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. Anderson Cooper's Herioc Life-Long Struggle with Mis-Spelled Rectal AIlments

    Anderson Cooper would stand corrected, Bucky, if it did not hurt him so much to do so.

    I personally am rather happy that I am not too familiar with the word, but thanks for catching the gaffe.

    June 8, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • Bucky the Insufferabe Know-it-all Winner of the Spelling Bee

      Promise that was the end. Just kidding. Love your sense of humor ! Go back to #4 and add to Bucky's First Laws.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • Anderson Cooper's Herioc Life-Long Struggle with Mis-Spelled Rectal Thingamabobs and Fumbly Typing Fingers

      Ah dun tyyp liik ah wuz raised kristian.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  2. captnavenger

    Take all those points together, and the most common thing we've learned is that a lot of Americans are ignorant, and the more religious they are, the more ignorant they seem to be.

    Thank you for putting things in their proper perspective!

    June 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • John

      And this applies to ALL religions. Including athiesm

      June 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • ccaze

      John, I agree – this applies to all religions. However, I don't believe atheism is a religion. It is everything but religion. There is no such thing as an ignorant atheist. Just a smart, logical, realist.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • Lindsay Lohan's Guide to Getting Vodka in Jail

      Uh, John? Do yu have a dictionary? You might want to check the definition of "religion" before you say something really stupid like "atheism is a religion."

      Here, I will do it for you. From Websters: "The service and worship of God or the supernatural." Nope, that doesn't even remotely fit atheism.

      Maybe you can just invent your own definition of religion now so that you can kid yourself that you are right.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Since the existence of God has not been proven or dis-proven then Atheism is a instance of the lack of Faith.. Which is that side has sorta backed themselves into being a religion.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • John

      Well, honestly. Some of the most zealous, angry,spiteful, mean spirited and religious minded people i work with think they are athiests. My workmate is a true athiest and he could care less about religion. The same way i dont like ballet and i pay it no mind. He doesnt fight or argue his points with voracity against religion. He thinks its a waste of the only time he has here on earth. So the people on these blogs who are arguing and calling themselves athiests are very religious.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • John

      Hey lindsey, i guess you like just selecting your own self serving needs, because you forgot to list my definition of religion that i Also will quote for you from websters. Number 3. A cause,principle or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith... Oh and i also sense your spiteful and sarcastic answer meaning that you are fearful. And thats not healthy.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • lacoaster

      Captnavenger, I think you made brother John mad. Amen to what you wrote before John lost his gold ticket to heaven harboring ill will against his atheist brothers. Maybe this happened because there is a John up in heaven already (St. John). "The Lord knows his ways..." It's in the bible. Is it? Is it? Is it?

      June 8, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Lindsay Lohan's Guide to Getting Vodka in Jail

      Oh dear, time to explain dictionaries again. The definition of "religion" that I posted is the one that fits a theological context. You chose a different definition to try to make it seem the same, but of course that is just deception. Your definition is a colloquialism, applied to things like the enthusiasm for bicycling or bird-watching.

      You cannot apply different definitions and pretend it is the same thing.

      You religious types play the same underhanded game with the word "theory," trying to make the theory of intelligent design appear to have the same validity as the theory of evolution. However, the definition that fits evolution is 5: "a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena", while the definition that fits intelligent design is 6b: "an unproved assumption : conjecture." Same word, very different definitions that are not mutually inclusive.

      You cannot apply different definitions and pretend it is the same thing.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • John

      Lacoaster. You sound like a religious nut. They all use sarcasm to make their point. Sorry. I dont mean to sound rude. But you sound like a religious nut

      June 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Mark: No, atheism is a belief based on practical terms. There is no evidence of god existing therefore he does not exist. No proof, no god, no faith required.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  3. Rhonda

    'I guess we will all have to muddle through life on both sides feeling and knowing that the other side is wrong'. Mark from Middle River has a good point. It's good to be passionate about your thoughts on belief. We should know what and why we make the stand that we do. But it is innaccurate to characterize all who espouse either view to be uninformed or unintelligent. Let's 'muddle through' with dignity.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • Bad Checker

      If you are to assert something as fact, you have to show why. We can not assume there is a planet out in space that looks like Ronald McDonalds face as fact until someone proves otherwise. It's simply a baseless assumption! OK?

      June 8, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hey Bad Checker.... come on kid... more deep breaths... Sorry kid but by your rules we do not play 🙂 ..Ok 🙂 If you figure that we should jump through your hoops and submit to your decisions then you really do not know this blog that well, do you?

      Its always going to be the same here, just as always. Each side is going to believe to be true what they want. All arguments have been heard and either have been accepted or denied.

      I guess while the Atheist feels that the person of Faith has to show him proof that God does not exist at the very same time a Person of Faith is waiting for that piece of evidence to warrant our turning away from God.

      Each side feeling that it is king and high jury expecting the other side to play “Their game”,which to be fair and honest is a very stacked against the opponent.

      Also... stop smacking your head.... you are going to give yourself an concussion. 🙂

      June 8, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • John

      Bad checker. If 2+2=4 wouldnt you say thats a fact? We can prove it, we know it, we have tested it. We fly rockets to mars based on it. But in black holes all scientists agree it very well isnt true. So the point im making is that all your belief systems are manmade and apply only to earth. Which indeed makes them facts, but not truths

      June 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • Tony GA

      What a pathetic argument, Mark. But you don't know any better, just like any Uncle Tom.
      The overwhelming lack of proof is all the evidence that clear-thinking people need to come to the rational conclusion that your fake god is truly fake.
      When they include you in a meeting, do they know you're just another Uncle Tom, like Steele? Them rebs be hanging you when they get what they want, fool.
      And do you ever feel shame? For a self-proclaimed Christian, you sure are one of the most disgusting representatives I have seen on the internet. Your post reeks of self-congratulation and smirking all over the place.
      You don't know any better. That's why you're a Republican Uncle Tom and a contemptuous so-called "Christian".
      You be stupid, boy. And I'm being nice about it.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      **Tony GA- What a pathetic argument, Mark. But you don't know any better, just like any Uncle Tom.
      When they include you in a meeting, do they know you're just another Uncle Tom, like Steele? Them rebs be hanging you when they get what they want, fool.Your post reeks of self-congratulation and smirking all over the place. You don't know any better. That's why you're a Republican Uncle Tom .
      You be stupid, boy. “ ***

      ROFL .... a Uncle Tom.

      Take an American Literature class dude. If you actually read Uncle Tom's cabin you would understand why it is almost a complement.

      Here..just in case you choose not too. When a few of the slaves escaped the slave-trader wanted Tom to tell him where the run away slaves were. When Tom refuses the slave-trader beat Tom. Old and elderly Tom dies during a whipping where the slave trader asked him repeatedly to tell where the run away slaves were.

      He also took the whipping and died to stall the slave trader as too give those run away slaves a better chance to escape.

      So, calling me an Uncle Tom …

      ...Thank You. 🙂

      June 8, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @TonyGA I find Mark's contributions to the existence arguments to be lacking in understanding. You can prove the existence of black swans by presenting one. You can't prove their non-existence, no matter how many white swans you produce. This is a very basic fact about the way empirical knowledge works. So the constant refrain of "but you can't disprove what we can't prove" really does miss a fundamental point, and it doesn't improve in the incessant retelling.

      But it is one thing to be lacking in understanding about the nature of empirical knowledge vis-a-vis the burden of proof. It is quite another to be a total jerk, which Mark is not by any reasonable measure, but you appear to be. Thought I'd point that out.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • Tony GA

      John, yes I am being a "jerk", yet Mark is worse and will likely never learn how much of a traitor he is on so many levels.
      I feel I have the right to be a jerk to fascists, bigots, other jerks, slimeballs, traitors, vicious and nasty people, etc.
      Mark/Lycidas/Eric has proven himself to be all of those things at the same time, so I see no reason to dial it back any further than I have already.

      I call it free speech, although some might think it something of an abuse of sorts, yet I am just calling it like I see it.
      Don't worry, Mark has no shame, so your defense of him is misplaced while being well-meant on your part and thus I am free to take him to task. But thanks for trying. Nothing personal, but when he did things to me you didn't protest on my behalf, so keep your nose out of it as you did before, eh? Thanks.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • Frogist

      @TonyGA: You're proving Rhonda's point quite nicely. Where's the dignity in calling someone an Uncle Tom? There is room for respectful exchange of ideas. Attacking another person instead of attacking their ideological position just makes our side look ugly. We should be better than that.

      June 9, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  4. Smurfness Monster

    There is no great Smurf in the sky.
    Make life simple.
    Dont Smurf your nieghbor.
    Being bad is not Smurfy.
    Have a relationship with Smurfette or clumsy
    but be true blue.
    Do unto Smurfs as you would have Smurfs do to you.

    Smurfs do not pass judgement.
    Humans should be ashamed.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  5. Cap'n Rita

    10/10 on the quiz.
    Pagan Witch who's read the Bible cover to cover 3 times (OT once, NT twice). Great work of fiction. Can anyone explain why Christians don't find it ironic that they found it necessary to re-interpret their guidelines. Christianity seems very transient to me. Sort of a make it up as you go as long as the message keeps the sheep in line.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • John

      The fact that you read th bible so many times tells me you must have been under extreme religious conviction and pressure to do so which would drive anyone crazy. Which also tells me why you sound so angry. Ive been in love with God my whole life and i dont listen to what any man or group tells me. Ive never read the bible all the way through.

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


      You love God, yet you haven't read his Holy word?

      Either you are a liar, and idiot, or most probably both.

      If you don't have the time to read the words of your supposed creator and supposed savior, then either you really don't believe, or you are too illiterate to walk amongst us

      June 9, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • John

      I said i never read it all the way through. Which is more than i can say about you reading posts.. Geesh

      June 9, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  6. Practial

    So the real zealots are atheists.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • William Demuth

      We are not zealots, we just sub contract for Rome.

      We wait, and if he comes back, we crucify him again.

      June 9, 2011 at 8:28 am |
  7. jayman419

    @kingnpriest – You are completely and utterly wrong about your faith. Matthew 5:5, John 3:13, Daniel 7:27, Revelation 5:10, Romans 4:13, Psalm 115:16... the list goes on and on. Paradise will be right here on Earth. Some people would just rather work towards it now, knowing this world is all we will ever have, then keep waiting for a miraculous solution to all our problems that's 2000 years overdue.

    Mark 7:9 especially applies to religion today. It's whole hog or nothing. If you're going to ignore half the Bible anyway, can't we just let the rest slip away and focus on what we actually have been given? Life, love, laughter, light... living. That's not enough for you?

    June 8, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Matt

      You are correct. There will be paradise on the earth.

      It (the paradise) has not happened yet. Revelation 5:10 says "they are to rule as kings over the earth" That verse does not say the kings will "rule"on the Earth", this is the proof that that KIndom is not from an earthly source but rules from heaven and down over earth. Bringing KIngdom blessings now and to all future mankind.

      As for the scriptures you listed Mat 5:5- has not been fulfilled yet. However, Daniel 7:27 occurred in the Fall of 1914 when Jesus began his Kingship. Other scriptures are being fulfilled even as we speak. Its good to have all those qualities as you've mentioned. However, Jesus did give his followers the assignment to tell others about this good news of the Kingdom that will remove human governments, bad business, and f alse religion. Matthew 24:14; 28:19,20,


      June 8, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • LinCA

      Careful boys! You shouldn't be ganging up on each other. Go after the atheists.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
  8. frank

    Why was The Jesus always running away and hiding? What's the deal with that? Was he tweaking? Kinda suspect, imo.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "The Jesus"?

      Is that like "The Donald"?

      June 8, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • Matt

      @ frank
      Jesus was not "always" running and hiding, He did spend time teaching and helping others. The times you are referring to was because Jesus did not want the people to make him a King. It was not the right time to be made King then thus the reason he ran.and hid

      June 8, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Bad Checker

      LoLz – Discussing the bible as if it's fact is such a waste of human effort. One of the most reasonable reasons I despise what these ancient outdated holy books does to man.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • John

      Badchecker. Your post is sort of childish. Even agnostics and athiests discuss the bible. And even religious people dont discuss it as fact. It transcends our use of the word. Some good theology classes would be cool for you, youd be floored on how much there is to learn.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • Bad Checker

      I'd be floored by how much a waste of time it is to discuss ethics through a 2 thousand year old doctrine full of outdated concepts, excuses and contradictions. If I want to hear people talk about a concept or ethics then I will go find someone to listen to about that concept or ethics. Why people or myself need to pass it all through a blood stained prism of mangled subjectivity is beyond me. Rather a test of patience than sincere thought if you ask me.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • The End Is Near, But First A Brief Message From Our Sponsor

      "A blood stained prism of mangled subjectivity" – okay, that's a good line. Let's add another thing to the list of things the belief blog learned:

      11. Atheists are much better writers, both grammatically and stylistically.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • Electric Larry

      Add another: Non-believers have much better senses of humor.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Electric Larry.

      I have the Belief Blog bookmarked under "Entertainment" for a reason.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:27 am |
  9. JJ

    Religion is the one most destructive abomination of our times. It is that simple.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Naah.... I would say Trolls and other trouble makers that just open their mouths to get a rise out of everyone.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • John

      Jesus agreed with you. He hated religion with a passion

      June 8, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  10. AJEW

    I got 10/10 on that quiz...and I'm jewish...I might add...that quiz...really bad.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  11. BrightSpot

    10/10 on the little quiz, and I'm a very happy and content Atheist (but I used to be a Christian). It makes SO much sense to me that more agnostic and atheistic folks score higher than believers on that quiz, as it is usually our increasing interest and knowledge of religion that ultimately leads us away from such drivel.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • Raevyn

      It doesn't surprise me that most Americans are "religiously illiterate" assuming that this means they know little about the faith they espouse. It's been my experience that most "religious" people use their religion as a way to justify the way they think things should be, often not understanding that their claimed religion doesn't even agree with them. I also find it amusing that they will throw out statements like "because the bible says so" as a reason for believing what they do and think that's a good enough reason for their beliefs.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • John

      The problem with athiests at used to be christian is that most if not all never knew God. Only religion and the crap people spew. Religion Is vile and brainwash. This is why Jesus hated it. Tis is why my love for the lord never touches a church.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  12. Jers

    Regarding point number 4 – the difference between believers and nonbelievers in how many questions they answered correctly in that quiz was *not* statistically significant. Shame on you CNN for not noting this, as this is the second time you've had the opportunity to do so, and others (eg Scientific American) have already pointed this out.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  13. HotAirAce

    Religion is merely a manmade fantasy role playing game run amuck! Yes, my opinion, but no believer has anything to prove me wrong. Nothing, zip, nada.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Bad Checker

      And the real point of that matter is, no believer can prove themselves right. Everything we seek to prove is basically not true until we prove it to be true. No other matter starts with an assumption that it's true and you have to work backwards to prove otherwise. Religion does not get a free pass on this. God does not get a free pass on this just because a majority of people "like" the idea. It's frustrating to see anyone try to argue that it's a valid position to bring to the table when discussing ANYTHING besides their personal religion.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Shame, every time a Athiest says there is no God, they can not prove it to any of us either. I guess we will all have to muddle through life on both sides feeling and knowing that the other side is wrong.

      On another note.... nice to see you Ace. Much respect dude. 🙂

      June 8, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • Bad Checker

      (*slaps forehead) My position is the natural position. If I can not prove their is a flying monkey in my room because their are no attribute of a monkey or anything flying in my room there is no actual reason to believe their is a flying monkey flying around my room. Why does your god postulate get a free pass and you can assert it is true from nothing? You don't! That's why. My stance is the natural, neutral stance of nothing. Yours is a baseless assertion. Thanks for playing (and not truly digesting. I've been through this oh too many times)

      June 8, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • John

      Religion is a mannade path to control people or attempts to understand God. Calling it a fantasy though shows you do not understand the definition of what fantasy is. One can love and commune with the lord on a daily basis without ever subscribing to any religious belief at all. Be who you are but dont be naive or ignorant. You will never grow

      June 8, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hey Bad Checker.... First, calm down ...take a deep breath... What you have been saying has been said by those on your side of the argument for a long time. Some have said it respectfully and others have gone over the deep end. Do not take it so personal that you typed it out and folks on the other side continue to be still people of Faith. I guess I am saying... in the scope of Reality's posts, I have seen more substantial post from others.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • John

      Badcheck. Then i guess we dont exist because theres no way to prove how we got here. Thats what you are saying. Theology and some minor philosophy should get you to where you can really get valid. Maybe some apologetics and basic logic. Im not trying to be a smart butt. You have a lot of good paths but you aree filled with anger and it confusing.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • Bad Checker

      *Slaps forehead for so many reasons*

      June 8, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • Bad Checker

      @Johns first statement: It appears you are the one contorting the definition of "God" to mean whatever you want it to mean. Your actively not addressing the concept as it is being discussed. #Distraction

      @Mark – You're apparently assuming I'm yelling while you are reading my posts - that's on you, not me. Yes, I understand making rational points on threads of this nature will fall on def ears but as anyone who wants to promote change, you have to keep promoting the change you want to see in the world, no matter how futile the efforts seem. Also – thanks for basically telling me "If someone's said it better than you, why say anything at all" - That's a reasonable thought. ha

      @John second post: Not only is your example stumble before it even gets out of the gate (Not knowing how something started does not negate the fact that it is clearly their in front of you. That's the logic you start with). That's not what I'm saying. You are misrepresenting my assertion. Whether you are doing it out of ignorance or deceit is the question that makes it hard to go on with this conversation. Haha yes let me work "get valid" for your sake. Cheeses of Nazureth this is exhausting. I'm not filled with anger - I'm asserting reasonable points and however you are reading it is you projecting an assumption of anger.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      John, there are no gods or lords to commune with. My assertion of this is as valid as your claim that there are. Perhaps you are the naive, ignorant one that needs to grow by dropping your unsubstantiated childhood superst!tions?

      June 8, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  14. Stephanie

    Is it surprising that the more you know about the bible, the less likely you are to believe? When I did not know much about the bible and Christian history, I was a fervent believer. years ago, I decided to become a better Christian. The more I read and the more I learned, the less I believed. Ultimately, I could not call myself a Christian anymore. It has been several years and oh man, do I enjoy my new found freedom. You don't realize how poisoning religion is until you free yourself from it.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • Fin

      Exactly the same situation for me Stephanie. Atheist, proud and free!


      Is it surprising that the more you know about the bible, the less likely you are to believe? When I did not know much about the bible and Christian history, I was a fervent believer. years ago, I decided to become a better Christian. The more I read and the more I learned, the less I believed. Ultimately, I could not call myself a Christian anymore. It has been several years and oh man, do I enjoy my new found freedom. You don't realize how poisoning religion is until you free yourself from it."

      August 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  15. JSLaw

    10/10 on the quiz and I am pretty much a fanatically devout Mormon here. I don't know where they got the idea that atheists and agnostics score higher on knowlege of world religions and the Bible, but I would love to see emperical studies that support such a conclusion. Most believers I know (albeit mostly fellow Mormons) know a great deal about the Bible, its origins, the history of early Christianity, as well as a good deal about the theologies and histories of other religions as well.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Did you miss the reference to the Pew survey? Not able to google it? Not able to view past articles? To busy reading your book of magic to do your own homework? Sorry for being grumpy – I must be picking up bad manners from others here! :^))

      June 8, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Frogist

      @JSLaw: Just so you know, that ten question test isn't the actual one. And the Pew survey actually named Mormons and Jews alongside atheists/agnostics if I remember correctly to be among the more knowledgeable regarding religions. Evangelicals and Baptists scored very low. Catholics were somewhere in the middle.

      June 9, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  16. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    Did you learn that there are no gods or goddesses, demons or devils, ghosts or goblins, that religion was invented by man to control the masses?

    June 8, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  17. Bad Checker

    Sure people can argue all day that the Bible has great passages in it. An atheist may point out an outdated concept that purpetuates the idea of hitting your wife if she speaks up but people can point to numerous New Testement concepts that counter that or interpret it differently. But my problem with all of that is that we have to argue about our ethics through this distortion of old, outdated texts written by people hundreds of years ago. Why do that to ourselves? Why not just talk of the ethics of the subject in the context of todays world?

    This is so counterproductive and such a silly starting point for discussing problems. That's what bothers the $(%* out of me.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  18. Joshua

    "We see it play out every time mother nature delivers a punishing blow"

    God doesn't simply fail to prevent disasters, according to the bible He causes them by wielding nature as His instrument.

    Amos 3:6 Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?

    CNN needs to consult CHRISTIAN scholars to learn about what CHRISTIANS believe.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  19. Floyd

    I'm agnostic. I don't see any reason to believe in any religion.
    If you really feel the need for a religion, go for it.
    The closest I can get to a sane religious belief system is probably Zen Buddhism,
    and I can't really get down with that either.
    I think I'll go hiking in the mountains or something...

    June 8, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  20. Rhonda

    Wouldn't it be more productive to have a respectful conversation than to major on name-calling amd meanspirited innuendi ('do you believe that Tinkerbell is real'). There is always enough fault to go around all sides, but let's move forward to listening as well as speaking.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Bad Checker

      It would be productive to have a respectful conversation but the problem is we (atheists, agnostics) have to sit there and listen to how an outdated book and an imaginary man in the sky has more to say about our ethics today than actual, factual reasoning. When that is the starting point, how the hell are we suppose to contribute rather than scold. It's frustrating.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hey Bad Checker.... do you dislike the continual butterfly post on this thread? How about that we can not login and protect our name and anyone can post under our names?

      June 8, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • Bad Checker

      I'm not really sure what you are talking about. The butterfly post is a bit weird and I do feel like I've seen it quite a bit but your second sentence doesn't seem to have anything to do with that.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • CC&C

      @Bad Checker
      Mark is thinking you're me. Don't worry, he rarely makes a rational argument anyway. All he can do is snidely call people "kid", make insinuations that are as insulting and disgusting as he can, and try little tricks of language without considering all ramifications of what he says.
      Not your fault. Not his either. I think he was dropped on his haid as a child.
      He is also guilty of impersonating others (me, etc.) on this blog using their names.
      He also has gone by the name Lycidas, Eric, and a few others that may come to you when you see how he comments on stuff.
      Feel free to ignore him. He is a slimy troll of the slimiest sort.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:07 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.