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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. Nietodarwin

    It's called NOT GETTING MURDERED. Of course atheists have taken to "practicing their faith" (which is to say using logic to communicate, that's the only faith) on the internet. Many centuries of christians murdering those who do not share their divine vision makes the internet a new safe haven for atheists.

    August 4, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Cq

      Atheists place our trust in logic and reason because those things have a proven track record of working. The kind of faith that believers rely on is nothing like this in measured practice.

      August 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Eric

      Our logic and reason are not as iron clad as you think. Just some basic questions would be. Where and how did protine molecules form? How about the cell? The universe why did it start? We have theroies that discribe these from the point after they exist. IE big bang, nothing prior to that. Or evolution Really look at the cell how it works how did it come to being. These questions have not and will most likely never get answered (proven)by science. this is where faith comes in. I can believe what some human scientist thinks. Or I can believe in GOD the creator of everything.

      I do believe the previously mentioned theories are sound in many areas and those area may be correct. This does not mean GOD did not lay down all the laws of nature.

      But I guess for some it is easier to believe a person. Me I believe in GOD. Therories are just that, not fact.

      August 4, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Cq

      Eric
      Why do you think the universe needed a reason to start? Does a rock need a reason to tumble down a hill other than gravity? In nature, things do happen because of natural causes.

      Sure, God could have laid down the laws of nature, but so could any of the other creator gods. What we are learning from science, however, is that no intelligent designer was needed to lay down these laws. They could have came about naturally. Adding some creator to the process makes it far more complicated, and improbable because you have to explain where that being came from. Religious people like to just say that this creator must have always existed, but that's still more complicated than an unintelligent universe starting from the most simple form coming into being all by itself. That's why I reject the eternal creator story; it's just too complicated and improbable.

      Everything that we know about God came from a person. The Bible was written by people, and the rest of what we know comes from people's "experiences" with God, so I don't understand your argument against the reliability of "people".

      Science is based on observations of nature, is tested, and peer reviewed. There is evidence supporting scientific theories. They stand as the explanations that best fit the evidence. When ancient people created their creation stories they didn't really know how the universe was actually created; they were telling a story to convey some religious truth. In the Genesis story we are told how sin entered the world, why women must be subservient to men, why the Jews kept the Sabbath holy, and why men have dominion over the world. That's what the story is about, right?

      August 5, 2012 at 12:51 am |
  2. The Wind

    I've yet to see an Atheistic Organization help others out simply from the goodness of their hearts. One did give food to the homeless once but only to out do Christians.

    August 4, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • One one

      It's good to feed the hungry and heal the sick. What a pity your mythical god won't do it.

      August 4, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • JWT

      What atheist organizations do you know – I don't know of any at all.

      August 4, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • TrueBlue42

      Then you haven't searched enough. There are plenty of Atheist organizations that do charity work.

      August 4, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • What IF

      Atheists don't act charitably in the name of atheism. They support all sorts of charities, both secular and sometimes even religious ones (my town's only hospital is Catholic, and is supported by everyone here – religious or non).

      Have you ever heard of Bill Gates or Warren Buffet?... atheist/agnostic and probably the largest donators ever.

      Then there are oodles upon oodles of secular charities. Did you know that the Red Cross and St. Jude's Hospital are secular organizations?

      August 4, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Cq

      Why do you see charity as some kind of compet.ition? Christians didn't invent the concept of charity, you know? Other religions have been doing charity since their very beginnings, some before Christianity was invented. Were they just trying to "out do" the churches?

      August 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Good news! Go to these websites and you won't have the excuse of now knowing about any atheist charities anymore!

      http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Charities

      http://techskeptic.blogspot.com/2007/12/atheist-charities.html

      August 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  3. ThingsEvenChildrenKnow

    So many beliefs, so many theories, how to make sense of it all? Go back...start with basic reasoning...."Every house is constructed by someone..."

    August 4, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • One one

      Child: Daddy, does god send people to hell to be tortured forever?
      Father: Yes sweet heart.
      Child: Why daddy?
      Father: Because they don't believe in him
      Child: But daddy, I have never seen god, I don't believe in him either
      Father: Well, sweet heart, you are going to burn in hell.

      August 4, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • AGuest9

      Every house is built by human hands. The earth was not. It formed. Yes, by "itself", based upon gravitational tides with the material created by previous generations of dead stars. I guess, next you will expect us to "believe" that storms do not come about due to chaotic wind and moisture patterns that form in the atmosphere due to rising convection currents, cold air from the upper atmosphere and moisture from previous evaporation in the water cycle, but some invisible man who lives in the sky "makes it rain by opening the floodgates and allowing waters down from the firmament"?

      August 4, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • One one

      When people were still ignorant, they believed thunder and lightning was coused by the gods. Now we know better.

      August 4, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      Who is the bonehead that put this picture with this article? Showing a church when talking about atheists doesn't make sense. There's that great christian logic, just like cross burning before a lynching. I'm an atheist, this is how an atheist writes, SAFE behind a computer, so I'M NOT AFRAID OF BEING MURDERED BY A CHRISTIAN,MUSLIM, JEW, etc.

      August 4, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Nope!

      @ One one
      You are twisting the truth. Godly father would never say to his child that God sends people to hell because they "don't believe in Him. He would say that people are sent to hell because they refused God's mercy and rejected His son whom He sent to save them.

      August 4, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • What IF

      @Nope!,
      " He would say that people are sent to hell because they refused God's mercy and rejected His son whom He sent to save them."

      You only get that "mercy" if you believe. What other reality can possibly work that way? You don't need to believe in gravity for it to work. You don't need to believe that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. Shall we stop believing in cancer so that we won't ever get it?

      August 4, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Cq

      ThingsEvenChildrenKnow
      "Every house is constructed by someone..."

      Which is followed logically by "Every God is created by another God ..." See the problem?

      August 4, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Nope!

      Look, what if
      you were given certain abilities from your Creator, by which you are able to recognize the truth from false f right from wrong, when presented to you. If by your own Self-will you rejected that ability, proclaiming yourself to be wiser than your Creator, then you are cut off from the Source! And without this Source, you are as good as dead, or better said, you're Walking Dead! And in this state of being you can not hear, can not see and can not think. You only function at your physical level, till you physically die, crossing over to another chapter of your existence. Then your Self will have no "rights" to claim!

      August 4, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  4. Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

    When you encounter someone who professes to be an Atheist, take the most personally advantageous action: eat him. Atheists are high in protein and a good source of B vitamins and amino acids. Do not allow yourself to be apprehended by the authorities until the Atheist is recgonized as a game animal by the state. Remember, you have nothing to fear except law enforcement as long as you have braised, roasted or broiled the Atheist to an internal temperature of at least 180 degrees. They are also good in casseroles and fricassees.
    Atheists are a small and weak minority who should be exploited.
    Make no mistake...I am an Atheist myself...but I will never reveal that to the world. It serves my interests to call myself a Christian in order to further my purposes.
    Do not bore me with notions of how I should obey my "inner moral sense". My moral sense is nothing but a biological construct, a primitive survival advantage I have outgrown...much like I have outgrown the need for God. I can discard them both easily...they are worthless to me now...After all, God Is Dead and the only good is what is good for ME. I am the Superman. I am beyond Good and Evil.

    August 4, 2012 at 1:16 am |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      Is it not delightful that the three most influential Atheists in history are, in no particular order:

      Lenin
      Stalin
      Nietzsche?

      Nietzsche: the philosophical godfather of Fascism.
      Lenin,: the creator of communism.
      Stalin: arch 20th century proponent of “humanistic principles”.

      The result of their “humanistic philosophies”?

      At LEAST 100 million dead.

      The time span:? 53 years between the death of Nietzsche and the death of Stalin.

      August 4, 2012 at 2:46 am |
    • Salero21's god

      None of them killed in the name of atheism. Your fake god and the armies of god have done more than their share of killing. What was their excuse?

      August 4, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • tallulah13

      Blah, blah, blah, trollcakes.

      August 4, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  5. Chad

    it’s possible the air in your room right now could spontaneously all move in the same direction at once, piling up in the other side of the room leaving you gasping for air. Possible, yes. But when calculated, the probability is so small as to be reasonably rounded off to zero (it’s not going to happen, so breathe easy).

    A similar argument against evolution applies to the probability of events occurring which result in new species (mutations, natural selection and spontaneous generation). That probability is zero (when rounded off reasonably). It’s mathematically possible, but the expectation is so low we logically round it down to zero and state the event is never going to occur.

    August 4, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • Chadwatch, a public service

      @Chad: I can't comprehend how natural selection works but I can cut and past meaningless analogies from the interweb....therefore....JESUS IS LORD!!!!! SEE THERE, I PROVED IT!!!!! HA HA YOU ALL LOOK SO FOOLISH!!!!!

      August 4, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • Rachel

      @Chad, A very intelligent post.

      🙂

      August 4, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Cq

      Why do you assume that the probability of evolution is so low? Who calculated that figure?

      August 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • LOL@"WhereWasGod"

      Chad obviously knows nothing of Physics, or Genetics, yet went and received the latest H1N1 vaccine.

      Therefore the probability of him making a relevant comment about Physics or Genetics is so small, we must round it to zero.

      August 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  6. talismancer

    Atheists don't have "bricks & mortar because we don't get all the privileges of tax exemption that religions enjoy. Why should WE be paying for YOUR delusions? We shouldn't. If your falling numbers mean you get no churches remaining then that is what should happen.

    August 4, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      If Atheists had a church, what would they get together to praise and worship? Their newest pair of khakis?

      August 4, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • talismancer

      We would build Humanist centers (what atheists DO believe) to replace the good side of religion while not propagating the harmful delusions that religion expounds.

      August 4, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      I would love to attend your first "Humanist Center" picnic. I enjoy eating outdoors.

      August 4, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • AGuest9

      What is this need to "praise and worship"? When we get together once a month, it's to organize benefit concerts, food drives, blood drives and charity events. We also have speakers and book signings, but service to humanity is the primary goal.

      August 4, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  7. HB Gotha

    Prove to me that God does not exist.

    August 3, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Cq

      Don't need to. People have worshipped thousands of gods over time, and stopped believing that most of them were actually real without having it "proven" to them. The case for God being real is about as strong as that for any other god, so it just isn't enough to convince us. If you want to convince us that he's more real than any of the others it's up to you to provide the additional evidence necessary.

      August 4, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      The Atheist indicts god based solely on what happens in what is, cosmologically speaking, the blink of an eye. There is suffering by transient biological forms for an instant in time: therefore there can be no god. Atheists seem fond of contemplating the vastness of the universe, but incapable of admitting there is a lot of real estate to cover in the quest for the divine: spatially as well as temporally. If you were the creator of a universe 100 billion light years in diameter, that probably is also multi-dimensional as well as eternal, would you hang around trying to impress a group of arrogant primates who a milli-second ago were brachiating among the tress of Africa?

      August 4, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • talismancer

      Answer: Logical fallacy. Prove that Zeus doesn't exist. Should we worship ALL the things that can't be proven not to exist?

      August 4, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • talismancer

      So Modest is a Deist. He doesn't believe in the Bible (based on his description of the universe) but accepts only one of it's premises despite zero evidence...that a Creator exists.

      Even worse for him...all evidence currently shows our Universe' beginnings were indeed natural.

      August 4, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • Salero21's god

      Parable of the Celestial Teapot. Look it up.

      August 4, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • LOL@"WhereWasGod"

      Prove to me that dragons do not exist.

      August 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  8. Nope!

    Justin, there is God, and you don't have to be afraid of dying. Whether you said this with touch of sarcasm or you meant it, the truth is, we all fear dying.....because we fear things we haven't experienced.
    I for example, fear that dying is painful.
    But if you know Lord Jesus Christ and put your faith in Him, you do not need to fear death, because those who die in Him, will pass from death into Life!

    August 3, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Manda

      We will pass from death into life! And Hershey Kisses will rain down from the sky! And everyone gets a pony! And, and...what?...there's just as much evidence for my story as yours. We can all just make stuff up and say that's what happens, right?

      August 3, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Nope!

      Manda, pray that Christ would open your eyes that you may see!

      August 3, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Kt

      Nope!
      Did you just ask someone to prey to a god for the ability to believe in the god that you just asked them to prey to? Logic isn't exactly your strong suit, is it?

      August 4, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • AGuest9

      Manda, you left out the unicorns.

      August 4, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Nope!

      "Logic isn't exactly your strong suit, is it?"

      Wisdom isn't yours, for sure....

      The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. But FOOL has said in HIS HEART that there is no God!
      Why his heart? Because it is in heart that all rebellion and sin dwells , which causes him to be blind to the Truth.

      August 4, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      @Nope!:

      A quite old and sometimes effective tactic – declaring that those who do not believe your story are 'fools'. Nobody wants to be considered a fool. Nobody wants to be considered 'dumb' for not seeing the Emperor's new clothes, or a 'bas.tard' for not seeing the Sultan's new turban, or a 'cuckold' for not being able to see the Miller's gold thumb.

      Even Joseph Smith used it when he gathered his 'witnesses' to his golden plates. He told them that only those with 'true faith' would be able to 'see' them, and they would be fools if they could not.

      The ancient, primitive Hebrews who originated those Bible stories were quite adept at manipulative mind-games.

      August 4, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  9. Nope!

    This is a forum where fools come to entertain themselves bashing Christians!
    Making your father, the Devil happy, aren't you!

    August 3, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Rick James

      We don't believe in the devil, leprechauns, or the tooth fairy, making your point moot.

      August 3, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Nope!

      Rick, you don't know what you believe!
      but whether you do believe or not it doesn't affect truth, but it does affects YOU, your life and your destiny.
      God is who He is, and you and I are who and what He says we are.... Devil is God's enemy and deceiver of mankind. And no, here is no leprechauns!

      August 3, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Kt

      How do you KNOW there are no leprechauns? Have YOU looked everywhere? PROVE to me that leprechauns do not exist! 🙂

      August 4, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • AGuest9

      Poor, silly Nope. Still thinks that there are things to BELIEVE in.

      August 4, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  10. crixus79

    People need to stop blaming God for the bad things that happen in this world.
    all good things as well as bad things that happen in our lives have meaning and purpose and our conscious minds don't fully understand that it's part of the masterplan – the destiny of our souls. One day when we depart this dimension the our own astroplane and arrive home, In the end everything will make sense. Karma on a grand level.

    August 3, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Timmuh

      How do you know everything happens for a purpose? What access to knowledge do you have that has been denied me for you to make such an unsubstantiated claim? If everything didn't happen for a purpose, we would expect to see bad things happen to good people and bad people be rewarded for their bad deeds, and that's exactly what we do see.

      August 3, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • georgex

      Or we will know nothing.

      August 3, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Nope!

      "Or we will know nothing."
      Oh, you will know, be sure of that ..............There their worm(soul) never dies!

      August 3, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Huh?

      Nope, "Oh, you will know, be sure of that .."

      Evidence for that?

      August 3, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Nope!

      "Evidence for that"

      Seek and you shall find!

      August 4, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Sim34

      Nope!
      "Seek and you shall find!"

      In other words "Believe first, then invent evidence to support your faith."

      August 4, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Yep

      @ Sim34 – Yep!

      August 4, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Nope!

      You believe YOU exist, don't you. Do you ever consider that it may be more to your existence than just your five senses and your physical body? Tat would be a start! But as long as you go to lame experts to give you answers, you'll remain lame just as they are!

      August 4, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • tallulah13

      "Nope", I am certain there are a lot of things in the universe that I am unaware of and that are greater than me. There are things on earth that fit that description. However, there is no evidence to support the existence of a supernatural supreme being. Nor is there evidence that supernatural being had anything to do with the creation of the universe, the creation of the Earth, or indeed, the relatively insignificant lives of the humans on this planet.

      You chose to believe in something that gives you comfort, but that belief has zero basis in reality. I have never found comfort in lies, even pretty ones. You can believe whatever you want, by my belief goes where the facts lead.

      August 4, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  11. georgex

    If you are in a plane crash where only a couple of people survive, I would say who did depends more on where you are sitting and where the stress of impact occurred rather than some divine intervention. Why bad things happen to good people? (Well, bad things happen to bad people also.) This is a question which is difficult to answer for Christians who always want to find some grace in tragedy. There is no grace there and this was simply a horrible event. But I think it is wonderful that the Internet allows many doubters to express their views here as we become a more open society. In the past they didn't have the chance to meet or discuss their views and felt a bit isolated. Today there are organizations for non-believers such as http://www.secular.org that have meetings and interesting projects and just good conversation..
    Personally, I don't think we can blame God for these killings anymore than we should give him credit for the survivors. He seems to stay out of almost every human event. He doesn't do much that I am aware of.

    August 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      @georgex:
      The Atheist indicts god based solely on what happens in what is, cosmologically speaking, the blink of an eye. There is suffering by transient biological forms for an instant in time: therfore there can be no god. They seem fond of contemplating the vastness of the universe, but incapable of admitting that there is a lot of real estate to cover in the quest for the divine: spatially as well as temporally. If you were the creator of a universe 100 billion light years in diameter, that probably is also multi-dimensional as well as eternal, would you hang around trying to impress a group of arrogant primates who a milli-second ago were brachiating among the tress of Africa?

      August 3, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • happy jack

      @Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer
      Since god, the creator is so unbelievably complicated and powerfual as to have created a universe 100 Billion light years across, imagine how incredible His creator was! I mean he couldn't have just come into existance, right?

      August 3, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Hey. Stop all your critical thinking now.

      August 3, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      @happy jack:

      The problem of first cause exists whether one is speaking of theology or physics.

      Creation ex nihlo?

      I cannot say. Either the universe or god is eternal or somehow self-generating...the problem of explanation in the sphere of mundane logic exists regardless.

      August 3, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • happy jack

      @Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer
      Ahhhh, but of the two of us, I say I don't know.

      August 3, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      I don't know, either. Do you have a point?

      August 3, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • happy jack

      Also, I tink infinite regress of a more and more complicated creator is less likely than a universe that came from nothing. You know many well know scientists are gravitating toward this hypothesis.

      August 3, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • happy jack

      If you are not an atheist, then you do know, or did I come into this conversation late, like that guy on the Big Labowski?

      August 3, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      Every advance in the field of physics only unearths more mysteries. Perhaps one day Pandora's ultimate box will be opened and there will be a tootsie-roll center...I cannot say.

      August 3, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      I fudged a little...I am actually an Agnostic/ Atheist who is also, like Voltaire, a master Theist.

      August 3, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • happy jack

      Gotcha. 🙂 I'll save it for a real theist.

      August 3, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      Oh, make no mistake.. I am a real Thiest. I believe in an ultimate consciousness that is latent in the very fabric of the universe.

      August 3, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • happy jack

      @Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer
      OK. I'm not.
      Later...

      August 3, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      Just as every cop is a criminal
      And all the sinners saints
      As heads is tails just call me Lucifer
      I'm in need of some restraint

      So if you meet me, have some courtesy
      Have some sympathy and some taste
      Use all your well learned politics
      Or I'll lay your soul to waste, mmm yeah

      August 3, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Cq

      Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer
      If there is so much "real estate to cover in the quest for the divine" just think of how many places all the other gods could be hiding?

      August 4, 2012 at 1:14 am |
  12. Charles Darwin

    Religion is the main cause of evil in this world.

    Just ask the two innocent people in the middle east that were put in a hole and stoned to death this week by religious freaks.

    Where was your "loving" god then? Or their "loving god?"

    Someone said we are going to burn in hell.....so I'm all for it as long as there aren't any religious nuts there. You have created hell on earth for the rest of us.

    August 3, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      Dull atheist, could a giddy dance
      Of atoms lawless hurl’d
      Construct so wonderful, so wise,
      So harmonised a world?

      Charles Darwin

      August 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Yes

      August 3, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      @Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer:

      Organic life beneath the shoreless waves
      Was born and nurs'd in ocean's pearly caves;
      First forms minute, unseen by spheric glass,
      Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass;
      These, as successive generations bloom,
      New powers acquire and larger limbs assume;
      Whence countless groups of vegetation spring,
      And breathing realms of fin and feet and wing.

      Erasmus Darwin; The Temple of Nature; 1804.

      August 3, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      Belief in the process of evolution by natural selection is not incompatable with belief in diety.

      August 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • happy jack

      @Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer
      That statement is correct. Did you mean to follow that up with something else?

      August 3, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      @happy jack:
      No, but thanks for asking.

      August 3, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      One of my sons, a devout Christian, once enumerated the views someone could have on evolution and still be considered a Christian. However, science never refers to a deity in its version of the story, which begins about 5 billion years ago, before our solar system existed, even before the materials for making it existed. It then tells how the materials came into being in the nuclear crucible of a collapsing star which eventually exploded, spewing its contents into a gigantic cloud of molecular hydrogen, then how our solar system was formed and began to take shape about 4.5-billion years ago. How the initially molten Earth cooled and crusted over, then was covered by water which came in the tails of the numerous comets and "space snowballs" that kept up a relentless bombardment of the primordial Earth, until a warm salt-free ocean covered all (or nearly all) of the earth, which as yet had no high mountains. Then, how 3.9-billion years ago the first life forms appeared, a simple bacterium, called a prokaryote, which had the unique feature that it did not need to die unless it was killed, It gradually evolved into something like the green slime you can still see on damp stones. The prokaryotes ruled for narly two billion years, then a new life form appeared (how is highly controversial). It was the cell wit a nucleus and an evolutionary explosion ensued.

      August 3, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  13. Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

    When you encounter someone who professes to be an Atheist take the most expedient and most personally advantageous action: eat him. They are high in protein and a good source of B vitamins and amino acids.
    Just do not allow yourself to be apprehended by the authorities until the eating of Atheists is fully regonized and sanctioned by the state. Remember, you have nothing to fear except law enforcement.... as long as you have braised, roasted or broiled the Atheist to an internal temperature of at least 180 degrees. They are also good in a casseroles and fricasses.
    Atheists are a small and weak minority who should be exploited.
    Make no mistake...I am an Atheist myself...but I will never reveal that to the world. It serves my interests best to call myself a Christian in order to further my purposes.
    Do not bore me with ideas about how I should obey my "inner moral sense". My moral sense is nothing but a biological construct, a primitive survival advantge I have out grown...much like I have out grown the need for God. I can discard them both easily...they are wothless to me now...After all, God Is Dead and the only good is what is good for ME. I am the Superman. I am beyond Good and Evil.

    August 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  14. LOL@"WhereWasGod"

    You have to be a fool to look around at all the perfection before you and call it the work of a mythological sky-fairy.

    August 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  15. Bible Clown©

    Wow, Dan the Religion Editor sure is sensitive! How about "Is being an editor church for cowards?" Call me some more names, Mister Christian; I can feel the LUV.

    August 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • LOL@"WhereWasGod"

      Religion editor....comic book editor...fairy tale editor...

      Same gig.

      August 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  16. doihave2

    I like to challenge you to ask God (even if you think He doesn't exist)to show you the real truth to it all. That's it but how many of you a brave enough to do that?

    August 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • ME II

      @doihave2,
      Do you really think people haven't tried that?

      August 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • happy jack

      Already done it (several decades ago) still waiting....
      I suppose this has happened to many, many others as well right? Anyone else?

      August 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Assumption Alert #1: Atheists were never religion.

      As a former christian who grew up in an extremely religious home and went to a christian school for 13 years, I can assure you that I tried all of the tricks and really wanted to believe. In the end, no answer came to me that was outside of my own mind.

      So now, I make a challenge to you. If you are not a mathematician or a chemist, ask god to give you the answer to a formula or a chemical bonding problem. Basically, you can ask for anything that is outside of your field of expertise. Christians go too easy on god. They ask for a bill to be paid, or that they will get better from their illness. Why not just pose a math problem to god and wait for him to reveal the answer to you?

      Surely, the god responsible for the entire universe and all of the maths that govern it can provide a solution a simple formula. After all, he promised that if anything is asked in his name, he will provide it.

      August 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      god please show me the truth. ..... what's that, what did you say, oh you don't exist. Thank for clearing that up. Some of these humans are confused.

      August 3, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Kt

      doihave2
      To honestly ask God anything means having to believe in him first, and if people ready believed in him why on earth would they ask for help from him to believe in him?

      Many, if not most of us, once believed in God, but then we realized that the basis for believing in him was just smoke and mirrors. A lot of us prayed for the strength to keep on believing even though we now knew better, but when you realize that God probably isn't really there, and your prayers go unanswered as usual, you kinda take the hint.

      August 4, 2012 at 12:53 am |
  17. Joe

    You have to be a fool to look around at all the perfection before you and call it an accident. Why is it stupid to believe in God yet okay to believe that the universe that moves like clockwork around you is some happy accident. God didn't put that gunman in that theater the same way he didn't prevent it. That higher power is there, we just need to stop believing he's some comic book character that is going to fly in and save the day. How can you want free will yet always want someone to be watching your back? He leaves it to us to do the right thing and we fail miserably. That's not his fault, that's ours.

    August 3, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • ME II

      "...anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell." (Mt 5:22)

      August 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • I_get_it

      Joe: " we just need to stop believing he's some comic book character that is going to fly in and save the day."

      Then you won't be crediting him with "saving" folks from tornadoes and plane crashes and stuff either, ok?

      August 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Emerson

      Good point Joe, but if what you say is true then what is the point of prayer? As far as I'm concerned it has to be one of the most asinine ideas ever conceived.

      August 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • One one

      I believe he is a comic book character who came from heaven to earth through a virgin birth, walked on water, cast out demons, etc., died then rose from the dead then appeared to his fans, has an evil partner (Satan), and created hell to torture people who don't worship him.

      August 3, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Joe, Only religious people simplify the concept of existence as either "accidental" or "intentional." Life is neither. It just is. Intention is not something that can exist before something exists. Without intention, you cannot have accidents. At that level of occurrences things happen, or they do not happen. While that isn't very satisfying on an emotional level (nor should we cease looking for deeper answers), until we have evidence to the contrary, this is what is. Accept it or reject it... that's your choice. Just don't pretend like you have a real grounding or foundation for your belief. It's merely a faith claim., and faith is just pretending to know things you don't know.

      August 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Cq

      Joe
      Where do you see "perfection" in the universe? Our sun will die some day. Almost all of the universe is hostile to life. There are black holes that swallow stars. Astroids hit the earth and wipe out most of the life on it pretty regularly. There are ice ages that cover much of the land that happen pretty often, relatively speaking. Tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and other disasters kill thousands every year. Diseases kill millions. The human eye is built upside down and with a huge blind spot. We have back problems and trouble birthing due to our evolving an upright posture. If this is what God sees as "perfection", then he sure wasn't much of a designer.

      August 4, 2012 at 1:07 am |
  18. LOL@"WhereWasGod"

    I get such a kick out of religious quacks saying things like, "read the bible for proof of god"...."the bible tells us blahblah" etc.

    I suppose If should read Homer, then I will find proof of Cyclops?

    I also find it hilarious that NONE of the 'christians' believe in Thor, Zues, Jupiter, Kali, Mithra, Ra or any of the hundreds of 'gods' that have been worshiped over the times of human existence...

    ...yet they cannot comprehend why atheists discount their 'god' just as easily as they themselves dismiss those mentioned above as 'fairy tales' or 'mythology'.

    The irony of it all is simply delicious...keep it coming!!!

    August 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  19. justin

    I don't mined religion but its when they cram it down your throat its annoying just keep your make belive god to youself and thats also why I hate republicans.

    Or when the parents brain wash there children into beliving what they belive, they should what until the child is old enough and decide for themself what to belive in.

    August 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • pssst

      justin,

      If you are going to represent non-believers, please learn how to spell and to construct proper sentences with correct grammar. Thanks.

      August 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • pssst

      p.s. It's informal here and without an "Edit" function, lots of flubs and typos happen - no problem - but your post is over-the- top, atrocious English.

      August 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      @pssst,
      You come across as a teacher of English, the kind who teaches students to hate reading and writing. It' the idea that counts, not the grammar.

      August 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      I agree that it's the thought that counts, but it never hurts to improve oneself. Why should we hold atheists to a different standard than we hold christians. For my part, I expect more from atheists than I ever do christians.

      If I find accepting god as the answer to everything is intellectually lazy, then by all means, not right clicking one red-underlined words certainly qualifies as well.

      August 3, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Nope!

      Ever notice how atheist always want to appear intelligent? LOL
      Well, us ordinary folks don't mind little misspelling, whether it be from our friends, or from our oponenets. We look at the heart of the message someone its trying to convey. And notice also that us ordinary, God -honoring folks don't boast ourselves of our intelligence... remember in grammar school when the bully always showed off and pushed the little guy around, making fun of him?... By the way the little guy had all A's on his report card!

      But there is much more to our lives what makes them worth- while and what makes our message of faith and hope in God of great importance... To get bogged down with trivial things like misspelled words is nothing but foolishness!
      So, if you're smart, you'll learn something out of this message!

      August 3, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Nope!

      BTW – "atheist" (first line) was meant to be "atheists".....just to ease your mind and prevent you from having adrenaline rush....

      August 3, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Nope!, I guess you have to be a pretty shallow and empty person to believe that the only point of striving for excellence and perfection is appearance. Some of us, don't need to worry about how we appear. We are confident in who we are. This is the confidence that comes from hard work and dedication to something that is bigger than our egos. If we were only concerned about appearance, we'd just follow the easy flow of religion and accept mediocrity. Take that how you will, but for people like this, it isn't about bullying or bragging about our report card, it's about self-improvement.

      If you're content without feeling a need to improve yourself, that's entirely your right. I hope you will see one day that self-improvement is its own reward, and the only competi.tion is oneself.

      August 4, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • Nope!

      Nope, you didn't guess.....All you can do is dabble in the dark, friend, ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of Truth! And you can't improve even one little iota of your own fallen nature.... you can dress it up with good works, but when you stand before your Maker, then you will see how much you've "improved"! You will stand on your own before holy God without an Advocate! Do you think you can ?

      August 4, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • What IF

      @Nope!,
      "You will stand on your own before holy God without an Advocate!"

      You (nor anyone else) has ever provided evidence that this actually occurs. Repeating it over and over, louder and louder, and with exclamation points, does not prove that it's true.

      August 4, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Nope!

      We know something you don't...... and just because YOU don't, it doesn't make US wrong!
      Proof is given to everyone who SEEKS – at the Source!
      No one else can give it to ya!

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

      @Nope!, so you DO have proof, but you're just not going to share it huh? Convenient.

      August 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  20. justin

    There's no god, but I wish there was, so that way I won't be afraid of dieing.

    August 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Nope!

      Justin, there is God, and you don't have to be afraid of dying. Whether you said this with touch of sarcasm or you meant it, the truth is, we all fear dying.....because we fear things we haven't experienced.
      I for example, fear that dying is painful.
      But if you know Lord Jesus Christ and put your faith in Him, you do not need to fear death, because those who die in Him, will pass from death into Life.

      August 3, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The only reason to fear dying is the fear of the unknown. Once you're dead, you won't care one way or the other, because you won't exist to care. Love your life, and hold on to it as long as you can, but there is no reason to fear the inevitable. Knowing that existence is finite makes life that much sweeter.

      August 4, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Nope!

      "Once you're dead, you won't care one way or the other, because you won't exist to care.'
      Often on these blogs we, believers are told we are 'delusional" .
      But reading comments like yours makes us realize how much you, people delude yourself into believing that you'll just die and that's the end.
      But keep on believing what YOU want, .....when your time comes, you too will become a "believer".

      August 4, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Cq

      Nope!
      Why would you even suspect that you'll actually get to live on after you die? Do you see ghosts?

      August 5, 2012 at 12:23 am |
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About this blog

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