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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. ron in california

    Bill Mahr is one of those big mouth liberals who criticize all with whom he disagrees. Nobody cares if he is an athiest and he should not care if someone follows a religion. However, in his constant need to get attention drives him to drone on and on. Not that I care but I think Mahr is a frustrated closey gay man. He needs to come out and give us all a break. He'll soon find out it doesn't matter.

    July 12, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • A Rational Human

      Calling a guy who chases women like crazy "gay" only proves that you can't stand the guy simply because he laughs at your belief in fairy tales.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • Mike from Maine

      Ron, I have a question. How often do you criticize people who agree with you?

      July 12, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      You sound a little frooty-tooty yourself, ron. I bet you have a big stack of muscle magazines in your closet.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  2. bluenote

    This is a message to all those who believe in God, of whatever kind of God: Why is it so important to you what Bill Maher thinks? Believe what you believe, and stop pushing it on those of us who don't share your opinion. You do that, and all the Atheists will shut up. If you don't, they won't It's really quite simple. Those who do not believe have just as much right to their opinion as those who do. And just as much right to VOICE that opinion. The need arises only when Christians relentlessly argue that they're right, and that non-believers need to be saved, and other such nonsense. (At least nonsense as I see it.)

    July 12, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • guest

      I would believe what I believe – but Bill Maher won't leave me alone! For someone who says he doesn't think about religion much, he seems to talk about it alot, and make a movie about it, and denigrate Christians alot. How about HE leave US alone?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • A Rational Human

      Guest: Bill Maher won't leave you alone? Is he coming to your house with a picket sign? Is your wrist broken and you can't turn the channel?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  3. Bible Clown

    That's about how I feel. I could care less what other people believe as long as they aren't flying a plane into my building. What I believe in is people.

    July 12, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  4. TrueGrit

    Which of the following groups believes that an invisible being in the sky is watching their every move and will punish them if they are bad:

    (a) Small children, too young to know that is silly
    (b) Delusional schizophrenics
    (c) Christians; or
    (d) All of the above

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

      definitely c sometimes all 4.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • guest

      It isn't C). you do realize the Christian God doesn't punish people for sinning right? We aren't saved by our works, nor are we condemned by them. You should read up on Christianity.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • Will

      Which of the following groups do not believe in a God who dignifies human life?

      a. Stalinists who murdered millions
      b. Nazis who murdered millions
      c. Maoists who murdered millions
      d. all of the above.

      So TrueGrit... Next time THINK before you ask an infantile question,

      July 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Mike from Maine

      Even if your premise held any water, which it does not, you will have to explain away all the atrocities as a result of ALL religious belief. ( Since you can combine all non-belief together, I can combine all faith just the same. ) This would be like comparing a nuclear detonation to a sparkler! Nice try though.....

      July 12, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Mike from Maine

      Sorry, the above statement was for Will.....

      July 12, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Colin

      Will, the Nazis were by and large German Christians. Communism was a geopolitical movement that opposed all forms of theism becuase it saw it as a threat to its monopoly on power. It had nothing to do with theological idealism. I am unaware of any atheist movement that killed people because of a desire to promote atheism. I cannot say the same for any religion.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  5. mrgup2

    For someone who "doesnt think much" about religion, he sure spends a lot of time bashing others!

    July 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  6. Andrew

    I have a novel idea. Let us all refrain from villification, character assassination, and other forms of antagonism which are inspired from an aversion to another's religious condition or lack thereof.

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

      Wouldn't that be ideal. It's certainly something to aspire to that's for certain.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      Wow, that didn't last long.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • TheNumber

      I'm with you, brother.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Natalie

      I would have no problem with that whatsoever, if it could be guaranteed that religous views could be kept separate from politics and policy making.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  7. terry gorman

    Much religious argument rests on semantics and differing 'definitions'. My experience is that most believers do not understand the rather rigorous definitions of 'proof' and 'theory' as clearly defined in the scientific community and the mechanisms behind them. Yet that is one of their principal modes of defense. I can't 'prove' there isn't a nice comfy LazyBoy recliner rocker orbiting around this solar system in the vast space between Mars and Jupiter, but logic tells me it's not necessary to 'prove', i.e. provide evidence, of such a postulation. As for the suggestion that I, as an atheist, 'believe' that there is no god just as the Godist 'believes' that there is, this is simply not the case. The word 'belief' is one which does not exist in atheist language. To 'believe' in something is to accept something without, or at times in spite of, evidence to the contrary. I do not 'believe' there are no such thing as gods. I 'maintain' that there are no such thing as gods, based on logic, the lack of necessity for supernatural explanations for everything we don't yet understand, and the weight of the ever-mounting evidence against the concept.

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

      Well said!

      July 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • guest

      terry – you sound as though you've thought about/studied this more than most here. I am curious – have you studied Leibniz's Argument from Contingency or Robin Collin's Telelogocial Argument or William Lane Craig's Kalam Cosmological Argument or his Moral Argument? How about Plantinga's Ontological Argument? After I studied those, and read about the atheistic refutations, I came to the completely opposite conclusion as you. There HAS to be a supernatural, uncaused, First Cause of the universe as an explanation of the universe. By the Einstein/Freidman/LeMeteire model (Big Bang) alone (along with decades' worth of scientific evidence proving the basics of that model) tell me there is an explanation here that is immaterial, spaceless and timeless.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Colin

      Agreed, well said. My favorite is when they cart out the challange "well prove there's no god" as if the inability to prove a negative has any value. Ya gotta love them, they grasp at straws to support their Bronze Age sky-fairy beliefs

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

      I should say, the Leibnizian and Kalam tell me the explanation is: timeless, spaceless, beginningless, uncaused, immaterial AND personal. People can call it what they want, but that fits the definition of God as I hear people use the name.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • guest

      Colin – you DO realize that to say "There is no God" is an equally strong truth claim right? What are your philosophical arguments to show that that is true. I just gave you above 5 arguments for why theists claim "God exists". What are your refutations to those arguments? What is your arguments that give you justification for your believe that "There is no God." you DO believe that is true don't you? What are your arguments that give you the philosophical justification? And remember, I gave you 5 theistic arguments above, so you can't say, "prove to me God does exist" – because I just did.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Colin

      guest – yes, I am familiar with each of those arguments. I also read a complete destruction of them by Dawkins in a few pages and a slightly more entertaining one by Shaw. He took only a few pages per argument to completely destroy them.

      No, you cannot extrapolate a god based on simple mind tricks. In order to believe there must be evidence, and there is none of any god. Simply pointing out limitations in existing scientific theories is not "evidence" that some Bronza Age sky-fairy dreamed up in a Palestinian slum is the root cause of the Universe.

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

      Are you kidding? Wow! You trot out Dawkins? He spends pages and pages denigrating the Ontological Argument without EVER refuting it!! As for the design argument – are you seriously telling me the argument is faulty because "you can't say who designed the designer" REALLY?! You actually think this is a valid refutation? You do realize if that is a valid way to refute an argument you will have destroyed science as we know it? "Hey! I found these arrowheads in the sand, they are by a people we never knew lived here" – "wait, explain those people? how did they get here? who are they? until you can explain the explanation, I refuse to believe these odd shaped stones came from people we never knew existed before". You do not need an explanation for an explanation, otherwise, you could never advance science!!!! Dawkins is probably a very good biologist, he is a HORRIBLE philosopher. Read william lane craig's scathing critique of Dawkins – he has done so in numerous papers and books.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Colin

      Guest – I can say there is no god with the same degree of certainty that I can say there is no Santa Claus. Now, is it possible that, despite everything I have learned, there is a fat jolly man who delivers gifts to children every year, well, yes. To that extent, I guess I am Santa Claus agnostic – but the liklihood is so small as to be discounted in any meaningful way.

      So, I cannot say with complete certainty "there is no god" but my degree of doubt hovers at the same level as my degree of doubt that there is no Santa Clause. For all intents and purposes – zero.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • ToadInAustin

      guest–I don't like talking religion at a place like this, but you seem genuinely interested. It's been a while since I've looked at those sorts of arguments you're talking about...a while, like decades...but I think some of them might be difficult, maybe impossible, to refute on their own terms, and persuasive to boot. But I'm not sure they end up with anything that can be prayed to, and I don't know if you think so, either.

      Logically, I think it makes more sense that there would be nothing rather than something (there being something is inherently paradoxical, whether it began or never did, while nothing would be consistent). And given that there's going to be something, it's more probable that it would be unpatterned muck rather than interesting, swirly pretty patterns, as it is.

      So there's an undeniable miracle at the heart of existence. I prefer to leave the miracle unnamed and uncharacterized, because it's beyond the scope of my thought, whether I stand on the shoulders of giants or otherwise. There are no humans remotely near giant enough to discuss that miracle meaningfully.

      Any conception that any human could ever come up with would fall infinitely short of that thing. A housefly could better conceive the mind of Einstein than Einstein could conceive this thing we're unable to talk about.

      Anything that any human has or ever will call 'god' does not exist. I'm an atheist on those terms.

      Not that anybody cares, but like I say, guest has a taste for this sort of thing. Here's a toast to there being more than any philosophy could even obliquely hint at.

      My reason for calling my

      July 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • ToadInAustin

      Sorry, that unfinished sentence at the end was meant to be deleted.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Colin

      Guest – Dawkins refutation of the design argument is spot on. That argument goes that because life is complex, it must have been designed. Well, the dsigner must be more complex, so it must have been designed, and so on. It gets one nowhere. It is like the first cause argument. There must be a god as everything must have a cause – then it totally contradicts itself and says, but god needed no cause.

      Its al lmental gymnastics – fodder for a rainy afternoon. Show me evidence, not mind games, and I will evaluate it.

      Oh, and by the way, if you accept mental gymnastics as sufficient to prove a god – which one do you go with? Let me guess -the one YOU believe in. Very convenient of the Universe to give reality to your particular mind vapor.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • guest

      Colin – Ok, just as long as you realize that I think we all can agree that we have arguments that "Santa does not exist" is true – I think we can all agree on that. So, as much as people love to trot out "you cannot prove a negative", I'm fairly certain most people will agree we actually CAN make a case that Santa does not exist through evidences and arguments. Yes, nothing is 100%. But again, I'm fairly certain we can make a logical deductive argument that Santa does not exist pretty easily.
      On the other hand, I can give you fairly good arguments that God does exist. and all the atheist arguments I've seen that try to prove the statement "God does not exist" fall far short of those. Therefore, I can say the following with conviction: "Santa does not exist" and "God does exist". And I think this not because I want to, but because I have philosophical, logical, and scientific arguments and evidences for both. Not with 100% certainty (what is 100% certain? mathematical truths, that's about it) – but I thnk those statements are more plausibly true than not. If your argumetn is "Santa doesn't exist, therefore, for the same reasons I believe that, I believe God doesn't exist" is weak. Because the evidences and arguments are vastly different to try to prove the existence of those two.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Stevie7

      guest – Dawkins is about as skilled a philosopher as Craig. Again with the (very flawed) Kalam argument – one must assume that everything that begins to exist has a cause. Two problems – causaslity is necessarily time-dependent, or rather dependent upon which direction one is traveling in time. And quantum mechanics shows us that something can be created, spontaneously, from nothing. Maybe Craig needs to brush up on his science.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • guest

      Colin – again, you are not getting both sides. God is NOT complex – Christanity has long affirmed this. God is SIMPLE! He has no parts. His THOUGHTS might be complex, but as an unembodied mind, theist thinkers through millenia have always had the notion of God as a simple being. This is why I say Dawkins is horrible at this. He doesn't even know what the other side argues!
      No, Dawkins arguments are weak if you would understand how his arguments are refuted by theologians and philosophers.

      As for WHICH God I believe in, I have evidences and arguments for that as well. But being you are an atheist, those are irrelevant to the discussion at hand. I don't have to argue for Islam, or Christianity or Judaism or the Greek Gods. Its irrelevant to the question "Does God exist". We worry about that question once you come to the conclusion that God exists. 🙂

      July 12, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • ToadInAustin

      "And quantum mechanics shows us that something can be created, spontaneously, from nothing."

      Only within an already existing universe, which I would hardly call nothing.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • guest

      stevie7 – if you are going to argue that the quantum vacuum that "nothing" – you need to learn what philosphers mean by teh word nothing when arguing the Kalam. Nothing, as Aristotle states, is "something that rocks dream about". The quantum vacuum, with its energy and laws of nature that it follows is NOT nothing. Sorry, but you need a better argument than that. Its laugable that you think Dawkins, something without much of a professional philosophial background, is a good philosphers. He's horrible, and I think deep down you know it. Probably a brillian biologist, mind you – but he really isn't a good one at philosophy.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • ToadInAustin

      Whatever keeps one from cracking up, but I think this century of thinkers would do us a favor if they'd just work on other questions. You can stay just as deep and unanswerable, but more fun, by asking not where does it come from, but what is it. What is it, and is there some way I can tap into it. Not who, but what and how.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Colin

      Guest. First, your god must be complex to be able to create the Universe. Calling him "simply but his thoughts complex" is a cop out to avoid the logical inconsistency in the path that took you to its existence – complexity requires a cause. As to which god, well, I am assuming your "evidence" is an acceptance of the highly questionable stories in the Bible. Well, yes, you are correct, that will not be evidence to me.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @guest,

      I didn't say I thought Dawkins was a good philosopher. I said he was as good as Craig – more a statement on Craig's works than Dawkins'

      I think your understand of quantum mechanics is lacking. quantum fluctuation requires no energy. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle negates the need for any cause. And never made mention about the argument of causality isn't even relavant since it assumes we travel in a particular direction.

      Plus, the big bang only accounts for our universe. A multiverse could have caused the big bang. Using the big bang for 'empirical evidence' is weak at best.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • guest

      Colin – I still have not heard the response from Dawkins as to how he plans to continue science afloat if he demands an explanation to an explanation everytime some theory comes down the pike. That is HIS WHOLE CRUX of his refutation to the Teleological Argument! Nothing more. So, Because he doesn't like the explanation that is concluded, he needs to know the explanation of that explanation. The next time he comes up with a theory in biology, I'm gonna ask him, "well, explain that – because until you explain your explanation, I don't believe your explanation".

      As for the simple question, I'm sorry you don't understand the concept. But God, as a being, is simple. An immaterial, unembodied mind – just like you have – is simple. No parts. His omnipotence (as concluded to by the Kalam Argument, and Leibnizian Argument, as well as Telelogical) enables him to create the universe. The Leibnizian Argumetn give us God as a necessary Uncaused, First Cause. If you disagree, you need to convince yourself you have a refutation to those arguments. The question to ask is, IF God doesn't not exist, you must refute Leibnizian, and the Kalam along with the Teleological (along with the rest, but let's stick with cosmological related arguments) – if God did not cause the creation of space and time with the Big Bang, you must figure out how you explain that to yourself. If you can prove (as you probably must) that some multiverse extends out of the quantum vacuum (and does NOT violate Guth/Borde/Vilenkin's theorum!) you will probably win a Nobel prize since all multiverse theorems today are speculative at best with no evidence to speak of. Kinda like the Creationists theories against the theory of Evolution. The Theory of Evolution is highly developed, with a lot of evidence – and you believe it because of that – and you deny Creationists' hooey because they go against all known scientific evidence and theory. Well, I refute all hooey that goes against the basics of the standard Big Bang model because that is a highly developed theory with scores of evidence proving it.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • guest

      Heisenburg's Uncertainty principle does NOT negate a cause!!! All it states is that at the subatomic level, you cannot detemine the location and speed (in layman's terms) at the same time!! Hence the word "UNCERTAINTY" in the very name of teh principle! It is NOT "things just pop into being out of nothing". If that is true, why doesn't anything pop into being now? On your keyboard? Its just the atheistic nonesense spewed in popular media that says "heisenburg proved something pops into being out of nothing". virtual particles do NOT come from nothing – the quantum vacuum is NOT nothing. You need to redefine nothing to say this.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • guest

      "A multiverse could have caused the big bang" – as atheists love to say to theists.. "prove it". You are the one making the truth claim now. Prove a multiverse EVEN EXISTS let alone existed eternally, without a beginning (you must do so and NOT violate Borde/Guth/Vilenkin's theorem). You can't, you know you can't, scientists know they can't. Its a weak attempt to do something, ANYTHING, to avoid the conclusion of the Kalam – in fact, to come up with this multiverse claim is a backhanded compliment to the theist argument. Really, if atheists are forced to come up with the multiverse theory (something they can't even prove without metaphysics), that says alot (ALOT!) for the validity of the Kalam and Teleological arguments. Your time argument is irrevelent to the Leibnizian argument which comes to the same conclusion – and it also is a weak defense against the Kalam's first premise.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @Guest,

      quantum fluctuation has no known cause. For the Kalam Argument to hold weight, one must assume that there IS a cause. Yet another assumption. If we can see that something happens without a cause and if that theory holds up, then the Kalam Argument is not relevant. If we travel in a different direction of time then the causality necessary to the Kalam Argument is not present and the argument falls apart.

      The Kalam Argument, along with your other arguments, are based on some pretty big assumptions. They are not proofs because those assumptions are not proven – they're assumptions. They are glorified thought experiments. Not proofs.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @guest
      "You are the one making the truth claim now."

      I am doing nothing of the sort. Multiverses arise out of theoretical physics – actual math, not philosophical thought experiments. All I'm doing is showing how the ASSUMPTIONS or your Kalam Argument are just that – they are not proof of anything at all. I'm not "doing anything to avoid the conclusion of the Kalam Argument" I'm pointing out the very obvious flaws in the argument because of the tenuous assumptions that the argument relies on. It's hardly a strong argument – it is constructed on a very weak foundation. It seems that it is you who is doing anything to hold on to the arguments conclusion instead of looking at the argument as a whole and realizing that it is not, in any way shape or form, a "proof" of anything.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Stevie7

      " Your time argument is irrevelent to the Leibnizian argument "
      -
      Why, exactly? Leibniz relied upon the principle of sufficient reason – that everything has a reason or a cause. The PSR alone is enough to dismiss this argument as a "proof" because one must ASSUME that the PSR is valid. Once again, another "proof" based on tenuous assumptions. Basically, another glorified philosophical thought experiment. Fun to discuss over a few beers with friends, but not so good for proving things.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • guest

      Wow, the more I engage with atheists, the more I become confident in my own beliefs. If these are the best arguments that you have to refute the Kalam, I'd say we are on strong ground – the theists that is.

      "If we travel in a different direction of time then the causality necessary to the Kalam Argument is not present and the argument falls apart." So, I am the one making the big assumptions, but yet you come back with the argument "if we travel in a different direction of time". That's a pretty big IF wouldn't you say? Because if we CAN'T actually move in time within physical reality, your argument falls apart. You are coming close to time travel. Sounds like you are a B-theorist – and to me, the B-Theory of time is less plausible than the A-Theory.

      Then you say, "quantum fluctuation has no known cause". The energy and momentum of virtual particles within the fluctuation are merely uncertain according to heisenburg's principle. It isn't that they don't HAVE a cause. We may not be able to measure it – but virtual particles exist from the quantum vacuum – the cause, it can be said, IS the vacuum. Can we measure it? Predict it? No, but that doesn't mean it doesn't HAVE a cause! The quantum vacuum is NOT NOTHING. If you think it is, you have redefined what philosophers call "nothing".

      July 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Stevie7

      "So, I am the one making the big assumptions, but yet you come back with the argument "

      You claim to have proof. Your proofs are based on assumptions. Do you know what the word assumptions mean? Therefore, they are not proofs. This is not difficult. I made no absolute claims. I listed possible ways in which your ASSUMPTIONS fall completely apart. If you want to keep the blinders on, so be it, but don't expect others to take your thought experiments as proof.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      You guys have the same problem with philosophy that I have, namely it's great for beer-fueled arguments but basically unprovable. You can prove beyond any argument I can muster that God exists, or doesn't exist, or is a Cosmic Muffin, but so what? We still have no proof so it's just words. In the end, you win a philosophical argument by killing your opponent and burning his book.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  8. John Richardson

    So, of the two blog entries, one on faith and the budget impasse with the looming debt crisis and the other about the beliefs or lack thereof of a comedian, the discussion about the comedian pulls in the vast bulk of comments.

    July 12, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • bluenote

      That's because nobody believes anything anyone in the government says about the budget. It's a non-issue.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  9. James

    Really? Bill Maher is an apatheist–an apathetic atheist who just doesn't think much about religion. One thing is for certain. He can't stop talking about religion. That must mean that he's not thinking when he talks. That's the key to his nonsense. Or he is thinking alot about it and lying about his mental obsession. That's a bit of a moral problem. And for all the self-identified atheists on this board, why are you so interested in religion that you post your nonsense here as well? Methinks you protest too much. You are trying to mask your fear of the possiblity that you will be held accountable for your actions.

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

      James, if we felt we would be accountable for our actions, we would hardly be expressing atheist views. I have no fear that an all knowing sky-fairy is watching my every move, waiting to punnish me or reward me after I die. That is childish nonsense.

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

      I can't really agree with your conclusions but you are dead on about his preoccupation with religion. His interview remarks are at best disingenuous.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      "You are trying to mask your fear of the possiblity that you will be held accountable for your actions." Well, actually I'm not. Aren't you guys supposed to NOT bear false witness?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • James

      Perhaps you have no fear of being wrong or doubts about your convictions. I wish you well in your mythological sky-fairy realm. May you get a quarter under your pillow for every tooth you loose chewing on a Theist.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • terry gorman

      Bill Maher is a comedian who plies his trade in much the same fashion as some who are considered the great comedians of all time – Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, all of whom used provocation and controversy to underpin their style of humour. Far from being disingenous, he is simply carrying on a time-honored comedic tradition. Just as in any other field of entertainment or the arts, the appreciation of an individual who toils in one of these fields of expression for a living is a purely subjective experience. OF COURSE, he contradicts himself by saying he doesn't much think about religion yet waxes philosophical on it. It's part and parcel of his shtick. Methinks YOU protest too much. You simply don't like the man's arguments because they don't mirror your own beliefs.

      As to why THIS atheist posts to a discussion of religion – I can't speak for others – it is because, after decades of research and, I maintain, honest, sober and critical thought, I have come to the conclusion that ultimately religion does more harm than it does good, and that atheists are, in fact, long overdue to be more vocal in expressing their views. If my decades of pondering the ultimate mysteries had led me to the opposite conclusion, I would imagine that you would be more than happy to allow me space on this forum.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  10. the_dude

    Who is this tard?

    July 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • jerry

      I'm a die hard atheist but I still vote republican and liibertarian. I could never vote fr a democrat like him.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  11. Scott

    So let me get this straight. We are discussing a topic that may or may not influence our eternal well being, and we are looking to Bill Maher for answers?

    July 12, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Bill Maher is a self-impressed, egotistical jerk. So yes, he fits right in with all the religious leaders who seem to think they have something of merit to say on the topic.

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

      Sorry, there were no TV-evangelists available.

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

      I'm guessing his degree from Cornell carries a little more creedance than whatever you're working with...

      That said, he has spent several years traveling and studying the subject, more than anyone on this comment section I would wager.

      Being a comedian doesn't make you an inept individual. Several are among some of the highest educated people in the country.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Noocrat

      *credence

      July 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • John Fogerty

      I am an expert on Creedence.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Scott

      Again i'll ask, Bill Maher has the answers ?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • ToadInAustin

      "So let me get this straight. We are discussing a topic that may or may not influence our eternal well being, and we are looking to Bill Maher for answers?"

      No more than I'm looking to you for answers. It's a discussion. Mulling things over. Talking. Chewing the fat. Shooting the...breeze.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  12. EZRA

    There may be a god, there may be thousands of them (I've never seen just one of anything), there may be none, but one thing is certain, Religion is all man-made and made up to control others – there isn't a chance in you-know-where that any of them knows any more than I do about it.

    July 12, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Mark Singleton

      Well said.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      You admit to not knowing whether God (or gods) exists or not, but you are so sure that religion is man made? If you are going to take the first position, your second position is inconsistent. If God exists, then it is clearly possible that one of the world's religions were set up by him.

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

      MarylandBill

      Yes, I suppose it's possible that some Bronze Age dudes figured out the truth of the creation of the universe and the existence of gods, but what they originaly wrote about it got copied, added to, deleted from and change over the mlillenia in to the incomprehensible mish-mash of illogic, petty rules and foolishness that characterizes the worlds religions.....Nah.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  13. Balls McGhee

    why do Christians try to persecute non-believers?

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

      Right, you're clearly so oppressed.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • no way

      Why do non-believers refer to 'chrisians' as if we all believe the same things? We are as different as any other group of people. I am a chrisitan, and by your comment I can tell that I am a more tolerant person than you.

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

      Learn the difference between oppression and persecution, please!

      July 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Bible Clown

      Because they can. Why does a dog lick his ###? Because he can.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • JT

      Because they are in the majority and believe they are right.

      July 12, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
  14. Randy

    Well, I don't care what happens when broccoli dies.

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

      You unfeeling BRUTE!

      July 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • ToadInAustin

      Good to see broccoli standing up for itself. I like vegetables, and I could muster up worship for them in certain situations.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  15. Dub1045

    Bill who?

    July 12, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  16. 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 discovery.

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

      but now we have the Internet, so we can probably just chuck religion now.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Actually the truth may be the opposite.

      Genetic traits may not always be positive. Some seem to give a short term benifit that has negative impact over multiple generations.

      A classic example is the tendency to engage in reproduction with unwilling partners. It does get ones genes passed on, and it does contribute to genetic diversity, but it clearly is something we should attempt to leave in our ancient past.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  17. Frank

    me thinks he protests too much.

    July 12, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • guest

      I don't think he protests enough, thank you bill maher for your courage to tell religious nuts the way things really are

      July 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    For someone who doesn't think much about religion (by the way, athiesm is a religion), he sure does talk about it a lot. Before I clicked on this article, I didn't even know this guy's name. But as soon as I read the headline, his face came to my mind...

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

      Atheism is no more a religion than knowledge is ignorance. Why do theists always try to drag us down to their level.

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

      Atheism is a religion? How do you come by that?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Jarvis

      Atheism is not a religion.

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

      Either there's something special about religion that makes it different than any other tribalistic group activity, such as Atheism, or there isn't. And if there isn't, (as Atheists claim) then yeah, Atheism is a Religion. Because it's a group of people loudly expounding their point of view, while denying that other points of view are valid. There now. Does that explain it for you guys?

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

      No William, it does not. Sure, we are increasingly expressing our views (finally) but we do not have a creed, a place of worship, a god, any pervasive moral code we all "sign on to" or any expectation of life after death. Back all those components out of any religion and whatever is left hardly qualifies as a religion.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Some dude

      So would you consider not believing in Santa Claus due to lack of evidence a religious belief?

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

      That's like saying not collecting stamps is my favorite hobby...

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

      No matter how many times tne mantra and lie "atheism is a religion" is uttered, it will never make it so. So, the lack of belief in a deity is a religion? Do you also believe that not collecting stamps is a hobby?

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

      Wow! That is a classic bait and switch of the old if A=B and B=C, then A=C. If religion is merely a tribalistic group activity then atheism would be a tribalistic group activity, not a religion.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • J. Lopez

      LOL... I'm atheist, but I don't belong to any groups.. I don't meet with anyone, and I don't share my views or push this on to anyone!! Just because there are more than a few people who think this was does not make it a religion

      July 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Chris

      Perhaps 'worldview' would be a better term; it tends to be a little less fuzzy. If religion, in this case, simply means answers for humanity's questions about itself, then I would agree with the statement that 'Atheism is a religion'. For the sake of clarity, I would prefer the use of 'worldview' or, even, 'framework'.

      To be truthful, the problem for me comes in trying to give theists answers regarding the topic of suffering, particularly its role in atheistic worldviews. It's well and good to think that suffering simply is a part of life without a positive or negative charge. I try to avoid suffering at all costs. I still get stumped when I have to shove my personal suffering into the box of 'it's just a part of life / it's not good or bad / etc. '.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • Anonymous

      One of Webster's definitions for religion is "a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith." When it comes to the metaphysical, it is impossible for humans to absolutely prove any particular argument. When it comes to the existance of God, there is evidence on both sides of the argument. The best any human can do is weigh the evindence on each side and reach a resonable decision on which framework to pursue as a life priciple. So for someone to absolutely assert that there is NO god involves a significant amount of faith, just as it would involve significant faith for someone to absolutely assert that there is a god, or which god that is. And I have heard many athiests insist that there is no god with quite a bit of ardor.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • terry gorman

      I can't take credit for this, but as someone once said, saying atheism is a religion is like saying bald is a hair color. LOL.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Anonymous

      Terry, But for someone who shaves their head to make a fashion statement, baldness is effectively their "hair-style". Everyone uses their life experiences, the information to which they have been exposed, etc to ultimately reach a particular philosophy about their existance, how it came to be and the meaning of that existance. They also then base their life decisions based on that philosophy. This is true of everyone. Hopefully, each person will make a sincere, diligent effort to gather and analyze all the infomration that is available to them and not deny themselves a particular body of evidence just because it doesn't support a particular conclusion that is the most convenient to them.

      July 12, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  19. Randy

    Not even thinking about broccoli right now.

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

      You are a m0r0n on so many different levels.

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

      Sir, I assure you that broccoli is thinking about you.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  20. Randy

    Bill Maher is as apathetic about religion as I am about broccoli. I'm so apathetic about broccoli, I made a movie about broccoli, and I talk about broccoli regularly on my TV show. That's how you know that I really have no feelings or thoughts about broccoli, because of my movie and TV show. It's the folks who never talk about broccoli, who never make movies about broccoli, who never go on cable TV to tell you how much they don't think about broccoli – those are the people who are thinking about broccoli all the time.

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

      Hmmm...the person that speaks out against something the most is actually one himself!!! Bill Maher is a closeted Christian!

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

      I'm adding to my own post (about how much I don't think about broccoli) to remind you how apathetic I am about broccoli. Seriously, I really couldn't care less about it, and this extra post proves it.

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

      That's a good point, he probably is a closet Christian. Like those gay-bashing politicians who turn out to be gay themselves.

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

      @Randy- considering Maher uses that mentality in his stand up...seemed fair to apply it to him.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Lycidas You may actually have a point! If not specifically a Christian, some sort of closeted theist. He shows distinct signs of confusion on the matter that may point to real confliction, and Randy's broccoli post is spot on.

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

      @Randy

      Bill didn’t say he was apathetic about religion. He said he was apathetic about what happens when you die. There is a BIG distinction from an atheist point of view. Did you even read the article or watch the video?

      July 12, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Randy

      Well, I don't care what happens when broccoli dies, either. Mostly because I never think about broccoli.

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

      Lycidas

      Hmmm...the person that speaks out against something the most is actually one himself!!! Bill Maher is a closeted Christian!
      ----–
      Or he wants to save people from wasting their lives. I used to lead people to god. Now I try to save people from this trajedy.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Artist

      To clarify: I don't go around yelling for people not to believe. I just offer food for thought. Only they can take the steps or make the change. They need to come to their own conclusions as I did.

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

      Randy

      Well, I don't care what happens when broccoli dies, either. Mostly because I never think about broccoli.
      ------
      It really is a nasty weed.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • John Richardson

      The collective broccoli consciousness isn't going to appreciate some of these last comments!!!!!

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

      When broccoli eaters force their worship of this vegatable into the public sphere, demonize and persecute those who do not eat broccoli, become tax exempt and have other special privileges over those who do not like broccoli then you will see a backlash as well.

      July 12, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • ToadInAustin

      Randy, that is truly funny. I'm not a believer, but I pray that Maher sees your post.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Broccoli

      Really, Randy? Then why do you call me and hang up, and don't think I don't know it's you. You need to decide what you feel once and for all.

      July 12, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
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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.