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'None' leaders to chart path for more political, cultural power for religiously unaffiliated
The Reason Rally -- sponsored by secular organizations -- draws a crowd to Washington in June.
January 25th, 2013
08:51 AM ET

'None' leaders to chart path for more political, cultural power for religiously unaffiliated

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

Washington (CNN) - The religiously unaffiliated - the "nones"  - have noticed their ranks are growing. And at a meeting Saturday, a group of leaders will look to turn those swelling numbers into workable political and cultural power.

It's one of the top priorities of the eighth annual Heads Meeting, which will be held in Atlanta. Some of the nation’s most influential leaders, representing various organizations, will convene to chart a path forward and discuss the most important issues facing "nones" today.

“It is not enough that we are growing in numbers,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “We have got to find a way to bring those numbers to bear in an organized fashion so that people will take us seriously.”

A number of studies have found that religious “nones” - people who either don’t believe in God or do not affiliate with a religion - are increasing rapidly in the United States. A 2012 Pew study, for example, found this faction to be the fastest-growing "religious" group in America and determined that one in five Americans now identify with no religion.

These numbers have emboldened atheists, humanists, agnostics and other secular Americans, many of whom have long expressed a desire for more political power.

In particular, they point to the fact that they are widely underrepresented in the halls of the highest U.S. legislative body. Though 20% of the population classifies themselves as “none,” according to Pew, only one member of Congress, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, identifies as such.

Speckhardt said it’ll take presenting “viewpoints in an organized way” to see change.

Dale McGowan, executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief and one of the Atlanta meeting's hosts, said building awareness through community engagement will be a key topic of discussion.

“Part of it is trying to consolidate that cultural presence,” McGowan said. “That has something to do with politics, but it is also more generally cultural.”

Much as churches and synagogues foster and nurture communities, McGowan said he thinks atheists can do the same to gain clout and broader acceptance.

But the meeting is more than just a forum for "none" leaders to outline their plans going forward. It is also a way for these leaders to meet face to face and discuss differences that they may have with one another.

According to McGowan, finding ways to work together was the original goal when the meeting was first held in 2005.

For years, McGowan said, “These groups operated separately from each other and sometimes at odds with each other. There was a realization that we should meet once a year and come together on the goals that we have in common.”

Other leaders echoed this viewpoint.

“One of the biggest benefits of these meetings is that it is human interaction,” Speckhardt said. “You get people face to face, and you dispel these negative ideas. You realize that we are all endeavoring toward very similar goals and that we can cooperate to make them happen.”

But while the leaders stress the need for cohesion, they also have long highlighted, even celebrated, diversity of opinion in their movement. This diversity has, at times, caused friction.

For example, the Christmas season revealed a growing rift among American atheists. Some activists want to seize the holidays to build bridges with faith groups, while other active unbelievers increasingly see Christmas as central to confronting religion.

“We certainly do disagree,” said David Silverman, president of American Atheists. “But we are on the same side. What we have to do is sit down at the table and say, ‘You are going to do your thing, and I am going to do my thing.’ ”

McGowan called cohesiveness “really the central challenge” for people who thrive on independence. “This is a group of people accustomed to taking a critical approach to things, and that means not just letting differences slide and saying, ‘Hey, these differences matter.’ ”

Other attendees in Atlanta will include Ron Lindsay, president of the Center for Inquiry, and Margaret Downey, founder and president of the Freethought Society, according to Silverman.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Politics

soundoff (1,751 Responses)
  1. New Atheist

    I was raised christian. I still can't understand why it is so hard for people to see the fundamental errors in logic in the christian teachings. Anyone who even attempts to read the bible with an open mind will see mistakes and contradictions. In all of history there have been people/civilizations worsh other gods. They had as much faith as the christians posting here, and just as much proof that their god was the one true god.
    i have seen the good that comes from a strong church that is involved in their community. I have seen this in christian, jewish, and muslim communities. It is the outreach and support that makes the difference, not whatever nonexistant god they pray to.
    The younger generation can research thebible in 1/1000th the time it took me when i was a teenager. They are looking for answers, and the bible is failing miserably. Too much damnation, too much stoning people to death, too many threats of hell, and no proof that it is the correct holy book.
    The social stigma of questioning god is going away, and god will go away with it.

    January 26, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @New Atheist

      You should not conclude that the Bible is wrong if you are only to stupid to understand it. A dog would never presume to condemn human talk. Human talk is reasonable in itself. It is the dog's problem that it doesn't understand it.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Poltergeist

      You say youve seen church communities do good and they could have community outreach without God. Isn't that what Athiest should be doing? They aren't exactly known for their charitable orginizations.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Rainer Braendlein' is an instance of the ad hominem fallacy.

      http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      January 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Dawkins is an idiot

      Hey idiot, have u seen mutations create new species? Does natural selection create new species? Does the fossil record support the theory of evolution? Your FAITH has you believe these things happened. They are nothing more than myths!! Don't be so stupid! Science does not support evolution, you idiot!!!! Honestly, all of you atheists are stupid idiots! Do some research you idiots!

      January 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • New Atheist

      @Rainer Braendlein

      Attacking me doesn'y invalidate my arguement. It only suggests you have no effective response.

      @Dawkins is an idiot

      Even if i can't convince you that evolution is happening, that still doesn't prove you are worshipping the correct diety, or that you are doing it right.
      However, if you believe in evolution, then there is no need for any gods at all.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @New Atheist

      Some god believers who also believe in evolution claim that god is needed to explain the existence of matter and energy.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Dawkins is an idiot

      DO MUTATIONS CREATE NEW SPECIES?( If your answer is yes) Has it ever been observed in a lab?

      January 26, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Ranier

      It is really stupid for some people to claim to understand the bible according to some higher meaning with some special powers not given to others. If you can't prove that the bible has a higher meaning and that your understanding is valid and consistent, then it's just empty claims. To use your analogy, if we are "dogs" trying to understand human speech, then you can't verify that you understand human speech any more than any other dog. You are just claiming to understand the speech.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      New species? Sure, but, to be fair, "species" is a slippery concept. Almost as bad as "race".

      January 26, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Dawkins is an idiot

      DOES NATURAL SELECTION CREATE NEW SPECIES? (Last I checked, Darwin's finches are still finches)

      January 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • lol??

      A&A's are wishful thinkers who never seem to understand the Word of God. Ya got plenty of fallen stars for examples.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Dawkins is brilliant

      Just because you don't understand the mechanics of evolution enough to see the brilliant sense it makes does not mean that others do not understand it well enough to know that it explains EVERYTHING we observe in the natural world. Of course we don't know everything about evolution, but that's true of any subject. The theory is beautiful, simple, and unparalleled in its ability to demonstrate how, over time, species change and exist now and at other points in history and in future.

      You should dedicate your life to learning about evolution to know it better than any other person on the planet with the intention of debunking it. Science will thank you regardless of what discoveries you make.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Pythagoras is a moron

      How can you possibly believe that triangle shapes have anything to do with math? Stupid. Squares and shapes are different, you idiots!

      January 26, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • lol??

      Scientists are perfectly happy to mutate to holywood's standards. Groupieeees are welcome in their sinablobs.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Dawkins is an idiot

      Thank you! Case closed. If you answer 'yes' to those questions, your Lying to yourself and others. IDIOTS!!!!

      January 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Science

      Naturally, science classes only teach about science, not about religion; therefore, if a science class is going to address the origins and development of life, it will only be through an explanation of evolutionary theory and not through an exegesis of the book of Genesis. Creationists who believe that the diversity of life we see is due to the special creation of their god have come to recognize this and so have adopted a number of strategies in order to fight the teaching of evolution.

      January 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • New Atheist

      Case closed?

      You still haven't convinced anyone but yourself of anything.

      January 26, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • lol??

      Evolution is just an ancient vanity of ye ol' imagination........"..........For example, Aristotle classified all living organisms hierarchically in his great scala naturae or Great Chain of Being, with plants at the bottom, moving through lesser animals, and on to humans at the pinnacle of creation, each becoming progressively more perfect in form....." http://www.iep.utm.edu/evolutio/ Nuthin' new here folks, move along.

      January 26, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Science

      Fireball Of Christ
      In 312AD, a sign from God converted Roman Emperor Constantine to Christianity. But this miraculous vision was just a legend, until this man claimed to have found down to earth proof of this world-changing event.

      http://natgeotv.com.au/tv/fireball-of-christ/

      January 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Science

      Just a stone !

      January 26, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Science

      Courts rule evolution wins for years to come !!!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hTZ5AYzs8o

      For years to come, the lessons from Dover will continue to have a profound impact on how science is viewed in our society and how it is taught in the classroom.

      January 26, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Science

      Thank you to the National Centre For Science Education (NCSE) for providing this information.

      January 26, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  2. Rainer Braendlein

    I guess Islam will never rule the world again, even when some idiots try to reestablish the bull-sh-it. Also Catholicism is about to demise. Sooner or later the Eastern and the Western forrunners of the Antichrist will perish.

    It is only that after the forunners of the Antichrist can only come the real Antichrist. Ain't that logical? I guess never the world has been that materialistic like today. The whole world adores the Mammon, the idol of materialism and capitalism, which is a real bad ghost, a demon. Actually people are ready to do everything for profit denying all moral aspects.

    Obama and Merkel and Holland are hypocrites. They are not concerned about the happiness of their peoples but only want to increase the tax revenue of themselves and their officers. For them Jesus Christ plays no role, rather disturbs and hinders them. Don't believe their lies, but observe how they really govern.

    January 26, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Jill

      Rainer Braendlein, the primordial soup may have left you over but that is no reason to resort to market studies. Gobble the fertile gravel. There is no caveat to the Klein bottle, and there will be no gold watch for the unspoken zero.

      Focus your nose on the test tube. Stay succulently upon your velodrome and fear not the coming of the essential kangaroo. Strawberries are your incidental chemistry. Present the fulcrum in advance of the gypsum cookie, for as the tree is combed, so goes the predicate. Expand quietly but do not relish.

      Whether or not you agree with the plumber, harvest away ye hearties. Kalabash in Friebourg but not in spanners while it's raining. Bring out the mustard but flap flap flap until takeoff. Why would you say such a thing in the presence of the substrate? 64. 1112. Welcome to the new sandwich lumberyard. Bus stops follow movement, or do they?

      The impediment to your posterior is large but can be dissected with chestnuts. Obermeyer. Glasnost and shallot cookies will do the main job when a steamshovel is too distant for pomegranate. Hold your scrambled eggs close to your chest, for tomorrow might be at large.

      And remember, never ever miss an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Look closer, Rainer. All unfounded beliefs are circling the drain, yours included.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Akira

      Are you going to post all of your posts twice? And you have the gall to call AtheistSteve stupid??

      January 26, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  3. Rainer Braendlein

    I guess Islam will never rule the wold again, even when some idiots try to reestablish the bull-sh-it. Also Catholicism is about to demise. Sooner or later the Eastern and the Western forrunners of the Antichrist will perish.

    It is only that after the forunners of the Antichrist can only come the real Antichrist. Ain't that logical? I guess never the world has been that materialistic like today. The whole world adores the Mammon, the idol of materialism and capitalism, which is a real bad ghost, a demon. Actually people are ready to do everything for profit denying all moral aspects.

    Obama and Merkel and Holland are hypocrites. They are not concerned about the happiness of their peoples but only want to increase the tax revenue of themselves and their officers. For them Jesus Chist plays no role, rather disturbs and hinders them. Don't believe their lies, but observe how the really govern.

    January 26, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Jill

      Rainer Braendlein, the primordial soup may have left you over but that is no reason to resort to market studies. Gobble the fertile gravel. There is no caveat to the Klein bottle, and there will be no gold watch for the unspoken zero.

      Focus your nose on the test tube. Stay succulently upon your velodrome and fear not the coming of the essential kangaroo. Strawberries are your incidental chemistry. Present the fulcrum in advance of the gypsum cookie, for as the tree is combed, so goes the predicate. Expand quietly but do not relish.

      Whether or not you agree with the plumber, harvest away ye hearties. Kalabash in Friebourg but not in spanners while it's raining. Bring out the mustard but flap flap flap until takeoff. Why would you say such a thing in the presence of the substrate? 64. 1112. Welcome to the new sandwich lumberyard. Bus stops follow movement, or do they?

      The impediment to your posterior is large but can be dissected with chestnuts. Obermeyer. Glasnost and shallot cookies will do the main job when a steamshovel is too distant for pomegranate. Hold your scrambled eggs close to your chest, for tomorrow might be at large.

      And remember, never ever miss an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  4. Simon says

    Simon says:

    All you libtards can shut up

    January 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous. Got me?

      January 26, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Simon says

      RL watches to much Spongebob.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
  5. Your Momma

    The "none" shall get what their name implies, "nothing" and like it.

    January 26, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Get Real

      And your verified evidence that this actually happens/happened is... ?

      January 26, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Simon says

      Simon says:
      Get Real is actually "fake", therefore he/she get "none"

      January 26, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      But you are special, right?

      January 26, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Your Momma

      Why does one need evidence to prove "nothing"?

      January 26, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      It's evidenced pretty much in our 240 some odd year history that non-Christians have been treated poorly, although times are changing.

      January 26, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • MaryMary

      God loves them all just the same as the 'haves'.

      January 26, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      You need evidence to prove "something", it is your claim.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • MaryMary

      I'm unable to prove to my skeptical friends that God exists.

      I know he does.

      But he doesn't ask me to prove to others that he exists. He asks me to love others.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • Priest

      Mary you are quite right, God does love everyone but those who turn from Him will never inherit the Kingdom, but that's God's decision not mine.

      And you can only do so much, and that love is "agape" love, sacrificial love, not the emotional love we often think of.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Bet

      And you just can't wait to clap your hands with glee, can you? Sorry, but you'll be getting the same thing when you die. Nothing.

      January 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
  6. Rainer Braendlein

    It is not good to be a "none". According to the Christian doctrine we have biologically inherited the nature of the degenerated Adam. Adam voluntarily forsake the powers of life (God and his angels), and joined the powers of death (the devil and his demons). Actually, if somebody is in community with God, he has got everything, and cannot feel lonely because God is community in himself. Adam made a mistake. He did not appreciate God's community but asked for more. Maybe Adam had a problem with God's invisibility. However, God made the animals and Eve for Adam as visible friends. This is the primal gospel, the first time when God proved his love to the man. Adam could have accepted this first gospel of God's love but he did not. Adam did not adore God for his lovely creation but looked for other things outside God. Yet, everything outside God is death because God is the Life. Adam had to taste the consequencies of his decision. Adam should have remained in God's community, and shouldn't have scrutinized too much.

    It is the same today. We scrutinize too much, and go astray more and more. Finally the powers of death catch us, make us unhappy and sick. The Fall is always repeated.

    Yet, there is a stronger gospel than the Gospel of Creation. It is God's Gospel of his Son Jesus Christ. God delivered himself for us. One person of the Holy Trinity became man, was called Jesus from Nazareth, and died as God's passover lamb for us. Jesus' sacrifice is a work of deliverance and and an atonement. If we believe that we get set free through the power of Jesus death and resurrection, and get changed through Jesus' power; Jesus sacrifice is also an atonement for us.

    The sacrifice of Jesus proves God's love but in order to grasp fully the meaning of Jesus sacrifice we have to refer to the sacramental baptism. By Water and Spirit we get metaphysically connected with Christ's sacrifice. Of course, faith is necessary but the real faith is connected with the sacramental baptism.

    Let us return into God's joyful community. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can overcome the lust of our flesh, the nature which we have inherited from the degenerated Adam, and thus we are new mankind in God. Let us become worshippers in Spirit and in Truth.

    @AtheistSteve

    The issue is somewhat multilayered. According to the doctrine of St. Paul the sin dwells in our limbs (our biological body), that means that the natural man is condemned to sin; he or she is not able to overcome his or her personal sinfulness because its is just his or her nature by birth. That means, actually our body had to be destroyed in order to set us free from our sinfulness, but the destruction of our body would mean our complete destruction because our body belongs to us. You cannot seperate the body and the soul of a man. Hence, in order to avoid our physical destruction Jesus died for us, and suffered the physical death. In Romans 6 St. Paul writes that we have died together with Jesus through faith and baptism. Hence the sin or our sinful body gets dethroned without our physical death but by faith in Christ who died for us.

    Mystery of faith.

    It is also the case that we have a complete free will which God will never violate. Even a believer who has received the Holy Spirit can sin. Only if a believer invites Jesus or the Spirit daily to rule his life, he will overcome the lust of his body. Do we understand the dilemma? God doesn't want to kill or destroy us in order to set us free from sin but actually there is no other way. Hence, up to Judgement Day a believer always has to subordinate himself to Jesus or the Spirit voluntarily and daily, and thus his sinful body will die slowly by slowly and the Spirit will prevail. This all works without any violation. Of course, it means some suffering to accept the "death of the sinful limbs" but only the one who accepts that will come through at Judgement Day.

    January 26, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
      Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
      Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
      One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
      In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
      One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
      One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
      In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

      January 26, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Rational Libertarian

      I have watched "The Hobbit" some weeks ago, whereby the original book of Tolkien is much better than the movie. However, like the Hobbit and the dwarfs we need a great mage to come through because the powers of death are stronger than ours. Beside we are weakened by our sinful flesh, our biological body. Hence, the real mage of every human being is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has defeated the powers of death, and if we believe in Him, we will participate in his great victory.

      Join the real Gandalf!

      January 26, 2013 at 11:50 am |
  7. Rational Libertarian

    Seeing as everybody's posting videos.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRS8EC6dL4I

    January 26, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  8. lionlylamb

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=HlriRAGurKE

    January 26, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  9. Rational Libertarian

    Why don't people follow the Church of the SubGenius?

    January 26, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Akira

      Oh, I know many that do...

      January 26, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Apart from their poor work ethic, there's a lot to be learned from the Church of the SubGenius.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  10. odoism also

    Woodyism in the high school shower!

    January 26, 2013 at 10:55 am |
  11. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog-

    A recommended creed for all of these groups:

    The Apostles' / Agnostics’ Creed 2013 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

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

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

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

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

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

    Amen
    (References used are available upon request.)

    January 26, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  12. Rainer Braendlein

    It is not good to be a "none". According to the Christian doctrine we have biologically inherited the nature of the degenerated Adam. Adam voluntarily forsake the powers of life (God and his angels), and joined the powers of death (the devil and his demons). Actually, if somebody is in community with God, he has got everything, and cannot feel lonely because God is community in himself. Adam made a mistake. He did not appreciate God's community but asked for more. Maybe Adam had a problem with God's invisibility. However, God made the animals and Eve for Adam as visible friends. This is the primal gospel, the first time when God proved his love to the man. Adam could have accepted this first gospel of God's love but he did not. Adam did not adore God for his lovely creation but looked for other things outside God. Yet, everything outside God is death because God is the Life. Adam had to taste the consequencies of his decision. Adam should have remained in God's community, and shouldn't have scrutinized too much.

    It is the same today. We scrutinize too much, and go astray more and more. Finally the powers of death catch us, make us unhappy and sick. The Fall is always repeated.

    Yet, there is a stronger gospel than the Gospel of Creation. It is God's Gospel of his Son Jesus Christ. God delivered himself for us. One person of the Holy Trinity became man, was called Jesus from Nazareth, and died as God's passover lamb for us. Jesus' sacrifice is a work of deliverance and and an atonement. If we believe that we get set free through the power of Jesus death and resurrection, and get changed through Jesus' power; Jesus sacrifice is also an atonement for us.

    The sacrifice of Jesus proves God's love but in order to grasp fully the meaning of Jesus sacrifice we have to refer to the sacramental baptism. By Water and Spirit we get metaphysically connected with Christ's sacrifice. Of course, faith is necessary but the real faith is connected with the sacramental baptism.

    Let us return into God's joyful community. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can overcome the lust of our flesh, the nature which we have inherited from the degenerated Adam, and thus we are new mankind in God. Let us become worshippers in Spirit and in Truth.

    January 26, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
      Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
      Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
      One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
      In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
      One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
      One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
      In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

      January 26, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Science

      Fireball Of Christ
      thttp://natgeotv.com.au/tv/fireball-of-christ/

      Big stone maybe according to this ,

      January 26, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      The whole sacrifice thing makes no sense. Why did Jesus have to die? God could have easily chosen to save us from our sins without the showy dramatics. Form animal sacrifice in the OT to a full blown human spectacle with Jesus. The god of Abraham seems downright bloodthirsty. Kinda like the barbaric people of that era...hmmm?
      And what exactly was sacrificed? According to all Christians Jesus is alive and well. God sacrificed nothing. If Jesus had remained dead then that at least would have counted as a net loss for God. Instead Jesus had what amounts to a bad weekend. Countless people, most notably those with terminal illnesses suffer worse and for much longer.
      You have exaggerated the severity of Jesus' experience and inexplicably warped this macabre display of violence into a message of love.
      Sorry but that just plain sounds delusional.

      January 26, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Reality

      From a contemporary theology professor:

      . The story of Adam and Eve is only symbolic.

      This story was composed in the 900s BCE and functions as an etiology
      (explanatory myth) . In the 900s Israel was self ruling, under King David
      and Solomon. The people were no longer at war and the question" Why are we
      not happy?" may have risen. The short answer is sin. (Look at 1 Kings 11 for
      some clues into why the story depicts Eve sinning first and then tempting
      Adam [Solomon]).

      Original sin is therefore only symbolic of man's tendencies to sin.

      I teach Original Sin as symbolic of the sins of our origins - in our
      families and in the broader society, both of which affect each person
      profoundly. The "sins of our origins" approach helps to account for certain
      patters of sin in particular families and societies."

      Baptism does not erase original sin since the sin does not exist.

      The old "laundry of the soul," approach to Baptism is no longer
      accepted."

      Then there is this:

      per National Geographic's Genographic project:
      https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/

      " DNA studies suggest that all humans today descend from a group of African ancestors who about 60,000 years ago began a remarkable journey. Follow the journey from them to you as written in your genes”.

      "Adam" is the common male ancestor of every living man. He lived in Africa some 60,000 years ago, which means that all humans lived in Africa at least at that time.

      Unlike his Biblical namesake, this Adam was not the only man alive in his era. Rather, he is unique because his descendents are the only ones to survive.

      It is important to note that Adam does not literally represent the first human. He is the coalescence point of all the genetic diversity."

      For your $199 check made out to the Genographic Project and a DNA swab:

      "Included in the markers we will test for is a subset that scientists have recently determined to be from our hominin cousins, Neanderthals and the newly discovered Denisovans, who split from our lineage around 500,000 years ago. As modern humans were first migrating out of Africa more than 60,000 years ago, Neanderthals and Denisovans were still alive and well in Eurasia. It seems that our ancestors met, leaving a small genetic trace of these ancient relatives in our DNA. With Geno 2.0, you will learn if you have any Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA in your genome."

      o More details from National Geographic's Genographic project: https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/

      "Our spe-cies is an African one: Africa is where we first ev-olved, and where we have spent the majority of our time on Earth. The earliest fos-sils of recognizably modern Ho-mo sapiens appear in the fossil record at Omo Kibish in Ethiopia, around 200,000 years ago. Although earlier fossils may be found over the coming years, this is our best understanding of when and approximately where we originated.

      According to the genetic and paleontological record, we only started to leave Africa between 60,000 and 70,000 years ago. What set this in motion is uncertain, but we think it has something to do with major climatic shifts that were happening around that time—a sudden cooling in the Earth’s climate driven by the onset of one of the worst parts of the last Ice Age. This cold snap would have made life difficult for our African ancestors, and the genetic evidence points to a sharp reduction in population size around this time. In fact, the human population likely dropped to fewer than 10,000. We were holding on by a thread.

      Once the climate started to improve, after 70,000 years ago, we came back from this near-extinction event. The population expanded, and some intrepid explorers ventured beyond Africa. The earliest people to colonize the Eurasian landma-ss likely did so across the Bab-al-Mandab Strait separating present-day Yemen from Djibouti. These early beachcombers expanded rapidly along the coast to India, and reached Southeast Asia and Australia by 50,000 years ago. The first great foray of our species beyond Africa had led us all the way across the globe."

      January 26, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • lionlylamb

      Only humanisms' godly of God-forsaken naturisms dare to nurture their own twilight convictions. For without godly intentions runs the gauntlets of timely mentions. We are all of one seed and cannot denounce for all does dare bleed. While atheisms deny God, they resort to their own godly ambitions. Of the godly ambitions is why any atheist makes awkward transitions. For godliness traditions are many blinded and fall from God's graces. Therefore Love God our universe's Creator and the powers that be for nowhere are we ever to be set free! Freedoms are learned traits in characterizations made, not found thru the genes that science reveres. Love therefore one's soul-filled mate and do not live your life as an ill-mannered ingrate!

      January 26, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Jill

      Rainer Braendlein and lionlylamb, the primordial soup may have left you over but that is no reason to resort to market studies. Gobble the fertile gravel. There is no caveat to the Klein bottle, and there will be no gold watch for the unspoken zero.

      Focus your nose on the test tube. Stay succulently upon your velodrome and fear not the coming of the essential kangaroo. Strawberries are your incidental chemistry. Present the fulcrum in advance of the gypsum cookie, for as the tree is combed, so goes the predicate. Expand quietly but do not relish.

      Whether or not you agree with the plumber, harvest away ye hearties. Kalabash in Friebourg but not in spanners while it's raining. Bring out the mustard but flap flap flap until takeoff. Why would you say such a thing in the presence of the substrate? 64. 1112. Welcome to the new sandwich lumberyard. Bus stops follow movement, or do they?

      The impediment to your posterior is large but can be dissected with chestnuts. Obermeyer. Glasnost and shallot cookies will do the main job when a steamshovel is too distant for pomegranate. Hold your scrambled eggs close to your chest, for tomorrow might be at large.

      And remember, never ever miss an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      January 26, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Jill always deserves a cap doffing. I give my obeisance to thee.

      January 26, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • lionlylamb

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vnJBW49afzg

      January 26, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @AtheistSteve

      The issue is somewhat multilayered. According to the doctrine of St. Paul the sin dwells in our limbs (our biological body), that means that the natural man is condemned to sin; he or she is not able to overcome his or her personal sinfulness because its is just his or her nature by birth. That means actually our body had to be destroyed in order to set us free from our sinfulness, but the destruction of our body would mean our complete destruction because our body belongs to us. You cannot seperate the body and the soul of a man. Hence, in order to avoid our physical destruction Jesus died for us, and suffered the physical death. In Romans 6 St. Paul writes that we have died together with Jesus through faith and baptism. Hence the sin or our sinful body gets dethroned without our physical death but by faith in Christ who died for us.

      Mystery of faith.

      It is also the case that we have a complete free will which God will never violate. Even a believer who has received the Holy Spirit can sin. Only if a believer invites Jesus or the Spirit daily to rule his life, he will overcome the lust of his body. Do we understand the dilemma? God doesn't want to kill or destroy us in order to set us free from sin but actually there is no other way. Hence, up to Judgement Day a believer always has to subordinate himself to Jesus or the Spirit voluntarily and daily, and thus his sinful body will die slowly by slowly and the Spirit will prevail. This all works without any violation. Of course, it means some suffering to accept the "death of the sinful limbs" but only the one who accepts that will come through at Judgement Day.

      January 26, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      "God doesn't want to kill or destroy us in order to set us free from sin but actually there is no other way."

      Ummm.. actually there is another way. Simply ignore all the superstitious nonsense you just blathered.
      Sin doesn't exist. You don't have a soul and nothing happens after you die. It's so much easier to grasp and appreciate reality when you don't have to jump through hoops to make excuses for some god.

      January 26, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @AtheistSteve

      Sin doesn't exist? What is the current faith of the world? Do people behave meek and humble like Jesus? No, people act according to the principle of the survival of the fittest (Evolutionism). People don't see their neighbour as part of a worldwide organism (the mankind) which serves them and whom they should serve but as their competi-tor. Actually it would be good, if we would cooperate, even in economical regard but we participate in an idiotic contest which causes a lot of suffering. Ain't that sin?

      January 26, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=u7qP1nVidXk

      January 26, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Rainer Braendlein' contains an instance of the Begging The Question fallacy.

      http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      January 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      No Rainer that ain't sin. Sin is the defiance of Gods' will. A fabrication.
      Good people do good and bad people do bad. Evolution isn't involved. Evolution favors individuals best adapted to survival...not necessarily the fittest. Dinosaurs were certainly fit. They grew to massive proportions in what could be described as a biological arms race. But overly specialized they couldn't handle climate change like our shrew-like ancestor.
      What you called evolutionism is actually sometimes called social darwinism...a bastardisation of the idea natural selection. Eugenics is one example. Where humans practice selective breeding, as with pets, livestock and crops the results are far from what evolution would naturally select for. Weaker and less robust to survive than their progenitors Just look at the household dog compared to wolves. Doing it to ourselves is self-defeating. Thus it's perfectly reasonable to expect human culture to also naturally be diverse. With the bulk of the bell curve to fit the mores of most people with extremes of good and bad at the fringes. This isn't a fallen world it's an obviously natural one.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  13. lionlylamb

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=1IAhDGYlpqY

    January 26, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Apostate

      http://youtu.be/yBo7Z_abiLE

      January 26, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • lionlylamb

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ppUl_CBuyz8

      January 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  14. amy

    We are the world, we are the children
    We are the nones who make a brighter day
    So lets start giving
    There's a choice we're making
    We're saving our own lives

    January 26, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      As a none, please don't include me in your poetic nonsense. Thank you.

      January 26, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • amy

      It's Michael's song, silly. He would have embraced nonism. Praise Michael.

      January 26, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I think Whacko Jacko would have embraced Catholicism. Similar interests.

      January 26, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  15. the AnViL

    interesting to note the higher instances of hom0se.xual ephebophilia among protestant xians vs catholics.

    only slightly higher.

    January 26, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Excuse my ignorance but what is ephebophilia?

      January 26, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • the AnViL

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephebophilia

      Ephebophilia is the primary or exclusive adult se.xual interest in mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19.

      January 26, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Kind of like a gay Lolita, albeit slightly older?

      January 26, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Dr. Strangelove

      Something to do with production of precious bodily fluids.

      January 26, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • for Live4Him

      you should just say twinkism. that way, if you make that into a logo or other decoration, you can make the t into His cross.

      January 26, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      The trouble is they make such damn good cameras.

      January 26, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • odo

      subset: Bieberism; One Directionism

      January 26, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  16. Bostontola

    This opinion makes an interesting point, it will be hard for "nones" to gain power as a group because it is so loosely affiliated. This is evident by reading comments in the Belief blog. There is such a broad range of positions within the "nones" that they are unlikely to be able to gel anytime soon. The nones are not really a group as much as they are "everyone else".

    January 26, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • John not the Baptist

      Very few nones get riled up against policies unless it directly affects them and joining a none orginization would be sort of against what a none wants to be. The most encouraging thing is the nones are mainly the young, expecting the elderly to change their ways may prove to be impossible; a lifetime of dogma is hard to escape.

      January 26, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Bostontola

      Very, very true.

      January 26, 2013 at 9:18 am |
  17. John not the Baptist

    tbt
    You are such a good christian, so full of hatred, hell's awaiting for you because you believe it exists. Troll.

    January 26, 2013 at 8:37 am |
  18. truth be told

    It is impossible to speak Truth to a self deceived atheist. all atheists are liars and cannot accept the Truth. An atheist is predestined to a life of lies, theft and murder. The only thing an atheist can do to improve mankind would be to off themselves, sadly they also lack the courage to do so.

    January 26, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • midwest rail

      Morning, cap'n !

      January 26, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • Bush Spotter

      Hey, Apple Bush, how's it going?

      January 26, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • truth be told

      Thanks to those bottom feeders who respond and prove my points without a doubt.

      January 26, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • NClaw441

      truth be told– I have come to the conclusion that you are not a person of faith. I suspect that you are here to "poison the well" by mis-stating the beliefs of Christians. No true Christians believes the things you say.

      I am a person of faith. I can take no credit for my faith, as I believe that God led me to it. I have been thinking a lot about the mechanism of faith and non-faith (that is, not believing in God). Can one really CHOOSE to believe or not in something for which there is nor can be no proof? For Christians I recommend a close look at Ephesians 2:8. For non-believers, how did you come to that non-belief? Is it the mere absence of belief, or do you affirmatively believe that there is no God? Have you seriously considered the matter, or do you think that it is not worth considering?

      I make no judgments (although I confess that I pray that others will come to have the faith that I have) about those who don't believe. I can't help, however, feeling a little anger toward Christians who seem to take some enjoyment in the fact that those who don't believe are risking an eternity of separation from God (call it the lake of fire if you wish, but if you believe it, how could you possibly wish it upon anyone?). Similarly, I get annoyed with those who, because they don't believe, claim that those who do are stupid, ignorant or lacking the ability to think.

      I'd bet that most who post on these sites are relatively intelligent and probably very kind people. Almost none of you would insult others in person the way you do on these sites.

      Sorry for the rant.

      January 26, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • sam stone

      still dreaming of svcking off jeebs, eh tbt?

      January 26, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • TBT is right

      Just look at how badly behaved Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are. Giving all that money to charity is such a lying, steeling and murderous thing to do

      January 26, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • midwest rail

      " I suspect that you are here to "poison the well" by mis-stating the beliefs of Christians. No true Christians believes the things you say. " NClaw, herein lies the problem. Even you aren't sure whether or not t.b.t. is a troll or a Christian. While their posts are the most extreme, just pick a topic, any thread here, and peruse the comments. What you will discover is that you are decidedly in the minority. The three prime characteristics of contemporary Christianity are arrogance, condescension, and hatred.

      January 26, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • doubting tbt

      tbt is always mentioning doubt
      I think she has more doubts than she's willing to admit

      January 26, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • John not the Baptist

      tbt was more fun but just as stupid when she posted under the handle Heaven Sent, the good old days.

      January 26, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • truth be told

      Sorry john but once again you are lying and proving my point. But thanks for the confirmation.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Afternoon, cap'n !

      January 26, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Bet

      An atheist is predestined to a life of lies, theft and murder.

      But I thought we all had "free will". Predestination precludes free will.

      How's your soothing spa, Heaven Stench?

      January 26, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  19. the AnViL

    the bible is true because it says so in the bible!!!

    January 26, 2013 at 8:18 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Ah, circular reasoning; the cornerstone of all religious arguments.

      January 26, 2013 at 8:19 am |
    • John not the Baptist

      The gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is true because it says so in the gospel.
      RAmen

      January 26, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • Science

      Naturally, science classes only teach about science, not about religion; therefore, if a science class is going to address the origins and development of life, it will only be through an explanation of evolutionary theory and not through an exegesis of the book of Genesis.
      Peace

      January 26, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • MaryMary

      Be careful, Anvil, don't make an idol out of the Bible. Worship the living God, not the Bible. Blessings to you.

      January 26, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • OTOH

      Mary, Mary,

      Tell us something about this "living God". What are its characteristics and attributes? How do you know them?

      January 26, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • MaryMary

      He is a God of mercy. He is more concerned of our progress in this life, not our perfection. He loves his creation.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • OTOH

      MaryMary,

      I must say, you have a nicer god than many people do. It's certainly not the one in The Bible, though.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Mary Mary

      Same God. But worship God, not the Bible.

      January 26, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  20. lol??

    In other business news Hugh Huffner, in order to save his wilting empire, announced plans to offer a primate p*o*r*n* channel on Dish N Dolls Satellite Network. The African cable guy is worried and depressed. He plans to organize the female chimps to protest those antennas as eyesores in their pristine community.

    January 26, 2013 at 7:42 am |
    • Akira

      Hmmmm...and tbt says atheists are liars? And precisely WHY are you so interested in the sex lives of, well, everything?

      January 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • lol??

      akira, fallacyspotter should be able to address your question.

      January 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      or not

      January 26, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.