My Take: Christianity and Ayn Rand's philosophy are 2 distinct religions
Ayn Rand's book "The Fountainhead" and the Bible.
August 15th, 2012
11:29 AM ET

My Take: Christianity and Ayn Rand's philosophy are 2 distinct religions

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Now that one of the Republican Party’s least ideological men (Mitt Romney) has christened one of the GOP’s most ideological men (Paul Ryan) as his running mate, Ayn Rand is back in the news.

Ryan, who used to give away Rand’s novel "Atlas Shrugged" for Christmas, once described this Russian-born preacher of heroic individualism as "the reason I got into public service.” “There is no better place to find the moral case for capitalism and individualism," he told the pro-Rand Atlas Society in 2005, "than through Ayn Rand’s writings and works."

Ryan’s religious conservatism obviously distinguishes him from Rand, an atheist who despised efforts by Ronald Reagan and others to marry church and state. And recently Ryan has tried to distance himself from her.

In an April interview with the National Review, he rooted his controversial budget plan, not in Rand’s laissez-faire philosophizing, but in Catholic values. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he said. “Give me Thomas Aquinas.”

Which makes me wonder just how these two influences on Ryan stack up against one another. Is it possible to love Aquinas and Rand at the same time? About as possible as loving God and mammon since Christianity and Randism are, in my view, two competing religions.

I know that Rand was an atheist, so it may seem like a stretch to call Randism a religion. But there are plenty of religions (Buddhism, for example) that have rejected God. And like Christianity, Randism has its founder, its scriptures and its miracles (since in the Gospel of Ayn Rand there isn't anything laissez-faire capitalism and its secular saints cannot do).

Randism also has its committed devotees, including former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and conservative talk-show hosts Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, not to mention the myriad commenters (see below) who will no doubt object to my efforts to brand her atheism a religion.

Here are five big differences I see between the  theologies of Christianity and Randism:

1. Jesus preached the virtue of selflessness; Rand wrote a book called "The Virtue of Selfishness" (1964). Altruism is evil, she argued, and egoism the only true ethics.

2. The Apostle Paul called the love of money the root of all evil. Rand wore a dollar sign brooch and saw to it that a florid dollar sign stood guard by her casket at her funeral. She also put a love letter to the almighty dollar on the lips of one of her "Atlas Shrugged" heroes, copper magnate Francisco d’Anconia (a speech Ryan has said he returns to repeatedly when pondering monetary policy). There d’Anconia calls money “the root of all good."

3. “Blessed are the poor,” Jesus says in the Gospel of Luke. And he says in the Gospel of Matthew that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” In the Gospel according to Ayn Rand, however, it is the “traders” (“job creators” in modern parlance) who like Atlas carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, while the poor are denounced as “moochers” and “looters."

4. The hope of the Christian gospel is the kingdom of God, but Rand's objectivist philosophy opposes "collectivism" at every turn. “Man - every man - is an end in himself, he exists for his own sake,” the inventor John Galt proclaims in "Atlas Shrugged," “and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose.”

5. The ultimate concern of Christianity is God. The ultimate concern of Randism is the unfettered freedom of the individual. While the Christian Trinity comprise the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Rand’s Trinity is I, me, mine.

For years, Ryan and other conservative Republicans have been trying to have their Jesus Christ and their Ayn Rand,  too. But the two clash at least as much as an Obama/Ryan ticket.

Conservative icon William F. Buckley rightly recognized this fundamental incompatibility, running a blistering review of "Atlas Shrugged"in his National Review and denouncing that novel himself in a Charlie Rose interview as "a thousand pages of ideological fabulism.”

Evangelical leader Chuck Colson was equally critical, referring to Rand’s “idolatry of self and selfishness” as “the antithesis of Christianity.”

To his credit, Ryan seems to be acknowledging the gap between Randism and Christianity by attempting in recent months to distance himself from an intellectual mentor and emphasizing instead the Catholic roots of his budget plan.

But as Jesus once said, “By your fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 7:16), and I for one still see much more Rand than Jesus in Ryan’s Robin Hood budget.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this piece said that Jesus called the love of money the root of all evil. The statement should have been attributed to the Apostle Paul.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Christianity • Economy • Paul Ryan • Politics • United States

soundoff (1,069 Responses)
  1. Dood

    All I know is that true, practicing, non-hypocritical Christians that I know appear much happier people than true, practicing atheists that I know. Granted, this is a small sampling because I'm only going off of people I know. Given that, even if there isn't a God, the Christians will "win" in life because they aren't as bitter and cynical like my atheist friends.

    August 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If they're "bitter and cynical", DOOOOD, why are you friends with them?

      August 15, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      How does one practice atheism?

      August 15, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Take foot, insert in mouth, then insist while hobbling through life is what everyone should do.

      August 15, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And there you have it: an example of the eloquence, intelligence, and insight of a sanctimonious, self-aggrandizing, "Christian" ideal, the one and only HEAVEN SENT.

      August 15, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tommie Tom, I noticed realitynot sounds very much like you these days.

      August 16, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Tina

      HeavenSent, does your Jesus wear a thong?

      August 16, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • kindless

      What in the world is HeavenSent talking about? my oh my, I guess to write that crazy way, one has to think that way. poor child must have cooked with the drano instead of the salt. my goodness.

      August 16, 2012 at 1:05 am |
  2. Justin Wisniewski

    It's clear that the author of this article either hasn't read anything by Rand or at least didn't pay attention while skimming her books.

    August 15, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  3. Albert Leo

    Mankind's understanding of the divine is on a par with dogs' understanding of mankind. Probably not totally wrong, but most certainly not totally right. Every religion claims it is the one true answer. I'm pretty sure none is.

    August 15, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

      John 14:6


      August 15, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Albert Leo

      That's great if you're a Christian. I imagine Islam and LDS have similar sayings about Mohammed and Joseph Smith. I learned a long time ago never to argue with people who come with their own axioms.

      August 15, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      If you use a search engine in the KJV of the Bible, there is no Mohammed listed.

      August 16, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Neither is Allah, and of course no Joseph Smith.

      August 16, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Tina

      HeavenSent, does your Jesus wear a thong? Google that too.

      August 16, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • kindless

      This daffy thing said "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way . . ."

      My oh my. Some people can't even follow a road sign that's sittin right in front of them, and you're gonna make up a place to go in your mind and the person you also made up is gonna tell you how to get there. Well try not to run over anyone in the real world while you're playing with those made-up characters. My goodness.

      August 16, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • kindless

      oh my, here we go, that crazy HeavenSent said "If you use a search engine in the KJV of the Bible, there is no Mohammed listed."

      well yes, probably true, dear but what are you talking about? my goodness – poor thing's mind is almost gone. I mean you could stick your head in the toilet and you wouldn't find a Mohammed there either! oh dear, i better be careful – poor thing might be severely retarded and running to check the toilet. my goodness.

      August 16, 2012 at 1:19 am |
  4. PLAR

    The above conversation reinforces my feelings of disappointment in humans as an intelligent species. Let's face it, we're not all born with the same intellect and social resources to be entrepreneurs and business owners. It's not a level playing field. We do need to capitalize on our abilities to be self-sufficient and self supporting in life and do our very best to achieve our highest potential as early in life as possible..........except that millions of kids are not raised in environments that allow that. Independence and success in life require a lot of good quality parenting and education. That is getting harder and harder to find. Marxism was just as much a failed experiment as democracy is. We need to think out of the box and come up with a system of governing that engenders that highest and best in each person and can actually accomplish something. I think we have a very brave and forward thinking man in the WH now but we will squander it if we let big business and big money continue to intentionally depress the economy so that he will fail. Shame. Humans, whatever.

    August 15, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  5. A. Smith

    Last I checked, capitalism has lifted a few billion people out of poverty, eradicated some nasty diseases and gave us the LOTR trilogy films. I'm pretty confident that this was only possible with a monetary system and people acting in their best interest. Sounds evil to me. Imagine starting a business in a world where everyone does what's in the interest of everyone elses best interest (i.e. selfless). Good luck with that.

    August 15, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Malvern Hill

      Terry Eagleton writes, "In its brief and bloody career, Marxism has involved a hideous amount of violence. Both Stalin and After listing the "almost unimaginable crimes of Stalin and Mao, Terry Eagleton asks, "But what of the crimes of capitalism? What of the atrocious bloodbath of the First World War, in which the class of imperial nations hungry for territory sent working-class soldiers to a futile death? The history of capitalism is among other things a story of global warfare, colonial exploitation, genocide and avoidable famines. If a distorted version of Marxism gave birth to the Stalinist state, an extreme mutation of capitalism produced the fascist one. If a million men and women died in the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s, it was to a large extent because the British government of the day insisted on observing the laws of the free market in its lamentable relief policy. We have seen that Marx writes with scarcely suppressed outrage in Capital of the bloody, protracted process by which the English peasantry were driven from the land. It is this history of violent expropriation which lies beneath the tranquility of the English rural landscape" (Eagleton, "Why Marx Was Right").

      August 15, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Boohincus

      Well, like a good objectivist, you've reduced the argument to a zero-sum game, where capitalism is all good and selflessness is a failed concept. That's convenient for you. But a close look at capitalist behavior includes a long history of ruthless exploitation of both people and the environment for the enrichment of the few. While the markets are a powerful force for change and progress, slash and burn capitalism is a recipe for rampant inequity. It creates equal and opposite poverty where it thrives unhindered by thoughtful regulation. When we lose our sense of selflessness for the sake of personal enrichment at any cost, we're no longer a community. Just a nation full of self-servers, bound to fail one another. Bound to live with a notion that there are only winners and losers. That simply doesn't work.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • kindless

      A Smith made it sound like you could just take a bushel of crawfish that had a big price tag on 'em and just throw 'em in the pot and assume that there weren't any bad ones in there. My goodness. I'm with Boohincus. I think capitalism always has potential to be a good system. I think at times in the history of the USA it has been applied much better than now. People are so uneducated and greedy these days that, regardless of any theories about how capitalism is good for the country, the country looks and is greedy and sick, and that kind of sickness affects everything in our day-to-day existence. It's out of control. mama kindless doesn't like to be a pessimist, but my oh my, the population keeps on growing and education is down the tube. Most kids and their parents can't even answer the simplest questions about how the government is supposed to work. How can we elect or even offer a decent candidate to run the country if we have so many uneducated voters who don't even know the basics about US government. My goodness, I have to get some tea and do something else positive tonight.

      August 15, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • A. Smith

      Malvern – sorry, I don't follow. Capitalism took hold in the 19th century. We're there no wars or famines beforehand? If capitalism was the cause of much of the suffering of the Potato famine, why did millions of Irish decide to take a perilous journey to capitalist America?
      Capitalism is a poor system. It just happens to be better than any other system.

      Boohincus – not familiar with "slash and burn capitalism." what about Warren Buffet and the Gates Foundation? That worked out ok for some under privileged folks. CNN? Google? The Internet? The computer you are typing on? The gallon of high quality milk you can buy for under $5? The fact that there is food in your pantry despite a one or twice in a century draught in the Midwest right now? All of this is brought to you by capitalism so that you can comfortably sit on your couch and write about how Marx was right? I'm clearly missing something.

      August 15, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  6. Gogo

    There is no way to explore the concepts without reading and understanding them and then refining your beliefs based on assumptions, writings and experience. Makes perfect sense for a thinking person to read and consider what an author expresses as a belief or system. Reading and liking or appreciating an author does not mean you are a "follower" of the authors philosophy's. It would be pretty narrow minded not to at least evaluate how a text measures up to one's own value and belief system. Peoples beliefs are influenced by experience. You have to consider the belief, understand it and then see how it fits. It is not uncommon to start with one point of view and then evolve into a conviction of a polar opposite view much later in life. Common for political ideology and religion. Ask your friends. That is what is so cool about this life. We can explore and chose for ourselves. Who has 100% the same beliefs they had in college? Pretty rare. There are plenty of examples of very wise folks who have taken time and worked to find truth. It might not be wise to believe that someone's views don't evolve. Are we are stretching for controversy here?

    August 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  7. Curtis

    Buddhism does not "reject" God.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • msadr

      Right. It just never acknowledges that there is one.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Patty Biller

      yes, it does, and Jesus Christ the Holy One as well...

      August 15, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  8. urbisoler

    You are free to embrace any part of Rand AND Christ as your own without contradiction. The individuals may be incompatible but the philosophies need not be. Don't give me any nonsense that all Randians are conservative and all Christians are liberal. It ain't that easy. The difficulty arises when you try to boil down complex philosophies into their lowest common denomionator; something Bill O'Reilly insists upon. The human character is complex in the extreme and there ain't no easy answers. Indeed, it is part of the human condition and the human dilemna.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Ryans_Record

      I have said over and over that the reason I entered politics is because of Ayn Rand. I stand by that....well, that is until you point to the fact that I'm also Catholic, then I say, "Ayn Rand–she certainly had some good ideas, but Thomas Aquinas is the bomb!".

      August 15, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  9. Glh1

    It's true. You can follow Ayn Rand, or Jesus Christ, but not both.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • manbearpig

      No kidding. Polar opposites.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • tv22

      or you can simply be a Christian, of varying levels of devoutness, who enjoy fiction and also enjoy the philosophical point the book makes with regard to the virtue of work over dependence. There's no conflict at all.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  10. Foxhole Atheist

    There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • QS

      Following this theme – one could easily argue that a person would actually learn more about compassion, empathy and selflessness from LOTR as opposed to any of Rand's works.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  11. Lizzy10

    That's what this Gomer has been basing his budget on, someone who believes only in getting ahead for one's self? Sure they are "job creators", who else is going to slave for paltry wages so they can "achieve their highest moral purpose"? Jeez, after all the comments about Ayn Rand I almost downloaded Atlas Shrugged, now I'm glad I didn't, it sounds like garbage to me.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • manbearpig

      If you're willing to take the media at its word that says a lot about you. Me, I like to experience something before I form an opinion.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • ObjectivismMUSThatecorporations

      Hey Manbearpig. I condemn beastiality and pedophilia even though I have never tried either one. Based on your theory you don't until you try them. I hope you don't have to actually try everything in life before you reject it.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • manbearpig

      Objectivsm –
      Thank you for taking my simple post to unprecedented heights of ridiculousness. Reading a book and banging a sheep are not the same thing. My statement still stands – before you judge a book you should actually read it. Yes, of course this is a generalization. Of course I'm not advocating you try becoming a serial rapist to find out whether you enjoy it or not. Thanks for the help, rocket man.

      August 16, 2012 at 2:10 am |
  12. Arvoasitis

    Ayn Rand and Jesus of Nazareth are present, but who's missing? Oh, yes; John Stuart Mill. Only then will you have a proper therapy group, with Sigmund Freud, of course as the leader.
    Ayn is there to represent the Id, the self-centered component of the human psyche. She is present to promote satisfaction of instinctive drives and motivations especially those related to unfinished business, appet.ite, and unconscious impulses.
    Jesus is there to represent the Super-Ego, and accepts an external moral code as the arbiter of what one may and should properly do. He has a (largely implicit) concept of what the moral code requires.
    If we are to have at all a balanced discussion. we must ensure that John is present to represent the He is concerned with the pragmatic portion of the psyche that mediates between the Id and external world in an attempt to satisfy both (and hence the motives of which can never be fulfilled because they are essentially concerned with being prepared to meet contingencies as they may yet arise.).
    There is a great deal more that could be said, but I'll be surprised if I get even this much past the censor.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      Sorry, John is neede to represent the Ego.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      Let me put it another way:
      Ayn is there to promote the greatest freedom of the individual person.
      John is needed to argue the benefit of the greatest good for the greatest number.
      Jesus is there to urge that no one be harmed in the process.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  13. solowd

    Personally, I hate Ayn Rand and Christianity equally.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      to what end?

      August 15, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Fiery Fly

      LOL!! Best comment till now...

      August 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Dood

      Why the hate?

      August 15, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  14. DavidE7

    The writer is absolutely correct. Ayn Rand was an embittered Russian Jewish atheist who rejected the better half of human nature. We all have two natures, the animal and the spiritual, and the task of life is to find the proper balance between them. Paul Ryan is struggling with this now. But from what I've seen and read, the real Randian is Mitt Romney, despite his protestations to the contrary.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'DavidE7' contains an instance of a False Dilemma fallacy.


      August 15, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • urbisoler


      August 15, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Prilyam

      If she was Jewish, she could not have been an atheist. If she was an atheist, she could not have been Jewish. She may have been born to a Jewish family, but if she was an atheist, she no longer practiced Judaism nor did she believe in the Jewish god, or any other god.

      August 15, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  15. jamesnyc

    I think before you crucify Republicans for being "Randists", you might want to read Nicolai Machiavelli's "The Prince". It is a treatise that preaches that "one should appear liberal to keep control". Keep that in mind. Frankly I may not want Romney/Ryan in the WH but I don't want Pelosi running the House either.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Meh

      I did read "The Prince" but fail to see what the modern definition of a "liberal" has to do with it. He wrote it (Il Principe) sometime in the late 1400s or early 1500s – WAY before America or its forms of "liberal" and "conservative" even existed.
      He is best known for basically saying that in politics 'the ends justify the means" and you can be deceitful, underhanded and brutal to your opposition. Im having a hard time seeing what that has to do with anything.
      If you are in some way implying that Liberals are 'Machavellian" because of something he wrote before America was even fails the logic test.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  16. GodFreeNow

    I would like to offer my opinion on Ayn Rand. First, I'm a so-called "atheist" but I'm also called a "liberal" and I practice altruism.

    Personally, I love Ayn Rand's books. I found them to be quite inspiring, and I often feel that the Republicans and Tea Party hijacked her story as their own new bible.

    When I was in my 20s, I found a lot of her philosophies to be empowering and they provided me with the fuel I needed to escape a dead-end job and begin my career as a self-employed, independent contractor. I made more money, I had more free time and I can now live anywhere in the world I want.

    As I matured though, I found less and less her philosophy to be compatible with my own moral code. My ideals turned away from the internal, selfish satisfaction and more to the external world of altruism.

    My point is this, I think it's healthy and self-empowering to be selfish when the circu.mstances dictate that action. Most will never truly understand self-sacrifice until they've first learned deep selfishness. There is a tendency we have as humans to simplify the "life path" by the destination only. That being, altruism is right, or selfishness is right. But I think that life is more complex than this and we have to understand that our fellow travelers may cling to ideas or notions (as I once did with selfishness and religion) that are necessary steps in their personal evolution. It's also healthy, I might add, for society to have varying debatable perspectives.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Meh

      Holy cow dude! A well reasoned, thought out, non-judgemental comment on the internet?
      This has got to be a first. I applaud you.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "Most will never truly understand self-sacrifice until they've first learned deep selfishness." It's to bad most never grow out of their deep selfishness, though I applaud those who do. However, I think it's folly to think that we would have anything close to the current state of civilization if the majority of peoples throughout history had followed Ayn Rand's philosophy. It was in the face of her philosophy that society has grown, become more moral and built the social networks we have today that exist more from empathy and understanding than any selfish motive.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Eric

      Altruism satisfies your selfish need to help others.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Gesus

      GodFreeNow- Well put. I to started a company in my early 20's after reading Ayn Rand and decided to make my own way in the world. 25+ years later I have a thriving business that allows me to donate my time to my kids, and my community. I believe that every individual needs to be selfish to a point to succeed and then can giveback to society after you have taken care of your own.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • manbearpig

      GodFreeNow –
      I'm also a liberal, and I also love Rand. There's a lot more to her books then the media is giving credit for. Oh, and I hate the tea party, and they are no true followers of Rand. Good post!

      August 15, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Tina

      HeavenSentUnhealthySayin, does your Jesus wear a thong? We know you want to tell us all that you've experienced.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • kindless

      of course atheism is healthy for people. my oh my, i think this person fell out of their rocking chair a long time ago, must have hit her head on something. my goodness.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer is a complete non-constructive waste of time. It brings no results. It solves nothing.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Imagine No Religion

      So, have you ever threatened YOUR children with eternal dam.nation? I haven't, but I'll bet you have!

      I challenge you to take the George Carlin Prayer Test. Pray to your imaginary god friend for a month, then pray to Joe Pesci for a month. You'll find the percentage of prayers answered by god, and those by Mr Pesci, will be about the same (50/50).

      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." - John Lennon

      August 15, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • HeavenSent


      Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

      Ephesians 5:6


      August 15, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Mayor of Emerald City


      Or -

      "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. I am the great and powerful Wizard of Oz!"

      August 15, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  18. Hindu girl

    I wish everyone on Earth were like Jesus..... such as awesome person.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Meh

      Although I am an atheist, I do concur that he seemed to be a pretty cool cat.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      I think the republicans only remember he dined with tax collectors and conveniently forget the poor or the prostltutes.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • kindless

      you know he had some very good ideas. as an atheist, I have no problem with that man jesus. but all those others lawyers and politicians and lobbyists in the book that people say it the word of god is what made christianity just crazy. and not just in the book, but especially the ones who started trying to tell everyone how they were supposed to live and think without even knowing what jesus said – oh my what a mess. and the catholics and the mormons and southern baptists are the craziest for sure – well and those evangelicals – you know anyone who base more of their religion on the bible than those simple teachings by that man jesus. I could go on and on about these politicians, my oh my, but the whoever it was that wrote that revelation part of the bible – oh my i just know they were on some powerful drugs – maybe their camel crashed in some poppies or something. but i think it's ok to read words from jesus – i just wouldn't think he's like talking to you – that's just promotes more weak thinking. you have to keep your head strong and take responsibility for yourself..mm hhmm. mama kindless

      August 15, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • QS

      I'm sure we all are familiar with the Gandhi quote. That said, as an Atheist myself I'm a bit more skeptical of the Jesus character. I do agree that the character in the book was a great person, but that's a far cry from knowing whether or not that was simply all embellishment and creative liberty by those who wrote the story....if the person existed at all.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • kindless

      That's a good point too, QS. Good to keep an open mind about it.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      That's why Christians tell everyone to read Jesus' love letter to us (the Bible) and see for yourself what He wants for us and from us. He created all for His pleasure. He wants our love. That's it.

      Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

      John 14:6


      August 15, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  19. !

    Few 100% true Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you angry, stupid, brainwashed, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists are misguided and causes problem in our religious & public society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler (denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders who killed religious people because of their religious cult!
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most atheists are uneducated... No atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
    **Only 2-3% of the U.S. are atheists/agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**

    † † Our Prayers goes to atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator † †

    PS! the USA is a † nation and will always be. You know it's true and stop being ignorant and arrogant!
    (Take a look at our federal/state holidays, 99% of our presidents, blue laws in parts of the nation, name of some cities/counties/streets, the majority of people, some laws, calendar, culture, etc.).

    August 15, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • jamesnyc

      Do much crack lately? Your hubris is appalling.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Meh

      OMG Mr. or Mrs. "!" If you are an example of what religion brings – "God" help us all.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • JustRight

      Religion is a disease that makes you angry, stupid, brainwashed, ignorant & blind.
      Religion is a disease that needs to be treated.
      Religion makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted the religious)
      The religiuos are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
      The religious are misguided and causes problem in our religious & public society.
      The religious are mentally ill, that's why they have faith.
      Religion won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
      Religion making you agree pedophiles, murderers, Hitler (who never denied his faith), & other terrible mass murder leaders
      Blah blah blah.....

      See how easy it is to post stupid post with no supporting evidence.


      August 15, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • kindless

      my goodness! this is worse than one of those emails from some king in nigeria who wants to "give" you part of his money. my oh my – they couldn't even try to make so a little more real. i almost choked on my gumbo once i started reading this junk. the things people write. but of course atheism is a very good thing for making people strong-minded like mama kindless, even kids.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • QS

      If it weren't for the fact that people like this genuinely think this is a Christian nation, it would be laughable.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • EnoughAlready

      Atheists have nothing at all to do with christianity. Though many christians, possibly through hubris, believe that the atheist is somehow angry at god or some such silliness. Atheists don't believe in god, this is true. Any god. Not the Abrahamic one. Nor Hindi, nor ancient Egyptian, nor Norse, nor any other ones. It's not about christianity. Get over yourselves.

      To the atheist, pointing to the bible as proof of anything at all is a very much like pointing to a back issue of Spider-Man. Religious works – all of them – are inherently and definitionally fiction.You might believe the the words. Your friends, family, and everyone you know may also believe. The atheist does not. They are not angry at your god(s), whomever they may be, because they. do. not. exist.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      JustRight, I'm glad you're just bashing religion and not Jesus' truth.

      August 15, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  20. C Smythe

    Ayn Rand was a real person and christianity is a fairy tale that is all . . .

    August 15, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • margie

      Christianity is not a religion it is a relationship with our Creator!

      August 15, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • QS

      I would agree that it's not a religion....it fits the definition of "cult" just as well.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • manbearpig

      margie: "Christianity is not a religion it is a relationship with our Creator!"

      Seriously? You have no idea what our "Creator" is. Even if you did, you don't have a "relationship" with it. Thinking like yours only supports the assertions of QS.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • msadr

      I think you are going to point out which parts of Jesus principles are fairy tales. Because every one that I have examined has turned out to be the cold hard truth.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Jesus Christ's letter to us (the Bible) is the truth about life and the hereafter. Reading His letter He wrote to all of us, explains how He wants the best for us and from us. He created ALL for His pleasure. He wants our Love.

      August 15, 2012 at 11:34 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.