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All in the family? Not for atheists
Marrying an atheist can lead to family problems, a new survey says.
June 24th, 2014
08:03 AM ET

All in the family? Not for atheists

By Sara Grossman, CNN

(CNN) When Americans think of their future in-laws, they approve of nearly every type of person - except for atheists.

A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center aimed to examine political polarization. It asked Americans whether they would be disappointed if a close family member married someone of a different race, country, political party or someone who doesn't believe in God.

Less than 20% of Americans said they would be unhappy if a close family member married someone from the opposite political party and only 11% said they would be upset if that person was of a different race.

But 49% of Americans said they would be disappointed if their family member married an atheist, making nonbelievers by far the most stigmatized group in the survey.

Conservatives overwhelmingly held reservations about secular Americans, with 73% saying they would be less than thrilled if a family member tied the knot with a nonbeliever.

Somewhat surprisingly, liberals also said they were uncomfortable with such a union. Nearly a quarter of Americans who call themselves “consistently liberal” and 41% of “mostly liberal” respondents said they wouldn’t want an atheist to marry into their family.

The poll is the latest evidence of the hard road atheists travel in the United States.

According to separate studies, atheists are more likely to face job discrimination, political pushback and general distrust.

Atheists in the Bible Belt: A survival guide

Discrimination against atheists is “rampant,” said Dave Muscato, public relations director for American Atheists, an advocacy organization that fights for the separation of government and religion.

“There is a stigma against atheism because there is so much misinformation about atheists,” Muscato said in an e-mail. “Atheists don't hate your god, we aren't evil, and we're nor immoral; we are simply not convinced that your god exists.”

One of the most common stereotypes about atheists is they are angry white guys, said Phil Zuckerman, a professor of sociology at Pitzer College in California who has studied secularism.

The reasons for this animosity toward atheists are multifaceted, he said.

For one, religion has been a major part of American culture since the country was founded, and many Americans continue to associate nonreligiosity with immorality.

Further, thanks to practices such as the Pledge of Allegiance, many Americans associate God and religion with patriotic values and atheism with being un-American.

“There’s a stigma for being anti-black, there’s a stigma for being anti-Jewish, there’s a stigma for being anti-gay,” Zuckerman said. “There has never been a stigma for being anti-atheist.”

Behold, the six types of atheists

Zuckerman and Muscato said that atheists need to come out of the shadows to gain more mainstream acceptance.

“Pretty much everyone knows at least one person who's an atheist,” Muscato said. “They just may not know it, because the prejudice is so strong that atheists have reasons for not talking about their atheism.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Discrimination • Prejudice

soundoff (945 Responses)
  1. jim1729

    I find this topic increasingly boring. It's the same old story of uninteresting people wanting to surround themselves with likeminded people spawning the same old debate that has no hope of reaching a conclusion because neither side is honestly willing to consider they might be wrong and no new valid arguments are ever presented.

    June 25, 2014 at 11:10 am |
    • Athy

      I'm an atheist, but I would reconsider my position if adequate objective, verifiable proof were presented. Most religious people cannot (or will not) make this statement.

      June 25, 2014 at 11:17 am |
      • observer

        Athy,

        Amen.

        June 25, 2014 at 11:25 am |
      • benhoody

        Athy,,You are saying then that as an athiest you still have doubt and are not sure, but you are willing to change your mind if you see more proof, that's good because there are some like TruthPrevails who wouldn't change their mind because they already know it all and their mind is closed.

        June 25, 2014 at 11:31 am |
        • igaftr

          As most believers I know are not willing to admit they could be wrong. Several that post here claim they "know" god exists, and one even claims to converse back and forth. Many continue to claim the bible is inerrant, even after pointing out the myriad flaws in it.
          I see it far more from believers than the skeptics.

          June 25, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
        • Athy

          No, Ben, I have no doubts. I consider a proof of god about as likely as a proof of life at the center of the earth.

          June 25, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          ben: You can't say that about me! You can't make the assumption all you wish but I'm with Athy on this one. We could turn that around and say that you wouldn't change your mind regardless of what evidence is put forth.
          I'm happy to admit that there are numerous questions that we may never have the answer for, I refuse to plug an unknown; unproven deity in to the factor...to do so is dishonest.
          I'll be the first to admit that I believe it is highly unlikely that the Christian god exists due to the fact that most of what is written about this god or what this god has apparently done has been proven to be false. It doesn't take much to look back to when those stories were written and notice how things were back then, opposed to today and the vast advancements we have made.
          However, I'll never be dishonest and say with 100% certainty that a deity of some other form doesn't exist...I don't know.
          When it comes to belief of any form, when it is used to deny equal rights or impose itself in publicly funded area's where people of varying beliefs gather, then the belief is being wrongfully used and that is when most speak out.

          I will enter a church...not for any other purpose than to be there for the people the service is about. I associate with Christians all the time...my closest friend is a United Church Minister-she does her job well and she shows more compasion than any of the Christians on this board do.
          Point being, your assumption is wrong.

          June 26, 2014 at 7:34 am |
        • benhoody

          TruthPrevaills, You shocked me, even though you disagree with me at least you were civil about it this time, see, you can be nice if you want to be, I appreciate that.

          June 26, 2014 at 11:32 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          **You can't make** should have read **You can make

          June 26, 2014 at 7:38 am |
      • delevin

        Athy,
        Precisely! Show me the evidence! What religious people consider evidence is not actually evidence from a scientific perspective. When some engineer asserts that there is intelligence in the design of our universe, this is not supported by the available evidence.

        June 28, 2014 at 8:09 am |
    • ugetthefacts

      if I were given proof a god exists, then I would believe. Seems no one is willing to offer proof. Why? Because there isn't any?

      June 25, 2014 at 11:28 am |
      • Woody

        If someone produced undeniable, verifiable proof that any god exits, this blog wouldn't exist. The very ti.tle "Belief Blog" says it all. People on this blog who claim that they "know" god exists, simply BELIEVE god exists. They can't differentiate between a belief and an absolutely verifiable fact that has survived all scientific scrutiny.

        June 25, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
        • ugetthefacts

          and they had the same beliefs with the god Zeus. There is no doubt that scaring children with fiery hell and telling kids they are born with a dirty sin works. Terrorist use similar tactics with children, brainwashing.

          June 26, 2014 at 7:01 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Why do you come one here to complain about the "boring" subject? There is a big wide internet out there and I am sure if you are sick of this discussion you can find somewhere else to spend your time. Or you could start a thread on the topic you are interested in. Quit the whining.

      June 25, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The point of the survey was to measure just how much people were polarizing themselves, including surrounding themselves only with like minded people.

      The survey is longitudinal since 1987 and concluded that such polarization is getting larger.

      June 25, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
  2. lunchbreaker

    If I am to be critical of the person my relative is going to marry, I should also be critical of the judgement of said relative also. My sister in law was once dating a no good wanna be rapper sh!thead, at the same time I though my sister in law was a sh!thead for being with him. Fortunatly he is in jail and she has been through rehab now.

    June 25, 2014 at 10:26 am |
  3. rebelgator85

    I'm not anti-atheist and I'm not anti-religious. I think that this poll indicates most people believe that, for a newly added family member, an atheist would be more critical of a family's religious beliefs and lifestyle than a person of a different religion. I think that's a misconception; it applies to both atheists and non-atheists alike, although the stigma I see trending here is attached to those who believe in a god/s, not the other way around. It's not a matter of accepting someone of a different religion or of no religion, I simply wouldn't want someone in my family who openly attacks or trivializes the way I've chosen to live my life.

    June 25, 2014 at 10:08 am |
    • jhg45

      Wow! someo0ne who actually makes sense here.

      June 25, 2014 at 10:17 am |
  4. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    Oh, I'm bein' followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow
    Leapin and hoppin' on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow

    June 25, 2014 at 9:30 am |
  5. Reality

    And most Christian relatives don't want Muslim, Hindu or Jewish in-laws either. Tis a matter of perpetuating the Christian cult of myths and insanity!!

    June 25, 2014 at 8:41 am |
    • seedenbetter

      Or blacks, chinks, spics, gooks or beaners. At least that's how my True Christian® relatives feel.

      June 25, 2014 at 9:12 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        It's not just Christians.
        During the 2 years my Jewish girlfriend and I lived together, she told her parents that I was a gayem* so as to avoid arguments.

        *ho/mos.exual gentile

        June 25, 2014 at 9:21 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Did you have to keep up appearances for your landlords the Ropers?

          June 25, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • igaftr

          Akira
          Jack Tripper
          Jack T. Ripper
          Jack The Ripper
          coincindence?

          June 26, 2014 at 11:54 am |
    • Reality

      And the words are interchangeable. For example, orthodox Jews don't want non-Jews marrying into the family. A specific example: My sister, a Catholic, was dating a Jewish fellow. His mother threatened to kill my sister because she was impure. Fortunately, my sister got out of the relationship without harm but there were some scary moments dealing with this woman.

      June 26, 2014 at 8:18 am |
  6. jaydavid666

    Thank godless I don't believe in gods and, therefore, no god calls on me to hate anyone else for not believing in their puny little gods.

    June 25, 2014 at 8:20 am |
  7. d2douce

    49% means less, in isolation, than the trend. I'd guess the same poll taken 10 or 20 years ago would have yielded a much higher percentage. Fifty years ago it would have been close to 100%. Progress.

    June 25, 2014 at 8:08 am |
  8. stevepatt46

    Religiously motivated people are uncomfortable with atheists because it makes them question their own beliefs. The beliefs that are required to maintain good standing in any organized religion are for the most part fairly ridiculous, heaven, hell, the blood of Christ, the triune God of Christianity. I am an atheist and my wife is not, we still get along after 26 years.

    June 25, 2014 at 7:57 am |
    • benhoody

      Steve,, I really don't think religious people are uncomfortable around Athiests, we simply believe they are deceived and hope one day they will see the truth. I'm not saying this to be taken in any wrong way, only to point out we are not uncomfortable at all around Athiests, ask your wife. One thing for sure, it's great you both get along as you say even though you have different beliefs, good for you two.

      June 25, 2014 at 8:04 am |
      • jaydavid666

        The truth? Ha, ha, ha. Good one!

        June 25, 2014 at 8:20 am |
      • zhilla1980wasp

        "we simply believe they are deceived and hope one day they will see the truth."

        in that one statement you have shown thew main thing, I, as an anti-theist truly dislike about religious folks.
        the funny thing is everything you did in that statement goes against quite a few of your own religious teachings.

        1) condecending
        2) high horsed
        3) holier than thou
        4) sure in absolutely nothing
        5) inclusive in being judgementally wrong
        6) flat out annoying

        here is an old saying; " before you speak about dog poo in my yard make certain your yard is clean first."

        June 25, 2014 at 8:21 am |
        • benhoody

          Sure hate the truth don't you?

          June 25, 2014 at 10:50 am |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          bennyboy: and what "truth" would that be?

          the ISIS' truth of an islamic nation?
          the westboro ministries "truth" on gay people and god hating soldiers?
          the truth of aliens abducting lonely farmers to experiment on them?
          the truths of the corrupt american government flying planes into the twin towers to start wars?

          what you have ben, is an opinion, a belief in something that has no proof; better known as faith.
          truth is something that can be shown and proven, your faith in your god being the correct god out of the millions of gods throughout history is not truth, it's belief.

          i simply don't care if there is or isn't a god, much less your version of god. i'm an anti-theist due to all the corrupt bs theists attempt to get away with while waving the banner of religious freedom.
          bigots.

          June 25, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • fascinatedspectator

          Benny – What "truth" are you referring to? You have yet to post any truth whatsoever!
          A mind is sad thing to waste ...

          June 25, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
        • benhoody

          I don't bother trying to prove anything to someone whose mind is already made up and closed tighter than a drum, that's a waste of time.

          June 25, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          bennyboy: yeah my mind is made up; until the point in time when a god any god shows itself and can be proven as such then i have no choice other than to go with what my logic and senses can detect.

          it is completely illogical to place all my chips on one god that could be the delusions of an insane isreali.

          so you show me your god; and mind you don't start with the whole "you have to believe to see" because if i believe in fairies or bigfoot i still can't see those regardless of how much fun that would be. lmao.

          June 26, 2014 at 7:43 am |
        • Keith

          I am here to argue with Christians about their theology and it's origins and I could care less if there is a god or not, as far as I know, all we get is this one shot at life and making something of it. It seems to me that many atheist, like you feel threatened by the beliefs of those that do believe. You made way more of his statement than was really there, get over yourself, your theology is no more valid than theirs is.

          June 28, 2014 at 12:09 am |
      • rafaelrobyns

        Apparently you had trouble comprehending the article, which pointed out that half of Americans would be uncomfortable having an atheist in their family. Apparently they don't see it as an opportunity to have them convert to their particular form of evidence-free delusion.

        June 25, 2014 at 8:21 am |
      • igaftr

        Yes...you consider atheists to be the ones deceived, when there is no evidence at all of any gods, and your bible was written by MEN.
        Consider the fact that YOU are the one taking mans word for a bunch of supernatural stuff that can not be verified...the irony that you think WE are the ones who are deceived.

        June 25, 2014 at 8:23 am |
        • Keith

          I like that, very well said.

          June 28, 2014 at 12:11 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        ben: What truth? You demanded from me on an earlier page that I prove your god doesn't exist, yet I'm not the one claiming it does. You further got offended when I said you needed an education for using the God of the Gaps argument. The Burden of Proof lies on the one making the claim...you can't prove a negative, so it doesn't fall on those saying they don't see the evidence to support your claim. We know the bible is full of fallacies. It is you who is too blind to see the truth.

        June 25, 2014 at 9:06 am |
        • benhoody

          TruthPrevails, We will all see in the long run won't we, if I'm wrong it won't matter will it, what if you are wrong?

          June 25, 2014 at 10:59 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Ah, Pascal's Wager... the fall-back argument of the coward and the intellectually lazy...

          June 25, 2014 at 11:24 am |
        • igaftr

          ben
          " if I'm wrong it won't matter will it, what if you are wrong?"

          Another false assumption.
          What if there is a god, but it dislikes when people follow the wrong god...but has no issue with those who don't believe in it.
          You would then be the one with the problem, and that scenario is just as likely as yours, so you see, you just cannot see that there is an infinite number of possibilities...not just two, and I can think of hundreds where a wrong belief ( as your likely is) can be harmful to you.

          June 25, 2014 at 11:30 am |
        • joey3467

          Ben, you could have picked the wrong god and end up in the same place as Truth Prevails, so just in case you better worship every god ever worshiped in all of human history.

          June 25, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        "we simply believe they are deceived and hope one day they will see the truth."

        ben,

        Since you are the one making the claim the burdan of proof is on you. You don't get to claim you have the truth and when asked to prove it say "you can't prove I don't".

        June 25, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
        • delevin

          And this is shines a light on the irrationality of religious belief.

          June 28, 2014 at 8:28 am |
    • Dalahäst

      Atheists do not make me uncomfortable. And they don't make me question my beliefs anymore than my fellow believers I'm in community with. Questioning beliefs is healthy. I'm not trying to maintain good standing within an organized religion, though.

      June 25, 2014 at 10:44 am |
    • jenkinskjkaren

      "Religiously motivated people are uncomfortable with atheists because it makes them question their own beliefs"
      This is a generalization, and not the best of them either. I've been around a lot of atheists (I'm a biochemist, after all...) and it has NEVER made ME question anything about my beliefs. But when atheist labmates find out I'm a Christian, they begin attacking my religion and questioning how a Christian with degrees in the life sciences reconciles "creationism vs Evolution". I've never questioned anyone else's beliefs or ridiculed them, so I'm not sure why atheists won't leave me alone.

      June 25, 2014 at 10:55 am |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        I would question you as to how you put aside your cognitive dissonance between your work and your faith. They don't seem to be compatible, and yet you do somehow. My level of initial confidence in your analytic judgements would be pretty low, until of course you proved otherwise.

        (I am an intelligence analyst, not a biochemist, but analytical standards should be relatively comparable)

        June 25, 2014 at 11:18 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          LET,

          Growing up Catholic I never really had a hard time overcoming the issue of evolution. It was just how "god did it". That is how the other christians I knew dealt with it too. I never had experience with interacting with science deniers until recently. If I had been taught evolution was a "lie" I would have rejected the dogma long before I did.

          June 25, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
      • delevin

        Jenkins,
        Are you a creationist? I, too am a biochemist (as well as a geneticist) and am only familiar with a couple of creationists in the biological sciences. Both are intelligent design creationists who have allowed their religious belief to cloud their critical thinking.

        June 28, 2014 at 8:33 am |
  9. zhilla1980wasp

    the greatest trick played on the religious............their "holy book" was written by the devil. lmao

    now look at it logically:

    1) who would have the most to gain from "inspiring" a book to make themselves look good?
    2) why is it their "god" wouldn't want them to obtain knowledge?
    3) what type of benevolent god would play evil tricks like telling a follower to off his son..........then stop them?
    4) if you were an evil person, the greatest PR trick is to publish a book saying the exact opposite.
    5) best joke is to create a creature with natural instincts..........then tell them it's wrong to use those instincts.

    summary: when i was christian i was taught as a child that the devil is the greatest trickster..........guess what "inspiring" a book to trick followers into believeing they are walking the path to heaven when they are walking the wrong direction willing makes work so much easier.
    their is an old story about a witch with backwards feet; when people try to escape her they are unknowingly running right toward her, when they are chasing her they are running away from her. (see the fun in how trickery works)

    June 25, 2014 at 7:33 am |
    • benhoody

      zhilla, you are right, the devil is a great trickster, he sure has you fooled.

      June 25, 2014 at 7:48 am |
      • ugetthefacts

        and you are making this up? How do you know so much about the invisible? The poster never stated it as fact. The poster merely used a religious example to show it would work either way. You cannot have a valid argument stating fact when the argument is about something that is invisible with an existence which cannot be measured. No proof at all.

        June 25, 2014 at 7:55 am |
      • zhilla1980wasp

        i adore the childish reply. lmao.

        i posted a simple observation on how easy it would be for any being to trick the masses and your best reply is

        "hyuk hyuk he sure fooled you."

        June 25, 2014 at 8:16 am |
      • igaftr

        Ben.
        There is just as much evidence that "god" inspired the bible as Satan. There is far more evidence that man made up the whole thing.
        How would you know what is true considering the staggering lack of evidence of any supernatural ent!ties?

        June 25, 2014 at 8:17 am |
      • rafaelrobyns

        What a cute little view you have of Satan! That little imp. A trickster indeed!

        June 25, 2014 at 8:23 am |
    • zhilla1980wasp

      here is another cool observation.

      if i was lucifer; why do you think i would even tell you? why would i attempt to battle over your soul when i can just have you give it to me? lmao

      it's easy see:
      you happen to be in your favorite eatery and a slightly above average attractive guy happens to spill coffee on themselves in the booth next to yours.
      acting embarrassed they ask to sit at you booth with you, seeing you are alone or with a friend.
      attempting to be considerate you allow it.
      as the conversation goes along he learns what it is that you would like to be or want the most........and it just so happens that he can introduce you to people he knows that can make your dream happen.

      now the nefarious part............with a smile on his face he extends his hand and you accept unknowing you just sealed the pact.......you now belong to him. walking off ellated with himself.

      (mind you this is how i would do it)

      June 25, 2014 at 8:43 am |
  10. letaalexander

    This is interesting to me. I have two 17 year old daughters. We were at school one day and a boy was being very nice to one of them. I asked her why they weren't dating as it seemed they liked each other a lot. She said, "Mom, he's Christian and Republican. We disagree on Jesus, guns, abortion, and gay rights. Friends only." What happened to talking about music, food, and clothes?

    June 25, 2014 at 7:28 am |
    • benhoody

      letaalexander,, Just talking about food music and clthes sounds pretty shallow and boring to me, the guy is lucky to not be dating her, he would be yawning throughout the date.

      June 25, 2014 at 7:56 am |
      • rafaelrobyns

        Yes, clearly she needs to be with someone who doesn't yawn through talking about things that actually have meaning.

        June 25, 2014 at 8:24 am |
      • zhilla1980wasp

        rude much ben?

        where are your christian values?

        June 25, 2014 at 8:33 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Only a true ass would make a statement such as that. What did you do on dates? Take them to church?

        June 25, 2014 at 9:11 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Since no one else has said it, I will. Your daughter sounds like an opinionated, bright and intelligent person.

      June 25, 2014 at 9:50 am |
      • nojinx

        Agreed. I wish I had your daughter's sensibility when I was her age.

        June 25, 2014 at 10:01 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        I think benhoody's ass hat comment distracted from that but I agree with you.

        June 25, 2014 at 10:02 am |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        The last thing this country needs are more religious/political/societal drones... we have plenty of those already

        June 25, 2014 at 10:17 am |
    • tnfreethinker

      Great parenting!

      June 25, 2014 at 10:31 am |
      • lunchbreaker

        TN for Tennessee?

        June 25, 2014 at 10:36 am |
  11. graphicstyle7

    I have a friend who is every Conservative religious person's nightmare. He is a VERY atheist Jew who totally believes in socialism and behaves in all sorts of decadent ways. Seriously, the nicest person you'd ever want to meet. He goes way out of his way for his fellow human being. His decadent ways are always between consenting adults. Contrast that with some priest who molests children....

    You see my point. Thing is, there are atheists out there who are not like that, there are priests out there who would never harm a child. There are always exceptions to the rule. When people understand this and respect the fact that we all have a right to believe as we wish, then it will be a better world.

    June 25, 2014 at 7:28 am |
    • fintronics

      "He is a VERY atheist Jew "

      What exactly is an atheist jew??

      June 25, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
      • Keith

        you are born a Jew, you don't have to be religious.

        June 28, 2014 at 12:17 am |
        • fintronics

          Judaism = " Judaism is a monotheistic religion, with the Torah as its foundational text (part of the larger text known as the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible), and supplemental oral tradition represented by later texts such as the Mishnah and the Talmud. Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenantal relationship God established with the Children of Israel"

          Jews believe in god, atheists don't

          June 30, 2014 at 10:22 am |
        • Keith

          To be a Jew is not a religious commitment. You are born a Jew, if you choose you can be religious.

          Practicing Judaism is a whole different thing than being a Jew.

          June 30, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • fintronics

          So even though I was born in New Jersey, because my ancestry is European, I am "born" a European??

          June 30, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • Keith

          no you belong to what ever ethnic group your parents belong to. Being a Jew is an ethnic thing unless you decide to practice Judaism. You can't become a Jew just by practicing Judaism either.

          June 30, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • fintronics

          What I should have said was............. Italian American, I am born Italian? Jewish American, I am born a jew?

          ......... ?

          June 30, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
        • Keith

          There are two things Religion and Ethnicity, they do not have to be connected. Many Jews do not belong to a synagogue or practice any of the Jewish religion. Some Jews are Christians.

          June 30, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
        • fintronics

          "An ethnicity, or ethnic group, is a social group of people who identify with each other based on common ancestral, social, cultural, or national experience. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be associated with shared cultural heritage, ancestry, history, homeland, language (dialect), or ideology, and with symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style, physical appearance, etc."

          No?... you're saying if my parents were born in Italy, I am "born" Italian..... same thing as saying "born a jew"

          If I am born in America, I am "born American" regardless of my ancestry.

          July 1, 2014 at 7:57 am |
        • Keith

          I don't really know why you are having a problem with this. Maybe you just need to ask a Jew. I have many old friends from Detroit who identify as Jews because they were born to Russian Jew Parents and they are not religious at all. Religion does not make you a Jew, ethnicity does.

          July 1, 2014 at 8:04 pm |
        • fintronics

          I should have added..... I understand what you are saying.... I just take issue with the statement "born a jew" you have an ethnic history based on your ancestry, fine.... but you are not "born a jew"

          July 1, 2014 at 8:00 am |
  12. scootfl78

    Is this actually half of the U.S., CNN, or half of the religious people you polled for this "scientific" survey?

    Stop assuming you know all about America and enough with the phony polls.

    June 25, 2014 at 7:21 am |
  13. ugetthefacts

    Dictators and religions are quite the same. They love to control, make up stories and use fears to making people believe their made up stories. We've seen their destruction to human life.

    June 25, 2014 at 7:20 am |
  14. rogercottonsr

    Religion is one of the main reasons we have so many problems in the USA now. This country is still living in the Dark Ages.

    June 25, 2014 at 7:19 am |
  15. charlieohay

    Atheists, like any group, should not be seen as being of a single mind. I think there exists this impression that we meet in underground bunkers where we swear allegiance to the words of Christopher Hitchens and plot the downfall of organized religion. Rest assured this is false. For many it's simply a personal choice to be what I call "aspiritual." My only problem with faith is when people choose to weaponize it.

    June 25, 2014 at 7:11 am |
    • ugetthefacts

      atheism is natural. Scare children with a place they will get painful third degree burns with scary monster who will eat them is traumatic, mind altering. Telling a child they have a dirty sin in them, reduces them. I understand why many adults are religious, the stuff is mind altering. Terrorist use these tactics on children. It's no wonder many can be violent and feel as if they are doing good.

      June 25, 2014 at 7:17 am |
      • letaalexander

        I spent the first 16 years of my life being raised as a "good" Catholic. I felt guilty all the time. I was going to hell for everything I did. Lie about your veggies? Hell. Hit your sister? Hell.

        My kids were raised without the religious stuff. They're good kids. Are they perfect? No. They do the right thing because it makes them proud of themselves, because it gives them a good feeling to help others, because it's just the right thing to do, not because they're worried that some day they might end up in a pit of fire.

        June 25, 2014 at 7:39 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Oh, you're one of that Hitchens cult... Real Atheists follow the word of Dawkins...

      June 25, 2014 at 10:24 am |
  16. dale3242

    As an Atheist, I detest hyper religious relatives and in-laws. My Atheist brother-in-law's funeral was hijacked by his hyper religious daughter and her minister. It was a travesty. At my mother's funeral, my hyper religious sister-in-law spoke up quickly and loudly to the presiding minister's question as to religion, that of course everyone there was a Christian. The effect was to preempt any idea of religious diversity. Religious groups have shoved their views onto our money (In god we trust), our pledge (under god), our state motto (Ohio: with god all things are possible), our schools (creationism), and our health care (birth control, abortion). The latest hypocrisy are the "religious" employers who are trying to shove their religion onto their employees and thus make a mockery of the term "land of the free". So count me as a person very much offended by those who shove their religion into everything they do and into the lives of others.

    June 25, 2014 at 7:03 am |
  17. ugetthefacts

    If only the religious would show us their god.

    June 25, 2014 at 6:46 am |
    • benhoody

      Ugetthefacts, if only the non religious would prove or show us there is no God.

      June 25, 2014 at 7:40 am |
      • ugetthefacts

        prove your god isn't a monkey. You can't. My post stands.

        June 25, 2014 at 7:58 am |
        • benhoody

          Ugetthefacts,, thank you for proving my point, I knew you couldn't and that you would only twist it around as you did, that's all you could do.

          June 25, 2014 at 8:07 am |
        • ugetthefacts

          not true. I asked you a question. That is to prove your god isn't a monkey. Can you prove this?

          June 25, 2014 at 8:09 am |
        • benhoody

          Even a monkey could prove that one, think it through a little more and you might get the answer, although I don't think so because your mind is totally made up and any proof still wouldn't change it, just like my mind is made up because I have already proven to myself that God does exist, I have no doubt what so ever and don't have to prove anything to anyone who refuses to listen anyway? If your happy with what you believe that's fine, your choice, I'm happy with what I believe because I know it's the truth and God is absolutely real, thankfully.

          June 25, 2014 at 8:18 am |
        • nojinx

          How do you know god exists? Could you hanged your mind if you encountered new information?

          June 25, 2014 at 9:50 am |
        • ugetthefacts

          You can't answer my question, understood. You cannot prove your god isn't a monkey and at the same time you are telling us there is a specific god. How am I to take you seriously? Your only response is that, in your imagination, a god exists.

          You answer to me is that you cannot prove a god exists outside your imagination.

          June 25, 2014 at 8:26 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "your mind is totally made up and any proof still wouldn't change it" says the guy with no proof.

          Teacher "Well, where is this homework you claim to have done or do I have to fail you again Timmy?"
          Timmy "You mind is totally made up that you want to fail me anyway so showing my homework to you wouldn't change anything..."
          Teacher "No, it would change everything as the whole point was for you to produce work that was assigned to you. If you show us proof of the work you did then I won't have to fail you and put you in the corner with a dunce cap."
          Timmy "No, no, your mind is made up, I've already told you i did my homework and if you don't believe me that's on you, you should have to wear the dunce cap..."
          Teacher "sigh, you just aren't all that smart are you Timmy..."

          June 25, 2014 at 11:08 am |
      • stevepatt46

        Very difficult to prove something does not exist, much easier to prove something does exist. You believe in a God yet you can not show evidence of its existence and we say,"we don't believe you" the proof is on you not us.

        June 25, 2014 at 8:02 am |
      • zhilla1980wasp

        ben, that's an easy one. you should have asked me sooner. lmao

        take a look outside; do you happen to see a god walking down the street?
        how about looking up while it's raining with your mouth open, do you see god in the clouds?

        if you answered yes to either one of these, please find a doc to give you good meds. lmao

        June 25, 2014 at 8:29 am |
      • igaftr

        ben
        The wind is actually created by giant invisible dragons.

        It is up to you to prove they aren't there. I do not need to prove anything.

        See how your logic is flawed? YOU make the claim, YOU need to back it up.

        June 25, 2014 at 9:02 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        ben: Prove that Zeus, Odin, unicorns, dragons don't exist. When you comprehend why it is that the burden doesn't belong to you, you'll comprehend why we are not the ones responsible for proving your imaginary friend god doesn't exist.
        As stated a page back, an education is a wonderful thing. People who think like you hold society back and are true blemishes to humanity.

        June 25, 2014 at 9:14 am |
      • nojinx

        It is not possible to prove the non-existence of something. There are an infinite number of things I cannot prove. It would be illogical to believe in any of them without reasonable evidence.

        If I believe in it without proof, then what reason could I have that is valid?

        June 25, 2014 at 9:45 am |
      • fintronics

        Ben.... you're not the sharpest pencil in the box are you...

        June 25, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
        • benhoody

          You seem to be a brick short of a load yourself.

          June 25, 2014 at 7:55 pm |
        • fintronics

          ...says the guy who doesn't understand that you can't prove a negative....... whew...

          June 30, 2014 at 10:26 am |
      • jbhollen

        Can't prove a negative so I won't go there. It is possible to compare the "likelihood" of there being a god or not. So, with that said which of the following is more likely?

        1.) The universe exists and is subject to physical laws that are observable, repeatable and provable. There are no invisible supernatural forces at play that are immune to these laws.

        2.) The universe was created by and is subject to the whims of an unobservable, omnipotent and omniscient ent.ity who has the power to violate every known physical law and constant in the universe. This ent.ity however choses to hide all proof of its existence and never demonstrate its immunity to natural laws. All humans are to worship this invisible, unobservable, omniscient and omnipotent ent.ity even understanding that omniscience and omnipotence are mutually exclusive.

        Putting aside all superst.itions, wishes and wants and using only that which is observable and provable as the basis for an answer, which of these two options is more likely; 1 or 2.?

        June 29, 2014 at 2:41 am |
  18. richunix

    Good point

    June 25, 2014 at 6:23 am |
  19. jonasmcgreggor

    As a white male atheist, it seems that I am part of what has become the most discriminated against group of people in the west.
    Hooray.

    June 25, 2014 at 5:29 am |
    • somersetcace1

      I don't know about "discriminated against," but certainly we seem to be the most misunderstood group. Then again, it doesn't help that anti-theists/religionists like to speak for all atheists. I'm not an anti-theist. Sure, I'll fight against the religious indoctrination but I don't care what other people believe. Whatever floats their boat. It's their lives.

      June 25, 2014 at 5:42 am |
  20. Reality

    The relatives of atheists should be constantly reminded that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are atheists.

    Some added talking points for said relatives:

    "Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF or the Gates Foundation) is one of the largest private foundations in the world, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates. It was launched in 2000 and is said to be the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world.[4] It is "driven by the interests and passions of the Gates family".[5] The primary aims of the foundation are, globally, to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and in America, to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology. The foundation, based in Seattle, Washington, is controlled by its three trustees: Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. Other principal officers include Co-Chair William H. Gates, Sr. and Chief Executive Officer Susan Desmond-Hellmann.

    It had an endowment of US$38.3 billion as of 30 June 2013.[3] The scale of the foundation and the way it seeks to apply business techniques to giving makes it one of the leaders in the philanthrocapitalism revolution in global philanthropy,[6] though the foundation itself notes that the philanthropic role has limitations.[5] In 2007, its founders were ranked as the second most generous philanthropists in America, and Warren Buffett the first.[7] As of May 16, 2013, Bill Gates had donated US$28 billion to the foundation. "

    June 25, 2014 at 12:31 am |
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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.