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'Where was God in Aurora?' comments show Internet as church for atheists
Some atheists may ask questions on the Internet that they wouldn't have asked in church.
August 1st, 2012
12:03 PM ET

'Where was God in Aurora?' comments show Internet as church for atheists

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The Internet has become the de facto global church for atheists, agnostics and other doubters of God, who of course don’t have bricks-and-mortar churches in which to congregate.

We see this phenomenon in motion every day on the CNN Belief Blog, where atheists/agnostics/humanists are among the most zealous commenters.

Recent string of posts around the question of “Where was God in Aurora?” (such as this and this) drew especially large waves of comments that show atheists are using the Internet to commune with one another and to confront religious believers in ways that they don’t usually do in church.

Atheists and other secularists have offline organizations that stage in-person meetings - the Secular Student Alliance has seen its number of campus chapters quadruple in the last five years, to 368 - but the Internet has probably played a bigger role in the rise of the so-called New Atheism. The movement’s adherents evangelize their godlessness, just as many religious folks evangelize their God, often taking to the Belief Blog to do so.

“A lot of millennials who are coming of age have found that the Internet is a fantastic place to talk about their doubt,” says Jesse Galef, communications director for the Secular Student Alliance. “Before the Internet, there was no place for young people to do that. The only place to go was really church, and that wasn’t always a welcoming place.

“But they can go online and discuss these ideas without being judged by friends and families,” Galef says.

For closeted atheists, the Internet’s anonymity is a big draw. A coalition of national atheist groups recently launched a program to transition doubting clergy to lives of open atheism by first having ministers come out anonymously in a closed online community.

Plenty of other atheists, though, are using the Internet to connect with real, named people through Facebook and other online social networks.

“It’s the ability to access a larger community, particularly for people growing up in religiously conservative areas,” Galef says. “There is nobody they can point to to discuss their atheism or their doubts about the Bible or their morality, and the Internet provides that.”

On Sunday, a guest piece from a Colorado pastor argued that it’s possible to reconcile the idea of a sovereign God with the existence of evil and tragedy. The post has drawn 4,239 comments as of Wednesday morning, largely from atheists.

One of those comments - a letter from God penned by an atheist commenter named Colin - caught fire online. Here’s how his letter opens:

"Dear Christians:

"God here. I thought I would take the time to personally explain my absence in the Aurora shootings. While I was at it, I thought I would also explain my absence during every murder, massacre and crime that has ever taken place in world history, and in every war, in every famine, drought and flood.

"You see, I do not exist. I never have. Did it really make sense to you that I would create an entire universe with billions of billions of planets and wait about 13,700,000,000 years just so I could focus on a few Jews from Palestine about 2,000 years ago while ignoring the rest of the 200,000,000 people on the planet at the time? Did I make those few Jews or did those few Jews make me?"

The letter has been posted on reddit, where it attracted another 1,000-plus comments. (Warning: The reddit comments includes foul language.)

The vast majority of comments come from sympathetic atheists and other secularists (the discussion is reddit's atheism thread), a striking example of such folks doing church without God online. Many of those comments are deeply personal, confessional and poignant.

Here are five of the best ones. Some respond to Colin’s letter from God, others to the Colorado pastor who wrote for the Belief Blog last weekend.

1. CarbonEmitter

"I grew up religious and decided to be agnostic (as an) undergraduate. Even though I am now in my late 20s, I still feel slightly guilty because my parents try to ram religion down my throat. My mom converted to my dad's religion (from Christianity to Islam) right before having a double lung transplant in 1995. They are now super-religious and attribute her miraculous recovery to her conversion.

"Reading posts like these remind me of how ridiculous religion is and help relieve my guilt. Thank you /r/athiesm."

2. tazadar

"I like what Carl Sagan said about reassuring fables.

" 'The significance of our lives and our fragile planet is then determined only by our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life's meaning. We long for a parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable.' "

3. RyGuy2012

"You know, it really irks me to no end to read the article from the pastor, as he claims to not have an answer for why God didn't prevent the Aurora shooting, but then claims to know for sure that God is there when people come to lend their support and sympathies for the shooting victims.

"I just can't wrap my mind around this logic. Like, the pastor must find some other explanation why people are good and do good things. It can't be that people can just be good on their own. Because, apparently (our) natural normal state is to be completely uncaring and disregarding? It's just such a very sad and low opinion to have of your fellow man.

4. funfetti_cookies

"Of course, he says that. You have to scare the people before giving them a reason to listen - "I held her hand as she died." What a great way to start your article. Also don't forget to mention Columbine so people remember that tragedy as well, but then go on to explain why God still exists and this is all part of his plan. Religion is nothing more but a scare tactic to control the masses.

5. ConstipatedNinja

"I don't share this much, but I was raped twice by my pastor when I was 6. And by I don't share this much, I mean that even my own parents don't know (as a side note, he's long since dead, so there's no sense in bringing it up). I had to sit in the same room (with) him for three hours every Sunday while he told everyone - including me - how a decent human being should act. I had to for four entire years before my family moved to a different state.

"When it first happened, I had no idea what was done. I was too young to understand. ... It's indescribable. You're told all this time about this ever-loving being that made you and has planned out your entire life. You're told that he'll protect you when you need it. You're told that if you're good, then he'll be good to you. So obviously, I wasn't good. I wasn't good enough. I was created and the creator of all things looked down upon me and decided that I was a bad egg. Do you know how rough that is for a 7-year-old? I still have problems with self-esteem. …"

That comment, which has been truncated above, provoked an outpouring of sympathy and support on reddit, including this comment:

rumpelstiltskin1

"This stuff is why I love Reddit. Yeah we are a room full of strangers but when it comes down to it we're a community. I love reading the stories of others and reading the heartfelt replies. I love that anyone can express themselves honestly and it will be well-received here (usually). And although this one is a little cheeky, I love that I can learn valuable life lessons of self-acceptance and being able to move on from a guy named ConstipatedNinja. Thank you for sharing your story, and I admire the willingness to share such a personal story; it's truly inspirational."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Colorado • Violence

soundoff (4,699 Responses)
  1. Chad

    @Colin "what I object to is using this preposterous belief to set social policy that binds non-Christians. As a small example, I cannot buy a nice bottle of red wine on a Sunday where I live because Christians believe the World was created in six days and that the Sabath is sacred. Fine, if they want to believe this disproven, childish garbage, but don't curtail my freedoms based on it."

    =>think that you are fundamentally not understanding what "religious freedom" is.
    It's more than just not outlawing the practice of Christianity

    At it's core, it is predicated on allowing citizens that practice a religion the freedom to lobby their government to enact legislation in line with their belief system.
    In other words, you arent allowed to enact a litmus test on laws the same way you arent allowed to enact a litmus test on a persons beliefs.
    To do so would be discriminatory, AND a violation of my civil rights as a citizen of the USA .

    end of story.

    August 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      you must be really burned that Colin got quoted.

      I'm having a little fit of schadenfreude. 😉 I'll get over it.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Colin

      So, by that logic, Chad, you accept the complete subjugation of Christian beliefs in Muslim countries and would accept that, when the majority in the USA is atheist, that they outlaw Christianity?

      August 1, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Mr. Black

      OK, but why must legislation, that affects everybody, be enacted over religious beliefs? If you don't believe in buying wine on a Sunday, then don't buy it. Why require the same of people who don't share your beliefs?

      August 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Chad

      @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV "you must be really burned that Colin got quoted"

      =>honestly.. a little, yes..
      What burns me is that Colin forever continues with his nonsense and never, ever, ever makes any attempt what so ever to gain even a basic understanding of what the bible actually says.

      It's very easy to just sit there and throw out stuff like that.. I could for example come on here and spout nonsense like "if evolution is real, why are alligators still here".
      but, that's nonsense. It isnt an argument. It displays a complete lack of any knowledge of what specifically "evolution" is, and what it isnt. It's a second grade argument..

      August 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Alan

      Isn't preventing non-Christians from buying wine on Sundays discriminatory and a violation of THEIR civil rights? Or are you saying that in a Christian-majority community, those in the minority no longer have civil rights?

      August 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Chad

      @Colin "So, by that logic, Chad, you accept the complete subjugation of Christian beliefs in Muslim countries and would accept that, when the majority in the USA is atheist, that they outlaw Christianity?"

      =>hunh?
      Try reading it again, remember our constitution guarantees religious freedom..

      August 1, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Chad

      @Alan "Isn't preventing non-Christians from buying wine on Sundays discriminatory and a violation of THEIR civil rights? Or are you saying that in a Christian-majority community, those in the minority no longer have civil rights?"

      =>
      1. in any society there are going to be rules, rules are necessary for civilization to proceed.
      2. those rules are going to be a reflection of the shared values/morality/viewpoints, what ever you want to call it.
      3. any time there are rules, there are going to be people that dont like those rules
      4. if you only create rules that have unanimous approval, there wont be any rules at all.
      5. there must be a respect, on the part of the majority, for the minorities viewpoint. The majority should be balancing their right to structure the societies rules to reflect their world view, with respecting the world view of the minority.
      6. there are additionally certain unalienable rights, that can't be abrogated by the majority, regardless of their world view. I would call these rights "civil rights".

      so, to answer your question: prohibiting someone from purchasing alcohol on Sunday is not (in my opinion) a civil right. Calling it that trivializes the definition, expanding it to include basically anything that inconveniences me.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Colin

      Chad, you totally ignored my point. If you feel that Christians should get to dictate to non-believers how they must act based on Christians being the majority, you must accept that Christians must conform to rules imposed by other beliefs, where those beliefs for the majority. You can't have it both ways.

      As to your assertion about my doctrinal ignorance, the solution is very simple. If and when you feel I misquote a principal of Christianity, make your case. Call me out on it.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Chad

      @Colin "If you feel that Christians should get to dictate to non-believers how they must act based on Christians being the majority"
      @Chad "I guess you didnt read the post, try again and concentrate on points #5 and #6.

      ======
      @Colin "I you must accept that Christians must conform to rules imposed by other beliefs, where those beliefs for the majority. You can't have it both ways."
      @Chad "try again, see #5 and #6..

      ======
      @Colin "As to your assertion about my doctrinal ignorance, the solution is very simple. If and when you feel I misquote a principal of Christianity, make your case. Call me out on it."
      @Chad "here's a starter.

      you claim that God doesnt exist because: "He created an entire universe with billions of billions of planets and wait about 13,700,000,000 years just so I could focus on a few Jews from Palestine about 2,000 years ago while ignoring the rest of the 200,000,000 people on the planet at the time?"

      now, do you know what the bible says about why God did precisely that? What the reasons were?

      August 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Colin

      "He" had no reasons because he does not exist. Is it not glaringly obvious to you that only Jews would create a religion that has as its chosen people....the Jews?

      August 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Chad

      ok, so 2 observations:
      1. you either failed to understand the "civil rights" issue and just gave up, or (and I think this more likely as I havent seen you go silent on something like that before), you did understand it after re-reading #5, #6 and realized your error.

      2. You failed to address the question regarding what you understand of what the bible says regarding God's reasons, because (I think it's safe to say), you have absolutely no idea.

      "What's to understand, He doesnt exist"

      so...

      I'm left wondering what kind of person comes on here, day after day, purporting to critique something that you know nothing about?

      How in the world can you say anything at all about God, when you know absolutely nothing?

      Weird, irrational, compulsive behavior.. Wouldnt you first do some investigation? Get some ammo so to speak?

      How in the world can you critique Gods actions, when you don't know what they are, and dont know why He does anything?

      August 2, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Colin

      Chad:

      You are correct that I have no idea what you believe the Bible says about how the Jews justified their self-serving belief that their non-existent god chose them as his favorites out of the 200 million odd hom.o sapiens alive at that point in history. I also don't know what justification the Aztecs, Mayans, Incas, Australian Aboriginals etc., etc.. etc., had for believing they were their respective gods' chosen people. What I do know is (i) every culture feels this way and invents its gods to favor themselves; (ii) the Jews are no excpetion; and (iii) accepting Bronze Age mythology as evidence of the intentions of a god is nothing short of ludicrous.

      I very much doubt that there is anything in the Bible that will explain why a god would "create the entire universe with billions of billions of planets and wait about 13,700,000,000 years just so I could focus on a few Jews from Palestine about 2,000 years ago while ignoring the rest of the 200,000,000 people on the planet at the time" given that we did not even know the age and size of the Universe when this Judeo mythology was written (remember, the whole talking snake thing) but please enlighten me. I actually would like to hear.

      Second, before you declare victory on the civil rights issue, to be candid, the reason I dropped the thread was I know where this argument inevitable ends up i.e. What is a minority right that should be protected (e.g. the rights of blacks to vote) and where is it appropriate for the rights of the majority to trump those of the minority (e.g. buying alcohol on a Sunday, as you see it). You will inevitably consider more issues that are motivated by your Christian outlook in the latter category while Christians are in the majority than I will. For e.g., I consider a woman's right to an abortion, a person's right to take their own life and the rights of gays to marry as in the latter category, whereas I suspect (but do not know) that you would consider them in the former category.

      Finally, as to your points about me being obsessive, ignorant speaking without facts etc., I simply do not give a sh.it what you think. I am sorry, but I really don't. I enjoy debating topics but get quickly bored with personal attacks.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Colin

      switch "former" with "latter" if it wasn't obvious.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  2. jade

    you need to understand where was god in aurora well let me put it this way GOD does not interfear with human decisions he lets us do as we please. when bad things happen it is the devil not god . and on the last day god will be there for all the believers ....

    August 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      That's a fairly useless god, and apparently prayer is useless, and the bible lies about it.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • jade

      hawaiiguest,,u show your ignorance

      August 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • silmaril

      Human decisions trump god. Thanks, got it.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  3. Bible Clown©

    Are you nuts? De facto church for atheists? You and your boy Charlie Daniels need to get it straight: not believing in something doesn't mean it's your religion. How about flying saucers, Dan? You believe in them? Well, then not believing in saucers must be your religion according to your zany article. I know that being editor of a Belief Blog makes your butt hurt all day, but get used to it and stop sneering at us; it's not going to force your god to manifest OR do more than irritate us.

    August 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  4. Yaho

    I love having atheists being stuck and closet behind a screen, while us religious people shovel our faith in their throats 🙂

    August 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Sylar

      No one has ever knocked on my door talking about Atheism. No one has ever protested a funeral of a soldier because of their non belief in God condemns what that soldier fought for.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  5. GAW

    Technically atheism is not a religion (Except for the Church of Satan which is a religionized version of hedonistic atheism) However I do admit that the defensive 'we're better than you' tone finds its home on both sides of the spectrum.

    August 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "the defensive 'we're better than you' tone finds its home on both sides of the spectrum." I AM better than he is. I didn't write that punk article, for example.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  6. Sylar

    This is my belief. I treat everybody the same. I treat everyone as I want to be treated. Not because I fear eternal damnation but because I know in my heart its the right thing to do. This makes me a better person then someone who only does it out of fear of hell since I don't believe in hell. I believe when you die, lights out.

    August 1, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • LinSea

      Okay, but in judging yourself as superior to others, you kind of shoot your argument in the foot. And there are many religious people who choose do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do and not because they are afraid of a punishment.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  7. Ryan M.

    The Christian cannot account entirely for these atrocities. We see that sin came into the world from man's disobedience, and has remained with us. Still, suffering is (an unpopular) part of the Christian faith, and suffering is evident in human existence, from the richest to the poorest. The hope of heaven separates us from non-believers, and it is confusing to me why any non-believer would embrace a reality where we live, die and all we leave is our reputation and memories. While some are remembered by mankind for outstanding deeds, most are only remembered by a small circle of friends and family. Is life really just a mortgage, marriage, kids, career, achievement, nourishment and pleasure? If so, then we seem to be the only species around us who has a problem with it. Does that make them superior to us? Of course not. There's a reason that man has believed in God(s) since our earliest recorded history. We should not forget what Chesterton called the "Democracy of the Dead," or the thoughts and beliefs of those who came before.

    August 1, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Ryan M.

      " The Christian cannot account entirely for these atrocities. We see that sin came into the world from man's disobedience, and has remained with us." etc...etc...

      Unverified speculation. Had no need to read any further.

      Peace...

      August 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Brain Hertz

      "... it is confusing to me why any non-believer would embrace a reality where we live, die and all we leave is our reputation and memories."

      It's not that hard. Atheists embrace that reality because it's reality. Atheists don't determine what they think reality is based on what they would most like it to be.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • silmaril

      Did your omniscient god know Adam and Eve would sin before they did it? If not, why not? If so, why blame them and every one of their descendants for something he could have prevented?

      August 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  8. geenabeana

    I am a nonbeliever. I don't want religion. I never have wanted it, even as a small child. This still upsets my mother to this day because she thinks it's "people like me" who are destroying the world for not believing in her god. I still love my mother and she loves me. Religious beliefs just make me really uncomfortable. In this country, we should be able to feel that way without feeling like we are being judged by everyone around us. I don't even like the term "atheist" because of the negativity that comes with it, it is always said in a negative way. I think I am truly a good person, yet I feel like if I am labeled as an atheist, people automatically think I am a bad or evil person. I have personally felt the wrath of "good Christians" when they trash me because of my lack of religion. I am perfectly happy being me and making the choices I have made. The world is made up of good and bad people, mostly good in my opinion. Being a nonbeliever does not automatically put you in the "bad" group. It is nice to see this article because it brings a little more awareness to this issue. I believe there are a lot more nonbelievers out there just like me who also fear letting too many people know just because of the backlash from "good Christians." I do not need believers to prove anything to me. If the day comes that I witness something myself, then I might reconsider, but so far, in all of my 42 years, I have yet to see anything that would convince me to change my mind about religion.

    August 1, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • starkey

      I agree. I was once a believer myself. I was taught not to question God or the bible, but I have a natural scientific mind and I have to question anything that defies logic. I went to church for 8 years... 5 times a week. I was saved. I experienced the feeling I thought was God working. I asked God for guidance, and did what I thought he wanted me to do. I asked for things that most people around me already had. These were not possessions, but things to make my life complete. I thought of death constantly (as I always had). And when my cousin passed away, it made things worse. Everything was going to crap and I was angry with God. I had faith the size of mountains, but it didn't move a mustard seed. I asked for bread and was given a serpent. I constantly felt guilty about my love for science, the music I listened to, the books I read. I saw racism in the church and saw how bible verses could be twisted around to make them support any view... I just had a lot of anger inside. And I did until I come up with 2 logical conclusions. 1. God does not exist, or 2. God is not the god I was raised to believe in
      Just realizing that has helped me in so many ways. I can study science without feeling guilty. I can get on with my life without worrying what God thinks about what I am doing. Question everything, seek the truth... no matter who or what tells you otherwise.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  9. Mike S.

    For those seeking proof, Christ was on this earth in human form for over 30 years. He healed the sick, stood in front of and condemned the unjust, raised the dead, performed miracle after miracle, conducted Himself with the very kindness, mercy, and love He commands out of all of us. Still, there were many who refused to believe. There were many who took sides against Him with the religious leaders of the day who were more interested in their own power and position than recognizing the Messiah who they claimed to be waiting for.

    There's quite a bit of irony in that, actually. Christ was in constant direct confrontation with the religious leaders of the day. Jesus Christ is not a man made religion or sacred order. He is the living Son of God. He did not come to establish the church. He came that you might know the truth and the truth would set you free.

    Revelation talks of people hardening their hearts towards God and shaking their fist at them, even as they go through the exact tribulation foretold in the Bible. My overall point is that I believe that Christ could appear for another 30 years on this earth right now, and many that reject Him today will still do so. They are too wrapped up in this life and how they want to live it.

    August 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Mr. Black

      "For those seeking proof..." OK, where's the proof?

      August 1, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • silmaril

      "For those seeking proof, Christ was on this earth in human form for over 30 years. He healed the sick, stood in front of and condemned the unjust, raised the dead, performed miracle after miracle, conducted Himself with the very kindness, mercy, and love He commands out of all of us. Still, there were many who refused to believe. There were many who took sides against Him with the religious leaders of the day who were more interested in their own power and position than recognizing the Messiah who they claimed to be waiting for."

      You really need to acquaint yourself with what proof means. None of the above is proof that Jesus existed. It's simply assertions.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  10. The Jackdaw

    We demand to know where God is when something bad happens in white-america. When bad things happen to the rest of the world, we assume it is because he is busy supporting white-america. God. The play-thing of the ignorant mob. The sooner this toy is left behind and we grow up the better.

    August 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  11. russ

    why would you need an organization or a meeting hall to discuss that you believe in nothing?

    August 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Apparently it is something we enjoy doing, or we wouldn't do it quite so much.

      Stockholm syndrome perhaps?

      August 1, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  12. JhangDough

    That's a big flaw in the author's article, to suggest that atheists have some kind of track record for interrupting a sheep herder and his sheep.

    August 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  13. Sylar

    There might be a God and there might not be. What I don't buy into is organized religion. I don't believe everything I read or am told. I also think if you are going to live by the bible, you should live 100%. Not just take out the parts you see fit. If you truely believe, then you shouldn't take Tylenol for a headache. It was Gods will that you have a headache so you are going against him. If you break your arm you shouldn't fix it. Its against Gods will.

    August 1, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  14. MERS

    United Church of Aetheism- "Spreading the Gospel of Death and Despair"

    August 1, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Christianity: Selling lies and little boys rear ends since 4000 BC

      August 1, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Oh look terrorist nazis again. Unable to think clearly you go back to the silly thoughts that comfort you.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Fields

      Jesus is Lord.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  15. Tom

    With all we know of the natural world, the fact that there are still any believers left is shocking. Belief in a higher power truly is for the weak; for those uncomfortable with complexity, and those who need a simple answer to the basic questions of existence. The drive to be at peace is so strong that believers toss aside all that flies in the face of reasoning and logic to keep their myth intact.

    August 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • MERS

      Smarter aetheists than you have been hawking that since the Enlightenment...and smarter Christians than I have been debunking it. See e.g. Clive Staples Lewis.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • someone

      So as long as people believe as you do then it's okay and they're normal, but as soon as they believe otherwise they're screwed up? Why is it that people must follow YOUR guidelines of behavior and belief to be accepted and normal.

      You are just as bad as those you ridicule.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • silmaril

      @MERS: Give us Clive Staples Lewis's best argument for the existence of god(s). Extra points if it proves the Abrahamic one.

      PS: it's spelled atheist, not aetheist

      August 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  16. An Atheist's Perspective

    "...atheists are using the Internet to commune with one another and to confront religious believers in ways that they don’t usually do in church."

    Uh, a few points here:
    1. Is anyone really going to barge into a church service and start debating the existence of God? That would bring rude to a whole new level.
    2. The "usually" implies someone has done this before. I haven't heard of it and I'm sure if it did happen FOX would have had a field day with it.
    3. If someone did do this, my question is this: Did he get the full Darwin Award or did he run fast enough to only earn an Honorable Mention?

    August 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Sylar

      On the flipside of that people will jam religion down your throat at lightning speed.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @An Atheist's Perspective

      LOL !!!! #3 😀

      Peace...

      August 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • someone

      @sylar
      Just as the Atheists are doing to everyone else.

      There are hypocrites on both sides of the fence.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Sylar

      @someone

      That is true. I will be the first to admit I have no idea if there is a God. I have never heard him speak or had anything happen to lead me to believe he exists. I do hate when people try to tell me that they know for sure because someone told them there was a God. I won't try to convert someone from their beliefs though. Its not my place and I don't have the time.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  17. Questioning

    OK so I have read and heard both sides. I guess I don't understand why atheists out there are so offended and easily upset at the thought that others believe in a God. I understand if you have someone constantly preaching and trying to show you the divine way, this would be upsetting and burdensome. Faith is a deeply personal thing, perhaps we could find something better to do than rant and rave about others beliefs. Atheists and believers are both equally as guilty of persecuting and equally as obsessed with each others beliefs.

    August 1, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • plaster city

      I live in Texas. Enough said?

      August 1, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Questioning:

      Surely you have answered your own question here: "I understand if you have someone constantly preaching and trying to show you the divine way, this would be upsetting and burdensome."

      Our society is majority Christian. Many of them believe that to be 'good' Christians it is their obligation to proselytize – hence the constant preaching we feel subjected to.

      When you live in a society where people want to legislate their beliefs and it affects you, it is more than burdensome and you feel compelled to challenge it.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Alan

      I understand that humans make decisions based on emotion, but we do have the capacity to override pure emotion with rational thought. I am annoyed by the fact that people who believe in religions have chosen to forego rational thought and give in to emotional fears.

      I'm also offended when those same people try to claim that because of their choice of religion they are morally superior to those of us who have chosen to not believe. Plenty of Christians, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, etc. have committed crimes, so obviously no blanket statement can be made by any member of any religion that they are de facto morally superior.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  18. Rick1948

    If there is a god and he could have stopped this and didn't, then he is of no use. If there is a god and he couldn't have stopped this, then he is of no use. If there is no god, it doesn't matter.

    August 1, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Epicurus used that logic before Jeebus was a tugging in that centurions loin cloth (Don't tell Joseph, Mary has him conviced she is a virgin)

      August 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  19. scott

    I am not a religious person. BUT, as a critical thinker I can't help but wonder how all this (our known Universe) came to be. That the laws of physics allow our existence but then condemn us to eternal oblivion? We came from oblivion as far as I can tell so why not again (the eternal return idea)? I think it will be oblivion for our personal selves but who knows what's next as long as it's not a Tyson chicken...The main thing about many Atheists,is that they, like any Zealot think they have it all figured out and just have to tell you about it! No one really knows the truth or if there even is one so just shut up and live a decent life:)

    August 1, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • OOO

      Scott,
      Please, atheists just don't believe thjere is a god. They don't say they have it all figured out (like theists do).
      If you start showing proof, then you will start to get them to change their minds.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Questioning

      Haha how hilarious. Back to the same old blame game. What a great example of what Scott is commenting on.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      We don't say we have it figured out. Atheist only refers to a disbelief in a god(s), nothing more. Many of us have quite different beliefs. As for myself, I do believe in Evolution due to the evidence that there is support to support it. I believe in the Big Bang due to the evidence to support it. I do not proclaim to know what caused the big bang to happen but no-one can make that claim. I would rather sit here and say I simply don't know than to plug a god in to the factor. I am skeptical about a great many things in this world. I believe that unless you are causing harm to society by your actions you have the right to equal treatment. All I care about is seeing people attempt to respect each other and not step on other peoples rights. Living in peace can happen but it takes effort.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • someone

      I have yet to see an Atheist disprove the existence of God.

      The existence of God is based on something not in the Atheists dictionary, "faith".

      August 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @someone

      Shifting the burden of proof, and every religion operates on faith, so what makes yours any more valid?

      August 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • knowmost stuff

      I think one of the explainations is that people think you either have to BELIEVE or NOT believe in god. I don't believe in god but I don't believe that there is NOTHING. I wouldn't call him or it or whatever god but I think we may all be suprised at what really happens after.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • silmaril

      @someone: "I have yet to see an Atheist disprove the existence of God. "

      Atheists don't have to disprove the existence of god(s). The default is to not accept things as existing without proof they do.
      If this weren't the case, you'd have to accept the existence of anything that you can imagine because it can't be "proven" not to exist. Why don't you believe in other gods? Zeus, Osiris, and Ganesh all have not been disproven to exist in exactly the same way yours hasn't - not to mention unicorns, fairies, bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and ghosts.

      The thing is, most atheists I know would change their minds about god(s) if real, valid evidence would be presented to them. I have NEVER seen any believable, testable evidence for god(s). If you have any, feel free to present it for evaluation.

      August 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  20. lolita

    god was in Las Vegas playing

    August 1, 2012 at 4:53 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.