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My Take: With Olympics, we yearn to be like gods
August 11th, 2012
11:00 PM ET

My Take: With Olympics, we yearn to be like gods

Editor's Note: Joseph Loconte, Ph.D., is an associate professor of history at the King’s College in New York City and the author of The Searchers: A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt.

By Joseph Loconte, Special to CNN

(CNN) The ancient Greeks, especially the frugal Spartans, would probably balk at the commercialism that saturates our modern Olympic Games. And it’s doubtful that either badminton or beach volleyball would satisfy their appetite for blood-and-guts competition.

Yet we share something with the Greeks every time we assemble for this great athletic contest: a desire to transcend the politics of the moment and reach beyond the ordinary limits of human achievement. That desire has been on full display during the London Summer Games.

Begun in 776 BC, the Olympic Games soon became so important to Greek life that conflicts between participating Greek city-states, which were constantly squabbling with one another, would be suspended until after the games. The great historian Thucydides described one such scene in his classic history of the Peloponnesian War.

“The whole gathering at the festival was terrified that the Spartans might arrive under arms…and it was thought that there would be a crisis,” he wrote. “The Spartans, though, fell quiet and let the festival pass without incident.”

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So, too, today, as nations put aside their political differences to compete in London. Why? And what makes us interrupt our daily routines to join this provocative world of triumph and tragedy?

Surely it’s not merely to see records shattered, which happened plenty this year, including Michael Phelps’ record for the most number of medals won by a single athlete.

The competitors who capture our hearts are those who achieve greatness because of their sacrifice, humility, and what the Greeks called arête, or heroic courage. No Greek Olympian achieved honor either by shrinking from adversity or by feeding his personal vanity. Then and now, glory seems the proper reward for the Olympian who embodies the classical virtues.

Think of the triumph of American sprinter Jesse Owens at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Nazi Germany, deep in the grip of racist ideology, directed its hatreds not only at Jews, but at all non-Aryans. Imagine the shock to Nazi Party elites when a black American, the son of a sharecropper and grandson of slaves, stared down fascist propaganda, bested his rivals and took home four gold medals.

Hitler was furious, but tens of thousands of ordinary Germans at the stadium that day cheered him on.

Although just a boy at the time, I remember how a 17-year-old Russian gymnast named Olga Korbut captured the world’s affections at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Cold War tensions were simmering, but the “sparrow from Minsk” enthralled the West not only with raw talent, but with charisma, innocence and contagious joy.

Olga Korbut almost singlehandedly shattered the Western stereotype of the Soviets as stoic, unfeeling automatons.

Or think of Manteo Mitchell, the American sprinter in London last week who said he was just “doing my job” when he completed a 400-meter relay knowing he had broken his leg long before the finish line. He couldn’t bear the thought of letting his teammates down; he soldiered on. “The only way he would have stopped,” said Coach Danny Williamson, “is if the leg had fallen off.”

This is why the Olympic Games retain such a powerful hold on our moral imagination: We get to see what human nature is capable of in its nobler moments. We witness something so remarkable that it shakes us loose from our preoccupations and prejudices.

Such moments reveal what Christian writer C.S. Lewis called “our inconsolable secret,” our universal longing to bridge a gulf between our ordinary lives and this extraordinary life set before us.

What is this longing, this nostalgia for a world that exists outside of our actual experience?

Recall that the original Olympics were awash in religious imagery. The games were dedicated to Zeus, the chief of the Greek gods. Priests were on hand at every event, offering sacrifices and benedictions. Victory wreaths were made from olive trees, considered sacred.

In the minds of the Greeks, the heights of human achievement were somehow linked to the divine: when athletes won glory, they stood in the presence of the gods.

It is easy for us, as sophisticated and secular people, to dismiss this thinking as the childish projections of a superstitious age. But perhaps the Greeks were onto something.

Perhaps, in all their striving, they revealed a stubborn truth about the human predicament. For there seems to be something common to societies and civilizations everywhere, lodged in our DNA, that reaches anxiously for another world: a community defined by strength, courage, justice, and love.

As Plato described it in The Republic: “The city we have founded, if we have built rightly, will be good in the fullest sense of the word.”

The Olympic Games help awaken in us the desire for this city, what Christian thinkers such as Augustine called “the city of God.” In the Christian story, the tragedy of the human condition is that each of us is forced to live outside of this celestial home.

We are cut off from the grace and beauty and love of God. We may view his city from afar, but we cannot enter. We may think we belong there, but we are treated as strangers.

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This sense of alienation and longing is hinted at in other religious traditions: in Buddhism’s attempt to escape the cycle of suffering, for example, or in Islam’s description of paradise, where the righteous “shall have all that they desire.” Each admits that something has gone terribly wrong in our world.

In the Christian hope, man’s tragic plight is overcome by God himself. We are given a promise that God would take on human frailty and make a way back to his sacred city. “I will bring them back to this land,” God announced through the prophet Jeremiah. “They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”

Is it possible that every time we rise to applaud our Olympic champions, we anticipate this final homecoming?

If so, then Olympic glory is a faint picture of divine glory: to be welcomed back into the heart of God, accepted, approved, honored and blessed.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Joseph Loconte.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: God • Opinion • Sports

soundoff (606 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • MagicPanties

      My invisible pink unicorn is praying that you come to your senses.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things. Proof provided by response above

      August 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  2. disgustedvet

    You simplistic self-proclaimed "wits " are funny . Your non-belief in a "God " has become your religion. You believe there IS NO GOD as strongly as any who believes there IS A GOD. Thus is has become your Religion. Play your little semantics games if you will but you convince no-one except yourselves.

    August 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Didn't you post this before? Or something like it? You never did answer my question: Why do you think it's virtuous to believe in something for which there is no proof? Do you as.sign the same virtue to adults who believe in vampires or elves?

      Why must you mock those who have looked at the complete lack of evidence to support the existence of your god (or any god) and decided that there was no reason to believe?

      August 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Let's be reasonable here for a moment. Do you believe in werewolves or vampires or Santa Claus? To me your so called God is the same, it doesn't exist. It's not a belief that I submit it is the lack of it being. If it were real then it would be something I would have to believe in, right?

      August 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • gager

      Another believer who doesn't know what religion is. Typical of the religious uneducated.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • atheism is

      stupidity defined

      August 12, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • MagicPanties

      How strongly do you not believe in invisible pink unicorns?
      Same thing.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Dionysus

      Of course, there are gods, hunderds, maybe even thousands and they reside in books or tomes, if you prefer. These stories written by human authors have been regarded as myths or in some cases evolved into religions. The agnostic/atheist crowd simply maintains that the stories are pure fiction; have as many gods as you want, just try and make them believable to a reasoning, logical thinker. I have been degraded to a myth, my current favorite god figure is the flying spaghetti monster.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  3. goodlerd

    Why do some atheists try and mock believers for believing, and why do believers try and tell atheists god is real. your wasting your time you really think your cnn forum post is going to change their minds? let people believe what they want and just shut up all ready

    August 12, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Since you don't appear to have a horse in this race, why are you commenting? People come here because they enjoy the discussion. I know I'm not going to be changing any minds, but it's interesting (and somewhat frightening) to read what my fellow citizens think on the topic.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      We would go away in an instant if you believers stayed out of trying to force your beliefs on our public lives. We are not going away, period.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • gager

      Holding unreal beliefs can lead to dangerous consequences.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • thedownyatheist

      You'll be real vocal when you are judged.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @thedownyatheist

      I am being vocal now and you are judging me now, no need to wait, bring it on!

      August 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  4. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    It's truly sad that so many are so deeply indoctrinated in their particular brand of religious belief that they cannot even comprehend no religious belief, so they call atheism a religion. It's the only way they can cope with a reality that religious indoctrination has taken from them.

    August 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Answer

      The concept is to label someone with the same lunacy as yourself to give yourself some meaning and footing.

      "You see you have a religion too.. now aren't you just as ridiculous when you are a believer?"

      –that is the tool of a moron who is struggling in a debate.

      August 12, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  5. anon

    Blasphemy readings just went off the chart. Prepare for a change of masters, trust me, you won't like it. That other guy doesn't love you.

    August 12, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      people believe the stangest things.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  6. GOD PARTICLE UK Dave

    ON YOUR MARKS! GET SET! OOPS! OOPS! OOPS!

    I JUST FIXED EVERYTHING WITH VERY RAPID http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gNFkz23n50
    aka Youtube(Ready to cooperate yet?) 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    🙂 🙂 READY TO COOPERATE YET ???? 🙂 🙂

    August 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • GOD PARTICLE UK Dave

      VERY IMMEDIATE FORECAST ....

      MARTIAL LAW WILL BE POUNDING ON YOUR DOOR VERY SOON !!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
      🙂 🙂 READY TO COOPERATE YET ???? 🙂 🙂

      August 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  7. Leo

    This is because people anthropomorphized god way too much and you don't know what else to shoot for.

    August 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      I think you have a point about "humanizing" a concept. We do it all the time with things we don't understand. For example; our pets, especially dogs. If you were to delve deeper into the psychology and cognitive functions of the domesticated canid one would learn to understand the "self-world" they live in, drastically different than ours.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      The concept of God(s) is very simply the anthropomorphising of those things we don't yet understand, making God(s) the sum total of human ignorance.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  8. JE

    We are finite. Our Olympians are finite. We cheer them on but they, too, grow old and are unable to compete against younger athletes. When we are young, we think we are immortal and will be forever young and strong. We think we are masters of our destiny and that is true to some extent and for a time but our loved ones die, we die. No one knows what lies ahead.

    We are like ants scurrying around this planet when contrasted with the expanse of the universe; however, I think we are most God-like not when we compete for a short amount of time in a sporting event but when we live our lives the best we can loving and supporting one another. The Olympians have entertained us but I am truly inspired when I see a parent loving their kids or a kid admiring/emulating his parent or a teacher pouring themselves into a child. I am inspired by the love people have for one another. That to me shows something incredibly beautiful.

    I believe in God. I believe that He loves all mankind. I hope one day that we will be able to see what we now cannot see.

    August 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      You can believe in anything you like, you can make it up but it doesn't mean it is real or true. Just curious, why do you believe in a God and what God would that be and how is your God any different than any other Gods?

      August 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • JE

      I believe there is one God. I believe that because since the beginning of time most cultures have felt a Great Spirit w/o being 'told' to believe that. The world doesn't seem random. Love doesn't seem random. Human character doesn't seem random. I grew up in the church and loved it but it was more social; I was having fun but not really paying attention. I respected my father and his faith but after college I started to doubt that God existed. I had to struggle through my own doubts. I couldn't just believe because others believed. I prayed. He answered and led me. Nothing seemed random: the jobs I got, the people I met, the things that came into my life all were interconnected.

      The past few years, I have struggled with questions and doubts. The hypocrisy in the church makes me angry. If God is love, who are we to act superior to anyone else? The Bible addresses that. Jesus addresses that. The only people he criticizes are the self-righteous religious hypocrites who look down on everyone else.

      I have had 1 experience in my life that was blatantly supernatural. Other than that, I pray and hope.

      If this world is all there is, that's kind of depressing because there is joy but there is also pain and separation and death.

      The truth is what matters. If God exists, may He reveal Himself to all of us.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @JE

      Thanks for your response as I appreciate an honest reply. While I understand that you have this belief (as I did for many, many, many years) I must interject that the "interconnection" that you experienced or results from your prayers are merely natural occurrences, they would have happened anyway. I say this through experience of being once a believer and now a nonbeliever and life still goes on the same way as it did before but with the absence of this thing you call God. Now I find my existence beyond anything that I could have imagined without this thought of a God or an afterlife. Yes, there is suffering and pain and death and all the other things that going along with being a human and alive. Embrace your life, the world, other people but don't be deluded. Learn, educate yourself, read, explore, open your mind and live for yourself, it's the only one you have my friend.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Simran.M

      Yes, we are finite and so are sportsman. But in the moment when those men and women overcome their fears, inhibitions, physical, emotional and mental barriers to go reach beyond their own boundaries – they rejoice and we rejoice with them. This is called LIVING IN THE MOMENT!
      Well, you can keep living life in repentance, just hoping God at the end of the day will forgive and embrace you, or you can LIVE EACH AND EVERY MOMENT OF LIFE.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • JE

      Thanks. Wise words. I think Christians too often waste time demonizing others and are missing out on life and love.

      All the best.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • JE

      Simran.

      Very true. Well said.

      Have you read the book Unbroken? Unbelievable story. Former Olympian and then POW during WWII.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Unbroken" is one of the best books I've read in a very long time. I highly recommend it.

      August 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Simran.M

      Thank you. Will soon get that book and love to read it. Wonder if anyone saw the movie The Greatest Game Ever Played?

      August 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  9. kevin

    (1) We are not gods and it is the testament of man's constant vanity to speak of ourselves as such. (2) The pageantry of the Olympics is a poor imitation of the glories of Heaven. (3) If we are undeservedly lucky, we won't choke ourselves in our own egos and wind up in ruin which is found in so many fables about men comparing themselves to gods.

    August 12, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  10. MennoKnight

    Ah I see the Atheist Church has been assembled this morning. We have even heard from the High Priest of Atheism today and all his followers say AMEN.

    The funniest thing about you Atheists is even though you cry out "We are no a religion" you sure act like one!
    Now let the name calling begin in 3... 2.... 1!!!

    August 12, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Sam Harris: Religions Are Failed Sciences

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQgI4bHpAlA&feature=relmfu

      August 12, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Sam Harris: Religions Are Failed Sciences

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQgI4bHpAlA&feature=relmfu

      August 12, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      It's obvious by your post you are promoting some sort of confrontation, why?

      August 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  11. Jim

    This is an article written by an extremely immature mind.

    August 12, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  12. Shaz

    Stupid author, getting 5 kills in a row in LoL makes you godlike

    August 12, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  13. TheVocalAtheist

    Joseph Loconte, have you grown-up intellectually? I think not. What you write is frightening to me. Why? Because you actually believe what you write.

    August 12, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • John

      i'm agnostic at best and agree with you. Most of CNN's writers are kindergarten level. Such inane drivel.

      August 12, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  14. Rainer Braendlein

    Let each other take care of our souls, the greatest service which we can do to each other, instead of jumping and running around half mad, always aspiring for high performance.

    Wikipedia: While there is no scholarly consensus when the Games (the ancient Olympic Games) officially ended, the most commonly held date is 393 AD, when the emperor Theodosius I decreed that all pagan cults and practices be eliminated.

    Obviously emperor Theodosius decreed the elimination of the ancient Olympic Games, because they were a pagan cult.

    Why are the Olympic Games pagan?

    Hypothesis: There are some morons which assume the whole life would merely be a competi-tion of all human beings, in order to pick out the bests. This resembles the theory of the survival of the fittest. Olympic Games are just a glorification of that way of life, and thus a satanic worship service.

    What is moronic about that or pagan?

    God has not structured the world in the way that all beings should contest with each other. The assumption the whole world would be a place of contest is absolutely moronic.

    What is the real structure of the world as the Lord, the eternal God, has predetermined it?

    The whole world is a big, organic body with very many limbs and organs which depend on each other. This is escpecially valid for the mankind. Would you want that your hands contest with each other? No! You want that your both hands colaborate so that they help you to lift a box for example. Limps and organs shall colaborate, in order to make possible the survival of every single limb and organ and the whole body.

    Everybody has certain gifts, and can contribute to the wealth of the whole mankind. One is a taylor, one is a carpenter, one is a scientist, one is an engineer, one is a cleaner, a gardener, a farmer, a physician, etc.. The more all the individuals get allowed to unfold their specific talents, the more the wealth of the mankind will increase, and every single need will be satisfied.

    St. Paul once refers to an athletic contest. Is this one of the many errors of the Bible? Never! St. Paul meant that Christians should conduct a perpetual struggle against the satanic struggle of the secular world. The evil germ in us always seeks for distinction, separation, being greater, stronger, richer, more honored, more powerful than the neighbour. It is even possible that we always emphasize the superiority of our faith, in order to make us higher than our neighbour.

    The real contest for everybody and especially for Christians is the fight against the evil germ in us. By birth we are inclined to seek for distinction and separation. This we shall overcome by Christ, into whom we are baptized. Day by day we should ask Christ to rule us, so that not our old, selfish man of sin may prevail but the Spirit of Christ which is a Spirit of love, unity and cooperation. Don't let us contest, but cooperate, and we will create a world of peace and wealth for everybody.

    At the latest when Christ returns this system of love and humble cooperation will be forced through. Accept that good system right now, not that you are found as an enemy of Christ at Judgement Day.

    Pleas note: Good Olympic Games = cooperation of all people, but no contest

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    August 12, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • sn0wb0arder

      why do you continually post this drivel?

      at no time is man more grand than when he strives to a goal, whether physical or mental.

      August 12, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • mitch

      @Rainer der Feige
      I babble therefore I am. Rainer Braendlein

      August 12, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Simran.M

      Sportsmanship typically is regarded as a component of morality in sport, composed of three related and perhaps overlapping concepts: fair play, sportsmanship and character.

      Fair play refers to all participants having an equitable chance to pursue victory and acting toward others in an honest, straightforward, and firm and dignified manner even when others do not play fairly. It includes respect for others, including team members, opponents, and officials.

      Character refers to dispositions, values, and habits that determine the way that person normally responds to desires, fears, challenges, opportunities, failures, and successes, and is typically seen in polite behaviors toward others, such as helping an opponent up or shaking hands after a match. An individual is believed to have a “good character” when those dispositions and habits reflect core ethical values.

      Wonder why I never saw wars raging over sports, but definitely see them over RELIGION.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Shut up already

      the fight against the evil germ in us....Jesus Christ Rainy go get laid already, that kind of sin may set your delusional mind free.

      August 12, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  15. derf

    The perfect athletes. Spherical runners on a frictionless track?

    August 12, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  16. John

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8U_JveHS8E

    August 12, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • sn0wb0arder

      funny and very true.

      August 12, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • MennoKnight

      Nobody ever does anything evil in the name of Atheism eh?
      What about:
      Mao: 60 million murdered
      Stalin: 40 million murdered
      Pol Pot: 8 Million murdered
      North Korea: 6+ Million murdered.

      August 12, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Really?

      "Nobody ever does anything evil in the name of Atheism eh?
      What about:
      Mao: 60 million murdered
      Stalin: 40 million murdered
      Pol Pot: 8 Million murdered
      North Korea: 6+ Million murdered."

      Atheism itself isn't a principle, cause, philosophy, or belief system which people fight, die, or kill for. Being killed by an atheist is no more being killed in the name of atheism than being killed by a tall person is being killed in the name of tallness. Atheism also isn't a belief system or ideology which can, by itself, inspire people to do things — good or bad.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • sn0wb0arder

      mennonight – for which precepts of atheism were those people killed? oh thats right, there are no precepts of atheism.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Menno, you missed the obvious connection here. Those regimes you named are Communist. Atheism was not the cause of those deaths.

      It's not like when the catholic church declared war on the jews during the Inquisition, or even the Crusades. It's more like when the catholic conquistadors brought their germs and weapons to the Americas steal gold and land from the natives, resulting in millions killed.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      MennoKnight wrote:
      "Nobody ever does anything evil in the name of Atheism eh? . . ."

      Here we go again with this garbage. It doesn't make any sense to associate ruthless rulers with any religion or lack thereof. One could just as easily argue that Pol Pot was a Buddhist, Stalin a Christian (he waffled away from religion and then back to it when it was politicially necessary for him to do so), Hitler a Christian, etc., etc. That kind of broad association shows nothing of any use. What is of more use than trying to associate a few wacko rulers with religion is to shed light on how much evil is done in the name of Christianity's key figure by the twisted tenets of the Catholic church. That's not a wacko here and there, that's a whole extremist organization.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  17. MagicPanties

    If I devoted my life to promoting belief in leprechauns and fairies, what would you think?
    That I'm nuts? That I'm wasting my life on nonsense? That I should spend time and money doing real good?

    That, my religious friends, is how your stubborn belief in imaginary gods appears to non-believers.

    August 12, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  18. Paul Willson

    Makes us more Godless by exulting the achivement of the few vs the achivement of the masses.

    August 12, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • sn0wb0arder

      thank you karl marx

      August 12, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • John

      The so-called masses' achievements can only be measured in hind-sight. The "greatness" the author refers to is human vanity.

      August 12, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  19. Hypatia

    At least the ancients respected–indeed, glorified man and his strengths instead of stuffing their faces with Chik Fil Hate gutbombs.

    August 12, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Jim

      Your ignorance is appalling and your hatred for humans is sickening.

      The ancient Greeks who had the money and ability to overeat, did it just as much as do. We just have more of an ability and prosperity than the ancient Greeks did.

      August 12, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  20. disgustedvet

    CNN throws out a little raw meat about " Gasp " GOD and the faithful leftist atheistic sheep Baa-Baa-Baa away. Atheism i s a far more phony religion than those they seek to denigrate. Atheists cry If I cannot see it,it cannot be. How "God Like " .

    August 12, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • John

      The Bill Maher video above is for you.

      August 12, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Seyedibar

      someone needs a dictionary. Atheism is a lack of belief, not a belief. Theburden of proof is upon those who make fantastical magic claims, such as people who claim they know a god and that he is somehow more real than any of he other ten thousand gods the human race has invented over time.

      August 12, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Please educate yourself on a subject matter before you post a statement that is so far off base it clearly establishes you as ignorant. Atheism is not a belief or a religion. Spend a little bit of time and learn for once!

      August 12, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • tallulah13

      So, DV, you find virtue in believing in something for which there is no proof? Why? Do you think it's good and right for adults to believe in vampires and elves? Or does this virtue only apply to believing in your particular delusion? Why might that be? Is it because when you look at the complete lack of evidence, you start to doubt too?

      August 12, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Jim

      Anyone who throws around the "dictionary says" in order to attempt to try to call black white is a fool who doesn't know what the dictionary does say AND doesn't understand basic logic.

      1. Dictionary definitions include (Merriam-Webster):

      Definition of ATHEISM
      1
      archaic : ungodliness, wickedness
      2
      a : a disbelief in the existence of deity b : the doctrine that there is no deity

      Definition of ATHEIST
      : one who believes that there is no deity

      A doctrine is a positive statement (a belief) about a subject.

      If you tell me there is no god or that the world is flat, you are stating your belief AND you are claiming knowledge that others do not have.

      Your belief is that there is no god but that is still a belief.

      So, you are wrong on the dictionary for one and you fail in basic logic. And you attempt to claim more knowledge and intelligence and maturity than those who have a theistic belief????

      August 12, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Jim

      If you want to bring the dictionary into this debate let us look at the word "delusional". I won't post it but it is a mental disorder based on someone having a belief that someone or something is watching them. So by the dictionary's definition you have a mental disorder. Would you agree?
      Who's the intelligent one now there Jimmy Boy.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Jim

      Jim? Jim? Are you there? Jim? Hello? What happened? Did I blow your post OUT OF THE FREAKING WATER OR WHAT! HA!

      August 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • disgustedvet

      John: Bill Maher may be your idea of a philosopher but I would not insult my ears with his words nor my eyes with his visage. To each his own .

      August 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @disgustedvet

      So you will remain uneducated, uninformed and close minded? That's not the solution. You need to open that mind of yours and consider and question what you think to be true. You might find that your wrong. Kind of scary, right? What are you afraid of? The truth or being wrong?

      August 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
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About this blog

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