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Good news about the ‘spiritual but not religious’
The rapid rise of the "spiritual but not religious" crowd may not be such a bad thing.
February 22nd, 2014
09:06 PM ET

Good news about the ‘spiritual but not religious’

Opinion by Linda Mercadante, special to CNN

(CNN) -
Despite the ongoing decline in American religious institutions, the meteoric rise in people who claim to be “spiritual but not religious” should be seen positively - especially by religious people.

To accept this as good news, however, we need to listen to what they are saying, rather than ridicule them as “salad bar spiritualists” or eclectic dabblers.

After spending more than five years speaking with hundreds of “spiritual but not religious” folk across North America, I’ve come to see a certain set of core ideas among them. Because of their common themes, I think it’s fair to refer to them by the acronym: SBNR.

But before we explore what the SBNRs believe, we first need to learn what they protest.

First, they protest “scientism.” 

They’ve become wary about reducing everything that has value to what can only be discovered in the tangible world, restricting our intellectual confidence to that which can be observed and studied.

Their turn towards alternative health practices is just one sign of this. Of course, most do avail themselves of science’s benefits, and they often use scientific-sounding arguments (talking about “energy” or “quantum physics”) to justify their spiritual views.

But, in general, they don’t think all truth and value can be confined to our material reality.

Second, SBNRs protest “secularism.” 

They are tired of being confined by systems and structures. They are tired of having their unique identities reduced to bureaucratic codes. They are tired of having their spiritual natures squelched or denied.

They play by society’s rules: hold down jobs, take care of friends and family and try to do some good in the world. But they implicitly protest being rendered invisible and unheard.

Third, yes, they protest religion – at least, two types of it.

But the SBNR rejection of religion is sometimes more about style than substance.

On one hand, they protest “rigid religion,” objecting to a certain brand of conservatism that insists there is only one way to express spirituality, faith, and the search for transcendence.

But they also protest what I call “comatose religion.”

After the shocks of the previous decades, and the declines in religious structures and funding, many religious people are dazed and confused.

They are puzzled and hurt that so many – including their own children - are deserting what was once a vibrant, engaging, and thriving part of American society.

So why, then, is it “good news” that there is a huge rise in the “spiritual but not religious”? Because their protests are the very same things that deeply concern – or should concern – all of us.

The rise in SBNRs is the archetypal “wake up call,” and I sense that, at last, religious leaders are beginning to hear it.

The history of religion in Western society shows that, sooner or later, people grasp the situation and find new ways of expressing their faith that speak to their contemporaries.

In the meantime, there are plenty of vital congregations in our society. In the vast mall of American religious options, it is misguided to dismiss all of our spiritual choices as moribund, corrupt, or old-fashioned – even though so many do.

What has prompted SBNRs, and others, to make this dismissal?

For one thing, many religious groups are not reaching out to the SBNRs. They need to understand them and speak their language, rather than being fearful or dismissive.

Second, the media often highlights the extremes and bad behavior of a few religious people and groups.  But we don’t automatically give up on other collections of fallible human beings, like our jobs, our families, or our own selves.  Some attitude adjustment is needed by both religious people and SBNRs.

Finally, SBNRs need to give up the easy ideology that says religion is unnecessary, all the same, or outmoded. And all of us should discard the unworkable idea that you must find a spiritual or religious group with which you totally agree.  Even if such a group could be found, chances are it would soon become quite boring.

There’s no getting around this fact: It is hard work to nurture the life of faith. The road is narrow and sometimes bumpy. It is essential to have others along with us on the journey.

All of us, not just religious people, are in danger of becoming rigid or comatose, inflexible or numb.  All of us need to find ways to develop and live our faith in the company of others, which is, in fact, what religion is all about.

Linda Mercadante, is professor of theology at The Methodist Theological School and the founder of Healthy Beliefs – Healthy Spirit.  She is the author of “Belief without Borders: Inside the Minds of the Spiritual but not Religious.

The views expressed in this column belong to Mercadante.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Lost faith • Nones • Opinion • Spirituality • Trends

soundoff (1,265 Responses)
  1. onthebeech

    Spiritual folks being on the fringe? Don't they call them Gnostics?

    February 23, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
  2. Dalahäst

    Just like science continues to improve with new knowledge and understanding, so does religion.

    "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

    "...religion is the age-old endeavor of mankind to become clearly and completely conscious of these values and goals and constantly to strengthen and extend their effect. If one conceives of religion and science according to these definitions then a conflict between them appears impossible. For science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be..."

    February 23, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      – Albert Einstein

      February 23, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      If this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him?

      – Albert Einstein

      February 23, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        That is an excellent question.

        February 23, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
        • LinCA

          The only logical answer, of course, is that it is entirely fiction.

          February 23, 2014 at 11:21 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own - a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms.

      – Albert Einstein

      February 23, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        I can't either. I'm glad I don't have that God.

        February 23, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          So you don't believe in heaven or hell, or that where one spends eternity is not dependent upon how your god judges your life?

          February 23, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The wages of sin is death. Not eternity in hell.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Still an eternal punishment....and still immoral.

          February 23, 2014 at 8:35 pm |
    • SeaVik

      How does religion improve? They are generally based on ancient books full of known fallacies that followers still believe today.

      February 23, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Not really. They are not generally based on ancient books full of known fallacies that followers still believe today. In fact some churches do a good job of enhancing their understanding of ancient wisdom with modern knowledge. It is all about moving toward a better future, not following fallacies of the past.

        February 23, 2014 at 5:20 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Depends on whether it's actually still "wisdom" that the ancients included in their holy books, right? Before science, there was no logical argument to be made against the presumed existence of gods and the supernatural. That assumption isn't looking as "wise" as it once did.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Before science?

          I can't speculate about that. I do know that much of what I read in the Bible isn't just about a magical sky fairy or guy in the sky watching all our moves. It goes more into the flawed and hypocritical nature of all human beings. And how they need something greater than themselves to believe in. Because every human construct seem to fail us.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:50 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Well, Christianity is based on an ancient book full of known fallacies. The fact that the vast majority of the bible is untrue makes it hard to understand how anyone believes any of it to be true. It basically contradicts itself on every single moral message, so can be used to argue any side of any point. It should be considered useless, but unfortunately, the fact that there is a large number of followers gives it undeserved power.

          February 23, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Uh hu. And I disagree with your understanding of The Bible. Perhaps you are just missing the point.

          February 23, 2014 at 8:50 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Have you read much myth? It all goes into the "flawed and hypocritical nature of all human beings, etc ..."

          Isn't people's understanding of God still a "human construct"? As tailor-made as it is to answer this problem of which you speak, it still isn't perfect. Note all of the inter-denominational argument over God's intent, for example. Doesn't that just indicate the same ego-driven human need to consider one's own opinion always superior to that of others'?

          There's plenty of your "flawed and hypocritical nature of all human beings" to be found in Christianity, and even in your God. The OT God is an emotional train wreck, apt to fly off the handle and smite whole civilizations for the simplest of slights. The OT God cooks up some convoluted loophole to one of his own rules, which either makes him a Rube Goldburg fan, or just inept. Either way, his character just oozes the same kind of fallacies that we humans do, perhaps the exact same ones the authors of his holy book personally held. If that isn't enough to make one skeptical about God not being a mythical creature, than I question their reason.

          February 24, 2014 at 8:13 am |
    • bostontola

      Dalahast,
      I often disagree with Einstein's early philosophical quotes.

      Science without religion is science. Religion in no way I have ever seen, informs science.

      The big religions are blind. They are deaf as well. They have God given dogma, there is no need to search further for fundamentalists.

      February 23, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        I avoid big religion, too. There is such a thing as pseudo science, bad science and unethical science. Just like religion.

        "Science is an interesting paradox, because it is, fundamentally, thought to be devoid of outside influence. Science is the investigation of nature. And as we all know, nature just is. But, science is a verb, an activity. Being so, it is carried out by people. It does not–it cannot–exist in a vacuum. And hard as we may try, human beings are simply incapable of any behavior that carries no bias, no moral or political persuasion. " – Cara Santa Maria

        February 23, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          Science is a human activity, and hence vulnerable to error. The difference is, science recognizes that and insists on independent verification of results, peer review, and a culture where debunking bad science is as revered as discovery of new science. It has proven to be the most trustworthy endeavor ever undertaken by humans.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Some take that same approach toward religion. Especially ones that encourage, support, finance, participate in, teach and share knowledge about science. A scientific discovery is also a religious discovery to some. Science is definitely not taught as something to fear in my religion.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
        • bostontola

          It would be great if religions used the scientific method on their belief systems.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I wish there was a scientific test that told everyone the truth about things such as greed, arrogance, envy, anger, lust and other downfalls of our character.

          For me, I have to get honest and see how such things are harming me and others. And trying to use a scientific method to overcome my problems won't work. It takes a spiritual program for me to overcome those defects.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
        • bostontola

          I was with you until you included lust as a bad thing

          ; )

          February 23, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          It generally isn't bad. But lust does tear apart some families when a partner strays and lies to feed his/her lusts of other people.

          February 23, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
    • bostontola

      " For science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be..."

      Religion is but 1 way to ascertain what should be. I consider the US Consti.tution and legal system to be a superior way.

      February 23, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        The US Consti.tution and our legal system do attempt to carry out justice, yes. It fails, too, but the ideal is there.

        I think religion deals with those aspects that fall outside of the political attempts at justice.

        February 23, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
    • kudlak

      Dalahäst
      I guess, if Christians can't amend the Bible, they can continue re-"interpreting" it to say whatever they want it to say anyway. That's the kind of "improvement" you're talking about, isn't it?

      February 23, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        They can get a better understanding of what the author was trying to state. And as we grow and change, our needs and understanding will change. Something that was written to ancient Levite priests may not be as relevant to us. We can understand it and get a picture of what the people were like (and that picture is usually not flattering).

        February 23, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Have you considered whether their ancient Levite god was, in fact, no different than any of the gods of their neighbours? If God is based on the same stuff as Jupiter, Horus and Baal, than he's still a myth no matter how much later believers needs and "understanding" develop him, right? Any of those other gods would likely have also "grown" to match the expectations of modern-day believers had they remained as popular as YHWH, wouldn't you say?

          February 24, 2014 at 7:57 am |
  3. Austin

    @eudaimonia2013

    Hey where did you go with the new testament doctrine that you are supposedly talking about?

    February 23, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
    • Akira

      Euddaimonia stated s/he had to go, below. Along with a detailed post.

      February 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
      • Austin

        Eudomonia had zero response to my question "what doctrine"

        in other words, the person is simply slandering the new testament.

        February 23, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
        • sam stone

          you mean that translated, edited hearsay, austin?

          February 23, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
  4. Austin

    Vicarius Filii Dei = 666 (Number of the Beast

    that is what is says on the thing the pope wears on his head. and it equals 666 if you add up the numerical value for the letters.

    February 23, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
    • kudlak

      I heard that Ellen G. White, the co-founder of Seventh Day Adventism also adds up to 666, and so does Barney the Purple Dinosaur.

      Yup, sure signs of evil! :devil:

      February 23, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
  5. michaellocher

    In the interest of anonymity, I won't get into too many details – but at this very moment, my work has placed me in the midst of a staged, imagined debate between a certain famous atheist and a certain famous theologian (I work in the arts). Pure coincidence, but funny to look up from my screen and see the same subject being hashed out, albeit in a different context.

    February 23, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
  6. thefinisher1

    LOLOLOL Atheists are smart and Christians are dumb!! Ha HA

    February 23, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
    • michaellocher

      Great point. I'm convinced. Through your grace, eloquence and insight, I've been converted.

      February 23, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
    • thefinisher1

      Aww. An atheist admirer. Must be doing something right😜

      February 23, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        You are doing something right...no question there. You're showing the world what a lack of education and severe brainwashing does to a person...keep it up :-).

        February 23, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Questioning atheism means I'm brainwashed? Doesn't that mean it's you who is brainwashed?

          February 23, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        finisher, What is the basis of your "questioning of atheism"? Are you the first to uncover evidence of a god outside of the bible?

        February 23, 2014 at 5:20 pm |
  7. jsdrt0616

    We made some interesting, we hope , analysis about "the exorcisms", please google:
    ... analysis exorcisms ammons
    --

    February 23, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
  8. jsdrt0616

    Do it by Yourself ! … Verify that the 666 points to the Roman Catolic Church !
    ----------------
    1 - Go to maps.google.com
    2 - Use a scientific calculator or equivalent to verify: asin ( 0.666 ) = 41.759088 degrees.
    3 - Enter 41.759088 N , 12.650277 E : The founded location point is signaled by the GREEN ARROW.
    4 - Click “Satellite”.
    5 - Use the scale, down left, and “walk” 2 * 666 = 1332 …. METERS ! …. Southward.
    6 - Bingo… You are now at the summer Pope’s Palace, the “Palazzo Pontificio” ! . You have decoded an important part of the Apocalypse ! Congrats ; )
    ---

    February 23, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
    • michaellocher

      What the crap.

      February 23, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
    • igaftr

      Wow...and they didn't even know the metric system wouldn't be introduced until 1799, and yet your plot is in meters...

      February 23, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
      • michaellocher

        That's probably his point, actually. The code wasn't merely a first-century concoction, but a magical message that transcends time.

        It transcends common sense, too, of course.

        February 23, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      Why walk 2×666 meters? Why not just once? Why not not at all?

      February 23, 2014 at 5:20 pm |
  9. Austin

    i used Augustine as an example of Christianity in Africa, in response to the persons comment about racism.
    I doubt that the early church fathers would have turned around and had an inquisition or crusade.

    do you see my point, that things get off track?

    I doubt that the early church was idolatrous, like the Catholic church today and they did not pray to Mary. The Catholic Church today is degenerate by comparison to the man Augustine.

    February 23, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
    • Akira

      Look up early cathedrals.

      You used Augustine because you will use whatever early Catholic theology fits your thought process, no matter how conflicting using that source is. And that's fine, as far as that goes...even if it is hypocritical. Which it is, because the Catholic Church prayed to Mary during Augustine's tenure as A CATHOLIC BISHOP.

      Religious bigotry is so very ugly. So very, very ugly.

      February 23, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
      • Austin

        no they did not pray to Mary during his tenure.

        February 23, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
        • Austin

          ok Akira, if they did pray to Mary then so be it. I am not a bigot. I have no way to judge who the Holy Spirit indwells, i am sure there are millions of saved Catholics. But the church is involved in idolatry.

          How does this make me a bigot? I would relate it to Binny Hinn, or people who fake speaking in tongues. or the snake handler.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
        • Austin

          to be honest, Akira, I just feel that if you read the book of Hebrews, you would understand my concerns with the Petrine Primacy.

          I could sit here and name all kinds of apostate churches. as you know, the road is narrow.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
  10. thefinisher1

    There's a 0% chance atheism is right. Your atheism is weak. Give it up atheists.

    February 23, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      "Your atheism is weak."

      Ah, the farce is strong with this one.

      February 23, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
    • igaftr

      you just claimed that there are gods with 100% chance.

      Here's your chance....show the calculations you used to arrive at your conclusion. Show your work.

      February 23, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        I can't prove a negative😜

        February 23, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
        • michaellocher

          You can't prove a negative, but you should be able to verify your certain conviction in a positive. So, have at it.

          February 23, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
    • michaellocher

      You know what else is weak? Your lack of faith in the 3 meter tall statue of Mortimer Mouse I insist is orbiting Alpha Centauri. And you will be punished, Finisher.

      February 23, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
    • thefinisher1

      OK there is a 1% chance atheism is RIGHT>

      February 23, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Which certainly beats the 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000000099999999999999999999999999999999999% chance that the christian god is. 🙂

        February 23, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
  11. michaellocher

    Confession: I've lingered around this board and posted several comments throughout the day, but only just now did I read the original article in its entirety. I didn't care for it.

    I think that in her attempt to define (and critique) SBNRs, she's applied a number of characteristics that are arbitrary, narrow, and simply not reflective of the SBNR "community" – not least of which, her attempts to describe them as a "community" at all.

    I'd submit that the SBNR, like the atheist, is defined first and foremost by their rejection of structured belief systems they find invalid. Beyond that, the convictions, motivations, goals and priorities of their philosophies are as varied as any atheist's – the only distinguishing factor being a desire to self-impose an asterisk denoting affinity, or interest, in metaphysical pursuits.

    The author's presumptions about SBNRs and science, secularism, and relgion, are condescending and unsubstantiated.

    February 23, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
    • igaftr

      I didn't care for it either, because she used her biased religious based definition of spiritual, and really is just trying to pigeon hole people.

      February 23, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
      • michaellocher

        Agreed. It was a disappointingly narrow, presumptuous piece.

        February 23, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
  12. Dalahäst

    These are all spiritual practices, right?:

    journaling

    meditation

    prayer beads

    fasting

    peace vigils

    listening to a friend

    listening to music

    serving on the congregation’s Board of Trustees

    needlepoint

    antiracism work

    writing letters to the editor

    painting

    therapy

    volunteering in the community

    cardio kickboxing

    bath time with your kids

    saying “hello” to cashiers and clerks

    dancing

    reflecting on the past week’s sermon

    teaching RE

    going on retreat

    washing dishes

    taking a bubble bath

    chanting

    camping

    sacred reading

    running

    random acts of kindness

    creating sacred space

    giving change to the homeless

    pledging to the congregation

    being respectful of others

    tai chi

    going to an art museum

    making pottery

    attending worship

    living with cancer

    caring for an ailing parent

    living simply

    taking time to meditate about family and friends

    writing haiku

    a book study

    playing an instrument

    playing with children

    praying

    yoga

    reading poetry

    keeping Sabbath

    hosting coffee hour

    having dinner with friends

    studying astronomy

    quilting

    cycling

    recycling

    family dinners

    tipping large

    giving coworkers the benefit of the doubt

    singing in the choir

    nature walks

    recognizing the seed of goodness in the people you work with

    working for social change

    meditating at work

    reciting mantras

    reflecting and journaling

    e-mailing your governmental representatives

    listening to a coworker who’s grieving

    grief

    gardening

    learning about the universe

    studying evolution

    February 23, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      No.

      February 23, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Everything is spiritual.

        February 23, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
        • igaftr

          Dala
          That long list is the result of conciousness, not spirituality.
          No one as yet has shown spirituality to exist.

          February 23, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          I disagree.

          February 23, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          My post was for Dala.

          February 23, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I believe in the spiritual aspect of humanity. Everything we do effects us spiritually. Some things encourage spiritual growth. Some things stifle spiritual growth.

          February 23, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
      • michaellocher

        Obviously – whether or not a given activity is "spiritual" isn't a consideration subject to objective verification, any more than you could determine, objectively, if an individual's experience with mountain biking, eating a taco, or watching a sunset is a "poetic" one.

        February 23, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
  13. Salero21

    Whaaat!!! HAHAHA More Evidence on top of more and more Evidence of the Total stupidity of atheism. And to think that a few months ago hypocritical and compulsive lying atheists were vociferously claiming "Victory" because, according to them a supposedly increase in atheistic or skeptics number of people. See... this is why I say atheism is Total stupidity just like evolutionism and idolatry, which FYI are all closely related. So one of the most stupid arguments of atheists, about not "seeing" God does nothing to convince but a few fools. 😀 😀 😀 😀

    February 23, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
    • michaellocher

      I've re-read this post several times in an attempt to discern if you've got a point beyond, "HA HA! I think atheists are dumb – and by the way, I have a wildly unorthodox sense of punctuation and capitalization!"

      I don't think you do.

      February 23, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
      • igaftr

        micael
        This one and thefinisher1 are both just trolls who never actually have anything to say except for bashing atheists.
        This one just likes to post and run, and the finisher will try to turn what atheists say against them in a failed attempt t reverse logic. They are just punks.
        Don't feed the trolls.

        February 23, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Reversing what atheists claim is not "trolling". If you consider it trolling, your atheism is weak.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          Thanks igaftr.. I wish this could be posted at the top so their posts don't get traction.. I just realized this myself..

          February 23, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          Heaven is Sent is another one.. who will insert nonsensical sentences into a post.. *waste of time on a Sunday* good day all.. lol

          February 23, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • Akira

          Reversing what atheists claim is not debate, either; it is merely a different way of saying "I know you are, but what am I?"
          As such, it more closely resembles trolling than anything else.

          February 23, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Heaven Sent accidentally outed himself yesterday. He is someone who posts by another name as well.

          February 23, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • igaftr

          finisher
          "thefinisher1

          Atheism is stupid. Plain and simple."

          thefinisher1

          Most atheists are liars that own websites. The internet isn't a reliable source. Fundie atheists lie about everything.

          thefinisher1

          There's a 0% chance atheism is right. Your atheism is weak. Give it up atheists.

          Pure trolling. You are even lying about what YOU posted, plain for all to see.

          February 23, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
  14. Apple Bush

    The truth is; we all know exactly the same thing relative to why we are here. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    It is with that lack of knowledge that empires and governments have flourished. Churches have gained foothold and prey on the weak or mindless.

    It is in this context that the Truth is most important. Before we were born, there was nothing. It stands to reason then that death (the absence of existence) would produce the same result. This would logically suggest that all creation would need validation but that is not true.

    Consider that you are self-aware (like now) and that you are imagining everything that is happening. Like a dream, and we have all had very real dreams. The point here is you can’t verify anything thing but yourself. So hey, you are a god. Enjoy.

    February 23, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
  15. henryrhodes

    Over the years, the priests of religion have done a good job of selling "belief" as "faith". Tell the people what they want to hear and tell them their belief in it is their faith. Tell people that Jesus, who was God incarnate, died for us and therefore all our sins can be forgiven when we believe it. The truth is that reality is ultimately less than forgiving regardless of how optimistic we try to be. Belief is idolatry, not faith, and reality is ultimately unspeakable. Compassion flows from understanding this. True faith is the acceptance of what we humanly cannot know. This is not to say that science is not sometimes temporarily useful. Good luck, people.

    February 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
    • thefinisher1

      Atheism is the biggest scam of all. Convincing people that God doesn't exist based on ZERO EVIDENCE..

      February 23, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
      • hotairace

        Finally you are correct. There is zero evidence, real evidence, for any god.

        February 23, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Not what I said. I said atheists have ZERO EVIDENCE that God doesn't exist. Dumb troll can't read? LOLOLOL!!!!

          February 23, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          The burden of proof is on the person who makes the claim. Otherwise, those who are religious should be required to prove the non existence of every other god they reject.. (including zeus etc..) as well as prove that unicorns don't exist.. 🙂

          The religious person is asserting several claims.. "God exists" and " it is the creator of the known material world" and "it should be obeyed" etc.. those claims require the proselytizer to prove to those who see no reason to believe in something they can't see.... with no evidence of it's existence or effects in their life or the external world at large..

          February 23, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • Akira

          You are doing a fantastic job at showing your true colors, finisher.

          Carry on.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Atheists admit to know there is no God but offer no proof that proves they are right. They think stating "there is no God" will convince people just like a believer! Atheists and believers aren't any different😜

          February 23, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          I do not "know" there is no god. I suspect there isn't because I have no reason to suspect there is.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Based on your opinion which you won't admit.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • hotairace

          I have reviewed all the actual evidence for the existence of any god that has been presented to me or that I have found and have formed the opinion, based on the available actual evidence, that the probability of any god existing is very small. I highly doubt that finished will admit that there is a non-zero probability that there are no gods.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
      • Akira

        Lolol.

        February 23, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
      • bburke2013

        I have always thought that true believers and atheists have one thing in common – the inability to definitively prove their belief.

        February 23, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Finally. Someone who is honest. Most atheists generally won't admit they can't provide proof they're right.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • hotairace

          I have readily admitted on numerous occasions that gods might exist. Does anyone think that finished will admit that there might not be?

          February 23, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          If I am wrong I lose nothing. If your wrong, you lose everything.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
        • hotairace

          So you subscribe to the juvenile Pascal's Wager .... Are you admitting you might be wrong, or just avoiding the question?

          February 23, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Sure I could be wrong but I have no version of God of my own.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • Akira

          "Sure I could be wrong but I have no version of God of my own."

          Who's version is it, then?

          February 23, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • hotairace

          Re: "Sure I could be wrong but I have no version of God of my own." I don't understand what you are saying. Please explain.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          The thing is – atheists aren't making the claim (that there is a god) and the burden of proof is with those making the claim. Atheists say that the believers have not met the threshold of evidence.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
      • waynegage

        You can't prove a negative...what is the evidence that the supreme creator is not an elephant?

        February 23, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          That is why atheism is weak. You use the "I can't prove a negative" because you can't admit you actually can't prove there is no God. Awww!! Poor atheists😜😀😃😄😙

          February 23, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • Akira

          So...I guess this means your faith is weak because you can't prove there is a God, finisher?

          February 23, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          finisher, You don't believe in Vishnu, but you can't prove he doesn't exist. See how that works? Actually you probably don't, but do try.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
  16. jaareshiah

    It is interesting that there are those who are "spiritual" but not necessarily "religious". The word "spiritual", according to the dictionary, means "1. of the soul: relating to the soul or spirit, usually in contrast to material things; 2. of religion: relating to religious or sacred things rather than worldly things."(Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2005)

    Of the word "religious", the same dictionary says: "1. relating to religion: relating to belief in religion, the teaching of religion, or following the practices of a religion; 2. believing in a higher being: believing in, and showing devotion or reverence for, a deity or deities."

    So is there a difference between being spiritual and being religious ? According to the dictionary, being "spiritual" seems to mean that a person believes in things not seen, but no mention is made of "a deity". On the other hand, those who are
    "religious" has a belief in "a deity".

    If one's acceptance of being either "spiritual" or "religious" is based on a personal "journey" or on the churches of Christendom, then both fail to "hit the target". Neither are on the "road leading off into life".(Matt 7:13) Jesus told the Samaritan woman: "You worship what you do not know; we (Jesus included himself along with other Jews) worship what we know, because salvation begins with (or comes through) the Jews (or the Jewish religious system at that time)....God is a Spirit, and those worshipping him must worship with spirit and truth."(John 4:22, 24)

    The apostle Paul wrote that genuine Christians "are walking by faith, not by sight."(2 Cor 5:7) And Paul gave the meaning of "faith" as "the assured expectation of what is hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities that are not seen." Thus, being a real "spiritual" or "religious" person means worshipping the one true God who is a "Spirit" and hence invisible or unseen, Jehovah (Ex 6:3; Isa 45:5), "for indeed, the Father is looking for ones like these to worship him."(John 4:23)

    February 23, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
    • Austin

      John 16:13 ►

      But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

      February 23, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
    • Austin

      @jaareshiah
      this was a very nice explanation.

      February 23, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
  17. deboloo

    A better researched and written article would have touched on our (SBNR) disenchantment with current religious leaders and doctrine. On churches that care more about production value and money than the people they should be serving.
    The author should have included the failure of the church to take care of the poor, the hungry, the sick, and the disenfranchised people of our society, beginning with their own communities.
    The author should also have touched on the religious leaders who use the church as their personal stepping stone to greater wealth, telling us the poor shall inherit the earth while they're being chauffeured around in their limos, driven to their multi-million dollar mansions or to their private million dollar jets.
    Perhaps the author should also have included the far fringes of religion such as the far right, unbending and unyielding, or the far left, believing only those passages that suit their agenda.
    A person can be spiritual, and right with God, without falling prey to organized religion. We merely follow the ten commandments and believe that our God is fair and just and will judge us on what's in our hearts and by our deeds on earth. Very simple and easy to follow.

    February 23, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
  18. thefinisher1

    Atheism is stupid. Plain and simple.

    February 23, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      Most are very smart. And most don't think and talk about religion and God all the time. For real.

      February 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        The atheists on this blog do. It's actually kinda funny.

        February 23, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yea, but most atheists do not post on religious blogs or air hostilities toward people of faith. Don't let the few bad apples ruin the bunch. Most atheists appreciate people of different belief systems. In fact we can often work together for a better community.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          So do theists. You realize it's a blog about god and religion, right?

          February 23, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Most atheists on this blog are deeply attached and obsessed. For people who claim "not to believe" I think do believe deep down. That's why they are obsessed. Or their atheism is very weak.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          I agree Sungrazer.. I thought his response was weird considering this is a blog specifically about god and religion.. -_-

          February 23, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          I believed at one time. No longer. I don't believe deep down. What if I said i thought most believers didn't believe deep down? Would you take offense or have some problem with that statement?

          February 23, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • igaftr

          it is called a belief blog. I believe no gods exist.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Please don't jump all over me for my comment. People like finisher are the ones who make christianity look very bad....it's the hate coming from him that gets me most...why would anyone join you to be near that type of person?? I get that you see this outside of religion but my point here, finisher is basically stating that we are wrong by insulting and indirectly fighting for christianity...you don't win people over with hate. Not all of you are like him thankfully.

        February 23, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Hate? I have no hate. Reversing what atheists overuse for insults to show you atheists who stupid and childish it is to use it? Yep. Atheists don't like it when others act like them so I will continue to act like atheists until you atheists stop using it. Turning what atheists claim back into you is not "hate". You think it's hate because your atheism is weak and you know it.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Act like us?? I'm sorry but I tend to disagree. We're not the ones caught up in every damn aspect outside of other peoples personal lives. More specifically in regards to LGBT rights, women's issues, education.
          When christians learn to keep their belief in the homes and churches, we'll have reason to back down but until that point we'll be outspoken. Christians shut us up for a very long time and now you have no choice but to give us a voice and in turn watch the burial of christianity in the history books. I get how that must frighten you. Being forced to join the 21st century and treat everyone equally must really suck.
          Fortunately not all are like you.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
        • Austin

          Romans 12:17-21

          17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

          1 Corinthians 13:4–8

          4 dLove suffers long and is ekind; love fdoes not envy; love does not parade itself, is not 2puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, gdoes not seek its own, is not provoked, 3thinks no evil; 6 hdoes not rejoice in iniquity, but irejoices in the truth; 7 jbears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          Unfortunately TruthPrevails.. He is not some small minority .. He represents a majority of the att.itudes in varying form and is a product of a flawed text, political and tyrannical interpretations of the text and a sustained history of browbeating, hell scaring, misogyny, racism etc.. encoded and sustained within many western cultures.. If you want to argue that this "brand" of belief in Christianity is really not what has existed for the past 2000 years.. -_- then you'd have to change history..

          February 23, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • Austin

          ever heard of Augustine? he was a revered father of the church.

          look him up.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • Austin

          eudaimonia2013

          what you are referring to in many cases are instances that can be related to the crucifixion, or the killing of prophets by the nation Israel.

          Satan is a formidable aponent, and he is always leading the church astray. and as all men are sinners, the church is not the focal point of truth.

          The truth is that Jesus Christ is the only sinless savior.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          Austin I'm referring to Christianity's appx. 2000 year history- perhaps consider the victims of the dogma over this span..

          February 23, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • Austin

          so you would rather pay attention to the devil than the savior?

          there is nothing wrong with Christ. people have always been cursed.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
        • Akira

          I am surprised that you would hold such a prominent Catholic in such esteem, Austin, having seen how much you tend to denigrate Catholics and their doctrine, which St. Augustine helped to actually write.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • Austin

          counter productive to write off Jesus Christ.

          read the book of first timothy 1. Satan was infiltrating the church. This is the devils goal. of course he succeeds.

          This adds to the validity of the resurrection.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          You know Austin, there was a time when an entire society thought that epilepsy was a sign of the devil.. They thought that knowledge of herbs was a sign of witchcraft.. They thought that disagreement with religious leaders was a sign of possession.. they thought that god favored light skin over dark skin.. they thought that women in pants was a sign of lesbianism..

          I think in a discussion with those who don't believe as you.. empathy is required.. it requires you to not automatically assume that another person thinks as you.. and it requires that you don't automatically assume that your interpretation is correct..

          If I accept your statement I would have to lie and look at 2000 years of misogyny, hatred, ignorance and destruction as "the devil".. I don't believe that an evil supernatural ent.ity causes people to do bad things.. I believe people are products of their upbringing, lusts, vices, discipline and character and this mix brings about results.. If you give people a doctrine that justifies the worst of these.. you will get something akin to the last 2000 years..

          If there is a self described savior in the midst of such destructive acts.. he, she or it decided not to intervene because horrible acts have existed for a very long time.. often unchallenged.. except for another human being's intervention.. if at all.

          An answer to your question is "no" and I have provided an explanation why. Hopefully, you will take some time to consider it.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • Austin

          Well, Akira, that is a fair comment and you are observant. That is intelligent of you.

          I am conflicted, it seems that Peter had followers. there is nothing wrong with this. But as time went on they quickly became worse. Augustine was the 4th or 5th century. can you refresh me on any of the historical blunders that happened at that date or before?

          I would think the immediate followers of Peter's flock had it together for a few centuries.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • Austin

          ":If you give people a doctrine that justifies the worst of these.. you will get something akin to the last 2000 years"

          which new testament doctrines are you referring to? God commands us to not engage in ho.mo se.xuality and also puts the husband as the leader of the family. I have to agree with the resurrection and there fore the word of God, but what issues aside from these issues (assuming you disagree with these minor issues), what issues as doctrine make the new testament something that would not be acceptable, considering that the issue is sin?

          February 23, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • Akira

          Austin, you are the one who brought up St. Augustine as an answer. Here is a question that should be easy enough for you:

          How do you reconcile using Augustine as an arbiter on Christianity when you plainly abhor the teachings of the Catholic Church, which he helped write?

          February 23, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          Austin,

          You are not able to look at human history.. evaluate it and assess it outside of belief.. This is why you call everything done by humans "devil".. You are stuck interpreting reality according to your doctrine and dogma about a unquestionably good supernatural being. You will not be able to converse reasonably because of this. If you display otherwise, we can continue. Otherwise, best of luck to you.

          February 23, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • Austin

          Akira i accidentally posted at the top of the blog. oops

          @Eudimonia2013
          I agree with your assertions about the judgmental and outrageously penal actions concerning the history of the church! however, I asked you "what doctrine"........

          and the reason for that is that you are insinuating that these atrocities were based on doctrine. that is garbage. you are slandering the word of God. yes , the word of God says "this or that is wrong", however there is no penalty or justification to punish anyone in any way, aside from telling them they are under church discipline, which is an act of love.

          I am saying that your false and slanderous accusation of "give someone a doctrine" , you pulled out or your God rejecting self willed basket of ways to assault the Word of God.

          February 23, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          Austin,

          1. While god is a real thing to you. There is no evidence that it is a real thing to me. An ancient text professing a supernatural being in another language is not evidence- no matter how many people were forced, conned or genuinely believe it.

          Conversing with someone who does not think like you requires empathy and was the main part of my post. Because anything sacred tends to dominate we are now talking about "slandering" what to me is a figment of your imagination. This is why I don't think you're ready for reasonable conversation on this topic.

          2. The New Testament is nothing without the Old and does not negate it entirely so I'm not sure why you're only focused on it as if the Old Testament is irrelevant. No matter, it is not irrelevant to a large host of Christians so it has importance.

          3. Rather than go highlighting or cherry picking different stories in the ancient text that point to very disturbing characteristics, (because that would bog us down away from my point and launch a ti.t for tat against someone who has already displayed belief over evidence is what matters to him), I will add to my "doctrine" statement that has inflamed and dominated your attention. Human beings are complex and any doctrine which demands unquestioned authority and obedience of an ent.ity that is invisible into that mix will give you the volatile and oft unjust and violent history before you. Even if you would like to claim that the words of the text are completely pure- it would be irrelevant because those pure words are not helpful to our human society and the history of pure words and invisible god has not worked for peace on earth.

          I must go. I doubt that you will understand any of what I've written, based on our past dialog, however, I hope someone who is reading will understand. Take care...

          February 23, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • Austin

          hey smarty. I thought the old testament was a covenant with the Jews? is that correct?

          I am not Hebrew or Jew. and that is one reason why the old testament law does not apply to me.

          what does new covenant, or testament mean>? do you understand what NEW, or covenant means?

          February 23, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • Austin

          "I'm not sure why you're only focused on it as if the Old Testament is irrelevant. No matter, it is not irrelevant to a large host of Christians so it has importance."

          I have a feeling you are a blatant liar. You know that the old testament dealt with a NATION, who were led by prophet through direct revelation into wars, and by kings, and priests.

          Your endeavor to butcher the peaceful quality of the new testament is manifest in your statement

          "doctrine which demands unquestioned authority and obedience of an ent.ity that is invisible into that mix will give you the volatile and oft unjust and violent history before you. "

          ....because you are absolutely lying about the meaning of the new testament, by association with the history of the nation Israel. This is a self satisfying demonic lie.

          The value of the new testament is the promise of the Holy Spirit and resurrection, and your freedom from the curse of sin, unless of course, you reject the Holy Spirit.

          There is no injustice, if you reject God, you will receive eternal seperation from God. no one will bother you.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      Ah, such a fount of wisdom you are.

      February 23, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      I get that outside of bibles and CNN, you don't know of many websites, least of all the ones that help educate you.
      So let me help you out...this one will allow you to look up words and the meanings of them, so that you won't continue to look like a fool when you use words out of context...www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary
      Your Mommy really shouldn't have home-schooled you but you can change that and prove you're not the idiot she raised you to be...you can use google and see how the education you got failed you.

      February 23, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        Most atheists are liars that own websites. The internet isn't a reliable source. Fundie atheists lie about everything.

        February 23, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • Akira

          Do, please, back this up with some actual data. The exact case can be made for almost ANY website.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Most atheist websites are hate-based and biased. They only slam Christianity while claiming to treat all religions as equals. Everyone knows that isn't the case. In fact, most atheist websites are deeply deeply attached to just Christianity. All religions aren't equal. Biggest lie any atheist can ever sell.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • hotairace

          finished doesn't answer questions. It just slings crap. I don't think it has any answers.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • Akira

          Do, please, back this up with some actual data.
          Your opinion isn't fact, finisher.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          It's a reliable enough source for you to show hate. And it's a far better source than your buybull...that must just bite your ass-lol.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
  19. flexy145

    I think that many don't understand or know what being spiritual even means. Some comments here clearly show that. For me, being "spiritual" for instance does NOT mean necessarily being anti-theist. Being spiritual and not believing in religion means not having to adhere to dogmas, it means LESS limits, limits (in thinking and belief) that traditional religions often impose. For instance, fundamental Christians are limited in *having to* believe in things which go against "mainstream science", such as Creationism etc. My own belief is in no way limited to having to reject mainstream science as being "against" religion, why should the idea that Evolution does happen be against the idea of a god/creator? Does it make a difference in the greater picture whether the earth is the center of the universe or not or whether a creator really spend 6000 years creating or whether our universe is billions of years old? Traditional religion also wants to make god/a creator smaller than he/she/it may actually be by attributing naive and simplified all-too-human characteristics to god, starting with saying that god is a "he" and that he/she goes about his daily business doing all-too-human things such as "judging" etc. which I happily reject as super-naive ideas which in no way (for me) go together with an all-mighty intelligence/being. As a spiritual person I am also (in not even a remote way) rejecting the idea of the afterlife, however I am rejecting most ideas as written in scripture since IMO scripture has very little to do with the true msg of Christ or the true msg Christianity once was about. (Obviously I'd say that Jesus was a spiritual person and his teachings, in the beginning and at the core were in fact more spiritual than anything else). Citing a commenter: "We must accept the gospel as true".
    NO, in no way ever "must" we accept the gospel as true! You can of course do so and continue self-limiting your beliefs and your idea of who or what god is. I can believe in the afterlife and a creator/source/god which are far more complex than the simplified ideas in the bible. I choose to have a belief without those dogmas and limitations, a belief which (and this is the beauty) does also not clash with science and which (in my opinion) may be far closer to the true msg of Christ. If for you your faith is only about "worshiping" the words in a book (which are written by man)...think about it...you might be wasting your time and not realize how distant you actually have become (from the true msg) worrying about trivialities or needing to reconcile scripture with science/common sense...simply because your book (and your self-imposed obligation to believe in the words) doesn't leave you another option. Since, as above mentioned already, I think that Christ was spiritual I wouldn't be surprised that he would shake his head about today's organized religion and how distorted the msg has become...and I think that he would also have plenty to say in regards about the bible and those who follow it to the t and think it's essential for being "faithful". And it might not necessarily be pretty 🙂

    February 23, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
    • eudaimonia2013

      Is the belief in a "spirit" (supernatural ent.ity) included in your definition of being "spiritual?"

      February 23, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
  20. Apple Bush

    The guesses of religion are from an era gone by. The guesses of science are exciting and an advancement over religion. I will put all of my eggs in the science basket and forever wish I could live to be a thousand so I could see what marvelous discoveries are made.

    If we could only push religion and politics aside and focus our attention on research and truth, what an amazing world it would be to wake up to every morning.

    Instead, we spend our money on war mongering and our time on snake oil salesman, when instead we could wake up to education and discovery.

    Religion is damaging to me personally because I want to learn, not regress.

    February 23, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      My religion helps me learn and progress. Just like my understanding of science.

      “Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”

      – Martin Luther King, JR

      February 23, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        "religion gives man wisdom"

        How do you figure???

        February 23, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          "The method of science is observation, that of religion [is] contemplation. Science investigates; religion interprets. One seeks causes, the other ends. Science thinks in terms of history, religion in terms of teleology. One is a survey, the other an outlook. Religion and science are the two hemispheres of human thought. They are different though converging truths. They grow binately."

          – Abba Hillel Silver

          "If we could only push religion and politics aside and focus our attention on research and truth, what an amazing world it would be to wake up to every morning." = a religious statement

          February 23, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          You are incorrect.

          February 23, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          "Neither religion nor science, by itself, is sufficient for man. Science is not civilization. Science is organized knowledge; but civilization, which is the art of noble and progressive communal living, requires much more than knowledge. It needs beauty, which is art, and faith and moral aspiration, which are religion. It needs artistic and spiritual values along with the intellectual. Man, too, in his individual capacity requires much more than organized knowledge for his life’s equipment. "

          February 23, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Ho now! You went from art to faith and moral aspirations real quick there buddy, lets slow 'er down. You have no evidence to back your presumptive beginning so....easy.

          February 23, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Dalhast,
          You don't need religion for art, beauty, or moral aspiration.

          February 23, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No kidding, Ken.

          But it doesn't oppose such things. It actually encourages and supports them.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Dalahast,
          Some religions, but not all.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Sure, some religions (or we should just say religious people, or even just people) don't appreciate science. But some do. Some say their knowledge of God increases with each scientific discovery. It does for me.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Dalahast,
          Good for you, but my point is that religion does not seem to be necessary for knowledge, wisdom, spirituality, nor beauty.

          February 23, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          It sure has influenced knowledge, wisdom, spirituality, and beauty. In some bad way, but also in good ways. Just like everything else in life. Like human beings. We are capable of doing great and beautiful things, but we also have the capacity to do evil and ugly things.

          That dual nature exists everywhere.

          February 23, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • igaftr

          Dala
          "That dual nature exists everywhere."
          And was written into your NT. Jesus...the perfect man, seperated from evil, and satan..the perfect anti-man, seperated from good. It makes sense if one looks at both characters as metaphors....both existing at once in EVERY person, the potential to be "good" and "evil".
          Examining christianity not as reality, but rather metaphorically makes more sense in that we should strive to be more christ like, and less satan like. In this way, we can accept Jesus, as we accept the "good" side of ourselves, and thereby save ourselves from "evil". All of that spiritual and god stuff really are not central to that message, nor are they only in Christianity. They are humanities rules and advice, which is why they are in so many of man's works, not just those of a religious nature.
          The bible draws on the eastern philosophies, and considering how much of Jesus' words ( not word for word, but the concepts) are from the Buddha, and other philosophies...do good things, good things happen.

          Maybe Jesus lived (likely) but he was likely nothing more than any other man, and very doubtful he was anything more than that. The "perfect goog man" and the "evil man" exist within each of us...ying and yang.

          Unfortunately, the writers of the bible had already commited to a "god" so had to incorporate god in there somewhere, so you end up with a whole bunch of magic stuff tainting the real message. That is why you can get a much more clear message by studying more of the works of men in religion and philosophy. There is much richness there, once you disregard the "spritual" and "supernatural" distractions.

          February 23, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't find the spiritual or supernatural aspect distracting. But there is a lot that is easier for me to take as metaphors, since I wasn't present to witness the events. I have experienced the spirit and elements of the supernatural. They help me make sense of the world.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Dalahast,
          " In some bad way, but also in good ways. Just like everything else in life. Like human beings. "

          No argument here. I do find it interesting that a system that purports to be a moral authority often ends up being no better, and no worse, than human nature. Almost as if it has no effect at all.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:20 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Where I go they don't claim we are the moral authority.

          We provide salvation for those who are suffering. Like a spiritual hospital.

          February 23, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Dalahäst
          "Where I go they don't claim we are the moral authority."

          Sure, the church you attend... whatever,... but the religion you believe in teaches right from wrong and claims a connection to, or understanding of, or words directly from, the supposed ultimate moral authority does it not?

          February 23, 2014 at 7:54 pm |
      • eudaimonia2013

        The two become rivals when religion claims that it's belief is "truth" or "fact" or unquestionably correct. They also become rivals when religion claims it's denomination to be the highest form of wisdom to the denial of everything else simply based on dogma.

        February 23, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          That is bad religion.

          We also have bad science out there.

          I reject both.

          February 23, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          Considering you focused on my definition, I will assume you have a reason for ignoring the essential reasons for the difference between the two. That said, Religion is what it is expressed by humans – it is it's own history- it doesn't exist except as a "wish" outside of this and this is what it has been. At least we both agree its "bad." Science can be corrected and is built in to change when better knowledge and information becomes available.

          February 23, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Not all religion is inherently bad. Even most atheists, which aren't fans of religion, can admit that.

          I belong to a religion that supports, encourages, teaches and finances science.

          Christians have helped contribute to the development of clocks, barometers, microscopes and telescopes. They theorized about things like human flight, the moon and the tides, and blood circulation. They observed certain astronomical phenomena before anyone else. They did these things as an aspect of their religious pursuits, not in compet.ition with it.

          February 23, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          You posted a quote that stated that religion and science are not rivals.. the history of religious practice refutes this by itself..

          Whether or not it's "bad" is a separate subject.. but we both agree that the history of religious practice is not only bad.. but I also point out it makes it an inherent rival to science. Indeed, science has a long history of refuting religious dogma held as "truth".. and not the reverse.. Religious doctrine has not helped enlighten science.. Also, please know that there is a difference between the practice of science and scientists.. A person can set up a double blind study according to the rules of science and go home and be a christian, scientologist, muslim, or satanist. However, the same dogma could not hold up as "true" under scientific study.

          February 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbvDYyoAv9k&w=640&h=390]

          [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxxFh0Kn5Tk&w=640&h=390]

          Science vs Religion myth

          February 23, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          You seriously just posted a video... -_- If you are able to address the points without resorting to bringing in a av third party to speak to you.. we can continue.. Otherwise this is just sad.. In kind, since videos are your thing, I'll suggest you look up any youtube video on "Qualia soup" dealing with criticial thinking, religion and open-mindedness..

          February 23, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          Also, I admire NDT.. but your video does not counter any of my points.. I suggest you go look up his videos on the erosion of progress by religions and other like videos so that you stay in context with the discussion and not just advancing a point that has little to do with my own..

          February 23, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The idea that religion is inherently bad and against science is not true. My religious beliefs do not support such an anti-science idea.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
        • hotairace

          Dala is cherry picking deGrasse Tyson's views. It's trivial to find several instances where it is clear deGrasse Tyson clearly laughs at the notion of a creator designer.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • doobzz

          @eudaimonia2013

          Dalahast will not answer a question directly or state his/her beliefs in his own words. It's always a quote or a video or "I think along the lines of" this or that other person. Never his own thoughts, always someone else's.

          February 23, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          "... the criticisms leveled against religion, religious beliefs, and theism are no worse than — and in most cases are quite a bit less nasty than — many of the things which conservative religious believers have been saying about atheism, secularism, and godless liberalism for many years now. The people complaining today about being demonized did not, as far as I know, raise their voices in protest against the demonization of others by members of their own community. When demonization is only bad when it's done to you, then your complaints only end up being self-serving. "

          http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistsantichristian/a/DemonizeXians.htm

          February 23, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • eudaimonia2013

          @doobzz *screams with laughter* and as if on cue he did it again..

          February 23, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          But all you guys are doing is posting superior athiest-like rants that I've already heard before.

          –(The Superior Atheists) make statements such as, “religion is the sole cause of all wars, 9/11 happened because of religion and no other reason”, or, “the only reason for the existence of faith is a fear of death.”

          Such statements are, of course, wrong. They are highly simplistic analysis of the complex world in which we live. Failing to account for other factors they leave much to be desired as explanations for how the world and the people in it function. -

          ( I got that from an atheist website http://aafwaterloo.wordpress.com/2011/09/18/your-superiority-complex-annoys-me/ )

          February 23, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • doobzz

          "and as if on cue he did it again.."

          LMAO! Of course. He/she can't think for himself, or is too cowardly to state and defend his own views. Always hiding behind someone else's words.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm a he. Unfortunately some people seem to think Christianity is anti-science, and that science leads to atheism.

          I like to share opinions of other people (often from atheists) that shatter that myth.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        "My religion helps me learn and progress."

        What have you learned that REQUIRED religion to know?

        February 23, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          It didn't REQUIRE it.

          I helped it. Aided it. Did it. It worked.

          What did it do? It helped me learn and understand more about this world, both scientifically and spiritually.

          February 23, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Another non answer from Dala...

          February 23, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          You’d be hard pressed to find a single bit of modern scientific knowledge that wasn’t discovered, or heavily influenced by, the work of devout Christians.

          February 23, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Another fallacious loaded question for Blessed are the Cheesemakers.

          February 23, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Another loaded question FROM you!

          February 23, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          What makes my question "fallacious"?

          It was a straight forward question. What does your religion demonstrably answer that is not or cannot be demonstrably answered in another way? If you cannot answer this question it the meaningless of your religion.

          February 23, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          "What have you learned that REQUIRED religion to know?"

          It didn't REQUIRE religion, but I have learned to change the way I live. To not be so materialistic and obsessed over finances and my career.

          It has taught me how to live. Not just survive. I'm not just the product of chemical reactions to stimulus, but the product of a greater intelligence that supersedes what some hostile guy on the internet simply imagines.

          February 23, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "It has taught me how to live. Not just survive. I'm not just the product of chemical reactions to stimulus"

          I have no problem with this part...but religion is not necessary for this conclusion.

          "but the product of a greater intelligence that supersedes what some hostile guy on the internet simply imagines."

          How do you "know" you are the product of a higher intelligence? How can you demonstrate this statement to be true?

          February 23, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I know because it is what makes sense to me. It is reasonable. Just like you do what works best for you. You are the one added the words "required" and "necessary".

          Except for some reason you want to get "all up in my face" over my experiences, which is ironically kind of like what some atheists say all the religious people do.

          February 23, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "I know because it is what makes sense to me. It is reasonable."

          Claiming demon possession is responsable of mental illness "made sense" and was a reasonable conclusion to people in the middle ages (and many people to this day). Saying it "makes sense" to you does not demostrate its truth.

          "Except for some reason you want to get "all up in my face" over my experiences, which is ironically kind of like what some atheists say all the religious people do."

          This is a public blog where you are proposing ideas and claims, if you don't want your thoughts criticized...don't post them on a blog. But in reality you are like most religious people, you want to spread your information unopposed. CHristians want to talk about how wonderful their religion is but can't stand hearing rebutals to that claim. If Christianity is so "true" and "wonderful" it should be able to deal with scrutiny. Responding to your comments on a blog is about as "not in your face" as you can get. But instead of supporting your views you cry persecution when confronted....just dishonest and disingenuous.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          And if you don't want me to criticize you for acting like the religious people you oppose, stop acting like one.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • hotairace

          Dala is very good at pretending to know things it does not.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I am not acting like a religious person...I am not claiming to know things that can't be demonstrated to be true...and if you show me otherwise I will change my mind. You on the otherhand will rationalize your baseless religious positions.

          "If an atheist has belief or faith in
          anything, it's that believers of religion
          accept propositions as evidence, and
          possibility as fact."

          February 23, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          You have some preconceived notions about religion being bad.

          So, if I say, my religion helps me grow spiritually, you ask me: How does it exclusively do that?

          I never said it exclusively did that. I just said it helps me.

          And then you accuse me of dancing and dodging like most other religious people.

          Uh... I have no evidence to show you but your words. And you seem to be more interested in proving me wrong than sharing what works for you.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "And if you don't want me to criticize you for acting like the religious people you oppose, stop acting like one."

          Asking for demonstrable objective facts to support your claims is not anything like acting like religious people.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Whatever it is, you are twisting my words to entail something I didn't mean. That is what a fallacious loaded question is.

          February 23, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Dala,

          You want to say your religion helps you be a better person...fine that is not what I take issue with.

          When you say miracles exist and are a result of the will of god....THAT I take issue with. I don't have a problem with you trying to be a better person...I will agrue with the idea that religion is the best way to do it though.

          February 23, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Miracles do exist. Such things can not be tested by science, as they transcend science. They can only come from God. The knowledge gained from something like a miracle is often personal, but can be helpful in helping others overcome difficult situations.

          You can't use it to prove you are right or get rich. It is a much better gift that that.

          February 23, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Miracles do exist."

          How do you know?

          "Such things can not be tested by science, as they transcend science."

          How do you know that?

          "They can only come from God."

          And how do you know that?

          February 23, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "You can't use it to prove you are right or get rich."

          Really? Because Benny Hinn and Peter Popoff seem to do quite well for themselves...as well as a host of others.

          February 23, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
      • Sungrazer

        The two are rivals when, for example, religion makes counter factual claims about the world. Or when, for example, organizations push to insert religion in biology classrooms.

        February 23, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          But they are not rivals when religion supports and encourages scientific knowledge, which also happens.

          February 23, 2014 at 3:33 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.