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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. Mirosal

    I was reading the posts, and on Page 2 "George" mentioned something about wanting a Christian amendment passed. Just what is it that he's babbling about?

    December 9, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Mirosal, You know the way this goes....
      George, Hamsta, Heaven Sent are all wanting your country to be ran by the church. They are stupid people. You and I both know they are only capable of reading the buybull and have never picked up a book of science. They are afraid of reality! They think that everyone should be oppressed and as brain dead as they are.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:58 am |
    • Mirosal

      I'm sure they are all going to vote for Perry and his "Ideal X-tian State". Yea, let's see how fast the courts overturn "President Perry's" new world order. You're lucky to be in NB (or is it NF?) and you don't have to deal with all this bull-sh!t

      December 9, 2011 at 5:04 am |
    • Rick

      Truth: I suspect that they could not agree on which to run the country

      December 9, 2011 at 5:09 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Mirosal: It is NB and is you ever make it up I will put on the coffee and welcome you in our home with open arms. I'm lucky to live here but our Prime Minister is just as bad as those running for the presidency of your country.
      @Rick: I suspect you're right. Hamsta still thinks he/she actually spoke to jesus. HeavenSent and George are just older than than the planet...I'm making this as.sumption based on the fact that they seem so damn sure of what they speak...so they must have been there....except one fact, they both interpret the buybull differently. HS says god is all loving and George says he is vengeful.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:49 am |
    • Mirosal

      Well, since the babble, I mean buy-bulll .. I mean that 'book' is obviously mistaken (it has to be because no one can agree on it) as to where we've been, how can it tell us where we're going? What Hamsta and George fail to relaize that in the United States, and I'm sure Canada and the U.K as well, civil law actually trumps religious law. If the opposite were true, then it would be ok for me to slaughter a goat in my front yard while dancing around naked and singing to the 'heavens' lol .. wait a minute... maybe I'll try that in summer, tell the cops that my bible said it was ok, and I'm sure a jiudge will smile and let me go home to do it again!! lol
      As far as your offer m'lady Truth, I do so enjoy a GOOD cup of coffee!!!

      December 9, 2011 at 6:00 am |
    • MarcTTF

      @Truth
      What part of NB? I'm in the south-east.

      December 9, 2011 at 7:34 am |
    • Rick

      Truth: NB? New Brunswick?

      December 9, 2011 at 7:43 am |
    • Rick

      truth: petty punks find comfort in a petty punk god. george fits perfectly

      December 9, 2011 at 7:45 am |
    • Rick

      mirosal: if religious law trumps state law, then my belief system demands that i consume lots of ganja as a sacrament. of course, i do that anyway........

      December 9, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @MarcTTF: Chaleur region...I'm still relatively new here, so South East means little...Dalhousie? Charlo? Mirimachi? Moncton? Campbellton? Edmundston? Fredericton? (that pretty much covers it or at least the more commonly known area's-I think) I moved here 2.5 years ago from Ottawa,Ontario after meeting the love of my life-you'll see him on here, he goes by the Alias AtheistSteve...nothing like a good East Coast boy to enlighten one's life.
      @Rick...yes, as in New Brunswick CANADA-the land of the free and hopefully not so delusional (not referring to you or Mirosal)
      @Mirosal: if you do burn the sacramental goat and do the naked dance around that fire, we must insist on the video 🙂

      December 9, 2011 at 8:00 am |
    • Mirosal

      @ Truth .. .should i post it on you tube or my facebook page? lol I'm nowhere near NB, I'm right in the middle of the US in the middle of the BIG city at 41' 15 North ... 96' West ...now where am I? lol

      December 9, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • captain america

      How would it be if bull sh it canadians kept their bull sh it opinions in canada or better yet , to themselves. No right thinking American needs their canadian crap stinking up our blogs.

      December 9, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @CA: CNN does not impose restrictions on where you need to live in order to post here...you best take your issue up with them before spouting your hatred again...you're a bad christard.

      December 9, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • Mirosal

      Capt. - grow up and get a life. It's that kind of ignorance that makes people around the globe hate the US so much. You have no clue as to how much of an ally they are and have been to this country. Not to mention, as our dollar went down, theirs went UP and actually surpassed ours in value.

      December 9, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Mirosal: we thank you for defending our country...we'd do the same for you outside of people like CA who do give you a bad name but I'm guessing CA thinks that your country is a christard nation and has probably never read any book other than his buybull. Enjoy the day...I'm off to work.

      December 9, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • MarcTTF

      @Misoral
      Isn't the state abbreviation for Nebraska NB?

      @CA
      Take off eh, you hoser!

      @CNN
      Please make sure this does not post to the main thread!

      December 9, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Mirosal

      @ Marc ... Learn your postal abbreviations lol NB is New Brunswick, a province (state) in eastern Canada. NE is Nebraska.

      December 9, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • MarcTTF

      Oops, my bad. I thought for sure I saw NB as a sate abbreviation somewhere, but alas I was wrong. I am well aware that NB = New Brunswick in Canada, because it says so on my business card 🙂

      December 9, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  2. Gorilla Christian

    ATHEISTS ARE NOT COMPELLED TO SAVE "CHRISTIANS" FROM THEIR INSANITY.
    I P U ROCKS !!

    December 9, 2011 at 2:19 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      You're not helping.

      December 9, 2011 at 2:33 am |
  3. George

    Looking that these forums, I see that, ultimately, no atheist is going to persuade a believer that he is right, and no believer is going to persuade an atheist that he is right. That seems clear. I have my beliefs and my faith, and no atheist is going to change my mind. At least, not for the true believers.

    This is the culture war, I believe. We Christians have to work hard to elect conservative Christian leaders so that we can reverse the damage that is already done to America by atheists and lukewarm christians. This debate is going to play out at the ballot box. It really is a question of who is in power and who has the greater numbers.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      Here is the most honest reason why atheism makes more sense than theism.

      If you come to an atheist and you present definitive, scientific PROOF that God exists, then ask me:
      Do you believe in God?

      Well of course I believe in God, you just gave me undeniable proof! Hallelujah!

      If you come to a theist and you present definitive, scientific PROOF that God does not exist, then ask them:
      Do you still believe in God?

      Well of course I believe in God, your science is a lie!

      December 9, 2011 at 12:57 am |
    • News Flash

      Why would you have to do any work ? If your god wanted it to happen, then it just would. Either he has a plan that works, or he doesn't. Why would it depend on the likes of you ? You don't have much real faith do you ? Actually your statement that no matter what, you choose to be irrational, is pretty much all anyone needs to hear. Good luck with that.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • Rick

      it is a cultural war, georgie, and you are on the losing side

      December 9, 2011 at 5:12 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The difference is that atheists don't care if you believe, or what you believe. They simply don't want you to impose your religious beliefs on those who don't believe what you do.

      December 9, 2011 at 7:05 am |
    • catholic engineer

      @warmesTghosT It's more like this: The atheist will believe in God only if God can be derived mathematically or observed through the senses (with the aid of instruments) Any data must be processed through reason which we ASSUME is absolutely flawless. The theist believes that if there is a Spiritual presence in this world, science cannot discover it.

      December 9, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      Hello again, catholic engineer =D

      You are going on the assumption that science cannot prove or disprove the existence of divinity. It is my opinion that eventually, if the crazier sects of the religions don't destroy us all in a nuclear holocaust to justify their belief in "the End Times", humanity will evolve and adapt and learn enough about Existence and our place in it that we will someday know the validity of belief in the supernatural.

      If and when that day comes, whatever the verdict, I'm afraid some folk will still deny that knowledge, be they atheist or theist. For myself, I am quite open minded on the subject. I just believe that no one currently has the absolutely "right" answer to the question.

      If you'd like to hear more about what I believe I'll happily share that with you. If not, I'll keep it to myself.

      See how that works?

      December 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  4. warmesTghosT

    I hate to force the issue like this, but would any theist (Christian/Jew/Muslim/Hindu/anything) care to ask a real life atheist a question? Because I tell you now I have valid answers to absolutely any questions you have. I will answer them honestly and politely and if you stump me on anything I will freely admit it.

    Anything. The existence of god to the morality of man to the validity of the afterlife. I enjoy discussions like this – the only talks worth having are those that stir controversy, IMO.

    Come at me, bros!

    December 9, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • George

      You won't find many religious people taking you up on this because we have all the answers that we need in the Bible and those we don't have, we take on faith.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • Tea Party Crasher

      After reading the entire bible from cover to cover multiple times as a former believer, I could no longer stomach its contents. It really is a terrible book. Its writings are skewed and contradictory. George, I suggest doing some research on it.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • George

      Ok, I have one. Atheists claim that they don't believe in God because they see no evidence. But how can you be so sure? Even in science and even when there is no evidence for proposition x, no scientist will say that proposition x is false with 100% certainty. Only in mathematics does one find certainties.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • George

      Ok. I have another one. If you have no objective standard for morality, how do you avoid moral relativism?

      December 9, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      George –

      you are correct in stating that no one (atheist, Christian, Jew or what have you knows 100% for certain about God[s]).

      Atheism denotes the belief that there is no God. It is not a definitive statement in any way – we are not saying THERE IS NO GOD. We are simply saying that we do not BELIEVE there is a God. There is no proof one way or the other towards the existence of God (though there is proof one way or the other against the validity of certain organized religions).

      The term for someone who believes definitively that there is no god is called "gnostic atheist". After all, "agnostic" simply means "without knowledge". Since most atheists admit that we do not have conclusive knowledge one way or the other, we imply the "agnostic" before our atheist ti-tle without specifically applying it.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:42 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      George – I have never really understood the term "moral relativism". What are we "relating" our morality to? If you're comparing it with the natural world (that God supposedly created) then our morals are far superior, as nature is full of brutality and the suppression of the weak by the strong.

      Morality in humans evolved over thousands of years as a societal mechanism. We are social creatures, just like wolves/dogs, apes/monkeys or dolphins/whales. All mammals, all societal creatures. It is a mechanism that our species has evolved to foster co-dependence and pacificity in the population. After all, if we weren't able to somehow interact in mostly societally beneficial ways as a species, our species would have failed eons ago to be replaced by a more successful creature. We would have devolved into chaos, anarchy and barbarism without "morals".

      Basically, morality, whether viewed as a source Biblically or evolutionarily, is a survival trait. Without it, humans would not have survived as long as we have.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • George

      Thank you, warmesTghosT. I accept your first answer without comment.

      With regard to your second argument – Imagine a society S that believes that race x is harmful and must be destroyed. Most people in society S believe that idea. So when the leader of society S says, "let's kill off race x" everyone goes along because, to them, it is good. Morality relative to that society says it is good to kill off race x.

      Now imagine that most other societies are appalled at what society S is doing because they have a different morality which may or may not be Biblical. Whose morality is correct and why?

      December 9, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • George

      I will read your answer in the morning because I am too tired to argue. I'll probably have a different question for you too. I'm going to bed. Goodnight.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      All right the stupid word filter has defeated me, it's too late at night (early in the morning) for this ridiculousness.

      Basically, why do you think the world found Hitler's Nazism so repugnant? That's moral relativism right there.

      Keep in mind, Germany under Nazi socialist rule was predominantly Christian.

      What was so moral about them, again?

      December 9, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • What IF

      George
      "Imagine a society S that believes that race x is harmful and must be destroyed. Most people in society S believe that idea. So when the leader of society S says, "let's kill off race x" everyone goes along because, to them, it is good."

      Right out of your "moral" *good book*:

      - Society S = Ancient Middle Eastern Hebrews
      - race x = The Amalekites

      How convenient and effective it is to declare that an almighty supernatural being commands you to obliterate them and then call it "good".

      December 9, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • NickelCrack

      Why do black atheist enjoy eating one anothers doo doo?

      December 9, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • catholic engineer

      @Tea Party Crasher: Literary people and biblical scholars speak of layers of meaning. The topmost layer of the bible is only some general history , some apparent contradictions, etc. But reading the Bible is like peeling an onion layer upon layer. Humans are built the same way. Man is his own greatest mystery. Whether you're at your best or your worst, emotionally or intellectually, you'll find youself somewhere in the book. As far not stomaching its contents, if you saw a bumper sticker that read "Love thy neighbor", what's your first reaction? "The driver is an atheist"?

      December 9, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • George

      It was a generic question without reference to a particular instance. There was a reason that it was generic and hypothetical.

      Pointing out a similar situation in the Bible does not answer the question.

      December 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  5. captain america

    For those of you that don't believe that hell exists, I invite you to go to Niagara Falls. When you are there, look across the river. There, you will see a distant land. That place is in fact, hell. It is the home of El Diablo.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      Thanks for purposefully making the US look even worse than we actually are. We appreciate it. Really.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • captain america

      You can see the flames licking the sky from a hundred miles away. It truly is a diabolical land.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      CA...you will never get a Timmy's franchise now....

      December 9, 2011 at 12:25 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You are delusional. I've BEEN there and I can tell you that the American side is ugly as all get-out. The Canadian side looks clean, well-maintained, and inviting.

      What the hell is wrong with you?

      December 9, 2011 at 7:07 am |
    • captain america

      You have stolen the name but somehow i just don't feel the love.

      December 9, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  6. Bucky Ball

    ˙dɐɹɔ ɥo ˙pəuəddɐɥ ʇɐɥʍ ʞool puɐ 'poƃ oʇ ɹəʌo ʇɹɐəɥ ʎɯ pəuɹnʇ ı

    December 8, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • Jason the Pendleton Rat

      Buckminster
      You are crazy. Congrats on your recent athletic exploits. Are you going home for Xmas ?

      December 9, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      Hey Jas,
      Heard a rumor you were here. Thanks, and yes. Call me. 😈

      December 9, 2011 at 1:53 am |
  7. Bob

    George, stop dodging the questions and stop wimping out. Here we go again:

    Now, let's actually look at your claims and have you try to do some critical thinking about them, for a big change. You said "I claimed that God loved us so much that he gave us his only begotten Son as a sacrifice so that whoever believes in Him need not suffer the pains of hell." Uh huh:

    First, how is it again that hell needs to exist at all? Why does an omnipotent, supposedly loving being need to threaten its creations with awful torture like that?
    Second, why does a god need to steal the old scapegoat story for removing sin, from prior myths?
    Third, why does an omnipotent being need a sacrifice made of his son, to have anything else happen? Why not do the saving without all that nonsense?

    I can go on, and if necessary, I will, but at this point, if you are honest and smart, you will be beginning to realize that your whole bizarre collection of sickening Christian beliefs is complete nonsense and fiction.

    December 8, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • Tea Party Crasher

      I have decided that I don't like George.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • George

      I'm going to answer your questions even though I know you are asking them in bad faith. I will answer the questions posed and no more. Got it? You can find all your answers in the Word of God. If you still have questions after reading the Word of God, talk to an evangelical minister who is far more learned than I. I accept the mystery of God as a mystery. I don't pretend to know why God does what he does.

      1. Adam ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in direct defiance of God's Word. We are all children of Adam and have inherited his sin. Thus, we all deserve hell.

      2. Since you provide no substantiating references to your premise, I disagree with your premise. Thus, I cannot answer your question. (You should be better than this, it's the old "how long have you been beating your wife" type question).

      3.God has always demanded sacrifice. I don't know the answer as to why. If I did, I would know the mind of God. Before Jesus became the Lamb of God, the Isrealites had to make animal and grain sacrifices.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:07 am |
    • Tea Party Crasher

      George.

      1. Adam ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in direct defiance of God's Word. We are all children of Adam and have inherited his sin. Thus, we all deserve hell.

      Adam isn't my father. I didn't eat that fruit. I do not deserve hell. If god really existed and told me not to eat fruit from a specific tree, I wouldn't do it.

      3.God has always demanded sacrifice. I don't know the answer as to why. If I did, I would know the mind of God. Before Jesus became the Lamb of God, the Isrealites had to make animal and grain sacrifices.

      And the old testament per the bible, specifically per the word of Jesus, is still required to be followed. Animal sacrifices are still required.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • George

      @Tea

      If you're asking why Christians don't adhere to every law in the OT, I will have to refer you to a minister. I don't know the answer to that. Nevertheless, it doesn't affect my faith because I know that point has been studied and debated throughout the centuries to give us the Christian tradition.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • Tea Party Crasher

      Jesus said he wasn't on Earth to abolish the old law. Most christians will say that was because he was here to fulfill it. It's quite simple really. He was merely stating that he was obeying the laws. Jesus took great issue with those that ignored the laws of the old testament. This is biblical. If you have to refer me to a minister, then there is a problem with your faith. This tells me that you don't actually understand what it is you believe in. This is common amongst the religious. Most do not know what is in the book they so blindly follow. I almost said what they adhere to, but in order to adhere to it, one would be required to know the contents to begin with, which you clearly do not.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • derp

      AM I the only one who finds it ironic that George is absolutely certain that he knows the word of god, but repeatedly refers questioners to some other source when the ridiculousness of his faith is pointed out.

      George, the reason you do not understand the "mystery" of god, is because the entire story is a bronze age sham.

      December 9, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  8. Tea Party Crasher

    It is truly a breath of fresh air to see that more people are coming to their senses.

    December 8, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • George

      I'm glad it makes you feel better to see people going to hell.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      George stop trolling with Poe's Law.

      At the very least you should be capitalizing "Hell".

      What kind of Christian are you?

      Lazy!

      December 8, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • Tea Party Crasher

      George, hell would have to exist for me to be glad others are heading there. Since it doesn't, we've got nothing to worry about!

      : )

      December 8, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • George

      I'm sorry, but it does, and I'm afraid that you will find out after it's too late. But it's not too late now.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • Tea Party Crasher

      George, were you aware that in the old testament, there was a word the Hebrews used in reference to death? It was called the grave. Nothing more or less, merely a word for where you went when you died. It managed to get beefed up to "hell" in translation over the years. Later on when the new testament came along, the idea of hell was borrowed from Greek mythology. You can find this in the bible if you look up specific references to two distinct levels of hell that were created in Greek mythology. The whole lake of fire thing was made up. Christianity was cobbled together using different myths that were previously religious beliefs. The bible in short is a large collection of myths.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:16 am |
    • Jason the Pendleton Rat

      Tea,
      Please stop confusing him with the facts. What's also interesting, is the whole angel thing. Just finished reading Elaine Pagels' book on Satan, and where that came from, and how much older than even the OT it is.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • derp

      "I'm sorry, but it does, and I'm afraid that you will find out after it's too late."

      Ok, if you are so sure hell exists, the you certainly know where it is. If I dig a deep enough hole in my backyard, will I find it?

      December 9, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  9. Bob

    You're coming along, George. Good. Now, let's actually look at your claims and have you try to do some critical thinking about them, for a big change. You said "I claimed that God loved us so much that he gave us his only begotten Son as a sacrifice so that whoever believes in Him need not suffer the pains of hell." Uh huh:

    First, how is it again that hell needs to exist at all? Why does an omnipotent, supposedly loving being need to threaten its creations with awful torture like that?
    Second, why does a god need to steal the old scapegoat story for removing sin, from prior myths?
    Third, why does an omnipotent being need a sacrifice made of his son, to have anything else happen? Why not do the saving without all that nonsense?

    I can go on, and if necessary, I will, but at this point, if you are honest and smart, you will be beginning to realize that your whole bizarre collection of sickening Christian beliefs is complete nonsense and fiction.

    December 8, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Read the Word of God for the answers.

      Amen.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      Read Richard Dawkins for the answers.

      Ramen.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • George

      @Bob

      You are still operating under the assumption that God is all-loving which He is not. He is quite vengeful. We live at his mercy because all of us deserve hell. It is only through His Son Jesus that we have salvation.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • George

      By the way, I agree with HeavenSent. Read the Word of God for the answers.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      I think George is an atheist troll using Poe's Law.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • Bob

      George, no wimping out and no dodging. Answer the questions.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Bob: George couldn't answer your questions b/c he was too busy praying for the soul he believes you have even though we know it doesn't exist.
      @George: Could you provide scientific proof of hell please? I love how you state that god is vengeful...why then would anyone believe in such a monster? On this wonderful planet when someone is vengeful we throw them in jail for their crimes...why should your sky daddy be any different? Sounds more like he is the epitome of evil than anything good. Reading the buybull is for children...it only consists of fairy tales...not reality behind it. You do realize that when you die you go into a wooden box and unfortunately for our planet you will then be left there to contaminate our soil...no after life, just complete nothingness and until you are able pt provide the evidence that states otherwise, you belong along side Heaven Sent in the asylum. Religion is the equivalent of mental illness!

      December 9, 2011 at 5:18 am |
    • Mirosal

      I like the way ol' George has condemned over 80% of the world's people to eternal damnation. Hey George, you DO know that only a little over 1 billion of the world (out of 7 billion) even read your little moldy-oldie 2000 year old book filled with 3000 year old stories, don't you? So what of them? Are they 'doomed' just because? Just for sh!ts and giggles? 'Doomed' just for the hell of it? (nice pun wasn't it?)

      December 9, 2011 at 5:25 am |
  10. George

    Ok. I guess I fell victim to a troll with my post immediately below, and also apparently the thread moved on to another page. My fault.

    December 8, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  11. George

    To follow up on the post below, the absolutely worst sciences are physics and pure biology. Physics because it makes up things like an unproveable big bang theory just to be an affront to and compete with religion and pure biology because it concerns itself with the unproveable theory of evolution. Much better are engineering and anatomy and physiology. At least they give some benefit to mankind and advance his knowledge.

    December 8, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • Bob

      Wow, you really are that stupid and ignorant, George. Remember what you said about Physics next time a family member needs an ultrasound scan, an x-ray, or other medical imaging, just to get started. And don't even think about getting into an airplane or stepping onto a suspension bridge.

      You ignorant fool.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • George

      @Bob

      That's all engineering. Physicists don't build anything excepty big, expensive, worthless machines. Come to think of it, it is engineers who design and build those machines. No Christian would study either of these fields because they are dominated by atheists.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Bob

      George, you are a truly ignorant imbecile. Go look up the history of the laser, radioisotopes, superconductors, bipolar transistors, MOSFETS, and on and on. Seriously, I'm beginning to think warmesT is right about you being a mere troll.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Tea Party Crasher

      George, it appears to me you're currently being dominated by atheists.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • George

      I am not being dominated. I admit that I am very tired tonight and not on top of things. But my point still stands. Physics and biology are at odds with Christianity. I still stand by my point that everything, from the computer that you are using now to the MRI in the hospital is designed and built by engineers.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • George

      You can tell how tired I am because I used "still stand(s)" twice in a row. Agggh.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • Tea Party Crasher

      Who cares who built them? You're missing the entire point of everything. Physics simply answers the questions of how. The question of WHY is completely irrelevant. There is no why. Why is a made-up question to a species of living creatures that developed a type of consciousness that makes them feel special, as though there is some deep meaning behind everything. There isn't. We exist and that's that. Asking why and thinking you have the answer only demeans life and wastes the short time we've got here. We are no different than any other living creature, hell, even the rocks. In the end, we're all going to turn back into stardust when the sun vaporizes the planet in a few billion years. Just be happy you got a chance to be along for the ride.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • News Flash

      When George gets sick, he does not go to the doctor. Biology is evil, and unchristian. He never takes antibiotics. When he gets appendicitis, he will pray, and not have surgery. George's IQ is about 50.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:46 am |
  12. James

    As a black Floridian I can tell you their are a lot of private religious schools in the south.But some people don't really live super religious lifestyles (Though most will say they believe in god or have read the bible). Most southern blacks would probably say god provides for his followers or god causes things to happen you see a lot more secularist lifestyles. Though there always will be Christians to try and convert you back into the flock or get you to attend church more.

    December 8, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • captain america

      Most of them are in prison.

      December 8, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      captain america is a troll trying to make all Americans look like bigoted morons.

      Honestly though, a lot of us are.

      Sigh.

      December 8, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • captain america

      So you disagree about the prison populace?

      http://www.prisonpolicy.org/graphs/raceinc.html
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lifetime_prevalence_of_incarceration.png

      December 9, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      captain –

      If you want me to get into the socio-economic and racial reasons behind the dynamics of our prison system I'd be more than willing to, but I think that any halfway reasoning American realizes that our penal system is prejudiced against anyone with "darker" skin.

      Want me to delve further? I'm more than willing to.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • captain america

      No, they just commit more crimes. It's hard-wired for them.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      No, you're just a racist who doesn't understand the effects of relative poverty on criminal disposition.

      TLDR you're ignorant.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • captain america

      You are confusing the theories of sociology with reality.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • warmesTghosT

      You are confusing your ignorance for fact.

      Tell me, are you a theist?

      December 9, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • captain america

      You,ve stolen the name but not the class. An American never needs to give references. We do not rule the world by others opinion, we think for ourselves. Not to mention, where 's the love?

      December 9, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • Etta Sandwich

      The prisons are overflowing with blacks because they are stupid.

      December 9, 2011 at 8:43 am |
  13. hamsta

    ur right i do look forward to death.not sure if its cuz i live in the ninth ward in new orleans the murder capital of the world or if its cuz ive been to the spirit world and know where im going in the afterlife.as an atheist thats right this is the best u will ever have cuz u will never be in the kingdom of god.u will just rot in the fields of the nepholeme.

    December 8, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      Please stop trolling. Or at least troll creatively. You're boring us at this point.

      December 8, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      At least hamsta has one thing right...we will never be in the kingdom of god, not due to being bad, more so due to the fact that it doesn't exist!!
      Hamsta can't have its opinion trusted when it believes it actually died and met god or something freakishly delusional.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:37 am |
    • derp

      "ur right i do look forward to death"

      Feel free to speed up the process.

      December 9, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  14. Atheist #1

    Teebow's gonna make you all believe..............In football

    December 8, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • Bob

      Football and its pads are for wimps. Rugby F T W.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:00 am |
  15. Hasa Diga Eebowai

    I wonder what the correlation is to any increase in the quality of education?

    December 8, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  16. James

    ‘what church do you go to?’" I hate that hearing that question all the time with black folk.

    December 8, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • James

      On second though the most annoying is when they sit down and do nothing but say God will Provide and pray in a serious moment.

      December 8, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      In my experience blacks are far less prone than whites toward approaching strangers and screeching about Jesus.

      My caveat is that I've never lived in the true Southern US.

      December 8, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • James

      Serious moments or Crisis

      December 8, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      LoL I hadn't considered that. I could go into all the socio-economic reasons why "African-Americans" (I hate that term) are generally more fundamentally religious than whites, but it would take a page or two about our drug laws and the American penal system and honestly it's freaking depressing.

      I'm not certain I've ever been near anyone in true "crisis" mode. I've been in a few car crashes but they were over so quickly that no one had time to panic.

      December 8, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • captain america

      Prison makes people religious. Go ahead, say it and stop beating around the bush.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      Ignorance, indoctrination and a lack of credible childhood education make people religious.

      Also, fear of death/damnation.

      Prison experience just reinforces the fact that the American penal system is corrupt and evil and corporately owned. I have no clue how a prison sentence is supposed to "reform" a criminal. The entire system is a pathetic and evil joke, just like organized religion in America.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • Tea Party Crasher

      The easiest way to thwart this question is to make people feel uncomfortable when I know they are about to make an attempt to convert me.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      If people are made more religious in prison it's because it looks good on them for showing remorse in front of the parole board..nothing else!

      December 9, 2011 at 5:40 am |
    • captain america

      You look and sound like an ass hole in my costume.

      December 9, 2011 at 8:36 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @CA: look in a mirror recently? You forget who backed your country in the war...you forget who your closest ally is! Your god would not be impressed that you're such a hypocritical ass!!! Now do us all a favor and get back on your meds and stop spreading your delusions.

      December 9, 2011 at 8:48 am |
  17. hamsta

    all u atheists and churchgoers sound like a bad beavis and buttcrack episode.did the sodomite preacher use lube?cuz ur really gonna feel dry screwed when u get to the feilds of the nepholeme and find out the church lied to u.

    December 8, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • Answer

      That's why you've been given the role of hamsta.

      December 8, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      This dude be trollin'.

      December 8, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      hamsta needs his wheel oiled...

      December 9, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      And all you christards are like a freakishly bad horror/fairy tale movie-no real truth to it but cheaply entertaining to watch.

      December 9, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • captain america

      And all you canadians are way out of your league thinking your bull sh it carries any weight in the worlds greatest and only superpower.
      What do you call one canadian guy?
      A loser.
      What do you call two canadian guys?
      A (qu eer) couple

      December 9, 2011 at 8:23 am |
  18. Answer

    Religious morons always go back to reading their bible. Spouting truth.. it's always hilarious – you just have to pat them on their little head.

    December 8, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  19. Portland tony

    Jesus, a black atheist. What's next? A Muslim American Indian!

    December 8, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      A Christian Mormon?

      December 8, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_native_american_muslims_story

      that’s the third time i did that tonight

      December 8, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
  20. hamsta

    i really like how the churchgoers call themselves real christians while they pay the preacherman to save there soul.and u wonder why jesus destroyed a church?i met him in the spirit world and i was told he knows u better than u will ever know him.but thats what u get for paying a sodomite to save ur soul.did he use lube?

    December 8, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Hallucinogenic experiences can be interesting and even enriching and educational as long as you don't take them too literally.

      December 8, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      A "real" Christian would love his fellow man unconditionally, donate to reputable charities, never raise a hand in violence and always do unto others as they wished done unto them.

      The only people like that I've ever met though are atheists, go friggin' figure.

      December 8, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      @hamsta: Off your meds? You are delusional and just proved it by stating you spoke to jesus!

      December 9, 2011 at 5:41 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.