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July 12th, 2011
11:34 AM ET

Bill Maher explains his 'apatheism,' apathetic atheism

Comedian Bill Maher sits down with Piers Morgan to talk about growing up Catholic and becoming an "apatheist," an apathetic atheist who just doesn't think much about religion.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Content Partner

soundoff (1,340 Responses)
  1. Artist

    Robert Ray

    god,the imaginary friends of adults.

    -------

    Actually the imaginary friend of schizophrenics.

    Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
    As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:
    • False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
    • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

    July 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • YBP

      I am an atheist, however I do not think that all religious people are schizophrenic. They are however egregiously misinformed, willfully uneducated, uninterested in science and history, and simply afraid to die...even though, when the time comes, they won't even know that they are dead, and nothing will not matter anymore at all.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      If you think that theists are uneducated and uninterested in science, I think you better look up Georges Lemaitre and John Polkinghorne. I can find more examples of significant scientists who are also theists if you would like.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • NotBuyingIt

      @MarylandBill

      I'm very glad those scientists didn't adhere to the "I don't understand it therefor God did it" belief when it came to their scientific research. Especially Lemaitre, whos work refutes that ridiculous creationist agenda that seems to have crept into American politics as of late.

      Obviously there are a lot of generalizations being thrown back and forth around here, but I don't think it's all that far fetched to claim that 1. most people in the world are uneducated and/or misinformed about science and history, 2. most people in the world are religious to some degree, and 3. in the case of many of those people,those first two things go hand in hand.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      NotBuyingIt,
      I agree that there are plenty of religious people who are uneducated, but I also would point out that I have seen more than a fair bit of evidence that there are plenty of atheists out there who are ignorant of science and history as well... some of it in this very thread.

      I would also point out that while you might think that what Lemaitre did was not religious, Fred Hoyle (the Late great astronomer and something of the Richard Dawkins of his day on matters regarding atheism) thought that the Big Bang Theory was simply theology given scientific form.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • Jason K

      Artist, by your defination the larger percent of the entire human population of all races, creeds, and genders are schizophrenic then. Because more people believe in a god than don't. If more people are schizophrenic than not, then maybe schizophrenia is not really a disorder since the majority think that way. Perhaps, you're simply labling people different from you as being mentally deficiant. The world must be a very difficult place for you to function. But if you're right, at least you won't have to deal with any of us in the void to follow life.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  2. Zarniwoop

    Something HAD to start the universe, but what? A random occurance, a spontaneous explosion of a single dimensionless point of proto-matter? What caused the "Big Bang?" What was here before that?

    Did God do it? That's kind of comforting, knowing the universe has a very definite, deliberate beginning, and possibly a very clearly-defined end.

    But then where did God come from? What was here before (him)? No end, no beginning, yet never cyclical?

    An Escher drawing makes more sense.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Gerald

      Science tries to answer these questions but they are sadly under-funded. Besides, going back many billions of years is no easy process. Best to think more towards the present and immediate future.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • HieTide

      An Escher drawing only makes more sense if the creator is a part of and bound by the same physics of the creation.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • ???????

      Why do so many dwell on a beginning and an end? What if there were not true beginning to the universe and no true end in the future. Are we as a society so afraid of change to give in to idea that the universe has gone thru changes and maybe have always been here and there is no end? I do believe there will end to human existence at some point but I do not believe the universe was "created" with a definite point nor do I believe the universe will end.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • YBP

      Gerald, I agree with you. But it's difficult to move forward with so many people looking to pull us back. I don't know about them, but I wouldn't prefer to have lived 200 years ago, let alone 2000 years ago.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Actually no.

      The Universe may have always existed as a subset of something larger.

      The LARGER thing is what many want to call GOD.

      It is a simple solution for simple minds

      July 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Gerald

      @YBP: If there was one main problem society has its what you just said; some of us keep trying to go backwards and taking others with them. Therefore, our society cannot fully function with many going forward and many falling back. A "society", as far as I know, is a group of persons who share a common goal. I don't see how a society can share a common goal with half of the persons going one way, and the other half going another.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • @HieTide

      How arrogant of us to think that such a creator, were they to exist, would care about us lowly earthlings. How silly would it be to even think that we could comprehend such a being, much less ascribe very human attributes like love, anger, jealousy, etc. to it?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Jason K

      Zarniwoop, you make a very interesting point that I have thought about for a very long time. But you see Science require this little thing called faith too. Faith that your method of discernment is actually correct. Faith that there simply WAS something in the universe to create a big bang or perpetuate a steady state. If God is said to exist outside our realm of linear time, what is a beginning, what is an end. If God is Omni-present within his creation, than where he came from is a simple question to answer; outside of his creation. What or where that is? Your guess is as good as mine. No religious texts have described anything outside the creation of its sovereign. I suppose you could see it like a kid playing with a lego set. creation is what is built, with the figures, living within that creation, and the kid being a "god" over it.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  3. Kacy

    Spiffy, How do you know He's not the creator? How do you know Jesus ir not right or is not the truth? We Christians believe God is the creator and that Jesus is truth because of our faith and because of our experiences with God. Also, human's don't know every physical law there is to know. Also, being an all powerful Being, God transcends space and time. There is no point of arguing because I (and other Christians) believe on thing and you believe another. All we can do is share ideas in a respectful manner and respect each other's choices.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Can it dippy. Being all powerfull?

      That transcends space and time nonesense has betrayed you as a Abrhamic Zombie.

      We don't tolerate the indoctrinated, we just put em out of their misery

      July 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  4. Ian

    I don't see how Maher considers himself athiest rather than agnostic, seeing that there' s pretty clear difference. He seems to believe that nothing has been proven given the evidence we have, and that all evidence of religion has left too many holes to be proven true. So, not knowing what's true, I assume he's an agnostic labeling himself as an athiest.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • YBP

      Ian, it's rather foolish of you to even try to sum up and label Bill Maher. What do you really know about him anyway? Are you a close friend of his? Had any substantive discussions with him lately? Besides, Mr. Maher is perfectly capable of explaining himself. In fact, he even has his own TV show in which he does so. You seem to be unaware of this.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Ian

      @YBP, I'm making my assumption based on what he said, that he is a 6.9 on that scale of 7 that he explained. He says he is highly doubtful that there is a god, but he isn't ruling it out. That, to my understanding, is the idea that most agnostics hold. So, I'm just confused as to why he considers himself an athiest. I'm not sure why you take offense to that.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • NotBuyingIt

      I think an agnostic would be more like a 4 on that scale.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  5. Jim

    Bill Maher, I remember when he used to be funny in a ha-ha sort of way before he became funny in a whole different sort of way.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • YBP

      Yes, now he points out the absurdity that is religion. It's quite amusing.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  6. Bill

    All I know is I have been Touched By His Noodly Appendage.

    RAmen.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  7. Bribarian

    Bill Mahr hates america and americans.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Nacho1

      Yes............because STUPID people make STUPID statements and do STUPID things..............and that is definitely Billy Boy............his birth was probably due to two buzzards bumping rear ends in a desert and he fell out!

      July 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Nah

      He only hates Jesus freaks and Tea Baggers

      July 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • YBP

      Bribarian, you should watch his TV show.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Gerald

      @William: What is a Jesus freak?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Artist

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_freak

      July 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Gerald

      A Jesus freak is someone who feels his imaginary palestinian God has a special place in American society, and desires to apply his morality to the greater society.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  8. Dave

    Only people brainwashed by their parents believe in God. Let me rephrase that, only people brainwashed by their parents, or politicians trying to get votes, "believe" in God.

    Here's an idea, give children the opportunity to make up their own mind whether or not a God exists. What would the world be like if parents didn't force their beliefs about God upon their children? I wonder how many would believe all of this nonsense? I wonder if people would stop killing one another in the name of their God? Would people be more accepting of other people and their views?

    July 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • nps

      Great comments – thank you.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Jim

      Or better yet just give children no guidance whatsoever so that you don't influence them about anything, just let them figure everything out for themselves.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • JSS

      The way your comment is worded, it almost sounds as if that is a fact. Non-believers often prefer Christians to present facts about their faith. As a Christian, I submit non-believers should do the same. Present us with 100% undeniable evidence that there is no God. Can't be done. So, with that said, you are risking much by denying a God. While I risk nothing if I continue to belive and in the end there is no God.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Joe

      Amen! 😀

      July 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • D

      I tend to agree with the study that came out recently that indicated that most humans are genetically predisposed to supernatural belief. But yeah, the particular details of organized spirituality are definitely foisted onto children by their parents.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • William Demuth

      JSS

      The burden of proof lays on those who make the claim.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Gerald

      No Dave. Tolerance would not be real word anymore. Most would see no reason to be morally or ethically responsible for anything nor be respectful towards anyone. Society as we know it would not exist.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • jim9689

      Hear hear! Santa Claus for adults, that is what "God" is.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Artist

      If you base your faith on odds or risk then you cannot have faith. Even if I had faith, I could not worship your god because he/she/it is not worthy.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • JSS

      William Demuth

      Non-believers always, always respond with that. Isn't it obvious, that both sides are making a claim. I submit that non-believers are claiming the lack of a God, that we all just came into existence over millions of years, by chance. With that being said, where is the proof that shows this claim to be the absolute truth.

      I will say it again. Non-believers are risking much by denying a God. While I risk nothing if I continue to belive and in the end there is no God.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • D

      @JSS: that argument goes both ways: present us with 100% conclusive proof that a god does exist. Also, the 'you should believe, just in case you're wrong' argument is called Pascal's Wager. Please define which of the hundreds of religions is the "right one" to believe in, "just in case". PS. don't you think a supernatural being would know if someone was only believing out of fear of punishment? that's an extortive method of recruiting people.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • William Demuth

      JSS

      With that logic, it is irrefutable that the Incredible Hulk is the creator of all things, and Stan Lee is his profit.

      Reality is that which is left when faith is removed from the equation.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • D

      I agree completely that people should not believe simply out of fear. Just hoping that folks will see that God may actually be real. Give him a chance. What are people afraid to do that?

      As far as how why I believe. I have two children who show me each day why there is a God, from their birth to the joy they bring. The beauty of our universe, our planet, and the fact that things are just so here on our to provide life. I could go on and on.

      Which faith is legit? I contest that many faiths are man-made. The Bible is my guide. Man has created their own denominations from the Bible. God had one set of rules for all of mankind to live by and we have strayed. I find it interesting that we follow this practice each day. All employees must follow the same rules. All children in a family must follow the same rules. All professional baseball players must follow the same rules. All American must follow the same rules. Why? It provides order. However, people seem to think they can create and follow their own moral rules. I believe God wants us all to live by the same rules.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • YBP

      No one has the right to decide someone else's religion for them, not even their own children. Religious indoctrination is child abuse. It's a proven fact. Religion is very harmful to children. Teach your kids right from wrong by simply explaining right from wrong.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • William Demuth

      JSS

      A further point. Even if you assume there is a God, one must still conclude that MOST humans believe in a God that does not exist.

      For example, where do you think Allah is going to get the virgins for his Jihadi's?

      Christian rear ends might be handed out to those guys who are blowing up bus stations in Tel Aviv!

      July 12, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I find this happens a lot when discussing faith with non-believers. They dance around the real questions and provide quirky one-liners such as "Reality is that which is left when faith is removed from the equation." I'll leave this discussion by simply saying, I believe there is a God and he is interested in our lives. Take care.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • JSS

      William Deluth, sorry, this below was directed to you. I didn't intend to put your name as the one leaving the comment. I apologize.

      I find this happens a lot when discussing faith with non-believers. They dance around the real questions and provide quirky one-liners such as "Reality is that which is left when faith is removed from the equation." I'll leave this discussion by simply saying, I believe there is a God and he is interested in our lives. Take care.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • William Demuth

      JSS

      I shall also end saying that I believe Christians are dangerously indoctrinated and the worst enemy to rational thought and intelligence that has ever exsisted.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • sara

      Great Cooment

      July 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Libra Lisa

      Hey JSS;

      You know how I now there isn't a God? Because it tends to be the ones suffering the most that pray. And those that are suffering usually continue to suffer AND continue to pray without any help from the poof up in the sky. So, for those that suffer and pray where is their relief? And why keep praying when clearly it isn't going to change a thing for them.

      There has to be those that suffer in order for there to be compasssion say the holy rollers....but, why is it always the same ones suffering? Their situation never changes it seems, but, yet they hang on to the God idea of him helping out...

      God is good when life is good. God is needed for those who have a bad exsistence, and he sures never listens it seems. Most of the suffers keep on doin' the sufferin'.

      So, THAT gives me all kinds of proof that he is a fairy tale for most of us.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  9. The Truth

    There is a creator but it doesn't meddle in the affairs of ANY of its creations. Problem solved.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Gerald

      That could be easily argued so. We are only a mere drop of water in a large ever-changing sea.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Sounds like the Prime Directive from Star Trek.

      Funny, it always falls apart in their stories as well!

      July 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Gerald

      What falls apart? The science they use to sell movie tickets? Not sure where they invoke a creator of any kind in their stories. But Star Trek is a poor example since is mostly nonsence on all accounts.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Gerald

      Exactly, just as is Christianity.

      And fans of both might be better served trying to get lucky, and ignoring the ridiculous stories they base their lives on.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Gerald

      William: I respect your point of view, but Christianity is a sub-set of Judiasm. How far back do we attibute this nonsense then? Did it start after Christianity or before? If before, then why limit to Christianity alone? My understanding: Jesus preached tolerance, love, and forgiveness. Correct? Whats wrong with those qualities? Do you think Bill Maher opposes these qualities?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Gerald

      I loathe ALL religions equally, but I do NOT have Hindu or Zoroastrians knocking on my door talking psycho bable to my kids, screwing my government out of taxes, conning little old ladies, or harbor priests who bugger little boys.

      If they start such practices in my area I shall also hold them accountable

      July 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  10. mikey

    lol actually my prayers do get answered, quite often. i wasnt born a Christian and it didnt happen over night. i like you, was an atheist. God changed me from the inside out to which your heart isnt ready for, if i were to tell you what happen you would mock or discredit me somehow, i will wait until you are broken and humble instead of proud and ignorant.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • nps

      Mikey, I myself have been "humbled and broken" in my life, due to a life or death health issue and guess what? I still don't believe in god and I never once prayed. I bet you're shocked huh? I believe people are born, they live and then they die. End of story. You have a really hard time accepting the concept of death, huh? Good luck with YOUR prayers.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Blart

      All you have done is proven your intellectual weakness.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • That's What's Up

      ...spoken like a True (typically wishing harm on others, name-calling) Christian.
      LIFE CEREAL, I mean RELIGION...well hey.........if mikey likes it.......... CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP

      July 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      Name one. Are you actually implying that you made a request to an invisible man in the sky, and it came true? Please please PLEASE validate this statement. I mean I "prayed" that the Heat would lose in the Finals, but actually, I wanted Chicago to beat them, so that "prayer" fell through, but it was a push when the Mavs won. And if your prayers are actually getting through to your god and becomming reality, can you please fix the economy and cure cancer?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Dave

      Praise the Lord for His mercy on us rebellious ones!
      "You have ascended on high; You have led captive those taken captive; You have received gifts among men, Even the rebellious ones also, That Jehovah God may dwell among them." Psalms 68:18

      I too was raise catholic and was an atheist like Bill Maher, but God captured me! Praise Him! He will save Bill Maher and His name will be exalted throughout the whole earth!

      July 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • NotBuyingIt

      I don't see how you separate yourself from the proud and arrogant when you assertain that your opinions, in opposition to the opinions of billions of other people of differing faiths, are 100% true. It seems like your humility, as well as your understanding of the word "faith", is as lacking as your logic...

      July 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • ron

      maybe you should give YOURSELF some credit for turning your life around. Some God didn't do anything for you, no matter how much you think that. What made things happen was you doing so, even if religion or some false god gave you the reason and purpose to do so. Start doing things for yourself and for others without some hokey pokey incentives of afterlife or whatever you think will happen. Get real.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Dudley DoRight

      Mikey– I have had my prayers personally answered as well. One day, I was feeling sad, so I prayed that something on TV would make me happy. Then I turned Jerry Springer on my big screen TV (the one that's almost as wide as my trailer), and suddenly I was happy again. Another day, I was hungry, so I prayed that I could find something to eat. And in almost 10 minutes–or maybe 45–I drove along and found a MacDonalds. It was a miracle! Another day, there was a terrible storm and I prayed and prayed and prayed, and sure enough, within two or three hours, the storm had stopped!

      And yet there are unbelievers among us who don't believe in the power of prayer?

      You Mo-rons!

      July 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • JM

      Amen to that brother. "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. " 1 Corinthians 1:18

      July 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      @NotBuyingIt – what "opinions" did I list? That Mikey's original statement about being 100% certain of a god is not true? Or that none of his prayers have ever truly been answered? I closed with a query about why he thought his was the one and only true god, while the rest were false. Then I asked him to validate his claim about his prayers coming true. I understand faith, it scares the hell out of me because it requires the suspension of logic. Keep up please. Remedial class is on Sundays.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • YBP

      Sounds to me, Mikey, like someone has their hand in your wallet. Better be careful. Religion is a product for sale. It's not ever freely given.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • NotBuyingIt

      @ Mister Jones

      I thought it was pretty obvious that I was responding to mikey's comments...

      July 12, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      @NotBuyingIt – no, it was not. But that is my fault for getting caught up in a debate on the interwebs. Sometimes, the lack of inflections make it difficult to discern intent and meaning. My bad. Did I say remedial class was Sunday? I'll take the early class today. LOL!

      July 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  11. SeanT

    Bill Maher is a pompous libtard dbag. Who the heck made you a political authority. Shut the he** up.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • William Demuth

      One mans idiot is another mans imaginary savior.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • jim9689

      Bill Maher is God.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • YBP

      Just think, SeanT, when you have your own TV show on HBO, you can spew your views to a much broader audience. Good luck with that.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  12. George

    Bill Maher: "No, I don't think about religion much. I just make movies about making fun of religion. And I'm not obsessed with religion either. I just can't stop ranting about how dumb it is at every opportunity."

    July 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  13. Gabriel

    To put it into perspective: If the entire world is the equivalent of the entire universe. Then the size of earth itself would equate to the size of a single penny in your pocket. If the entire history of the universe is the equivalent of a standard calendar year, all of human history would equate to an hour or two. Did a higher power or being, create our universe and everything in it? It’s possible, I’m sure anything is, but let’s for arguments sake, say he absolutely did.

    Why would he care about you or anything that goes on here?

    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"
    — Epicurus, philosopher (c. 341-270 BCE)

    July 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • jim9689

      Well said! That Epicurus dude was one smart feller.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  14. Kyle

    Search for the Atheist Experience on youtube.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  15. mikey

    Where is the humor? Where is the comedy? Does every atheist think alike? they ask the same questions and have the same answers. Bill Maher isnt funny, in my own opinion...but even he isnt 100% sure there isnt a God. I on the other hand am 100% sure there is a God, and I do know Him. Not an atheist on this planet, not a distaster in life could ever take away the proof i have had in my life. God is real, whether you ridicule me or not

    July 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • BRod

      What I love is how Bill Maher says that he doesn't really think about religion much, and yet that is ALL he talks about! Including making a movie about it! In reality, he is clearly obsessed with it.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      Please remember that you have absolutely no quantative evidence to support your claims. Also remember that 0% of your prayers have ever come true. Lastly, please explain why your god exists, yet the thousands of other dieties out there are all "false" gods. ... Actually, don't bother. I already know your answer.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • John Richardson

      I'm 100% sure that you don't understand the concept of intellectual integrity and admitting a little ignorance.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      Then please explain it to me, and also add how you find this relevant to my previous statement.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • nps

      They call it "faith" for a reason. You have faith there's a God, but you don't really know either. No one does, you smug dumb -ss!

      July 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • brad-ash

      When I was 4, I was 100% sure there was a Santa Claus. Now I am only certain of uncertainty. There was comfort in that certainty...but it doesn't mean it was true.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • DJ

      Most of us have the same questions because the most obvious, glaring holes that exist in every religion are obvious to us and apparently not an issue for you. It's not because we listen to one another. At age 7, back in the 60s when it wasn't being discussed (at least in my family), I figured out that there were a lot of different religions with conflicting interpretations of "God's Word" (which I also figured out was the word of humans who might want to control the masses), and that all of these people couldn't be right. Pretty much just one of the religions COULD be right on the money, but it doesn't seem likely any are. That is a universal thought among athiests because they've reached that conclusion on their own. To us the members of organized religions seem very similar to the old cultures that believed absolutely insane things and that even Christians laugh at and consider "unintelligent" now. You don't seem to realize how few steps removed you are from cultures that sacrificed virgins to their gods.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      @nps – Faith, huh? Interesting how this is the one (and only) area that requires zero actual proof or evidence. This line of reasoning wouldn't hold up in a court of law, or more importantly, a class room. Try submitting a thesis that has no statistical data to back it up, but say that your professor should have "faith". That doesn't work in the corporate space, the military, scientific research or application, or anywhere that people are required to think. Lack of contrary evidence is not proof. And now you and Mr. Dick have both failed to answer the original question. An idiot calling me names is not really much of an insult.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  16. Frankly Speaking..

    Did anybody watch religulous ? I was amazed how twisted this guy can get..He goes all the way to england to talk to an islamic scholar when there are about 8 million muslims in USA and about 100,000 scholars of high eminence..But no Bill is looking for someone who fumbles on his words (with bad grammar) and cannot convey his thoughts so he travels all the way to England to meet this scholar (with all due respect) who can hardly speak english.

    About 34 % of muslim population in england is white and were born and brought up in england so why choose this guy ? We are all smart enough to figure that..welcome to Bill Maher's world 🙂

    July 12, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Steve

      There is no god, regardless of who he talks to and where.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • A Rational Human

      Bill Maher & Religulous – both brilliant

      July 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  17. diana

    you and me both, bill maher!

    July 12, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  18. Greg

    Big religion is the problem. Atheism is about as bad as religion because another's belief should have little concern for you. Religion should be personal and should not extend further out than a local church. The religion of the Inquisition was Catholicism and everyone not subservient to the Vatican were persecuted = Big Religion + Wrong.. Bill Maher would have been put on the rack by his own ancestors.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Terre

      How is someone not believing in god as bad as religion?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Spiffy

      Most atheists do not push their beliefs on others. They simply make them known because most Americans do not know what atheists believe. In fact a lot of Americans think atheists are the product of the devil. Atheists do not force their beliefs on others either.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • frank

      How is atheism worst than big religion? Big Religion is about thinking like a sheep and unquestioningly following the guy with the biggest bible while atheism is about asking questions.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Big religion is the problem. Atheism is about as bad as religion because another's belief should have little concern for you.

      I could care less what people personally believe. As long as they don't try to limit my freedoms because of it.

      > Religion should be personal and should not extend further out than a local church.

      Hear hear!

      > The religion of the Inquisition was Catholicism and everyone not subservient to the Vatican were persecuted = Big Religion + Wrong.. Bill Maher would have been put on the rack by his own ancestors.

      Absolutely. Because religion then was like a government organization, if not the government.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Jake

      You say "another's belief should have little concern for you." This would be true if people lived in bubbles and didn't intereact with others. But no. We are fighting about gay marriage because people believe in fairy tales that tell them to hate. Religious people try to impose their beliefs on the rest of us all the time – abortion, blue laws, etc. – all based on fairytales. Our last President thinks his imaginary friend told him to go to war. And what Maher said about Bachman is accurate – and scary. People are doing lots of bad in this world based on irrational belief in fairytales. That is why the beliefs of others concern atheists.

      Also, I should note that this is a debate about who is right. The fact that you pulled out the "why should they care what I believe, they are just being mean" card shows that you are losing that debate.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Greg

      Totalitarian Atheism is as bad as the Inquisition. I'm Agnostic and do not believe that my beliefs or lack of belief should matter to others. If Atheists think I am attacking them for lack of belief they are wrong.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • jim9689

      Spiffy says atheists don't push our beliefs on others. It is worse than that - most atheists are in the closet. They know they're atheists, but they dare tell no one. They might post here, but they won't let on to either family or friends if those people think differently. AND THAT"S THE PROBLEM! We atheists need to vocalize our viewpoint. Match that Camping nut's end-of-world billboards with a few of our own. Influence some young minds to think on their own. Then religion will die the death it deserves, and we can evolve from this prehistoric way of thinking.

      "Except if God lives outside our physical laws he can not be present in our reality. If you disobey the laws of our reality you simply can not exist here.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      Jake said:
      """Religious people try to impose their beliefs on the rest of us all the time – abortion, blue laws, etc. – all based on fairytales."""

      Not to mention their attempts to keep our children from learning about evolution.

      But to add another perspective to Jake's argument – I remember back when it was discovered that Nancy Reagan was consulting with an astrologer and using this info to schedule the duties of her hubby, who happened to be the President of the United States at the time.

      Using astrology for guidance? Why that's about as absurd as, well, praying for it.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Greg

      Like I said, I'm Agnostic = I don't see it possible prove or disprove God. Science makes sense of the universe and if things make sense then it is possible something extremely intelligent created our known world. Random anomaly is also possible, but as an Agnostic I see the limits of human intelligence including my own. Ranting against is often as annoying as ranting for.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  19. Greggor

    I haven't read any comment that directly deals with the challenge of "what makes your version of God/religion the correct one?" I am curious as to how someone of faith responds to this. And I won't use Scientology as my challenger to Christianity. Let's take Hinduism in this case. Were I a Hindu, how would you convince me that your version of God is correct and mine is wrong? My faith predates your and is practiced by hundreds of millions of adherents.

    Secondly, I have a question about suffering. I have heard it said that God allows suffering so as to not interfere with man's free will. I understand that when man suffers as the result of his own actions or decisions. But what about a child who is born with crippling disease or condition. How does a loving God allow for that?

    July 12, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • MCK

      Greggor,

      What you are referring to is what philosophers and theologians call "The Problem of Evil." A basic question all people have. I've done some reading on Atheism and at the recommendation of a seminary grad any of Mr. Dawkins books were considered not very good with respect to Atheism. I found a book called Atheism Explained and a more serious textbook from Oxford Press to be helpful.

      I wish I had an answer to this problem of evil. We all have to come to our own conclusions about these things. As an aside I read another book about Gandhi and Jesus & non-violence. That helped me come to a conclusion to never let religion interfere with my spiritual beliefs.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • LaLa

      Born & raised Catholic, still practicing. My views, however, are not the Church's views. I think that each person has to find his own peace with the Universe. Some find it in religion, some find it removed from religion. Even for those who find it in religion, the "one, true faith" is a personal thing. What fits me pinches you. All religions are inherently good ... and inherently flawed. Individuals must find what works for them, what is their own "one, true faith".

      As for the suffering ... well, speaking from the religious POV, it's not ours to know yet. However, if the Universe was entirely logical, such things would never happen either.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Stevie7

      LaLa,

      A totally non-snarky question: What makes a person Catholic. You state that your views are not the Church's views (which would put you in line with most Catholics, at least in the US). Is there a line for you? How would you define a Catholic? I'm always interested to hear Catholics' perspective on this.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  20. WhosTheProgrammer

    Believer- After God created Adam (Just play along here for a second.) Let's say 1 day after Adam was created, if you were a scientist and had a time machine and traveled back in time to observe a man (Adam) Everything about Him would lead you to believe that He was a man in his 20-30's. If you had no knowledge of who or how Adam was created all observation wouldn't let you know that He was in fact only a day old. God has told us that He created all time, matter and space in a span of 7 days. Just because we observe light that is billions of years away from us doesn't tell you the manner or time frame that God used to create those stars. God lives outside our physical laws, you can't see creation because you limit God and what He can accomplish in your mind. If you don't know the creator and His process for creation you are just like the time traveling scientist that can only observe a finished process. You have the wrong answer because you were not there for the creation. Christ was there during the creation, He was the creator. He is right! He is truth! 🙂

    July 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Spiffy

      Except if God lives outside our physical laws he can not be present in our reality. If you disobey the laws of our reality you simply can not exist here.

      Also how do you know that God is the creator? And how do you know Jesus is right/truth?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Doomguy

      Wow, you'll cook up any story to convince yourself this myth you were told as a child is real. You need professional help. Soon.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • That's What's Up

      This guys obviously knows who the programmer is – it's the people who take his money every sunday with promises of an eternal life in the heavens far more beautiful than anything imaginable.
      But for now....just keep coughing up your sheckles every sunday and trying to recruit more to do the same

      July 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      How does Santa Claus fit into this?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • John Richardson

      And you could spin a perfectly analogous story for any other creation MYTH.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • ???????

      If God created the universe in 7 days how can that be since time is a man made construct?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • ron

      haha. good one. Now tell me the story about Santa!

      July 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • ...

      I thought Christ was magically inserted into the womb of a virgin about 4000 years after your religion claims that the universe was created...

      July 12, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Artist

      ...

      I thought Christ was magically inserted into the womb of a virgin about 4000 years after your religion claims that the universe was created...
      ---------–
      That is the PR version. God put the O YES in god when he made Mary scream all night.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Jason

      I suggest you study every sentence you wrote and after each one ask yourself hard questions about the claims you are making regarding reality and the universe. And keep this in mind as you do this: The brightest minds (Feynman, Einstein, etc) work their entire lives in a perpetual state of work and study and still, very rarely, do they claim to "know" something. And even after all this they would never make the sort of god/knowledge claims you are making, because people like this recognize the difference between knowing something and pretending to know things. Also, I'd suggest reading some science books (geology is a good start). Refusing to do this means you're on track to pretend for the rest of your life.

      By the way, you don't have to be present at an event to know a great deal about what happened. On the contrary, studying the evidence left over from the event is far more effective in terms of knowledge.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      """The brightest minds (Feynman, Einstein, etc) work their entire lives in a perpetual state of work and study and still, very rarely, do they claim to "know" something. """

      Exactly. Feynman was one of the very few people on this entire planet who could grasp the concept of quantum mechanics (and no, Chopra isn't included in this group), yet he said no one *really* understands it.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:33 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.