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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. Erasmus

    heres the conundrum :
    Does the devil believe in God?

    August 2, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Chad

      Of course the devil believes God is real.. Why is that a conundrum?

      August 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • OOO

      Does the tooth fairy believe in Santa Clause? I think that is a better question.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Here's another conundrum. Supposedly the devil "fell" and made the choice to rebel BEFORE Adam fell from grace, and BEFORE the universe was created.
      Why is THAT not the "original" sin ?
      How did all this "happen" BEFORE spacetiime.
      How can a perfect god even contemplate "evil" creatures. (If he is omnipotent, and omniscient, then he KNEW what was going to happen).
      Bullpucky I say to you god(s).

      August 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Does Chad believe in Atheist Hunter?

      ...or do his multiple personalities not talk to each other?

      August 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Mohammed_Islam

      Satan believes in God alone and does not associates any partner with God.... the only reason for him to thrown out of the heave was disobey the order of God which was to prostrate on the first human our father Adam... here is one of the verses that talks about satan in the quran:

      [The hypocrites are] like the example of Satan when he (satan) says to man, "Disbelieve." And when he (man) disbelieves, he (satan) says, "Indeed, I am disassociated from you. Indeed, I fear Allah, Lord of the worlds." [Al Quran 59:16]

      Hope it will be helpful...

      Peace!!!

      August 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      It's not helpful. Islam is a moon god cult. You're gonna have to deal with that first.

      August 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Mohammed_Islam

      What you are talking about was there prior to Islam.... you have to read the history of arabs in early sixth century... quran was being revealed for 23 yrs started 610... prior to 610 those arabs were the worse in the doing wrong things but they have changed completely after they got the quran... also they wanted to change which is why they could but this time if we do not want to change ourselves God will change us... so Islam is not what you are saying...

      Peace....

      August 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Yeah right. the 9/11 bombers had the Qu'ran.

      August 2, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Mohammed_Islam

      I would not judge the entire faith or community by pointing to few people who does wrong things...
      I suggest you to watch aljazeraenglish.com and you will see what’s recently going on in Iraq... all the child are being born with defaults and they are suspecting that Americans spreaded something on the air like what they did in hiroshima in 1930s... these countries is completely demolished... and millions of innocent human got kild in iraq and Afghanistan... do you want to hear more bro? who was Hitler killing Jews? does this teaching of bible? i do not want to go further... but that does not mean i will not respect as I am an American citizen and i love this country more than my birth country... so i would educate myself and be open before I judge...

      Peace!!!!

      August 3, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  2. Erasmus

    heres the conundrum:
    Does the devil believe in God?

    August 2, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • ya

      yes he does. and both of them believe in tooth fairy

      August 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  3. Chad

    Where does it say anywhere that God wouldnt have allowed a tragedy like this to occur?

    I simply dont understand an atheist that thinks a tragedy like this proves God doesnt exist. Makes no sense. Have none of you read the bible?

    August 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • OOO

      Chad,
      No athiest will say that this tragedy proves there is no Zeus. No one can prove that Zeus doesn't exist.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Confused face

      It doesn't prove nonexistence. What it does prove is that all of the disjointed and contradictory evidence provided by the believers is nonsense. Such incredible nonsense that it makes the probability of the god you christards describe as being practically zero. Understand that?

      August 2, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      I don't see atheists holding this up as proof that God doesn't exist. This is only a problem for people trying the reconcile this event with a loving and omnipotent God.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Chad

      @Confused face "It doesn't prove nonexistence. What it does prove is that all of the disjointed and contradictory evidence provided by the believers is nonsense"
      @Chad "Like what disjointed and contradictory evidence are you referring to, or are you just inventing something that isnt reflected in the bible?"

      ==========
      @" Rufus T. Firefly "I don't see atheists holding this up as proof that God doesn't exist. This is only a problem for people trying the reconcile this event with a loving and omnipotent God."
      @Chad "it's only a reconciliation problem if you havent read the bible and gained an understanding of exactly how we got in our current situation..
      IOW, its only a reconciliation problem for those that arent familiar with God.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • OOO

      Chad,
      "IOW, its only a reconciliation problem for those that arent familiar with God."

      Mother Theresa doubted the existance of god at the end of her life. But I suppose that just means that she is not as familiar with god as you are, right?

      August 2, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      "You haven't read the Bible" is such a lame fall-back position for fundies. Of course I have – every word of it, and parts of it multiple times. Why are fundamentalists incapable of imagining that someone can be thoroughly familiar with the bible and not believe it's magic?

      August 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chad "reconciling a loving God with tragedy is only a problem if you are unfamiliar with the bible"
      @OOO "Mother Theresa doubted the existance of god at the end of her life. But I suppose that just means that she is not as familiar with god as you are, right?"

      @Chad "do you know why she doubted?
      no.. of course not.. you are just throwing something out and hoping it sticks..

      she had doubts because she couldnt feel His presence as she had early on. Nothing (that I am aware of) to do with an inability to reconcile a loving God with tragedy. She worked in the slums her entire mission life.. She had no problem reconciling that.

      sigh..

      honestly, you never feel like doing any investigation at all prior to making a claim??? never?

      August 2, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Chad

      @Rufus T. Firefly "Of course I have – every word of it, and parts of it multiple times"

      @Chad "well then, you'll be able to demonstrate that you know how the bible reconciles a loving God and terrible tragedy.
      So, please do so.

      August 2, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Using the big book of multiple choice. How fun.

      August 2, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Please do so? What, do you think you are my Sunday School teacher now? No thanks. Just put away that garbage about anyone who doesn't agree with your delusions as having never read the bible. You're lying to yourself.

      August 2, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Chad

      @Rufus T. Firefly "Please do so? What, do you think you are my Sunday School teacher now? No thanks."

      =>ah.. "I could but I dont want to"

      I used that retort with devastating effectiveness up to about third grade if I remember correctly..

      August 2, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Confused face

      Contradictions? Like how none of the 4 gospels agree on the virgin birth, or the location of the birth; or the 10 commandments. Like how none of the gospels even mention what jesus was like as a teenager. Not a word. 20 years go by before we hear anything. That is not disjointed?

      How is that for starters?

      August 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Really? It was in about the 3rd grade that I realized that I wasn't obligated to answer every supposed challenge from every mindless blowhard. You may walk away and tell yourself that you have won if that helps.

      August 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chad "Where does it say anywhere that God wouldnt have allowed a tragedy like this to occur?"
      @ Rufus T. Firefly "... This is only a problem for people trying the reconcile this event with a loving and omnipotent God."
      @Chad "Its only a reconciliation problem for those that arent familiar with God"
      @Rufus T. Firefly ".. I have [read the bible] – every word of it, and parts of it multiple times"
      @Chad "well then, you'll be able to demonstrate that you know how the bible reconciles a loving God and terrible tragedy."
      @Rufus T. Firefly ".. no thanks..."

      so.. you started out saying a loving God and tragedy cant be reconciled, then claimed to know what the bible says, then refused to state how the bible reconciles it.

      I would suggest your claim to be familiar with the bible is nonsense.. 😉

      August 2, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      That actually is not what I said at all. I said that it is only a problem for those trying to reconcile their ideas of God with the event – that is why they are asking the question. It is not a problem (ie, puzzle, question, conundrum) for an atheist because someone who does not believe in God would not be asking "where was God?" Get it now?

      August 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      It seems that you are so caught up in what you want to hear and what you are so eager to argue about, that you have a hard time following what is actually being said.

      August 2, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Chad

      @Rufus T. Firefly "That actually is not what I said at all. I said that it is only a problem for those trying to reconcile their ideas of God with the event – that is why they are asking the question. It is not a problem (ie, puzzle, question, conundrum) for an atheist because someone who does not believe in God would not be asking "where was God?" Get it now?"

      =>ah.. so, you are now trying to claim that since as an atheist you dont attempt to reconcile tragedy with a loving God, you are excused from backing up your early statements that you were familiar with the bible.
      ok 😉

      August 2, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Your desperate need to test my bible knowledge is a little weird. Yes, I am excusing myself.

      August 2, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Rufus

      This is Chads MO. He has his own interpretation on everything, and just runs with it even if it's not correct. He's the most dishonest debater here, and is well known for it.

      August 2, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Chad

      🙂

      well, the good news is all one has to do is scroll up and read the conversation for yourself. That's the nice thing about blogs.

      August 2, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  4. wwgia

    Where was God in Aurora? Probably trying to get people to realize certain things, like we have tons of issues, life is short, and that He’s not gonna just make everything bad in our lives go away. We aren’t God’s pets, we have the ability to help people, so stop whining and get to work you panzies.

    Of course atheists will respond with something along the lines of; how can God allow the innocent to suffer? Children were injured for goodness sake. It seems to me this requires an additional premise, that the suffering the children endured was meaningless or punishment. I see no reason to think this, there could be any number of reasons for why God would allow people to suffer, such as those I outlined above, if our suffering acts as a symptom, awaking us to a deeper problem, is it not good? If our suffering inspires us and gives us the opportunity to do good and show love, was it meaningless? I think not, but atheists can continue to hold such a view, they just seem to hold it without warrant.

    August 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Confused face

      Easy for you to say. YOu were not paralyzed or have your 9 year old child killed. What a sick, heartless insensitive christard you are. So easy to tell others who have felt pain that there is some mysterious reason for it but just trust in god. Meanwhile, you are not the one who suffered such a terrible loss.

      Sickeningly patronizing like your fake god.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Yeah, well that's all well and good for adults. Tell that crap to the millions of starving babies around the world, and I DARE you to say that to the little blond "spiky" haired, 6 year old, I saw this morning, pushing his chemo IV down the hall.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      "Of course atheists will respond with something along the lines of; how can God allow the innocent to suffer? "

      Oh look, it's "Mike" again. Did you ever go ahead with your open letter to the victims' families, telling them to man up and enjoy having their kids sent on to God? Finish high school before you try to tell grownups how to live.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • wwgia

      "Easy for you to say. YOu were not paralyzed or have your 9 year old child killed. What a sick, heartless insensitive christard you are. So easy to tell others who have felt pain that there is some mysterious reason for it but just trust in god. Meanwhile, you are not the one who suffered such a terrible loss.

      Sickeningly patronizing like your fake god.”

      Appeal to emotion, not an argument. Didn’t say it was a mysterious reason I said there are numerous possible reasons for why this happened to them. I’m not trying to say that they shouldn’t grieve or that everything is ok, what I am saying is that everything has a purpose, their suffering was not for nothing and that they can get through it. If God exists he can’t really be patronizing because we all are like worms in terms of intellect compared to Him. If He wants to talk to us as such, He has every right to.

      "Yeah, well that's all well and good for adults. Tell that crap to the millions of starving babies around the world, and I DARE you to say that to the little blond "spiky" haired, 6 year old, I saw this morning, pushing his chemo IV down the hall.”

      Again, appeal to emotion

      "Oh look, it's "Mike" again. Did you ever go ahead with your open letter to the victims' families, telling them to man up and enjoy having their kids sent on to God? Finish high school before you try to tell grownups how to live.”

      I’m not telling them to man up, I’m telling you to. They are going through a tough time, grieving and working through their issues, while you sit there and complain and accuse God of wrong doings, like He is suppose to fix their problems and yours. Ever consider that maybe He wants you to have the blessing to help others with their problems? Or are you to selfish to consider such a possibility?

      August 2, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  5. Erasmus

    Seems like some Atheists have read their Bible, interesting how they deny that Atheist crucified Christ? How can you read the Bible and miss that? Name all the gods you want, there still only ONE. Am i to believe the Romans were Christians?

    August 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • wwgia

      the Romans were actually polytheists, and the Jews were of course monotheists, so I don’t see your point.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      It appears that Erasmus thinks that an atheist is anyone who is not Christian.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Confused face

      Erasmus is so unlike his namesake. I bet he does not even know who Erasmus was.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      " interesting how they deny that Atheist crucified Christ? " Let me help you out, kid. You can't debate until you define your terms. Theists worship a god, any god. A-theism means you DON'T worship a god. The Romans worshiped a whole pantheon of gods(Pan, meaning all, and Theos, meaning god). They also did homage to the Emperor as a sort of god/pope, and they were actually killing Jesus for denying the Emperor's deity. Jesus was crucified by Pagans, not Atheists. Go back and learn this stuff before you try instructing us about it, and yes, most atheists know more about it than you do.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Looks like Erasmus just got flattened by a Hugh Jass.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • sam

      Sunday school strikes again.

      August 2, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  6. Johnny

    If you have to ask the question "where was God".. then you have no understanding of Christianity, or the concept bestowed upon us by God.. known as free will. If you think we are chess pieces, then you need to wake up. God gave us free will, and that shapes our world both good and bad. Its for the good, to stand up and do something about the bad. Not for God to step in and wipe our butts. Don't use religion as a crutch for the failings of humanity itself. Everyone loves to slow down and at accident, but how many will stop to help? Regardless, Id rather have faith and be wrong. Than the alternative. I believe in God.. I just don't believe so strongly in the majority of his followers. But please drop this 'where was God" idiocy. Makes you sound more foolish than you probably are. Then again, probably not.

    August 2, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      So god's plan is meaningless since he is unable to enforce it without affecting free will.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Modern Neuroscience, (Libet among others), has debunked "free will".

      August 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Choices are made, before you are conscious of them.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      The Libet experiment only proved that neurons move faster than physical body movements.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6S9OidmNZM

      August 2, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Neurons do not "move".

      August 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Gabriel Malakh

      Amen to that! Jehovah God gave us his word the Bible to learn how to live amongst ourselves. One of the law he gave us is to love your neighbor as yourself, and the other is to get rid of all your weapons of war and weapons that kill. But man cry for the freedom to bear arms and refuse to listen to their creator. You reap what you sow, then get upset at God when it blows up in your face.

      Proverbs 19:3
      3 It is the foolishness of an earthling man that distorts his way, and so his heart becomes enraged against Jehovah himself.

      Ecclesiastes 8:9
      9 All this I have seen, and there was an applying of my heart to every work that has been done under the sun, [during] the time that man has dominated man to his injury.

      Jeremiah 10:23
      23 I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.

      Luke 10:27
      27 In answer he said: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole strength and with your whole mind,’ and, ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”

      Isaiah 2:4
      4 And he will certainly render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Whatever, Johnny. God was "there" and did nothing. I would have at least gone after the guy and gotten shot. I'd have to think a god was better than I am to worship it. You can keep the one who never does anything.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Ryan

      Minority Report debunked the debunking of free will.

      August 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  7. Kristen

    That is right, most of us believe we are all part of something, I actually found this website http://www.DeliveryFromGod.com , its pertty amazing, it lets people write a letter or send an email to God and then he sends a letter back to you. Pretty nice

    August 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • LOL@"WhereWasGod"

      and you believe that this letter is actually coming from 'god'...

      Wow. Just Wow.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Confused face

      Makes sense. I write a letter every year to Santa at the North Pole. I get a response and a few days later presents.

      Even in my 40's, it is nice to get that from Santa. He really, really cares.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I see that God accepts all major credit cards.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • J.W

      This girl is probably the administor of that site or somebody working for it, paid to advertise for it.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Not for the first time, I will admit that I am amazed by the weird stuff you believers actually think is real.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  8. Erasmus

    Dear "deidramt",

    Tangible proof walked the earth once, and athiest nailed him to the cross!

    August 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Huebert

      Actually, that would be the Romans. Most of whom were not atheist.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • LOL@"WhereWasGod"

      Pure fiction.

      Fiction is not tangible proof.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Actually, theists, (the Jewish High Priest, and friends) according to the gospels, handed him over to the Roman authorities.
      Yet another theist who knows less about their holy book than a raving atheist.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      How exactly are polytheists atheists?
      A = lack of
      Poly = multiples of

      The terms are anti/thetical!

      August 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Oh, so there USED to be proof, but now it's gone? How big was that fish again? You're exaggerating. Also, Jesus wept, it's spelled ATHEIST, and the Romans weren't atheists. How old are you?

      August 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  9. Achilles

    So most people are naturally gay or bis.exual, but just afraid of theJudeo Christian Boogey Man? How about the preponderance of the world that has historically not fallen under the aegis of said Boogey Man?

    August 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Statistically speaking, most people are hetero. A certain percentage is bi. A certain percentage is gay. A certain percentage is asexual.

      Personally, I think the number of folks who are bi is higher than the average person might think, however, most of us raised in a hetero-normative society may not realize it, because we think along hetero lines and it takes something to make us realize that the "affection" we have for someone who is the same gender might be something more than friendship.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Achilles

      I have no problem with people who choose to be gay or bi. And I certainly have no problem with the relatively small percentage of the population who are born with overwhelmingly gay or bi tendencies. But the position that all gay people are "born that way" and that the choices of our children cannot be influencd by cultural factors in non-scientific...it is, in fact, an article of faith, a politically correct expedient disprovable both anthropologically and historically.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      So if the human experience of se'xulaity involves choice, then when did you make your choice ? I hope you realize you're coming out as at least "bi", when you as'sert choice, and that you found either, equally attractive.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Achilles

      The time of choice occurs sometime in childhood. Children are largely melleable and ARE influenced by their culture.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Achilles

      I am not at all ashamed ot the biological fact that certain of my behavioral traits could have been influenced in childhood. I am completely comfortable with my orientation. But don't tell me that my children cannot be influence by their cultural surroundings.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Kinsey found around 12-15% in the Fifties. He assumed that in the Sixties and Seventies, society being more tolerant would result in a higher percentage. Nope, it's around the same and doesn't really change. There's no connection to society or parenting styles.

      August 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      I have no problem with people who choose to be gay or bi.

      It isn't a choice, it is a complex process that begins before we are born. Who we are attracted to is no more changeable than the color of our skin or eyes. What is changeable is whether or not we recognize the attraction for what it is. Most people who skew heavily to either side of the spectrum will tell you that they have known since childhood, since the first stirrings of puberty. Those who cluster around the middle of the spectrum and live in a hetero-normative society may take longer to figure it out.

      And I certainly have no problem with the relatively small percentage of the population who are born with overwhelmingly gay or bi tendencies.

      This phrasing has always bugged me. You have no problem with how I was born? How magnanimous of you. I guess I have no problem with how you were born either.

      But the position that all gay people are "born that way" and that the choices of our children cannot be influencd by cultural factors in non-scientific...it is, in fact, an article of faith, a politically correct expedient disprovable both anthropologically and historically.

      The only influence is whether or not the child feels safe expressing his/her desire/attraction. I realize that there are extreme cases involving abuses and a child who may not be exposed to healthy adult sexuality who may be unable to express their own attraction outside of what they have been taught. However, those are anomalies, not standard.

      August 3, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Hugh Jass

      Achilles doth protest too much, methinks.

      August 3, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  10. LOL@"WhereWasGod"

    Here is a perfect example of the "love" that religious fanatics feel for their "brothers"...

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/02/world/africa/mali-couple-stoned/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

    All in the name of the 'lord', and based on hearsay....

    August 2, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  11. deidramt

    I would like to just see 1 *ONE* religious person (of any faith) use logic, science, or physical proof that there is a god. I just want something, some tanigible proof that something exists: god, dog, a giant space slug, or whatever.

    August 2, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Achilles

      The logical arguments for proving the existence of god fall into 3 broad categories: cosmological, ontological and teleological. They have been expressed in various forms and in various degress of eloquence for several millemia. The best ones are available for your perusal in any decent first year Philosophy textbook.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • TR6

      I think proof is too high a standard for Christians to reach, I’d be willing to trade my atheism for agnosticism if they could just come up with 1 piece of solid evidence for it’s existence

      August 2, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Achilles

      @TR6

      You might want to trade your Athiesm for Agnosticism because one is a vaild philosophical position and the other is a "belief system". If god does not exist it is a logical fallacy to attempt to disprove him because a negative cannot be disproved logically. Therefore an Athiest does not KNOW that god does not exist...it is logically impossibe...he BELIEVES that god does not exist...he becomes a man of faith...isn't it interesting that both professed Athiests and religious fundamentalists overwhelmingly display such vehement intolerance towards anyone who disagrees with their beliefs? They have a lot more in common than either side would like to admit.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  12. Not so sure

    I think AHunter would make an efficient septic tank.

    August 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • ScottCA

      Well he definitely is making himself look like something starting with an A, and its isnt a hunter. It is something with 4 legs and floppy ears. By I am digressing into child like name calling. My appologies, no matter how true the name calling is.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Aesop

      Regarding the matter of @Atheist Hunter:

      “An Ass put on a Lion's skin and went
      About the forest with much merriment,
      Scaring the foolish beasts by brooks and rocks,
      Till at last he tried to scare the Fox.
      But Reynard, hearing from beneath the mane
      That Raucous voice so petulant and vain,
      Remarked. O' Ass, I too would run away,
      But that I know your old familiar bray'.
      That's just the way with asses, just the way.”
      ― Aesop(620-560 BC)

      August 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  13. ScottCA

    Mankind is a conglomeration of cells that are built by DNA, and evolved by a process of the best replicators passing on their DNA into the next generation. There is nothing good or evil intrinsic to this process and DNA cannot think or care if it is good or evil. There is nothing intrinsicly good or evil about human nature. There are however moral consequences regarding how we choose to act upon our natural tendancies. Since we have a mind that can think rationally and logically. We have evolved instincts and tendancies that predispose us to high rates of violence in our state of nature. But that predisposition does not mean that we must act upon it. Systems of government and policing help to reduce the need to resort to violence to settle our disputes. Moral philosophies such as moral calculus and our natural innate sense of empathy help us to care about others and develop further systems to insure the fair and equal treatment of people. Thus Atheists logically understand that gay people are human beings deserving of equal treatment and should not be persecuted.

    August 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  14. Erasmus

    Me II, I see you read alot? And quote alot? From alot of different people? .........Do you have faith in what they write?
    Just seems contradictory, I mean if a Christian quotes to Bible, it seems to offend,
    but when someone quotes someone famous, it must be truth?
    Should these be placed amongst Plato, Socrates, Hippocrates and the like?
    Should one base his life upon the beliefs of people that have great quotes?

    One would say, sounds the same as the Bible? Famous people, famous quotes? ...........Well , riddle me this, ..........How many of the persons you've quoted prophesied and exact time which has come true?

    August 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • ScottCA

      Logical people do not have faith in what educated people write. Logical minds are trained to examine the evidence presented by those educated people. Examine the studies they are citing and facts, and then determine if there is ample evidence to support their statements.

      Faith is the supression of logic, it requires one to believe in someting even when evidence to the contrary is found. No Scientist or rational mind would use faith to decide what to believe.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      I think you're missing the point of @ME II posting quotes.

      Part of the point is to prove that you can find a quote to support or refute just about anything. Quotes in and of themselves prove nothing, no matter whether they come from some sacred writing or the phone book.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Confused face

      The big difference is, and Christopher Hitchens made this point splendidly, is that for the religulous, Jesus, Moses, Mary, et al., have to have been real people. Revealed knowledge requires them to have lived.

      Plato, Socrates, et al., does not require it. It was their method that mattered. You can replicate everything they said so it does not truly matter whether they lived or not. You can prove for yourself that the why and how that they explained is as it was stated.

      The religulous have nothing of the sort. Therein lies the difference.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Confused Face,
      "Plato, Socrates, et al., .... It was their method that mattered. You can replicate everything they said so it does not truly matter whether they lived or not."

      I have said something similar quite a few times – you said it better. Thank you.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      That's an interesting point confused. My only question is how does the methodology of Socrates, Plato, et al deal with the aspects of existence which Jesus, Mary and the saints exemplify. Aspects such as sacrifice, suffering, obedience, deliverance. I hope you get the gist of my question which is directed towards areas which the philosophers have ignored but which are witnessed to us by Christ.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • TR6

      No, “when someone quotes someone famous” it is not accepted by all as truth. It is not challenged because no group is demanding that civil laws be created to codify the famous person’s opinions into law. No group is trying to block gay marriage based on the writings of Plato or the opinion of Madonna. Also they generally do not make kind of fantastical claims one finds in the bible without a shred of evidence.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Aaron

      No prophecies in the Bible have come true at the exact time they said they would be. The so-called "prophecies" are very broad and general.. Statements like "We will have more ways to communicate in the future." That's not a prophecy, that's common sense. I predict right now that cell-phones will get more complex and functionality will improve. Wow, I must be a god.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Bill Deacon,

      Only those facts or concepts proposed by Plato, Socrates, et al which have been verified to be true are considered useful. The supernatural 'facts' and concepts attributed to Mary, Jesus, the saints, et al do not have verification.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Oracle

      I predict that in the future there will be earthquakes in diverse places. There, I'm a prophet too! (oh yeah, and famines, and droughts, and floods and diseases... and daylight emanating from the eastern horizon tomorrow!).

      August 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Afraid – So because you cannot substantiate that Jesus died on the cross you refuse to address the concept of laying down one's life for his friends? If so, that leaves your philosophy inadequate to my existence.

      August 2, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Bill Deacon,

      Much has been written about altruism, including treatises by Plato and Aristotle. It was not new nor is it unique to the story of Jesus' death. Again, there is no verified evidence for the supernatural.

      http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Altruism

      August 2, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  15. ScottCA

    Faith requires one to believe in something even when evidence exists to the contrary, thus one is required by faith to supress logic and ignore the facts. This supression of the minds ability to reason leads the the belief in mistruths, and sends ripples of distortion into all areas of study, thus leading to misinformed political decisions that effect every, such as christianity standing in the way of stem cell research that could cure the blind and dying. Everyday countless people die, because christianity has held stem cell research in the dark ages in America. No single area of study holds so much potential benefit for man kind. Stem cell research could end disease and aging.

    Right now Christian fundamentalists are fighting for the right to teach over 1 million young girls in america that they must always be obediant to men. Right now childrens lives are being placed at risk, because christians have eroded child protection laws in the US for so called "Faith based healing alternatives" that leave children without proper medical care.

    It is Atheists that are using their brains and logic to see the injustices created by all faith based religions, including christianity. It is Atheists who are fighting on the side of morality. It is Atheists who are following the moral high road. And it is atheists who are fighting to protect all people from the dangerous of ignorance and misinformation that hurt us all!

    August 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  16. Achilles

    Why was being gay so common among the ancient Greeks?

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

      There was no concept of "se'xual orientation" until the late Nineteenth Century. Everyone is bise'xual to some extent ... some mostly less, some mostly more.. some in the middle. Some are attracted to doorknobs. Who cares ? Whatever floats your boat.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Achilles

      Buggery was rampant world wide until the late 19th century????

      August 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Achilles

      it almost sounds as if you are saying that culture can influence one's Choice of se.xual orientation....

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

      No, but culture can influence an individual's desire to be open about one's sexual orientation.

      As Christianity and it's puritanical view of human sexual conduct spread across the world at the point of the sword, it forced those within native populations that had no problem with the full spectrum of sexuaity to publicly decry certain expressions of it, and our diversity was hidden.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Achilles

      So why are not people in historically non Christian countries rampantly gay or bi?

      August 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • ScottCA

      The greeks encouraged soldiers to love eachother, as it created a stronger bond amoungst the men, and enabled them to fight with more determination and passion for the protection of their brothers in arms.

      There is a theory in Evolutionary Psychology that this sort of benefit may be how the DNA responsible for the behavior gets passed along into the next generation. That being able to love someone of the same gender can have an advantage in survivability, due to better being able to care and help eachotehr. This at least sheds some light on bi9se0xual relationships if not hom6ose8xual2 ones.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • sam

      Culture plays a part in how much of yourself you have to keep hidden.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Chic-A-Hate

      ScottCA

      The greeks encouraged soldiers to love eachother, as it created a stronger bond amoungst the men, and enabled them to fight with more determination and passion for the protection of their brothers in arms.

      There is a theory in Evolutionary Psychology that this sort of benefit may be how the DNA responsible for the behavior gets passed along into the next generation. That being able to love someone of the same gender can have an advantage in survivability, due to better being able to care and help eachotehr. This at least sheds some light on bi9se0xual relationships if not hom6ose8xual2 ones.


      I can tell you being BI does better my odds when going out.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Achilles, the % of gay or bi folks is fairly constant, regardless of location or culture.

      How visible they are or how normal they are viewed is determined by the culture around them.

      And, more religion than just Christianity suppresses homosexuality. There is evidence that some Native American tribes had reverence for same gender pairings, as well as multiple pre-Christian cultures.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Achilles

      The statement that the number of gays in a society is basically constant globally and is independent of cultural forces does not stand up to historical scrutiny. If you care to read about the history of ancient Greece, the information is available. Concentrate especially on the history of Sparta... if being bi creates a survival advantge through the process of natural selection...what happened to the Spartans? They were not defeated militilarily and they were not absorbed by or dispersed to other societies.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Achilles,
      Your sample is far too small.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      "Buggery was rampant world wide until the late 19th century????"

      That is some serious ignorance. The statement about "orientation" was addressed to you "gay" question. "Your "buggery" has always existed. In a society where it is accepted, we would know about it, as it's talked about. Perfect example is the present African American communities. The incidence of HIV is fastet growing in young Black males. As seen yesterday here, Black leaders will not even speak of it. Therefore no one would ever even think about a discussion of a "taboo" subject.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  17. Claire

    It's funny about the double lung transplant making his parents more religious in the first blurb in the article because it was a medical experience that finally drove me away from faith for good.

    Long story short(ish), I was already an atheist when this happened, but I grew up religious and part of me was always inside still asking the question "are you sure? Maybe you should go back."
    Anyway, my child became ill-very ill. Three months old and wound up in the hospital with a 104 temp and a virus that collapsed her lungs. She spent three days with a breathing machine keeping her alive because she could not breathe for herself. We were there for weeks attended by more than a dozen doctors with hundreds of years of medical experince between them-and each with their own speciality. They were backed up by a veritable army of nurses and other support personnel. We had multiple daily X-rays, MRI scans, and blood tests; we had feeding tubes, breathing tubes, and half a dozen drugs on drips in her veins. In the end, after the best care money can buy, we beat it and those doctors brought her back from death's edge. They said that if this was pre-WWII, she'd be dead. Even in the 60's and 70's, she'd have only stood a 50% chance at best. But with today's tech, while it got bad, they always felt that they could still save her. When we called our family to say we were leaving the hospital, they said "Proof that prayer works!" because their church had been praying for a recovery.

    That sentence alone did more to quiet my doubt forever than anything else. To watch so many men and women with so much training and so much technology work hands on and around the clock for weeks to save my daughter and then to have it insinuated that she only made it because a few dozen people I didn't even know a thousand miles away were asking an invisible ent.ity to cure her...it literally churned my stomach. From that day forward, I never doubted my decision to be an atheist again.

    August 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Keeping It Real

      Excellent post, Claire. Thank you.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Jen

      I'm glad that your child got better! Im sure someone will read this and say that god gave the doctors the knowledge to help your child. However, if that was true then he would have given the doctors the knowledge 70 years ago to help other children. Someone mentioned here that the 'miracles' that god creates always follow closely behind increases in medical knowledge. Totally true. Yet god has never granted a limb back to an amputee, never made down syndrome magically go away, etc etc. God gets all the credit for 'miracles' but none of the blame for anything.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  18. Rufus T. Firefly

    I propose we discontinue feeding the troll...

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

      Excellent suggestion.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      yeah especially when we got nuthin to feed him. Please please stop asking questions we can't answer mr. atheist hunter. You guys are a farce!

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

      Rufus,
      AH wants something, ...what it is a question. He/she has pages and pages of arguments which have gone unanswered. I suspect he/she has some sort of a "problem", as the arguments are sound. If they aren't good enough for her, and if she were sincere, she would answer one of them. It's very clear, for her, this is "about" something else.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Really?

      He does want something all right, and that is attention. Many of his questions have been answered by multiple people and he simply moves on to something else. Classic threadjacking.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Atheist Hunter
      So are you going to refute any of the responses you've received?
      I'm particularly curious to read your retort to my answers to questions 7,8 and 9, posted below.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  19. Atheist Hunter

    If you can't answer this one then you need to give it up.
    10. Which came first–the chicken or the egg?

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

      You do more to help people to see how ridiculous religion is and take a look at atheism, thanks.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Mohammed_Islam

      Hello,

      In my opinion the chicken came first and then the generations from its male and female as human being......

      Peace!!!

      August 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • ScottCA

      well it requires us to refine what we call an egg. If we defiine a chicken egg to be an egg laid by a chicken, then it will have to be the chicken that hatched from the egg of an earlier predicessor. But if we choose to define the chikcen egg as an egg containing a chicken. Then the answer will be that the egg came first. This is just a matter of semantics and nothing has changed in reality.

      Your attempts to use semantics to be witty has failed. The egg question was answered long ago, with darwins theory of evolution. " the question has faded since Darwin's On the Origin of Species and the accompanying Theory of Evolution, under which the egg must have come first, assuming the question intended the egg to mean an egg in general or an egg that hatches into a chicken"

      August 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The egg came first.
      The precursor to Gallus gallus was a similar, but not identical, specimen known as Gallus georgicus from the late Pleistocene era.
      The antecedent of Gallus georgicus would have been a bird from the Phasianidae family, to which all fowl trace their origins.

      August 2, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      Everyone knows that; someone crossed a 'red jungle fowl' with a 'grey jungle fowl' and the resulting egg hatched into the first chicken. Just a matter of DNA analysis, my friend.

      August 3, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  20. Atheist Hunter

    7. Why does every civilization believe in a Creator?
    8. Why does every sane person have a conscience, even when it is not dictated by society?
    9. How did nothing create everything?

    August 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Really?

      7. Not true. Google "Sweden".
      8. Not true. Google "Jack the Ripper".
      9. Check out "A Universe from Nothing", Lawrence Krauss.

      August 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Entil'za

      @Really?

      "7. Not true. Google "Sweden"."

      Sweden is not a civilization but a nation.

      "8. Not true. Google "Jack the Ripper"."

      Really now? Who was Jack so we can check for ourselves. Plz offer up his real name so we can check.

      "9. Check out "A Universe from Nothing", Lawrence Krauss."

      Is there a real answer in that or is this just an appeal to authority?

      August 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      7. According to Ja.panese Shinto Mythology, at the beginning of time, the heavens and the earths were mixed together in a great cloud. Slowly, the clearer, lighter parts of the cloud rose up and became heaven. The heavier parts of the cloud descended and became an ocean of muddy water. Between the heavens and the earth, a pale green sprout began to grow. It grew swiftly and was extremely strong. When the plant’s flower burst open, the First God emerged.

      8. Why does the conscience tell different people different things?
      Our culture has a very strong cannibalism taboo, but it cannot be "human nature" to feel repulsed by it as virtually every branch of the human species has praticed it at some point in their development. The Aztecs believed in transubstantiation. They consumed their human sacrifices in the belief that the dead literally became a part of the God to whom they were given.
      Binerwurs in India ate the sick amongst them to please Kali.
      The Karankawa, an indigenous Texan tribe, ritualistically consumed their enemies to gain their strength.
      The Wari, The Kuru, Fore, Caribs, Fijians, Popayans, Serengipeans, are all fairly modern examples (within the last 500 years).
      Easter Islanders considered the eating of one's neighbour to be more of an insult than a sin.

      9. We don't know, but we're getting closer to an answer every day (see Higgs Boson). How did your God come into being? Or is God the one Something that came from nothing?

      August 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Mohammed_Islam

      7: Because every civilization is part of the entire creation…

      August 2, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Really?

      Entilza
      7. That is the best you can do? A nation is simply an advanced stage of a civilization. Point is, you don't need faith to keep a civilization together, neither life in every civilization leads to faith.
      8. Any psychopath would do. Look up Timothy McVeigh. He was sane to that last moment he lived but had no conscience.
      9. Read the book!

      August 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Aaron

      How did something (god) come from nothing? How did this something that came from nothing create more somethings out of nothing?

      I'll let you think about it.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      "Why does every sane person have a conscience" Nice of you to admit you are insane.

      August 3, 2012 at 11:40 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.