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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.

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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. onemorehere

    ok,ok,ok, i get it both side think they are telling the truth there are no lyers here on this blogs only missinform people talking about two separate subjects yet thinking they are talking about the same thing the existence of god...one side beliebe the other doesn't what wrong with that...sooner or later they'll changed their minds and one side will believe and the other won't so the arguement will forever be the same about two separate aguement on the same blog...but its definitely entartainint to read the comebacks...keep up the good work you all...it just as fun to read what the believer have to say as to what the nonebeliever have to say...after all it keeps all getting to know eachother better on what we believe right???i thought so some of you would disagree and some will agree....

    January 11, 2013 at 1:12 am |
    • wjmccartan

      I wrote something a little bit ago and it never came up. Oil well. As long as we don't have another religion start with their own crusade we just might make it. One at a time is all this world can handle.

      January 11, 2013 at 1:33 am |
    • Helpful Hints

      wjmc.

      You might have run into the goofy automatic word filter which causes some posts not to appear.

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ---
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      crac-ker…
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, sopho-more, etc.
      ho-oters…as in sho-oters
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      inf-orms us…
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-oon… as in sp-oon, lamp-oon, harp-oon
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      que-er
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sl-ut
      sm-ut…..as in transm-utation
      sn-atch
      sp-ank
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      strip-per
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, t-itle, ent-ity, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, salt-water, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!
      x.xx…
      There's another phrase that someone found, "wo-nderful us" (have no idea what sets that one off).


      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.

      January 11, 2013 at 2:30 am |
    • Aldewacs

      @onemorehere: " ..ok,ok,ok, I get it both side(s) think they are telling the truth ..." and "one side believes the other doesn't what wrong with that..."
      _____

      To tell the "truth" presupposes that there are "facts" that can be examined impartially and judged as to their likelihood.
      To "believe' without facts is to be deluded. To do so willfully is intellectual dishonesty. To do so without questioning is intellectual lazyness.

      But I'm pleased you're being entertained. That, of course, is the purpose of this forum .

      January 11, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Aldewacs

      Somehow, (rolls eyes) got dropped from my prevous post. God must have done it....

      January 11, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
  2. don't do crazy things

    If you are a Christian you lost your religion when you incorporated.

    January 11, 2013 at 1:06 am |
  3. hoosier1234

    I don't think you can say that religion is dying. Rather, the Federal Govt. is simply replacing other forms of religion by providing "our daily bread", our health care, etc.

    The most recent version of the Lord's Prayer begins, "Our father who art in Washington . . . ".

    January 11, 2013 at 12:59 am |
    • DrBob

      I agree, it says 'our father who art in Washington' and should say' our father who stays out of Washington' because religion has no place in politics.

      January 11, 2013 at 1:20 am |
  4. don't do crazy things

    If you are a Christian you lost your religion when you started worshiping him instead of listening to him.

    January 11, 2013 at 12:58 am |
  5. hoosier1234

    I don't think you can say that religion is dying. Rather, the Federal Govt. is simply replacing other forms of religion by providing "our daily bread", out health care, etc.

    The most recent version of the Lord's Prayer begins, "Our father who art in Washington . . . ".

    January 11, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • The world is not always what it seems

      That's pretty damn stupid, hooty.

      What to know what American communists, socialists and anarchists did for you? 40 hour work weeks. Fair pay. Weekends. Paid vacation. Health care benefits at work. Retirement benefits.

      All those things were fought by business owners and hated by conservatives. And the broader prosperity and leisure time that came with them ironically raised affluence of America (which benefitted the owners).

      That is what communism did for you. The majority of Americans lived wretched lives of poverty in the 1880s, and business aggreessively fought the things that wold bring the general prosperity and more wealth for them.

      Or maybe you'd prefer to go work 80-100 hours over 6 days for $5 a day.

      January 11, 2013 at 1:09 am |
  6. Epidi

    My grown kids do not have any formal religious affiliation, by that I mean belonging to a church or group, but that doesn't mean they are not spiritually inclined. Thier father is Catholic & I am Pagan. How's that for a mixed bag of nuts, lol? They don't identify as either nor do they feel they are athiest or humanist. We have discussed this. They seem to identify more with thier Native American ancestry spirituality which I have always made available for them (thier father is the Native Am bloodline). However, they do enjoy accompanying me to some Pagan functions such as Samhain, Yule, etc. They feel equally at home when attending a Christian church for weddings, etc. You don't need 4 walls & a group of people to find a higher power – it resides within you. This is what my kids grew up with and they are happy and well adjusted adults who are law abiding, productive, people who would not hesitate to help another person in need.

    January 11, 2013 at 12:55 am |
    • End Religion

      Sounds like a tolerant home to grow up in. Good job!

      January 11, 2013 at 8:24 am |
  7. Aldewacs

    Education erases religion. It's just a matter of time – evolution is working on it.

    Falsified education (indoctrination) supports religion – that's why the religious handlers want so desperately to inject their dogma in children at the earliest possble age – a form of cruel child abuse. Indoctrination is the key, but education is an antidote.

    Too many young people, expecially in the Western world, have the ability to think. A scary thought for religious manipulators, but it's a train that won't be stopped. Behold the next few decares – the will be an avalanche of people who no longer need the scary stories to keep them in line. Humanity will be so much the better for it. No amount of lies can stop that – too much information is available that cannot be manipulated by the religious orchestrators.

    There will come a day when religion will be discussed in history books by children who won't believe that there great-great-great-great grandparents believed in a sky fairy.

    January 11, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • LVguest

      I absolutely agree, Adewacs. We can only hope that day comes sooner rather than later!

      January 11, 2013 at 12:27 am |
    • Aldewacs

      oops.. decares = decades ...

      January 11, 2013 at 12:32 am |
    • Mick

      The internet is also very damaging to religion. A forum for the uncensored spreading of information and ideas is religion's kiss of death.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:53 am |
    • zeyn2010

      True, true... It is a part of our growing up process.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:55 am |
  8. John

    Whether you are religious or not, what is this safety-in-numbers approach? You believe what you want to believe; any of you going to change that because of a popular vote? Call yourself religious or not as you like, what I am is American, and I will believe what I damn well like.

    January 11, 2013 at 12:20 am |
  9. Well ya know

    Upbringing means a lot. 99% of religious people think the religion they grew up with is the "right" one. To know that, and still think that yours is "right" seems pretty arrogant. But then again, maybe you're just that lucky.

    January 11, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • Epidi

      I couldn't agree more. What difference does it make what you call your deity or if you even have one? We'll all end up facing the same thing anyway. Death is the great equalizer. Why waste time & energy in your life trying to prove your ideals are what everyone else should be doing? Variety (IMO) is the zest of life.

      January 11, 2013 at 1:01 am |
  10. akmac65

    Lack of religion does NOT equate to being Atheist, nor does it equate to lack of values or morality. Religions are man-made, spirituality does not require manmade dogma or structure. I happen to believe in a spiritual Creator, but not in any of the current religions. Spirituality is not required, either.

    January 10, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • Hmmmmmmm

      So like every other religious faction, you believe you are right and the others are wrong, based on . . . uh . . . what, intuition?

      January 11, 2013 at 12:27 am |
  11. Kevin Quail

    Right.........and Gallup really called that presidential election too.

    We all know that any emotional bias - irrespective of truth or falsity - can be implanted by suggestion in the emotions of the young, hence the inherited traditions of an orthodox community are absolutely without evidential value.... If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences. With such an honest and inflexible openness to evidence, they could not fail to receive any real truth which might be manifesting itself around them. The fact that religionists do not follow this honourable course, but cheat at their game by invoking juvenile quasi-hypnosis, is enough to destroy their pretensions in my eyes even if their absurdity were not manifest in every other direction.
    - H P Lovecraft, letter to Maurice W Moe, 3 August 1931, in August Derleth and Donald Wandrei, ed., Selected Letters 1929-1931 (1971), pp. 390-91, quoted from S T Joshi, ed., "Introduction," Atheism: A Reader, p. 17

    January 10, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
  12. Chad

    “If there were no God, there would be no atheists.” - G.K. Chesterton

    January 10, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      So the reasoning there is that anything people disbelieve must be true? Wow, unicorns exist. Interesting.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • Chad

      actually no.. and an excellent example of how accurate Chesterton's quote is!

      there are no groups of people that identify themselves as anti-unicorns.
      why?

      answer: why spend time opposing something that doesnt exist? It's a waste of time.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • Roger that

      Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:07 am |
    • logan5

      And to which god was Chesterton referring?

      January 11, 2013 at 12:15 am |
    • Hmmmmmmm

      Apparently G. K. Chesterson was a total dumbshit, because that's about as illogical as it gets. It doesn't help that our resident dingbat cross-sucker likes him, either.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:29 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Threads like this only convince me and others of your dishonest tactics, Chad. The reasoning has been explained to you over and over and over, and yet you continue to pretend that it hasn't. Again, my advice to you is to continue in your blindness. Keep on thinking that you're right because you believe the truth and not because you believe what's most comfortable and what you've already decided must be true regardless of the facts or superior arguments. It suits you.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:29 am |
    • Dr. Zeus

      The Chads of the world are very valuable to atheism. They make public spectacles of themselves and their creepy ideas. The create revulsion in people and drive them away from the Chadian darkness and towards the light of reason. The Chad's of the world are what will rid us of religion.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • LVguest

      What a silly statement. A more accurate statement would be that if there were no god legends, there would be no atheists; as the word atheist simply means 'without god(s),' and if there were no god legends, there would be no need for a word for those who recognize that they are legends.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • Chadfly

      Boo!

      January 11, 2013 at 2:15 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      @ Chad....

      How dare you offend my faith....

      But to answer your weak thinking, we of The Last Unicorn (also known as Unicornian Universalists), who believe that we are the chosen, do not demand of our elected represent-tives that there be a Consti-tutional Amendment banning:

      A mule from marrying a unicorn
      Two consenting male unicorns from having a little horn play
      And from preventing the reading of "The Last Unicorn" in High School Algebra classes

      Plus, we do not kill Large Animal Vets or bomb Veterinary Clinics when they murder our precious unborn folds...(besides, that damn horn usually induces a spontaneous abortion, reducing their numbers).

      Thus, we do not spark the attention of the evil, Unicorn-forsaken Aunicornists who blaspheme the very name of Unicorn and Her only begotten daughter, Lady Amalthea....

      But we wait for that great (horned) trumpet sound when we know that the Unicorn will set up Her 950 year reign just east of Portland and will cast all those pesky Aunicornists into the Lake Ponchartrain where they'll burn from that wicked 98% humidity for all eternity.

      January 11, 2013 at 2:32 am |
    • End Religion

      "why spend time opposing something that doesnt exist? It's a waste of time."

      It's a waste of time until someone offers legislation to insert "in unicorns we trust" onto our currency. If nothing else it should be simple marketing: if you want to pretend the country is tolerant you don't go spreading government-backed and sanctioned leaflets across the globe touting a religious preference, especially when its an imaginary one.

      January 11, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'there are no groups of people that identify themselves as anti-unicorns.
      why?
      answer: why spend time opposing something that doesnt exist? It's a waste of time'

      because there are also no groups that identify themselves as pro-unicorns. There is no word to describe someone that believes in unicorn (at least no poilte word) if there was, say unicorrnists, then indeed you would be labelled an anti-unicornist or somesuch.

      January 11, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  13. Puzzled in Peoria

    Contrary to what this writer says in the first paragraph, Americans who identify with no religion are not getting larger.

    Instead of the word "size," it should be "number."

    January 10, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • Roger that

      Religious are more likely to over eat.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
  14. Reality

    This should help to 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 upon request.

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

    January 10, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • as far as one knows or can tell

      As far as one knows or can tell you were not there when Abraham walked the earth (now that is something you can take to the bank) so how the heck would you know. Some of the poorest reasoning I have seen in quite sometime. I didn't personally see it so it doesn't exist, so there are only 9 planets in the universe right? Just the ones you can see through your telescope. Really?

      January 10, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • Reality

      Added details as requested:

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

      The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      January 11, 2013 at 6:58 am |
    • Reality

      Added details as requested Part II:

      AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      For added information see the review at:

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel
      "The prophet Ezekiel described an incredible vision of cherubim angels in Ezekiel chapter 10 of the Torah and the Bible, mentioning that the angels’ wings were “completely full of eyes” (verse 12) and “under their wings was what looked like human hands” (verse 21). The angels each used their wings and something “like a wheel intersecting a wheel” (verse 10) that “sparkled like topaz” (verse 9) to move around."

      For a rather extensive review of angel wings, see http://angels.about.com/od/AngelBasics/a/Angels-Wings-And-Things.htm

      January 11, 2013 at 7:00 am |
    • Reality

      Added details Part III:

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      p.4

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      January 11, 2013 at 7:02 am |
  15. albie

    Religion has to go. Thankfully, the young generation has resisted more of the brainwashing than previous generations so there is hope. Now, if we can just get rid of the south somehow ...

    January 10, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • mike

      it's more likely the south who would like to get rid of you. we tried once and you wouldn't let us. either deal with us now or let us go again.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • End Religion

      we're dealing with the south. America took slavery from you, now we're taking your religious binky. We let you have your moonshine to drown your sorrows.

      January 11, 2013 at 8:33 am |
    • Jesus

      Mike, you're free to leave whenever you wish, but just like when you rent an apartment, you can't take the fridge with you. Just get a boat with your personal belongings & we'll send you a postcard .

      January 11, 2013 at 11:08 am |
  16. us_1776

    The Sky Fairy does not exist.

    Get over it.

    .

    January 10, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
  17. albie

    Does anyone else see the huge conflict of interest here–Frank Newport is the editor-in-chief of Gallup and it is a Gallup poll, and this same guy has a book out called "God is Alive and Well: The Future of Religion in America"

    January 10, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      Good observation.

      January 12, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
  18. an ear

    you or singers can call all israel people move out from jerusalem now

    January 10, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
  19. Laura

    @snowboarder: What "rights" are being infringed upon?

    January 10, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • snowboarder

      laura, is that some kind of a joke? this secular nation is constantly forced to repell incursions by religion by the religious to reproductive rights, to an education for our children unmolested by religious indoctrination, to the very rights we all hold dear.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Look up Proposition 8, Laura. That happy little chunk of bigotry got quite a bit of it's funding from religious types, especially mormons.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • snowboarder

      it is getting late and my typing is suffering. tomorrow is another early morning.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • Tom

      snow, you must not have children if you're talking about education being influenced by religion. Are you kidding me? Listening to my children, it sound like every lesson at school, whether math, reading, science, or art, is about being Green, recycling, and saving the earth from the hole in the ozone...I mean global warming...I mean climate change or whatever the current lefty influence on my children is.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, gosh, how AWFUL of schools to be making kids aware of the environment!! How DARE they? What COMMUNISTS!! Off with their heads! And take those moral relativists, too, while you're at it!!!

      January 10, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • Tom

      Nothing wrong with learning about the environment, Tommy. The obvious point you somehow missed is that it is being pushed down our throats. When every subject they study somehow manages to work in current politicized environmental hooey, my children are deprived of more meaningful study. Schools are where liberal lefties work their magic on impressionable youth. Get the heck out of my childrens' lives.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • zeyn2010

      LOL Tom! Climate change is real and not a 'lefty influence' you guys are ruining our children's future! You should do some research before claiming such things.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Tom, don't be a fvcking moron. I'm not going to say what I do all day long, but you have no idea what you're talking about, and that's a fact.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • Kim

      Tom
      Climate change is part of the science curriculum, and dealing with it is an issue that our kids will have to face some day when they take over, so it belongs in their citizenship education. Like smoking, there is what the actual science says on the issue, and what the scientists employed by the industries doing all the polluting have to say.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • frank

      What would be more meaningful study, Tom? Are they missing out on something. I'm all ears on this one.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • frank

      oops. There was a question in there: are they missing out on something?

      January 10, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • Tom

      Oops. You are all correct. I did some research, and it turns out that climate does indeed change. And all across the world. Daily, too! I stand corrected.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • zeyn2010

      Here Tom – this may help you and people that think like you understand a bit more about climate change...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7ktYbVwr90

      January 10, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • frank

      Is that the only thing that bothers you about their education, Tom, are issues related to environmental science, or are there other issues?

      January 10, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • zeyn2010

      I bet the whole science curriculum bothers these guys cause they don't say God created everything. You guys have your churches to influence your children when they are young with the tales from 5000 years ago – at least schools try to teach them reality!

      January 10, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • Tom

      Eh, hem... Children, listen up, school's now in session. Science: Finding flaws in the Theory of Evolution. Math: Calculate Methuselah's age at the time of the global flood, and show your work. Social Studies: How churches help the community. Geography: Where is Israel? Gym: You are God's Temple; keep yourself fit. Art: Noah's ark from popcicle sticks.

      Yeah, nothing wrong wiith pounding something into their heads in as many different ways as possible, right?

      January 10, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • zeyn2010

      I said 'reality' not misinterpreted genesis stories that all religions have in common! They have been vastly misinterpreted. Most likely they were extraterrestrials with their amazing technology!!!!!

      January 10, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • Tom

      You kinda missed the point, z., but no matter. Climate change was probably started by aliens, too. 😉

      January 10, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • zeyn2010

      No, I didn't miss the point. I was merely saying you can't compare your particular religion's claims with reality, hence your religious school example is not a very good example. Teaching reality cannot be taken from our kids because a few people have been brainwashed with religion.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • zeyn2010

      Actually, if indeed aliens did create us and are observing, they probably think we are too stupid to save from our own shortcomings anyway. I'm sure they are disappointed that they created us in their image but we failed to live up their expectations! LOL

      January 11, 2013 at 12:06 am |
    • Brook

      @tom your comments scare me and worry me for the future of the country...

      We do not need freedom for religion but Freedom FROM religion in this country...

      I am from the south and I live in the south and I must keep my non-belief a secret for fear of scorn and ostracization in the community I live in. Funny not to feel free in a country that is supposedly built on freedom, but that is what religion has done and will do; divide people, cause conflict and start bloodshed. Yes religions have done some good in the world, but it religions are not the only ones that can feed the poor and far more people have starved by history’s religious war than have been fed by the neighborhood soup kitchens. Why can’t we take religion out of our culture, teach science and build and better future for our children.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:42 am |
  20. snowboarder

    in this age of information it is difficult to understand how people still fall for religious belief. i can certainly understand it when the only information about religion a person received was from their parents church, but these days it is painfully obvious that man has created innumerable deities, religions and doctrines over the course of history.

    especially considering the absurdity of the doctrines of the abrahamic religions, i can not understand new adherents. i guess it is a testament to the quality of religious indoctrination.

    January 10, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Laura

      In this age of information, I can't understand why people:
      1. Smoke
      2. Drink alcohol to excess
      3. Text while driving
      4. Eat sugar
      5. Fail to use protection when having....

      The list goes on. How many of those activities have you engaged in recently? Did you know that smoking causes cancer and alcohol kills your liver? Did you know that eating sugar probably causes cancer? Look, I am not a saint when it comes to the above – but neither are you, more than likely. The difference between those things and religion, is that in most cases, a person's individual beliefs benefit not only themselves, but also the world around them. "Love your neighbor as yourself." Ah, an "absurd" religious doctrine as I'm sure you would label it. Yet it is a statement that could change the world if people actually followed it.

      January 10, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • snowboarder

      laura, everything in moderation. in the case of religion, we find ourselves constantly defending our rights against those who would codify their religious "beliefs" into law governing the population.

      if it was only about an individuals belief there would never be an issue.

      January 10, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Laura, good people are good. Bad people are bad. Judging from the swindlers and murderers who fly the flag of Jesus, religion doesn't really have much of an effect on character.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • End Religion

      what would be nice is if someone could rewrite the bible and chop out the hate, and churches all agreed to go ahead and adopt it before they wink out of existence. The folks who talk about love and all that jazz usually only see that part of it. They gloss over all the hate. And the folks that want to hate point to it as a source of righteousness. Is there a way to cut the hate out of it so those blinded by the love can simply have all the lovey parts, and those who use the bible for hate will no longer have a source of "authority" for their hate?

      Jefferson rewrote it but I think he took out mystical parts, not necessary hate and violence, or maybe he did?

      January 10, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • an ear

      "radiowavedom" amen john 3 16 tallnorth i cant say happy new 2013 i can say peace to all

      January 10, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • HarryJ

      snowboarder
      Would you advise using your common sense only in moderation? I regard it as my common sense to investigate everything that I'm asked to believe in, to check into product claims, and to keep my nose out of what other consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes. There's not much room even on the moderate end of religious belief for using this kind of common sense, is there?

      January 10, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • Suzanne

      God bless you

      January 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Perhaps I'm an odd atheist, and this may not make much sense, but yes, I'd say that people should use common sense in moderation. Many acts of devotion and love require faith and hope when neither of those concepts have much common sense involved. It's my favorite part of being an atheist; I get to choose what to be silly about when it comes to belief.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • Clint

      "In this age of information, I can't understand why people:
      1. Smoke
      2. Drink alcohol to excess
      3. Text while driving
      4. Eat sugar
      5. Fail to use protection when having....

      The list goes on. How many of those activities have you engaged in recently?"

      1: I don't smoke.
      2: I have maybe 4 alcohlic drinks a year (sometiems nto even 1...)
      3: I never use my phone while driving
      4: I don't know anyone that eats sugar, now stuff with sugar in it sure, but I don't over do it
      5: I've been married over 23 years and my wife is fixed, so we don't use protection.

      And, afetr all that, i don't believe in religion, not even the prinicple of it. Not jsut one, but any.

      Good enough for you?

      Oh, and my kids are polite, and respectful, don't use drugs, and are easily the most well nehaved in the neighborhood (if not this whole part of town).

      It's called common sense, and it's possible to have without having religion.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • akmac65

      Snow..... Some people (probably many people) are sufficiently frightened by change that they cling to something that is declared immutable by definition. The fact that everything, including religions, changes over time is not something they wish to contemplate. That feeds the membership of conservative/fundamentalist/backward-looking groups who are reassured by looking back where they think they used to be, as opposed to the uncertain future.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:05 am |
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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.