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
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

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. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    "incorrect, prior to big bang atheists gleefully pointed to an eternal universe refuting theistic claims of a beginning"

    So what? That does not make the opposite therefore true. You still have to be able to demonstrat your claim before it should be accepted as true, Refer to my post on Einstein and Black Holes earlier in this thread.

    "supernatural Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.
    science studies our universe, a multi-verse exists outside our universe, it can not be tested it is therefor not scientific. It is therefor supernatural."

    A multiverse, should it be true, would NOT be beyond the laws of nature, only our UNDERSTANDING of the laws of nature...that is not the same thing and NOT supernatural, whether it can be tested or not makes no difference as to it being supernatural.

    – BGV proves our universe had a beginning, a point that it came into existence prior to which it did not exist.

    It does not prove that ithe universe CAME from absolute nothing, which would be a minimum requiement for theism to be true..

    -using Kalam, it can be demonstrated that anything that had a beginning must have a causal agent.

    Once again, that does not demonstrat theism, a causel agent does not have to come frome an intelligence

    – that causal agent must be eternal and timeless, as there can not be an infinite regression of causes.

    The crux of the fallacy. Why couldn't there be infinite regression as a possibility or a first cause that had nothing to do with an intelligence. That is soomething you keep saying but it is not supported.

    December 26, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  2. RC

    Merry means jovial or joyful. Christmas means Christ + communion(mass).
    Thus in 1038 the church set aside 12/25 to remember the birth of Christ
    You have the choice to receive that or doubt it. But it is still true.

    December 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  3. LNN


    December 26, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  4. sam stone

    "God's judgement is holy judgement."

    God's judgement is a bad joke. It is a hoax played on the gullible.

    December 26, 2012 at 4:58 am |
    • sam stone

      That comment was for 2357, below. I thought I had hit the Reply button. Apparently, I did not.

      December 26, 2012 at 5:01 am |
  5. rickarcher1959

    I see Christmas in two different ways. I see Santa and/or St. Nicholas as the representation of the “spiritual” embodiment of giving, without any religious connotation. I see the Christ/Jesus in Christmas as a man giving of himself, and having faith in his beliefs, until it ultimately cost him his life. The fact that Jesus lived cannot be disputed, unlike the belief or non-belief in what happened after he died at the hands of the Romans. I believe both versions of the holiday of Christmas offer the lesson of giving and believing in more than just ourselves. Religious or atheist, these messages are all that should matter. Giving, is allowing others with different beliefs, than your own, to celebrate in any way they wish, without confrontation or belittling. The problem I see is the extreme religious and atheist zealots behaving unlike a caring human being should.

    December 25, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  6. Aden

    Good morning. Xtians, try to get through the day without hating.

    December 25, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  7. Hey look its yet another page with the pimple faced loser herbie posting behind seven different names!

    yay he sure is smart and funny!

    December 24, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Dippy

      it's, not its.

      December 25, 2012 at 5:04 am |
  8. felix navidad

    There is nothing on earth as useless as an atheist.

    December 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Akira

      Lol. Except for a person who posts stupidity like "there's nothing on earth as useless as an atheist."
      Stop trolling.

      December 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • If your god existed he would be embarrassed by you

      The best you can come up with in defense of your god and religion is a cheap insult? This is the best your god can inspire you to? You should be ashamed of him too

      December 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Ned Tugent

      Prayer is more useless.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  9. JohnQuest

    jbhitchi1234, You are right about one thing, there is and should be anger and fear against the religious right. For all the tolerance they ask for from others, I'm afraid that if they took over our country they would not (could not) offer any tolerance to anyone that did not agree with them. I think they have more in common with the Taliban or the Islamic Extremist than with those of us that believe in the Consti-tution. I think if they took over they would end public education or turn it into "Madrases", reestablish slavery, jail or kill all that opposes them.

    Do we really want the country ran by a group that truly believe in the Bible, can you imagine how horrible it would be living under there rule (public executions of Gays, se-xual servitude for girls) I could go on but you get the point.

    If anyone disagrees with this vision Please explain your views on life under a Theocratic Government.

    December 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • My angel

      Solero21 for President and Lord High Executioner, what do you think?

      December 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  10. Salero21

    Jesus did not call himself the Good Shepherd for nothing. He told his disciples I'm sending you like sheep among wolves (Mt. 10:16). So see, when I say that atheists behave like rabid wolves is because they're ravenous wolves.

    Jesus did not call himself the Good Shepherd for nothing. He did not call Herod a fox for nothing. He did not call some swine for nothing. Now, God is the Creator of all of those creatures, but Jesus came to save mankind.

    But atheists are worst than the monkeys in a barrel.

    December 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      Salero21 sez:"atheists behave like rabid wolves is because they're ravenous wolves"
      Wolves huh? Well as an athiest .. I'm actually flattered thankyou WHY?
      Wolves only kill to feed themselves and their young ( and never kill each other )
      Can Xtians say that ?
      Wolves are monogamous
      Can Xtians say that ?

      December 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Really??

      He came to save mankind from something that he also created? Hell is also a creation of your god is it not, he knows all of the souls that are going to be there, right? He knew before creating this hell, that he was going to be punishing certain souls, even before he created hell, right?
      What would be the point in that?
      Rediculous ranting. There are no gods. Men created all gods, religions. Grow up and stop believing in fairy tales.

      December 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Akira

      Salero21 is not Christian.
      Salero21 is a troll, and not even a very good one at that.
      Salero21 should be ignored.

      December 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I don't care what Jesus said, any good cult leader would say the same thing.

      December 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Jesus

      I did not call myself the Good Shepherd, all that crap was made up by Paul long after I was a mouldering in my grave. Got to hand it to Paul starting all that razz-ma-tazz to get the scam up and running.

      December 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Ken

      You're maligning wolves, who are not actually evil creatures, but intelligent and social. Domesticated sheep, on the other hand, haven't the brains to think for themselves. So, all in all, you really did nail the analogy. Good job! 🙂

      December 25, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Dippy

      Salero, you have to shake off your monkey fixation. We're starting to become concerned.

      December 25, 2012 at 5:08 am |
  11. Salero21

    So again and again, over and over the self proclaimed atheists, fail to even begin to be the good, rational and logic people, they so desperately claim to be. Why is that? Someone should ask! Well, that's because in their choice to reject the love of the Truth of Christ, they have placed themselves below the level of wild animals.

    Jesus did not call himself the Good Shepherd for nothing.

    The Fact that Santa Claus is a fictional character, or that the story of Christmas as it has been told for centuries, is very, very inaccurate. The Fact that we don't even know the year, the season, the month much less the day of Jesus birth and there is no way to know it, is NOT an excuse for rejecting the love of God.

    December 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Salero21, I don't "Reject" the love of "God", I don't believe anything like the idea of "God" especially the God you Christians believe in exist. By exist I, has mean intrinsic value (exist even if know one ever heard of or believed he/she/it existed). Seems to me that when we stop believing in God he/she/it just goes away, consider all the Gods in the history of humanity. Two additional points. 1). IF it can be shown that your God or any other has intrinsic value I would believe in it. 2) IF it can be shown that your God or any other has humanities best interest I would even worship it.

      December 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Never trust anyone who capitalizes the word "truth" in their argument.

      December 24, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Ken

      Shepherds keep sheep for the purpose of fleecing them every opportunity they get, and for ultimately slaughtering them once their other usefulness has ended. Is Jesus really like this?

      December 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Salero21

      OMG, another agent of the GRAMMAR GESTAPO of the Internet just showed-up!

      December 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      It has nothing to do with grammer Salero, you are trying to give your argument ligitimacy doing that. It was done on purpose, not out of ignorance.

      December 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Akira

      Capitalizing the word 'fact' doesn't, in fact, make it fact.
      And atheists cannot reject what they do not believe in.
      I see that you are very fascinated with the animal world, though.
      That's nice.

      December 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  12. Salero21

    So when they were children many, probably most atheists believed in Satan Claus. As they grew-up and discover their parents have "lied" to them; they became so disappointed and threw a tantrum proclaiming themselves to the www as atheists. They reject Jesus, the very inaccurate story of Christmas as is being told and the Creation of all things by God, as the trademarks of their pretense to unbelief. However we see them in this blog and all over the WWW writing and ranting among other things about the many gods of other cultures past and present. So now we're face with another possibility which I've suspected all along, that atheists are nothing more than Idolaters put to shame by the NO-SHOW of their god/idol. Just like when Satan Claus did not show-up.

    Now, that’s very, very stupid and a sign of immaturity. Because parents just wanted to surprise them with gifts, presents and toys at the end of the year. They just used the story of Christmas and Satan Claus as a pretext to do it. Gifts and presents which BTW were way undeserved in most cases; save the fact that parents give surprise presents to their children often without any reason at all, just because they're their children. What a HEALTHY, MATURE and NORMAL person does in cases like that is just laugh about it, THANK their parents with real appreciation and having more love for their parents and move-on.

    Atheists however decided to lower themselves below the level of the apes, below the level of a troop of rabid baboons or a pack of rabid wolves, even below the level of earthworms. Then after life is over they end-up in the other place that is not Heaven.

    December 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Romnesia

      Are you really that stupid???

      December 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Yes....yes he is.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • WASP

      @sol: TROLL

      December 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • John bot the Baptist

      Gotta love you crazy christian trolls, you do more to advance the converts to atheism because of your ignorant rantings. Thank you.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      Salero: Your god is a vindictive little pr1ck. Get back on your knees and grovel, cvnt

      December 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Talk about projection

      “atheists are nothing more than Idolaters put to shame by the NO-SHOW of their god/idol.”

      If anyone should be embarrassed by their god doing no shows it’s Christians. For example he did a no show when the 20 incent children were being slaughtered; but, he’s very consistent. He never shows up at all, anywhere, ever.

      December 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • tallulah13

      There the troll goes with the ape thing again. What is it with you and primates, Sal?

      December 25, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • tallulah13

      Actually, I never believed in Santa Claus. I had older sisters and they let me know what was going on. I've always sought and appreciated the truth, that is why I can't believe in a god for which there is no proof.

      December 25, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  13. Salero21

    It's almost an Oxymoron that some fuzzyheaded atheists celebrate Christmas. In reality is nothing more than another excuse for merriment albeit a good one. Now fuzzyheaded atheists claim they are reasonable, logical people who go by facts alone.

    Well then, here are some facts:
    Nobody knows and there is no way to know when Jesus was born.
    We don't know the year, the month, the season much less the day of the week.
    Messiah [Jesus] was expected to come around the Feast of Tabernacles which is around our Gregorian calendar month of September.
    What we now know as Christmas did not start to be celebrated until centuries after Jesus actual birth.

    So why then some atheists celebrate Satan Claus? Well like they say is a reason or excuse to party, fool or monkey around. Satan Claus is a fictional character created by some artists around the second half of the XIX century, for the pleasure of a group of American businessmen and enterprises. The character is almost as well known the world over as Jesus. When many atheists were children they believed in Satan Claus and waited for him to bring presents on Christmas day. As they grow-up and discover that their parents lied to them and that Satan Claus did not exists, instead of taking it in stride they made a choice to take it a step further and proclaim themselves atheists. Now, that's stupid very stupid indeed.

    December 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Salero21

      OMG, OMG the GRAMMAR GESTAPO of the Internet is going to get me this time. They are one of the legal enforcement branches of atheism.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • The Truth

      "As they grow-up and discover that their parents lied to them and that Satan Claus did not exists, instead of taking it in stride they made a choice to take it a step further and proclaim themselves atheists. Now, that's stupid very stupid indeed." Stupid? To doubt the veracity of your parents word after finding out they lied to you for years about one of the charachters in the story they keep telling? It would be truly stupid not to question them after something like that.

      Also, you might find it hard to tell the difference but puting up an evergreen tree, dropping a yule log on the fire and sharing presents was how Saturnalia was celebrated so you are right about it being "nothing more than another excuse for merriment albeit a good one." for Christians who hijacked a pagan holy day.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      That is because there is just as much evidence for Santa being real as your god.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Salero21

      blessed cheesemaker,

      The EVIDENCE for the CREATOR [GOD] is CREATION ITSELF. But of course atheists now are coming up with yet another belief. That the Universe is Eternal, like if the Universe created itself being some sort of god. Now that's really, really stupid.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Salero21

      So a lie disguised as "The Truth" is now saying that pagans have "holy days"! Really, really, people! It is becoming more and more EVIDENT, that atheists may really be what I've suspected all along for many years, Idolaters ashamed of the NO-SHOW of their god/idol. When they were children Satan Claus failed to show-up. Then later as they grew-up other gods they choose to believe in, also began to fail to show-up and on and on. They [atheists] decided instead of searching for the TRUTH that is Christ Himself decided to lower themselves to levels below the apes. Choosing to reject Him [JESUS] who loves them more than their parents ever did and what the monkeys can ever Love them. Choosing instead to go like wild monkeys, in parties of merriment for Satan Claus who is nothing more than a fictional character. Go figure!

      December 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      Your argument is a fallacy. IF the universe were proven to have a beginning, it would prove NOTHING about whether there was a god or not.

      December 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      You are right, Jesus does love us like parents, I am going to take what your are saying and apply God's teaching to my life and the life of my son. He is young enough so I can leave his life and he will not remember me, I will however have my neighbor down the street write a book about me and let my son know I exist. I will return to his life when he is about 40 years old, if at that time he believes I am his father and he loves me I will buy him a car, if he does not I will set him on fire. It all makes sense now, whatever happens he is responsible for the outcome, I will have done everything I can, my conscience will be clean.

      December 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Mrs. Pepperpot

      "So a lie disguised as “The Truth” is now saying that pagans have “holy days”!"
      Yes, Christians ripped off a Pagan holy day.
      Hard to believe Christians would steal, isn't it...yet they did.

      " Really, really, people! It is becoming more and more EVIDENT, that atheists may really be what I’ve suspected all along for many years, Idolaters ashamed of the NO-SHOW of their god/idol."

      Um, no, atheists don't believe in gods. Duh.

      "When they were children Satan Claus failed to show-up. Then later as they grew-up other gods they choose to believe in, also began to fail to show-up and on and on."

      Sigh. You must have had a very sad childhood.
      No, atheists don't believe in gods, therefore there is nothing to replace anything with.

      "They [atheists] decided instead of searching for the TRUTH that is Christ Himself decided to lower themselves to levels below the apes."

      What a ridiculous assertion.
      Although I get that you dig apes in some unhealthy way.

      "Choosing to reject Him [JESUS] who loves them more than their parents ever did and what the monkeys can ever Love them. Choosing instead to go like wild monkeys, in parties of merriment for Satan Claus who is nothing more than a fictional character. Go figure!"

      You choose to be deliberately obtuse. A person cannot reject something they don't believe in; something, that to them, doesn't exist. Therefore, there is no choice/replacement.
      And I see that you have an unhealthy interest with monkeys, also. Did one scare you when you were younger?

      Conclusion: you're a poe troll.

      December 25, 2012 at 1:35 am |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Religion has provided us with something that may have lasting usefulness: God. Just as zero and the symbol also known as "infinity" are useful. Maybe God can be used to symbolize "that which explains what we don't know". But it's already used for so many things. Such as "That which is eternal and, from eternity, cares about us and offers us an eternity of bliss" – kind of like extended-release MDA, I suppose. Ultimately, though, I think God will be found to be superfluous. We already have a symbol for the empty set.

    December 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Salero21

      In matters of Faith atheists are a Zero to the left.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  15. Happy

    The courts haved ruled here in the US can't teach ID/creationism in public schools.

    December 24, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Happy

      Thumb got in the way should have said have not haved..

      December 24, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The courts have not ruled that we can't teach the "Stork" explanation to reproduction either....it does not mean it is a good idea.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  16. 2357

    From what random mutation did simple circuits "evolve"? Or is there a more plausible explanation for their existence?

    December 24, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      "random mutation" doesn't do anything. It'd be like an atheist asking, "Now what does a nail through flesh accomplish?"

      Evolution is a process, and it makes no sense to throw out one tiny tooth of one gear in the machinery and ask what it does all on its own.

      December 24, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • 2357

      Evolution is an imaginary process whereby death personified molds the destiny of those currently living. Evolution does not explain how or why life comes into being, it merely attempts to explain why some fail to procreate before death, and some live on through progeny. I suspect Charlie Darwin set off on his voyage to discover why he could not get a girl while a simple churchman could. The age old angry geek vs dumb jock in the age of printed knowledge. Similar social dynamic can be observed across schools and towns today. And thus the vain vehemence for validity.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  17. jbhitchi1234

    The vehemence displayed in this, and most religion-atheism threads is incredible and in my view conflicts with the very nature of atheism and religion.

    First, religious groups are taught to love their neighbors as themselves and promote peace through understanding. Sure, there have been times and individuals and groups who have twisted religious beliefs for twisted ends but faith is not to blame, it is the humans behind them. Atheists, in turn, believe that there exists no higher power and, as such, it seems strange to me that they would attack any religion. For what reason do they care?

    Second, the argument that atheism is not a religion is fallacious. A religion is defined as "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs." (Dictionary.com).

    Atheism is the belief that the Universe occurred at the Big Bang and is guided by the random mutations of genetic information we call evolution. This idea is supported by observation in the physical world, but it ultimately supported by the belief that before the Big Bang there was nothing, and that from this point of nothing came everything. And resultantly the more religious among us ask what was before the Big Bang? What came before this mysterious explosion that gave birth to us all? Even the argument that it existed as an infinitesimally small point cannot hold because one may still ask where this small dot of energy came from. As some outspoken Atheists point out, they do not believe in a higher power because they do not have actual, physical proof of a divine being, which is of course true. However, this simple fact cannot be enough to divide people so explosively, as both Atheism and religion ultimately rest upon constructs that cannot be proven. In the end, faith controls.

    Finally, the anger expressed by many Atheists that religious individuals, particularly those of the Christian faith, force their religious ideas on them and tell them they are going to Hell unfairly places the onus on religious groups. This is because the propensity of Atheists on these comment threads to vilify and condemn the religious for lack of intelligence is, in fact, no different than the Christian act they hate so desperately: both groups try to push their beliefs on each other, both say they do not, and both hate the other for it.

    So lets get to peace about this whole thing. For some, religion makes life make sense and eases their transition to the unknown of death. For others, such belief is unnecessary for their own personal pursuit of happiness. What does an Atheist care if religious groups want to practice something they do not happen to believe in? And what does a religious person care if an Atheist chooses not to believe? None of it matters, it is just another example of fruitless vilification, and the sooner we realize that these groups will never, by definition, stand on the same ground, we should concentrate on building bridges, not tearing them down.

    December 24, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Happy

      What are the popes views/concerns for peace??? Please figure it out...

      December 24, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • === o ===

      Your definition of atheism is too simplistic, therefore, your argument that atheism is a religion fails.

      December 24, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • jbhitchi1234

      @ =====O=====: please provide a more complete definition of Atheism. I am always keen on redefining my arguments or opinions when more information becomes available.

      December 24, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Imagine that you lived in a country where 90% of the people believed in the Loch Ness Monster. These folks had clubs where they met most Saturdays and Tuesdays to sing songs and about Nessie and her desires for mankind; they trained their kids what Nessie was like and how they should behave if they ever meet Nessie. That 90% want our laws and state funds and government actions to reflect the nation's belief in Nessie To run for political office, or to simply feel a part of normal life, you have to discuss Nessie and how you believe versus how other people believe. In campaigning for your local school board or mayorship or the presidency or anything like that, you'd need to reference Nessie all the time-–the more you discuss Nessie the better-–because ALL the presidents and most school board members and mayors are Nessie believers and talkers.

      Now you: You don't believe in Nessie because you haven't seen sufficient evidence for Nessie's existence. If somebody ever showed you evidence, you'd believe, but currently, you lack belief. You don't sing songs and hold regular meetings where you talk about Nessie's nonexistence, you simply don't believe Nessie exists and see no reason to base your or the country's decisions on Nessie belief.

      That's atheism in the US.

      December 24, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • === o ===

      Many atheists do not acknowledge the Big Bang as proven fact. It is not yet known for certain.

      Many atheists do not hold a belief that any deity does exist, while also not claiming to know that any deity does not exist. I think many fall into this category as opposed to those that claim to know that there are no deities.

      Hardly a religion. For the broader spectrum of atheists, it is simply a lack of belief.

      December 24, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Mithramas greetings

      Moby is correct. Atheists exist in all parts of the world and have varying degrees of knowledge/education; to say that they are all believers in the Big Bang theory is not true. Many atheists simply do not buy into any of the supernatural God stories because they do not make sense to them. If you were to ask people that are atheists about how we came into existance they may state one theory or another, but would probably end the discussion by saying, I am not sure or I do not know.

      December 24, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Second, the argument that atheism is not a religion is fallacious."

      This argument is fallacious, and I will prove it.

      Is "Theism" a religion? No of course not because theists believe in all sorts of contradictory gods, religious beliefs, tenents, rituals, the list is nest to endless. The same can be said for atheism. Atheists have all kinds of differing views. The only thing an atheist agrees on is the answer to the question "Do you believe in a god(s)" the answer being "no". The rest of your argument is therefore garbage....next.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Mithramas greetings

      Cheese is also right. You do know atheists have been around long before the Big Bang Theory was ever presented? As the human race gains knowledge dependence on God is no longer required.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • My goodness you’re stupid

      “Atheism is the belief that the Universe occurred at the Big Bang and is guided by the random mutations of genetic information we call evolution.”

      You guys just don’t get it do you? Atheism is all about NOT BELIEVING.

      December 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  18. 2357

    Download of the Alpha Version

    The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction."

    December 24, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • WASP

      @numbers: even better man that explains how we don't need ten commandments.


      plus he even made it funny. 🙂

      December 24, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      And god sets himself up as a personal revelation that has to speak through another flawed human instead of just coming down and doing it himself. What a joke of a god.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • 2357

      Sorry, George Carlin was just a shock turd. Bill Hicks was funnier, and he laid it all out concerning media biz and Satan. Bill Hicks, a stage prophet who flew too close to the sun.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • WASP

      @numbers: you know i haven't ever heard of this "Bill Hicks"
      aww well guess he wasn't that funny after all.

      December 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      And Bill Hicks skewered Christians and Christianity. Keep listening.

      December 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • 2357

      A stand up who equates evil with blowing satan is no mere comedian. That my friends, is a prophet.

      December 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • 2357

      @Wasp and Blessed,
      How does it taste? 🙂

      December 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Your BS? I don't know, I am not swallowing it. I don't think Bill Hicks would appreciate you calling him a "prophet" for you immoral religion though.

      December 25, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • 2357

      Is it sweet, is it salty-sweet, or just kind of bitter? Whatever we've been tasting in our hearts, our words reveal the aftertaste. Child of God, you've been drinking at the well of the Evil One. May the Lord cleanse you, bless you with his mercy, and keep you.

      December 25, 2012 at 7:13 am |
  19. Ex Atheist

    It's time to drop the myth of Darwinian evolution and the limited understanding he had in the 1800s and embrace the growing evidence of intelligent design

    December 24, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • WASP

      @EX: what evidence?
      as far as i see nothing "intelligent" had anything to do witht he creation of humans.
      if anything "intelligent" had anything to do with making humans i would say they flunked "god school" and need to be retaught how to make a more perfect creation.

      December 24, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Happy

      @ Ex Sorry Bud the courts ruled it can't be taught in public schools in the US OK !!! Dover Trial 2005 !

      December 24, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Ex Atheist", but there is no evidence of intelligent design. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent true statements is: "EPIC FAIL".

      December 24, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      "Intelligent design" is an erroneous conclusion by those who don't understand evolution. It's an answer for simpletons.The shoe fits, i see.

      December 24, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • sam stone

      even if there WERE intelligent design, how does that favor one creation story over another?

      December 24, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Ex Atheist: "We have evidence"

      Atheist: "Where"

      Ex Atheist: "Everywhere"

      Atheist: *facepalm*

      December 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • the AnViL

      this is too stupid to be a legitimate post.

      has to be a troll

      December 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • The Truth

      Now if only we could get this "Ex Atheist" to become an ex liar...

      December 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • .

      It always cracks me up when atheists say how they "understand evolution" I literally LMAO!

      December 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  20. 2357

    Parable of the Kingdom, for the Digital Age

    The Bible is written in C, C++, COBOL, Pascal, even Basic. Old Testament is Unix, New is Windows(cross in logo, "NT", duh) Mac OS? Scientology. Linux? Mormonism(open source Christianity featuring angels and modern prophets). Triune God is the Master Coder, Hardware Engineer and venture-backed Technoevangelist. Believers are the chips, thus the Coder saves his code in them, also backs up code in peripheral chips. All chips are also saved when the machine is scrapped.

    Materialists confine themselves to the motherboard, power supply, fans, LED, wires. Capacitors, Resistors, Transistors, relays, anodes, diodes, solder, etc. – none of these can even fathom binary code, much less the Coder who is Builder. In the Great Upgrade, when the old machine is scrapped, they prove to be toxic and un-recyclable, and are incinerated.

    December 24, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • Reality

      Another parable of the digital age:

      Only for the new members of this blog-

      by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      (references used are available upon request)

      December 24, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • 2357

      A resistor is a mere conductor of currency. He cannot comprehend binary, much less the poetic beauty of Code.

      December 24, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • WASP

      @numbers: HUH? did you have a blunt trama to your head? what you wrote truly makes no sense what so ever.

      December 24, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      And then the programmer blames the chips for not doing what he wants and smashes them. Wow, great programmer there, he needs some counseling.

      December 24, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • 2357

      You're not a chip unless you store and execute code. You may be a key component, but not a chip.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      In your failed analogy we are all chips. The point is the creator is blaming his creation, your analogy sucks.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • the AnViL

      what's funny is – religion didn't have a hand in building, designing, constructing, inventing, or creating any computers, computer components, or programming languages.

      it was all science.

      unlike a computer – religion will never solve any problems.

      unlike science – religion is predicate upon ignorance.

      it is said within the xian church – that jebus is their rock and foundation – which is comical – because the literal actual foundation of xianity is ignorance.

      jebus = idiocy
      jebus = division
      jebus = bigotry
      jebus = intolerance
      jebus = ignorance
      jebus = hate

      do not despair xians – your twin brother, islam – is cast from the same mold – and you are not alone.

      2357: your "parable" was bad and you should feel bad.

      December 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • 2357

      God's judgement is holy judgement. That means its profoundly different from the whiny little blame games that we people play. When God judges the world, he merely carries through on his plan to scrap Creation and start over. You won't be there to enjoy the glory of the new creation unless he makes you into a chip of silicon, a grain of sand among the blessed Children of Abraham.

      December 24, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Your god can judge, but it is not Holy, he is an immoral pri.ck, how does it feel to worship a dictator worse than any the world have ever seen? Oh...he is not real either, you worship an imaginary pri.ck....

      December 25, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • sam stone

      2357.....your god is a vindictive impotent little pr1ck, and so are you. now, get back on your knees like a subservient little slave

      December 26, 2012 at 5:03 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.