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.

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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. jon

    so what is all of your guys take on what happens after death? just interested to see what is said.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • Hmmm

      Dig up a grave and find out.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • My dinosaur ate your Jesus fish

      The same thing that happens to all of the other organisms on this planet.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • Shannon

      Evidence suggests you rot. Religious books claim all kinds of things, but without offering any tangible, credible evidence that it's true. And yet people believe it because it helps them avoid the uncomfortable idea that when we die, we die...we're gone...nothing. People don't like that idea, so they made stuff up to tell other people to get them to behave the way they want them to. It's really the ultimate scam: do what I want you to do now, and you'll be repaid after you die. Imagine if you were offered that by someone other than a priest or pastor...you'd laugh in their face.

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

      what proof do you have that christianity doesn't exist?

      May 19, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • My dinosaur ate your Jesus fish

      Here we go...

      May 19, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • Patricia

      ashes to ashes, dust to dust... worm food... perpetuating the natural cycles of life.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • Patrick

      What proof do we have that any religion, whether the thousands that have come and gone in our history or the infinite number we could create and imagine, is false?

      Given that we cannot disprove an infinite number of faiths, what made you select yours? Do you feel it is the right one (of infinite number), and why?

      People who go around willing to believe anything that cannot be dis proven will, literally, believe anything.

      The problem is that people chose to believe in things because they want to, they want them to be true, so they subscribe to the ideology and faith (and we all have faith, don't trip on that pitfall) and accept whatever they can to support their paradigm.

      People believe in their world view because they want it to be true.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • My dinosaur ate your Jesus fish

      God exists – No he doesn't.
      Prove it. – You prove it.
      Hitler was an atheist. – No he wasn't
      Hitler was Catholic. – No he wasn't
      God answers prayers. – No he doesn't
      Yes he does. – Pray to your dog and you will get the same results.

      Ho hum. What's on t.v.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • BillyEng

      If you've ever been under general anesthesia, I'm betting it will be like that but for much longer.

      May 20, 2011 at 1:32 am |
  2. Cherish Marie

    Why is it only the Christians who are supposed to be Raptured? Surely Camping must recognize that Catholics, Mormons and whoever else wants to be included in the monotheism category worship the same God? Beyond the religion thing and this whole Saturday joke, I would be angry if I were Catholic and God didn't come for me. Like what would happen to the Pope? He is supposed to be God's representative on earth. I dectect bias in this hoax.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Shannon

      If you think all monotheists worship the same god, clearly you haven't spoken about this to many monotheists. Every person has his own interpretation/understanding and all others' are flawed in some way; that's the fundamental truth about religion, and why religion stokes such animosity, hatred, and aggression. Religion, especially Judeo-Christian-Muslim religions, is based on fear, and fear begets hatred, which provokes the worst attributes in man.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • Cherish Marie

      Calm down now, the post was to lighten the mood of anti-religous bigotry. I'm atheist too, and there are flaws to religous followers or leaders. Its a human trait, but religion in an ideal sense is not to be spiteful or opressive, or any other negative's my fellow atheists are throwing in. Simply stating, god is god just by another name for some monotheistic religons, and the fact that some are not supposed to be Raptured on Saturday is amusing to me. It does indeed point out Campbells bias's and what he considers to be right. Religion however, at least in its best form, is not about stoking aggression. Does it happen? Ya, but thats not what it is about fundamentally.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Patricia

      It's okay Cherish – some of us knew what you meant :0)

      May 19, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • Cherish Marie

      Lol thanks Patricia.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • BillyEng

      I'm guessing that god will come for everyone not just the faithful, but that god will be Thor. It's just been that sort of week for me.

      May 20, 2011 at 1:35 am |
    • Cherish Marie

      @ Bill: Thor was pretty cute, he can come by when ever he wants XP.

      May 20, 2011 at 2:45 am |
  3. Jesus Was A Dinosaur

    Here is how the world (Earth) as we know may end...
    1.) In billions of years, the sun consumes its fuel and swells, engulfing the earth as it does so...
    2.) The sun explodes, taking earth with it...
    3.) A wayward asteroid slams into the earth, killing most or all of life on the planet...
    4.) Or religious zealots get a hold of a few nukes and sets off WW3, which most likely will destroy all humanity...
    (thanks for reading; i do take donations...)

    May 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  4. DMAT

    Since the beginning of time, man has been predicting the end of time.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  5. crunchfrog

    I am religious. I dont think the world is going to end on Saturday. The problem with your kind is that you label everyone the same. I dont think you would appreciate it much if it was done to you. Most religious people dont go for this type of stuff. But we all have to take your abusive insulting comments right?

    May 19, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Ben

      Hey CrunchyPuffs...you just did the very thing you're bashing on this Silverman turd for doing. "The problem with YOUR KIND." C'mon, buddy.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Shannon

      You said " The problem with your kind is that you label everyone the same." Isn't that exactly what you just did? It's pretty easy to paint a bit too broadly, isn't it? Want a generality? Here goes: All fervently religious people are delusional, and all mildly religious people are wasting their time.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • 3lwood

      Read the article again, sir. He isn't painting all religious people the same. He is saying the one thing they have in common, is taking advantage of the gullible. Name one religion that hasn't done that.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • Dm1

      I definitely agree with you.

      "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."

      You know, I was a little upset reading this article, until I ran into this. Then, I had the strangest urge to laugh. Why? Because many forms of spirituality and religion that do NOT believe in some sort hell or eternal punishment. Universalism, for instance. Christian universalism or otherwise. Buddhism. Examples go on and on... I think the author should have done his research before lumping religion into the same category. Honestly, though he's right that many denominations or sects of various religions DO use damnation as a scare tactic, to lump all religion into the same category in such a way is nearly laughable.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • Patricia

      did you just say "your kind" and then complain of labelling in the same sentence?

      May 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • baatman74

      LOL, you have just proven the mans contention of religious zealots and fear mongering!! Hahaha. And so it goes...

      May 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  6. RightturnClyde

    I wrote something but it will not be published awaiting moderation .. main points Silverman could easily be an Eichman. Same mentality – he is right and the res of the world is insane and stupid. I'm pretty sure he would not lift a finger to defend his freedoms, his home, his family, his way of life. He's very confident that someone else will do that for him – some underling who is less deserving that Silverman. He's got better things to do than to "serve" anyone or anything. The rest will not be published.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • Patricia

      you seem pretty sure that you've got this guy pegged.... that makes your argument weak.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  7. Jon

    Religion isn't the problem, people are the problem. Since this was written by the president of American Atheists, I'd like to ask how putting up billboards mocking people for their beliefs makes you a better person than a person putting up billboards about religion? So your actions are better because God and religion aren't behind your intentions? How much did American Atheists spend on their last billboard? $27,000? If they were truly better people and truly so wise, they would have spent that money to help their fellow man, not to mock them. It's not a matter of religion or non-religion, it's a matter of what man chooses to do with them. Atheism and Christianity are two sides of the same coin. Maybe someday we'll realize that.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • Shannon

      Two things. First, you're right that people are the problem - religion is purely a man-made phenomenon - but we can't go getting rid of all the people, now, can we? Second, you're wrong about your presumption that the money spent on the billboard wasn't helping people. If it motivates even a dozen people to question their faith, then it's money well spent. After all, without religious people, we wouldn't have religious scams, religion-based prejudice and discrimination, and religious persecution. Sure, some people do good things in the name of religion, but couldn't they do them just because they're good to do? (Yes, they could...and should.)

      May 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Andrew

      $27K on billboards, eh? How many hundreds of thousands / millions have been spent on the construction of needlessly ornate churches?

      May 19, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • atheist

      Saying, "There's probably no god(s), so enjoy your life" is mocking? If that is mocking, then so is "I'll pray for you because I think you are deserving of eternal torture"

      May 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • BillyEng

      Atheism has not (yet) minted as many millionaires as has religion.

      May 20, 2011 at 1:40 am |
  8. lacoaster

    Mr. Silverman, I want to thank you for this article. In a time in which some people (I will not use most, because I honestly cannot make such claim since I do not know) opt to avoid their reality or things that require critical thinking, your article is about things fanatized or ignorant people avoid thinking about. I believe it is necessary for somebody to bring these things up the way you have done it. You came forward, even though you knew that exposing the facts you mentioned carried a risk of becoming unpopular. I respect a lot a person that encourages critical thinking, analysis and factual common sense even knowing that rejection and denial will appear. For me, people that are looking for their own convenience, easy living, avoid reality and/or responsibilities and inconvenient facts most of the time are unreliable. For me an unreliable conduct is a form of anti-social behavior. I believe that humans thrive and have better chances of contructive sucess and survival when they show a socially conscious behavior. For the weak that does not like thinking I can surely expect frequent bad judgement in the decisions they make. I refuse to act like a sheep. I am a thinking human and do not need approval for that. Life is still wonderful with ups and downs.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
  9. Dave

    The Christian religious are such silly people...They all believe that JC will come back to bring them to heaven. (Because they have been such good children" and they believe it.

    These doomsayers that predict the world will end on the 21st are just another shade of nuts.. these people locked themselves to a date... and just like in the 1860's when the "day of disappointment" occurred with the world didn't end then... they will go back under their rocks.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  10. drodgers

    all religion is a sham...its something you were taught from a young impressionable age.....95% of the world is a negative influence on mankinds future existence....if there was a god, why did he wait so long(3.4 billion years) to put us on the map? when you die, you are plant food just like every living thing on earth...please use common sense and logic to live your life, not blind faith....religion is the root of all evil.....biggest business of all time.....just like a casino....build these massive places of worship....advertise your slogan....congregate....promise everything..... people give you money..... and give absolutely nothing back.....pretty good business plan!...if you believe in judgement day, i seriously question your judgement.....YOU CAN'T HAVE BELIEVE WITHOUT THE WORD LIE.....

    May 19, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • Patricia

      ... my logic and common sense tell me that your 95 percenter is highly inflated ..

      May 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  11. Big Man

    You don't have to be an atheist to recognize the stupidity of Abrahamic doomsdayer followers. Heathens and other pagans do as well.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  12. Patricia

    This atheist does not speak for all atheists. He can only speak for himself. Why can't people own their own opinions instead of bringing an entire group of individuals into their argument to give it weight. It's the same as quoting scripture. Don't quote scripture, just say what you believe and own it. Opinions get ignored when the writer tries to prove what they're saying. Your opinion is fine and should stand alone. There is too much generalizing from believers and non-believers – speak for yourself and leave others out of it.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  13. Christopher Lirette

    I take issue with his comments of religion hurting people. Its not an issue of religion hurting people. Its an issue of the human heart. The fact of the matter is that humans are a mixed bag, there were atheists who were bad people, Hitler and Stalin to name the most notable ones. And there are bad Christians. The issues with the roman Catholic Church being the most prominent example.

    I think from a Christians point of view Atheism is scary because of the extreme examples that philosophers like Nietzsche have had on people. Spawning the superman movement in Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler. It was a movement that made the population of Germany see everyone else as less then human. I think any atheist would argue that Hitler was misinterpreting the philosophy of Nietzsche. And, he was greatly misusing the words he so cherished.

    And, I think from an atheists point of view they can point out tragedies like Jim Jones, and hypocrisy like the Catholic church. But, just like Hitler are those people truly representative of the population?

    No, the answer is a resounding no in both ideologies. Ultimately you cannot judge an ideology by its followers. You can only judge it by its ideas, and leader.

    My firm belief that it is God who gives man meaning, and we are to respect others because they are all cherished creations of God. I will not force my beliefs on anyone. And, just as Jesus Christ died for sinners, and helped those during his time. My meaning in life is to worship, enjoy, and love God. And, I can do that best by loving people.

    Unfortunately, believing in goodness for goodness's own sake is a fairy tale. Because, if there is no God there is no morality. Man has no meaning, and me stabbing someone, and taking their life because I want his house is ok. Social rules may dictate that it is wrong, and the other person says that it is wrong. But I may think that it is right. There is no ultimate sense of goodness for anyone to prevail against. And, in the great scheme of things, nothing matters. No atheist can debate that, because that is the logical conclusion of their beliefs.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • Bert in UT

      To stay accurate, Hitler was a Christian.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • Steve

      Hitler wasn't an atheist. Quit repeating that lie.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • Hmmm

      Hitler was a theist and in many speeches invoked the almighty creator. However, I would not say that Hitler killed for his theism just as I don't believe that Stalin killed for his atheism. Your post is a bit all over the place but I will address this.

      "Unfortunately, believing in goodness for goodness's own sake is a fairy tale. Because, if there is no God there is no morality. Man has no meaning, and me stabbing someone, and taking their life because I want his house is ok. Social rules may dictate that it is wrong, and the other person says that it is wrong. But I may think that it is right. There is no ultimate sense of goodness for anyone to prevail against. And, in the great scheme of things, nothing matters. No atheist can debate that, because that is the logical conclusion of their beliefs."

      If there is no God, there is no morality? I can't stress how much I disagree with this. It's our unique solidarity through millions of years of evolution that is the source our decency and morality. How many religious people believe that killing, lying, etc. for the greater cause is moral? Where is that morality from god that tells them it's wrong? Your conviction is that you derive your morals from God and that is fine for you but I don't derive my morals from any god. Not Jesus, Zeus, Krishna, or Thor. My morals come from the solidarity of human beings as a species. If the bible were that clear in all things or if it was installed within you, answer me this, is it ok to have an abortion if the mother is ra*ed?

      And to me, as an atheist, life matters very much. It's the only one I'll get. We stand on the shoulders of giants and that's why we see further than they do. Not because we are better than they are but because of the knowledge they passed on to us. What greater gift could you give to future generations than to expand on that knowledge? Our species inspires me with hope as to what our civilization may yet achieve.

      "We are nothing but ignorant in the cosmic sense"- Plato

      I wouldn't have it any other way.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • Christopher Lirette

      Hitler was a Christian in the 20's. When he started to delve into Nietzsche, and become the face of fascism in Germany he renounced his faith, and stopped believing in God. He may not have said, I am an atheist. But I believe not believing in God is atheism.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • Hmmm

      Where does he state that he doesn't believe in God? Surely those speeches where invoked the almighty creator are an indicator of the opposite. Not to mention his personal writings. It doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things but this is just an attempt paint the most evil person in history as an atheist in an attempt to attack atheism.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • Christopher Lirette

      "It's our unique solidarity through millions of years of evolution that is the source our decency and morality." Even if that is the case from an atheist's point of view it still ultimately means nothing. I am not saying that atheist's are bad people, or even that they think life is meaningless.

      I am taking the ideology to its final destination. No God, means the gloves are off and anyone can do anything without regret, remorse, or feeling.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Hmmm

      "Even if that is the case from an atheist's point of view it still ultimately means nothing. I am not saying that atheist's are bad people, or even that they think life is meaningless."

      It ultimately means nothing to you.

      "I am taking the ideology to its final destination. No God, means the gloves are off and anyone can do anything without regret, remorse, or feeling."

      Not true. I have done things I regret. I am remorseful for the bad things I do. I feel bad when I do bad things. Yet, I am an atheist. But what is good and what is bad? I don't feel bad when I have pre-martial s3x but I guess I'm supposed to since god installed those feelings inside of me. Oh, to see the world in black and white, good and bad...sigh.

      If you truly need God to feel these things, then perhaps you need to examine your own life.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Hitler never renounced his Catholicism, though Catholics like to deny this. However I agree that his actions certainly ddin't stem from his Catholic faith (or warped view of it, anyway)

      May 19, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • HieTide

      @ the comments regarding Hitler being a Christian: Is the concept of Hiter, a politician, using something like Christianity for personal gain that difficult to comprehend. A public figure's true qualities are defined by their personal actions, not those put on for the populace. Hitler once gave Mussolini a copy of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the book most noted for Nietzsche's quote "God is dead". Germany's Nazi party began the process of establishing a state church, and the USSR and Communist Chinese made strong efforts to eradicate religion from their nations. These three governments, all opposed to religion at their cores, were responsible for the murder of tens of millions within a couple decades (more than any religion through its entire history). Nietzsche and Darwin were intelligent and honest enough to admit in their own writings that the atheistic views they were establishing could have such terrible consequences.

      As for the article, it's rather sad that such an opinion article would be published. Surely they could have found someone else to write the piece, someone who would have expressed their standpoint instead of spouting vitriol based on obvious caricatures. Despite a few fleeting references otherwise, there is no doubt that the target of the article was Christianity, not religion in general. Had the piece been written about another religion, such as Islam, or another group of people, it would have been cast out as a bigoted, mindless attack (I doubt the article has the courage to state his feelings about other religions). The level of generalization and misinformed writing is by far the worst I've seen in a CNN Op-Ed. The 'author' states that "like most atheists, I’m a pretty nice person", yet he immediately, and hypocritically, sets about branding all Christians as evil based on the actions of one man. In reality, the overwhelming majority of Christians disagree with Camping and his ilk and want them to stop destroying people's lives.

      I have friends who are atheists and agnostics, and if their views are any indication, then most atheists would find this David Silverman's views narrow-minded, bigoted, and grossly misinformed.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
  14. Hmm

    I don't see Hinduism or Buddhism among these claims...

    May 19, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
  15. Southern Baptist

    I agree with Mr. Silverman when he says that Camping is a disgrace, however, Camping's ideas are entirely non-scriptural if pertaining to Christianity. The bible states that no man will know the hour of the second coming. For Camping to declare that he knows the date it is a violation of Christian beliefs, and he should not be a reflection of all religious people. I may agree with Mr. Silverman on his condemnation of camping, but I do not see why he chooses to insult all religious people or declare that he understands what motivates our faith. As a college student, I make an effort to inform myself on many different topics, including religion and atheism, and I do not refute scientific ideas simply because they may inspire doubt in my beliefs. It would be a lie if I were to say that scientific evidence is against religion, but I choose to believe anyway. I do not do this for fear of damnation, but rather because I feel the Lord's presence in my life daily. Also, I do not feel the need to try to understand the origins of the universe. It seems to me that the important thing to do it live while we are here rather than try to understand why we are here. For us to try to understand the origins of the universe or of the human race is like an ant trying to understand how a computer was built. It is beyond our comprehension. I am open to Mr. Silverman's statements, but if he had a thorough understanding of biblical scripture, he would realize his opinion of religious people is very wrong indeed. Faith is a choice inspired by reasoning, understanding, an open mind, and acceptance that we cannot understand the world. Faith comes from love, not fear. Faith based on fear is not real faith, and the Bible says this many times. Any religious figures who use fear to inspire obedience or gain have moved far from the teachings of Jesus Christ. I do not wish to convert atheist to religion, I just ask that you would inform yourselves better before attacking religion, and be open to my beliefs as I am to yours.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • crucified

      I need to correct you, other than the dates Campings doctrine is completely accurate and lines up with the Baptist religion.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • crucified

      I need to correct you on your comment, other than the dates Campings doctrine is completely accurate and lines up with the Baptist religion.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • Southern Baptist

      No, I need to correct you. First, Baptist is not a religion. It is a denomination of Christianity. If you believe that it is biblical for us to try to determine the date of the second coming then you are reading a very different bible than mine. Camping's actions are a clear violation of God's holy word.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • An Atheist’s Perspective

      Wow, I like you and seriously hope you become a religious leader or at least more vocal in your faith. The world needs to hear more from normal people who actually represent their group and not just the crazies or all we'll be left with is stereotyping and hostility from both sides.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • crucified

      baptist is a religion a product of protestant movement...and I said OTHER THAN THE DATES, his doctrine is sound.. have you ever listened to him.. besides regardless or the dates you should be prepared for day comes like a theif in the night....

      May 19, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Student

      Agree. The Bible expicitly says that no one knows the hour and time. And it will happen when least expected.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Student

      Just to clarify - I agree with Southern Baptist's main comment :). Hear hear!

      May 19, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • John Richardson

      So what exactly does the lord feel like, anyway? Thick and chewy? Thin and crispy? Great taste? Less filling? Is he as fun to squeeze as bubble wrap?

      May 19, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • HieTide

      crucified wrote: "I need to correct you on your comment, other than the dates Campings doctrine is completely accurate and lines up with the Baptist religion."

      No, Camping has expressed a number of views that are outside of the doctrines of the Christian religions and their denominations. This includes the belief that all churches are apostate and all churchgoers are doomed come May 21.

      May 19, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  16. Jon

    Anybody who can think straight knows that all religions are scams. How could anyone possibly know anything about who or what created our universe? People seem to prefer fantasy over reality. Either that or they just aren't rational enough to tell the difference.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  17. Wolfhound

    Happily for me, I outgrew belief in imaginary friends in elementary school. Sadly for the religious, they never did.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
  18. Stephen

    Wow, well said and quite powerful. Little I could add to it. I also wonder at how much these nutcases really believe what they say and preach, or if they have strains of believers profiled this well so as to exploit them this thoroughly. While there will always be hoaxers and people bamboozled by them, I have a hard time believing that any human being with a working brain could give Harold Camping the time of day.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • Patricia

      People will follow someone if they sound smarter than them. Perhaps he is manipulating them with the promise of immortality.

      May 19, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  19. Faithful

    "Victims will be broken. Families will be damaged. Lives will be ruined. All because someone made a good pitch, and followers believed."

    Just like people who vote Republican.

    May 19, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  20. Tj

    I agree religion relies on fear mongering

    May 19, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • Muneef

      Religion alone does that? What about other ideologies didn't they use the same method to keep people under their wings as wanted? What about North Korea how they do it to keep the masses under control although they are non religious?
      How was it with Hitler or Red Sovet or China?? Those were non religious but ruled by the same way using human fear to build their empires...if it wasn't to the Islamic belt that been used by your self for protecting you they would have reached your side...Maybe this link will help you realize what you have created to Islam having turned it into a beast for your own goodwill.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2CE0fyz4ys

      May 19, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Muneef, I can't speak for TJ, but all he said was that religion relies on fear mongering. He didn't say that ONLY religion does. If I say Dirk Nowitzki is a great basketball player, I'm not thereby saying that LeBron James isn't. If I say the Republicans leadership s*cks, I certainly don't mean to convey that the Democratic leadership doesn't. 🙂

      May 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • Muneef

      John Richerson.

      Thank you for your clear explanation but the fear which our Islamic Religion would be mongering with is about Hell and Heavens...about death and after death....! Those we call a reminder rather than fear mongering...take for example reading the links I would provide here for you and you will realize what fear mongering we have;

      The  interval between death and the Day of Resurrection is called Barzakh in arabic. The literal meaning of Barzakh is  obstruction or barrier. Since this period is a barrier is between this world and the life Hereafter, that is why it called  Barzakh.

      The grave is either the garden of Paradise or the pit of Hell-Fire. O People, make your graves as  gardens of Paradise by doing righteous deeds; and do  not make your graves the pits of Hell-Fire by doing  evil deeds.
      A book in PDF you might be interested to read about same subject!!!

      May 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Muneef – And that's the problem. You monger fear about a destiny you have no evidence for save for some rants in a book that you believe is infallible because it says it is. That's not good enough.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
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About this blog

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