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Holy Trollers: How to argue about religion online
They are the same cast of characters that surface during every online debate about religion. Do you know a "Holy Troller?"
October 5th, 2013
08:00 AM ET

Holy Trollers: How to argue about religion online

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) –"Yo mama..."

Whenever I heard those two words while growing up in inner-city Baltimore, I knew something bad was about to happen. Trading insults was a childhood ritual. But everyone understood that one subject was off-limits. You didn’t talk about anybody’s momma unless you were prepared to start swinging.

Now that I’m all grown-up, I’ve discovered a new arena for combat: The reader’s comments section for stories about religion.

When I first started writing about religion for an online news site, I eagerly turned to the comment section for my articles, fishing for compliments and wondering if I had provoked any thoughtful discussions about faith.

I don’t wonder anymore.

When I look at the comment section now, I see a whole lot of “yo mamas” being tossed about. Readers exchange juvenile insults, condescending lectures and veer off into tangents that have nothing to do with the article they just read.

For years, I’ve listened to these “holy trollers” in silence. Now I’m calling them out. I’ve learned that the same types of people take over online discussions about faith and transform them into the verbal equivalent of a food fight. You may recognize some of these characters.

You might even recognize yourself.

The Street Corner Prophet

When the Belief Blog ran a recent article on a television host who declared that atheists “don’t have to live here,” a commenter identified as “Karie” got into a heated exchange with someone who called themselves “Bible Clown.”

Karie called Bible Clown a “disgusting, deviant perverted virus,” and a “Bozo,” before ending with this prediction:

Hell is coming for you love. Special dungeon just for u and u won’t be able to die. LOL.LOL.”

The street corner prophets often act as if they’re deeply concerned about the fate of souls they disagree with, but you can tell that they relish the prospect of eternal torment for their online enemies.

Some don’t even try to hide their true motives:

“I hope you like worms because you will have your own personal worm to feed off your fat drippings in hell for all eternity…”

That’s what a commenter called “HeavenSent” said to another following an article on evangelical Pastor Rick Warren. HeavenSent ended his malediction with one word: “Amen.”

Okay, so that’s the wrong way to argue about religion online if you’re a street corner prophet. Now, here’s the right way:

Not everyone who disagrees with you deserves eternal torment. People rarely listen to someone who is in perpetual attack mode.

“We change no one’s mind by attacking,” said Charles Camosy, an ethics professor at Fordham University in New York City.

Camosy has made a career out of bridging religious differences. He’s part of a “Contending Modernites” group, which finds common ground between Christians and Muslims. He’s also the co-founder of a website devoted to dialing down the heat in religious arguments entitled, “Catholic Moral Theology.”

Camosy says that online discussions about religion are difficult because they are not in person. Tone and nuance gets lost online.

“You can’t look them in the face,” he said. “You can’t shake their hand or give a hug. You find it very difficult to have that sort of embodied trust.”

The Provoker

There isn’t any notion of “embodied trust” with the next online character: The provoker.

The provoker doesn’t even pretend to care about the final destination for someone’s soul. They come out punching, and they love to say things that they probably wouldn’t say to someone in person.

In the recent article on Warren, a reader who went by the surname of “Just the Facts Ma’am,” tells another:

“Thanks for once again confirming how vulgar, uneducated and delusional you are Meredith.”

In an article about millennials leaving the church, a reader who identified herself as “Jenna,” tells another: “Jesus never said any of that mess. You are a false prophet if I’ve ever seen one.”

How to argue about religion if you’re a provoker:

No one will listen to you if they don’t like you, said Joe Carter, an evangelical blogger and author of “How to Argue like Jesus,” a book that explores how Jesus verbally tangled with his enemies and persuaded his friends.

Carter said Jesus was such an excellent communicator because he told stories that provoked emotions, took surprising twists and forced people to draw their own conclusions. But he also connected with people because of a simple reason: he cared about them.

“When people know that you care about them, they’re more likely to be persuaded by you,” Carter said. “We tend to be persuaded by people we like and trust. Jesus had that in spades.”

The Atheist

One of my best friends was an atheist. Whenever we ran into one other, we’d launch into these long, philosophical discussions about religion.  I loved it. Like many atheists I subsequently met, I discovered that he knew more about the Bible than most people who claimed to be religious.

It’s too bad that many of the exchanges between atheists and people of faith in our comments section don’t follow the same script. In fact, they have some of the nastiest religious arguments I’ve witnessed online.

A sample:

In a recent Belief Blog article about atheism, a reader identifying himself as “Sam Stone” says to another: “Free people do not need a savior, Kate. Only slaves need saviors.”

Another reader who identifies himself as “CamDEn1” tells a Christian, “You are an uneducated fool. Ever you heard of Richard Dawkins? Sam Harris? Atheists have more respected scholars than Christianity…”

I get the source of frustration for some atheists. They have longed been caricatured by people of faith as moral degenerates who don’t care about morality. Some of them, in turn, have caricatured people of faith as weak-minded hypocrites who believe in fairy tales.

Here’s how to argue over religion if you’re an atheist:

Get beyond the stereotypes and actually spend time with a person of faith. And if you’re a person of faith, do the same with an atheist. You might be surprised.

That’s what happened when Camosy, the Fordham University ethics professor, embarked on a speaking tour with the renowned atheist and philosopher, Peter Singer, who is seen by many as the founder of the animal rights movement.

Camosy said the speaking tour forced him to read and pay attention to Singer’s arguments. He discovered that they share concerns over global poverty. He saw Singer as a person of good will.

“That created the space for us to have an honest, open and fruitful exchange with one another rather than exchanging barbs,” Camosy said.

It also created the space for personal transformation.

“Actually reading him converted me to being a vegetarian,” Camosy said. “But it was only being open to his arguments that made me see.”

The Scholar

I have a friend who is smart – scary smart.  He’s a genial, funny guy who happens to be a theology professor. I try to hang with him when we talk religion, but there’s always a point in the conversation when he loses me. I compare that moment to watching the starship Enterprise go into warp drive. He just goes into hyperspace and my brain just isn’t big enough to follow.

There a lot of big brains in our blog’s comment sections. I call these readers “the scholars.”

Some of them are self-appointed biblical experts. They talk as if they have God’s cell phone number: God has revealed great mysteries to them. They know the divine plan.

In a recent article I wrote about contemporary Christians feeling as if they were persecuted, a reader identified as “Tom Skylark” let me know what all this persecution was really about.

 Skylark said:

“Christians will face continued persecution then 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 will happen right before the 7 year tribulation when Israel burns Russia’s weapons for 7 years. (Ezekiel 39:9). Those who are not taken in the rapture will have the opportunity to receive Christ during the 7 year tribulation but will be beheaded for their testimony. (Revelation 20:4). How far is Russia towards its prophetic position which means the rapture (! Thessalonians 4:16-17) is even closer?

Actually, I did not know that, and I’m still not sure what it means.

Sometimes the scholar is someone who believes all religion is hopelessly derivative: it’s all based on something that came before.

A reader by the name of “Seyedibar” responded to my article on Christian persecution with this:

“A little study of history and comparative religion goes a long way. Abraham is based on an Egyptian figure. His god was Ptah, not El, and his vision was of Memphis, not Israel. Jesus was likely based on a Merkabah mystic, one of a hairdresser and carpenter. .. And if you back a little further, Uguritic archaeology shows us that the book of Genesis is based on the ancestor kings of the Canaanites. Most Christians and Jews aren’t aware that the creator of the Garden of Eden, El, is recorded to have died of a wild boar attack.”

 Like I said, hyperspace. I just can’t go where “Seyedibar” has gone before. I love the scholar’s passion for religion, but some of them lose me when they try to deploy all their knowledge of history and religion in any effort to change someone else’ beliefs.

How to argue about religion if you’re a scholar:

Accept that there is a limit to knowledge. I’ve never seen anyone say in response to a religious argument: “You are right. Your argument is irrefutable. I’m going to jettison a lifetime of beliefs on the spot right now because I obviously have no coherent reply.”

It just doesn’t happen.

Gordon Newby, a professor of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies at Emory University, said most people change religious beliefs “not because of one argument” but only after long conversations and intimate exposure to another faith.

“Logical arguments are nice but they're not going to change someone’s life,” Newby said. “We’re way too complicated for that. We’re not programmed machines. We have this whole limbic system of emotions and appetites and everything else.”

The Peacemaker

There are some readers who give me hope when I go to the comment section. They are the “peacemakers,” and they surely bless me with their attitudes.

Peacemakers try to keep arguments from getting personal. They are the online referees.  They turn the other cheek.

An exchange between someone called “Bootyfunk” and “KatieRose” shows a peacemaker in action.

“Bootyfunk”  gets upset with “KatieRose” because she says  “we must respect all ideas in the world, no matter how crazy.”

Bootyfunk says people don’t have to respect all ideas, and tells Katie Rose she shouldn't tell people not to debate religion on a blog about religion.

What does KatieRose say in response? She doesn’t go to war. She makes the peace:

“Okay! That works for me,” KatieRose said. “I’m sorry if it sounded like I was ordering people not to talk about an issue: I just disagreed with the focus of the discussion.”

“Bootyfunk” ends the discussion with a smiley-face symbol and a “smooches, Katie.”

How to argue about religion if you’re a peacemaker:

Keep on doing what you’re doing.

If only the rest of the comment section had more peacemakers. I actually e-mailed readers like “Bootyfunk” and “KatieRose” to get their perspective, but all I got was silence. Not one commenter wanted to talk on the record for this story. Only one person – an atheist – responded to my invitations to chat, and he didn’t want his name used.

But I have a feeling I’ll hear again from these holy trollers when I scan the comment section of Belief Blog. So will you, even if you don’t read that much about religion. These holy trollers show up in our lives and our workplaces. Many of them will sit next to us at the dinner table when families and friends get together for the upcoming holidays.

When the conversation turns to religion, you may meet your holy troller, and you will have to make a choice.

Do I make the peace, or do I go the war?

What kind of holy troller will you be?

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Ethics • Internet • News media • Nones

soundoff (3,856 Responses)
  1. John

    when you really start to see things, and you look at an old paper cup, and you go into the nature of what it is to see what vision is, or what smell is, or what touch is, you realize that that vision of the paper cup is the brilliant light of the cosmos. Nothing could be brighter. Ten thousand suns couldn't be brighter. Only they're hidden in the sense that all the points of the infinite light are so tiny when you see them in the cup they don't blow your eyes out. Alan Watts

    October 5, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
  2. New Topic

    Can we argue about orcs and hobbits next?

    October 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Send that to CNN and maybe they will let you have your religion recognized too.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
      • unbeliever

        Jedis have already been officially acknowledged. If scientology can do it, anybody can create a religion.

        October 5, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  3. James Smith

    Why argue? Is it not better to simply live out belief? Is it not better to display kindness, humility, compassion and offer hope?

    October 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Be kind to the spiritually impoverished, for you will be judged on how you treat the poor.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
      • Hello

        most poor are poor because they do not know how to work or refused to.

        giving to a person does not stop them from being poor... teaching them to work does.. but it is harder to get them to work because to them work is begging because they are poor.

        October 5, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
        • John P. Tarver

          Most of the poor in America are the young and only 20% of people stay poor.

          October 5, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Tia

      I doubt anyone has a problem with a person living out his/her belief...but very few do so without trying to impose those beliefs on others via laws designed to limit the rights of those that believe differently.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • tallulah13

      These are valuable things, as long as they are real and honest. Anyone giving hope by offering eternal life and supernatural protection needs to prove that such things exists before making such a wild claim. Otherwise they are only giving lies.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
      • Hello

        soothing the fears... with tales is easier than facing the truth.... the tale of a better life after life was created for the slaves...by their owners...

        read Caesar's Messiah on how and why that was created.

        October 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • RCDC

      I agree with you brother.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
  4. Hello

    If our mothers first taught us using science books instead of myth books we would be a lot better species to ourselves and the planet.

    October 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      If public schools taught science instead of indoctrination there would be no conflict between science and religion.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
      • Observer

        If public schools used the Bible for science we'd be hearing about unicorns, talking serpents, dragons, flat earth, and the optional stoppage of the moon in its orbit, not to mention the science fiction tale of Noah's ark.

        October 5, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
        • Tom

          Another uninformed comment. Did you ever read the Bible?

          October 5, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
        • Observer

          Tom
          Speaking of uniformed, does the Bible mention unicorns, talking serpents and dragons?

          Yes or no?

          Oooops.

          October 5, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
        • John P. Tarver

          How do you get from atheists suppressing science to the Bible in the classroom?

          October 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
      • Hello

        when a science teacher brings in a talking snake into class and has the snake give a lesson on why I should not eat of the tree of knowledge.. I might reconsider the validity of myth over science... until then.... myth is not science.. and a snake is still a snake that has better things to do than teach nonsense to humans.

        October 5, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Tom

      Now that's a myth which has been thoroughly refuted by human history. Thinking about Hitler's race theories and Stalin's scientific atheism. There is simply no science book which can disproof the existence of God.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        How could science ever disprove god? Can science disprove Allah? How about Kali? What would disprove god?

        Any being which is believed in only by personal emotion and not proof cannot be disproved by any method.

        October 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
        • Hello

          you can not anymore disprove any god anymore than you can disprove IPU..look on the net of who she is....

          She is no less of a goddess than all the other gods humanity created... they are all made of the same stuff.. human imagination..

          October 5, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
      • Hello

        and which god are you referring to... all of them or just yours?

        October 5, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • RCDC

      History proves the existence of the Bible, Jesus and his miracles, Jesus resurrection, the 12 apostles , the Arc, Herod, Tower of Babylon,Jerusalem, Israel and so forth. These history proves the existence of God, Jesus Christ as testified by his followers who witness his life and resurrection.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • galleryhouserc

      Perhaps its better to be taught about science and myth as there is much to learn from both and instead of teaching belief ... to teach us to wonder about both. I also think its important to teach children that it is their "choice" to believe in something or not. To be able to choose what we believe is a personal thing and to be given great thought...perhaps a lifetime of thought. Science doesn't answer everything about this amazing universe we live in ...its tools of logic and reason are great tools but most of the answers about the nature of the universe are assumptions and one can get different answers based on different assumptions. Myth is a great tool to create a differing viewpoint to enable ourselves to create different criteria and come up with different assumptions about life and our species and the universe...both answers allow us to wonder and expand our understanding and creativity of what this universe might be all about and to look at it from different angles of thought. Whatever belief we end up with I hope its one we choose personally to believe. I personally don't have much use for belief and prefer the perpetual state of wonder ... the unanswered question is so much more mind expanding and when I look up at the stars it makes me smile and shake my head at what could possibly be out there ...makes me want to go and find out....and if there is a God ...I think that's what she wants us to do too.

      October 5, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  5. spokkerjones

    Stupid article. Didn't read.

    October 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Hello

      visit the Caesar's Messiah web site and book.. you will see what it is like to know who created the myths and why...

      Does the bible sound stupid to you? perhaps is because you have a questioning thinking mind ... you are not alone..
      there are those who also question and an answer has been found.. right in the pages of the best crafted myth book of all time.
      The riddle has been solved.. enjoy the lesson ... of the fall of myth dogma.. once and for all .. Watch as the christian myth falls like a house of cards... on the myth masters..

      October 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Edweird69

      If you didn't read it, how do you know it's stupid?

      October 5, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  6. Just Me

    Did you ever notice if someone speeds past you he is crazy. If they are slowly loping along they are an idiot.(George Carlin)

    October 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
  7. Martin Michael

    Her name is Voilà

    October 5, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  8. maxlamenace1972

    The best way to argue about religion online : ask for evidence. No evidence : discussion cut short, the end.

    October 5, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      The evidence of creation is all around you.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
      • Observer

        The evidence of Zeus is all around you.

        October 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
        • Odin

          But what about me?

          October 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
        • Live4Him

          Where does it say that Zeus created matter, energy and time?

          October 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
        • Observer

          Angry gods cause thunder storms.

          October 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
        • sybaris

          They left that part out cause every good Greek inherently knows that Zeus created energy, matter and time

          October 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        Then it will be trivial for you to itemize it. Or is this just another one of your throw away/up lines with no substance?

        October 5, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Agreed. And what is the evidence for origins of matter, energy and time?

      October 5, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
      • Pfft

        Truthfully, I'm not sure. But I'll wait for some real evidence before jumping to the conclusions that a god-man created it.

        October 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Pfft : Truthfully, I'm not sure. But I'll wait for some real evidence before jumping to the conclusions that a god-man created it.

          So, you don't have any answers for their origins, yet you reject a book that begins with their creation? Why?

          October 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
        • Pfft

          There are lots of creation stories. You should look into them. There are all about as fantastic as the one in Genesis. Should I believe all of them then?

          October 5, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
        • JJ

          "So, you don't have any answers for their origins, yet you reject a book that begins with their creation? Why?" Lol...what a classic! May I borrow this and give you credit?

          October 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
        • Chris Sadler

          "yet you reject a book that begins with their creation?"

          Because the creation story in the bible is garbage, and the bible is also the book with talking snakes, dead coming back to life, world wide floods all of which are laughable.

          October 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
        • tallulah13

          If we accepted the bible story as true, despite all the contradictions and scientific errors within its pages, then we would have no incentive to find the honest, real answers. Better "I don't know" than "I am too lazy or frightened to learn the truth."

          Not everyone is content with the easy, dishonest answer.

          October 5, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • JJ

      When one thinks that evidence is the writings of superstitious ancient bronze age sheep herders then discussion is over.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Jake

      Dear John Blake,

      What a reflective piece! Great that you can see the issue of belief from all sides, and that of all things, one of your best friends was an Atheist! (I'm assuming he's since seen the light, so to speak.) How awesome! Now all you have to do is find a "Street Corner Profit" bestie and a "Provoker" pal. And while I read that you have friend who is "scary smart", is he a friend who is or was a "Scholar"? You also didn't mention wether you had a "Peacemaker" in your friendship circle, but hey, I guess that goes without saying.

      On behalf of absolutely no non-believer other than myself, I lump such magnanimity with "one of my best friends is Jewish," which I also happen to be. I suggest you post on how to be a condescending smarty-pants...on second thought, never mind. You've covered that as well. Thanks!

      Sincerely,
      Atheist friend in waiting

      October 5, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  9. Angela

    I like all the ideas you presented, but you left out any suggestions for a very vast and eclectic group – Pagans. I am a Druid and I have made a few comments on different pages. Mostly trying to dispel a wrong idea about what Pagans believe or do. I try to be polite but invariably I am blasted as being evil or delusional. I have even been told that I just need to learn about the Christian faith and I will see how wrong my faith is. Problem with that is I was raised LDS, a Christian faith as I am sure you know, and as such still have family that is LDS. I don't like people having the wrong idea about what I do and believe, just as I don't like people having the wrong idea about any faith, so what suggestions would you have for me?

    October 5, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @Angela : I am a Druid

      First, I'm not a fan of the LDS and I think they are a cult. However, Why did you turn from your earlier faith to this faith?

      October 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
      • Angela

        Like Joseph Smith I cannot deny the things I have seen. My experiences have led me to a path that is true for me, I do not think that truth is the same for everyone but specific for each individual soul.

        October 5, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Angela : Like Joseph Smith I cannot deny the things I have seen.

          Well Joseph Smith deviated far from what Jesus taught. Jesus taught that one should test the so-called evidence and believe the evidence. With this, one could "believe that they have seen themselves flying" and then jump off a cliff. What one observes is not always reality. But, perhaps you did test that which you've seen. How did you test your visions?

          October 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        All, yes, yes every one of them, religions are cults.

        October 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      To be a Druid one must also be a Pixie, how tall are you? Are you from North Carolina of lower Tennessee?

      October 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
      • Angela

        Please learn about the Druid faith before making such a statement – I suggest http://www.druidry.org

        October 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
        • John P. Tarver

          The Pictish people came to America in a deal with the Round Heads in 1649, but thanks for playing.

          October 5, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  10. Mike Scott

    They are all hypocrites. I finally stood up do my dad's belt whippings for hiding when it was time to going to church when I was 14 and he promptly kicked me out of his house (yes, just for not wanting to go to church). I haven't stepped foot in a church since except to attend weddings and funerals. I have my own personal relationship with God, and don't find the need to go to church to impress others.

    October 5, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Angela

      Glad you found your own path – Bless be

      October 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @Mike Scott : don't find the need to go to church to impress others.

      Well, I can understand part of this, but I'm not sure where you are going with this. How do you reconcile your beliefs with the command not to forsake meeting with fellow Christians (assuming that you don't go to church at all)?

      October 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Grouchoman

      My son when he was about the same age did not want to go to Church anymore either and my mother in law advised us to kick him out but I could not do that. My love for him is not based on what he does or does not do although there would be a few things that could not be tolerated for everyone's own safety. We have four children I want them to go to Church because they want to not because they have to. There are many "cultural Christians" as I would call them who are only Christians because their family has been for years or even centuries. I would also agree that Christians are all hypocrites at least sometimes. I can never live up to my own expectations let alone God's but that's where forgiveness comes in forgetting the past and moving forward to try and do the right thing next time. I try and avoid telling people how to live their lives but am also willing to share my opinion or what the Bible has to say about a certain topic. Thanks for sharing your story!!

      October 5, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Hello

      Your father taught you the truth as the real reason the christian and all other myths were created. To control others.
      Go to the Caesar's Messiah web site to learn how the Roman myth masters created their myth and why.

      October 5, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  11. John

    Heated discussions are perhaps to be expected when dealing with people who are, ultimately, trying to convince you that their fantasies are real and your only hope for a pleasant eternal life. More so when they have a history of torturing and killing those who remain unconvinced.

    October 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Grouchoman

      Did Jesus torture and kill? He was tortured and killed. A true Christian is not one who tortures and kills. You can be sure that those who did so were not true followers of Jesus.

      October 5, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  12. AtheistHuman

    Holly Trollers... Ill use that from now on. What would we do without the amusing god lovers.

    October 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  13. TomH

    I'm not on the God-Squad but if a person learns and practices good morals and family values through their religion, how could I not respect that?

    October 5, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Hello

      the problem lies when they use their chosen myth to control the lives of others.... visit Caesar's Messiah on how that became an important part of mythic creation.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Because very often the "morals" of religion are at odds with morals based on humanity, empathy and scientific fact. When bigotry rears its ugly head, too often you will find some form of religion at its roots.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  14. ZenJahj

    "WIthout God we are all Just Animals" ZenJahj

    October 5, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      We are all just animals: Ecclesiastes

      October 5, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Hello

      we are and always have been and will be. animals. we created gods to use as political tools to control the masses..
      Visit Caesar's Messiah web site for the details.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • galleryhouserc

      I have met a lot of really good animals ..we should hope that we can aspire to be a good animal.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
      • tallulah13

        No kidding. I have had discussions about injecting the DNA of Labrador Retrievers into international political leaders. The world would be a much kinder, cooperative place if we had Labs in charge. Although tennis balls might become the state religion.

        October 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  15. robstumpf

    There is a lot of anger out there, and people use the internet as an outlet for that.

    It's not going to change if you call that person a "troll". They are are still going to be angry.

    The only good thing is that it's better for people to be angry on the computer than taking their craziness out in real life.

    October 5, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Queenie

      I "hate" organized religion and even personal belief in deities simply because I equate it with stupidity, something the Human race needs less of.

      My "hate" is quite calm though, but nonetheless, simply being a non theist and saying things like "belief in gods is dumb. Faith is a bad thing because you can worship any noodly appendage you want to and commit acts against other Humans based on it" puts me in the realm of being called Angry, Bitter, and Vitriolic. Wow. I am glad that I do not have to defend myself against alchemists! Imagine if you had to firmly state to people that no, you couldn't turn lead into gold, even though they could because they were on the right side? So why do modern Humans have to defend against believing in such garbage lies like Jesus, God, souls, hell, heaven etc.?? It is all nonsense 😦 Be well everyone, lose the gods and find yourselves, and make use of the one true life that you do have 🙂

      October 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  16. albie

    Religious people hate it when you question their belief – some comments are caustic (both ways thank you very much) but the majority of the comments against organized religion are logical, well thought out and true... believers just don't like it! And, like it or not, it is never going away so get used to dissension and challenge – there will be no witch burning this time around ....

    October 5, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • robstumpf

      And Freedom of Religion isn't going anywhere, either. Sorry.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
      • smh

        That includes freedom FROM religion.
        Especially in our laws.

        October 5, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @albie : Religious people hate it when you question their belief

      Not at all. I welcome challenges to my belief. What I abhor is ridicule and mockery without any attempt to provide evidence.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
      • Hello

        there is evidence that myth is created as apolitical tool Visit Caesar's Messiah web site for the details. check out the Youtube videos too.. you will be amazed how the scam was created and my whom.

        October 5, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Hello : Visit Caesar's Messiah web site for the details. check out the Youtube videos too.. you will be amazed how the scam was created and my whom.

          Sorry, but my educational level exceeds that which could be summarized in a YouTube video. And yes, I've heard all the arguments, but when the evidence is sought, the silence grows.

          October 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
      • Nick

        How can you make an argument that THEY must have evidence? YOU are the one claiming "supernatural" origins. Prove it!

        October 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
      • SaltinyourEye

        I challenge you to find even just one error, one tiny little piece of evidence to prove that Pastafarianism is NOT the correct path. You can't do it. And when you surely die and are touched by HIS noodly appendage, only then will you truly understand THE WAY.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster

        October 5, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • galleryhouserc

      Actually many atheists hate it when their belief is questioned too. No matter how much logic and reason or faith and belief we use to answer a question about the nature of the universe we cannot answer ...all that logic and reason do is make an assumption. Sometimes the assumption is good if looked at with one set of criteria and different with another. Personally I choose to be an atheist against "religion" specifically but not against the possibility of some form of spiritual universe or existence beyond our knowledge. I think even atheists can be very spiritual..caring and loving the Earth and the nature of existence as can some religious people be of a very similar mind. The universe is just too vast and too infinite with many unknowns and things we may never know in the same way a dog will never know calculus. If i believe in some aspects of a religion or atheism...I do so because I choose too. I will not be governed by a book written by a man that defines a god in a particular way. Belief is a personal thing and can take many forms and in many ways I feel my personal spirituality is more based on wonder than belief. I wonder about the universe and the existence of reality and life and consciousness beyond this. Depending on the criteria you use it may or may not be possible or probable ..but all conclusions are assumptions until the moment of knowing. I know I will never experience death because its impossible to experience non-existence ...therefor in a universe of infinite probabilities the experience of life beyond this existence is at least a possibility....and I like to wonder about that because I choose to.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  17. Carl

    Religious people are saying "2+2=5, therefore gays are evil."

    Atheists say "That's bleeping silly."

    Coronary bleeders like John Blake are saying "How dare you say that, you're just as bad as they are."

    October 5, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • ScottCA

      In the face of mass lunacy a conscientious person must speak out strongly against it.

      We are in fact far better than they are.
      Their delusional beliefs are not self-contained, but they taint the intellectual scene with ripples of distortion, that lead to decisions based on fallacious beliefs and mistaken logic. This results in real life suffering.

      A conscientious mind must speak out against them, and truly compassionate person must speak out loudly against mass insanity.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
  18. Martin Michael

    Live by the Sword?

    October 5, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  19. Twist

    Christian Inc. must be destroyed. Religion is AmeriKa is poison!

    October 5, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Question reality

      If it's a religion it must be Christianity?

      October 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • getoverit

      people need to move on. start trying to unify the world and get over this religion mumbo-junbo ... its just mind control

      October 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
      • Question reality

        Or a hobby

        October 5, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  20. Martin Michael

    Is she guilty for his taste for raping and pillaging? If say he uses call girls and beats them now in the state and she kills him is she a murder or is that justice?

    October 5, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      That depends on if she uses the public defender.

      October 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.