Study: Analytic thinking can decrease religious belief
An exhibit of Rodin's "The Thinker."
April 27th, 2012
04:01 PM ET

Study: Analytic thinking can decrease religious belief

By Becky Perlow, CNN

(CNN) - When was the last time you sat down and questioned your decision to believe in God?

According to a new study, that simple act could decrease your religious conviction – even if you’re a devout believer.

In the study, published Friday in the journal Science, researchers from Canada’s University of British Columbia used subtle stimuli to encourage analytical thinking. Results from the study found that analytical thinking could decrease religious belief.

“Religious belief is intuitive - and analytical thinking can undermine intuitive thinking,” said Ara Norenzayan, co-author of the study. “So when people are encouraged to think analytically, it can block intuitive thinking.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Some of the more than 650 Canadian and American participants in the study were shown images of artwork that encouraged analytic thinking, while another group was shown images that were not intended to produce such thinking.

One of the images used to trigger analytic thinking was of Rodin’s statue “The Thinker.” A previous study showed that such images improved performance on tests that indicate analytic thinking.

In addition to the artwork images, the religion study used other stimuli to promote analytical thinking.

After exposure to such stimuli, researchers gauged participants’ religious beliefs through a series of questions. Subjects who had performed analytical tasks were more likely to experience a decrease in religious belief than those who were not involved in such tasks. That included devout believers.

“There’s much more instability to religious belief than we recognize,” said Norenzayan, noting that life’s circumstances and experiences, from traumatic events to joyous occasions, can lead people to become more or less religious.

“Religion is such an important part of the world and we have so little understanding of it,” he added. “So regardless of what you think about religion, it’s important to understand it because it’s so important in the world.”

Norenzayan is quick to mention that the experiments did not turn devout believers into total atheists. But he speculated that if people habitually think analytically, like scientists or lawyers do, it would lead to less religious belief in the long run.

Robert McCauley, director of the Center for Mind, Brain and Culture at Emory University, and author of "Why religion is natural and science is not," found the study particularly interesting because he thought it was difficult to make even a minimal change in religious belief.

“It’s not likely you would argue someone out of a religious belief very often because they don’t hold those beliefs on argumentative or reflective grounds in the first place,” said McCauley, who believes religious beliefs rely primarily on intuitive thinking.

Analytical thinking alone does not necessarily lead to a decrease in religious belief, emphasized Norenzayan.

“There’s a combination of factors [as to] why people become believers or nonbelievers - this is only one piece of the puzzle,” Norenzayan said, explaining that his team doesn’t think analytical thinking is superior to intuitive thinking.

“It makes the story we need to tell about religion and religious belief all the more complicated,” said McCauley. “That’s what great scientific research does – ask more interesting questions.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Culture & Science

soundoff (3,468 Responses)
  1. reason

    I've been saying this for YEARS! Lol

    April 29, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  2. God's Oldest Dreamer

    In Life are living emulations animatingly renditioned! Cherishing the coloring book do the living their ways! Dependent upon the mother's milk are we weened! So becomes Life in constructive amalgums! Challenges spurned are sometimes in remittal of senses' handicraft! In lavish regards do the commonwealths their maintenence needs! Settled the mind sets itself up for yet another take-down from Life! The cherishing billings do lay waste the graven images' wantonness pleas! Fly down, yes do fly down! Closer and closer does one ever fly down! Inward and yet into are all the any of things' deeds! Granted by birth, the succesions from Life will ever the entrance! Tallied one's wealth is never to be held by mongerings' living! Mind you well, one's passive abatements no matter the size! Telling it all make ready one's fall! The architect of logic goes beyond mere mortals assunptions! Analytical minds evolved thru creations timelied lines of firmaments' decrees!

    April 29, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Answer

      Still trying to convince yourself that your own created god is real? So funny.

      You could just dumb it down to "I believe in my delusions." It is far more literate to state compared to your ranting garbage.

      April 29, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • GodPot

      Please keep posting this kind of thing, but try and make it a little clearer you are a Christian because your posts are so convoluted, nonsensical and full of misspellings someone might not even know what side you are taking.

      And just an FYI, throwing together a bunch of big words you don't understand regurgitated into a sentence does not equal analytic thinking, in fact it shows an extreme lack of comprehension and just makes people discount everything you have to say.

      April 29, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Answer & GodPot,,,,,,,,,, ,, ,,,,,......

      The dues of my sinfilled past are my reasons to write as a liturgy in being confrontative meditative thought ballads! Those who say my words are too elongated are but weaklings in their mindives! Knowing well that some of my wordisms cannot be "dictionarired" such are of my own constructive mindset amalgums! Have mercies you two upon my fragilitarian onslaughts in worded mindsets I do regulary posit!

      April 29, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      He is a 'Poe'....

      April 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  3. HenryMiller

    “Religious belief is intuitive – and analytical thinking can undermine intuitive thinking,” said Ara Norenzayan, co-author of the study. “So when people are encouraged to think analytically, it can block intuitive thinking.”

    Creative thinking of any kind is intuitive. Intuitive thinking, like imagination, is not bound by the limits of the known, which is why the "best" scientists are the most imaginative and able to think well intuitively.

    That said, a scientist will go on to test intuitively derived concepts to find out if they in fact reflect the real world (usually they don't–I speak from experience...). That's the difference between science and religious belief–the scientist tests the results of imagination, the religious just accept whatever silliness they come up with as true.

    April 29, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  4. Chuck

    If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul. ~Isaac Asimov, I. Asimov: A Memoir

    "There's a big difference between kneeling down and bending over." – Frank Zappa.

    April 29, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  5. Chuck

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God? – Epicurus

    April 29, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  6. Herman

    I was not a devout belever in God until I did think about the world, how somethig could come from nothing and, in the light of humans being able to create life, "what would that new life form call US...the creators of it?" I find no science that disproves the possibility of there being a God and in fact, see science actually proves the higher probablity there is either a God or a higher intelligence we understand to be God. Then there is the lack of CHANCE and the structure of the world which is so very predictable. If all this is by 'chance' then evolution is NOT the only manner by which things change unless we see evolution the result of s string of chance that becomes predictable structured. I love the way the world twists upon itself and not believing in God is a form of beliefe in itself.How can one deny what does not exist. It must first exist to deny it- even if it exists only as a thought.

    April 29, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Karon

      I too, could find no scientific proof that The Flying Spaghetti monster does not exist. He is our Lord God and provider of scrumptious pasta.

      Heaps of pasta be upon you.


      April 29, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Luke

      Scientific inquiry into the quantum theory indicates that your idea of "something" does indeed arise from "nothing". You should read up on it. Blows up your thesis completely. I believe Laurence Krauss has very enjoyable talks about the topic Give it a shot and get back to me.

      April 29, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • momoya

      That "something from nothing" garbage is soooooo stupid.. I don't know of anybody who believes "something came from nothing," but I've heard many, many people say that basically a big magic man created the world with a few spells..

      I've gotta ask, Is this really one of your better arguments for your god, cause it really reads like just some rambling pseudo-list that you think about whenever YOU have doubts because there's nothing logical there at all.

      April 29, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Don

      Where did god come from?

      April 29, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • johnfrichardson

      What is god made out of and where did that come from? What did he make the world out of? What was there for him to make anything out of before he made the world?

      You may have done some thinking, but you can't have done very much!

      April 29, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  7. Rainer Braendlein

    Faith cannot be grasped by reason, but is caused by the Holy Spirit.

    Yet, it is important to adhere that faith is not against reason. Faith is only sometimes beyond reason or higher than reason.

    Even historically seen the Christian faith is very trustworthy. There is no reason at all to reject the Christian faith by analytical thinking. On the contrary, if someone thinks strictly analytically, he must admit that Christianity is very trustworthy.

    Yet, this is not enough to be a believer.

    I you accept the gospel as true, you need to get sacramentally baptized in addition to it. At baptism the gospel becomes metaphysical reality for you. At baptims we die and resurrect with Jesus. We die for the sin and "enter" Christ or receive the Spirit. By the power of the Spirit we can live a life of true love and righteousness, which no natural man can live.

    April 29, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Karon

      Whiner, your first post was enough playing with yourself for you today.

      April 29, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • hmm

      Um. Faith is ENTIRELY against reason. Faith means believing in something without having any reason to.

      "Even historically seen the Christian faith is very trustworthy. "

      Oh really? Please read some more history.

      April 29, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Cq

      Yes, when someone starts up a new business, for example, and it goes against the wisdom of what ought to succeed, and even takes a very long time to succeed, we say that the person behind it had faith in their dream. More often than not, such stories end in utter failure though, right? Faith is sometimes justified, but certainly not as a general rule. This is why we criticize believer's total confidence in where they place their faith in a god. 99.999% of all gods have proven to be failures over time. Why would any rational person have confidence that God will be the one exception to the general rule?

      April 29, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  8. Rainer Braendlein

    “Religious belief is intuitive – and analytical thinking can undermine intuitive thinking,” Norenzayan said.

    Yet, this is not true.

    I claim true belief is neither intuitive nor analytical.

    True belief only starts with accepting as historical true the gospel of Jesus Christ (this you may call analytical).

    However, this rational blief must get deepened.

    It gets deepened by the sacramental baptism (rebirth by Water and Spirit), where we receive a person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, which helps us to overcome the lust of our flesh (sinfulness of our body). If we ask the Holy Spirit day by day to control our body, we present our body as a living sacrifice, which is the true and complete faith, which pleases God.

    The true faith is beyond intuition and analytical thinking. The true faith means that a divine person dwells in us and improves our life or makes us more holy and more righteous day by day.

    April 29, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • hmm

      Well, you certainly have the "righteous" part down pat. I'm so glad you have all the answers. Saves me from thinking for myself. Whew!

      April 29, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • wrong side of the bed

      AND...You pretty much prove the point of this article.Well done Sir!

      April 29, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Cq

      Your "true faith" could also be complete delusion, right? If someone claimed the exact same level of faith in another god you'd likely say something against the authenticity of that belief, so why should we trust your beliefs over someone else's?

      April 29, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
      • Rainer Braendlein

        No faith is better proved, historically seen, than Christianity.

        April 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  9. Prayer changes things

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    April 29, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Don

      Nothing fails like prayer.

      April 29, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  10. Russ

    Is this supposed to be surprising?

    April 29, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  11. Raoul Duke, Jr.

    Wow, what a profound notion, that analytical thinking can decrease religious belief. Next thing you know they will tell us that drinking water will decrease our thirst.

    April 29, 2012 at 8:23 am |
  12. Atheist

    That's why god prefers uneducated people. A Christian who thinks critically is an ex-Christian.

    April 29, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • Chuck

      So true.

      April 29, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  13. Reality


    Based on Parts I-V: See pp. 2, 14, 22, 23, 23

    Putting the final kibosh on religion:

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell. )

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    April 29, 2012 at 7:42 am |
  14. awasis666

    Of course. With all the contradictions in the Bible, to believe it you have no other choice than to suspend analytical thinking. Let's see.........oh yes the virgin birth. So tell me how this makes any sense? Any proof? No. But that doesn't stop people from making the catch all excuse that god can do anything. Well first prove that there is a god. If I say that there is a Santa Claus, I should have to prove it before I expect others to believe it. All would agree that asking others to prove that Santa Claus doesn't exist would be absurd. Same with god.

    April 29, 2012 at 7:31 am |
  15. Jimmy Rustles

    In other news, if you pour water on your head your hair will get wet.

    April 29, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • Answer

      That is untrue for the bald people.

      April 29, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 29, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • Chuck

      "Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, 'atheist' is a term that should not ever exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a 'non astrologer' or a 'non-alchemist'. We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. An atheist is simply a person who believes that the 260 million Americans (87 percent of the population) claiming to 'never doubt the existence of God' should be obliged to present evidence for his existence-and, indeed, for his BENEVOLENCE, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day." –Sam Harris, "Letter to a Christian Nation"

      April 29, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  17. WWJD

    It is known fact that atheists are mentally unfit for parenting.

    April 29, 2012 at 4:00 am |
    • JohnQuest

      WWJD, you are as bad as your regilion, I feel very sorry for you.

      April 29, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • hmm

      And you dare to call yourself "WWJD"? Right. Cause I'm sure JESUS would have told people they were unfit parents for not kissing his a.

      April 29, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Answer

      The problem with uptight and righteous whack jobs is that they can't understand science enough to dispute their own indoctrinations. Hence you have a behavior problem person who can only find disgust at people who laugh at them for their silly beliefs. They can only post hatred and spew about the people who reject them.

      It's very entertaining to watch them spew their venom and do the name calling. Funny as hell.

      April 29, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  18. WWJD

    Few 100% true Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you stupid, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet Atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists causes problem in our religious society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Stalin, Hitler (Denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders.
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most Atheists are uneducated... No Atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
    **Only 2-3% of the U.S. are Atheists/Agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**

    † † Our Prayers goes to Atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator † †


    April 29, 2012 at 3:57 am |
    • Mirosal

      How is Atheism a religion? Look up the word "religion" in a dictionary, then tell us just how Atheism meets that criteria.

      April 29, 2012 at 4:00 am |
    • WWJD

      I did you should too. Atheism is the belief that God isn't real so therefore since many people hold this set of believe then atheism is religion just like pagans or satanism.

      April 29, 2012 at 4:07 am |
    • WWJD

      Faith in science is religion. Since God created science you have no choice but to believe in God.

      April 29, 2012 at 4:17 am |
    • awasis666

      LOL! I can see you have totally turned your analytical thinking off. You're pretty stupid.

      April 29, 2012 at 7:02 am |
    • Reality


      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      (References used are available upon request.)

      April 29, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • dogmagoneit

      One heaping bucket of sanctimony!
      100% true? Seems legit!

      April 29, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • AGuest9

      WWJD Just sayin Atheism is HeavenSent Herbie In God We Trust Prayer Changes Captain America wouldn't know analytic thinking if it tripped and fell over a physical manifestation of it – such as a physics, biology or philosophy book!

      April 29, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Nii

      You do realise that Theology is a form of philosophy, don't you? Analytical thinking as the article does say MAY reduce religiousity but may not necessarily break your faith. It may even strengthen it. Learn to put things in context.

      April 29, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Nii

      In my case religiosity has dwindled ever since I started learning and practising the teachings of Jesus. Xtianity has become a path to spirituality rather than a religion for me. I now consider a lot of things unnecessary for salvation. To me only loving our neighbor is required for eternal life.

      April 29, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Chuck

      1- God does not change (Malachi 3:6)
      2- Jesus rose from the dead with his body (Luke 24:38-39)
      Ok so here’s how it works, before, there was the father, the son and the Holy Spirit. Now you have the father, the Holy Spirit, the son and the body attached to it. Of course the body is created, so basically you are associating creatures with God and you are saying that God changed.
      Both unacceptable according to the bible, so Jesus can’t be God. The end

      April 29, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Paul


      Thank you for clarifying Jesus' love - I'm sure at some point he told his followers this.

      April 29, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • hmm

      "† Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists."

      Nice circular logic.

      Have you taken your meds today?

      April 29, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • AGuest9

      Nii, if you think that theology is just another form of philosophy, you haven't studied either. Most theological claims fly in the face of the standards of reasoning, while most theists see secular philosophical reason as an intrusion into theological reflection.

      April 29, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • momoya


      How do your trolling tactics bring glory to your god??. What do you think your god will say to you when the two of your are sitting their reviewing your life and you get to this section right here?. Will he turn to you and say "Good and faithful servant!" or something else.. Seriously, I want to know.. Because frankly, it looks to me as if it's an admission that your position (god exists) is pretty sh!tty.. I can't imagine you having a very strong logical position and using tactics like this..

      April 29, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • tokencode

      Your bulleted points make little sense, you've gone a great length to prove that this article is true. I'm sure your jesus buddy would be proud of you having such hatred towards another group of humans. What about the over 50% of humanit that doesn't believe in your jesus buddy? I guess they all deserve to burn in "hellfire and brimstone" too right? All those children, mothers etc, should burn for all eternity because they don't believe what you believe? if that's the case, your jesus buddy sounds like an an A$$h0le.

      April 29, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  19. GodPot

    Let's just face the facts, atheism requires earnest thought, like the picture of the thinker above, whereas religion require no thinking, just acceptance of someone else's thoughts. How often do you hear Christians earnestly debating the finer points of faith on these boards vs making blanket statements about how against all evidence their position MUST be true, regardless of any proof to the contrary. The only thought they have is trying to figure out how to squeeze their outdated and archaic belief structure into a modern educated reality, which they accomplish by either claiming the parts of their book that have been proven false were either allegory or they claim disbelief in the proof that is presented to them. "Carbon dating isn't perfect you know, so none of it is true!! The evolutionary fossil record still has holes in it you know, so none of it's true.You atheists don't know everything yet, so none of what you know can be true!!"

    April 29, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      GodPot, I gotta disagree a bit. With all of the multiple Faiths and then denominations within the Faiths, I feel that it requires more thinking to be a person of Faith than a Atheist. It seems to me that the Atheist point is simular to a person saying that they hate motorcycles and one saying that he or she likes Honda Goldwings. One person has already dropped the curtain on the entire subject while the other one has to constantly defind his position to not only bikers but, to Foriegn Bikes...that are made in Asia... that are Honda's ... and finally those which as Honda Goldwings.

      When I debate an Atheist it is a easy discussion because their position, to me is straightforward. Where to when I debate another Faithful I have to go to why my Christian denomination views scripture this way or that.

      To me the diversity in the Faihs require more thought to application than those who have to simply claim that there is not a God.

      April 29, 2012 at 2:50 am |
    • WWJD

      Mark you can not debate an atheist because they are from the devil.

      April 29, 2012 at 5:07 am |
    • Jeanine


      April 29, 2012 at 5:34 am |
    • johnfrichardson

      But that's simply not true, Mark. Most non-believers actually STUDIED the faith the were brought up in, other faiths and philosophies as well as science. Most believers simply stick to the thoroughly familiar. People who break away to form new sects are rare and generally reviled by the faithful. Interfaith events tend to be all about the blandest of bland common ground, not debate with an eye to reaching some deeper understanding the way scientists debate. When sects do conflict, historically, they have been quick to resort to violence. Most people of faith put almost NO thought into it. Yes, some do put some thought into it. When I left my whitebread Methodist church and explored evangelicalism and then Jehovah's Witness doctrine, I was thinking. But I didn't stop thinking. So I moved out of Christianity altogether. That it the path of a lot of ardent non-believers. What you describe are the casually irrelgious. Yes, they exist, too, in greater numbers than ardent non-believers. No, they don't put much thought into religion. They see no need to.

      April 29, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • momoya

      Actually, Mark is lying his azz off.. In a debate it becomes clear that Mark has no interest in the topic of the debate or any sensible discussion.. He will continually focus on the most irrelevant two words in your post and start some moronic argument about those two words that didn't matter and then accuse you of all sorts of stupid sh!t that you can't even figure out because Mark can't even sound smart when he's just being a troll trying to sidetrack you off the main points..

      In short, Mark's an absolute fvckwad.. Spend any amount of time in discussion with his stupidity, and he will prove what I say.. Go ahead.. Test him.

      April 29, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • GodPot

      " the diversity in the Faihs require more thought to application than those who have to simply claim that there is not a God." There is a difference between analytically thought and just reading or learning about the limitless variations of the imagination when it comes to filling in a void in understanding. To research and study what we do know about the universe is analytic thinking whereas contemplating whether it might be Zeus, Ra, the Force, Odin or Jesus is an exercise in imagination. Analytic refers to the "having the ability to analyze" or "division into elements or principles" and without any actual phenomenon specifically attributed to any specific God to analyze there can be no real analytic thinking.

      April 29, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • momoya

      Now watch mark focus on "whereas contemplating" or some other two words that mean nothing standing alone and just troll until the cows come home.

      April 29, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Either that, or he'll say you are "backed into a corner" and have "come up short in the dialogue", but he won't be able to explain in what way this is the case or point to a single example that proves his claim. Or he'll whine about just wanting to "get people to meet in the middle" or "to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony." Or he'll play the "poooooooor sooooooouuuul" who's "just trying to make the world a peaceful place". Or he'll tell you you're ranting or old or that you must have Asperger's Syndrome or be drunk.

      Anything to avoid admitting he doesn't have a clue as to the subject. Jeanine is right; Mark is lazy and dumb.

      April 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      G-Pot, while I am not saying that no thinking is going into the Atheist thoughts I just do not see how much analyzation can continue once the question is settled into oneself that he or she is an Atheist. The Faithful it is a different story. Take for example, a Muslim will argue that the biggest issue with Jews and Christians is not that we are so different but that we are only varying degrees different. As a person of Faith I am in my Denomination but within the Faith I have to compare my view of the Scripture to someone who is Baptist, Catholic or even Mormon. With Atheism what is the continued questions once you deny the existence of God. For the Faithful, at least for some or even many of us, we do not deny the existence of God but maybe are open to or question if we are on the correct path to God.

      There is that drive to church and passing a Cathedral or a Mosque and wondering if those people of Faith are on the right path. This is why I just feel that there are many paths because we might be dealing with the same God or Gods. John's post sorta leans me to confirm this in that the study of the Faith was answered when those Atheist walked away from the church.

      My question is this, what is the further or continued analyzation by the Atheist, once they conclude there is not a God or Gods?


      April 29, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Wow Momo and TomTom. I hope yall got more in your bag, cause I am just starting. 🙂

      Find another way guy and yes elder 🙂

      April 29, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Thanks for acknowledging that you're nothing more than a common troll, Piddles.

      I'm sure everyone is grateful you've admitted it.

      April 29, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      That would only matter if I considered this a popularity contest TomTom.

      But give it a shot. You are a Atheist, do you continue to contemplate on Faith issues or is your mind set in that there is no God?

      April 30, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Theo Geisel

      "As a person of Faith I am in my Denomination but within the Faith I have to compare my view of the Scripture to someone who is Baptist, Catholic or even Mormon."

      But what good is it for you to argue what color the Emperors clothes are when you can't even prove he's wearing any? You may debate the finery and details all you wish but until someone produces even one thread I will continue to believe your Lord is a nudist.

      "what is the further or continued analyzation by the Atheist, once they conclude there is not a God or Gods?"

      It's called living with your eyes wide open and not closing off your mind to new information and research just because you had a preconceived understanding of how things were supposed to work. I think I can say that every atheist out there would readily accept God as soon as he shows up to claim what you say is his, however many may accept that he exists but reject him for being a dick if it turns out he really is this Christian God and is everything the bible claims.

      April 30, 2012 at 2:14 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”But what good is it for you to argue what color the Emperors clothes are when you can't even prove he's wearing any? You may debate the finery and details all you wish but until someone produces even one thread I will continue to believe your Lord is a nudist.“

      Hi Theo. This is basically my point to G-Pot. Most Atheist are as locked into that there is not a God as the Faithful are to that there is a God. Because of this I am wondering what the continued analyzation would be for the Atheist in the subject matter of Faith. For the Faithful, the thought process must continue because there are so many possibilities of where in Faith do you feel you are. Are you a Muslim, if so why, are you a Jew, if so why. A Sikh, why … Christian, why...

      Then once you establish that, say we take Christian... are you Catholic, are Lutheran ..Baptist, maybe Mormon. It is because, as a Faithful, we have more options it requires us to think more than a Atheist who has settled into the non-Faith categories.

      See to me, living with your eyes wide open can be asking if there is not a God but it could also mean to ask oneself if you are really a Muslim or a Catholic.

      >>>”however many may accept that he exists but reject him”

      That's a tough call. If the Almighty came walking up to you.... gave you all the evidence that you need to convince and causes you to accept that he or she is God... Which meant that automatically if this deity is standing in front of you that hell also exist and he or she has the power to banish you there where you will be tormented forever.... could you reject such knowing the consequences.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:11 am |
    • Jeanine

      You said, "Most Atheist are as locked into that there is not a God as the Faithful are to that there is a God."

      And your proof and evidence of this would be....what, exactly?
      And you said this in direct response to someone saying that most atheists would simply accept proof and move on.
      Time to go pray some more, Mark. Ask your "god", ask your "Jesus", ask whatever voice in your head talks back to you in a clearly "understood" way – just what is the truth of the matter?
      Go on. We'll wait here for you. Don't worry, most of us trolls laugh at your clear lack of insight and understanding, but don't let that keep you from praying for the answer!

      April 30, 2012 at 4:17 am |
    • GodPot

      "Most Atheist are as locked into that there is not a God as the Faithful are to that there is a God."

      No, they are locked into the position that they not only need more evidence, but they need any solid evidence to become a believer.

      "once you establish that, say we take Christian... are you Catholic, are Lutheran ..Baptist, maybe Mormon. It is because, as a Faithful, we have more options it requires us to think more than a Atheist who has settled into the non-Faith categories."

      Total BS. You claim the one who has settled for religion has more options than the one who rejects it? By claiming any religion as your own you not only accept religions past crimes but reject all other possibilities limiting your options far more than remaining skeptical could. We just believe in one less God than you do, since you have already rejected Zeus and Odin and Ra without any evidence to do so other than you have accepted the Christian God.

      "if this deity is standing in front of you that hell also exist and he or she has the power to banish you there where you will be tormented forever...." I hope I would not be one to give in to threats of violence and extortion, and if your God shows himself, I hope I would have the courage to stand against such an evil entlty that would create a soul, give it a handful of years to educate it with ancient bronze age writings mixed with the hardships of life and then punish that soul for eternity if they don't obey. Those who "behave" for no other reason than to stay out of heII are no better than child r a p i s t s who choose not to r a p e anymore because they fear what will happen to them in prison, they are still the same evil person inside, they just know showing it will cause them hardship so are able to control their actions.

      April 30, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hi Jeanine. The proof is from speaking and reading what many Atheist say. I do not hear much doubt or movement in the Atheist position. The same as with the issue when speaking to the Faithful, the doors are sorta closed on God's existance for both groups. Now, while I see denominations within the Faithful side I do not see it on the Atheist side. On the side of the Faithful you are constantly challenged on your specific sect of Faith. Even within the denominations we are not lockstep in interpretations of the Scriptures. So, I say that there is more analysis on the side of the Faithful because of the internal debates and scabbles. I currently do not see such within the side of the Atheist.

      Can you elaborate on what debates an Atheist might face continuely, after he or she has decalred themselves as an Atheist. Also,I am not speaking of doubt, because that can be found on both sides.

      Also.... you are not a Troll Jeanine. A bit untamed but not trollish.


      >>>”No, they are locked into the position that they not only need more evidence, but they need any solid evidence to become a believer.”

      Jeanine.... here is the proof to back up what I am saying. Truthfully G-Pot, you statement lends to more a constant or open search for God. In that way, I can give those types of Atheist credit but that would lean to Atheist are just potential Faithful who are awaiting ironclad proof. Which, I would find interesting.

      >>>”You claim the one who has settled for religion has more options than the one who rejects it? By claiming any religion as your own you not only accept religions past crimes but reject all other possibilities limiting your options far more than remaining skeptical could.”

      Yes, but the options or choices are that the Faithful can be any of those Religions while the Atheist is limited to non-belief. I am a Methodist in a church that could be Catholic tomorrow. I could also convert to Islam and still hold that there is one God and be fine. Well except I love bacon 🙂

      What are the options for the non-Faithful. I have seen Bible Studies that have almost erupted into fist fights over the options for understandings and views of the Faith. This is because the paths are many to God, but away from God is but one path.

      >>>”We just believe in one less God than you do, since you have already rejected Zeus and Odin and Ra without any evidence to do so other than you have accepted the Christian God.”

      Sorry, read a few of my past post G-Pot, I am one of those “many paths to God” folks. I am open to the possibilities that we might be talking about the same God. To me they are just other options, again proving my statement of more options within the Faiths.

      >>>”Those who "behave" for no other reason than to stay out of heII are no better than child r a p i s t s who choose not to r a p e anymore because they fear what will happen to them in prison,”

      … The question then goes to if you believe all Faithful are as such. For me the guy that does good acts and hold the Faith because he or she is fearful of God's wrath is cool with me. It shows that he understands his failings and has fear knowing something is bigger and badder than him. But, just like there are folks who do good acts for no reasons on the Atheist side do you not think the same might exist on the side of the Faithful? Could there be those who do good just because they want to help folks. I mean we could go into debate about DeCartes views of human choices but try this.

      Two guys walk out of a bar totally drunk out of their minds. One calls a cab because he knows he is drunk and does not want to have a accident and damage his property or harm others. The other calls a cab because the Police have been targeting drunk drivers in that area and he does not want to be caught. To me I could care less why each does the right thing as much as I am glad both are off the road. That is how I feel about your statement. The why folks do good is not as much of a concern to me and I believe most of society as much as we are happy and thankful that good was done.

      L'Chaim, to both of you.

      April 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Piddler, you are dim. I've stated numerous times that I have questions about the existence of a god and that I struggle with those doubts. Tells me and everyone else that you're quite selective in your memory about what people write. You focus on my language because you don't like the fact that I've handed you your azz on many occasions on a variety of topics.

      I've already told you that one of the biggest factors in my leaving the church was hypocrites like you, who profess to love others and proceed to exhibit precisely the opposite every time you get an opportunity to belittle people who don't take your posts for anything more than blather. I saw so many "good Christians" who were just like you: they gossiped about others, ridiculed those that were different in any way, passed judgments on people they saw as less "Christian" than they were.

      You won't bother to respond to this, and even if you do, it'll be with more claptrap and evasion.

      Just as always.

      By the way, do show me any post in which I stated that I was an atheist, Piddles. Thanks in advance.

      April 30, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Jeanine

      Yes, I think I could say that for most of us – we are indeed potential "Faithful" that will never become delusional by choice and so must be either deluded using false information or through brain damage of some sort, ...or, barring those, will always doubt and use skepticism for it is not just our doubts that must be satisfied, but proper safeguards for our "souls" should it be also shown that we have those as well.

      That is why Pascal's Wager is such an obvious fallacy, for look you, here is a question that you gamble your "soul" on, yet anyone who is not a fool would surely value their soul more than that, than to risk it without care, without any skepticism at all at the clearly and admittedly baseless claims of the religious.
      Are you a sucker for a good sob story? Everyone tells you bs because they know you'll swallow anything whole?
      Are you really? Yet that would only save you a bit of money, being skeptical like that.

      What if you could protect your soul simply by being skeptical? Wouldn't you want to do that? Why not?
      But what about when you fool yourself? Who is going to protect you then?

      I strongly suspect that you are one of those people who like the "many ways to 'God'" concept because that way you can pretend you are really doing stuff on your own because you are so much "smarter" than them and don't need or want to follow with the others who give you so many feelings of rejection, so you try to forge your own path, never knowing that you are never given a map without it being worthless, never given a compass without it always spinning and never stopping, and in all of it you never once thought how horrible it would be if you had not only fooled yourself, but you never did get around to checking and seeing if God really existed in the first place, making all that effort a total waste.

      And all your religion, every single piece of it, was told to you by people, never "God" who, like the sick baby in the fake sob story, never quite manages to make an appearance...and if you ask to see it, the scamming con-artist just talks faster and pretends to get angry yet what they are upset about is the fact you are questioning them and they know they have no answers, no baby, no proof of anything they said, nothing they said matches up, and then they'll make threats or make up more stuff to distract you with some other part of the story.
      And here's the good bit: If they can convince someone else, then that person will, since they got suckered in, be a very strong and sincere believer. Then it's just a matter of having that person come talk to you since the con-artist isn't too convincing today and isn't very good at bluffing, blustering, or pretending to be sincere, so this second person comes to you and tells you the bs sob story.
      See? Sincerity means nothing. Faith means nothing without proof.
      I know they like to say faith is only faith if you deliberately avoid having to show any proof (which you don't have anyway and don't want anyone to know just how bad that is from an honesty standpoint), and that it is implied that if proof were somehow produced, it would magically obliterate not only your "faith", but also your soul, your morals, your life, and your eternal salvation, among other things.

      So faith is worthless without proof because in that respect, "faith" is just a fancy perfumed(bs) word that means "what sucked the sucker".

      We demand to be given proof that we may judge it as we would any other, for I tell you Mark, not a single iota will I budge from seeking the absolute truth on anything whatsoever should I choose to seek the truth.

      I have a strong, very strong, passion for honesty and truth and facts.
      I am also no fool.

      You ask me to simply risk my "eternal soul" against possible damnation and / or eternal regret of some sort...in a worthless, cheap, and clearly fraudulent bid for a "chance" at getting into your Biblical "Heaven", which, from the sound of the landscaping, would be a greedy man's fantasy-heaven with streets of gold and jewels, not a fantasy that suggests a warm and fuzzy sort of place.

      But, no, you want us to take *your* word for it. On the internet, no less...as if we were the dumbest hayseeds that just fell off a turnip truck. Why should we believe anything *you* say? We've seen you lie many a time here. If you were hoping to sucker us in, I'm afraid you'll have to try a little harder thinking to understand just how ridiculous and unsupportable your position is, because it is a worthless pile of sucker-bait and you're exactly the wrong sort of person to be trying to convince people who've seen you lie many times. Anyone honest person would have more credibility than you, Mark.

      But you'd rather we do this modified Pascal's Wager you've got spinning around in your head and risk everything on your belief that your god is NOT a giant squid or something horrible that just wants to chew the gristle of our "souls" or something.
      No, you want us to believe your god is sweetness and light despite ALL the evidence pointing the other way, PLUS you want us to believe so that our souls might be saved – from this "god" who might be worse than any monster, PLUS, you want us to risk our souls on YOUR say-so, a known liar, who will point at the Bible, a book proven to be full of nothing but lies, as "proof" that your "god" inspired it to be written (I guess he is even worse than that), PLUS, you cannot show one single bit of proof but will only talk faster, throw up all sorts of bs nonsense to avoid having to admit you have nothing, you have nothing, you have nothing and STILL you want us to believe you because we would "have nothing to lose and everything to gain" when it's actually the OPPOSITE and we have EVERYTHING to lose and NOTHING to gain.
      It's a total sucker betting game full of lies and clear deception.

      And all it took to convince you was your personal "acceptance" (whitewash word for 'sucked in') without proof, as we know none exists, without questioning at some key points (got you in deeper), loaded such a huge tale of bullshlt on you that it just overwhelmed your young mind at the time (can't sift bs for bs), and now you are a sincere believer and can be sent to sucker in other suckers just like you with the added bonus of being able to show "sincerity" to help fool some of the "harder" cases.

      You poor sucker, you. Well, don't expect me to fall for your crap or the crap you fell for. I'm just an honest person who insists on true stuff....and the only way to know what is true and what is not is to evaluate the claims, disregarding the baseless claims, like Santa or Spongebob, and double-checking anything left over.

      And you got nothing but a modified Pascal's Wager. Dude. You have GOT to pull your sucker-head out of your ass.
      You don't get the right to proclaim your belief as true until you can PROVE it is true.

      You got that? I sure hope so.

      We accept facts. Or hadn't you heard about that? It's only the whole reason we're atheists at all....because you have no facts for us and so we cannot trust you or anything you say because you have no truth, no facts, and no reason to listen, yet we are potential "believers" all the same.

      And, as an added bonus for our position, we have plenty, and I mean puh-lenty, facts that show your "god" does not exist, does not do anything in response to anything even if he did exist, nor does anything written about him show any evidence of being credible, much less true.

      Would you believe any old sob story? Have you never been lied to where you believed every word?

      You don't even have ethical support for your position, Mark.

      Your attempts to say "See? If you do it than I get to do it, too!" are worthless. WE have real reasons for doing things.
      You don't have real reasons for doing things. You base your stuff on a proven to be false story that is so bad even small kids see right through it. The Bible is *that* bad as a sucker story. That's because it was never read by the general population until only recently. Over a thousand years of only a few priests with the "inside word" because they knew how to read.

      I am merely asking for honest truth, for facts. Am I not allowed to ask for facts? For truth? Why not?

      Here's why not: Only con-artists and other sorts of liars do not want you questioning or examining stuff too closely.

      Nobody else in the fcking world does that sort of thing besides the other suckers who honestly believe the lies, who are sincere, often very nice people, yet they can't even think straight due to many years of believing a schizophrenic fantasy for so long they become more unhinged in direct proportion to their intensity as they try to think and live according to stuff (((((that never works in real life)))) and that (((has no basis in truth, reality, or factual information of ANY sort.))))))

      As to your "many paths to God" thing, all I can say is that it directly contradicts some things in the Bible (and I don't usually say that sort of thing), and that the only place I heard such a thing coming from someone it was a Buddhist.
      Maybe you are in the wrong religion. Wouldn't that be funny? No. All religions are bs. Some tend to be less damaging to the brain, but why would anyone follow a lie if they didn't have to? Tell me that.

      April 30, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  20. WWJD

    "Hop On Pop" Read and learn! I just finished it after four years of intensive work, and all I can say is WOW! Life-changing! Mind-alterring!

    April 29, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • johnfrichardson

      Sounds about your level, judging from other posts!

      April 29, 2012 at 9:15 am |
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