Your Take: Author who calls 'spiritual but not religious' a cop-out responds to comments
October 2nd, 2012
04:04 PM ET

Your Take: Author who calls 'spiritual but not religious' a cop-out responds to comments

By Alan Miller, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Alan Miller is director of The New York Salon and co-founder of London's Old Truman Brewery. He is speaking at The Battle of Ideas at London's Barbican in October.

By Alan Miller, Special to CNN

I wrote a Belief Blog piece on Sunday called "My Take: 'I'm spiritual but not religious' is a cop-out," which has received more than 8,000 comments, many taking up key points I raised.

My assessment is that the wider disorientation of Western society, the decreasing respect for many institutions and the disdain for humans alongside what Christopher Lasch has termed a "culture of narcissism" has played out both among the "spiritual but not religious" identifiers as well as among many "new atheists." Lots of the comments bear that out.

Some commenters accused me of outdated and dangerous dogmatism in sticking up for traditional religion. A commenter whose handle is spectraprism spoke to this view:

“The problem this author advocates is that of thinking anyone has the ONE COMPLETE TRUE WAY- and everything and everyone else therefore NOT advocating it completely must be wrong. This is dogmatic, archaic, leads to extremism and is completely incorrect. Not being challenged into blindly following whatever scripture is not showing softness of any kind - it's showing you have a brain to draw your own personal conclusions that work and make sense to YOU.”

I don't happen to believe in a religious "one true way" and in fact am not religious myself. My comments and observations are based on an increasingly common phenomenon in the past 20 years.

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It is telling, though, that this and many other comments converge on dogmatism and extremism and juxtapose them with the notion that an individual choice is immune to any of that. These comments speak to my point that not wanting to be held accountable to any set of ideas or principles is a very popular position among the “spiritual but not religious."

In recent decades, the demise of the notion that there can be universal truths and the ascendancy of relativism and the new preaching of "many truths" and the idea that "all truths are equally valid" has clearly had significant impact on that identity.

The disenchantment with belief and a commitment to some wider authority has also had an impact on the self-described new atheists, who are furious that anyone could have the audacity to believe in something bigger than themselves.

The end of the big ideas of liberalism and socialism left a vacuum in society. Atheism used to be a small component of bigger movements in society. Ironically, today what defines many new atheists is a shared outlook with “spiritual but not religious” views.

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New atheists define themselves in negative terms, as not believing without any broader sense of a positive alternative, while those identifying with a "spiritual but not religious" outlook define themselves as not religious rather than according to the strong convictions that they do have.

This commenter summarized the sentiments that lots of others express on my piece:

Gina Hamilton
So I should believe in God because Bach did and it was the basis for his work? What Miller fails to understand is that most of us started out with a religious tradition in our lives, and gradually grew up and out of it. I can say clearly that I am a recovering Catholic who at the age of 16 became a humanist and freethinker, but that from the acceptance of the lack of a god proceeds a sense of the oneness of the universe and my place in it. It's not touchy-feely; it's science, and yet it is profoundly spiritual as well. Perhaps Miller, one day, will have this sort of understanding.

It is so interesting how so many people now use the therapeutic language of recovery - "recovering" from organized religion. The group American Atheists describes anguish and toil as the "first step" of "coming out," making the analogy with gays coming out the "closet," as though somehow atheists are oppressed today in America.

The therapeutic outlook is of far more concern with regard to human autonomy and freedom than organized religion. The idea is that humans are all "damaged goods" and in need of constant counseling and instruction.

These comments take off on that theme:

Paul Dykstra
Now you need to do an article on ..... "The dangers of being religious, but displaying NO spiritually aware behavior at all".....

Major religions such as Christianity and Islam have proven to be nothing but damaging and vile to our world. I reject this notion that we have to "take a side" on the matter of a higher power. The basic truth about it all is that no matter how much we read or try to decipher life's mysteries we were never meant to have concrete proof of what put us into existence. What is the point in living if you know all the answers? I am spiritual but not religious because religion is a disease of manipulation and control. I can believe in a higher power while also believing that it was never meant for me to understand this higher power until AFTER I die.

honesty is paramount
As a scientist, I am neither religious nor spiritual. I definitely know right from wrong and one of the things that positively defines me: when I don't know the answer to something, I indicate "I don't know". Don't EVER call that indecisive or "wishy-washy".

It is interesting how "spirituality" seems to be thought of as "clean" and unimpeded by problems.

Dustin calls religion a "disease" - once again we see the therapeutic language. Striving for an understanding of the world is an important and essential human attribute, yet so many of the comments have reiterated a generality about "spiritualism" and "my choice" that it seems to endorse the point I made that what seems so paramount is in a determination not to be "labeled" or dictated to by an authority.

So what is left? The superstition and mysticism of some "oneness" and often a therapeutic notion of being "spiritual."

Here’s a comment from someone who identifies as 51yo:

I always had a hard time with the guy in the front of the church, he's a guy... I'm a guy, what's the difference? He will one day be proven as a womanizer or worse, I will never walk that path. After another guy (Constantine) put his hands all over the Bible, I have little faith it is any more true than words my neighbor might come up with. Like you said, I search for truth and read as much as I can, but the final analysis is my own; I'm not tied to someone else's redistribution of "facts" or their interpretation of great stories. I can do that and be a good person without the trappings of a traditional place of worship, or someone telling me to do something they are incapable of.

The commenter 51y0 doesn't want to be tied to anyone else's "facts." While we all have to work out our things in life, I am interested to know what “spiritual but not religious" facts are.

It can seem that on the one hand there's a reluctance to commit to advocating anything and also that words can end up losing any meaning if one simply says something to the affect of "spiritual means it's right for me." Nick says it can mean a lot of different things to people:

Nick Heise
The author of this piece, though he admits that calling the spiritual-but-not-religious movement a movement would be incorrect, still wrote this entire piece as these people were a united group whose thoughts and beliefs could be analyzed and criticized as a group. I'm no genius, but these seems to make his entire position quite flawed.

I put myself out there as a point of reference since, as I'm talking about my own person, I don't have to rely on complete conjecture like the above article. Yes, I have used the expression "I'm spiritual, not religious." But what does that mean to me? Surely it can mean a lot to different people, just like the same scripture of the Bible can be inspiring to many Christians in countless different ways. To me, saying that I'm spiritual but not religious highlights that I'm not a person who believes in the existence of God as a fact, but neither do I believe in his nonexistence as a fact. It's my assertion of the respect and awe that I have in the face of a universe that I can't understand, which contains forces (perhaps a God) that I can never prove to exist or not exist. For me, it's not an unwillingness to think and make a decision - it's the result of years of thinking and consideration with the conclusion that I haven't yet gathered enough information to make a definitive choice.

I’ll end with this comment:

If you look at the definition of religious – even atheists are religious, they just strongly believe in NO God...this is from Webster's Online Dictionary: Definition of RELIGIOUS 1: relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity.

Maybe it's just that people are tired of being fanatical about church – and want to go back to a more open an honest approach to beliefs? Maybe the stigma of being a church member now has such a negative impact on how people think of you that people don't want to admit they go to church? Being spiritual means you believe in something (which I think is better than nothing) – the alternative is NOT only being an atheist....

Organized religious beliefs (even going back into ancient times) have caused more death and destruction than any other organization in the world ... and it's done in the name of (whomever your beliefs say to) – and has been since the beginning of mankind! Maybe choosing to say you're "spiritual" means you don't want to be associated with all the chaos and destruction – and maybe organized religions need to rethink their controls on individuals.

This remark will chime with many – the new atheists among them - who believe that being "spiritual" means you don't want to be associated with all the "chaos and destruction."

It strikes me that having an opt-out plan should have something more than simply a negative, whether it's a "spiritual" one or a "new atheist" negative. We live in an age where many are disillusioned with institutions and humans generally, yet not so evident is a positive alternative.

Thank you for the comments. The event we held last night, "I'm Not Religious – I'm Spiritual" benefited from some of them.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Alan Miller.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Opinion • Spirituality

soundoff (1,789 Responses)
  1. Anand

    Pity you O author of doomed ideas.please read what the people have said in their replies and maybe you will be a step closer to enlightenment.The only good thing that came out of these two articles was–that you learnt a lot through so many replies.Well for us,we are yet to dig out any benefit from your articles.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  2. Sherri

    You CAN be spiritual but not follow a specific religion. That is all this is. You can care about your fellow man/woman, care about the earth, care about injustice, but not say that you are a Catholic, Baptist, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew etc.
    The only difference, I see, is that you don't follow one particular religious dogma.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • greg1466

      In what way does caring about any of those things qualify as being "spiritual". I care about those things, but I am most certainly not spiritual. This is the problem with the term. If you can define it to mean anything you want, it becomes meaningless.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      Spirit is truth and religions are hinduism, corruption of truth absolute, move to essence of thing's, truth and you will get rid of hinduism, religions.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • greg1466

      If "spirit" is "truth", then why not call it, oh, I don't know, truth?

      October 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      Every one has grasp of truth, unless a person is in hinduism, darkness of his hindu soul, filthy desire, not to recognize spirit, truth.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      Religious and spiritual mean the same thing to me: believing in the preposterous.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  3. Anybody know how to read?

    Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

    October 3, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • snowboarder

      anybody – what is the significance of quoting a religious book? it proves nothing.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • MagicPanties

      Anybody know how to think for themselves?

      Oh, right, that would be atheists and agnostics.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "My book is true because it says in the book it is true".

      Cult logic.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • OTOH


      Otoh, can you imagine @Anybody thinking for himself? Who knows what co.ckamamie stuff he'd come up with! Maybe we should let them be... at least we know what we're dealing with. Of course, there's the caveat of not allowing them to govern the country/world with their fantasies.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • sam

      So what's your point?

      October 3, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Reading is easy.

      Apparently, however, thinking is not easy for *you*.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • mama kindless

      More junk by Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle". He probably got some decent pay for his speaking event with those folk. He was the Joseph Smith of his day, and the people he was talking to were like Republicans from one of those corn states.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  4. boyamidumb

    This reaction is an acknowledgement that organized religion has failed. In fact it has caused more pain and damage than even the most evil political structures or mob organizations. Religions are simply impose manufactured limitations on people for their own benefit and profit. Evil uses many covers, but organized religion has been by far the most successful.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • DavidA

      Spoken by one whose is obviously without a community to check his facts. For the record, Stalin and Mao have accounted for much, much more. Some try to toss Hitler in there with religion too, but that's a fail. The Nazi mentality took more from Darwin than it did Jesus. In fact, there will be almost300 people murdered today around the world. Only a small fraction of those will have even the slightest connection to religion. Nevertheless, the ones that are will be on the news... hence, your skewed information.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Veritas

      Stalin and Mao did not kill for religious reasons – there may have been a few but the primary drivers were power and failed social policies, such as massive famines.
      Whereas there have been, and still are, many wars and conflicts driven by religion – crusades, inquisition, various conversions of natives by europeans, etc.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  5. Sky

    I'm not spiritual or religious. I'm not an atheist either. Just don't care.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  6. The wall stops you

    And once again your comments are feeding this delusioned fool and his and his employers want of attention. Enjoy the spam your given email address generates.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  7. Opizze

    Your condescending, and even the tone of your writing reveals the fact you think you're somehow better than these people commenting. Truth isn't actually objective, it's skewed by individual perspective.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      Truth absolute is constant and truth is hindered, skewed by hindu Judaism, criminal self center ism, secular ism by hindu Jew's, criminal self centered, secular to create hinduism, corruption of truth absolute, religions.for more visit limitisthetruth.com and click on word Choice on website to open file.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  8. pat

    What is all-powerful, is everywhere at once, is invisible and yet its influence can be felt by all? Yes I worship gravity.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • MagicPanties

      I love that!

      October 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  9. Robert in Atl

    You can find more weighty opinions on this topic on Yahoo News, Fox, and the National Enquirer. Simplistic pigeon-holing is easy. You choose any stance you happen to like and reject any effort to nuance the discussion.

    I suspect this Miller guy is simply trying to generate "buzz" for his own gain, so I don't take him very seriously. He lost any hope of credibility with this response article in which he refuses dialogue. He preaches, brays, but doesn't listen. One of the reasons many of us turned away from organized religion.

    Perhaps if he attempted to relate to his audience with a bit of "I-Thou" as opposed to "I-It," he might learn something. And, oh, I don't know, actually practice some of that faith-stuff he blathers about.

    But again, I don't think that's his goal, here. It's a win-win as long as people are reading and giving him a resume-filler for a book or lecture series.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  10. fernace

    I am spiritual, not religious! I have chosen this path because I found most of the churches I visited to preach intolerance & judgementalism! I also find a lot of similarities among the religions (christianity, islam, hinduism,etc.)& can't write them off as being false! After all, each 1 considers itself to be the true way to soul redemption & so do its followers! Who am I to say Christanity is more valid than Islam? Bringing up Biblical verses that "prove" God is the Only god is not proof, since all religions texts include some similar statement! To that extent, I choose to believe that all religions are preaching about the same diety; i.e. God is Allah is Elohim etc. & we slow humans haven't caught up w/that possibility yet! Even the Mayan creation story, Popol Vuh, is very similar to the bible, complete w/a flood story similar to Noah's! This, nature & the universe is where my spirituality stems from, not the narrow parameters Miller (& organized religion) presents!!

    October 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  11. Rob Crosby

    The fact of the matter is this: Jesus Christ is the the only way!! he said I am the way the truth and the life and that no man comes to the Father except by me. Jesus did not bring religion, but a chance to have a lasting relationship with God, our creator, through the repentance of sin and the acceptance of the blood of Christ who was shed for all mankind. But you must accept this and repent. No repentance, no acceptance= no salvation. All this guru stuff about being spiritual and looking into yourself and yourself being your guide is nonsense. Jesus and only Jesus is where salvation is found.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • snowboarder

      some people simply don't realize that their religion is just one of many "only ways".

      October 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • The wall stops you

      Muslims say the same thing except that it ends with "OR DIE !!"

      October 3, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • PaulieJ

      And if someone walked around today claiming that vehemently they'd be locked up for psychiatric evaluation.
      The only "fact" in what you posted is that YOU believe it.
      And simply because you believe something doesn't make it fact.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • PaulieJ

      As for your finding salvation bit ...
      "I won't bow to something that I've never seen
      I can't believe in something that doesn't believe in me
      I'm not blood of your blood, I'm no son of your god
      I've no faith in your fate
      Still I find salvation" ~ 5FDP "Salvation"

      October 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      There is no actual proof that your comic book superhero ever said anything.

      You are a gullible little lemming.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      The fact of the matter is that there is zero evidence such a man ever existed. To base your entire philosophy around magic and sorcery and ghosts and goblins is to invite chaos an irrationality into your life.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Jennifer

      You should have tape recorded your conversation with Jesus when he told you this. It would have put an immediate end to this entire debate. Maybe next time!!

      October 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Ann

      Why the need for the human sacrifice? The cannibalism?

      October 3, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  12. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    After 2 articles I am still not exactly sure what his point is.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      Spirit is truth and religion is hinduism, corruption of truth, they do not mix, like oil and water. for more visit limitisthetruth.com and click on word Choice on website to open file.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  13. Skeptical1

    Why isn't it obvious to the author that the phrase"spiritual but not religious" is a valid position to have? It is obvioulsy someone in transition from the past they were raised with to the path they are chosing. Atheism is not a religion. It is a religious position, but at the extreme end. Some people need something in the middle, and I can't see how this is wrong.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      atheism is not an extreme. All christians are atheists, since they disbelieve in the other thousand gods worshipped by man. Nearly every single person on the planet has an atheist dispostion. It's just that some of us exclude not just a thousand gods, but all of them.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  14. Socal Reggae


    October 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  15. Fact Feed

    Miller doesn't see that his real complaint and criticism is actually directed against Dogma, NOT Spirituality or religion.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  16. Mary

    I love my GOD,and worship HIM "in my own way" I don't think I need to be in some mega-church with a preacher making millions of dollars a year to do that. I pray for family,friends and the sick whether I know them or not. I think all life is precious and it is my hope that GOD will judge us by what's in our heart not our wallet.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      There is no Truth but truth absolute, "HIM, neither of human, nor of a matter but, "HIM HIMSELF"GOD, THE LORD OF UNIVERSE.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Eternal Soul

      How do you know god (small letters for me) doesn't want you to go out in the world and kill people to, lets say, reduce the environmental pressures on the earth? How do you know god doesn't value other creatures as much as you?

      October 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Mary

      hinduism by Judaism...... Can you post something besides gibberish.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Mary

      Eternal Soul.....I don't know, I'm just saying this is how I worship. I'm not sure if you want to call it religious or spiritual. It's just what I believe.But I'm not a big believer in organized religion.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      Yes, I do and so are you, but you deny truth absolute in hindu Judaism, filthy self center ism, secular ism, to please your hindu Soul, filthy desire.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Eternal Soul

      Since you have no idea what god even wants (or if there is one, I bet) then why don't you just eliminate him as the middle man? Praying does no good anyway, except probably waste time.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Mary

      Eternal Soul......That is your belief not mine and respect that. But I think my prayers are heard.I see GOD in everything,everyday.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      why believe in gods at all then? if religion is the only thing telling you something exists and you shed the religion, then why would you still hold on to the notions of fancy created by that religion?

      October 3, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Eternal Soul

      Well, if the tree, or the fire ant or me, for that matter, is your definition of god, then if you pray to me at least I can tell you that I heard you!

      October 3, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Eternal Soul

      Also Mary,
      Don't call it my belief. You are confusing a belief with a lack of belief. Belief is accepting something without proof (what you are doing).
      I do not accept your belief, so you can't call my position a belief.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Henry

      "Well, if the tree, or the fire ant or me, for that matter, is your definition of god, then if you pray to me at least I can tell you that I heard you!"

      What is so funny is she would get the same results if she prayed to you or the fire ant but that would scare Mary too much to have to face that reality.

      October 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Mary

      Who would have thought a couple of sentences from someone in the middle of nowhere would have gotten so many replies!
      O.k. Sorry your non belief. I believe what I belive and you can choose not to belive. And yes the little fire ant deserves life too.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Eternal Soul

      One reason that those few sentences created such a stirr is because you made a "spiritual" claim that a god exists that will judge us! That is an idea clearly promoted by the vast majority of religions the earth has seen. You have thrown away your ties to religion, right? Why keep the rest of the baggage? There is no evidence, in the least, that this god exists. And even less evidence that it would care about you and judge you. Would you spend an equal amout of time praying to Zeus, Poseidon, the tooth fairy? All of which have equal evidence? If not, why not?

      And if so, better get started.... There are many, many supernatural ideas out there to pray too, and more being made up all the time.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Mary

      Eternal Soul.... O.k. I can see where my statement may have sounded like that but I honestly did not mean to offend anybody. As for why I believe what I do ,I'm not sure how me or anybody else could define faith. It's just I see the wonder in everything daily,trees,animals grass,so I don't know how to answer your question. I guess it is just something you believe or not.As for as the middle man well I guess that what I mean about a preacher in the mega church. No,I don't worship Zeus,but some people might.

      October 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Eternal Soul

      I think I am understanding more about you. If I am correct, your belief in a god falls into the "god of the gaps" category. In other words, wherever/whatever you don't understand, you fill that in with god. But you know a great many scientists have looked at the same things as you and have unlocked (through the theory of evolution, as one example) how these things have come to being (I'm not talking biogenesis here). No god needed necessarily.

      And the things science still today does not understand, they are working on. And those things are getting more and more complicated. You may say THERE!, that where god comes in! But I say no. That would make this god an even MORE complicated ent.ity. And what created this incredibly complicated god? An even more complicated super-god (and so on and so on)? And we know from experience (and from science) that the more simle answer is usually the better answer.

      You then say, well god existed forever, but that contradicts one of your main reasons for inventing god, that someone had to create all this.

      Maybe the simple answer is that all this happened by itself, without a creator. What do you think?

      October 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Mary

      I don't know about "God of gaps" don't think I've ever heard it that way,I'll have to think on that,I hope GOD is everlasting.Maybe some day science will know if it was the chicken or the egg,I'm not saying religion has all the answers,but I don't think science has all the answers either.
      As for simple answers,that's not always the case,or we would have a cures for cancer,aids ect... There's something that for now ,I at least, have to just have faith in. And no I don't think GOD sent some terrible illness on people just in case anyone jumps on that.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Eternal Soul

      You mentioned the word "hope" in your last post, and I was expecting to get to this eventually. I find that most people errantly swap out the word hope with the word belief or faith when talking about things like god and the afterlife. I think you are doing this as well.
      I have no problem with people hoping for an eternity in heaven, or a god that administers some sort of justice that is lacking here on earth, but I do get irked when they take the next step and say they believe. That step requires some sort of reasoning justifying that belief. And no one has ever been able to provide any good OBJECTIVE reasons for ths belief.

      I think you really men hope, right?

      October 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  17. Andrew Rhodes

    The common themes in all "religion" are an explanation of existence/daily wordly occurences, providing certain defined principals by which to one should lead his/her life, and an explanation of what happens after death/demise. Some religions explain these concepts through the use of a higher being (I.E. God) while others do it in the generic name of mankind. Regardless, thinking that any one religion is the end-all be-all answer is exactly what I refuse to believe is the purpose of religion. Rather, what if the right answer is simply learning to allow each of us to believe what we want and to accept others for their beliefs and who they are? What if the "right" approach is allowing our predominant organs – our heart and our brain – to function in any manner they were so intended? What if the "right" approach was achieved by using the two most important organs we have to the best of our ability? But then again maybe that just makes too much sense...

    October 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  18. Socal Reggae

    I think you are saying that society needs us to follow a set of rules and principles. Indeed that is true. It is part of the plan to control us, and religion is used to implement that plan. Not me, and not alot of other inteligent people. We have our OWN principals and guidlines that we follow, and they serve us well. Do not tell us what we cannot do, as we are well aware of what we can do. As for the psychpaths, stupid people, and those with no life, yeah they need religion. Either that or a prison cell.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  19. suckItUp

    so now you are pretending to be three people in this one reply?

    October 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  20. Zieroh

    And after 8000 comments from the first article, the author *still* hasn't learned a single thing. This article serves only to demonstrate the author has an opinion and obstinately refuses to be dissuaded from it.

    October 3, 2012 at 12:44 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.