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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. Atheist Hunter

    . What is the purpose of existence?
    5. Why there is order in all of creation?
    6. Why there is morality in every civilization?

    August 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Dana

      Your purpose is to annoy everyone around you.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      So AH, are really SO f.u...c.k.i.n.g lazy that you can't go find these answers for yourself ?

      August 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      . What is the purpose of existence?

      That is a question we must each answer for ourselves. My purpose is not your purpose. Some of us never figure out our purpose. Others struggle with it.

      5. Why there is order in all of creation?

      Because there is chaos. The two together form the world we live in. Truthfully, we as human beings see order, we see patterns, sometimes where none exists because we desire it to be there, we need it to understand our world.

      6. Why there is morality in every civilization?

      Because civilization is made up of people.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Verimius

      So, if atheists don't have all the answers we're somehow inferior?

      The legitimate answer to many of your questions is "I don't know".

      August 2, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      @Verimius – I concur. Although mankind should not give up on trying to answer some of these questions, we have to admit out limitations at actually finding the answer. Some questions will always be, "I don't know". Some, possibly forever.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      From the book of Curly in The Gospel According to City Slickers "Life comes down to just one thing." "What is it?" "That's what you have to figure out for yourself."

      August 2, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  2. Atheist Hunter

    3. What happens after death?

    August 2, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Dana

      You become a pile of bones and rotting flesh. Why would you think any differently?

      August 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • mitch

      Thump the tub, preacher.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Funny. My answer doesn't change.

      If one lives the best life they can while they are on this earth, death should hold no fear, no matter who is "right" about what follows.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • cavediver

      my molecules form other things ......

      August 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      Humans will approach your family and convince them to pay for a 5,000 dollar tin box to place your carcass in. Decomposers will 'decompose' you. Your body will be given back to Earth (if you die on Earth), and your consciousness will dissipate into whatever. Honestly, if we knew for sure, there would be ONE religion.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Verimius

      Same thing that happened before you were born. You don't exist. Period.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      "My molecules for other things"? Is that anything like eternal life?

      August 2, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • J.W

      If our molecules form other things, then does that mean that in a sense we are reincarnated?

      August 2, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  3. Atheist Hunter

    2. How will life on earth end?

    August 2, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Geo

      When you die, that is when life on earth ends, and it will be exactly the same for you as it was the previous 13 billion years...

      August 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Still not an atheist...and surprise! My answer is the same: Who cares?

      This life we're living now? We should focus on living it, on making it meaningful, on doing the right thing...not because of some threatened punishment or some hope for eternal reward, but because it is good and right. Let whatever comes at the end come. It isn't like we can stop it.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Dana

      That is an easy one. Google it.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, ghouls, goblins or guns

      If the believers do not get control and there is no world-wide religious war with backwards country (that would include the USA if the current believer surge continues) lobbing nuclear weapons at whoever they consider heathens, most likley in a few billion years, the sun will expire and life as it is then known ends.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • cavediver

      In fire 5 or so billion years from now when the sun runs low on fuel and becomes a red giant.....

      August 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  4. Atheist Hunter

    Okay, let's go with easier questions for the atheists since those were so hard.
    1. What was in the beginning?

    August 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      What's wrong with "were working on it"? The real question is why are you so immature that you demand an answer today, like a two year old, constantly repeating the same question to mommy, "but why", "but why" .. ad infinitum.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Not an atheist myself, but my answer is: Who cares?

      There are many, many, many more important things to discuss in this world than how the universe began.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      were = we're

      August 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • cavediver

      When God wished it into existance?? !!! did i win??? :))

      All the matter in the Universe was a single point... simply beyond imagination the forces generated by that much mass.. went critical..... before that.. hard to say, i subribe to the expanding and contracting universe theory... an endless cycle....

      I can tell you that a poorly thought out jew God was NOT involved..in any way...or any other god for that matter....

      August 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      All these questions you're asking are good questions. I definitely don't know all the answers. But these type of questions are what couldn't be answered so easily. That's why there should be a hefty respect for the scientific community for attempting to answer them. Unfortunately, questions like; 'What happens after death?' cannot be answered by the living. That question will give no concrete answers, and the reason why is because you can only find out after you die (PS – you have to stay dead, and not come back)

      August 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      There are as many myths about the origin of the universe as there are religions.
      What's a rhetorical question?

      August 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  5. Atheist Hunter

    Just as I suspected. Not one atheist on the blog has a clue! Not one legitimate answer.

    August 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      That was your conclusion before you asked any questions. You are already sure of your own answers. Don't pretend.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Just as I suspected. AH is too dumb to provide rebuttals, thus has to as'sert he wins.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Dana

      You are the one with no answers. I'm not counting, "because god did it".

      August 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Jen

      Just as I thought. Can't explain how Adam and Eve could exist without incest. Not one legitimate answer.

      Thanks for proving Adam and Eve did not exist.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      I propose to discontinue feeding the troll.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Geo

      Answer too what? Why creation myths throught history are all so similar? Why the Jesus story sounds exactly like story of Horus or countless other "deities" before the birth of the baby known as christ? Why so many "miracles" in the good book break the laws of physics and not a single one has been witnessed in the modern age. Curious indeed...

      August 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Confused face

      Why won't you suffer a massive heart attach right now so you do not annoy anyone else? Surely, your fake just god would grant us all that.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  6. OOO

    At least A.H. is asking the right questions. Questions that will inevidably lead him to drop theism. The only question is how long it will take.

    August 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Til one of you knuckleheads give one good answer. By now don't you have just one?

      August 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      I agree wholeheartedly, OOO. If AH pursues them without the unshakable assumption that creationism is the only answer, he can't help but learn.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • OOO

      Nuckleheads???
      It will happen, But I fear it may take a long time. Be patient oh A.H ! 🙂

      August 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  7. Nate Byrne

    As one of the newest member of the believing Christian community, I found Colin’s article to be quite misguided and unfortunate. I am neither a bible thumper nor completely void of beliefs. Here is how my God would respond.
    God here! During the time of the attacks in Aurora, I was high above watching with a broken heart. The rumbles of thunder and down pouring of rain across the world symbolized my not only the sadness I feel for such insanity but also the fierce anger I have that people do not see the true value in humanity.
    You see. I do exist. I always have. Since the beginning of humanity, you have always doubted me. You have always searched for ways to be unique, to strive and grow. You have always asserted your individuality and have always wanted a hands off approach from me. You crave the freedom to do as you wish. You seek out your beliefs in a way that personally suits you. You are unique.
    And guess what? I made you that way. As time passed millions of years ago, I always knew that one day I would create you. Mold you. Show you who I am by making you like me. From the dawn of time, I knew that the only way I could create pure “freedom” for you was to take a hands off approach. You see, I love you enough to let you fail. Just as you fall numerous times going from crawling to walking, you also fall throughout life. It is because I made you that way. I gave you freedom. I love you.
    Throughout the ages of humanity, suffering has always existed. There has been the persecution of the Jews, the young girl in India and a million more examples that your puny minds cannot even fathom. I remember them all. I feel the pain of every instance of suffering, brutality and hardship. I made it that I see the whole picture while you see glimmers of the grand plan.
    Colin, and the rest of humanity, take a moment and think about the scope and magnitude of creating the human race. Although simple for me, the balance has to be just right. I do not rule you. I do not govern you. I do not dictate to you. I created you with the ability to be self-sustaining. I gave you everything you need. I see you reach planets now that were once untouchable. I see you creating new medicines to live longer. I see the joy those who experienced a child because of technology. I see the child overcome trauma to create and slow the spread of AIDS.I see it all Colin, in a way your mind cannot yet fathom.
    The inherit knowledge that I have given you has made medicine fuel progress, so do other facets of life that you seem to overlook. I gave you the gift of innovation to not only be able to talk to anyone in the world but you can now see them. I gave you the information to filter water, grow animals quicker to help with supply and demand and gave you everything you need to make homes for everyone that seeks one.
    I also gave you a heart. A heart made to feel pain, sadness and agony. A heart to feel love that can crumble nations, bring people together and bond families for life. I gave you a soul to guide you throughout life as a moral compass. It’s a soul that one day to be forever present next to Mine.
    Colin and all, if you search your soul you will realize that although you are lost. I am real. I gave you freedom as a gift. I gave you and the Aurora shooter free choice. While he chose to take the path of evil and commit the ultimate sin, you are choosing to take the path of a doubter. I gave My son to this world to show you My love. I gave you my son and created you so that you and the Aurora shooter can choose whatever path in life to take. You cannot ask for and live a life of free will while asking me to take that away from others. I am a fair God. And I am a just God. Their judgment will come.
    Yes, I do exist my children. For as long as you have walked this world, you have proven that some of you will be righteous; some of you will be vile. Some of you like Colin will doubt. But in order for me to carry the weight of evil, I must allow all of you the chance to live life as you want, not as I command. I am always here.

    God

    August 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      What utter arrogance : "here is how my god would respond". So, your god, the creator of 600, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 stars, need the sorry likes of you to speak for her, and you actually think you do ??!!!

      August 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Really?

      Right.God (if he exists) couldn't care less. Don't bother praying, he won't lift a finger.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • just sayin

      Get help nate

      August 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • ;)

      And Jesus said they will trample your treasure as pigs who trample over everything, not discerning treasure from trash!

      August 2, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  8. Atheist Hunter

    You say God doesn’t exist. Why does each person have a conscious then? Why does every person have a knowledge deep within them of right and wrong?

    August 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • just sayin

      As s umption is no reason to default to a sky fairy with a zombie son.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Really?

      Ever heard of that organ called brain? Yours isn't functioning so well.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, ghouls, goblins or guns

      Who knows? But a better question is why do you believe that a god is responsible for people having a conscience?

      Before delving into the more complex subjects, believers need to make their case for there being any gods. Once you do that, we can move on to other matters.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Dan

      Just because you don't know something doesn't mean that your imaginary friend did it.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  9. Atheist Hunter

    If Jesus really wasn’t the Son of God, and he didn’t really rise from the dead 3 days after his crucifixion, why did a group of men and women that had been hiding in an attic for those 3 days suddenly come out and start preaching about this man in a way that they were willing to suffer gruesome deaths for?(And don’t give me anything about mankind needing an explanation in their minds, any simple “explanation” would be quickly dropped when a man is about to be sawed in two, stoned, crucified, burnt alive, or beheaded.

    August 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • just sayin

      As sumption is no reason to base a belief on. Because people jump off a bridge for a god or gods does not equate it is real. You truly are like sheep I guess

      August 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Belief is a powerful thing and people have given their lives for their beliefs throughout time...even when those beliefs later turn out to be false.

      Otherwise, if we're determining who is "right" based on how many people were martyred in the name of their belief, we would have to consider those of Heaven's Gate and Jonestown "right" as well...and all of the Muslims who died in the crusades. All of the Pagans who died rather than convert to Christianity.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • just sayin

      Because other people are delusional and follow a cult leader does not give credit to the cult. You really need to use your brain with mor ecritical thinking. However I am thinking you lack this ability. You actually might need to be medicated. What next you can hear the voice of God? lol

      August 2, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Verimius

      How do you explain that Mohammed rose to heaven on a horse? Or don't you believe that, and if not, why not?

      The simplest answer to your question is that these are made-up stories, and therefore don't require any explanation.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • TR6

      Since 87 people choose to burn to death with David Koresh we must believe he was the 2nd coming of jesus.

      August 2, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  10. Atheist Hunter

    If God was invented by humans, then why do so many Biblical stories involve his punishment of humans that went astray? Wouldn’t humans rather create a God that allows them to get away with whatever they want?

    August 2, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      It's mankind's attempt to explain the world around them, and why bad things happen...it is also an extrapolation from said events and said attempts that leads to the notion of eternal condemnation.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • TR6

      No, humans created religion to in order to control and dominate other humans.

      August 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  11. Atheist Hunter

    If God was created by mankind as an explanation for life and the events that make it up and mankind is by nature evil, as Rousseau said, why didn’t mankind worship themselves or a power of evil?

    August 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • OOO

      I don't know. Why don't you ask all 7 billion of mankind? You might get 7 billion different answers.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Really?

      Is tha actually a Poe? If not, silliest creationist I ever met.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • TR6

      First you must convince us that Rousseau was correct. From current events one could conclude that religion makes men evil and the more religious they are the more evil they become

      August 2, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • TR6

      Judging from the stories in the bible and koran one could say that man did create an evil god to worship

      August 2, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  12. Atheist Hunter

    If the universe was entirely empty space except for a small mass of matter that created the universe by spontaneously exploding and steadily expanding throughout empty space… What caused that small mass of matter to explode?

    August 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Really?

      Where did god come from? Incidentally, nice straw man, learn some physics first.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Geo

      Dunno, must have been Jesus. A very rational answer..

      August 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, ghouls, goblins or guns

      AH, you need to pull The Babble and your head out of your ass and read something about modern cosmology. I highly recommend "A Universe from Nothing" by Lawrence Krauss.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Verimius

      Dear Atheist Hunter,

      Despite being an atheist, I can give a pretty creditable description of Christian beliefs. I can describe the idea of God, resurrection, sin, and salvation. I can also quote John 3:16. I don't believe any of it, but I certainly know it.

      There are many websites that describe the concepts underlying the big bang. Just like me, you can understand something without believing it. You have internet access. Take some time to look it up.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • TR6

      Typical disingenuous Christian. You are just making stuff up to support your prejudice. Please give references to any modern peer reviewed scientific journal that the mass of matter at the center of the big bang was small.

      As to your question, personally I don’t know; but, if you say it must have been god please present your evidents why the Christian god (and not some other god) is responsible

      August 2, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  13. Atheist Hunter

    If intelligent design and the Bible aren’t correct, then how did humans end up being the masters of every other species on Earth? Why didn’t bears or deer or trout or monkeys or tigers or dogs or squirrels develop intelligence and the ability to speak in thousands of different languages and the ability to build solid structures and the ability to civilize and the ability to master any environmental challenge? Also, where did government come from? You don’t need to answer that one, all historians know the Bible is correct historically, even about Noah’s flood due to recent archaeological evidence. So government was formed by the people of Israel. If no God, they created on based on… Nothing?

    August 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      Opposable thumbs. You need to read more.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Confused face

      ok, dude. I get it. You are an atheist and are stirring the pot. Got it. I am an atheist and see you are posting these ridiculous questions to prove how ludicrous religion is. But it is getting boring. Give it a rest.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      wow.....rereading your post....you really know so little about science. Typical xtian thought processes

      August 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      answers people, answers, not cop outs. come on o wise ones, give me answers!

      August 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Jen

      So how did Adam and Eve continue the human race after having two sons? How was that possible without incest? Please answer this – every single person that believes in Adam and Eve REFUSES to answer this question.

      Also, there is not enough water on earth to flood the entire earth so that has been disproven (won't even get into the fact that it is absolutely impossible to fit two of every species and their food requirements on an ark).

      August 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • OOO

      Who cares if they are or arent the masters of every species on earth. What does that prove?
      And if it were proof of something, would you be dissapointed to know that almost certainls we are not the master species in the entire universe.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      who were you refering to? Me?

      August 2, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Excellent questions, congratulations! Now pursue them. The history of science is an ocean of attempts to answer these questions through trial and error. Your roadblock is that you are clinging blindly to a perspective that has long been discarded by scientists on the basis of these trials and errors. Wade into that ocean by exploring this history and learning what the current best explanations are (hint: they are not "cause God did it that way"). Open your mind and there is a whole fascinating universe to explore.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Confused face

      Are we masters over bacteria and viruses? Germ theory of disease kind of tells us these microscopic organisms have domain over us. Of course, the Iron Age goat herders who made up your god and your religion had not clue about this.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      Answers? No, none would satisfy you.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Dan

      You need to take a logic class. This might be the dumbest comment I have ever read on CNN.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • I can copy/paste too

      Atheist Hunter:

      "3. If intelligent design and the Bible aren’t correct, then how did humans end up being the masters of every other species on Earth? Why didn’t bears or deer or trout or monkeys or tigers or dogs or squirrels develop intelligence and the ability to speak in thousands of different languages and the ability to build solid structures and the ability to civilize and the ability to master any environmental challenge? Also, where did government come from? You don’t need to answer that one, all historians know the Bible is correct historically, even about Noah’s flood due to recent archaeological evidence. So government was formed by the people of Israel. If no God, they created on based on… Nothing?

      Wow, that was a mouthful. OK, you seemed to knock the up the bar of crazy a little bit, this was two questions plus a claim that makes me believe that you have the balls the size of woolly mammoth testicles. So, I will attempt to answer them in order.

      a) Why us?

      Again, I’d imagine if it weren’t us, it would be a whole bunch of bears sitting in front of laptops and desktops, debating on the existence of Krognak the Creator (because that’s an awesome bear-god name). The fact is, while some creatures evolve fvck you claws, and r'ape-you-in-the-chest-cavity-fangs, and others receive the pluck your eyes out beaks, and awesome wings. Early bipeds, with their weak body evolved a structured mind, built for problem solving. We’re, not the only creatures, by the way who have this. Dolphins, certain type of birds, and most primates have this same ability, we simply went for broke, and our entire evolutionary path carved out of the ability to manipulate our surroundings.

      b) Why is there government?

      This is because human beings are pack animals. Pack animals arise because if the weaker animals with large fvcking predators don’t learn the power of numbers, they die, therefor their genetics of isolationism dies with them. The weaker animals, like primates and wolves find it is easier to converge and survive and share food, than it is go it alone where a blown up version of your household cat, fluffy, would eat you.

      P.S. And as for your claim that the bible is historically correct and the Isrealites made government. If an historian told me that, I would first consider that he was utterly bat s!it, and no further would I ask his advice on history, because he definitely needs to retake his dis'sertation. First of all, the first form of civilization was “Group A” in Nubia (located in modern day Sudan) about 9000 B.C.E (That was approximately 11,000 years ago, 7,000 years before the Isrealites even existed. After that, first form of Government was a close race between the Egyptians and the Sumerians. This was established in 5,000 B.C.E., if you’re counting that is approximately 3,208 years before Hammurabi (the guy who said “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth) even existed. So, civilization has gone a long time before the Babylonians and the Isrealites. So, Leviticus isn’t exactly right in this, but Exodus is right, right? Not exactly.
      There is ABSOLUTELY NO archeological evidence of Jews EVER (ever) being in Egypt. There is no written record of it aside from the bible, which is particularly odd considering the Ancient Egyptians were meticulous record keepers, keeping records of far more embarra'ssing failures than losing a whole bunch of slaves. And it’s not like it wouldn’t been significant. If my entire work force walked out on me, I’d consider it pretty significant.
      And as for Noah’s ark, well, the Mesopotamians (which by the way was the territory “Noah’s ark” was discovered in) have a different story about a the flood and this ark. This story, well it’s the same fvcking story but about a Babylonian King named Gilgamesh who, with his animals, survived a world flood. And did the exact stuff that Noah did (minus the whole drinking and beating his family). It doesn’t stop there, almost every major culture everywhere has the exact same fvcking story. Why is this? Simply it probably happened. A person (with an obsession with animals that borders on bestiality) built a boat and the two major rivers of Mesopotamia flooded (which I would imagine to the ancient man would look a whole lot like the whole godda'mn world flooding), and he survived this massive flood. If you think this is far fetched, think of the alternative. That the guy was talking to an invisible man who told him to build a boat. So great, he a was a CRAZY guy with an obsession with animals that bordered on bestiality. That’s a whole lot better."

      Unlike you, AH, I will give credit to the author:

      Read more: http://socyberty.com/religion/top-10-questions-atheists-and-scientologists-cant-answer/#ixzz22Pp83rAT

      August 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Believer

      If we're really the masters of the earth, then why didn't we evolve the strength of a bear, or the ability to the breathe underwater (since the earth is covered by 70% of water). Why not the sight of eagles or the noses of dogs?

      Every creature evolves differently to become a better predator to their prey below them in the food chain. Humans developed opposable thumbs and large brains as a survival technique and so far it seems to be the best one.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Man oh man! This guy has taken some you you folks on one heckuva ride. LOL

      August 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  14. the voice of reason

    By the way, do you know how many friends I would lose if they knew I was a non-believer? It's worse than being gay. Most people at least know someone who is gay, but atheist?? Whoops, that's a whole different ball game. George Bush said that he would rather have a pedophile as president than an atheist. Nice.

    We simply don't believe in what we consider to be fairy tales.

    August 2, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      Just goes to show you where GB's morality-bar is set.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Can you post that quote?

      August 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  15. AverageJoe76

    Religion is an uncomfortable place for the curious mind. But it's perfect for anyone who's stopped asking questions. If your faith is the 'literal' truth to you, then you know everything you ever wanted to know. And that's that. Me, I can't stop asking questions..... I'll never be satisfied. When we think we know this world, there's another. When you think you know this universe, there's another. And when you think we've identified the smallest particle, we find something smaller. The excitement is in the unknowing. It's the great allure of God.

    Atheist Hunter, I do your God more justice than you, my friend; I'm using the brain it gave me.

    August 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      "Atheist Hunter, I do your God more justice than you, my friend; I'm using the brain it gave me"

      Evidently not if you still think atheists have a god. You just aren't getting it.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • mitch

      @AJoe76
      AHunter certainly has a prolem answering questions, I find this a common trait among the theists. If they can not find a bible verse handy or a quotation to paste they have great difficulty in formulating an answer and run away and hide.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      @the voice of reason – That's because I'm agnostic, not atheist. The most logical stance I could take.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  16. Keith

    A teenager has been arrested after killing nine people and wounding four others in a knife attack in northeast China, state media reported Thursday.
    Gee, where's the outcry to ban knives?

    August 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Dyslexic Dog

      Keith, you're in the wrong blog buddy ... go to the NRA blog.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, ghouls, goblins or guns

      How many people are mudered with knives each year vs. the number by guns? How many accidental knife deaths are there each year vs. the number of accidental gun deaths? How many non-fatal but serious injuries each year...?

      Where should the focus be? Oh, you are just trying to shift the focus.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Believer

      So far I haven't seen anyone call for a ban on all weaponry.

      It's pretty simple, there is abolsutely no need for a citizen of the US to walk around with an assault rifle in this country.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      Interesting concept. Let's just fight wars with knives instead of guns, and see what happens.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • ethana2

      Nine whole people? Compared to gun crimes these days, that's almost cute.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  17. Really?

    The troll "atheist hunter":
    "If it evolved God created it".
    God couldn't get it right the first time?

    August 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Dyslexic Dog

      Roddenberry 68:12 We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      No he just wanted to confound the atheists!

      August 2, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  18. Dyslexic Dog

    deGràsse Tyson 1:1 God is an ever receeding pocket of scientific ignorance

    August 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Nail on the head. Tyson is awesome.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  19. Why are more religious populations more violent?

    That is a better question to ask.

    Murder rates are lower in more secular nations and higher in more religious nations where belief in God is deep and widespread (Jensen 2006; Paul 2005; Fajnzylber et al. 2002; Fox and Levin 2000).

    And within America, the states with the highest murder rates tend to be highly religious, such as Louisiana and Alabama, but the states with the lowest murder rates tend to be among the least religious in the country, such as Vermont and Oregon (Ellison et al. 2003; Death Penalty Information Center, 2008). Furthermore, although there are some notable exceptions, rates of most violent crimes tend to be lower in the less religious states and higher in the most religious states (United States Census Bureau, 2006).

    Finally, of the top 50 safest cities in the world, nearly all are in relatively non-religious countries, and of the eight cities within the United States that make the safest-city list, nearly all are located in the least religious regions of the country (Mercer Survey, 2008).

    From: http://www.pitzer.edu/academics/faculty/zuckerman/Zuckerman_on_Atheism.pdf

    August 2, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      It's an irrelevant argument. Correlation is not causation. It's simply the reverse of "god(s) make me serve at the food shelf". Neither argument is actually relevant. Theism/atheism has to stand on their own, not their utility.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      I second that bucky.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      You are correct that it demonstrates nothing about causation, but these data do stand to test the hypothesis that religious populations are better behaved.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      No it's still irrelevant. Just because a population is afraid of a delusion, does not make the delusion any less of a delusion. The "religion is good because it serves us" is intellectually dishonest.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • John

      It is a relevant question to ask when discussing where god is when violence happens.

      August 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  20. the voice of reason

    I really object to the word "Church" when discussing atheists, although it does show how little Xtians understand about us. We don't care if you believe in a supernatural deity. That's fine. Just stop ramming it down our throats constantly. You really don't realize how ingrained into the American lifestyle Xtianity is. And it's only this country. We're more concerned about it becoming a theocracy in this country (and an intolerant one at that) much like other religions have done in other countries.

    From our viewpoint, it's very similar to a form of mental illness. Xtianity is the most violent religion in the past 2000 years...it's not even close to the others. And if you don't understand that, you simply don't know world history. You want us to accept Creationism (or it's baby brother Intelligent design) being taught in school, but don't understand why we are falling behind in science to many other countries. All religion is based on power and control. Witness the Catholic church...power and control personified.... and all because of the silly man with the gold hat. More money than most countries, but always a poor box just inside the door. Why is all the money necessary if it's not helping anyone? Didn't Jesus throw out the money lenders? How different is that from what is there now? Jesus must be horribly upset with how things have turned out. If there was a god, none of this would be taking place.

    We don't hate believers, we just really don't understand how you can rationalize all this nonsense and keep a straight face (or mind) with all the incredible controdictions in not only the bible but in your core beliefs.

    It's a shame, really...so much good could be done without religion screwing things up. And the concept of Atheists not being able to do good because we don't believe shows a remarkable lack of intelligent thought. Then again.....there has always been a reverse relationship between the depth of belief and intelligence.

    August 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.