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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. tony

    Priests, Pastors and Spiritual Leaders are the Evolutionary Natural Selection of the smarter Witch Doctors of old.

    December 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  2. tony

    Show us an ALL-POWERFUL GOD and I'll show you the MOUNTAIN OF COLLECTION PLATES needed to keep it alive.

    December 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Ouch! God also needs our tax dollars and to lobby washington.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Be Real

      That's the only way the church can collect money to stay afloat and pay their bills. Or would you much prefer a system where the government takes care of all the churches with financial assistance?

      December 7, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Really Moaney

      Hey Tony, moan-ey, moron-ey, would you rather consider the alternative and pay the church's way since they need to keep afloat just like everyone else?

      December 7, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  3. Concerned Thinker

    If there is a God, I doubt he made me smart to believe stupid things.

    December 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  4. GodofLunaticsCreation

    Christian "logic" Every time I flip a coin 100 times the results are always around 50% heads and 50% tails. That proves that a higher power is behind the results and not chance (which includes the fact that the coin has two sides).

    December 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  5. J.W

    "God definitely exists, and that God is the God of the Bible. Jesus was his Son, and he dies for our sins so that we may have eternal life." – Stephen Hawking

    December 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Chuckles

      "Fooled ya!"

      –Jesus H. Christ

      December 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Martin T

      Um, NO.. just NO.. sorry FAIL...

      December 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      "The anus of thy children is the path to God" Jesus Christ

      December 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • BR

      GodofLunaticsCreation – That's just wrong. Hillarious...but wrong. 🙂

      December 7, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Concerned Thinker

      God of the bible may exist. God of reality may not.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Wait thats not in the bible? Someone needs to tell the priests.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Reality

      "According to his new book, The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking writes that: “Physics, not the creator, made the Big Bang.” Stephen Hawking, who has been described as the most brilliant living scientists, says that M-theory, a form of string theory, is a superior explanation for the origination of the physical creation. In other words, the big bang explosion was due only to gravitational laws and other quantum factors. According to Hawking, since there is a gravitational force, the universe can and will evolve into existence from nothingness. He believes that the undirected evolution of the universe is the best explanation for why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe is here, and why we are here. He states clearly that “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

      Read more: http://scienceray.com/physics/stephen-hawkings-agnostic-arguments/#ixzz1fsxxChKd

      December 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • Doug

      "Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived."
      Isaac Asimov

      December 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  6. MrHanson

    http://crev.info/content/111206-science_of_atheism

    December 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  7. catholic engineer

    Most atheist appeal to reason. (Who's reason we never discover, nor whether the reasoning is any good). They usually bring science into their polemic to "refute" religion. This is hard work. As G.K. Chesterton observed,
    "The truth is that the enemies of Christianity, the men who started with a prejudice against religion long before they had studied any science, tried to stretch these very thin and stringy theories, or rather hypotheses, of the nineteenth-century biologists, and make them impinge somehow on Christian philosophy; drawing all sorts of philosophical morals from them which the biological suggestions did not really support, even if they had been true."

    December 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Chuckles

      You don't really believe what you just posted right?

      First, Reason stems from logic. Logic is not bias, it's objective use of mathlike equations to show why something means something else. Secondly, that quote has it's own clear bias and you should probably meet an atheist. For me, among MANY others, I became an atheist having once been religious myself. I didn't begin as an adversary to religion, it stemmed naturally from compartive religious studies, science and logic classes, not to mention people of your ilk trying to debate the other side.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Martin T

      SNORE... Sorry, I've heard it all... and what you claim is again the "party line" that those with belief are fed, nothing more. I find it truly amazing the amount of ignorance that Christians have about Atheists, it's amazing.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Im not surprised. Christian "logic" tells us the earth is flat.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Doug

      "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
      Steven Weinberg

      December 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      @Chuckles "I didn't begin as an adversary to religion, it stemmed naturally from compartive religious studies, science and logic classes, not to mention people of your ilk trying to debate the other side."

      Do you think that if a supreme mind lies behind the universe, you could detect it with calulations and logic? You can't even put yourself under a microscope and look at youself at the same time. Again, as Carl Jung pointed out ( heard of him?) "God's existence does not depend upon our arguments." As for your reasoning powers: You mentioned "people of my ilk". If you make such a judgement about me based on a short blog comment, you need to get out of the logic business.

      December 7, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Answer

      @catholic engineer

      Do you think that if a supreme mind lies behind the universe, you could detect it with calulations and logic? You can't even put yourself under a microscope and look at youself at the same time. Again, as Carl Jung pointed out ( heard of him?) "God's existence does not depend upon our arguments." As for your reasoning powers: You mentioned "people of my ilk". If you make such a judgement about me based on a short blog comment, you need to get out of the logic business.
      -
      What does looking at yourself through a microscope at the same time have to do with looking at your own self not in real time? The conditions for looking at yourself in real time is for what purpose? Pleasure? You are making baseless assertions for a non divine being on that? Looking at yourself even through x-ray photographs is for medical analysis.

      Logic and reason and with calculations will one day produce machines and other tools. That is their purpose. They serve a function. To use a function to gain knowledge might or might not lead to actually find god. How is this against the spectrum of not being able to find god? It is only your mere ASSERTION that it is impossible.

      Do you actually know if our tools (certainly not today's modern tools) in the coming future won't be able to? Your rationale and logic go against what you actually lead others/onto believing. Your very words as a "scientist" puts yourself at odds with the very word of "research". What is the essence of science to you – really? Did you pick up on an engineering degree just to say "IT IS NOT POSSIBLE"?

      Catholic engineer .. you defeat the very purpose of your own words. You are confusing the usage of faith to triumphing the impossibility of science! IT IS MAYBE in the future that we can.

      These very words of "maybe we can" that are the foundations of science.

      What field of engineering are you in? Construction? Well if you were in that area – consider the structure of concrete. Was it impossible to use concrete in the past? What happened to this "new tool" – yes we improved it!

      That is science – ever improving. You are just denying logic just for religion's sake. Don't presume that this level of our knowledge is all there is to life. Strive further! Live better! You're an engineer – you should realize that motto!

      December 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  8. Martin T

    I am an atheist, thankfully my wife is as well, but my first wife's father was a Baptist preacher. You can imagine the issues I had with that tribe; anyway, I allowed by children to go to church because I wanted them to have the right to decide on their own. Mind you, I did talk to them about how I felt, and what I believed, but in the end as they grew up, it was their decision to be either one of the sheep or one of the intellectually superior. Their choice.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • MrHanson

      Yes atheists are just smarter because they believe life is one meeningless lucky cosmic accident.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      I've know plenty of "intellectually superior" people who could barely manage their own lives, let alone offer a sandwich to a hungry person.

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

      Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this chaotic, stochastic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-garies of its local star.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Martin T

      Why would you assume my life has no meaning? My life actually has more meaning than yours, because I understand and accept that this is MY only life and I life it to the fullest. I live by a set of morals that are equal to or greater than any religious set of morals would ever be. I give to the less fortunate, not because I want god to reward me but because I hate to see people suffer. I am again amazed at the vile way that Christians treat atheists as if we are less than human. I bet if you needed my services, you wouldn't care if I were atheist or Christians, I assure you of that.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Not really

      This is the reason people don't like atheists, because they insist on their own intellectual superiority. But just read some of these comments and you'll know there's many that are just as much stupid sheep as any religiously inclined person. Sad, really, when you're creedo is reason, rationality and logic.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • BR

      MrHanson – Strawman, I think I'll miss you most of all.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ Not really, As You Wish! I would take a man's insistence of intellectual superiority over one who thinks he is morally superior to me, any day. I can reason with the intellect.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Not really, No not really. When a muslim tells you to give up your 12 year old daughter for marriage Im sure you will be respectful of his wishes. Because if not then you are close minded and think you are superior. Now go to heaven and find your 7 virgin boys.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • Not really

      Thank you GodofLunaticsCreation. Your posts are case-in-point. It's atheists like these that give us a bad name.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  9. Zoomie

    I am an Atheist married to a practicing Methodist. I have no problem with her belief and she with my non-belief. I attend services with her regularly and play the game. In the last town we lived, I revealed my non-belief to what I thought was a friend and we were both ostracized. My wife took it hard so I now commute to my work and tell no one of my non-belief. I do not trust believers, period.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Martin T

      I came out as an atheist to my son's wife and she went fool, she cut off all ties to me and does not allow me to see my grandchildren. My son is too weak to stand up for my right to my feelings, so he just allows it. I have lost a few friend when I came out, but for the most part I was glad to see them go. I was amazed however, at those who stayed on as my friend, many of whom I thought would not once they found out. It was amazing to find out who my true friends were.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Amused

      I concur! I have taught my children to keep their beliefs to themselves and to be wary of people who try to force them into openly declaring a "religion" that they follow. I have advised them to politely avoid any questions about religious beliefs posed to them at school or work! I have tried to expose them to mainstream religion so that they can understand what motivates these fanatical close minded people that they will have to interact with from time to time. I have explained to them that being honest and open with people about their beliefs can cause religious fanatics to attack them and give them serious trouble!

      December 7, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  10. MrHanson

    It's just amazing how atheists fail to realize they are religous too. Their beliefs take faith. They try to explain how something as complex as the cell or eye came into being by a blind process and most of their explanations fall way short. They oversimplify their explanations. It just evolved on its own. More and more research shows the amazing complexity of nature and obvious design and purpose.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      Mmmm...no. Just no.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Looks like someone needs to go back to 8th grade science and start from the beginning.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • Martin T

      What a CROCK, but one that is used quite frequently by the Christian Right. No, sir, we atheists do NOT have a religion, we have a system of beliefs, but we do not have a religious belief system. Contrary to what you want to believe, I have no faith, no belief in a god, no belief in supernatural beings, no sacred objects, no ritual acts focused on sacred objects, no moral code based on the supernatural, and I do not pray; therefore, I do not have a religion...

      December 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • Thinker2

      @Martin T you don't have a belief? then why do atheist try to defend their "non-belief" so badly and aggressively? If you didn't have strong beliefs, you wouldn't even be posting here to defend atheism. The point is, atheist do have a strong beliefs and they have a religion of their own. I believe in a God that designed and made everything and you believe that matter "magically" transformed into life over a large period of time. These are both beliefs not matter what anyone says.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Not really

      I think some of you don't know the actual definition of religion. Atheism fits. You can not continue with your irrational fits.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Mr Hanson. You might as well say that all people are atheists because they have a belief. Or does it only go one way.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Christian fail again. Athiesm is not a religion, no matter how many times Bill O' Reilly likes to say it (Another genius). Show me the atheist bible. The atheist church. The atheist ritual. The atheist deity.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Martin T

      I don't defend my non-belief at all, in fact I really could care less what Christian believe so long as they don't interfer with my life, liberty and the pursuiit of happiness. I can promise you this, unless you ask me, I will never try and deconvert you, but I can't count the number of people who have come to my door to share their belief system with me. Your answer to my post is weak, at best, sorry.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Martin T

      Also, your definition of a religion fits your need to define religion.. I say tomato you say tomato... I think you see my point, if not them well, so be it...

      December 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Someone who believes in science doesn't require faith. If you are so anti-science then why don't you pray your further comments reach us instead of using a computer which science has brought you? The same science that constantly erodes away the falsehood of your idi0tic beliefs.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Amused

      Your attempt to paint rational people as fools without reason is typical of people with your close-minded point of view. Atheists have no need for faith as our assumptions follow logic and evidence. Dogma and myth have no importance or significance for us as we tend to follow the latest scientific advancements of knowledge. The very essence of the scientific approach is to test and verify all aspects of matter and physics so that we may constantly improve our understanding of this universe and our place within it. Our point of view is NOT stagnant like yours, but constantly improves with each new fact and discovery. To us, the entire universe is a wonderful puzzle that we get to piece together one bit at a time throughout our entire life as we hand the torch of knowledge to our children to carry to geater heights! We see life as magnificent and wonderful instead of scary and full of doom like you.

      December 7, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  11. jackenstien

    It is interesting that in modern times Science and religion (ie Christianity) somewhat oppose each other, when in fact
    the Father of Modern Science – Isaac Newton (1643- 1727) was a Unitarian Christian. This man (along with others) basically created Physics and helped develop the mathematics of Calculus. We still send spacecraft to other planets using Newtons formulas.
    Newton saw a monotheistic God as the masterful creator whose existence could not be denied in the face of the grandeur of all creation. the Bible was Sir Isaac Newton's greatest passion. He devoted more time to the study of Scripture than to science, and he said, "I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily."
    He wrote "Rules for interpreting the words & language in Scripture", "Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John", and "A Short Scheme of the True Religion" in which he quotes: "Opposition to godliness is atheism in profession and idolatry in practice. Atheism is so senseless and odious to mankind that it never had many professors."
    (Quotes from Wikipedia)

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

      Sir Issac Newton was aslo an avid alchemist and believed in magic and other foolish nonsense. He had a number of great epiphonies that resulted in some of the basic fundamentals of modern physics, but in many ways he was a foolish kook! these historic facts are old news and are well known throughout the world of science...

      December 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • JB

      I have a few points to make here:

      1. Yes, Newton was religious. In fact, he was obsessed with religion. It is also true that when he encountered phenomena that he couldn't explain, he would attribute the "mystery" to his god. This illustrates both his arrogance and his folly:

      1a. Newton thought so highly of his intellect that if HE couldn't figure something out, then that phenomena could not possibly be explained except through his god. However, within coming centuries others discovered very real and very natural explanations to those mysteries that perplexed him.

      1b. It is also true that later intellectuals that built upon and refined Newton's theories also attributed that which they did not understand to their god. This has happened countless times throughout history. But as new intellectuals come along, the number of mysteries attributed to god(s) decreases exponentially.

      2. Though Newton believed in biblical prophecy, he was NOT a Christian. In fact, he saw Christianity (worshiping Christ as a God) as idolatry. He also saw this idolatry as THE fundamental sin.

      3. Regardless of Newton's religious views, how much contribution did religion attribute to his amazing discoveries? What supernatural verse in the bible gave him the clues to make discoveries as to how the natural universe behaves?

      4. Let's for a minute pretend that Newton wasn't born in the west (England), but rather somewhere in the Islamic middle east. Do you really think that Newton would've had any faith in the Holy Bible? Most likely, he would've attributed the glory of his mysteries to Allah. The point is, the god of Abraham would not be the supernatural figure that Newton would've placed his faith had he been born anywhere else than the western world.

      December 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  12. catholic engineer

    People reject religion for many reasons. Two of the most common reasons are 1) I can think for myself, and 2) I can be good without God. I can accept these reasons but only if limited to a particular individual. What would humanity do without God collectively? We had a test in the 1960's and '70s. Millions of youths rose up and declared "we can think for ourselves". They threw off all authority and promptly supified their "thinking" with drugs. Then, a marriage became "only a piece of paper" (yet scared to death of signing it !), and moved in together. The excuse? "Everyones's doing it ! From free thinkers to sheep in one decade. The rest is history: rampant divorce, unconstrained copulation, AIDS, abortions in the millions, a society becoming meaner all the time (just read some of these posts !). Without God, humanity collectively becomes a mob.

    Dmitry Panin, a friend of Nobel Prize winning Alexander Solzhenitsyn, fought the Nazis in WW2, and spent years in Stalin's gulags. Having faced total evil , he said " When the church is destroyed and people are left on their own, it is easy for them to fall in with evil schemes."

    December 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      Humanity was a mob well before religion, is while under its constraints, and will be after it's gone. I'm not seeing the causality in your reasoning, here – plenty of those kids cleaned up, got married and went back to church. On the other side of the same coin, there are plenty of people who talk about God a lot and then do everything you've mentioned. Religion can't take much credit for how humanity behaves or doesn't behave.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  13. GodofLunaticsCreation

    Those bibles are going to make for some rough toilet paper when the masses begin to embrace education.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  14. Heather6

    Now who's open-minded?

    December 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Grenn

      You are, baby! Now let's have a little kiss....

      December 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  15. elgeevz

    In the year 3995 a man's probity and honor may well be predicated on his willingness to acknowledge that David Koresh was the Son of God. By then people may be sending off their kids to Sunday school to learn how the gentle Lord David mas martyred by the evil Reno at Waco, and how the depraved Texans then gathered together at football stadiums to pray to their pagan gods. Fantastic? Well sure, but then stranger things have happened.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  16. Carl

    I'm an atheist and I go to church, however reluctantly, with my wife and kids. It's mostly to keep the peace with my wife, though I'll acknowledge there are "community" benefits that go with church membership. I'm content to let my children grow up and make up their own minds, as I did. I don't push my views, except when the church's teachings veer into what I deem completely unacceptable, such as literal biblical interpretation (i.e. – biblical creationism). I teach them it's OK to not have all the answers.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  17. Veritas

    I always chuckle when I come across posts saying implicitly or explicitly "God exists," "The proof of God's existence is out there," etc.

    Some people, no matter how many years they've spent chanting biblical mantras in Sunday school, really have no concept of what faith even means. Pathetic.

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

      Agreed.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  18. us1776

    Yes, as an atheist I took my kids to different churches so that they could understand the concept of religion. And then later I just told them they could make their own choice concerning religion.

    .

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

      As an atheist I will let my children decide about which religion they want to follow, if at all, when they are old enough to take themselves to the place of worship on their own, if they feel like something is missing. Until then, we will continue to play sports on the weekends and volunteer for charity work and fund raisers. By the way, the 10% of your income that goes to build these churches works well to save for your children's college tuition.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  19. Jimmy Cracorn

    I am an atheist and have taken my son two three different types of christian churches one Muslim one Hindu and two Buddhist. I don't think it's wright to force your views about religion on anyone including your children. Of course he has disliked every minute of it but as a kid that's not surprising. My wife and I plan to do this three times through out his childhood.

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

      And I don't care.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Not really

      And no one really cares that you don't care. I can make productive comments too!

      December 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      @not really – I think they were trying to make a joke about Jimmy Cracorn's name.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  20. Drew

    I would rather blindly follow my faith for the guarantee of a place in heaven then to blindly follow science for the guarantee of nothingness.

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

      Then you can just stay blind.

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

      basically your saying your just going to turn off your brain...

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

      Drew, you're saying several things here. First you are saying that you don't really care if your beliefs are true or not. That's your first issue. The main reason I lack a belief in a God is because I STRONGLY care about whether or not my beliefs are true. Secondly, you're trying to play the safe card by believing in a God to ensure your heavenly passage-which you actually think will trick a God. Don't you think He would see right through your selfish motives? Thirdly, there are thousands upon thousands of Gods and an infinite amount of "possible" Gods out there. By picking one you are still denying all the other ones, so you aren't actually increasing your chances much at all because the one you pick might be the "wrong one".

      Me, I personally value truth, and I cannot find it in any religion I've experienced so far. Faith is not the path to truth, it's a path of "accepting" something as true without having any logical or reasonable justification. When I put religious views to any real test they all come up WELL short of tangible standards of truth.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Carl

      God gave you a fantastic gift called a brain, and you have foolishly chosen to squander that gift. If there is a god you may find out you have no guarantee, and that you have something shameful to answer for. I'm content to be judged on my actions, and upon my use of the gifts I have been given. Why blind belief should be rewarded by any god is beyond me.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Steve

      Blindly following your faith is going to render you disappointed once you realize that there is just nothingness; instead you could have gained insight openly following science.

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

      Actually science is showing us less and less of nothingness. Yet atheists still attribute amazing bio complexity to 'chance dunnit.' Therefore atheism takes faith.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • Concerned Thinker

      This rational is called the Gambler's Wager. Not a bad rational if you have limited info, which you do not. There is too much info out there to base your life's beliefs on a wager. I will be stearing clear of you in Vegas.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Hanson you are a mor0n. So if I believe that flipping a coin 100 times will yield me around 50 heads and 50 tails then that is faith? We have seen the workings of chance but yet to see the workings of your bearded pedophile.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • JB

      MrHanson:

      I am an atheist. I often debate with religious and have found that insults and ridicule achieve nothing. With that said, please understand me when I say you're knowledge of the subject matter is substandard at best.

      This is the most egregious trait of the religious; devoting little to no time to understand the opposition.

      It is apparent that you have no knowledge of evolutional theory, yet you just know it's wrong. However if you are ever inclined to talk to many atheists, I believe you'll find that the vast majority are very familiar with the bible and could possibly posses more biblical knowledge than yourself.

      Please, before you just close your mind and say ignorant things such as, " atheists still attribute amazing bio complexity to 'chance dunnit,' " please do yourself a favor and do some research into the subject matter. Otherwise, you just look silly.

      However, if you want to continue on your current path of blissful ignorance, please take no part in any modern-day medicine. Refuse medications such as antibiotics and vaccinations. For these technologies are built upon the understandings of evolution. Without the biological description of reality that evolution provides, our medicine would still be in the dark ages.

      December 7, 2011 at 8:09 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.