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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. John

    In other words, Atheists are open to showing their children the other side, yet religious people are afraid to show their children the same. Maybe it's because Atheists don't doubt their beliefs, while religious people have that creeping fear in the back of their heads that they're living a lie?

    December 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Jeff

      Religious people would never open up their children to Atheism because they're afraid that someone with an open mind will think "well, this makes a lot more sense." Atheists will show their children religion because they know any smart person who has not been brainwashed will think "this is ridiculous."

      December 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • smartaz

      No one side has the monopoly on doubting their beliefs. You don't think there are not Atheists being "saved" while they are laying on their deathbed? I would be willing to bet that there are as many as religious people second thinking their beliefs in the same situation. It is human nature to second guess ourselves. Some people are too assured of their own opinion to do so, but I would be willing to bet the majority second guess themselves towards the end.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Mr N.

      Actually, there are deep implications to either position. For an atheist, some of the deeper philosophical problems are related to the absoluteness of things on a world without a god. For the religious, some of these deep implications center along the relativity of things in a world with a god.

      If we are intellectually honest, both positions have huge philosophical, epistemological, and metaphysical implications, and the only position that avoids these questions is agnosticism. Now, I'm not saying that agnosticism is somehow "better" than either religiosty or atheism, merely that from a philosophical point of view, atheism is no more excempt from problems than religion is.

      The bottom line is that rational thought is not a domain exclusive to the atheist. If an atheist thinks otherwise, then he or she is most likely being, at the very least, intellectually inconsistent, and at the very worst, downright dishonest.

      December 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  2. Erm

    Many studies comparing IQ and religious orientation have been done and nearly all show a strong inverse correlation between IQ and religiosity. The higher a persons IQ, the lwess likely they are to believe in God or gods. The more intelligent a person is, the more likely they are to be atheists according to the statistics.. At very high IQ levels (over 140) 65% or more of people are atheist. For this reason, most professional scientists, who tend to have very high IQs, are usually atheists. The truth is faith-based religion of any kind is irrational, and high intelligence makes it more difficult to believe in it.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • LuisWu

      I participated in a study several years ago. Three groups were polled. The general public, Mensa (top 2% score on IQ tests) and Intertel (top 1% on IQ tests). Many questions were asked including "Do you believe in any religion?"

      87% of the general public answered yes. 23% of Mensa members answered yes, .2 percent of the Intertel members answered yes. I of course answered no.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Mr N.

      Mensa, really? I'm sorry, in my experience, common sense also seems to be inversely proportional to mensa participation. I used to be a member, but I tend to find the worship of the intellect as unpalatable as the aimless worship of anything else.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  3. Brian

    "The author state the public belief that "scientists are against religious people". I can't believe this is true. "....................This is a rhetorical trick that some religious people use. They set up this straw man. This is a philosophical question that is open to debate. Most atheists respect religious people. Some go to church to listen to the music and relate to their friends.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  4. LuisWu

    Religion is indeed the opiate of the masses. Children, exposed to it at an early age cling to it like Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny. It's feel-good message is enticing though utterly false. I would never take my children to a place where they would be subjected to indoctrination into fairytale beliefs.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Not really

      That's because your brand of atheism is just as fanatical as the zealots. Anyone who believes their worldview must be imposed on their children and others is bad, atheist or zealot.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • iMacdaddy

      Do atheists put up holiday wreaths with the legend spelled L-E-O-N?

      December 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Not Really, where did he say that?

      December 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • midwstrngrl

      yes but if you teach them to use their mind they will expose the problems with it on their very own.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • LuisWu

      I don't impose my world view on my children. I let them make up their own minds. Would you take your children to a mosk?

      December 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Not really

      Yes, actually. I've taken them to mosques, cathedrals, the LDS Temple Square, a Buddhist temple. They also know I personally don't believe in any of them. By refusing to take your children to these places and refusing to expose their minds to "fairy tales" you are limiting them. As I said, your brand of atheism is just as bad as the zealots.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @iMacdaddy,
      "Do atheists put up holiday wreaths with the legend spelled L-E-O-N?"

      Hmmm.... wouldn't a wreath be pagan? What's it got to do with Jesus?

      I would think an Atheist could honestly display an wreath with a legend of PEACE, without any duplicity. Christians however should stay away from Christmas trees, wreaths, lights, mistletoe, holly, eggnog, yule logs, caroling (wassailing) .

      December 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  5. Bravo

    Atheist bring their children to church, point at the churchgoers, and say "See, an all knowing all powerful God that created these faulty humans and then blames them for His mistakes, so they come here and pay money to assure that He forgives them for His mistakes and leaves a spot for them to a place they have never been"

    December 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Not really

      And then there's the intelligent and reasonable atheists who say "Here is one subset of beliefs in this world. Draw your own conclusions after you've gathered what information you need or desire."

      December 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  6. don garrow

    I see no reason why a person or persons cannot have that choice to educate their children between what is right and what is wrong. For obvious reasons organized religions do not offer choices to their respective church members. If a person were to make sensible philosophical and ideological reasons to accept another way of live that isn't based upon pure fantasy, that person would offer more to humanity because of learned scientific and evolutionary concepts. The child should learn at an early age to recognize church ideologies based upon some book that is full of contradictions and unbelievable tales of war and destruction versus intelligent and conscious rationality. Its fine to be spiritual but don't let it be clouded by invisible beings from an etheral world.

    don .

    December 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Keith

      here we go again, this writer has the nerve to imply that without religion we could not know the difference between right and wrong. Where is his brain, look around you religion fuels more crime, hatred, war and poverty than any other single cause. I learned the difference between right and wrong from my parents and they did not need any raving idiot of a preacher to tell them in the first place. Thank god I am an atheist.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Answer

      @Keith

      "this writer has the nerve to imply that without religion we could not know the difference between right and wrong."

      All religious morons do that. They want to make that assertion stick in the very forefront of their sheep masses to make them stick with religion. Religious morons always never think for themselves and thus always have to have other influential members of their faith tell them what to think.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  7. notatall

    I don't need to be religious to take the words of Jesus and other prophets as the way to live. Peace, love, kindness make people strong. Hate, greed, bitterness only give a false sense of power, but come from a very weak character.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  8. Infidelite

    On the other hand I attended church with my parents long after I rejected their faith and all other religions. But then some atheists are not so arrogant as to close their minds completely. We will listen politely and form our own conclusions without having to be told by the ignorant self-righteous how and what to think, as they were.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Concerned Thinker

      Yea, that is until a parent is vegitative on life support and you Theist State Rrepresentatives won't pull them off life support because it is not God's will.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Infedelite, Please show me how I can get to this other dimension you speak of. You are not explaining Earth, thats for sure.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  9. ArchieDeBunker

    These scientists (and other people) are simply admitting what all reasonable people know – there IS a God. Nobody, unless they're insane, can honestly believe that the World and all the Universe are the result of some "accidental" Big Bang with no First Cause. Most people who claim to be atheists are simply people who don't WANT there to be a God – because they understand that if there is a God there are also rules that govern how we should live, and they want to be perfectly free to committ adultery, steal from their employers, cheat on their taxes and be as mean to others as they feel like being. They absolutely hate the idea that they will one day be asked to answer to a Higher Power for the conduct of their lives.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Don't you have that backwards, those with faith simply *want* there to be a God.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Concerned Thinker

      PS. If physics had to have a first mover, unmoved, then so does God. Or is it that God is the exception to the rule, and nothing else can be? Dogma? BTW, even if there is a God, we are already free to committ what we will and answer for it later.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • J.W

      I did not think that any atheist would object to this comment. But I was wrong.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • FSM

      Excuse me, but you really believe that Atheists are the only ones who "committ adultery, steal from their employers, cheat on their taxes and be as mean to others as they feel like being"? You are kidding yourself if you think that "good" Christians haven't done the same!

      December 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @J.W,
      "I did not think that any atheist would object to this comment. But I was wrong."
      Do you honestly think that Atheists really do believe in God, but won't admit it? I'm curious.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Archie, you may need a dad in the sky to keep you from raping and killing but atheists don't. Maybe it's an evolutionary thing.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Amused

      You couldn't possibly be more wrong! I have made a point of introducing my children to religion so that they can understand and effectively deal with holy-roller religious closed-minded people who will frequently be around them and can potentially cause them great trouble throughout their lives. I have taught them to keep their opinions to themselves so that closed-minded people such as yourself will not attack them and obstruct their persuits! I want them to understand your beliefs and motivations so that they do not become unwitting victims of religious bigotry! Many bright and intelligent people have been sabotaged by religious fanatics who tend to have a closed-minded one track agenda that frequently gets in the way of progress and positive thinking.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Scott

      Yeah... about that. I'm one of the aforementioned scientists, and more or less an atheist as well. I'd say you have it almost exactly backwards. Anyone rational would have to readily admit that there's a high likelihood god is simply a concept we made up. Certainly the stories about him are preposterous.

      What we know is based on what we can measure- more simply, what we can see and experience. Never, NOT ONE TIME in recorded history, has god intervened in human affairs in a verifiable way. Even if he exists (or more accurately "it"; since gender is an outcome of our animal nature), he is certainly very far from here.

      As to the idea that atheists are somehow pretending there isn't a god so that they can be naughty, well, that's the bit that provoked a response. You are tremendously ignorant if you honestly think that. The fact is, I (and many other skeptics) would very much LIKE there to be a god; some agent calling balls and strikes, rewarding virtue and punishing evil. Unfortunately, the evidence all just points against it, and evidence is the only means we have to rationally judge things.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      If you're not trolling – and I doubt that – and that's what you really think, your worldview must depress the hell out of you some days. It's depressing me, and I don't even have to deal w/you IRL!

      December 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • LuisWu

      So...did your invisible, supernatural being in the sky just "poof" himself into existence? You don't believe the Universe came into existence without a supernatural power to create it, then how did God come into existence? Poofed himself. Yep. That must be it. Moron.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • J.W

      No Nominus I do not agree with that. I think there are many atheist who are firm in their belief that there is no God. They may vary in their conviction to that just like many religious people sometimes have doubts. But I am sure there are many who are very confident that they are correct.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • J.W

      I was being sarcastic when I made my first comment. I knew atheists would disagree with this post. But sadly there are people who think that only people of one particular religion or even one denomination can be considered moral.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @J.W,
      Got it. I'm a bit slow on the uptake some days.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  10. shannon

    there is nothing scientific about being an atheist, atheists are not scientists, they are ATHEISTS!

    December 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Whatever helps you sleep at night.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • smartaz

      I actually agree to that to a point. There are just as many atheist that blindly follow scientific studies that have absolutely no understanding of as there are religious people blindly following teachings they do not understand.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Concerned Thinker

      There is also nothing devine about Believers, they are just Theists.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Automatic Translation for shannon

      "I forgot to take my meds this morning."

      December 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Erm

      The article said atheist scientists, i.e. scientists who are also atheists. Many studies comparing IQ and religious orientation have been done and mostThere is a strong inverse correlation between IQ and religiosity. The higher a persons IQ, the more likely they are to be atheists. At very high IQ levels (over 140) 65% or more of people are atheist. For this reason, most professional scientists, who tend to have very high IQs, are usually atheists. The truth is faith-based religion of any kind is irrational, and high intelligence makes it more difficult to believe in it.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Shannon just has doubts and is trying to make herself feel better about her mental condition.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  11. Namron Botsky

    The author state the public belief that "scientists are against religious people". I can't believe this is true. I know hundreds of scientists (I am one) and most may feel negatively about religion, the supernatural, and human gullibility, but I don't know any who are "against religious people". My love for another human is independent of his/her faith. Anyone who ignores this distinction is simply promoting a bar-room brawl using inflammatory misinformation.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Concerned Thinker

      That makes you a Humanist, not an Atheist.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  12. lisa

    Why are all the atheists posting on here so angry and mean sounding? It doesn't make your beliefs, or lack of, very appealing when all you can do is bash religion.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Concerned Thinker

      It is hard to respect someone who "just believes" and chooses not to follow their own faculties. A study was just released stating among Theists, that Atheists are considered among the least trusted people (just above rapists). Excuse us for being defensive.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I disagree that *all* are angry sounding.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Because they are living under Christian oppression. I personally have no problem if you want to believe in Thor, Jesus, Zeus.... Just stop imposing it on everyone else. I also have no problems with gun ownership, but if you stick a gun in my face i think it's my right to say some harsh words.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @GodofLunaticsCreation,
      Love the gun analogy!
      Not sure it's totally analogous, but great imagery.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Mike V

      First of all you're making a blanket generalization, and second, if you're basing the soundness of a philosophical stance on particular personal qualities of some of those who adhere to that stance, you're being patently irrational.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Religion is more dangerous than any gun. No one can deny that. I was a witness of 911.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  13. truth wins

    This is entirely true. You cannot make an educated decision about something with out knowing about it. Anyone who has never been to church cannot make an educated decision nor form an educated opinion about it.
    I never went to church as a child and getting the information necessary to make the choice was difficult, but worth it. I happily attend church with my family and believe in a higher power, though I can't say I believe the bible 100%.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Concerned Thinker

      You can study Religion, or the philosphy behind it, without church.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Ryan

      So should we take our kids to church on mosque on friday, synagogue on saturday, church on sunday, or just tell our kids why we don't believe in these types of things? I think the data on here is skewed. If you research where the data was derived (it has been linked to many times in this discussion) I think you'll find that this entire article is rubbish.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      I'm grateful to my parents for discussing their beliefs (or lack of) with me, and then letting me make my own decisions about it. I read the bible, I went to bible camp during the summer with my friends, I attended services from numerous faiths, keeping an open mind and researching. I have friends of different faiths, and we've had some fantastic discussions about why they believe the way they do and how it makes sense to them. The only folks I avoid, period, are the ones who start the whole 'going to hell' schtick, or who wholeheartedly agree with trying to pass legislation that would make tenents of their faith law for others.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Grenn

      TENETS!

      December 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      @Grenn dammit, why do I keep trying to add that extra 'n'? WHY?

      December 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  14. LouAZ

    Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.??? HaHaHaHaHaHa ! ! !

    ROFLMAO !

    December 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  15. keytoheaven

    hm, i'm sure some religious folks reading this article is going to think, "see, you other 4/5 out there, these people won't be going to hell like you're. well, they won't be going to heaven either since they're not believers themselves, but at least they're helping their children to become religious, so they'll be spared from hell. they might become ghosts on earth wondering the land between heaven and hell." LOL.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  16. Ziggy

    Science without religion is lame, and religion without science is blind. Albert Einstein

    How can an Atheist take an oath – who are they swearing/attesting to – themself?

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

      Most people that are Athiest are moral, trustworth people that do the right thing. AND all that without the threats from an invisible father figure in the syk.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Ziggy needs a dad in the sky to keep him from raping and murdering.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • BR

      First, atheism for most is a rejection of god claims. Nothing more.

      Second, the oath I took many years ago to contest a simple traffic citation said, "Under penalty of purgery". Plenty of Earthly authority to answer to without introducing boogey men.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Amomynous

      Without FAITH, we would not know right from wrong. We wouldn't know good from evil. For a human to think their mind capacity far exceeds God's is ignorant. That's like saying the house that the creator built is greater than the creator himself. That's what pride & arrogance has done to humans

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

      If the only reason you trust someone's word is because they swear to a god, then you are going to be disappointed quite often.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • J.W

      Well actually in the Bible it says not to take oaths, so it is not biblical to swear to anyone or anything.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Pride and ignorance. Sounds like you are describing most Christians.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Amomynous,
      "Without FAITH, we would not know right from wrong."
      And if my FAITH says that it is right to kill people of your FAITH, will you accept that as right?

      December 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Hes probably going to cherry pick the bible and leave out the parts that call for Genocide.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Without FAITH, we would not know right from wrong. We wouldn't know good from evil."

      Hate to burst your delusional bubble but it was man that learned over time what was good and evil, not a god. We taught ourselves our own humanity. It's just so happen that some men figured out they could control society better if they instilled fear in the masses by using the reward of heaven and the punishment of hell. It worked, doesn't mean it was actually real!

      December 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • LuisWu

      Einstein never said any such thing. In an interview, Einstein was asked if he believed in God. He replied that he didn't believe in a "personal god" but something more like "Spinoza's god" (look up Baruch Spinoza). Which is pretty much pantheism, the belief that a "life energy" permeates the Universe, not a self-aware, all powerful being, just a "life energy".

      December 7, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Amomynous

      No, actually I'm not going to pick out a Bible verse. You can't force religion upon somebody nor are we able to change a person. & if we know right from wrong, why does there continue to be destruction in the world? & you're right, why do you think there are so many religions in the world? To control the masses. I'm confident in my faith & what I believe in

      December 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Leave it to the Christians to use Einstein, a person they would have beheaded had he been born a few hundred years ago and who never believed in Jesus, to prop up their sham. Why not use a religious source or do you know deep inside that Einstein has more credibility than jesus?

      December 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Paul

      @ huh... you really think it was necessary for early humans to experience murder before they knew murder was wrong? and then (to make your point even more ridiculous) that that knowledge was passed genetically? like for the first few million years people murdered each other until they evelved to know it was wrong... HUH?

      December 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Amomynous

      I'm not here to fight or prove any points to anybody, I'm just discussing amongst you all. I'm interested & respect what others have to say. It's sad that when religion is brought up, people are automatically at war with one another.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Michaeltantinoo

      @ Amomynous.... It's not posting my long answer to you so I will cut this short to see if it gets posted.

      There is no "Right or Wrong" in terms of the Univese. WE define our rights and wrongs as human beings. Some things have always been considered "wrong" by a society, such as murder (in certain contexts-wars tend to get exceptions) and theft. These "wrongs" directly apply to our survival. It is advanatageous to a society to have murder as "wrong" because we don't want to die. Our nature is to try to survive in most scenarios as the only reason you are here is because your ancestors lived long enough to procreate. You have that same survival instinct, and a society that mirrors that is more likely to thrive. The same with theft and honesty. It's advantageous to our survival and quality of life to have these things considered "wrong".

      Right and wrong isn't always an agreement however. Many societies disagree on morals, and even those within a society disagree. Even within your own religion there is disagreement. You don't get to claim morality soley for yourself.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Huh?

      "like for the first few million years people murdered each other until they evelved to know it was wrong... HUH?"

      Yes moron that is how it happened, it's even been shown in other species. DUH! Wow the stupidity of christians is amazing.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Anom, If religion was only brought up in discussion and not shoved in everyones face every second then you would see a more respectful dialogue.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Amomynous

      Michael, I'm sorry but there is right from wrong. Here's an example, say you got robbed. You demand for justice but everyone in society viewed it as right, what would you say then? If there isn't right or wrong why do we have law enforcement & authority?

      December 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Paul

      "Here's an example, say you got robbed. You demand for justice but everyone in society viewed it as right, what would you say then? If there isn't right or wrong why do we have law enforcement & authority?"

      There are many instances where our understanding of right and wrong has changed, look at slavery, women's rights, gay rights. There are many things in our past that people thought were right that later turned out to be wrong. We have laws and courts to discuss our values to try and determine and challenge what we believe to be right and wrong. Guess what even your bible does this, your bible states a woman should marry her rapist, a child should be stoned to death for speaking back to their parents. You can't claim you have the right morality because of your religion, for many your religion is wrong.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • BR

      Amomynous – "Trolls and Poe-ists and Theists...oh my"

      It shouldn't take god to impress upon you that continuing one's life is preferable to one's life being violently ended and that it is reasonable that other similar beings must feel the same way. Simple empathy and 200 or so milliennia and you get the current human race..Not perfect, but no deity required.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  17. GodofLunaticsCreation

    I would like to see where they got these figures. No self respecting atheist would enter a Church unless it was to serve a notice to vacate.

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

      My parents are Atheists, and they never took me to church. They also did not forbid me from going, which I often did often as a child. I went to vacation Bible school for several summers when I visited my grandparents. I was more interested in being around other kids my age, listening to stories, and doing art projects than in the religious aspects. In high school, I went to church with a friend, youth group, and a Christian summer camp...why? To meet boys and flirt. I learned enough to make up my own mind, and I am an Atheist. I occasionally go to Catholic mass with my boyfriend. I've yet to burst into flames.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      @KJS You rock. And I'm glad neither of us has burst into flames. I will admit to feeling a little warm occasionally, when passing the threshold, but I think that's just because their heat is on.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Mr N.

      It's called "research" and it's what scientists, be it religious or atheists, do. Why don't you try it so you can find out where the figures come from (hint: There's this thing called "google").

      Why are you dismissing where the figures came from before even researching it? Isn't yours an assumption made on beliefs, not facts? When you get right down to it, your comment is little more than an electronic version of sticking your atheism right on everyone else's face. Funny how you bash the kettles for their beliefs, hey pot?

      December 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Im sorry but I can't take A christian hypocrite seriously.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Mr N.

      Of course you can't. You take yourself seriously enough for the rest of the world. 🙂

      Oh, and who said I was a christian, btw? There you go with your unfounded beliefs again ... Kid, seriously, stop before you look even worse, unless embarrasing yourself is somehow rational on whatever your own little world happens to be.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  18. Den!s

    I flat out do not believe these studies even exist, never mind suggesting that lots of scientists take their families to church. That is a flat out lie. As atheists, we do not believe in the existence of any god or gods; so why would we take our kids to those buildings of mind poison? Theists are so wrapped up in their beliefs, that it is impossible for them to see outside of the pew they are sitting hopelessly on.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • LuisWu

      Agreed.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • 17701774

      okay, conspiracy theorist. And what is the motivation for them to 'make up' these studies? Seems a bit of a stretch. I have personally known atheists who have attended religious services for various reasons, including community involvement, that praying puts your brain in a meditative state which is good for grey matter, that they want to give their kids the option, or maybe it is depressing for their children to think that nothing happens after death- there are many reasons an atheist may attend a religious service.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  19. Concerned Thinker

    children are more susceptible to Faith based belief, exposing them is often enough to convince them. Religion provides Religion temptingly simple answers to life's greatest questions when compared to complex answers offered by chemistry, physics and other "boring" studies kids learn. Religion also offers more "feel good" answers, such as an afterlife (death easier to explain if we don't really cease to exist), and "because its God's will". Kids are all too tempted by these simplifications.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • KJS

      I don't buy that. I went to church 100s of times as a child and teenager and was never tempted to use religious explanation over science. The amount of time I spent in church issignificantly less than the time I spent around my Atheist parents, and without their reinforcement, it didn't stick.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  20. Mike

    My wife and I are atheists and our children have never gone to church. Why would you want your children exposed to group mind think by people who believe in a fairy tale?

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

      Exactly. Ditto.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Drew

      Mike, I'm sure you celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving and Easter. You yourself are a hypocrite ./

      December 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Michaeltantinoo

      Many atheists are married to a religious individual and compromise is needed. Such as in my case. My child is not going to Church, but my wife is free to answer any questions my daughter has from a religious perspective. I will fill the same role per my beliefs. My daughter is free to go whichever way she must.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      I can't figure out who's the bigger idiot here, Mike or Drew. I could flip a coin, but I'm going to call it a draw and laugh instead.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • LuisWu

      @Drew, I celebrate easter too, by hiding eggs for my children. But that doesn't mean I believe in the easter bunny, grow a brain dude.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • to mike

      Mike, I respect your decision to abstain from going to church and exposing your children to religulousity.. However, the problem is your children WILL be exposed to it from all sorts of sources, from school to their friends.. Exposing your children to these points of view will not 'convert' them; it will only educate them to these different viewpoints. After all, you will be sitting down and talking with them afterwards. There are plenty of good 'nuggets' to pick up from church/temples/synagogues about love, peace and other things... and of course, all those things can ALSO be obtained from Philosophies from various sources. Those are all points to bring up in an after-discussion.
      Many scientists do have spiritual beliefs; some of those do belong to a religion, while others dont. I am a geneticist and agnostic. I grew up Hindu, picked up Buddhism (which is what I would say that I lean most towards), went to a catholic school... have gone with friends to muslim temples and christian churches of different denominations and even Native American spiritual practices from different tribes. I was interested in the subject...but never felt any need to 'convert' to anything or blindly accept anything. I do not believe in any organized religion. I dont believe in the God of any one small land on some corner of one tiny planet when you can see the immensity of the Universe around you.
      However, I dont think that shielding your children from the religious point of view will benefit them. Expose them, and discuss. That would be a far better method...because it also helps the set up their own rational point of view. Of course, this is just my opinion 🙂

      December 7, 2011 at 3:55 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.