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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. Ron

    The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ....Romans 6:23

    August 2, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • sam

      The wages of being a douchebag by screwing up the comments section with quote after quote is : getting your posts deleted. You're even pissing off the christians, now.

      August 2, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
      • Ron

        Sammy, why so angry? Is that where atheism has brought you? You may want to rethink your godless religion. lol

        August 2, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
        • sam

          You're a rude troll. Maybe you should think how your god will view you acting like a moron while supposedly spreading the word.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
        • skytag

          He's probably tired of seeing mindless Christian drones quoting the Bible because they can't think independently enough to compose a substantive comment.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
        • sam

          If this kind of behavior seems perfectly fine to you – ie acting like a rude little troll – maybe you should rethink how your god would view it.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
        • Athy

          Godless religion? Is that like stinkless shit?

          August 3, 2013 at 12:43 am |
    • JimK57

      Remember jesus was speaking of a spiritual death not a physical one.

      August 2, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
      • spiritual death

        Please cite the bible verse where jesus says it is not a physical death

        August 3, 2013 at 12:10 am |
    • Cardinal

      Looks like these posters here are being stirred by the scripture verses.
      Great Bible verses! God bless!

      August 2, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
      • sam

        Stirred mainly by how rude it is hijack the entire conversation with quote after quote that has nothing to do with the article.

        August 2, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
      • skytag

        Quoting Bible verses in online discussions like that is childish. So was your comment.

        August 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
        • AE

          What do you think your comments say about you?

          August 2, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
        • Ron

          AE I don't need your help. You're as useless as the atheists.

          August 2, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
        • skytag

          @AE: "What do you think your comments say about you?"

          That I can think circles around you and that I don't suffer fools gladly. And for the record, you can't defend the troll behavior of a Christian by attacking me.

          August 2, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
        • AE

          Ok. I think you act a lot like the people you are criticizing.

          August 2, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
        • skytag

          @AE: "Ok. I think you act a lot like the people you are criticizing."

          I don't respect you enough to value your opinion, but in any case you can't defend the behavior of a Christian by comparing it to that of an atheist. Christians are exhorted to be kind, patient, loving, and long suffering. They're supposed to turn the other cheek and pray for their enemies. Either they live what they claim to believe or they don't.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
        • AE

          Seek humility.

          Being judgmental and not respecting others does not demonstrate humility.

          Treasure the value of all human life, including your own.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Hardly – it's just tedious and trite.

        August 2, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • skytag

      The atonement story is just a control tactic. Religions exist in large part to encourage their followers to be better members of the societies in which they live. Primarily they do this with promises of rewards for good behavior and punishments for bad behavior.

      In simplest terms, the atonement transforms the selfish desire to avoid punishment into the selfless desire to spare Christ from having to endure additional punishment for more of your sins.

      When you avoid doing something wrong to avoid punishment it does nothing to make you feel good about yourself and can even produce feelings of resentment. However, choosing to not do something because it reduces someone else's suffering makes you feel noble and can be an ever more powerful incentive.

      It's a well known tactic for keeping a group of people in line. You tell them that if anyone breaks the rules you're going punish innocent people in the group in retaliation. Unwilling to see an innocent person suffer for their actions, people follow the rules.

      It's the same with the atonement, except in that case the innocent person who will suffer for your sin is a fictitious character you've been taught is the epitome of good and innocence. If you sin, Christ suffers, so don't sin. It's nothing more than a clever story to encourage good behavior.

      August 2, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
      • Ron

        Well Sky, you have made it clear enough. The only provision given to man, that is the atonement of Jesus, you have rejected. Be assured that unless you repent and receive His atonement, your words will accompany you to judgment day. And God will be completley just in condemning you. I would encourage you to turn away from your rebellion.

        August 2, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
        • minless lackey # 473

          Isnt there a passage in your bloody book that says that no man can know the mind of god.......

          the 'three' of you (Ron, AE, and Bob) need to review that passage and give it some thought....

          August 2, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
        • skytag

          I would encourage you to abandon your fairytales and delusions. At least then when you're a jerk as you so often are here you won't be a hypocrite.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Thanks sky, that is the biggest load of bull I've read today. Christians do not strive to obey God to prevent further suffering of Christ. We do our best because of love. We try to obey & fail at times because he loved us first. It is finished, the work is done.

        August 2, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
        • Ron

          Mr. Brown, amen, that it is.

          August 2, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
        • AE

          Agreed! Thank you.

          August 2, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
        • skytag

          "Thanks sky, that is the biggest load of bull I've read today. Christians do not strive to obey God to prevent further suffering of Christ. We do our best because of love."

          Christians are just like non-Christians in that some try to do their best and some don't. Some Christians are great people and some are real jerks. They have no monopoly on doing good nor are they exempt from doing bad.

          "We try to obey & fail at times because he loved us first."

          You do it because you've been brainwashed to believe a lot of stuff for which there is no evidence whatsoever.

          "It is finished, the work is done."

          Saying stuff like this makes you look like you're trying to reinforce your brainwashing. I mean, seriously, rational people don't go around saying stuff like this.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Sky tag,

          Ok, we can agree that all humans are capable of good & bad actions. I haven't been brainwashed, at least no more than you or anyone else. I believe I have a healthy level of skepticism. The part about "it is finished" is completely reasonable. Those were Jesus's words as he died for our sins, I mistakenly assumed that you were like many nonbelievers & had some familiarity with the word. That is why I replied to your post about Christian motivation, you could not be any more wrong.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
  2. Bob

    Some more 'favorites' from Ron's Christian book of nasty, since he's insisting on dumping his awful bible bile on us:

    Numbers 31:17-18
    17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
    18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

    Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

    Leviticus 25
    44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
    45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
    46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

    Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

    Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

    And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    August 2, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • JimK57

      The bible was written by man. Even the new testament should be read carefuly because jesus word have been altered by man.

      August 2, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Atheist, me?

      It has been proven that most of the quotations in your post are not where u say they are in the Bible. lol

      August 2, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
      • .

        Proof?

        August 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
      • Ron

        atheist, such as? why do I feel as though I won't be getting a response from you? lol

        August 2, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
        • .

          where's it been proven?

          August 2, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
      • Observer

        Atheist, me?,

        lol. I've checked 3 and you are totally CLUELESS and not telling the truth.

        State some examples to show you are not LYING about everything.

        August 2, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • AE

      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      God does heal amputees.

      Don't listen to someone like Bob who says you are inferior to him because you are an amputee. God knows exactly what you need and will help you.

      Bob won't.

      “There are people that deal with (an injury) and move on and accept it, and there are people that don’t and are miserable. Put your faith in Christ and let him heal you.’” Tom Davis, an Iraq War veteran and an amputee

      August 2, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
      • skytag

        More fairytales and delusions.

        August 2, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
  3. Ron

    All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. ....Romans 3:23

    August 2, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • skytag

      Jesus told me to tell you to stop embarrassing him by spamming the discussion with Bible verses.

      August 2, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
  4. Ron

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. ...Proverbs 3:5

    August 2, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • minless lackey # 473

      no worries here either, I trust the landlord, just not the collection thugs of his.

      August 2, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
  5. Ron

    For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, unless anyone should boast. ....Eph. 2:8-9

    August 2, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • minless lackey # 473

      God is going to send Grace and Faith to save me? Awesome:) – no worries about boasting mate....im a gentleman that way.

      August 2, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
  6. Ron

    Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. ....Psalm 127:1

    August 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Ron, talk about preaching to the choir! Do you actually think that bible quotes are persuasive to those who don't believe?

      August 2, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
      • minless lackey # 473

        Well ...ahhh yeah it worked with me...

        see the above passage means that we need to wait for God to build our houses....till then we must remain homeless.

        or.... it could mean that God's employees will build you a God approved house...in which case we must remain homeless till our name comes up on the list. (as this would mean that God has to part with that hard earned cash – this might not be likely come to think of it.)
        ....or it could mean that God is really a building inspector and until he signs off on any and all construction on the planet...we must remain homeless.....so any way you dice it we are to be homeless....

        on second thought...housing is for me...sorry Ron cant be a believer...

        August 2, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
  7. Ron

    I have come into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone one is of the truth hears My voice. ....Jesus (John 18:37)

    August 2, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  8. Ron

    All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. ....Jesus (Joh 6:37)

    August 2, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Observer

      (Lev. 21:16-23) “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aaron, saying, 'No man of your offspring throughout their generations who has a defect shall approach to offer the food of his God. For no one who has a defect shall approach: a blind man, or a lame man, or he who has a disfigured face, or any deformed limb, or a man who has a broken foot or broken hand, or a hunchback or a dwarf, or one who has a defect in his eye or eczema or scabs or crushed testicles. No man among the descendants of Aaron the priest who has a defect is to come near to offer the Lord’s offerings by fire; since he has a defect, he shall not come near to offer the food of his God. He may eat the food of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy, only he shall not go in to the veil or come near the altar because he has a defect, so that he will not profane My sanctuaries. For I am the Lord who sanctifies them.’” [God]

      August 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
  9. Ron

    I am the Good Shepherd...and I know My own, and My own know Me. .....Jesus (John 10:14)

    August 2, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  10. Ron

    Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. ....Jesus (Mathew 11:28)

    August 2, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
  11. Ron

    I am the Light of the world..he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness. ...Jesus (John 8:12)

    August 2, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
  12. Atheist, me?

    Faith is believing that positive action will eventually yield a positive result and vice versa.
    That is the biblical definition of faith.
    Ignorance breeds contempt.
    Atheists just have to understand that the Bible is understood by practise not by reading.

    August 2, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Observer

      In other words, you can't believe everything that's in the Bible.

      August 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • joe

      Faith is believing that positive action will eventually yield a positive result
      ----------
      No, that's common sense. Faith is a complete lack of common sense. Faith is believing despite all the evidence against.

      August 2, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Atheist, me?

      Joe
      Is it any wonder that I say you don't understand the Bible?
      When did common sense obtain the definition you are attributing to it? Is your dictionary lost?

      August 2, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
      • joe

        drop the security blanket. Your Jesus never did anything and can't do anything now. He hides while the uneducated and ignorant in society do His bidding.

        August 2, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
        • Atheist, me?

          uneducated like Bill Clinton, Bill Gates or B.O?

          August 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
        • Atheist, me?

          I sometimes don't know why Atheists try to point out that Christians are ignorant. Of what?
          I say my God lives in me and when I agree with Him I achieve more in life than I wud alone.
          Do you have evidence to the contrary?

          August 2, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Atheist, me?

          You said, "uneducated like Bill Clinton, Bill Gates or B.O?"
          In the US it is almost impossible to get elected to any public office without at least claiming to be religious. I will be sorely disappointed if it turns out that Presidents Clinton and Obama were anything other than atheists, pretending to be christians.

          Gates is not religious and widely suspected to be an atheist of the agnostic kind.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
        • skytag

          @Atheist, me?: "I sometimes don't know why Atheists try to point out that Christians are ignorant. Of what?"

          Reality. Logic.

          "I say my God lives in me and when I agree with Him I achieve more in life than I wud alone.
          Do you have evidence to the contrary?"

          This is such a sad defense. You have no evidence for anything you believe about God, but as long as no one can prove you wrong you'll clink to those beliefs.

          If I look in a box and the box is empty, I conclude the box is empty. I do not make up some fairytale about how the box actually contains an invisible magical fairy. When I look at the world around me, at the people in it, at the history of it and see no evidence whatsoever of any supernatural being one could reasonably call a God I conclude there is no God. You, on the other hand, decide to conclude there is a God anyway because you like that narrative better.

          August 2, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • AE

      faith /fāTH/ Noun
      1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
      2. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

      apprehension: Understanding; grasp.

      August 2, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
      • skytag

        Wishful thinking. Belief is not knowledge, evidence, or proof. Believing you understand something doesn't make it real.

        August 2, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Actually, the Bible gives a specific definition of faith. It's isn't what you stated. Not even close.

      August 2, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • skytag

      "Faith is believing that positive action will eventually yield a positive result and vice versa.
      That is the biblical definition of faith."

      Here's what the Bible says about faith:

      Hebrews 11:1
      Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

      In other words, hoping something is true is evidence it's true. That is: Faith = Evidence. This is why they always claim they have evidence. Giving words a special meaning within the context of a belief system is a propaganda technique. "Faith" is evidence; "truth" is what the Bible teaches; do this enough and it doesn't take long before they're living in a world that has little connection to reality.

      August 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • skytag

      "Ignorance breeds contempt."

      That may explain why you annoy some people.

      August 2, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • skytag

      "Atheists just have to understand that the Bible is understood by practise not by reading."

      The best way to brainwash yourself into believing the Bible is to read it daily, quote from it often, and conform your life to it. The same is true of the Koran.

      August 2, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
      • AE

        I'm not brainwashed.

        Having the choice to read or not read the Bible is not brainwashing.

        Do you even really know what brainwashing is?

        August 2, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
        • AE

          Having the choice to read or not read the Bible and choosing (not being forced) to read the Bible is not brainwashing.

          August 2, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
        • skytag

          "I'm not brainwashed."

          People who are brainwashed never realize they're brainwashed.

          August 2, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
        • skytag

          "Having the choice to read or not read the Bible is not brainwashing."

          This is a common misconception. Brainwashing does not have to be forced on you. You can do it to yourself. You want to believe the whole Christian narrative so badly you inundate yourself with its influences until you actually do believe it. You read the Bible, hang out with Christians, pray, adapt your life to its teachings, quote scriptures regularly, start using the jargon talking about "faith" as if it's evidence and "truth" as code for what the Bible teaches and so on, and over time you come to believe it's all true.

          It's brainwashing, just not forced brainwashing. You think it isn't brainwashing because it's your cult, but if it were someone who joined your idea of a cult, lived in a commune chanting and singing and so on you'd probably call him brainwashed even though he volunteered for it.

          August 2, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
        • AE

          brainwashing – Make (someone) adopt radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible pressure.

          I could say you are brainwashed for adopting a radically different belief – atheism.

          August 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
  13. Ron

    If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God riased Him from the dead, you will be saved. ....Romans 10:9

    August 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • sam

      Stupid is as stupid does.

      What are you trying to do, exactly, other than look silly? Are you trying to sanctify the comment section?

      August 2, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • Bob

      Some more fine guidance from Ron's Christian book of nasty, since he's insisting on dumping his awful bible bile on us:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      August 2, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
  14. Ron

    As many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God. ....John 1:12

    August 2, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
  15. Ron

    I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one come to the Father, but by Me. .....Jesus (John 14:6)

    August 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Okay, even we're capable of quoting from that 2000 year old book...what is your point?

      August 2, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
      • Kevin Harris

        So, because it is 2000 years old it is false? Hopefully, you're not engaging that fallacy (argumentum ab annis).

        August 2, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
        • Truth Prevails :-)

          No Kevin, I'm suggesting that there is enough evidence in this world to show that the story is largely falsifiable. Regardless of what the book claims it still does not provide sufficient evidence to say a god exists.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
        • Ron

          Kevin, excellent point. To the godless truth is relevant and dated. To those who are of God, it is timeless. PTL

          August 2, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
        • Kevin Harris

          @Truth Prevails, of course it's falsifiable -but that does not mean it's false! And, the Scriptures contain many evidences for God (historical evidence of God's interaction in human history – especially in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, fulfilled prophecies, moral paradigm, impact, etc.).

          August 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
        • joe

          historical evidence of God’s interaction in human history
          --------–
          Actually there is no contemporaneous evidence of Jesus' existence. None. Zero. Zilch. All your so called historical evidence was written decades if not centuries after the fact–which means by people who were never there. Luke even admits it in his opening sentence. Paul admits it too that he never met Jesus.

          So pathetic really. Nobody cares about God until a century after his death. Suuuuurrreeeeeee.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
        • Ron

          that is relative and dated. not relevant.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
        • Atheist, me?

          TP
          Why don't you do what Yeshuah said to see whether it is possible or not?

          August 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
        • Observer

          Ron

          "To the godless truth is relevant"

          That part kind of sums things up.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
        • Truth Prevails :-)

          Oh my. fools at best. I don't have time to debate with those who wish to remain blind to the reality and evidence we have. You're both gullible...how sad!

          August 2, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
        • Observer

          Ron,

          To the believer, truth is 2,000 years old and so we should support slavery and many other discriminations.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
        • Ron

          I corrected that above. To the godless truth is relative and dated. What ever seems/feels right at the moment. Truth doesn't work that way. Truth is timeless.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
        • sam

          That was pathetic, and you know it. Maybe advise your idiot friend that the last thing we really need in the discussion is endless random bible quotes cluttering up the pages.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
        • Ron

          Hey Sammy, thanks for the heads up. I just added some more verses because of your inspiritation. I figure if the godless don't like it, I must be on the right track. Thanks again bud.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
        • Atheist, me?

          Ron as a Xtian I say keep'em coming.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
        • Atheist, me?

          All 3 subscribe to religion but are powerful enough to deny their faith. Clinton is an ex-president and BO does not need a second term. Bill Gates approves of religion openly.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
        • Gadflie

          Atheist, you bear false witness. While Bill Gates might approve of religion, he does not subscribe.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
        • skytag

          "So, because it is 2000 years old it is false?"

          Have you ever noticed how whenever someone purports to represent another person's opinion with a question that starts with "so" it never actually represents what the other person really believes? Straw man arguments are intellectually dishonest. Why would a Christian use an intellectually dishonest tactic?

          August 2, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
        • skytag

          "And, the Scriptures contain many evidences for God"

          More proof religion makes people stupid. The Bible contains many claims. Unless you can produce evidence a claim is true it is evidence of nothing. Otherwise The Lord of the Rings contains many evidences for hobbits.

          August 2, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • sam

      Thanks for yet again making christians look overbearing and smug. Good job!

      August 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
  16. Ron

    I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me. ....Jesus (John 14:6)

    August 2, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I should care what this guy John says, just because he wrote his speculative beliefs down, then someone came along later and numbered his sentences? I hardly think so.

      August 5, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
      • joe

        the true believers have nothing else so they quote the book to prove the book–as if it helps.

        August 5, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
  17. Ron

    Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. .....Jesus (John 3:3)

    August 2, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
  18. Salero21

    A few more months before winter and the stupidity of atheism will still be in Full bloom.

    August 2, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • One one

      How so ?

      August 2, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
      • Salero21

        The stupidity of atheism is in Full bloom regardless of the Season.

        August 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
        • One one

          What makes atheism stupid ?

          August 2, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
        • Joan

          Salero, stop being so mean and hating. Would Jesus have approved of you saying that?

          August 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • Observer

          Salero21 is likely just an immature troll making idiotic statements to try to rile people up. Feed him at your own risk.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
  19. One one

    Why do religious people insist that atheism is a religion ? What point are they trying to make ?

    August 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      That blind fundamentalism is not restricted to religion.

      August 2, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • Salero21

      I'm not religious therefore atheism is stupidity in Full bloom.

      August 2, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
  20. MIchael

    Thank science I'm an atheist.

    August 2, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • niknak

      R'aman

      August 2, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • AE

      Some elite scientist describe science as the study of God's creation.

      August 2, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
      • niknak

        That still does not prove the existence of god.

        August 2, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
        • AE

          Science does not always lead to atheism, though. It is pretty interesting to me to think about.

          August 2, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
      • MIchael

        In a 1998 survey 93% of the American Academy of Science didn't believe in God, and in a 2008 of the British royal Society it was 97% did not believe in God.

        August 2, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
        • AE

          General public: 83% believe in God. 12% believe in universal spirit or higher power (which sounds a lot like God)

          Scientists: 33% believe in God. 18% believe in universal spirit or higher power
          41% don't believe in either.

          http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/

          August 2, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @AE
          If you ask a biologist whether there is a conflict between science and religion, the overwhelming majority of them will say no – but probably not for the reason you think.
          Sociobiology offers them an apparent conciliatory path to the compatibility of religion and evolution, avoiding all language of inescapable conflict. Sociobiological evolution is the means to understand religion, whereas religion as a 'way of knowing' has nothing to teach us about evolution. This view allows a place for religion and sounds superficially comforting to compatibilists.
          Most of them believe that religion is an adaptation, in other words, religion is a part of evolution, not religion is something given to us from God, but rather, religion was manufactured by humankind.
          the worldview of these scientists is so different from traditional theology in that no gods exist for them, there is no such thing as the incorporeal spirit or soul, there is no life after death — all of the things that are held most passionately by traditional theology, all of them have to be abandoned. And if that condition is met, then religion is perfectly harmonious with the tenets of biology. The only way to find compatibility in such a worldview is by accepting a religion with no authority on the most meaningful matters of human existence.

          (source: Dr. Greg Graffin "Evolution, Monism, Atheism, and the Naturalist World-View: Perspectives from Evolutionary Biology")

          August 2, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
        • Jake

          There is a big difference between % of people who SAY they believe in a god and % that actually do. In reality, I bet less than 50% of people truly believe in a god.

          August 2, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
        • AE

          So they say they believe in God, but they don't really. Ok.

          Are they agnostic like Carl Sagan?

          "An atheist has to know a lot more than I know. An atheist is someone who knows there is no God. By some definitions atheism is very stupid." – Carl Sagan

          August 2, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
        • Jake

          You really think there aren't lots of people who say they believe in a god as a result of social pressure, family pressure, denial, etc, but in reality, don't really believe it? Obviously, there is a large group of people who say they believe in a god, but don't. Sometimes they're referred to as recovering Christians, etc.

          August 2, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
        • AE

          Sure there are.

          There are probably some people afraid to admit they believe in God, because someone like "niknak" will accuse them of being mentally ill.

          I think on a Pew Survey – peer and family pressure is not that great. I'm pretty sure it is an anonymous survey.

          August 2, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @AE,

          "Scientists: 33% believe in God. 18% believe in universal spirit or higher power. 41% don't believe in either."

          There's nothing wrong with Pew's data – it shows that the largest contingent of scientists is atheist, which is the point here – but it does depend on who is considered a 'scientist'.

          As pointed out, restricting the survey to the American and British Academies of Sciences, (a smaller set of scientists) the level of unbelief is higher.

          The Pew data also tracks different levels of disbelief in different schools of science.

          Physicists and astronomers have higher levels of unbelief than, say, chemists.

          August 2, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
        • Observer

          AE,

          Kudos to you for presenting such statistics. I don't quite understand why you want to advertize that a non-scientist is 2 1/2 times as likely to believe in God than a scientist, but I do respect your honesty.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
        • AE

          There are probably no scientists posting in this thread.

          But, knowing that some scientist believe their study brings them closer to God encourages me.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
        • Gadflie

          AE, the problem with the Pew study is that the group that they studies doesn't liimit it's membership to actual scientists. Anyone can join. And the Pew study didn't differentiate. But, the study at the American Adademies of Science studied only actual credentialed scientists.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
      • ME II

        @AE,
        Good for them, but until they show evidence that that statement is true, it is just an opinion.

        August 2, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Reality

      http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

      Religion………………………… Adherents

      Christianity ……………………..2.1 billion

      Islam…………………………… 1.5 billion

      Irreligious/agnostic/atheism…… 1.1 billion (look out, here we come)

      Hinduism 900 million
      Chinese traditional religion 394 million
      Buddhism 376 million
      Animist religions 300 million
      African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million
      Sikhism 23 million
      Juche 19 million
      Spiritism 15 million

      Judaism…………………………………….. 14 million

      Baha'i 7 million
      Jainism 4.2 million
      Shinto 4 million
      Cao Dai 4 million
      Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
      Tenrikyo 2 million
      Neo-Paganism 1 million
      Unitarian Universalism 800,000
      Rastafari Movement 600,000

      August 2, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
      • krhodes

        "Irreligious/agnostic/atheism…… 1.1 billion (look out, here we come)"

        Yeah...keep on believing that.

        August 2, 2013 at 5:42 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.