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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. Honest John.

    The only honesty is from theutterly clueless agnostics who freely admit that the truth about the the universe (and man's presence in it) are far beyond the reach of our puny little minds. The opinions of both the devout and the atheists are equally arrogant and baseless. I choose confusion.

    July 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • chefofthepast

      The constant quest to know the unknowable

      July 12, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • jim

      "the utterly clueless agnostics" They are no more clueless about religion than believers and non-believers. And why must the opinions of the devout and atheists be "arrogant and baseless"? There are plenty of reasons not to believe in god, and on the other hand, it can certainly be rational to believe in god. If there are reasons to not believe in god, which there are, that means that the opinions of atheists aren't baseless. Of course, some individual atheists and some individual theists have extremely arrogant opinions, but that doesn't mean that atheists as a whole or theists as a whole always have arrogant and baseless opinions.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Or, as Monty Python put it: There's nothing an agnostic can't do once he can't make up his mind whether or not he believes anything!

      July 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • guest

      I have to disagree with that. What is your argument to the conclusion, "we can't know if God does or does not exist?" I see no evidence that that is true. IF there is a God, isn't it conceivable he would provide SOME evidence that was can discover that he exists? Isn't that at least plausible? I'm not saying he'd have to write his name in the clouds (in fact, there are arguments for why he WOULDN'T do that), but it is conceivable that IF there is a God, SOME evidence would be provided to his creation.
      And I contend there are such evidences – as i've been saying there are at least 5 good arguments for the existence of God (Leibnizian, Kalam, Telelogical, Moral, Ontological) that make it more plausible than not that God exists. Read up on those- William Lane Craig has alot of good articles and books on them.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Colin

      I LIKE your comment, however, I have to disagree. At a most fundamental level, the universe does present us with certain realities. Whether we know those realities or not is another question altogether. The fact that we are even presented with any reality whatsoever is enough to establish the idea that there is a fundamental reality. Even Descartes Evil Genius idea would allow for this. We might not know what the reality is, but there IS a reality. That reality may or may not be discoverable. All I want you to think about is that it isn't valid to demote all strongly held views to be baseless. Some are certainly baseless. Others aren't. The burden of proof is always on the person making the claim. People who propose the idea of God bare that burden. Those of us who are hearing those ideas and feeling that they are untrue do not bare the burden of proof. You wouldn't say that an A-SantaClausist or an A-toothfairyist's views are baseless. When you understand why you wouldn't, then try to apply that way of thinking to understanding how strong atheists view this debate and why we are so adamant.I hope this comment helps you. Like I said at the start, I mostly agree with you. I just think that if you extrapolate things out further, you will see that there is actually a kink in the way you've understood things.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  2. godlessmom

    The problem with Atheism is it's bad image. Atheists are often seen as evil and without morals or values. When someone stands before you and says, I don't believe in God, the believer usually starts to mistrust and judge that person as either lost or has an issue with God or just plain arrogant and soulless. If you Google famous atheists you will find that this is far from true. Many people are fairly set in their beliefs, however there are many agnostics, for which keeping the talk about religion and atheism going is a good thing. The more talking, the more thinking.

    July 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Balls McGhee

      everyone who believes in God was taught from another person. nobody has ever experienced a miracle from
      God ever. they just think they have because they have been taught that if you dont understand something, it is because of God and only he knows, and dont question it. This is the basis of religion. it is purely a political tool to gain members and money. look at people in political parties? all parties are very hypocritical because they need to reach out to more people. but challenge their hypocrisy and they cant understand it. I'm tired of Christians asking me if i have tried to let God into my heart. has any christian ever truly asked, what if there is no God?
      God?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Mike from Maine

      @godlessmom, I have to correct you slightly in your statement. We are not SEEN as evil, as there is no evidence that shows that at all. Atheists are portrayed as evil by believers with the sole intent of de-legitimizing our voice of reason.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • godlessmom

      Mike, well said. As you can tell by my name I am a non believer. My screen name irritates a lot of believers before they even read what I write.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Mike from Maine

      Thank you, I'd be proud to stand next to you in a fox hole, godlessly! keep up the fight. ~m

      July 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  3. David

    I'm Cathnostic. Which is to say Agnostic, with the mental scars of being raised Catholic.

    July 12, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Spiffy

      Why are you an agnostic?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • JP0

      Good name. I'll have to remember that.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Mike from Maine

      She already explained it, she was raised a Catholic! LOL

      July 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  4. jacko

    Bill Maher always nails everything on the money. And he's hilarious while making his points.

    July 12, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • John Richardson

      I really wish he'd stop nailing things on the money! Nothing like being paid $5 with a six foot plank of wood nailed to it! Doesn't even fit in the register!

      July 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  5. JohnQuest

    Terk, are you saying since you can not disprove the the God Ba'al, the God Ba'al MUST be real?

    July 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Mike from Maine

      Oh, Johnny trust me he wont touch this one.....

      July 12, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Mike from Maine

      You have touched on the one argument that a believer will not even try to answer. You have heard that silence is golden?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  6. NoGOP12

    People think God and religion are synonymous. Religion is destroying humanity. The answer is spirituality without religion. Religion is arrogance. Spirituality is enlightenment. Accepting we don’t know the answers is the first step, accepting someone 2 thousand years ago didn’t know either is the second.

    July 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Spiffy

      What is spirituality?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • NoGOP12

      Spirituality is believing there are powers in the universe we can't comprehend, without feeling the need to identify, explain or have someone else tell you they know what they are.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • JP0

      Some of mankind has always endeavored to learn what is not yet known. We call it science. Spirituality is just a cop out for those too lazy or too illiterate to attempt to understand the world.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • NoGOP12

      Has science explained infinity? Until all mysteries are solved there will be spirituality, it isn't laziness, it helps us deal with our own lack of knowledge. We don't know everything and we need to except that. The problem with religion is they're under some mass delusion they know, and to say you know is presumptuous and arrogant. Being a person of science I will always want to know the answers, But I can admit that I don’t know.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  7. KCRick

    Bill Maher is irrelevant. I cannot believe anyone even watches his show???? Who cares what he thinks about religion or anything else for that matter. Is not even funny.

    July 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • jayh

      Bitter?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Balls McGhee

      i find him to be quite funny actually. i guess youre the one who is the butt of all his jokes!!

      July 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Mike from Maine

      The irony is you don't have to believe it! You have to KNOW it, because they do. You also need to KNOW that some people, myself included, have opposing opinions to your own. Stop trying to believe things and educate yourself.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Colin

      I care about Bill Maher too. I think that your statements against him are irrelevant because you don't even try to take on his points intellectually. All you do is insult him. Anyone can insult anything, so mere insults are irrelevant.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Dubbayoo

      Yet, you cared enough to click on this article about him, read it AND type out a reply? Irony much?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Murray Braun

      Who cares what you think?

      July 14, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  8. Chicago

    We all have beliefs – Muslim, Catholic, Buddist, Atheist etc...whether that involves a God or not they are still beliefs and we all have them. Suck up and deal with the fact that the person next to you probably has different ones that yours. There sure seem to be a lot of people attacking and making fun of those with different beliefs. Are you that insecure in your own beliefs? A truly enlightened person would understand that perspective, experience and life in general all lead us to different beliefs about the world around us. Deal with it.

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

      Very well put from this Christian in new york.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Mike from Maine

      Chicago, I agree with you, but lets not pretend that all beliefs are equally valid or equally plausible.

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

      From an atheist in New York. A belief in any supernatural being that is all powerful is completely ridiculous

      July 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Tim from Toledo

      Bravo, Chicago. Well said.
      "Live and let live"....."Freedom of Religion"....."to each his own"........

      One of the great things about our country is that we are all free to believe what we want.

      We are also free to criticize each other's beliefs, but that just seems pointless to me.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Vince

      Tim is right. It's really a moot point. It's impossible to prove or disprove the existence of Supreme Being. The only thing we know for sure is that Man is flawed and imperfect. Since "Religion" is a creation of Man, it makes sense that it is flawed as well.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Murray Braun

      No, you and all the others do not know anything about antisemitism and it's lasting hatred-born position. You are undoubtedly a Christian, glory to you. You and all the other Christians have never faced your complicity to torture the Jews. Even your own Catholic priest, Edward Flannery, could not disguise his own anti-semitism in "The Anguish of the Jews", a real Catholic attempt to inform their antisemitic following of their contribution to the torture of the universal victim, the Jew.

      July 14, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
  9. atsudo nym

    If someone can offer me an argument for the existence of God which does not also support the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (or Santa Claus, or Allah, or Ahura Mazda, for that matter) then I'm all ears.

    Other than that, this is stuff I gave up believing back in childhood, when I was introduced to the real world.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Barney

      As soon as you offer everyone proof that you love the person you care about the most is when we will offer you proof that God exists. Wait for it....you'll get it. It's impossible, you just know it because it exists. Get it? But, you have to be willing to let it exist in order to "see" it. The bottom line is that the burden of proof isn't on the believer, it is on the non-believer. We have found the greatest gift of all and want everyone to know about it. There is nothing wrong with giving gifts, especially the greatest gift of all: Jesus Christ. God gave Him to us. Would you give your child for mankind? Stop putting your faith in man my friend. Don't look to man for perfection, look to Christ, follow Him, and you will have peace and your light will have a positive effect on those close to you. Not saying you aren't a good person, just saying nobody embodies love more than Christ, and emulating Him can only bring unimaginable light into your life...logically speaking.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Balls McGhee

      Barney, that's a cop-out answer. I'm not saying your beliefs are wrong, but c'mon. anyone can just make something up and say "prove me wrong." the thing that bugs me about religion is their quest to convert everyone else. its clearly for financial reasons. you cant grow a base without money and new people or it all just falls apart. Scientology and Mormonism are perfect examples of this. give them lots of money and you'll be better for it. pure nonsense and really just sad.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • K from AZ

      You are truely a 'pitiable' creature.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Paul

      One of the many reasons i believe in God is that it is my experience that order and design is the result of an intelligent mind. 100% of the time, I have found that to be true and I have NEVER been able to find an example where it is not true. i then look at the incredible order and design of all life, especially humanity and say there must be a GOD. Now, I realize this is not proof, but I do see it as one of the many examples supporting the existance of a supernatural being responsible for all creation.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • guest

      If your argument against God is the argument for the Flying Spagetti Monster, you need to realize that is a weak argument for atheism and has been refuted successfully many-a-time. William Lane Craig refutes it – see his Q&A article on it if interested. Why don't you just trot out the ol' line "can't God create a rock so big he can't lift it – so there is no God" while you are at it. Teh Flying Spagetti Monster is the kind of weak atheistic arguments that make atheists THINK they are smarter than they are – they THINK they can defeat theism with a one-liner but they simply haven't thought deeply enough about it and haven't read enough from the "other side" to understand the concepts involved (usually because the don't want to know that God exists, even if he does).

      July 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • EZRA

      So, I guess Barney is saying that The Flying Spaghetti Mobster exists – you just have to love him and believe in him. And since the burden of proof is on us to disprove his existence, his beleivers can try to pass laws and control our behavior according to the FSM Book. Oh, ya, and theh FSM church does not have to pay taxes.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • bud

      Faith based on all points. You miss the point if you gotta have court of law proof....

      July 12, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Barney

      Dude, Ball McGhee, take a moment and read what you just wrote. You are putting your faith in man, not in God. That's my entire point. You are too smart for that. Man is imperfect, period. I agree the corporate world of religion makes it difficult for God. I'm certain he's none to happy about it. Just as he wasn't happy about the politics and sinister nature of the powerful religious in the time of Christ. The point is this guys wants proof of the existence of God. That is impossible unless you search for Him yourself. Just as it is impossible for me to prove that I love my own mom. What, because I take care of her? Because I buy her things? That can easily be argued away as doing what you think you're supposed to do, not necessary love. Hope that made sense, because it does. Cynics can always poke holes in everything. To get around that, I challenge cynics of the Bible to actually pick one up and give the New Testament a read (1st 4 books are Jesus's ministry). Then go from there. The Bible is massive with a lot of historical context, but really it is a love story between God and man culminated in the coming of Christ. Giving Christ was the only way God could allow us to love Him without Him telling us to love him. Freewill. Anyways...

      July 12, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @guest,

      When a non-believer says 'prove there are no leprechauns', it merely highlights the absurdity of the believers statement of 'prove there is no god'. The burden of proof is not on the recipient, it is always on the claimant, unless you have the burden of proof to prove there are no leprechauns.

      I have no problem with people saying 'I have faith because I believe'. Fine – who am I to tell people what to believe. But to believe in an all-powerful deity, an intelligent designer, and specifically the christian god that most christians I know adhere to, is simply irrational.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @Barney,
      The bible is also rife with inconsistencies, historical inaccuracies, and physical impossibilities, and immorality. I've read it. All of it. There are plenty of good morals to be had, but you have to pick through the hocus pocus and obviously immoralities to get there.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • guest

      EZRA – your killing me 🙂 Have you even bothered to investigate the arguments for and against the flying spagettie monster? Have you bothered to read how theists attempt to argument that it is a bad analogy to God and how it is impossible for it to exist? This objection has been answered! You just have to do some work and research and you'll see how, through logic, reason, philosophy and science all put together can refute that arugment.I know its hard work, but please realize that you are sounding ignorant for not understanding this. its not as simple as saying, "all I have to do is believe in the flying spagetti monster and poof, its the same analogy as me beleiving in God". It isn't! Read William Lane Craig's refutation of this spagetti monster argument to see what I mean.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Paul

      All of these "proofs" do not prove any particular god, which was atsudo nym's point.

      A god made everything. Okay, which god? The universe must have a designer. Okay, which god designed it?

      In fact, the god that designed and made the universe may not have been discovered yet.

      Understand?

      Cheers!

      July 12, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Artist

      David Johnson

      @Paul

      All of these "proofs" do not prove any particular god, which was atsudo nym's point.

      A god made everything. Okay, which god? The universe must have a designer. Okay, which god designed it?

      In fact, the god that designed and made the universe may not have been discovered yet.

      Understand?

      Cheers!
      ---------
      I will be surprised if he gets it. Remember, everybody's personal god is real and the others are false. *rolling eyes*. Also, who is to say the "creator" of us is still alive? We could be created beings, I just have found no reason to accept man's version or perception of the "creator".

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

      stevie – do you realize that theists HAVE offered their arguments? I'll give you five – Leibnizian Cosmological Argument, Kalam Cosmological ARgument, Teleological Argument, Moral Argument, Ontological ARgument. OK, now refute them. What's that? You have no idea what these are? You had no idea theists have arguments for the existence of God and that they use Einstein, Friedman/Lematrie, Stephan Hawking, Vilekin, Penrose and other (some atheists) scientific work to do so? That is a shame. Well, when you learn what they are – try to refute them. And see if they don't make God the more plausible conclusion (as opposed to "there is no God"). Read william lane craig – you'll be amazed.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • JP0

      Your use of god as an explanation for what you don't understand is just a manifestation of your ignorance of the world. The world is a beautiful and amazing place but it doesn't need magic to explain why it is so.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @guest:
      1.) You're reading too much Craig.
      2.) I don't think you know what the word 'proof' means. Your philosophical arguments are not, in any way, proof. They're based on assumptions that are either unverifiable or just simply wrong

      Let's take the Kalam argument as an example. One tenet of that argument is that everything that exists has a cause. How, then, would you explain quantum fluctuation – that particles come into being out of nothingness and without any cause? One must hold the assumptions for your arguments valid to reach the conclusions – but there is no proof or evidence of the assumptions. It's fine as a philosophical exercise, but it does not make for good science and is in no way proof of anything.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Stevie7

      "Read william lane craig – you'll be amazed."

      I have. I'm not.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Paul

      @ Dave and Artist,
      exactly! I cannot prove the God I believe in. Nobody can. I have empirical evidence I use to support my belief. the rest is faith. My contention is with the athiest who doesn't seem to understand that to enter this argument from the standpoint that a supernatural being responsible for our creation is impossible, in my opinion, is intellectually absent.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      """I'll give you five – Leibnizian Cosmological Argument, Kalam Cosmological ARgument, Teleological Argument, Moral Argument, Ontological ARgument."""

      None of these arguments are convincing, frankly, and Craig has a poor grasp on logic. Like Leibniz, he's from the "the Bible says so and so it is" school of circular reasoning.

      The bottom line is evidence. Empirical, indisputable evidence.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • EZRA

      Sorry, Guest. you're right. I Meant the "Flying MACORONI monster" – my bad.

      (I can't believe I am actaully arguing with a someone who researched the exitence of teh Flying Spaghetti Monster. man, I hope he is puttig me on)

      July 12, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  10. Lori

    Maybe G-d is a just the belief in the metaphor for acknowledging that a force both unknown and bigger than humans has "a hand" in the universe. Those pictures you see of G-d's hand is a metaphor. I don't hear G-d speak to me (like Bachman does), and when I pray, I'm not praying to someone to help me or do something. I am simply joining my community in expressing hope, grief, etc... And the cultural traditions of my religion tend to bring family together. In Judaism, you don't have to believe in G-d the way others do, and questions are welcomed and even encouraged!!

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

      very well said

      July 12, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • streetcar01

      But wouldn't you be grabbing a bunch of additional garbage by attaching any of those esoteric "feelings" to a religion? I understand that you don't, but I'm sure many do.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Barney

      Questions are welcomed and encourged in Christianity as well. What God wouldn't want the people He created be interested in Him? In figuring Him out? Of course He would. However, all else said and done, there is only one truth and we are all searching for it. There really can only be one truth. I believe that truth to be Jesus Christ. Through Him, and His ministry....if you actually read it, research it, open your heart to it, it begins to wash over you and all of the sudden the light turns on. This is God's word for His people. He wants us to be close to Him and love Him. Not because he will give us money or riches of any sort, but because He will give us Love, Joy, Peace, and Hope. These are the very foundations of what mankind is built on. These are the things that are good for us to become more like Him. To become more spiritual beings for the next world and less of a physical being in this world. Why did He create us in the first place? Who knows!!?? I just know that life without a relationship with God isn't life at all, but a slow death. Just like most of our parents, His love is unconditional but His guidance is perfect. We should listen just as we did with our parents when we were children. Remember, we are still children with God, even those who are 90 years old.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Colin

      Ok, I have a question. What's with the g-d nonsense?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • EZRA

      Since when does the word god have to have a '-' where the 'o' should be? What's up with that? Just wondering.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • EZRA

      Barney. Maybe some god created you, but not me. I've met my parents and they told me how they did it.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @Barney: " He will give us Love, Joy, Peace, and Hope."

      So god reserves so things only for people who believe in him? He picks favorites?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  11. Scott

    I'm always amazed at how most folks believe they are so incredibly intelligent that they can discern the secrets of the universe on their own. The fool says in their heart "There is no God".

    Try pretending for one minute that you don't have to be right all the time and stop and look around you. Look 5 feet in front of you. And then say with certainty "There is no God"...fools

    July 12, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Tim from Toledo

      I'm amazed at how quickly "believers" are to call those that question the existence of God a "fool".
      Personally, I consider myself to be agnostic – I want to believe, but have a hard time putting my faith in something that can't be proven. I would never call a person that does believe a "fool", and I would never call and Atheist a "fool". To me, nobody knows for sure, and to say that you do is pompous and arrogant.
      You can profess your faith all you want, but when you start calling people names because they do not share your belief, you come across as a jerk. I doubt the God you believe in would approve of that type of behavior.....

      July 12, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Jon

      No Atheist is 100% sure there isn't a god, no one can be 100% sure either way. That would require all the knowledge of the universe and that knowledge is beyond our tiny minds. I like to say that I am 99.9% sure there isn't a god, one isn't needed in the first place. We add God to the picture because it's more comforting.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • cecilia

      well if there is a God and I believe there is – I don't think She would be very happy with you right now calling people fools
      try being nice

      July 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Mike from Maine

      @Scott, I did it! what was supposed to happen?

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

      Tim from Toledo – thre ARE arguments/proofs/logical deductions that do argue for the existence of God! Just search for it! Google "William Lane Craig" and read about the 5 arguments – Argument from Contingency, Kalam, Teleological Argumetn, Moral Argument, Ontological Argument. If you are an agnostic and WANT to believe but can't (which I was in teh same boat) there ARE scientific and philospohical arguments (and no, I am not talking Creationism or anti-evolution arguments – many of us believe in the scientific evidences of evoltuion and the age of the universe and the Big Bang – in fact, many of that SHOW PLAUSIBLY that God exists through deducitive logic. Seek and you will find.

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

      The quote "The fool says in their heart There is no God" and it is meant to mean that it is obvious there is a God. Not that we are fools. We are Gods children.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Balls McGhee

      Tim from Toledo, great answer.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Scott

      The botom line is, if you are wrong about God not existing there are serious consequences when you die. That alone is a compelling reason to stop being so influenced by what others say or by your own pridefullness and study the word.

      As a christian, if i am wrong I lose nothing.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Whatevs

      Then help me understand why it is the religious who become athiest more than the athiest who becomes religious? In fact, to accept the idea of no God is more terrifying a concept than believing in the idea that good deeds earn good favor in life as well as immortality in heaven. I have no qualms about the idea that at the end of my life, I am wormfood, my family is wormfood and we will not be reunited. Even more, I am highly educated in Christianity and have become atheist, living for today, doing good for today as well as for the rest of the days I will live this life without reward in the afterlife. I am fine with that. It provides faith in the right now versus the afterlife adn the kingdom of heaven. In my experience, the saying "the meak shall inheret the world" has not led me to believe the religious individuals in my life are any bit meak, they have bullied others and sullied at the misfortune supposedly granted by God as well as use his name to murder and violate fellow humans. If God is the almighty Father, explain to me why he would elect to torture and burn his children who've turned from him? As a parent, the child who turns from me will forever be in my heart with all the undconditional love I, as a lolely human, can give. And that's just it, unconditional love is not the case if anything like hell exists. Furthermore, for the children murdered and mutiliated in this world, an eternity of hell for the evil-doer cannot make up one iota of suffering an innocent has experienced. That is not justice as the child still suffered grossly and that child was an innocent – innocence stolen for the sake of what? Do you find comfort in the idea of believing the evil doers of this life will get their justice in hell? Do you find solace in the idea the poor child will receive everlasting life for the one taken? I do not. Evil is evil and suffering is suffering. Its time to accept the fact evil is a human condition as well as the phenominally good parts of humans. To excuse any away to the unwarranted justice given to God's so called plan is as well foolish. One can be athiest and still have faith without having to give it a name.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Balls McGhee

      Scott, the world will end unless you eat a tub of mayonnaise. I guess, using your logic, you have nothing to lose if you eat the mayonnaise. I guess you will blindly follow your religion no matter what.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Tim from Toledo

      @guest
      Please don't assume that because I am agnostic, I have not studied religion.
      I'm comfortable with my position, as it is an educated and well thought out point of view.
      "Seek and you will find the truth" only leads to more questions when it comes to this topic.......

      July 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Scott

      The bible teaches that we are all evil by nature. lustfull, pridefull, selfish...etc. Being a "good" christian doesn't spare us from judgement, we will all be judged. Christs sacrifice on the cross is what saves a christian.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Stevie7

      "Christs sacrifice on the cross is what saves a christian."
      -
      Why? Why does god need to die on a cross in a relatively remote part of an ancient empire to save us? If he is omnipotent, this isn't needed at all.

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

      hey guest, every single argument that has ever attempted to establish proof of god has failed. The ontological argument is garbage

      July 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • guest

      stevie7 – you actually think christianity doesn't have an answer for that? You really think that after 2000 years, there is no answer for you here? Really – if you don't know, go study. Theologians have answered this question and you can't get an answer here – its not a single line answer. But honestly, do you think after 2000 years there isn't a reason for why Jesus did what he did other than, "well, gee.. god is omnipotent, he didn't have to do that".

      And T from Toledo, I find it hard to believe you have investigated those scientific and philosophical arguments I mentteioned because if you did, I can't believe you would still be an agnostic. Yo would either be an atheist (that is, the arguments to you are bogus) or you'd be a theist (the arguments are convincing). I can't see how anyone could study those arguments and come away with a still wishy-washy, "well, gee, I don't know, those arguments did nothing for me but raise more questions". Hey, if they did, then you have a much different intellectual makeup than anyone I know.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @guest: "stevie7 – you actually think christianity doesn't have an answer for that?"

      Oh, I've seen plenty of answers – just none that hold any weight against a reasonable application of logic.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Artist

      guest

      stevie7 – you actually think christianity doesn't have an answer for that? You really think that after 2000 years, there is no answer for you here? Really – if you don't know, go study. Theologians have answered this question and you can't get an answer here – its not a single line answer. But honestly, do you think after 2000 years there isn't a reason for why Jesus did what he did other than, "well, gee.. god is omnipotent, he didn't have to do that".

      And T from Toledo, I find it hard to believe you have investigated those scientific and philosophical arguments I mentteioned because if you did, I can't believe you would still be an agnostic. Yo would either be an atheist (that is, the arguments to you are bogus) or you'd be a theist (the arguments are convincing). I can't see how anyone could study those arguments and come away with a still wishy-washy, "well, gee, I don't know, those arguments did nothing for me but raise more questions". Hey, if they did, then you have a much different intellectual makeup than anyone I know.
      --------–
      Why does a person have to be one or the other. What if they simply do not believe the man you ahve faith in wrote?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      """I'm always amazed at how most folks believe they are so incredibly intelligent that they can discern the secrets of the universe on their own. The fool says in their heart "There is no God"....Look 5 feet in front of you. And then say with certainty "There is no God"...fools"""

      What better proof is there than this post that god made humans stupid?

      Don't you find it odd that your god made us stupid and is trying to keep us that way? You devil was trying to learn us sumthin' by tempting Eve but god didn't like that idea. You're obviously keeping up the age old tradition of avoiding the forbidden fruit.

      Congrats.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Stevie7

      "I can't see how anyone could study those arguments and come away with a still wishy-washy, "
      --
      Really? You put that much into glorifies thought experiments? All one has to do is dismiss the unprovable, sometimes outright incorrect assumptions of those arguments and you end up exactly where one started.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  12. Mike from Maine

    I haven't paid much attention to Piers, is he always this weak of an interviewer? Love Bill Maher and agree with him on almost all issues. Like him, as an atheist, am a 6.9. I am however 100% sure that there is no higher power who cares what my actions are, who can intervene in anyones lives or who cares about any kind of dogma or respect or anything that any religion preaches past, present or in the future.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      Guest said:
      """I have found that most atheists do not understand philosophy and logic...So far, all I keep getting is "I don't have to prove a negative" (when clearly they don't understand what they are saying)."""

      Guest, you are a fraud. I offer the above two conflicting statements from the same post as proof that your *reasoning* does not exist.

      Don't even mention philosophy or logic here again until you know enough to at least speak sensibly about them.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  13. Terk

    @Joe, You want us to prove there is a God? OK, as soon as you prove there is NOT one...

    July 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Brian S.

      You don't need to prove something doesn't exist... you need to prove it does. There is an infinite list of things that don't exist, there is a very finite list of things that do exist.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Stevie7

      "Prove there is a god" Hypothesis: god does not exist. Falsifiable? Yes – god can come down and reveal himself, giving concrete evidence of his existence.

      "Prove there is no god" Hypothesis: god exists. Falsifiable: No. Thus, the argument is meaningless.

      See the difference?

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

      Okay I’ll prove there isn’t one. Soon as you prove there is no Big Foot, Loch Ness Monster, Unicorns or backside probing aliens.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Thomas

      Terk,

      That is an example of an Argument from Ignorance - the assumption that something must be true unless it has been proven false.

      It is a logical fallacy.

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

      I have found that most atheists do not understand philosophy and logic. To say "God does not exist" IS a very strong truthclaim – just as much as saying "God exists". It is only the agnostic who says "I don't know" that is free to sit on the fence. Even the agnostic that says, "We CAN'T know if God exists" is espousing a very significant truth claim that requires arguments to base it on. Otherwise, its just blind faith to believe any of those statments. What are you arguments that "God does not exist"? What are your arguments that "God exists". I can answer the latter question that "God exists" through several deductive arguments that have philosophical and scientific evidences – The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument, the Kalam Cosmological Argument, Teleological argument, Moral Argument, Ontologiocal Argument". The theists have been making these arguments for millenia and some have only gotten stronger since Einstein and Friedman/Lemaitre proposed the Big Bang Model (and evidences for those models in the decades since). I am still waiting for the atheist to refute those successfully AND to make their strong truth claim of "God does not exist" more plausible than its opposite. So far, all I keep getting is "I don't have to prove a negative" (when clearly they don't understand what they are saying).

      July 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • JAK9295

      Don't have to, bro. The burden of proof is on you. It's like when you were 7 years old and your best buddy came up to you and said "Oh my goodness, I did a backflip yesterday!" Your first reaction was probably, "Wow cool!" which was then quickly followed by, "Okay, now prove it." Your friend's not going to be like, "Well only if you prove that I can't do a backflip." Not even children follow logic like that.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Madtown

      @Guest, you are incorrect. See Thomas' answer above, he spells it out succinctly and accurately.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • guest

      Did you even read my response? I GAVE the theistic arguments for the existence of God! - I can answer the latter question that "God exists" through several deductive arguments that have philosophical and scientific evidences – The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument, the Kalam Cosmological Argument, Teleological argument, Moral Argument, Ontologiocal Argument".

      OK, the ball is in your court. Refute them. Do you think those arguments are false? If so, why? what are your arguments? I gave you mine. What? You don't knwo what these arguments are? Well, shame on you. If you want to engage in a dialogue on your atheistic beliefs, you should understand that what yuo are saying is not true (that theists haven't provided their arguments for their truthclaims). I'm still waiting for you to either a) refute my claims (once you understand what they are – doesn't sound like many on here actually know what the arguments for theism are) or b) provide your own arguments FOR atheism which should implicitly deny theism.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Paul

      To all who think they have written off the argument "prove there isn't",
      You cannot dismiss that on the grounds you state above. although there is no proof, there is plenty of evidence that suggests there is a supernatural being responsible for this universe. I could name several but the most basic would be the athiestic LEAP of faith that all this is a mere accident. When you examine what it would take to get from the big bang to today it impossible (to me) to think that it happened without a plan and a helping hand. BTW science inputs improvable variables in their supporting "formula" to establish theories (all the time). another reason why your arguments are baseless.

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

      ah, Thomas, glad to see I'm not the only one who points out logical fallacies to others on these comment boards. It is absurd how many of them there are. It seems that the majority of postings contain at least one.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @guest.

      sigh. You arguments are not proofs. Let's take the Ontological argument – there are many, so I'll focus on the original. St. Anselm basically said – I can't think of anything greater than god, so god must exist. Obviously there's more to it than that, but that's the basic premise. That's your "proof" of god? That you can't think of anything bigger? I also can't think of a number greater than infinity ... so what?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Chase

      oh I love when you idiots say things like this. You are making the claim there is, the burden of proof is on you. You want us to prove there is not one? Prove there is not a giant talking Dog with 42 legs that orbits Saturn who created the earth. Because your god is just as ridiculous sounding as the one I just made up. And guess what, you cant prove that the giant talking dog doesn't exist. Idiot.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Thomas

      That is called an Argument from Ignorance - the assumption that something must be true unless it has been proven false.

      It is a logical falacy

      July 13, 2011 at 8:01 am |
  14. Terk

    To all atheists: Every boxer has a plan until they get knocked down. The bible says, "Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess..." You too will be knocked down. Not if...but when you do; where will you go for help, comfort, solace? Man? You and I both know man will let you down every time. Look at the complexity of the stars, galaxies, the planets, or even a single living cell; do you REALLY think this all happened randomly? Which one of us is REALLY living in a fantasy world?

    July 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • JP0

      You seem to think everyone needs a "magic acorn" in his pocket to deal with life. Not true. The strength of human character can allow you to live your life without fairy tales.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Some truly loving god you got yourself there Terk. "how could the sun and moon possibly move around the sun if god didn't lift them up and put them down" using a mythical deity to explain what you don't know is just lazy and short sighted.

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

      What created your so-called god then?? Who created god?? If you say that he just "is"... that is MORE ridiculous than saying "I'm not sure how the Universe began". Atheists aren't saying they understand the precise mechanisms of how the Universe began... they are just saying there is no reason to believe in god or gods because there is no evidence for it.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • JP0

      The planets, stars, galaxies and living cells all operate by the "laws of physics" and they got to where they are now on the basis of those principles. Ask me who created the "laws of physics" and I will ask you who created the creator. There are some questions we don't know the answer to but will eventually figure out and there are other questions which have no answer. The marvel of the universe is that it works on principles that can be discovered and understood by man. There is no need to invoke magic to explain things you don't understand.

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

      To sit there and babble talk about the complexity of this, or the likelihood of that is silly. This is called an argument from incredulity, a logical fallacy, that logically makes no sense, and has no validity

      July 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • BetterDeadThanFed

      Actually, Steve, it's called faith. Just as you have "faith" that God does not exist.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Timoteo

      The bible also says you should kill your kids for talking back. Are you planning to do this too just because it's in the bible?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Laughing

      Um..... still you

      You either have column a) as you put it or column b) where a guy thought, "hmmmmm I'm going to make a giant rockyball in space and then zap people on it to worship me. Every so often I'll get angry and zap them to bits. I'll also choose special ants, they're my favorite, but they should probably learn humility because I picked them, so I'll make them suffer the most.....wait a minute looks like they'll endure, maybe I'll go down as my son and go through that suffering thing to and then forgive them for following my example when they kill me. Well that's done, now I'm going to just sit up here and let everyone else do my preaching for me....."

      Yeah, I'm going to go with you living in that fantasy world. Thanks for playing!

      July 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @BetterDeadThanFed:
      I have no faith. I have a lack of faith. Or, do you have faith that there is no tooth fairy?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Tom

      Right, so the person who believes that there's a magical person in the sky who can read your mind and answer your prayers (even though a 'yes' answer comes no more often than a coin flip), and who allows children to be abused and murdered, but we still have to praise him, because if we don't we're all doomed - yeah, that's not a fantasy world? People who believe in this nonsense are simply afraid to die. Guess what: when you die, that's it. The "energy" doesn't go anywhere. Does the energy in your car battery go somewhere when the battery dies? Does your computer's memory go somewhere when the machine crashes? No.

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

      Look at the complexity of "god". Do you think he just came from nothing? You live in a fantasy world if you think something as complex as "god" wasn't created by something.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Jason

      Terk,
      You're answering a mystery with another mystery, which is just boring. The universe is more fascinating than you're making it out to be. Throwing god in as *the* answer just kills curiosity and critical thought. I'd be willing to bet you don't even know much about the relationship of chaos and order; how order arises from chaos all over the universe (e.g., the formation of a snowflake).

      July 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • ...

      Terk: "You and I both know man will let you down every time."

      Really? Every time? You would rather believe in something you've never actually seen before than the people around you? If man lets you down every time than what exactly is God doing if not making people kind and compassionate???

      July 12, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Jon

      Did all this happen by random chance? Yes. We live in a universe where life evolves into consciousness. Not by design, by some some luck and serendipity. I feel very fortunate to be here, no need to praise a deity for doing what a deity is designed to do.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  15. Cleareye

    Imagine how much human progress would have advanced by now if we weren't burdened with religion? Imagine if everyone spent all their time and energy improving our condition instead of hoping a god will do it for us? How many useless hours are spent praying for something that will or won't happen or thanking a god for something that did or didn't?
    Free thinking will free humanity to improve!

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

      One major regret in my life is the years I wasted praying to Tinker Bell in the sky and Sundays.

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

      No need to criticize religion and those who believe in it. Hey, if it gives some people comfort, fine! Can we just settle for a middle ground where anybody can believe whatever they want and nobody tries to tell anyone else what to believe or whom to believe in?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • streetcar01

      Howard, As long as there are beliefs that don't deserve our "respect", causing women to be stoned or African's to kill Gays or more people to contract aids etc... then I would feel it my duty to ask believers to back up their beliefs with reasonable arguments. If they are true, then believers shouldn't be afraid. The truth would come out. ... I'm still waiting for good arguments.

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

      @Street

      well said

      July 12, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Timoteo

      Howard, people have every right and reason to criticize religion as long as it's used as a basis for social behavior. It's used as a tool to prohibit gays from marrying. It's used as a tool to start wars. It causes millions to be mentally tortured, constantly fearing going to hell for doing something that comes naturally to humans. It prevents stem cell research that could save lives. It causes terrorism. Polygamists abuse children in the name of religion. Shall I go on?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • SavySurfer

      AMEN Cleareye. Could not resist the tounge in cheek. But you get my meaning...

      July 12, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Brian

      Even though religion has had a negative impact on civilization over the last millenia, there had to be a positive affect for religion gene to spread through population. Many scientists do believe the faith and belief in a higher power is hard wired in our brain. Some stronger than others. So was it an artifact of us having the ability to understand and change our environment in a limited way? We needed religion to explain what we could not understand and keep our sanity? A side effect of our ability to abstract? Or was it a tool of civilization? Early teachings through mythology that gets popularized into a religion. The usefulness being lessons learned that helped future generations. Only when dramatic change via science comes that these teachings become a negative as they also discourage dicovery.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  16. Joe

    JSS, a classic argument that never works on people with half a brain. The burden of proof is on those that believe in God to prove that God exists (which hasnt' happened yet). It's not on those that "aren't really sure and don't really care". What blows this rationale out of the water are things like the discovery of dinosaur fossils, only to hear the Christian right claim they aren't real. I always get a kick out of that one!

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

      duh, fossils were put there by god to trick you and test your faith! That God, he's quite the trickster!

      July 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Blue Templar

      Actually, its on you to prove god doesn't exist. As for fossils... so why is the missing link still missing? That said. I spent my life believing in darwin as much as God. This statement, used by EVOLUTIONISTS... also applies to god. "Absense of proof, is not proof of absense." Works both ways. Grow up.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Howard

      @ bluetemplar ... Can we agree that nobody can prove that god exists or that he doesn't? Can we also agree that it's a form of child abuse for a parent to tell his or her child that the child is a bad boy or girl and will always be one if they don't do what they're told? If you buy that for a human parent, then why would you accept it from your god?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @Blue Templar. The missing link argument is ridiculous. Fossil records are points in time. If I have a Fossil and point 1 and at point 5 you'll want something that bridges the gap. If I then produce a fossil at point 3, then you'll claim there are even more gaps. Its a pointless argument.

      And the burden of proof is always on the claimant – so its on you.

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

      Okay then, I guess the burden is on you to prove the Bing Bang then, eh?

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

      Nathan

      Okay then, I guess the burden is on you to prove the Bing Bang then, eh?

      --------
      Starring which actress?

      July 12, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Sean

      @Blue
      Okay I’ll prove there is no ‘god. Soon as you prove there is no Big Foot, Loch Ness Monster, Unicorns or backside probing aliens.

      @Nathan
      The big bang is though as theory, as a possibility based on the given facts. The big bang theory has also evolved to clued several expansion like multiple Big Bangs. Feel free to educate yourself. While you’re at it please point out the last time someone tried to pass a morality law based on the Big bang theory.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Stevie7

      "Okay then, I guess the burden is on you to prove the Bing Bang then, eh?"
      -
      Well ... yeah. Of course, there's evidence of the big bang. We have direct observations and mathematics to back up the theory of the big bang.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Laughing

      @ Artist

      HA! I was totally going to make the sameish joke!

      July 12, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  17. snakeoil

    I can prove there's a god and have jesus visit you personally if you just send your check or money order to http://www.snakeoil.org(we also take master card and visa)

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

      praise the lord-sending in my check/money order...for the lord-amen!

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

      What about paypal?

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

      As long as your company is a non prophet corporation.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • EZRA

      if you act now , we will send you a prayer cardsigned by Jesus.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  18. kris

    "God is dead...and no one cares. If there is a hell, I'll see you there!"

    Trent Reznor

    July 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • teamroper

      Not me.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • QS

      Jesus Christ, why don't you come save my life now!
      Open my eyes, blind me with your light now.

      If you want to get your soul to heaven,
      trust in me now don't you judge or question.

      You are broken now, but faith can heal you.
      Just do everything I tell you to do.

      Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow.
      What you need is someone strong to guide you.

      – Tool

      July 12, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Lycidas

      I think you put "tool" in the wrong place. You are suppsoe to put that under the part that wants your name.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • QS

      Oh Ly, nice to see that you at least might understand the satirical aspect to naming a band "Tool" and then singing a song about being a follower of Jesus. Thanks for driving home the connection...even if your juvenile attempt at spinning it into an insult toward me was quite pitiful! 🙂

      July 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  19. Questioneer

    Regardless of fact/fiction...how does this story last 2000+ years ???

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

      There are LOTS of old stories floating around. This is not the only one.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Religion tends to be a conservative social force and of the world's major religions, only Islam is younger than Christianity and it's been around over 1300 years. Mormonism and its beginnings sounds like a parody of a religion, but it's pushing 200 years and has millions of adherents. Scientology is now over a half century old and is growing. There's nothing all that remarkable about the Christian timeline. Religion is like species like giant clams. Very few of the spawn of giant clams make it very long, but those few that do tend to live a very long time.

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

      Gilgamesh has been around longer.

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

      Christianity has been so successful because the Roman emperor Constantine forced conversion for everyone else after he became a Christian. Christianity adoped many pagan customs (stealing Winter Solstice celebrations then calling it Christmas, etc.) to make conversion easier. Then the indoctrination of one generation to the next up to today.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Brian S.

      I personally like Thor.

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

      JT,
      Constantine did not force the conversion of everyone to Christianity. He did make Christianity the official religion of the empire after more than 200 years where Christians were either persecuted or tolerated as second class citizens at best. The question one has to ask is why? Yes there is the miraculous story - whether you believe that is true or not of course is a matter of faith. However, more than one historian believes that Constantine backed Christianity because so many of his troops and Romans in general had already embraced it.

      July 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @MarylandBill,

      Constantine murdered heretics and destroyed or stole pagan temple and possessions. In what way is that NOT forcing religion on people?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • JT

      @MarylandBill,

      Yes, Christianity was a small cult that everyone scoffed at as many Christians do Mormons today. Not sure where you're going there. To answer you question, from what I've read, Constantine converted to Christianity because he prayed to the Christian god/Jesus before a battle and then came out a great victor of that battle and he contributed it to this god.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      Stevie,
      Not that I am necessarily defending the wrongs he did do, but heretics (in this context) are by definition Christian. He actually was, by the standards of the day, very tolerant of paganism, and indeed continued to make gestures towards pagans after his public conversion to Christianity.

      JT,
      No disrespect intended, but my question was rhetorical, and I had answered it when I posted. Constantine was a successful Roman emperor, that meant he was very good at taking the pulse of both the citizens of the empire, of his legions and other important powers in the empire. Roman emperors were at least as likely to die a violent death as they were to die peacefully in bed. Consider the following. 1. Constantine and Licinius issued the Edict of Milan only 9 years after the Emperor Diocletian (Probably the most vigorous persecutor of Christians) retired. 2. Once Constantine secured power, his reign was pretty stable (by Roman Standards). While there was plenty of rhetoric against Christianity after 313, there was no large scale uprising against Constantine and no Generals used it as a rallying cry against him. Christianity probably was not a majority religion in 313, but it was probably a lot more common than you think it was. While Constantine's conversion might have been sincere (His mother was also a Christian), its public nature was almost certainly done with a fair bit of political calculation behind it.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  20. EmeraldCity

    <3 Religulous. <3 Bill Maher. So nice not to be mentally shackled to any religion or concern about the big Eye in the Sky.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:29 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.