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. Alysia Scholz

    This is awesome and you do a excellent job. I appreciate it.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  2. susan71

    barrack obama can claim to be a christian but not be a practising one...his claims to be a christian are to get the christian voters to vote for him.but a treue christian is one who is an uncompromising disciple of jesus christ...ONE WHO EMBRACES THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST NO MATTER WHAT SOCIOL PRESSURES BEAR ON HIM..AND PRACTISES his faith in jesus and does everything to benefit the people..barack obama is the biggest liar.. his speeches appeal to the emotions and intellect but his policies are destroying the people and all that America is...he is a closet muslim.communist and anti american...he sounds so reasonable but dont listen to his speeches andbe fooled...and no matter what dont vote for....ONLY God can help America..

    October 30, 2011 at 6:21 am |
    • iibewegung

      let the one who is without sin cast the first stone...

      November 11, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • J.W

      you sound crazy

      November 30, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  3. md2205

    There are only two religions – Judaism and Noahism. Noahism is the religion for all peoples of the world that G-d taught to mankind after Noah survived the flood. G-d wants everyone to practice seven laws: Believe in One G-d, not to blaspheme Him, or blame Him, not to steal or kidnap, not to murder, not to do adultery, not to eat the limb of a living animal, and to set up effective courts of justice. These laws are not simplistic and do require study and effort. If everyone would do them, the world would automatically be a better place. The world was created for us to be G-dlike by doing acts of goodness and kindness, and that will help create the kind of world that G-d would be comfortable in. Let's make Him comfortable to be here, and we will see His presence more clearly as He will then reveal Himself to us.

    October 2, 2011 at 1:55 am |
  4. Joyce

    I took the test and got 9 out of 10. I am very disappointed though because I thought the test would be on the Bible, not on religions. I would like to know how many people out there really know what the Bible says.

    September 26, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  5. LR

    President Obama may be a Christian... but I like what Powell had to say about it when the campaigning was going on before he was elected president – Why does it matter? If he were Muslim, he has a right to run for president. It doesn't matter what religion he is.

    September 15, 2011 at 1:36 am |
  6. Ms Nanners

    Unlike many other atheists, although I don't believe in God I do believe in religion. As a species, we have an innate curiosity about why things happen, why we are alive, what happens when we die; and most religions address these same questions. So religions have a lot in common regarding "Why." The differences are in the answers and these answers are manmade and are what seperate us. If we concentrate on the questions, we can join together to address life's challenges.

    August 31, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • CalgarySandy

      I am an atheist and I age. Religion is one of the things that got the naked ape to behave well. It provides a bulwark against night terrors. It assists in calming the existential horror at the idea of personal death. It provides community and often charity. Without understanding religion you cannot understand history. In the hands of Fundamentalists, though, it is an abusive machine whose intent is to destroy everything not affiliated with it. I was raised in an extremely right wing Baptist Church. It took me a long time to be able to accept that some Christians are loving and decent.

      September 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Aslyum52

      Religion did serve to answer the "why?" questions in times-past, but for the intellectually honest, it no longer does. Curiosity on the Discovery Channel had an episode featuring Stephen Hawking where he pretty much explains why this is no longer the case. One example they use is that the Vikings used to believe a mischievous wolf god stole then sun when there was an eclipse. They screamed at the wolf-god and he went away. We now know that this is caused by the moon casting a shadow across the earth, but it just an example of how religion used to be necessary to supplement people's knowledge of the physical world. Hawking's point (mine as well) is that it is no longer necessary. Science can answer the questions we have.

      You claim to be an atheist yet still believe in religion, citing the need to answer the "why" questions. This is illogical. If you don't believe in a god (as you claim not to) then religion's credibility about why things are a certain way are null. If there is no god, then what is the point of joining a group that aggrandizes him? Without god: 1) there is no incentive to worship and 2) religion has no power. How can they possibly answer "why" questions? Why not join a humanist group or foundation beyond belief? Maybe read some philosophy!

      If you want to know why things are the way they are, look to science. We got here through evolution. I don't know what will happen when I die. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. Focus on what you know to be true, not what you wish were true. Chances are that when the end comes, that's it. You cease to exist. Your consciousness is gone. It sucks to hear, but its the most honest answer.

      September 19, 2011 at 12:42 am |
  7. Pat

    It's ironic how we act by pushing religion upon others thru preaching, saving and/or killing, when in reality it is all about ourselves.

    August 30, 2011 at 9:51 am |

      That is the most selfish, self centered thing I have heard ina long time. If what you believe seeks to serve only self and not the betterment of others and mankind, then I think its time to go jump off a tall cliff.

      September 1, 2011 at 8:16 am |
    • CalgarySandy

      I'm sorry. I do not see this as advocating a selfish religion.

      September 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Allie

      What about the others that live around you? What happens when you're in a life threating situation for exsample some one is going to kill you, how would you make it out then, by yourself? You would want the help of others, therefore, tis not about ourseleves.

      November 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  8. LaRae Meadows

    It is not surprising that atheists know the most about religion. I don't know how anyone can read any of the religious books and still believe. Hell, Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 conflict each other and those are the first two books of that religious book.

    Dan, you may be unaware but atheists do not "evangelize their godlessness". That doesn't even make any sense. Atheism is not a belief system, it is one statement. I do not believe there is a god. How does someone evangelize one statement?

    You are right that you are hearing horns from the atheist community lately. They are trumpeting other related things to religion; like the unfairness of binding atheists to religious laws, being pushed out of public discussion, requiring us to pray in order to praise our country, being called non-citizens, the consequences of religious belief on policy, how science influences religion and vise-verse. It is really hard to hear religious people try to take away rights of everyone and not want to point out the problem with their perspective so they can no longer use that as an excuse. We just can't afford to be silent anymore. The views of the religious matters because they vote and participate in our society.

    August 29, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      I find the view that atheists have formed some kind of organization in order to turn everyone into an atheist both howlingly funny and very sad in term of what it says about what people believe. I don't want fundamentalist anythings (religion, economics, politics, art...) interfering in my life. I sure don't want to create another group whose purpose is to %^$& with people.

      September 1, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • Josh

      Whoa whoa whoa, how does Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 contradictory? The bible is the true word of God, and it has been proven. Explain.

      October 5, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • tready

      Our country was founded with religious princaples,as athiests voice against us spreading the word that god is love,and stop gods goodness and caring teachings, we see what has happened to society... Im reminded of a child that wrote: dear god,why do you allow so much violence in our schools...I can imagine the answer would be sorry, but Im not allowed in schools.....when you continually point out the wrong things with religion, (or anything else for that matter) you focus only on what a few people do in name of there religion with a twisted view of it, not what religion does for the people that believe.its about a relationship with the lord and in living with his lessons and teachings in mind, that he wants us to love each other as brothers and sisters. when that gets twisted into somthing different,athiests point to it and judge religion as being what happend when it was twisted into somthing different.Im not going to convert you, some people wont believe no matter what. but scorn and scoffing at belivers is way more than having non-belief viewpoints, its being against god, not just saying you dont have any faith...........

      October 23, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • tready

      LOL athiests know the most about religion, what drivel is this?. I study the word every day but you somehow know more about religion, more than all those that study and go to bible school..I think not.

      October 24, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  9. Steve

    There's a reason the most religious part of the country is called the Heartland, not the Smartland.

    August 29, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Mike Houston

      aka I O W A...(fool's paradise)

      August 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  10. HereWeGoAgaain

    Is it any wonder that the most versed on verses (lol) is an atheist? That would be because faith requires you to accept things without evidence. On my own journey from faith to faithless, I learned more about religion than I had known when I was faithful. When you learn the details, you quickly realize that the religious dogma is all man-made. After that, you start to look for god in creation. Ultimately, you find chaos and evolution (neither need a guiding hand) so you are then left with no god and no religion. It is actually quite liberating to know that you only have one life (not immortal) and your choices are your own. Bad things happen, but aren't always deserved.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • AlanMichael

      I don't agree with everything you said but I like your post. I studied religion in college, I still believe in God, but not religion. You are correct, religion is man made so man can have dominion over other men.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • tready

      faith is about a relationship with god.

      October 23, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • tready

      For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible.

      October 24, 2011 at 6:49 am |
    • gregdubb

      As an athiest, you are still serving a master, albeit, a deceiving one....chaos and evolution huh? I think it was Alester Crowley that said "Do what thou wilt" as a mantra for life, could it be that this is the utlimate death? Religion for religion sake is very empty, I tried it. But living only to please oneself in a state of constant self-gratification is very meaningless as well, I tried that too. We were certainly meant for more than either of those. You and I were created to be a temple of the living G-d.

      December 25, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  11. urshadow

    There is also the choice to be a Deist – the standpoint that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is a creation and has a creator. I can't state with 100% certainty and can't prove the existence of a creator, but I'm nearly 99% certain there is one.

    August 28, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • Andreas

      ...which means nothing to anybody. But thanks for the post.

      August 29, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Aslyum52

      So you're saying that while you (nor anyone else in human history) can prove the existence of a creator, you're 99% sure there is one? Hey man, I'm in the same camp! I can't prove the existence of unicorns, leprechauns, mermaids, Big Foot, Nessy, Harry Potter, or a dog that can write poetry, but I'm 99% sure they all exist...

      September 19, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  12. RichardSRussell

    Thank you for the atheism stories. The rest of the media cover us about as attentively as Fox News covers Ron Paul.

    August 28, 2011 at 4:16 am |
    • urshadow

      : ) As a deist I too, like an atheist, have dumped all my religious and cultural beliefs in order to come to my own conclusions on life and the universe. In fact I consider anyone who doesn't question their religious and cultural upbringing as weak.

      August 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Aslyum52

      Urshadow, I appreciate the support of atheists and freethinking in general, but the comment about weak seems a bit disingenuous. I'm applaud your strategy, but even after all of that critical thinking you're still a deist? Why? You have the guts to buck religion and all its affiliated silliness, but stop short. Why not at fade agnostic? In the face of doubt (which you already seem to harbor – being a deist) and lack of ANY supporting evidence, it seems like your critical thinking skills could bring you to no other conclusion!

      September 19, 2011 at 12:56 am |
    • fred

      You have not come up anything unique. I do not see anyone following life acording to the great urshadow. You are a follower just like Christians or Jews or Atheists. Atheists like Christians follow something that cannot be proven by rules layed down by Scientists. Atheists for some reason think their lack of proof is the best. Sorry your foundation of nothing makes no more sense than a foundation you say is nothing (the christian God). Problem is these Christians have experienced and personally witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives day after day since Jesus said this would happen. Atheists still have nothing.
      Score: Christians 2000 years of millions giving testamony to the power of the Holy Spirit / Atheists still nothing.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:17 am |
  13. dougaussie

    athiests don't believe in God and yet consider themselves intelligent. Logic dictates by atheistic beliefs that IF the unverise were billions of years old and IF other civilisatins existed on the billions of galaxies that 50% of those worlds would be more advanced than we are ie. they would already have discovered how to stop aging, cancer, death. Already know how to travel between stars using gravity wells or wormholes or whatever. Already they know how to CREATE LIFE and manipulate it. So is God an alien? Well yes. God created man, God is not a man [jesus is], therefore God is an alien...logically. So athiests are dumb because they don't even believe we created a nuclear bomb, or have mapped mans genes, or are terraforming the earth, or have walked on the moon etc etc etc. they may as well just be cavemen, because thats exactly how they think, until God judges them and throws them into hell forever.

    August 28, 2011 at 3:44 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      "Most atheists" don't consider ANY of those things. Of course, "most atheists" (about a billion of them) are just ordinary people in China.

      August 28, 2011 at 4:18 am |
    • Abolish All Religion

      It seems you have even fewer brain cells than the average religious whackjob, which puts you on a par with the common garden slug. There is overwhelming evidence of the age of the universe being at least 13 billion years. There is, on the other hand, ZERO evidence that there is life anywhere else in the universe. Only pure speculation, and nothing more. This means your entire argument, beginning with the first sentence, is complete garbage. And just as a side note, it's obvious you know nothing about even rudimentary probability. Do yourself a favor and stay away from any card games involving money.

      August 28, 2011 at 4:25 am |
    • Binky

      Most Americans are religiously illiterate.

      "Ironically, atheists and agnostics scored best. "

      That's not ironic. Atheist's are much brighter than you average idiot who believes in fairy tales.

      August 28, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • urshadow

      You're religiously delusional and not rational. You're making no sense at all.

      August 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • thrive against

      wow, really, i would say you haven't even met an atheist then...

      August 28, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • Aslyum52

      So wait... God (the alien) is going to throw me in hell? I thought he was an alien? How does the alien have the power to throw me in hell? Does that mean no anal probing or going up in the mother ship?

      Dougy, you should look into Scientology – I think it'd be right up your alley!

      September 19, 2011 at 1:01 am |
  14. Jim

    It's depressing for me to always find argumentative, aggressive, and negative comments on the CNN website. One of the major reasons I dislike it.

    August 27, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • WiserThanEwe (not a sheep)

      Would you prefer that CNN censor what they publish on the blogs to make sure it is in line with what they are reporting? Cudos to CNN for giving the common man a forum and for tolerating disagreement. Since CNN is a private concern, the first amendment doesn't apply, but they certainly adhere to the principles.

      I enjoy reading most of the comments, even the ones with which I strongly disagree. They can be as informative as the article itself. Even if 95% of the comments are stupid and negative, the occasional intelligent reply can be very enlightening.

      August 28, 2011 at 12:31 am |
  15. Muneef

    Surah Al-Qadr
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, The Moon Gods
    Lo! We revealed it on the Night of Power. (1) Ah, what will convey unto thee what the Night of Power is! (2) The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. (3) The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with all decrees. (4) (The night is) Peace until the rising of the dawn. (5)And We allow them to running naked around their idol the black basalt stone and they are scream "Eureka"..i found it..i found it..and Lo! yet they don't understand what they had found. It was stupidity. Lo! Lo! Lo!

    August 26, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • Eradicate Islam

      The sooner Islam dies the sooner the world will breathe a collective sigh of relief.

      August 28, 2011 at 4:33 am |
    • Rahim

      The tragic is that you cant make REASON,or Logic, and i doudt very much that you undersand anything, If you managed to calculate, then you would have shut up. at least.

      August 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • urshadow

      "Science flew us to the moon, Religion flew us into buildings"

      August 28, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • tony

      why you lie so much this is not Quran says this is your own wordings. i jsut open the Quran says 1.Indeed We sent it Quran down during the night of Decree. 2.know what is And what can make you the Night of Decree? 3. The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. 4.The Angels and the sprit ( Gabriel ) descend therein by permission of thier lord for every matter. 5. Peace it is untill the emergence of Dawn. this what Qran says.

      August 30, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • tony

      why you lie about Quran this is not in Surah Al Qadr.i know you hate muslim and Islam but you are big liar. only evil people like you hate Islam. Sham on you

      August 30, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • phew

      another star wars religion

      January 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  16. WoI Admin

    As I deeply spiritual person I can say confidently: God does not care about you, or any individual.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • WoI Admin

      To me, God is the laws of nature.

      (Typo above – I meant *a* spiritual person)

      August 26, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • A Theist

      As a deeply intelligent person, I can tell you: You're a moron.
      As a deeply profound person, I can tell you: Googily Moogily.

      You can say whatever you want about yourself, it doesn't mean anything to the rest of us–especially when you then throw out some mumbo-jumbo about anything you personally believe.

      As a deeply tall person, I can tell you: you look short.

      Just nonsense all around.

      August 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • ynotsayit

      Your attempt to refute the notion God is not the image of a loving Father, but a dispassionate force unconcerned with individual lives, is undermined by stating your point “confidently.” The overtly religious always make the mistake their beliefs are in complete compliance with those of their god. That man, an admittedly imperfect creature, can perfectly interpret the intent of an unknowable deity is the first step towards arrogance and away from humility. Don’t make the same error.

      August 26, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • ynotsayit

      Correction: Your attempt to refute the notion God is the very image of a loving Father...

      August 26, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • WiserThanEwe (not a sheep)

      As a deeply profound person (LOL – get it? Look it up), I'd have to say to YNotSayIt, that you're babbling makes about as much sense as most other religious ramblings.

      August 28, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • urshadow

      Such an affirmation – and how do you know that?

      August 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Bod

      "As I deeply spiritual person I can say confidently: God does not care about you, or any individual."

      As a deeply bitter person I can say that my ex wife took everything I had. I am here to tell you that Satan does exist and she gets a monthly check from me.

      August 28, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  17. Kenneth Hinson

    "God may not prevent natural disasters, but religion is always a big part of the response."

    Interesting that on one hand religion likes to play up God being in control of these "natural disasters" thus making them "acts of God", and yet "God may not prevent" them, but God is somehow also responsible for them?

    Perhaps religion feels it is their responsibility to clean up after the perceived acts of their God. 😉

    August 26, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • urshadow

      : )

      August 28, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • phew

      "acts of God" is an insurance term...back to school for you.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  18. F.C

    With all of the earthquakes, Hurricans and other disasters in this world, when will we finally understand the PASSOVER of the New Covenant is the only way to escape all of this and go back to the Kingdom of Heaven according to the BIBLE http://www.uccspace.net/theme_eng Check it out

    August 25, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
  19. Habib

    Want to know why Islam terrorist want your babies dying > http://www.faithfreedom.org/

    August 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • Goose66

      Agnostic has two meanings: One is a position that great questions (such as the existence of God) are unknowable, and another is a lack of commitment to one side or another on a big question. It has been my experience that in America, those who do not believe in God call themselves Atheists, where those that may believe in God, but just don't spend a lot of time thinking about it or following any religious rules or rituals, call themselves Agnostic. Clyde's position is one of semantics, not one of understanding of how the terms are broadly used.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • tony

      Only evil people Hate Islam remember Ibrahim,moses,jesus and muhammad peace be uopn them they all are muslim and had fiath in Allah the almighty.

      August 30, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  20. Clyde M

    As an agnostic atheist, I don't really have anything to add. I just felt strangely compelled to post something, though.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • mabel floyd

      clyde-make up your mind-are you an agnostic or an atheist?

      August 24, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
    • A Theist

      Both. He doesn't believe in a god but admits that this revelation cannot/is not known with certainty.

      August 25, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Clyde M

      As A Theist said... I am both. The two words represent two different aspects of spirituality.

      Agnosticism is a statement of KNOWLEDGE. As am agnostic, I do not claim to KNOW if a god or gods exist or not.
      Atheism is a statement of BELIEF. As an atheist, I do not believe in a god or gods.

      So I do not claim to KNOW there is no god, but I do not BELIEVE there is.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • WiserThanEwe (not a sheep)

      Sorry Clyde. That's not really what athiest means. From the Latin, it is literally "without god". It doesn't mean we believe there's not god. We just think it's a silly enough notion that we don't waste much brain power on the idea. I think the notions of fairies and orges is pretty clever too, and I can't prove they don't exist, but really folks. Santa Claus?

      August 28, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Technically, "without god" is 2/3 of what "atheism" means. In full, it's "without" (a-) "god" (-theos-) BELIEF (-ism).

      And yes, you can be without god belief but still not be SURE that god doesn't exist. That makes you an agnostic (without "knowledge", that is, certainty) atheist. You can also have agnostic theists; they think god DOES exist, but they aren't sure.

      As Clyde said, the 2 terms — atheism and agnosticism — refer to 2 different things, not 2 different aspects of the same thing.

      August 28, 2011 at 4:24 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.