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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. chris

    This doesn't surprise me at all. I think if we were all completely honest, no one can be 100% certain of their own belief system. As a Christian, I am over 99% certain I am right, but there is a possibility that some things I believe are inaccurate. I am not arrogant enough to believe otherwise. Similarly, I don't believe even the most ardent atheist is truly 100% certain that there is nothing after death, and anyone who claims to be is a liar. It would be best if we just respected each other's beliefs and let our children make their own decisions.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • BR

      chris – Very stand up of you to admit the 99%. Most theists I've met aren't that generous. Still, the average atheist doesn't make a positive statement that 'no' gods exist. We typically state that we reject the theist's claims. Actually we're usually saying the inverse of your statement. We're prepared to be wrong, but there has never been any reliably demonstrated reason to believe in any god.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • richunix

      @Chris,

      Ok, this is your BIG moment...99% eh...So enlighten the world "What is your proof"? Of course you are going to have to base your claim on some sort of Scientific exam...but here it is YOUR CHANCE..... I'm waiting with baited breath...(in fact the world is waiting...)

      December 7, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • MarylandBill

      @richunix,

      Besides demonstrating how some atheists are annoying, you also are showing a lack of knowledge about how science works. Science does not prove anything. Science provides models that fit existing data and makes predictions based on that data. Further, natural science, by definition is not equipped to deal with metaphysical knowledge.

      In other words, there are many, many things that science is incapable of describing, and nothing about which it is capable of proving (proof is a mathematical concept, not a scientific one!).

      December 7, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  2. Mikey

    I find most agnostics tend to know more about other people's religions than they do. I was raised Catholic and my best friend is far more religious than I am. He always talks about what the Bible says to do; however, he has never read the whole thing. Having went to a Catholic School for 9 years I have read the Bible cover to cover twice. I think it is filled with read stories and provides a sound way to live, but it was written by men and further even the books were decided on by a committee.

    I applaud people that allow their children to experience a religion other than their own. It can reinforce belief or change it. Either way it will help them understand themselves better, which in the end (I believe) is what God really wants. I don't believe any one religion has it all correct so why not do what these scientist do?

    December 7, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • richunix

      @Micky,

      Scientist don’t have all the answers, but it’s better than “Simon Says”

      Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

      Atheism is not a religion nor is it a belief.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  3. joseph w. ryder

    If we have any sense at all, there is a mighty hand in every twenty four hour period. We are traveling at speeds man cannot fathom, rotating less speed but it never varies, and around we go. The animals around us had to work perfect the first time they could not practice evolution, they would of run out of species. Mans thoughts are always focused on the Impossible, facts that stare us in the face, trying to make something out of nothing cannot be sanity. Look at two great lights, moon and sun why do they not go out, as a kid I thought they might so far I was wrong. Who invented a week or a twenty four hour period, something man can live with and only Man inserts Variations. Man fools with time but it gets light in the morning and dark at night. Great reading Novas Big Bang theory, billions of years does not work they cant get closer than between five and ten billion years old, with the clock in Denver that's a heck of a gap and the sun is still shinning and the moon still making an appearances, day week month year?

    December 7, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Adam

      Is this...? What is this?

      December 7, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Joe

      The moon is not a light. It simply reflects the sun light and the sun will definately burn out in about 4.5 billion years.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • ...

      ...what?

      December 7, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • NJBob

      Smoking a little weed this morning, are we?

      December 7, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Joshua

      "Look at two great lights, moon and sun why do they not go out,"

      -Seriously?

      December 7, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Hokey Smokes

      To quote Neil deGrasse Tyson, "The cure for cancer isn't coming from you."

      December 7, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  4. Missed Point

    The study indicates that 80% of the scientist don't expouse their children to religion? That's the news of this article, not that some small minority of scientist do have the ability to have an open mind.

    This article is not about religion it's about closed minded scientists!

    December 7, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Scott

      It's 80% don't involve their children in religious services, because they themselves didn't go to church. Both of my parents were non-believers and did not take me to church, but they didn't care when I went with friends or dated girls that were involved in their church. Not taking your children to church isn't close minded. Would you have to take them to the services of every religion and ever denomination to be considered open-minded. Most are letting their children decided for themselves....that's pretty selfless.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Juan T

      Do you expose your children to atheism? Or do you just say, "Atheism bad; god good"?

      December 7, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Will S

      Do Baptists go to Catholic Mass or teach their kids about pantheism? Hypocrite.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  5. Chris

    First off athiests arent "against religious people" as the article states, we just arent able to take the leap of faith without proof that there is a God. I dont know if thats poor choice of words or if it's meant to be deliberately inflammatory to get her study more attention.

    Having said that I can see the the value of believing in something, the comfort it would give one, and I wish I could believe. My ex wife is Catholic and my children attend a Catholic school. Although I disagree strongly with many of the specific teachings of the church I have no problem with giving them the opportunity to be exposed to a religion (I talk to them about some of the nonsense as it comes up, for instance my daughter has only been exposed to creationism so far at school, so I talk to her about evolution).

    My hope is that they will come out of it with a belief that there is a god and an afterlife, but be able to think for themselves and reject the ridiculous dogmas that go with most (all?) organized religions.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  6. Qularkono

    the book of Jude and other books of the Bible .... warn us of wolves in sheeps clothing being within the visible church. But God knows who they are and He will throw the tares into the fire and bring the harvest home.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Scott

      Are you referring to the many ministers in the news lately?

      December 7, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • richunix

      I could makeup the same thing and call it the "Book of Richard" ...prove me wrong..Come to think of it..isn't the Book of St. John and revelation based on his dreams....boy the next time I go to court, I'm sure to invoke..."The Devil made me do it"...so I'm off scott free.... Looks like lets have more fantasy and call it truth without fact.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  7. Russell Clark

    One in five sounds like a lot, but 20% (exactly the same thing) sounds small; it is all in the presentation. Flip it around and you see that 80% do not attend church regularly. Now 20% is larger than I would have expected, but perhaps it shows that the atheist crowd is more tolerant than they have been portrayed.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  8. bagger

    basic Q and A time for christians!!!!

    How did those kangaroos hop on over from austrailia across the indian ocean in time to get onboard noahs arc in the middle east?

    how did a 1,000 year old man build a boat (by himself!) large enough for 2 of every animal on the entire earth?

    It is a good thing there tons of trees in the middle east, oh wait.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  9. grainman

    Atheist are not 'against' religious people!
    This is a narrow, misguided viewpoint.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • richunix

      to coin a phase "Amen"...how true!

      December 7, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  10. Jason

    I'm not buying it. This article is not true. I'm enough of a "scientist" to know that you can easily sway any study towards a specific direction if you so wish, and I believe that is what happened here. A group of religious people wanted to make a statement that they were somehow "winning" against atheism, so they manicured a study. The very verbiage of this article suggests it was written by someone speaking from and to an overly religious group of people.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • understanding

      I completely believe this study as an atheist who takes his children to church with a wife who strongly believes. There is nothing wrong with introducing a child to knowledge in all aspects. The fact that it is only 20% should not get atheists into an uproar. It's a logical decision to allow your children the most knowledge to make a good decision. That doesn't mean we don't teach them other options or ideas as well, but morally speaking to have your children grow up learning to be good to others and to learn respect of others and kindness toward all is NOT a bad thing.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  11. mfx3

    By comparison, how many Christians affiliate in any way with non-Christian groups? Seems to me one group is more accepting, open-minded, and mature than the other.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Littleolme

      My children take tae kwon do, go to public schools, and I lead a writer's group.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • John

      There's no church of Atheism to attend.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • blaqb0x

      Well scientists along with atheists are more secure in what they believe due to the simple fact that they base them on evidence. There is nothing in religion or faith that can refute standards based evidence.

      December 7, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  12. Andy O

    I am 28, successful, a Catholic – who believes there is a God, and has many friends that identify as being atheist. I've found that people, whether believers or non believers, come in different varieties. i.e. Loving, angry, quiet, outspoken, etc. Believe what you want to believe. While, to a degree, your beliefs are a window into who you are they do not define you completely. You beliefs notwithstanding, you should take a moment and identify who you really are. The people reference in the article, presumably, are taken their kids to Church to allow their children to make their own choices, these people are selfless and should be admired. Angry, outspoken, most likely unemployed (to avoid confusion, I am grabbing lunch at my desk), bloggers should refrain from pushing their agenda’s. A higher deity is debatable, but you being a horrible weak person isn’t.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Toas

      You have GOT to be kidding me....

      December 7, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  13. Daniel

    Church is a perfect place for an atheist. Hopefully they will find a deeper purpose to life than just themselves and their family. Hmmm....

    December 7, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Scott

      ....or friendship, community, country, etc. We care about the same things you do.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Nonimus

      "Hopefully they will find a deeper purpose to life than just themselves and their family. Hmmm...."
      You seemed to assume, in a condescending way, that Atheists are narcissists. Many, especially, I would think, elite scientists, like the ones in this study, find deeper *meaning* in expanding our understanding of the world we live in and therefore making life better for all humanity, regardless of religion.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Jesus H. Christ

      They can do that by visiting a National Park. Work at a Soup Kitchen. Ever watch the Sunset over Kauai? The stories of my life are so twisted they only confuse. Religion is not for everyone. Society is evolving faster than religion can keep up.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • BR

      Ass – u – me

      December 7, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  14. Scott

    It does say nearly 1 in 5 do. So, it's not that common, unlike how the article portrays it. Some atheists marry people with some religious conviction and will allow their children to decide for themselves, no big deal. I'm an atheist with a close friend who is an Episcopal priest and I will sometimes go and listen to him speak in church. I don't believe in the basis for his worldview but we share many ideas in common, including civil and social justice, loving your neighbor and accepting those who are different.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  15. Michaeltantino

    If I met any of you and introduced you to my 4 year old Liberal or 4 year old Republican, you'd think I was a bit of a nutjob. How can a 4 year old be capable of making a decision about political ideologies? Yet in our culture it's not considered the same when it comes to religion. If I introduced my 4 year old as a Christian it doesn't turn too many heads, as if a childs religious decision is any less beyond their comprehension.

    As an atheist I will not prevent my child from learning about religion, just like it is mentioned in the article. I will answer questions or refer my child to mom for religious questions (she's Catholic) but I will not indoctrinate them in a religion or non-religion at such a young age.

    I am not there yet, so i don't know when the appropriate time is for those talks, but I would assume it would be to take the questions as they came from the child and offering my individual opinion and directing them to others for an opposing idea. Let them riddle it out on their own. If my child grows up and chooses to be a Christian I will accept it. I will be disappointed in that I will view their decision as poor reasoning (for if I thought it were good reasoning I would be religious) just as mom woudl likely be disappointed if the child did not believe. I believe in individual rights and I want my child to be strong enough to make those decisions on her own, even if I don't like it. When she comes to me with questions however, I will present the best argument I can. If it turns out she thinks my argument insufficient than so be it.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Luis Wu

      Where is the like button when you need it. Good post.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Jesus H. Christ

      As the almighty I see you will do just fine. Your logic is perfect. Your reasoning is truthful. You will raise intelligent children.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • justme

      are you celebrating christmas with this 4 year old?

      December 7, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • alsmeer1

      First of all, sitting in a pew @ church does not make someone a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car. too many people believe that because their parents went to church or they go to church that they are Christians. A Christian is a believer who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their life. and they live their life accordingly.
      second.... a child who is under the age of accountability (truly knowing right/wrong/etc) will automatically go to heaven w/o having to acknowledge Jesus.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • montyross

      not needful for you to indoctrinate youre child. God will call them when hes ready, then they can reject or accept just as you did. liberals gotta love God he gives you a choice

      December 7, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "justme – are you celebrating christmas with this 4 year old?"

      I prefer yuletide.....all the presents, none of the religion. Yay for cultural traditions.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Madtown

      a child who is under the age of accountability (truly knowing right/wrong/etc) will automatically go to heaven w/o having to acknowledge Jesus.
      ----–
      And, people who were born to an area of the world where they'd never hear about Jesus or the bible, what will happen to them?

      December 7, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • daradar

      Excellent post! I was raised a Methodist for my first 10 years and converted to Catholicism before my marriage to a Catholic. My three children were raised as Catholics and attended Catholic schools. The schools were very progressive and taught World Religions and required all children to attend at least one service for the different religions. Children who were Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and other religions attended the school. Religion class was daily and Mass was required on Friday. That being said, my three children, ages 26-30 are non-religious. Two consider themselves to be Atheists and one is Agnostic. My husband and I are no longer practicing Catholics and are Agnostic. My children are all highly educated with advanced college degrees and even took Religion classes in college. They are very sweet, caring, loving people who perform charity work to benefit those in need. I am very proud of the way my children turned out as adults. Unfortunately, many religious people in our family and among our friends feel our children are less worthy as people because of their non-religious views. It is sad that so many religious people are so intolerant of others.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Michaeltantino

      @justme.

      Yes, I am celebrating Christmas with my daughter. I have reservations about the whole Santa thing because I despise lying to her, however my wife if Catholic and we have to compromise.

      We do not do any of the "Christ" business and we celebrate more of the idea of fellowship, love, and giving. The secular aspects of it.

      December 7, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • blaqb0x

      Adding to Jesus H. Christ: As the almighty I see you will do just fine. Your logic is perfect. Your reasoning is truthful. You will raise intelligent children. EXCEPT YOU WILL STILL BURN IN HELL since you don't believe in me.

      December 7, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Michaeltantino

      @alsmeer1

      No one believes going to church automatically nominates you as a Christian, but to deny the very powerful influence of your environment in regards to religious belief would be silly to say the least. It is very evidenced by the geographical nature of religion for example.

      Secondly, saying all children who die will not have go take the accountability test and be given auto-heaven invitations is an argument FOR abortion. I personally am not a fan of abortion but you just gave a good argument to support religious people who are considering it, because after all they are sparing their child from the potential mistake of not accepting Jesus and going to Hell. By aborting you just gave them a free ticket to the promise land. Since that place is better than here, your argument could be posed as a generosity for dead babies and children. I personally do not accept your argument as the entire idea of this test to begin with is absurd.

      December 7, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • justme

      mike, nice answer. i just had to come back to read some of the comments and am amazed by people who claim to be christian but know not much about the christ or athiest but compromise with pagan rituals. a true christian would never celebrate christmas nor would a true athiest. don't you people ever feel a little hypocritical?

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

      @justme,

      People are always hypocritical, but that is not an excuse. Sometimes we also must compromise. If I were to say; "Honey, I am an atheist and you are Catholic but I will NOT have our daughter exposed to ANY religious Holiday!" that would be a bit unfair. My wife hopes our daughter will become a Catholic like her and celebrate the traditions of her family. I hope my daughter uses her rational mind to make up her decisions. The best I can do and my wife can do as parents is show that we can work together despite differences of opinions and raise our daughter to be open minded and to consider all points of views.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  16. nebraska

    Most people who DO identify with a certain religion don't believe everything that their religion teaches. We are Catholic but I certainly do not follow the religion to the "letter of the law" so to speak. COme to think of it, it seems that a lot of the ones that are preaching from the pulpit don't follow the religion either.
    I think it is very open minded of them to expose their children to all sorts of religions and experiences. They are way more well-rounded than kids like mine that only attend our Church.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • bagger

      try reading leviticus again. --> death sentence for 99% of america.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • bagger

      when was the last time you ate shrimp, a cheese burger, bbq? --> death sentence
      are you a women that has ever shown her hair? -> death sentance
      i'll just stop there as that is already 99% of america, though the list goes on and on.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Tech42

      If you don't follow the rules of the religion (and, presumably don't believe in them), in what sense do you say you're a catholic? Is it just because you "drink the wine and chew the wafer"?
      I know some very heavily religious catholics and they tell me that the source of morality is the bible. Where, then, does the ability to ignore certain sections come from? If you make a judgement based on anything but the "source of morality", then your judgement call must, necessarily, be immoral (or at least amoral).
      For the argument that certain sections were written for different times, I don't see expiry dates anywhere in the King James version, so, again, how is it possible to judge the morality of sections of a book which provides the basis for morality?
      It appears not to work.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  17. Troy

    Scientists are not against religion. People who say that must have failed history exams on the Renaissance. Science and Religion get redefined with each new age and once were the same thing.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  18. RunCrissieRun

    I'm catholic, my husband is athiest. My children lean more towards his way of thinking, which is just fine. We have very interesting dinner conversations! Free will and choice is very important for children. I don't want to raise a clone of myself. I do take issue with one point in the article, though. I don't feel Athiests have issues with people who are religous. It's the religion itself. People who are religious shouldn't take it personally if someone chooses not to believe like they do.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Ironicus

      But they do take it personally. Very personally. And then they will say their "god" is very angry or something or start spouting scripture. All they need is a soft-walled room and a jacket with extra-long arms.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      I would class my step-daughter as a liberal christian. Her firend is most certainly an evangelical right wing christian.
      My step-daughter was talking to her the other day and claimed that she believed the stories in the bible were to be taken as lessons and not a literal word for word truth. Her friend was so shocked that she actually got on her knees in the middle of the street and prayed aloud for her to learn the error of her ways.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Sean

      Tell that to my atheist neighbor who see a sign that says "Merry Christmas" and goes apesh1t... He acts like it was put there specifically for him telling him that he is going to hell because he does not believe in Jesus.. He is constantly telling me that people who believe in God should not be allowed to participate in society as a whole, including not being allowed to vote.. He thinks if every believer has his way they would vote in the Pope as President for life... I graduated from a Catholic HS and I have never met any Christian who is more militant about their religion than my neighbor is about his atheism..

      December 7, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • MarylandBill

      It depends on the atheist and their particular position. Richard Dawkins and his like are not simply atheists, they are anti-religious. If someone one calls what I believe to be stupid, then they are in effect calling me stupid since without ever questioning my particular reasoning as to why I believe, they are assuring me that it is wrong.

      December 7, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • dfw2

      Sean, your neighbor sounds like a fun guy to listen to.

      December 7, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  19. hippypoet

    expose your life and all in it to all aspects of human society and beliefs, that is my personal philsophy, but do them with knowledge of the reality that many people completely believe in what we are simply just taking part in and so some times resistence is a result – on both ends.

    has anyone ever heard – "Lift a stone and i am there, split a plank of wood and you will find me." ?

    To expose your kids to "god" simply go outside! Nothing is benifited by going to church – if a social gathering is what you yern for there are plenty thru-out the year all over the place...and nearly all take place outside! Fuk it, go on a picnic, thats more family then going to church!

    December 7, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Jesus H. Christ

      A family picnic is a great idea. I tried to get that in the Bible, but the nobody would listen.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • ddrm

      If you're Catholic or Christian, Jesus said where there are 2 or 3 persons in his name that is where he will be. Scientists have seen that when people pray or meditate together, there is an incredibly strong energy that comes from these meetings. So, if you go to church with the intention of being connected to God and to your fellowman, attending church is a benefit. I know people that do not go to church and the few times they've gone (regardless of specific faith), feel better and try to have a better perspective on the day ahead. Again, I'm not implying you'll go to hell or anything if you don't go, but it may bring you greater peace. Best regards.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Nonimus

      "Scientists have seen that when people pray or meditate together, there is an incredibly strong energy that comes from these meetings."
      Cite your references.

      Actually scientific studies, or at least this one, has shown the exact opposite. In blind studies, the prayer recipient vs. non-recipient, show no significant difference. Strangely, however, when the patient knew they were being prayed for, their were actually more complications in their treatment, i.e. a worse outcome.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Nonimus

      Oops, the study:
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16569567

      December 7, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • claybigsby

      "If you're Catholic or Christian, Jesus said where there are 2 or 3 persons in his name that is where he will be. "

      Considering writers of the bible never knew Jesus, anything that in the bible claiming what Jesus said is hearsay.

      December 7, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  20. Alex in NJ

    This isn't surprising. I am an atheist but I will get married in a church under a catholic ceremony, and will probably raise my kids catholic. My girlfriend is catholic and while she has her questions as well, she still retains most of the basic beliefs. My only condition is that when our children are to be Confirmed (the rough Catholic equivalent to a Bar Mitzvah) they have the opportunity to decide whether or not that want to continue with the faith. I see nothing wrong with religion and religious people, I just have too much of an obsessively analytical mind to believe it. Sometimes though, I envy the religious, at it must be so comforting to have that kind of faith.

    December 7, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Jesus H. Christ

      Take comfort in your own ideas. You don't need religion – you only see the greener grass. Expose your children to scientific reasoning and they will be fine.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • catholic engineer

      Alex, obviously I'm a Catholic. Yet I so much appreciate the comments you just made. It shows that genuine dialogue is possible between people with inquiring minds, though coming from different directions.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Chuckles

      Honestly, my only beef with your statement is that confirmation is NOT the rough equivalent of a bar mitvah, it's the rough equivalent of the jewish confirmation (which does exist)...... other than that, I find it interesting you would have no problem raising your children catholic, unless you intend on giving them a healthy dose of skepticism as well. But hey, that's not for me to decide.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • ddrm

      You are a decent and reasonable person. I'm a devout Catholic but respect people of all faiths or no faiths. What makes me sad is when people of no faith bash maliciously abou the religious. I attended a large elementary school in Brooklyn and was exposed to people of different faiths and I was never offended; it was interesting and we were respectful. Our holiday concerts consisted of Christmas and Chanukah songs and no one felt we were offending their sensibilities. Thank you again.

      December 7, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @Alex: You said, "This isn't surprising. I am an atheist but I will get married in a church under a catholic ceremony"

      If the parish approves it. Enjoy your Pre-Cana.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:44 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.