home
RSS
Bucking previous trends, survey finds growth of the religiously unaffiliated slowing
January 10th, 2013
01:30 PM ET

Bucking previous trends, survey finds growth of the religiously unaffiliated slowing

By Dan Merica, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

Washington (CNN) – After years of marked growth, the size of Americans who identify with no religion slowed in 2012, according to a study released Thursday.

Since 2008, the percentage of Americans who identify as religious "nones" has grown from 14.6% to 17.8% in 2012, according to the Gallup survey. That number, which grew nearly one percentage point every year from 2008 to 2011, grew only 0.3% last year – from 17.5% in 2011 to 17.8% in 2012 – making it the smallest increase over the past five years.

This study contrasts with headlines from previous studies on religious “nones,” including a 2012 study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life that found the group was the fastest growing "religious" group in America and that one in five Americans now identify with no religion.

“Although this ‘rise of the nones’ has increased dramatically over recent decades, the rate of increase slowed last year, suggesting the possibility that there may be a leveling off in this measure in the years ahead,” reports the Gallup study, which is made up of more than 350,000 interviews.

Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of Gallup, says these results suggest “that religion may be maintaining itself or even increasing in the years ahead.”

“Our current ability to look at it over five years with these big surveys suggests the possibility that the growth [of the nones] may not be inexorable,” Newport says.

CNN Belief Blog: Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion

In his book, “God is Alive and Well: The Future of Religion in America,” Newport argues that a number of factors, including baby boomers reaching senior ages, migration to more religious states, recognition of health and well being of religion and an increase in a Hispanic population, are all reasons that “we are going to continue to have a quite religious nation going forward.”

Atheist and humanist activists disagree and pushed back against the Gallup study.

“The truth is, it doesn't really matter whether one of these surveys – even a big one like Gallup – shows the number leveling off a bit this past year,” Greg Epstein, humanist chaplain at Harvard University, says. “First of all, the numbers for young Americans are still dramatically higher, and secondly, it is beyond dispute now that the "nones" are one of the largest demographic groups in the United States, and we're going to stay that way for a long, long time.”

The Gallup study also found that 27% of Americans age 18 to 29 identified as religious nones, making the age group the largest subgroup in the study. The finding tracks with other studies on religious nones, many of which have found the growth among the religiously unaffiliated has been most notable among people who are 18 to 29 years old.

“There's no slowing here at the Secular Student Alliance. We're up to 394 campus groups from 310 a year ago,” Jesse Galef, communications director at the organization, says in response to the survey. “You can see the religious future of America just by looking at the demographics: Young Americans (18-29) are almost three times as likely to be unaffiliated with religion than senior citizens are.”

In particular, Galef points out, the Secular Student Alliance has experienced growth in ages below 18, an age group that Gallup did not survey. In the last year, says Galef, the number of Secular Student Alliance affiliates at high schools doubled to 60 campuses.

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

News of strong growth among nones had long been heralded by their community.

As study after study began to report that religious nones in America were growing, many atheist, agnostic and humanist activists began to stress the need for these relative non-believers to come together and turn their numbers into political and social influence. Though some leaders split on what wielding that influence would look like, the size of religious nones became the impetus for many leaders to call for more recognition.

In response to the Gallup study, those calls continued.

“The real question now is when are our historically large numbers going to start turning into more votes and influence,” Epstein says. “The nones can become a steady and inspiring powerhouse in American life if we focus on what we do believe in.”

And even though the Gallup study found a relative leveling off of growth among the nones, David Silverman, the president of America Atheists, says he finds the survey “not at all troubling.”

“This underscores what American Atheists has been saying for years - that every person in America knows more nonreligious people than they think they know,” Silverman says. “America has to get used to the fact that atheists are everywhere, you already know us, and we are a vibrant and growing portion of society.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Nones

soundoff (1,615 Responses)
  1. Origin of Life

    Origin of Life

    Stephen Hawking: God didn't create universe – CNN.com
    http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/09/.../hawking.god.../index.ht...
    Sep 2, 2010 – God did not create the universe, world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking

    January 11, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Ham23

      Hawking is a physicist and, while he does deal with the origins of the universe, he does not deal with the origins of life. Science separates these issues.

      January 11, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • niknak

      Very true Hamfisted23.
      But to date, there is zero evidence that a creator was responsible for life on this planet, so by default, Hawking is correct that god did not create that either.

      January 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Ham23

      Still, if we were to create some other intelligent species, or some artificial intelligence would that make us their "God"?

      January 11, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • lol??

      The default for mankind is having a god. When they run out of gods they nominate themselves, AKA their bellies........ "Phl 3:19 Whose end [is] destruction, whose God [is their] belly, and [whose] glory [is] in their shame,....."

      January 11, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Ham23

      lol??
      "The default for mankind is having a god."
      The primitive urge is to believe in unseen threats, you mean? Probably kept our early ancestors alive to be jumpy and always on guard for some cave bear suddenly springing from out of nowhere, but times have changed somewhat. So, why not relax and not live in so much fear?

      January 11, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • niknak

      Don't know Hamms23.
      Maybe we will find out one day when AI becomes a reality.

      January 11, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
  2. Newt Gingrich

    I am the one and only "God".

    Some of you will probably want proof I am the "God".

    For which my reply is this: what proof will be sufficient to prove to you that I am "God"?

    If you can answer this question, then I will prove to you that I am "God".

    January 11, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • The Truth

      Well played God, giving your first wife cancer so you could divorce her then giving your second wife MS to dump her for a third... well played...

      January 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Ham23

      If you were actually God wouldn't you know what proof would convince everyone, and be powerful enough to manufacture it? Instead, you're supposedly acting coy, like some teenage girl, just hoping that all the boys will notice her.

      January 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      NG sez:
      "what proof will be sufficient to prove to you that I am "God"?"
      I actually think this is an question that every athiest should answer and stand by.
      With THAT being said. A proof of god should be
      empirical
      testable
      repeatable
      I'd also accept a math formula / proof
      An example? SURE. I'd like the evidence that Doubting Thomas recieved. He physically put his finger in jesus' hands and put his hand in his side. This is the type of evidence I want. ( Now this also assumes that I'm not halucintating when doing the examination ). But I think you get the idea

      January 11, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  3. The Truth

    We are all nones, it's just that only 17.8% of us accept that reallity, the rest just want to burry their heads in the sand and hope and pray something comes and saves them. You would think that somebody with their heads in the sand would learn to keep their mouth shut, but they never learn and just grin through the grit and mumble "God meant for that sand to get in my mouf.."

    January 11, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  4. SeaTurtle

    The only question I have about Christians is why so many of them don't act like Christians at all? You'd think if they really believe what they say they do, they would act completely different. I see no evidence of turning the other cheek, loving their enemies, selling all that they have and giving to the poor... you know, all the things Jesus said they should do.

    Why the disconnect? After all, that's one of the main reasons I left the church myself, the hypocrisy. If you really believe Jesus is God, why don't you do what he says you should do? The fact that you don't is pretty compelling evidence that even YOU know it's not really true!

    January 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • The Truth

      Yup, they are all nones pretending to be Christian to get the Christmas presents and to look like they fit in.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Newt Gingrich

      How is a "Christian" suppose to know how to act like "Christian" when the manuscript they are using are full of fallacies and inconsistencies?

      January 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Ham23

      The Truth
      You forgot the tax exemption. Where else do you get to run a business that pays your salary and for all your new suits, cars, and housing without having that business pay taxes?

      January 11, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
  5. Reality

    This should help cure those still suffering from the Three B Syndrome i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in religion:–>>

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Added details are available on p. 9.

    Please forward this cure to any of your sick relatives or friends.

    January 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • lol??

      medical info is protected. Find a new way.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • The Truth

      Christianity is like Jenga, you pull out the Moses log at the bottom and the whole thing comes crashing down around your ears...

      January 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  6. justageek

    @snowboarde – "where do you come up with this nonsense? that statement is completely baseless."

    My thesis which was based on my help with studies on whether a human was capable of having an original thought and equating that to free will.

    January 11, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • snowboarder

      geek, all thoughts would be free will unless influenced by men.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      justageek,

      I want to understand you position. Are you saying "free will" does not exist and therefore god does not exist?

      January 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  7. Wes Scott

    Karl Marx was exactly correct when he sated, "Religion is the opiate of the masses." Religion dumbs people down to believing the unbelievable. If you took the word "god" out of these discussions, and then told people about all the miracle stories everybody would say you are delusional or insane. Add in the magic sky fairy and it suddenly becomes plausible.

    So, if "god" really is all that powerful and competent, then why did he create a planet so full of flaws, diseases, problems, hatred, destructiveness and disobedience? The dogmatic mind will rationalize how all that is due to "free will", but people with an intellect will tell you that the sky fairy does not really exist.

    January 11, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Is opium not also a pain relief? Did Marx not also say that religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature and the heart of a heartless world?

      January 11, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • justageek

      @Wes Scott – Free will cannot exist without a God. Without a God your mind has no choice but to follow the same laws as everything else in the Universe...cause and effect. Every decision is just a result of the past.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Nice counter Rat Lib.

      As a devout Catholic I can tell you that there is no magic sky fairy. So if that is the depth of your atheism, you are as correct as I am.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      "Free will cannot exist without God".

      It's quite the opposite. If there is a god and it creates you knowing exactly what you will do, your life is already mapped out and you have no free will.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • ME II

      @justageek,
      I think there is enough flexibility in quantum mechanics, complexity theory, and chaos theory to allow for a non-deterministic, or at least unpredictable, universe, especially at the level of the individual.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Free will cannot exist without a God."

      Christian religion cannot exist without the concept of free will, and the christian concept of free will is fundamentally flawed. Beliefs are not choices.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • snowboarder

      wes scott wrote – "free will can not exist without god"

      where do you come up with this nonsense? that statement is completely baseless.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • snowboarder

      actually geek wrote that.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • justageek

      @Rational Libertarian – Use your "free will" to come up with even the simplest thought that is not based on something from the past? I'll wait. Only something that can disrupt cause and effect can do that and that would go against all the laws of the Universe we know.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Religion is the opiate of the masses, but on some people it works more like PCP.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Nate

      "It's quite the opposite. If there is a god and it creates you knowing exactly what you will do, your life is already mapped out and you have no free will."

      @Rat Lib – I don't see how God knowing what will happen in your life somehow interferes with the decisions you make along the way.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • ME II

      @justageek,
      "...the simplest thought that is not based on something from the past?"
      I have such a thought, but unfortunately it can't be expressed in a language based on something from the past.

      Seriously, though, you raise an interesting question. Cannot free-will be expressed within the existing environment? Making a choice within the existing environment should still be free-will should it not?

      January 11, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Use your "free will" to come up with even the simplest thought that is not based on something from the past?"

      justageek,

      If that concept is correct how can you call it "free will"? Free will is then determined by the past and it is therefore NOT free will.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Reality

      As per the famous contemporary theologian, Edward Schillebeeckx, God (if one exists) is not omniscient. Please read, pause and contemplate the following by Schillebeeckx:

      Church: The Human Story of God,
      Crossroad, 1993, p.91 (softcover)

      "Christians (et al) must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history."

      "Nothing is determined in advance: in nature there is chance and determinism; in the world of human activity there is possibility of free choices.

      Therefore the historical future is not known even to God, otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings.

      For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."

      i.e. No one, not even God (if one exists) can prophesy since that would violate the human condition of Free Will and Future.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Use your "free will" to come up with even the simplest thought that is not based on something from the past? I'll wait.

      wait, what now?
      what is this you are spouting? 'Only something that can disrupt cause and effect can do that and that would go against all the laws of the Universe we know'?
      what is the claim you are trying to make? i mean how would you determine 'free will' outside of that? what would you say const ituted a 'free-will' thought? how would you quantify it?

      January 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • justageek

      @ME II – "Making a choice within the existing environment should still be free-will should it not?"

      Unfortunately not. The fact that the environement exists removes the concept of free will completely since the environment itself controls what is in it.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • justageek

      @cedar rapids – "what is the claim you are trying to make?"

      That cause and effect rules.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'That cause and effect rules'

      but earlier you were spouting that free-will requires god so is your claim being that free-will does not in fact exist at all or what?

      January 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • snowboarder

      geek wrote "The fact that the environement exists removes the concept of free will completely since the environment itself controls what is in it."

      that is untrue. though the environment may dictate some decision, it certainly does not control all aspects of it. your assertion is overly broad and incorrect.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Reality wrote, " Therefore the historical future is not known even to God, "

      In that case your god is neither omnipotent or omniscient. And if your god is neither omnipotent and omniscient, he really isn't that big of a deal, is he. In fact, if your god is neither omnipotent and omniscient, he really isn't much of a god, is he?

      Hardly worth worshipping him unconditionally.

      Think I'll pass on your god and what for a real god to show up.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Manny

      Rational Libertarian
      Yet, pain killers can be abused and, if left to run people's lives, can take all real meaning out of those lives. There are religious people who let their faith completely define who they are, who they associate with, what they do, and how they live. How is this any different from the hold that hard drugs have on some people?

      All things in moderation, as they say. 🙂

      January 11, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  8. justageek

    @Newt Gingrich – "By the basic principles of existence"

    How did all the stuff in the Universe come into existence?

    January 11, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Frank Zappa farted it into existence.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Wes Scott

      How did god come to exist? You are asking an unanswerable question and so I ask one in return. Let me ask you another.

      If god is omnipotent and omniscient, then would he be capable of creating a boulder so huge and heavy that not even he could lift it? This question is the eternal dichotomy of the materialist duality where everything has an opposite – left and right, right and wrong, yes and no, up and down, plus and minus, electron and proton, ad infinitum.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • Newt Gingrich

      You don't seem to understand.

      YOUR ANSWER to your own question is IRRATIONAL ... hence, it is FALSE and does not exist.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "How did all the stuff in the Universe come into existence?" You don't really want to know the answer to that. You just want someone to answer you so you can sneer and say it all came outta God's Fundament.You prefer answers like "God made it" or "Zappa made it" to realistic ones like "eons ago there was a state change that affected the entire observable universe. The short ones just seem more true, right?

      January 11, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Reality

      o Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star.

      o "In the 1930s, theoretical physicists, most notably Albert Einstein, considered the possibility of a cyclic model for the universe as an (everlasting) alternative to the model of an expanding universe. However, work by Richard C. Tolman in 1934 showed that these early attempts failed because of the entropy problem: according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, entropy can only increase.[1] This implies that successive cycles grow longer and larger. Extrapolating back in time, cycles before the present one become shorter and smaller culminating again in a Big Bang and thus not replacing it. This puzzling situation remained for many decades until the early 21st century when the recently discovered dark energy component provided new hope for a consistent cyclic cosmology.[2] In 2011, a five-year survey of 200,000 galaxies and spanning 7 billion years of cosmic time confirmed that "dark energy is driving our universe apart at accelerating speeds."[3][4]

      One new cyclic model is a brane cosmology model of the creation of the universe, derived from the earlier ekpyrotic model. It was proposed in 2001 by Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University and Neil Turok of Cambridge University. The theory describes a universe exploding into existence not just once, but repeatedly over time.[5][6] The theory could potentially explain why a mysterious repulsive form of energy known as the "cosmological constant", and which is accelerating the expansion of the universe, is several orders of magnitude smaller than predicted by the standard Big Bang model."

      A different cyclic model relying on the notion of phantom energy was proposed in 2007 by Lauris Baum and Paul Frampton of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[7]"

      January 11, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Manny

      justageek
      Maybe we'll never know for sure exactly how the universe began. What's so wrong with admitting that we just don't know everything? Too much pride, perhaps?

      January 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
  9. justageek

    @cksmith1 – The smallness and truth of the Earth and Sun is obvious. Please explain the facts to me on how the entire Universe came to being from nothing (Big Bang theory exluded as it doesn't account for creation)? Or do you just believe everything has always existed and is not able to be explained as being fact?

    January 11, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • chubby rain

      As a scientist, I'm alright with saying that I don't know yet. I don't think it is necessary to create an imaginary God, whose creation must also be explained.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Wes Scott

      I agree with chubby rain. If god created the universe, then where did god come from and who or what created god?

      People go literally insane trying to ponder such deep thoughts that have no answers other than rationalization and belief based upon nothing but faith that what one has been told is the truth.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • justageek

      @chubby rain – "As a scientist, I'm alright with saying that I don't know yet. I don't think it is necessary to create an imaginary God, whose creation must also be explained."

      But doesn't a believer have the same option to use the same agruement just reversed...and both of you would be equally right and equally wrong?

      January 11, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • justageek

      @Wes Scott – People get a bit intense when trying to explain what was here before the Universe as well.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'But doesn't a believer have the same option to use the same agruement just reversed'

      no, because a scientist says 'i dont know yet but we will keep looking', a believer simply says 'it was magic' to fill in the gap.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • chubby rain

      @chubby rain – "As a scientist, I'm alright with saying that I don't know yet. I don't think it is necessary to create an imaginary God, whose creation must also be explained."

      "But doesn't a believer have the same option to use the same agruement just reversed...and both of you would be equally right and equally wrong?"

      Alright, lets try that. "As a believer, I'm alright with saying that I know (how the universe was created). I think it is necessary to create a God, whose creation need not be explained."

      This doesn't solve anything. Despite the hypothetical believer's claim that God created himself/always existed/etc., that also needs to be proven or supported. So now instead of one question to be answered, "how was the universe created"; there is now the additional question "what are the characteristics of this God." And this is not a simple question, which has lead to the myriad of different religions and different denominations of those religions that have existed now or in the past. "I don't know" is the default position.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  10. WachetAuf

    The very most which we can objectively say about the "existence" of "God" is that we can observe that there is some kind of "creative" "force" which "created" the universe and all that is in it. There also seems to be some kind of "destructive" "force" which acts as a counter balance. We might try to supplement what we can objectively observe about this "creative force" but it is likely that any further observations about the existence of a God is purely speculative and is subject to little, if any, respect at this stage in our evolution. Sure, we have seen some very wise men, like Jesus or Mohammed or Buddha or Moses or Gandhi who have shared their wisdom about the management of human relations. That proves nothing more about the existence or nature of God.

    January 11, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      " we can observe that there is some kind of "creative" "force" which "created" the universe and all that is in it. There also seems to be some kind of "destructive" "force" which acts as a counter balance. "
      Google Thermodynamics and see if you can define your terms a little better. There is a tendency in the universe for things to become more complex, as molecules cling and become compounds and then cells, but while short-term complexity is happening, the system as a whole is running down and the stars are cooling.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  11. Mark Pommier

    During the 2012 election process, americans were besieged by the campaign ads resulting from the Citizens United decision from the SCOTUS. A lot of these candidates in the earlier campaign season had their religious ideas exposed to the voters, causing viewers to at least be aware of religion, and how if affects elections.

    So, my point is that the leveling off of the data supporting religious "nones" during 2012 is very likely a result of the election and certain candidates wishing to demonstrate theiir religious perspectives. Since the demographic for the most nones is the younger crowd, we can take hope that this trend will ultimately result in fewer elderly accepting religion. In the long term, rejection of religious dogma as it pertains to basic society's needs will prevail, and the zealots touting their own religion will be relegated to their proper place.

    January 11, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  12. Newt Gingrich

    Religions like Christianity are just Multi-Level Marketing schemes, ie. pyramid schemes

    You can become a billionaire just like "Jesus" if you follow the instructions in the Bible and pay 10%+ of your income to your upstream ...

    January 11, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      To be fair, even the most cynical cash grabbing televangelists don't claim Jesus was a billionaire.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • WachetAuf

      How can Jesus not be a gazillionaire if he is the ruler of the universe and it is all his domain? He created everything in it. It all belongs to him. Not even the wealthiest 1% can claim all the wealth because it was not created by them? was it? Or do they merely claim the wealth of the universe as Jesus' heirs?

      January 11, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Newt Gingrich

      Supposedly, "Jesus" owns planet Earth ... that makes him a billionaire times a trillion ....

      January 11, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      All I know is what's mine is mine and if any man or deity claims otherwise, they'd better be prepared for a fight.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • WachetAuf

      Malignant narcissism rules.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Is my right to property narcissistic? Only a commie would think so.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • Wes Scott

      Great analogy! Amway sells "god" as much as it sells is products, and the double diamond always gets his cut from everybody below him.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • Newt Gingrich

      I am the one and only "God".

      Some of you will probably want proof I am "God".

      For which my reply is this: what proof will be sufficient to prove to you that I am "God"?

      If you can answer this question, then I will prove to you that I am "God".

      January 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
  13. Serve Him

    so no being exposed to something is good? so giving your child exposure to God is bad? That is very closed perspective to justify your lack of knowledge about whom God is. In other words, you've been exposed somewhat and still choose not to learn about it, and you're hope is that future generation will not be exposed at all so that you can do away with God. What a warped sense of perspective. God will not be "thought" out of existence.

    January 11, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Your lack of knowledge regarding who Cthulhu is will reselt in your eternal torture at the behest of the Dark Lord.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • JWT

      asides from an intest in history or cultural concerns there is no reason to learn or blieve in any god.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • Newt Gingrich

      Please provide a rational answer to this question: What is "God"?

      HINT: Nobody has ever been able to answer to this question.

      Do you understand the basic principles of existence and logic? The question, "What is 'God'?" is exactly the same question as, "Why must 'God' exist?"

      If you cannot rationalize what "God" is, then you have no rational argument for why "God" must exists.

      That means, your "God" does not exist. How can it exist, when you no absolutely nothing about it? If you know nothing about your "God", then your "God" is nothing.

      So how can you teach people about "God" when you know nothing about "God"????

      It's pointless.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • Gary

      Why would you impress such an unexplainable thought process onto the mind of a child? Children don't have the capacity to understand something that a) there is no proof of existing and b) replaces basic moral teaching with imaginary results. Wouldn't it make more sense to allow your child to make up their own mind when he/she is capable of understanding or learning about it on their own. Indoctrination of your child with the thoughts of a land of make believe is easy for a child to associate with. However, if that child were to take a collegiate course on religious history at the same age (explained in the most simplest of terms), I doubt that child would ever consider subsribing to idea that it's good for them.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • snowboarder

      him, would you wish your children to be exposed to all religions as equal or just yours?

      January 11, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • justageek

      @Newt Gingrich – "That means, your "God" does not exist. How can it exist, when you no absolutely nothing about it? If you know nothing about your "God", then your "God" is nothing."

      And electricity did not exist until man knew something about it?

      January 11, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Newt Gingrich

      You must be able to RATIONALIZE what *some-thing* is, in order to claim to know that it exists.

      Obviously, prior to the discovery of "electricity", nobody knew what "electricity" was. And if nobody knew what "electricity" was prior to it's discovery, then nobody had a clue that a *some-thing* like "electricity" existed.

      Before electricity could be discovered, somebody had to first RATIONALIZE what it was. This in scientific terms, is called a HYPOTHESIS. Then, they did experiments to prove their hypothesis was true.

      After electricity was discovered, it was then PROVEN that "electricity" (ie. electro-magneticism forces) have existed since the "big bang". It was PROVEN that electricity existed prior to its discovery.

      Do you understand the difference?

      You are claiming your "God" exists prior to your ability to RATIONALIZE what it is. You know absolutely NOTHING about your "God" but you are claiming it exists? That doesn't make any sense!

      How would you know if you have discovered "God" if you have no clue what "God" is?!

      Maybe I am the "God" you seek, but clearly, you have no clue that I am "God".

      Do you understand?

      January 11, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  14. NOT MY CHAIR

    justageek

    @NOT MY CHAIR – I know the big bang doesn't explain as it but most folks use the big bang and don't talk about singularity or anything before it. I am curious to know where you think everything came from?

    I can comfortably say that i don't know where everything came from. will we ever know? i dont think so its hard to get data from 4.6 billion years ago, but i do know that we live in a rational and logical world where magic does not exist. religion is a lazy way to explain existence. when magic and god are the go to response to all question then why learn?

    January 11, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • justageek

      @NOT MY CHAIR – "will we ever know?"

      I don't know either. All I know is both sides of the house are equally guilty of "proving' the other wrong and not being able to prove themselves right. Perplexing.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      religion does not prove anything wrong or right, it just states that it is right with no proof or facts. an argument that has no facts or proof is not a good argument.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • justageek

      @NOT MY CHAIR – "it just states that it is right with no proof or facts"

      As does the science route. Theories exist but no facts to prove where all this stuff came into being. Both fail. Religious folks ask "what was here before the big bang" and science folks ask "where did God come from". Both say that since you only have theories and beliefs you are wrong and niether has proof they are right.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • ME II

      @justageek,
      Science does not hypothesize that God does not exist.
      Science does not hypothesize that God does exist.

      Only religion is making a claim in that arena.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • Newt Gingrich

      Rational people ask: What is "God"?

      Nobody can answer this question.

      By the basic principles of existence and logic, if you cannot answer this question, then your "God" does not exist.

      How can your "God" exist when you know absolutely NOTHING about it?!

      January 11, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • justageek

      @ME II – "Science does not hypothesize that God does not exist.
      Science does not hypothesize that God does exist."

      Absolutely true. But Atheists claim science to debunk religion without being able to prove where all this stuff came from which I find odd.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Newt Gingrich

      You don't need science to debunk religions like Christianity. In fact, you can't even use science to debunk religions like Christianity!

      Do you understand why?

      Because religions like Christianity fail the RATIONALITY principles that govern existence and logical thoughts.

      If you can't answer this question: What is "God"?

      Then how can you find evidence to prove your "God" exists?!

      January 11, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • chubby rain

      "Absolutely true. But Atheists claim science to debunk religion without being able to prove where all this stuff came from which I find odd."

      Some atheists simply propose science as the current best means of explaining the natural universe, and have the facts to back it up. It's not our fault that some religious folk believe that science is stepping on their God's toes.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • ME II

      Science can be used to disprove specific claims about the natural world, yes. If a religion is built/dependent upon such a claim, then that religion could potentially be disproven, regardless of any alternative claims as to the origins of the universe. That doesn't seem odd to me.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • Wes Scott

      justageek said, "
      @NOT MY CHAIR – "it just states that it is right with no proof or facts"

      "As does the science route. Theories exist but no facts to prove where all this stuff came into being. Both fail. Religious folks ask "what was here before the big bang" and science folks ask "where did God come from". Both say that since you only have theories and beliefs you are wrong and niether has proof they are right."

      I have taken MANY science courses and studied a lot of science over the past 40+ years, but not once ever do I recall the question, "where did God come from?" Unlike religion, science never claims to have all the answers. Rather, science seeks to find answers through exploration, testing and evaluation – things completely foreign to religion which tells you to just accept on faith that the impossible is actually very possible. I am still perplexed by that whole "virgin birth" thing!

      The very idea of "virgin birth" suggests that god committed adultery and impregnated the married wife of a mortal man. How immoral is THAT?

      January 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
  15. MennoKnight

    therealpeace2all,
    Peace to you as well.

    January 11, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  16. NOT SOON ENOUGH

    2,000 years ago would have been a good start.

    January 11, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  17. lol??

    I saw a post on a blog where a catholic lady claimed the convent (female) dwellers were the bride of Christ. So Christians, you know the name of the groom but what's the name of the bride? Proper name please. Don't want to get kicked out for crashing the party.

    January 11, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Nannalow

      Biblically speaking the church is the Bride of Christ, that metaphor and the other being that we (the church) are the Body with Christ as our head, are two of the biggest metaphors used by Christ to describe the relationship between him and his church.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • lol??

      church is not a proper name. That would look strange on the wedding invitations.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  18. Newt Gingrich

    It has been scientifically proven that religions like Christianity deploy brainwashing techniques.

    January 11, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • craig

      Really? I freely accepted Jesus as my Savior. No one brainwashed me . I can assure you.

      January 11, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Did you mean employ? Or possibly deplore?

      January 11, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'No one brainwashed me . I can assure you'

      victims generally arent aware of it.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Unegen

      Craig,
      That's what all brainwashed people say. Ask any cult member.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • lol??

      "Phl 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:"

      January 11, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Newt Gingrich

      Religions like Christianity are just Multi-Level Marketing schemes, ie. pyramid schemes

      You can become a billionaire just like "Jesus" if you follow the instructions in the Bible and pay 10%+ of your income to your upstream ...

      January 11, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Gary

      @craig – you may freely accept jesus as your savior, but statistics show that you were probably indoctrinated during your childhood thus believing and accepting it far before you ever actually understood what you were subscribing to. Thus you can deduce that your current perspective may have very well been the product of such techniques.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      You mean like being a democrat?

      January 11, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • tallulah13

      I was raised in a Republican household. The first election I voted in, I voted Republican. Then I left the small town where I grew up and learned something of the world. I changed my affiliation to Democrat. I am certainly no "bleeding-heart liberal" but the Republican party advocates a far too invasive government, and currently it is run by criminals who care more for personal profits than for what is best for the nation.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • lol??

      Gary sayz, "......probably indoctrinated ........" Sound doctrines are a good thing. In fact they are so inextricably woven with the mind of Christ that Jesus claims the Word of God as a name........"Rev 19:13-14 And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies [which were] in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean."

      January 11, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Gary

      Sound doctrines are a good thing as long as it's actually sound. Your delusion of a mystical land that you'll get a one way, first class airline ticket to is probably not the fimest foundation to define your grandios expectation as a sound doctrine. Quoting scripture as a method to prove your point is irony at its finest.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • lol??

      You oughta know, Gary. You an iron man.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • lol??

      The march of History merrily rolls along........"2Ch 2:7 Send me now therefore a man cunning to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple, and crimson, and blue, and that can skill to grave with the cunning men that [are] with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David my father did provide."...........gold, silver, brass, iron

      January 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
  19. Blue

    Good, maybe we can have less racism and hate in this world. I'm so sick of Fox News having an audience.

    January 11, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • ChristianinDC

      Really? Racism and hate have never been Christian qualities. Quite the contrary – just look at the Stalin's Soviet Union and China – even today. Both nations extol the virtues of religious nones or atheism very highly...

      January 11, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      ChristianinDC

      Really? Racism and hate have never been Christian qualities. Quite the contrary – just look at the Stalin's Soviet Union and China – even today. Both nations extol the virtues of religious nones or atheism very highly...

      lol you say christian aren't hateful and racist as you make racist and hateful remarks about the soviet union and china. also Stalin was a christian and so was Hitler. so are the people that protested the recent funerals of the dead children in Sandy Hook. i am not saying all christin are bad, but they do have a tendency to look down there nose at none christian non americans

      January 11, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Gary

      Apparently history escapes you then. The KKK was a religious hate group as many of their mottos come from old testament scripture. However, hate is what the religion is based on. If you do not believe and reject it as truth, then you are subjected to hellfire and damnation. You accept ONLY haysoos as the one and only savior as other belief systems are not the word of the one true god resulting in hellfire and damnation. This spawned many religious wars throughout the history of it's simple minded existence. More people have died as a result of religious hate than any modern moderate cares to admit. Admitting your belief structure is flawed and has produced ironic consequences of it's own definition would negate any retort in the debate.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • ME II

      @ChristianinDC
      "...Stalin's Soviet Union and China – even today. Both nations extol the virtues of religious nones or atheism very highly..."
      There are no virtues of atheism, nor are there vices. Atheism is single non-belief position on deities, not a philosophy. What those countries extol is Communism and/or State-ism.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • lol??

      So Ol' Blue is a book burner.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      " Racism and hate have never been Christian qualities." One of you Christians was here yesterday claiming atheists fug their dogs. Sorry, but you invented the KKK and did the Crusades. Just read the comments from your co-religionists. You mean you WISH those things weren't prominent in Christianity. The Albigensians would agree, except that you exterminated them.

      January 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  20. Thoth

    It wouldn't suprise me if we saw an increase (overall) in religious folks. A large portion of the population is approaching the "golden years". People tend to find more justifications for believing as they get closer to the "end". No one wants to accept that death is final. So long as the younger generations continue to trend away from tradition and conjecture, current belief systems will eventually find themselves on the shelves where they belong: mythology.

    January 11, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • justageek

      @Thoth – Following your logic about getting older and wanting to believe I don't understand how believing will go away since the younger generation who don't believe should swing to the belief side as they get older...no?

      January 11, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Thoth

      @justageek – your point is valid. I'm not so good at articulating thoughts. I suppose I was thinking under the presumption that current generations approaching such years were typically raised in religious settings, and younger generations would have less inclination to justify that pattern of wishful thinking as they age. I see your point though and it makes sense.

      January 11, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • justageek

      @Thoth – Ahh. OK. I see what you were getting at. Less will believe when older no matter what because they simply may not know because less are being exposed in their youth therefore they cannot go to something they don't know about. Makes sense.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      I'll keep the candles lit. You boys come by when you have questions

      January 11, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • tallulah13

      I'm okay with my mortality. I find the thought of eternal life to be unpleasant and unrealistic.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • lol??

      So you agree with God that when He lets people live 9 centuries their corruption can get really bad? He's also shown you that if He let's em live into their fifties they can form a mob and again bypass their limitations and become just as corrupt.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Manny

      Thoth
      It's called getting scared and grasping at straws. Anything that you wouldn't do except in times of utter desperation isn't something that you ought to run your entire life by. It's too pessimistic and cynical a way to live.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Hilikus

      Death isn't final...even for the atheist. Consciousness likely is short lived...but what makes us up has always been here, and will always be, in one form or another.

      January 11, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      We have no question for you, Bill, except why are you so nasty all the time? Aren't you supposed to be filled with love and joy? Why am I so much happier than you are?

      January 11, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • lol??

      Clown, your mentor was J W Gacy?

      January 11, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Advertisement
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.