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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. Edward001

    Also reality is everything that exists. To figure out if something exists, you need some evidence. If there is no evidence, then there is no reason to believe it even exists.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Reality 101

      August 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Tony N.

      Is there evidence of a first cause? Is there evidence that the universe is eternal? Are you so closed minded that you confuse the "god" of Voltaire with the "god" of John Calvin?

      August 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  2. kris

    God gave every single person in this world free will. You cant expect God to just show up and save 70 measly lives out of the Billions people who have died in our worlds history. This stuff is so ignorant. Before you criticize religions read about them so you know the answers. I promise athiest just ask questions like this because they have not read the bible. If athiests would just read the bible these dumb questions wouldnt be asked because they would be known.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Edward001

      How do you know the bible's true?

      August 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Time to bone up on the English language so that a few of us might understand what you are trying to say. Or is rational communication not part of your lexicon.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @kris,

      your opinion is very misinformed. The evidence, per surveys*, indicates that atheists generally know more about religion than theists do.

      * See: http://www.pewforum.org/U-S-Religious-Knowledge-Survey.aspx

      I dare you to look! Be brave. Recognize that atheists might not be as stupid as you seem to think we are.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Hey kris!

      Either prove there is a god or shut the f*uck-up!

      August 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @kris

      Hi -kris...

      You Said: " You cant expect God to just show up and save 70 measly lives out of the Billions people who have died in our worlds history." 😯

      Are you kidding ? So... God hasn't ever showed and and intervened and saved anyone's life...ever... in our world's history ?

      Is only 70 "measly" lives just not worthy of God's time ?

      Come on -kris... what the fvck are you talking about !

      Peace...

      August 1, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Kris: That's quite the assumption! An absolute absurd one. Most Atheists have read the buybull and thus the reason we are Atheists. Most of us were raised by devoted christian parents. Maybe if you actually read it and understood how horrible of a book it really is, you too would be an Atheist.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  3. Tony N.

    It is amazing that we live in a society where so many people have never fully considered the problem of the existence of evil. It is one of the most basic philosophical questions, yet it takes something like the Aurora shootings to get people to consider its ramifications. I guess we are just too busy. Work. School. Video games. TV. Social Media. Who has the time to actually think about reality? The most intelligent people in history have been pondering this question since the dawn of time. It is the enduring theme of some of the World's greatest literary masterpieces. But online athiestis have figured out...oh, so easily...

    August 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Tony, no, Atheists have not figured anything out. We leave that foolishness to the fundamentalists, who have an answer for everything, none of them making any sense whatsoever. The Atheists and Agnostics are quite content to enjoy the ride, offer no answers that are not supported by the scientific method, and make the most of each day with our loved ones and colleagues. Nothing more could possibly be necessary. The world is a very big place in an even bigger Universe. The Ultimate Answers you pride yourself on having, are in fact pure, unadulterated fantasy. Great subject for a book or a movie, but certainly fiction.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Tony N.

      jungleboo,
      Athiests DO have something figured out...or they could not be called athiests. Agnosticism is, of course, a valid and mature philosophical position. Carl Sagan professed himself to be agnostic. I would say that is pretty good company. Thiests know that god exists. Athiests KNOW that god doesn't exist. Can you PROVE either?

      August 1, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • jungleboo

      You are splitting hairs, Tony, and you know it.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Tony N.

      Athiests and Fundamentalists have a lot more in common than either side would like to admit. They both believe in the certainty...in the righteousness.... of their own positions. The differnce between an agnostic and an athiest is not one of splitting hairs. It is the difference between being closed and opened minded. I prefer a sceptic to a dogmatist.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • cavediver

      Tony you can twitst words all you like .... in the end..Atheists can pull their proof from the efforts of scientists. Theists cant pull proof from anywhere. Let me guess..you believe in intelligent design.... which, amazingly, always leads back to a Bronze Age god of the desert. You want to know what caused the Big Bang? Scientists are working hard on that...the LHC has paid off bigtime...as have the Hubble....Agnostics, by saying "i dont know" leave room for the desert god. I , given the evidence, cant do that.

      August 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Tonyn

      Please name one scientific experiment or theory that is "proof" that god does not exist...I am not talking about the narrow god of your fellow fundamentalists...the Yahweh of the Old Testament...I am talking about the "god" of Voltaire, of Spinoza. I love science for all that it has given us...but has it provided us with any real answers to the most fundamental questions of existence...no, it just keeps pushing the enveolpe further and further...

      August 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  4. TruthPrevails :-)

    Lennon had it right...one of the best songs ever written. 🙂

    Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try
    No hell below us, above only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today

    Imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do
    No need to kill or die for and no religions too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace

    You may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will live as one

    Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger a brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing for the world

    You may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will live as one

    You may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    Take my hand and join us
    And the world will live, will live as one

    August 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  5. Mike D.

    We're all agnostics, some of us just don't like to admit it.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Not true. Gnostic/Agnostic only defines knowledge....you either know for certain or you don't. Theist/Atheist define belief in a deity...you either believe or you don't.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • cavediver

      No sir. Am very comfortable with a supermass going critical... much better than believing a desert tribe's god did it all

      August 1, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  6. Karl Marx

    Religion is the opium of the people.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Hit the nail on the head there Karl!

      August 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Karl,

      don't you know that being a Godless Commie is unAmerican?

      It says so, right in the Const,tution. Or was it the McCarthy hearings?

      Godwin's Corollary of Stalin Analogies in three .... two ....

      August 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  7. Edward001

    I really think this article is a little disrespecting to religious people but its also waking some people up. Religious people are realizing there is no evidence for any invisible deity in the sky. They were just indoctrination as a child to believe in it and never to question their beliefs.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Why is it disrespectful to religious people, just curious? Is it because we question your belief and ask to prove your claims?

      August 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Edward001

      I'm not religious.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Anon.

      "They were just indoctrination as a child to believe in it and never to question their beliefs"

      The faithful need to be more honest: the vast majority of them only hold their religious beliefs because they were indoctrinated as children. It would take a fantastic amount of credulity (or desperation if vulnerable) to accept such extraordinary claims in adulthood without any respectable evidence to support them. The religious prey on the weak and vulnerable: their children, the poor and suffering–by any reasonable measure this is unethical and immoral, but for a believer it's a virtue!

      August 1, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  8. GOD IS IMAGINARY

    Religion – a popular tool for the lazy. It shields you from the indifference of reality. It helps you avoid the drudgery of thinking and taking responsibility for your one and only life. It comforts and separates you from reality just like alcohol and drugs.
    Thinking flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Hey god!

      You are absolutely right! Realizing that there is no god, was no god or there will never be a god takes some thinking a lot of thinking, rationalizing, logic, reason, research, etc... And then you have that V8 moment and go WOW! This is GREAT! I feel ALIVE for once in my life!

      August 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Like Karl says in a post above, it's not just lazy thinking but: "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes".

      August 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • jungleboo

      I love your last sentence, "Thinking flies you to the moon; religion flies you into buildings."
      Gorgeous statement. Fundamental Truth.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  9. JustAfewQuestions

    Why is it always 'do what you are supposed to do' to get into paradise? Why don't people just do the right thing? Why is it necessary to threaten people with 'the eternal fires of damnation' to convince them that it is a good thing to be nice to each other and help each other? Really, the idea of 'don't make me come down there' AKA the second coming, to convince people to get along is so lame. Organized religion should be considered a template for functioning in a civilized society, nothing more.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      "Organized religion"

      Organized religion is a dangerous tool, proven.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      I'm reminded of the psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg. He developed a heirarchy for moral behaviour. He said that the poorest reason for doing the right thing is fear of punishment if you don't do the right thing. In other words, a significant portion of humanity will do the wrong thing unless faced with severe consequences. If we get rid of paradise, hell, etc, we will still need civil law for the same reason. Religion goes to the bottom of this and asks "what is wrong with man." The answer is that we are fundamentally broken.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @PrimeNumber

      Hi -Prime...

      " Religion goes to the bottom of this and asks "what is wrong with man." The answer is that we are *fundamentally broken*. " 😯

      How do you come to the conclusion that "man/we are 'fundamentally broken.' "?

      What does that even mean, 'exactly' ?

      Peace...

      August 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @PrimeNumber

      I don't know if we are fundamentally broken or not. If we look back to ancient social groups, the beginnings, way before any morality or the definition thereof existed.
      What we find are tribes where altruism won-out over bullies. For example; the tribe witnesses one of their own jump into the river to save another. The reaction is one of selflessness and in return the one jumping in to save the drowning receives something in return, a sense of doing the right thing. The remainder of the tribe gravitates towards this person and in the end, the bully of the tribe attempting to rule the tribe is eventually killed by the tribe. Interesting stuff.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Austin

      I appreciate your opinion. The truth of the matter is that before Jesus came along people were not treated like they are today. The early chruch (VERY different from the corrupt churches of today) taught to respect everyone and love eveyone. They would go pick up babies left on the street and down by the river and give them homes. They opposed slavery and abuse. The problem is that sin consumes people and always will. People are flawed and only one thing can save us and that is Jesus's unfailing Love and Grace.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  10. Jesus Christ

    Just like all the other mythological saviors that came before me (if you read history or do any studies on ancient cultures you'll be better informed) I realized that my beginning, story and end are nothing but parables stolen from other cultures throughout the ages. Christianity today is a perverse form of a cult that started during Roman times to shy away from numerous Gods. Christianity today is just being used as an excuse to condemn, hate, declare war and many other things that come from the realm of darkness. Atheism isn't the answer because that's just annihilation...the opposite of religion in the exact same, militant extreme. How about trying this out: Think for yourself. Be a good person and do good things. Don't try to force people to believe in God or NOT to believe in god.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Hey jesus! Go f*uck yourself!

      August 1, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • John

      God was there when Christian Bale came down, through nothing more than his own will, to comfort the wounded. This thing we name "God" – which really no one can ever really know – acts through human kindness and decency.. When Bale and other responded so quickly to the tragedy, "God" was clearly there.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Jesus Christ

      Hey "Voice" do everyone a favor and cease to exist, since you believe you don't have a soul, why soil ours with your nastiness? What a sad little, lonely man you are.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Very jesus-like of you there jesus! You are the disgusting one.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Anon.

      "Atheism isn't the answer because that's just annihilation..."

      What absolute rubbish. Atheistic societies are more socially cohesive, exhibit lower crime and incarceration rates, and have significantly higher rates of scientific literacy. Many faithful would *like* to believe that non-believers are nihilistic, but if anything generally it is the corollary that is true. You would expect this, because religion is sectarian by definition.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  11. Hi

    Aethiest can you keep your Gay asses out of Chik Fil A im trying to eat COMFORTABLY!

    August 1, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Gladly.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Jesus Christ

      Ah, "Hi" you sound like a typical Christian. The kind that gives me a bad name. Shame on you.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms

      What's your obsession with gay backsides?

      August 1, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Sorry dolt but Atheists are not all gay and unlike you we will not patronize an establishment owned by bigots. Although I hope a gay person applies and after hired admits to being gay, so the bigots running the company show their true colors and be held for discrimination.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      Your a$$ is mine for all eternity.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  12. Erin

    So, the point of this article is to point out that atheists periodically share their opinions like everyone else?

    August 1, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • sam

      Apparently so. Also, to recycle the original article yet again, for more hits.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Yup – and to get a few more hits as sam says. Mo' hits, mo' key clicks, mo' money.

      But, it does do one meaningful thing.

      Lots of theists make posts here along the lines of "This is a Belief Blog, what are you atheists doing here?" ... (and spoiling my day with all your critical thinking).

      It highlights the idea that as a concept, the belief cannot exist without non-belief. One is the reverse side of the other. Traditionally theists railed over heretics. The issue today is not as much alternative beliefs in the divine but the growing notion that such thinking is entirely misplaced.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  13. Yo

    Hello, i'm a DJ

    August 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  14. snicklefrits

    When small I obeyed
    his every word
    Handed down to me by some
    thoughtful blur
    But now I am as big as he,
    See...No God bigger than I-
    No God frightening me...

    In my image I made he him
    and I gave him life
    So he burned me,
    the creature has risen and I
    Think you can see just what it is
    that's drivin'
    Me around round...

    We are the church we are good
    we've got your
    Millions God know we should...

    August 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  15. Megan

    Some people cannot respect others views. I am Carholic but have friends that are not christan. I respect their views and they respect mine. Bad things happen and everyone looks for someone to blame. In this case the crazy man that shot a theater of people. Respect others and worry about yourself.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You're clearly not well versed in Catholic theology so.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Megan,

      I think you'll find that most atheists here are very happy to 'respect others and worry about themselves' as you so nicely put it.

      We live in a society where people try to legislate our lives with their beliefs, which are not necessarily consistent with the consensus view of the society. These same people evangelize and proselytize their beliefs.

      We'd be very happy if they'd also respect others and just worry about themselves.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Megan

      Actually I am. Part of being a Christian is to be accepting and knowing I am not the judger at the end it is someone else the judges. God gave human kind free will and it is important to remember that fact.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      Sorry sweetheart... but I've got no respect for you hypocrits. Maybe you should look into the Spanish Inquisition to see how
      you christians are known for keeping your crap to yourselves. Trust me... I'm the devil.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Irene

      Megan, trivial googling of 'free will' will show you that it ain't a good path to go down if you want to convince people of the existence of your deity.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Megan

      I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything. Clearly you have you believes and I have mine. Don't tell me I am wrong and I wont tell you that. By the way I totally sent out the Spanish inquisition great point sir (not). Being in America people are free to believe whatever they would like. I believe in God.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  16. Bishop Hairy Palms

    God was too busy helping the NRA lobby against sensible gun legislation to help save the murdered innocents in Colorado that day.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  17. Reality

    The Agnostic/Atheist Review of the Major Religions:

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    Bottom line: Religion no longer matters, therefore this blog is no longer needed.
    ----------------------------------------------------–

    August 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Rob- Texas

      Wow, thanks for all these facts. Glad you know there was no Gabriael, or Easter. You are so smart.
      Unlike the rest of the human rase, how was the ancient knowledge given to you? Since the rest of humanity can barely past knowledge from one generation to the next, you have surpassed us all. Please tell us how you were able to prove these facts you state.....

      August 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Reality

      AS THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      For added information see the review at:

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel

      August 2, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      p.4

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      August 2, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  18. M.E.

    I just don't see why people from either side care so much. I was raised "godless heathen" but not particularly atheist, I'd say "philosophical Buddhist" is probably the best description. My husband is what I call an "evangelical athiest" and came with all the expected Hitchens and Dawkins books. I just can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would spend so much time thinking about whether something exists or not. There are so many other things I prefer to think about in my free time. I love to think about fashion, art, music, what to make for dinner, whether I should buy a book, and countless other things. To be completely honest, my brain finds so many other things so much more interesting that I just really couldn't give a damn either way. I'm neither atheist nor believer or even agnostic, I'm "Mehist." I just can't be bothered to waste valuable brain space on the question.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      That's called apatheism.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Cq

      Agnostics spend time wondering whether there is a God, or not. Atheists have decided that the evidence doesn't support the idea that God does exist; and there is a lot to discuss regarding this evidence, and the implications of living without religion and beliefs in the supernatural. Most of us have a keen interest in religion, which is probably what led us to see the truth about it. So, in a sense, we're no different than the many believers who gather on the internet to discuss religion, except that we don't believe in the supernatural aspects of it.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @M.E.

      And... yet, here you are spending your valuable time on the 'belief blog.' ?

      Peace...

      August 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Rob- Texas

      If you spend time thinking about God, you would know why.
      The first thing I learned on my Christian journey was to care and do things for others more than myself.
      "There are so many other things I prefer to think about in my free time. I love to think about fashion, art, music, what to make for dinner, whether I should buy a book, and countless other things"

      August 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Brian

      I think most people are set in their belief and are interested in the debate from an entertainment or sport percpective. I watch a lot of debates and love to see the various arguments and counter arguments. Strategy can make or brake a debate. As for shoes? Got a pair that will work for the next 2 years. Good enough.

      August 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  19. AtheistHuman

    I just wish the "god squad" would just accept that religion in hole was a huge hoax, or at best thought up by more educated slave masters to control the less educated and ignorant masses. Being oblivious, and believing in something blindly, with absolutely no solid evidence to back it up, is pure insanity. I believe in myself and my abilities, I don't need to put my faith in an imaginary hand me down gospel that has taken control and ruined millions (if not billions) of lives.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Ransom

      I wish atheists would accept they aren't in control.

      Control freak.Calm down.

      August 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Ransom: The same can be said of theists...get over yourself!

      August 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  20. vgnsnr

    No, the "internet" is not my "church". I don't have a church and I don't need one. That's the whole point. And yes, folks on the web and with its privacy while being public provides a safe way to speak up when this is still a problem in public. And honestly, I'm just indifferent enough about this to stay out of public, visible discussion around this. It's already enough to come out of the closet as a Republican in Massachusetts...yes you read that correctly. That's not a contradiction to me at all, not currently and not historically.

    August 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      If you object to "church", how about "meeting-house" or "meeting place"?

      August 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.