Doomsdays throughout time
May 19th, 2011
03:00 PM ET

My Take: Doomsdayers show what’s wrong with all religion

Editor's Note: David Silverman, an atheist since age 6, is president of American Atheists.

By David Silverman, Special to CNN

Let nobody doubt that religion hurts people. Good, intelligent, caring people suffer every day and everywhere at the hands of religion, the happy lie.

Religion is used by dishonest people who claim to know the way to the one thing humans want most: immortality. To combat fear of death, religious people ignore their intellect, believe the lie, and follow the preacher, usually blindly and sometimes to the point of insanity.

We are witnessing one very good example of this right now, as a group led by Christian ministry leader Harold Camping prepares for the end of the world this Saturday, May 21.

Of course, the weekend will pass without incident and thousands of Camping's followers, having spent or donated huge amounts of money on his behalf, will be gravely disappointed. Victims will be broken. Families will be damaged. Lives will be ruined. All because someone made a good pitch, and followers believed.

Opinion: May 21 Doomsday movement harms Christianity

I am not sure if Camping is a liar, but I think so. He realized that religion is a great way to make tax-free money off the backs of well-meaning people, through donations to his ministry, all without fearing eternal damnation. You see, I suspect that he, like many others of his ilk, doesn’t believe in God at all.

It may seem odd that I would accuse this man of being an atheist like me, but rest assured that he is nothing like me.

Like most atheists, I’m a pretty nice person and would never scam someone out of his or her life savings or convince someone to quit a job just to line my pockets. The truth is that religion and ethics are completely independent of one another.

Follow CNN’s Belief Blog on Twitter

Consider how Newt Gingrich could campaign against President Bill Clinton's adultery as the darling of the Religious Right while actually being an adulterer himself. Consider how evangelical superstar Ted Haggard could preach against homosexuality, in God’s name, while hiding a gay lover. And consider Camping, who can get donors to cough up what appears to be a lot of money in God’s name while ruining his followers’ real lives on Earth.

These are not people who fear God or hell. In my opinion, they know very well that gods are myths. They are just bad people. Atheists have bad people, too, the worst of whom feign religion for their own personal gain.

Next week, Camping’s victims will ask our forgiveness for being so foolish, and we will forgive them, because we’ve all done stupid things. They will ask for money and we will help them, because most people are charitable.

And then Camping victims will ask us to forget all about this whole ugly scam. That is something we must never do.

We must remember that Camping, atheist or not, is no different from any other preacher. Religion thrives on fear–the constant threat of any-time-now Judgment Day coupled with eternal punishment in hell for those who don’t believe strongly enough.

Since rational minds question irrational things, believers constantly have doubts, and therefore fear that they don't have enough faith to pass muster during the eventual Rapture, when the righteous will be saved and the unrighteous will be damned. Fear of hell makes believers desperate to ease those doubts so they can be sure to get into heaven. It’s a recipe for fear-based obedience, which is exactly what religion craves.

It’s the method used by Camping, and by the rest of Christianity, too.

If we forget about Camping, this apocalyptic madness will happen again. Next year is 2012 and, just as was supposed to happen in 2011, 2004, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1997, 1994 and other years that the world is supposed to end, according to one religion or another.

What will we do in 2012? Will we sit still while preachers take advantage of the gullible again? Will we refrain from confronting the fools and continue to revere religion? Or will we, as a society, demand that people use their intellect and pay attention to their preachers, priests, rabbis or mullahs and see them as the scammers they really are?

This weekend, preachers from coast to coast will talk about why they are right and Camping is wrong, and I ask you all to listen closely. They will try to justify why one interpretation of the Bible (theirs) is right while the others are wrong. In the end, they are all interpreting the “perfect word of God” in their own imperfect way so that God agrees with their own agenda. It’s obvious if you look for it; no preacher ever says "God disagrees with me."

Yes, this weekend we will giggle at the fools who follow the preachers that earn their living spreading happy lies. Religion will have been proven wrong yet again.

But we all must remember that people have been hurt this weekend. We hope the victims of this year’s end-of-the-world will lift themselves back up, dust themselves off, and come out of this as better, less gullible people. Hopefully, they will use their experience to help others avoid future scams by shouting loudly at tomorrow’s victims, without fear of being irreverent about something which deserves no reverence at all.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of David Silverman.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Christianity • End times

soundoff (1,927 Responses)
  1. Steve

    Have you ever heard of 9/11?

    May 19, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  2. Dave

    I hate CNN, but this was really good.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  3. Micah

    Silverman is just incorrect that all forms of Christianity teach that you can avoid hell if you just believe strongly enough in heaven. The Catholic Church teaches that mere assent to propositions does not cut any ice. Rather, one has to grow and learn to actually be good. I don't see atheism as giving anyone any reason to be other than perfectly happy with however they happen to be, no matter how bad. Of course, it's always "obvious" to each individual who is "really" bad, and you don't need religion for that, but that's only relative. Without an objective standard, I don't see how ethics doesn't end up collapsing into a morass of subjectivity.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • JohnR

      And yet I've met many atheists whose moral sensitivities are far greater than those of professed Christians. Just because YOU don't understand it doesn't mean that it doesn't happen regularly.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • Alex

      You're implying that ethics are not already a morass of subjectivity. LOL. What is morally reprehensible is dynamic. 100 years ago, and currently in some parts of the world, 13 year old girls were married to 40 year old men with enough coin to buy the breach. This occurred in plenty of Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, and many other regions.

      That kind of thing now in the Western world gets you 25 to life now.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • benjamac

      You don't see how ethics can work without religion because you haven't taken the time to study ethics and practical philosophy- only religion. If you can't see the clear benefits of being Good without the presence of a god, then you seriously need to reexamine your worldview and your place within society.

      Good =\= religion.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  4. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    There are no gods or goddesses, demons or devils, ghosts or goblins. Religion was invented by man to control the masses.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Brian

      Were all masses. What makes you any different?

      May 19, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  5. Rustyy

    Family Radio is still accepting donations on their website 2 days before the supposed end of the world. What's the point?

    May 19, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Dave

      Where'd that like button go?

      May 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  6. DOG told me to do it!

    Lets all meet on 22 May for a beer and a good laugh!

    May 19, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  7. Dan

    I've read many thoughtful blogs and writings by atheists, but this is not one of them.

    The insinuation that preachers and religious leaders are using fear to lie and mislead people is ridiculous. While some people obey God based on fear, it's extremely unfair to paint all Christianity with such a wide brush.

    It's unfortunate you've never heard any humble preaching, but I assure you that not every preacher goes around saying that they're 100% correct on everything. Many fine preachers I've heard are the first to admit that they don't know everything, they don't have all the answers, and at some point they will probably discover they've been wrong about things.

    If you don't like theists accusing atheists of being arrogant, insensitive jerks (which unfortunately is a common, and inaccurate characterization) I suggest that you should offer the same courtesy.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Agreed, Dan


      May 19, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • benjamac

      Unfortunately, the American Atheists have a fairly aggressive view towards religion- i lump them in the same group and PETA and Greenpeace...

      May 19, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • alex

      I would also like you to show some courtesy to me! I believe that santa clause delivers gifts to boys and girls on christmas night and that the tooth fairy will pay me a fair sum for my tooth.. So dont you dare accuse me of being a loony! The fact is that both ideological beliefs are based upon the same lack of evidence, logic, and reason.. so why show courtesy to one and not the other???

      May 19, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Joe

      I didn't really read your entire comment, so it very well may have been mind-blowing. The reason is that I couldn't possibly get passed your first paragraph. Stop using gay metaphors.

      May 20, 2011 at 1:08 am |
  8. TheNumber

    As an Atheist I find Silverman as offensive as the radical religious (Christians, Muslims, whatever) that spew hate. W.T.F. is wrong with showing a little respect?

    May 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • alex

      Simple Question, Simple Answer... If I were to tell you that I was abducted by aliens. Would you respect me? No? What If I told you that I herd a voice in my head telling me to kill millions of muslums? Would you respect me? Well say hello to christianity and the crusades...

      May 19, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • TheNumber

      It's time to put the bong down, son.

      May 19, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  9. Bob

    Are you HUMAN or not?

    Believing in God and Heaven/Hell is kind of like believing in Santa, or becoming emotionally attached to an object like a teddy bear, or a car... it's HUMAN. Being irrational IS HUMAN. Even atheists do other irrational things like being totally attached to a car or some other non-sense like "being in love". It's HUMAN. It's perfectly natural to expect that if we're predisposed to silly things like attributing personality to inanimate objects then OF COURSE we're predisposed to, as the author above states: "believing in the one thing we want most: immortality". Is that a good thing? Well, in some ways no, there are all kinds of examples of religion causing, or at least being a contributor to, bad outcomes. But, likewise, religion can cause or contribute to good outcomes. The fundamental issue is whether the irrationality itself is good or not. Well, is being human good or not? If we evolve the irrationality out of ourselves (ALL of it, not just the religion part), then we've evolved into something not human... that will be a sad day... all activist atheists should REALLY THINK about this...

    May 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • JohnR

      You have absolutely no sense of scale, Bob. Believing your car has a personality, loving it and even thinking it loves you is plenty whacky, but when did anyone with such a belief start writing rules for all others to live by, try to declare the US a "cars have personalities nation", let alone do such thing as stone people to death or burn them at the stake for not believing as they do, practices that ended even in the oh so enlightened west only under the pressures of the secular humanism that evangelicals still fulminate against.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • Micah

      Like. 🙂

      May 19, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Leftist

      Are you IGNORANT or not?

      Believing in God and Heaven/Hell is kind of like believing in Santa, or becoming emotionally attached to an object like a teddy bear, or a car... it's IGNORANT. Being irrational IS IGNORANT. and so on and so forth...

      May 19, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Bob

      but the point is: how far do you go down that secular "humanism" path? How do you drive the fear/dread of death and desire for immortality out of humans? Sense of scale? It's all relative. You have to follow the thought experiment out further. Would you REALLY rather live in a world of COMPLETELY rational beings? Are you sure? Doesn't sound like much fun to me, less dangerous sure. I'm sure if I was tied to a burning stake right now I'd be arguing for more rationality, but, again, at the end of that road is complete lack of humanity therefore no "humanism". What's next after religion? Outlaw emotional attachments to things, or other people? Children aren't allowed to dream impossible dreams for themselves? There's no answer, that's what makes this subject endure as a controversy. Should we try to draw the line at people getting hurt? Absolutely, but that is independent of religion, we draw that line already....

      May 19, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • alex

      Bob, you are objective... its hard to do.. but you do it..

      May 19, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • Joe

      Actually...BOB!!...Being HUMAN, stupid, is quite the opposite. In fact, the SOLE quality we possess that sets us apart from other RETARDED animals is our ability to REASON extensively. So, therefore, I would argue – quite successfully from a LOGICAL perspective, I might add – that believing in a "God" is decidedly INHUMAN. Touch up on your vocabulary and REALLY THINK about what you say before you make a butt hole out of yourself. I'm done here. Good day, BOB!!....

      May 20, 2011 at 1:18 am |
  10. Muneef

    There are good religious people but there are as well evil ones whom interest is vaster than religion it self...so why blame all rather than replacing all evil ones with good ones ? The story told that even Prophet King Sulaiman had lost his throne to some evil that took his place on the throne but later managed to take it back from him. Don't tell me that republic heads are all good and non evil ?? Hitler for example beside many others such as those rulers in the MidEast who had caused suffering to many of their people in the name and flag of the secular regime and not religious ones ?? So why the eyes only hooked up on religions but blinding self when it is of some thing else?

    May 19, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • JohnR

      While there are some who seem to believe that religion is the root of all, or most, evil, most of us who see the vast evil reliogion has perpetrated realize that there are many other sources of great evil. We don't discuss that so much here because this blog is about religion and belief.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • Muneef

      Only to give the notion that all evil and deaths are caused by religion beliefs and nothing else as much as it does?
      Any way what they do not like and approve of some conflicts they call it religious wars.... But that they find appropriate to their politics they give it other names such as that given to the middle east conflicts and changes which they called it "Dignity" conflicts and revolts....

      May 19, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • Nope.

      Sorry Muneef.

      Hitler did not "raise his flag" in the name of secular beliefs. He was raised Catholic and often praised the Christian faith. He also believed in an Aryan Jesus who fought against the Jews.

      May 20, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  11. celldevice

    i wonder. Is there going to be cake on may 21?

    May 19, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Brian

      Yeah....Devil's Food Cake

      May 19, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Moktor

      The cake is a lie.

      I KNOW I am gonna be struck by lightning for that.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Risskia

      Why, YES! There WILL be cake – my group of atheists is having a Rapture party. IF the Rapture DOES happen, we go to good CHristians' houses and take their stuff and look after "Left Behind" animals. If there IS no Rapture (as we certainly think) then we will eat, drink, and merrily make fun of everyone who believed this silliness.

      SO, yes. Cake.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • James

      Like the cake is lie comment

      May 19, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • a christian

      not going to lie- we're having a mini party for the "rapture." i believe camping is a false prophet and he is leading many astray.

      but we are celebrating the non-judgment day.

      May 20, 2011 at 3:59 am |
  12. imjustaguy

    Okay, let me set the record straight.

    1) To be a good christian means to believe in God and his son Jesus Christ.
    2) To call yourself christian and proclaim that you know the date/time when Christ returns is the most un-christian thing you can do.
    3) To believe in God does NOT mean that you're a nut job, it simply means that you believe in a higher power
    4) To live a christian live does NOT mean you're supposed to force your beliefs on anyone
    5) To live a christian live DOES mean to spread the word of God and pray for those that don't believe
    6) To live a christian live DOES mean to accept people for who they are, be it atheist, Muslim, Jew...IT DOESN'T MATTER
    7) To be christian also means that you must admit to yourself that you are NOT perfect

    Any questions?

    May 19, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Brian

      In theory your right to some extent. You just have to remember that you painted a picture with a lot of shades of gray. The difference between honest conversation/preaching and forcing your beliefs down somebody's throat is completly subjective. Same as most of your statements.
      Everyone agrees with your statements, everyone believes they live by them, and every body does something different. It's no different then any other human action.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • David

      You forgot to add ... To be a good christian you cannot read the bible. Because if you did you would now that the time frame when Jesus was suppose to return has passed.

      Properly read, the bible is the most potent force for Atheism ever conceived. – Isaac Asimov

      May 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • Moktor


      Erm, quote please. From the Bible, of course. I don't care if anti-bible scholar Joe Snuffy said so, I just want the actual biblical quote of when Jesus stated he would return. Thanks.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • imjustaguy

      @ David:

      You are only partially correct. To be a christian you do have to read the bible, but at the same time keep in mind that most of it cannot be taken literal. It was written just about 2000 years ago, meaning it was written with current social conditions in mind. When reading the bible you have to ask yourself "How can I apply this to life today".

      Let's face it: When was the last time you wrote an email and thought "I hope people 2000 years from now will just have to know what I meant when I wrote it"?

      May 19, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Brian

      @ Moktor

      Issac Asminov was a Science Fiction writer, a really good one too.
      Just a side note.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Brandon

      I don't see any problems with that except for the "Spread the word of god" part. Why do you have to do that to be a Christian?

      May 19, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • flowers

      i completely agree with u. We are called to be like Jesus (not that we could ever come close). We as christians understand persecution and being made fun. Yet, we except it. We are daily called crazy, closed minded, or have been told to prove it. In all honesty, at some point we all become close minded, just like those who ask us to prove what we believe, yet cant prove what we believe does not exist. How much more closed minded are those who call us close minded for what we believe? I do agree with the fact that there are some close minded christians, but those are the christians that Jesus basically rebukes in the bible (the pharisees/religious people). We are called to love on athiest and other religions despite the fact that we dont share the same belief. When we "spread the word" people who do believe get offended cuz they get made fun of or rebuked, when they should just say "ok, I love u anyway." and spreading the word doesnt always mean speaking it is also a form of action. We are also called to serve as Jesus served. So those Close minded christians who are judging and rebuking athiest are actually the ones who are in sin. We are not to judge non-believers but to judge and exhort fellow believers.

      May 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  13. Brian

    Am I the only one that finds it laughable that he claims in his bio to be an athiest since age six? I mean honestly, I do believe the most philosphical thoughts you were having back then is if the red power ranger is better then the blue one.
    Also, whats the difference between this author and the wack job Christians? Absolutely nothing.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • Ellie

      Brian, my daughter is 5 and is adamantly atheist. Even at this young age, she sees how ludicrous the idea of God and heaven is. Santa Claus is another story, however.....But she does feel quite certain that God's existence is impossible.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • Darren

      so one cannot decide there is no god at age 6, yet accept Christ as their lord and savior at the same age?

      May 19, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Brian

      My apologies if this comes off as ignorant or condescending, but thats just a tough one to believe in my book. You'll have to view this from my position at what most five year olds are, children still.
      Personal question on this one. Do you and your husband believe in God or is she just reiterating what you folks say?
      Once again, my apologies if I come off crude for this.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • Moktor

      Ellie, if I taught my kids something to be true or false, they would blindly repeat it as well. It isn't your 5 year old's grand intellect that came up with the idea that God is or isn't real.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Brian

      Not to forget you Darren, but when did I say that they can accept Christ at that age too?
      I'm simply just saying, there children. They like to play baseball and ride bikes and go to school and learn how to write not fully understand the idea of religion.
      Hell, kids don't even know where children "really" come from yet.
      Just having fun with what seemed to be a silly statement

      May 19, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  14. Leftist

    We atheists have to realize that mythology is very powerful. Every age, every society had it's mythology that provided the framework for the society. Our society has Christian mythology.. Our age has this as well as Islamic and Judaic mythologies. It isn't surprising that Christians are unable to step outside of their mythology to see it for what it is. They didn't come to it rationally and they won't leave it for a rational argument.

    Ignorance is bliss. Leave Christians to their blissful ignorance. Give them a sad smile, shake your head and walk on. Theirs nothing we can do for them. Their illness is, for the most part, terminal.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • DOG told me to do it!

      One day, I'll invent a time machine and go back 10,000 years to the beginning of time! Can't wait to ride a dino around. Maybe there will be a gameshow called "Cash Dino" where the dino driver will ask me questions whilst I ride to my destination. I might even win 2300 rocks and go have a night on the town!!! But seriously, well said Leftist.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • alex

      Thats all good and great Leftist.. but what happens when your chilling in your office trying to mind your own business and all of a sudden a gian plane crashes into you KILLING you, because you are a non-believer. The fact is religion is dangerous, and somthing has to be done about it to protect our civilization as a whole...

      May 19, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  15. Pete

    ummm have you heard of the Crusades, Chris?

    May 19, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Moktor

      The Crusades were dirty and wrong, but why does no one mention how it was a retaliation (a bad idea, true) in order to re-gain the lands taken by ... *gasp!* the Muslims? People are people. They don't need religion to be evil, it is just a handy excuse.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  16. Anthony Avanzato

    And maybe you believe the facts of Science as put forth by theoretical physicists like S. Hawkings who "believes" in computer generated models of black holes, anti-matter, and M Theory. Why are the hypotheticals of science, the Null Hypothesis, more satisfying than scripture? Why is it ok to believe, without a shred of proof, in alien life forms but ridiculous to believe in an afterlife? Any hope that science offers is counterbalanced by its devastating and destructive effects – nuclear bombs and environmental pollution to name just two problems. But you claim lives are ruined by religion.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • Mark from Canada

      Um..excuse me – the nuclear bomb was a product of those theoretical models your are talking about. You need to brush up on your science to understand what evidence is. I'm a scientist and based on what you have written – you have no idea how it works. If you did, then you wouldn't be posting nonsense. There are reason's why scientific theories work – they have evidence. It is true that computer models may not represent reality to the full extent. They are tools that we can use to forecast predictions. Climate weathering models for Venus, for example, have been able to predict with great accuracy how the patterns have played out. Hence, there has been independent confirmation, observation, and testing of these ideas. Scientists remain agnostic about their ideas – forever vigilant and prepared to reject ideas once falsified or to remould them into alternative statements based on rational adjustments according to observed outcomes.

      I often see people like you posting these kinds of statements. Before you launch and attack – know your foe. You, my dear friend, do not understand science. Why don't you try to spend some time thinking deeply and doing a bit of research on what science is. Most people skim the surface and look at the scientific method – but science as a philosophy is much deeper than this. There are many popular books on the shelves and in public libraries that can help you out. The reason for your confusion is that you have failed your test – you don't know what science is.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Risskia

      Mark...all I can say is...

      *slow clap*

      May 19, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • Cherish Marie

      Scientific theories and models are all based off of scientifically validated concepts. Nothing in science is just made up; things are tested and reviewed and tested again and again and with the information that one has at hand, one can use a theory to explain a tremendous amount of scientific phenomenon. If more information is uncovered that proves something false that must be tested again and again so that it holds true, and then a theory is modified. Nothing in science is pure belief of fact, there is always a reasonable doubt for science; otherwise it wouldn't be science. It would be religion. If something can not be validated with evidence or proven false by any means it is abstract. That is why science and religion do not mix. A Null hypothesis by the way, is a statement of 'There is no difference' so that one can compare ones data and determine a conclusion... Just saying.

      But yes it is more logical to believe in computer modeled black holes and other lifeforms because we have a scientific basis. And beside, there is no conclusion about that matter. Science is looking for the answer. Once science finds an answer its totally okay to believe in it as long as there is room for reasonable doubt. That is why science is beautiful; blind faith is more of a pill to swallow. No basis can be attached for your belief,other than you believe it. And for people, what they believe is true beyond a reasonable doubt and one would refute anything contrary to it.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • crucified

      There is your proof for God...Quantum Physics has already proved God...Now you have to deal with it!

      May 19, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • laughing hard

      oh wow, where did your small inferior brain go to? your butt? science is the study of living things, not to be mixed with religion.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • crucified

      @laughinghard maybe you should now more about quantum physics before you make a comment and make yourself look foolish.. I will make it easy for you...look up the observer effect on google. then look up the measurement problem on google then look up the formula I posted.. you are apart of a sub reality of a greater one..and your reality is imaged. which has design and purpose and intellect..requires a singular designer.. only physical science studies the tangible.. quantum studies the sub atomic. and is mathmatical and therefore can be proven unlike Theory of "you fill in the blank"

      May 19, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • laughing hard

      @crucified "maybe you should now more about quantum physics before you make a comment and make yourself look foolish.."

      i pitty people like you to believe in such quantum physics such as oh say in which to you are beliving in a mathematical description of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interaction of matter and energy. that in itself, all called math and BS theories. and with this, this is way off topic anyhow. this has nothing to do with believing in what christians believing in their so called "god". fyi, religion and science are 2 separate things and do not go hand in hand together with science itself means study of living things. so ya keep making yourself looking foolish

      May 19, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • BillyEng

      Yes, math is hard and science is hard. We do ourselves a great disservice to remove these important subjects from public school curricula. Here is the result.

      May 20, 2011 at 1:00 am |
  17. Muneef

    Many people died because of the many reasons for death....but just wonder if more deaths are caused by Religions/Wars/Natural disasters/Terrorists acts compared to those deaths caused buy Drugs/Spirits/Smoking/Wrong Medication's/Over dose??
    Wonder if any deaths are caused by being supporters of Football teams and games on local and international level???
    We say many reasons but death is one, the date you were supposed to die you will die by one reason or another....but also said you should not throw your self to death or danger, unless you intend to die as a martyr for a cause.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:00 pm |


      May 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • Muneef

      Think ordinary religion is totally different than Cults which are extreme groups that might use ways or means of worships that are not heavenly or upnormal that may go to sacrificing humans....beside cults could be of heavenly religions or non heavenly religions or from some political parties or brotherhood or wrong ideology adopted such as was of Germany or Russia....

      May 19, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Muneef

      Cults are more like gangsters who have secrets and agendas of their own in the name of their belief or for their Blood Relation... It is rather of closed societies of certain task and beliefs...

      May 19, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
  18. Katherine

    It's interesting that militant atheist are always ranting about the intolerance of Christians, yet they are among the most intolerant and rude people I've ever met. We may disagree, but being disrespectful and rude to each other will not accomplish anything.

    Atheist primary god is science, which gets it wrong more that it gets it right (i.e. Einstein vs sub atomic particle physics and eggs are good for you, not they're bad for you, not they're good for you again), and humanism, which assumes that mankind is basically good. Talk about delusional. If mankind was basically good, would we really live in the screwed up world we live in?

    May 19, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Aezel

      "Atheist primary god is science, which gets it wrong more that it gets it right"

      And this is why atheists are insulting to you. You say moronic things like this and then expect to get treated as if you are intelligent. Science does not get it "wrong more than right." The reason your life expectancy isn't still 29 years old is science, the reason your food is safe from disease and poison on your table is science, the reason your computer, cell phone, TV, and ipod work are science, the reason cancer, the flu, ear infections, and AIDS aren't a 100% death sentence anymore is science. Every single piece of modern technology, medical care, and comfortable surrounding you have in your life was delivered to you by science.

      You, are a truly, truly, stupid human being for not being able to see that. Science has almost a 100% win record in improving the quality of your life. I guess it was a wasted effort. Maybe you should go back to living in a cave and wait for "God" to come by and build you a house, give you a TV, and produce working plumbing for you so you don't have to live in your own filth and squalor. It will be a long wait.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Daniel

      Spoken like a true ignorant. Well played, madame well played.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • JAberg123

      @Aezel. Here's a question for you. Why can't science create a "like" button to allow me to express my agreement with your statement? I'm going to call a scientist and issue a formal complaint.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Mark from Canada

      We've had years of prayer forced on us in school – even though we felt awkward and didn't want to partake. We have had a lifetime 'In God we Trust' printed on our money. In a court of law – a bible is needed to testify – yet we don't believe. Athiests are not intolerant – we want religion to stay were it belongs – in private. Religion is what is imposing itself into the public sphere while we have to watch scenes of religious violence on the tele every night. If someone walks around praying to an almighty peanut – wouldn't you feel compassion and want to see that the person receives the help he/she needs? We are a compassionate bunch – very concerned about this mass delusion that is afflicting us in the public social commons. You cannot become president of the US unless you declare your religious Christian. Want proof – try to get a Muslim into power – there is your intolerance. Try to think a little more deeply – it is easy for us athiests and scientists – we do it all the time. We are the philosophers who have developed our morality and ethics without listening to the evangelical scam artists begging you for money. Stop imposing your irrational beliefs into our common social sphere – use reason to stop real threats, like climate change, biodiversity loss, and things that really matter – not the second coming of a mass delusion.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Hmmm

      Maybe the reason atheists are rude is because you assume things about them? Such as that we view science as God(we don't) but perhaps it could be that we see gullible people being scammed out of their money day in and day out. It could be the "In God We Trust" in our money? Perhaps it's the irrationality of religious people? The different between science and religion is simple. Science works and Religion does not. If you doubt that though, the next time you get sick, see a priest instead of a doctor and see how that works out for ya.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • ummmm

      "yet they are among the most intolerant and rude people I've ever met."

      LOL! Wow, and you aren't being rude. Give me a break, what a joke!

      May 19, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • Nope.

      Aezel and Mark, I applaud both of your responses.

      May 20, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  19. Craig

    This weekend, preachers from coast to coast will talk about why they are right and Camping is wrong, and I ask you all to listen closely. They will try to justify why one interpretation of the Bible (theirs) is right while the others are wrong. In the end, they are all interpreting the “perfect word of God” in their own imperfect way so that God agrees with their own agenda. It’s obvious if you look for it; no preacher ever says "God disagrees with me.

    This statement is incorrect and if you check in with several ministers I am sure they will not get into an argument about when the world is going to end or even talk about prophecy. You and I could go back and forth all day about the good things missions and churches have done for the poor and homeless and you will spell out all of the bad tax breaks they get and how they aren't monitored like businesses though some of them are clearly run like a business. Most ministers are going to and should be asking their congregations to accept theses believers and others for who they are and not argue about is right or wrong. As a Christian you are asked to live everyday like Christ is coming tomorrow. It doesn't mean you don't all sudden stop planning ahead or just give up on everything. It just means to live life to it's fullest, don't waste an opportunity and do things with God at the forefront of your mind. This is usually what church's should be teaching on and these lessons include accepting others with the love of God.

    May 19, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Moktor

      It is too bad that atheists are also religious, and couldn't understand your words. Christians were never meant to pound the fear of hell into followers as a means to get rich, but unfortunately foolish people like those who are planning for Saturday never bothered to read their Bible, either. Westboro can be lumped into the same group of "so-called" Christians who have no idea what Jesus said, they simply fit Mr. Silverman's mold to give him more ammunition to darken all of Christianity. Funny how he doesn't mention the good of the true believers, but rather the bad of the lost.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  20. Chris

    Let's see and atheism has helped people by?? How many universities, schools, hospitals, orphanages,soup kitchens, refugee centers have been founded by atheists. When atheists get in power the only result is death and dictatorship; as can be seen by the French Revolution, Lenin-stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and the Kim's of North Korea. Atheism has killed more people in the past 100 years than any religion has or ever will.

    May 19, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Josh

      Sir, you are retarded. Full retard at that.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Billy

      I am an Atheist. I spend my free time volunteering at the Red Cross (which is not a religion organization). I don't even kill insects (I believe all life deserves to continue living) if I can open a window to throw them out. I've been with my girlfriend for 8 years but we aren't married. I've never raised my hand towards anyone unless I was in danger. I regularly donate money to non religious organizations. I don't need confession because I live an honest life and I don't need a make believe create to keep it up. Being good comes naturally to all living beings - religion has no role in it. Religion followers only seek an excuse for their bad behavior. I fear what you crackpots would be like without thinking you had to follow these edicts or face eternal damnation.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • JAberg123

      Atheists aren't content with ANY alternative to religion. All of the people/organizations you listed replaced religion with some other unjustified dogma. North Korea is a great example. Kim il sung has been dead since 1994. He is still the official leader of NK. The stories of kim jong il's birth involve birds bringing him from heaven. I don't think any atheist thinks that if you remove religion, happiness automatically ensues. Rather, we should face all propositions with a healthy amount of skepticism and honest inquiry.
      Also at a certain time in history, everyone alive was religious. So saying that many good things were done by people who were religious is a vacuous statement. Most people who have ever milked a cow were religious but I doubt you would think that belief in the supernatural is necessary to effectively tug at an udder.

      "I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too desirous of evidence in support of their core beliefs." -Sam Harris

      May 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • LUL!

      There are many Atheist groups that do all the things you just mentioned...I would implore you to research the long history of each religion and then try and come back and repeat what you just said. This will be because you simply will not be able to. Once you have seen the mass destruction that is still going on today over religion. It is because you have failed to do the research that you are able to spout suck vile rhetoric. LEARN THE FACTS.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Jeff Bertram

      You are in a word wrong. Religion has murdered millions in the name of god over thousands of years. The leaders you detail were dictators and required absolute control. Whether atheist or religious they ruled the same. Kill those that don't tow the line. Hmmmm sounds alot like the crusades doesn't it? You speak as a typical fundy who is incapable of individual thought and merely spouts what his religion has told him. But then religions don't want you to think......

      May 19, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • ummmm

      Religion has killed over 890 million people. Do your research!

      May 19, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • ZarGoth

      Wow– are you deluded.................

      Just amazing nonsense!

      May 19, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • lmlight77

      Atheism is in itself a religion of sorts – it is the *belief* that there is (are) no god(s). IMO, when ever the "belief" word comes up, you are in trouble. Belief is a statement of fact without proof. In that sense, I am not an atheist but more agnostic – I have no idea if God exists or doesn't, and I see no easy way to prove it either way (not w/o being dead at least).

      That said, I don't think organized religions have any monopoly on morality either. Quite the contrary, history is littered with religious people doing unspeakable evil. To be atheist doesn't necessarily imply immoral or lack of empathy for the plight of our fellow man nor does being religious guarantee morality or empathy.

      I think the author of the article is unfair in his characterization of Christianity though. In his article, he writes "fear-based obedience ... is exactly what religion craves ... [and is] the method used by Camping, and by the rest of Christianity, too." Christianity does have its flip side, that of the teachings of Jesus to love your fellow man, charity, piety, ... To lump-sum imply that Christianity is exclusively fear -based is incorrect in my opinion.

      My $0.02.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Christina

      The following is a small portion of a list of notable athiests throughout history. You asked how Athiests have helped society. I thought it best for you to decide on your own what good we have done for this world.
      Thomas Edison
      Sigmund Freud
      Carl Sagan
      Ayn Rand
      Warren Buffett
      Bruce Lee
      Gene Kelly
      Katharine Hepburn
      Charlie Chaplin
      Gene Wilder
      HG Wells
      Robert Louis Stevenson
      Percy Shelley – Romantic Era British Poet
      Carl Reiner
      Gener Roddenberry
      Robert Altman
      Jodie Foster
      David Gilmour – member of Pink Floyd
      Henry Rollins
      Ani DiFranco
      Allan Pinkerton – founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency
      Andy Rooney
      Burt Lancaster
      Pat Tillman – Arizona Cardinals linebacker who was killed by friendly fire in the Iraq War.

      The list I found with only a little research goes on and on. I selected a few of the better known names but there were many productive members of society in the fields of science, education, charity work, and the arts who are Athiests. Many of them are Nobel winners in the fields of medicine, science, and literature.
      While athiests have had their share of bad seeds, you cannot use their actions as a blanket to cover all of us. Because if you can do that, then we can judge all Christians by the actions of the Phelps family.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32
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.