October 9th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Survey: One in five Americans has no religion

Editor's note: CNN recently won four first-place reporting awards from the Religion Newswriters Association. Read more about the awards here.

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The fastest growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all, according to a Pew survey showing that one in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion.

The number of these Americans has grown by 25% just in the past five years, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The survey found that the ranks of the unaffiliated are growing even faster among younger Americans.

Thirty-three million Americans now have no religious affiliation, with 13 million in that group identifying as either atheist or agnostic, according to the new survey.

Pew found that those who are religiously unaffiliated are strikingly less religious than the public at large. They attend church infrequently, if at all, are largely not seeking out religion and say that the lack of it in their lives is of little importance.

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And yet Pew found that 68% of the religiously unaffiliated say they believe in God, while 37% describe themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious.” One in five said that they even pray every day.

John Green, a senior research adviser at Pew, breaks the religiously unaffiliated into three groups. First, he says, are those who were raised totally outside organized religion.

Survey: Protestants no longer majority in U.S.

Second are groups of people who were unhappy with their religions and left.

The third group, Green says, comprises Americans who were never really engaged with religion in the first place, even though they were raised in religious households.

“In the past, we would describe those people as nominally affiliated. They might say, 'I am Catholic; I am a Baptist,' but they never went" to services, Green says of this last group. “Now, they feel a lot more comfortable just saying, ‘You know, I am really nothing.’ ”

According to the poll, 88% of religiously unaffiliated people are not looking for religion.

“There is much less of a stigma attached" to not being religious, Green said. “Part of what is fueling this growth is that a lot of people who were never very religious now feel comfortable saying that they don't have an affiliation.”

Demographically, the growth among the religiously unaffiliated has been most notable among people who are 18 to 29 years old.

According to the poll, 34% of “younger millennials” - those born between 1990 and 1994 - are religiously unaffiliated. Among “older millennials,” born between 1981 and 1989, 30% are religiously unaffiliated: 4 percentage points higher than in 2007.

Poll respondents 18-29 were also more likely to identify as atheist or agnostic. Nearly 42% religious unaffiliated people from that age group identified as atheist or agnostic, a number far greater than the number who identified as Christian (18%) of Catholic (18%).

Green says that these numbers are “part of a broader change in American society.”

“The unaffiliated have become a more distinct group,” he said.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Pew's numbers were met with elation among atheist and secular leaders. Jesse Galef, communications director for the Secular Student Alliance, said that the growth of the unaffiliated should translate into greater political representation for secular interests.

“We would love to see the political leaders lead on this issue, but we are perfectly content with them following these demographic trends, following the voters,” Galef said.

“As more of the voters are unaffiliated and identifying as atheist and agnostics, I think the politicians will follow that for votes.

“We won’t be dismissed or ignored anymore,” Galef said.

The Pew survey suggested that the Democratic Party would do well to recognize the growth of the unaffiliated, since 63% of them identify with or lean toward that political group. Only 26% of the unaffiliated do the same with the Republican Party.

"In the near future, if not this year, the unaffiliated voters will be as important as the traditionally religious are to the Republican Party collation,” Green predicted.

Green points to the 2008 exit polls as evidence for that prediction. That year, Republican presidential nominee John McCain beat President Barack Obama by 47 points among white evangelical voters, while Obama had a 52-point margin of victory over McCain among the religiously unaffiliated.

According to exit polls, the proportion of religiously unaffiliated Americans who supported the Democratic presidential candidate grew 14 points from 2000 to 2008.

In announcing the survey’s findings at the Religion Newswriters Association conference in Bethesda, Maryland, Green said the growing political power of the unaffiliated within the Democratic Party could become similar to the power the Religious Right acquired in the GOP in the 1980s.

“Given the growing numbers of the unaffiliated, there is the potential that that could be harnessed,” he said.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Politics • Polls

soundoff (7,763 Responses)
  1. Brandie Sellers

    Reblogged this on Where the Indigos Are.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • a reasonable atheist


      *for large values of 1

      October 11, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  2. Allen

    It continues to amaze me regarding the amount of blatant hatred that any article having to do with ' God Talk' in any context brings out.
    I am very ' Religious ' I guess. I believe Jesus is the son of God (Not one of the elements of a triune god). I believe the worship required of us affiliated with The Heavenly Father through Jesus involves living in service to mankind, emulating God himself
    (Copying ones behavor is of itself a great declaration of respect.).
    I do not believe that going robotically to a building to gather at specified times does much to assist the works which God is trying to accomplish through our lives over the long haul.. Although for those just beginning to publicly declare their personal relatioship, or in fact trying to become sensitive as to how to communicate with God , these services are a vital first step.But Jesus said that The Holy Spirit is to be our guide. As one allows the intimacy that God desires us to have with him The Holy Spirits guidance becomes more readily apparent.
    Sadly being 'affiliated' with Jesus The Christ isn't recognized as practising religion. If it was the numbers quoted here would take on a more meaningful signifigance.
    As the existence of hell being an arguement used to bash God, those who would take a little trip into the Book of Revelations would see that the 'Hell' so widely spoken of is cast into and destroyed by a great lake of fire9Rev. 20:14). There is no eternal place of torment. If there were I would not want to serve under the being resposible for it.
    All that said; let's try and put hatred aside, just maybe everyone would be able to enjoy life more.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Dissagreement and opposition are not hatred. Religion claims an answer to ultimate reality, saying that religion is wrong in that assessment is not hate.

      It would be like atheists claiming those who oppose evolution "hate". It is rediculous.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      "It would be like atheists claiming those who oppose evolution "hate". It is rediculous."

      Happens here all the time 🙁

      October 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • End Religion

      @allen: "I do not believe that going robotically to a building to gather at specified times does much to assist the works which God is trying to accomplish through our lives over the long haul"

      But you do believe in robotically emulating him?

      "Jesus said that The Holy Spirit is to be our guide"

      Jesus purportedly said many things, but since we know he likely didn't exist, and the book supposedly filled with his words is a fraud, we can then surmise it is of no relevance to bother robotically relying on any of it.

      "As one allows the intimacy that God desires us to have with him The Holy Spirits guidance becomes more readily apparent."

      If you want to be intimate with another dude, that's your business. However, intimacy with imaginary beings somehow leading to a conclusion that the delusion should be heeded is known as insanity. Before you act on the voices in your head, please seek professional help.

      "As the existence of hell being an arguement used to bash God, those who would take a little trip into the Book of Revelations would see that the 'Hell' so widely spoken of is cast into and destroyed by a great lake of fire9Rev. 20:14). There is no eternal place of torment. If there were I would not want to serve under the being resposible for it."

      First, just because you would or wouldn't subscribe to any given tenet of any given religion is proof of nothing. All you loons have different beliefs. That's why there are so many different branches, sects, divisions, leagues, and whatever the heck other names you folks have for the splintered mess that is known as religion.

      Second, at some point we have to build on the knowledge we have. If we want to answer "what is 1 + 1" in Math class, we can't stop to go back and debate the definition of the word "one" or "plus" each time we need to calculate.

      Progress requires building on our collective knowledge. To do that we have to establish a way to prove an assumption by:
      1) asserting a hypothesis and its componenets
      2) testing the components for substantial supporting evidence, unsupported components go back to be refined
      3) either agree after successful testing that in our shared reality the hypothesis is now supported, or that overall unsupported components may mean the hypothesis fails
      4) for sake of ease many people call these tested and supported hypotheses "facts", but again that's just so that we can get on with progress. There may be some people who can show under the right conditions that 1 + 1 does not equal 2, but in order to function in a society we have to get on with calling supported hypotheses "facts".

      The issue at play here is that religious people are willing to agree to facts the world has established - until those facts cross into their delusion. Then they wiggle and worm, employ Ad Hoc Hypothesis until one of the debaters faints from exhaustion, then finally invoke magic to overcome the facts they don't like.

      The bible has been shown as having very little if any historic value, and nearly zero factual content, despite what any church will tell you. If you rely only on the bible to make a point, that point is considered worthless because we've already proved the bible worthless as source material. We have to build on the knowledge we have. We cannot continually go back to square one with showing you the bible is false, especially when you will only invoke magic at the end of the discussion.

      October 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  3. Qwert

    What is the scientific basis for saying that the first cell sprang from nonliving chemicals?

    October 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      In short, because (a) the building blocks of cells have been demonstrated to form naturally from nonliving chemicals, and (b) methodological naturalism (the underlying assumption of every single scientific advance) dictates that we do not blindly accept supernatural explanations for natural phenomena.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Qwert

      I found my answer,not even scientists can agree on a probable cause. One example: A cell must have DNA, RNA, and proteins to survive. Yet RNA is required to make proteins and proteins are involved in the production of RNA. It is highly improbable that RNA formed by chance and same goes for proteins. Combining theses two astronomical events that both should occur at the same time the same place AND work together in order for the life to come from nonliving matter would be so unlikely that science cannot agree. I guess the real question should ask myself is what takes greater faith, to believe that the millions of intricate coordinating parts of a cell arose be chance or to believe that the cell is a product of an intelligent mind?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • snowboarder

      rufus – good point. nearly all things once attributed to supernatural origins have been determined to be of natural, explainable origins. nearly the only domain even remotely left to religion is the beginning of life and after death. the first is just not currently known and the latter likely unknowable.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Perhaps the question you should be asking yourself is this: If life seems too improbable to have come about without a conscious "cause," does that make it more probable that both life AND an omnipotent, unseen, supernatural force came about without a "cause?"

      This is known as an infinite regress, and the probabilities only get lower the farther you follow that logic.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Snowboarder, I could not agree more. Nothing that was once thought to be the result of supernatural processes has ever in the history of human discovery turned out to be so. Not even once. Talk about low probabilities!

      October 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Qwert

      So either to believe in the universe and life on earth arising from a series of fortunate highly random events or believe that life is the product of an intelligent mind. Either way it is a belief. However for life to exist on our planet, earth is at the perfect location in our solar system from the sun, has an axis to support season, rather the one portion becoming to hot or cold. Even the size of earths moon in relation to other planets in the solar systems make life possible. I see to many mere coincidences to rule out a Creator personally.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      I would argue that life is the way it is because of those things you describe; you are arguing that those things are the way they are because of life. In other words, I think you have it exactly backwards. You are in essence arguing that the reason hands have four fingers and a thumb is so that they will fit into gloves.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Nat Q

      The scientific basis is that we know many building blocks of living matter can and do arise under natural condition including amino acids, proteins, and many self-replicating molecules.

      Has science figured out the exact mechanism, order, etc that led to life yet or replicated such a process? No. But the basis for supposing one exists is because we see a spectrum of similar processes, chemicals, and compounds in non-living matter as we do in living. It isn't a big leap. Also, there is no reason to suspect anything other than a natural origin because no discovered process yet has ever required a supernatural or magical explanation (disease, healing, tides, eclipses, weather, seasons, etc etc) and there is absolutely zero evidence that ANYTHING supernatural even exists, much less anything so powerful as to be able to design and build life forms.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Qwert

      Agree to disagree then. I guess if science could produce a living simple cell, it would only confirm my thought that intelligence is needed to create life. In my experiment if PhDs in the labs were replaced with untrained bum off the street and told to create a cell and were able to do it then evolution would have a case.. What would be the point of getting educated to accomplish this, when through evolutionary therioes intelligence is not needed?

      October 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • End Religion

      maybe give the bums a fighting chance by allowing them a few billion years?

      October 10, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  4. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:--->>>>>

    Putting the kibosh/”google” on religion :

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.


    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    October 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm |

    Jesus said: For this is the will of my Lord,
    that everyone who sees the Son (of Man) and believes in him
    may have eternal Life!
    And (my Lord said:) I shall raise him in the Last DAY (=MILENNIUM)!
    (John 6/40)

    So that "Son of Man" has thus already come now to seek and save those WHO ARE LOST,
    in the beginning of this Third and Last DAY (=MILLENNIUM) now!
    (Luke 19/10 = John 6/27, 40)



    October 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Reality

      John's Gospel is of questionable historic value.

      To wit:

      From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

      "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......

      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

      "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

      "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

      "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

      See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html

      October 10, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  6. Atheist Hunter

    Report this CNN. America, look at Syria and Egypt. This is your future. Obama is paving the way for Jihad!

    October 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Be scared. Aaaaaaaahhhhhh

      October 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      good keep practicing buddy!

      October 10, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • lamb of dog


      October 10, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      louder and with more agony. Never mind, it will come naturally to you.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Why don't you show me. You're so good at it.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Yep, the American Taliban is trying harder and harder every year.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Wraith

      Yes, exactly, look at Egypt. One ultra religiously affiliated group is seizing power, while another group and the non religious are afraid to leave their homes. Syria will turn out the same. Is this what you want in the US? A theocracy?

      October 11, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  7. Gino

    And the point is?

    As far as the biggest organized religion in the U.S. is concerned:
    christianity is morally outrageous and intellectually contemptible,
    as is Islam. Mormonism and Scientology are cults. What's left is drivel.

    October 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      are you calling yourself drivel?

      October 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  8. Mike D

    Christianity is an immoral lifestyle choice that teaches that an invisible sky-man had his own son tortured to death so everyone can be the sky-man's slaves after they die. It's filthy and disgusting and I am appalled these people are allowed to practice it in public! In front of children!

    I'm not saying I hate Christians, I just wish they'd stay in the closet so decent people don't have to see their filthy, degrading, perverse lifestyle.

    October 10, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      And some of the more bizarre ones practice ritualistic cannibalism.... I for one do not want my children exposed to such disgusting behaviors!

      October 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      So true.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Nii

      Oh Atheists
      You make the world a brighter place with your drivel

      October 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Nii, I guess you do not practice the ritualistic cannibalism of some of your more extreme counterparts? Good for you, filthy practice.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  9. Bob

    Accepting mortality is for losers. How can anyone rationalize that eternal death is not the definition of the ultimate loss? I mean, is there anything left to lose for a person after they lose their very existence? WHy even bother pretending that the 30 or 40 years you have left matter in some way?

    October 10, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • .

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "The Truth" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian..

      October 10, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Trolls that fear mortality are even bigger losers.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Huebert


      Stop worrying about your death and live your life. Honestly all of this belly aching over an inevitability is just sad. Waah I don't want to grow up. Waah I don't want to get old. No one cares. Go live your life.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • snowboarder

      bob – inventing immortality is for losers.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      So you pretend you will live forever to give your 30-40 years meaning? How sad.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Bob

      I don't pretend anything, I know that God exists, and I don't accept mortality because mortality is a choice. I mean, I have no way of knowing if I'm actually going to make the cut and go to Heaven when all is said and done, but at least I'm in the game. Atheists have forfeited for fear of losing.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Bob you're hilarious. So you're taking a shot hoping not to burn in hell. But we are the scared ones. Hilarious

      October 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Huebert


      You are either a troll or a Poe. I'm done with you.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      You pretend you know there is a god. Now I know you are personally convinced even though you can not in any way prove a god exists, and more importantly 'your god' exists. That is called 'delusion'.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Bob

      I'm not "taking a shot" at anything. I am doing what billions of people have done for over 2000 years in cooperation with the instructions and practices of some of the most educated, credentialed, and intelligent minds the world has ever known, and during the course of those efforts, I receive small but clear indications that God is listening and pulling for me to get it right. It's hardly a random or fear based practice, but make no mistake, it is a practice, which is why most of you will unfortunately not be able to undersatnd or see for yourselves. If you want to succeed at something, you have to practice, and you often don't get to control how and when your learning and perception will accelerate.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Why don't you practice thinking for yourself?

      October 10, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Bob

      Thinking for myself is how I ended up a Catholic. I spent 20+ years being as ignorant and prideful as you, venerating science and dissent, but in the end, that was all mental masturbation once you feel and see the truth as deeply as I have. I've been you, and I look back and laugh at how I used to be.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Funny. I spent the first 16 years of my life as a catholic. And then I woke up.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Brian

      ", I receive small but clear indications that God is listening and pulling for me to get it right."

      No Bob, that's you using just plain coincidences to try to prove to yourself that your delusion is real and that for some reason in this life you matter because you don't love yourself. We all have this same type of coincidence so there nothing special about them. You are nothing more than a speck of one crystal of sand in comparison to the size of the billions of galaxies out there. Your life is obsolete and meaningless to everyone else but you, you live, you’ll die and what you do in between only matters to you. However, that reality scares you, so you cling to your imaginary friend to try and make yourself feel special and loved in an otherwise meaningless life you've created for yourself. If your God really existed, you’re just one crystal of a piece of sand in comparison to the universe as a whole and it really wouldn’t care one bit about you.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Bob

      Yeah, I did the same, left for 20+ years and then got right. Adoloscence isn't really the best time to make long term life decisions. Your brain isn't even the same as an adult brain until you are 25 or so, and you can't process long term scenarios, tend to be angry, and are impatient. You're supposed to outgrow it.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      That's kind of funny because I was Catholic and got tired of them telling me what to think as they acted like they had the answers though they didn't, and they have convinced you that by them telling you what is true, you are "thnking for yourself". I have a question, If the Catholic church has a direct line to god how come they continue to fail morally as an organization?

      October 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Brian

      "you can't process long term scenarios, tend to be angry, and are impatient."

      Only immature people think this way and it's not true at all, responsible people can make these decisions when they are younger.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Bob

      @Brian, you do realize that you have no idea what my experience has been and that your statement is completely uneducated, right? Are you 16 as well?

      October 10, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Bob

      @Brian, if you want to make science your God, you should at least learn some of it. The male human brain is still in it's surging, forming state until a male hits around 25 years old. Until then, ability for logical though and understanding cause and effect relationships of actions are not on par with actual adults, which is why young people do so many more dumb things than older ones, such as driving erratically and foregoing their eternal lives.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Brian

      "@Brian, you do realize that you have no idea what my experience has been and that your statement is completely uneducated, right?"

      No, people like you all have similar stories Bob, you're nothing special and neither is your story.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Brian

      "for logical though and understanding cause and effect relationships of actions are not on par with actual adults, which is why young people do so many more dumb things than older ones, such as driving erratically and foregoing their eternal lives."

      Really Bob, that's why the stock market crashed and so many "mature" adults made so many dumb mistakes and continue to make dumb mistakes.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Bob I no longer believe what you say. You are all over the place. So you didn't find religion. You just took a break.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Bob

      @Brian, google is your friend, I'm sorry if you are under 25 and your brain is not formed properly yet, but it is not my fault, it is scientific fact, and if you have no faith in God and also no faith in science, what is left, Amway?

      October 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • OTOH

      "venerating science and dissent, but in the end, that was all mental masturbation once you feel and see the truth as deeply as I have."

      Hah! Have you had your godgasm yet today?!

      October 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Bob

      @lamb of dog, I was raised Catholic in the same half assed, hypocritical way that drives many Catholics away from their faith, so I abandoned it when I was 14 and spent 20 years learning about all religions and calling myself an agnostic. In the end, all the study, all the arguing and debate was meaningless, and I had to feel inspired to reach out, but when I did reach out, I started finding that there was something undeniably happening for me, and then the more I studied Catholicism, the more I realized how right they actually had things and how wrong or incompletely all these things were presented to me as a young Catholic. It's usually the parents who mess up their kids' potential for faith by not having true faith, conviction and understanding themselves.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      So you were brainwashed as a child then managed to start thinking then got scared of death and returned to your fairytales.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • What IF


      I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools thru 12th grade. I was devout and convinced that it was the "only way". I shudder now to recall that I even wrote a term paper for a class at U.C.L.A. on Vatican II !

      (@lamb of dog, you are quite precocious. It took me over 40 years to come to that conclusion.)

      Over 40 years of Catholic input followed, but on the side I finally began to study, research, discuss, listen, and yes, even pray for more information about what's real. While there is a 'possibility' that there is some kind of prime mover for the universe (or at least for its beginning), it is no way the fantasy character of the Judeo-Christian Bible, nor the Catholic Church's spin of said same.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Brian

      "@Brian, google is your friend, I'm sorry if you are under 25 and your brain is not formed properly yet, but it is not my fault, it is scientific fact, and if you have no faith in God and also no faith in science, what is left, Amway?"

      Bob, educated yourself on what it means to be mature and responsible, then google the stock market crash then get back to us on your fairy tale again. By the way I am not under the age of twenty five, keep showing how not mature you are. There is nothing special about you, your coincidences are just that coincidences that have nothing to do with a God. I have coincidences once a week and so does everyone probably posting on this blog which means that is no proof of a God. You're just a spec of one instance of sand in time representing nothing in comparison to the rest of the universe.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  10. mama kindless

    Every once in a while someone on these boards will try to convince you that the U.S. was founded on Christianity or solely on Christian principles. There are several problems with this notion.

    First, it is presumptuous to assume that any group "owns" a certain kind of principle. Secondly, we know that several of the key founding fathers had strong leanings towards Deism, which was popular around the time of the founding, and sharply differed from Trinitarian Christianity. We know that several of the important ratifiers and even the chief designers of our Const!tution grew up as Anglican and other forms of Christianity, but leaned towards Deism, especially later in life.

    The important thing is that the designers and ratifiers of the Const!tution felt it was very important for there to be a separation of church and state. And although they didn't call it as such in the First Amendment, the language of that text and their other writings are pretty clear. There was a significant amount of persecution between different forms of Christianity going on during those times, so it should not be any surprise that the key founders had an immediate need for the separation of church and state. Here are some of my favorite writings from some of the key founders of our country.

    James Madison (Deist, our 4th President, was the chief architect of the U.S. Const!tution):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superst!tion, bigotry, and persecution.

    -A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the Virginia General Assembly, 1785

    Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?

    -A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of VA, 1795

    Thomas Jefferson (Deist, our 3rd President, was the key author of the Declaration of Independence)

    Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the "wall of separation between church and state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.

    –Letter (as POTUS) to the Virginia Baptists (1808)

    and then of course we have clarifying moments in history such as:

    President John Adams and the U.S. Senate on behalf of the U.S.

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;

    -from Article 11 of the U.S. treaty ratified with Tripoli in 1797

    Senator John F Kennedy said on Sept. 12, 1960, just prior to his winning the Presidential election:

    I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • mama kindless

      OK – I realize I need to clean up the italic on/off which is inconsistent.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Every once in a while an atheist sets up an argument which no one has made but themselves and then proceed to counter it with select bits of information and quotes that may or may not support their assertion.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Seriously?

      "Every once in a while an atheist sets up an argument which no one has made but themselves and then proceed to counter it with select bits of information and quotes that may or may not support their assertion."

      Select bits of information is what Christians do to support their points of view on the world while quoting a fictional book. So what's your point?

      October 10, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Umm, many Christians frequently try to claim that the U.S. is a Christian nation, founded by Christians, for Christians who are willing to tolerate other types of believers as long as they live by Christians rules.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • John the Guy

      @Bill Deacon
      Is that not the same tactic you often use?

      October 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Nii

      Deism was the main Christian philosophy in the intellectual circles. Its main opponent was Pietism not Trinitarian Christianity which I believe is your way of defining Orthodox Christianity. Deism was an Orthodox Christian philosophy. It was only recently defeated by Evangelicalism. Also as Atheism and Agnosticism became more popular among acaemics it has faded. Deism is however synchretic with Christianity and religions of all types.
      The founding fathers whom you call Deists were men of their times for whom Deism was compatible with Christianity. So I beg you no more intellectual dishonesty.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      "Deists were men of their times for whom Deism was compatible with Christianity."

      So where is the dishonesty in her post? The founders clearly did not believe the same sort of things that the Evangelists want to pretend they did. She never said they were atheists or anti-Christian. However they were not enamored at all with organized religion.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • mama kindless

      @Nii – One only need look at the basics of Deism to see how drastically different it is from Orthodox Christianity or from most common forms of Christianity today. And it is certain that if affected the writings of the founders, including the Const!tution. There is no way we would have wound up with the same Const!tution had the founders been strict followers of their Anglican beginnings. But you do have a point and I will clarify my second paragraph. I actually don't need it much – my focus is on the need for separation. The founders were able to have Deistic views and yet remain with their churches. Evidently James Madison, as an adult, did quite a bit for the Episcopal Church and attended services occasionally. But he also witnessed the persecution of Baptists in Virginia by Anglicans which angered him. I'm sure tapping into some of that Deism allowed him to be more of a calming effect on religion in Virginia.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Nii

      You truly show the wisdom your name suggests. Thanks for the clarification. I do know that Deist philosophy is indeed alien to Evangelical theology (Evangelical is the word not Evangelist). However it can be said that what a man truly believes has always been a private affair and anyone can combine any set of philosophies. As to Deism helping making someone abhor persecution. Anglicanism could have done same and so could his own character traits. Deists could be evil too.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • John the Guy

      Deism...belief in the existance of a God on the evidence of reason and nature only, with rejection of supernatural revelation.
      belief in a God who created the world but has since remained indifferent to it.

      Hardly compatible with the prayer answering, sin forgiving, everlasting life or hell God, that most religions try to sell. The deists wanted no part of that religion in their country as a national religion; you would be free to chose what you wanted to believe without persecution, thats all.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • John the Guy

      Much like the Madison quote:
      "Every bit of human progress in humane feeling, every improvement in criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward the better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that has been in the world, has been consistanty opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world,"
      Bertrand Russell

      October 10, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      Most of them were Masons if you really want to be enlightened.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  11. iminim

    I don't see why anyone is surprised that the "no religion" group is growing. Part of it's success can be attributed to organized religion's desire to obtain earthly power and forgoing it's spiritual grounding. By allying themselves with a political party, organized Christianity in the US has become little more than a political movement, willing to compromise it's spiritual values to fit a political agenda & gain earthly control. Historically Christianity succeeds best when it addresses the needs of the soul and it fails miserably when it tries to run the earth. The Crusades, Inquisition and reign of England's Bloody Mary are excellent examples. You can't force people into having faith by regulating them through earthly laws and you only make them angry & resistant when you try.

    Additionally, modern Christianity's failure to accept scientific evidence has also harmed it's cause. The eternal quest for physical proof of God's existence and the rejection of any evidence that goes against preconceived beliefs only demonstrates willful ignorance. In reality, modern science can't disprove the existence of a God any more than it can prove it. Faith, by definition, occurs without physical proof. There is no religious conflict with science if you forego literalistic interpretation of the scriptures.

    Finally, the human desire to be "special" or "chosen" is huge. We see the exceptional people is our world (the brilliant, the athletic, the beautiful, the financially successful) and we average Joes & Janes feel intimidated. Unfortunently, many Christian organizations promote the concept that being a Christian makes a person "better" than others and deserving of special priviledge here on earth (wealth, political office, a better job, getting their way in a secular government, the "right" neighborhood, etc). Christ never said that would be the case. Instead, he warned against seeking earthly power and against the arrogance of piety.

    Until modern Christianity quits trying to run the earth, quits fearing science and education, and returns to its true spiritual roots, it's number of participants will continue to decline.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Well, I'd say that pretty well sums it up...

      October 10, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • lamb of dog

      Keep pushing. I don't see how believing in an imaginary beings helps anyone.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • iminim

      lamb of dog: I don't understand why some people like cream of wheat, want to go to big truck rallies, or buy convertibles, but I recognize that I can't understand what makes each & every individual tick and that I am not the ultimate judge of what is right or wrong for everyone. Many people have faith that gives them hope, peace of soul & strength in times of difficulty. Just because you do not understand why or how they feel this way, doesn't meant they should not or that such feelings are "wrong". Likewise, your approach to life which does not include such beliefs is not something I do not entirely understand, but I accept your choice to have it.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • snowboarder

      iminim – unfortunately i never just boils down to a personal belief. the religious are constantly attempting to codify their beliefs into civil law or force their beliefs into public education to indoctrinate our children.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • iminim

      snowboarder: I totally agree with you. I am a Christian and I do not think ANY religious beliefs should be incorporated into our public education system or our laws – not mine or anyone else's. When any religious organization looks to the government to teach it's beliefs, it is essentially admitting that it is failing to do so itself. When a religion tries to legislate it's beliefs upon those who do not follow them out of faith, they are forgetting that going through the motions doesn't equate to true belief.

      As a Christian I can also say that fundamentalist Christian organizations love to find a common enemy. When nonChristians succomb to using verbal abuse, belittling, and rude comments toward Christians those same comments are used as fodder to rally the fundamentalist troups toward extremism. I can understand how frustrating fundamentalists can be and I have been driven to distraction by them more than once. And yes, sometimes Christians can be the biggest haters of all. Please continue to support your beliefs, whatever they are, and fight for separation of church & state in all aspects of government, but also remember that hate only breeds hate on both sides of the issue. Disarm them by repectful dissent instead of giving them fuel for their fires. The best offense is to act more "Christian" than they do by being, and remaining, a calm, balanced, respectful, thoughtful counterpoint to their ranting.

      Not all religious organizations attempt to impose their beliefs on others. Many of us recognize that strict separation of church and state protects the integrity of the church as much as it does the state. Look for allies among the religious community, especially among moderate to liberal faith communities. Separation of church & state is not an issue of the religious vs those without a religion. Some of our more religious founding fathers were the biggest supporters of it, in fact. It is an issue of preserving the ability of our government to remain free of powerful influences that are not answerable to the people.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • End Religion

      rational, reasonable, calm... sounds like a winner to me. Enjoyed your post, thx!

      October 10, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  12. Amniculi

    Did we scare all the theists away?

    October 10, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Ken

      Truth and logical argument usually does.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      They're probably riffling thru The Babble for some silly scripture that will put us in our place...

      October 10, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • lamb of dog

      They're asking their imaginary friend for help.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Or tired of the overly self congratulatory ignorance

      October 10, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • iminim

      No. Atheists make some very valid points about the destructive direction modern Christianity has gone in recent years. I support your efforts to keep church & state separate. The rise of the "Christian right" has been harmful to both our political system (especially the once vererable Republican party) and Christianity in the US. Both the party & the Christian right have compromised their own values in the quest for earthly power.

      I do take issue with anyone who tries to define another's belief in order to criticize them for it. Christians are wrong when they do it, as are those in the agnostic/atheist spectrum of belief. I do not pretend to know your beliefs. Please do not pretend to know mine. The are plenty of Christians who do not fear science and logic. I am well aware that I can't prove the existence of God but I am also aware that atheists/agnostics can't disprove it. That is the nature of faith. I love the study of science. There is a greatness & complexity is it that I find spiritual & reaffirming of my belief in a greater power. If you do not, then that is your belief. Scientific knowledge & faith are not, and have never been, mutually exclusive except to those who define their own faith with very narrow boundaries.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      They never get tired of that.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Nii

      did u not notice he was talking about you? lmao

      October 10, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Yes. I was turning it around. Lmfao

      October 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      If you haven't noticed his statement goes both ways. Alot of what the religious people accuse atheist of they are guilty of also. And the other way around. I just enjoy turning it around and sending it back.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I do the same while canvassing for intelligent conversation from anyone philosophically opposed to me but willing to stick to the topic, use facts to support their assertions, concede room for compromise and refrain from derision as a tactic.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  13. mike

    America: one Nation under Law (not God), indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
    In Law we Trust.
    Stop the brainwashing.

    If you want a Nation under God, move to the Vatican.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Ken

      Or Iran.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • BU2B

      The pledge could also say "one nation under god IS divisible.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I like 'One Nation Under Canada'.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Huebert


      Actually the nation is not divisible. We had to fight a war to figure that out.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • lamb of dog

      I like one nation under dog.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Amniculi

      I like the way it was originally: One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • MarkinFL

      I think it is notable that the preacher that wrote the Pledge of Allegiance and the country that adopted it saw no reason to reference a god. Only the politics of the McCarthy era caused that.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  14. Fish

    @Amniculi I stand corrected. I wasn't implying EVERYONE, but there was someone that even agreed with that statement... @Doc, good advice. I studied many of those religions in college. They are very interesting, but I chose a religion and feel the need to remain faithful to the one I chose. Appreciate the advice though!

    October 10, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  15. Atheist Hunter

    Don't be the one of the five. Ask Jesus to forgive you while you still can!

    October 10, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Gaunt

      And what exactly do you believe any of us needs 'forgiveness' for, you judgemental zealot?

      October 10, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • mama kindless

      It would be easier if I just asked forgiveness for whatever from my goldfish that died years ago. But of course it's dead, so that would be silly. Rehashed, rehashed folklore offers nothing more, like the stuff in my spam folder.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • myweightinwords

      One of Five...is that like Seven of Nine? I've always compared certain kinds of Christianity to the Borg. I can see I am not alone.

      Resistance is futile. You will be asimilated.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • snowboarder

      fearmongering is the greatest strength of religion.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Ken

      Not everyone who is in the remaining 80% is supposed to be a Christian, you know. There are other religions out there.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • BU2B

      Asking a dead man for something doesn't do anything. It's the same as talking to a brick wall, or talking to yourself.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Thor

      Jesus had nails, I have a hammer. Any Question?

      October 10, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Madtown

      Dang it, I'm in trouble. I've never heard of Jesus, because I was born in the middle of the South American jungle, in a primitive rain forest culture. I guess the religions that have developed in my culture aren't good enough?

      October 10, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Amniculi

      @Ken – None that matter – just ask you friendly neighborhood Christian.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • lamb of dog

      Hurry before its to late. Going once, going twice, no buyers?

      October 10, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Ken

      lamb of dog
      The guys selling snake oil always say that supplies, and the offer, are limited.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • One one

      Forgive for what ?

      October 10, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      One one,

      Apparently we were "born".....I guess we should have known better.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • MarkinFL

      I am a great believer in original sin. Always be a leader, never a follower. Most sins are just so yesterday. Be original, be proud!

      October 10, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • .

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degnerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" deganerates to:
      "captain america" degnerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degnerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degnerates to
      "Bob" degnerates to
      "nope" degnerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degnerates to:
      "fred" degnerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  16. with christianity you can even have a king if you want


    October 10, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  17. GO_GOP

    Seek Jesus Gaunt. He loves you.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Amniculi

      Who is Jesus Gaunt? Sounds like a Christian emo band.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Gaunt

      If he existed, I'm sure he would. Not you though, who lies in his name and profanes him with your cowardice.

      Thankfully, he doesnt, so nothing to worry about.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Par4gezer

      Interesting that you worship a political party and a man, Jesus, instead of God. Very convenient.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Gaunt

      LOL. I swear, I am starting a band just so I can call it 'jesus gaunt'

      October 10, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Seek Cheez-Wiz. Everyone loves Cheez-Wiz. You can find Cheez-Wiz everywhere. You hunger for it and it will fill the void.
      Do not be fooled by the false Velveeta, only Cheez-Wiz can truly fill the void.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • mama kindless

      Oh so now that this GO_GOP gets taken to task for wild claims that he can't support – he just jumps back into Gullible's Travels? Is that the cycle?

      October 10, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Madtown

      Do not be fooled by the false Velveeta, only Cheez-Wiz can truly fill the void.
      LOL! If this were Facebook, I would "like" this post.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Amniculi

      Praise Cheezus!

      October 10, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Didn't Go rant on earlier today that he/she managed a company of 2000 and didn't have time to be on here during the day? So we can add 1 more lie to the list, maybe?

      October 10, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  18. GO_GOP

    Seek the lord and he will save you.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Amniculi

      Bon voyage! Don't forget to take a towel!

      October 10, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Madtown

      Peeps: as enjoyable as it can be, don't feed trolls.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • MarkinFL

      But they are so cute the way they eat up the responses! And sometimes you can get them to do tricks...

      October 10, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Gaunt

      So GO_GOP, do you have 4 degrees (that you cant name) all from harvard, as you claimed this morning, or three degrees (That you cant name) rom the best universities in the world, as you claimed yesterday?

      This morning, after posting solid for four hours, you said you 'never waste time on the internet in the mornings', and had to go run your company of 3000 people (laughter). Do you employ all 3000 of these people directly, or just as a CEO? yet here you are again, trolling like and idiot and fleeing from your own lies like a coward.

      What is wrong with you, little boy?

      October 10, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Madtown

      sometimes you can get them to do tricks...
      LOL! Right on Mark. I do love free comedy.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Ken

      Or, improve your Karma and get better reincarnated next time, maybe as an atheist? 😉

      October 10, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Ken

      Oops, I forgot! All babies are born as atheists.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Rancher

      Seek coupons and they will save you money.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  19. JudgeDB

    So, how come 2000 years ago you couldn't walk 10 feet without tripping over a burning bush or an angel, but there has not been a peep since? I mean, God used to be all in everyone's face, demanding people kill their sons and creating floods. Now we just get whackos that try to tell everyone how to run their lives and what we can do with our own bodies.

    Gee, I wonder why less people are finding that lifestyle attractive...

    October 10, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • evan

      to say atheism is not a religion is blasphamy. There are a core set of beliefs, there are followers, there are group meetings, their are athiest charitys, You try to tell people their religion is wrong and yours is right... Get over yourself, keep your beliefs to yourself

      October 10, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Huebert

      If atheism is a religion, abstinence is a se.xual position.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Ken

      Simple answer is that these things didn't really happen like the Bible writers said they did. They made up stories in order to illustrate a principle they were trying teach people, like all myth. God wasn't actually there any more than he is today, but people describe things unusual as being a sign of God.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • MarkinFL

      There are a core set of beliefs - name some

      there are followers - there are?
      there are group meetings - with maybe .0001% attendance
      their are athiest charitys, – called being human – charity is not the Provence of religion only

      You try to tell people their religion is wrong and yours is right - only when they get annoying and I do not have one
      Get over yourself, keep your beliefs to yourself - When the right wing religious keep theirs to themselves I'll join them in doing the same.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      evan: Stop skipping class little one, the teachers won't be happy!

      October 10, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Ken

      There is only one belief to atheism; that gods aren't real. Outside of that the range of belief goes the full range.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The prefix "A" = Lack of
      Theism = Belief in Gods
      Atheism = lack of belief in gods.
      It is a negative statement that describes only what one does not believe.
      It implies no morals, behaviours or other characteristics whatsoever.

      "I guess God was a lot more demonstrative back when He flamboyantly parted the seas"
      – Bad Religion (Don't Prey on Me)

      October 10, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • OTOH


      The descendants of those guys who wrote those old Hebrew stories are the Hollywood screenwriters and fiction and fantasy authors, etc. of today. Great storytellers and extreme drama queens.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Nat Q

      As an atheist, I'm curious what my "core set of beliefs" are and who or what I "follow."

      Can you explain it to me because I thought that the ONLY thing I inherently shared with other atheists was a lack of a belief in a god or gods–the specific rejection of a specific claim. Nothing more, nothing less. As far as I know, and again I am one so I hope I'd know, we as a group share no other beliefs, morals, tenets, practices, holidays, texts, hierarchy, facilities, goals, agendas, or history.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  20. Gaunt


    God sits back and eats celestial popcorn while listening to the screams of the dying of genocides, plagues, wars and the holocaust. You justify this incredibly evil act by saying it has something to do with 'free will'.

    But if God is omniscient, and knows everything you are going to do before you do it and is never wrong, then there is no such thing as free will.

    Please explain both the contraditction of your faith and the evil of your diety.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Oh dear,
      Here you go bringing rational thought into it.... When you post a logical question in a forum like this it merely floats into the void never to be answered.

      October 10, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • ajstor

      IF god is omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent, then there is no answer to the problem of evil. If god is the Koranic/Biblical god, then he is not omnibenevolent, omniscient, or omnipotent, and his lack of such qualities solves the problem of evil.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Bob

      The fundamental flaw in your question is your assertion that if God is omnicient, then people do not have free will. For God to know the truth in davance does not imply that He forces people to do what He knows will happen. If I know you are about to go for a walk, does that mean I am forcing you to for a walk?

      October 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      The flaw in your argument is that god knows my choice before I even exist, if my choice exists before I exist how can you claim it was ever my choice.

      To use your ana.logy, if you know I am going for a walk can I then choose to not go for a walk?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Bruce

      This thread reminded me of a Sam Harris quote, discussing how god could let so many bad things happen: “Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes like this, or he doesn’t care to, or he doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil, or imaginary. Take your pick, and choose wisely.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:52 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.