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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. nogods

    Colin that was an excellent essay! Please non-believers, join and contribute to organizations that support the true and absolute separation between church and state. There are many such orgs out there. Sadly it seems that there has been a push by evangelicals in the U.S. to blurr or even to dissolve this separation. Many cannot fathom the right to Freedom From Religion.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • toad

      Smooth butts. That's what I need. Lots and lots of smooooth butts.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      AND free thought.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • WorkInProgress

      it's freedom of religion, not from religion

      August 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Mika Coy

      . . . this is actually for "Toad," right below you.............Toad, it's pretty smooooth at Seedum & Amorah, butsalty

      August 1, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  2. Dionn

    I created two wonderful human beings (my children). They adore me, but I would never dream of asking them to worship me for it.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • freethinker

      then you are better than god.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • TR6

      You probably wouldn’t leave them alone with a pack of razor blades (tree of good and evil) and then blame them because they cut themselves and then through them out of the house

      August 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Parker

      I'm going to play devil's advocate.

      "Why on earth do atheists keep leaving their children home with razor blades and handguns laying around?!"

      August 1, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  3. rutabagaslim

    you know what i love? atheists and the ultra-religious have one common thread that neither of them ever acknowledge. it\'s just like anything else in life – there\'s this side, that side and the truth. in this case, the truth is insanely simple. both atheists and the ultra-religious claim to KNOW the UNKNOWABLE. when push comes to shove both sides have the equal ability to prove their belief. in case you can\'t guess, that ability is absolute zero. ever since the first man asked 'what are we doing here?? is there a god??', his fellow man has been trying to convince him that HE knows the answer. it's the human condition. is it not plainly obvious that you were not meant to know either way?

    August 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Once again, atheist's do not have a belief. What the f*uck don't you understand, moron?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • AaronWagner7000

      Sure you do! You believe that no God or no thing created the universe! Lol.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • sybaris

      Let the evidence for a god prevail

      August 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @AaronWagner7000

      And here we go, another wing nut!

      August 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Lokust

      Yeah, the atheists could be wrong, but the burden of proof is on the person staying something exists, not on the person saying something doesn't.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Eric

      You are incorrect, rutabagaslim. The vast majority of atheists are agnostic atheists in which case they simply say they do not believe in things for which there exists insufficient evidence. The same belief system that makes them not believe in the easter bunny and the tooth fairy.

      Since the existence or non-existence of an invisible sky being cannot be proven or dis-proven, they don't claim to "know" 100% that the invisible sky being does not exist.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Adam C

      Wrong. Atheists don't claim to have the answers. They ask to be shown the answers.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • AaronWagner7000

      Lol. All I ask of atheists is, If you believe in a self-creating universe, then don't say you're more "logical" than me.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Goddog

      You are mistaken. Atheists don't claim to know that no gods exist (perhaps a few), they simply do not believe any of the claims out there, for lack of evidence. We are all born Atheists and every single beliver out there is "Atheistic" toward every religion... except their own. Funny how that works, eh?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Ryan

      Oh, man. So many things wrong with this.

      First of all, I don't know what atheists you're talking to, but most atheists I know (and I know a lot of them) don't claim that God doesn't exist. What they say is (and I agree), there's no evidence for the existence of a deity, so I'm not going to believe in one until there is some. Period. I don't say with absolute certainty that there aren't any, just that I don't buy it. Maybe there is, though I highly doubt it.

      Secondly, you're trying to equate atheists and religious people by saying that atheists don't have proof that God DOESN'T exist, which is just completely illogical. Atheists don't NEED proof that he/she doesn't exist. You can't prove a negative. That's like me saying, "Well, you can't prove that an invisible unicorn that lives on the moon DOESN'T exist, so that means that your argument that he isn't real is just as valid as mine." It's absurd. The burden of proof is on the person making the claim, PERIOD. If you want to claim something exists, it's up to you to prove that it does, not the other way around. Atheism is the default position. Just like how you wouldn't believe in an invisible unicorn on the moon without evidence. Of COURSE you wouldn't. Why would you? That would be crazy. Oh, wait...

      August 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • AaronWagner7000

      Ok. Sounds good. (I was actually addressing those who believe in a self-creating universe. And it looks like you're not in that crowd.)

      August 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Ryan

      AaronWagner7000- Then who created God then? And don't say he/she just exists and didn't need a creator, because then you'd be completely destroying your own argument.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Goddog

      Aaron, you are just playing with words. The honest answer is that nobody knows about the cereation of the universe. Since most Atheists don't believe in the supernatural in general, pending reasonable evidence, we only believe that the cause is natural.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • AaronWagner7000

      LOL! No, it doesn't destroy my argument at all. Lol. Religious people have no problem saying that God is eternal. Do YOU say that Matter is eternal? Or, do you believe in a self-creating universe? (I feel some incessant, unfruitful wheel-spinning action coming around the bend, lol.)

      August 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • AaronWagner7000

      Fair enough, Goddog. Good answer.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Goddog

      Furthermore, self creating is a strange way to make it seem like it has a will. You probably mean that something can't be created from nothing and without a cause. Well, you find me some nothing to experiment with and then maybe we can find out.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • AaronWagner7000

      Lol! Yes, that's the funny thing about "nothing." It doesn't really exist right now, does it.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • AaronWagner7000

      Lol! Yes, that's the funny thing about "nothing." It doesn't really exist right now, does it.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • jeanie

      rutabagaslim, By your using the sentence; 'is it not plainly obvious that you were not MEANT to know either way?' it is clear you still live within a universe that has reasons therefore meaning, (purpose) as a given. (if you were truely open to what truth really might be,....you wouldn't have considered writing that. 'Meant' means MEANING and intent..which disallows for a meaningless universe. It would have made sense if you had said, "Is it not plainly obvious that it's just something we can't KNOW either way."

      August 1, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Goddog

      I apriciate your light-heartedness and sense of humor in your aproach, I must admit. How do we know that infinate somethingness isn't the natural state of the universe and that nothing is the impossibility? Also, I can make a logical argument for why Superman could beat Spiderman in a fight but it would make neither of them real. If you make a logical statement with no facts it's like having a Ferrari with no engine.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • AaronWagner7000

      While I don't believe that infinate somethingness is the natural state of the universe, I actually find that thought more "logical" than a self-creating universe.

      (And I only bring up "logic" because atheists are always telling me that they're more "logical" than I am, even though many of them hold to a self-creating universe.)

      August 1, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Goddog

      I hear you Aaron. It's common for some people to abandon an argumnent to attck the other person's characture or intelligence. It serves no useful purpose.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  4. bro

    sam in no way can do i that lol.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • AaronWagner7000

      Fair enough, Goddog. Good answer.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  5. sam

    I MUST agree, religion IS a joke. Religion forces people to do what it demands and consumes them with laws that have nothing to do with the Bible or a true relationship with God or Jesus Christ. Most of the people on these posts are unaware of what the Bible truly stands for or who God or Jesus is. Misunderstanding mixed with self indignation and rage drives the masses away from a relationship with the Heavenly Father and leaves them in confusion and turmoil.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      heavenly father? Give me some proof of this guy.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Orem

      You're quite a student of this stuff. Isn't it enough to relegate belief to background noise in our unavoidably untidy thought processes and move on?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • bro

      Voice of Reason
      Look in the mirror he made you.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • sybaris

      "Most of the people on these posts are unaware of what the Bible truly stands for or who God or Jesus is."

      A new twist on "true christian" eh.

      That's like someone who goes to law school, passes the bar, practices law for 20 years then quits. People like you would say, "well they never really understood the law".

      Anyway, it is funny how there are thousands of DIFFERENT chrsitian denominations that are aware of what the Bible truly stands for or who God or Jesus is

      August 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Hawkeye

      Amen!

      August 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @bro
      "Voice of Reason
      Look in the mirror he made you."

      Uh, actually, no. My parents had intercourse and that whole biology thingy kicked-in.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Anon.

      "I MUST agree, religion IS a joke"

      It is not a joke. It is a nasty, self-serving phenomenon that causes measurable harm. Just look at the level of literacy of the faithful demonstrated here. It's palpable. Religion is a parasitic social cell: it preys on children and the vulnerable to swell its ranks; it deprives children of the ability to think critically and reason and to reach their full capability and to make a better contribution to society.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Guru Evi

      So you reject current organized religions by pointing to a religious book? Who wrote those books do you think? ORGANIZED RELIGIONS, Rabbi's and Christians (Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox) somewhere around 400BC to 300CE

      August 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Adam C

      Christianity keeps changing so that the believers (and their money) keep rolling in.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • sam

      Anon,
      I could not agree more. The Bible was written to show people who God is and what Jesus did for us. The religious, power hungry denominations want the masses to bow to them. Look at the Catholic belief system, flawed and perverted by the doctrines of man. There is little in the Catholic church that is supported by the Bible.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Living History

      The beginning of my journey to letting go of my belief in the supernatural was reading the history of the christian church and the many times it has suffered a schism. If you pay attention you will notice that just about every large schism (Catholic to Protestant and all the schisms that create new denominations there) is created because a certain group of people within a church begins to feel as if their church has "strayed from the path". It's almost always one group wanting to be more fundamentalist (go backwards). I think that says alot about organized religion.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • sam

      Hey dude, I want to be the only sam!

      August 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • sam

      Below is the definition of religion. You can see that a "religion" has nothing to do with following the Bible. The Bible is NOT a religious book nor does it condone religion.

      re·li·gion
         [ri-lij-uhn] Show IPA
      noun
      1.
      a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
      2.
      a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
      3.
      the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
      4.
      the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
      5.
      the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Goddog

      Sybaris, Most Christians have never read the bible in it's entirety without presupposed notions of it's meaning. It looks to be a book written by several unknown authors in an attempt to unite their tribes and control their hygein and behavior. The god of this bible has chosen this one tribe over all mankind. He makes prommises of land and property for the future, but they never do get it.

      Then there's the New Testament which is basically Jesus telling everyone that the end is near and to be ready. In the mean time, follow all of the laws and be kind to other Jews. Finally, Saint Paul convinced people, and perhaps himself, that he had a vision and spreads the message of salvation to the Gentiles, for whom it is quite obvious, none was offered by God or Jesus.

      Since then, Christians have slowly eliminated practices that they later felt were rediculous, meaningless or downright immoral so that they could practice a faith that was less restrictive to their lifestyles. If you remove all of the supernatural hocus pocus it's actually a fine peice of work in some places.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • sam

      Goddog,
      What happened to you in the past that made you so hard?

      August 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  6. n8r0n

    Religious drones,

    Atheists don't have churches. Atheism is not a religion. Atheism is the absence of all religion. Kind of like your birthday suit isn't actually a suit.

    Atheists congregate on the internet, because the internet, as opposed to the Bible, is a place where you can learn all kinds of things, and where new information is brought to light, if you know where to look. The Bible, on the other hand, is an antiquated collection of poorly translated fairy tales, that's just as made-up as the day it was written, or the many decades after that during which it was edited, to suit the prevailing (human) opinions of the day.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • sam

      So, how do you personally know who is right. Have you objectively studied and listened to the teachings of the Bible without looking for flaws and errors?

      August 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  7. Andrew

    Do we expect God to swoop in and save the day? Are there lessons to be learned from these horrible experiences? Intrinsic lessons about ourselves that maybe we would not have otherwise thought about? I will grant that God allowed and allows people to die in absolutely awful ways. He even cause a few of those awful ways in The Bible. Jesus was asked something similar on why tragedies happen, and He didn't answer the question. He simply said be prepared spiritually in case it happens to you. But let is be clear, God didn't kill those people in Aurora...a troubled, evil man did. And while I will not presume to know or understand the Will of God, rest assured that God was there and there is a reason.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Prove there is a god for once, will ya?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      The question is, if evidence is presented, if testimonies are given, will you reject them?

      The problem is not with the lack of evidence. The problem is a lack of acceptance of the evidence.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • sam yaza

      apparently you haven't heard a thing i said

      August 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      "The problem is a lack of acceptance of the evidence."

      What evidence?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • n8r0n

      I can see why you gullible people love your imaginary god so much. All the good things that happen are his work. And the bad things can be blamed on mere people.

      You people are like the battered wives who insist that their husband is really good, deep inside, and that he has a valid reason for beating you.

      Religion is the abusive husband that beats the critical thinking right out of your brains. While I continue to have sympathy for you, just as I do for every woman who gets beaten (whether she defends her spouse or not) ... it's still very sad to watch.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Sam Hanson

      Voice of Reason: Prove there isn't.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Sam Hanson
      "Voice of Reason: Prove there isn't."

      Listen here Sammy Boy, I am not the one asserting there is a god. You jokers have the burden of proof.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Adam C

      @Sam, Your logic is very simplistic. Explain to me how you prove the non-existence of something.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  8. Quay

    I am a believer in Jesus Christ, but I am also a thinker and I was once an atheist myself. I asked the same questions myself, and I gave the same answers myself. However, there came a time where I was shown something different. As a thinker, I could not at all begin to look at the delicate balance of the earth and begin to believe that this arbitrarily came into being. There had to be a God! However, the truth is that as much as I want those who are atheists to believe they don't. There is no good that I do by bashing them or refuting their sarcastic sometimes condescending comments. This is the choice that they have made and I respect that choice. This is the choice I have made and I don't regret it one bit! It has enriched my life and shown me a better way. I admit that I'm not perfect and that I have a ways to go but the only thing I can do is pray for them that they might want to see. However, I must at the least show them the love of the God that I profess to be in relationship with, even though we don't agree. It's the least I can do...God did that very thing for me...

    August 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Bo

      well said.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      You are nothing more than a religious liar!

      August 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • LOL@"WhereWasGod"

      keyword being "believer".

      Belief is not fact, or truth, or even correct.,

      It is just belief. If you want to believe in the mythical sky-fairy..groovy.

      I'll pass.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      I couldn't figure it out. So it must be god.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      I couldn't figure it out. So it must be god. Real thinker you are.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • sam yaza

      i have heard of Atheist becoming pagan,.. but not Christian

      you just don't de-eduacate {see its not even a word} once you become an Atheist the only way back to monotheism is brain damage, its just illogical to be a monotheist, not a spiritualist, polytheist, or naturalist <- they have logical arguments not Monotheism,...so logic dictates you were an agnostic or you are a lair.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • putty

      I'm a former Christian and a current thinker. I find beauty in the random purposefulness that gave rise to the world as we know it today. I don't need a god to explain it. It is possible for man to recreate much of it in the lab without guidance from god. I am atheist and I can acknowledge that the world and the people in it are beautiful without relying on mythology.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • WorkInProgress

      very well said and may God bless your walk!

      August 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Mika Coy

      . . . say, Quay, see my remarks below ~ we are alike.........even named my son Quaid

      August 1, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  9. samoa

    everyone really has a right to their own beliefs but when you start putting other people down for what they believe or stand for is really juvenile and disgusting....if I don't agree with someone or something, I leave it at that. I am not going to sit and argue with people I don't even know about what their beliefs should be....at the end of the day, no one could give a rats azz about what some random person on the internet is saying

    August 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • OOO

      Who is saying that you don't have a right to your beliefs?
      But if you come on here and tell us your belief is in a supernatural being in the sky, well, like the people that still believe Elvis is alive (as Sam Harris likes to say), you will suffer the consequences.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • freethinker

      you have the right to your belief, but not to enforce it. People believe in creationism, but should not have the power to teach it in school, but they try and some school do teach it. They don't have the right to donate money to lobbies to enforce their belief into the people in this country and outside, but they do. See the different. It not their belief we attacking it their action.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      That's great. But when one group attempts to treat another with disrespect then people need to speak up. Not just turn a blind eye and say its OK why help stand up for gay people.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  10. freethinker

    Thor is the one true god. He wiled the hammer that put Jesus in a cross, smite his father, and his final action was to go to war against the frost Giant. He prevent any other god to enslave humankind, that why he fight. He know humankind will never grow up in the present of a false god, that why never appear to us anymore. THANK THOR for his action.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      No. Praise Zeus.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • sam yaza

      i thought Thor was on Yahweh side,...mhh no i'm confused,.. but of welcome to the coalition ,.. I'm Samyaza,...you know the one

      August 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • One one

      How many gods are there to believe in?
      God has angels, Satan has demons.
      My god and religion are real and true.
      YOUR religion is just a pile of bull poo.
      They say there’s only ONE god to believe in.
      If you don’t believe, it’s the ultimate sin.
      No more Zeus, Odin, or Thor, MY hero.
      We’re just one god away from the true number…. ZERO.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  11. mikeh6280

    @I'm not a GOPer It's going great. Get a life loser.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Plaster city

      What happened to your post below? You made a statement and ran away I guess?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  12. TallinOK

    I wish everyone would keep their religious opinions and preferences to themselves.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  13. whatever

    God does not exist.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Anon.

      "Probably" does not exist (you can't prove a negative–that's a logical fallacy commonly used by believers). The other question you could ask is, which god doesn't exist? HL Mencken compiled a list of 2,882 gods that people used to believe in over the last 4,000 years. The faithful are on *very* dodgy ground when they claim that their god is the only true god. (Really? Where's your evidence?).

      August 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  14. RV1982

    As a Christian, I really don't have a problem with atheists comments. It is a belief, not unlike a religious belief...neither can be proven with empirical methods. At least the agnostics admit that. I have "converted" more atheists into agnostics on this blog with just simple logic.

    By the way, where was God? Everywhere. Who do we think we are to believe that God will always intervene to protect very single person alive? (It would be an awfully crowded planet!!). However, I bet most of the people who were not injured or killed in the theater would tell you God was surely there...he was most definitely the force that jammed the gun and stopped the onslaught. Some just don't want to believe in a God that doesn't protect "everyone" at all times (especially children). But is that really what God is all about??

    August 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @RV1982,

      I don't believe in God. This is the literal definition of atheism.

      I'm not waiting for proof that he exists (nonexistent) or doesn't exist (non sequitur).

      August 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Plaster city

      RV,
      We have to clear up something first. There is a difference. Athiests are not making a claim, so they have nothing to prove. Athiests generally have open minds to evidence. Show us evidence and we will look at it.

      Theists, however, already have all the answers. Evidence does not come into the equation. There is no open minded critical thinking going on there.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      So he decided to help halfway through the massacre? You are nuts. He should have got off his lazy behind before that.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • LOL@"WhereWasGod"

      There is no god.

      If i refuse to believe in the tooth fairy, dragons, or the "Who's in Who-ville", it doesn't make be a 'believer' of something else.

      The flaw in your logic is that one 'belief' must be replaced with another. It doesn't.
      You're welcome.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Living History

      I was raised as a christian as a child and I had a belief in a god. As I grew older I lost my belief so that now, as an atheist, I lack a belief in the supernatural. How can you call a lack of belief a belief?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Prail

      Your logic in this argument is beyond absurd.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • TR6

      As for the possibility of any kind of god (like Deism) I’m actually and agnostic; but, for the god of Abraham I am just as certain it does not exist as I am about Santa Clause, Big Foot and UFOs for exactly the same reasons.
      Since almost all of the god references on this blog refer to the Abrahamic god, it’s just easier to say I’m an atheist.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • One one

      That makes no sense. So god thought "I'll let this guy kill a few people. OK, thats enough ! Now I'll jam his gun to make him stop for a while". " OK, now I'll let him pull his hand gun and kill a few more".

      Is this the kind of logic you use to "convert" atheists ? Good luck.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • yo yo

      God let bullets hit some people, but jammed the weapon for others? Is that what you call "simple logic?" And you converted atheists with THIS LOGIC? All I have to say is you and those atheists you claim to have coverted deserve each other, those with poor intellects need company too.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • KRHODES

      Plaster city

      "Athiests are not making a claim, so they have nothing to prove."

      " Athiests generally have open minds to evidence. Show us evidence and we will look at it."

      Well if you are not making a claim then why are you asking for evidence? Is atheis a default position? I mean..wouldn't the burden of proof be on you to decide what enough "proof" would be? Seems there is enough proof for billions of people..what do you require and why?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • RV1982

      Plaster is exactly right...atheist have nothing to "prove"...besides, how do you "prove" a negative? But then again, I don't know of any person trying to "prove" the existence of God. Why? Because the existence of God, for most religions, is based on "belief" (i.e., the absence of empirical evidence). A belief could be construed as a hypotheses, but hypotheses are generally derived from data collection and observation which is used to test a null hypothesis. To state emphatically that "God" does not exist is simply stating that you do not recognize the concept of belief, and anything associated with belief such as a "God", which also suggests you should stay away from theoretical physics, as the line between hypothesis and belief has become nonexistent (no pun intended). Basically, at this point in time (which "God" does not apparently recognize) everything is pretty much down to mathematics and creative thought based on....belief??

      August 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  15. Anointed Fighter

    God loves you and me!!! Even if you decide to be an atheists. God is real even though you say he is not!! God left his word on earth you could follow it and have joy in your heart or you could decide not to follow Jesus and do what ever you decide to do in your life!!! God lets you decide!!!! If its Good you will fill in peace with God and yourself. If you decide to follow every body else in this world an Jump of a cliff you can do that to. That doesn't mean God is bad you decided to jump from a cliff!!! Bottom line if you don't have God in your heart you wont do good things!!!! YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS!!! Who do you think rules your heart???And by the way to do something like what happen in Aurora!!! YOU DON'T HAVE JESUS CHRIST IN YOUR HEART!!!!!! One Day every one will be JUDGE!!! You could accept it or not. It will happen regard less what you say or belief!!! Some will be in hell and others will have eternal life!! For my family and myself I have so much to give thanks to God for every day!!! I do Belief in Jesus Christ! I belief this is not my final resting place. That i will have eternal life with him. That i did repent of all my sins, that I was forgiving and I belief he is my lord and savior. You could do the same that's what the Lords wants!!! The world is going for its climax!!! The World one day WILL END !!!!! The Question is which side you will be when it happens??? Food for thought..... God Bless every one! Amen.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • jungleboo

      coo coo

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

      ummmm...coo coo

      August 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Daniel in Denver

      "Anointed Fighter"

      Yep, that's what Jesus was about alright. Recruiting fighters. Best of luck to you.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Scare scare. Love scare scare. More love? Scare?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • putty

      I can totally visualize the crazed gleam you must have had in your eyes as you typed this.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Living History

      The use of multiple exclamation points (!!!!) and question marks (???) is the sign of a sick mind.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • One one

      I'm sorry, I fell asleep while reading your comment. Would you please repeat it ?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • mmaxum2002

      Illiterate coo coo

      August 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • TR6

      If god does not interfear with human actions the prayer is useless; but, if he does there is no free will. You can't have both

      August 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • The Carnal Houseplant

      I have seen an xray of my heart. I doubt Jeebus could fit in thar. If he was in thar, bubba, I would have ta have da dem dar docta git him outta thar. What does your docta call dat dar, "Jeebus in yer heart" disease ?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Mika Coy

      Thanks for standing . . . so the divide grows~belief/unbelief. It is difficult to blame much of the "falling away" crowd, as they are exposed to much falsehood, even from the ranks of the shepherds, leaders who would defend the belief.......see Yeshayahu(isaiah) 42 ~ "for this is a people robbed and plundered . . . in holes and prison houses(temples), seeing but without perception; hearing but not understanding . . . and no one to say Restore ! " and Yeshayahu 45:6 " In that Day, My people will know My Name. " The Messiah said to leadership, " You have taken away the Key of Knowledge. " In past times the Almighty winced at ignorance, but now calls all to become knowledgeable so as to stand in the Day wherein every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Yahushua Messiah is Sovereign. Disintegration is a product of ignorance, especially willful ignorance........as He says, "depart from Me, I do not know you from whence you are," He could just as well be saying, " you never knew Me, either. " " I call My people by name, but you followed blind guides; you did not Ask, Seek, nor Knock, for it would have been opened to you. " Ephphatha, appearing as a "Red Letter" utterance in Mark 7:34, is the "Opening" that Messiah can provide to the seekers ~ in the last chapter of Luke, Yahushua opens the minds, hearts, eyes and ears of the two on their way by the Road to Amaas. Psalm 91:14...........I set him on High because he has known My Name. Revelation 3:8.........." you have guarded My Word and have not not denied My Name " NarrowGate is a concept of thought in the presentation of truth from a minority point of view........the perspective of the few who find it. SEE (see, used as: to understand or perceive) http://www.findnarrowgate.com & http://www.findnarrowgate.org Two separate Sites

      August 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Mika Coy

      . . . correction on that quote reference........should have been Yeshayahu 52:6, rather than 45:6

      Let us Hear from you . . . http://www.findnarrowgate.org

      August 1, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  16. Parker

    What does a good Christian and a good atheist have in common? They don't mention their beliefs to me.

    "devout" atheists, that's what I hear these days. "I'm a devout atheist". I get that it's an attempt to be cheeky, but you sound exactly as ridiculous as someone saying "I'm a devout methodist" or "I'm a devout southern baptist"

    in other words, "I've chosen the destination of my thought process, I am incapable of divergent opinion, and I'd like to tell you all about it"

    I really anticipated atheists to come up with some brilliant way to spend their time. I will say one thing: an atheist church will have a lot harder time at making any money with the televised donation platform. "So folks, you see we need you to send us an offering, because Nothing works in mysterious ways and there is no telling how much you'll please Nothing if you just give us what you can. Nothing will bless your life, and it may not be tomorrow or next week, but Nothing always remembers that you gave something.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • jungleboo

      So moneymaking schemes is your basic outlook?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Parker,

      huh?

      You think we want atheist televangelists?
      You think we want to gather somewhere and donate money to the cause. (There are already plenty of worthwhile charities looking for money.)

      I think you've misinterpreted something along the way to your conclusions.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Parker

      I would say atheists have forfeited the right to be "the answer" by becoming just another answer in a sea of eager answers. You aren't saving a soul by converting a a believer. Why should an atheist care? Is childhood any easier when one realizes that santa clause is your parents? No, but I will tell you as a matter of fact that the presents get less splendorous when your parents realize that you know its all coming from their wallet.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Mika Coy

      . . . yes, Parker, rather like abiding on a sphere........any step toward all direction is downhill

      " I set him on High because he has known My Name Tehillim(psalm)91:14"

      August 1, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Parker,

      what right to be <the "answer" are you talking about?

      Atheism, like theism comes from one's own thoughts. No one is mandating beliefs here – except the proselytizing thesists.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  17. Daniel in Denver

    Well, back to work now. Nice playing with you all, and it satisfied my need to feel morally and intellectually superior – just because I can spell, use punctuation, capitalization, etc. better than your average Fundie. I was feeling pretty bad about that particular need, but I reckon it's just how god made me. Not my fault, really.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Mika Coy

      . . . The Little King sur-into abiding on the Sphere where every step of omni-direction takes him downhill

      blessed are the meek........an oppressed and poor people shall inherit the world

      August 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  18. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Hey mikeh6280, how's that life working out for you trolling cnn?

    August 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      ooops – posted in the wrong spot.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  19. pbernasc

    church for atheists .. that's how you call common sense? poor guy

    August 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  20. mikeh6280

    Boy oooohhh Boy CNN just can't help them selfs any times they can make god look like the bad person they do. People you need to wake up there is a god. God is not going to stop free will of a person. This is called life so what i'm thinking atheists think nothing bad should happen again. Yes that would be great but life does not work that way. Atheists just have no life they just sit in there homes trolling cnn just so they can say there is no god. There is a god. I know that some atheists is going to put there two cents behind my comment because that's what they do best so bring it on you atheists.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Plaster city

      Will you run away if I do put in my two cents?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • freethinker

      wasn't the story of adam and eve, is that they have no freewill till the devil in the shape of a snake trick eve to have freewill, and freewill is critical thinking. So your idea of god never want to give human freewill, but the devil was the nice guy who save human kind from the evil beard fly man in the sky.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Misposted above.

      Hey mikeh6280, how's that life working out for you trolling cnn?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @freethinker,

      yes, I seem to recall something about not eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

      How is it a 'gift' if they were told not to eat from it?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Sky Fairy is real. Bring it on.

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

      Replace every instance of 'god' in your statement with 'Easter bunny' and then maybe you'll begin to understand where we are coming from.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      "wasn't the story of adam and eve, is that they have no freewill till the devil in the shape of a snake trick eve to have freewill, and freewill is critical thinking. So your idea of god never want to give human freewill, but the devil was the nice guy who save human kind from the evil beard fly man in the sky."

      No. Adam and Eve always had free will. If they didn't, how would they have been able to eat the fruit? The fruit gave them the knowledge of good and evil. It gave them the knowledge of what it was like to willingly separate themselves from God.

      August 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @DamianKnight,

      free will without consequences is meaningless. If I freely choose a path without knowing whether it is right or wrong, what choice am I making.

      Genesis 2:
      16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;
      17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

      How can Adam and Eve have 'free will' until they have a conscience (the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil)?

      August 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • TR6

      “God is not going to stop free will of a person”
      In that case god’s gran plan is pointless; people keep doing what they want. Prayer is useless, because god refuses to interfere and god becomes just as good as not existing

      August 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • WorkInProgress

      wow, guys, it amazes me that so many do not understand that free will is simply the ability to make choices. And it's not necessary to know beforehand if the choice is good/bad or what the consequences might be.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @WorkInProgress,

      Umm ... actually the religious concept of 'free will' is not just the ability to make choices.

      Your dog can choose to come when you call it or run away and make you chase it. Is this your definition of free will?

      The religious concept of 'free will' includes an understanding of the moral dimension and consequences of the choice. The existence of the idea of free will can conflict with predestination which exists in Calvinism. It is not the simplistic topic you seem to think it is.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Mika Coy

      . . . reckon I'll give it a try ~ as we, the seed of Abraham, return, it is called t'shuva, for we are Returning to the Source of Origin of the Knowledge of the Belief as it was given in the beginning, as the Almighty called our progenitour to "Come Out From Among Them and Be Separate." Much corruption and violence has the Belief endured, yet a remnant shall be saved; the ones who know the Messiah, having received His Father's Spirit, know that "REPENTANCE" is for the corruption of our forefathers, those of our ancestry whose error & indulgence also tempts us, their posterity, the ones thus afflicted. Therefore, we sever the "ROOT" of the sin, and it is honoured, most effectively, by the Almighty and His Son, if the Repentance is done in showing compassionate favour to the wrong ones (even as we include ourselves in that number).......loving commitment to our heritage, and with mercy . . . it is for the remnant to inherit the world, an afflicted and poor people, most meek, unto contrition

      SEE (see, used as: to understand or perceive) http://www.findnarrowgate.com & http://www.findnarrowgate.org ~ TWO separate Sites

      August 1, 2012 at 8:01 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.