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Less-educated Americans are losing religion, study finds
The decline in church attendance among whites without college degrees is twice as high as for those with college degrees.
August 24th, 2011
03:17 PM ET

Less-educated Americans are losing religion, study finds

By Liane Membis, CNN

(CNN) - If you don't have a college degree, you’re less likely to be up early on Sunday morning, singing church hymns.

That's the upshot of a new study that finds the decline in church attendance since the 1970s among white Americans without college degrees is twice as high as for those with college degrees.

Study: More educated tend to be more religious

“Our study suggests that the less-educated are dropping out of the American religious sector, similarly to the way in which they have dropped out of the American labor market,” said W. Bradford Wilcox, a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, who was lead researcher on the project.

The research, presented this week at American Sociological Association's annual meeting, found that 37% of moderately educated whites - those with high school degrees but lacking degrees from four-year colleges - attend religious services at least monthly, down from 50% in the 1970s.

Among college-educated whites, the dropoff was less steep, with 46% regularly attending religious services in the 2000s, compared with 51% in the '70s.

The study focuses on white Americans because church attendance among blacks and Latinos is less divided by education and income.

Most religiously affiliated whites identify as Catholics, evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants, Mormons or Jews.

Lower church attendance among the less-educated may stem from a disconnect between them and modern church values, the study theorizes.

Religious institutions tend to promote traditional middle-class family values like education, marriage and parenthood, but less-educated whites are less likely to get or stay married and may feel ostracized by their religious peers, the researchers said.

The researchers expressed concern about the falloff in church attendance among the less-educated.

“This development reinforces the social marginalization of less educated Americans who are also increasingly disconnected from the institutions of marriage and work,” said Andrew Cherlin, co-author of the study and a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University.

Wilcox said that those who do not attend church are missing out on potential benefits.

“Today, the market and the state provide less financial security to the less educated than they once did,” Wilcox said. “Religious congregations may be one of the few institutional sectors less-educated Americans can turn to for social, economic and emotional support in the face of today’s tough times, yet it appears that increasingly few of them are choosing to do so.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church • Polls

soundoff (1,621 Responses)
  1. Just.The.Facts

    I guess this proves education indoctrinates religion.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • BS

      I'm not sure you know what the definition of "proves" is. What you just said is wild conjecture. Ie, you made it up and then assumed it was somehow proven.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:50 am |
  2. JT

    I think it depends on the area of education as well. For someone who actually understands science and the scientific method, it would be very unlikely that they would be religious. Those who are most ignorant of biology would be more religious and more likely to discount the facts of evolution and get their "education" from their pastor.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • Guest

      come now JT, that's a pretty dismal view of religion and the beliefs of those who "believe". Indeed, I would bet the majority of "believers" do not eschew (or even not understand) science, and see the story of the creation and the garden of eden as an allegory rather than the literal truth. People go to churches for many reasons, but understanding how the heavens and earth were created is probably pretty low on that list for all but the most ardent biblical literalists. Religion doesn't, and should not, teach "how" something happens, but it gives an insight to "why", and an understanding of the metaphysical universe(s), however limited, does not obviate the sciences or scientific inquiry. Indeed, I would think that only those who have a limited understanding of the sciences would reject any discussion of something further–those who have made a study of the siceinces part of their lives eventually come up right against the limits of what observation and experiementation can teach them, and many search for more. A belief in something outside the realm of our reality does not limit scientific inquiry, but (with apologies to Shakespeare) merely recongnizes that there is far more in heaven and earth than are recognized within the narrow view of some.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • DWTT

      That's a very large assumption, one I know to be false due to those I know who have attended and are attending graduate studies in those fields.

      Also "Facts of evolution" – right (sarcasm).

      August 25, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • Stevie7

      "Also "Facts of evolution" – right (sarcasm)."

      At least we know your field isn't biology or science in general

      August 25, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • RV1982

      Seems to me just the opposite. I have an advanced degree in biology and am a Christian. Like most Christians, I do not believe in an exact interpretation of the bible, which actually lends itself to scientific thinking. I believe in evolution (in my opinion, it’s the "time" variable that screws most peoples mind on evolution as well as creation), but it is thinking beyond life itself and focusing on the existence of the universe that forces me to look at alternative theories of our existence. Another words, I believe that "educated" people understand that the world is more than what we are capable of perceiving. To me, it would be totally illogical to be an atheist, which is why probably most educated people are either agnostic or religious (i.e., you can't prove a negative).

      August 25, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • Stevie7

      "To me, it would be totally illogical to be an atheist, which is why probably most educated people are either agnostic or religious (i.e., you can't prove a negative)."

      -Nearly every atheist I no realizes that you can't prove that god doesn't exist (it's not that you can't prove a negative, because you can. But the conjecture that god exists is a non-falsifiable hypothesis). Atheism is simply a lack of belief. Just as you presumably have a lack of belief in Shintoism, my lack of belief goes father. I do not question my beliefs – I just don't have any.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • jimtanker

      @Guest

      There is no "why". There is no need for one. Humans inhabit a very small part of the outer skin of a rock orbiting a very average sun out of billions in one galaxy out of billions of galaxies. We weren't put here for some special purpose.

      If you are asking what the meaning of life is, it is very simple. The meaning of life is to pass on our genes to the next generation so that the species will survive. Nothing more, nothing less.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • jimtanker

      @ Steve7,

      You are absolutely right. You cant prove a negative. I dont know any atheist who is trying to. There is NO evidence that your god exists. NONE. The onus of proof is on the person making the claim, which would be the religious folks. Until they can provide evidence that a god exists the logical stance to take is that there isnt one.

      If you deny this then by your same reasoning then leprechauns exist. Unless you can prove that they dont, but then again you cant prove a negative can you?

      August 25, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • JT

      RV, no offense but "I *believe* in evolution" and your ignorance on what an atheist is puts your advanced degree in Biology in question. You are either lying about this degree or you got this degree from some bible college. One doesn't "believe" in evolution as if it were a belief system such as your religion. One "accepts" the theory of evolution for the explanation of the varity of life on Earth. It only takes a forth grade biology class to understand these things.

      Atheism is simply the lack of a belief in a deity. You should get your money back.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • Guest

      jimtanker–if that's your belief, it's fine with me. My beliefs bring me a comfort and understanding that would not be possible if I thought everything that occurred was the result of random chance and had no deeper meaning. Either way, we'll never know (at least in thisniverse) as there can be no scientific proof of the existence (or nonexistence) of the supernatural (since by its very nature something supernatural is not necessarily bound by laws anything like those in this universe). I fully understand and accept that not everyone will believe as I do (indeed, I cannot think of any reason why someone should believe as Ido since my belief was formed by my experieces and thoughts which are personal to me), and fully endorse your right to believe (or not believe) what you wish. I only hope that you will do the same to others; stereotyping (as some of the responses in this thread have done) accomplishes nothing constructive.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • dc

      No, Jim!! I am not amazed by any science versus the Bible issue at all. I am amazed by looking through microscopes and seeing life forms and substances not seen to the naked eye. Those cells and parts unseen are made by God and each fits into each of His creation. Science does not deter my faith at all. In fact, it increases my knowledge of God's magnificense, glory, and power. These things do not exist aside or outside or away from God. They exist because of Him. Same goes for the solar systems. God revealed to Job, and others, that He holds the universe in the palm of His hand. That Book of Job was written before anything else was recorded, by the way. God shows us His omnipotence in many ways. Science is but one of them...it is not in opposition to science,. In fact, science supportgs God.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • Don Camp

      I belong to a church of mostly educated people – university degrees and working in high-tech industries, some educated in science. Most of us think that the issues that seem so important to skeptics, such as science, evolution, etc., are non-issues when it comes to our faith in God and the Bible. We see no significant conflict, and what conflict we encounter we expect will be resolved as science refines its understanding of the universe and as we understand more completely what the Bible is saying. We find far more significant the personal relationship we enjoy with God. For us that is the bottom line, not whether there are unanswered questions related to science. We know that science is not perfect and so is our understanding of what the Bible says about those things. The conclusions that are accepted today will in many cases be overturned tomorrow. In any case science provides only a glimpse into reality, and the glimpse it provides is unimportant when it comes to truly foundational things.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • JT

      Guest, at least you admit that you believe out of fear and not out of any rational reason or fact based evidence. If only more would admit this. No one should have a problem with this as long as these irrational beliefs remain out of the public sphere and does not retard advancement in science and reality for the rest of us.

      Also, theism or the belief in a deity is not the same as following one of the world's human created religions/cults. Of course theism is a prerequisite to Christianity, Islam, etc. but one can believe in a higher power who has a personal interest in you without becoming a victim of one of these cults.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • Guest

      Out of fear JT? Not at all. More out of a longing to make sense of and understand things better. Did Copernicus propose a heliocentric universe, or Darwin his origin of species, out of fear? No, but out of a way to make sense of his observations. Likewise, I base my metaphysical beliefs, as best I can, on my understanding; it's called "faith' for a reason, and that reason is that it's not subject to scientific inquiry is because it is supernatural. I don't see this as "fear" or even irrational, but if you choose to define irrational as belief in something that cannot be directly observed and tested, then I'll accept your label as well. As for retarding advancement in science, I fully agree that science must proceed as if it were blind to the existence of anything supernatural, and to study phenomena purely within the confines of our universe, just as it must and should reject any supernatural explanations. However, even in scientific inquiry I do think certain moral principles must be observed and just because something can be done does not mean it should (lest we condone the immoral experiments, e.g., of Mengele and his crew as morally neutral scientific inquiry). To regulate the inquiry this way does not retard science, but ennobles us all, and one does not neefd a belief in a supreme being to understand this.

      Likewise, with your point about "cults" I fully agree, but I don't consider most religious denominations to be cults; indeed, while I generally eschew any religious orhtodoxy in favor of personal understanding, I do realize that churches and denominations can perform valuable services in their communities, as can other nonreligious charities. In my opinion, there is nothing inherently wrong with a church/denomination unless it tries to stifle inquiry and control its members by fear, and while my church attendance is basically as a paid choir member who enjoys singing challenging works and presenting them to an appreciative audience, I understand people will attend churches for a number of reasons.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  3. DD

    A lot mentioned in the comments about religions asking for money. I thinking giving is a great thing to do regardless. But choose wisely. I don't give to any religious group unless I know the money is going help people in real need. I prefer to give to non-religious charity groups, and also make sure that money is used for need. Local food banks, for example.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  4. Mike Brooks

    Well, bust my britches, whodathunk that we redneck hillbillies living in trailer parks ain't the right-wing religious nut jobs after all!

    Actually, my experience with the uneducated is that they actually believe that they're smarter than most other people; the same thing with recently educated liberal youth. And one of the easiest things for the uneducated to conclude is that there is no God and that religion is pointless.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:29 am |
    • JT

      'mornin...Arkansas here. I've known plenty of people who get book learnin' but have no common sense. Sometimes the less educated has the more common sense but not the fancy Masters degree that says "I'm smarter than you".

      August 25, 2011 at 9:55 am |
  5. Brenda

    Wait a second? According to all you liberals the church going conservatives are both religious and uneducated.....maybe the facts speak otherwise.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Stevie7

      Maybe you need to read the article to understand what the facts actually are. The article only discusses church attendance, and also mentions that church attendance is declining among the better educated as well, just not declining at as steep a rate

      August 25, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • Steve O

      It's probably because church going conservatives only scream about how poor people are the problem and we need to worship corporations more.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:31 am |
  6. Darrell

    Rene
    you are very right about your assessment. Churches now a days are all about the almighty dollar not almighty GOD. I do not go to church as well for alot of the same reasons you do not. I was attending a church and things were going good. My wife and I got some marriage help and our kids seemed to enjoy the teen program. Then one day it became about money because the church wanted to expand. They had services just to tell you why you needed to give more money and how much you needed to give. At that time I was already feeling the economic pinch and did not have much to spare. I did give a few dollars every week in the offering plate but there was not much more to spare. I left that church and have not gone back. I should have known it would be just like most of the churches I have been to in the last 20 years. I have chosen to not go to church but to spread God's word through my actions. That is what God truly wants us to do. If I show others that there are still good people in this world then I am doing want Jesus did and what God wants me to do. God would not want anyone to go to a building if it is being run by a person that is out for them self. It would be nice to be able to go to a church and feel like I belong to a group of people that believe like I do but that, I am sorry to say , will not happen. One last thought: if the people in here that call them self's Christians have to bring down the other Christians here then you must not be much of a Christian. Christians do not judge others for their choices they embrace them and live their lives in a manner that shows others the right way to live. There are a lot of atheist out there that live a great life and it is an example to most how to live a good and caring life. They may not claim to be Christian they sure live their life like they are on.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  7. MC

    So what? This article is telling society to be educated and accepted you must be religious and worship the idol created by man? I believe religion is part of the major issues that is occurring in the USA. Religion is all about hate, separation and segregation ... Really everything that FEELS good is EVIL! Fact is Religion is EVIL.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  8. NoMoreLabels

    Statistics say that around 80% of our nation is religious and 20% is non-religious. That means the majority of individuals obtaining a college degree are going to be religious because they fall within the 80% range.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  9. DD

    Now, see, I would think the opposite would be true, that the less education you have, the more you would lean on faith & belief than, say, logic & facts.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • Pierre Alexander Emond

      I agree with you. I think this study is deeply flawed and in fact people in general are leaving organized religions where they belong – in the dust.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:41 am |
  10. C

    I think part of this may be due to the fact that less educated people have to work retail and service jobs on Sundays and do not have the time and luxury of attending church services regularly.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • JT

      Unless they work at Chick Filet` who's closed on Sundays so their minimum wage earners can go and give 10% of their check to their church.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  11. Rainer Braendlein

    Indeed, there are two divine mandates (insti-tutions): work and marriage. God requires man to produce children and goods.

    I praise everybody, who works and who is married. Fine! That is the basis of human life.

    However, I see a small danger.

    One could assume, working and being married would be all about Christianity. Such one is in danger to make an idol out of work and marriage. One, making an idol out of work and marriage, is a Philistine or square. Work and marriage are good in itself, but nobody likes Philistines, because of their idolatry.

    The problem of today is that the secular (profane, godless) authorities try to breed human robots (people with a certain secular behaviour pattern). The authorities want human beings, which are totally focused on work and to a less extent on marriage. Thus, they want to breed Philistines. Philistines are easy to handle and produce a big tax revenue.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Well educated or not, at Church people want to meet Christian brothers and sisters, but they don't want to meet nasty Philistines there. A Church consisting of Philistines will lose their members in the course of time, because only a few people want to stay in a nasty wormhole.

      What makes a Christian?

      Of course, a Christian also works and marries, but he makes no idol out of this things. A Christian doesn't adore an idol, but Jesus Christ.

      Churches were always inclined to adopt themselves to the world and worldly values like this: He has a good workplace, he has a beautiful wife, he is good (blessed). Blessed are the Philistines. Of course, such Churches are no real Churches, but temples of idolatry.

      In the real Church there should be the following people: People, having (or developing) a Jesus-like character. Everybody, adoring Jesus, will get changed into a human being, which is totally opposed to a Philistine.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Rainer
      This has been the goal of all those who rule nations.
      There must always be mechanisms to control the unwashed masses.
      For thousands of years, religion has done a bang up job!
      It provides a common code of conduct, enforced through fear. For a lot of people, the indoctrinated fear of divine retribution / eternal torment and assurance of eternal reward for obedience is sufficient to keep them in line. There are always police forces for those who don't control themselves quite so handily – be they SWAT team or Inquisitor.
      Drugs have proven to be an important aspect in keeping the plebian mob placated, rendering the most self serving members of society harmless through intoxication. Hence Marx's comment likening religion to opium.
      Distraction and anesthetization are well honed tools, used to keep a population from paying too close attention to the ruling class' chicanery.
      This is true whether the ruling class is religious or secular.
      In the modern western world, media = church.
      We worship a pantheon of celebrity, elevating entertainers to the level of demi-god via tributes of time, attention, and good ol' ca$h.
      Imagine if the collective mental run-time and physical resources devoted to pro sports were instead focused on environmental impact analysis....
      Al Gore would never have had a chance to give long-winded slideshows!

      August 25, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      The character of a loveable man, adoring Jesus, we can find in the start of the Sermon of the Mount (Matthew 5: 1-12):

      And seeing the multi-tudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:48 am |
  12. Jim

    So, how did they choose their polling subjects? I suspect that in a state where christianity has such a strong grip, like Virginia, this might be the case. But in a state like California, the numbers would be reversed. Look, I have a degree, and I don't go to church. Not because I don't love God, but because churches are run by men, and men are corruptible. That's the bottom line. Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwell, etc all used/use God as an excuse to get rich and to foment hate and intolerance. All in the name of their religion. That's not something I am interested in.

    August 25, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • Da'rrell

      I couldn't agree more. I basically said the same thing last week when they found a mega church paster dead in a NY hotel. All of these so called evangelist are no more than money greedy false prophets. As soon as a pimp's game gets weak on the streets, he turns to being a preacher. I want no part of a religion that tolerates that.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:07 am |
    • Tony

      Your personal views and observations are merely anecdotal. The study finds that church attendance is down across all education categories, only moreso among the less educated.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  13. John Gabriel

    Firstly, having a degree does not mean you are educated. For example, most Americans who have degrees, are idiots.

    Secondly, a degree only matters when you don't have one.

    Thirdly, religion is garbage. Churches, synagogues and mosques are the result of serious mental impairment.

    http://thenewcalculus.weebly.com

    August 25, 2011 at 7:57 am |
    • MadDog

      What kind of college degrees are these people talking about. If one went to college and became more religious it is crazy ! These students probably focus on the arts and non-biological sciences and engineering. If one had a biology major and was still going to Church, he has reasons other than Belief. It is crazy that religion thrives so strongly in this day and age with so much of advancement in Science. I feel it is a peak before a fall. I feel the offsprings of rich baby boomers, and most baby boomers are religious because death is knocking, want emulate their parents to inherit their ill gotten wealth.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  14. Hobbits

    Very strange. I would have thought the more educated would begin dropping religion as the belief in some mystical god is simply illogical. Nonetheless, I see this as a good trend as people start accepting responsibility for their own future and the events around them.

    August 25, 2011 at 7:44 am |
    • Wzrd1

      I find it fascinating how the report flies in the face of the evangelical atheists here and on other sites words that ONLY the ill educated are following a religion.
      As in 180 degrees from their point.
      Fascinating!

      August 25, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • John Richardson

      The very highly educated, ie those with advanced degrees, are indeed most likely to be non-religious. That's why 93% of the members of the National Academy for Science are atheist. These recent articles compare people who graduated high school versus those who graduated from college. By some measures such as church attendance and actually reading the bible, the college grads are more "religious". But on doctrinal issues, the more educated even in these studies are less likely to believe that the bible is the literal word of god and more likely to belong to "mainline" denominations that eschew hellfire and last days nonsense. IOW, to be an ardent, born again or evangelical Christian, being at least a borderline cretin still helps!

      This study doesn't seem to address advanced degrees vs bachelors degrees at all. At least the reporting on it doesn't. It also apparently doesn't look at those with less than a high school education.

      See, if you are smart enough to actually read what is written and figure out what is being left out of the discussion, you don't draw moronically false conclusions.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • Saffron

      You forget there are an insane number of church run universities in this country. Church attendance doesn't necessarily denote a belief in a god. It's just something required by their social status. Wealthier people go to church because of social dictates and wealthier people tend to go to university. Most universities only require one science class and one lab to graduate, it can be chemistry or geology. If biology and/or geology isn't required, brains aren't stretched. I think it's more amazing how many medical professionals go to church. Also, 50% of college educated attending church once a month doesn't exactly scream "we're churchgoers" to me... I'd be willing to bet that number was closer to 95% 100 years ago.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Wzrd1
      See my comment on page 1 which quite handily explains the seemingly contradictory trend.
      More educated people attend church for social reasons, not because they believe.
      Those with more education tend to leave the literalist churches (like Baptist denominations) for more liberal ones like Protestant, Anglican or (here in Canada anyways) Unitarian.
      Personally, I'm not a big fan of Unitarians. They just can't seem to make up their minds about who is wrong – and where's the fun in religion if you can't condemn this and that from a fiery pulpit, right?

      August 25, 2011 at 8:45 am |
  15. John

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig
    .

    August 25, 2011 at 7:43 am |
  16. Randy

    I think a lot of times they feel guilty if they can't put money in the offering plate. I know I did for a while. I grew up in a church where you filled out an application like for a loan and they expected you to tythe 10%. The church I attend now is a small missionary baptist church that accepts you anyway. No matter how your dressed or how much money you have. We have a couple of homeless men that attend the service occasionally so they just need to find the right church where they are comfortable. They're out there. Getting back to a regular church attendance has changed my life for the good. God Bless.

    August 25, 2011 at 7:37 am |
    • Wzrd1

      My sister in law dragged my wife and myself to a baptist church for Easter service.
      Said church had had three collections already when the pastor gave his sermon about Judas and 30 pieces of silver. He then asked for a 30 pieces of silver collection.
      The regulars gave up their Judas offering. I and my wife sat there aghast and gave what was deserved, a stunned look and naught else.
      Only because our sister in law had asked us to go kept us in that church, else we'd have BOTH walked out in mid service.

      August 25, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • Don Camp

      @ Wzrd1 I am always saddened to hear such horror stories related to money. In my church we ask guests to not give. In some churches I've visited no offering is received and no mention is made of giving; there is an offering box in the back for those who want to give. That is not to say I think giving is unimportant. My offerings go not only to maintain the church but to support organizations that serve the poor in our city. I like that.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "The profession of shaman has many advantages. It offers high status with a safe livelihood free of work in the dreary, sweaty sense. In most societies it offers legal privileges and immunities not granted to other men. But it is hard to see how a man who has been given a mandate from on High to spread tidings of joy to all mankind can be seriously interested in taking up a collection to pay his salary; it causes one to suspect that the shaman is on the moral level of any other con man. But it is a lovely work if you can stomach it."
      – Robert Heinlein

      August 25, 2011 at 8:52 am |
  17. herbert juarez

    10 reasons to know you're an atheist
    1.You likely folded to peer pressure in higher education when you encountered"educated"people who challenged your beliefs.When you adopted their positions and teachings you were told you were thinking for yourself ,and you bought it!
    2.You came to the"understanding" that you were basically a "good" person and well equipped to be the final authority on you.After all life is all about "you"
    3.You think you know a great deal about the Bible,But mostly accept the out of context or misinterpreted passages that you have been told support the position of your educated peer group.When confronted with someone who really knows the Bible your "knowledge" is exposed for what it is.
    4.You tend to see all literature as related to science etc.,especially the Bible, even though the Bible was never intended to be a scientific text book.You try to expand on point three.
    5.You see yourself as right, because there are so few, you must be right,and crave the attention being you brings you.Your peer group is inordinately proud that you have become such a "free" thinking parrot of their positions.
    6.You pride yourself on being more ecologically friendly than anyone else,but put out as much trash as the next person, and even more trash in the intellectual realm.
    7.You see yourself as a defender of the right ,nonviolently of course, and would not harm a fly,but given the chance you would readily undermine all of human history.You can be justified by the insensitive remarks of some who claim faith but do not evidence it.After all if one Christian is a hypocrite then ALL must be a hypocrite.You conveniently ignore all the atrocities committed by atheists throughout history.
    8.You think you have the inside track on all religions,and are fond of grouping all belief systems into one grouping ,whether they fit or not.Your self awareness knows no bounds as you are the final authority.Life is still all about you!
    9. You can look into creation and deny the creator ,all the while lying to yourself that it is not about you.Your whole case for your position has been me, me me.But your noble purpose will not allow you to see yourself for who you really are.It feels so good to pretend though.
    10.You want to convince yourself that you do not fear death, the prospect of being no more than poor fertilizer gives you comfort and an admirable legacy.
    Follow these paths and you to can become an atheist ;and then you can really show God who's boss!

    August 25, 2011 at 7:35 am |
    • Sean

      I'm sorry sir but just because a person evidences some or even all of your list, it does not in any way mean that they are or will become an atheist. Basically you are saying that you will become an atheist if you are self-absorbed yet I've met hundreds if not thousands of people that are devout Christians and yet some of them are still as self-absorbed as the next person if not more so.

      Also, in one of your points you mention something about all of the atrocities done by atheists throughout history but you completely ignore all of the atrocities done throughout history in the so-called name of God. Such as the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades. Not to mention numerous other things.

      I believe in God. I try to remember to say a little prayer to Him every day and thank Him for my life and my family, even when I'm having a bad day. However I do not attend church services and I do not follow any one denomination. Does that make me an atheist in your eyes? If so then I'm glad to be one.

      I have no problem with true atheists as I believe everyone has the right to believe what they want. It is not up to me to make everyone believe what I want them to believe. Just like it isn't up to you to make everyone believe what you want them to believe.

      August 25, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • Stevie7

      1.You likely folded to peer pressure in higher education when you encountered"educated"people who challenged your beliefs.When you adopted their positions and teachings you were told you were thinking for yourself ,and you bought it!
      -I didn't know any atheists in college. I was still attending church regularly at that point

      2.You came to the"understanding" that you were basically a "good" person and well equipped to be the final authority on you.After all life is all about "you"
      -Partially right. I figured out that I don't need an anceint book to tell me how to be a good person. This doesn't make everything about "me".

      3.You think you know a great deal about the Bible,But mostly accept the out of context or misinterpreted passages that you have been told support the position of your educated peer group.When confronted with someone who really knows the Bible your "knowledge" is exposed for what it is.
      -This is an incredibly weak argument since any believer can say this about any other believer when they differ on their bible interpretation. It's all just my interpretation v. your interpretation. But here's a clue: it wasn't just one religious text that made me an atheist. New flash – Christianity isn't the only religion

      4.You tend to see all literature as related to science etc.,especially the Bible, even though the Bible was never intended to be a scientific text book.You try to expand on point three.
      -Science uses fact and observable, repeatable evidence. Science contradi.cts many things written in the bible. When someone wants to use a literal interpretation of certain passages in the bible, it's reasonable to point out evidence that proves them wrong. This in no way whatsoever makes the bible a scientific text and I know of no atheist who treats it as such

      5.You see yourself as right, because there are so few, you must be right,and crave the attention being you brings you.Your peer group is inordinately proud that you have become such a "free" thinking parrot of their positions.
      -Most of my peer group attends church and believes. Except for these boards, I mainly keep my outlook on religion to myself.

      6.You pride yourself on being more ecologically friendly than anyone else,but put out as much trash as the next person, and even more trash in the intellectual realm.
      -Wow, that couldn't have been more lame if you tried.

      7.You see yourself as a defender of the right ,nonviolently of course, and would not harm a fly,but given the chance you would readily undermine all of human history.You can be justified by the insensitive remarks of some who claim faith but do not evidence it.After all if one Christian is a hypocrite then ALL must be a hypocrite.You conveniently ignore all the atrocities committed by atheists throughout history.
      -Why can't believers get the point that they can never point to one atrocity that was committed in the NAME of atheism. There are good atheists and bad atheist, just like there are good believer and bad believers. But sometimes bad believers kill BECAUSE of their religious outlook

      8.You think you have the inside track on all religions,and are fond of grouping all belief systems into one grouping ,whether they fit or not.Your self awareness knows no bounds as you are the final authority.Life is still all about you!
      I'm the final authority? Where has any atheist said that? And don't most believers group all beliefs systems other than their own into one category? And the part about "it's all about you" seems to be a total non sequiter. I love how believers things atheists are such narcissists, but they themselves think that they can have a personal relationship with their particular deity and that their deity created the entire universe just for them. Most atheists that I know consider us humans to be rather insignificant and inconsequential

      9. You can look into creation and deny the creator ,all the while lying to yourself that it is not about you.Your whole case for your position has been me, me me.But your noble purpose will not allow you to see yourself for who you really are.It feels so good to pretend though.
      -Does it make you feel better to label atheists as egotistical? Wow. Someone's bitter. Can we just boil about four of your points down to one, since you're just saying the same thing over and over? Atheists look at creation, look at our place in the universe, and then logically conclude a) we're insignificant and b) no one intelligent could have designed us.

      10.You want to convince yourself that you do not fear death, the prospect of being no more than poor fertilizer gives you comfort and an admirable legacy.
      -I feared death when I believed. When I dropped those shackles, I was also able to let go of my fear. Sorry if you're too absorbed in yourself to actually understand and accept that

      August 25, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • herbert juarez

      @sean
      Designed to help create and identify atheists
      Your Christian "issue"is addressed in point 7
      As to atrocities there is also the Iraq war, but that wasn't the point being made,we are simply looking at the capacity of the self serving bias of the noble atheist.
      Try reading the last line carefully 'can become' offers the possibility not the result.
      Where does belief come from?

      August 25, 2011 at 8:03 am |
    • Stevie7

      "Where does belief come from?"
      --
      Typically from one's parents.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:06 am |
    • herbert juarez

      @stevie7
      the majority of your responses was all about you.The" I's" stuck out like beacons of truth all over your post.Check out other responses for more info.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • herbert juarez

      @stevie7
      How did two primordial apes convey God to their Human offspring?
      @sean
      Is it up to parents to make their offspring believe?

      August 25, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • In Reason I Trust

      Seven ways to know your religion is made up;
      1 You were born into it. Good thing you were born into the correct one huh, how lucky.
      2 Your god sends you to Hell if you don't believe. Yeah that makes total sense for an all loving god to burn his children for eternity.
      3 Your religion includes miracles. Miracles is another word for magic, and adults should be ashamed to believe in magic.
      4 Your religion promises eternal happiness as long as you obey. How nice, eternal happiness with love ones. What more could we want? What possible reason could we have to believe that's complete nonsense? Maybe Santa Claus is there too.
      5 Your religion's genesis story is a fairy tale. Magic gardens, magic fruit, talking animals, do I have to go on?
      6 You religion doesn't need proof-just faith. How nice, you tell me impossible things and say it's ok that I don't have proof, because faith is better. No its not, faith is for cowards, so afraid of dying they'll beleve any story that says otherwise.
      7 Your religion asks for money. Because the one miracle your god can't do is make money, how strange. I guess making the entire universe left him broke.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • Stevie7

      "the majority of your responses was all about you.The" I's" stuck out like beacons of truth all over your post"
      -I was giving you my outlook. How is that egotistical? Try again. When you ever use the word I, such as "I believe", are you making it all about you? Try again.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • Dr. Gupta

      That'll show them that religious people are tolerant and not just using religion as a justification for further hate!

      August 25, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • Stevie7

      "How did two primordial apes convey God to their Human offspring?"
      -
      Someone's knowledge and understanding of evolution is a wee bit lacking. The same scientific method that give us evolution is the same scientific method that gave us the computer that let's you post on these boards. You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

      Why did an intelligent creator give us an unnecessary organ with little to no actual value that can kill us?

      August 25, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • Civiloutside

      Your list is too long. Here's the fix:

      How to tell if you're an atheist.

      1) You don't believe gods exist.

      There's the complete list.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Jean

      Wow, what a generalization. How many atheists do you actually know and with whom you have discussed this in order to make these statements? I was raised by Christian parents and I bought in for a very long time. It took an enormous amount of soul searching and contemplation before I came to the conclusion that I could find a rational reason to believe. My belief was based on my upbringing, so many of my family traditions came from our religion, and the fact that religion can be so comforting. Once I actually allowed myself to consider an alternative, it was so hard to give up on the idea that there is something out there, more powerful than humans, that watches out for me, that can help when I'm in trouble, that cares what happens to me. However, wishful thinking doesn't make it real. If you are raised within a religion, it is extremely difficult to give that up. This may not be the case for all atheists, I think it is never a good idea to generalize about people, but it was true for me.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  18. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Let's see... when modern mainline protestants start to rewrite the Bible, ignore Jesus' call for compassion and charity, and even blame the poor for their condition, do you think the poor may feel just a tad alienated?

    August 25, 2011 at 7:33 am |
    • Wzrd1

      Interesting theory. So, the modern protestants "who are re-writing the bible" are evil, yet the Roman Emperor Constantine, who wrote the original version used by the Roman Catholic church and largely copied by the protestants is good?
      Tell us all then, what does the ORIGINAL SOURCE say? Not the thrice mistranslated, edited for content and version, the original one, complete with deleted books that were burned?

      August 25, 2011 at 7:42 am |
    • Lennyb0b

      @Wzrd1: OOOOH, you are SOOOOO SMART!!!! Where did you get the material to arrive at your totally UNEDUCATED guess that Constantine wrote the Bible? Constantine wasn't born soon enough. You've watched the DaVinci Code WAY TOO much.

      August 25, 2011 at 7:55 am |
    • David

      Wzrd 1: Interesting theory. Unfortunately, it is complete nonsense. Constantine did not write the Bible, and he did not even have much of a hand in canonizing it. You seem to be drawing your history from Dan Brown, not actual scholars of religion (of whom I am one). The fact is, there are numerous biblical manuscripts from well before the time of Constantine. For the Old Testament, the Dead Sea Scrolls antedate Constantine by 300-400 years. Rabbinic citations of the Old Testament also appear prior to Constantine. For the New Testament, the earliest fragment dates around 125 (200 years prior to Constantine), Patristic citations from the 2nd-3rd centuries, and early canon lists from the 2nd-3rd centuries.

      August 25, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • Don Camp

      @Wzrd1 David has adequately responded to your misconception about the origins and authenticity of the New Testament scriptures, but I've heard the idea you express so often that I'd like to add one more thing. Virtually the entire New Testament could be reconstructed from quotes in the writings of the ante-Nicene fathers. Those were men who wrote primarily in the first century after the Apostles, some 100-200 years before Constantine. That means the New Testament books were extant and regarded as inspired scripture by the early church of the first and second centuries.

      I find that many of the critiques of the Bible I hear on message boards such as this are warmed over quotes from atheist websites and do not represent authentic research into the subject. Please do some real research.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  19. Dustin Shadbolt

    I believe in God. However, I hate churches. Especially ones that are the size of stadiums and every day they ask for more money for the Lord. But that money goes to the cameras lights sound special effects and their own pockets. I respect people with different views,but I believe churches server very little service to people today except to rake in money for the leaders.

    August 25, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  20. Carl Saga

    Perhaps it's true that less educated are not going to church, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they're losing religion.

    Most of them are praying silently but fervently inside their room. And I believe that God hears them rather than those people standing in synagouge crying out-loud saying they love God but lying.

    August 25, 2011 at 7:30 am |
    • Lennyb0b

      You nailed it! People like you are so much closer to god than the hypocrites changing the bible and spouting falsehoods from the pulpit! But, thats ok, god will take care of it in due time.

      August 25, 2011 at 7:59 am |
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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.