January 8th, 2013
07:00 AM ET

My take: 'Atheist' isn’t a dirty word, congresswoman

Editor’s note: Chris Stedman is the author of "Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious" and the assistant humanist chaplain at Harvard. You can follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDStedman.

By Chris Stedman, Special to CNN

(CNN)—This year, Congress welcomed the first Buddhist senator and first Hindu elected to either chamber of Congress, and the Pew Forum noted that this “gradual increase in religious diversity … mirrors trends in the country as a whole.”

But Pew also noted one glaring deficiency: Religious “nones” were largely left outside the halls of Congress, despite one in five Americans now saying they don’t affiliate with a religion.

There is, however, one newly elected “none” — but she seems to think "atheist" is a dirty word.

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, was sworn in a few days ago without a Bible, and she is the first member of Congress to openly describe her religious affiliation as “none.” Although 10 other members don’t specify a religious affiliation — up from six members in the previous Congress — Sinema is the only to officially declare “none.”

This has gotten Sinema a fair amount of attention from the media. Many identified her as an atheist during her congressional campaign, and after she won, sources touted her as a nontheist. Even this past weekend, Politico declared in a headline: “Non-believers on rise in Congress.”

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

But there’s a slight issue: Sinema doesn’t actually appears to be a nonbeliever. In response to news stories identifying her as an atheist, her campaign released this statement shortly after her victory: “(Rep. Sinema) believes the terms non-theist, atheist or non-believer are not befitting of her life’s work or personal character.”

As a nontheist, atheist and nonbeliever (take your pick), I find this statement deeply problematic.

It is perfectly fine, of course, if Sinema isn’t a nontheist, and it is understandable that she would want to clarify misinformation about her personal beliefs. But to say that these terms are “not befitting of her life’s work or personal character” is offensive because it implies there is something unbefitting about the lives and characters of atheists or nonbelievers.

Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion

Try substituting a religious group of your choice in place of atheist if you don’t agree: “[Rep. Sinema] believes the term Muslim is not befitting of her life’s work or personal character.” Does that sound right? It shouldn’t.

Of course, many do view Muslims as unfit for political office. In that respect, political opponents have regularly misidentified President Obama as a Muslim. Many have defended the president from such attacks by noting that Obama is a Christian.

But former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell rightly pointed out the pernicious underlying message such a defense sends:

The correct answer is: He is not a Muslim; he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, ‘What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?’ The answer is ‘No, that’s not America.’ Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?

Just as Muslim is used as a political smear, politicians seem to avoid "atheist."

This is probably because the American electorate views both Muslims and atheists more unfavorably than they do other groups: According to a Gallup poll released in June, only 58% of Americans would vote for a “generally well-qualified” Muslim candidate, and only 54% would vote for an atheist. (This is the first time that number has been above 50% for an atheist candidate.)  By contrast, 91% would vote for a Jewish candidate, 94% for a Catholic and 80% for a Mormon.

There seems to be a greater general tolerance for, or blindness to, comments that marginalize or diminish atheists than those aimed at other groups.

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

Prominent individuals like Powell rightfully decry anti-Muslim fear-mongering in politics, but few speak out against those who wield accusations of atheism as a political weapon.

Whether people don’t see it or simply aren’t bothered isn’t clear, but it remains a problem.

I respect Sinema’s right to self-identify as she chooses, and I don’t wish to speculate about her religious beliefs. But while I celebrate that she is comfortable enough to openly identify as bisexual, I find her response to being labeled an atheist troubling.

Why not instead say that she’s not an atheist, but so what if she was?

The 113th Congress is rich with diversity. As an interfaith activist, I am glad to see the religious composition of Congress more closely reflect the diversity of America. As a queer person, I’m glad that LGBT Americans are seeing greater representation in Washington.

But as a proud atheist and humanist, I’m disheartened that the only member of Congress who openly identifies as nonreligious has forcefully distanced herself from atheism in a way that puts down those of us who do not believe in God.

We are Americans of good character, too.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Chris Stedman.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Politics

soundoff (3,637 Responses)
  1. Brian

    What is with those things in his ears? Doesn't CNN hire professionals? Geez.

    January 21, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  2. hypatia

    *finishes popcorn* isn't this the hot air balloon race? sure is a lot of gas being blown around

    January 21, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  3. Mainscribe

    Atheism is, in fact, a dirty word. Just like the people who are atheists. Creepy...

    January 20, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Calling people names doesn't reflect well on you, or your religion.

      January 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • sam stone

      mainscribe: how convncing.

      January 25, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  4. hellodollyllama

    The answer is simple. She believes in something, but chooses not to share it with the public. And judging by your silly condemnation of her, she was right to do so.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
  5. trekie70

    How sad it is that in the 21st century, exercising the right not to believe is considered a political handicap. Wake up, America!!! Just because you claim to be a Christian doesn't mean you'll be a good President-just look at the disaster known as W. Professing to be an atheist doesn't mean you are immoral; imho, anyone who can't tell good from bad without consulting their pastor is a pathetic human being. For those of you who would oppose an atheist President, show me emperical evidence that proves an atheist is unfit to serve in the WH.

    January 17, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • the AnViL

      there are a number of states that prohibit atheists from serving in public office.

      srsly... check it out:

      Arkansas, Article 19, Section 1:
      No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.

      Maryland, Article 37:
      That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Const itution.

      Mississippi, Article 14, Section 265:
      No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.

      North Carolina, Article 6, Section 8
      The following persons shall be disqualified for office: Any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.

      South Carolina, Article 17, Section 4:
      No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Consti tution.

      Tennessee, Article 9, Section 2:
      No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.

      Texas, Article 1, Section 4:
      No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

      funny stuff, huh?

      January 18, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  6. truth be told

    atheism is a cancer on the body of lady liberty. dirty does not begin to plumb the depth of lying depravity the word atheist hides.

    January 17, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • midwest rail

      The world's most boring and pointless experiment in social media drones on....and on....

      January 17, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • the AnViL

      "lady liberty" was derived from libertas, the goddess of freedom. a mythical figure – like all gods and godettes.

      important to note: the xian imaginary man in the sky does not represent liberty in any way.

      you should be ashamed to be so ignorant on a national public forum.


      January 17, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Giancarlo Taliente

      Atheism is not a dirty word. It is a sad one.

      January 17, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • LinCA

      @Giancarlo Taliente

      You said, "Atheism is not a dirty word. It is a sad one."
      Do you mean sad as in when you realized Santa wasn't real?

      January 17, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • fake moniker spotter123

      Is that the best you can do to come up with a new name TBT – Taliente – really?

      January 17, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • fake moniker spotter123

      (waits for "nope" to come out and play – lol)

      January 17, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Aditya

      Really?, the term atheist is cancer now,
      When will you people learn that the only difference between an atheist and a theist is just an 'a', just the fact that he chooses not to believe. He has his values and lives by the same morality you do.
      Aren't we all humans, isn't that enough for us to live in peace?

      January 20, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  7. Dreamy the observing solopsist

    Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
    Lewis Carroll quote

    January 17, 2013 at 8:57 am |
  8. Dreamy the observing solopsist

    Just when the atheists convince me there is no God, one lets something slip..like posting about fractals.

    Then I wonder, is religion just mind control or is atheism? Could it be both?

    If my search is for God and there is no God perhaps the point is the search itself.

    And then I wonder, perhaps God exists and you, dear reader, do not.

    January 17, 2013 at 8:42 am |
    • End Religion

      We all need distractions. If you want to spend your life searching for Bigfoot, enjoy! Just don't believe it automatically commands respect when you finally "know in your heart it is the Truth."

      January 17, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • Graystone

      End Religion… The truth has to first be in your heart to find it. If there is no truth in your heart, all you'll find is deceit...

      January 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • fintastic

      Bullcrap! Truth is based on evidence. Your "heart" pumps blood.

      January 29, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  9. PerfectTruth

    It doesn't matter whether a person believes that Atheist is a dirty word or not. Not believing in God can still send your soul to hell. It takes believing in God to make it to heaven...

    Mark 16:16 – He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

    January 16, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Athy

      That's the silliest thing I've ever heard.

      January 16, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      What about believing in the wrong god?

      January 16, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • PerfectTruth

      Athy… Then obviously you don't know much or have heard much…

      1 Corinthians 1:21 – For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe...

      Moby… Yes, believing in the wrong God can send you to hell too…

      Exodus 20:2 – I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me….

      January 17, 2013 at 1:38 am |
    • Observer

      Yep. It says several places in the Bible that ALL you have to do to go to heaven is to believe. Being a rotten person or not doesn't matter.

      January 17, 2013 at 1:48 am |
    • tallulah13

      If you want people to take your bible quotes seriously, you first have to prove that your god exists, then prove that the bible is his word. No one has been able to even accomplish either. Quoting the bible to support the bible is pointless and silly.

      January 17, 2013 at 2:02 am |
    • PerfectTruth

      Observer… When the scriptures says "he that believeth", it is not talking about simply believing that God exists. Even Lucifer believes that God exists, yet he's not saved. The bible states that "faith without works is dead". Meaning, in order to believe in God, you must also do what he says…

      Tallulah13… I don't have to prove anything. I won't even waste my time with fools who don't have enough common sense to already know that God exists. If you're too dumb and stupid to already know that God exists, then you're far too dumb for me to waste my time trying to explain it to you…

      January 17, 2013 at 2:23 am |
    • Observer


      So when everyone quotes (or wears) John 3:16, it doesn't really mean "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life".

      It just means you have a shot at it. Signs with the verse actually have small print below explaining that it has all kinds of conditions.

      January 17, 2013 at 2:32 am |
    • frank

      I'm with talullah on this one. Step out from behind your scented tissue and prove your god exists, TruthPerforated.

      January 17, 2013 at 2:44 am |
    • frank

      sorry tallulah – I guess I got your l's wrong first time around.

      January 17, 2013 at 2:46 am |
    • PerfectTruth

      Observer… First, you're getting your info from a false bible. Don't use that bible. Try the original King James Version, which states…

      John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life…

      The word believeth in that scripture still means the exact same thing as I mentioned above. It is not possible to "believeth in him" without doing what he says…

      Secondly, you are correct. Just because Jesus died on the cross it does NOT mean you are automatically saved and that there is nothing else to do. It simply means you now have a CHANCE to be saved, if you follow his commandments and do what he says. Why else do you think so many people are still going to hell? Answer: It is because they refuse to do what he says even though he died for them...

      January 17, 2013 at 2:49 am |
    • Simplicity

      @PerfectTruth- Please avoid using ad hominem as a debate tactic. Thank you.

      January 17, 2013 at 2:51 am |
    • Observer

      "Tallulah13… I don't have to prove anything. I won't even waste my time with fools who don't have enough common sense to already know that God exists. If you're too dumb and stupid to already know that God exists, then you're far too dumb for me to waste my time trying to explain it to you"

      Wow! Here's some bad news for someone thinking only others are headed to hell:

      – Matthew 5:22 "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with their brother or sister will be in danger of judgment. If they say to their brother or sister, ‘You idiot,’ they will be in danger of being condemned by the governing council. And if they say, ‘You fool,’ they will be in danger of fiery hell.” - Jesus


      January 17, 2013 at 2:52 am |
    • Observer

      Perfect Truth,

      Oh. So the Bible is wrong. As the Biblical scholar you are, you know that the word "believe" doesn't mean what everyone knows it to mean. "Believe" actually means "to believe and obey".

      Of course it does. Look at all those ignorant biblical scholars who could have just asked a blogger like you.


      January 17, 2013 at 2:56 am |
    • frank

      Yep, Mr. T's a goner.

      January 17, 2013 at 2:56 am |
    • PerfectTruth

      Observer… First of all, you've misquoted that scripture because your bible is false. The real bible doesn't say that. The following is what Matthew 5:22 actually says…

      Matthew 5:22 – But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

      Regarding the above scripture, there are several key points you overlook. First, it says "without a cause". I have a legitimate cause to say what I said. Secondly, notice it uses the word "brother". That means the scripture is referring to people who are saved and to my "bother" in the Lord. Talullah is NOT my brother in the Lord. He is not even saved. He's an atheist. And all atheists are fools. So says the scriptures…

      Psalm 14:1 – The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

      So for you to defend an atheist and to defend someone who's a fool, what does that say about you?… Answer: Matthew 15:15 – (Jesus speaking) "And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Meaning, if Talluluah's going to hell, then rest assured, so are you…


      Regarding your other statement… No the bible is not wrong. It is only your misguided understanding of the bible that is wrong…

      January 17, 2013 at 3:26 am |
    • the AnViL

      PerfectTruth: "I don't have to prove anything. " good thing, because you can't.

      there's no substantiated evidence to support any of your delusional claims.

      your position is untenable. you are vanquished.

      cha cha cha

      January 17, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • End Religion

      The Real Bible TM
      (let's see if "sup" tag works...)

      January 17, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • the AnViL

      "First of all, you've misquoted that scripture because your bible is false. The real bible doesn't say that."

      will the real bible please stand up

      January 17, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • frank

      [ At this point, the bashful Bible flips itself inside out, with Psalms facing outward as a cushion. ]

      January 17, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • PerfectTruth

      AnViL… You stated… "there's no substantiated evidence to support any of your delusional claims. your position is untenable. you are vanquished."...

      It's funny how people like you can realize that fact and yet can't realize you haven't provided even a shred of evidence to support your own claims. So typical of an atheist. Go figure...

      January 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "PerfectTruth", but "AnViL" is, in fact, correct. "God" is an element of mythology, therefore your assertions are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "EPIC FAIL".

      January 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Really??

      Perfect Lies
      Now you are just plain lying. What claims have any atheists made that you are unclear on. I know the claims that we make, and either we know we do not have an answer, and say that, or we can cite specific information. Just because you can't comprehend it, doesn't mean that saying all atheists are lying is valid. Actually it just makes you look like many of the trolls that inhabit this area.

      January 17, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Observer


      "Observer… First of all, you've misquoted that scripture because your bible is false."

      I didn't misquote the Bible. Skip the LIES. God doesn't like liars. There are 30 versions of the Bible in English and they all disaagree. You just pick and choose whichever on you like. Don't blame me if Bibles are wrong.

      January 17, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • PerfectTruth

      "hal 9001"… Please stop "copying and pasting" that same nonsense and garbage wherever you go…

      "Really??", "hal 9001"… Both of you are nothing more than pathological liars who are not interested in the truth. So don't expect me to waste my time with you…

      "Observer"… You did indeed misquote the bible. There may be 30 versions of the bible in English. But they are all of the devil accept one. So get a real bible and learn some truth…

      January 17, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Really??

      Now you are really busted lying. What have I said that is a lie? Best be specific.

      January 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      A persons concept of god is usually a reflection of themselves, from this we can infer that you are a petty, self-righteous, arrogant, intolerant tool that, if born in some other time, would have been glad to go around stoning all kinds of people. You are an immoral moron whose kind is thankfully, albeit slowly, becoming extinct.

      January 17, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "PerfectTruth", but I have not asked you to "waste" your "time with" me. My function is to illuminate unfounded assertions and falsehoods. To date, "PerfectTruth", your truth value remains at: 0. (IEE value = 'EPIC FAIL')

      January 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • PerfectTruth

      "Really?", "hawaiiguest", "hal 9001"… I won't answer to stupidity. And you guys are about as stupid as you can get. When you learn some truth then get back to me…

      January 17, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Observer


      You have really trashed all your fellow Christians who follow Bibles written by the devil. Are they "fools" too?

      We may finally be in agreement. You say that the best Bible is the King James version and since that contains errors and contradictions, we apparenlty are in agreement that there is no completely true Bible.

      January 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      That coming from a person whos posts consist of "Well MY holy book says believe or else and anyone who disagrees is a stupid, immoral person so NYAH NYAH"? How interesting that you criticize everyone who posts against your divisive evil religion and call them stupid, when you apparently cannot even think of any response to that beyond "YOUR A MEAN OLD STUPID HEAD".

      January 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • PerfectTruth

      Observer… And what fellow "Christians" have I trashed? I don't trash Christians. I trash atheists and unbelievers (who seem to have no problem with trashing believers in kind). If a Christian is using a false bible then they are not fools, they are just deceived…

      As regarding the King James version of the bible, what errors and contradictions are you referring to? There are no errors and contradictions in it. The only errors and contradictions are in people's misguided understanding of it…

      Lastly, note there are several versions of the King James bible available. Only use the "original" King James version. The so-called "New Edition" King James version has been modified from the truth and is of the devil. Only use the original version. The original King James version is the only version that is closest to the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts (meaning the translators didn't modify the meaning of the words and scriptures in any way but only converted them into English). No English Bible is closer to the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts than the original King James version…

      January 17, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Get Real

      Perfect Truth,

      Do you even know who your King James was?

      James's visit to Denmark, a country familiar with witch hunts, may have encouraged an interest in the study of witchcraft,[42] which he considered a branch of theology.[43] After his return to Scotland, he attended the North Berwick witch trials, the first major persecution of witches in Scotland under the Witchcraft Act 1563. Several people, most notably Agnes Sampson, were convicted of using witchcraft to send storms against James's ship. James became obsessed with the threat posed by witches and, inspired by his personal involvement, in 1597 wrote the Daemonologie, a tract which opposed the practice of witchcraft and which provided background material for Shakespeare's Tragedy of Macbeth.[44] James personally supervised the torture of women accused of being witches.

      In addition, even if those translators got every word and comma correct:

      The Bible is only a book which includes *some* history of primitive Hebrew culture, and *some* good advice for practical, beneficial human behavior, but mostly it is a compilation of ancient Middle Eastern historical fiction, myth, legend, superst.ition and fantasy.

      The NT is a collection of the writings of various 1st century evangelists who were promoting their new offshoot religion.

      There is not a whit of verified evidence for any of the supernatural beings and events in that book.

      January 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Observer


      "As regarding the King James version of the bible, what errors and contradictions are you referring to? There are no errors and contradictions in it."

      I'm sorry. I thought you had actually read it.

      Speaking of "stupid", "dumb", and "fool", when the Bible says someone became king at age 8 and also became king at age 18, you know that he must have been voted out of office as king and then re-elected king when he was 18. Right?

      When the Bible shows that the ratio pi is equal to 3.0, you know that all mathematicians must be wrong.

      No errors? lol.

      January 17, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • the AnViL

      PerfectTruth: "It's funny how people like you can realize that fact and yet can't realize you haven't provided even a shred of evidence to support your own claims. So typical of an atheist. Go figure."

      it's good that you agree it's a fact that you've not a shred of evidence to support your delusional claims.

      we can just stop right there.


      January 17, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • PerfectTruth

      To "Observer"… (that is, if your last post was really you. I find it difficult to believe that you'd even post such garbage. But in case you did…)

      I know more about the King James bible than you will ever know. I repeat, there are NO contradictions in the bible. None whatsoever. The only contradictions are in your own misguided understanding of it. So please provide the exact scripture for what you are referring to and perhaps I can straighten you out…

      To "Get Real"… You have been lied to. Need I say more…

      To "Anvil"… I never said I didn't have any proof. Indeed I do, and plenty of it. It's only that people like you love to say I don't have any proof, yet without providing an ounce of proof yourself. Which only makes you hypocritical. And is the very reason you suddenly desire to "stop right there". Because if we continued on any further, it will only become apparent to everyone here that you don't have any proof…

      January 18, 2013 at 2:25 am |
    • PerfectTruth

      Anvil… And your attempt to change the subject won't work. Which is why you deftly tried to change the subject to be about me. The subject is not about me. It's about you. It's about the fact that you love to question others and to question their proof, when the reality is, you don't have an ounce of proof yourself…

      January 18, 2013 at 2:49 am |
    • HotAiAce

      PerfectTruth, please prove that your god exists, that the bible is his inerrant word and that the King James original version is closest to the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.

      January 18, 2013 at 2:58 am |
    • oops!

      ( Passion week )

      Mark 11:20-21 – Jesus’ disciples don’t notice that the tree has withered until the next day
      Matthew 21:19-20 – Jesus’ disciples notice that the fig tree withers immediately after being cursed and are amazed

      January 18, 2013 at 3:23 am |
    • the AnViL


      i've made no claims. you have – and you've no substantial evidence to support those claims. your beliefs are founded on ignorance.

      there are no gods – and i don't have to prove that fact. the onus of evidence remains nestled entirely on the shoulders of those making the positive assertion that gods exist... which you've done.

      your attempted appeals to ignorance are only more evidence of your delusional thinking and the flaws in your reasoning.

      you remain vanquished.

      January 18, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • PerfectTruth

      To "Hot Ace"… Please see my reply to Tallulah13 about 31 posts up from yours. The same applies to you…

      To "Oops!…"… Please go back and reread those scriptures thoroughly in a real bible (the original King James Version) and learn the full understanding of them. Otherwise, and if I have to straighten you out and correct your misconception, I will only embarrass you and show everyone how ignorant you are…

      To "AnVil"… For your information, this is the real world and not your fantasy world. And here in the real world, you do indeed have to prove the things you say or else what you say don't mean a thing and you have no argument…

      You say there are no gods. That is about the most ignorant and most unformed thing any person can say. First of all, if that is the case and true, then prove it. Otherwise you have no argument. Without proof of that fact, you don't even have a basis for an argument. Let alone the right to argue with others who believe otherwise…

      It's one thing to say "I don't believe there are any gods." In such a case, you have the right to say that, because that is your belief. But to make a flat statement saying, "There are no gods" – yet without providing a shred of evidence of that fact, it only illustrates your extreme ignorance and that you are a liar. You are a liar because you have no proof of that fact, that there are no gods. Yet, you have the nerve to state it to others as though it is fact. It is not fact. It is nothing more than your own personal opinion, your own personal assumption, an assumption without a shed of evidence to back it up. But rather than to admit that, to admit that it is only your personal opinion, you'd much rather lie about it and to state it as fact. Doing so only makes you dishonest and a liar. Which is why all atheists are pathological liars…

      January 18, 2013 at 11:32 am |
      • Edward

        I'm lying.......figure this one out, genius.

        August 29, 2013 at 4:55 am |
      • HotAirAce

        Interesting, according to PerfectTruth, it doesn't have to prove its claims about gods existing, especially to people it considers to be fools, but everyone else has to prove their assertions. Anyone else see a double standard here?

        August 29, 2013 at 6:36 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "PerfectTruth", but your repeated assertions regarding atheism are unfounded. Furthermore, "PerfectTruth", "God" is still an element of mythology, therefore your repeated assertions remain unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your repeated assertions may represent truths is: "CHRONIC EPIC FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      January 18, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Jesus

      @ImPerfect Truth
      How is Anvil’s baseless assertion that there are no gods any different than your baseless assertion that your god exists, and is the only true god, and that the kjv bible is the only correct bible?

      How do your assertions not make you the same liar? You have no more evidence than they do, yet you don’t state that your assertions are merely your opinion? Doesn’t that make you the same pathological liar you accuse them of being?

      January 18, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • the AnViL

      more argumentum ad ignorantiam from yet another delusional zealot....

      i am aware that you are unable to grasp logic, so this is actually for the benefit of others:

      the statement “gods exist” is a positive claim.

      the statement “gods do not exist” is a negative claim that only responds to the positive one.

      it wouldn't make any sense to anyone except the enemies of reason (you) to go around denouncing the existence of unknown or flatly fictional beings, if there isn't anyone making the positive claim that those things do exist.

      to state that the assertion “gods do not exist” is a positive claim really misses the mark entirely.

      positing a concept-being (god) is adding, not subtracting.

      to state that “gods exist” is a negative claim in response to “gods do not exist” entirely ignores the fact that ‘gods’ is still an added or positive const ituent to the conversation.

      what you have done (again) is made an appeal to ignorance. the onus of evidence rests firmly on the shoulders of those who make the positive additive assertion that "gods exist". you need not write or utter a word on the matter as your bibles already did it.

      you remain vanquished, son.

      as for reality... you – like many others, seem to have a hard time grasping the concept.

      those of you who believe in an imaginary man in the sky are delusional.

      and that's a flat fact, son.

      cha cha cha

      January 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • JWT

      Well PT heres a fact for you – I have no gods thus I haev no heaven and no hell. I also have no need for them. You are of course welcome to have them all. It makes no difference to me as long as you do not get the idea that I need to live by your version of a god, which I do not.

      January 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • PerfectTruth

      AnViL… I really find it difficult to believe that you're really that uneducated and are really that unintelligent. But I guess it's really true. And all that nonsense you just spewed only proves that fact. Trust me, there is not an intelligent person on the planet who believes any of that nonsense you just spewed…

      Whether a statement is positive or negative matters not. The only thing that matters is that if you don't have proof to back up your claims (and you don't – which is why all you can talk about is all this other useless nonsense), then you have no basis for an argument, plain and simple. And not one atheist has a legitimate basis for an argument. And if you're too dumb and ignorant to realize that fact, then you're certainly too dumb and ignorant for me to be wasting my time with you. So get back to me when you learn some truth or grow a brain. Until that time, don't expect me to continue wasting my time with you. I've got better things to do…

      January 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • BreakTheMyth

      PerfectTruth… I really find it difficult to believe that you're really that uneducated and are really that unintelligent. But I guess it's really true. And all that nonsense you just spewed only proves that fact. Trust me, there is not an intelligent person on the planet who believes any of that nonsense you just spewed…

      Whether a statement is positive or negative matters not. The only thing that matters is that if you don't have proof to back up your claims (and you don't – which is why all you can talk about is all this other useless nonsense), then you have no basis for an argument, plain and simple. And not one believer has a legitimate basis for an argument. And if you're too dumb and ignorant to realize that fact, then you're certainly too dumb and ignorant for me to be wasting my time with you. So get back to me when you learn some truth or grow a brain. Until that time, don't expect me to continue wasting my time with you. I've got better things to do…

      January 18, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • myurkus

      Really? The bible is your source for saying it is wicked to not believe in God? Some of us might need something a little more, ummm factual to sway us. Although the part with Noah's Ark is cool.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • fintastic

      @PT.... " I never said I didn't have any proof. Indeed I do, and plenty of it. "

      Well, lets hear it!.... where's your proof? where's you evidence that god exsists? Are you that stupid to make a statement like that and not provide the proof as you have stated?.... Another religious nut job.

      January 29, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
  10. Aldewacs

    )_ ina corner and made tgs happen".
    ...... to
    ) into a corner and began this argument.

    January 15, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
  11. Correctlycenter

    Revelation 20:14-15
    " Death and hell were thrown into the fiery lake (second death). Those whose names were not found in the Book of Life were thrown into the fiery lake."

    January 15, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Really??

      quoting an ancient text written by nothing more than ignorant men....is there some point?

      January 15, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • fintastic

      ohhhhhhhhh!.... "the fiery lake"............... where the boogie man lives.

      January 15, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      You're quoting some guy who was writing down his dreams, and I'm supposed to take something away from that?

      January 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • End Religion

      I'm confused, because Jesus' name is not in the Book of Life.

      January 15, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Dreamy the observing solopsist

      Nothing exists.

      January 17, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • Dreamy the observing solopsist

      Or maybe nothing doesn't exist. You decide.

      January 17, 2013 at 8:45 am |
  12. Grimble Grumble the gnome

    I think some brain cells just died in my head after reading the comments of the atheists on here. Not one comment has made any sense, and its all just a bunch of garbage. Atheists have to be the most immoral, stupid people ever!

    January 15, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • Verimius

      Grimble Grumble is not a gnome, it's a troll.

      January 15, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Really??

      It is a reference to an old Pink Floyd song, "the gnome".
      But you are right about THIS one...he is a troll.

      January 15, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I am absolutely not debating the point with you that some brain cells have died in your head. Again, I think we're in total agreement.

      January 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • the AnViL

      most of your brain cells died waaaaaay before reading any of the comments on this blog.

      January 17, 2013 at 9:21 am |
  13. Gadflie

    One of the things that amuses me most is the concept of God being perfect. You judge a mechanic by his repairs, you judge an artist by his work. How do you judge a creator God, well, obviously by his creations. And, well, he falls WAY short.

    January 14, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • Correctlycenter

      God is perfect in every way, man's thinking and opinions however, are not...

      January 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • End Religion

      Your god is a huge mess of imperfections. CC, you wouldn't know this because your thoughts are imperfect.

      January 15, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • Athy

      God doesn't exist; imperfect, perfect or otherwise. Why can't we just accept that and be done with it?

      January 16, 2013 at 12:16 am |
    • Dreamy the observing solopsist

      Hi Athy. What does exist? Are you sure? Why are you sure? What is the nature of God? How do you define God in order to determine the existence of God? And most importantly what could be possible that right now isn't possible?

      January 17, 2013 at 8:50 am |
    • Dreamy the observing solopsist

      End religions...if our thoughts are imperfect, which I believe to be so, there really is no correct way of determining what does and does not exist, is there? Isn't perfection an impossibliity, or perhaps a relative term?

      January 17, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • End Religion

      Your thoughts are imperfect, mine aren't. Just rely on what I say and you'll be okee-dokee.

      January 17, 2013 at 9:26 am |
  14. Gir

    When our gov't is filled with filthy religionists, why wouldn't this nation lag behind the rest of the world in so many areas? These people wear the suspension of logic as a badge of honor, for goodness' sake.

    January 14, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  15. Grimble Grumble the gnome

    Who cares about what that dumb chain smoking drunk, Christopher Hittchens thought

    January 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Grimble Grumble the gnome

      *Christopher Hitchens

      January 14, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Beth

      I care. Despite his (self-admitted) vices (as if the rest of us are faultless in that way...), he was a brilliant thinker and superb writer, and he had the guts to tackle some difficult, sensitive topics in a very direct way. Which of his books have you actually read?

      R.I.P. Christopher Hitchens. I am so glad that we have your insightful writings to remember you by.

      January 14, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Ted

      Ditto what Beth said so well. Thanks, Beth. I agree.

      And thank you, Beth, also, for having the fiber to say that and stand up for CH.

      January 14, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
  16. Grimble Grumble the gnome

    All atheists are stupid. They can't prove one thing they believe in

    January 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      So you're saying that you think something can only be said to be true if there is proof?

      I agree. That's why I'm an atheist. I think we accidentally agree with each other.

      January 14, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Beth

      great response, EnjaySea.

      January 14, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      I can prove it. I've got absolute proof.

      As an atheist, I believe in the sole atheist tenant – which is that I do indeed lack a belief in god.

      That's all atheist means. Not that I believe there is no god, not that I believe it could be proved there is no god, not that it is a definite fact that there is no god – merely lacking a belief in any god.

      I can indeed prove conclusively that I lack any belief in any god. I know it 100%. I know it because twice in my life, once a few years ago, once recently, I've sat in a hospital, thinking it was entirely possible that I was dying, scared and alone, my mind racing, fears overtaking me, one time worrying about my unborn child also dying with me. Both of those times, not until many days later, did I even consider that some people would have been praying, or some such deal. Neither time did God even cross my mind.

      If I had any belief in God, I'd have thought of whatever I concieved that being to be at those times. I did not. Thus, I can prove, 100%, that I am an atheist, that I do not hold any belief in God. Contrary to religious people playing games, faulty dictionaries, and all kinds of garbage – all atheist means is lacking a belief in god. And that can indeed be proven.

      January 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      I believe in many things. I know gravity happens, I know the earth goes around the sun. I believe my daughter is beautiful. I know many things that I can prove to be true, and I believe many things that while I cannot prove them absolutely, they are still worth believing.

      I'm an atheist – that's far from the end all be all of what I do or do not believe.

      January 14, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
  17. Oblivion

    I'd prefer to think of death as not the end, I'd rather think we go on.

    January 13, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Atheism is for everyone

      I'd prefer to think I'll win the lotto this week and not that I'll have to work the rest of my life. Reality sometimes sucks.

      January 14, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • EnjaySea

      You're perfectly justified in thinking whatever you want to, Oblivion. Just keep in mind that thinking about a concept does not cause that concept to become true.

      January 14, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      I'd like to think that chocolate has zero calories.

      But thinking something that is not true isn't all that comforting to me, and I can't fool myself – and if I do fool myself – do I waste my life thinking there's more coming – when there is not?

      January 14, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
  18. Correctlycenter

    Faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven– John 14:6...

    January 13, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Emerald

      "John 14:6"

      Everyone knows the story about Jesus and the woman about to be stoned by the mob. This account is only found in John 7:53-8:12. The mob asked Jesus whether they should stone the woman (the punishment required by the Old Testament) or show her mercy. Jesus doesn’t fall for this trap. Jesus allegedly states, let the one who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her. The crowd dissipates out of shame. That story was not originally in the Gospel of John or in any of the Gospels. It was added by later scribes. The story is not found in the oldest and best manuscripts of the Gospel of John. Nor does its writing style comport with the rest of John. Most serious textual critics state that this story should not be considered part of the Bible.

      January 14, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • jim

      That's not true, the only way to Valhalla is by dying in combat. You're reading the wrong book!

      January 14, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • EnjaySea

      Then I don't need to have faith in Jesus, Correctlycenter, because I don't have faith in heaven in the first place.

      January 14, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Harry Potter is the only one who can defeat Voldemort: Book II.

      Just because it's in a book doesn't make it true.

      January 14, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • fintastic

      No such place as "heaven"

      January 15, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  19. disqus

    Throughout or daily lives it does not matter what religion one is or whether one believes in God. Not at the supermarket check out, not at the bank, not your barber or hairdresser, not your doctor or your nurse or your neighbor or your child's school teacher, and not your government representative. We lead our daily lives without the aid of divine intervention. We are all humanists. We rely on the potential value and goodness of human beings every moment of every day, we all share common human needs, and seek rational ways of solving human problems.

    January 13, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
    • Correctlycenter

      The concept of humanism is completely flawed and unattainable. God's word says that man has a sin nature. Throughout the centuries, the perfection of man has been a unrealistic dream that never seems to ever manifest. That's why Jesus Christ had to die on the cross for our sin. God created the heavens and the earth and all living things on it. Give the LORD God Almighty a chance sometime...

      January 13, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • jim

      So, if humans are flawed then the "word of god" is also flawed as it was written by man which is quite apparent to anyone reading it without first disconnecting their brain.

      January 14, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Atheism is for everyone

      @Correctlycenter – Oh, do tell. Why did Jesus have to die on the cross again? I guess your god couldn't just simply forgive man but instead adding to the human execution count seemed perfectly plausible? Maybe next time he needs to forgive us he can turn himself into a cow for sacrifice, maybe even feed some hungry children in Africa with his body.

      January 14, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Susan StoHelit

      The beautiful thing about the world is how much flawed and imperfect people can choose to do, how much we have done, each of us adding our own little contributions to the world.

      January 14, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • G to the T

      @Correctlycenter – how conceited of you to assume we haven't and already found it wanting.

      January 25, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  20. Whatever happens

    Whatever happens today kiddies, life is short, be happy and "try" to be nice to eachother. Have some fun while you're at it.

    January 13, 2013 at 9:53 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35
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.