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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.”

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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. De Odorizer

    "Atheists are fools. There is no possible way to prove that a deity does not exist. "

    I need some help here: I am trying to prove that my personal savior the Great Oreo Cookie Monster (GOCM, be blessed) DOES exist, but that scientific methods canNOT prove HER existence.
    Those deluded believers in the 'great flying spaghetti monster" need not apply, I think you are misguided and believe in the wrong deity, your god is nothing but a fabrication. Believers in Zeus, Zaka-Mede, Bejessuss and others are welcome.

    May 3, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  2. Jack

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOOOq5ELNUk

    April 26, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  3. Robert Slater

    There are few words that cause as much confusion as the word Atheist (or Atheism) does. There are two alternatives, one is to fight the losing battle that there is no problem with Atheism, the other is to understand why people fear Atheists and why Atheists should abandon the label but not their beliefs. See The Dawkins Delusion God vs Atheism by Slater on Amazon Kindle. There is an alternative. bob

    April 21, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  4. Science

    Good stuff for ALL !

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    Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

    Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

    Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
    bears his name as the “God particle.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

    Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
    Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

    Science

    Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
    By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

    April 7th, 2012

    08:32 PM ET

    The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/comment-page-137/#comment-2281915

    April 19, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  5. xfiler93

    Atheists going to hell, well that is their problem. You chose where to go. You have that choice.

    April 10, 2013 at 12:27 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Hell is nothing more than an abstract, created by men when they wrote the bible. Men created the god described with in, and they created hell, all in the little fiction book.

      April 10, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • rachel

      And you have the choice to believe in a hateful religion that touts that anyone that thinks for themselves will roast over an eternal lake of fire.

      April 26, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
  6. Fitz

    Well said. Very handsome too!

    April 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  7. Mike

    If one chooses to be an atheist and to deny God ... that is certainly their right. I can only borrow an old cliche, to wit: If you're wrong ... it will be HELL to pay.

    April 9, 2013 at 7:24 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Just provide the evidence that god exists and the matter will be settled, until then your use of Pascals Wager is simply old and tiring. An Atheist doesn't take the threat of hell seriously based on the fact that hell is a subset of god and we simply reject the notion of a god of any form due to the lack of evidence.

      April 9, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • Felix Sinclair

      It will be too late for you when you find out you've been kissing the wrong divine a-s-s all these years.

      April 10, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • nojinx

      Given that the number of possible gods and paradigms is infinite, and given that the chance of choosing the right paradigm or gods is mathematically one:infinity, then the safest course is to remain neutral.

      Otherwise there is an almost certainty that you are worshiping the wrong gods, and possibly making them more angry with every mistaken prayer.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  8. Kevin

    When you consider all of the tens of thousands of Gods that humanity has dreamed up over the ages, most people are Atheists towards most Gods. Atheists just take it one god further.

    March 26, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • d

      Amen. : )

      March 27, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • agnostickim

      totally /agree.
      As an Agnostic I am not a believer but I also view total non belief as another unfounded belief. I cannot say there is nothing andymore than I can say there is a god– to me, both are untenable choices and not testable using the scientific method, because they are a faith or unproven belief.
      Agnostic is not the same as athiest and i get annoyed when people dont know the difference; however, i respect an athiests right to thier own world view, something I extend to all religions.

      March 27, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      agnostickim: You stated that you are not a believer, therefore you are an Atheist. Atheist=non-belief Theist=Belief; Agnostic=knowledge or lack there of, Gnostic=knowledge with certainty. Most honest people are Agnostic Atheist or Agnostic Theist. Agnostic/Gnostic are subsets of belief.

      April 9, 2013 at 8:19 am |
  9. truth truth truth 2013

    At some point GODs mercey and grace is going to run out on the athiest and you will have no one to blame but yourselves. The athiest children, my heart goes out to you because you have been led by your parents who are no tof GOD but of satan. I pray that GOD will show your children mercy because the parents according to the word of GOD are on the way to place that I would not wish on my worst enemy if I had one. (i do not because GOD wrote his love in my heart) Athiest question for you? Why do you rebel agains GOD? Deep down inside you know he is their but because you do not want to submit to the LORD JESUS CHRIST and live in sin. You enjoy sin and you dont want to come out. How do I no this because IT USE TO BE ME WHO DID NOT WANT TO COME OUT OF SIN BUT I WAS NEVER FOOLISH ENOUGH TO DENY GOD EXHISTED.

    March 25, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Gorian

      All children are born atheist. It's the religious parents that teach their children to believe in a god.

      March 25, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • nojinx

      If God can't handle me making the choice that is right for me, then I should probably end up somewhere else than where God is. I can't respect a god who can't respect the decisions I make with the free will he gave me, whatever opinion he has of them.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Brian

      Using all caps does not help your case at all. If anything, it only further cements our atheism. Your use of all caps makes you look delusional, incapable of thinking outside of what you are told. Though I do love that every religious person I talk to just repeats the same thing over and over again, as if they say it 500000 times, it will be true.

      April 22, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
    • rachel

      Sounds absolutely NUTS.

      April 26, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Brian K

      The comments prove that people are irrationally afraid of atheists.

      Also, the irony of saying "Poor atheist children! Led astray by their parents..." never ceases to humor me.

      Christian love is infinite until they disagree with you and then it's not.

      April 29, 2013 at 12:43 am |
    • logical positivist

      As Christopher Hitchens once said, "That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence".

      P.S. No shoutie caps please.

      May 3, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  10. D

    Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god. (any god) it is not a faith, or a worldview, or a set of ideologies. An atheists simply does not believe there is a god. An atheist can be liberal or conservative, kind or not kind, smart or not smart, just like any other person.
    I hope, that someone who does not believe in any god has at least examined the scriptures, but I suppose that is not required, although i think one should.
    Many theists confuse the term and where the burden of proof lies in the debate over the existence or non-existence of any god. I ask any believer to present evidence for their god. That is a sincere request, because as someone who at least tries to use reason and evidence to form the basis of my belief structure I must be willing to look at evidence when presented. So if anyone can present that evidence I will gladly look at it because to be intellectually honest it is necessary to be open to evidence. I just have never been shown any real evidence for the existence of a god other than the claims of particular scripture.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  11. gp1984

    I wish we could stop being so self righteous and just accept that we are all different. Some people believe one thing, these other people over here believe something else, and some people believe nothing as far as religion is concerned. I am an atheist, and I accept there are christians, muslims, jews, wiccans, pastafarians, and anything else. Frankly, it is none of my or anyone else's business what you believe. I don't think they are stupid or beneath me. I am not better or smarter than you for rejecting religion.

    I just wish religious people would stop beating the "no atheist in foxholes" dead horse. I almost died last weekend and I wasn't praying to any God.

    March 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I only take issue with those believers and beliefs who take issue with me and my nonbelief--and it tends to be most of them. If they'd keep it in their pants then I would too, but they don't. They take it out and play with it and wave it around and call me evil for not wanting to play with it, too, and follow their example. Besides, most christians consider their god to be good and right, but that god wants to fry me forever in a lake of eternally burning fire. Their sense of goodness and righteousness offend me as a person who calls never ending torture "evil" instead of "good."

      March 20, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • DalcassiabKnight

      To GP and MobySchtick,

      Thank you both for your intelligent comments. I am a Christian and I have to say that I find both of your comments very refreshing and commendable. I also understand that there are different kinds of people with different belief systems. I have no issue with any Atheist, Jew, Buddhist, Muslim or anyone else who respects my rights. I am certainly not going to try to convert you or anybody else. Only Christ can do that if He chooses t do so. I can't and won't. I will never my faith down somebody's throat or wave it in their face because I respect people's rights to worship in their way or not to worship at all. I pray for the salvation of everyone and that's all I can do.

      My only issue is with the "haters" who constantly fling their hateful, angry comments at Christians. They look for any reason to hate Christians and Christianity. Yes, there are evildoers who claim to be Christian (priest child molesters, pastor child molesters, wife killers, etc.) They use these horrible stories to attack ALL Christians. The fact is that Atheists, Muslims, Jews and people of all faiths commit horrible acts. I wish they would stop using these people to judge all Christians.

      You gentlemen (or ladies) have refused to attack and judge Christians and for that, I am grateful. I respect your right to live without religion and I commend your efforts to spread tolerance to all people. Thank you both.

      March 22, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  12. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    Atheist' isn’t a dirty word

    The fool says in his heart,
    “There is no God."
    Psalm 14:1

    FORWARD >>> >>> >>>
    To foolish "leadership"
    Makes PERFECT Lib/Progressive/Democrat sense !!!

    March 20, 2013 at 7:36 am |
    • This guy

      It also says in the bible that if you call someone a fool your in danger of hellfire A.(Matthew 5:22) " and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell."

      April 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
  13. Portland Chatroom

    obviously like your web-site but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very troublesome to tell the truth nevertheless I will surely come back again.

    March 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
  14. Marc

    Atheists are fools. There is no possible way to prove that a deity does not exist. Maybe he created the world, and left it to its own devices to run. Maybe he is evil, and enjoys tormenting us with wars, famines, diseases etc. Maybe he is scared of nuclear bombs, and is hiding on Jupiter. Science has not advanced enough to disprove any of these possibilities. Those who stubbornly insist on something that can't possible are blind.

    March 17, 2013 at 5:39 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Ignorance at its best. We're not trying to prove a god doesn't exist, we're simply saying we don't believe one does due to lack of evidence. The burden of proof lies on the one making the claim.
      "I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
      ...Stephen F Roberts

      March 17, 2013 at 5:51 am |
    • Vlad

      You are mistaken. Science does not try to prove that there is no deity. Science tries to prove that a deity is not needed to explain the world around us. Moreover, science can make verifiable predictions, in contrast to religions, that make predictions which have never been verified.

      March 20, 2013 at 12:36 am |
    • jamnee

      Atheists are not fools for not believing in a god. We believe there is no evidence to support a belief in a god.

      March 21, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • D

      Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god. You are correct, one cannot prove that their is no god. But one cannot prove that their is no Santa Clause either, but it is not up to the one who does not believe to prove his or her position because the burden of proof is on the one making the claim about the existence of something supernatural. it is up to you to justify your beliefs since it is you that are asserting that something exists for which there is no proof. Please tell me what proof that you have that your god exists. What is the best piece of evidence that you have that your god exists? I will gladly listen to you.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • d

      To:Vlad- No, science searchers for natural explanations for natural events. The outcome maybe that there is no reason to hold a position or belief that has not rational explanation of evidence, but that is not the intent of scientific exploration. Science is a method to research or process not an ideological position. Science cannot prove something does not exist, but it can debunk non rational explanations that offer no proof. One cannot disprove the existence of Santa Clause, but one can conclude that no proof exists and therefore come to the rational position that Santa Clause does not exist.

      March 27, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • agnostickim

      "Atheists are fools. There is no possible way to prove that a deity does not exist. "
      trollin' trollin' trollin'.....

      March 27, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • nojinx

      "There is no possible way to prove that a deity does not exist."

      Is there any reason to believe any exist? Because that is the show-stopper. I can't prove an infinite number of things, but that does not mean I believe in any of them or that it is logical to.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • rachel

      I can't prove sparkly unicorns don't exist either but like the God issue, I really don't give it a second thought.

      April 26, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • logical positivist

      This thread reminds me of some quotes from the great philosopher, Jack Handy....

      "They say that god dwells inside all of us. I hope he likes enchiladas, because that's what he's getting"

      "If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is "God is crying." And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something you did."

      "If you ever get the chance to choose between regular heaven and pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if not, Oh boy!"

      "I don't think God put me on this planet to judge others. I think he put me on this planet to gather specimens and take them back to my home planet."

      May 3, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
  15. Rick1234

    Hard to find an person practicing atheism during a plane crash. They are the ones praying the loudest.

    March 16, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Damocles

      So as the plane is going down, you are going around asking everyone what their belief is? That is a really weird thing to do during a plane malfunction.

      March 16, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Pete

      more lies from the xitans – 215!

      March 16, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Rick: Atheism is not practiced. How would you know what is going through an Atheists mind during the time of a plane crash? Have you been in one and asked them??

      March 17, 2013 at 5:53 am |
    • D

      One does not practice atheism. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in any god.

      March 25, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • nojinx

      Practicing atheism: somewhat like practicing not watching TV.

      April 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
  16. alanm243

    I prefer Realist to Athiest ....But none or none of the above is fine too.....I'm old enough to remember forced prayers in school & disliked going for that reason....I read lots of books in school and the teachers just hated my refusal to be quiet & pray along....Taliban is just another word for religious zelot or orthadox anything ....Mankinds undoing will be religion vs religion

    March 13, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
  17. BJ Bunn

    Atheist is not a dirty word. Christians typically don't use it that way. It simply identifies those who do not believe in religion. Unfortunately, there are far too many atheists who do see religion as a dirty word. My religious beliefs are not binding on you, why should your non-belief be binding on me? Far more invective and derision is leveled from those attacking religion than from those supporting it.

    March 6, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • End Religion

      Religion is a dirty word. Any religious nutter worth his salt should easily be able to see that 'religion' contains the scrambled word 'legion' and you know from the passage "we are legion" this means 'religion' must be possessed by a demon. It makes as much sense as a talking snake, anyway.

      March 6, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • myweightinwords

      As someone who is rather in the middle between Atheists and Christians, I can say, the derision and invective is fairly equally coming from both sides, actually.

      March 6, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • derp

      two words scrabbled from atheist..... shit taste.

      March 7, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Ed

      I disagree. Most atheists try to level reason and sound argument against beliefs in God. They're usually not intended as personal attacks, but because believers are often very emotionally connected to their faith, they take it that way.

      March 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • DalcassiabKnight

      @EndReligion. Wow, are you for real. So the word "Religion" contains the scrambled word "Legion" and that's what you base your world view on. I weep for your future. Interestingly, the word "Atheist" contains the scrambled words "Ah test" which means your faith is being tested. It also contains the words "Eat this" which is what Christians will say to you in your hour of need when you're faced with times of trial. Also, you'll find the words "I ate his". This seems to imply that when your buddy asks you where his slice of pizza is, you will respond in this way.

      Interesting fact, if I take the letters from the word "Atheist" and unscramble them, add a few letters and take a few away, you come up with the words "we are all angry, hateful nut jobs who will spend eternity in hell". Amazing, huh?

      March 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
  18. NickZadick

    Atheism is just a word for people who do not believe in bronze age fairy tales and paraboles...

    If you believe that you get an eternal afterlife only if you follow the rules in these ancient texts, you are deluding yourselves!

    This is not an insult... believing in fiction is nothing noble or to be respected or tolerated...

    It is up to you to educate yourselves!

    March 4, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Starchylde

      If they are not bothering you, then why be not tolerate it?

      March 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • NickZadick

      because I would like to live on a planet where humanity has evolved to embrace science and logic!

      The fact that over 50% of the planet believes in myths is highly discouraging to me!

      March 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Eric Raj

      Following rules from some ancient text is what religion is all about. Faith in Jesus Christ is not about rules, but about entering into an intimate personal relationship with God. One on one. It is not about Do's and Don'ts. Your faith in evolution and science will only lead to disappointment and despair. Science can't solve the problems facing humanity, because the problems are caused by what we believe inside our minds and hearts. Our problems take the science and warp it into doing wicked things to others. The world must change, one person at a time. That is what God can do.

      March 14, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Eric: Faith is belief without evidence, so no we don't have faith in evolution, we have well guided acceptance of it based on the evidence to support it. You have faith in jesus but yet there is no evidence to support that such a 'person' ever existed and even if it did, there is nothing to say it was anything more than a human. Just deal with the facts...you share 96% of your DNA with chimps. Even if there were not fossil records to back evolution, DNA alone is enough to validate it.

      March 17, 2013 at 5:58 am |
    • agnostickim

      I tollerate and listen and put up with the constant attempts to explain to me why I am 'wrong' by my christian friends. There is no point in arguing about it because they base thier views on faith, I base mine on the scientic method and observable evidence that can be predicted and reproduced over and over. I sit there and wonder how they woudl feel if I was constantly attacking thier beliefs and asking them why they believe in fairytales etc... but I do not because I believe I am better served taking the highroad and setting an example and just ignoring it.

      March 27, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  19. Starchylde

    No, Atheism is not a dirty word. If you don't believe, you just don't believe and nobody should force you to. At the same time, I see a lot of atheists who have become just as bad as the zealots they criticize. Granted, maybe this is in response to how said zealots have treated them, but the fact remains if you want people to come to you, you must present yourself in a respectful way. If you are the thinking, rational people, then you must show this, do not exchange petty insults, but take the moral high ground.

    Also, you should think things over rationally. Maybe religion does causes problems, but if it suddenly vanished, do you think the world will suddenly be made perfect? No, it will not, because all of the other things which cause problems will still be there. Those completely secular things, such as greed, imperialism, desire for power, which have caused more wars than religions ever did will still exist. The day may come when religions no longer exist, but the day will never come when there is real peace

    March 4, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • NickZadick

      I have absolutely no desire for people who believe in these fairy tales to "come to me".True chistians actually believe that as an atheist I will go to hell when I die and they to heaven.... I have no desire to mingle with people that are so deluded and condescending!! If and when they decide to come to their senses I can be friends!

      March 5, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • Ol' Yeller

      "Those completely secular things, such as greed, imperialism, desire for power, which have caused more wars than religions ever did will still exist."
      I do not believe these are particulary secular things in the general sense of the words... many of these vices have very religious undertones... also, I disagree these things alone have 'caused more wars than religions ever did'. Almost every war ever waged had some underlying religious theme or transgression involved. The Iraq War for example... though many will argue it was over Oil or (hyuck, hyuck) because they hated our freedom; it doesn't take much imagination to see that many in our country see these wars and invasions of Middle Eastern countries (both recent past and near future) as just a modern form of the Crusades.

      March 11, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  20. frankb2910

    I liked reading Sam Harris' book Letter to a Christian Nation.

    “In fact, "atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.”
    ― Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation

    March 2, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.