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. Jack

    The author should have also taken the time to note that of atheists, women are greatly outnumbered by men. Indeed, women atheists are very rare. This might also explain why atheists' parties are nothing much to brag about.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • TheRationale

      Lol you actually got me to chuckle there.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • SwedishFish

      Um where is your factual evidence for this assertion that women atheists are rare? Dumbest thing I've heard in a long time.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoFaith

      Not my experience at Center For Inquiry events in the DC area. I think there are more women.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • Observer

      Most famous atheist activist: Madalyn Murray O'Hair.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • Nicole

      We aren't. Women are greatly outnumbered by men in secular groups. Probably because of the rampant misogony. But on polls our numbers are comparable to men.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Doug

      I hate people who cant spell...hauahuahauhauha

      May 22, 2013 at 11:46 pm |

    hindu atheist , ignorant self centered have no clue, how truth absolute GOD works, not himself with a shovel in HIS hand, but he triggers foundation of spirit of human, with in truth of life to act to help. HE is very much involved through his human, HIS LOVE, human to help needy.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:40 pm |

      word fondu is based on Latin word dippity doo, hot gooey, chips, great, chip dip, to be in greatness, pita chip, to be creamy to both of them, fondu, a noun in yummy, fonduism, way of yumminess.

      Visit dippingisfun.com to learn about fonduism, deliciousnessity of fondu's, deliciousness to impose fonduism, veggie dipping on humanity by fonduism, cheese skin of truth absolute by dipper. Be a dipper, not a fondu, lactose intolerant like a fondu, double dipper.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
  3. HeavenSent

    All in good time, sayeth the Lord to His believers in the playground of Heaven, which will be my home for eternity. My camel-toe is reading "If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!" for extra credit. Looking from a window above, it's like a story of love cuddles.


    May 22, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • wealthcoaches

      What the.... ?

      May 22, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • euroyank

      Do you know what a camel-toe is??? Labia lips in your jeans dearie

      May 27, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  4. Wondering who

    No doubt she hasn't considered who or what was nagging at her to get moving and out of the path of the storm. Her instructions had been to stay put in the bathtub but by her own words she felt driven to leave. Gee, could it have been a warning from God, a guardian angel with message from above? Someone saved her and her child.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • athens guy

      blah, blah, blah... prove it

      May 22, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoFaith

      What about the nagging some of the dead might have had to stay in place instead of leaving the area? Did God give them that message? Your logic is not flawed, but nonexistent. According to the Bible, non believers are going to hell. Why would God bother to save her? Why would God have killed some Christians instead? Or do you pick and choose which portions of the Bible are real?

      May 22, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • DaveLake

      Hmmm-if that is the case why didn't God give special instructions to the little kids that died at the school. Oh-I see-he only helps some people.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • Lance

      The atheist gets a guardian angel that gives warnings? Strong enough warnings that even an atheist heeds them? Then, where were the guardian angels of those that died? Statistically, most if not all of them were believers. It should have been a LOT easier for them to heed the warnings. Also, what good is a guardian angel that can't actually do anything to protect you other than whisper recommendations in your ear?

      May 22, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Roger that

      Really...it's too bad the ones that died didn't get the warning from God. I guess God didn't give a sh it about them. Thanks for clearing that up.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • Doug

      She doesnt say that....she says, My husband is from Oklahoma and always says you should stay, but I'm not from here and I panicked 10 minutes before it hit, I got in the car and drove away.

      But I guess accuracy is not your strong suit, obviously

      May 22, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
  5. Apple Bush

    If you consult the dictionary, here is the first definition of God that you will find:

    "A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions.

    Most believers would agree with this definition because they share a remarkably clear and consistent view of God. Yes, there are thousands of minor (and some major) quibbles about religion. Believers express those quibbles in dozens of denominations - Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics, Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists and all faiths. But at the heart of it all, the belief in God aligns on a set of core ideas that everyone accepts.

    What if you were to simply think about what it would mean if there were a perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe? Is it possible for such a being to exist?

    Epicures thought about it in 300 BCE, and he came up with this:

    "The gods can either take away evil from the world and will not, or, being willing to do so, cannot; or they neither can nor will, or lastly, they are both able and willing. If they have the will to remove evil and cannot, then they are not omnipotent. If they can, but will not, than they are not benevolent. If they are neither able nor willing, then they are neither omnipotent nor benevolent. Lastly, if they are both able and willing to annihilate evil, how does it exist?"

    In other words, if you sit and think about who God is supposed to be, you realize that such a being is impossible. Ridiculous, in fact.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The various believers assume that a benevolent God would not be indifferent to evil in our lives. Their God(s) always seem to be engaged in our lives and to want things from us.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • Michael Bruce

      This brings to mind the case of the dyslexic agnostic who wasn't sure if there was a dog...

      May 22, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
  6. Joe Bowers

    Thank you God for sending this giant tornado to come destroy my home and kill my neighbors including 9 little kids, you are so great and awesome.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • DaveLake

      Thanks Bowers for pointing out the flaw with those that believe god saved some people.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • Roger that

      That's the spirit.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
  7. trollol

    An article about a woman who isn't thanking the lord? Seriously? CNN, you are failing!

    May 22, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoFaith

      Trollo, or Troll more likely;

      But Fox News spouting God crap nonstop is "success"? It's supposed to be a news channel, not a sermon for desperate believers who deny science and logic. And if you look, this is the Belief Blog, not a "news" page for CNN. So this is where it belongs.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • karen

      I agree with you; this is not news. What a ridiculous waste of time.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
  8. Stephen

    The meaning of life? Many ponder what it may be. Its the same for mankind as for all of God's creation, that is to glorify God. All His creation glorifies Him except man, those who have hardened their hearts against Him. It sure is nice to know who to thank for eveything that we have been given. Thank You Lord for sending Yeshua to atone for our sins, and for taking away the wall of seperation between us.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      All of creation glorifies your God in some way that we do not? I'm increasingly of the mind that my Yorkie doesn't know God or believe in it. Does he fail in the same way I do?

      May 22, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoFaith

      Stephen, can you provide one shred of tangible evidence for God's existence? You seem awfully sure of yourself over something with no proof. Science provides plenty of evidence that the probability of a God is ridiculously small. I go with the evidence over a bronze age myth.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • Ron

      Tom, all of creation knows, including your Yorkie. Why would you try to bring anyone or anything else down to your foolish level? You are spiritually impotent and proud of it. You are spiritually disfunctional and boast of it.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • Doug

      It sure isnt nice to know you are wasting your life on your beliefs. Do the right thing just because, not because of some reward you will receive for doing it.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • Ron

      Doug, tell me oh wise godless man, what is the right thing? And what is the wrong thing? Isn't that kind of narrow of you to actually say there is a right and a wrong?

      May 22, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoFaith

      But apparently you have no problem in calling people names and making arguments with no merit.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • LinCA


      You said, "Doug, tell me oh wise godless man, what is the right thing? And what is the wrong thing? Isn't that kind of narrow of you to actually say there is a right and a wrong?"
      You seem to be suggesting that without the guidance from your imaginary friend you wouldn't be able to tell right from wrong. You seem to be suggesting that you'd be a thief and a murderer and a rapist. Please do society a favor, and never give up your delusion.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Ron may have something valuable to contribute. He may know what "spiritually dysfunctional" means (or "spiritual", for that matter) as applied to things that are not imaginary.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Ron

      Lin, please tell me then oh wise godless woman, why are those things you mentioned wong? Many feel they are right. Who are you to tell them they are wrong?

      May 22, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoFaith

      So Ron, genius of faith;
      Are you an amoral Christian? Do you say there is no right and wrong? Or do you suggest only the Bible tells us what is right and wrong? Tell us oh great master of myth (and nonsensical posts.)

      May 22, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • LinCA


      You said, "Lin, please tell me then oh wise godless woman, why are those things you mentioned wong?"
      They are wrong because they cause harm to others.

      You said, "Many feel they are right."
      Only psychopaths and religiots.

      But again, please don't ever give up on your religion. If you are unable to make a simple assessment like that for yourself, you'd be a danger to society. I'd rather you remain a blathering fool than turn into a psychopath.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • Doug

      Hey guys, god already knows if you will go to heaven or hell....dont sweat it.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • Bob

      Lin, do you have an age group to whom you apply your "moral code". What about babies? Are they being harmed? Tell me true.

      May 23, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
  9. John N Florida

    I'm sure all day long Wolf was having one interview after the other where the survivor(s) praised their God. Maybe he shouldn't have 'jumped the shark' with the question, but it is understandable in context,
    As for the lady, I admire her back bone in sticking up for her 1st Amendment Rights – the right to Freedom FROM Religion, be it mine, yours, or some Imams.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • lol??

      but not the gubmint's. name me 10 things that little god doesn't control.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  10. Apple Bush

    I observe my world, therefore it exists. There is no other possibility and it does not prove that there is a creator, for there may be an infinite number of universes with no life, different life, or the same life that I am familiar with. You don't know, I don't know. Why pretend?

    May 22, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • lol??

      wow, now it's infinite....sounds like the name of a car, sorta like dodge spirit.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
  11. erikc

    Not sure what Wolf thought she had to thank God for in the first place. Sending a tornado that killed other people and not her? How about NOT sending tornados? THAT would be something to be thankful for.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
    • lol??

      just perplexing......man is doomed to perplexion with no sunscreen that is safe.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
  12. Fiona

    She was smart to take her son and get out of there, to take matters into her own hands rather than "hand it over to The Lord." Maybe that intelligence has something to do with her atheism?

    May 22, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • lol??

      are you sure you wanna call her son an it??

      May 22, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoFaith

      Reading comprehension shows us the subject "it" refers to the situation, not her son.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • lol??

      I see yer point metaphorically. the picture in my mind was hands and arms, wrapped around boy and a tornado coming. no handing nuthin' to nobody. vamoose!!!

      May 22, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
  13. Doug

    Non believers need to be more vocal. We have too many people in government making decisions that are influenced by fantasy. Belief in god is the number one problem in the world. Remove it and you will see real progress everywhere.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • Gorsh

      Perhaps even a "great leap forward"

      May 22, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • lol??

      "...................We have too many people in government............" now yer gettin' smart. gubmint starts at the individual level and works out from there. forget that king and commie stuff, unless you already know you are the king of your castle.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • EE

      I disagree. Religion creates peace, order, and discipline. And just because the world is not perfect it doesn't mean it's because religion is doing so. People are still able to make their own decision in the world. We believers know that God placed those laws for us to follow. But he does't force us to follow. The way you interpret it is on you. You tell a child not to tough the hot pot it is his/her decision to obey, you don't force him/her not to touch it do you?

      May 22, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoFaith

      EE says:
      "I disagree. Religion creates peace, order, and discipline."
      REALLY? How's the religion thing and peace working out in the Mideast? Or Russia?

      "And just because the world is not perfect it doesn't mean it's because religion is doing so. People are still able to make their own decision in the world. We believers know that God placed those laws for us to follow."
      What laws are you talking about? Gravity? Thermodynamics? The US Federal Code? Traffic laws?

      "But he does't force us to follow. The way you interpret it is on you. You tell a child not to tough the hot pot it is his/her decision to obey, you don't force him/her not to touch it do you?"

      But many religious folks will tell peoole that it is God's will that you got burnt for touching a hot pot. Science and logic tell someone that hot things have high molecular motion which when transferred to human skin causes cellular damage. I'll take the logical science view thanks.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  14. faith

    Sheryl is proud that her children steered clear of trouble in their teen years and that Calico and Dash are pursuing career goals. (Dash has played in a band called Runaway Phoenix, but he's taking a break as he tries to land an internship with the Phoenix Coyotes.)

    "Our kids have an intact family, the security of two parents who are honestly sick in love with each other," Sheryl says. "There's a trickle-down effect."

    "We were well-adjusted because we weren't spoiled. Everything we got, we had to earn."

    Dash says, "I never let it get to me that it was such a big hype that my dad was kind of a celebrity."

    I thought, 'Your dad is a lawyer, your dad is a plumber, and this is just what my dad does.' "

    Calico adds, "We were raised to respect his fans.

    Keeping the faith

    Strong religious faith has kept the Cooper family close, with all its members active through the years at Camelback Bible Church in Paradise Valley.

    "Alice and Sheryl are so committed to each other and to their kids," says Lisa Savale, one of Sheryl's closest friends. "I think part of that is their faith."

    Sheryl and Lisa, whose husband, Chuck, plays golf with Alice, co-founded a women's aer obic ministry at Came lba ck Bi ble Church. It involves several dance and exercise classes each week, with Sheryl teaching a Friday class called Dance It Off.

    She operated a 500-student school called De st iny Da nce International from 2003 to 2007, then closed it to teach a weekly class at a Sc ot t sdale studio and devote more time to Solid Rock, a non-profit group co-founded by Alice that serves inner-city teens in Arizona. "Solid Rock started a summer program with Neighborhood Ministries, at 19th Avenue and Van Buren, and we had 400 kids show up for our dance camp," Sheryl says. no just where that is

    Alice adds, "It's right in the middle of g an gla nd. They have recreation and sports like basketball. The ga n gb ang e rs' little brothers and sisters go there. It's kind of off-limits to gangs."

    May 22, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
  15. HeavenSent

    The atheist sees a desert where the Christian feels God's love. Jesus gave us His truth in His letter to us, the Holy Bible. My camel-toe always tips 20%. It is time for you to start your walk with Jesus and carry His sandals.


    May 22, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Doug

      Websters has it right – faith=firm belief in something for which there is no proof

      May 22, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      "Jesus" gave us ambiguity. Ambiguity from a supposed deity is cruelty.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
  16. Reality


    Religion………………………… Adherents

    Christianity ……………………..2.1 billion

    Islam…………………………… 1.5 billion

    Irreligious/agnostic/atheism…… 1.1 billion (look out, here we come)

    Hinduism 900 million
    Chinese traditional religion 394 million
    Buddhism 376 million
    Animist religions 300 million
    African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million
    Sikhism 23 million
    Juche 19 million
    Spiritism 15 million

    Judaism…………………………………….. 14 million

    Baha'i 7 million
    Jainism 4.2 million
    Shinto 4 million
    Cao Dai 4 million
    Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
    Tenrikyo 2 million
    Neo-Paganism 1 million
    Unitarian Universalism 800,000
    Rastafari Movement 600,000

    May 22, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Gorsh

      It is cute how you put irreligious/Agnostic and atheist together as one group. Agnostics don't believe fairy tales made up by prophets nor unsupported theories of science. Please don't try to include us in the atheist club. They are a bunch of dogmatic fools as bad as any religious group.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • Al


      Read a book.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • AtheistSteve


      You seem to have some misconception about atheism.

      You are a theist (one who believes in god) or you're not. That's what atheist means. Plain, simple and clear. You can play games with absolute this and absolute that till the cows come home but you still aren't making you point valid. The only way to be a bad atheist is to believe in god.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Gary

      Gorsh, like many people I think you misunderstand what an atheist is. An atheist doesn't believe. No god. Period. THere are no crazy scientific theories. No make believe fairy tales. Just a simple way. Now Agnostics are opened minded to the possibilities, which I understand is less scary than to believe in nothing but atheists are ok with the reality of the situation. We live and die and thats ok. Make the best of it while you can.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Gorsh

      Al, your brilliance amazes you.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • redzoa

      Just to add, while there may be unsupported scientific hypotheses, by definition, there are no "unsupported" scientific theories when using "scientific theory" in its proper sense. Another example of scientific illiteracy?

      May 22, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoFaith

      Gorsh: That's alright. Your ignorance amuses us.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • Gorsh

      Gary, Agnostics choose to believe what can be proven one way or another, rather than make a decision based on their own preconceived biases or unsupported beliefs of others. Atheists (by the generally accepted meaning of the word) believe that there is no god. This is as much an act of faith as believing there is a god.

      Granted, over the last few decades, there has been a strong effort by atheists to redefine the word atheist to be a an almost meaningless word covering anyone that is not religious. This is just an act of misdirection and cowardice. If you believe something step up; don't turn real words into weasel words.

      Freezing now means anything but hot. (warm, room temp, chilly, brisk)
      Stationary means anything but light speed.
      Atheist means anyone but a church going zealot.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • Gorsh

      Science, I find people like you truly amusing. You believe things without proof then laugh at others for doing the same. Your lack of self awareness is amazing.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoFaith

      Gorsh: What is it you claim I believe without proof?

      May 22, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • AtheistSteve


      Claim what you wish but you don't get to redefine whta the word atheist means.
      Atheism is equiivalent to a null hypothesis.
      Or put another way it is the rejection of theist claims. Not the assertion of the negative. Much like in a court of law the defendant is found guilty or not guilty. There is no verdict of innocent.
      Thus atheist find God not gulity of existing.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • Gary

      Gorsh, you are basically saying the same thing as I am with a different ending. Atheist to me is no god. If you showed me proof of a god then I would reconsider my stance as I am a logical yet imperfect being.

      I actually think agnostics are atheist cowards.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • LinCA

      It appears that Gorsh thinks that all atheists believe there are no gods. Some do, but not all.

      There is a subtle but important difference between:
      a) Believing there are no gods, and
      b) Not believing, or disbelieving there are any gods.

      Option a) is a statement of belief (strong atheism or gnostic atheism), while option b) is one of disbelief (weak atheism or agnostic atheism).

      The complete and utter lack of even so much as a hint at their existence would lead a reasonable person to not believe there are any gods. There simply is no reason to believe there are any. The complete lack of evidence actually make belief in gods rather silly.

      That doesn't mean that every possibility is excluded. Agnostic atheists will readily admit that there is a non-zero chance there is a god somewhere, or somewhen.

      Of course, the more specific traits are assigned to a particular god, the less likely such a creature becomes. It is very common to be strongly atheistic toward a specific god (most believers are, toward all but their own), yet be agnostic atheistic toward non-specific ones.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • Gary

      LinCA, excellent point of view. A fresh way to think about it. I still don't like the word agnostic.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
    • Reality

      The Apostles'/Agnostics’/Atheists'/Apollo Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of 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

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, 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.

      (references used are available upon request)

      May 23, 2013 at 6:41 am |
  17. Kevin

    Won't "starr" be surprised when "it" learns about punctuation and capitalization? What, they never bothered to show you how to compose a sentence in English in between your religious dogma lessons? Oh by the way, you and all the other sheep who can't sleep at night without having some sort of rhetorical, mythological explanation for everything should be thankful that you live in a country that still tolerates morons.

    May 22, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      Anyone (like "Starr") who actually believes that out of ALL the mammals that have lived, ONE "rose from the dead" and was "born of a virgin" is probably WAY TOO IGNORANT to learn punctuation.

      “The difference between faith and insanity is that faith is the ability to hold firmly to a conclusion that is incompatible with the evidence, whereas insanity is the ability to hold firmly to a conclusion that is incompatible with the evidence.”
      _ William Harwood, Dictionary of Contemporary Mythology

      May 22, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  18. Green1955

    Jesus this and Jesus that. It’s all speculation. The fact of the matter is that there is simply no evidence, outside of the decidedly partisan and unreliable gospels, that Jesus ever existed. There is no eyewitness testimony, no archeological evidence, nothing to even suggest that he may have existed. A book with bunch of ancient desert scribblings written by many different authors well after Jesus supposedly existed is weak evidence at best. If Jesus did exist he wasn't the son of god, he didn't perform miracles, and he wasn't resurrected. These are all embellishments added by various authors of the Bible to make the Bible more exciting and salient. In reality…if Jesus did exit…he probably was an average Joe with a psychiatric illness ( grounded in religious delusion) that starting speaking in public…attracting large gullible crowds and was eventually killed by the Jewish and Roman authorities because of his nonsense. On the contrary, lets assume Jesus is all that he is supposed to be and that he indeed has a divine connection to a universal creator. Of all the times in the history of mankind…why would the creator of the universe decide to try and make contact with man at such a barbaric and ancient time. Incidentally, a time that was replete with fables, monsters and various gods. In fact the entire concept of a master creator sending a part of himself to a little speck of matter in the middle of cosmic nowhere becomes frighteningly insane. Frankly, I could care less if you choose to believe in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or any of the other 10,000 religious sects. Until you relent on propagating your theistic dogma via political and governmental means ..I will never relent on pushing back against your hypocritical fictional nonsense.

    May 22, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Gorsh

      The amusing thing is there is no evidence supporting any theoretical construct to explain why the universe exists able to support life. The odds are infinitely against this. Therefore there are either an infinite number of universes or a creator. Since the multiverse is an unproven (and likely unprovable) hypothesis, to believe in it is a simple act of faith. Wrapping your own fairy tales in a thin veneer of scientific terms you barely understand, doesn't make them any less fictional.

      May 22, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Colin

      Well said. A very interesting thing was happening at the point in history whenJesus was convincing a handful of ignorant Greco-Roman JEws he was a god. If one looks at all the principal religious leaders in history, they were all born within about two thousand years of each other, and all in the Middle or Far East. Abraham, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Gautama Buddha, Lao Tzu, Mahavira, Zoroaster, and Mani, who together are credited with founding religions that about 90% of the world’s population of believers now follow to varying degrees, all lived in this time and region.

      Nobody before and nobody since. No great religious leaders were from Europe, or North or South America. The Bible story was not set in Australia, and Mohammed never had the Qur’an dictated to him in a cave in Tierra del Fuego. There appears to have been a narrow window of opportunity in the development of human civilization during which one could establish themselves as a “great” religious leader.

      May 22, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
    • Al

      There appears to have been a narrow window of opportunity in the development of human civilization during which one could establish themselves as a “great” religious leader.

      Becoming a god takes time. Some day David Koresh will be a god we can all be proud of.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Green1955, wrote "hypocritical fictional nonsense"?

      Atomic Cosmology and Celestial Cosmology began weaving together to bring about the living Life manifestations of varied physiological diversities formulated via all bio molecular mannerisms in the name of Cloistered Cellular Cosmologies. What part of 'fictional nonsense' should I log this view onto?

      May 22, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Gorsh wrote, "Since the multiverse is an unproven (and likely unprovable) hypothesis, to believe in it is a simple act of faith."

      Anything relative to Cosmologic Orders are as yet all un-provable renditions with universalism brought on by those 'mentoring' in the Astronomical Sciences seem to triangulate their mainstream intentions for a universal singularity and not a pluralistic cosmos wherein many singularities of celestial unifications are of the Celestial Equation of Cosmologic Orders.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoFaith

      Gorsh: Just because you fail to read or understand the quantum science behind the big bang theory, doesn't make it false. Quantum theory is constantly being proved correct by hard science. Quantum science provides for the universe being created from nothing via the big bang. Yes, it is hard to believe without a whole lot of technical knowledge, but that does not make it false.

      It is truly inane to argue for a magical invisible being that created the universe from "nothing" yet not be able to explain where the being then came from. It just moves your problem of explaining things to a new level.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • Gary

      lionlylamb wrote,
      Anything relative to Cosmologic Orders are as yet all un-provable renditions with universalism brought on by those 'mentoring' in the Astronomical Sciences seem to triangulate their mainstream intentions for a universal singularity and not a pluralistic cosmos wherein many singularities of celestial unifications are of the Celestial Equation of Cosmologic Orders.

      Dude, thats deep..Pass me the bong.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
  19. Alex

    organized religion – last bastion for the ignorant

    May 22, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • G tech

      I don't believe it's ignorance, lack of information or knowledge. I think these people are weak minded and need faith in a god in order to deal with death, tragedy and stressful situations. I don't think anything is wrong with religion if it helps them and I mean no disrespect when I say weak minded but I don't know how else to explain it. They want and need to believe in a god.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  20. flar

    why is this in the "belief blog"? i didnt think athiests believed.

    May 22, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      Read the article, we are growing in number ever day. This woman has guts to even admit she's an atheist in public in a place like OK, if the tornado hadn't destroyed her home some murdering christians might have done her harm, (and still might, hopefully not.) RELIGION IS WAY MORE HARMFUL THAN ANY TORNADO OR OTHER NATURAL DISASTER.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I believe

      Humans do not require a god to be moral.
      Religion divides more than it unites.
      It is untrue that atheists “believe in nothing”.
      It does not take more faith to be an atheist.
      Atheists do not deny god because they wish to be god.
      Religion and science are incompatible.
      Complexity does not equal design.
      The scientific method trumps primitive anonymous texts.
      The scriptures are ridiculous, offensive and demonstrably false.
      One does not require an afterlife to have a meaningful life.
      Threats of eternal punishment betray a weak argument.
      Schools should be filled with facts, not fanatics.
      Your personal experience does not prove god.
      An inability to disprove god does not prove god.
      Not knowing what caused the big bang does not prove god.
      Even if you prove evolution is completely wrong, it will not prove god.
      And if you believe in any gods the burden of proof is on you.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • Gorsh

      I believe

      To believe without proof is faith
      To believe in gods without proof is unfounded faith
      To believe that you know there is no god without proof is unfounded faith
      Most atheists are as boringly closed minded and dogmatic as religious people on these subjects.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      atheists believe in many things, but not without evidence.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • ToobyooLlurr

      Cheesemaker dude you rock! Hell yeah!

      May 22, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
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About this blog

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