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Study: Some atheists with children attend religious services
December 7th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Study: Some atheists with children attend religious services

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Nearly one in five atheist scientists with children involve their families with religious institutions, even if they personally do not agree with the institutions teachings, a recent study says.

The study, conducted by Rice University and the University at Buffalo, found that these scientists affiliate with churches for both social and personal reasons. Additionally, the scientists indicated a strong desire to prepare their children to make educated decisions about their personal religious preference.

“This was so surprising to us just because of all of the public discussion about the ways in which scientists are very against religions people,” said Elaine Howard Ecklund, a sociologist at Rice. “When in fact, those we might most expect to be against religious people are sitting alongside them.”

Study participants also indicated they were involved in a religious institution because of the religious preferences of a spouse or partner.

One of the most interesting findings, according to Ecklund, was that some atheist scientists want to expose their children to religion due to scientific reasoning.

"We thought that these individuals might be less inclined to introduce their children to religious traditions, but we found the exact opposite to be true," Ecklund said. "They want their children to have choices, and it is more consistent with their science identity to expose their children to all sources of knowledge."

Ecklund said there were cases in which survey respondents identified that not only did they introduce their children to one church, but they also attended other religious services in the hope that the children would better understand each denomination.

"I think that understanding how nonreligious scientists utilize religion in family life demonstrates the important function they have in the U.S.," Ecklund said.

Sociologist Kristen Schultz Lee of University of Buffalo co-authored the study, which can be found in the December issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

The data was pulled from a survey of 2,198 tenured or tenure-track faculty at 21 U.S. research universities. Around half of survey respondents identified a form of religious identity, while the other half did not.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Church • Culture & Science

soundoff (2,129 Responses)
  1. Brent Sherman

    You may look no further than the father of Deitrich Bonhoeffer as an example of a potential atheist / scientist who raised one of the greatest pastors of our time.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  2. Lisa

    Doesn't CNN hire copy editors anymore? This article is so badly written - problems with grammar, punctuation, flow. So depressing. The subject matter was interesting, but I cringed while reading it.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • SheepleBelieve

      Can't people just read a damn article without whining or complaining about grammar, spelling, or the likes??? ..."but I cringed while reading it." good god, get a better life....

      December 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  3. Tony

    Sounds like scientists being scientists. Look at all the possibilities and decide for yourself. That's how parents should broach the religion subject with their kids. Instead of brainwashing them at Jesus Camp.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  4. Matt

    This article is interesting and as atheist, I have thought about doing this for my kids, but just so everyone is clear, 93% of scientists in the National Academy of Sciences are atheistic, so I do not get where they say ONLY half of scientists interviewed are non-religious. They must have picked some weird universities lol

    December 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Maybe they are Christian Scientists!

      December 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Dustin

      @matt, i bet there was some nebulous option like "spiritual."

      December 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  5. z3m

    I'm atheist but I still observe Yom Kippur and Passover and all the other main holidays, because I find my own personal meaning in them.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Melcoast

      I'm always confused why atheist celebrate religious holidays. Our God isn't good enough for you to acknowledge but our traditions are good enough for you to enjoy? They have a specific meaning. If you want a holiday then make up your own. I believe Fesitivus might be appealing to you.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Jim in Georgia

      I love Christmas. I love to give to others and help the less fortunate. I love being with family... Even my wife's wierd family. But I know it's only makebelieve.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Haha. Festivus for the rest of us!

      December 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • CA23

      @ Melcoast – It's not only about the religion, it's about the cultural and family traditions too. I grew up celebrating Christmas with my family, so it still holds a wonderful memory of family traditions and continued family tradition. One does not have to be a Christian to celebrate Christmas as a cultural and family tradition..

      December 7, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • HellBent

      @Melcoast,

      As.suming you're Christian, you've essentially done the same thing with other's holidays. Pot, calling kettle

      December 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Melcoast

      I completely understand the nostalgia for the traditions believe me. However, I just want to point out that you are celebrating, for whatever reason, Christmas. CHRISTmas, which means "Christ Mass." So doesn't that seem kind of weird that you would acknowledge a holiday that is solely for the celebration of the birth of Christ. The whole "give to others, be kind" are the teachings of Christ. I really don't care if you're atheist. That's between you and God? But do atheists have to slowly chip away at everything Christian or any other faith that worships God? That said, I am glad that you are celebrating Christmas, which is the celebration of the birth of Christ 😉 Merry CHRISTMAS to you!

      December 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Melcoast

      How so Hellbent? Not following you. And yes, I am a Christian.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • HellBent

      Are you celebrating with a "christmas" tree? Because that's a pagan tradition, not a christian one. Just because you slap a label on something doesn't make it religious. One can easily celebrate the secular aspects of christmas (or,really, the solstice, since it's widely acknowledged that jesus wasn't born anywhere near the solstice) while not believing in the religious parts.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Get Real

      Melcoast, "CHRISTmas, which means "Christ Mass."

      So what?

      Wednesday means "Woden's Day" - Hail Woden!! (Anglo Saxon god) (Norse god, Odin)

      December 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Melcoast

      You know Hellbent, I will be honest with you. I do have a tree and you do make a good point. I am going to research that to see if it is something acceptable to my celebration. That said, how far back in time do I have to research with the items I choose to use celebrate?
      @ Get Real, that's very interesting. I don't celebrate Woden's Day because I am not a part of that faith so how does that have anything to do with this?
      I thank you for being so respectful during this debate. See, not all Christians scream about Hell and sin. I am open to what you have to say to me but don't expect me to lose my faith, I don't expect you to gain mine.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Melcoast

      Ahh wait, misread Get Real No I don't celebrate Wednesday either. That is not part of my faith.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Get Real

      Melcoast,

      And now we have moved on to Thursday, "Thor's Day"... no, maybe you don't worship those ancient gods, but you still say, write and refer to them all of the time. "Christmas" is the same deal... a day which got its name from an ancient belief - no worship necessary.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Santa Claus = Saint Nikolaos of Myra, who was present at the Council of Nicea where they decided what bits of the bible would be canonized.
      One of the myths about him is that in the middle of the night, he tossed bags of gold through the window of poor man so that he might have a proper dowry for his daughters.
      Hence Santa Claus brings presents after the kids are asleep...
      Bunnies, painted eggs etc. are the last vestiges of the pagan celebrations against which Christianiry competed in its early days.
      Cybele, the Phrygian fertility goddess, had a consort, Attis, who was believed to have been born via a virgin birth. Attis was believed to have died and been resurrected each year during a three day period at the end of March.
      Sound familiar?
      Well before Easter was associated with the zombification of a jewish carpenter, it was a widely celebrated pagan holiday marking the rebirth and renewal of spring. The very word "Easter" comes from the Saxon goddess Eastre and the Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility, Eastra.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • captain america

      Again with a canadian atheist trying to impress America. Odd that these butt in where they are not needed or wanted. canadians appear both atheist and qu eer.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Statistically speaking I'd much rather associate with Canadians than Christians, though there are opposite examples of both.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      CA, once again I must ask why are you so pre-occupied with Canadians? Did your mother make you eat poutine at an early age and then take it away? And what's with your continual harping on homosexuals and certain body orifices? Are you going through a personal struggle that Michele Bachmann's clinic thinks (incorrectly) they can help with? In any event, you really do need help.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • captain america

      Didn't we already catch you badmouthing American service people once today? Now here you are back trying to undermine the USA again. It is time all America woke up to the anti-american,godless ambitions of our "neighbors" to the north.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @captain america
      Many Canadians are atheist and/or que.er, just like in the U.S.
      Up here, revealing it won't result in the neighbours burning a cross on your lawn.
      Why don't you come visit my city this summer. We have the biggest gay pride parade in the world where you can feel free to call the soldiers, police officers, and Anglican clergy who march in it all the bigoted epithets you want.
      Unless you're one of the 74% of Americans who are overweight, in which case I don't think you'll be able to run fast enough.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      CA, please indicate precisely where anyone badmouthed American servicemen.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • captain america

      Not entirely accurate or honest remarks coming from the canadian atheists. There is no such freedom of speech in canada and any attempt to show dis agreement with their repressive country might result in enactment of the Riot Act. No thanks , we prefer freedom to socialism and atheism. The best way to enter canada would be in an APC after we've nuked the bas tards.

      December 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Captain America
      Freedom, eh?
      Did you read the Patriot Act?
      Are you certain you're not being wiretapped without a warrant? If you're not careful of what you say, you may be branded a "lone wolf" in which case you'll be detained and tortured indefinitely in a nameless prison.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      I guess captain america is amusing in a deranged Pat Cooper sort of way.

      I don't know. Not really feeling it.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      People like CA make up anything to fuel their ad hominem attacks. He is another embarrassment to our country.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      The next limitation on Canadian's freedom may be the recording of who leaves the country and when. Of course, our wimp Prime Minister Steven "Jesus" Harper is doing this at the request of our freedom loving American friends. Captain America, are you ready to join with us to oppose this attack on our freedom?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • captain america

      canadians cannot help themselves. It is never long until they begin to show their true anti-american colours. Even the most simple minded Americans will be able to see through their veneer, although you still may suck in the gullible i.e those who think atheism has something to offer. Duck and cover.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • captain america

      Hot Air ,the last time American freedom fighters entered canada to help they were seized ,hanged in large numbers or sent to lengthy prison terms. Fool us once shame on you , fool us , we won't be fooled again.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      "true anti-american colours," would that be going to Afghanistan to help our American friends, including having our servicemen killed by American fighter pilots?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      I find it interesting that "captain america" chose to use the British spelling of "colors."

      I call shenanigans. Big, mother-hu.mping shenanigans.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • captain america

      Best quote of the day. Lyndon Johnson, president of the USA while holding canadian leader lester pearson off the floor by the throat "Don't come into my living room and pi ss on the floor." Now there is an American with true grit as opposed to nj or fl who are probably canadian operatives anyway.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Good catch! No real American would spell it colours! Noah Webster would come back and haunt him!

      December 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      Obvious troll is now very obvious. Yay!

      December 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Canada on America:
      "Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, one is affected by every twitch and grunt."
      – Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau

      "Trudeau had the office bulletproofed. I always contended that the reason he did it was because the American embassy is right outside."
      – Prime Minister Brian Mulroney

      December 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • captain america

      Hey doc go fuddle duddle yourself.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  6. Snowball

    My parents are both scientists, but my father isn't religious and my mother was Presbyterian when I was a child. She took us to church on Sundays (my father attended as well) but she never has us baptized. She said that she wanted to let us decide for ourselves when we were old enough if that was something we wanted to do. As adults, we've become scientists ourselves, and we never joined any church. I still attend occasionally to support my mother, who is now a Unitarian. I am very grateful to her for her decision years ago to let us choose our own spiritual paths.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Me

      Baptism in no way limits someone's spiritual choices – in fact it limits that choice by depriving someone of the baptism experience.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  7. ChrisM

    Yep – I will only attend church because my wife wants our daughter to go. What is better? Consume an hour per week on something that I don't agree with or cause a bunch of family strife and discord because I don't attend a function that the rest of my family does? I choose the former.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      i guess we know who wears the pants in your household

      December 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Aces2Jokers

      Well I have to say that I believe that I'll be in the same boat as you once me and the wife start having children. She has decided that she wants our kids to be raised in the church. I have derided the idea but you're right considering an hour of my week a waste as opposed to sowing seeds of discord in my home...... I'll waste 60 Minutes

      December 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Dustin

      Hopefully your wife compromises and allows you to explain to your daughter why you don't believe in God (if that's the case) and why you don't want to go to church. It's not fair for a child to only hear the religious perspective at a time when their mind is so impressionable.

      December 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      I think my parents did it right. Never took me to church but made sure I knew that they would happily go to any church with me if I showed interest.

      I think most any other way you would be influencing your child and acting like he/she had to pick one. Just let them figure it out on their own.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • syens

      I don't understand this at all. If it would cause some sort of chasm between you and your spouse to stand by your beliefs and choose not to waste an hour at church, then perhaps you need to reconsider the fundamentals of your relationship.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  8. rmclean

    I don't think this point of view is limited to scientists. I'm an attorney, and personally, I lean towards being agnostic. However, I'm very interested in religion and am a member of the Unitarian Univeralist Chuch of the Larger Fellowship (an online congregation). Since my local UU congregation does not have a strong youth program, my family and I attend a local Methodist Church. I think it is important for my children to be exposed to religion so they can make their own decisions. This makes for some "spirited" discussions with my Methodist minister, but I think overall it is a good arrangement.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Aces2Jokers

      I have to ask that since you lean towards agnostic have you discussed your thoughts with your family? If so how have the kids responded as far as their interests in the church themselves?

      December 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  9. logan5

    So by forcing their kids to attend religious service this is somehow viewed as offering them a choice??
    LOL...and the irony is these people are scientists, you'd think they'd know better. Children can not be expected to make educated choices until they have acquired the life experiences necessary to make them, especially regarding such matters. The only reason Christianity and Islam are so successful and dominant is because they are imposed and forced on kids at a very early age. When you're terrorized into believing in something at a young and impressionable age of course your going to remain adherent to it as an adult. This story has to be fake! I can't believe highly educated people (scientists) could be so grossly obtuse!

    December 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      just because the scientist are atheists does not mean that their significant other is. i know plenty of people that had to make communion because of their significant others religious beliefs and family. their significant other could be the one dragging both to church

      December 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Dome

      I was raised Catholic and ended up getting a degree in Religion. I'm fascinated by the concept, but I'm most certainly agnostic. I remember the exact day I lost my faith. I was 13 when my CCD teacher could not convince me why the Holocaust victims deserved hell. I was over it after that.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Snowball

      I guess it depends on the church! I was never terrorized at church as a kid. If anything, I was pretty confused by the language of the bible, so I just never understood that kind of lecture. My mom (a scientist) explained that they were these old stories that people believed in, and that some of the people and places were known to have existed, but it was all taken on faith. During sermon (the part where everyone sits in the big part of the church?), she'd give us drawing paper and coloring pens to keep us quiet and busy, knowing the lecture was droning and over our heads. But we understood the feeling in the room, that it was important to many people, even if we didn't understand it ourselves. The most interesting part was "sunday school", which in our church was more like simple story telling combined with crafts-but it didn't ingrain us with terrifying consequences of breaking the moral compass. Our parents didn't expect us to live by ambiguous guidelines.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • LaderaGrrl

      OK, fair enough on the use of 'choice'. Perhaps it would be better said that parents are providing perspective to their kids, and with the exposure they'll be better able to make choices when they are of age. Not unlike offering a child a variety of different vegetables. Some varieties aren't very inviting yet are tasty, others not so much; only by trying eggplant did I discover it's not only repulsive but not to my taste. But I *did* try it.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  10. Jenny

    "[P]ublic discussion about all the ways in which scientists are very against religions (sic) people..." Seriously? Nobody I know is 'against religious people', scientists or otherwise. It bothers me that people assume that scientists, or atheists, are 'against' religious people or against religion itself. For a sociologist, no less, to go into a study like that with such obviously unexamined assumptions, is not well thought out and could invalidate the results of any research s/he undertakes.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      she did write it up for the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.... which doesn't sound credible

      December 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Not really

      Just look at the commentary, it's a perfectly reasonable assertion. Most of the proclaimed-atheists on this thread are decidedly against religious people.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Dustin

      The research was also funded by the Templeton Foundation, which has an ulterior motive in promoting the idea that religion and science are compatible.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Aces2Jokers

      I'm not gonna lie. Most of the atheists I've met are very much against religion to the core. I can tell you myself that while I have no problem with the people themselves their undying belief in unsubstantiated claims disturbs me. The reason atheists are atheists is because they believe religion is false and that gods do not exist. That is clearly at odd with religion just in general context; however, as far as the religious people go i think they are referring to the big name marquee style religious figures who feel the need to profit on the church and atheist bashing. Yes, most atheists are thoroughly against those guys because they only thing they can bring to the table is their own hatred.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  11. derp

    I thought about exposing my children to religion. However, after reading all of the stories about religious leaders exposing themselves to children, I decided it was a bad idea.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  12. NOT MY CHAIR

    this goes to show you Atheists are better people than religious people. could you picture a christian bring their kids to a mosque?

    December 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • VeeZee

      Or Muslims taking their kids to a Christian church?

      December 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  13. georgex

    Atheists are not necessarily bad people. They are generally those who can not see reasons to believe what isn't provable and they need evidence. Society is becoming more tolerant of a wider range of world views. We have graduated from the brutality of conformity of first 1400 years after Christ through the Reformation and then the Enlightenment and now allow different ideas to be expressed.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Michael Adams

      "Atheists are not necessarily bad people" – I take offense at this statement implying that atheists and humanists are as a majority to be bad people. I submit as evidence the entire history of humanity that violence and evil are more often than not perpetrated by those professing faith and rigid dogma. I certainly hope you didn't mean this statement the way it came out. =)

      December 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • BR

      georgex – "...not necessarily bad people." Right back at ya. So glad it's socially acceptable to atheists to be 'tolerated'. I'm sure you may not have meant it this way, but replace any other group or ethnicity with atheist in your post and see how it reads.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • georgex

      Certainly, I am not implying that most atheists are bad people. In fact, I believe that most of them are more honest than the general public. I was speaking out against the notion of many people that they are bad. And many people now realize that atheists are not more bad than others.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  14. Tron

    My sister is very religious while I am a scientist. She has a very strong opinion that all scientists are atheists and gets very passionate about trying to poke holes in scientific theories. She thinks that holes in the theories will disprove scientists and their theories. What she doesnt understand is that she's using the logic of her religion to try and disprove scientists and their theories. She cannot bring down a scientist by pointing out the holes in his/her theories; as scientists we encourage that behavior. We encourage questions and we seek to fill in the holes that we openly acknowledge. But she, as a religious person, finds it threatening and thinks it is a way to disprove one's belief. That is the difference between us; not whether we believe in god or not but how we go about discovering the truth.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      try to explain to your sister that science is always change and growing upon its self, religion is stagnant and can not change. change in a religion means god was originally wrong they dont like that

      December 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Tron

      If i said to her, "your religion is stagnant while science is evolving" what would I accomplish? It would be argumentative and passively deeming towards her beliefs. That is no way to approach the topic. I ask her a lot of questions to try and understand her but never seek to disprove her or in any way deem what she holds as sacred. I inform her, for example she had an idea that all scientists were atheists so I simply informed her that I do not personally know of an scientist who is atheist. We talk about evolution and I inform her where she might have some misconceptions but I do not push my views on her. We can agree to disagree while sharing our opinions.

      December 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Tom812

      Actually religions have been subject to a lot of change. They don't change their beliefs about God but they change their understanding oh Him and the ways that they worship Him. As time goes on, various religions deepen their understanding of God an learn more about Him. This leads to a lot of change in both religious ceremonies and the faith of the religious. For instance, in the Catholic church in the middle ages, sacraments were seen as magical ceremonies that automatically make you holier, but now the Catholc church teaches that you can't "magically" receive God's grace. You have to be open to it in order to experience it.

      In a way, that's too bad actually because if the sacraments worked like magic, then all of those children from the article that get dragged to church by their atheist parents might actually appreciate God.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  15. sickofit

    "Scientists" are generally smarter that the rest of us so why would they send their children to church. Maybe because they want their children to be able to think for themselves and make their own decisions. Unlike many Christians I know....

    December 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  16. azgdgdsgsag

    This article goes to show that most atheists are moderate, decent people, very much unlike the militants who follow the clowns like Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens. If moderate religious people and moderate atheists actually showed their teeth and came together in a movement teaching people to lay off each other, the world would be a better place.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • georgex

      Dawkins and Hitchens are certainly not clowns. They present their thoughts with much reason.

      December 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Beth

      Georgex,
      I don't think these men are clowns, but they are both highly emotional people. That colours some of their arguments. They're both smart men though.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  17. Gary

    and the TRUTH will set you free.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  18. big MOMMA

    I was raised into a religion that made me feel like a sister wife. Yes Penecostal, as I became older and could make my own decisions i realized it was all a bunch of made up crap as far as the materialistic side goes. I do not believe i am going to hell for wearing pants,makeup,jewelry,cutting my hair,etc etc. I brought it to my dads attention one day and told him to please show me where in the bible it says we cant do any of these and also made it a point to let him know that alot of these items were not even invented back then so therefore how can it be a sin. I sure opened his eyes at 13years old. NOW as for the belief that I have ,I do believe in God and that is my opinion. I do not throw my beliefs on anyone and i go to a church where all that the acqusations are being made towards christians from people on this forum about being money grubbers,bible beaters etc etc do not apply.Our church people travel all around the world helping people that are in desperate need. IF you want to give that is a personal matter and the offering plate is not passed around in church. I do not understand why religion is put on here. Why every year around Christmas that Atheist have to be brought up. WHO CARES. That is their belief, all these topics do is start unnecessary arguements on here that can be easily avoided.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Madtown

      Good post. Great questions you asked of your father..

      December 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  19. Sue

    I talked to Jesus and he told me that its just fine that I dont know anything about science or history. He told me to beat smart people with the bible until they either die or see things my way....I mean his way.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Fast Eddy

      Jezuss dun talked to me 2. He sed its OK with him if I can't read the bybul, as long as I use it to hit the peepul that dont agree with mi. I dun luv Jezuss!

      December 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Matt

      Did he also tell you to grow up and quit acting like a fool?

      Because he should have.

      December 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • StrictlyDigital

      Sue, it's sad that you have to resort to silly, childish rhetoric to get your point across....that is, if there is a point in your rambling. Why don't you take Matt's advice and grow up because your sarcasm isn't clever in the slightest.

      December 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Sue

      Whats sarcasm?

      December 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Xtopher

      Jesus spoke to me in the shower this morning, and he told me that StrictlyDigital was an idiot.

      I'm not kidding.

      So, StrictlyDigital, I'm praying for you. Pray, pray, pray!!!!

      December 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Aces2Jokers

      @Matt and @StrictlyDigital lol do not feed trolls. They only get bigger.

      December 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Sue

      Its too late! I can feal the hate growing in me even now! MEWWW HAA HA HA HA HA HA!

      December 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • StrictlyDigital

      @Xtopher – I was an idiot, as in past tense? Don't you mean I am an idiot? You fail my good man

      December 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • fred

      Sue
      You are getting close to a real life observable event. We call it conversion and it begins with conversation. Yep, the Bible says I know my sheep and my sheep hear my voice.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • J.W

      Sue is not a true atheist.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Sue

      Fred, the only time you can hear the bible is when it thuds against your head!

      December 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • fred

      Ouch Sue that hurt.....................wait I think I hear what you hear:
      Do you hear what I hear?
      A song, a song high above the trees
      With a voice as big as the sea,
      With a voice as big as the sea."

      Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
      "Do you know what I know?
      In your palace warm, mighty king,
      Do you know what I know?
      A Child, a Child shivers in the cold–
      Let us bring him silver and gold,
      Let us bring him silver and gold."

      No, Sue this is not the basis for passing the basket, simply give our best to the one who loved you first.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  20. J. in FL

    Catholics raised by catholics are catholic: Muslims raised Muslim are Muslims: Mormans raised by Mormans are Mormans. etc. etc....... I was raised by an athiest and lean towards athiest, being very scientifically minded myself. But I also sent my children to church so they could make up their own minds.....One leans towards religion, the other towards athiest. It was completely their choice. Whatever works for your life is what it should be. But athiests are also good people, compassionate, giving and want peace on earth. We just walk a different path.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Colleen

      I have two dear friends who are athiests, and they are, indeed, wonderful, loving people who strive to be good people, help their fellow Man, and wish for peace on earth. I also have friends of other faiths. My husband and I happen to be Christians, and we take our children to church. I have a degree in Sociology and I make it a point to help my children understand other religious beliefs and cultures because I feel it makes them better human beings. I believe that every person has their own path to walk in this life, and everyone finds God (or not) in their own way. It isn't up to me to judge them. Whatever my children choose to believe when they are adults, that is fine with me, because I will still love them. I don't know why people seem to think that Scientists cannot be people of faith, and people of faith cannot accept/understand/beleive in science. They are NOT mutually exclusive!

      December 7, 2011 at 1:51 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.