October 28th, 2011
03:55 PM ET

Study: Thinking of God can dampen motivation but help resist temptation

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - It’s become an increasingly hot topic of debate between atheists and religious people: Is belief in God helpful or hurtful?

A study published Thursday by the American Psychological Association suggests that believing may be a little of both.

According to the study, simple reminders of God have both positive and negative effects on people’s motivation. The report, which focused primarily on students, found that religious reminders both diminish a person’s desire to complete personal goals and improve a person’s ability to resist temptation.

Researchers are calling the report,  "Divergent Effects of Activating Thoughts of God on Self-Regulation," the “the first empirical evidence” of its kind.

“Our lives are literally replete with reminders and symbols of God,” wrote researcher Aaron Kay of Duke University in an e-mail to CNN. “Our success at work, school, or even athletics depends on more than just skill. The beliefs we adopt – or are exposed to even if we don’t consciously adopt them – may impact how we pursue our goal.”

The study tracked 353 college students in six experiments that attempted to test how the idea of God can influence people’s motivations. Believing in God or any other spiritual power was not a requirement for the study.

In one experiment, researchers told the students the test they were taking would gauge their career success and then asked students whether they believed God had a hand in that success.

Each student was given a “warm-up” exercise in which they had to create sentences using words. Half were given test with religious words, while the other were given non-religious words.

The test had each student "form as many words as they could in five minutes, using any combination of specific letters,” reported the study. The number of words produced was taken as a gauge of motivation.

Of the students who believed in an involved God, the ones who participated the God-related word game fared worse than those who used non-religious word. There was, however, no difference among those who did not believe in an involved God.

Kay summed up the findings this way: Imagine two students, one believes her grade depends on how hard she works and the second believes that her grade is determined by whether the professor asked questions she knows.

According to Kay, the research suggests that someone who thinks part of their grade is out of their control would not study as hard as someone who believes they are in complete control.

“[This belief] can diminish a person’s perception that he or she – and he or she alone – has complete control over his or her outcomes,” wrote Kay. “From a motivation perspective, this is very important, since beliefs in personal control are key components of motivation.”

To test temptation, half of the students read a passage about God and half read a passage unrelated to God. “Participants who said eating healthy food was important to them ate fewer cookies after reading a short passage about God than those who read a passage unrelated to God,” reported the study.

“Basically what we found was that when people think about God, it seems to help them resist temptation,” said Grainee Fitzsimons, professor at Duke University. “It is the mindset that he is always watching and judging that motivates people to behave well.”

The findings were first published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Culture & Science • God

soundoff (335 Responses)
  1. lastofall

    Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
    For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
    (1 Corinthians 3:18-19)

    October 29, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti


      I agree, God is foolish! Well said.

      October 29, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Pet Sounds

      If god has a problem with "wisdom of this world" he shouldn't have made it. By all standards "this world" is fascinating and only a small minded "fool" would not be interested in learning about it.

      October 29, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Free

      This was Paul's way of spinning the fact that most wise people rightfully saw their beliefs as foolish.

      October 30, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  2. stubbycat

    Since Divine Mind (GOD) is All-in all, and goodness ad infinitum, the only error is the finite mortal limited, loveless sense which the amazing Jesus said was shadow in contrast to the substance of Spirit. Consciousness is determinative. The Jew Jesus was consciousness of GOD with him, Life, Truth and Love with him, perfection and completeness with him, while the human sense of things embraces the opposite mental sense and projects it to itself as its version of life. Divinitize the human mindset scientifically and it will begin to find its way home to the true reality of beautiful, complete, empowering and satisfying divine Mind and be at peace. This is the GOD, Truth in who all things are possible.

    October 29, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Shiek Yerbouti

      Ah, ok I understand now. So in my divine mind the oneness of my open being embraces the spirit of God who is me yet is not and fills human life of the love of that which is not love but instead a great realization of the God who is but one with the science He so created so that I could then be Him and Him me, correct?

      October 29, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Oopsie

      Shiek = Sheik

      October 29, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Thanks Merriam-Webster. I would lie and say I was going for the urban "shiek" but lying is wrong.

      October 29, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Or maybe I misunderstood. Are these the instructions for playing Texas Hold 'em?

      October 29, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  3. BoldGeorge

    Thinking of God and doing His will are two different things. Of course, if one is submitted to doing the will of God and meditating and applying His word (the bible) into your life, you will avoid falling into temptation. This can only be accomplished if one is having a close relationship with Christ.

    Ephesians 6:13 – "Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm."

    James 4:7 – "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."

    October 29, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • G-D

      Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is 'inside' you.

      1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

      1Cr 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

      Our being Gods' buildings and temples and even GOD's Kingdoms does declare that our inner domains are somehow the residencies wherein the Gods and Goddesses of GOD, HIS Godly Children are residing within. Yes?

      October 29, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      Huh??? Love them verses. Sorry, but didn't understand your question.

      October 29, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • stubbycat

      The question is does one really think the truth of GOD or only thinks with the human mind of the loveless, human, degraded image of GOD? Jesus thought of GOD, the divine Principle with whom he was(is) one, but his thoughts produced vastly different results than so-called sense-filled Christians who are bound by animality, their self-defeating errors concerning life, substance and intelligence in matter.Change your consciousness, change your destiny.

      October 29, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Shiek Yerbouti

      Wait, so I cannot know God unless I have a close relationship with Christ, who is God so to know God is to be close to God but I can't unles I get close to God, correct?

      October 29, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      I can't tell if stubby is discussing God, a job interview or poker, but perhaps YOU can help ME understand this whole God=Christ=Ghost business so I can move forward. Brain. Hurts.

      October 29, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  4. Hasa Diga Eebowai

    It makes you lazy and boring... that is news?

    October 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  5. Shiek Yerbouti

    James Cole said, "the greatest motivation in the human heart is "There is a God and I want to know Him"

    I disagree. The greatest motivation in the human heart is s-e-x and money and dancing I think.


    October 29, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • BucketDrop

      Ha! I love how you added "dancing" in there at the end.

      October 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  6. groundlerings

    I wish these researchers would stop always falling back on the easiest subjects they can get their hands on, college students. Their still developing minds don't necessarily represent human nature or behavior.

    October 29, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  7. Bo

    ===Tom Tom, I only know what I have read, what expeiments have you done that may prove otherwise?

    October 29, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You obviously have a very limited source of information, Bo.

      What "experiments" have I done? What a stupid question. I might as easily ask you how many you've done. One doesn't have to be a scientist to understand science. One doesn't have to do an experiment to read about the results.

      October 29, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      What a stupid response this tom tom the pipers son puts forth.This pos tom tom must believe everything they read?

      October 29, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I wonder what you mean by "evolutionist" (sic). You seem to think that scientists set out to prove that evolution has occurred. Scientists set out to find out what happened. That's the difference: you want to prove that evolution didn't happen, that the earth is only a few thousand years old. That is not an approach a scientist would take. A scientist would look at evidence and reach a conclusion based on it. You try to make the evidence fit the conclusion you've already made based on your religious beliefs.

      You'd be the detective who'd arrest a suspect and THEN try to find evidence that he actually had anything to do with the crime.

      October 29, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hi, herbalicious! How are you? I see you're still hiding under your little rock.

      October 29, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • John Richardson

      From the US Geological Survey http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/geotime/radiometric.html

      October 29, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tommie Tom what part of these sites did you not comprehend? The first site explains the 3 different earth and heaven ages in the Bible along with the katabole (destruction of the first earth age). If you read these sites, you would stop with your nonsense that the earth is 6,000 years old. Only atheists insists on spreading this lie.


      The “first” heaven and the “first” earth reference in Revelation 21:1


      The katabole (the destruction of the first earth age)


      October 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • tallulah13

      HS is delusional.


      October 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      tally, you nailed it.

      HS, you idiot. These are not sites that are grounded in solid science. See my post to Bo: you BELIEVE in creationism, and ignore all evidence that doesn't support your view.

      By the way, when are you going to answer my question about the Jewish soldiers? Do you believe their souls reside in heaven?

      October 29, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Shiek Yerbouti

      Tom Tom said, "By the way, when are you going to answer my question about the Jewish soldiers? Do you believe their souls reside in heaven?"

      Follow up question, what happened to the souls of the people that lived 200,000 years ago? They did know Jesus since the Jesus myth didn't start for another 198,000 years.

      October 29, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Shiek Yerbouti

      Hey Bo, just curious, what kind of equipment do you have in the lab where YOU to do YOUR experiments? I always try to go with a large sample group and do double blind studies. I have lot's of tubes and bottles and things too. Not sure what they are for. Hey, make sure you get your peer review in before publishing!


      October 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Shiek Yerbouti

      Sorry, my turban got in my eyes, I meant "they did NOT know Jesus..."


      October 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  8. Bo

    ===@AtheistSteve 7:22am, Sorry Steve, you had better do a little more reading. Evolutionist scientist, would like to have you believe The 58,000 to 62,000 teaching, but there have been experiments done on Egyptian human remains when the death date was more appoxamatly known, and the radiometric method worked.

    October 29, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Of all the hills to die on, why do the fundies choose evolution? Really, who could possibly take any of you seriously when you claim that the earth is only a few thousand years old and that evolution doesn't occur?

      October 29, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Tommie, Tom, last I read, only atheists insists that the Bible states the earth is 6,000 years old. Didn't you get a chance to read these sites so you can learn what the Bible truly says????

      Here's the links again if you ever care to read the scriptures that disprove your rantings. Oh, and please don't say that we've changed the scriptures in the Bible written thousands of years ago. That would even be beneath you atheists (LOL).


      The “first” heaven and the “first” earth reference in Revelation 21:1


      The katabole (the destruction of the first earth age)


      October 29, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gee, HS, do cite the post where I claimed any such thing. Go ahead. I didn't say anything about the Bible's statements about earth's age. Your reading comprehension really needs work, dear.

      Now, about those Jewish soldiers, HS. Do you believe their souls are in heaven with God? Even though they didn't accept Jesus as his son and their "savior"?

      When are you going to render your verdict on that? Or will you continue to run away, hide, change the subject, or dissemble, yet again?

      October 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Shiek Yerbouti

      Follow up question, what happened to the souls of the people that lived 200,000 years ago? They did know Jesus since the Jesus myth didn't start for another 198,000 years


      October 29, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What did I tell you? HS has run away (as usual) because answering that question will reveal her hypocrisy.

      October 29, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Shiek Yerbouti

      I never expect an answer. And she never dissappoints.

      October 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Quite so. She wouldn't even say whether she understood why your moniker was funny. (I don't think she got the joke.)

      October 29, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Shiek Yerbouti

      @Tom Tom
      I don't think she was born with a sense of humor. Re: Greggory Peccary, old Frank Zappa absurdist humor from the 70's. Funny you had a car named after him! I love it.

      October 29, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yup-that was when my better half bought the car, thus the name. Love Frank Zappa.

      October 29, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      "Evolutionist scientist, would like to have you believe The 58,000 to 62,000 teaching, "

      What?...How the....what? You moron. Your initial post made some retarded comment along the lines of Carbon 14 dating requiring a presupposed start date and then you went on to say how this would confirm testing for when an animal lived either 100 billion (yes you actually used a number 86.3 billion years longer than the universe has existed) to a mere 6000 years. That's just so monumental stupid. So I came back with an explanation(one you should have easily understood) about how Carbon 14 dating is LIMITED to a maximum range of 58,000 to 62,000 years. That's because all living things absorb Carbon 14(mostly through respiration) and after an organism dies this process stops. The rate of decay of Carbon 14(it's half-life) means that the percentage of that isotope present in a sample is continually reduced until it becomes too small to be statistically significant. Thus nothing older than 58-62 thousand years can be accurately dated using that method. Further Carbon 14 only works on organic materials(little of which can persist for that time span) not fossils which are rock that has long replaced any organic material. You can't carbon date a fossil....duh!!!
      Finally in this post you mentioned Egyptian mummies which at best would be just a few thousand years old, well within the range for accurate determination by Carbon 14. Did you have a point or were you just stating the obvious? Do you also have a link to a study that shows a Carbon14 dating for a dinosaur to back up your ridiculous claim? I think not. Learn something about the science before you shove your foot in your mouth again.

      October 29, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  9. hero blue

    I don't consider the study surprising christainty is presented by many churches as a list of don'ts in order to go to heaven. If you believe in a god you believe the bible gives directive on how one should believe. I have known many Christians who have given up on various things in there life because they believed it was not in their hands. I believe if more non-believers tried showing christians that more of their fate was in there hands than they believe we would have less believers out there.

    October 29, 2011 at 9:05 am |
  10. AvdBerg

    For a better understanding of the subject issue we invite you to read the article ‘Who is God and who is Satan’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    Also, to give people a better understanding of the issues that divide this world we have recently added the article ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’ to our listing of articles.

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how this whole world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9. The Bible is true in all things and is the discerner of every thought and the intent of the heart (Hebrews 5:12).

    October 29, 2011 at 7:33 am |
  11. AGuest9

    Thinking of God can dampen motivation – no surprise there. Take a look around at the "christian" Americans, sitting on their butts all day.

    October 29, 2011 at 6:59 am |
    • James Cole

      WOW! We are not sitting on our butts all day. I was up a five am to assist my landlord working on their basement...I dont know who disappointed you but your concepts of Believer in Jesus Christ or anyone who desires to know the creator is so far from the truth! Civilizations were created by humans that were motivated by that one thought "THERE IS A GOD"! Are they perfect as was already stated we humans are imperfect, no they are not. But the greatest motivation in the human heart is "There is a God and I want to know Him"

      October 29, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @James: PROVIDE PROOF AND EVIDENCE FOR GOD, UNTIL THEN YOU HAVE NO POINT!! Getting off your a$$ is not proof of anything any other human doesn't do on a daily basis. A belief in god is a lazy way out, it enables you not to take responsibility or use your brain to think.

      October 29, 2011 at 8:05 am |
    • AGuest9

      REALLY, James? "Civilizations were created by humans that were motivated by that one thought "THERE IS A GOD"! "

      Gee, here I thought that people were motivated by food and shelter. Since civilizations arose prior to 4,000BC, I guess that pretty much eliminates the judeo-christian/islamic god as the motivator.

      October 29, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • AGuest9

      Oops, forgot the era. That should read 4,000 BCE. Old habits die hard.

      October 29, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • HeavenSent

      TruthPrevails, you wrote to @James: "PROVIDE PROOF AND EVIDENCE FOR GOD, UNTIL THEN YOU HAVE NO POINT!! Getting off your a$$ is not proof of anything any other human doesn't do on a daily basis. A belief in god is a lazy way out, it enables you not to take responsibility or use your brain to think."

      Answer: Why don't you prove Jesus doesn't exist? You can't and your circular arguments are beyond boring. Besides not being able to prove that Jesus' doesn't exist, your scientists that you hide behind still can't figure out "how it all began".


      October 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      *sigh* When will you morons realize that one cannot prove a negative? The burden is on YOU. You made the claim that god exists and that Jesus was his son. The onus is on you to prove it.

      Grow up.

      October 29, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • claybigsby

      " Why don't you prove Jesus doesn't exist? "

      HS: first the burden of proof lies on you to prove that something exists. Without proof, your opinion is nothing more than speculation at best. You cannot prove a negative.

      "You can't and your circular arguments are beyond boring. "

      You cannot prove that Jesus was real and is the son of god blah blah blah. All of your arguments are circular as well. The FACT is, the people who wrote about Jesus in the bible NEVER met Jesus. They are merely stories. The bible does not prove Jesus was the son of god.

      October 31, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Entil'za

      If one makes the claim that there is no God...what they are really saying is that God is a concept created by specific man. This specific man was real and lived in a specific place and time. He had a background and resources to create this concept. He is real and therefor should be researchable to some extent. This is what a person that says there is no God should be proving.
      No, no one should ask another to prove a negative. However, one should not be lazy and shuffle off the intellectual responsibility on someone else. A rational, serious and logical atheist that is interested in fact and truth would search for evidence that the concept of God was a creation of a man. If that could be proven, they would win the argument but for some reason they fail.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • HotAirAce


      With respect to christianity, you are in essence asking non-believers to absolutely, with no doubt, identify the origin of The Babble. Given that believers disagree on the origin of The Babble, I don't think non-believers will be able to.

      But nice try at deflecting the burden of proof to non-believers. Try as you might, the fact is that the extraordinary claim is that are 1 or more gods and it's up to believers to show that they are right, or to take a seat beside astrologers.

      October 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Entil'za

      @HotAirAce- "With respect to christianity, you are in essence asking non-believers to absolutely, with no doubt, identify the origin of The Babble. Given that believers disagree on the origin of The Babble, I don't think non-believers will be able to."

      ~Respect...and yet you use "Babble" instead of Bible....ooookay. If the non-believer is making a statement with no leeway such as the Bible is fiction, then yes I am asking them to prove it in the manner they are declaring it. If they are unable to, then they should be more open about their lack of info and say that they believe the Bible is fiction or from their POV it is fiction. At least that would be more honest.

      "But nice try at deflecting the burden of proof to non-believers. Try as you might, the fact is that the extraordinary claim is that are 1 or more gods and it's up to believers to show that they are right, or to take a seat beside astrologers."

      I was not deflecting at all. If someone makes a statement they should try to back it up. I have just noticed that many times on here, the non-believers make statements to subjects no one is talking about. If a believer of a faith said ____ is real, then I can see a non-believer saying no _____ is not and not be required to back up their claim at the moment. However, if a non-believer takes it upon themselves to just blurt out that ______ is fiction. Then they should be prepared to offer some evidence.

      October 31, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  12. AtheistSteve

    This seems hardly surprising. After all the doctrines and dogma of religious belief would naturally curtail motivation since from their viewpoint a higher power underlies all outcomes. Thus success in some venture is seen as divinely guided whereas failure is attributed to not properly adhering to Gods will or worse falling victim to evil spirits(Satan). Likewise not being tempted is rooted in guilt at transgressing some doctrinal taboo. How many times have theists on this board claimed how imperfect we humans are? The entire foundation of religious belief is based on the idea that man has fallen out of grace. Indoctrinated to feel insecure about self-determination ultimately leads to a reluctance toward bold or risky decisions.

    October 29, 2011 at 6:46 am |
    • James Cole

      What steve says is so far from the truth. Our relationship with the creator doesnt stop us from "doing and obtaining". The pursuit of things are not the focus in ourlives as we see that when that is our total focus other humans suffer for it. Many inventions were bought into being through people like George Washington Carver, even Presidents of Our United States of America were Christians...even coming to America period was motivated by those who accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and wanted a better way of life inwhich they thought was available for every human being. Although the test may be need, there are some who stop working or pursuing hard work etc it is not the teaching of scripture as a matter of fact it is written that a person who formerlly was a theif should stop stealing and work with his hands so he would be able to give to those who couldnt work (Ephesians 4:28 paraphrased) Or "If a man will not work, he shall not eat" 2Thessalinians 3:10b NIV. Or Proverbs 10:4 " Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth." And one of the themes in the Book of Ecclesiastes is work..work hard and enjoy the work of your hands because that is our lot in life.

      October 29, 2011 at 7:15 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Despite your quote from scripture my argument still stands. The founding fathers were mostly deists and wanted to establish a union without theocratic doctrine. That believers in history were pioneers of invention is hardly relevant since most of humanity has held some form of supersti.tious belief system which usually had to be ignored when scientific methods were applied. Even Georges Lemaître, a Belgian priest, upon presenting his discovery of the expansion of the universe to the pope had to protest when the implications of all galaxies spreading away from us did not mean that the Earth was proved as being the center of the universe. It is despite of religion that men of faith made important discoveries, not because of them. Like the article suggests, the lack of motivation and a reluctance to be tempted are rooted in doctrinal teachings. Thankfully some few are able to rise above that.

      October 29, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @James: Without reading what you have spewed on about here it is quite obvious from the parts that stick out that you would disagree with Steve. Now you have said that he is lying, so where is your proof for what you have said? The bible is a bunch of made up stories that have little or no accuracy with the evidence as it is today. So when you quote scripture it is you that is falsifying information in accordance with reality, not Steve. I wouldn't expect you to come away from the brainwashing techniques used by the church to see anything else but as always you are another christian claiming to have knowledge that you can't possibly have...there is no evidence pointing to god/jesus or any other god for that matter.

      October 29, 2011 at 8:01 am |
  13. Bo

    @fred, I have to the conclusion that even if the existance of God, without refute, could be proven, there are those who would not choose to become Christian. The study of science is very interesting and I respect the intelegence of evolutionist. Nonetheless,.I know something, that I believe almost every evolutionist that comes on this blog knows, but refuses to acknowege, that is: carbon 14 dating [radiometetic dating] if used wrong can determine the age of any fossilised animal or plant. To use carbon 14 dating a starting age is needed, i.e. if a scientist wanted to porve that some animal lived 100, 000,000,000 years ago it is 'assumed' that that is when it lived and using carbon 14 dating will prove it. But, if they set the age at 6,000 years, by using carbon 14 it can be proven also. Carbon 14 is the best reliable tool to prove the age of a fossil that is very old, but a starting date is needed first. So, an evolutionist is one who chooses to be one; it is useless to try to convince them to be otherwise.

    October 29, 2011 at 6:07 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Learn something. Carbon dating is useless for determining anything beyond 58,000 to 62,000 years. There are some 40 different radiometric isotope dating methods that are used to determine the age of a sample. Further by using several of these with overlapping half-life ranges consistent results only prove that radiometric isotope dating is an accurate method of dating samples. For example, a study of the Amitsoq gneisses from western Greenland used five different radiometric dating methods to examine twelve samples and achieved agreement to within 30 Million years on an age of 3.640 Billion years. That's a margin of error of +/- 0.824%.
      Your arguments about the inaccuracy of radiometric dating methods have long been put to rest. Simply put...you are wrong Sir!

      October 29, 2011 at 7:22 am |
    • John Richardson

      Yes, Bo, my own main objection to Christianity is the deep and all pervasive evil of Jehovah. Absolute 100% proof of his existence would NOT lead me to worship that monster.

      But Jehovah clearly doesn't exist except in some not very interesting stories written long ago by people with imaginations so poor and experience of the truly spiritual so thin that they only concept of divinity they could come up with is one based on the typical actions and att-itudes of the prototypical ancient tyrant. There is ZERO chance of this insane fiction ever being validated by real inquiry.

      What I would think of any uncaused cause that science may or may not one day decide it can't do without is a wide open question.

      October 29, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Really, Bo, if you're going to attempt to explain carbon dating, you should try to actually understand how it's done. From your posts, it's obvious you don't.

      October 29, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • John Richardson

      The currently best evidence for evolution is genetic research. As Darwin emphasized, members of the same species are more similar to each other than they are to members of other species, but they aren't except in rare instances identical. This is the variation needed for natural (and se-xual) selection to work on. As also predicted by evolutionary theory, species would nest into natural groupings according to how genetically similar they are, And indeed, we do see this when dna sequences are compared. And when you look specifically at humans and the great apes are much more similar to humans than they are to other primates, let alone other mammals. Modern genetics fully vindicates Darwin's basic vision, and totally refutes the biblical idea of the main split being between humans on the one had and the entire animal kingdom on the other. The bible has been clearly refuted and cannot be taken as the word of an omniscient being.

      October 29, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Well, Bo, should for some reason your god choose to pop up again after 2000 years, I wouldn't automatically start worshiping him. If there were irrefutable proof, I'd believe he existed, but worship is a whole 'nother thing. I think your god's a bully and I don't worship bullies.

      However, if a creator god does exist, the odds of it being your particular god are very slim indeed, considering how long it took him to reveal himself to humans (a lot of other gods beat him to the punch) and considering he's such a poor traveler, not even able to cross an ocean or a continent by himself.

      October 29, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  14. Reality

    The following prayer should help anyone interested in 21st century rational thinking: (please skip if you saw said prayer previously or simply add it to your litany)

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


    October 28, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      The above post is some of the most useless drivel any human has ever produced and not worth reading or for that matter posting.

      October 29, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Poor herbie. Reality really bugs you, huh? And not just the poster, either.

      October 29, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  15. Iqbal Khan


    October 28, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • Shiek Yerbouti

      Dear Santa,
      For Christmas I would like sum Rock'em Sock'em robots and also I need school clothes.
      Your friend Shiek

      October 29, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  16. MartinT

    What a CROCK! The belief in god is a waste of "time" and energy. Now, having said that, if anyone likes wasting his or her life away in a futile attempt at chasing eternity, while the rest of us work on living the one life we KNOW we have well that up to them. Just keep the crazies away from me, that's all I ask

    October 28, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • fred

      I keep an eye for those crazies Martin so you keep your nose to the grindstone. How would I know if they are really Christian and not just a fake........Oh wait. I notice they have a joy that the world cannot understand. Somehow they think eternity deserves as much attention as this life since we will only be here 100 years at best. Oh, there goes another that has been taking care of the homeless for years instead of putting in overtime at work to buy a bigger house. Oh, there go a bunch that just came back from visiting people in nursing homes that have no relatives to see them.
      Martin they are all over the place. They are not going to hurt you just pray the best for you that's all. I think I will join them, you see to be doing just fine.

      October 28, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      fred, read HS's posts and tell me how she exemplifies the Christian ideal.

      October 29, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  17. Mr Chihuahua

    Give them the shocker lol!

    October 28, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
  18. Greggery Peccary

    Rather than random tests, what we need here is a man named Quentin Robert DeNameland, supposedly "the greatest living philostopher known to mankind", who hosts a group assembly. DeNameland's authenticity as a philostopher is questionable, as he merely proclaims that "time is of affliction" – more specifically, "the eons are closing" – before soliciting for payment for attendance to his assembly.

    October 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • hippypoet

      time being a creation of man and since man has always tried to have as much time to do as much as possible... as i agree, time is an afflection! but i would need more on the man to properly judge as the philosopher he claims to be as the philosopher i consider myself to be!

      October 28, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • hippypoet

      i think. 🙂

      October 28, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Greggery Peccary

      He is not merely a philosopher, he is a "philostopher" All I can tell you is, "If you ask a "philostopher" he'll see that you pays!"

      October 28, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
  19. Greggery Peccary

    Hi Heaven Sent. I just wanted to give you an AMEN! I always like to write Amen at the end of all my posts. I know it doesn't make any sense since a post is not a prayer, but I like it, sure do.


    October 28, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Wow Greggery Peccary, for someone who can figure out how to go to a www site such as this and you still haven't figured out how to use a search engine to get an explanation for Amen. Hint hint, Meathead did not invent the word even though he used it in one of his movies.

      Amen. That is it. So it is. In your case Period.

      October 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Using it at the end of your posts renders it completely meaningless, HS.

      Now, stop stalling and give us all your opinion on those Jewish soldiers' souls.

      October 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti


      “Amen” has been generally adopted in Christian worship as a concluding word for prayers and hymns.

      So you are Jewish? In that case are you using as an interjection, adverb, or noun? If you are using it as a noun, I hope it from Egyptian Mythology.

      “a primeval deity worshiped especially at Thebes, the personification of air or breath represented as either a ram or a goose (later identified with Amen-Ra)” I like that!


      October 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Greggery Peccary


      October 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.

      That's known in choral circles as the "Seven-Fold Amen."

      I win.

      October 29, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Greggery, we named our first car "Gregory Peccary." I think it cost about 3 grand brand new!

      October 29, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Greggery Peccary

      @tom tom

      October 29, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Greggery Peccary


      Oh and for the record, I have five com-puter cer-tifications and both de-sign web sites and impl-ement sof-tware for a living, but THANKS for the tip on how to use the “W W W”. I don't know what I would do without you! And don't forget what those opposable thumbs are for and where they came from!


      October 29, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  20. hippypoet

    "The study tracked 353 college students in six experiments that attempted to test how the idea of God can influence people’s motivations. Believing in God or any other spiritual power was not a requirement for the study."

    my only issue is they don't tell you who was religious or not and therefore may or may not have had a bias towards a side. I understand that the test was to test a "random" group but there infact is no such thing unless you have blind people pick people in different cities across the world to take part in the experiment – anything less is playing with yourself! At this level they are only results of a random test on a certain city or region and that area may have a presoncieved moral standard and thats not random but instead a test of opinions based on the standard of moral understandings of the culture at large.

    October 28, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Greggery Peccary

      KInd of like a CNN poll! 2 fingers please.

      October 28, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • hippypoet

      @ Greggery , i'm not sure i understand you. 🙁 I understand that the average blogger on cnn has suffered the short end of the stick but besides that, you lost me.

      October 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • Greggery Peccary

      Forget the poll crunchy groove, just pass the medicine on the rocks!

      October 28, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.