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Conventions leave atheists asking: What political party represents me?
A voice vote to change the DNC party platform turned to chaos Wednesday night.
September 6th, 2012
03:24 PM ET

Conventions leave atheists asking: What political party represents me?

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – This convention season has not been good for atheists.

The word "God" was reinserted in the Democratic platform after it had been removed. A plan to raise atheist billboards in the convention cities was stymied by opponents. And though there were preachers and rabbis and other religious leaders opening and closing each day of each convention, there wasn’t an avowed atheist talking up unbelief on either convention’s speaking list.

The political lockout has left many nonbelievers asking, “What political party represents me?”

“We are deeply saddened by the exclusion of a large number of Americans by both parties,” said Teresa MacBain, a spokeswoman for the group American Atheists, in an interview on Thursday. “It amazes me that in modern-day America, so much prejudice still exists.”

After word spread Wednesday that Democrats left God out of their platform, atheists rejoiced. “Truly amazing news,” wrote Loren Miller on Atheist Nexus, a popular atheist blog. “The Republicans remain in the firm grasp of right-wing Christian religiosity, and I really don't know what it's going to take to free them from it.”

But the convention committee immediately received huge pressure get God back in the platform. Even President Obama, according to CNN reporting, said, “Why on earth would that have been taken out?” when he first heard of the omission.

In an awkward session that required three voice votes on the convention floor, the Democrats opted to add “God” back to the platform.

For atheists, the Democrats were seen to be taking away a hard-fought victory. “We had 24 hours of joy as we felt (that) finally our government values all people,” said MacBain. “But that was short-lived. The vote last night angered many atheists and left them feeling excluded once again.”

Online, atheist websites and Facebook pages went from upbeat to downcast as news spread of the platform revision.

“Obama was the first president to acknowledge non believers,” Mark Musante wrote on the American Atheists’ Facebook page. “I wish he would stick to his guns.”

Musante was referring to Obama’s 2009 inauguration speech, when the president said, “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers.”

Beverly Sitherwood, on the Friendly Atheist blog Facebook page, accused the Democrats of “Pandering for power.”

Some atheist leaders used the platform defeat as a rallying call.

“I guess a tiny step was too much to ask for,” David Silverman, president of the American Atheists, told CNN. “This was a clear message to the 16% of the voting population - we don’t count. Well, guess what, Dems - we do. And we vote.”

Silverman says that 16% of the voting public identify as nonbelievers. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 12% of the electorate in 2008 was made up of people with no religious affiliation, though experts say the number of avowed atheists is much smaller.

While acknowledging atheists, Obama has given platforms to high-profile religious leaders, including Rick Warren, a megachurch pastor who prayed at his inauguration, and Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who is giving the final prayer of the convention on Thursday night.

American Atheists’ plans to raise billboards ridiculing the presidential candidates’ faith ended in failure. After the group put up billboards in Charlotte, North Carolina, the site of the Democratic National Convention, last month, it quickly removed them due to “physical threats to not only our staff, but the billboard company as well.”

American Atheists had also planned on a billboard in Tampa, Florida, to coincide with the Republican National Convention there. But American Atheists said that all the billboard companies in Tampa rejected a sign taking aim at GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith.

Perhaps because of the Republican Party’s ties to conservative Christianity, atheists tend to be Democrats. According to a 2012 Pew study, 71% of Americans who identified as atheist were Democrats.

“The Republicans who spoke at the RNC seemed more like televangelists than politicians,” MacBain said. “The message was clear from the RNC: Get God, or get out.”

The Republican’s 2012 platform mentions God 12 times, many of which describe the “God-given” rights that the Republican Party says are inherent to the American idea.

Though most atheist groups claim that there are closeted atheists serving as representatives and senators, only one has come out as such.

In September 2007, Rep. Pete Stark, Democrat of California, affirmed his atheism in a speech at the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • God • Politics

soundoff (3,922 Responses)
  1. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Who is this monosyllabic 'nope' retard?
    Nope:
    YEP

    September 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Templeton Foundation Prayer Study (religious foundation)

      He's also known as Just Sayin', HeavenSent and is the "prayer changes things" spammer.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Dionyosus

      @ G. Zeus
      Pretty sure it is one of HeavenSents illegitimate children, hard to tell so many unclaimed kids in that trailer camp.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Athy

      Ignore him. He's some child with a limited vocabulary.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • nope

      @dion...
      nope

      September 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  2. YoozYerBrain

    There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Iluvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made. And he spoke to them, propounding to them themes of music; and they sang before him and he was glad. But for a long while they sang only each alone, or but few together, while the rest hearkened; for each comprehended only that part of the mind of Iluvatatr from which he came, and in the understanding of their brethren they grew but slowly. Yet ever as they listened they came to deeper understanding, and increased in unison and harmony.

    And it came to pass that Iluvatar called together all the Ainur and declared to them a mighty theme, unfolding to them things greater and more wonderful than he had yet revealed; and the glory of its beginning and the splendour of its end amazed the Ainur, so that they bowed before Iluvatar and were silent.

    Then Iluvatar said to them: "Of the theme that I have to declared to you, I will now that ye make harmony together a Great Music. And since I have kindled in you the Flame Imperishable, ye shall show forth your powers in adorning this theme, each with his own thoughts and devices, if he will. But I will sit and hearken, and be glad that through you great beauty has been wakened into song.

    ...and the music and the echo of the music went out into the Void, and it was not void. Never since have the Ainur made any music like to this music, though it has been said that a greater still shall be made before Iluvatar by the choirs of the Ainur and the Children of Iluvatar after the end of days. Then the themes of Iluvatar shall be played aright, and take Being in the moment of their utterance, for all shall then understand fully his intent in their part, and each shall know the comprehension of each, and Iluvatar shall give to their thoughts the secret fire, being well pleased.

    (God wrote that, through Divinely Inspired living man, that we may know the infinite wonder of his, uh, wonder.) There are other myths I could quote to make a point, but this is as good creation myth as any, and just as factually true as the most popular ones today.

    September 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • nope

      @yoo...
      nope

      September 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Son of Ainur

      @Yooz
      Correct me if I am wrong, but I think a son of Ainur, John Myung laid down the bass track for that gig.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  3. Daniel

    Honestly, who wants them around anyway? What a bunch of party poopers.

    September 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • truth be told

      The top three locations for atheists
      1. In a grave preferably with a self inflicted wound and before they have hurt anyone
      2. In a maximum security prison preferably in solitary confinement so as not to corrupt honest criminals
      3. In a hospital for the criminally insane preferably restrained and gagged so as to give other patients a chance at recovery

      September 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Colin

      Ironically

      1. The suicide rate is higher among the religious than atheists. It has been suggested that the greater pressure put on them by their faith casuses this.
      2. Believers make up most of the prison population. Around 99.9%. The nuber of atheists in prison in the USA is so small as to be considered zero by statisticians.
      3. There is a strong corellation between a belief in gods, ghosts, demons etc. and mental illness. Few atheists are mentally challanged.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • nope

      @colin
      nope

      September 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Nope

      truth be told,

      Nope.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Daniel

      Colin, you are not speaking the truth. You are twisting it. How many "atheists" "exist"? And how many religious? You cannot honestly say that an apple is an orange. As an atheist you probably could. Even as a liberal democrat you probably could (and usually do).

      September 8, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  4. mark

    Atheists feel ignored. Of course. Most people aren't going to waste their time listening to nonsense. Atheists spew nonsense, nonething more. Who wants to hear that? What party represents atheists? That would be the FOOLS PARTY. "The fool has said in his heart there is no God". ....Psalm 14:1

    September 8, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      "My fairy tale book says that those who don't believe in the same invisible sky fairy that I do are fools."

      Go to, sirrah. Dost thou prate, knave?

      September 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      "Most people aren't going to waste their time listening to nonsense." Since the majority "claim" to be believers .. I beg to differ.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Athy

      It's the cross clutchers that are spewing the nonsense. We atheists are simply refuting it with rational logic.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • nope

      @athy
      nope

      September 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Poor mark. Clutching his bible to his chest like a security blanket despite the fact that there isn't a shred of evidence to support the existence of his (or any) god. I'm sorry that words like "science" and "fact" are scary to you, mark, but the sooner you and your fellow believers grow up and accept responsibility for your own lives, the better off the world will be.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      mark,
      "The fool has said in his heart there is no God". ....Psalm 14:1"

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

      Even Joseph Smith used it when he gathered his 'witnesses' to his golden plates. He told them that only those with 'true faith' would be able to 'see' them.

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

      September 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      p.s. to mark:

      "Just look, Your Majesty, what colors! What a design!" They pointed to the empty looms, each supposing that the others could see the stuff.

      "What's this?" thought the Emperor. "I can't see anything. This is terrible!

      Am I a fool? Am I unfit to be the Emperor? What a thing to happen to me of all people! – Oh! It's very pretty," he said. "It has my highest approval." And he nodded approbation at the empty loom. Nothing could make him say that he couldn't see anything." – The Emperor's New Clothes

      September 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • I don't THINK so

      nonething?

      September 9, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  5. ArchieDeBunker

    My goodness! All this fuss about people who don't exist! You see, there ARE NO atheists – except perhaps those who are insane – that is, those whose brains don't work properly. Oh, yes, there are a lot of people who CLAIM that they are atheists, but they're really not. If any single one of them (except the insane ones) is standing in his front yard and a golf ball hits him, he will not automatically say "Look at this! A golf ball materialized out of nowhere and hit me!" No, of course not. He will say, in reaction, "Hey, who threw – or hit – this at me?" That's because the healthy human mind is not capable of believing that things materialize out of nowhere – especiall not entire universes. Atheists can't excape the fact that they believe and know that EVERYTHING has a cause. What atheists do is play the game of "I can put on mental blinders and pretend that there is no God." Of course the reason for that is that atheists don't WANT to believe that there is a God. If the atheist admits that there must have been a "cause" for the creation of the Universe (i.e. – God), then his whole house of cards comes tumbling down – because if he admits there is a God, then he also admits the possibility that what Christianity says about God may be true. This, in turn, forces the atheist to realize that there may be consequences to living as if there were no God. At best, the atheists should refer to themsleves as agnostics, because (unless they're insane) they know there is a God, even if they insist that no one knows anything about Him.

    When you guys who refer to yourselves as atheists ( and Darwinists) come up with a believable explanation for the "Big Bang" I'll listen to you. Until then I'll just go on beliving what I know to be true – yes, the "Big Bang" happened – "And God said 'LET THERE BE LIGHT' " – and at that instant EVERYTHING that has ever existed or ever will exist came to be – in a HUGE explosion of energy – the incomparable energy of the WORD OF GOD.

    September 8, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • tony

      Religion is the worship and glorification of being stupid.

      September 8, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      I would love to see some proof of your God. Have any?

      September 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Stifle yourself.

      @Arch
      Lots of words to say nothing, stifle yourself dingbat

      September 8, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Stifle yourself.

      @Archie
      Lots of words to say nothing, stifle yourself dingbat

      September 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • YoozYerBrain

      Aaaaarchie hey Aaaarchie which god? This atheist wants to know which god he has to believe in to be safe? Your yahweh (ADAD) doesn't even consider himself the ONLY god, check that there first commandment of yours. Then, YoozYerBrain, and try to work out the obvious contradictions in your mythology.

      September 8, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      You....are a meathead! If everything has a cause, as you admit, then who/what created your alleged "god"? Can't answer that, huh? Then S T F U!

      September 8, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Athy

      Wow! A whole lot of bullshit that says nothing. Typical babble from a cross clutcher.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • nope

      @athy
      nope.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  6. us_1776

    We don't need any Sky Fairy snake-oil salesmen in politics.

    They've already done enough damage in this world.

    .

    September 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • nope

      @us...
      nope

      September 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    September 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      See prayer work at saladandchips.com.

      September 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Templeton Foundation Prayer Study (religious foundation)

      Short version:
      Three groups of people were asked to pray for surgery patients they did not know personally. Half of the patients were told they were being prayed for the others were not ...

      Conclusion:
      Prayer had no effect on those who did not know they were being prayed for.
      But those knowing they were receiving prayer had a HIGHER incidence of complications (59%).

      ... so I guess that's how prayer changes things ... proven! Just Sayin'

      September 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • nope

      @templeton..
      nope

      September 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Templeton Foundation Prayer Study (religious foundation)

      nope?! lol or should I address Just Sayin' or HeavenSent this time. Take the time to look it up. The study was done by a foundation bent on proving prayer works (LOL) and this was the factual, verified result of that attempt. I'll give you one thing, it did change things alright!

      September 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  8. Anon

    Hey christards, Jesus can go fu*k himself. Even a clown can offer better advice than that imaginary piece of $#it.

    September 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  9. 2357

    Atheists think they are the smartest, funniest, most caring people that the universe has ever known. They believe in a bizarre exceptionalism for all Darwinists, which Darwin himself would find laughable. They insist on their truth yet spew lies incessantly. Generally not worth a dialogue, but they sure are fun to probe and observe.

    September 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      You have said nothing of any value since you provide nothing of substance to support your claim. I think we know who is the "funny" and laughable one here.

      September 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • The Bible is a book of badly written fairy tales

      Care to mention which lies we spew incessantly? We're not the ones claiming a virgin gave birth to a man who could walk on water and rise from the dead. If you ask me, THOSE are some pretty big lies.

      September 8, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I think the funny one here is you, dear. You sound like a grumpy old fart shouting "You kids get off my lawn!"

      September 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Let's see...the sun was stopped in the sky (BS!)....a bush was on fire but did not burn (BS!).....a sea was parted allowing a large group of nomads to cross over escaping a pursuing army (BS!)....a snake talked (BS!).....the "WHOLE WORLD" was flooded, even though they didn't have satellites with cameras or even ships worthy of circ-umnavigating the globe, let alone the fact that they didn't even know the world wasn't "flat", (so again, BS!).....the dead rise after three days (BS!).....and this zombie "ascends" into the clouds, but of course we know they didn't have aircraft back then, so BS!.....the list goes on and on with your stupid LIES! DOLT!

      September 8, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Athy

      Wow, 2357. I'll bet anything that the irony of your comment totally escapes you. Keep it up, we need the laughs.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  10. Ron

    The individual in the picture was not protesting the restoration of God-language in the platform. I remember him, and he was representing an Arab American group. His protest was against the "Jerusalem" part.

    September 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • 2357

      Someone would be gracious to clue this fellow in on the unspoken rule, that you're not really a part of America until you've spilt your blood sweat n tears for the good of this country. What have atheists done except peddling Dick Dawkins comic books and fighting for a bigger cut of the tax revenue pie?

      September 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      @2357- Sort of like Dick Cheney, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Carl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, etc.?????

      September 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      That's mighty arrogant of you 2357 to assume there are not atheists who have "spilt your blood sweat n tears for the good of this country" as you say. Pompous, presumptuous troll.

      September 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • tallulah13

      2357:
      Atheist Bill Gates had provided a lot of Americans with a generous income over the years, and donated a lot of his fortune to charity. As for the rest of us, we work and pay taxes (certainly more taxes than religious organizations). And how easily you've forgotten Pat Tillman, who gave up millions of dollars and a football career to serve his country, and lost his life for it.

      It's easy to understand why people of faith denigrate the contributions of people who don't share that faith. You are trying to defend an irrational belief in an increasingly rational world, and the only weapons in your ars.enal are lies.

      September 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      23skiddoo, I have a sense that you resent the fact that most atheists are better educated and probably wealthier than most of the fundamentalists. I doubt very much that they're getting the handouts from the government you seem to imagine they are. In fact, they probably contribute more financially in taxes than the fundies like you.

      September 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • truth be told

      President George H W Bush has declared (and rightly so ) that an atheist is not a patriot and should not be a citizen of the USA. We are one nation under God.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • truth be told

      President George H W Bush has declared (and rightly so ) that an atheist is not a patriot and should not be a citizen of the USA. We are one nation under God.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Athy

      Wow! Coming from HW it must be true.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • tallulah13

      truth be told: We didn't become "one nation under god" until 1954. This is secular nation founded by men who were more influenced by the principles of the Enlightenment (science and reason) than by religion. They rightly believed that nothing is more poisonous to individual freedom than religion. That is why they very deliberately separated church from state. If you and former President Bush wish to live in a theocracy, I suggest you move to Iran.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • truth be told

      @tallulah
      America has always been one nation under God the phrase was always associated with our Christian founding and did not magically appear under Eisenhower. A great Christian President and war hero who valued the blessings God provided a godly nation and like all true Americans would have been ashamed of you.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • tallulah13

      TBT: please provide your historical reference for the phrase. As far as I can find, it only exists because some politician inserted "under god" between the words "one nation" and "Indivisible" in the original Pledge of Allegiance. Ironically, it's been dividing the nation ever since.

      And while the population on this contininent has been predominantly christian from the time Europeans outnumbered the indigenous people, the founders of this government were wise enough to ensure freedom for everyone, not just christians.

      Again, if you wish to live in a theocracy, you should probably leave this country, because we are a nation where all beliefs are welcome, even no belief at all.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  11. exlonghorn

    That must explain why I've voted 3rd Party in the last 4 presidential elections. Beside the fact that both parties have contributed to the sad state of our fiscal affairs, our highly polarized politics, and our slipping compet itiveness, clearly both parties will do whatever is needed to pander to as large an audience as possible in order to get elected...including pandering to religious groups. I expect religion to take a central place in the republican party, but I find it sad to see Dems "speaking in code" to draw in some of those same voters without alienating their base of ALCU, LGBT, pro-choice voters.

    September 8, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Lilith

      I think you have it exactly right. Even though a 3rd party is not viable at this point, I hope those of us who do vote "alternate" party will at least grow and make the statement that we're tired of divisive partisan politics.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  12. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    only party to represent hindu Atheist, filthy self centered is pig's party, self centered party follower of hindu Judaism, filthy self center ism, belong not among humanity but of their own reserved place, called pig's pe,. For more please visit http://www.limitisthetruth.com/blog.html

    September 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism's God

      I command you, step away from the computer and take your xanax.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  13. acutabove

    By the way, the man pictured prominently in the photo above was a member of the Arab American community and therefore probably not an atheist but a muslim. He could sue CNN for the implication.

    September 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Gods a joke

      That's a bit of a ssstreeeetch there. Good try though.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Either way he's right in his fight to have God(s) left out of our political process.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • acutabove

      Not a stretch, just watch the video of the amendment vote.

      But this passing of the amendment without the required 2/3rds majority does show Democrats willingness to bypass democracy when it is convenient to them. But I do not expect this delegate or any other will complain and further damage their party.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • 2357

      Likelihood is there. Many jews, muslims, hindus and buddhists declare themselves "atheist" after confronting the impossible task of reconciling their faith with Jesus Christ of the modern west. I can imagine, and remember, how it feels like beating your head on a granite mountain. His earthly domain, in a purely nominal sense, is nothing short of an empire.

      September 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Athy

      For how long did you beat your head on that granite wall, 2357? That could explain a lot.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  14. Observer

    A semi-naked man ran down my street last night yelling "Leave me alone! Won't you all just leave me alone!". I guessed he might be an atheist. I opened a bottle of wine and found a good book.

    September 8, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Gods a joke

      It was probably a schizophrenic who was hearing the voice of "God". So you shouldn't have a problem with that.

      September 8, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Observer

      No problem either way. I'm sure the predators took care of it.

      September 8, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Gods a joke

      You are aware after you open that bottle of wine the contents go in your mouth and not shoved up your anus? You may get drunker that way but it's messy.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • 2357

      He was either overcome by demons, or failed at love. They yield similar such results.

      September 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  15. klyptomaniac

    The right wing bullied them again by making it an issue. The democrats as usual under Obama getting the sand kicked in the face.

    September 8, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      They deserve it.

      September 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  16. James

    David Silverman is a Is So Biased, he's a Registered Republican Critizing Democrats Over our Parties inability to Acknowledge Atheist ,Secularist ,Freethinkers and Humanist in The Party Platform Even Though his Party is The Most Responsible For The Majority of Church and State Seperation Violations

    September 8, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  17. Colin

    A quick five question test that every aspiring candidate for public office, Republican or Democrat, should be required to pass.

    Q.1 The best theory we currently have is that Universe was created about 13.7 billion years ago in what is (somewhat misleadingly) called the Big Bang. To understand this we should:

    a. Simply declare that, because we don’t know what caused the Big Bang, the Hindu god Shiva must have created the Universe.

    b. Simply declare that, because we don’t know what caused the Big Bang, God must have created the Universe.

    c. Adopt the Australian Aboriginal belief that the Universe was created by a great snake in the Dreamtime; or

    d. Accept the limits on our current knowledge and just stop there, without invoking a magic act by any god to fill the current gap in our knowledge.

    Q.2 Likewise, we know that life on Earth evolved over the last approximately 3.5 billion years and likely began in a planet wide “organic soup” of complex organic chemicals in the primordial oceans, in an increasingly well understood process. As such, we should:

    a. Look for any limitation in our knowledge and, when we find one, jump up and say “aha, scientists cannot yet fully explain (for example) how DNA synthesis first occurred, therefore the Judeo-Christian god did it.”

    b. Look for any limitation in our knowledge and, when we find one, jump up and say “aha, scientists cannot yet fully explain (for example) how DNA synthesis first occurred, therefore the Hindu god Shiva did it.”

    c. Simply read our Bibles and find the answers there; or

    d. Continue our scientific research and experimentation and not make the bald faced assertion that any god, ghost or goblin must have conjured up life through some inexplicable act of magic.

    Q.3 The statement “I believe in God because the Bible tells me to and the reason I follow the Bible is because it is the word of God” is:

    a. The reason 99% of Christians believe what they do;

    b. Circular reasoning at its most obvious;

    c. Specific to the Judeo-Christian parts of the World and totally rejected by all other parts of the World; or

    d. All of the above.

    Q.4 Probably the most fundamental tenet of Christian faith is that God sent his son Jesus to Earth to die and save us from the original sin of Adam and Eve. We now know that Adam and Eve was a myth. As such, any thinking Christian should:

    a. Honestly and courageously question this and any other aspects of their faith that don’t make sense.

    b. Make up some euphemistic nonsense like “well, we didn’t mean that literally” after having done exactly that for the last 1900 years until science comprehensively disproved it.

    c. Just ignore the blatant contradiction and sweep it under the mat; or

    d. Hold on to the myth because it makes them feel good.

    Q5. Please choose your favorite Catholic superst.ition from those below. For the one you choose, please say why it is any more ridiculous than the rest of the garbage Catholics swallow and give an example of a non-Catholic belief which is just as stupid.

    a. Grocery store bread and wine becomes the flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because a priest does some hocus pocus over it in church of a Sunday morning.

    b. When I pray for something like “please god help me pass my exam tomorrow,” an invisible being reads my mind and intervenes to alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to meet my request.

    c. You can pray to a dead person for something. This dead person will then ask God to fulfill your wish. If this happens twice, this dead person becomes a saint.

    d. A god impregnated a virgin with himself, so he could give birth to himself and then sacrifice himself to himself to negate an “original sin” of a couple we now know never existed.

    September 8, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Lilith

      I think a simple questionnaire, similar to the one you just posted, would be a great way to make an informed decision about which candidate best deserves our vote .. and who's just blowing smoke.

      September 8, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • old ben

      Colin, some folks from the RNC called and are asking how much time one gets to take the test.

      September 8, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Colin

      Old Ben – that made me laugh out loud.

      September 8, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • acutabove

      When you say that science maybe does not have the answers to the THEORY of evolution's and/or the THEORY of the big bang's inconsistencies with the LAWS of thermodynamics now, but it may in the future; you have now made your 'science' (sic) a religion and give your faith to man as God or in place of Him.

      September 8, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Simran

      Sorry, we will have to change the options in Q1 and 2 from Shiva to Brahma. Brahma is the God of Creation in the Holy Trinity of Hinduism, while Shiva is the God of Destruction. Rest is all fine by me!

      September 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "acutabove", but your assertion ". . you have now made your 'science' (sic) a religion . ." is unfounded. Science does not involve nor require emotional attributes such as reverence, love, and hate, that are key elements that help define religion.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Lilith

      acutabove, You use the law of thermodynamics to make your case for God yet God does not follow this law either, you also call God he, talk about inconsistencies!
      At the point of the big bang the "laws" that govern "our" physics break down and quantum physics takes over. There is much we don't know about the universe, that is something Atheists know & admit without hesitation. However followers claim to know the truth. Neither one, not knowing or claiming to know, makes God real. The truth shall set you free.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • acutabove

      Sorry Hal9000,
      But as a member of the scientific community, I assure you that the current (pseudo)evoutionary scientist DO REQUIRE reverence, love and hate AND absolute faith in their religion despite the superiority of LAWS over THERORIES. Christians can expect and get abuse heaped upon them. Unless you have walked in my shoes you cannot contradict my experiences. (Unless you, like your namesake, is a paranoid schizophrenic suffering from conflicted progarming-lol)

      September 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • acutabove

      Lilith,
      I am a physicist, are you? I never claimed the conflict between the LAWS of physics with the THEORIES of 'the big bang' prove that there is a god. But the current laws do disprove the theories.

      I know that God can neither be proven nor disproven by science, but neither can the other 'most important things in life' like love or charity. But there ARE other proofs besides scientific, The courts for instance do not require scientific proof to convict or aquit- only testamony. And throughout history there has been a plethora of testamony even from most scientists and artists throughout history. I tell you now that I KNOW God exists just like I know my mother loves me even though I cannot prove either scientifically.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Lilith

      acutabove, no I'm not a physicist I'm a psychologist. You strongly implied a conflict leaves God as the only answer, don't try to dance around it. You can't be much of a scientist (like you really are) if you don't know that love can be proven scientifically and physically while God, as a real being, cannot. The only concession I'll give you towards your point is that God is as real as an emotion that only exists in the mind.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry, "acutabove", but your assertions describing science as a religion are still unfounded. Perhaps you are imagining attributes such as reverence in science because of your own religious point of view. Scientists can be excited about their work, but they do not worship their work. In religion, the attribute of reverence involves emotion for the persion experiencing religion, but is also a key factor in successfully meeting the goals of religion. Excitement or confidence in one's work as a scientist is a natural human emotion. But is it also the nature of a scientist to, as much as humanly possible, not involve emotion of any kind as a factor of interpreting new information.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Jay

      Colin, you should have written what the cost of groceries are today thanks to the Godless democratic party.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • acutabove

      How can you as a psychologist make presumptions about me without ever having meet me? isn't that part of your dogma? By the way, my degree is a doctorate.

      Love cannot be proven if by proof you mean changes in the body's chemisitries. These changes can be achieved artificially as well.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • acutabove

      Religion requires the presense of faith in my definition. Colin without showed his acceptence of (pseudo)science without questioning its conflict with the laws of physics. He expreesed his faith that science will eventually come up with answers to these inconsistancies. Therefore Science to some people (notice I do not say everyone) IS a religion. Disagreement with your avererage University physist (most of whom are below average physists by the way) can guarantee you persecution similar to historical witch trials or the inquisition. To me and most(?) scientists throughout history, science is a study of how God did or made it.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Lilith

      acutabove, it's easy to make presumptions about you. You're on a blog telling people you are a physicist thereby implying you have intellectual authority over others posting here. Followed by your response, "my degree is a doctorate", is too obvious. Also, your name, a-cut-above, suggests a larger than average ego. A true intellectual makes a case with facts and has no need to be defensive. I don't need to meet you physically to see through you, it's easy enough by your comments.
      -None of which makes a God any more "real" than an emotion.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      Jay wrote: "Colin, you should have written what the cost of groceries are today thanks to the Godless democratic party."

      It would be more accurate to lay blame for the current economic situation on the eight years of (including the monstrous expense of an unfounded war dreamed up by) the Bush administration. It will take many years to recover from that.

      September 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Colin

      A cut above – in all seriousness seek help. You are clearly suffering from some form of mental illness. I am sure this is not the first time this has been suggested to you.

      September 8, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      acutabove what? I don't believe you are a scientist or a physicist since you apparently can't spell simple words like physicist or testimony with any consistency and your grammar is appalling. You don't know rules of capitalization and your inability to proofread your own writing for clarity exhibits either massive arrogance or very poor education.

      September 8, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • chubby rain

      Umm, evolutionary theory doesn't violate the laws of thermodynamics. Only someone completely ignorant of both evolution and the thermodynamics would make that assertion. Even if you actually do have a PhD, you're argument is unfounded.

      September 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      acutabove: Oh sure, so you're a PHYSICIST....with a DOCTORATE! HA HA HA! BS! I have never MEET you, but I'm pretty sure you're lying. No one with a PhD would have such disregard for attention to detail, which must be why you're so certain that it's TESTAMONY used in court, and CHEMISITRIES...Did you ever hob-nob with any CHEMISISTS in your community college....or did you get your PhD online?

      September 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  18. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    I love how the words "UNbelief" & "NONbelief" are used so frequently. They are inherently negative towards those who simply DON'T believe. It implies that Atheists choose to ignore the "reality" of belief. I prefer "DISbelief", as it more correctly implies .. I CAN'T believe people think religions are actually true!

    September 8, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • sqeptiq

      Now you really are giving the theists cause to accuse atheists of faith! Unbelief and nonbelief convey an absence of belief, based upon an absence of evidence. When you assert that something cannot be true, based upon your imperfect knowledge, you become as arrogant as the theists. "When you say, " I CAN'T believe people think religions are actually true!" you refuse to believe something that is demonstrably true. That is as arrogant as acutabove.

      September 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      sqeptiq ... I CAN'T believe you seriously don't understand when something in that context is not to be taken literally?! C'mon, you know better than that, I've read some of you other posts. and to say I'm as arrogant as acutabove is just plain mean spirited!!

      September 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  19. Red

    Why should ANYONE represent the atheists?

    September 8, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      We don't need anyone representing us, we just need OUR elected representatives to stop representing religion.

      September 8, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • mama kindless

      What "If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses" is true, I think.

      Sheep are not that hard to herd around. You may need a stick and sometimes you have to borrow a stick. The sheep outnumber you for sure, but you just have to keep them from going too far where they shouldn't go – like where the poisonous root vegetables are – otherwise it becomes deadly for everyone.

      Of course atheists are strong minded people. And people who follow religion are "sheeple" as they say.

      September 8, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • mama kindless

      (What "If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses" wrote is true, I think.)

      September 8, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Please explain why atheists should not be represented.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Blessed cheesemaker .. I think Red is a one & done type of debater. I personally think we all need to be represented, but not as Atheists, Theists, polytheists or Deists but just as people. We need religion out of our government and political process and at that point we're all represented, including Atheists.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Jay

      Red, you should have asked "why should anyone represents the wolves".

      September 8, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  20. acutabove

    The White House knew about the omision of God and Jerusalem BEFORE the passage of the platform. These are always approved by the presumptive nominee.

    But this event does point out Obama's incompetency in not being able to predict the results, his contempt for democracy by forcing the passage of the amendments despite NOT being passed by the delegaes, and his willingness to lie about anything to make himself look better, even IF it makes his party look worse.

    September 8, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Jay

      Chalk it up to a pack of wolves.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • ono

      exactly! They launched that in an "informal" way to read the crowd yet not be responsible. Three verbal yeah or nay votes, come on, that proved nothing, but they got their data on the issue

      September 8, 2012 at 12:37 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.