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November 2nd, 2011
10:24 AM ET

What terrifies an atheist

(CNN) -  Famed filmmaker John Landis brought the world "An American Werewolf in Paris" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller," but nothing scares him more than people.

In this video the avowed atheist, tells CNN's Nima Elbagir why he thinks “we make stuff up” about monsters, religion, and the devil.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Movies

soundoff (2,057 Responses)
  1. JEN

    MY NEXT LIFE IS TO BE A PRIEST. I CAN MAKE SO MUCH MONEY JUST LIKE THOSE TV EVANGELISTS. I CAN WRITE MY OWN BIBLE BOOK BECAUSE RELIGIOUS GROUPS BELIEVE WHAT THEY READ ON BIBLE BOOKS AND SELL IT TO THEM. SET UP EVENTS AND CHARGE THEM LIKE CONCERTS BECAUSE THEY WANT TO HERE FAIRYTALES. AFTER THIS, I CAN BUY MANSIONS, PRIVATE JETS, EXOTIC CARS,AND DINE OUT AT FANCY PLACES

    November 30, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • and

      if you ever get caught you can claim human weakness and ask for forgiveness and bring in even more money great gig if you can stomach it as someone once said

      November 30, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  2. grist

    If you need evidence that we evolved rather than designed by a god, then take a look at the recurrent laryngeal nerve. Because of the way the nervous system evolved, it takes a very indirect path rather than a direct path. It actually descends into the thorax and then has to do a loop before supplying the laryngeal muscles (voice box). In a giraffe, it is 15 feet long when it could have taken a direct route and traveled only an inch or so. Really poor design but explainable based on evolution.Either we were not designed by gods or they had a really good sense of humor or did not take a course in how to design animals.

    November 30, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • Ru

      very interesting 🙂

      November 30, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • fred

      There are several reasons for this loop and it is not a design error. If you change the loop you need to change the design of the embryo (loop necessary in early formation). So basically you are suggesting we throw the human out and redesign man beginning with the embryonic stage. Ah, you are more god than God rather than an atheist.

      November 30, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Nonimus

      What redesign? I thought God created humans literally from the ground up. Why would he need to "redesign" the embryo when there was no previous being's "design" to "re" design?

      November 30, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Nonimus

      That was intended for @fred, by the way.

      November 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • fred

      Nonimus
      Grist suggested the excess length of the recurrent laryngeal nerve as cause to discredit God as creator. Current thought is that the length is due to necessity during embryonic development. Thus to change this we need to change everything from embryo forward. Grist would become god “creator” of the new perfectly designed man.

      As to God creating a new body for us that is Biblical and will happen after the end of days. Lots of speculation of what the new and improved design will be yet the writers of the Bible did not give us much to go one. Best I can tell we will be like Christ an image that intentionally was not provided.

      November 30, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • grist

      Fred,
      Have you heard that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny? That is, the embryological development you speak of is because the evolution of higher animals is dependent on what came before and during fetal development, we go sort of go through how things evolved. For example, we humans develop tails like but lose them as the fetus develops. BTW, I am a neurologist who also has a PhD in neuroscience.

      November 30, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      lol @fred. It's scary/funny to think about how sincere you sound about the nonsense you espouse.

      November 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • fred

      @Grist
      I thought they called that Haeckel's lie for a reason. Are you suggesting it is back on the table again?
      My thought was the excess loop was a necessity in development when elongating from a blastocyst. Visually one could attribute it to “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny “ however, in either case it clearly was a development necessity not a mistake of design.

      On another topic there has been some talk that the ability to “see” God (i.e. faith / belief) has a bio neurologic basis that can explain why some individuals are predisposed to belief in God while others cannot comprehend this unknown. Have you stumbled across any new research in this area (real study not the “god helmet” neurotheology)?

      November 30, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @grist,
      I hate to agree with @fred, but that recapitulation concept has been discredited, as far as I know.

      November 30, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • grist

      It is no lie that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.

      There are some studies of PET scans showing that when people are experiencing religious "moments", brain areas light up. They do this with meditation too. That our brains light up when thinking religion does not imply that beliefs in gods is real.

      November 30, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      "My thought was the excess loop was a necessity in development when elongating from a blastocyst."
      The explanation of *how* the loop forms, i.e. it being dragged downward along with the aorta, but that does not explain why it goes underneath the aorta in the first place. If one were to redesign the human body, would it not make sense to the RLN branch off the va.gus nerve earlier and go around the other side of the aorta, therefore eliminating the unnecessary migration downward with the aorta? Especially since during development the difference between over and under the aorta must be fairly minute.

      As I understand it, the best reason for why this happens is that this is a developmental throwback to our fish ancestry. (This is not recapitulation as that concept requires the embryo to fully revisit all stages of our evolutionary history, which does not happen.)

      November 30, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      "...the ability to 'see' God (i.e. faith / belief) has a bio neurologic basis..."

      There has been research that indicates neurological evidence of so-called spiritual experiences, however, if true and we take it a step further it should be possible to cause those spritual experiences with the proper stimulation of the brain. I.e. no god required.

      November 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • fred

      Grist
      The areas light up differently for different individuals for various reasons. Clearly not everyone has the same capacity to experience “God” regardless of the existence of God. Can we agree on that?

      November 30, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • fred

      Nonimus
      I always thought it would be nice to be overwhelmed by “God” as I often see some people become. I have very few of those experiences. My thought was that there are many levels of ability to experience “God” that may well fit a typical bell curve. In that case there would be some that are a few standard deviations from the mean. Would a remarkable percentage of atheists fall outside three standard deviations? I use 3 because it is a Biblical number and I like the color red and green.

      November 30, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      I'm not sure how that applies. The degree of experience by the individual seems immaterial to me, with the possible exception of susceptibility to spiritual claims. If the experience, to whatever degree, is reproducible by natural methods then doesn't that at least reduce, if not eliminate, the likelihood that god(s) exists.

      November 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • grist

      Fred,
      I have little doubt that my brain lights up in the same areas when I have feelings similar to religious feelings such as watching my children being born or looking up at the stars at night and the vastness of space. The areas that light up have to do with time and space and people hypothesize that religious experiences are ones where time and space is "transcended". Whatever that means!

      November 30, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @grist

      I love space

      November 30, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  3. K

    "I would say that you are an atheist as well, I just believe in one less god then you do. Tell me why you don't believe in all other religions of the past gods and i will tell you why I don't believe in yours." – I forget who exactly said it but its a damn good quote

    November 29, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • John

      I believe in Jesus who gives me a chance to be saved from my sins by just believing in Him. I have also experienced His miracle works in my life. That's the reason I don't believe in past gods. So what's yours?

      November 30, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • tallulah13

      If I hurt someone accidentally (I've long outgrown hurting others on purpose) I apologize and make amends to them. That pretty much covers the sins. You don't need a god as a middle-man to do the right thing. In fact, far too many christians think it's okay just to "get right with Jesus" instead of "getting right" with the people they actually damage.

      November 30, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Matt

      Richard Dawkins 🙂

      November 30, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • John

      If it is that simple to wipe the sins by apologizing and all sins go poof regardless of how small or big the sins are (who make that decision anyway).....then we don't need Jesus. The problem is that it is not that simple and that's why we need Jesus to help us.

      We have lived peacefully here long enough and we don't see any big intervention from God thus it makes us think that there is no need for God or Jesus to broker the sin-forgiving things. Even if God did make a big intervention and we get the opportunity to see that, we may believe it at that time but we will forget it again after 10 years of living peacefully.... it is written in all human histories....when they can do everything by themselves, they start thinking they are god.

      And to think that Christian never sin is all wrong. Believe it or not they continue to sin because they are as human as the atheists are. As human our tendency is always to sin and Jesus patiently forgive them if they repent.

      November 30, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      If you truly need this jesus fellow, then you've completely missed the point of life on earth, and will have wasted your short time here believing in dreams and magic, but never quite learning to love the real world which is a wonderful, fantastic place. I don't believe in or need jesus, and my life here is still a beautiful gift, that I'm so lucky to have had.

      Your inevitable and burned-in response, upon reading this - that I'm going to be eternally punished for not believing in this cat - is a marketing campaign invented by clever preachers in the 1st century, and has no effect on my life.

      December 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • John

      Two crab A and B live in a humongous dome called earth. After 30 to 80 years of living peacefully and with all the food to take when needed, both start arguing about their existence in this dome and what would be there outside the dome. Having limited knowledge of the universe and the reasons of their being inside the dome, they start theorizing of their existence with their limited knowledge. Both enjoy the illusion of their arguments.

      Crab A is betting that live starts and ends inside the dome and nothing else. Crab B is betting that live starts inside the dome and end outside the dome. One day, the dome is opened. Crab A is placed in a forever hot boiling water while Crab B is released to the forever ocean.

      Crab A is playing a high stake bet and risking its final stage of live. The short happy live inside the dome has blinded Crab A on the agony of its final live if it loses the bet. Crab B is playing a safe bet as it can still live happily inside the dome and lose nothing on its final live bet.

      December 2, 2011 at 1:44 am |
  4. Believe It

    Atheism shouldn't even be a word. There is no 'non-astrologers' or 'non-alchemists'. We don't have words for people who doubt Elvis is still alive. Atheism is the noise made by reasonable people in the presence of unjustifiable religious beliefs.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Wait, so I'm not an aunicornist either?

      December 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • fred

      That is more politically correct over the original when atheos was used as a term of censure roughly meaning "ungodly" or "impious".

      December 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  5. Believe It

    Awesome. He nailed it. Religion was created to deal with the fear of death. Was a great income generator too. "You wanna pray? You pay. You want a few days less spent in purgatory? Pay a fee and we'll give you a certificate saying you don't have to spend so much time in purgatory."

    November 29, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  6. helloeyes

    What a ridiculous article.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  7. Tony

    Stop for a moment to admire the creativity of how we were made. Our existence and life in general is a miracle that is light years beyond our perception or reality. If you need visual proof of a higher power, then you will be waiting a very long time. We can't even prove how particles exist as they do on a quantum level let alone how the universe was created. Do yourself a favor and try thinking out of the box. Science is slowly disproving our current perception of reality.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • myklds

      Very well said, Sir.

      November 29, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Amused

      Science may be disproving YOUR perception of reality, but it is strengthening mine with each new discovery!

      November 29, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  8. What terrifies an atheist?

    Loneliness, that's why they are here.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Really?

      "Loneliness, that's why they are here."

      Nope, it's to debunk everything christians write to show the world it's nothing but a man made concept taken from other pagan religions in order to control other men and sucker them out of their money. It's a billion dollar industry. DUH!

      November 29, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Wello F. Course

      Nope you are here just to bash religion with the purpose of either to solicit attention or to have company in your loneliness and misery. OR both!

      November 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Nah. I probably should spend less time on the computer and more time in reality. However, I won't stand by and let ignorant people make patently untrue statements about my life. What is it with you christians and your lying? Isn't that against one of the 10 commandments?

      November 30, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • fred

      Tallulah13
      Why do you assume it is a Christian that made such a comment? The Devil goes about in sheep’s clothing for many purposes. When you look at all the bad examples of Christianity it causes some to turn from a Holy God – that is intent of the evil.

      November 30, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Matt

      As an atheist I have to say....My perception of reality is enlightened....You want true enlightenment? Go learn something....STOP MAKING NONSENSE UP......The dinosaurs were real.....The earth is 4.5 billion years old....The universe took 13.7 billion years to get to this point basically saying that earth didn't exist until 9.2 billion years after what we consider a pretty good theory...the big bang....7 days to make every thing? no.....Matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed....IT'S AGAINST THE LAWS NATURE.....And if god is so holy and all knowing...How come he didn't tell us the earth was spherical ?....That we revolve around the sun?....Or that we're made of stardust?....That would have proven that he knew before we knew....BUT GUESS WHAT....man didn't know these things....so your god didn't know either....Men were not created by god....God was created by man....by this I mean god doesn't exist because nothing can be created....a little joke for you out there that align themselves with us....

      November 30, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • fred

      Matt
      “In the beginning God created” – That includes the nothingness of Lawrence Kraus. Speaking of foolishness the great brains of today change like the passing wind in just about everything claimed to be true at some previous point. Last I heard the consensus was that the universe is flat and string theory is out the window.
      God never changes and already knows what was and what will be. We serve a living God who is. The Bible says man will serve God or mammon. It is your master (mammon) that is manmade not God. I am happy to tell you I serve (not to well at times) God. Why do you hide the fact you serve mammon?

      November 30, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      "God never changes and already knows what was and what will be. We serve a living God who is. "
      I thought that to be alive meant change. How can God live and yet not change?

      November 30, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • fred

      Nonimus
      With the exception of Jesus God is outside our time and space. This is why in the Bible God is working through and in his creation. When leading the chosen ones God was reflected in the fire at night and in the cloud during the day. The radiance of God was on Moses face when he came down from the mountain. These days, since Christ, God speaks through the Bible and through the Holy Spirit that indwells the believer. I guess you could say we have evolved or changed from a people that could only understand external visual signs to a more spiritual inward understanding. In short God is the same we are on a journey of greater understanding of the spiritual and physical world around us.

      November 30, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      "With the exception of Jesus God is outside our time and space."
      First, why exactly do you think God is outside our time and space?
      Second, if He is, then 'living' is meaningless, is it not?

      This is probably just semantics, so if "it's a figure of speech" applies, I'm okay with that.

      November 30, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • fred

      Nonimus
      The Bible is a closed loop; God creates a place for man, knows man will reject God, states in the first book that through the seed of the woman Jesus will redeem man, 66 books latter Jesus redeems man and we back in unity with God in a new Garden prepared for us. On an individual basis God said “for I knew you before I knit your bones together in the womb” or as to prayer I know your prayers before you ask. Individual free will can only exist alongside an omnipotent God if the resultant cause and effect of the exercise of free will was already known. This can only happen if God sits outside our time and space knowing what is about to happen as an event that has already happened. A closed loop viewable from any perspective of time in any direction.

      November 30, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      So your reasoning that God is outside of space and time is based on the belief that an omniscient God exists and S/He gave you free will?
      Without an omniscient God or without freewill, S/He can exist within our space and time?

      November 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • fred

      Nonimus
      “So your reasoning that God is outside of space and time is based on the belief that an omniscient God exists and S/He gave you free will?”
      -no, it is one of many reasons. The Bible also says God always was and always will be thus no beginning or end vs our known time and space of 14 billion or so years. God created the heavens and earth ordering time periods of day and night then made man resting on the 7th day (man was made and put in space and time that was created) . Before kicking Adam and Eve out of the Garden God said we must limit mans days on earth. Many subsequent references to end of days followed. Christ could not die and rose again. After this life man will spend eternity with or without God, etc. etc.

      “Without an omniscient God or without freewill, S/He can exist within our space and time?”
      -If God is not omniscient it is all nonsense. If man has no freewill everyone is still in the Garden living a perfect existence.
      Christ became man and in this way did exist in our time and space. The Holy Spirit exists in our time and space

      November 30, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Dave Dawson

      "The dinosaurs were real."

      @ Math

      I doubt it! There's no EYEWITNESS, even a single one, who can truly tell that they exist.

      November 30, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • Really?

      "doubt it! There's no EYEWITNESS, even a single one, who can truly tell that they exist."

      Ok this has got to be the STUPIDEST comment I have seen on these boards. So moron, where did all the fossils come from? LMAO!

      November 30, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I don't think Dave was paying attention in school.

      December 1, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • nown

      @fred,

      The Bible is inconsistent and unreliable as evidence. "God created the heavens and earth...", but apparently out of order, at least according to the Bible, light before stars and both birds and flowers before animals. And, that's just in the first chapter.

      The Bible also said that Jacob wrestled with God, so wouldn't that place Him within our space-time? Is that just more inconsistency or did Jacob leave our space-time for that match?

      "If God is not omniscient it is all nonsense."
      How so? If He is omnipotent, omnipresent, and just really really smart, why would he need to be omniscient as well? He should be able to handle everything on-the-fly so to speak.

      "If man has no freewill everyone is still in the Garden living a perfect existence."
      Who says? Just because you assume we were created in the garden and then got kick out? Where's you evidence of that?

      December 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      The Bible is inconsistent and unreliable as evidence. "God created the heavens and earth...", but apparently out of order, at least according to the Bible, light before stars and both birds and flowers before animals. And, that's just in the first chapter.

      The Bible also said that Jacob wrestled with God, so wouldn't that place Him within our space-time? Is that just more inconsistency or did Jacob leave our space-time for that match?

      "If God is not omniscient it is all nonsense."
      How so? If He is omnipotent, omnipresent, and just really really smart, why would he need to be omniscient as well? He should be able to handle everything on-the-fly so to speak.

      "If man has no freewill everyone is still in the Garden living a perfect existence."
      Who says? Just because you assume we were created in the garden and then got kick out? Where's you evidence of that?

      December 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • fred

      Nown
      Not sure what you mean by God created out of order. There are two lines on beginning so I will cover that separately.

      Jacob wrestled with a “man” most likely and angel of the Lord. Hard to say how much of this was physical or spiritual but, the symbolism is of most importance and most likely the reason it is written as it is. Jacob would have died if it was God so it clearly was not God (man cannot see God and live even Moses had to hide) – thus no time space matchup issue.

      If God is not omniscient God is flawed which contradicts perfection – a flawed god is nonsense.

      The Bible is based on the fall of Adam and Eve. No freewill = no fall = no bible story necessary.

      December 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Wow

      "Jacob wrestled with a “man” most likely and angel of the Lord. Hard to say how much of this was physical or spiritual but, the symbolism is of most importance and most likely the reason it is written as it is. Jacob would have died if it was God so it clearly was not God (man cannot see God and live even Moses had to hide) – thus no time space matchup issue.

      If God is not omniscient God is flawed which contradicts perfection – a flawed god is nonsense.

      The Bible is based on the fall of Adam and Eve. No freewill = no fall = no bible story necessary."

      The more you post and make up shit the more it becomes really apparent your imagination has taken a vacation. Wow – the bible is a complete JOKE. It's really scary to know crazy people like you exist and are part of this world. You write like you're two years old still believing in Santa Claus.

      December 1, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      "Not sure what you mean by God created out of order."
      I mean simply that God's supposed Word does not match His supposed Works, i.e. the description of events in Genesis does not match what we find in nature and in the geologic strata.

      "Jacob wrestled with a 'man' most likely and angel of the Lord."
      Odd then how many versions of the Bible show a heading for Gen 32:22 of "Jacob Wrestles With God". Are you sure you interpreted that correctly?

      "...a flawed god is nonsense."
      Why?

      "No freewill = no fall = no bible story necessary."
      Assuming God exists. Assuming the Bible is His word. Assuming He is honest. Assuming He didn't "design" us to fall, which woud just be mean. etc.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      "Not sure what you mean by God created out of order."
      I mean simply that God's supposed Word does not match His supposed Works, i.e. the description of events in Genesis does not match what we find in nature and in the geologic strata.

      "Jacob wrestled with a 'man' most likely and angel of the Lord."
      Odd then how many versions of the Bible show a heading for Gen 32:22 of "Jacob Wrestles With God". Are you sure you interpreted that correctly?

      "...a flawed god is nonsense."
      Why?

      "No freewill = no fall = no bible story necessary."
      Assuming God exists. Assuming the Bible is His word. Assuming He is honest. Assuming He didn't "design" us to fall, which woud just be mean. etc. etc.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • Nonimus

      Sorry, for the double post, been having issues with this site recently.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • fred

      Nonimus
      I imagine you have heard or read all the Christian excuses for the apparent mismatch of the creation story vs. geologic strata and nature. The nature part is easy and does not conflict with the order of evolution since the Hebrew word for vegetation and animals is very broad. Either way the main purpose was to show order and structure in relationships among the observable life. Geologic strata given the age of the earth and the universe makes it hard to hold the line at 6,000 years ago even though I believe God is capable of moving matter and time in any direction to make it so. The Bible has a lot of escape hatches in the event we are hit with another flood of scientific findings (perhaps that is proof of its Divinity).
      The Bible has a break point after “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” …….now, the spirit was hovering over the formless void. That could mean anything from nothingness at the beginning with God triggering a big bang to something much more interesting. There is mention in the Bible of a battle with God and the angels (Lucifer) long before the Garden of Eden. This battle destroyed much of the beautiful earth and heavens that existed. In other words the heavens and earth that God created in the beginning was now a dark place devoid of life (this follows the general theme of what happens to life without God). Then God put this chaos back in order when God said let there be light …yadda yadda. This accounts for all the geology, the fossils man has discovered and will discover on our planet (includes the oil deposits etc). Man is simply digging around in this “old” earth where dinosaurs etc .roamed. Notice further down where God “made” man from what was created earlier. The Bible makes important distinctions on important items and made vs. created have significance.
      You said "Jacob Wrestles With God". Are you sure you interpreted that correctly?”
      The story does not change if “God” was Jesus as some say or the spirit of God in a man or an angel of God or a spiritual head pounding by Jacob on rock all alone. I personally do not think it was God himself.
      I say if God was imperfect it is all nonsense because the only revelation I have of God is from the Bible. The Bible is clear on perfection this is not a translation or denomination issue. If God is not perfect then I am back to being an agnostic or atheist.

      December 2, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      I really don't understand people's thinking sometimes. I mean on one hand you say things like, "...the Hebrew word for vegetation and animals is very broad" and "The Bible has a lot of escape hatches...". And, then you say that the minutest detail is important such as, "The Bible has a break point after [Gen 1:1]" or "made vs. created have significance."

      This confuses me because the Bible does spell out multiple types of plants and animals. If there is no distinction between fruit-bearing plants, non-fruit-bearing plants, whales, birds, and animals, then why is it stated that way in the Bible; surely a mistranslation from Hebrew would have been corrected by now. The fossils and geology make it pretty clear that non-fruit-bearing land plants (~475 millions of years ago) came before land animals (~300-400 mya) which came before birds (~150 mya) which came before fruit-bearing (flowering) plants (~130 mya) which came before whales (~50 mya).

      Now, your "escape hatches" may seem like "perhaps... proof of its Divinity" to you, but I think even you might consider them ambiguous and va.gue, capable of identifying everything and nothing, if they had come from a psychic or a fortune cookie. Or perhaps not.
      But the Bible is full of such equivocation, like the made vs. created distinction; it seems to me that, in referring to man, both "made" and "created" are used (Gen 1:26-27).

      Also, there appear to be "break point[s]" after every verse in Genesis, does that mean that anything could have happened between each one? Why put so much significance on the first one? I would propose that the significance was strictly a means of dealing with very apparent contradiction between Genesis and Geology (before Evolution even showed up in its Darwinian form, mind you.)

      However, even if there were billions of years between Gen 1:1 and 1:2, how does that account "...for all the geology, the fossils man has discovered and will discover on our planet (includes the oil deposits etc)?" Are you saying that there was death and sin before Adam and Eve screwed up? I'm not certain how disease, still births, meteorite impacts, volcanoes, drought, etc. fit into a perfect, or even a "very good" universe. It is what it is, neither good nor bad.

      So you, "personally do not think it was God himself"? But, apparently, others of similar faith do. And, I personally don't believe it happened at all. So which version is true? If it doesn't matter which version is true, then why is it in the Bible?

      "I say if God was imperfect it is all nonsense because the only revelation I have of God is from the Bible... If God is not perfect then I am back to being an agnostic or atheist."

      This is what it all boils down to isn't it. You choose to believe your interpretation of the Bible. Unfortunately (fortunately?), that does not make it true.

      December 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • fred

      Nonimus
      There is enough in the Bible to keep an avid theologian spinning verses in his head for a lifetime. That same Bible is simple enough that one of limited intelligence could understand it. Seek and you shall find Jesus said. One can look at the Bible and find foolishness while another sees a life altering treasure of wisdom. I found a life altering treasure, words of God revealed to me. The process of searching reveals the truth in the searchers heart as much as it does the truth of God.
      I am constantly told that is not what the Bible is saying because; that is a point of ancient history not revelation, that applies to the people of Nazareth not you, or you’re looking at the Hebrew not Greek translation, etc. Verse 1.1 in Genesis seems simple enough” In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” then Verse 2 “Now, the earth was formless…….At one point it was enough for me to know God created everything in 6 days about 6,000 years ago. You know the earth is older, much older and you just happen to revisit Genesis and an alarm goes off. God does not make mistakes and the Bible is right. I note the odd shift in Verse 2, do some research and see a small % of theologians believe this means God put the earth in order again following some galactic event then creating the Garden for Adam. Hey, sounds good, does not change the core truth of anything in the Bible plus explains the geology/fossil problem. I am done with that because this piece of new information does not impact anything so I move on. An atheist will not let it go this easy because a 6,000 year creation period was the core of the atheist truth that the bible is wrong. The atheist and Christian cannot have the same truth. The atheist must set out to disprove what was meant by “now” and will find disproof or lack of acceptable evidence. The truth of God has not changed and the truth as the atheist and I know it has not changed. The condition of our hearts has been revealed as we did seek and did find.

      December 5, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      I'm not certain what you are trying to say. I agree that the Bible can be interpreted in many ways, e.g. theologians or we of limited intelligence, but to me that makes it less reliable and believable, not more.

      You said, "Hey, [Gap creationism] sounds good, does not change the core truth of anything in the Bible plus explains the geology/fossil problem."
      Unfortunately, as I pointed out in my previous posting, it does not explain the "geology/fossil problem."

      Seek and you shall find, does not mean wish and it will be true. If you want to claim the Bible as 'spritual truth,' then I won't argue the point. However, if the Bible is used as a history book, science text, legal docu.ment, or even an informal social contract, then it needs to stand on it's own and not on it being 'God's word' or 'the Truth,' unless you can show that to be true with evidence and logic.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • fred

      "You said, "Hey, [Gap creationism] sounds good, does not change the core truth of anything in the Bible plus explains the geology/fossil problem."
      Unfortunately, as I pointed out in my previous posting, it does not explain the "geology/fossil problem."

      =>Simply put “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” which is the earth out of which geologists, paleontologists, etc. have been digging around in these past years. It contains all the stuff you are referring to and possibly in the time period currently assumed. All life on that earth ended as a result of the fallen angel (Lucifer) on a physical basis. Now, God brought order back to this chaos over a 6 day period in creating an environment for Adam. Our science cannot pinpoint the time of that event and probably will not in our lifetime. We can use 4,000 BC or 8,000BC (due to Cain’s use of bronze tools) as that date but there is no proof. Personally since God “spoke” all this into existence we may just find everyone was off base somehow. God certainly could weave the past and future into any creation desired. Given this I look for the spiritual applications of Genesis as God is spirit.
      The above is not a common interpretation of “in the beginning” as most theologians see the break between 1.1 and 1.2 as classic Hebrew writing style. They also see Lucifer as being thrown down to earth in the 4,000 BC year time frame even though there is no time line for the event in the Bible.

      December 6, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      "All life on that earth ended as a result of the fallen angel (Lucifer) on a physical basis. Now, God brought order back to this chaos over a 6 day period in creating an environment for Adam."

      Oh, He re-created it. Ok, I see what you were saying now. (took me long enough, huh?)

      I suppose, for an all powerful being, that might fit, but that is an awful lot of stuff, 4.5+ billion years, to fit into a single period at the end of a sentence. And, God would have had to, for some reason, re-create all life on earth in almost the exact same state that the last one finished, otherwise we would have seen the event in the geologic strata.
      I think that is called an ad-hoc fallacy, or "just so story".

      December 6, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • fred

      Nonimus
      Looks like we are making progress as the 6 day creation is beginning to sound better than some alternative "just-so story"!

      The story of the Bible (God redeeming a chosen people for Himself) draws a real good picture of the God of Abraham and the plan of redemption. The ad-hoc version above was one from Arthur W. Pink written at the time when the new found geology of the earth threatened the creation account. I find the power of the Bible in its simple understandable expressions. “In the beginning God created”. Power packed words that tell us a great deal. It answers the question who made God – “In the beginning God”. To this date we still do not have a better answer. Until recently it was a simple well accepted statement of fact. These words also do something unique to the “first cause” in that it makes the first cause personal. Can you actually read that without sensing a personal attribute? “God created” is a personal process not some cold “first cause” that carries design and purpose with it. We have the order of God ,then creation. This is where mans problem in understanding God today rests. Man fails to have reverence for the Order which comes from God down to us. Man looks up with his thoughts and ideas about God and creation failing to take God for who God is.
      I would love to see the original Hebrew writings on just these opening words. When I see what the church did to the Hebrew word for “sphere” in Isaiah to make it appear flat in keeping with their constraints on science I can only imagine what those first words in Genesis were.

      December 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      Sorry for the slow response. On the chance that you're still checking this thread...

      Is that sarcasm in the first line? I'm not always sure. Anyway, I prefer to avoid "just-so stories" altogether and look for what actually happened.

      I'm not sure about the power of the statement, but "In the beginning God created..." doesn't answer much of anything. Not who is God, where did He come from, beginning of what, who/what began it, how did God create, etc.

      I'm also not sure what you mean by, "what the church did to the Hebrew word for 'sphere' in Isaiah." My understanding is that there is no word in biblical Hebrew for the word sphere, but Isaiah clearly uses circle (http://biblos.com/isaiah/40-22.htm). The nearest thing to sphere is apparently the word ball as in Isaiah 22:18 (http://biblos.com/isaiah/22-18.htm).

      December 9, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  9. MORTIMER

    Jesus rose from the dead, whats he on about ?

    November 29, 2011 at 9:48 am |
  10. Religionist

    What terrifies an atheists?

    Who cares?

    November 29, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  11. Al Gore

    Being VP of the USA was quite a thrill but an even bigger thrill is being a gay atheist.

    November 29, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • BushWagen

      Yes 99% of the atheists population are gay. They hate the Bible and God just because of what is written in Leviticus 20:13

      November 29, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • Nonimus

      Is this supposed to offend someone? While I think your statistics are total BS, the result is the same:
      So... what's your point?

      November 30, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  12. Josh

    An atheist fears being told that there is God...that he might wake up one day to realise that what he has vehemently opposed all along is actually true. Atheist basically fear the existence of God

    November 29, 2011 at 8:29 am |
    • Mirosal

      Are you an Atheist, Josh?

      November 29, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • Huh?

      "Atheist basically fear the existence of God"

      Christians basically fear the existence of gays

      Christians basically fear the existence of Allah

      Christians basically fear the existence of Zues

      Christians basically fear the existence of Thor

      Christians basically fear the existence of Valdemort.

      November 29, 2011 at 8:39 am |
    • Frank

      "Atheist basically fear the existence of God"

      You can't fear something that doesn't exist. What gets me is evangelist fundamentalist christian who is drowning in ignorance from following a book written 2000 years ago that is not relevant to this century.

      November 29, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • Mike

      @Frank: He said fear the existence of God, not fear God. His post makes sense (even though I disagree with it), yours, however, does not.

      November 29, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • BRC

      I'll skip past the obvious fact that atheists don't fear what they don't believe, and give you another perspective. Even if there was/is a god or gods, I don't fear them because I am quite certain that none of the religions are right. They all claim that a being of infinite power is concerned with the minutia of the thoughts and worship of the tiny little specks that we humans are. That alone doesn't make sense, but even if you accept that suposition, to believe that a perdfect or infalible being would form religions with as many falicies and contradictions as those we see today, or would care about anything other than how humans lived their lives- pushes the whole concept into absurdity.

      So no, I don't fear god, because there is no reason to. I lead a good life, and wether or not there are any gods, that is all that can or should be asked be asked of anyone.

      November 29, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      We do not fear god. We fear its followers...they are the dangerous ones!

      November 29, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • rick

      how can anyone fear something in which they do not believe?

      November 30, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Nonimus

      There are solid rational reasons to question the existence of God and little to no reason to believe. If God does exist and doesn't like the results of thinking rationally, then He should have made the universe fit better with His existence, or made humans less rational.

      November 30, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I think our Josh is just projecting. He fears god because he was taught to since he was a little child, and he thinks everyone else must be running in terror as well. Not quite Josh.

      December 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  13. Richie

    What scares me is all the fruits that live in America and want to change the laws that the country was founded upon. Just do a favor and get the heck out.

    November 29, 2011 at 7:26 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      And exactly what laws would those be that you are referring to?

      November 29, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Amused

      You mean the laws of FREEDOM? You know, FREEDOM to believe as you wish without absurd nonsense constantly shoved down my throat? The FREEDOM to believe science without being told that I am not "Patriotic" if I don't follow YOUR particular flavor of silliness? Those Laws? The laws that religious fanatics try to ignore?

      November 29, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  14. Flamespeak

    Faith is an impressive and powerful thing that people can call upon to see them through some of the most troubling times in their lives. I have seen the power of faith keep people moving when everything is telling them to stop, to give up. You see it in people who fight cancer and other diseases with an iron will, you see it in people who take terrible conditions (be it socio-economic or others) and make them into something desirable. It isn't required to have faith in a higher power to power through these situations, but to be utterly refuse the power that a deep faith in a belief can cause people to do wonderous things is something that borders on insane to me. This is coming from someone who has been considered an atheist for over 20 years.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:11 am |
    • BRC

      I agree that a person's personal faith is a very powerful and important factor in our lives (faith doesn't have to be in the supernatural, you can have faith that the people around you will be there when you need them). I have no problem with faith at all, it's religion that bothers me.

      November 29, 2011 at 8:39 am |
    • logicalchris

      How do you explain the tremendous power of survival will in animals? i.e. A rat willing to chew off it's leg to free itself of a trap. Is that faith too? Consider your argument officially shot down now please. Thanks.

      November 29, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • ScienceSoma

      Though it is one instance, Christopher Hitchens seems to be trudging through his cancer diagnosis and treatment quite well, and his atheism is well intact.

      November 30, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  15. SimpleJerry

    Living in the modern country makes people using their logic (reasoning) more often than their faith. May be, may be if the atheist could live in a third country where magic and all sort of mysteries still happen in people's live daily (e.g. you can make a girl love you with magic, steal money with magic, becomes rich with magic, kill person with magic etc.) then may be they will believe there is something more powerful beyond them (be it God or Satan). I am sure the atheist will argue to this statement and use their logic to prove those are all lies. One thing for sure the atheist can never use magic or do things that these third country people can do with their magic because the atheist lack of a basic ingredient to do that and it is called faith (be it to God or Satan).

    So in short, what terrifies atheist most is an existence of powerful being in and after life.

    One after thought though...most comments from atheist are so rude, hostile, and full of anger.....it scares me that if the atheist win and hold the country we will be living like in Iran, China or win Russia

    November 28, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • MikeHuntEsq

      "May be, may be if the atheist could live in a third country where magic and all sort of mysteries still happen in people's live daily"
      Hahahahahahaha, good one!

      November 29, 2011 at 7:49 am |
    • Zeke2112

      You mean the same Iran where the religious hold all the power and crush anyone who does not follow Islamic law to the letter? LOL. I think you meant what will happen if the Christians take full control.

      Oh, wait. They already have. That explains all the civil rights being denied to non-Christians.

      November 29, 2011 at 9:23 am |
  16. johnnnn

    religion is the opiate of the masses. it is a defense mechanism that allows you to not be afraid of the great unknown that all of us face: death. how convenient is it that through "faith" we can live forever? faith in what? God? A being who cannot or will not step in to stop things we intrisically know are wrong? Religion is a crutch that allows you to assuage the fear of death, and assuage the wrong choices you yourself make in life. Did you just do something really bad like curse someone out, or get into a fight, or get someone pregnant? Well repent! ALL IS MAGICALLY FORGIVEN! it is a defense mechanism borne out of necessity because of the battle we all fight each day of society (and its expectations) vs. the Id and ego brain.

    November 28, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  17. KeithTexas

    I am afraid of the Fundamentalist of every religion. The Evangelicals, the Islamist, Zionist Jews, and any other fundamentalists you can think of. The reason they are scary is because they do not think or reason and they hate everyone who is not them. Most organized Religion falls into the same category. Through out history Religion has been used to destroy, that doesn’t sound like the action of a god that cared enough to create the human race.

    What I am not afraid of is a loving god who created the Universe and all that is in it.

    November 28, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • mickey1313

      I agree with the fear of fanatics, but I am of the openion that all thiesm is equally corosave and distructive.

      November 28, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  18. Twofry

    what really terrifies an atheist? The idea that God might actually exist... and you've been denying his existance all your life.

    November 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Yo!

      You can't be terrified of something that doesn't exist. Are you terrified that Santa Claus really exists, that you've been naughty and won't get presents this year?

      November 28, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • GodPot

      @Yo! – But is it not better to believe in Santa just in case you "might" get presents, I mean, a person who doesn't believe has 0 chance of getting presents from the workshop at the North Pole... and the person who believes has the same chance of getting elf made gifts but isn't the thought that they might get something a more comforting way to live?

      Yes, this comment was made to point out the moronic fallacy that belief itself is some sort of reward.

      November 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      What about the people who once were God-Fearing but rejected mythology for logic?
      For those raised without religion – how should they pick the One Truth out of countless, unprovable options?
      Eenie, meenie, miney – Quetzlcoatl....

      November 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Twofry, you have no idea what you are talking about. Most atheists began as believers but couldn't hang onto that particular fantasy in the face of reality. Christians are the ones that fear god. As I'm sure you've been told before, atheists don't believe in any god. Please try to remember that little fact, as statements like your original post make you look stupid.

      November 28, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • mickey1313

      um, no, there are many things in this world that scare me, (like the upcomeing LiLo PB shoot) but god is not one of them. There would be some proof, at some point somewhere on earth in the past 2k years that would point to god if he were real. For that not to be true, then god created everything, INCLUDING the evidance that "creation" is natural and hapened over billions of years, just to try to trick us? if so, why worship a deceiving liar.

      November 28, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  19. dave

    This was stupid

    November 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Alex

      Agree... this is completely stupid. Atheism is enlightenment and we'll all get along with one another once we all become enlightened. Burn your church.

      November 29, 2011 at 2:33 am |
    • Maverick

      Alex,

      Oh, please enlighten us with your delusional views of how there is no God. I can prove to you in numerous ways how there is, and this proof is all around you, but alas, you will continue to deny the fact.

      November 29, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • Mirosal

      @ Maverick ... ok... enlighten us. You said you have proof. If you do you'd be the first. What do you have?

      November 29, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      The real issue is entirely based around one question. Is there a God? Atheists say "No...I don't believe that." Theists say "Yes...and I KNOW it." There is a BIG difference between belief and knowledge. But let's just take a look at the possibilities.
      Clearly it is either true or not true. God is real or God is imaginary. The problem is when a theist approaches the problem they assign an equal likelyhood to both sides of the equation. That is wrong...it isn't a 50/50 proposition.

      For the atheist it is a null hypothesis. We suspend belief on the grounds that no empirical evidence exists to demonstrate the existence of a God or gods. It is exactly the same reasoning for rejecting anything else that lacks evidence...like bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster or UFO abductions.

      Theists on the other hand use FAITH as a foundation for accepting their belief. Faith is acceptance without proof.

      Both positions are not falsifiable. Seems like an impasse doesn't it? But there is a problem. The stance of the atheist side of the equation is not only the default but also singular. Not so for the theist. History shows that man has worshiped thousands of different gods. Indeed the range of all possible existent gods is quite literally infinite. Deities like Zeus, Odin, Ra, Yahweh and every other possible god are all equally non-falsifiable. That means that the probability relationship between the atheist and theist positions is 1 to 1 / (infinity) or essentially zero. Certainly the possibility of a god existing isn't zero but the theists decision to pick just one(the right one) is vanishingly small. Further without any empirical means to differentiate between all possible gods means that any one of them is equally likely to exist. Which is to say not likely at all.

      November 29, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • Zeke2112

      Steve, you argument requires the acceptance that the concept of a god is a valid one. Alas, it is not, having been created by scared men who could not understand the world and the human condition. Once mankind accepts the facts that religion is not required for morality and that it's okay to die and move on, religion will fall away as all other crutches for the human psyche have.

      November 29, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Actually Zeke the concept is valid. Anything that can be imagined is true as a concept. It is the probability of the concept being real that is being addressed in the argument. That's where I demonstrate how unlikely the god concept really is.

      November 29, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  20. Bob

    fred, no, I won't let you get away with slithering away from your earlier statement. You have already stated that your god is unfair. Are you now reversing that statement?

    November 28, 2011 at 12:47 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.