My Take: The case for including ethics, religion in science class
Science teachers must make their subject relevant to students' lives by tackling religion and ethics, argues Arri Eisen.
December 15th, 2011
10:48 AM ET

My Take: The case for including ethics, religion in science class

Editor's note: Arri Eisen, PhD., is professor of pedagogy at Emory University’s Center for Ethics, Department of Biology, and Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts.

By Arri Eisen, Special to CNN

A referendum that would have restricted in vitro fertilization in Mississippi, disagreements on the causes of global warming, the question of how to allot health care resources for desperate cases at the beginning or end of life.

Many of today's headlines and hyper-polarized political debates happen at the borders of science and society, especially where science meets ethics and religion.

At the same time, in at what first appears to be in an unrelated domain, President Barack Obama and others call for more and better science education in America to compete in innovation with rising giants India and China. This at a time when American science literacy appears to be decreasing, and even students who like science drop like flies from that pursuit once they hit college and its huge introductory lecture courses.

Is it possible that rethinking the ethical calculus of how we teach science could enhance the pool of future scientists and enrich the quality of conversation around controversial issues?

What’s the connection? Well, from kindergarten on we often teach science as a body of information not relevant to anything going on in the world. This is a cell and these are its parts; memorize them and their functions. This is the human body and these are the different systems of which it is composed.

Such facts are important, but without a meaningful context (cell functions gone awry can cause cancer; all the body systems talk to each other, so depression can affect your cardiovascular system) such information has little real substance and is poorly retained.

This approach violates the first rule of good teaching: Integrate the information into your students’ lives and worldviews, including those based in religion or ethical systems, and translate it into something they can connect with and use. Science has an especially rich and often fraught role to play in society; if we don’t at least acknowledge this we imply it is unimportant.

Not surprisingly, studies show that when teachers do integrate science knowledge into students' lives, the students learn the science better.

But rather than incentivize teaching innovation that would allow science educators to discuss religion and ethics –- for example, creationism in light of evolution and vice versa, or the scientific and ethical implications of stem cells and in vitro fertilization – many teachers are afraid to even mention these issues, despite their importance, for fear of losing their jobs.

The classic example is the public school biology teacher without tenure who, understandably, finds it much easier to skip any discussion of evolution because of its potential controversial nature. This would be OK except for the small detail that evolution is the fundamental, underlying principle of all biology.

I teach biology at a private university. When I ask students in my cell biology course, “How many of you believe in evolution?” almost all of them raise their hands. When I ask them, “How many of you think something in addition to evolution accounts for humans being on earth as we now exist?” almost all of them raise their hands.

Two inconsistent thoughts coexist without an attempt to reconcile or integrate them. It is this kind of dissonance of fundamental beliefs and science that good education should address and help explore, and certainly not ignore. Only when science educators can proactively engage all societal elephants in the room and illustrate science's relatively limited power will two vitally important things happen:

First, as they are forming their beliefs — whatever they may be — students will be aware of the nature of science and its relation to complex ethical and religious issues. That means they’ll better appreciate different types of evidence and will be more likely to argue from and about that evidence rather than from emotion. Second, more students initially interested in science will continue to pursue it through college because they will better see its value and importance to the big issues and will learn science better.

How to accomplish this? How to break the vicious circle? One way is to frame the benefits differently — economic competition and innovation, national security, improved learning, or more substantial political debate — for different constituencies. For example, perhaps a politically conservative, religious audience might appreciate the importance of good science education through the lens of its importance to the economy or national security.

Another break in the circle is to help teachers learn how to teach science in context more effectively. I often find that simply acknowledging the ethical or religious issue relaxes students; a few others  have explored approaches for better integration of these issues.

In my cell biology course, we investigate the biology and chemistry of a cell surface receptor that helps induce good feelings in us when it binds to a chemical compound found in incense; this may help explain why so many different cultures and religions have independently evolved the use of incense in their ceremonies and rituals.

We discuss the detailed cellular and molecular biology of the research in the context of ritual; the students report this opens a door that’s usually closed between those two sides of their minds. Religious students, who say they often feel their beliefs are ignored or belittled on campus, find this discussion especially welcome and thought-provoking.

High school educators in Wisconsin showed that students who read original texts from Darwin and intelligent-design scholars, and discussing those texts, critically learned evolution better (without rejection of other worldviews) than those taught it in the traditional didactic manner. Teaching potentially controversial science can work if done in an interactive, engaging fashion and in a rich historical and societal context.

Clearly, there are a multitude of reasons for America’s polarized politics and decreasing science literacy and innovation that go beyond just teaching science better. But sometimes a little creative wrestling with and engagement in systems and programs that already exist can make a difference.

Once I offered the opportunity for anyone in the cell biology course to simultaneously take a seminar course focusing on the societal and ethical implications of the biology discussed in the cell course. Half the biology class wanted to enroll in the seminar.

A dozen students — all future scientists and health care workers — wound up in the course, representing seven different religions and traditions, from Christianity to Jainism to Judaism.

Students were amazed so many of their peers took religion seriously, and those students tell me that the conversations and debates we had in the course, together with the seminar, resonate to this day. Many say science is now woven together with ethics and religion in their minds; they can’t think about biology without thinking about its meaning in the greater context.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Arri Eisen.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science • Education • Opinion

soundoff (2,297 Responses)
  1. brett

    Ethics and Religion belong in an Ethics and Religion class, which should be offered concurrently, but seperately to science courses.

    December 16, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • snookers

      I would not want my kid go to a course where Plato, Jesus, Mohammed etc. are commingled in the same course.
      Ethics and Religion are two different animals.
      However, I can understand commingling Machiavelli with Christianity since Il Principe appears to be the bible of the religious right LOL.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • Clyde M

      Yep. And I would even be fine with an Ethics chapter in a biology textbook, but not one based on any particular religion–rather a larger view of the role ethics play in scientific study, regardless of their origin.
      But yeah, while ethics has bearing on science, this is yet another pretty weakly veiled attempt to sneak religion into science classrooms.

      December 16, 2011 at 7:12 am |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      Separate but equal. That should work well. School washroom for science, separate washroom for religion.

      December 16, 2011 at 7:18 am |
    • Nat Q

      What are you talking about? YES, separate but equal when it comes to academic subjects. These are not people, they are fields of study. And just like we don't teach math formulas in French class (despite the fact that the French almost certainly utilize math)–and just like we don't teach anatomy in social studies lessons on WWII (despite the fact that soldiers almost certainly had duodenums)–we shouldn't teach religion in science class. Science is basically defined by the empirical study of the natural universe and if it isn't that, it simply doesn't belong. Period. End of story.

      December 16, 2011 at 9:54 am |
  2. Sassan

    You idiots, religion is not science. This on the day the one and only – the great Christopher Hitchens has died :(. Truly a sad-sad day. Humanity lost one of its greatest minds and greatest people to have ever lived. 🙁

    December 16, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  3. Andy

    Excellent suggestion. As soon as preachers start putting science into their sermons.

    December 16, 2011 at 1:18 am |
    • Clyde M

      Oh no, it never works the other way. Theists get to cram their beliefs down secular channels but those secular channels better stay the heck out of their churches!

      December 16, 2011 at 7:14 am |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      Since God gave mankind science, it is already there.

      December 16, 2011 at 7:19 am |
    • endeavor43

      @Clyde M: Well, if you think that theists would have undue influence were science introduced in ethics or even comparative religion classes, a position with which BTW I disagree, then doing it the other way around, which the author proposes, would be much worse in that regard IMO.

      December 16, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Primewonk

      " Since God gave mankind science, it is already there."

      Well yeah, but he really screwed it up. The earth was not created before the stars. There wasn't vegetation before a photon source to drive photosynthesis. You can't clone a female from a male's rib – it's that whole XX chromosome thingy. The value for pi is not 3.0. Rabbits don't chew their cud. Grasshoppers don't have 4 legs. You don't treat leprosy by using a live bird to sprinkle the blood of a dead bird around a house.

      Apparently your god understands science about as well as your average fundamentalist.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  4. endeavor43

    It seems to me that it would be more effective and more to the point to introduce the principles and facts of science into civics/political-science courses and ethics courses, maybe even into courses surveying religion, rather than the other way around.

    December 16, 2011 at 1:15 am |
  5. johnny

    Religion has no place in school or on this planet for that matter.

    December 16, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • snookers

      Religion, all of them, dead ones and active ones,still do belong in seperated school courses as part of history.
      Without them, lots of important history, especially wars, would be difficult to comprehend/explain

      December 16, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      Of course no religion = no God = no planet, because God created the planet in the first place. Smart little johhny, smart.

      December 16, 2011 at 7:23 am |
  6. Mike

    Another liberal arts graduate...go flip burgers in China my friend and send back some foreign exchange

    December 16, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • someguy

      sure! I'll die poor and happy, and you can die rich and conceited! I like it!

      December 16, 2011 at 1:05 am |
  7. snookers

    Ethics belong in Philosophy class and various religions, current and past, belong in a Mythology class.
    And Science in a Science class. What is so difficult about that? KISS principle,

    December 16, 2011 at 12:57 am |
    • Clyde M

      I agree with the fact we need to do a better job contextualizing science, but to say that contextualization should include religious studies is ridiculous.

      Science classes are for SCIENCE education. Keep religion, politics, and everything else out of it.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • mike


      December 16, 2011 at 1:13 am |
  8. zakr12

    The reality is that most people in this country hold some form of religious belief. Unlike religion Science is for everyone and for providing solutions. I am about to begin graduate school in Evolutionary Biology and I understand that evolution is fundamental to any understanding of ecological systems. But we should also understand of the needs of everyone, education must address the religious nature of our society. This hate speech towards those who resent evolutionary theory is incredibly insensitive and unrepresentative of our society. For our education system to improve critical thinking skills by resolving the conflict between science and the religion must occur through dialogue in science class. END THE DICHOTOMY, STOP HATE SPEECH. Atheism is not any more conducive to critical thinking then religion look at your posts, can we be understanding of all people?

    December 16, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • puresmokey

      No, I'm afraid we can't. Science and its progress should never be bound by "faith." I don't think a debate between a specialist in Dentistry and the Tooth Fairy would teach us anything. "Put away your astronomy books, it's time for Astrology 101. Put away your chemistry, it's time to study alchemy. The more science piles on the EVIDENCE, religion and antiquated beliefs are becoming more and more redundant– and more and more desperate.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • Observer

      I agree completely that this discussion should be at a much more respectful level.

      I am not trying to defend the ignroramuses, but one point does need to be made. The "elephant in the room" is the underlying premise of Christians: "if you don't do exactly as I say, you are such a disgusting person that you deserve to spend eternity in hell". Christians won't usually say it, but the premise is always there. It's a monstrous insult.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:05 am |
    • jmiller

      You have more to learn in grad school than just science. Get off your hate soap box. You aren't that original and you're not that clever. Nothing will ever be resolved in your science class with religion.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • Damo

      I would be quite happy to agree to "discuss" religion in the science classroom, if we were allowed to point out that it is a package of fairy tales. Sadly I doubt any such freedom to attack anyone's imaginary friend would be given. I can see no reason to address anyone's religion in a science classroom except to tear it to shreds, which would not be allowed.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • zakr12

      I agree that faith can certainly bound scientific progress, Its already going on. Science is a public service and so long as it ignores the needs of the public it will continue to fail to bring meaningful change. Most ppl in this country are Christians, majority dont believe in evolution. To ignore this great fact in the class room is the greatest ignorance. I think if we do not allow discussion, not the teaching of creationism as science, we will fail to improve our education system. It only brings more stigmatizism to science.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • jmiller

      You're still naive, zakr12. If I as teacher bring up religion, then I grant legitimacy to it as an equal alternative to science. That is how many real students think. Others think I'm being weak, giving in to political correctness and the remaining minority think it's all a farce anyway. It is unfair to both science and religion to bring up fairy stories in a science class.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • zakr12

      I believe you may be under estimating your students capacity to work these things out in thier own minds. A teacher cannot produce a change of mind, it is entirely internal. Your job is to facilitate that process, It does not give alternatives legitamacy it provides critical thinking skill. Science is the pursuit of knowlegde not regurgitation of what thier teachers say.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • puresmokey

      "Science is a public service and so long as it ignores the needs of the public it will continue to fail to bring meaningful change." I'm sorry zakr12, but I must respectfully disagree. Who says it's a public service? Trash collection and the post office are public services. Science is Science. Science, not religion, is what will (hopefully) cure cancer. Science is what eradicated polio and made it possible for people with diabetes to continue to live with insulin. We can't thank religion for any of that.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • zakr12

      not to be critical but is science by addressing disease, pollution, and climate change not a public service??

      December 16, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • puresmokey

      I think we're getting hung up here in semantics.
      But let's not forget that Science also gave us the A Bomb, cheese that squirts out of a can, and the curse of Rebecca Black posting that horrible song all over the world. But the point remains unchallenged: you said that the education system should "improve critical thinking skills by resolving the conflict between science and the religion through dialogue in science class." Just plain wrong. How does it enhance critical thinking to debate fairy tales against measurable evidence? If a science class discusses heredity vs. environment, then it's a science class. If it entertains a "debate" between Galileo and the Flat Earth Society... it's a frat house.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:43 am |
    • zakr12

      First off Galileo lived in time were he faced great conflict for his scientific findings, the church failed to entertain his ideas so he was called a heritic. In the same way I feel sciences inability to even discuss the fact that most americans don't support evolution is ironic. It is crucial for students to work this out in thier own mind i.e. critical thinking not just memorizing the facts for a test and then saying they dont believe in evol. on a national poll. Addressing the social and political ramifications does encourage critical thinking.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • puresmokey

      You're still dodging the question: How is a debate between Evolution and Creationism a debate? How is a debate between astronomy and astrology a debate? The "debate" exists, and should thrive within the scientific community. Far be it from me, who works on a computer all day, to tell a professional carpenter how to fix a roof. There is NO debate between Religion and Science.
      As to Galileo, you said he live in a time when he faced restriction by religion for his studies. We still have it, and though we don't burn them at the stake, need I remind you that other countries are getting all the important patents and advances in stem cells while America flounders wondering how Jesus feels about it. And just because a majority of Americans believes in Noah's ark, only proves the point that some education systems in the world are better than others.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • zakr12

      In my mind thier is no debate, but it is a debate on the national scale. Just because it seems illogical to most of us posting here does not negate that it is a national issue. We can take the same hegemonic approach that the church took agianst scientists or we can encourage free thinking. Darawin was able to break away from his religious upbringing through free thinking, I think we all agree this is the key to understanding.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:09 am |
  9. Antidjinn

    Should we also teach astrology in astronomy courses? How about alchemy in chemistry?

    December 16, 2011 at 12:55 am |
  10. Andrew

    Here's my issue with including religion in science classrooms. Wouldn't you have to include ALL religious theories to scientific problems in order to comply with the first amendment?

    December 16, 2011 at 12:50 am |
  11. Damo

    Arri Eisen appears to have little-to-no published biological research. Several papers with theories about teaching and ethics, a review article summarizing the biological research done by others, but so far I've found no papers where this faculty member of a Department of Biology did any actual research into biological mechanisms.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:48 am |
  12. Johnson Scrills

    Christianity is not against science once you do the actuaI research. There are many false gospels out there proclaiming to be Christianity which aren't Don't be fooled and dig deeper my friends.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • Observer

      Much of the Bible requires suspension of all the laws of physics. Be serious.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • puresmokey

      your use of the word "research" is highly suspect. I suggest that it means you "research" in order to prove your point, not to discover any kind of truth.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:09 am |
  13. joto

    Kneecapping our children's critical thinking skills be sending them to church is bad enough, but for a science teacher to essentially encourage an irrational fable is ludicrous. The idea that humans have to invent a fantasy to explain what we do not yet understand is ridiculously stupid- we don't have a thunder god anymore, we understand that. Ditto with rain, wine, love, etc. As science fills in the blank spaces on the map, religion will inevitably be squeezed out. It thrives in terra incognito.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:45 am |
  14. Ryan

    typical religious bs. every religion can't be right, but they can all be wrong

    December 16, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • someguy

      don't forget, so can science, after all, a theory is only a theory

      December 16, 2011 at 12:57 am |
    • Grampa

      Excellent observation!

      December 16, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • Grampa

      I was responding to Ryan, not someguy who obviously has no understanding of what a scientific theory is.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • someguy

      what? scientific theory!? It's just theory, just like many believe the bible is. I've taken many science classes, I know what scientific theory is. It's a shot in the dark at why we were created. The bible says the world was just simply created by God, and science says the world was just simply created. What's the difference? All you have to do is take God out of everything that was mentioned in the bible and call it science!

      December 16, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • someguy

      my mistake, I forgot to include why and how.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Evan B

      The "Theory" comment is exactly the reason learning science is so essential. Nomenclature is everything: in the context of science, a "theory" is a concept born as a hypothesis (what a lay person would think of as a 'theory') that has been supported by so much reproducible and verifiable evidence that it is as close to 'fact' as science gets.

      On another point, I do agree with the author that when learning evolutionary theory, the principles of creationism/intelligent design should be addressed. After learning the details of evolution and how it works, intelligent design becomes laughably ignorant due to lack of understanding of basic tenets of evolution.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:18 am |
    • someguy

      believer's of the bible aren't any closer to solving the "mysteries" of the world now than they were before, but neither is science and its evolution. We know about what goes on around our area of the world, but we don't why and we have no clue about what could be happening billions of light years from here where there could be perhaps nothing or maybe just more stars, or maybe even something else neither of us could imagine

      December 16, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • Andrew

      Uhh, a 'scientific theory' is a large explanatory model in science supported by a large weight of observation.

      "General Theory of Relativity" (Which replaces Newton's "law of universal gravitation", theory trumps laws, cause theories explain, laws declare)
      "Theory of Special Relativity"
      "Atomic Theory"
      "Germ theory of disease"
      "Plate tectonic theory"
      "Evolutionary theory"

      These are frameworks that are supported by facts, not guesses, but explanatory models. They're what happens when a hypothesis is provided rather extreme amounts of confirmation. The problem is the word 'theory' takes on a colloquial meaning very different from its context in science.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:21 am |
    • someguy

      and with that comment I say avidazen, and have a nice night!

      December 16, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • Andrew

      Just to clarify, not only does GTR explain gravity better than newton's law, which simply states how it operates, predictions made by GTR are more accurate than newtonian gravity. Newton's law can't explain the precession of mercury's orbit, GTR can.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:23 am |
  15. Jack O'Fall

    Religion is rarely on the forefront of ethical advancements, in spite of your assumption/implication that it must be.
    Also, context and ethics? Discussing the practical applications of calculus or quantum physics is best done with real world discussions, not a sense of whether it would help Abraham sacrifice his only son on an altar for the voice inside his head.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:44 am |
  16. Johnson

    Christianity is not against science once you do the actual research. There are many false gospels out there proclaiming to be Christianity which aren't Don't be fooled and dig deeper my friends.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:42 am |
  17. TheyNotHim

    Jesus did not exist. Please provide on citation from a primary source that indicates that he even lived. The bible is not a primary source, as none of the authors writing therein actually met the man or heard him speak. The Romans, a notoriously meticulous society, have not passed down any records to us that such a man was born, tried, crucified, or even got a ticket for donkey racing on the sabbath.

    Still waiting...

    December 16, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • Andino

      The account of Josephus is a primary account not from the Bible...educate yourself please

      December 16, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • ChrisLo


      December 16, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • ChrisLo

      And the Atheist troll is at a lost for words........ idiots.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • Sir Issac Charles Squared

      @theynothim – Are you serious? C'mon man talk about not having a clue. Atheists can't even deny he existed, as much as they wish they could.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • ChrisLo

      http://en (dot) wikipedia (dot) org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus

      December 16, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • skeptic

      Here's a few words- Someone who lived well after the supposed jesus is not a first hand account, just another person telling stories about what he heard.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • ChrisLo

      Bart D Ehrman about the historical Jesus
      http://www (dot) youtube (dot) com/watch?v=n6U6TJ4cwSo

      December 16, 2011 at 12:57 am |
    • ChrisLo

      Try again stupid skeptic. Being skeptic is good, just don't be stupid about it.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • someguy

      here's one http://www.bandoli.no/historicalrecords.htm

      December 16, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • Chris

      TO those ignorantly saying Josephus is a primary source: It's not. From the wikipedia article mentioned above: "the authenticity of this passage remains contested by many scholars, and has been the topic of ongoing debate since the 17th century. Currently, the most widely held scholarly opinion[clarification needed] is that the Testimonium Flavianum is partially authentic; but that those words and phrases that correspond with standard Christian formulae are additions from a Christian copyist.[3][4]"

      Oh, and the actual passage, it basically says that a guy named James and some other folks were arrested and stoned to death. The insertion appears to be the part claiming that James is the "brother of Jesus"

      Also, the event mentioned takes place in 62, so it's not an account of Jesus himself, and can only offer authenticity that by 62 people were calling themselves followers of Jesus, and isn't an account of any historical Jesus.

      Not to mention, we don't have any actual copies of Josepus in existence. The oldest copies are greek translations from the 11th century (that's 1000 yearts later, folks!)

      December 16, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • Damo

      Oh good grief. Whether or not someone named Jesus was real or not is irrelevant. Muhammad was real, does that make Islam true? Gautama Buddha was real, does that mean the Buddhism is true?

      December 16, 2011 at 1:58 am |
    • truth and freedom

      Good job you know how to take passages from an article out of context. Takes a lot of skill there.

      December 16, 2011 at 3:36 am |
  18. ArthurP

    "And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead." (Exodus 12:29-30)

    Lets see, killing a huge number of people with no political power to try to influence the person with the political power to do something. Sorry but I do not want my kids introduced to the teachings of a mass murdering terrorist.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • warbly snorbly

      amen brother

      December 16, 2011 at 12:41 am |
  19. Andrew

    The universe has trillions of planets. To think that God's son (if you actually buy into that sort of thing) came to ours is insufferably arrogant.

    And you can't prove there is a God. We have a bunch of books written by people thousands of years ago when the Earth was still flat and was the center of the universe. Then they were bound together and enforced by the sword over millennia to create less resistance to kingdoms and empires. If you are religious you are either a) brainwashed, b) ignorant, c) a moron, or d) too scared because of community and family exile to admit to yourself that you know religion is false

    December 16, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • truth and freedom

      You know a lot of atheists think they are so smart because they learned about evolution in their biology class. I bet over 75 percent of atheists out there have never ever read the Origin of Species. There is a lot of historical and archaeological evidence that correlates with the gospels of Jesus Christ. The argument that He didn't exist lacks evidence and support.

      Atheists say Christians are ignorant when they themselves are the ignorant ones. Truly they have never picked up a bible to learn what Christianity is really about. They judge it based on the people that have distorted its true meaning. Plus atheism itself is becoming a religion with its different organizations, leaders, and own set of beliefs.

      This may not be the case for all atheists, but from what I am reading, its definitely the case for the ones commenting on this article.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:33 am |
  20. Christopher Hitchens Will Always Live...

    in our collective minds. For those of us who have one and use it, anyway.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Johnson

      Meanwhile he's dead so he doesn't exist. Therefore his life was meaningless in the big scheme of things according to atheists.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • Observer


      "Meanwhile he's dead so he doesn't exist. Therefore his life was meaningless". You wish. If so, he would have had no influence on anyeone, which obviously isn't the case.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • Sir Issac Charles Squared

      1, 2, 3, John and Observer lets get it on. Debate Time!!!!!!!!!

      December 16, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • ChrisLo

      Htchens was a pitiful empty man. Really depressing to think about it.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:08 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.