10 things the Belief Blog learned in its first year
June 8th, 2011
01:01 PM ET

10 things the Belief Blog learned in its first year

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - In case you were wondering about all the balloons and cake: CNN’s Belief Blog has just marked its first birthday.

After publishing 1,840 posts and sifting through 452,603 comments (OK, we may have missed one or two) the Belief Blog feels older than its 12 months would suggest. But it also feels wiser, having followed the faith angles of big news stories, commissioned lots of commentary and, yes, paid attention to all those reader comments for a solid year.

10 things we've learned:

1. Every big news story has a faith angle. Even the ordeal of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for more than two months. Even the attempted assassination of Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Even March Madness. Even - well, you get the point.

2. Atheists are the most fervent commenters on matters religious. This became apparent immediately after the Belief Blog's first official post last May, which quickly drew such comments as:

Can we have a fairy tale blog too?

This is nothing but America moving away from its wondrous spirit of Apollo 11 into a mindset of the perpetually intellectually challenged.
I think there was some news today about scientists having created the first artificial cell. That should have been a HUGE story. And yet, what do we get? A faith blog. Pathetic.

This blog is terrifying. It's amazing how much power the radical religious right is amassing in our country right now. If I can't have some legislation, can I at least have some news that does not cater to zealots?

Those early comments presaged an avalanche of alternately humorous and outraged atheist responses on virtually everything the Belief Blog publishes. They're more evidence that atheists are coming out of the closet to trumpet their disbelief, argue with the faithful and evangelize their godlessness. (It's worth noting that the Belief Blog does plenty of atheism stories.)

3. People are still intensely curious about the Bible, its meaning and its origins.

It's an ancient tome, but more than any other book in the Western tradition (with the Quran being the lone exception), the Bible still fascinates us. And it still feeds our most heated debates. In February, a guest post here arguing that the Bible is more ambiguous on homosexuality than traditionally thought elicited more than 4,000 comments. A response post insisting that the Bible clearly condemns homosexuality brought in an equal number of comments - and was the most popular story on CNN.com on the day it was published.

Other Belief Blog pieces about biblical scholarship - including a recent offering about biblical misquotations - have also caught fire. More of us may be reading it on iPhones these days, but the Good Book still matters a lot more than the popular culture lets on.

4.   Most Americans are religiously illiterate. Despite the appetite for stories and commentary about the Bible, most Americans know little about it. A huge Pew survey released in September found that most Americans scored 50 percent or less on a quiz measuring knowledge of the Bible, world religions and what the Constitution says about religion in public life. Ironically, atheists and agnostics scored best. How did you do on the quiz?

5. It's impossible to understand much of the news without knowing something about religion. Why did the Egyptian revolution happen on a Friday? Why was Osama bin Laden's body buried so quickly after he was killed? Why did Afghan rioters kill seven United Nations workers in April? You simply can't answer those questions without bringing in religion.

6.  Regardless of where they fit on the spectrum, people want others to understand what they believe. That goes for pagans, fundamentalist Mormons, Native Americans, atheists - everyone.

7. Americans still have an uneasy relationship with Islam. Nearly 10 years after the September 11 attacks provoked many Americans to pay attention to Islam for the first time, much of the country is still somewhat uncomfortable about the religion, which counts 1.5 billion followers worldwide.

The biggest domestic religion story in the Belief Blog's young life was probably last year's opposition to a proposed Islamic Center and mosque near New York's ground zero. And with the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaching, domestic tensions around Islam may flare again. The Arab Spring, meanwhile is raising weighty questions about Islam's role in post-autocratic regimes, guaranteeing the religion - and its relationship with the U.S. - will be one of the world's big stories for years to come.

8. God may not prevent natural disasters, but religion is always a big part of the response. We see it play out every time Mother Nature delivers a punishing blow, from March's Japan earthquake and tsunami to the recent tornado that flattened much of Joplin, Missouri.

9. Apocalyptic movements come and go. The May 21st doomsdayers drew loads of interest, largely thanks to a massive ad campaign, but they're hardly original.

10. Most Americans don't know that President Barack Obama is a Christian. It's ironic, since church-based community organizing led him to politics and since his close relationship with a pastor almost sunk his presidential campaign, but that's what a Pew poll found last year.

Only about a third of Americans correctly identified Obama's religion, while nearly one in five said he's a Muslim. Another irony: The longer Obama's been in office, the smaller the proportion of Americans who can correctly name his faith. As the 2012 presidential race approaches, this story bears watching, since views of candidates' religion influence voting patterns.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Comments • Technology • Trends

soundoff (1,520 Responses)
  1. jbmar1312

    I always believed that Atheism was a religion in itself. Since their faith is placed in themselves. Athiests are there own god. So this blog really does cover everything because it is a blog about Beliefs. What we all believe. The truth coming out of the comments here are that those who do not believe in God are uncomoratable thinking that if they are right then they are safe but if they are wrong they are out. I cant prove to a person that God exists. When God reveals his son Jesus to someone, we have to be open to the possibility. Unfortunately our wisdom wants to promote ourselves above truth sometimes. Pride is the problem. We can't humble ourselves to seriously and openly entertain the thought that maybe we didn't just happen. Because when we do that it opens up our lives to the possibility that we may not be in control of our destiny and that we may be held accountable for what we have done with our lives here on this earth in the life after.

    As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Not very well unfortunately but God is merciful and gracious so we have hope.

    June 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • frank

      No to everything you said.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • frank

      *most everything

      June 8, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • LP

      Atheism is not a religion, as much as some religionists like to paint it as such. "Atheism" just means "without god(s)". It doesn't address faith or belief or philosophy or ritual or anything else one might commonly associate with religion.

      People certainly define "religion" in different ways. I define it as involving a deity and worship thereof; by that definition atheism is decidedly not a religion. We don't acknowledge a deity and we don't worship anything. If you define religion as any philosophy by which a person chooses to live his/her life, then you'll likely find as many "religions" among atheists as there are atheists. Either way, atheism itself is not a religion.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • summer

      1. Atheist is not a religion at all..It just a label used for one who doesnt follow any one religion themselves.....I am not saying I am right in fact I can admit that I may be wrong, CAN YOU??? So where is the proof that GOD exist? Peoples interepretations of god differ to me it simply means a higher power....but If i did practice a religion which I once did I always wondered why there was a middle man that I had to go through to get to god...just because rumor has it jesus is the son of god that does not make jesus perfect..i know plenty of "righteous" people and believe me the son or daughters were far from that...On another note it seems everyone wants to believe in an afterlife and that itself gives determination to follow some sort of religion and still produces hope while promoting fear that you may not get to the "next life"...Jesus in his time was a revolutionist of his time...He went against the grain and for that reason he was executed....HE had to much power in his day....Again I could be wrong and as I stated in many post I do not "knock" any religion as it has helped maintain a functioning society but has also caused division amongst many.......I am humble enough to admit that I can be wrong and IF so then I will gladly explain at "judgment day"..... I am willing to accept whole responsibility for all my actions here on earth without jesus or anybody else's "permission...I ask can you open your heart to the possibility that perhaps we are in control of our own destiny?? Or would that be a little to dangerous for you...???

      June 9, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Barry Johnstone

      You appear to have a total misunderstanding of atheism. Atheists are NOT their own god! (That would pre-suppose a religious belief)You can’t prove that god exists – similarly I cannot prove that god doesn’t exist, but I have no POV whether a god(s) exist or not – it’s to do with the fact that if these god(s) are extant, I choose NOT to believe in them! In other words, atheism is a position, not a belief or faith. I’m glad you said “possibility” when you talked about a god having a son! (It isn’t a definite statement, and never really has been). Your opinions about wisdom, truth and pride are definitely religionist – quite unacceptable to me as an atheist! You obviously have sympathies with the ID apologists, my problem with that is that I fully accept that conditions were so that life HAD to start, it isn’t the other way! (Not forgetting also that it only had to happen the once) Along with that train of thought, we aren’t in charge of our “destiny” and once we’re dead and gone – THAT’S IT! Finito! Worm food! Where is the logic in accepting the religious propaganda of “after life?”

      June 18, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Mike

      Laugh or cry? I think...cry? These people are so amusing because they are so sure about it all, yet somehow clueless.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  2. kso

    I think it's hilarious that believers spend more time praying to another human and having faith in Jesus than they spend having faith in themselves. Jesus = perfect being. yeah In your dreams fundies.

    All men are born equal. self evident truths.

    June 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  3. William Demuth

    Now that we Atheists are coming out of the closet, I would like to commend my brothers!

    The “War on Terror” was a BRILLIANT means of compelling civil war within the Abrahamic community.

    Supporting the right wing in the US and Israel brings them all a little closer to finally slaughtering each other!

    My brothers have also done EXCELLENT work shining a light on the whole “Gang Bang an Altar Boy” festivities of recent years

    Next we move to tax the Churches as a way to keep Medicare afloat (once the depression starts)!

    June 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Common Sense

      You realize that your zealous drive to end religion is just as bad as any zealous drive to spread one? And you realize that there are just as many, if not more, people with different beliefs than you, who you suggest should be forced to believe what you believe? And you realize that this is strikingly similar to other events in history concerning the religions which you hate so much because of their actions against people with different beliefs?

      July 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  4. ladybird

    I take issue with #2. A big issue, actually. The issue being that in this country (and on this blog, apparently) people who believe religion is not "news" (only human interest) and/or who also firmly believe in separation of church and state are immediately labeled Atheists. First of all, that is not an indication of Atheism. At all. Secondly, people can be unaffiliated with a major religion and still be spiritual. There are agnostics and humanists, in addition to others, who must also be considered. But lastly, so what? Atheism is often the result of education and #4 seems to support that. So think about that, you God-fearing people. Perhaps your "faith" is nothing more than ignorance wearing a cross. Or the Star of David. Or whatever.

    June 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Frogist

      @LadyBird: I agree totally. Too many religious, esp Christians, who post on this blog confuse atheism and secularism. They assume that if you are against prayer in schools or religious icons on gov't buildings that you are atheist. It's a common mistake. Even believers recognize and support the need for separation of church and state.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I dig spiritual chicks! I just hope you don't look like the original Lady Bird!

      June 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Jon

      Amen. There seems to be a bit of a double-standard at play here. Adherents of certain religions virtually dedicate their lives to spreading their beliefs, but when a few athiests/agnostics comment on some stories on CNN (a group we should be encouraging to comment, if #4 is to be believed), they're characterized as "most fervent."

      June 8, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  5. Wayne

    Do a wiki search for famous atheists and stand back.

    June 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  6. Wayne

    "5. It's impossible to understand much of the news without knowing something about religion."
    Knowing something about religion is not the same as belief.

    "1. Every big news story has a faith angle."
    This is just plain wrong.

    "2. Atheists are the most fervent commenters on matters religious."
    Ah, an atheist killing in the name of god.
    To many others to comment on.

    June 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Dan'l

      While atheists may not kill "in the name of God," they have certainly killed in the name of their atheistic philosophies: Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot all come to mind. Killing is not a side effect of religion; it is a side effect of the evil aspect of humanity, and people use whatever they believe in to justify it.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Jon

      Actually, Dan'l, those tyrants you named committed those atrocities because of their irrational beliefs in insane dogma (or perhaps, just because they're human, and were drunk with power). I don't think it's particularly relevant whether or not that dogma was called "religion." If I really wanted to cherry pick a bunch of Christians or Muslims throughout history to counter your argument, I wouldn't have a shortage to choose from. The truth is that athiests and agnostics are something like 10-20% as likely to end up in prison as Christians (according to the US Bureau of Prisons, anyway), so according the only actual piece of data on the subject of which I'm aware, atheists and agnostics are in fact less likely to be involved in violent crime (unless of course, they're just that much better at getting away with it.)

      June 8, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Bill Sargent

      And don't most KKK members claim to be Christians? Even the old KKK members who were cleansing the earth?

      June 9, 2011 at 3:38 am |
  7. Not Frogist

    What's the point in arguing? Those who believe in God/Allah/etc. will defend their beliefs. Those who don't will try to belittle them.

    What's certain is blanket statements like "Organized religion has never done anything good for the world" ignores the fact that the abolition of slavery was, by and large, led by religious people holding to the belief that everyone has value, and ignores the fact that many hospitals are around because of religious people holding the belief that everyone deserves access to healthcare; and ignores the fact that many religiously minded people go to other countries not to preach their view of religion, but to help those in need (Mother Theresa, orphanages, educators, etc.); they ignore the fact that many of our scientific discoveries were made by people who held strong religious beliefs.

    Blanket statements by the religious that athiests haven't done anything good for the world ignore have...wait, HAVE they done anything good for the world other than argue on blogs and publish books against organized religion?

    June 8, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • William Demuth


      I understand you don't like the militant non believers.

      You keep your zealots in check, and we will keep ours in check

      June 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • je$u$$ave$

      I'm pretty sure most slavery was imposed along religious lines (Egypt/Jews; Romans/Jews and Christians; African Tribal conflicts during European exploration), and I think most "holy books" refer to slavery in a fact-o-life kind of way. So what was your point again?

      June 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • JJ in CT

      Arguments are not necessarily a negative thing. They bring a lot of good points to light.

      My point in arguing is when religious doctrine enters the political arena and public policy.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Blanket statements by the religious that athiests haven't done anything good for the world ignore have...wait, HAVE they done anything good for the world other than argue on blogs and publish books against organized religion?

      You have answered your own question. Bringing people out of their nonsensical and childish thoughts of supersti-tion, black magic and incantations is a good for the world. Because it forces us as a group to move forward into reality without being burdended.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Not Frogist: Whoa! It's like looking in a mirror!
      Actually you are assuming some things that are untrue. Like non-believers will always belittle believers. That's simply false. What is also false is attributing the idea of "Organized religion has never done anything good for the world" to all non-believers. Another very biased and untrue statement. And you follow that up with a biased and beaten to death characterization.
      I wonder whether you understand the irony of issuing blanket prejudiced statements while condeming blanket prejudiced statements?

      @William: Seeing as the believer zealots are not exactly in check, I have to assume that you believers are not exactly doing your part. Needless to say, I do strive to keep discourse on the non-agressive side for me and for those who would be associated with me.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Oh, Crap, I'm Growing Up and I Can't Stop It!

      @ JJ in CT

      Uh-oh. Political self-interest.... that's really scaawy. You better get on a picket line, sign a peti tion, or [gasp] send someone your -trust- some money to rid the nation of this dreaded... eweuuu.... belief nonsense.. I understand. You want it all, and you want it your way. Although that's an admirable goal, on behalf of unavoidable maturity, I'd like to apologize for being a major inconvenience to your popular prejudice. Now I'll disappear and work on turning your hair gray.... heh, heh... and I'll give you wrinkles, too! And... kids! Arrrgh! Before you know it you'll be a - a... oh, God help you... a conservative !

      June 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Frogist

      @William: I seem to have misread your post. I apologize. I do think there should be less inflammatory rhetoric on both sides. And I do think the believers have quite a bit of "taking the beam out of their own eye"... But it doesn't help co-existence any when non-believers are overly aggressive.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Bill Sargent

      You speak about hospitals mostly being of a religious nature. Maybe in the US where Christianity is the ruling force, but as someone who moved away from all of that nonsense and moved to Sweden, the hospitals HERE are most certainly not religious. There's no crucifix in each room, there's no nun or "father" walking the floors intruding on people's privacy to pray with them, and theres no church affiliation at all. As most americans would hate this, I love it. I love that its all ran by the government. That to me, at least with this government, means that no Jesus bs will be in my daily life if I don't want it. But if I do, there are plenty of churches for that.

      June 9, 2011 at 3:45 am |
  8. Dennis

    Its True again, why is there a Belief Blog anyway, CNN is not a religious organization, are you trying to appeal to the religious Right to get more ratings? I agree with the first comment from ME, where is the Atheist Blog on CNN.

    June 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Jose

      Because many people are religious and posting news that impacts them will add to the bottom line.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Justin

      I've been checking in on the blog from the beginning – seems to me the voices on it have healthy helpings of belief, lack-of-belief, and disbelief.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  9. Me

    There should be an Atheism blog on here too. This Belief BS shouldn't be on the front page of CNN.

    June 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Rabia Diluvio

      Atheism *is* a belief system–a faith-based one at that. If you were asking for an agnostic blog, you might have a point...but then where would be the fun in a blog where all people do is stand about and shrug and pose questions for which they claim no answers.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • neoritter

      Apparently you don't know how to read an article or click on links.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Wayne

      Rabia, Atheism is a lack of a belief. A lack of belief requires no faith.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • T3chsupport

      The moment you 'practice' being an atheist is the moment it becomes a religion.
      Having a specific place to go to talk about being an atheist would be that practice. You want to be a religious atheist?

      June 8, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Rabia Diluvio

      Atheism is not a lack of belief, but a belief in the nonexistence of God (thus, a-theos, or not-god). As such, it is an inherently unverifiable position and therefore faith-based. I think you are confusing atheism with agnosticism which is more of a default position which acknowledges that the big questions about the existence and will of said deity are essentially unknowable and not understandable in human terms. There is nothing wrong with being an atheist, mind you, but if you are one it helps to be intellectually honest. To be able to say "I don't know whether there is a god or not, but I BELIEVE it not to be so" is a much more powerful statement than "There is no god" which carries the burden of being unprovable.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • mike c

      One blogger said that Atheism is not a belief, it is a lack of belief. On the contrary, it is a lack of belief only of that which you believe in. The belief that God does not exist is just as much a belief as the opposite.
      As at least one person put it, atheists in general do not care what you believe, as long as you are not insisting that they have to follow your beliefs.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Atheism is not a lack of belief, but a belief in the nonexistence of God (thus, a-theos, or not-god).

      No, it's not.

      > As such, it is an inherently unverifiable position and therefore faith-based.

      Even if that was the claim, it's not faith based. If God can suspend natural laws to answer prayers or make miracles occur then denying it exists on the basis of no evidence is a position consistent with what our observations of the universe have been. Believing in a God that suspends natural laws is not consistent with our observations of the universe.

      > I think you are confusing atheism with agnosticism which is more of a default position which acknowledges that the big questions about the existence and will of said deity are essentially unknowable and not understandable in human terms.

      I know you don't undersatnd what atheism and agnosticism is. They're not mutually exclusive. I'm an agnostic atheist. That is to say, I do not believe in a God, and I don't think we ever will know if a God actually existed.

      > There is nothing wrong with being an atheist, mind you, but if you are one it helps to be intellectually honest.

      It also helps to know what terms you're using before you use them incorrectly.

      > To be able to say "I don't know whether there is a god or not, but I BELIEVE it not to be so" is a much more powerful statement than "There is no god" which carries the burden of being unprovable.

      Let me sum it up my thoughts on the matter for you. "The logical position for any claim is to not believe it until sufficient evidence is presented to change your mind. As such, I do not believe in the claims of theists because they have not met their burden of proof."

      June 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • LP

      I think we're arguing semantics here. One could define atheism as "without god", which does not address belief in any way whatsoever. Or one could say "I believe there are no gods", which is a belief system. As an atheist I don't mind it being called a belief system, but I DO mind it being called a religion, a term which some use interchangably with belief system.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • heliocracy

      Rabia the flaw in your argument is all in where you are coming from. To you, God is real, so it requires faith to believe otherwise–that God is not real. Let's put it in different terms. If I come to you and declare that my father is an extraterrestrial, and that long ago he created the world, does it require faith for you to disbelieve it? Can I fairly say that you hold a "religious" belief because you don't believe my alien father created the world?

      June 8, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • apostate

      "Atheism is not a lack of belief, but a belief in the nonexistence of God"

      False. Atheism does not have to take a positive "gods do not exist" stance. Atheism only needs to reject god claims for which there is no evidence = non-belief.

      "I think you are confusing atheism with agnosticism"

      You are the one confused. Agnosticism/Gnosticism addresses KNOWLEDGE. Atheism/Theism addresses BELIEF. One can be an Agnostic Atheist neither making a claim of KNOWLEDGE about the existence of gods while not having any reason to BELIEVE gods exist.

      Not believing in fairies and bigfoot must also be a faith/religion by your faulty reasoning.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:02 am |
  10. jerry

    thank you for this story. I am always fascinated by the many ways our society is influenced by religion. Also, I do not find it surprising at all that the most secular are the most educated regarding religion.

    June 8, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • je$u$$ave$

      Imagine if it was somehow correlated. You know... like, the more a person learns about religion, the less likely that person is to believe in a religion. Wouldn't it be really strange if THAT were the case? I mean, call me crazy, but it looks an awful lot like people who do their homework find their way out of religion quickly. (Of course, the number is inflated by life-long atheists who are trying to figure out why the heII any sentient being would consider blind faith as a viable option.)

      June 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  11. William Demuth

    What you see in this blog is the beginning of the Militant Atheist movement.

    We have asked for cultural tolerance, and basic things like the separation of church and state.

    The failure of the zealots to comply shall be their downfall.

    We will fight you in the courts, in the congress, and if need be in the streets.

    Power to the infidels, heretics and blasphemers of the world, for theirs is the kingdom of EARTH!


    June 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • senoy

      Wow, you'll fight believers in the streets? Isn't the big New Atheist argument against religion that it breeds violence? Apparently lack thereof breeds it as well. Of course, yours is justified and everyone else's is fanatical. ;P

      June 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Fidei Coticula Crux

      The First Amendment to the United States Const-itution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF;...”

      Benjamin Franklin said it best when he stated: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither…”

      June 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • je$u$$ave$

      "if need be" sort of indicates that the atheists are not intent on throwing the first punch (though we've already shrugged off several).

      June 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Senoy, you do understand parody don't you?

      Besides, if we Athiests want war it will be ruthlessly efficient, probably a genome specific virus that targets only the indoctrinated. Just a few drops in each of those holy water dispensers and let nature run its course!

      You see we are always watching, and always learning.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • senoy

      Heh Je$u$, if the provocations that atheists have apparently suffered you feel already justify 'fighting believers in the street' I stand by my claim that lack of religion is apparently also a source of violence. For the record, as a Christian pacifist, I will not be fighting you in the streets regardless of any provocation that may be used.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Heh Je$u$, if the provocations that atheists have apparently suffered you feel already justify 'fighting believers in the street' I stand by my claim that lack of religion is apparently also a source of violence. For the record, as a Christian pacifist, I will not be fighting you in the streets regardless of any provocation that may be used.

      Then "logically" it would follow that the torture used in the dark ages by Christians could lead me to reasonably conclude that "A faith in God means you're more apt to torture people."

      Your argument is comical.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  12. eve

    Trust me "bro" – us atheists don't think we're wrong. It's as hard for us to understand how people have faith in a higher power as it is for you to understand how some of us don't. At least we all of that in common.

    June 8, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      I'd phrase it like this...

      We cannot understand logically how you can have faith. We also cannot understand why how you can suspend logic to accomidate your faith.

      Faith is emotional, which is why most people fail to apply logic to it. However, everything we know about reality comes about from rational, logical inquiry. Not how we feel about a concept or an idea.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Atheist Individual

      -The Bobinator-
      Speak for yourself, sir, and please avoid using the word "we" when there is no actual consensus of ignorance in this case.
      I understand quite well why religious believers believe, how it works, and why.
      I also understand how it feels, having been a believer in the past. I can recall many trains of thought, the emotionally-reinforced cognitive dissonance I experienced, and can also put that towards my current level of understanding.
      Again, please do not speak for me or for anyone else you do not know.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  13. GuestWhat

    bored again!

    June 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • Randy

      Yes Atheists respond to a lot of post in the Religion Blog. A) we generally think a lot about faith religion or not following one of this world religions, because most of us arrived at agnosticism or atheism through a thought process. Most of us grew up in a religious society or culture, and had to make the choice to move away from those traditions.
      B) The main point is NOT to convince people that there might not be a god . Believe what you want, but do it in your own church and leave the rest of us alone. This IS the issue: Don't try to insert your religious beliefs into public life, government, schools, the curriculum, and society in general. Your morals are yours, my morals are mine. Don't tell women they can't have an abortion because your silly god supposedly said so. Don't tell people how they should love another man or woman in their own home. None of your business. Stop the hypocracy of acting holier than though, family values and all, when you really want to take control of public life via your religious extremisms.
      Atheists don't want to create a new " belief system", they are fed up with the fancyful garbage they are hearing spouted by bible thumpers and fundamentalists, who all seem to own the real truths, their own of course.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  14. bro

    i love number 2. its so true, atheists have too much time on their hands and know deep down that they are completely wrong, so they have to bash religious articles right away to make it sound like their nonsense makes sense

    June 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Silly fool.

      We bash you because superstion is the BIGGEST threat to life on our planet.

      Be it the Muslims, the Jews or the Christians, you followers of Abraham are at the core of almost every ill in this world.

      Enough of your imaginary God, it is time for you to grow up.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • MW

      I laugh at you sir.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • je$u$$ave$

      Well it's certainly clear you love "number 2" as it's another name for what you're shoveling. What is the "nonsense" to which you refer? Scientific method? Logic? Lack of supernatural explanations for common-place phenomena? Oh yeah, that's way less believable than a sky-man sending his zombie son to hang on a stick so we'd be saved from said sky-man putting us in an oven for eternity.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • SarahFalin

      That is an interesting response, especially when we consider than many of the first scientists and naturalists were clergy, as they were the only ones that had extra time on their hands.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > That is an interesting response, especially when we consider than many of the first scientists and naturalists were clergy, as they were the only ones that had extra time on their hands.

      So was Issac Newton. He believed in all sorts of nonsense. Newton isn't remembered for his faith. He's remembered for the logic and rationale he applied to his science and the proofs he provided for it.

      Scientific discovery does not speak towards the validity of the religious views someone holds silly.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  15. Reality

    Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, this blog's moderators/editors noted:

    "yes, paid attention to all those reader comments for a solid year."

    You did??????

    Then where is the information about the oft-complained about word filter? i.e. how hard would it be to publish the following in the Terms of Service/ Rules of Conduct:

    • This blog has a "offensive" word filter which either will delete or put your comment in the "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there are words containing "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual".

    • And make sure any referenced web addresses do not have any forbidden word or fragment.

    Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post.

    "Sensitive" words/fragments found by commentators such as Sam Dude --–

    ar-se.....as in Car-se, etc.
    co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, lubco-ck, etc.
    co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
    cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
    cu-nt.....as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
    ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
    ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, etc.
    ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
    ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
    jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
    ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
    koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
    pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
    pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
    ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
    se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
    sh-@t.....but shat is okay – don't use the @ symbol there.
    sp-ic.....as in disp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
    ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
    tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
    va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
    who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!

    There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.
    Allowed words / not blocked at all:
    raping (ra-pe is not ok)
    shat (sh-@t is not ok)

    The CNN / WordPress filter also filters your EMAIL address and NAME as well – so you might want to check those.

    And YES to those who suggested a search engine to check previous comments as the current limit of about 50 comments per page makes finding previous comments very difficult to find when the number of comments exceed ~ 150.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • BringIt IloveYou


      June 8, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Fidei Coticula Crux

      Reality, thanks for the information. I'll try to keep them in mind.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Now THAT is Fu-cking news!

      June 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • BG

      @ Reality

      You're one of the last real gentleman still on this blog. I don't count myself among you – I went to the 'dark side' a long time ago. Now it's just you and Peace2All. Anyway, thanks for periodically posting this. Regular contributors should keep it handy so they don't bi1ch about being censored (like I used to...)

      June 8, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Betty Lou

      Bg, i think you missed some of Reality's posts. And you're not much of a gentleman either, imo.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  16. LinCA

    15). I, too, like buttsex.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Jesus is coming today, bake him some cookies.

      It produces buttbabies.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  17. The Jackdaw

    CNN should have learned that a fairy tale is not news.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  18. BringIt IloveYou


    June 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  19. BringIt IloveYou


    June 8, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Andrew

      The only person that man is capable of humiliating is himself. "If I toss out big words it sounds like I make a coherent argument so long as no one takes a closer look". William Lane Craig is not a historian, philosopher, or anyone really worthy of value... and his cosmological argument would make any physicist lose their hair in frustration.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  20. Frogist

    Thank you CNN for #2 on that list! Now whenever a pushy ent!tled believer wonders sarcastically why atheists are on this blog I can just point them to that last line.
    Now can you please PLEASE fix the issue with the naughty word list?

    June 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Finger Puppet

      I'm with you. But it's not that simple. The technology, is either used through, or leased from WordPress.com.
      If they pay for it, they may have some leverage, but I doubt it. WordPress would have to have a motive to change it, and am not aware of any similar co-mpeti-tor. Think we're stuck with this.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Finger Puppet... Is this really an issue with all WordPress blogs? Surely there must be a way to fix it. I'm not experienced with WordPress but I have heard some people comment previously that it would be a simple matter of editing the offensive words to have a space before and after them.
      You've dashed my hopes, Finger Puppet. =(

      June 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Andrew

      Any halfway decent programmer should be able to add a whitespace checker. It's a wonder they haven't done so yet.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Finger Puppet

      Am too tired at this point to go look for the thread, but am still chuckling about your "no, I WANT AC" 🙂 Ever go check out his modeling photogs from the KK days ?

      June 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Finger Puppet: LOL! I haven't actually seen many of his modelling photos. But a girl can dream, can't she?

      June 9, 2011 at 9:43 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.