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Black, atheist and living in the South
A group of black atheists meets in Atlanta.
December 8th, 2011
01:56 PM ET

Black, atheist and living in the South

By Kim Chakanetsa, CNN

Editor's note: Listen to the CNN Radio broadcast about black atheists in the South:

 (CNN) - Benjamin Burchall first realized how different his experience in the South was going to be while looking for something to watch on television on a Sunday night.

"I couldn't find anything on television but religious programming,” says Burchall, 38, a former Christian minister and agricultural consultant who moved from Long Beach, California, to Atlanta for work in 2010, “And I thought, 'Oh my God, where am I? Is this all that is on television here?'"

And he quickly found other differences from West Coast living.

"I was not used to meeting someone for the first time and having their first question be ‘what church do you go to?’"

Burchall’s proud response to such queries was, “None.” He is part of an increasingly visible minority – black atheists living in the Bible Belt.

Mandisa Thomas, a mother of three, has lived in Atlanta for more than 13 years. An atheist since her early 20s, Thomas has a two-pronged strategy when it comes to dealing with the religion question. The first is simply not talking about it unless someone else brings it up.

The second is a kind of warning: “I will ask, ‘Are you sure you want to hear this?’” she says. The goal, Thomas says, is to avoid unnecessary confrontations.

But there are other situations that are simply a part of living down South.

Take the Walmart employee who suggested Thomas come back for gospel singer Yolanda Adams’ book signing, or the stranger who approached her and asked if she was born again and implored her to turn her life to Jesus when she said she wasn’t.

“There is an assumption that black woman in particular are religious,” says Thomas.

Statistics suggest that is a fair assumption to make. A much-cited study published in 2008 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that of all the major racial and ethnic groups in the United States, black Americans are most likely to report a formal religious affiliation. Less than 1.5% of blacks identify themselves as atheist or agnostic, compared with 5% of whites and 7% of Asians.

The same study notes that nearly four of five African-Americans (79%) say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 56% among all U.S.adults.

However, the trend among black Americans is toward greater levels of nonbelief. The number of blacks reporting no religion in American Religious Identification Survey almost doubled between 1990 and 2008.

In the South, this trend is witnessed by the emergence of groups such as the Black Nonbelievers of Atlanta (BNOA), and the Humanist Congregation of Greater Atlanta. The proliferation of YouTube videos and forum postings by Southern atheists also suggest a growing desire to build a community for the religiously unaffiliated.

Burchall says it’s not necessarily the case that there are more black atheists these days, “but there is an increase in the number of people coming out and saying they are black atheists.”

And there are more organizations looking to decouple black culture from religion. In January, Burchall and Thomas co-founded BNOA with the aim of bringing together black atheists who might otherwise be shunned by family and friends. Burchall and Thomas had initially joined an atheist group in Atlanta, but they wanted an organization that spoke directly to their experiences as African-Americans.

For most of American history, meaning in the African-American community has been tied to religion.

“The church has always been at the forefront of providing meaning, identity, mission and purpose for the lives of African-American people,” says Gregory Eason, the senior pastor at the historic Big Bethel AME Church in downtown Atlanta.

Many black atheists argue that Christianity was imposed on African slaves in the United States and are uneasy with how fully African-Americans have embraced it.

“It was forced on our ancestors; now their descendants have fallen for it hook, line and sinker and it has been such a part of our culture,” says Burchall.

“Oftentimes blacks believe that Christianity is black culture, and if you are not Christian you are not part of the community,” he says. “After all, it was Christianity that helped us through slavery times and the civil rights movement.”

For Mario Dorsey, an Atlanta native, Black Nonbelievers of Atlanta helped him feel comfortable with moving away from that tradition.

“I joined because I felt that in the black community religion was much more of a social movement, almost like a mass hypnotism,” Dorsey says. “It felt pretty cool to be part of a group that actually thought like I do.”

Like many black atheists, Dorsey does not announce his atheism loudly.

“For the most part I don’t walk around with atheist on my shoulder," he says. "Most people won’t know unless they ask me, but when I am asked I get this really weird reaction as if I’d said I torture monkeys for a living or something. It’s really weird.”

Dorsey acts as the organization’s lead online administrator. The role is particularly important as the Internet has played a significant role in recruiting members. Thomas, the current president, estimates they have about 30 people who regularly attend meetings. The community online is even larger, with up to 150 members.

Burchall, who left Black Nonbelievers of Atlanta in June this year to pursue other opportunities, has since founded another organization, the Humanist Congregation of Greater Atlanta.

Dominique Huff, another lifelong Atlantan, the son of a preacher, first heard about Black Nonbelievers of Atlanta on Facebook. He says he became a nonbeliever in high school.

It hasn't been particularly easy living in a city where “it’s always, ‘Have a blessed day,’ and you see churches on every street corner,” he says. But since 2000, Huff has slowly chosen to embrace his nonbelief, a decision that has not been easy for his minister mother.

“She is kind of in denial about it,” Huff says. “It is not a conversation we have. She still tries to pray with me. I pray along with her. I am like, ‘That’s where you at; that’s not for me.' There is like an invisible line we just never talk about.”

The online conversation is particularly vibrant, with numerous YouTube postings and blogs addressing the cultural taboo. A posting dated February 24, 2011, found on the Atheist Nexus, an umbrella networking organization, spoke of the difficulty of being black, atheist and homosexual in Mississippi. The member has since started a ‘secret’ Facebook group targeting other atheists and in April 2011 noted that of the 85 atheists who had joined, 10 were black.

The impetus for starting the group was made clear in a posting that read: “given how obsessed people in Mississippi are with Christianity, being an atheist here is very isolating and difficult. Add to that the fact that I'm Black and non-heterosexual, and we're talking social suicide.”

On ExChristian.net, a posting by a member identified as ‘kclark’ details the struggles of growing up in a religious household as a gay atheist in a small town in central Louisiana.

YouTube has become an especially popular outlet for African-Americans to declare their atheism. Jeremiah, a 20-year-old ‘living somewhere in the heart of the bible belt’ in April last year uploaded a video arguing that faith and the Bible are not evidence that God exists and affirming that he is proud to be an atheist. In a video uploaded in September 2009, Marquell Garrett, who is based in North Augusta, South Carolina, addresses the oft-asked question: where are the black atheists?

Garrett concludes that the consequences of declaring oneself an atheist in the black community have resulted in many nonbelievers remaining closeted.

Garrett also runs a blog titled Atheist Fighting Back Keeping Strong and Speaking Out‘ where he writes of his experiences of coming out as an atheist at age 14 in South Carolina.

Not all postings are related to a rejection of Christianity, however. A YouTube video by a member based in Birmingham, Alabama, who identifies himself as Bilal3700 details why he left Islam to become an atheist.

Unlike other parts of the South where activities by black atheists remain online, Atlanta appears to be spearheading the momentum with the creation of nonbeliever organizations such as the Humanist Congregation of Greater Atlanta, which allow a previously marginalized minority a voice and a community that goes beyond anonymous avatars.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Georgia • United States

soundoff (1,233 Responses)
  1. Born on Earth

    I love religion. Yet I am not religious. I am close friends with Islamics, Jews, Christians and more. I believe their religions are crucial to not only who they are individually, but my community & me. The services they provide are a core element in the the stability of my community. Were religions to disappear, I would hope people would step up and provide the services many Churches now provide, but the reality is they do a TON of heavy lifting in the most needed of areas.

    My parents were a nurse and a scientist, they believed in what they could prove. They were never able to prove the existence of God. By extension, I too am a non-believer. Don't hate me for it, don't try to change me, just keep bringing the happy thoughts and wonderful community involvement.

    By the way, my 10 year old daughter believes in God. This doesn't sit well with my parents, but she is a very smart girl and this decision is deeply personal, and her belief if it sticks will surely be a wonderfully enriching component of her life. Peace to all, and to all a good night!

    December 15, 2011 at 12:43 am |
  2. Nancy

    Thank you all, theists and atheists, for an interesting night's reading. I find it saddening, though, that the believers seem to feel persecuted by atheistic as sertions. For every Christian that asks "Can't we all get along?" there are 20 more that will not LET us all "get along." Many Christian sects have proselytizing at the heart of their beliefs, and feel duty-bound to convert all who don't follow their unique brand of worship, like the Witnesses, the Adventists and the Mormons.

    Then, we have the "Evangelicals" of all sects who feel compelled by their faith to LEGISLATE their morals on everyone else. I take GREAT exception to that, especially considering that I've found that those who most loudly proclaim themselves "Christian" are anything but in their daily lives. They cheat, they lie, they discriminate... but they go to worship on their appointed day and receive forgiveness for their sins, merely because they pay lip service to their deity's commands. Sorry, believers, but you can't convince me that any omnipotent being is gonna buy that load of hooey.

    Just as the Protestants broke from the Catholics over the issue of "indulgences," i.e. buying their way into heaven, I think the agnostics (and maybe some atheists) feel the need to break from belief in religion, or a supreme being, because of the blatant hypocrisy so evident amongst so many people of "faith." Yes, many of the "faithful" do good works – but so do the agnostics and the atheists. Yes, many people of "faith" are good, loving, upstanding citizens – but so are many that don't believe.

    Morals and societal covenants existed long before the Christian "God" was invented. They will remain long after the Christian "God" has become as much of an anachronism as the pagan deities. Human social behavior evolved right along with our brains and bodies, long before the first one ever considered that there might be some all-powerful being pulling their strings. Believers do NOT have the moral high ground by any means. Nor do they have any more right to impose their version of morality on others than do the non-believers.

    So, keep your God(s), follow them as you will, but leave the rest of us out of it, would you? I, for one, am heartily tired of being assailed for my lack of "faith," despite all the countless hours and dollars spent trying to assist those less fortunate. *I* think that, even if there IS some all-powerful being pulling the strings, it's not going to matter a tinker's damn whether or not I blindly worship he/she/it – what will matter is how I've treated my fellow beings. Nothing more, nothing less. And, if there isn't one, at least I tried to help my fellow beings and didn't waste all that time and money idolizing a God that shouldn't care one way or another.

    Ala previous posters... Ramen!

    December 11, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • Ryon

      That was an amazing post. Do you blog?

      December 11, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Counter

      You will have Avery long wait if you think Christianity wil die out.

      a VERY LONG wait

      December 12, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      My primary issue with “the faithful” is that they believe that morality is completely governed by religion. They assume that without it, you must be an evil person. I have seen much evil, hate, intolerance and greed come from the church, which itself is based upon lies. There are plenty of atheists out there who are very moral, if not more so than the religious. Maybe that’s because they take responsibility for their actions as opposed to blaming fate and knowing they can be forgiven by simply saying “I’m sorry” to their imaginary friend. I agree with you that religion needs to go away. It does not govern morality; it has hijacked it. Religion also halts progress and rewards ignorance. Morality issues aside, that is reason enough to abolish it.

      December 12, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  3. TheRationale

    The fact that you have to "come out" as an atheist in some places just shows that religions (in this case Christianity) are inherently hostile to other ways of thinking.

    December 10, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • gremlinus

      People are inherently hostile to things they don't understand. Over 90% of the world believes in a deity of some sort. This is just another form of minority discrimination. And like the other forms of discrimination, communication and interaction is the only path to combating discrimination.

      December 10, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      No, all it shows to me is that people are unwilling to defend their beliefs in the public square. All beliefs, including Christianity in the US, come with a cost for being "Out". I am an evangelical Christian, however I work in a very scientific environment with plenty of atheists. There is a cost to being identified with Christianity, an assumption of less intelligence. But I stand toe to toe with any and all technically and philosophically. I have scripture written on the board in my office, and just wait for anyone to ask the meaning of it.
      So people who are "In the closet" have simply decided that the price is too high to pay. It is a personal decision, and in a free country with free speech, where we expect to encounter many different beliefs, it is unreasonable to expect that be be public about our beliefs and not have to defend those beliefs to our neighbors.
      In fact, we may loose some friends, or have other such tangible impacts to our lifestyle. That is the cost of freedom.

      December 10, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      The other thing is this: No matter what your belief is, it by definition rules out other things, that is the nature of truth. NO one can say "All things are true", therefore, to claim something is true you rule out other things and you are "inherently" hostile to or "against" them.
      So yes, Christianity is "hostile" to atheism, and atheism is "hostile" to Christianity, they are opposite and cannot both be true, thereby in opposition.
      So pointing your finger at Christians and saying they are "hostile to atheism"– as if there was some evil intent- is simply stating the obvious.
      Of course we are in opposition to you, and you to us.. DUH!!!

      December 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  4. John

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6HstbCWRoo

    December 10, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  5. James

    Blues Clues is my Moral compass.

    December 10, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  6. Slash

    If every religion disappeared overnight, absolutely nothing of value would be lost.

    It's 2011. Anyone still believing in imaginary friends needs to either grow up or be committed. We have better things we could be doing.

    December 10, 2011 at 7:03 am |
  7. Mr. Widemouth

    Who Really Believes Jesus Existed Anyways?
    http://www.squidoo.com/who-really-believes-jesus-existed

    December 10, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      That website is replete with half truths and abominated facts; twisted to appeal to the minds of those who only think that they can think for themselves. It begins by saying Richard Dawkins believes in the existence of Jesus, implying that a belief in the historical figure is tantamount to believing that he was divine. It then trails on to more offensive and illogical banter by and for the mindless. My going to that website has made me sick. I only hope that those that read that website are capable of employing some critical thinking.

      December 12, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  8. WOT

    Now I know why so,so many of you are in JAIL because you are the LOST GENERATION, that the Bible talks about. A generation is ever 30 years. May God help you all but a dead dog can not be revived!

    December 10, 2011 at 1:49 am |
    • Jimtanker

      Actually there is a disproportionately larger population of xtians in jail than atheists. Do some homework first.

      December 10, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • AGuest9

      The Boomers are only beginning to realize how morally bankrupt they truly are, even with their "religion". Children being born out of guilt, given everything to assuage that guilt, creating another generation of spoiled little monsters. Now, they wish to retire and spend leisure years like their parents did. None of them worked as hard as their parents, nor as hard as their children must, and after destroying the country through their greed and selfishness, DESERVE no leisure.

      December 10, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @WOT

      Now I know why so,so many of you are in JAIL because you are the LOST GENERATION, that the Bible talks about. A generation is ever 30 years. May God help you all but a dead dog can not be revived!

      Actually, it depends on who you ask. Some say 40 years is a generation. Others 100 years. Why is this, you ask?

      Israel was established in 1948. So, Jesus was to return in that "generation" or, by 1988 (40 years).

      1988 came and went. Jesus remained dead.

      This would have been a problem for most end time prophets. Not so! It was decided that a generation was actually 100 years. This length of time kept the books selling. From time to time, the anti-Christ would be changed, as the old one died.

      So, this end time Prophet thing is like the Harry Potter series. Except, the idiot Evangelicals actually believe it.

      Ladies, don't let your children grow up to believe in fairy tales. Explain to them that Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Christian god all have no evidence for their existence. They are imaginary.

      Cheers!

      December 10, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      Jim Tanker:
      Considering that most people who claim to be "Christian" don't have a clue what the Bible says, and even most people who claim to be "Atheist" don't really know what that means either, the idea of asking a largely uneducated population of criminals what bucket they go into has little or no meaning.

      I'm fairly sure that a murderer or rapist in prison who says he is a "Christian" is merely saying so because his grandma dragged him to church one in a while, as I did before I was truly converted. He certainly isn't reading and living by the teachings of Christ.
      I have found that most people who say they are "atheists" are actually agnostics who are just trying to avoid the "God" conversation....and that can only get worst among the uneducated populations in prison.
      I would argue that most of those who are in prison are living *as if* there were no ultimate consequence to their actions.....i.e., They are driven by what they want in the moment.. "by the flesh" as the bible says... living as an atheist, and certainly not living as a Christian..

      December 10, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by Bobs Friend is the No True Scotsman fallacy.

      http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/

      December 10, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • thomas smith

      I have worked with inmates and ex inmates ; 90% are poor, 60% are illiterate, 30-40 % have mental issues, 40% are socially malfunctioning, 99% are religious believers and 90% are self professed christians
      these percentages hold up all across the country.. so on average you and your ilk (religious believers) have been, are, or will be criminals

      December 11, 2011 at 2:01 am |
  9. V01D

    If they can just find a way to work gay immigrant feminist democrats into the group, we might finally have a demographic that would make Rick Perry's head explode simply by the virtue of their own existence.

    December 10, 2011 at 12:57 am |
  10. DefyTheGods

    I totally understand how believers feel, when I look at my atheism through your eyes. It's as if religion(God) gives you a clearly defined path in life. To stray from that path, you risk being lost forever.To even consider the possibility that mankind invented God is an assault on the very fiber of your being! From your perspective, there's no valid reason to deny God! The idea of a human being behaving morally without the influence of God is alien to you. Well, If it takes "God" to keep you on "the straight & narrow", then I'll drive you to church myself! I'm convinced that you cannot function without "God". Based on some of your comments, non-believers seem so strange and even offensive to you, that some of you cling to your absolute belief that we, who dare to "defy the gods" must be morally bankrupt, corrupt souls. No matter what I say to you, I still don't know your personal story. Be mindful of the fact that you, likewise, don't know(can't know) the personal story of someone, who lives life without the fear of damnation or the hope of salvation in the afterlife. Some of us do "good" deeds simply for the sake of doing good with or without reward.

    December 9, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • guy

      I agree with your assessment, but I must also add that I believe many of these arguments against atheism like "If you don't believe in God you have no morality" are not truly believed by believers. Many of these things are just political arguments thrown out to stop the gradual growth of atheism.

      January 3, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  11. George

    God said let their be light in the Bible and I believe in it. It wasn't just talking about light from the sun or light bulbs, but light as in the salt of the earth, or us, Christians. We are to represent the light of the lamb and spread the word of Jesus. You know how I know the Bible is 100% accurate? The Bible Codes. You people have no idea what the Lord's plan is because you ignore the morality the Bible tells you about.

    http://www.hiddencodes.com/

    The codes are prophecies in the Bible that prove it is real. No one can dispute it. This proves that the Bible was given to us by God Himself to save us. Only a fool would ignore this truth. Just look around. The world is proof of God that Jesus saved us.

    December 9, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • Angela Birch

      I certainly dispute it. The code is hardly evidence of anything except a determination to make a code. The earth? How does that prove the existance of a God. If you want to believe fine, it is certainly a choice every person makes. But to say it is undeniable? In my view you are reaching, way too far.

      December 9, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • George

      Just so everyone knows, the George pushing this hidden codes website is not the conservative Christian George who has been posting.

      December 9, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Bible codes? That's actually pretty funny.

      December 9, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • mandarax

      Oh, okay. I wasn't sure if I could really buy all the supernatural bible stuff before, but now that you told me there are secret magic codes I'm totally on board with it.

      December 9, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • sierraseven

      That is the most hilarious website EVER. I am going to immediately order my very own Orgone Blaster Baton, so I can wave it at the sky and be safe from vibrations from the alien would-be overlords!

      December 10, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • thomas smith

      hey George,lots of people dispute your god and jesus, fortunately this is 2011 and not the12th century the inquisition, when you christians murdered and tortured people who disputed your imaginary friends (god and jesus)

      December 11, 2011 at 2:07 am |
  12. Sam Yaza

    "I am a truth seeker and always open to knowledge, in fact I will seek it out even if it would destroy me"
    "It is an interesting story and I wish I had the time to read more about it as I do like reading about religions."
    this right here is Gregorian(cult of the Watches/luciferian) principals, it is the reason why Christians say you are from Lucifer because the are Lucifer’s teachings. To Gregorians the library is as sacred as a Christian Church. There death came when the Alexandria library was burnt to the ground, there revivle came when religion oppressed science and reason through the inquisition they when underground and became known as the Illuminati taking from Samyaza’s name at the time Lucifer (light bringer) bringing illumination to the dark ages was their goal, there belief was the fallen angels (the Grigori) lead by Lucifer stole science and reason from god and gave it to us so we can be greater then god. Their science worshipers. Do Atheist worship science? From what I gather they do.

    December 9, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Gadflie

      There are some REALLY funny posts here today.

      December 9, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
  13. Christian Man

    Atheists are in denial. Nature bears witness to God so you are without excuse for denying his existence. Some black slaves embraced Christianity not because it was forced upon them but because the identified with the sufferings of the man Christ Jesus, who was also shunned, abused, and persecuted for no reason. By the way Christianity existed in certain parts of Africa over 10 centuries before the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

    December 9, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      also true that those Christians with in those region assisted in the gathering of the slaves they we not enslaved because they were black they were enslaved because they were not Christians, Jews or Turks(Muslim) because a pagan is not a human the doctrine does not imply to them. Then they were indoctrinated in to obedience using the bible. Or and for the record I’m not an atheist I see wrong we wrong is done especially to my people, all those who are conceded Pagan

      December 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      opps edit
      conceded = considered

      December 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      although we can be somewhat conceded at times.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Christian Man, You deny one less God than Atheists.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • George

      In the grand scheme of the universe that God created, the atheists' arguments are but a thin sheet of paper in the wind.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Sean

      @ George
      Then it should be easy to rip asunder. Prove us wrong George, show me your god.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Christians are gay for jesus

      December 9, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • ExChristian

      The burden of proof is on the Christians (or any other religion.) There are countless bits of evidence that a god doesn't exists and I've yet to see some specific evidence to there being a god. Nature makes a far more compelling argument against the bible than for it. Bad things and good things seem to happen to both the faithful and those without faith. There is no way that the evidence Christians present to back their bigotry would hold up in court.

      December 9, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      Meh. This old argument again? I said good day, sir!

      Carnal.

      December 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • Ph.D in Common Sense.

      Really George? I was reading some of your other posts where you couldn't answer simple facts about the bible and you were referring others to talk to a minister that could answer questions. You have no argument. You have nothing to stand on. The bible is about as thin as a single ply sheet of toilet paper in hot water in comparison to the evidence against it.

      December 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • Makaila

      you sir are clearly and old white racist man.

      December 9, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • George

      @ExChristian

      "The burden of proof is on the Christians "

      You are wrong. The majority of people in this country, and indeed, the world believe in God. Atheists seek to overturne the accepted truth. The burden of proof is upon you. You are making a claim that goes against the vast majority of people's beliefs.

      December 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Root post by Christian Man contains multiple instances of the Non Causa Pro Causa fallacy.

      http://www.iep.utm.edu

      December 9, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Proximal prior post by George is the ad populism fallacy.

      http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/

      December 9, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      George is in need of some guidance on the burden of proof. Recommended reading originates from Russell on this topic:

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Russell%27s_Teapot

      December 9, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • George

      Sorry, but it is not a fallacy. I'm not asserting that God exists by appealing to the majority. I'm arguing burden of proof.

      December 9, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • George

      Russell was an atheist who did not even pretend to be neutral. I don't accept him as any authority outside of mathematics.

      December 9, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • LinCA

      @George

      You said, "Sorry, but it is not a fallacy. I'm not asserting that God exists by appealing to the majority. I'm arguing burden of proof."

      You claim the existence of the disputed entity. The burden of proof, therefor lies squarely with you. Without evidence that you shows that your god caused any of the phenomena you claim he caused, there is no reason to assume that he did. Without evidence of any of his works or deeds, there is no reason even to assume he exists.

      Without scientifically valid evidence to support their existence, belief in gods is unreasonable.

      December 10, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      George is just really fukking stupid. Wow. Wouldn't meet our admissions requirements.

      http://www.iep.utm.edu/

      December 10, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • thomas smith

      there was no christianity in africa before europeans invaded, it is a amalgamation of middle eastern mythologies

      December 11, 2011 at 2:10 am |
  14. Sam Yaza

    Samyaza has not been in the presence of god since the fall. Satan has from time to time continually been in god’s presence whispering in his ear to test the followers and just being a sycophant gives
    “God gave Satan permission to test Job's righteousness” as is Satan’s (Mastemas) duty to test the faithful and punish sinners and cast down judgment for the lord. Now if Samyaza was that close to god it would end in blood shed because during this time Samyaza/Lucifer is with in the belly of the beast serving his eternal sentence Lucifer is not allowed back in heaven nether are any of the Grigori quire his followers

    December 9, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  15. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    Hallowed are the Ori

    December 9, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  16. GodofLunaticsCreation

    The religious seem very comfortable with posting comments that prove their ignorance. I think it's because they don't even realize that they are doing just that.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • George

      Do tell us the source of your morality.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Angela Birch

      George. Morality exists to make a civilized society. Without morality civilization wouldn't exist. Athiests and agnostics are capable of inderstanding the necessity for morality both sociatal and individually.
      As for your strange theory that ex-christians all want to chase sin, get a grip,
      I grew up in a devout home, never believed bacause it never made any sense. I think my first doubt cane over the "loving God, that condemned people to eternal torment because they never heard of him. No one have ever been able to explai why God so loved the world that everyone who never heard of him is going or has gone to hell. I could't begin to believe such a creature is loving or just. That alone made it clear that the tale of a loving God was incorrect. The when I got old enough to read the Bible I realized that it contradicts itself repeatedly. You would think if God was the same yesterday today and tomorrow he could keep his story straight. Bacisally it just never made sense. I have also been amazed since I was a child t the so unchristian behavior of Christians. My parents went to a Southern Baptist church that rfused in the 1950s to allow black people to attend, then we sang that Jesus love all the colors of people. Our minister was caught having an affair and the Christians had no problem with it. Evangelicals are embracing for president a multiple adulterer who has not put the woman he comitted adultery with away, nope he put the wife away. Not very biblical there is way too much lack of morality in the believer world. At the same time you deny anyoe except christians have morality. Just don't make sense.

      December 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • George

      "Morality exists to make a civilized society."

      Answer me this, Angela. Suppose society S is civilized and decides that race x is a problem. Leader of S decides to exterminate race x, and the majority of people in society S support this decision. Relative to society S, killing race x is good.

      Now suppose the rest of the world is appalled by what society S is doing using a different morality which may or may not be Biblical. Who's morality is right and why?

      This is intentionally kept as a generic hypothetical to avoid getting bogged down in historical details. Please answer generically.

      December 9, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • thomas smith

      you are right

      December 11, 2011 at 2:10 am |
  17. George

    I have found that there are two types of atheists: atheists who quietly disbelieve and rabid atheists who attack believers. I truly believe that the rabid atheists are ex-believers who are living in sin (for.nication, h.o.mo.s.e.xuality, dishonesty, or else) which Christianity denounces and which they do not want to give up so they lash out at those who keep reminding them of their sin. They don't want to take responsibility for their sin, and they don't want to face their consciences.

    The quiet disbeliever just goes his/her business and perhaps laughs at the folly (to his/her mind) of it all. A close relative of mine was one of those.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Well George, you are wrong. I am an athiest, perhaps a rabid one. I do not live in sin and I take responsability for my actions. I also have a career where I help the less fortunate in my society. I do not require a God to be a moral man. I enjoy screwing with people online and its not always right of me, but I dont plan on asking God for forgiveness or strength to be better, nor do I fear his wrath because of it.

      December 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • George

      @Jack

      Oh, I know, atheists deny what they do is a sin even though deep down inside they know it is.

      December 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • God

      Thats just not true. You think your religion has hijacked morality, but it hasn't.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • DefyTheGods

      It seems impossible for you to understand "The Jackdaw", because of how you think! It's interesting how you seem to know his heart, while he doesn't seem to know yours. You assume an underlying guilt on his part. You're defining his thinking in terms of your personal beliefs. Speaking for myself, I don't need God to determine my morals either. If my actions happen to be viewed as "good", then I'm glad to have helped my fellow man. If I make a mistake, I learn from it and try to be the best person I can be; regardless of the prospect for reward. Can you understand this?

      December 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      If a Jew spoke up against Nazi atrocities would you call him a rabid Jew? You are delusional!

      December 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      George, your findings are incorrect. I am an atheist who fights back against rampant imposition of religion in society, and I don't believe in your idea of sin. I am a moral man who loves his family and his children. I don't call people names, so I'm possibly more moral than you and jesus combined.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Besides, the christian notion of guilt is just a clever trick invented by preachers to exact financial gain from their flocks. I'm not immoral just because I choose not to fall for their scam.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      What wrong with f_rnication it’s the physical act of love,.. why do you hate love,… ok true love is war, but that’s not reason to hate love if anything the world need more safe f_rnication for every one wrap you tool and find someone to love

      December 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Kennedy

      George, like most believers, I can tell you've never actually talked to an atheist. If you had, you would never have posted anything remotely that idiotic for all the world to see. The fact that you're not embarrassed by it says a lot about you.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      the great thing about morality it’s a concept of individuality what is moral to one person is immoral to the other now who is any one to say your wrong without denying the individual all religion does is group you in with other individuals morality. Me I think Christian morality is immoral, and I know atheist agree, to an atheist I find that there more focused on making the individual a more important builder of morality and thus they vary from person to person with in their group. Did I get that right,.. see we Pagans a really understanding. I am a pagan because I share the idea that everything in existence is equally sacred the fly is as sacred as the human. I will let you draw your own conclusions

      December 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Sam as someone who also sees some truth in Paganism I would have a lot more respect for you if you weren't defending an inhumane religion like Christianity/Judaism/Islam. Without Paganism these religions wouldn't have a leg or mythology to stand on.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • George

      "I don't believe in your idea of sin"

      There you have it folks. The atheists have no morality, or at least, no objective morality. They don't want to be held to objective standards. They believe that morality is unique to the individual which is in fact no morality at all. Each of these responses with the exception of one have proven my point.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Daniel

      Morality has nothing to do with sin. You really are viewing the world through tunnel vision aren't you?

      December 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • George

      "Morality has nothing to do with sin."

      You have no clue, do you?

      December 9, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      George's version of absolute morals (my paraphrase): "Newt is (at least) a three-time big-league sinner, but I will vote for him when he becomes the GOP presidential nominee."

      You can't have it both ways George! Newt is either a sinner and you should shout that from the rooftops and encourge all to vote against him, or you should admit to being a hypocrite.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • GodPot

      @George – "The atheists have no morality, or at least, no objective morality. They don't want to be held to objective standards. They believe that morality is unique to the individual which is in fact no morality at all." You could not be more wrong. Here is the definition of morality for those less educated:

      Definition of MORALITY
      1a : a moral discourse, statement, or lesson b : a literary or other imaginative work teaching a moral lesson
      2a : a doctrine or system of moral conduct b plural : particular moral principles or rules of conduct
      3: conformity to ideals of right human conduct
      4: moral conduct : virtue

      Where in there does it say one must be religious to be moral? You can have a moral doctrine taught by a religion (i.e. thou shalt not kill), and you can have an immoral doctrine taught by a religion (i.e Caananites sacraficing their Children to Molech for his blessing), the fact that it is a religion is of no consequence.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • jayce

      Dear George,

      Would you say something like this to a black man during the Civil Rights Movement? I can hear you now: "There are two kinds of blacks. Those who quietly wish they weren't discriminated against and the rabid blacks."

      I'm very sorry that you feel this way about atheists. The "rabid atheists" that you speak of are simply tired of the ethnocentric Christians, such as yourself, who consider their world view the only acceptable form of living and attempt to impose the Christian version of Sharia Law upon the rest of the world. How can you expect for me to "laugh at the folly of it all" when, as recently as this year, school boards in this country are still talking about teaching Creationism in Science class? No atheists are asking Sunday school teachers to talk about the Big Bang Theory. So, who sounds more rabid to you? Let's just be reasonable.

      December 9, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • christian soldier

      How wide is your stance, George?

      December 9, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • George

      @GodPot

      You can quote me dictionary definitions all you want till the cows come home. The fact of the matter is that just as there is no salvation outside of Christianity, there is no morality outside of Christianity. All other moralities are false moralities or even immoralities (moralities that embrace sin).

      December 9, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • George

      @jayce

      Your post has just proven my point.

      December 9, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • thomas smith

      the reason some non believers attack the foolish ideas of gods is because a large part of the pain and suffering of humanity in the world has been due to religious beliefs

      December 11, 2011 at 2:13 am |
  18. Sean

    Has anyone seen Chris?

    December 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  19. Kitydon

    Why is church frowned upon because of it unevitable socialist capabilities? IIsn't joining a group of black atheists also a "social movement"?

    December 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • God

      Nope.

      December 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  20. God

    I'm a D-BAG that does not want anybody to learn about the universe. You might learn to not need me. Oh, and my son's 12 friends were a bit fruity for my tastes, thats why I had him put to death. Hope nobody minds...

    December 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • God

      PS: It would help me out a lot if you would just blame the Jews. I'm mad at them for not wanting to read the second book in my trillogy anyway. Thanks.

      December 9, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      yo God,.. why do you always have to go where I go, I thought that whole you know war against you pretty much ended our relationship,. So why don’t you grow up nobody wants to play with a 3500 year old toddler that still wets the bed and cry when no one gives him attention,… thank you

      December 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Sam

      I know where you live Sam. And i'm going to get you....

      December 9, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • God

      Sorry. That was me saying I was going to get you Sam. I had an out of God experience and forgot who I was supposed to be.

      December 9, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Dear Evil-Tyrant-Who-Hate-Love do not call me by friendly terms if you must speak to me please use only the name your followers gave me,.. thank you

      December 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • God

      Dear Sam Yaza,

      I'm sorry for threattoning you. I'm just old and stuck in my ways. I will try to do better. Please dont hate me. Dont make me beg. I guess I'm just jealous of your free will.

      God

      December 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Excuse me if I laugh at the fact that your comments prove your ignorance. You would be hard pressed to find someone that doesn't know that Satan was considered an angel. Not only that but he was considered Gods favorite angel. You obviously have no idea what you are talking about and your laughable comments exhibit that fact. If you defend christianity then you defend Genocide. God calls for genocide and his Christian followers made it one of their pastimes. Oh and Im so glad that you guys only killed virgins for 10 years. You obviously have the upper hand when it comes to morality. You are a joke! Im done with you.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      By the way Atilla is not the leader of atheism.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Well God I do hate you. I think you know why
      and
      lunatics you’re confusing Samyaza/Lucifer with Mastema/Satan but its ok I forgive you it’s a common mistake with Christian mythological illiterates
      and Attila was and is not your right, but he did charge at the Christian world for his atheist ideals.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      You are the illiterate my friend. Samyaza is considered Satan by almost all Christian sects. Although I don't find myself the less richer in the fact that I really don't care how you interpret demons/angels for your particular sect. There are those who disagree with you on religious grounds and those like me, who just laugh at your ignorance.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Samyaza has not been in the presence of god since the fall. Satan has from time to time continually been in god’s presence whispering in his ear to test the followers and just being a sycophant gives
      “God gave Satan permission to test Job's righteousness” as is Satan’s (Mastemas) duty to test the faithful and punish sinners and cast down judgment for the lord. Now if Samyaza was that close to god it would end in blood shed because during this time Samyaza/Lucifer is with in the belly of the beast serving his eternal sentence Lucifer is not allowed back in heaven nether are any of the Grigori quire

      December 9, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      That is why I said it is a common misconception to associate Lucifer with Satan
      There is only one sect that writes Satan is fallen and it was a separate fall that is Islam however this is during the time with the misconception of the illiterates was running rampant because if Jewish and Catholics banns even know reading any of the mythological books is considered offensive to booth Abrahamic sects

      December 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      It is an interesting story and I wish I had the time to read more about it as I do like reading about religions. Personally I think that ancient humans had other ways of learning aside from science but I think we have lost those ways and Christianity/Judaism/Islam put the nail in the coffin. I am a truth seeker and always open to knowledge, in fact I will seek it out even if it would destroy me. I think religions that worship nature (Universe) made many strides in understanding and humanity has lost another type of learning/knowing when, for whatever reason, these religions were destroyed. Im glad you are also open minded and seem to be a seeker. I hope you understand why people can be upset with the fact that some parts of modern day religions which I consider inhumane, were put into practice or used to justify inhumane acts. I am sickened not only by the acts perpetrated and called for in texts, but by the un-remorsefulness of current followers and the continuing of oppression of thought by using faith to justify it.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • GodofLunaticsCreation

      Sam, I wish I didn't have to leave when the conversation was getting interesting but I might sign on later. You should be more open minded to the idea that atheists and people of other religions have been oppressed throughout the world with faith as a weapon. They are sick of it and as long as they are oppressed I see harsh words in a good light compared to the oppression that is thrust on them. Most atheists wouldn't demean religion if religion wasn't used in an attempt to run their lives.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      dude I completely agree, we atheist and pagans are in the same boat, if you get past the hate for all religions and direct it to the Abrahamic only you can sing along hay we already sing along with you. you have great point embracing science and humanity totally cool that’s what Gregorian do their main teaching Humanity is greater than Gods but saying gods don’t exist kind of puts you out there even to us god heaven and hell exist in the mind it’s an abstract like all thoughts that does not make it any less real a castle made of clouds is no less of a castle. Respect people’s delusions and attack them if their delusions make them evil that’s how I roll.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      "I am a truth seeker and always open to knowledge, in fact I will seek it out even if it would destroy me"
      "It is an interesting story and I wish I had the time to read more about it as I do like reading about religions."
      this right here is Gregorian(cult of the Watches/luciferian) principals, it is the reason why Christians say you are from Lucifer because the are Lucifer’s teachings. To Gregorians the library is as sacred as a Christian Church. There death came when the Alexandria library was burnt to the ground, there revivle came when religion oppressed science and reason through the inquisition they when underground and became known as the Illuminati taking from Samyaza’s name at the time Lucifer (light bringer) bringing illumination to the dark ages was their goal, there belief was the fallen angels (the Grigori) lead by Lucifer stole science and reason from god and gave it to us so we can be greater then god. Their science worshipers. Do Atheist worship science? From what I gather they do.

      thats twice i forgot to hit the reply button

      December 9, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      and i will leave you with this. this is way Christendom says knowledge is the enemy of faith. My knowledge has yet to harm my faith in Amaterasu. Sound to me like all the Christians have from their faith is fear. Guess that’s the reason why there down 40% and were up 100%.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • God

      My Son! This was supposed to be about me! Jihad on you both!

      December 12, 2011 at 9:41 am |
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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.