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Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion
December 20th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion

By Dan Merica, CNN
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Washington (CNN) – The Christmas season is revealing a growing rift among American atheists when it comes to the question of how to deal with religion.

Some atheist activists are trying to seize the holidays as a time to build bridges with faith groups, while other active unbelievers increasingly see Christmas as a central front in the war on religious faith. With the dramatic growth of the nonreligious in the last few decades, more atheist leaders are emerging as spokespeople for atheism, but the Christmas rift speaks to growing disagreement over how atheists should treat religion.

On the religion-bashing side, there’s David Silverman, president of the group American Atheists, which raised one of its provocative trademark billboards in New York’s Times Square last week. “Keep the MERRY!” it says. “Dump the MYTH!”
The sign features a picture of a jolly Santa Clause and another of Jesus dying on the cross – a not-so-subtle attack on Christianity.

“Christianity stole Christmas in the first place and they don’t own the season, they don’t own the Christmas season,” Silverman said, pointing to pagan winter solstice celebrations that predated Jesus Christ. “When they say keep Christ in Christmas, they are actually saying put Christ back in Christmas.”

The New York billboard, which will be up until early January and is costing the group at least $25,000, is the latest in a long line of provocative American Atheists signs, which attacked then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s religion during this year’s presidential campaign.

It’s not the only way Silverman is using Christmas to attack Christianity. In a recent TV interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, he said the American Atheist office be open on Christmas Day and called for an end to Christmas as a federal holiday.

O’Reilly, in turn, called Silverman a fascist.

Despite Silverman’s knack for making headlines, however, other prominent atheists are putting a softer face on the movement, including during Christmastime.

“I just think the whole war on Christmas story is bizarre” said Greg Epstein, the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, who has emerged as another spokesman for the burgeoning atheist movement. “I think that any atheist or humanist that is participating in that story needs to find better things to do with their time.”

From his point of view, atheism and religion can happily coexist, including at the holidays.

At the chaplaincy, Epstein has reached out to local religious groups, packaging holiday meals and breaking bread with believers to discuss their similarities and differences.

Sponsored by the Humanist Community at Harvard, evangelical Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Zoroastrians, along with a number of atheists, were among those represented at a recent meal packaging event for hungry kids in the Boston area. Around 250 people participated and over $10,000 was raised – including donations from local Lutheran and Methodist churches.
Epstein calls this sort of inter-religious dialogue “healthy.”

“We as a community need to be about the positive and we have so much positive to offer,” he said. “I think that we really can provide a positive alternative to religious holidays that are not meaningful because of their religious content.”
Silverman, for his part, is more than comfortable being negative when it comes to religion.

“We should look at the results - people are listening to us because we are shouting,” he said. “They don’t hear you unless you shout. … Sometimes you have to put political correctness aside. We need to get louder. I believe we are seeing the fruits of that volume.”

As proof, American Atheists points to the way their donations skyrocket after every billboard campaign. “We get donations and memberships because we are taking the stand that we do,” said Silverman, who would not give specific numbers on fundraising. “The donations are flowing in right now. People are loving it specifically because of the billboard.”

Epstein would rather see more emphasis on volunteerism, though he acknowledges that some atheists are drawn to Silverman’s vocal model. Both men said they appeal to different parts of the atheist movement.

“We are GOP and Dem, man and women, black and white – the only thing that holds us together is atheism,” Silverman said. “A movement like ours needs all sides. It needs people who are working to be conciliatory and it needs people who are willing to raise their voices.”

Religious “nones” – a combination of atheists, agnostics and the religiously unaffiliated, have been growing their ranks in recent years. According to a Pew Research study released this year, the fastest growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all as one in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion.

The survey found that the unaffiliated are growing even faster among younger Americans. According to the poll, 34% of “younger millennials” - those born between 1990 and 1994 - are religiously unaffiliated.

Though not monolithic, younger atheists, according to Jesse Galef, communications director of the Secular Student Alliance, are more prone to celebrate a secular version of Christmas than to ignore the holiday.

“I am very much in favor of celebrating the secular Christmas,” Galef said. “It is a celebration of the spirit of giving and I think religious divisiveness goes against that effort.”

Other atheists celebrate Festivus, a December 23 holiday meant for atheists looking to celebrate during the winter without participating in a Christian holiday. The holiday, which entered into popular culture through the television show “Seinfeld” in 1997, has gained popularity in recent years.

At the Secular Student Alliance office in Columbus, Ohio, the staff will play Secret Sagan, a nod to the famed scientist, instead of Secret Santa. And instead of Christmas decorations, they put up a Winter Solstice Tree with ornaments from the movie “When the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

“We celebrate the holiday season, just not the religious holiday,” Galef said.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Christmas

soundoff (4,367 Responses)
  1. landragon

    why are aethists fighting religious wars?

    December 21, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      why do religous people fight religious wars?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • LinCA

      @landragon

      You said, "why are aethists fighting religious wars?"
      If a complete stranger breaks into your house and starts ransacking it, wouldn't you try to get him to stop?

      As soon as the deluded believers keep their delusions to themselves and stop expecting rational people to accommodate their idiocy, atheists will stop fighting it.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • TheRit

      The ironic thing about the atheistic movement is how militant they are. There is actual contempt! Why? For most of them, it is as simple as being narcissistic and not wanting to follow any rules set forth by God. Yes, religions has caused wars, but even MOST of those were based on ecomomic or political reasons under the guise of 'RELIGION.' I'm not defending the craziness with religious fanatics but I find it, again, ironic that they don't want the religious proselytizing, but how are they ANY DIFFERENT?

      December 21, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • richunix

      Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Love it when someone uses the Fallacy "Begging the Question"

      December 21, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • TheRit

      ReligionIsBS is exactly the type of person I was talking of earlier. Religious wars are based on the idea of having the opportunity the teach people the true way and save their SOULS. So it is kind of a big deal! Now, think about the importance of that to those doing the fighting before you say something ignorant. What are ATHEISTS fighting for?

      December 21, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "The ironic thing about the atheistic movement is how militant they are." LOL. Yes, how very militant of us to use words and logic. We atheists are new to this war thing, perhaps you christians could teach us how to properly start a "holy" war. Have any guns we can borrow?

      December 21, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      LOL. Best post of the day! "Religious wars kill people so they can know what to beleive...even though they are dead now!" Kind of funny isnt it, religous wars (crusades, inquisitions, fatwas) kill people to teach them a lesson and atheist wars dont kill anyone and try to save idiots from themselves so they' stop killing themselves.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • sam stone

      TheRit: The contempt has to do with Christians attempting to codify their beliefs into our secular laws

      December 21, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  2. felix navidad

    The lack of belief undermines a nation. Atheism is a cancer on the foundation and principles of America.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Albert

      " Atheism is a cancer on the foundation and principles of America."

      No, we are trying to show that greed, prejudice and the destruction of this planet are not principles to live by. If you look back at the real history of America it's shows the horrors of your religion.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      prove that nonsense, felix.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • mama k

      Religious belief stunts a nation's growth.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Tim

      How can believing in a myth be healthy for a nation? The Spanish Armada put more priests and fewer cannons on their ships and that was one key reason the British sent them to the bottom of the ocean.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • My goodness you Christians are myopic

      It seems to be working pretty well for Sweden and Canada

      December 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  3. richunix

    Being moral does not require you to be religious, nor is religion a pre-requisite for being moral.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      I see what you did there.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  4. Sue

    When christians and other religious folks who believe their god created this earth STOP killing god's creatures, overpopulating the land, and poisoning the earth and surrounding atmosphere I will give them much more respect.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • cedar rapids

      The problem is they believe only god can destroy the world and that mankind can do whatever it likes to it and it will all be okay.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • cry more

      you don't believe in god
      other people do
      deal with it

      bunch of whiners

      December 21, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • LinCA

      @cry more

      You said, "you don't believe in god
      other people do
      "
      You are free to believe in the Tooth Fairy. Stupidity isn't illegal.

      You said, "deal with it"
      What do you think these banners are for? They are to raise awareness for the mental health crisis that religion is. It's like the pink ribbon campaign for breast cancer awareness, or warnings on packs of cigarettes for lung cancer.

      You said, "bunch of whiners"
      It's a public service.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  5. Tolerant Catholic

    I don't see anything wrong with "non-affiliated" or non-believing people celebrating the holidays in their own way. Why do they have to insult me for celebrating in MY own way?

    December 21, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Why is it insulting? It should only be insulting if you think its a myth, but pretend it isnt. If you beleive its real, why would you care? You think its insulting to question thinks?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Pete

      "Why do they have to insult me for celebrating in MY own way?"

      Look around you dude, it's in our faces every day right now. You're not celebrating in your own way.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Saraswati

      I think you'll find that's a small subset of people making those criticisms. Just as a subset of Catholics criticises the non-believers.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Tolerant Catholic

      Wow... you really don't see calling my faith a myth (or BS) as insulting?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      No, not at all. Not when you're faith tells people like me that we will burn in torture for ETERNITY? You dont think that offensive? But me disagreeing with it is? LOL

      December 21, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Smithsonian

      "Wow... you really don't see calling my faith a myth (or BS) as insulting?"

      The stories found in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1-12, such as the flood story, the record is quite different: the time period under consideration is much more ancient. The factual bases of the stories are hidden from our view archaeologically. The stories remain a part of folk traditions and were included in the Bible to illustrate and explain theological ideas such as: Where did humans come from? If humans were created by God (who is perfect and good), how did evil among them come to be? If we are all related as children of God, why do we speak different languages? It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).

      It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • John

      Tolerant Catholic
      Before Jesus came the Jews had no concept of any afterlife, especially not one that included eternal torture for nonbelievers. What you are celebrating is the advent of that idea being linked to the worship of God, an idea that has caused untold mental anguish to millions throughout history.

      Pardon us for not appreciating your joy over this event.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      tolerant catholic disappeared. Thats weird.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Tolerant Catholic

      BS – I don't recall telling anyone they would do ANYTHING for eternity. Its fine that you think my beliefs are silly, but do you really have to throw a sign in my face challenging them? Would it hurt you to just not go to church and leave it at that?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Albert

      "but do you really have to throw a sign in my face challenging them? "

      And Christians don't do this same thing?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      No, I like the signs, I think Ill keep supporting them. Just like you catholics like to support crosses everywhere. And are you serious about the torture for eternity thing? You do know thats what catholics beleive, right. Thats is hilarious, you're basically saying that you agree that non-beleivers burn in hell for eternity because you are a catholic and thats what they beleveive (I know, I was a catholic) but you are too much of a coward to say it in public? hmmmmm, almost like you know its barbaric nonsense.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  6. Holy Cheese

    Scientists have unearthed the first direct signs of cheesemaking, at a site in Poland that dates back 7,500 years.
    (before the bible)
    Human Evolution (1 of 2)

    December 21, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  7. halo117

    I remember long ago that the Atheist didn't attack Religion,they Respected others beliefs,they never tried to PUSH their Beliefs on others you live the way you want to live.

    No one attacked eachother till the Lawyers who were looking to make money started all of this crap and then got the GOVERNMENT INVOLVED ON OUR SOCIAL BELIEFS ...then all hell breaks out ....simply put EVERYONE KEPT THEIR NOSES OUT OF OTHER PEOPLES BUSINESS and we all got along.

    Maybe that's what's wrong with America NO ONE RESPECTS ANYONE ANYMOREor VALUE LIFE....and it doesn't help that you have a PRESIDENT who Support these groups when he is to support all of America's people.

    Democrats have become a party of people who have LOW MORAL SET of VALUES.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      I remember long ago when christians used to kill unbeleivers, "witches", and people of other religions. Christianity was spread by the sword. Thankfully, thats not allowed anymore. USA! USA! USA!

      December 21, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Brent

      "simply put EVERYONE KEPT THEIR NOSES OUT OF OTHER PEOPLES BUSINESS and we all got along."

      Religion-based bigotry use religious teachings to justify discrimination against Native Americans, African Americans, minority religious groups, woman and interracial couples.

      Most people know that, historically, religion has been used to justify discrimination against women, religious minorities and people of color. Putting anti-gay religious beliefs in this historical context can be a powerful tool in connecting discrimination that most Americans today accept as morally wrong. By citing historical instances of religion-based bigotry and prejudice, you allow people to be more comfortable with attitudinal change – they realize they are not stepping out alone against a commonly accepted viewpoint but rather following historical progress toward justice and equality.

      The point is that religion-based bigotry has been a common denominator of injustice toward many groups in American society’s past. When given a chance, many people will see the underlying historical pattern of using religious teachings and beliefs to justify harmful discrimination.

      History provides the moral judgment, and we do not have to be theologians engaged in scriptural debates to point people to the judgment rendered by history.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'never tried to PUSH their Beliefs on others'

      sorry but how did they do that exactly?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • John

      ReligionIsBS
      Not too long ago Catholics and Protestants use to attack and kill each other, each sure that the other was going to hell for not being in their group. There was never a day in this country when Christians didn't attack the beliefs of others. Every church sign that states that, only through Jesus, one can avoid hell IS an attack on other people's beliefs.

      Our beliefs are mutually exclusive. We atheists can't say that we just don't believe in any God without attacking the Christian belief that we know full well that God exists, but are just denying his authority over us. We can agree to be more civil about it, but I see nothing more offensive about these billboards than any of the church signs that state, in no uncertain terms, that God will send all nonChristians to hell.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Christians are just use to having everything their own way

      “I remember long ago that the Atheist didn't attack Religion,they Respected others beliefs,they never tried to PUSH their Beliefs on others you live the way you want to live.”

      I also remember (not so long ago) when Christians got to run ruff shod over anything they didn’t like (remember blue laws?) and had everything their way. To disagree with them was to be labeled a godless communist and put you in very real danger of losing your job and being ostracized by your neighbors. You Christians are just furious that for the first time since Rome went christian you have to play by the rules and on an even field. Your just suffering from extreme diaper rash because non-Christians can now safely disagree with you and demand their fair share.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  8. Shane

    Why can’t we just co-exist without so much tension? I do not degrade people that believe in God, Buddha, etc. for believing in something that is not tangible or cannot be scientifically proven. I think each person must find something that helps them cope with life and their problems, if God is it for you, then you should believe. However, you should not try to make me believe as you do because maybe it does not fulfill my needs.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Saraswati

      I agree with the main argument here. We all (anyone who acts) make unfounded assumptions, and religion is just a few more. So long as it works, there is no reason to criticize it. However, we do all have to live together and so far as any religion itself or via encouraging its people's votes brings harm to others, then it is open to criticism as far as the harmful beliefs and actions extend.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Tim

      For one thing, the Catholic church is all about power wielding–the Pontiff doesnt give a hoot about the masses of people. As long as the money keeps rolling in. It's the same with other religioins as well. And what about the sickos priests that prey on the young ones? I was indoctrinated in a Protestant church as a youth but I never wanted anything to do with it after graduation. I guess I like dealing in reality. Not some make-believe nonsense.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • John

      Shane
      When you get into a conversation with a Christian, and they tell you that they KNOW that you're going to hell no matter how good you are just because you're not one of them, does your "respect" for their beliefs waver just a little bit?

      December 21, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  9. Thenextstep

    Oh I see whats happening here....... All these Atheist are getting it from they're kids cause they don't get any presents... So they start causing temper-tantrims with they're parents. An Atheist doesn't have a God........ Therefore there is no X-Mas for those people..... They gotta tell the children that they're life has no meaning or Spiritual salvations..........AKA.... NO DAMN Presents..................LOL 🙂

    December 21, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • William

      The bible preaches against greed but yet that is what Christians do when they celebrate this holiday. Talk about a bunch of hypocrites.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • mk

      Yes, I'm sure your god loves the fact that christmas has become all about the presents.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • cedar rapids

      no, you dont get it. never mind.

      personally I celebrate yuletide.....all the fun, none of the religion.
      see, i am really suffering from this 'no presents' thing apparently. oh woe is me.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • sam stone

      as opposed to christians telling kids they are born flawed and that they need this supposed salvation?

      December 21, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  10. bla

    Tis the season for the annual rating grab gimmick they call the "war on christmas".

    To me it's just a paid holiday and I'm perfectly OK with that.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  11. Lou

    How Long Did it Take for Jesus to Get to Heaven After the Crucifixion?

    Matthew 12:40: For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
    Jesus wouldn’t ascend to heaven for 3 days. His journey is compared to Jonah’s 3 days in the belly of the fish.

    Luke 23:42-43: And he said unto Jesus, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." And Jesus said unto him, "Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise."
    Jesus is to be in Paradise that very day.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Ted in Dalla

      Your point here would be????

      December 21, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Tim

      It's been 2,000 years already and Christians are still waiting for His speedy return. Pretty funny.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • sam stone

      "jesus went to heaven, he went there awful quick. all them people killed him, he wasn't even sick" – Jesus, The Missing Years (John Prine)

      December 21, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  12. LightningStruck

    Why don't we just be good for goodness sake?

    December 21, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • bla

      Because as Mel Brooks' Spaceballs taught us: "Good is dumb."

      December 21, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • mulehead

      Well said – I'm a non-believer, but frankly i'm getting tired of the debate. Being a good person does not depend on an individuals beliefs or non-beliefs. Just do the right thing people and respect one another.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  13. AEvangelista

    Religions exist because humans are naturally spiritual. You can see it in the ancient tribes all around the world. Spirituality is there. Major religions like Christianity got a lot of things wrong, but that is no reason to be an atheist. Understand simply that religions were created by men, and therefore can be changed to be more relevant to us. When it comes to Jesus, sure his disciples made stuff up about him because they were selling a new religion. So what, it's just hype. Why be so bitter about it?

    December 21, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • mk

      You can be spiritual without believing in a religion or a god. Believing in a religion or a god is all about following rules and believing what others say instead of yourself.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • LightningStruck

      I don't agree. Humans are naturally curious and want to know why things are and how they got there. Back in ancient times, there were no answers. So people made up their own. Now we know the physics and biology of the universe. It's ok. They didn't know any better.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Saraswati

      I think most of the bitter people feel they have been genuinely hurt by religion. They are usually young and going through the same young teenage alienation most moden teens and young twenties experience. They also tend to be poorly educated in the social sciences, and so are lacking the anthropology, psychology and sociology to understand what you're talking about. Many of these people will come around as they age out of that phase.

      I think, though, that the increasing number of young "atheists" celebrating Christmas is a sign that the decreasing power of the religious groups has left fewer feeling alienated. As a result, todays young non-believers are less angry at their parents.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • AEvangelista

      People to this day continue to encounter spirits. Spirits cannot be scientifically proven. Does that mean they don't exist? Don't fool yourself into thinking we know everything there is to be known about our existence.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • sam stone

      AEvangelista: Because the believers try to pollute our secular laws from their belief system

      December 21, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • sam stone

      "Don't fool yourself into thinking we know everything there is to be known about our existence."

      Don'tfool yourself into thinking iron age man had any more clue as to god than anyone else

      December 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  14. nO POST

    Jesus is all Love as shown in the gospels. Many of us believers have made Him look like a monster waiting to send everyone to hell – when His ultimate wish is that everyone is saved from Hell. It's the reason why he was born in the 1st place! To save us from Hell.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Huebert

      Please provide evidence that hell exist.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • sbeth1

      Huebert, supply evidence that is does not exist.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • nO POST

      I cant. I trust Jesus' word that it does.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Ted in Dalla

      "Jesus is all Love as shown in the gospels." LOL. You better go back and read your bible.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Huebert

      sbeth

      Please supply evidence that there is not a 1967 Chevy orbiting Pluto.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • mk

      If your god is all loving and he created everything, why did he create a hell?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • sam stone

      Your post does not make sense, nO POST:

      Jesus came here to save us from hell? The hell that his daddy created, and could eliminate should he choose?

      December 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The logical fallacy here is that God created hell. God does not create hell, hell is a state of being in the absence of God. Man creates hell for himself when he chooses sin, which is defined as that which separates us from God. It is man who takes the action to turn away, and man who must respond to God's offer of salvation. This is why it is love, it cannot be forced, it can only be offered. Likewise, there must exist a true and real choice on behalf of the beloved to accept or reject the gift. If one accepts, salvation is the consequence. If one rejects, then the relationship is denied. Either way, the offer is real, present and free to have a relationship with God or to not. But, God, by his nature reaches to us, calls to us, seduces us and romances us into life with him. Still some are more comfortable with their self, their sin and their own hell.

      December 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  15. Lou

    Who Did the Visitors Tell of Jesus’ Empty Tomb?

    Matthew 28:8: So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."
    The visitors were overjoyed, and they ran to tell the disciples

    Mark 16:8: Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
    They were afraid, and told no one.

    Luke 24:9: When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.
    They told the eleven and others.

    John 20:10: Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
    Mary informed Simon and the other disciple about the empty tomb, then she remained at the tomb crying.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Huh?

      Mithra rose again too and is the real son of God.

      All hail Mithra!
      Mithra
      Was born of a virgin on December 25th, in a cave, attended by shepherds
      Was considered a great traveling teacher and master
      Had 12 companions or disciples
      Promised his followers immortality
      Performed miracles
      Sacrificed himself for world peace
      Was buried in a tomb and after three days rose again
      Was celebrated each year at the time of His resurrection (later to become Easter)
      Was called "the Good Shepherd"
      Was identified with both the Lamb and the Lion
      Was considered to be the "Way, the Truth and the Light," and the "Logos," "Redeemer," "Savior" and "Messiah."
      Celebrated Sunday as His sacred day (also known as the "Lord's Day,")
      Celebrated a Eucharist or "Lord's Supper"

      December 21, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  16. We just don't know how we were created

    Humans had to invent God to explain all creation,it's a good story
    and let's the unimaginative minds rest.
    Someone once said in "Vision in Motion" by Moholy Nagy that Artists and scientists have God
    all the others need religion" ..cool!

    December 21, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  17. Carlin123

    Have fond memories of Christmas, probably because I never associated it with religion.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:16 am |
  18. sean

    Atheists are people who are not Theists. Please stop acting like we're some sort of "group" that needs to be considered as a whole. If you don't know what a Theist is, you shouldn't be talking about Atheists, and you certainly shouldn't be writing for CNN.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • xmas

      christians love calling atheism a religion.. That would be like calling not having a disease a disease.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • dee

      Stop trying to force your non-beliefs on Christians. You don't believe in God, fine, just stop harassing me for believing.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Ted in Dalla

      @Dee..."Stop trying to force your non-beliefs on Christians. You don't believe in God, fine, just stop harassing me for believing." Why don't you stop trying to force your beliefs on non-believers.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'Stop trying to force your non-beliefs on Christians.'

      and how are they doing that Dee?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • sam stone

      dee: when christians stop using their belief system to try to deny others their civil rights, get back to me

      December 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  19. Jim

    And its these signs that show me how atheism is becoming more religious every day.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Huebert

      re·li·gion
      /riˈlijən/ Noun
      1.The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods

      Please tell me how atheism is a religion?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Jim

      You don't have to throw out definitions to see how religious atheism is becoming. Won't be surprised that definitions will soon have to be changed. But I'm not pointing my fingers at every atheist either. Just these folk who like to advertise their "lack of belief".

      December 21, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Madtown90

      I completely agree. To me, atheism means not adhering to the "my god is better than your god" mentality that many religious individuals adhere to, or the political machinations of a religious edifice, like the sort of human emotion where a christian is offended by the building of a mosque and uses religious groups to oppose it. The atheists who are offended by Christmas and religion are displaying that same emotion and developing the political structure to face it. It's the exact same situation as a religion. Complete hypocrites...

      December 21, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Saraswati

      It shows an blending of the views of atheists and believers. Most of those who recently voted for same-s.ex marriage in Maryland were Christians. The divide is shrinking, and people no longer feel the need to separate so starkly into opposing groups.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Huebert

      I would argue that American Atheist are dogmatic, not religious.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • tallulah13

      While some atheists have joined organizations, most are simply united by a single thread: the lack of belief in any god. For the most part, we are individuals who think for ourselves. I suppose that type of individuality can be foreign and confusing to people who are accustomed to worshiping in groups. Perhaps that is why some christians erroneously insist that atheism is a religion.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Jim

      @Huebert

      Dogmatic.....yeah i guess i can agree with that.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  20. halo117

    Atheists, just another group of Slaves belonging to the Democratic Party.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Pete

      Funny I am atheist and a republican, I hate big gov't. Since you're lying that must mean you're an atheist too?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • jer

      republican athiest here

      December 21, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Saraswati

      A lot of Libertarians are atheists, and they usually vote Republican more often than Democrat.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Renee

      I don't believe in God and I'm not a democratic. Blows your theory to hell doesn't it?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Dan

      Another republican atheist checking in...

      December 21, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      Republicans! Fresh blood! Bwahahahahaaahaaa! [rubs hands gleefully]

      To atheist Republicans: What is your explanation for why you support racism?

      December 21, 2012 at 10:50 am |
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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.