April 11th, 2011
11:21 AM ET

Leading atheist publishes secular Bible

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

The question arose early in British academic A.C. Grayling’s career: What if those ancient compilers who’d made Bibles, the collected religious texts that were translated, edited, arranged and published en masse, had focused instead on assembling the non-religious teachings of civilization’s greatest thinkers?

What if the book that billions have turned to for ethical guidance wasn’t tied to commandments from God or any one particular tradition but instead included the writings of Aristotle, the reflections of Confucius, the poetry of Baudelaire? What would that book look like, and what would it mean?

Decades after he started asking such questions, what Grayling calls “a lifetime’s work” has hit bookshelves. “The Good Book: A Humanist Bible,” subtitled “A Secular Bible” in the United Kingdom, was published this month. Grayling crafted it by using more than a thousand texts representing several hundred authors, collections and traditions.

The Bible would have been “a very different book and may have produced a very different history for mankind,” had it drawn on the work of philosophers and writers as opposed to prophets and apostles, says Grayling, a philosopher and professor at Birkbeck College, University of London, who is an atheist.

“Humanist ethics didn’t claim to be derived from a deity," he says. "(They) tended to start from a sympathetic understanding of human nature and accept that there’s a responsibility that each individual has to work out the values they live by and especially to recognize that the best of our good lives revolve around having good relationships with people.” 

Humanists rely on human reason as an alternative to religion or belief in God in attempting to find meaning and purpose in life.

Determined to make his material accessible, Grayling arranged his nearly 600-page "Good Book" much like the Bible, with double columns, chapters (the first is even called Genesis) and short verses. And much like the best-selling King James Bible, which is celebrating its 400th year, his book is written in a type of English that transcends time.

Like the Bible, "The Good Book," opens with a garden scene. But instead of Adam and Eve, Grayling's Genesis invokes Isaac Newton, the British scientist who pioneered the study of gravity.

"It was from the fall of fruit from such a tree that new inspiration came for inquiry into the nature of things," reads a verse from "The Good Book's" first chapter.

"When Newton sat in his garden, and saw what no one had seen before: that an apple draws the earth to itself, and the earth the apple," the verse continues, "Through a mutual force of nature that holds all things, from the planets to the stars, in unifying embrace."

The book's final chapter features a secular humanist version of the Ten Commandments: "Love well, seek the good in all things, harm no others, think for yourself, take responsibility, respect nature, do your utmost, be informed, be kind, be courageous: at least, sincerely try."

Grayling, reached Friday at a New York hotel just as he began his U.S. book tour, has been dubbed by some a “velvet atheist” or an “acceptable face of atheism,” he says, in contrast to more stridently anti-religious writers like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, both of whom he counts as friends.

In other contexts, Grayling - who will soon take over as president of the British Humanist Association - admits he’s written critically about religion. But not in "The Good Book."

“It’s not part of a quarrel,” he says of his latest work. “It’s a modest offering… another contribution to the conversation that mankind must have with itself,” and one he says he wrote for everyone, Bible lovers included.

Given where society is today, inviting that conversation is all the more important, he says.

More than 16% of Americans say they are unaffiliated religiously, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Even so, Grayling says the hunger for a spiritual connection continues. That yearning, he argues , can be satisfied for many by taking a walk in the country, curling up with a beautiful book of poetry or even in falling in love.

“In all different ways, we can celebrate the good in the world,” he says.

While many intellectual traditions – religious and otherwise – teach that there’s “one right way to live,” Grayling says he hopes “The Good Book” will encourage people to “go beyond your teachers, your text” to understand that “we have to respect and relate to one another.”

Early sales indicate that people are open to what this new "Bible" teaches. On Monday, Grayling’s book was number 41 on Amazon’s UK bestseller list and number 1 in the philosophy and spirituality categories.

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Atheism • Bible • Books • Culture & Science • Ethics

soundoff (3,021 Responses)
  1. Teck

    God created us in return we have to worship Him. If not we will go to hell!! If you do good , do you aspect in return? Those do good but don't believe in God will go to hell and those evils believe in God will go to heaven!!! Fair God??? So there is no creator God!!!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  2. Gizzy

    I have to admit, reading these comments is making me laugh. How many of you arguing against the contents of this book have actually READ it? You are assuming things about the contents and the ideology it represents based on a poorly written article on CNN.

    There are always going to be people who do not believe in some sort of omnipotent deity. If there is a book advocating that those people be kind to others, be generous, be loving... even WITHOUT the influence of a deity... why on earth would anyone be critical of that? Shouldn't we ALL be kind to others, be generous, be loving... regardless of who or what we do or do not believe in? Is that not something to strive for as a species?

    April 11, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  3. Jimmy James

    Top Atheist? Do they have a hierarchy? Isn't that a lil' like a religious order?

    April 11, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  4. P54

    Isaac Newton said he studied the Bible more than science and thought he was one of the chosen few elected by God to understand the Bible. Now he is being used by the humanists in their effort to discredit the Bible. Interesting. The Bible, which is the inspired word of God, says only a fool says there is no God. If Newton believed in the Creator God, how come the atheist can use his sayings? Now, you either believe you are created and a Creator is behind everything created or you don't believe. If you believe the word of someone created, how much more should you believe the ONE who created everything. Maybe this new book ends with Revelation since it started with Genesis. The question to be asked though, is it going to reveal the truth or are you going to admit to be a fool? Sir Isaac Newton believed the Bible was the word of God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made"...." And the Word became flesh"........Jesus Christ is LORD God almighty.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • FifthApe

      Newton was also into Alchemy. He was brilliant but you and I know MORE about our world now that he ever could imagine.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Hmm, but I wonder if Newton would be on here and acting as humble as you are.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • FifthApe


      We all stand on the shoulders of the giants of the past. Science is my passion (Engineer). We know so much about our place in the universe and we will know more tomorrow. I have a feeling if he were alive today he'd be at most a Deist.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • Lycidas

      With that I agree; Abraham, Moses, David, Josiah, Isaiah, Amos, Jesus, Paul, Augustine of Hippo, John Paul II.....all giants whom shoulders we stand upon along with those of Plato, Socrates, Michelagelo, Einstein and many more.

      Perhaps Newton would be. or the grandeur of the universe might just make his faith in God more concrete. Guess we will never know.

      April 12, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  5. Evan

    Personally, I see this as a compliment to Christianity, because the author was obviously able to see and be inspired by the good teachings found in the Bible, and now he is passing on the good word.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
  6. Dan Durea

    Don't but this book. You will be wasting your time money. I have read it and regret paying for it. It's full of garbage. This so-called philosopher probably has paid CNN thousands of dollars as part of his promotional campaign for the book. Don't be driven by the sheep who say they are excited to buy the book.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
  7. zero gods

    I had to stifle a tear while reading the "secular/humanist ten commandments" summarized in this article. I believe that this book will help to make the world a better place. Thanks, A.C. Grayling.

    April 11, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • Dan Durea

      Stifling a tear? You must have a major depression in your life my friend.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • zero gods

      Quite the opposite – my life is suffused with joy. I find it moving to hear someone describe goodness in a way that resonates with my own experiences.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
  8. ColdestWinter

    I don't know why atheist even try and discuss religion with religious people, rational though doesn't work on the religious, if it did their' wouldn't be any religious people.....

    April 11, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Yeah because they aren't open minded like you *rolls eyes*

      April 11, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • FifthApe

      After all this is what they believe (not much rational thought here).

      Definition of Christianity: the belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • Muneef

      Well maybe now that atheists have a Bible Book they became as religious..although all they need now is to elect a prophet for their teachings....?!

      April 11, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @FifthApe- Wow..your post modern pop culture interpetation has a lot lacking in it. But hey...keep your pseudo-intellectualism alive.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • FifthApe


      Its a beauty eh? Works better with the literalists and I'm glad you're not one of those. YECs are the worst.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder....the above wants me to blink a lot.

      April 12, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  9. Thumb

    It is funny to me, most Atheists or people who call themselves Atheists are just people that have some problem of one kind or another with God. To be truly Atheist would mean you not care that another person believed in God or not, not try to convince people he don't exist. His styling this after the Bible is the same tactic early church leaders used to gain converts, I also find it funny that he is using writings from long dead writers who did or probably did have a belief in God even if not Orthodox, but of course we can't ask them. I have a lot problems with the church,but that is not God. In my opinion this guy is not a true Atheist, this book is probably well written and quite a few fools will say it proves there isn't a God. It's all about the money!

    April 11, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • salvatore

      Atheists aren't trying to prove there isn't a God (which is impossible). They're saying there is no credible evidence that there is a God. Atheism is the null hypothesis.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • steve

      i have not problem with "God" since there is no evidence of the existence of such a being, why would I? I have a problem with people killing and hating in the name or religion.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  10. Jackie Treehorn

    Once all you Christians get finished here debating with the atheists, you can start to take on the millions of other human religions that have been followed throughout time, all contradicting Christianity, and show them how wrong they all are and how you and only you have the one and only truth. Lucky you!

    April 11, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Why would anyone do that?

      That would be like getting the atheists to go to every religion and prove that it was started by a man and explain the why, how and when they created it.

      Would do that? Is it needed in your belief system?

      April 11, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  11. Sasquatch

    I believe in Leprechauns. I believe that the Leprechaun King created the entire Universe about 6,000 years ago. I know there is a substantial amount of evidence suggesting that the Universe is significantly older than this, but I think a lot of that evidence comes from bad science, or from a worldwide conspiracy of scientists who want to deny Leprechauns.

    I know this because it is written in the Leprechaun Chronicles, a book cobbled together from various authors, most unknown, by our church during the Dark Ages.

    The Leprechaun King lives in Leprechaun Heaven, where he busies himself answering prayers, running the Universe and recording the lives of humans for their final judgment before him. He is surrounded by an entire society of magical beings – his son Merlin, the Holy Leprechaun Spirit, the good fairy Mary, thousands of other fairies, pixies and the souls of many millions of dead people.

    Each Leprechaun pixie has a special task. For example, Saint Christopher is the patron-pixie of travelers and it is his job to intercede with the Leprechaun king on behalf of travelers to keep them safe. Most countries and professions similarly have a special Leprechaun who pays them special attention – even lawyers. There are strict rules governing the roles, responsibilities of the various Leprechauns, elves, pixies and other heavenly beings.

    I believe that the Leprechaun King loves me and hears my prayers. He intervenes in my life periodically by saving me from various ills. All I have to do is think to myself and he reads my mind and answers my prayers. He loves me and when I die, provided I have lived a good life, I will go to Leprechaun Heaven, where I will live happily ever after with all other humans who have ever led good lives.

    I know there is not a lot of evidence to support my beliefs, but that is just the point. The Leprechaun King wants us to have “faith,” so he never reveals himself. To make an unambiguous appearance and settle once and for all the question of his existence would deprive us of free will and, even though he is all knowing, he would not know who his true believers were. In fact, I believe that the Leprechaun King is “beyond understanding”. He is “outside the Universe” and any time I am faced with something about my Leprechaun belief that makes no sense, I don’t dare question it, I just close my mind and tell myself that "the Leprechaun King moves in mysterious ways" or that my mind is too small to understand the greatness of the Leprechaun King. These are satisfying answers to me.

    Some people, called “atheists,” are skeptical of my belief in the Leprechaun King. They point out many inherent contradictions and unsupported assumptions that underwrite my belief in Leprechauns. But, they can’t prove he doesn’t exist, so he must exist. They also can't definitively explain where the Universe came from or how life on Earth first started, so it must be the Leprechaun King.

    And so what! Even if I am wrong, and go my whole life believing in nonexistent Leprechauns, I have lost nothing. However, if they are wrong, the Leprechaun King will send them to hell to burn forever in the presence of the Evil Ground Troll. Am I convincing you to believe in Leprechauns yet?

    April 11, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Ah, the children of Lugh who slayed Balor. Tell me, where is his eye?

      April 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "I don’t dare question it, I just close my mind and tell myself that"

      So closed minded, to bad you are not Christian....most of us are quite rational in our beliefs and understand why we believe the way we do. That is good right?

      April 11, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Jackie Treehorn

      Heresy! The universe was created by a giant flying spaghetti monster, as revealed by the mystic prophet Bobby Henderson:


      April 11, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Oy vey..more linkage.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • EF

      Thank you for this, you really made my day.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
  12. Conner

    I find it humorous that a few of y'all brought up Hitler as an example of "human beings having an innate sense of right or wrong" Hitler was a very charismatic, passionate and powerful public speaker. Unfortunately he wasn't all together upstairs. He was able to convince millions of people that their race was the "master race." My point is, if a BOOK can convince BILLIONS of people through out time, to believe in talking snakes, world covering floods, that a man can walk on water and turn water into wine, convince kings and queens to send half starved men into battle to the " Holy land" and kill in the name of God, then SURELY, one man can make you believe that your race and nationality is superior over all others.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  13. Muneef

    [17:84] Say, "Everyone works in accordance with his belief, and your Lord knows best which ones are guided in the right path."

    April 11, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
  14. Mark9988

    Life is too short to argue about this book. There is one truth and it will all get sorted out in the end. Then, we'll all find out whether our individual beliefs were right or wrong. Until then, there's a book that explains this all, but it isn't the one this man wrote.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • Ffaelan Condragh

      Life is not "too short". It's the longest thing you will ever do.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Snookie

      No, if there is no god, then you just stop when you die, so you don't find out. It's really a shame that the religious people don't get to find out that they have wasted their lives, the only thing they really had, in service of a delusion.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
  15. God

    I don't exist.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • Perseus


      April 11, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • God

      No, Zeus is down the hallway, fourth door on the left. He non-exists right between Kali and Quetzalcoatl.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • shack

      I do too!!!

      April 11, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • shack

      exist that is 😉

      April 11, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • shack

      What I mean is I, you and we exist.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • Christian

      Prove it!!!

      April 11, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • RAHRAH

      Listen hear bunch of athiests:

      God greatest gift to mankind is 'free will'. God can do absolutely anything He wants but He WILL not go Against His promise and FORCE HIMSELF ON US! God is bound to the words HE speaks. God would be a hypocrite if HE twisted our arms and legs to believe in HIM.

      With so many children suffering, instead of blaming God, why not look to yourself or the 1 % of of the population that holds most of our country's wealth?

      And to Humanist who are guided by principles that are shaped by society- so im assuming if you were born in the era of slavery- you would be okay with that??? Everyone human being is born with an innate sense of right and wrong- we were made in the likeness of HIM.

      I feel sorry for you athiests because when your dead, burning in hell, you are gonna wish You believed in a HIGH POWER 🙂

      well ,you cant save em all

      April 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • Muneef

      Guys really enjoyed you sense of humor...made me laugh...speacially the prove it part...haha

      April 11, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  16. FifthApe

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
    – Epicurus

    April 11, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • Lycidas

      God created evil and good, therefor the argument of his omnipotence is invalid.
      He is able, but why should he?
      He made evil and good.
      God is God, not because of our views on good or evil.

      What might be more important than all of this is the fact that Epicurus was not talking about the God of the Torah or Jesus. Why? Because he was in the wrong region and a few centuries too early.

      April 11, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • Ms DE

      FREE WILL.

      April 11, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • FifthApe

      "Why? Because he was in the wrong region and a few centuries too early."

      LOL – thats one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard. Of course you happen to pick the *right* one. Good thing you were not born in Mecca or you might be praying to the WRONG god.....

      April 11, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • FifthApe

      "He is able, but why should he?"

      Why oh why does god like to watch young babies starve to death? Does he get off on it?

      April 11, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @FifthApe- "Pick"???

      How exactly do you think I came to my religion anyway? Pick? Are you daft? Did you just pick from a random set of variables to what you believe? I would hope not. So please show some respect and quit assuming you have any inkling about how I (or anyone else) came to their belief.

      Unless you think it's fair to say you "picked" your beliefs.

      April 11, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Why oh why does god like to watch young babies starve to death? Does he get off on it?"

      Why would you imply that it does?

      April 11, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • NothingToAdd

      Free Willy

      April 11, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • FifthApe


      No, you were most likely brought up as xyz – like the majority of the religious around the world. And you are right, picked does lead one to believe some actual logic goes into it. And there obviously is none of that give the ridiculous myths in all the religious texts.

      Tell me. What god would you pray to had you been born in Mecca? 🙂 See what I mean.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • FifthApe


      If hes all powerful you would think he would stop it? If you or I with a wave of our hand could stop it we would. In fact if I could stop all children from starving in this world and I DID NOT.... what would you think of me. So, if god chooses not to stop it I have to assume he likes it – or at a minimum does not care that a 12 month old baby is dieing in the most horrible way.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • FifthApe


      Have you read your bible? Remember god killed all but 8 in his flood. How many babies were in that number? How many un-born?

      He's a monster. Read Numbers 31. Exodus 21. I could go on. Its a beast....

      April 11, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Ah..sorry, thanks for playing but my parents were atheists.

      I am glad that you decided to lump all faiths together. Kind of shows that your are highly biased toward any and all fiaths with no room for a neutral point of view.

      No I don't see because that is a hypothetical. Odd, I thought atheists were not about the unprovable but that which can be proven. There are Hindus, Jews and Muslims where I live...but I am not any of them. There are Baptists, Methodists, Catholics and I am none of them.

      You see ape, I have arrived to what I believe based on what I have studied in my life. Unlike your obvious prejudice views on those of faith, I have arrived to what I believe in my own manner.
      Did you not do the same? I would assume you were raised in a Christian dominated region. Why are you not Christian? Gasp, could it be because you learned certain stuff and decided all by your little self that you do not believe in God? Why would you be able to arrive to an independant conclusion but assume that a Christian could not?

      April 11, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Again, why would he?

      You assume a great deal of morality upon yourself. You are thinking about how a finite being with a finite understanding of reality would react if suddenly had an infinite ability. I am sorry, but I have my doubts you would rise up to the moral heights you think you would.

      Hmm, you have the power to help the poor. Do you? If not, do you like it?

      You see a man on the side of the road holding up a sign asking for money but he has better shoes than you. Do you give or drive past?

      You will forgive me if I do not consider you an expert on the concepts of infinite compassion and mercy.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Have you read your bible?"

      Yes I have and you are making a few errors in your above statements. First, you assume you are your own self. You are not, God owns all and can do as he sees fit. Again, we are not in a position to accurately gauge how inifinite mercy or compassion really works.

      Your other error is that you are assuming I am a literalist. I am not.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • FifthApe

      "First, you assume you are your own self. You are not, God owns all and can do as he sees fit. Again, we are not in a position to accurately gauge how inifinite mercy or compassion really works."

      I rest my case. The theist mind at work. "God owns all" – you know this HOW? And I'm sorry but I AM my own self. You make claims that you have zero – nada – no evidence for. You pull it from the air. This is not rational thinking. This is the same thinking that Muslim bombers use.... they know gods mind. And thats the problem.

      And yes, I can "gauge how inifinite mercy or compassion really works". This statement of yours. Infinite is a very large amount and we surly don't see that in the world today. The world as we see it today works as it there are nothing but natural laws in play. Bad stuff happens. Good people get hurt – there is sometimes no reason to it.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • FifthApe


      So if you had been born in Mecca and still lived there would you be ANYTHING other than Muslim?

      April 11, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "And I'm sorry but I AM my own self. You make claims that you have zero – nada – no evidence for. "

      Really? How can you prove that?

      I have all kinds of evidence but you would not accept them, you are unable to. Don't get mad at me because you are unable to understand faith.

      April 12, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "This is the same thinking that Muslim bombers use.... they know gods mind."

      Sorry Prosecutor but you got that wrong. I never claimed to know what God is thinking. Nice try, but in vain.

      April 12, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "And yes, I can "gauge how inifinite mercy or compassion really works". "

      And you say "very large". How unscientific of you.

      On this I rest my case.

      April 12, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Bad stuff happens. Good people get hurt – there is sometimes no reason to it."

      Incorrect. What you should have said is that there is sometimes no apparent reason to what our species have been able to understand. No where in the Torah or the Bible did it ever say that bad things would not happen or that the good prosper.

      April 12, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "So if you had been born in Mecca and still lived there would you be ANYTHING other than Muslim?"

      Still gnawing on that bone are we? No, I wouldn't be. Now plz tell me I am wrong and prove to me within the realm of scientific method how I am wrong.

      Or you could just admit you are speaking on a topic that has a lot to do with hundreds if not thousands of varibles other than the simple one you put up and don't know what you are talking about.

      April 12, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  17. chuck

    Atheist have now formed their own religion by the use of this book. Welcome to the club! It's the same thing all the religions have done in the past....

    April 11, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • Scott

      You have made a very stupid statement.

      April 11, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • Steve

      US SUperior Ct of appeals Already heard and ruled on Atheism IS a religion....Thus it to has beliefs....too funny..atheism is lunacy....for those who are atheists Escape while you can

      April 11, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • badmudda

      so your admitting ur book is just a bunch of made up stories to help u live ur life as well?

      April 11, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • It's a tarp!

      @Steve: The Supreme Court did, in fact, foolishly label atheists to be members of a religion. While it is entirely speculation on my part, I can only assume it was done to protect an individuals ability to be protected in their *LACK* of belief in a deity from all those who would seek to impost their religious beliefs down that individuals throat.

      It is unfortunate that this incident happened to be a ruling in favor of a prison inmate who was refused permission to form an atheist study group. It demeans the factors at hand, and led to this absurd notion of there being an atheist religion. By default, an atheist refutes any claim in a supreme being. Religions, on the other hand, insist that their had to be a creator, and form all manner of absurd ritual around that belief.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      Yes and NOT collecting stamps is a hobby!!!!

      April 11, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
  18. strongbelief2

    People need to take a few minutes and google Zeitun Egypt, Coptic Church, 1968, and see the apparition caught on camera. It would have been pretty difficult to fake that back in 1968 . People really need to think.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • Fred Furdinander

      Simple double exposures like that were incredibly easy to do in 1868, not to mention 1968. Google "William Mumler" and see how someone did better quality work 100 years before your "evidence."

      Amazing that such a clumsy hoax still has believers. Though I guess that explains all religion, really.

      April 11, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • Bill


      April 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  19. Ruspanic

    Pssh. Thomas Jefferson did something like this ages ago.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • Nonayo

      Maybe, but I bet this fellow had a lot more research material at his disposal!

      April 11, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • Ryan A - Florida

      Not exactly...Jefferson simply edited out the more fanciful and supernatural aspects of the Bible...but is was still all only stuff derived from the Bible and no other sources.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • Stokith

      As similar idea Ruspanic. At first I thought it was the same type of deal, but what Jefferson did was to take the Bible and take out any mention of the Supernatural or that Jesus was the son of God, and simply to take his teachings as a way for human's to behave.

      This book seems to be more of a collection of the humanistic wisdom of "historical thinkers" on the subject of life, morality and behavior.

      April 11, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  20. mrsmoothalways

    Stalin the ATHEIST should have read a book like this, maybe he wouldn't have killed so many of his comrades.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      @mrsmoothalways, please study your history, Stalin was NOT an atheist, he believed in God and taught his children to do so as well, what Stalin WAS, was against organized religion, for the power that it held over it's people. You see, a dictator COVETS power, and anything that removes power from him, is inherently bad. Never in history, has any atrocity ever been committed in the name of Atheism.

      April 11, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • marinero21

      You are correct! So would CATHOLIC Adolph Hitler, and the entire Inquisition in Europe, and the wonderful CHRISTIAN crusaders, as well. One thing you should ask: Did Stalin do all the killing he did to further atheism, or just because he was a mad dictator, and the CHRISTIANS, did they do all their killing in the name of GOD and to convert lesser human beings? I know the answer to one of those!!

      April 11, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • mrsmoothalways

      Who told you that he believed in GOD!!!!! I assure you that there are many history books regarding Stalin, and some claim that he was Atheist and others state not. Who's history book? That's the question

      April 11, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • Evan

      Hitler being "Catholic", if you could even call him a Catholic, had nothing to do with the evil crimes he committed. There are no Catholic teachings that in any way support his actions.

      April 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • ForwardTwo

      Stalin himself did. In his Manifesto of The Working Class he claimed that through God's divine intervention, the people would rise to power in the state.

      The most vicious killers in history were all Christian. I'm sorry to point that out to you.

      April 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • mrsmoothalways

      His manifesto? is it an orginal or a copy. I assure you it is a copy or a translation. So you have "Blind faith" that he believe in GOD and your copy of his So-called Manifesto. WOW, an Atheist that have faith in a book with no evidence.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • badmudda

      stalin wasnt an athiest, but even if he were whats your point? all athiests are communist power hungry murderers?

      April 11, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      I sugest you ask the question to Svetlana Alliluyeva, his only daughter. She is an American citizen now, so you should be able to trust her. @ Evan... The Pope in Rome claimed Hitler to be a catholic... they even celebrated his birthday for many years AFTER his death... how proud the Catholic Church was to claim ADOLF HITLER as their own son.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • mrsmoothalways

      Here's my point. He has no evidence that Stalin believe in GOD than I have evidence that he was An Atheist. He didn't speak to Stalin himself, nor have I seen Jesus. It's "FAITH" or a belief that they existed, or spoke the things they said. Jesus preached Love a Forgiveness, not war and killing. Therefore, No man can believe in GOD and commit crimes aganist humanity. Only a person or persons that don't believe in GOD would commit such crimes, no matter what they claim to believe in.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Romes

      Stalin was somehow an athiest but not complete athiest. I bet 300 years from now on people on this Planet will be arguing that this Bible is the word of GOD, where in fact you and I witnessed it that it was written and created by A.C. Grayling.

      Yet we call ourselves on the parth of righteousness. Way to go mankind you have declared yourselves GODS

      April 11, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      @ mrsmoothalways... you are grasping at straws... your argument has been debunked so now you attack the "source of the source of the source" of the counter argument. "is it an original or a copy? or a translation of the original or a translation of the copy?" Get a life.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • mrsmoothalways

      There isn't nothing Svetlana Alliluyeva can tell me about her father (providing she really is stalin's daughter) Is actions prove who is GOD really was. And it was not the True God in the Heavens.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • mrsmoothalways

      @fimeilleur "Grasping at straws" Sounds like a typical Atheist response. Your responses are not LOGICAL.

      April 11, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      @mrsmoothalways "No man can believe in GOD and commit crimes aganist humanity. Only a person or persons that don't believe in GOD would commit such crimes, no matter what they claim to believe in."

      I present to you George W. Bush...
      I present to you Godfrey of Bouillon, leader of the First Crusade
      I present to you Usama Bin Laden
      I present to you Scott Roeder

      The list goes on... and on, and on

      Google Stalin's daughter... it's easy... Wikipedia will even tell you where she lives today...

      April 11, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      @ mrsmoothalways Answer me this... seeing as you KNOW that the god in the heavens is the one true god, and he is the one YOU believe in... I assume you are a christian and follow the teachings of Jesus... SO... If Jesus is the son of God, the God of Abraham, and is (and always was) perfect... why did he have to change from a Jealous God, a Vengeful God, to a Loving God, a Forgiving God... did He realize his mistake? but then he wasn't perfect... hardly worth consideration to be a god...

      April 11, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • mrsmoothalways

      @fimeilleur Bush....That's a said example. Bush also claim that there is some Truth to Evolution. Therefore he was not a True christian. I think you blurr the belief in God. Jesus says that No man can serve two masters, he either love one and dispise the other. To believe in GOD one needs to back it up with actions like LOVE. Just because a man claims to believe in GOD, doesn't mean so. It just Words, The bible also states that: Satan keeps tranforming himself into an angel of light, in other words, he does good things to make some believe it's from GOD. But he is still the devil

      April 11, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      So you don't think George W.'s a good Christian... fine... but that still doesn't counter the rest of the Endless list of Believers who found some way to commit crimes against humanity... and I'm still waiting for your attempt to answer my question about your perfect god...

      April 11, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • mrsmoothalways

      "why did he have to change from a Jealous God, a Vengeful God, to a Loving God, a Forgiving God." Who said that he changed, haven't you read revelations? Vengeful towards the Wicked, Loving towards those who are loving, and Forgiving towards those who repent. not Jealous the way you interpet it, but in the sense that HE is the only True GOD.

      April 11, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • mrsmoothalways

      "A good Christian" I don't think he was a Christian at all, as a matter of fact, I don't think any of them in politics that calls themselves a christian, are truly a christian. They just use the word. Couldn't you get that from my earlier post.

      April 11, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      @ mrsmoothalways... please take your meds, you are writing as if Mr Bush is deceased... 2) Exodus 34:14 ...For I am the LORD, whose name is JEALOUS... Deuteronomy 4:24 ... For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. What other definition of "jealous" could there be? If he were the ONE true God, why would he be jealous of other gods, who shouldn't exist... unless they DO exist, therefore, your God cannot be the only ONE. Occam's razor would suggest that the simplest solution to this dilemma is that NO gods exist.

      April 11, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • Conner

      "His manifesto? is it an orginal or a copy. I assure you it is a copy or a translation. So you have "Blind faith" that he believe in GOD and your copy of his So-called Manifesto. WOW, an Atheist that have faith in a book with no evidence."
      Hasn't the Bible, been translated, copied, edited, re translated? I'd like to see the "original writings" of the Bible. Oh, wait, I can't. The Catholic Church would hate to have everyone know that they, translated, copied and edited to keep the ignorant masses at bay.

      April 12, 2011 at 3:36 am |
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About this blog

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