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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. if horses had Gods ...

    Being black & in the south is nothing unique .. so the only interesting thing here is being Atheist? But being Atheist is also not unique, most people are Atheists who are just afraid to admit it yet.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Curious

      Perhaps most people are apatheists and just don't care to admit it. But I'm curious, what are Atheists as opposed to atheists?

      December 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  2. stephanie

    There are no athiests in hell.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Kim

      How profound...there are also no Buddhists or Hindus

      December 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Michaeltanino

      Because Hell doesn't exist. Even if there is a God, the idea of Hell is so clearly beyond any sense that no God would possibly conceive of eternal painful punishment for a "crime" that happens in your finite lifetime.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Observer

      Hell is full of Christians who are rich, remarried, or didn't honor the Sabbath.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • No one knows the TRUTH

      Ummm, there's no hell. There is no Santa Claus, tooth fairy, or leprachans. Adam & Eve never existed, and moses did NOT part the red sea. Mary was no Virgin, just ask Joseph, he knows.
      MYTHS! all myths!

      December 9, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • No one knows the TRUTH

      You have to be a real simpleton to believe the existence of "hell". Do they still teach that myth in sunday school?

      December 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • my2cntsworth

      Actually, there is not hell either. There are no guys with pitchforks waiting to punish you for not believing in a bearded guy living on the clouds. It's all part of the same indoctrination you get as a child when you are taken to church every Sunday.

      Live life to its fullest. We are only here for a short while and after you die, you cease to exist. No heaven above us and no hell below.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Really, Stephanie? I thought that was where god sends them. I'm an atheist. Does your statement mean that I'm going to heaven when I die? Gee, thanks. /end sarcasm

      December 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  3. AlbanyMike

    Many religions have existed over the course of human history, some of which have been supplanted by others, and some which, in time, will surely be supplanted by others. If we believe in an objective truth, then these religions cannot all be true, and, in fact, it is far more likely that none of them is true. Consider the sheer hubris of any individual or group claiming that they are the ones who have the true faith while all others are deceived. Yet, all religious groups seem to make this claim, which is why organized religion has lead to so much violence and killing over the ages. A far more rational viewpoint would simply be to say that each should believe as suits them best provided that it does not affect the course of anyone else's life and is not contrary to the laws of the state. Moreover, religion, like science, should be a process of exploration and investigation toward that grand end of understanding the universe(s) and its(their) origin. None of us has all the answers to these deep mysteries, but life should be a process of discovery. Perhaps this searching will eventually lead us to inevitable conclusions about the existence or nonexistence of God. Let's not assume we already know the answer and, more importantly, let us not persecute anyone else based on what we think we know and don't know.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  4. B-Real

    I've lived in the south for 34 years.. I don't know where statements like "nothing on TV but religious programs" and "people look at you strange if you don't go to church every Sunday" are coming from. Maybe 40 or so years ago, that could've been the case. But, now??? I don't think so. Now, people look at me funny if I tell them I'm not gonna meet them at the club. And, there's nothing on TV but reality progams – and those are far from "religious" (except for the Duggars 19 kids) - "nothing but religious programs"?? –Maybe, if you didn't have cable in 1970. This article paints a very unrealistic picture of how things are in the south, NOW.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      I don't agree, B-Real. I think it's actually getting worse. Think about it: what would happen to a political candidate who admitted to being an atheist? Probably not electable. 40 or so years ago, the question of a candidate's religious beliefs didn't come up as often as it does now, and once upon a time it was actually considered rude to ask.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • B-Real

      Well, Leaf.. Every atheist complains that the religious "push" is getting worse, and every Christian complains that God is being taken out of America more and more every day. So, which is it? I don't know. But, to argue my point – religious programming is NOT dominant on TV in the south – Not even on local channels, and certainly not on cable.

      On another note, I find it kind of amusing that some people actually meet to talk about something they DO NOT believe in. Maybe it comforts them?

      December 9, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      B-Real, it's always comforting to be around like-minded folks, that's probably why they gather. I agree with you about the Sunday night TV complaint, though. My first reaction then I read that was "gee, he must not have HBO."

      December 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  5. stephanie

    Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. When your day comes and you are in front of God you WILL remember laughing at the very words that you are reading at this moment. You will remember the anger, frustration, irritation, feelings of pitty for me, the rolling of your eyes, and the scoffing that is happening inside you right now. You will hear these words ringing loud and clear for eternity while you are burning in hell because you have chosen to deny God. I hope you change your mind, because regardless of what our human brains can comprehend, God knows what He is doing; He has always known. I hope you make the right choice.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Observer

      Yes, do exactly as told or else the loving God will send you to hell.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • No one knows the TRUTH

      Sorry silly...myths are for kids.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • my2cntsworth

      The Bible says it, so it must be true, because it is God's word. And I know it's God's word because it is in the Bible.....Seems like circular logic to me....

      When will we progress as a species?

      December 9, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • BRC

      @Stephanie,
      As a being with a free will and higher level cognitive abilities, there is only one reasonable response to that, to any god out there that exists nd demands obedience: prove it. If there are any omniscient/omnipotent beings out there that want to be worshipped, they have the duty to both prove their existence, and prove that they are worthy of praise. The logical position in the absence of that proof, is disbelief, and to go on living the best life you know how.

      Also, the only being I have ever bent my knee to is my wife, and that will be the last one.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • V Saxena

      To hell with your God. I just orgasmed on your bible and plan to use the rest of it as toilet paper.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • L

      Just because that is YOUR religious belief does not mean it is one everyone else shares. Acting like atheists don't know about your christ or religion and have become atheists without proper knowledge doesn't mean that's true. Most of us struggle for years about abandoning religious faith. Logic and reason prevail, however.

      It's sad that you feel the need to invalidate something that, instead of blind faith, requires a very long and real look at reality. "Choose wisely"? It's already been done and posting bible verses (as if we've never heard of them a thousand times before) is unlikely to change that fact.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • heresy

      i am not an atheist, but i am not a christian either. i was once in a church. i am perfectly aware of what i am doing. and you believe you are right. and i believe i am right...who is to say we are not all right?..i guess we'll all find out when we are dead. but what bugs me is you all worry for the rest of us....be concerned with yourself and dont worry about everyone else. we are none of your concern... blessed be.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  6. Debra B

    I am not sure what the point of this article is. These people are not being persecuted for their faith by being beaten, imprisoned and harassed as many Christians have been and still are today in many countries.

    What do they want readers to know, that they are Black and don't believe in God? Newsflash this is not something odd. Most people who are Christians were nonbelievers at one point say thy are not unique except in their own mind.

    If they don't believe in God don't get upset because you choose to move to a location where most people don't share your views. Stay an atheist but stop griping and expend that energy in doing good ,that is if atheists believe in that...

    December 9, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Jesus H. Christ

      You're brain is inactive.
      All the Christians in the south should move back to the Middle East. God dam it.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Robert in Seattle

      Not persecuted? Know of any atheist Presidents?

      December 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • guy

      You probably see Athiest as some kind of satanic cult but its not, its just common sense. I have to see it to believe it.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • johnborg

      I think you are missing the point of this article. I'm a self-identified Christian, but considered a "heretic" by many for my theological and philosophical views. In a sense, I can understand where "black atheists" are coming from. In religious regions, you are cast as an oddity for not having specific beliefs, let alone no religious beliefs. While not being "structurally" (e.g. government-sponsered) or "objectively" (e.g. violence) discriminated against, an a/theist may face "subjective" discrimination, such as people telling you that you're going to hell, being complete jerks, and casting you as an alien "Other." No one is being killed, you are right about that, but the article isn't saying that. Sometimes "subjective" violence hurts more than "objective" violence though.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Robert

      Debra, The end of you comment contradicts your original premise. You have a very obvious bias against atheists simply because they're atheists.
      So to answer your question, yes, they are persecuted and you're one of the persecutors.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • heresy

      and also many so called christians are now non believers........i just dont understand WHY christians feel the need to try and convert everyone...same with any other religion...........just let every beleive what they want and worry about yourself.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  7. my2cntsworth

    The problem with the religionistas is that they fear those that are different. They are concerned that atheism may spread to their children. There is a very good reason these people indoctrinate their children early in life about religion; it is because children are most impressionable and will believe what their parents and other adults tell them. So after years of telling them that these fairy tales are true, and that any proof to the contrary is "the devil's work", they go forward and perpetuate the spread of religion to others.

    For all of you "believers", realize that atheists are normal people that just don't believe in some robed guy in the sky that is looking down on you and judging you for how much you believe in him. Morality, ethics, and empathy do not come from religion. They come from us as human beings, trying to survive in this universe. If you really researched the origins of the bible (and I mean, really researched them), you'd find that they are stories taken from other religions and/or fables.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Jesus H. Christ

      Morality and ethics existed long before religion.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  8. bigdoggie

    As an a-theist living in the A-T-L, the story is heartwarming! I've asked friends if I'd have any luck with a personal seeking a single, black, female atheist. And, until now, I figured the chances of finding such a lady here in the south wpuld be about as good as Newt Gingrich being faithful!
    It's wonderful to see people move away from fear and myth and embrace thought and reason...and peace!

    December 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Jesus H. Christ

      Stay Strong Big Doggie. Logic is with you

      December 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  9. Jesus Is Lord

    "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."

    My goal in talking to people about God is simply to find out if they know where they are headed. In other words, "Do you realize that you are driving down a dark road and the bridge is out up ahead"? Some people care – most do not. They just continue "driving" towards their eventual destruction.

    Jesus is the answer. He is the ONLY way to the Father in Heaven. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent, obey and be saved!

    December 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • lolwut

      What's the weather like in your little sphere of existence?

      December 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Oh no, fear tactics! Better get on your knees and put your head in the sand! Quickly! This kind of thinking is stunting your growth. Employ some critical thinking please.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Jesus H. Christ

      When a person dies that's it. Supernatural events are impossible events. Stop trying to convert people to your cult or you will go to hell.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Observer

      If Jesus is the only way to heaven, what happened to the millions of people who lived before Jesus time?

      Does it bother you at all that people who have never heard of Jesus are automatically sent to hell REGARDLESS of how good those people are?

      December 9, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • No one knows the TRUTH

      Sorry, silly. Myths are for kids.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Madtown

      Jesus is the answer. He is the ONLY way to the Father in Heaven
      ------
      And, human beings born into a part of the world where they would never hear about Jesus or the bible, through no fault of their own, what happens to them? Primitive African tribesmen, for example. They'll be banished to hell for eternity for not accepting Jesus? They've never heard of Jesus, how could they accept him? Where's the logic?

      December 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • kimba

      OBEY!!!!!!!!!!!! i.e. waste your one and only life.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • ASDF

      yeah, see, pretty much everyone else would call proselytizing at someone who doesn't want you to "confrontational". which is kind of the problem. Nobody comes into your house and tells you how to raise your kids right? because its none of their damn business. Just like other people's faith is none of your damn business.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • V Saxena

      Fudge Jesus. Do you know where you are going if you keep talking that foolish dribble to me? To the ER! PS – I just orgasmed on a Bible.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Marg Wood

      LMAO You should do stand up!

      December 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • d

      Before Jesus' time, they went to Jacob's Bosom..... Don't worry, I don't plan on you knowing or even understanding what that means. Just thought I'd give you a plain answer. Understanding Multi-Dimensionalism is hard when you limit it to the 4 dimensions we are currently limited to. (X-Y-Z & T) Christians who have a hard time explaining what they believe should not be taken seriously. They obviously have not had a true John 3 experience. And for them, please accept my apology. There are some who rather than pass judgement, then take on the image of their Christ and practice forgiveness. I will never mock what another man has seen in his life, but will look for the opportunity to show him what I've seen in mine. If you can prove that love exists, I can prove that God does as well. All of you are awesome btw......

      December 9, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • d

      Correction: Abraham's Bosom...... LOL ROFL!!!!!!! I'll go ahead and throw in an apology for myself. Christianity was never a road to perfection, rather a road to humility. Thank you for be patient w me.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  10. Nick

    I just dont understand why we all have to fight about religion. Who cares if another person believes in something else, or nothing for that matter. I believe, and I hope for all of us either we get reincarnated, or that a wonderful after life exists for us. If you dont believe cool, but dont call me stupid for doing so. im far from stupid. All the fighting is unnecessary.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Observer

      No one cares what you believe in if you practice your faith in your home or place of worship. It's only when religion is forced on others or deprives others that it matters.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • streetsmt

      Here's one reason to care... Some of the "believers" also believe in the bible's end times stories. ie. the quicker we start the final battle of armeggedon the quicker they can all be saved.
      Do you want these people to lead the earth's countries?
      It does matter what other people believe.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Believe It

      If you don't understand then you clearly haven't read the bible. People have been fighting over religion since religion began. Moses is the most brutal, evil, sadistic villain that has ever been created. And I've seen SAW!

      December 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      It needs to be stopped because it is the leading cause of hate.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      I agree we're all a bit mean to each other on this topic, and even though I'm an atheist, I don't assume believers are stupid at all. The need to believe in a purpose for our existence and the existence of the universe is in our nature. More than 90% of the world's people believe in god in one form or another. However, it becomes a problem for everyone when any one religion makes, or attempts to make, laws governing our behavior that are based on their religious beliefs. That's just wrong.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  11. guy

    Another thing, about gays, Why would god even make them if he damned them to hell? Why would anyone choose to be gay? You primitive idiots don't know that its not a choice...

    December 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Observer

      Trashing gays is just hypocrisy. There are far more Christians guilty of adultery than there are total number of gays.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Why does an all powerful super-being need to create a race of people just to worship him in the first place? The entire thing is a retarded sham.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • duuuhelloOoO

      Jackdaw, God didnt create us to worship him, he mostly created us to love him and for him to love us. Its quite touching actually to know that there is some all powerful being that created everything out of pure love.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • ASDF

      I always thought that was so funny – why would anybody "choose" to be gay??? It would be like choosing to be black before the civil war.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      The old testament is not very loving. Have you read it????!!!!

      December 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  12. Andrew

    Bob, I may be biting off more that I can chew, but what parts of Catholicism do you find absurd?

    December 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  13. Believe It

    Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      That and football.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Television is the opiate of the masses. Religion is the placebo.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  14. zaglossus

    Many more are atheists than want to admit it.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      I'll admit it. I'll admit the HELL out of it!

      December 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Believe It

      Say it LOUD. I'm a black atheist and I'm proud!!

      December 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  15. guy

    The Universe is too big for an egocentric imagenary friend.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Madtown

      Maybe our universe is contained in a fish bowl sitting on some teachers desk in the classroom of an alternate-universe. Maybe the Big Bang was the result of some kids science experiment, and we're all essentially his pets.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  16. The Jackdaw

    You cannot prove a negative. God's nonexistence cannot be proven. Therefore God does not exist.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • steelerguin

      That's about the dumbest post I've read in some time. Congrats dude! I guess negatives don't exist in anything be it science, math, or even philosophy. This will keep laughing all weekend. Thanks.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • duuuhelloOoO

      what makes God a negative? and if his nonexistence cannot be proven then that means he does exist

      December 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • ASDF

      What? you say god's nonexistence can't be proven and then immediately assume that you just did. That doesn't make any sense.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Tom Sawyer

      Its a logic proof. The Jackdaw probably dosen't expect churchies like you three to get it.

      December 9, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  17. Voltairine

    Theology will stunt your growth.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  18. Hmmm

    Why is it that on average, any other type of article receives considerably less amount of comments than religious ones? hmmm..

    December 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Because this is the dumbest target, populated by morons that are easy targets.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • James

      People like to argue

      December 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Like politics, religion is polarizing – most of us are on one side or the other. Religion is an emotional topic for most people.

      Or perhaps it's just fun to needle believers, get 'em worked up and read the results. Works for me.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  19. Primewonk

    Ethel wrote, "God is a loving God. He gives us choices. God want you either hot or cold. No Lukewarm for him. If you choose to be a Christian, so be it. If you choose to not believe in God, you have that choice. "

    So, your god claims both omnipotence and omniscience. He states that he knows everything about you, before he created you – heck, before he even created the universe. Because you version of a god claims omniscience, you cannot make a choice your god doesn't already know you will make. For example, assume that at 3 pm you will have a soft drink. You can choose between Coke or Pepsi. Your version of god knows which one you will choose. He knew, before he even created you, which one you would choose. You cannot magically change your mind and pick the cola god doesn't know you will pick. In essence, you can't trick god.

    God knows if you will go to heaven or hell. He knew this before he created you. If god knows you will go to hell, you cannot magically show up in heaven, and vice versa.

    So your god creates billions of people, knowing that he will send them to hell and torture them for all eternity. He knew this before he created them. Yet he creates them anyway.

    Seems like a sick, twisted, god you choose to worship.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • No one knows the truth

      Great point.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Marg Wood

      He knows what everyone is doing and thinking, maybe god is a super computer! Keeping track of billions of people at the same time, mind boggling!!!

      December 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  20. DanB the agnostic

    Why does CNN never ask any meaningful or interesting questions? For example, they could have asked these folks if they think the multiverse theory properly explains the anthropic coincidences and if it is more realistic to imagine an infinite number of unknowable and untestable universes than an unknowable and untestable god..

    Then again, being the callow and thoughtless atheists that they likely are, they'd probably just have gotten blank stares.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Ryanzzzz

      I bet you win a lot of friends with your banter.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • lolwut

      Asking practically anyone in America those questions would result in blank stares as well.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • No one knows the truth

      Wow, you sound real smartlike. i wish I could make fancy word talk like you. you must have finished all your schooling, maybe even gone on to one of those colleges with the football team on TV.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Robert

      Why all the obvious anger toward atheists? What have we ever done to you?
      As to you mis-characterization, it's a tired stereotype more often than not purpetuated by theists trying desperately to compensate for the doubts they have concerning their own beliefs.
      Also onlylthe insecure need a theory to explain everything, and an imaginary friend poofing it all into existence isn't much of a theory.

      December 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • DanB the agnostic

      There is no anger towards anyone. The point simply that it is good idea to actually think about these things rather than unthinkingly adopt the beliefs you are brought up with which is what most theists and atheists do.

      December 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • moonster

      Well said Dan – I can honestly say I have yet to meet a well-adjusted atheist. I would also include beliefs one has convinced themselves as truth. Thinking can lead to fallacy.

      December 9, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
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About this blog

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.