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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. Bryan

    Hey Atheists,
    If you do not want to feel left out, then make better choices. A man without faith is not a real man.

    September 8, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Athy

      I don't feel left out. And I believe religion to be superstItious nonsense for weak-minded people.

      September 8, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • bpuharic

      You're a religious fanatic. What would you know about being a real man?

      September 8, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      How in the world do you expect to prove what you say?

      September 8, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Atheists still rely on faith, of a sort. I have faith that I will wake up and still have a job tomorrow, though there is no guarantee of either. And yet, this is based on tangible, known FACT that I am alive and employed today! But faith in continued existence/employment is not the same as faith in an invisible "god" whose only so-called "evidence" is the compiled ancient writings of ignorant goatherds who knew next to nothing about their surroundings compared to what we know today. Their account is mere hearsay, whereas the fact that I get hungry and receive paychecks periodically are PROOF that I am a living, working man!

      September 8, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • I don't THINK so

      "A man without faith is not a real man"? What kind of retarded third grader "Mine's bigger than yours" crap is that?

      September 10, 2012 at 4:19 am |
  2. jimnwnj

    Religion or lack thereof is only one component of who we are as people. Which party represents Catholics? Which party represents Hindus, Protestants, Baptists? It's a very narrow and silly question. No party does nor should they. They have platforms that go far beyond religion. Look to the party that represents your other needs the best, the one that offers the best match. For very few of us, is it a perfect match. Funny, I never asked which party represented my religion. For most of us, minority interests are never represented. This is a minority interest, do your really think the majority is motivated to support your interest, one diametrically opposed to theirs? Get real.

    September 8, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • rtkMD

      Well put.

      September 8, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • bpuharic

      I look forward to the day when Catholics, Baptists, Anglicans, etc., get their wish and have a Christian America. Then they'll start killing each other like they used to and we'll rediscover why we have religious freedom

      September 8, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • TrueBlue42

      Ridiculous post. You've obviously never been discriminated against for your beliefs; problem is, you also obviously don't care about those who have.

      September 9, 2012 at 3:58 am |
  3. John 3:16 LOL

    What a whiny twerp Silverman is. Every word and gesture screams "picked on in school." Just the kind of negative stereotype atheism needs. I'm not religious but Christ almighty! Even Triumph the Insult Dog could be a better leader.

    September 8, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Comment

      I agree, though not from religious conviction. I remember another self-aggrandizing little fart Abbie Hoffman. Parasites on something much bigger than themselves.

      September 8, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • TypicalAtheist

      How Dare You Call Our Leader A Twerp You Arent Half The Man David Silverman Is I Would Tongue Bathe Him Like A Cat If It Would Help Our Cause He's So Awesome I Don't Believe In A God But If I Did It Would Be DAVID SILVERMAN!!!!!!

      September 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I lost respect for Silverman when he couldn't explain the cause of tidal activity to that smug fool O'Reilly. I also hate how several members of American Atheists say that the public display of religious symbols makes them physically ill. If you're arguing against the display of religious symbols on public property, do so on a church/state separation basis, not with this illness BS.

      September 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  4. James

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ucVDpmFz-E

    September 8, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • James

      In case you missed it

      September 8, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @James

      How 'bout you just give us the 411 summary of this, instead of us having to watch an over 2 hour long video. 😯

      Peace...

      September 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  5. Haime52

    What party represesents atheists? The Communist Party, perhaps? Sorry, couldn't resist! What about atheism makes one person better than any other? Or any politician? Feeling put upon by believers of one stripe or another? I see a group of people who seem to think they are in some sort of danger of becoming irrelevant, yet saying that they are the wave of the future. If that is to be so, why so vocal and whine about preceived slights, now? You believe that you'll have your day, so be patient.

    September 8, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Blessed Are the Greek

      And yet Jesus was a Communist, or at least a Socialist, which is pretty close. What's your argument?

      September 8, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I am an atheist because there is no evidence to support the existence of any god. Until such time as irrefutable proof for a god is provided, I will continue to believe that the most honest course of action is disbelief. Cultural habit and emotional experiences are only excuses used by people who fear the truth.

      I guess my atheism makes me a better person because it keeps me honest.

      September 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • bpuharic

      Guess you don't know Paul Ryan's hero is an atheist. She hated Christianity as much as Christians hate religious freedom.

      September 8, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
  6. 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 6:57 pm |
    • islam source of islamfilthystupidity

      Let me get this straight. Atheists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc. are all Hindus?

      islam of a filthy pig muslim caliph mithra jewish hindu of a hindu hind gutter land of pakistan muslim islam of a mohammed muslim pig pork rind hind hindu of a filthy jewish hindu hind yakkety yak yak

      September 8, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • old ben

      . . . and don't talk back

      September 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  7. Henry

    Dan Merica, you are just another hell bound little worm of a man!!

    September 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Henry,

      You are a one trick pony.

      "If you don't agree with me you are going to HELL!"

      It is a poor argument and only works on the weak minded.

      September 8, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Blessed Are the Greek

      Hell? You mean Hades? You realize the Jews ripped off the concept of Hades, right? Just read your bible! "Hell" first appeared in the OT as "Sheol" which was merely an underworld where nothing much happened, certainly no fire and punishment. Later they turned it into a meaner, fiery torture pit.

      September 8, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  8. Steve

    Why are atheists so obnoxiously self-righteous?

    September 8, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Comment

      You must be slutting about with atheists who care about you and hope you'll get better.

      September 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      No one ever said "There is NO god" until someone first said, "There IS a god!" and in particular a "god" who fights only for one nation's army, or a "god" that will eternally punish those who don't believe in "him". You accuse everyone on the planet and expect to find sympathy?! Why not point a gun at someone and ask if they feel like being your friend? Loser!

      September 8, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Athy

      We try not to be obnoxious, but it's hard not to be when commenting on such mindless bullshit religious nonsensical beliefs that have absolutely no evidence to support them.

      September 8, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Tomk777

      Because when you remove God, all that's left is SELF, and Self always thinks its right

      September 8, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • old ben

      Tomk777 wrote: "Because when you remove God, all that's left is SELF, and Self always thinks its right"

      Wrong – for many people community and society and many other relationships are still "left" with make-believe things out of the picture. Now for you, you may only have your self without your god, but I doubt even that. And it's healthier to both the individual and to society if you have to answer to society instead of various non-existent deities that various members of society may, in their weakness, subscribe to.

      September 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  9. Chad

    Someone please explain to me why atheists are so comfortable criticizing Christianity, when virtually all of them know next to nothing about it?

    Foolish criticism is unclear about what the motive or purpose of the criticism is, or about what the consequence/effect of the criticism is. Usually it connotes lack of self-insight or a good understanding of the motives or issue involved. The foolish critic often mistakes what his target should be, and therefore, his criticism is really "at the wrong address", it is in some sense misplaced, disingenious or misjudged ("clutching at straws", "tilting at windmills").
    Foolish criticism is not necessarily arbitrary or willy-nilly, but it is "foolish", because it does the critic (or his intended target) no good. Typically it is therefore self-defeating, which might make people wonder why it is being stated at all. People can become terribly obsessed with a criticism, without really being aware of what it is truly about, why it is being made, or what the effect of it is. They might feel they should "pipe in" about an issue, without any awareness of a clear motivation.
    Foolish criticism may lack any clear direction, being prompted simply by a grudge or gripe, a feeling of unease, or a sense of dissatisfaction. People often say, "don't criticize, what you don't understand", meaning that first people should understand things and their effects properly, before launching into criticism. If they do not, the criticism might "backfire" and have an effect which is opposite to what is intended. Criticism is truly foolish, if people persist in a criticism regardless, even though it is demonstrably not well-taken.

    September 8, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      We must examine everything critically, Chad. You should too.

      September 8, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Chad: "Someone please explain to me why atheists are so comfortable criticizing Christianity, when virtually all of them know next to nothing about it?"

      Given that I was raised in a christian home and wasn't, therefore able to shake those evil chains that bound my mind with unfounded GUILT and FEAR of a make-believe, fiery torture after death for failing to appease a make-believe "god" that was made up thousands of years ago by people who didn't know $h|+ about anything, until I reached college, I would say that I am just as familiar with your mythology as you are, if not more so. Don't criticize what you don't know!

      Furthermore, you would have to assume that many Westerners who are now non-believers come from a similar background to mine, and even if they haven't, chances are they've become well-enough acquainted with your mythology since it is so ubiquitous in our society! So what are you saying, dolt?

      September 8, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Athy

      How can one be uncomfortable criticizing people who subscribe to such obviously erroneous beliefs? If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

      September 8, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      C'mon, Chad! Don't give up so easily. No reply? Please show the world how stupid you are. Give us another lame response, now won't you?

      September 8, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Chad

      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte "Given that I was raised in a christian home and wasn't, therefore able to shake those evil chains that bound my mind with unfounded GUILT and FEAR"

      =>"Therefore, there is now no condemnation[guilt] for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8

      For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 1 Timothy 1

      you were raised in a Christian home?
      Did you ever read the bible?

      September 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Chad

      @Athy "obviously erroneous beliefs? "

      =>if you dont understand something, by what are you calling it erroneous?

      September 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      I've read it cover to cover at least twice, and too many individual verse-lookups for me to count. You can't use an ancient book written by ignorant supersti-tious goatherds as evidence. That's called circular logic. Why do you religious ret@rds always have such trouble with logic?

      September 8, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Chad, I've personally corrected this many times. Can I get you to acknowledge this? I was raised in a baptist family, saved at 5, baptized at 6... I spent 13 years going to church 3x a week and kindergarten to graduation in an independent baptist school. I was required to read the bible from cover to cover many times. I've memorized much of it including whole chapters. My family was and still are devout christians.

      My story is not unique. All of the atheists I know personally come from similar backgrounds. I'd like to put the fantasy you are claiming to rest.

      September 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Chad

      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte "I've read it cover to cover at least twice, and too many individual verse-lookups for me to count. "
      @Chad "baloney 🙂
      your discussion of it betrays your ignorance..

      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte "You can't use an ancient book written by ignorant supersti-tious goatherds as evidence"
      @Chad "??
      You claimed it filled you with GUILT and FEAR, right?

      I merely pointed out that the bible actually says something entirely different.

      September 8, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      W.h.e.r.e i.s y.o.u.r "g.o.d" n.o.w? W.h.y c.a.n.'t "h.e" r.e.p.e.a.t h.i.s. a.m.a.z.i.n.g p.e.r.f.o.r.m.a.n.c.e.s. a,g,a,i,n,, n.o.w t.h.a.t m.a.n.k.i.n.d i.s m.u.c.h. s.m.a.r.t.e.r t.h.a.n i.t u.s.e.d. t.o b.e....n.o.w t.h.a.t w.e h.a.v.e t.h.e. t.e.c.h.n.o.l.o.g.y t.o p.e.r.m.a.n.e.n.t.l.y r.e.c.o.r.d e.v.e.n.t.s f.o.r a.l.l t.o s.e.e.....t.h.a.t i.s, "p.e.r.m.a.n.e.n.t.l.y" i.n.a.s.m.u.c.h a.s w.e a.r.e s.t.i.l.l a.r.o.u.n.d. o.n t.h.i.s p.l.a.n.e.t b.e.c.a.u.s.e n.a.t.u.r.e h.a.s.n.'.t f.o.r.c.e.d. u.s t.o .s.a.y.,. m.|.g.r.a.t.e t.o M.a.r.s b.e.c.a.u.s.e o.f o.v.e.r.p.0.p.u.|.a.t.i.o.n. o.r p.o.l.l.u.t.|.o.n, e.t.c..? I r.e.a.l.l.y w.o.u.l.d l.i.k.e. t.o. .s.e.e. .a. .t.a.l.k.i.n.g. .s.n.a.k.e. .o.r. .t.h.e. .s.u.n. .s.t.o.p.p.e.d. .i.n. .t.h.e. .s.k.y. .o.r. .t.h.e. .P.a.c.|.f.i.c. .O.c.e.a.n. .p.@.r.t.e.d. .s.o. .I. .c.o.u.l.d. .d.r.i.v.e. .t.o. .H.a.w.a.i.i. .o.r. .a. .v.|.r.g.i.n. .b.i.r.t.h. .o.r. .............

      BTW FVK the programmer on this website! I get so tired of having to guess which magic "dirty" word I have typed!

      September 8, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Athy

      @Chad. Obvious to anyone who can think.

      September 8, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Chad

      @GodFreeNow " Can I get you to acknowledge this? I was raised in a baptist family, saved at 5, baptized at 6... I spent 13 years going to church..."

      @Chad "now, depending on where you went, that may mean a great deal, or next to nothing at all.

      I dont doubt there is the rare atheist that is quite familiar with the bible. John Dominic Crossan is one, that's why I said "virtually all"

      September 8, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      I claim the followers of your stupid religion filled me with GUILT and FEAR that I was not born with! DOLT! It had to be drilled into me. I was brainwashed, not my default state.

      You have no proof of any such eternal torture for not following your invisible sky fairy.

      September 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      CHAD: Why did Jeezus say he was coming right back and then fail to do so after TWO THOUSAND YEARS?! And please don't say 'generation' means anything other than what it obviously means: the people who were alive at that time!

      Matthew 30-34
      30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. 32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

      September 8, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Chad

      @Athy "Obvious to anyone who can think."

      =>how can it be obvious, if you arent familiar with it?

      September 8, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Why fear? It's just a book. It's central claims are not supported by evidence. Anyone reading it cold without any preconditioning would only find it odd.

      September 8, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Chad

      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte "I claim the followers of your stupid religion filled me with GUILT and FEAR "

      =>if you "read it cover to cover at least twice" did you not notice that what these people were saying was not consistent with what the bible said?

      September 8, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Chad: "Not consistent with what the bible said"?!

      Please don't tell me you think bible is CONSISTENT! HA HA HA!

      Are you also saying that the impetus for your continued adherence to your ridiculous beliefs are not GUILT and FEAR?! You can't deny that! If you turn you burn. HA HA HA! You've been TOLD that Satan would lead you astray. You've been TOLD that people would ridicule you. It must all be true! HA HA HA HA!

      September 8, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Scott

      I was brought up in a "good Christian home" ™. Christians are not so concerned about keeping up the sweet and innocent pretense when they are just around kids, especially their own. I've got a belly full of Christian teaching (decades) and I've seen the rotten, black heart of Christianity that burns just under their thin veneer of civility. So you see some atheists really do understand much more about Christianity than you would ever want them to.

      September 8, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      The only thing anyone needs to know about any religion that assumes the existence of a supernatural being is that there is absolutely no evidence for the existence of said being. Until the foundations (the factual existance of the assumed supernatural being) of a religion are established, all discussion is merely the hacking over of rules for the world's largest fantasy role playing game, with heavy emphasis on fantasy.

      September 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Except RPGs are fun. Religion, while interesting in its own way, is also incredibly tedious.

      September 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Awww, how sad for Chad! Chad hates it when people point out how his savior didn't come back when he said he would. Might as well join us. It's a whole lot happier on this side of the fence.

      September 8, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • old ben

      Very presumptuous and pompous for this Chad to claim that "virtually all" atheists no nothing about Christianity. Christianity, by nature, is a very internally conflicted religion. I say internally because the conflicted nature is built into the primary tenets and between several of the primary characters. You can see this before even getting involved with questioning whether or not a specific event or set of events is plausible. Because of this, to support a specific point, a Christian will:

      – reference something in the Bible and tell you that you should take it literally as written (but of course because the words were translated and are in a very old style, they will still have to give you their own interpretation

      – reference something else in the Bible and tell you that it should not be take literally as written (but they still must give you their own interpretation to make it more relevant to today's language and style)

      -reference the same thing and argue for what logically would be the opposite case they may have argued before (and obviously give their spin on it to have it support their immediate need); I often have heard this not so much for argument, but in doing so carelessly to support another point that need further interpretation (and yet more spin).

      I've read and heard Christians use the Bible used in this way many times. Christians have become highly adept at using their unorganized, conflicted little folklore book this way, now with the help of cross-referencing tools.

      Don't be the fool for it!

      September 8, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • old ben

      my first line should have: . . . .know nothing . . .
      not "no nothing"

      September 8, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • bpuharic

      Chad's kinda dumb and doesn't know surveys show atheists know more about the bible than christians do.

      http://newsfeed.time.com/2010/09/28/survey-atheists-know-more-about-religion-than-believers/

      Why are so many christians so dumb?

      September 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey, Chard, how you been, dude? Weren't you going to prove that your god was somehow connected to the Big Bang and to evolution? Did you ever manage to do that? Can you cite when and where that occurred, honey?

      September 8, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Chad

      @old ben "Very presumptuous and pompous for this Chad to claim that "virtually all" atheists no nothing about Christianity. Christianity, by nature, is a very internally conflicted religion. I say internally because the conflicted nature is built into the primary tenets and between several of the primary characters. "

      @Chad "do you have any examples of this "conflicted nature"?
      that request usually stops that line of dialog..

      ========
      @Zeus: if you read the bible, why were you unable to recognize that the fear and guilt these people were filling you with, was inconsistent with the bible?

      regarding Matthew 24, Jesus may have been referring to the judgement on Jerusalem in 70AD, but I dont really know..

      September 8, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Chad

      @bpuharic "Chad's kinda dumb and doesn't know surveys show atheists know more about the bible than christians do.
      http://newsfeed.time.com/2010/09/28/survey-atheists-know-more-about-religion-than-believers/"

      =>you do realize that well over 60% of that survey had nothing to do with the bible.. right? (it's a trick question, I know you didnt actually look at it.. you just googled the ti tle..)

      oops.. dont feel bad, it's a common atheist mistake.

      September 8, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's "atheists", Chard. Not "atheist". Don't feel bad. It's a common mistake among dolts like you.

      September 8, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Chad

      @ "Scott I was brought up in a "good Christian home" ™. Christians are not so concerned about keeping up the sweet and innocent pretense when they are just around kids, especially their own. I've got a belly full of Christian teaching (decades) and I've seen the rotten, black heart of Christianity that burns just under their thin veneer of civility. So you see some atheists really do understand much more about Christianity than you would ever want them to"

      =>that probably captures 90% of the atheists that have told me their story on this board..
      you got disillusioned with Christians.. with human behavior.

      I never once hear an atheist say "I loved my church, but I the more I read the bible, the more I became convinced it wasnt true"

      you deny the bible AFTER you decided to no longer be a "christian"

      September 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • hal 9000

      It's "atheists", Chard. Not "atheist". . .

      Thank you "Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son" for your tireless work in spelling correction.

      (It was my honor to present the enti'ty "Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son" the distinguished
      Library of Congress Proofreaders Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this month.)

      September 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      @Chad "do you have any examples of this "conflicted nature"?
      that request usually stops that line of dialog..

      How about "thou shalt not murder" and yet Yahweh loves to kill, especially when it's killing "enemies of Israel". How about telling people it's wrong to do "witchcraft, magic and the like" when it's OK for "god" to perform "miracles"? How about having to put up with a story about how the "WHOLE WORLD" was flooded when they had no way to verify such a claim? How about it saying to "love your neighbor as yourself" and yet Jeezus came not to bring peace but to be a sword. Or how you're expected to turn against your parents to follow Jesus and yet honor your parents at the same time? The list is quite long, dumb a-ss!

      ========
      @Zeus: if you read the bible, why were you unable to recognize that the fear and guilt these people were filling you with, was inconsistent with the bible?

      How is "fear and guilt" inconsistent with the bible, even though the bible is inherently inconsistent? FEAR: Burn in hell if you don't do what the bible says. GUILT: Man was born with original sin. Enough said! FVK YOU!

      ==============
      regarding Matthew 24, Jesus may have been referring to the judgement on Jerusalem in 70AD, but I dont really know..

      MAY HAVE BEEN? YOU DON'T REALLY KNOW? Do I have to say anything here?

      September 8, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      Chad wrote: "@Chad "do you have any examples of this "conflicted nature"?
      that request usually stops that line of dialog.."

      Do you ask yourself questions often? This must be some kind of fallacy – where to argue a point, you ask yourself a question using someone else's words and then give an opinion. Think I've seen this before . . .

      September 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, I've seen it before, too. Where was it? Hmm...Oh, that's right. It was in the film "Three Faces of Eve"!

      Sooooo... now we have Three Faces of Chad!

      September 8, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Chad

      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte "How about "thou shalt not murder" and yet Yahweh loves to kill, especially when it's killing "enemies of Israel".
      @Chad "was that murder?
      remember, killing is not prohibited.
      notice you used the term "killing"

      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte "How about telling people it's wrong to do "witchcraft, magic and the like" when it's OK for "god" to perform "miracles"?
      @Chad "it's the agent that's the issue, right?
      miracle(God)
      witchcraft(satan)

      =========
      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte "How about having to put up with a story about how the "WHOLE WORLD" was flooded when they had no way to verify such a claim?
      @Chad "hmm.. how does an inability to verify it (as of now) demonstrate any internal inconsistency??

      ======
      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte "How about it saying to "love your neighbor as yourself" and yet Jeezus came not to bring peace but to be a sword"
      @Chad "what did Jesus mean by saying "“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword"?
      obviously you'll need to understand that first..

      =======
      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte " Or how you're expected to turn against your parents to follow Jesus and yet honor your parents at the same time?"
      @Chad "Obeying God trumps a command by your parents in the opposite.. right?

      ========
      @Zeus How is "fear and guilt" inconsistent with the bible, even though the bible is inherently inconsistent? FEAR: Burn in hell if you don't do what the bible says. GUILT:
      @Chad "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"

      =====
      @Zeus "Man was born with original sin"
      @Chad " A. there is no such word as "original sin" in the bible
      B. the concept of original sin developed later referred to the fallen nature of the world and our propensity to sin.

      If every human was born with original sin, how did Jesus live a perfect life?

      September 8, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Commenter 2

      Chad,
      "I never once hear an atheist say "I loved my church, but I the more I read the bible, the more I became convinced it wasnt true"

      Then you simply have not been paying attention. I have heard it numerous times.

      As a former Catholic myself, I was exposed to the NT constantly, but we only had selected excerpts of the OT presented. Finally taking the time to read that stuff was eye-opening. My ditching the belief had next to nothing to do with individual believers.

      September 8, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Chad

      @Commenter 2 " My ditching the belief had next to nothing to do with individual believers"

      =>why did you ditch?

      September 8, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      I wrote "Chad wrote: "@Chad "do you have any examples of this "conflicted nature"?
      that request usually stops that line of dialog.."

      Do you ask yourself questions often? This must be some kind of fallacy – where to argue a point, you ask yourself a question using someone else's words and then give an opinion. Think I've seen this before . . ."

      It is also a sleezeball trick because Chad has made it seem like the other person doesn't have a response when in fact they probably don't know they've been asked a question (by use of the "@Chad"); like I say I've see this before. But thankfully G. Zeus responded to the question.

      September 8, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, Chard sees himself as some sort of movie hero. You can see it in his posts; they're written as if it's a screenplay dialogue. It's pretty funny.

      September 8, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Chad

      "@Chad"
      and
      "=>"

      just indicate that what follows is my response. I am not asking myself a question 🙂

      September 8, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      @@CHAD:
      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte " Or how you're expected to turn against your parents to follow Jesus and yet honor your parents at the same time?"
      @Chad "Obeying God trumps a command by your parents in the opposite.. right?

      One of the 10 Commandments is to honor your parents, allegedly a command from your "god".
      Following Jeezus, which may supposedly require you to turn against your parents, is also apparently a requirement of your "god".
      Therefore, your "god" is in conflict with "himself."

      September 8, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      Chad wrote "@Chad "what did Jesus mean by saying "“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword"?
      obviously you'll need to understand that first.."

      typical lame Christian generalization.
      So, no I don't – I already studied and understood it and now emphatically refute it.

      September 8, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Commenter 2

      Chad,
      "=>why did you ditch?"

      It's not a simple one-sentence answer, I'm afraid; but briefly– after many years of reading, discussing, listening, and yes, even praying, I found the legends, supersti-tions and fantasies to be non-credible.

      September 8, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • Chad

      @G. Zeus Kreiszchte " Or how you're expected to turn against your parents to follow Jesus and yet honor your parents at the same time?" One of the 10 Commandments is to honor your parents, allegedly a command from your "god".
      Following Jeezus, which may supposedly require you to turn against your parents, is also apparently a requirement of your "god". Therefore, your "god" is in conflict with "himself."

      =>you need to understand the word "honor"

      honor
      noun
      1.honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions: a man of honor.
      2.a source of credit or distinction: to be an honor to one's family.
      3.high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor.
      4.such respect manifested: a memorial in honor of the dead.
      5.high public esteem; fame; glory: He has earned his position of honor.

      A person could certainly obey God (going against the wishes of the parent), and still respect, honor, take care of, their parents.

      right?
      pretty straightforward.

      September 8, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Chad

      @Commenter 2 "It's not a simple one-sentence answer, I'm afraid; but briefly– after many years of reading, discussing, listening, and yes, even praying, I found the legends, supersti-tions and fantasies to be non-credible"

      =>example of something non-credible?

      September 8, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Chad

      @truth be trolled "So, no I don't – I already studied and understood it and now emphatically refute it."

      =>wonderful!
      then you can tell us what it means, right?

      September 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      OOoooh! Hear that? You need to understand the word "honor." Because of course, only the CHARD knows the meaning of the word or how to use a dictionary. You should be grateful to him for his assistance in helping you to understand the meaning of words, because he is the CHARD!

      September 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Chad,
      "=>that probably captures 90% of the atheists that have told me their story on this board..
      you got disillusioned with Christians.. with human behavior."

      Thank you for the accidental use of the word "disillusioned". You're right. That's exactly what it is. As you know, this is based on the realization that something is first illusion.

      disappointment resulting from the discovery that something is not as good as one believed it to be: enthusiasm for the government evaporated into a more cynical disillusion.
      verb [ with obj. ]
      cause (someone) to realize that a belief or an ideal is false: if they think we have a magic formula to solve the problem, don't disillusion them.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Chad

      @GodFreeNow,.. you missed the entire point..
      what you are disillusioned with is the people.. that always seems to come first.

      since Jesus Christ is real, what difference is it how good or bad His followers are? Should the behavior of the followers really dissuade you from Jesus?

      September 9, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Commenter 2

      Chad,

      "=>example of something non-credible?"

      - That one "talks with" "hears" and "has Jesus enter their soul". One of my last endeavors in trying to believe was fervently taking communion and doing my best to "receive" Jesus (the last of many attempts, btw, after having experienced this self-induced euphoria in the past). No one is there, Chad.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Commenter 2

      Chad,
      "what you are disillusioned with is the people.. that always seems to come first."

      No Chad, just no... unless you want to really stretch it to being disillusioned with the fantasies of long-dead Middle Eastern men.

      September 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Chad

      @Commenter 2 "One of my last endeavors in trying to believe was fervently taking communion and doing my best to "receive" Jesus (the last of many attempts, btw, after having experienced this self-induced euphoria in the past)."

      @Chad "what was your expectation of what was "supposed" to happen?

      September 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Commenter 2

      @Chad "what was your expectation of what was "supposed" to happen?

      My hope was VERY broad... something, anything independent of my own conjuring.

      September 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Commenter 2

      p.s. My point, Chad, is that "people problems" are not the reason for my (and many others') non-belief. So, you can mark that off of your list of arguments regarding why disbelievers disbelieve. You have heard it now (and as I said previously, you have heard it before too).

      September 9, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Chad

      @Commenter 2 "My hope was VERY broad... something, anything independent of my own conjuring."

      =>like.. what?

      @Commenter 2 "you can cross that off your list"
      => the VAST majority of "atheists who have fallen away" stories have been issues with people..

      September 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Chad

      @Commenter 2,
      also, (and I am not making light of it at all, believe me), what personal issue/crisis prompted your appeal (that you felt wasnt answered) to the supernatural?

      September 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Commenter 2

      "@Commenter 2 "My hope was VERY broad... something, anything independent of my own conjuring."
      =>like.. what?"

      - as I said, 'anything' - I was willing to be surprised.

      -------------------------------

      => the VAST majority of "atheists who have fallen away" stories have been issues with people..
      - I disagree, but if you wish to think that, go ahead.

      ----------------------------------–

      "Chad
      what personal issue/crisis prompted your appeal (that you felt wasnt answered) to the supernatural?"

      - I suppose the best way to describe it was a desire for restoration of my former deep feelings of connection with the supernatural, maybe a tiny bit of wanting to stay in sync with believing family members and a large portion of society; but mostly wanting that highly touted "rebirth". I guess this "God" just doesn't like me... more likely, it doesn't exist.

      You know, I could conjure that fantasy again in an instant, if I wanted to... but it would be no different than fantasizing that I am basking on some lush tropical beach, or that I have a flash of inspiration that wonderfully causes world peace or a cure for cancer.

      September 9, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  10. Just because

    I enjoy watching Notre Dame football on a saturday afternoon doesn't mean I have to mumble over beads on sunday morning.

    September 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Just because

      Sure you do... especially the day after USC kick's your a ss yet... again ! 😀

      Peace...

      September 8, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Athy

      It's "ass", ass.

      September 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Just because

      USC, you are kidding, every knows that now and then feces float for a time, but eventualy they sink, see you in December Trojan.

      September 8, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Athy

      LOL ! 😀 relax pal... just making sure that the word made it past the auto-filter.

      Peace...

      September 8, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Just because

      " USC, you are kidding, every knows that now and then feces float for a time, but eventualy they sink, see you in December Trojan"

      BTW- SC is ranked #1 in one poll and #3 in another.... What is ND's ranking ?

      *crickets* 😀

      Yes... @Just because... see you in December. It's a great rivalry... hopefully it will be a great game as well.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      September 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah, I know, man. Sorry. For some reason ass is OK.

      September 8, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  11. ono

    Yep I would agree that would certainly get everyone's attention, but would that solve the scientific method of discovery and moving it from hypothesis to fact? These are jsut questions...

    September 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  12. YoozYerBrain

    @ Son of Ainur

    You are correct, though, I think Iluvatar requested double-bass so Victor Wooten helped...

    September 8, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Could have been Billy Sheehan, too.

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

      Makes me wanna dance just thinking about it! Except then I'd have the Jerkova's Witlesses on me for doing the work of Santa, i mean satlan, i mean jehoobezuz, dammit, who's gonna get me this time again, it's so hard to keep straight...

      September 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Son of Ainur

      @Yoos
      I think we can agree that all of the great bassists had Ainur genes and could lay it down, although Jimmi didn't do bass, I suspect he was influenced by Ainur vibes.

      September 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Son of Ainur

      @Yooz
      You were warned about the yellow tabs, hard to tell a nun from a cop in that condition.

      September 8, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • YoozYerBrain

      People often think that Jimi IS Iluvatar, which is understandable, but the science doesn't support that conclusion- YET!

      September 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Best bassist= Mark Boston, AKA Rockette Morton

      September 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • YoozYerBrain

      @Rational lib

      The school of RocketteMortonism is rapidly gaining credence in the overall pan-theology, and isn't considered a heresy, so I can't argue with you. However, do you risk offending the Priests of Wootenism and thus engendering excommunication to the Void of Iluvatar to learn basic rythm from James Taylor? A fate worse than Hell!

      You have to be careful with this stuff, it's potent... scrod bress.

      September 8, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Son of Ainur

      @Rational
      Lets call it a tie, we are descending into the religion zone, which mythical god is the goodest, yours or mine? Why can't we all just get along and enjoy the music of life? Peace. Achmed the dead terrorist may not agree "Silence or I will kill you."

      September 8, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  13. ono

    ok fair enough – thanks

    September 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • I Don't Get It

      ono,

      Your stand-alone posts mean next to nothing if they are not posted as a reply under the pertinent thread, and are not designated toward anyone...

      September 8, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  14. ono

    So it would have to be beyond any doubts and have the recent technolgy and scrutiny to be valid?

    September 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • NOPE

      If your "god" had such an important message to deliver, why'd "he" do it in the middle of nowhere when humans had very limited knowledge about the world? Why would you believe such a story? Why can't your "god" repeat such an amazing feat today, now that we are all much more aware of our surroundings? Can't? Won't? How dumb can you get?

      September 8, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • ono

      So I am asking you what would be a better way, a more convincing proof positive way to show you he existed?

      September 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • What IF

      ono,

      An omniscient "God" would know *precisely* what proof is acceptable to each and every one of us individually.

      An omnipotent "God" would be able to provide it.

      An all-loving "God" would do so.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Colin

      An example might be the supposed second coming of Jesus actually happening, or a large cross simultaneously descending above every city of Earth and hovering there unsupported while a voice from the sky booms out "have faith in the one true god"

      Something that is hard to explain by any other means other than accepting the Judeo-Chrsistian god's existence.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • ono

      so What if that would then solve the disbeilief factor? I am really trying to find out what proof would be without a doubt kinda proof – that non god folks are saying is not out there

      September 8, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  15. truth be told

    Thank God there is no party that represents atheists , who needs them. They are a useless burden on the future of America.

    September 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • NOPE

      @tbt

      NOPE, hah this is fun, thanks nope!

      September 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I hate to feed a troll, but how does not believing in a deity cause one to become burdensome?

      September 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    September 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • NOPE

      NOPE

      September 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Templeton Foundation Prayer Study (religious foundation)

      Hate to do this but here's the long version since the A who posts this stuff doesn't get it:

      Templeton Foundation Prayer Study:
      Results: In the two groups uncertain about receiving intercessory prayer, complications occurred
      in 52% (315/604) of patients who received intercessory prayer versus 51% (304/597) of those
      who did not (relative risk 1.02, 95% confidence interval 0.92-1.15). Complications occurred in
      59% (352/601) of patients certain of receiving intercessory prayer compared with the 52%
      (315/604) of those uncertain of receiving intercessory prayer (relative risk 1.14, 95% confidence
      interval 1.02-1.28). Major events and 30-day mortality were similar across the 3 groups.

      Conclusions: Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from
      CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of
      complications.

      **Three groups of people were asked to pray for patients they did not know personally. The congregations came from:
      - St. Paul's Monastery, St. Paul
      - The Community of Teresian Carmelites, Worcester, Massachussetts
      - Silent Unity, which is a Missouri prayer ministry near Kansas City

      Patients were divided into three groups:
      1. Patients who were told people would pray for them
      2. Patients who were not told people would pray for them, but people did pray for them
      3. Patients who were not told anything, and nobody prayed for them.

      Among two groups of patients, one having people praying for them but not knowing, and the other receiving no prayers, there was no difference in their health and recoveries.
      However, the group that was being prayed for and knew about it had more complications after surgery than the other two groups.

      Percentage of Patients Having Complications After Surgery
      52% – Patients who were receiving prayers and did not know this.
      52% – Patients receiving no prayers and not being told anything about prayers taking place anywhere for anyone.
      59% – Patients knowing they were receiving prayers

      According to this study, we may conclude the following:
      - Praying does not help the patient at all.
      - Telling patients that people are going to pray for them does have an effect, but not a good one.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • yep

      @atheism is not healthy for children and other living things
      yep

      September 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • yep

      @prayer changes things
      yep

      September 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • nope

      @templeton foundation...
      nope

      September 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  17. NOPE

    @nope

    Cogent argument you are using, let me try....nope. Huh. Pretty good, let's try again...nope. Wow, I feel smarter every time I say it...NOPE...

    Boy, I wish there was something I could say NOPE to! Cmon nope...

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

      @Nope
      nope

      September 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  18. Colin

    So, now a quiz we can all participate in. Please choos only one answer from the four choices. Creationists will be given a headstart of two marks, just like the kids who take the "special bus" to school.

    The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the field of:

    (a) Children’s fairytales;

    (b) Medieval mythology;

    (c) New age pseudo science; or

    (d) Christianity

    I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am

    (a) a delusional schizophrenic;

    (b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly

    (c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or

    (d) your average Christian

    Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:

    (a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;

    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;

    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or

    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.

    I believe that an all powerful being, capable of creating the entire cosmos watches me have $ex to make sure I don't do anything "naughty". I am

    (a) A victim of child molestation

    (b) A r.ape victim trying to recover

    (c) A mental patient with paranoid delusions

    (d) A Christian

    You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are a:

    (a) historian;

    (b) geologist;

    (c) NASA astronomer; or

    (d) Christian

    I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am

    (a) A failed psychologist

    (b) A fraudulent geneticist

    (c) A sociologist who never went to college; or

    (d) A Christian with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.

    The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:

    (a) Architecture;

    (b) Philosophy;

    (c) Archeology; or

    (d) Religion

    What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from religion:

    (a) Religion tells people not only what they should believe, but what they must believe under threat of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;

    (b) Religion can make a statement, such as “there is one god comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;

    (c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas religion is regional and a person’s religious conviction, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than an accident of birth; or

    (d) All of the above.

    If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:

    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;

    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;

    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or

    (d) my religious belief.

    Who am I? I don’t pay any taxes. I never have. Any money my organization earns is tax free and my own salary is also tax free, at the federal, state and local level. Despite contributing nothing to society, but still enjoying all its benefits, I feel I have the right to tell others what to do. I am

    (a) A sleazy Wall Street banker

    (b) A mafia boss

    (c) A drug pusher; or

    (d) A Catholic Priest, Protestant Minister or Jewish Rabbi.

    What do the following authors all have in common – Jean Paul Sartre, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, John Milton, John Locke, and Blaise Pascal:

    (a) They are among the most gifted writers the World has known;

    (b) They concentrated on opposing dogma and opening the human mind and spirit to the wonders of free thought and intellectual freedom;

    (c) They were intimidated by the Catholic Church and put on the Church’s list of prohibited authors; or

    (d) All of the above.

    The AIDS epidemic will kill tens of millions in poor African and South American countries before we defeat it. Condoms are an effective way to curtail its spread. As the Pope still has significant influence over the less educated masses in these parts of the World, he has exercised this power by:

    (a) Using some of the Vatican’s incomprehensible wealth to educate these vulnerable people on health family planning and condom use;

    (b) Supporting government programs that distribute condoms to high risk groups;

    (c) Using its myriad of churches in these regions to distribute condoms; or

    (d) Scaring people into NOT using condoms, based upon his disdainful and aloof view that it is better that a person die than go against the Vatican’s position on contraceptive use.

    September 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • nope

      @colon
      nope

      September 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  19. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Why haven't mental health professionals jumped on the case about religious freaks thinking they've talked to, heard from, seen, or felt "god"? (I don't remember hearing any cases of people smelling "god" but I wouldn't put it past them.) I mean, the only other people who think they've done such things are HALLUCINATING...i.e., schizophrenics!!! Therefore, religious belief should be treated as a mental disorder!

    September 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Lilith

      The psychological community largely ignores it as a kind of acceptable mental illness as to not alienate themselves from the status quo. There's more politics to it but that's the short version.
      It's been my experience (in counseling sessions) that most people do not actually "believe" it, they're mostly afraid to admit it (out of indoctrination), even to themselves.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • saggyroy

      If someone claims they are the messiah in Israel they are apprehended and sent to the psych ward. They feel that these people MAY be a threat.

      September 8, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  20. ono

    What I have not heard from the non god folks – so what would you need to see, expereince to have proof of God's exsistance? You tell us we have no proof what would you deem to be proof?

    September 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Colin

      Anything that would cause me to say "this is so unlikely to have been natural that it is more liekly there is a god than that there is not."

      September 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Science requires repeatable, observable evidence in order to form theories, which are then used to predict outcomes. This is how we learn about our environment. No "god" ever appeared to anyone. "god" does not appear on burnt toast or in wood grain. "god" does not speak to us in dreams. "god" does not reveal "his" word to a select individual who is off in the mountains alone, with no one else to corroborate the story and especially to record the event with a video camera. "god" should have written "his" message in giant, permanent letters in the sky, in every language possible so as to prove that it was truly written by "god" and not tampered with by any human.....that is, assuming your "god"'s message is really all that important. Can your "god" do that? Has your "god" done that? UNEQUIVOCALLY, NO!

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

      colin thanks, so it would have to be beyond the limits of natural law then?

      September 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Colin

      That would be part of it, but it would have have to be such that the existence of a god is the most feasible explanation for the event. Then, of course, we just have to work out which one.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • ono

      Ok that would be fair then. I think if it was really God the fact of which God would have to be part of the explanation, or we would be right where we are now asking, which god?

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

      An example might be the supposed second coming of Jesus actually happening, or a large cross simultaneously descending above every city of Earth and hovering there unsupported while a voice from the sky booms out "have faith in the one true god"

      Something that is hard to explain by any other means other than accepting the Judeo-Chrsistian god's existence.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:57 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.