just dishonest.

          August 1, 2013 at 9:15 am |
        • Freddy

          Austin
          Do you know how fundamentally unreliable human memory has been proven to be?

          August 1, 2013 at 10:22 am |
  7. Holy Moly

    How did God manage to have 4 mornings and 4 evenings
    before he created the sun? Is god really that powerful or
    did the biblical authors just expose their own ignorance?

    July 31, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
    • Donu

      Excuses are easy

      July 31, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • fintastic

      He was on a smoke break

      August 1, 2013 at 9:17 am |
  8. Neo Atheist

    After all the BS I just went through in the past twelve hours....todays events in my life just furthers my view that there is no freaken all loving all caring all forgiving God.
    And if there is a God, he is cruel, mean petty deity undeserving of my worship, respect and even acknowledgement.

    July 31, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Whatever you went through I hope it works out for you.

      July 31, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • Austin

      how does what happened relate to God? what if it was the devil that messed up your circ.umstances?

      July 31, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
      • Saraswati

        Then god's not too powerful.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
        • Austin

          No the thing is it is easy to live every day outside of the will of God. Being in His will means everthing has a different value, each situation and when things God wrong, there isn't always a reason but most of the time it is an effect of sin.

          human technology still has the human element to it............simple falter or mis judge. people get tired and hungry. people cave in.

          God does not. A lot of people live with residual pain. it is not fair. it is sometimes a curse and from the curse. what is right and wrong with an evolutionary beginning? do you know why you are upset?

          July 31, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
        • Snickers

          "do you know why you are upset?"
          How presumptuous. How you got that from Sara's one line is beyond me.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
        • Charles

          Austin
          So, bad things happen to people because they sinned?

          Jesus was supposed to be without sin, and he sure had one bad day at the end, didn't he?

          July 31, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Austin, according to your myth God is all powerful. So anything that Satan does is God's will. There is no getting around that...no matter how many mental gymnastics you do. Good thing it is a myth because a god like that is an a**hole.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I've been there, recently, Neo, and I agree. If there is a god who has some concern or other for me, it has no interest in my comfort or joy.

      August 1, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
  9. dissidentfairy

    Flying Spaghetti Monster: I just answered you but my original response way way better.

    July 31, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      Well I appreciate you taking the time to reply, and honestly. I'm still perplexed, however, as to why a god would refuse heaven to an otherwise wonderful human being just because that person used his god-given brains and concluded that he didn't believe in the christian bible or christian god.

      July 31, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        Just to play devil's advocate. Would you like someone that didn't believe in you? If god is real and you say you don't believe in him, why would he bless you with his presence?

        July 31, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
        • Roger that

          If your child disagreed with you, would you torture them for an eternity? I wouldn't torture mine for 1 second.

          July 31, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
        • sam stone

          i would say if god wanted people to believe in him, he should have done a better job of self promotion than stone tablets in a language HE KNEW was going to disappear

          July 31, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          Trust me Roger, I'm on your side of the argument. There's no logical answer for "god" not to accept someone because they do not believe in him. I'm about as religious as a rock. I'm married w/2 kids, don't drink, smoke or do drugs. Have worked since I was 16. Never been arrested. I would think "god" would want me regardless of what I don't believe. But according to Christians I shouldn't go to heaven because I'm not a believer!

          July 31, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
        • Austin

          "concluded that he didn't believe in the christian bible or christian god"

          But according to Christians I shouldn't go to heaven

          because I'm not a believer!"

          no you should go to heavenn you are justified by the blood of Christ. the question is ...........do you hate that? if you dont hate that then you are just supposed to ask for it.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
        • Charles

          Austin
          I don't "hate" that, but it really is too ridiculous to believe.

          So, do I still qualify for heaven?

          July 31, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Ken why would a god care if I believed in him or not. Do you care if the ants outside your house believe you are real.

          The message from Christianity is oxymoronic. God is perfect and needs nothing....but he apparently needs our belief right?

          July 31, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
  10. QS

    As Christmas and more specifically Santa are, for all intents and purposes, guilt-inducing tools to use on children to elicit a desired behavior; and as Christmas is simply a more childish version of the religion that spawned it, it stands to reason that religion is simply a guilt-inducing tool to use on adults to elicit a desired behavior.

    To use guilt in such a way, at least with me, has always had the opposite effect. It is a weapon wielded by those who typically hold the most shame, against those who are generally good people but are weak-minded enough to allow that person's shame to become their own.

    More than anything else, religion raises my sense of non-conformity to its highest level.

    July 31, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Donu

      Your group of followers have never struck me as very happy or content about much of anything.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
      • I'mBrianAndSoisMyWife

        whats actually happening is people eventually break out of the mental prison of mysticism and fairy stories and it's so refreshingly simple and enlightening they kinda want the same for you too, except they won't burn you for being a witch, or damn you to an eternal torture. Once you've had a good chance to try and take it all on board and attempt to make some sense of it all you recognize where all religion comes from, a very human attempt to explain the unknown (science happens to be really good at that,) before it was corrupted by the power and greed of their very human figureheads who claimed to have spoke to god, the creator of the entire universe and all that is whatever and to know his mind in such detail that to god a man's foreskin is abhorrent, obviously. When was the last time they're super mega all powerful god spoke to more than one person at once? It always just so happens that one guy claims to ability to talk to god and knows what he wants, and you suckers fall for for it every time lol, sorry but you guys are funny sometimes.
        Moral of the story: Don't be a sucker.

        August 1, 2013 at 6:24 am |
        • fintastic

          Well said Brian.

          August 1, 2013 at 8:18 am |
  11. flying spaghetti monster

    I asked this question of Kenneth below, but I am honestly seeking an answer from any christians.

    "how does your concept of a loving god jive with your belief that he will send me to an eternity of suffering just because I used the brains you think he gave me and came to conclude that there is no proof of his existence? Do you honestly think I deserve to be tortured for all time?"

    July 31, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Faith begins with an appeal to the heart, try using yours.

      July 31, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        He is obviously using his heart. He's alive.

        July 31, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
      • flying spaghetti monster

        Do you consider that an honest answer to my question?

        July 31, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          Oh, you want an honest answer! George Bush killed over 100,000 innocent Iraqis. Christians will tell you he's going to heaven. George Bush should be the new bench mark. If you've killed less people than bush, congrats you're going to heaven!

          July 31, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Yep, you deserve it & so do I. Thank God we don't have to get what we deserve.

          July 31, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
        • Data Jack

          Robert Brown – this is a prime reason young, smart people are leaving. Good kids, many of whom have never done anything really wrong, are told by people like you that they DESERVE hell, because their great grandmother ate the wrong fruit.

          July 31, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
        • Snickers

          What? Lmao...what color is "pale"?? Adjust your tin foil cap, Moon Unit.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Data Jack,

          You can't leave something you never belonged to. Before you come to God you will agree with him.

          August 1, 2013 at 8:21 am |
      • sam stone

        Faith is not a pathway to truth. It is delusion. In the case of religion, it is mass delusion

        July 31, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
      • QS

        Faith begins by setting aside your intellect...try using yours!

        July 31, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      What about these questions?

      If premarital s3x is a sin and babies are a gift from god.
      How do unmarried couples conceive?

      Why would god give the "gift" of a child if the way that child was created was the result of sin?

      July 31, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        So that "it" would have more innocent babies to kill?

        August 1, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • QS

      Cue the cop-out "free will" comments in 3...2...

      July 31, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • Austin

      I personally don't. Just because there are people filled with false belief doesn't make true belief non-existent. If there is an objective truth in the world, given the number of various beliefs in the world, clearly some must be wrong. But I prefer to focus on the omnibenevolence of God. Hell is not a particularly developed concept in any of the scriptures. Please don't allow a few people to shade your view of an entire group.

      July 31, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        "clearly some must be wrong" How do we know you're not wrong?

        July 31, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
      • QS

        You still don't get it, do you? It's not a few people....it IS the entire group that does the shading!

        July 31, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • JimK57

      I think jesus was a wise man but not god so I guess I am not a christian.I believe everyone goes to "heaven" and there is no hell.

      July 31, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
      • Akira

        I don't believe in hell, either.

        July 31, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          You obviously haven't been to a NY Jets game.

          July 31, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
        • Akira

          Ken, nope, but I've been to a few Bears games where they've played like hell...

          August 1, 2013 at 12:03 am |
        • fintastic

          I'm a Mets fan..... welcome to my world.

          August 1, 2013 at 8:23 am |
      • jesus

        Thank you for those kind words Jim. We now have wifi in the clouds.

        July 31, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • The Truth

      38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses. 40 Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:

      “‘Look, you scoffers, 41 wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.’ [a] ” Acts 13:38-41 NIV

      August 1, 2013 at 6:39 am |
      • Richard Cranium

        That is not the truth

        The jesus story is a myth.

        God did not send his son because of original sin. Original sin allegedly came from Adam and Eve, and since genetics has proven that is false, Christianity is false.

        August 1, 2013 at 10:24 am |
  12. Tom

    About age 13 I became an agnostic and found it necessary to hide that fact because the ostracism and, indeed hatred, was terrible. (I am 78 so I have lived through the Christian at any cost to now when a person can choose and say so. As a retired scientist I am stunned by the beauty and understanding more and more of our universe (there are projections of more than one universe).

    In contrast religions, invented by man, not "a" god, serve as a place of hope when things go wrong. For an interesting read I suggest, "Don't Know Much About The Bible" and "Don't Know Much About Mythology" both written by Kenneth Davis. He accurately points out that, for example, several civilizations much prior to Christianity coming on the scene that have several myths comparable to the Noah's Ark fairy tale.

    July 31, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • QS

      True. Much of the Christian story was ripped off from previous belief systems:

      Mithras was worshipped as a Good Shepherd, the Way, the Truth and the Light, the Redeemer, the Savior, and the Messiah. Mithraism was the most popular of religions in the Roman Empire, particularly among its soldiers and civil servants.

      Mithras was believed to have been born of a virgin.
      Like JC, their births were celebrated yearly on DEC-25.
      Mithra was also visited by shepherds and by Magi.
      He traveled through the countryside, taught, and performed miracles with his 12 disciples.
      He cast out devils, returned sight to the blind, healed the lame, etc.

      Symbols associated with Mithra were a Lion and a Lamb.

      He held a last supper.
      He was killed and buried in a rock tomb.
      He rose again after three days later, at the time of the spring equinox, circa MAR-21.
      He later ascended into heaven.

      Perhaps in order to usher in a new system of control at that time it was believed that it would make the transition to the new that much easier if they simply made the new story very similar to the old one for convenience.

      Either way, it does begin to look like one of the largest religions in the world today was manufactured out of previously disavowed beliefs.

      July 31, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
      • Donu

        I would not put too much stock in Zeitguist bologna. The Old Testament is not all that relevant for Christianity and if you stuck to just the teachings of the New Testament you would at least be in fairly modern times. Much of what happened then can be proven today with historical evidence of people and places etc. Miracles still happen in the name of Jesus and he does answer prayer!

        July 31, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
        • QS

          And to you I would say, do not put too much stock in bible bologna....either testament.

          July 31, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
        • fintastic

          "Miracles still happen in the name of Jesus and he does answer prayer!"

          Sorry.. but no, there is no evidence of any "miracles" and your imagination fuled by ancient mythology doesn't count.

          August 1, 2013 at 8:28 am |
        • T

          Question, how can you accept the new testament and reject the old? What is the new testament if not the fulfillment of everything in the old? Wouldn't that mean that we would have to throw out the 10 commandments and Abraham and all the rest too?

          August 1, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      There are many mythical stories that may have kernals of truth in them. It is very possible, and in fact geological evidence supports the claim of a flood, though not a global one but a much smaller regional flood that might have been the basis for several similar flood accounts that have floated throughout history. It of course debunks the bible in that if God really is the author then the geological evidence should verify the account of a global flood covering the entire earth as Genisis claims, but instead it shows itself to be nothing more than another attempt at historical fiction taking old tales passed down verbally from one generation to the next and embelishing them for the authors purposes. In the bibles case it was Moses who had to figure out a way to solidify a fracturing group of escaped slaves and give them something to work towards and made them all feel special with the clarified tale of their supposed forefather Abraham who lived hundreds of years before Moses and never wrote any of his account down.

      July 31, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Austin

      Tom, I appreciate your respectful tone. It's sorely needed when discussing these things. I, as someone who tries to be an educated Catholic, would just like to point out that some (but not all) Christian denominations specifically recommend a non-literal interpretation of the bible. Understanding the scriptures in context is a major point of appreciating that they need not be factually accurate to contain truth. Most people who have been driven away from religion were raised with such a narrow view of it that I can really appreciate why they left. As a young Catholic filled with doubt attending a Jesuit university, I can promise you that I have found plenty of insight from academics who strive to correct the errors of the past and misunderstandings that too many have been allowed to hold as truth.

      July 31, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
      • QS

        I vehemently disagree with the notion that any religion can be anything other than narrow-minded!

        July 31, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
  13. Gayle

    I think an interesting question would be whether or not there can be more constructive dialogue between theists and atheists. I'm an atheist, but I have no problem with people believing whatever they like as long as they don't try to push it on me, and I would think many others feel the same. Can both sides find some middle ground and work together for the benefit of all? Or is that pointless/hopeless?

    July 31, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • denver

      For my part (atheist) I've had good, productive discussions with theists offline. The internet, not so much. Honestly, I don't see that there's a lot of common ground though.

      We can all agree that it's good to be a good person but how can I identify with a person who believes morality derives from something that I feel doesn't exist? And how can a theist understand that all gods are equivalent to me when they're invested in one god being the right one?

      July 31, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      Atheists are trying to meet theists on the middle ground aka our secular social system of governence. We show up ready to work on meaningful ideas that help everyone but the releigious keep showing up with empty promises and a big bag of religion that they claim they cannot in good conscience leave at home. Atheists can't leave their lack of belief in something at home, the religious person can leave their belief in the supernatural at home as it has nothing to do with fixing bridges and building the infrastucture that America so badly needs right now. We are here and we want to meet you on neutral ground, that of community and societal protections for all.

      July 31, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • One one

      I would be OK with that if they stopped all attempts to push their religion into the public space. No creationism in science classes, keep prayers private, no religious symbols in public, no reference to religion or gods in public laws, etc.

      July 31, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • QS

      The concept of "spreading the word" is the basis for all that is wrong with religion.

      If your beliefs dictate to you that you must go around and try to "convert" people to your way of thinking in order to "save" them, your beliefs are inherently starting you off from a foundation of immediately looking down on others and seeing them as things that need to be fixed rather than as fellow humans who should not have to be made to feel guilty just because they don't believe your particular brand of delusion.

      This is, as I said, the foundation for all that is wrong with religion. Even beyond how it treats gay people, religion is specifically designed to start people off in life with little regard for diversity and far too much paranoia and sus.picion of others to be truly considered anything close to resembling altruism.

      July 31, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
      • QS

        My point, was that this sense of obligation religious people feel to "save" others negates any possibility of them ever not pushing their religion on others.

        If they don't do it, they are indoctrinated to believe that they have sinned by not spreading the word.

        So no, there really cannot be any middle ground in this context.

        July 31, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
  14. QS

    I hypothesize that the reason many young people are against religion in this context is because of the following:

    By deeming a person's innate se.xual orientation a "sin" religious people are able to not only falsely justify their discriminatory actions toward an entire group of people, but this also allows those people to consider themselves good people in the eyes of their "god" by treating gay people badly because that is, to them, what their "god" wants them to do.

    The level of hypocrisy and twisting of morality and ethics in this regard is obvious and blatant, and the younger generation sees it.

    July 31, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • One one

      Yes, that is likely a reason.

      Another reason is that religious beliefs are totally ridiculous.

      July 31, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        I like that. Straight and to the point.

        July 31, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • fintastic

      I get a laugh out of what is considered by many believers as "sin" ...Women holding positions of power, long hair on men, being gay, working on sunday, etc etc Of course when the favorite pastime of christians is providing their personal self motivated interpretations of the bible, anything is possible!

      August 1, 2013 at 8:36 am |
  15. WASP

    ok everyone, had my fun playing with the christians for today.
    time to go read manga, i love my overly-paid desk job.
    LMFAO.

    July 31, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • Kenneth

      Peace be yours.

      July 31, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
  16. WASP

    @AE: "Looks like something very intelligent designed those atoms."

    seriously i'm not trying to be rude, but how fracking stupid are you?
    or are you just desperate to keep your "blind faith" that badly?

    once again; energy CAN NOT be CREATED nor DESTROYED.

    now what part of CAN NOT don't you get?

    ok dropping you into TROLL BUCKET and moving on. lmfao :)

    July 31, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • AE

      Just because you can't create or destroy them, does not mean that God can't.

      It appears we can't destroy them – with what we know about science.

      But we don't know everything about science. In 20 years new discoveries might leave your theory as unreliable.

      If God created those – to appear like they can't be created or destroyed – he can create or destroy them.

      He doesn't have to follow the rules of the atom. He is greater than an atom.

      July 31, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
      • denver

        Seeing as how we've never experienced anything that can ignore physical laws, ascribing such a quality to god simply makes him further outside of our experience and less plausible than he was before.

        July 31, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
        • AE

          You have never experienced it. Some people may have.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
        • denver

          True. Lots of people have seen ghosts or been abducted by aliens. Some hear noises on they can hear.

          None of that seems like a basis for a belief system to me, but apparently I'm too skeptical for my own good.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
        • AE

          Yea. I don't have faith in those things either.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
        • denver

          For the sake of argument, do you see how, from the outside, Christian claims to have experienced god look just as crazy as these other things?

          Heck, you don't even have to go to aliens. Just look at other religions.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
        • AE

          Sure.

          I also think those people who claim Christians are mentally ill or delusional aren't being honest.

          July 31, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • AE

      Are you saying the atoms are eternal? Like God?

      July 31, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
      • WASP

        @AE: right back at you; are you saying gods are eternal like energy? XD

        now that is a funny idea.
        let's do a test, ok?

        "in the beginning there was the word and the word was..........god."

        so what happen before "god's" beginning?
        if he is eternal, when exactly was this "beginning"?
        did he wait very long after "becoming" the word to start creation; or did he get right down to business once he "became"?
        how about the angels? when did he make them, and why aren't they even mentioned?
        how about the great angelic war where 2/3rds of "god's" angels turned against him?
        where did they all learn "evil" if nothing exsisted before god?
        did god create evil?

        i can go on and on..............the fun part that's only from the FIRST FRACKING LINE in the bible.
        imagine the mental fracking i can give you with the rest of it?

        ROFLMFAO!

        July 31, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
        • AE

          In the beginning (of our world) there was the word (Jesus) and the word was God.

          Not God's beginning.

          Our beginning.

          God is eternal and had no beginning or ending.

          Just like the energy you talked about.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
        • AE

          God still dwells in that place he did before he created our world.

          Heaven.

          Before God created this world he was in Heaven. Where He is now. For eternity.

          The source of that eternal power (energy) you talk about.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
        • ME II

          @AE,
          "Before God created this world he was in Heaven. Where He is now. For eternity."

          Minor point, but I thought your God created "the heavens and the earth" "in the beginning". How could He have been there for eternity?

          August 1, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
      • denver

        Where is "outside the universe?" How did god get there? Can god reach from wherever that is into the universe and act upon things? What does that interface look like?

        July 31, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
        • AE

          Where is "outside the universe?" How did god get there? Can god reach from wherever that is into the universe and act upon things? What does that interface look like?

          I don't know.

          Heaven?

          July 31, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • AE

      I'm sorry, are you saying the energy is eternal? Like God?

      July 31, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
      • denver

        I'd suggest that we have a solid, objective understanding of energy and basically no comparable understanding of god. Seeing as how you can define god as anything you want to suit the discussion, what's the value in discussing him at all?

        It's like the kid who, embroiled in a game of "cowboys and indians" with his friends suddenly declares that he's bulletproof and just hadn't mentioned it until now.

        July 31, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
        • AE

          Belief in God is kind of the opposite of being bullet-proof.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
        • denver

          I feel the same way about atheism, honestly. I only get one life and there is no redemption if I mess it up. I have to figure out what is right and what is wrong and hold myself accountable. I have to look the universe in the idea, understand that it doesn't "mean" anything, and solider on anyway.

          It's liberating and scary.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          I believe he is implying that Religion has been changing the rules for centuries and every time some new discovery is made they want to jump on it and say "We already knew this" such as when it was discovered that the earth is not flat it was fought tooth and nail until finally it was proven and every Christian apologist then changed their tune to "Well the bible always knew it was a sphere! It says right here "Above the circle of the earth! See we were right all along!" except that you weren't and the word "circle" is translated from a word that meant "compass".

          July 31, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
        • AE

          There was a time when the greatest scientific minds thought the world was flat. That is how it appears.

          We still say the sun rises and sets. It really doesn't, but it appears it does.

          Just like energy and atoms somehow appear to disprove God to WASP.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
        • denver

          Ok, now you really have to read Isaac Asimov's excellent essay on "The Relativity of Wrong" because he goes on at length about the round/flat earth thing.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
        • WASP

          @AE: "Just like energy and atoms somehow appear to disprove God to WASP."

          ROFLMFAO!
          ok, it's confirmed you know nothing of science; ATOMS are made of ENERGY.
          protons,neutrons and electrons are energy.

          as a child growing up in the south i went to a southern baptist church; i would sit and listen to this guy up front shouting about this is wrong and this is wrong and don't do this, i read through the bible on my own trying to understand why he was saying all these negetive things...............i foundout the whole book was negetive, from cover to cover.
          as i studied human history i discovered a lot of religons that said about the same stuff, in the same way with some minor/major differences.
          as confusing as the bible and the "god" thing was science was a straight linear process; problem, information gathering, conclusion, revision,revision,revision.
          that's the great thing about science..........ANYONE CAN READ IT AND UNDERSTAND IT.
          no need for translation or interrptations, the speed of light will always be 186,000 mi/sec.
          by that knowledge we can compute how far something outside our solar system is by what is known as "light-shift"
          (wanna know look it up)

          where science produces answers and a lot more questions it is something that can be shown, proven and tested by anyone. that is what aided my logical conclusion that an all powerful being not only violated the laws of physics, he made no logic sense seeing "god" was merely a consept thought of long before the "christian god" was ever created.
          the bible is full of flaws because those that wrote it were flawed, they lacked knowledge of simple things, like insects having 6 not 4 legs.

          science itself disproved ALL gods to me; however it did allow for the evolution of a more advanced species to exsist in the cosmos.
          as far as ghosts/spirits/appartions they are explained mainly due to tricks of the mind. if you want to "see it" you will, if you have no reason to "see them" you won't.......i don't go looking for the dead any further than the cemetary.

          science will progress and all gods will vanish into the pages of MYTHOLOGY, same as all the rest througout time. :)

          July 31, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
        • bladams

          I really appreciate the dialogue you two have going on with each other. I think that more of this type of dialogue – respectful, curious, and initiated in an attempt to understand the other – would be helpful and useful to us all.

          Right now I'm doing extensive research into my faith and trying to fit all of the pieces together by breaking everything down by way of logic and reason. I'm working through a book called "I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist". So far it's quite good, and its arguments seem to be quite logical. I would like to start a book written by an atheist from an alternative perspective to read things from both sides – denver, maybe you could help me out with that?

          What I've found so far is that the evidence in support that the universe (space, time, and matter) had a definite beginning is piling up pretty quickly. The Second Law of Thermodynamics, among other things, states that the universe is running out of energy (a simplification but hopefully suitable for now – and please correct me if my understanding is incorrect!). Since the amount of available energy in the universe decreases, we can conclude that eventually our universe will run out of energy and die. However the universe still has usable energy right now. This law is also known as the Law of Entropy (nature tends to bring things to disorder/things fall apart). If our universe was eternal, we would have reached complete disorder (entropy) by now. I guess the idea of an eternal universe in this context would be like the idea of a perpetual motion machine.

          Einstein's theory of General Relativity has been verified to 5 decimal places and means that the universe is not eternal and static, as had been previously thought, but rather has a beginning. From his theory, scientists predicted that the universe would have to be expanding, that there would be a radiation afterglow, and that great galaxy seeds would have to exist.

          The astronomer Hubble discovered that the universe was expanding when he looked through a 100-inch telescope and discovered a "red shift" in the light from every observable galaxy, meaning that the galaxies were moving away from us). Space itself is expanding and came into existence when the Big Bang happened.

          The radiation expected as a result of the General Relativity Theory/Big Bang Theory was discovered in 1965 by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson. They detected radiation coming from all directions; this radiation turned out to be the afterglow/cosmic background radiation from the Big Bang. This afterglow is actually the light and heat from the initial explosion.

          Finally, scientists predicted that if the Big Bang actually occurred, ripples in the temperature of the cosmic background radiation discovered early should be able to be detected. These ripples enabled matter to congregate by gravitational attraction into galaxies. In 1992, these ripples in the background radiation were discovered by a satellite called COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer which was launched by NASA). The ripples revealed that the explosion and expansion of the universe caused just enough matter to congregate to allow the formation of galaxies but not enough to allow the universe to collapse back on itself. COBE took pictures of these ripples. When we observe space we're actually observing the past since it takes light a long time to reach us from distant objects. So the picture COBE took are actually the "seeds" of galaxies – points that will actually form into galaxies. Excuse me but COOL! Science is pretty awesome.

          In light of all of this evidence, everything we know know – space, time, matter – all had a definite beginning. The Cosmological Argument goes like this:

          1. Everything that had a beginning had a cause. (Law of Causality, upon which science's search for answers is based)
          2. The universe had a beginning. (Big Bang Theory & Theory of General Relativity, see above)
          3. Therefore the universe had a cause.

          The tricky part is finding a cause that doesn't include time, matter, or space because those didn't exist before the Big Bang. Since natural forces were all created by the Big Bang and since no natural world or law existed prior to it, there must be something outside of nature that caused it. That's exactly what the word supernatural (outside of nature) means. The most probably scientific conclusion is that the Big Bang was caused by something outside of time, space, and matter (i.e. an Eternal Cause).

          There are two options for the cause of the existence of an object: 1) either it is eternal, has always existed, and is uncaused or 2) it had a beginning and was caused by something else. Since neither time nor space nor matter existed before the Big Bang, I can only concluded that the First Cause of the Big Bang must be self-existent, timeless, immaterial, and nonspatial. This sounds a lot like God to me, and the Big Bang sounds a lot like Genesis 1:1-3 to me.

          So I find myself left with two options: the atheistic view of believing that no one created something and that something came from nothing or the theistic view of believing that someone created something out of nothing.

          Like I said at the beginning of this post, I would love to read some source from the atheist's point of view but am by no means an expert on these matters and do not know where to turn. Any good books?

          As of right now, I don't think I can logically believe the first option without more evidence. I find I do not have enough faith to be an atheist based on what I've researched so far. So right now I am re-affirming my faith in Jesus Christ of Nazareth and being thankful that my God is big enough for me to doubt Him.

          July 31, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          "1) either it is eternal, has always existed, and is uncaused or 2) it had a beginning and was caused by something else."

          One thing to note when postulating your two possibilities is the fact that to discount the first based upon 2nd law of thermodynamics is that there is a partial third alternative of the universe always existing "in some other form" and from what we are now learning about dark matter and the fact that empty space isn't really empty. We know there is a huge amount of dark matter which we can measure but can't see, which means we ultimately have to throw our old big bang models in the trash when attempting to explain things like the higgs boson. It could indeed be that the big bang was merely a tiny rip in the fabric of space/time that a build up of masses of dark matter had coalesced and exploded into this dimension, and it's entirely possible that this has happened countless times, and eternal ebb and flow between the universe of dark matter, quarks and gluons and our own universe.

          July 31, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
        • bladams

          Wow! That sounds pretty cool! Can you direct me to a good book to read about the new theories they're coming up with relating to dark matter and stuff? I want to keep updated with new discoveries being made about our universe. Is this like the Multiple Universe Theory or am I completely off track?

          July 31, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          It's essentially the study of quantum physics and dark matter that can give you a whole new perspective on the universe and our possible origins. Not really any single thesis I've read that pinpoints my suggested theory but many that seem to point in that direction.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:34 am |
        • WASP

          @bladams: " states that the universe is running out of energy."

          that is the thing, the energy of the universe can not "run out" that would violate the law of energy conservsation.
          energy can diffuse further apart making it more difficult to harness, or change forms to something we can not use however reagrdless of the state energy is in matter or in it's hundreds of other forms the only logical conclusion to the law of energy conservation is that energy remains at a constant level; thus it can only mathmatically be at what we call "100%"

          if energy is "running out" then it would a negetive factor in the equation which violates that energy can not be destroyed, thus our universe stops exsisting, POOF; gone.
          the counter point as well is energy can not increase in value either, thus it has been created which likewise violates that energy can ot be created thus; POOF, gone.

          not to mention i think you have a misunderstanding of the second law of thermal dynamics. reading works done by others is great, i would say commit to simply studying scienctific thesis' on various areas of physics; mind you that requires setting aside the whole "beginning of time" thing. there can not be a "beginning" because that would imply, yet again that energy was "created" which again violates the law of energy conservation.

          the basis of the universe is energy per this equation; thus everything is energy. the "dark energy/dark matter" even aids to validate my research because it holds there are two forms of energy, "seen and unseen" so if "dark matter" adheres to the same physical laws as "matter" itself, then it is simply the condensed form of "dark energy"......which leads back to a singularity event (which means unknown event) as to where the universe was simply in a state of balance then became unbalanced and expanded; kindof like how our star will do in a few billion years when it goes red giant.

          i could go into further detail of everything, yet that would make one VERY long thesis on this site. :)

          August 1, 2013 at 7:06 am |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      @AE – No, atoms and energy are nothing like God because they are testable and verifiable and actually exist. You are trying to imply that your imaginary friend is like our universe that has likely always existed in some form or another. What we are now learning about supposedly empty space is that it's not so empty. The LHC and the study of dark matter and the higgs boson are giving us much more data on which to build valid hypothesis in regards to te origins of the universe. To simply sit on your hands like a lazy moron and say "God did it" is just pure insanity.

      July 31, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
      • AE

        – To simply sit on your hands like a lazy moron and say "God did it" is just pure insanity.–

        I'm glad I didn't say that. Or do that.

        You can make conscious contact with God. Seek humility. Pray.

        July 31, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        Seek Vishnu and you will find him. Seek back ally hand jobs and you will find them. If you start with a preconcieved notion of what you want to find, then you are not really seeking anything, just convincing yourself something is true even when there is no evidence to support it.

        July 31, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
      • fintastic

        @AE...... Thor is awesome! he makes those loud bangs in the sky.

        August 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
      • mindless lackey # 473

        Humility = sizeable and continued monetary donation to the Church.

        August 1, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  17. QS

    People who say they were once believers then doubted and became Atheist, only to then come to some miraculous realization that their faith was the only thing that made their life good, sound very much like someone who has had an addiction, broke that addiction and got sober, then fell off the wagon and remembered just how blissful that high was to the point that they finally realize they can't cope or maintain without said addiction.

    In the context of religion and/or faith, I prefer sobriety!

    July 31, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • bostontola

      How weird is it that the majority of humanity is addicted to one form or another of these belief systems in the 21st century?

      July 31, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
      • QS

        I know, right! Why are so many of our species still so far behind that they still have to have a fairy tale to latch onto in order to feel better about their own mortality?

        July 31, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  18. Kenneth

    Three millinia this conversation has been going on in one form or another, and still no closer to a resolution.

    July 31, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      I dunno Ken, seems like we're making some progress toward a resolution. I mean, a thousand years ago, there was no conversation - anyone who dared to openly question was liable to be tortured, murdered, or ostracised. At least it's (mostly) unlikely that will happen to atheists today (in developed countries with civil rights guaranteed by an at least partially secular government). Though of course, there still seem to be many xtians who would like a return to the 'good old days' of the dark ages, and see all non-believers punished for their heresy.

      July 31, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        I think it's just the opposite. When do you ever hear of Atheists being killed? I can't think of any since Madeline turned up missing but Christians are frequently killed and mentioned on the news.

        July 31, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
        • grafactor

          Yeah? Where? I've heard of atheists being arrested and beaten in Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

          August 1, 2013 at 8:46 am |
      • Kenneth

        This is true. Dissent is better tolerated now. Only barely, from the bitterness of some of these comments.
        While a believer myself, I fully respect people who question what they are told. And if they choose not to believe what I believe, they will soon enough meet Phil, ruler of Heck. :-)

        July 31, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
        • flying spaghetti monster

          Kenneth, I appreciate that you respect people who question what they are told. Serious question though, how does your concept of a loving god jive with your belief that he will send me to an eternity of suffering just because I used the brains you think he gave me and came to conclude that there is no proof of his existence? Do you honestly think I deserve to be tortured for all time?

          July 31, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        PS Just like the Bible said they would be!

        July 31, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        I'm a believer in God and I don't believe in a literal hell. You're right. Why would a loving God torture someone forever and ever? He wouldn't. If you compare various Bible translations the word hell in other Biblical translations will say, hades, sheol, pit and grave. Hell is nothing more than the grave. Could one drop of water really have quenched Lazarus tongue in hell? No! it was just a parable.

        Are we all going to have to account to God? Yes! Will he reward us for our choices whether good or bad ? Yes! What happens to those who do bad? "The soul who sins will die." Ezekiel 18:4.....The soul that is sinning will die. Why would God's sense of justice be any less than ours....it isn't.

        July 31, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
        • joe

          can't use the book to prove the book. The book was written by ignorant primitives 2000-4000 years ago.

          July 31, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
        • flying spaghetti monster

          Thanks, and I understand you may not believe in a literal fiery underworld, but my question stands. Assuming your belief is true, that my soul will die because I did not believe in your god during my brief span of days on this earth, do you think that is loving? Why would he be vindictive like that? Assume that I have otherwise not committed any sins (ie no murder, adultery, etc.) and have been a 'good' person, but just didn't believe in god, never prayed to him, never 'accepted jesus as my savior.' Do I deserve to be denied the heaven you think exists?

          July 31, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Do you call kings and a doctor primitive?

          July 31, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Flying Spaghetti Monster: I just answered you but my entire response was erased by someone and I didn't make a copy of it before I sent it. It's very frustrating!

          July 31, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
        • flying spaghetti monster

          DissidentFairy, no answer to my question?

          July 31, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
        • flying spaghetti monster

          oh, ok. yeah that happens to me sometimes. It's the cnn auto-filter, it won't post comments that have certain words in them, or word fragments that look like dirty words, hence the need to type t.it or b.oob

          July 31, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          All God requires from us is that we love Him and give Him the recognition that He deserves as the One who created us. Don't parents hope that their children will love and respect them? So why should God be any different. If we are not willing to give Him what he needs why should He reward us? He wants people to love him with their whole heart and soul. Is that too much to ask?

          Short version: The devil was close to God at one time when he was an angel. He was the covering cherub in the Garden of Eden. He is described in the bible as being the most beautiful angel of them all but his arrogance and pride got in the way. He decided to challenge God and to try and turn all men against God. So one who isn't willing to acknowledge God could have the potential for turning bad just like Satan did. "So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Revelation 3:16

          July 31, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
        • SkepticNY

          You never answered flying spaghetti monster's question. Do you think his soul deserves to die just because he didn't worship your particular version of god eventhough he was a good and moral person?

          July 31, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          SkepticNy: That's not my call Skeptic it's God's. I have an Atheist uncle who is exactly the person he described. I hope God will show compassion on him. I do know that God expects to be acknowledged for what he has done for us. I feel that's a fair exchange for eternal life don't you?

          July 31, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
        • SkepticNY

          dissidentfairy
          SkepticNy: That's not my call Skeptic it's God's. I have an Atheist uncle who is exactly the person he described. I hope God will show compassion on him. I do know that God expects to be acknowledged for what he has done for us. I feel that's a fair exchange for eternal life don't you?

          I absolutely don't think that's a fair exchange at all. Frankly I think it borders on monstrous and any god who would require such worship – with absolutely no evidence of its existence – does not deserve such worship.

          July 31, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          You wouldn't feel that way if you read the Bible and drew close to God. You would develop love and a sense of appreciation for what he has done for us. I hope you give Him a chance. "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

          July 31, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
        • grafactor

          "You wouldn't feel that way if you read the Bible and drew close to God. "

          I just love the way christians assume that atheists haven't read the bible, and all they need to do is read it and they will change their minds. Did you see the Pew survey on religious knowledge a year or two ago? Atheists are up there with Mormons (scary I know) in terms of knowledge of biblical stuff. That's why we're atheists. We HAVE read it.

          August 1, 2013 at 8:49 am |
        • WASP

          @fairy: the devil was "close" to god?

          please answer why your god fails so completely?
          "Hebrews 13:2 “Be not forgetful to ... God created a perfect, holy angel, and that angel became the devil. "

          so either god TOTALLY messed up which would mean "it" is not perfect, or your god made the devil perfectly evil on purpose just to be an ass.
          if your god is all powerful, all knowing, all present then it knows everything the devil was ever going to do to harm man kind and still allowed it. SICK

          August 1, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Kevin Harris

      That sounds like a resolution!

      July 31, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
  19. bostontola

    Christian Scripture and religious dogma can be broken into 2 categories; 1) Factual/historical statements, and 2) metaphysical and morality statements. That body of knowledge is mostly static, it is represented as truth.

    Science deals with only testable phenomena. That body of knowledge is growing at a staggering rate. It conflicts with many of the category 1 truths. The church has recognized that and slowly re-interprets truth to align (too slowly for Galileo).

    The rate of scientific knowledge will likely overwhelm religions ability to adapt as more and more category 1 truths fall.

    July 31, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • AE

      We have a logical/reason side of our brain.
      We have a creative/imaginative side of our brain.

      God speaks to both sides.
      We are not robots.
      We are human beings.

      July 31, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
      • bostontola

        AE,
        I agree with everything you said (except the god stuff). None of what you said conflicts with what I said.

        July 31, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • AE

          Yes, true.

          I get caught up with some who try to claim exclusive access to logic and reason – I wrongly as.sume most feel that way.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        God doesn't speak to the logical/reasonable side of the brain. Have you seen some of the nonsense religious people spew?

        July 31, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
        • AE

          Yea.

          And atheists speak nonsense sometimes, too.

          There is an atheist in my neighborhood who is addicted to crack. He is nuts.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • QS

      Fingers crossed! :-)

      July 31, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Observer888

      "Science deals with only testable phenomena." That means much of evolution theory is outside the realm of science.

      August 1, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  20. Austin

    Take away the seperation of church and state.

    who is that going to hurt?

    July 31, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Jake

      Let's see...everyone who doesn't agree with whatever particular religion is in power.

      You see how well that works with the Taliban, right?

      July 31, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
      • Austin

        really, so you saying that you cant handle it mentally, the moral side of it? because there would only be a different face to the public square. it would be upright instead of sleazy and hatefull towards God. It would honor God.

        you can handle it.

        July 31, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
        • denver

          Assuming you're not just trolling, you should read Jake's answer again.

          If this were a theocratic state, there is a chance a religious tradition with which you do not agree could rise to power and impose its doctrines upon you. Would you like that?

          July 31, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
        • Madtown

          It would honor God
          ---
          Can you honor God without a religious affiliation? You're aware that there's more than 1 form of religion, right? An affiliation between church and state means state endorses whatever flavor of religion is prevalent. That may tend to tick a few people off.

          July 31, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
        • Austin

          id rather tick of a non believer than God.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Kenneth

      Everyone who doesn't want to live in Rick Perry's or Michelle Bachmann's psycho little worlds.

      July 31, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • sam stone

      It will hurt the state to let a bunch of delusional fvckers like yourself into office

      July 31, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • QS

      I have to assume you are from the Middle East somewhere if you actually think a theocracy is a viable form of government.

      July 31, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
      • Austin

        There would be nothing wrong with a biblical theme and moral.

        July 31, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
        • Austin

          I honestly think that mentally the right approach would be like the pres of Iran said, "we don't have any ho,ose.x,uals" simply becuase no one struggling with a sin should label themselves as that sin. such as "i am an alcoholic" i know that brainwashing works, but that is completely sad. that's NOT what YOU ARE.

          YOU ARE NOT A HO,MOS,EXUAL, you just need to work on a few issues.

          July 31, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
        • denver

          The point people are trying to get across is that the the separation of church and state protects you from leadership that has nothing to do with the Bible, too.

          July 31, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
        • Truth Prevails :-)

          Wrong as always Austin! It imposes on peoples right of freedom of and from religion. Did you want us to help you pack so you can live in a country that shares your brand of crazy???

          July 31, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
        • Austin

          t.p.

          the provisions of God are eternal, and what you want is a society that lies to everyone so you can forget where you are headed.

          That is reality.

          I have a serious fn problem with that. MY COUNTRY, had better honor God with the mouth and public fact of that Gov, or my Gov is not worthy of any due respect, but only submission becuase i have to. this secular governement is producing children that end up in hell

          that would be satanic power.

          July 31, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
        • Austin

          there is power in the word of God because the Holy Spirit is there to deliver it to people

          July 31, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • Austin

          in other words, this country's people need to fight against the seperation of church in state, and if they honor this law, they are living in observance and submission to satanic power.

          i am not satan's little bit.ch like other people

          July 31, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
        • Truth Prevails :-)

          Austin: You need to learn the difference between reality and fantasy. What you believe is not reality but we wouldn't expect you to comprehend that...you are the blogs crazy man after all.

          July 31, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
        • Austin

          You are wrong my friend.

          There is no name like Jesus. And you are justified by His resurrection before God. Stop hiding.

          You need to pay attention to your soul and stop hiding Him/Her

          July 31, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
        • Truth Prevails :-)

          Souls don't exist. Much like your god there simply is no evidence. Resurrection didn't occur...no-one in recorded history has ever returned from the dead. You are delusional!

          July 31, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
        • CMoses

          Jesus'resurrection IS recorded in history. Many of the first and second hand accounts were collected into what are now known as the Gospels. What's truly telling is that the apostles of Jesus didn't scatter after he was executed as if their reason for being together was over. They stayed together, not sure what was coming, but knowing that SOMETHING was. They were witness to the resurrection, and soon set out to establish churches throughout the Mediterranean and even north into present day Russia. Many of these churches are still there today. These men should have just gone back to being simple fishermen, but suddenly they were evangelist willing to leave their comfort, their home, their livelihood, at a time when there wasn't a highway or a plane to offer them safe travel, nor a Holiday Inn in every town to guarantee them comfort. Christianity didn't start as a religion dreamed up by a conquering ruler to justify his dominion? It didn't start as a means of the establishment to rule over the weak and simple-minded. It was carried on by fishermen to regions of the world they had never visited and preached in languages they didn't speak. There is no reason, no reason whatsoever, that Christianity should have survived. Except that it's true.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
        • Austin

          well i want you to know that i deeply care about your well being. and hope you have a great day.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
        • sam stone

          Come on, Austin....you have the spiritual gift......dream that you off yourself and go to see jeebus.....and then fulfill it. If you have the guts, that is

          July 31, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
        • sam stone

          CMoses: It's true to you. That doesn't make it true to everyone else

          July 31, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
        • sam stone

          Austin....you delusional litte punk. It ain't YOUR country, it is OUR country. and it doesn't exist to prop up your vindictive pr1ck god.

          come on, pe-day-ho.....watcha got to say?

          July 31, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      You don't want your rights taken away, don't take away the rights of others! Forcing christianity on people hurts a great many who wish to live freely but you don't care or see that.

      July 31, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
      • Austin

        god does not stone you , no one is allowed to do that. do you think you would not be living in freedom. thats b.s. you live in freedom because of what God gave you , free will.

        July 31, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
        • midwest rail

          You have to be trolling now. No one is that intellectually dishonest, or deliberately obtuse.

          July 31, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • Truth Prevails :-)

          You are as bat shit crazy as they come.

          July 31, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
        • WASP

          @AUSTIN: AGAIN? REALLY?
          HOW MANY TIMES HAVE WE GONE OVER THIS?

          god and free will DON'T MIX.

          if it's god's will you die in a car accident; yet you choice to call out sick from work, what happens to "god's will"?
          does he still hurl a car at you in your home because you messed up his plans? or does he just wait for your next conveinent moment near traffic? XD

          July 31, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
        • Austin

          he turns his back to the world of sin. and if He didn't we would be dead instantly.

          Sin is sooooo bad, that you really have to battle out the mental loops, to resonate with the Holy spirit. with eternal life, the salvation and life are too abundant to fathom. so if you are really a complainer and just unhappy at the name of Christ, this is simply sin. and you need help you start with grace and mercy and you learn to pick up your eyes to the horizon you stay on His road. It is difficult. and if you do not try, and you hate it, you will die in sin and live in sin. there is a deceitful lie surrounding this life, and you may never pick that out. but in my case, God showed me the devil's power. I understand demonic evil. and now I have a serious sense for it, and I do not enjoy the thigs that were killing me, i would rather go home and tend to the presence of my savior. He has turned my eyes from worthless things, and revived me in His ways.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
        • sam stone

          No such thing as sin, Austin

          Chill the fvck out

          July 31, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      It seems most people think that the state would suffer if the separation clause were eliminated. I would argue that the Church would also suffer from that event. When the spiritual authority of the Church is mingled with the temporal authority of the state sooner or later, the concentration of power is to potent to resist corruption. At which point either the sate will undermine the religious by fascism or totalitarianism or the church will revolt against the tyranny of unjust government. We've been down this road in western civilization. That's why we have separation to begin with and why churches are, and must, remain independently sovereign.

      August 1, 2013 at 9:23 am |
      • Saraswati

        For a church/state union to benefit the church you'd have to restrict information and the media to a Saudi Arabia type scenario. This type of merger is usually the death of religion.

        August 1, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • Johnny

      Take away separation of church and state and I will start voting for Muslims, and won't move out of the country until I have ensured that Sharia law is in place. This way doing away with the separation of church and state will hurt you Austin.

      August 1, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
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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.