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May 22nd, 2013
06:20 PM ET

This Oklahoma atheist isn't thanking the Lord

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='JRavitzCNN']

(CNN) – Behind her were ruins, a tangled mess where structures once stood. Cradled in her arms, the mother’s 19-month-old son played with a snatched microphone, unfazed by the chaos swirling around him. And in front of Rebecca Vitsmun stood CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who – after asking her about the decision that saved her and her son's lives – had one more question:

“I guess you got to thank the Lord, right?” he asked.

“Yeah,” she mumbled, smiling and looking down.

“Do you thank the Lord for that split-second decision?” he continued.

“I, I, I,” the 30-year-old stay-at-home mom stammered before adding, “I’m actually an atheist.”

She laughed, Blitzer laughed, and the moment passed seamlessly on live TV. Except it also became a clip heard across the Internet and social media – one that pointed to a reality about faith in America that exists even where, and when, people might least expect it.

Vitsmun, who chronicled her decision to flee her house with her son on CNN iReport, is one of 13 million atheists or agnostics in America, according to a 2012 report by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life.

See Rebecca Vitsmun discuss her decision with CNN's Wolf Blitzer

While only 2.4% of Americans are atheists, they fit into a broader category that is on the rise in the United States.

Nearly 20% of adults – and a third of those under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated, the Pew report found.

This group, which has grown by roughly 5% in five years, is often referred to as the “nones.” It is a term that extends beyond atheists, who believe there is no God, and agnostics, who believe it’s impossible to prove or disprove God’s existence. It includes a greater proportion of people who see themselves as nothing in particular, which means they might be secular, spiritual or believers – but simply don’t identify with an organized religion, said Greg Smith, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center

“When we ask people questions about their religious identity, when we ask them about their religious beliefs, there are relatively few who are atheists. But I’m speaking in percentage terms,” Smith said. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of them around. And they’re certainly all over.”

Oklahoma included.

In fact, when the Pew Research Center last drilled down to uncover the religious landscape of affiliations on a state level five years ago, 12% of Oklahomans were religiously unaffiliated. And just as the numbers ticked up nationally since then, it stands to reason that they did the same in Oklahoma.

We tried to reach Vitsmun by phone Wednesday but were unable to connect.

Her friend Waylon Flinn, however, shed some light on who she is. She and her husband, who Flinn said is also an atheist, aren’t the sorts who advertise their beliefs or throw them in people’s faces. When she agreed to go on camera, it wasn’t for that platform; she didn’t even see the Lord question coming.

But that she responded to Blitzer the way she did is no surprise to Flinn, who opened his home in nearby Norman to Vitsmun’s family after theirs was destroyed.

“She handled it in her style, which is very honest and true to herself,” he said.

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Atheism • iReport • News media

soundoff (2,486 Responses)
  1. Ok yeah, no.

    God? Ok yeah, no.

    May 23, 2013 at 3:57 am |
    • Ak-Haru Kenaustin Ardenol

      No? Okay. Yeah.

      May 23, 2013 at 4:01 am |
    • Jason

      "Ok, yeah, no " . . . very annoying. Which is it: Ok? Yeah? or No?

      May 25, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
  2. hishouseinc

    Please, I don't have time to argue. There are too many people that are suffering that desperately need my help.

    May 23, 2013 at 3:23 am |
    • Ok yeah, no.

      But you have time to type that? Ok yeah, no.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:52 am |
  3. DDL

    Just Wolf's luck-he chooses to interview the only atheist in Oklahoma....

    May 23, 2013 at 3:02 am |
    • a b

      that might be funny for you and others who didn't read the rest of the article which made it a point to say that roughly 12% of Oklahomans are atheists, a greater percentage than most states. so i guess your joke would be funny to the illiterate.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:18 am |
    • Dave

      Might want to be careful, we are literally coming out of the woodwork. 🙂

      May 23, 2013 at 3:19 am |
    • Dave

      And by the way, there are two people who don't believe in God in that video. 🙂

      Atheism is our natural default and all children start out as unbelievers. It takes hard work and lot's of hyped doom and gloom and fear to scare them into believing in an invisible man that they have to constantly beg not to send them to an eternal torment. Of course parents often have to teach them what torment is before the child understands, but most Christian parents were taught the same way so they know how to dish out the religious hazing that is required to make believers out of their kids.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:25 am |
    • -_-

      Agnosticism is the default. Atheism does not mean "not knowing". Atheism makes "knowing not". There is a difference.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:29 am |
    • Lars J

      Regarding the high percentage of atheists in Oklahoma, my guess is that, as was the case in Jesus' day, the intolerant legalists that profess to be God's people have have driven many away who might be attracted to the actual teachings of Jesus.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:41 am |
    • Dave

      Well since you get to define my atheism, shouldn't I get to define your Christianity?

      Christian: A believer in Christ as God, the father the son and the holy spirit who dedicates their life to their God and gives away all their worldly goods as Christ demanded of the rich man, for it will be easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. So if you have given away all your earthly goods and become a traveling minister like Christ, then you can call yourself a Christian.

      That work for you?

      May 23, 2013 at 3:46 am |
    • ROO

      @-_-

      Reality is the neutral position. You're taking the "default" on an unproven assertion. The assertion should first be proven true. An atheist's position is already supported when an assertion lacks any evidence to affirm it. That means there was no basis for the assertion to begin with.

      May 23, 2013 at 4:28 am |
    • sam stone

      "Agnosticism is the default. Atheism does not mean "not knowing". Atheism makes "knowing not"."

      I disagree regarding the characterization of atheism. It is not "knowing not", it is "no reason to believe". There are some atheists who claim with absolute certainty that there is no god. Most don't

      May 23, 2013 at 8:50 am |
  4. sang

    natural disaster is not from GOD but from god of this world-satan, when first men fall by devil's lie this world is cursed by satan's schme, we cant blame GOD for every natural disasters!

    May 23, 2013 at 2:46 am |
    • Dave

      Anyone with half a brain is not blaming God or Satan. They know that neither exist so we'll be okay.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:56 am |
    • Hrothgar

      Actually, in the Bible, all the natural disasters are god, and none are Satan.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:58 am |
    • akka69

      You mean GOD is unable to stop satan schemes before they hurt believers?
      That's a serious limitation of HIS almighty-ness.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:08 am |
    • sam stone

      is this a POE?

      May 23, 2013 at 8:53 am |
  5. SCParegien

    This was a total set-up. He knew ahead of time and they faux awkwardly got to the point. This was an intentional story to downplay all the other people thanking God for their safety or leaning on Him for strength in a trying time. The point of the story is to highlight that someone survived without God so maybe we don't really need such an antiquated idea. we should just trust ourselves, Wolf Blitzer and federal disaster relief... You see, this is the "God as opiate of the people" piece Blitzer does as a loyal Marxist thinker. For most post-theist thinkers are Marxist in some way shape or form. So what replaces God? The self? No. Government always replaces God with tyranny and suppression. CNN doesn't want people thanking God because that's something they can't control. But if you remove God your left with propaganda. The reason the first law in the ten commandments is "Thou shall not hold false idols above the Lord" is because we naturally look to worship things. If we ignore God than we turn that energy to other things that ultimately fail and betray us. Like ourselves. We lie to and deceive ourselves. We are easily manipulated by our delusions. God asks for humility and love. Governance demands all the productive years of your life be given to a collective ideal. We must all sacrifice more so that ALL can benefit. But in the end human governance is corrupt and we give up our freedoms and rights to those who would subjugate us in the name of falling in line. God (and I am leaving out any specific religion) is about a personal relationship with something bigger than yourself that you willingly serve for the betterment you and others through love. Governance is coerced servitude that carries penalties if you do not follow the rules. I am being non specific in my references for a reason. Whatever "ism" we subscribe to is ultimately flawed and will never bring us true peace, freedom or justice. Only through love (and any God that embodies that love) will bring us a true sense of meaning. That's the concept anyways. God sounds like he gives me the best shot at living a meaningful life. I've tried just living for myself and it can be an empty existence. I've seen Marxism in action and it always seems to end in coerced servitude via militarism or taxation.

    May 23, 2013 at 2:38 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      Good thing he picked a good actress...

      May 23, 2013 at 2:43 am |
    • akka69

      Sure!
      And ig you look carefully at the rubbles in the background, you can notice it's all styrofoam...

      I guess someone wants to talk to you in area 51

      May 23, 2013 at 3:10 am |
  6. -_-

    Resort to ridicule when your argument falls apart; a sure sign of a weak intellect.

    May 23, 2013 at 2:37 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      You actually don't see the irony in what you just wrote, do you?

      May 23, 2013 at 2:49 am |
    • Platypus Rex

      Ridiculous people with ridiculous ideas by definition deserve ridicule.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:06 am |
    • Ak-Haru Kenaustin Ardenol

      That is amazingly ironic. Yes, tell people they're idiots for calling you names. Hypocrisy is always ironic.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:55 am |
  7. Shmear Onmibagel

    We'll... you cant blame the Jews for this. Woohoo!

    May 23, 2013 at 2:36 am |
  8. pickle

    Wolf is right, God exists. She should have listened to him preach the good news.

    May 23, 2013 at 2:30 am |
    • Jesus

      The good news . . . after an Act Of God with a nasty body count, the atheist who narrowly survived, uh, you're just not getting it at all.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:38 am |
    • pickle

      Both are smiling, surrounded by devestation, while talking about God. Imagine that.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:48 am |
  9. Eric

    Kudos to her for coming out on TV and representing us as something other than moralless heathens. But shame on Wolf to just assume that she was thinking the lord though, as opposed to any of the other religions out there.

    May 23, 2013 at 2:29 am |
    • Dave

      This is what most religious don't even notice, that they assume and make asses of themselves. And then they stand there with the stupidest look on their faces like they lack the ability to comprehend what the atheist just said and you can practically read the dialog flashing above their head that says "Does not compute! Does not compute!"

      May 23, 2013 at 3:01 am |
    • Gaven

      Good point. Imagine if he asked if something like, "You have to thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster, don't you?" or "You have to thank Xenu, don't you?" or "You have to thank Zeus, don't you?"

      Christians in America are both ignorant and arrogant in thinking everyone is Christian and that everyone accepts their religious fictions as their own. It pleases me to see an atheist step up to the plate and state their position.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:09 am |
  10. Kilgore Trout

    Just once I would like to see someone "miraculously" survive, actually think objectively about what saved them, and give thanks accordingly. "I just want to thank..."

    -the meteorologists who gave us as much warning as they could (the Lord gave us none)
    -the urban planners who installed tornado sirens
    -the engineers who built buildings that stood as well as they did
    -the emergency first responders
    -the emergency room staff, nurses, and doctors
    -all the communications technology that ties all of this together
    -lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the generations of scientists, teachers, and trainers that developed all of these things, and trained each new generation to further these advances.

    Why doesn't Wolf Blitzer prompt her to be thankful for these? How sad that even with all of these testaments to rationality we so quickly turn to magic for explanations.

    May 23, 2013 at 2:16 am |
    • Revenge of the ill-tempered trout with fricking lasers on their heads

      Why did Wolf Blitzer think that running around pimping god was the right thing to do in the midst of a carnage that only god could create if he existed?

      May 23, 2013 at 2:19 am |
    • Jose

      Touche.... How about the WR who was double covered and had a perfect spiral lobbed at him from 40 yards out from Aaron Rodgers??!! Really??!! "Yuh ....i got 2 gib god da glori 4 dis ween today." LOL!!!

      May 23, 2013 at 2:22 am |
    • kay

      Wolfe asked her twice hoping for the answer he got. He thought it made a story.

      I would thank all the people you thanked, but I would add one. I would thank God for giving all of those people you thanked LIFE which gave them the ability to achieve all they have.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:28 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      But there's no more evidence that god gives people their lives than there is that god gives people tornado sirens.

      It's still a blind appeal to magic for whatever we don't understand...

      May 23, 2013 at 2:33 am |
    • Yeah Right

      He wasn't hoping to find an atheist, you nitwit. He expected to get the usual "Jesus miracle me" stuff. It was a 1-in-50 chance he would find an atheist. You think he ran around talking to 50 people until he found one?

      I'd like to that Thor for not hammering the survivors. And I'd like the thank Pele for not busting out a volcano to make things worse. And thanks to Beppo the Dancing Clown-God of Hurricanes for not . . .

      May 23, 2013 at 2:36 am |
    • Jacoby

      I absolutely love your response.....Bravo!

      May 23, 2013 at 3:00 am |
    • r3dwin3plz

      Brilliant and heartfelt post. Wouldn't it be nice......

      May 23, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  11. 3N1Amen

    EVERY knee will bow...EVERY tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

    You may not believe now but you will someday. My hope and prayer is that you will turn your backs around and believe now.

    May 23, 2013 at 2:16 am |
    • JimmyJames

      Peddle your fairy tales somewhere else.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:28 am |
    • Eric

      Jesus sounds scary.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:31 am |
    • Gavin Ford

      It's a fear-based religion – of course he sounds scary!

      May 23, 2013 at 2:54 am |
    • Hrothgar

      Jesus is a terrorist: obey or I will get very violent!

      May 23, 2013 at 3:03 am |
    • Dave

      Please attempt to extort as many of us as you like. The sleeping giant has awoken. We see you for what you are. We shall not rest again until the vile filth that is organized religion is exposed before all the world as the peddler of cheap tricks and snake oil faith.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:05 am |
    • sam stone

      empty proxy threats are silly, 3N1

      May 23, 2013 at 8:56 am |
  12. -_-

    Atheists are every bit as ignorant as Christians.

    They both proclaim certainty of something that is entirely unknowable.

    A sane, humble person is an agnostic person.

    If you have no evidence either way, then claiming there is no god is just as absurd as claiming that there is one, and that you know everything about what it wants from humanity.

    May 23, 2013 at 2:10 am |
    • Yeah Right

      In case you haven't noticed, a complete lack of any and all credible evidence for the existence of something is very very strong evidence that it does not exist.

      Or, put away, are you also agnostic as to the existence of leprechauns, Thor, pixies, unicorns, a Vulcan named Spock, and Athena? It's the only sane position by your standards.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:12 am |
    • redzoa

      There is a distinction between "strong atheism" and "weak atheism" . . .

      May 23, 2013 at 2:14 am |
    • -_-

      Cool, so an un-contacted tribe in the middle of New Guinea who has never seen a cell phone has pretty strong "evidence" that they don't exist, and that such things are in fact not even possible.

      If there was a "God", what makes you think you would, or even could, possibly know anything about it?

      May 23, 2013 at 2:17 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      I don't know for certain that there isn't currently a teapot orbiting Venus, but thinking there is not does not make me insane.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:19 am |
    • -_-

      We're not talking about "thinking", though, are we? We're talking about "knowing".

      There is a profound fundamental difference.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:21 am |
    • Yeah Right

      You are suggesting a version of god that is incompatible with what the Bible states god is and how he behaves. Therefore, you must not be Christian.

      Why would your god hide so much and be so unknowable, and then torture you for eternity for not finding or knowing him? That's entrapment, an intensely unjust situation.

      Your evidence for the non-existence of leprechauns and Thor?

      May 23, 2013 at 2:24 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      Uh, I think that's what YOU'RE talking about.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:24 am |
    • -_-

      And what if "God" has nothing to do with any of our lives, or fates, or punishing or rewarding us for any acts, no matter how vile or righteous? Maybe he/she/it simply made everything and then left, or died, or ceased to exist, or exists still in total ambivalence to us? Maybe it's not a thing or a being, but an abstract matrix of absolutes that cause the universe to function? Does that mean it doesn't exist?

      Maybe there is a reason there is law in the universe instead of total chaos. Some might call that reason "God". That doesn't become insane until they start talking about a homeless jew being nailed to a piece of wood to save us from our sins. But you reacting to those people with equal or greater fervor, making opposite judgments about the nature of the universe makes you just as insane.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:28 am |
    • Yeah Right

      So do tell us, are you as wishy-washy and ambivalent and agnostic about the existence of Pele the volcano god? You neatly avoided the subject, so I thought you might have another chance.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:29 am |
    • The Brady Bunch Chainsaw Massacre

      God died? Not too clear on the god-immortal concept there buddy.

      Your pure fantasy hypotheses should show you how false and invented is the concept of god. It has always been imagination, just as it is with you now.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:31 am |
    • -_-

      Pele the volcano god? Do I think he exists? No. But I have nothing approaching certainty about that.

      Someone at some point obviously had some reason to think he did. Maybe he was wrong, as a matter of fact he almost certainly was if we judge it by our modern rubric. A volcano is a small thing; smaller than the earth, smaller than the universe. It's much more measurable than the universe, that much is certain. You can see, and quantify, and examine every little part of what makes a volcano work. There's very little mystery left there, and what mystery that remains is largely trivial – not fundamental.

      By contrast, there is a GREAT DEAL we don't understand about the universe.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:35 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      Along with Yeah Right, I'm still waiting for -_- to expound on how we are insane not to be open to the existence of Pele...

      May 23, 2013 at 2:36 am |
    • -_-

      I hope you're not still waiting, because I clarified that in the previous post, I believe.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:39 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      Thanks, you did. But here is where your logic becomes illogical: You say we can be almost entirely certain Pele is not real because now we understand volcanoes and they are not magic. But then you turn around and say the we don't understand the universe well, so maybe it is magic. A sane person might realize that in the entire history of all of humanity, nothing we have ever studied and began to understand, never, not even once, has that something turned out to be the result of magic.

      Never, ever. So why should we expect it to be?

      May 23, 2013 at 2:41 am |
    • redzoa

      @-_-

      As I noted above, "Atheism" is not a monolithic label . . .
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism

      In other words, many Atheists aren't making claims of certainty, they are stating a reasonable conclusion, based on the available evidence and in the absence of positive supporting evidence, that the probability of the existence a deity is insufficient to warrant belief. This form of atheism concedes that there is a possibility, but that this possibility does not translate into a viable probability. It is a practical position in light of reasonable epistemological constraints.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:42 am |
    • -_-

      I'm a little confused by what you mean by "magic". You seem to classify "magic" as something that inherently does not and cannot exist. So something that does exist, by that measure, clearly isn't magic. So if God does exist, that makes it not-magic, and if it doesn't, it makes it magic?

      Magic is only magic until it is understood. But something that is understood can still be profound. And some things still defy our understanding as human beings. Those things could probably be understood by someone or some thing of sufficient reasoning power, therefore they are probably not magic. I'm not advocating the existence of magic, I'm just discouraging the assumption of absolutes.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:47 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      Magic can be considered synonymous with supernatural. If you are arguing for a god that is not supernatural, then you are changing the common understanding of the word.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:52 am |
    • -_-

      And redzoa, I agree with you, only I would classify the latter as a form of agnosticism. Atheism being intended as the opposite of "theism"; that's my opinion, anyway.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:54 am |
    • -_-

      Supernatural can also be something that exceeds our understanding – which can be a temporary state, but until our understanding exceeds those things; they remain classified as "magic" or "mysterious" or "the unknown".

      All I'm saying is don't pretend to know the unknown until you know it.

      We can create worlds inside a computer; in a few decades more, we might even be able to create people in those worlds that would think of US as God.

      Do you see where I'm going with this?

      May 23, 2013 at 2:58 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      One more take on certainty, and then I'm out. I am not one hundred percent certain that opening my fridge will not cause a giant iguanadon to leap out of nowhere and eat me, but I am going to live my life as if I am certain of it. Similarly, I'm not one hundred percent certain that an ancient god didn't reveal himself to iron age goatherders by having himself tortured and killed in front of them so that they and everyone who followed could be saved from being sent to hell...by him. But, I am going to live my life as I am pretty certain that didn't happen.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:02 am |
    • Kilgore Trout

      Sorry, but that's actually not what supernatural means. You're changing the meanings of words to suit your argument.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:05 am |
    • -_-

      And that's fine, so long as those probabilities don't become prematurely dogmatized.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:06 am |
    • -_-

      Then let me re-phrase.

      Rather than "Supernatural can also be something that exceeds our understanding"

      "Something that exceeds our understand can seem to be supernatural."

      May 23, 2013 at 3:08 am |
    • -_-

      Also, a dinosaur in your fridge and a god outside of our realm of observation are different in that you have pretty thoroughly explored and inventoried you're fridge before. You know the dimension and the contents of it; you know what the temperature is set to. You also know that an iguanadon wouldn't fit in your fridge.

      If the universe was something we'd explored a thousand times over already, and measured every dimension and faculty of it, then this would be a different discussion.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:13 am |
    • Dave

      "They both proclaim certainty of something that is entirely unknowable."

      Let's test that theory.

      Atheist "I proclaim that we have no evidence of anything supernatural!"

      Christian "Well I proclaim that there is a supernatural, a spirit realm where the creator of the entire universe exists and I talk to him daily."

      Atheist "Well I am certain that you have no evidence for your claims"

      Christian "WHAT? YOU ARE CERTAIN THERE IS NO GOD? ARE YOU CRAZY?"

      Atheist "No, you obviously have something stuck in your ear because I said I was certain that so far we have discovered no evidence for God."

      Christian "That's what I said! You claim there is no God so prove it!"

      Atheist "Again, is there something wrong with your ear mic? Do we have a bad connection here? Are you getting only half a bar on your phone? Because I clearly said I am only certain that so far we have no supernatural evidence of God."

      Christian "Why do you hate us so much? Why do you hate hate hate? It must be because without God you are sad and depressed and have no morals."

      Atheist "sigh"

      Christian "Yeah, don't have anything to say do you mister hatey pants!"

      May 23, 2013 at 3:15 am |
    • OldSchool

      You don't know what atheism means apparently. A = lack of, theism = belief in god or gods. It is not a "rejection" or "hatred" of "god", it is merely the default position that all find themselves at absent of prosthelytizing. Atheism and agnosticism are essentially the same thing, agnostics seem to use the word because they are afraid of the stigma associated with the word "atheist".

      May 23, 2013 at 3:16 am |
    • -_-

      Dave, let me clean that up for you.

      Christian: God exists.

      Atheist: God does not exist.

      Agnostic: There's not enough evidence to determine that God exists.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:20 am |
    • -_-

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheism

      No, OldSchool. Just no.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:22 am |
    • OldSchool

      Oh, it's now blatantly apparent that you are trolling. Carry on....

      May 23, 2013 at 3:23 am |
    • -_-

      If I linked you to urban dictionary, then I would be trolling.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:24 am |
    • ROO

      You cannot disprove something that doesn't exist. You can only prove what does exist. If you are claiming something exists which isn't self evident, you have to provide evidence to show how you got the claim in the first place. Atheism is a rejection of unproven CLAIMS. Atheists are saying such a person's CLAIM for deities isn't true based on the evidence. There isn't any reason to assume a god or gods exist, someone is making that claim. You don't say there's no evidence either for or against leprechauns so we 'can't know'. NO, you say prove your claim for leprechauns since reality doesn't back it. We don't say we can't know either way with other mythical creatures, why is it suddenly different when the invented term "god" is mentioned.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:33 am |
    • Dave

      I am an atheist. I see no evidence for any God's therefore I do not believe in any of them. I do not however think that I am omniscient and thus cannot know if at some point there will be evidence of the supernatural or evidence of "alien" beings that many would define as divine or proclaim as our creators. The only thing I proclaim is that we lack the evidence necessary to make the claim for God or aliens or unicorns or leprechauns. Should I consider myself an Aleprechaunus? Aunicornist? It's not that i'm so absolutely positive that there are no leprechauns, it's just I've never seen any evidence that would suggest their existence other than a cereal commercial which i'm pretty sure was faked... and Christianity doesn't even give you marshmallow clovers.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:39 am |
    • sam stone

      Atheists do not claim certainty.

      May 23, 2013 at 8:57 am |
  13. freethinkr

    Well it was an atheist tornado after all. I mean god would never allow such a thing to destroy a school and kill innocent children right? Oh wait, there was that whole thing about god killing all the innocent first born children of Egypt to "teach Pharoah a lesson". So maybe god did send it after all. Aiming for the atheists? Missed!

    May 23, 2013 at 2:01 am |
    • Jose

      NOOOoooo see he's supposedly a jealous god right, (which makes him a childish jerk that needs to learn some manners) so he probably sent that there big air swirly thangy because someone missed a sunday school class and "god" thought he was being cheated on. Not in my slave camp!!

      May 23, 2013 at 2:07 am |
    • 3N1Amen

      Wow. I'm sorry that you think freely like you do. You will not miss out on judgment day. I hope that you turn your back to God. He created you and loves you. Have you ever gave thought to any "what ifs"...like what if I've been a follower all along...and following all the unbelievers straight to hell? It's for ever. That's if you believe. It will be horrific when you do find out that God is indeed real...as it will be too late.
      Please seek Him and ask Him to show Himself to you.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:14 am |
    • redzoa

      3N1 Amen – Your invoking Pascal's Wager (look it up). Your premise is unsupported in that you cannot know if you've actually properly fulfilled the requirements to escape "hell" and you cannot know if you actually picked the "correct" deity of the 10,000 deities humans have worshiped.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:17 am |
    • ROO

      @redzoa

      -which would mean you cannot know if you picked the correct deity out the many claimed to exist. According to that logic one would have to believe them all just to be sure, which is equally moronic.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:49 am |
    • ROO

      wrong person. Meant @3N1Amen

      May 23, 2013 at 3:50 am |
    • sam stone

      3N1Amen: Your god is a petty, vindictive pr1ck, and you are a snivelling toady.

      May 23, 2013 at 8:58 am |
  14. freethinkr

    Atheists in Oklahoma! Well praise the Lo.... oh yeah right. And reason continues to spread her mighty wings. Hope after all.

    May 23, 2013 at 1:57 am |
    • Jose

      Definitely! Although shes probably one of 25 or so in her entire county that doesnt believe in bronze age fairy tales, but it is refreshing to see.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:01 am |
    • 3N1Amen

      Jose, there is nothing much different that this time compared to Noah's time. Same thing. Those people chose not to believe in God either. We were created to walk, talk with God...and to love Him. We are all sinners starting with the first bite. No one is perfect. I'm not better than you or anyone else on here. It's your choice to believe. God is not going to make you love Him or serve Him. He didn't make the people in Noah's time to get on the ark either. It's your choice. I just hope that you choose Him before you die. Have you ever gave some time to think and search your heart...and ask God to show you?? Isn't your eternity worth it?? It's for ever. Heaven or Hell?? Turn or burn. It's your choice. All yours.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:07 am |
    • redzoa

      3N1Amen – "Have you ever gave some time to think and search your heart"

      Have you ever gave some time to think about a deity who bookends this "free will" choice with a gun at your back and pile of money in front? Sounds more like a mobster than a deity worth believing in . . .

      May 23, 2013 at 2:12 am |
    • Jose

      Yeah, some PEOPLE get over being jealous in their lifetime, and this is god we're talking about LOL!! Not to mention the whole find me or else ultimatum ... killing someones son to see if they will stay true.....get the F outa here LOL!!!

      May 23, 2013 at 2:19 am |
    • ROO

      @3N1Amen

      -Noah is a character in an ancient story and there isn't any evidence to suggest the story was true. There's no such thing as "Noah' time" according to the archeological, historical, & geological record. What about the character in the Mesopotamian flood myth who did the exact same thing Noah did (divinely chosen by to build an ark, loaded animals, on the ark while gods flooded the earth, release birds to look for land, landed on a mountain top, offers sacrifice to the gods, the hero of this story received immortality for surviving the flood) yet....he predates the Noah story? Could it be that...the Noah story....is adapted from that older flood myth, which itself was based on a Mesopotamian poem? Hmmmm. Lets connect the dots- "Connect four".

      May 23, 2013 at 4:02 am |
  15. Polymathicguy

    She may not believe in the Lord, but He believes in her.

    May 23, 2013 at 1:41 am |
    • Bob

      No "He" doesn't. Because "He" doesn't exist.

      May 23, 2013 at 1:45 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      You have proof of your claim Bob?

      May 23, 2013 at 1:46 am |
    • Ak-Haru Kenaustin Ardenol

      Save your worthless platitudes for your after-church coffee time.
      You don't know anything about your god so just shut the hell up about what you think he "believes".
      I just talked with him yesterday. He said you all suck. See how easy that was?

      May 23, 2013 at 1:47 am |
    • Bob

      @Mark from Middle River, I'll disprove your god as soon as you show me evidence that he exists. Without proof, what would I disprove?

      May 23, 2013 at 1:49 am |
    • Jose

      LOL "HE" ?? LOL I bet "HE" drives him an F150

      May 23, 2013 at 1:50 am |
    • Jose

      How do magnets work yo??? No one knows that stuff dog.....MIRACLE ....GOD EXSISTS...BOOM PROOF !! LOL!!!

      May 23, 2013 at 1:52 am |
    • Common Sense Sam

      Only in your imagination, buddy.

      May 23, 2013 at 1:52 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"I'll disprove your god as soon as you show me evidence that he exists"

      So, like many other Atheist before, you can not disprove something that you are so sure does not exist. You see, Moderates... be they Atheist or Faithful, do not have to prove anything.

      It's only those of you in the 700 Club types that actually care that much what others believe.

      May 23, 2013 at 1:56 am |
    • Yeah Right

      And Mark once again plays his sleazy "proof" game, knowing full well that neither he nor anyone else has ever provided even the slightest hint of credible evidence of the initial claim, that god exists, and he doubles down and insists that you disprove a negative, which he knows is impossible.

      When you have to rely on intellectual dishonesty as Mark does, it means you have nothing to stand on and must play such games to hide your total inability to support your position.

      He plays this same sleazy huckster game again and again.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:06 am |
    • Bob

      @Mark from Middle River, Hey dimwit, it is impossible to prove a negative. It makes no sense to disprove all possible gods. Can you disprove Zeus isn't running the universe? Does that mean it's a possibility? No. It's absurd to assume some random human take is true in the first place. The only logical way to proceed is to first prove something is true before believing it. If you can't even understand the basics of logic, what chance do you have at understanding the "meaning of life".

      May 23, 2013 at 2:08 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"And Mark once again plays his sleazy "proof" game,"

      It's amazing that when you back folks into a corner ...and they can find their way out they can only claim "foul"

      I am sorry Yeah, but the Atheist created this debate tactic of challenging folks to prove their claim. You hear a person of Faith say there is a God and then challenge him or her to prove it. Now when a Atheist claims that there is "not" a God or Gods, then they want to change the rules or cry and whine that the rules do not apply their Faith. I mean I admit it is convenient, but all sides should play by the same rule.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:15 am |
    • Ak-Haru Kenaustin Ardenol

      Reasoning with someone who can't face reality = waste of time.
      You'll never get past their denial.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:17 am |
    • Bob

      @Mark from Middle River, Seriously, take a course on logic. You are just embarrassing yourself.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:18 am |
    • Mark

      Can't prove a negative, and Mark knows that. An since he knows that, its inherently dishonest – kind of funny considering he pretends to be Christian. However, as a formality, the burden of proof lies with the initial claimant – always. If you make a claim, it is for you to prove, not for someone to disprove. This kind of squabbling is futile – neither will ever satisfy the other.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:26 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Oh, is this the point we start name calling people? As my best bud TomTom said to a Christian, the other day ... Bob, did I hit a nerve 🙂

      It is impossible to prove or disprove God but it is silly when both sides have folks that point to the others failures and declare victory when they have failed as well.

      >>>"Can you disprove Zeus isn't running the universe?"

      I am a Christian that is open to the possibility that it is all the same Deity, so as I have a Faith that is counter to yours I am open minded enough to accept another's view if he or she wants to call the Deity Zeus.

      >>>" The only logical way to proceed is to first prove something is true before believing it."

      Then prove your Atheist view is correct ...and we will proceed. 🙂

      >>>"If you can't even understand the basics of logic, what chance do you have at understanding the "meaning of life".

      The meaning of Life. That is an interesting choice of words. What is the meaning of Life, is it the same as the age old question of "why are we here"? I think, that those in the middle have a better chance of finding the meaning of Life because unilke those on the extreme ends of Atheism and Religious Faith, we do not close our ears and minds. We find that the "meaning of Life" is to find ways to preserve and cherish all life. It does not matter if it is a Muslim, a Hindu, a Jew or even a Atheist. Mother Teresa stated once:

      "There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God. I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic. We believe our work should be our example to people. We have among us 475 souls – 30 families are Catholics and the rest are all Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs—all different religions. But they all come to our prayers."

      This might be the meaning of life. I am not a preacher or a minister. I am just another plain and simple guy trying to make it in the world. I used to be anti this or anti that, but just being "anti" does not make you a better person. So I apologize if your idea of finding the "meaning of life" involves me casting aside my Faith. For me I can be both a friend to an Atheist while continuing to be a Christian.

      L'Chaim.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:31 am |
    • Ak-Haru Kenaustin Ardenol

      @Mark – Quoting Mother Teresa is like quoting Pol Pot.
      I don't think any reasonable person who knows what atrocities some famous people have done would ever think that those monsters had any opinion worth listening to, and I like to think I'm a reasonable person.
      If you want to advocate for inter-faith love-ins, there are surely better sources to pick from.
      Did you hear about the Pope "forgiving" all atheists? What do you think about that?
      I think it's a gross insult to have a smug child-rapist tell anyone they are "forgiven", much less atheists.
      But that is just me. What do you think about it?

      May 23, 2013 at 3:47 am |
    • ROO

      @Mark from Middle River

      If you are making the claim, you DO have to prove it. Otherwise don't expect to be taken seriously. We don't just go around believing every little claim people make. That's nothing but gullibility. Atheists say your CLAIM for god is unsupported, therefore it's rejected- not the fact that there is no god, but your claim FOR a god. Atheists don't raise the existence of gods over reality, you do. You show no evidence to support making the claim, so how did you make it.....other than making things up? At that point, our position is already supported. One can only prove what does exist. If you are claiming to KNOW something exist, and there's nothing to support your claim...then don't expect people to believe your claim. Simple as that.

      May 23, 2013 at 4:19 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"I don't think any reasonable person who knows what atrocities some famous people have done would ever think that those monsters had any opinion worth listening to, and I like to think I'm a reasonable person."

      Yes, some atrocities some folks have done is a possibility. George Washington to Martin Luther King to Ronald Reagan and even Barack Obama. At the same time, none of these persons, including ones such as Christopher Hitchens and A.Phillip Randolph declared that they were perfect but Mother Teresa could have stayed home or gone home as a great many Christians but, she stayed in the trenches and with quotes such as the one I presented, she did at least make an effort to reach out to others. Basically, you are declaring that some famous people have done bad things ... so in turn I should not quote them. I see too much good advice, in our human history. Some good and some even greater.

      >>>"If you want to advocate for inter-faith love-ins, there are surely better sources to pick from."

      I get this from some of my "Black Power" relatives, who shudder to even consider words of wisdom from anyone White. They quote every African American famous figure but fail to understand that as many of them also have Faith in God, they can not see that any White man or woman in history has said anything inspirational to them.

      So, Ak-Haru, I will keep all of my Malcolm X (Muslim), Saladin (Muslim), Mother Teresa (Catholic), Martin Luther King, Lee, Lincoln, Churchhill, Reagan and Clinton, (Christian), A.Philip Randolph (Atheist) speeches as my inspirations. If their words do not work for you.... ecch, I hope you have ones of your own.

      >>>"Did you hear about the Pope "forgiving" all atheists? What do you think about that?"

      No thought on it. I am only Catholic Friendly 🙂 Question, if he swore them all to Satan.... would you think anything on it. If a Atheist does not believe that God or Gods exist, then such a blessing or forgiveness should be meaningless to them. So no harm done.

      >>>"I think it's a gross insult to have a smug child-rapist tell anyone they are "forgiven","

      Has Pope Francis been accused of being a child rapist? I will hold to my previous view, if you do not believe his prayers or blessings are anything meaningful... what is the harm. Even Christopher Hitchens, the famous Atheist, acknowledged in a non negative way those of Faith praying for him.

      ====
      >>>" If you are making the claim, you DO have to prove it Otherwise don't expect to be taken seriously. We don't just go around believing every little claim people make. "

      I can see that ROO has not read all of the post. I did not make a claim, I am only doing what you have just declared so joyously... a Atheist made a claim and I asked him to prove it. So, since Bob has not proven it... by your own words and declarations... we can not take Bob's Faith that there is not a God. These are your own words ROO.

      >>>"You show no evidence to support making the claim, so how did you make it.....other than making things up?"

      Sorry....but again, I didn't make the claim ... Bob made a claim that he can not back up.

      >>>"One can only prove what does exist. "

      Sorry, you can not change the rules just because your side fails the same as the Faithful when attempting to prove or disprove God's existence. The "simple" truth is that as soon as a person makes any claim, they can be challenged. .

      This is why Atheism is just another form of having Faith that your belief is correct.

      May 23, 2013 at 5:18 am |
    • ROO

      @Mark from Middle River

      -I'm not claiming anything. I simply don't accept an unsupported assertion based on the evidence. The existence of god is an assertion. Bob is rejecting that assertion. Its already supported because of lack of evidence needed to back the asserted claim that god's existence is true. This is what you misunderstand about atheism. To say god exist is to assert a claim of existence in the same way as saying fairies exist. In order to show that claim something more than an invented lie....you produce evidence to back why the claim was made. That's why the burden of proof lie on the one making the claim.

      May 23, 2013 at 5:31 am |
    • Ak-Haru Kenaustin Ardenol

      @Mark – If you don't think criminal conduct by someone like the pope is cause for concern, then okay I won't ask you about foreign affairs.
      As to the quotes, go ahead and knock yourself out. I'm not into that stuff.

      May 23, 2013 at 6:14 am |
    • sam stone

      how sweet, poly.....totally delusional, but sweet

      who the fvck gives you the authority to speak for god?

      May 23, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"-I'm not claiming anything. I simply don't accept an unsupported assertion based on the evidence."

      As is everyone of Faith, when an Atheist makes the claim that God or Gods do not exist. So far Atheism has not offered physical proof or any other proof of their Faith in their belief of non-existence.

      >>>"Bob is rejecting that assertion."

      And I am rejecting his for the same reason. I know Atheism very well ROO and I know that it is just like any other Faith. When a Atheist says that God or Gods do not exist it is the same preaching of a Faith as when a Muslim declares that God exist and that Mohammad is his messenger or any assertion.

      >>>"you produce evidence to back why the claim was made. That's why the burden of proof lie on the one making the claim."

      Exactly, any claim and all claims. Bob, and other Atheist, are to be held to the same standards of anyone making a claim.

      ===

      >>>"If you don't think criminal conduct by someone like the pope is cause for concern, then okay I won't ask you about foreign affairs."

      Ak-Haru, I have google'd Pope Francis and child abuse or any scandal and all I get is not a child abuse claim but that he might have had a part in the Gorilla war in Argentina. Do you have a link to a claim against him of child abuse?

      L'Chaim for the both of you 🙂

      May 23, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • ROO

      @Mark from Middle River

      "As is everyone of Faith, when an Atheist makes the claim that God or Gods do not exist."- that's not a claim, its a rejection of an assertion already made. Again, the existence of god is an asserted claim. Someone saying 'god doesn't exist' is simply stating a rejection of that assertion and their position is already back by lack of support for the claim of god's existence. No proof for non-existence is already confirmation of non-existence since you can only gather proof for something that exist. DUH! The person making the claim for existence.....has to prove that claim for existence. Otherwise, they are making things up. Get it?

      May 24, 2013 at 3:24 am |
  16. Jose

    That number of 2.4% is total B-S. Its much higher than that. Im agnostic in a sense, and i find that more times than not most of the people in my age group think that being agnostic is STILL believing too much. This entire "News Piece" WAS IN BAD TASTE. What a stupid headline. Organized religion has to go, sooner rather than later.

    May 23, 2013 at 1:40 am |
    • Polymathicguy

      Faith in God has nothing to do with organized religion.

      May 23, 2013 at 1:42 am |
    • Jose

      P.S. good for her....If i have to hear one more sports icon with a 91 iq say "a gotta gib du grace 2 god firs" Im gonna puke my guts out. LOL

      May 23, 2013 at 1:42 am |
    • Jose

      Hense Agnostic in a way, believe in a higher level of consciousness....power...whatever, but dont believe that someone lived in a whale or that god is a jealous person (which is so lame, because some people have gotten over being jealous...what a child of a god).

      May 23, 2013 at 1:44 am |
    • G to the T

      Jose – I believe you would be technically considered a theist then... agnosticism isn't separate from that, it just means you don't think it can be proven either way (which is a valid stance). So you wouldn't be far off calling yourself and agnostic theist.

      May 24, 2013 at 11:18 am |
  17. 3N1Amen

    EVERY knee will bow...EVERY tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. You may not believe now but you will someday. My hope is that you will turn your backs around and believe now.

    May 23, 2013 at 1:39 am |
    • Jose

      Im so glad that there is someone so much smarter than the rest of us on here to shed some light on the situation. Wow, i mean, dude, ive never heard that before ....and ive never really thought about religion that hard....or read a thousand or so books....or really sat down and questioned all the stupid things from the bronze age that make absolutely no sense to modern man. Maybe one day all of us critical thinkers can be smart like you and not question anything even if its scientifically obvious, you know ....take a short cut to thinking...thank you!!! thank you so much and god bless you for opening my eyes...LOL!!!

      May 23, 2013 at 1:48 am |
    • 3N1Amen

      Jose, there is nothing much different that this time compared to Noah's time. Same thing. Those people chose not to believe in God either. We were created to walk, talk with God...and to love Him. We are all sinners starting with the first bite. No one is perfect. I'm not better than you or anyone else on here. It's your choice to believe. God is not going to make you love Him or serve Him. He didn't make the people in Noah's time to get on the ark either. It's your choice. I just hope that you choose Him before you die. Have you ever gave some time to think and search your heart...and ask God to show you?? Isn't your eternity worth it?? It's for ever. Heaven or Hell?? Turn or burn. It's your choice. All yours.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:06 am |
  18. Adam

    So many atheists on here. I'm sure that had you been asked that question you would have glared at Wolf, spat in his face and talk about how disgusted you are that he even asked you that. If you don't want to believe in G-d, fine, but don't get on your high horse and act like you're better than anyone else.

    May 23, 2013 at 1:28 am |
    • madmanmoses

      layeth down your mics and go efing helpeth some one...sayeth the lord...

      May 23, 2013 at 1:32 am |
    • Observer

      Adam,

      How about a deal? Christians don't get on their high horses and tell everyone else how awful they are and that they, in effect, deserve to go to hell.

      May 23, 2013 at 1:33 am |
    • Jinm P.

      Why not? "Believers" do: "I'm on a first name basis with the Lord of the Universe and he cares very deeply about me (even though he just flattened my home with a tornado and killed a bunch of children) but plans to torture *you* for eternity because you don't seem to understand just how much he loves and cares for you. You do things like that when you're the Lord of the Universe, you have to make sure people know just what's gonna happen to them if they don't love you in just the right way."

      May 23, 2013 at 1:36 am |
    • MarcNJ

      Most commenters on these comment sections wouldn't have the baIIs to say face-to-face what they say on these boards.

      May 23, 2013 at 1:36 am |
    • anon

      Kind of like how you're demonizing atheists right now?
      Kind of like how religious types have been doing for say oh, 2000 years or so, saying how you're such a better person for believing in sky daddy?
      I would not have spat, I would have laughed.
      Thanking gawd you didn't get killed in the giant tornado he sent? How is that a miracle?

      May 23, 2013 at 1:46 am |
    • Gaven

      "but don't get on your high horse and act like you're better than anyone else."

      Oh, you mean don't be like Christians. Duly noted. We atheists will do our best not to be like Christians. Thanks for the sound advice! it's the first rational thing I've ever heard a theist say. Congratz on being the first!

      May 23, 2013 at 3:20 am |
    • agnes nutter

      There is a very wide gulf between the way you imagine atheists would behave, and the way you have just seen one behave. Perhaps this should be evidence for you that you are demonizing people (sorry, couldn't help myself) in an irrational manner.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  19. Humanist11

    If she had thanked The Lord then my opinion of her would have plummeted and I would have to question her integrity for believing such a preposterous idea exists. My highest respect goes out to this young woman.

    May 23, 2013 at 1:17 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Shame that folks that believe differently or look differently or ..just is not part of your "everyone must be the same as me" world are automatically bad. I used to feel the same about all Atheist and all Gays and Lesbians but when you take the time to open your mind and open your heart, you might change.

      May 23, 2013 at 1:26 am |
    • Ak-Haru Kenaustin Ardenol

      @Mark – You are evolving? Are you sure you want to be doing that? You might hurt yourself. lol

      May 23, 2013 at 1:32 am |
    • Observer

      Mark from Middle River,

      Kudos. Someone who actually tries to follow the Golden Rule.

      May 23, 2013 at 1:35 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Ak-Haru. Evolving... maybe evolved already when I took Whoopi Goldberg's advice on Racism. She stated that Racism is stupid because if you spend any time with someone for a few hours you can find more legitimate reasons to hate them. There are Atheist that I have met here that I would rather spend time with than some Christians that I know.

      May 23, 2013 at 1:52 am |
    • Jose

      Definitely...kudos to her for putting up with a BS sweeps week question.

      May 23, 2013 at 1:54 am |
    • Ak-Haru Kenaustin Ardenol

      @Mark – That's a funny quote..and definitely thought-provoking. Yes, she has a good insight there.
      She's probably got thousands of good quotes out there just as good.
      Did you ever go back and reply to that argument we were having way back when?
      Do you feel like continuing it or would you like to try something else?

      May 23, 2013 at 3:37 am |
  20. Bob

    Religion is corrosive for the mind. Here is one example of what it can lead to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22633937

    May 23, 2013 at 1:13 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.