Atheists to start 1-800 hotline for doubters
The group Recovering from Religion plans to start a helpline for people struggling with religious doubts.
June 4th, 2013
03:08 PM ET

Atheists to start 1-800 hotline for doubters

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

(CNN) – Who can people call when religious doubts arise, but they're afraid to talk to their faith leaders or families?

A group that helps people "recover" from religion says it's ready to pick up the phone.

Recovering from Religion, which has about 40 support groups in the U.S. and Britain, plans to launch a hotline that will offer doubters an anonymous place to ask difficult questions and find communities of like-minded nonbelievers.

The group plans to staff the help line 24 hours a day and is modeling it after services like suicide prevention hotlines.

Sarah Morehead, executive director of Recovering from Religion, told CNN that the mission is to help people, not convert them to atheism.

“A lot of the times they just need someone to talk to," Morehead said.

The 1-800 number has yet to be named. Recovering from Religion is trying to raise $30,000 by June 30 to fund "The Hotline Project" with up to 40 counselors.

Ideally, the help line would be live by the holiday season, said Morehead, which is often a difficult time for people struggling with religious doubts.

Photos: Famous atheists and their beliefs

The idea for the hotline sprang up after calls came in to the Recovering from Religion phone line from people who were questioning their faith and needed to talk to someone. Morehead said she gets a few calls every day and hundreds of e-mails a month from people seeking counseling.

From there, she said, it seemed a hotline that provided a permanent, anonymous place to talk to someone was the best option.

"Coming out" as a nonbeliever - or even a doubter - can often be extremely difficult, Morehead and others say. In addition to the existential worries, budding nonbelievers run the risk of alienating family and friends.

The help line’s volunteer counselors will be trained to not engage in religious debate, Morehead said. Instead, they will try to give callers “practical, action-oriented solutions.”

When someone first calls the hotline, the counselor will start by simply asking the caller to talk about his or her personal story, said Morehead.

Later, the counselor and the caller might work on an action plan. The caller's goals may concern formally leaving religion altogether, but Morehead said that counselors will also offer advice on finding a new faith or connecting with a local community of nonbelievers.

Some blogs have questioned the hotline, however, calling it a ploy to increase the number of atheists in America.

Headlines like “New 1-800 Number Funded By Liberals To Convert Christians to Atheists,” for example, have cropped up at a number of conservative blogs.

Morehead said her critics fail to grasp the point of Recovering from Religion.

“Most of the people who contact us are working their way towards disbelief, so of course we are very equipped to handle that,” Morehead said. “That is not the goal, though, or the job of the facilitators.”

Photos: 'Born-again' celebrities

This hotline is not completely unique in the world of religious "nones" – people who either don’t believe in God or don’t affiliate with any religious beliefs. Atheists have long discussed disbelief in the comfort of online anonymity.

“We have seen how important the Internet is, especially young people questioning their faith, and this provides them with another resource with a different focus,” said Jesse Galef, communications director for the Secular Student Alliance. “For people who want more guidance, I think this resource will be very valuable.”

Services that help religious doubters have thrived recently.

The Clergy Project, an online community for preachers who no longer believe in God, has grown from 52 to nearly 500 people since its founding in 2011, said Teresa MacBain, the former executive director of the project.

MacBain, a former pastor who converted to atheism, called the help line "another way for people to contact someone anonymously and discuss the struggles they are having for their beliefs.”

“If this project had been around when I found the Clergy Project, I would have used it.”

MacBain said she plans to get training as one of the counselors and hopes to be answering calls when the service launches.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • United States

soundoff (3,878 Responses)
  1. Doc Vestibule


    June 5, 2013 at 9:47 am |
  2. Vic

    I really can't digest this one! We Christians invite people to Jesus Christ without pinpointing their personal convictions. It is up to the individual to accept the invitation or not. We do not advertise nor invite anyone to get out of a certain belief system or lack thereof!

    Why isn't the hotline about inviting people to Atheism?!

    Also, according to the a r t i c l e, the hotline provides counseling on seeking a different faith!

    I wonder if this hotline ends up being ruled as hate speech towards believing in God! I am afraid Christianity is being targeted here!

    June 5, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • midwest rail

      Posting this a second time does not make it any less ridiculous than the first time you trolled with it.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • Dylan

      Have you read the book 'The Rage Against God'?

      June 5, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • .

      • midwest rail
      " I wonder if this hotline ends up being ruled as hate speech toward believing in God! "
      That's possibly the silliest speculation I've ever seen.
      June 4, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |

      • Secular Humanist from Ohio
      Instead of wondering, visit their website before you go making ridiculous statements.
      June 4, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |

      • Bostontola
      "We Christians"? Do you speak for Christians? Do you deny that there are entire sects of Christians that actively recruit?
      June 4, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |

      • Secular Humanist from Ohio
      The hotline is not about recruiting. Read about it so you don't sound so ignorant.
      June 4, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |

      • Bostontola
      Vic, the spokesperson said its not about recruitment and the listeners will be trained specifically to not recruit.
      June 4, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |

      • TreyCarey
      What do you mean? They are just providing information to those who seek it. Haven't you ever heard of a christian hotline, or seen a christian go door-to-door passing out pamphlets?
      June 4, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |

      • midwest rail
      Now you're just trolling Vic.
      June 4, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |

      • Observer
      "We do not advertise nor invite anyone to get out of a certain belief system or lack thereof!"
      Tell that to all the gays being trashed by hypocritical Christians.
      June 4, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |

      • sam stone
      vic: you are paranoid and delusional.
      June 5, 2013 at 5:24 am | Report abuse |

      June 5, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Where was christianity even mentioned in the article? LOL. Get over yourself and your silly religion.

      Christianity, the height of narcasism. ME! ME! ME! ME!

      June 5, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • Tyler

      Christianity is the clearly the target by this group. But, Christianity has been the target for centuries now. This is just another fad without any foundation, which will die its own death given some time.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • God Rules, devil drools!

      Ultimately the truth in the Gospels will prevail against all evil forces.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The "target" is people who are facing the prospect of being ostracised by their families and/or communities because they are doubters. Becuase America is predominantly Christian, the Hotline will be dealing primarily with people who are leaving Christian denominations.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Ben Franklin

      [for Tyler]

      If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England, blamed persecution in the Roman church, but practised it against the Puritans: these found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here and in New England.

      (in London, from a letter to The London Packet, 3 June 1772)

      June 5, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • sam stone

      "This is just another fad without any foundation, which will die its own death given some time."

      Are you speaking of atheism or christianity?

      June 5, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Snopes.com

      Claim: Christianity is the height of Narcissism.
      – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
      :mrgreen:       True

      June 5, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Snopes.com

      Claim: Christianity is the height of Narcissism.
      – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

      :mrgreen:       True

      June 5, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • tallulah13

      Just a fad. Like those newfangled motor cars or flying machines! It'll never last!

      June 5, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      Right, you just threaten them with an eternity of unspeakable suffering if they don't convert.

      June 5, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Joey

      Man, are all Christians as dumb as Vic is? I doubt it. Maybe someone can explain to me how this hotline is an attack on anyone at all? It is just a hotline for people to call if they so desire.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
  3. Free Yourself!

    Religion is a construct of the past and humankind has outgrown it. While helping to establish a moral foundation for society, it was just as often abused by the powers that be to keep the populace under control. It is time to free ourselves from this yoke of religion. Human beings should lead moral lives not to please some invisible being in the sky, but because it is the right thing to do and our society will benefit from it. I believe in the teachings of Jesus, not because I think it is going to give me a ticket to some place called heaven. I believe in those teachings because if we all followed them, we would be better people and society would be a better place. But I believe in the teachings of Jesus like I believe in the teachings of Buddha and Mohammed and so many other wise people who have lived in this planet. Once you free yourself from the yoke of religion and you finally give up the fantasy of ever lasting life, you will realize that life becomes more precious than ever! If you are lucky, you only get 80 or so years on this planet and some get far less than that. Many people spend so much time trying to please some imagined deity that they forget to LIVE LIFE. It troubles me see people laboring under these self imposed set of rules (God sure didn't write them) to the point that they make themselves miserable! Don't waste your one time go-around on this world. Free yourself to go learn and live and be the best person that you can make yourself.

    Live Life. Treat each other well (like you would like to be treated – -where have we heard that before?) Be good to the planet. Treat your children well and teach them to respect others. Do the most that you can with the time you have been given by nature on this world It is a miracle that you are here, but not a miracle in a religious sense, in a universal sense.
    Don't waste it!

    June 5, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • nclaw441

      Dear Free–

      I won't argue with you about "religion" if by that you mean the organization of groups of individuals who share a common faith and manner of worship and study about that faith. Lots of wrong has been done in the name of religion, but lots of very good things have been done as well– just like almost every human endeavor. I don't think religion has lost its value.

      With regard to faith, however, it seems that the search for meaning beyond this life and world is etched into our DNA. Some find no such meaning, and that guides their lives. Others find, admittedly, through faith, since scientific proof of God's existence appears impossible (as would proof of the existence of love, under current scientific standards).

      Mankind has not outgrown the quest for faith. People born today have the same questions as people thousands of years ago had. Your comments are not unreasonable, but they reflect your belief that there is no God of any kind, and that has not been demonstrated either.

      I acknowledge that what I believe, I believe by faith. Could I be wrong? Sure, but this is my faith. Asking me to change it would be like asking you to believe that the sky is not blue. True faith is not something that can just be cast aside because someone else suggests that it is not true. (And I believe that this is a great failing of many people who say they have faith, but only go to church because they were "brought up that way" or "it is the right thing to do." Faith requires an introspective search and an examination of oneself. It isn't, or ought not be, in my view, a decision to be made like choosing a restaurant.)

      June 5, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Love & Pain

      " (as would proof of the existence of love, under current scientific standards)."

      I have seen this thrown out before by believers but what they don't seem to understand about "feelings" like love and even pain, is that it's subjective. If you believe a person who has just smacked their thumb with a hammer when they say "Ouch! That Hurt!" then you must also believe a person when they say "I love you." as they are both subjective feelings being experienced by another person.

      Basically the argument that love somehow proves God because love is not objective and cannot be removed and studied on it's own is beyond ridiculous. All human emotion and feelings are subjective and experienced differently by each individual experiencing them.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Pete

      "All human emotion and feelings are subjective and experienced differently by each individual experiencing them."

      They also have shown it deals with the brain, someone who meditates can get the exact same feeling as a religious person who believes they are feeling their god. It's all in our heads and the chemical reactions in it.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • nclaw441

      Love and Pain– I completely agree that Love (and other emotions) have a subjective component to them. The point I was hoping to make is that everyone agrees that these emotions exist, and you seem to acknowledge that. Almost everyone would agree that Love exists, but no one can prove it. Yet that doesn't seem to bother anyone, at least not in the same way the existence of God does. Why is that?

      There are biological reactions to Love, but they are not Love. How does one go about proving its existence? And if the existence of Love cannot be proved, should we stop believing in it? How would one stop believing in Love? Can we just decide to do that in response to a request or demand from another person?

      If you see the difficulty in this, you can appreciate the reaction of persons of faith to attacks upon that faith. You may not believe, but many, perhaps most, others do believe in God (in some form). Telling them to cut it out just won't work, any more than telling someone to stop hating or loving another will.

      June 5, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Free Yourself!

      Thank you for such a well reasoned response. There are few things I like better than good discussion.

      I am afraid that I am probably guilty of over simplifying my position, as would be expected by the constraints of a blog post. I doubt it is an appropriate forum for serious discussion.
      Anyway, just to clarify a couple of things. I definitely do not discount the good that religion has also done in this world. My father-in-law has been a minister for more than sixty years and I have seen how many hundreds, if not thousands of people he has brought comfort to in their darkest times. I understand the importance of people who can provide guidance during times of profound confusion and dispair. It is very human to need help in your time of greatest need and religion can be a place to obtain that help.
      I would also agree with you that it is very human to search for meaning. But I believe that the "source" of that meaning is changing. When we had very little scientific knowledge of the working of the universe, it made sense for mankind to construct a God to put their faith in and to provide answers. As we learn more and more about the universe that we are a part of, the God model just doesn't fit anymore. While I don't believe in a God, and certainly not a "personal" one who is directly involved in my life, I have a faith of a different kind. There obviously is a set of principles that this universe is founded upon. We continue to learn more and more about these principles and it is difficult not to develop a sort of faith, even reverence in these scientific workings of the universe. I have faith that as we continue to learn about the universe, we will have a better understanding of humans and their place in it and can make our lives much better.
      I don't discount faith. In fact, I admire it and although it might sound strange, sometimes I envy it. I envy the comfort that many people seem to get from their religious beliefs especially in a time of need. But with what I know about the universe and my experiences in it, I simply am incapable of sustaining those same beliefs.
      I don't begrudge people their religion. If it helps them in a confusing and scary world, then I have no problem with it. What I do have a problem with is when I actually think religion is detrimental to the progress of our society. When I have students (yes, I am a teacher) who tell me they refuse to study certain units in my class because it is against their religion, then I am against religion. When I have groups who try to make their religion political and force it upon me, then I am against it. When I have groups who think their religious beliefs are superior to others' religious beliefs, then I am against it. When I see people's religious beliefs stand in the way of of the advancement of society, then I am against it. When the government refuses to allow things like stem cell research and the many benefits that could come from it because it violates someone's religious beliefs, then I am against it.
      If the 20th and 21st century has taught us anything, it is that we live in an increasingly rapidly changing world. Mankind created religion to help them understand and deal with their world. Religion has adapted with the times to remain relevent. It will have to learn to adapt much faster to accomodate the changes that are happening so much more rapidly now. If not, religion is no longer going to serve mankind, it is going to hinder mankind. That is what I meant by freeing oneself.

      June 5, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Psalms 109:5

      And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.


      June 5, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Pete

      "And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love. "

      HeavenSent has yet again proven she doesn't really understand the scriptures she is cherry picking out of the bible. Yo, moron, this is about a Christian wanting god to destroy their enemies. What's hysterical is that you used it against atheists which would a direct violation of Christ's teachings. LMAO!

      June 5, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Free Yourself!

      Heaven Sent, and all others who feel that they are going to change my mind be quoting scripture.

      When will you realize that it is not because of my ignorance of scripture or your beliefs that I choose not to believe in god. I am well aware of them and have studied them. It is BECAUSE I have spent years reading them, thinking about them and reasoning through them that I don't believe.

      June 5, 2013 at 10:33 am |
  4. Derpline Call Today!

    What if the doubters also have doubts about using a phone or the internet? Do you doubt my words? Call 1-800-derperpderp

    June 5, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • fintastic

      Oh my...

      June 5, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  5. Death at my doorstep

    Here I am, a doubter, your potential customer. My problem..I realize I"m going to die..maybe not today but some day.
    My choices are simple...

    A.) call a religious leader and hope he's got what it takes to cram impossibilities into my head (wich by the way hasn't worked well otherwise I wouldn't be here doubting.

    B.) Call your hotline and hope you'll show up with blankets and cocoa.

    Don't get me wrong I appreciate that you're willing to help me comiserate my demise. But I didn't need any help doubting. I was doing a fine job of that all by myself.

    June 5, 2013 at 8:38 am |
    • Crayz Scienced

      Lots of cocoa and blankets here. Toast some marshmallows by the warm fire of reason and let your toes thaw out. 😀

      June 5, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • Death at my doorstep

      If only the human condition could be soothed away with marshmallows and a large box of tissues. Well, we do what we can I suppose.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Crayz Scienced

      I regret my lack of resources as I am limited in how I may help you. Good intentions are cold comfort, but are all I have.
      How to comfort you is also a problem. Do you seek answers or comfort? Reality is never comforting, sorry.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Death Squad Bureau Chief Devil-may-care

      We need shock troops. You show abilities in this area. Continue flinging yourself down the steps looking for attention, you ho.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • CNN reader

      This concludes your help from the church of 1-800-quitcherbichen

      June 5, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
  6. Reality

    Support to quit religion? Give us a break !!

    All the support you will ever need using one-liners to show how easy it is.

    (Only for the new members of this club)–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    June 5, 2013 at 8:38 am |
    • Crayz Scienced

      kibosh – entymology uncertain.
      Perhaps "kai" + "bosh" meaning "stop bs"
      No hotline needed, just clear thinking and time to mull things over.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Matthew 18:11

      For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.


      June 5, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Psalms 137:9

      Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.


      June 5, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • Reality

      And again:

      . JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      June 5, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  7. faith

    what is an atheist hotline?

    no one answers

    June 5, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      faithy: Reading comprehension is not a skill of yours, is it? How's that lawsuit going? Have you managed to track any of us down yet? Did the lawyer you spoke to tell you to seek professional help?

      June 5, 2013 at 8:33 am |
    • Robert

      It is a line you call and they answer, "I don't believe in you." Then they start saying "Laaa. Laaaaa. Llllllaaaaa" at the top of their voice and stuff their fingers in their ears.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • Crayz Scienced

      faith that is pretty funny. 😀

      June 5, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • Crayz Scienced

      Robert is suffering from major whiny syndrome and will only be with us momentarily until he expires, fortunately.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:36 am |
  8. HeavenStench

    "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

    Matthew 10:34

    June 5, 2013 at 8:26 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Sword = Word of God

      June 5, 2013 at 8:44 am |
    • Science

      HEY RB

      I have not tried yet ..............but you could/can make a sword from stony iron chondrites/meteorites.............native iron.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Job 36:12

      But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.


      June 5, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Science

      HS you have no knowledge about facts and the truth.=.evolution !

      June 5, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
  9. A call to donate

    Have you donated yet? Need money not your stupid comments.

    June 5, 2013 at 8:25 am |
    • Colin

      Yep, way to win people's support.....

      June 5, 2013 at 8:26 am |
    • $

      For $25 a month we will send you a bumper sticker that reads 'I'm a proud atheist'
      For $250 a month we will send you a bumper sticker that reads 'Doubter'

      June 5, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • Death Squad Bureau Chief Devil-may-care

      Take the money from their cold, dead hands. No donations needed. Problem fixed.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:48 am |
  10. Robert

    It is irrational to think the universe came into being from a steady state of absolute nothing or that it is eternal. Both silly atheist ideas violate known science as well as what w have observed through the Hubble telescope and COBE satellite. Exactly how do atheists think their silliness can help anyone? Objective morality simply does not exist in an atheists worldview. Nihilism is the logical end point of atheism. How is that supposed to help anyone?!?!?

    June 5, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • Crayz Scienced

      Lern 2 science and stfu

      June 5, 2013 at 8:25 am |
    • Ernest T Bass

      It is most irrational to claim "god did it"

      June 5, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Colin

      "It is irrational to think the universe came into being from a steady state of absolute nothing or that it is eternal.".

      But, that is exactly what those who believe in God believe. God and heaven are "eternal and were always there".

      June 5, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      It's far more irrational to think there is an all powerful being behind the creation of the universe. We base what we accept as fact off of the evidence and we do not claim to have an answer when there isn't one to be had. We don't claim it is eternal, we claim we do not know. Claiming we do not know is a lot more honest than saying 'god did it' or 'jesus is going to return'.
      How do believers think that their stance is doing the world any good?

      June 5, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I do so love it when religionists conflate atheism with nihilism, communism, satanism, social darwinism, defeatism, etc. ad nauseum.
      Atheism is a negative statement that describes only what one does NOT believe. It implies to behaviours, morals, viewpoints or other characteristics whatsoever.
      It is akin to describing the singer in a band as the "a-instrumentalist".
      Atheists are not "Hawkingists", slavering over the latest theories in quantum physics.

      I don't believe in objective morality.
      Most sociologists believe that evolutionary biology is crucial for understanding the many social insti.tutions of the human species, of which religion is only one.
      Taboos vary by culture becuase religions develop based on the laws of darwinian evolution in that different environments bring about different religions.
      Sociological evolution is moving us away from religion – not because Christianity, Islam, Hinduism etc are negative in and of themselves, but because religion is inherently divisive.
      Ethical contsructs and concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals.
      it is impossible to shift, share, or distribute blame . . . as blame, guilt, responsibility etc. are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. Therefore, we should be rational and realize that not everyone will share the same evaluations of good and evil.
      In order for our species to survive and thrive, we must reject tribalism.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • The real Tom

      Yeah, it's SO much more reasonable to believe in some invisible creature snapping its fingers and poofing the universe into existence. What crap.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • sam stone

      it's irrational to make the logical leap from the possibility of a creator, to the certainty of a heaven and a hell and judgement

      June 5, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Its like they dont even think before they post!

      June 5, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Crayz Scienced

      I have a great many possible theories that cannot be ruled out and fit within our physics for "Big Bang" area of concern.
      Atheists are only atheists if they lack a belief. No science is needed at all, only intelligent skepticism.
      Robert, your god does not exist and your lack of evidence is disturbingly familiar.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • HeavenSent

      T.i.tus 1:10


      June 5, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Pete

      "T.i.tus 1:10 "

      So HeavenSent good to see you calling out Robert, you're own kind doing false teachings for the church. Yup folks even the Christians will tell each other they are full of crap. Or HeavenSent in your cherry picking of the bible you didn't realize what that scripture actually meant.

      June 5, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      It is irrational to think the universe came into being from a steady state of absolute nothing or that it is eternal.
      No, it isn't.

      Both silly atheist ideas violate known science as well as what w have observed through the Hubble telescope and COBE satellite.
      No, they don't.

      Exactly how do atheists think their silliness can help anyone? Objective morality simply does not exist in an atheists worldview.
      Objective morality doesn't exist, period.

      Nihilism is the logical end point of atheism.
      No, it isn't.

      How is that supposed to help anyone?!?!?

      By freeing them from slavery to a book of fairy tales that was cobbled together by a bunch of mentally ill morons over a period of hundreds of years.

      June 6, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  11. Robert

    Atheist evangelists are so funny and much more "fanatical" that any Christian evangelist I've ever met.

    June 5, 2013 at 8:19 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      You obviously haven't met many people.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:34 am |
  12. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Personally, I'd like to see more trained people staffing more crisis hotlines. Prayer hotlines are parasites on people in need and in crisis. They offer a false false solution to problems people face and, given the severity of some of the problems that cause people to seek help on hotlines, I find that disgusting and abhorrent at best, and extremely dangerous for some people who might call in. It's not a bad idea to help people out who are beginning to shake off religion (the topic of this article) – that is useful, but we really need to find ways to turn people away from using prayer witchdoctors and offer them real and effective help when they need it. Prayer hotlines should be considered on par with illegal practice of medicine by unlicensed and untrained amateurs.

    June 5, 2013 at 8:18 am |
    • Richard Cranium


      June 5, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • Robert Brown

      I spoke to a counselor once and thought she was very skilled. She had her degree in psychology. She did not give me any advice or attempt to tell me what I should do in anyway, but rather was a very good listener and asked obvious and very important questions at the right time. By doing this she allowed or helped me figure things out for myself. I don’t know if that is what they teach them, but in retrospect I thought it was a very effective method.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • Austin

      Hey Tom,

      What would Jesus do?

      June 5, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • Crayz Scienced

      Robert Brown, if you value your thinking why not do more of it? Must we all do the same as your doctor to get you to see the truth? How sad.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:55 am |
  13. Austin

    No again hot air ace, I wrote dreams down as they occurred . And twelve times the dreams were answered the next day in reality.

    For example, I dreamed I saw a beautiful tile patio , with a detached arm reaching down into a whole in the ground and pulling out a leather pouch full of gem stones.

    The next day, I read

    the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, 9 “Take some large stones in your [a]hands and hide them in the mortar in the [b]brick terrace which is at the entrance of Pharaoh’s [c]palace in Tahpanhes, in the sight of [d]some of the Jews; 10 and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I am going to send and get Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and I am going to set his throne right over these stones that I have hidden; and he will spread his canopy over them. 11 He will also come and strike the

    I had no clue about anything in the book of Jeremiah. This happened twelve times different situations, every one of the situations and dreams had a direct link to the bible.

    June 5, 2013 at 8:17 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Austin: Again with the 'my dreams are evidence for' crap. You've been corrected over and over again. Unless those dreams are testable, they are not evidence. People of all walks of life dream and sometimes those dreams become reality, however it still does not point to evidence for your imaginary friend.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • Ernest T Bass

      This is crapola...

      June 5, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Austin

      when you get into numbers , frequency, and factors in common, statistically, I have evidence for God,

      and as a man, I have proof because I am reasonable and worthy of admitting what is intelligent and Word filled REVELATION.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • The real Tom

      Austin, you are a moron who doesn't know the meaning of the word "proof."

      Why haven't you published descriptions of recent dreams, so we can watch to see what transpires in you waking moments (which are likely few and far between) to see if there is ANY relationship between your dreams and reality? Scared?

      June 5, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • Austin

      Tallulah, Sheldon sat next to me and had a piece if paper, a blue print. A picture. Ok, I said watch this, and pulled out the dream, having tin words, the description of what he drew, I saw it in my dream. Scott came around in Omanis about his money, and I said watch this, went to my file, and pulled out the dream of him loosing it from thirty days in advance for the date. The scripture thing happened 3 nights in a row, where I had dreams about details I read the next day.

      Danny dreamed about the exact thought I had the night before, and he was not a bible student, he had no clue about the parable about the light in the eyes. This happened about ten times in 3 months. It went from me noticing bout the dreams about the next days scripture, to dreams involving other people too, things outside my own person. This part reveals Gods spiritual presence in all people simultaneously, He is sovereign.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • The real Tom

      You can make all the claims you want about dreams you had and what occurred the next day, dumbfvck. Publish your journal describing your recent dreams BEFORE you have any experiences that "relate" to them. Go ahead and stop stalling. You have enough time to burble on here all day about what you say happened in the past, dummy. Write down the dreams you have had in the past week, and stop pretending that they are visits from gawd.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:44 am |

      Tales from the Corn Field. Back before the pollutants we had Laura Ingalls Wilder. Now we just have delusional dreamers.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • The real Tom

      Austin=Lying coward.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • G to the T

      They are evidence... just not of what Austin thinks they are.

      Austin is psychic! I posit that this is just as valid an explanation for his experiences as the one he presents. Since neither can really be proven either way based on the methodology used, I think it's fair to say that this is an equally valid possibility...

      June 5, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  14. Robert

    CNN is always on a gay kick, atheist kick, and anti-America kick. What's up with that?

    June 5, 2013 at 8:17 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      You poor persecuted christian.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:24 am |
    • Austin

      nothing against sinners, but this "kick" has been four months non stop. is there anything at all to erase the constant spectacle of the last four months?

      June 5, 2013 at 8:38 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Austin: The only sinners are the ones who believe in it, those of us who don't are not sinners. Grow up, put the bottle down, ask for an increase in your medication and learn to live in this century. This so-called kick has been going on for longer than 4 months. I can understand how that bothers you because every time you spew your dreams someone comes back and tells you that you are crazy and that must be hurting your feelings. If you don't like reality, FOX news will be a perfect fit to share your delusions but coming to a belief blog full of Atheists is asking for your feelings to be hurt. You put yourself in this position, either suck it up or find a place where people are as bat shit crazy as you come across to be.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • sam stone

      Austin: Yeah, dream it away

      June 5, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      So the huge number of recent articles about the Pope are pro-atheism, pro-gay and anti-american?

      June 5, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  15. Austin

    It wasn't a week later that I had a dream I toured a house and there was an above ground pool with a privacy fence and then the kid next to me two days later pulled out a blueprint he drew, and then as soon as he did I pulled out my dream and read to him how I dreamed I was touring a house with an above ground pool and a deck with a fence around it. He's sitting there holding a picture of my dream.

    June 5, 2013 at 8:17 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Wow, you are beyond clueless! Your dreams prove nothing substantial. Have you thought about seeking mental health help?

      June 5, 2013 at 8:26 am |
  16. Anonymous

    No greater thing, than a man lay down his life for another.

    June 5, 2013 at 8:15 am |
    • fintastic

      Soldiers do it every day.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • Anonymous

      Yes, our men and women have paid the great price for our freedom

      JESUS is the only one who died for all mankind, rose from the dead, and now sits in heaven getting ready for His great return.

      Thank you service men and women.

      Thank you JESUS!

      June 5, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Dave

      "JESUS is the only one who died for all mankind, rose from the dead, and now sits in heaven getting ready for His great return. "

      No, there were many pagan religions that claimed the same thing. It's why Christians celebrate Christmas during the winter solstice so they could convert those other pagan religions over to this new pagan religion, it still doesn't make it true.

      June 5, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Damocles


      So the deity sits and twiddles its thumbs and the soldiers are still dying. Strange.

      June 5, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Really?!?!? Geez, and all this time I thought it said "wife"! I thought it was about wife-swapping! Come to think of it, it was my neighbor who told me.........hey, wait a minute............!

      June 6, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
  17. Austin

    The real Tom
    Austin, why haven't you posted descriptions of any of your dreams BEFORE any events occur in real life that might make your claims plausible?

    Go ahead, post your "dream journal" right here. Don't bother including your dead cats and ABOVE GROUND POOLS dreams. Describe dreams you've had recently. Ones for which you have not yet had related subsequent waking experiences that could be related.

    You've been challenged to do this repeatedly, and you fail to follow through. I think you are a full-bore lying ass who is making up dreams to match something that occurred so you can bellow about it here. Not good enough.

    Get on with it, you lazy ass.

    June 5, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Seriously austin...you seriously need help. I hope you get some. By the way, are you an expert in dream interpretation? Even Freud said "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar".

      Reading your posts is quite revealing, so again I encourage you to get some help.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:10 am |
    • Austin

      Tom Tom, since that all happened over a year ago, there has only been one more, i kindof stopped writing them down.

      Can i ask you this, as much as a spiritual rush and high point in my life, can i expect it to happen every day? what would that say about me is i expected God to do a new miracle every day?

      June 5, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • Ernest T Bass

      Dreams = imagination

      God = imagination

      June 5, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • lol??

      R Cranius sayz,
      ".............. Even Freud said "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar............."

      I wonder if Clinton and his soul mate soaked em in coke like Dr. Frawdenstein??

      June 5, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • The real Tom

      You are such a fraud, Austin. How do YOU know what dreams mean something and what dreams don't? Post your fvcking dream journal and describe ALL the dreams you've had regardless of YOUR stupid interpretations. You don't get to claim that your stupid dreams are the word of god AFTER some event happens that appears to justify your say-so, you imbecilic twit.

      Either prove yourself honest or be dismissed as a lying little slug.

      June 5, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
  18. Belief or no belief

    Let me add to that I hope the atheist councelors are trained in more than just anti-Christianity because some of us with "invisible friends" got this way through a whole different route.

    June 5, 2013 at 7:32 am |
  19. Belief or no belief

    I've deliberately consulted atheists (both friends and strangers) before when having doubts about my own beliefs. Nobody can talk you out of anything but I found it insightful to have a different perspective.

    June 5, 2013 at 7:23 am |
    • nclaw441

      I think you are right to ask those questions of others, including believers and atheists. True faith, if one is going to have it, requires more than just spouting "I believe." Ask a Christian WHY he believes as he believes. I teach an adult Sunday School class and have begun asking my students that. It can be a challenging question, if taken seriously.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  20. Science

    The pesky chondrite = life !

    Life-Producing Phosphorus Carried to Earth by Meteorites

    June 4, 2013 — Scientists may not know for certain whether life exists in outer space, but new research from a team of scientists led by a University of South Florida astrobiologist now shows that one key element that produced life on Earth was carried here on meteorites.


    June 5, 2013 at 5:58 am |
    • Science

      Oops no horn-y red beast needed.................but they (meteorites) where hot when they where coming in.

      June 5, 2013 at 6:03 am |
    • laststonecarver

      Are you implying that the Urth is not the center of the Universe?
      And that meteorites could allow life forms' transmigration through that same universe?
      Well then, I'm good with that....

      June 5, 2013 at 6:35 am |
    • Science

      Morning laststonecarver

      Yes sir...................our fate is in our own hands not some fairy in the sky.


      June 5, 2013 at 6:42 am |
    • Science


      Works better than Adam and his bone and the talking snake.......... chad said do NOT forget the talking donkey !

      June 5, 2013 at 6:49 am |
    • Science


      Water and from chondrites, comets, asteroids and meteorites = life and the gold we mine today.

      Geology and the dirt guys.............(U-Pb)..............uranium lead dating.

      Compasses do not work around chondrites.

      June 5, 2013 at 7:04 am |
    • Science

      Oops forget the first and.

      Green slime grows from chondrite cuttings also.

      June 5, 2013 at 7:08 am |
    • laststonecarver

      Best day evah, to you –

      June 5, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • Crayz Scienced

      Re: phosphorus in meteorites
      Any so-called theory about conditions 3.5 billion years ago had better integrate the collision with the planetesimal that gave rise to our Moon and what that means in terms of elements, geological processes, and so forth.
      Saying the Earth is only 3.5 billion years old says absolutely nothing about how long the Earth may have been settling down before that planetesimal smashed into the Earth or how long the other planets had been cooling without any major collisions.
      Where are the scars of that collision? Panagaea, assuming no other similar continents existed that may have been melted down over time. But what was it like before the Moon was causing such changes? Nobody even talks about it. shh.

      June 5, 2013 at 7:57 am |
    • Science

      Hey chad the game of life aye ...............and you suck at it !

      Hey faithy...the troll.....all creationists...........chadie too ...............COMEDY GOLD link at bottom of post !!! The pesky meteorites/chondrites = life .........................not the nasty bible. and Adam and his bone. No horn-y red beast needed.......no heaven either..........but they (meteorites) where hot when they where coming in. Life-Producing Phosphorus Carried to Earth by Meteorites June 4, 2013 — Scientists may not know for certain whether life exists in outer space, but new research from a team of scientists led by a University of South Florida astrobiologist now shows that one key element that produced life on Earth was carried here on meteorites. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130604153520.htm http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/23/heaven-for-atheists-pope-sparks-debate/#comments

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      June 5, 2013 at 8:03 am |
    • Crayz Scienced

      Large amounts of phosphorus could be from the moon impacting (moon surface = KREEP (potassium, rare earth elements, phosphorus))
      Even in their picture showing meteorites landing on molten surface (lol) shows a glowing molten moon – they ignore the big blob in the sky and say "meteorites" instead of "ejecta" – they should be put up against a wall and shot with silly string and cast out into the outer darkness of unemployment to wail and gnash their rotting teeth.

      June 5, 2013 at 8:13 am |
    • Science


      Best day evah, to you –

      Thanks you too.


      But where or who is chad today..............I see Austin is flying around with his kitties...........he sure did leave a big pile of

      them on Christians be Nice.........then tried to delete the mess .

      June 5, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • Crayz Scienced

      Science, your posts lack coherence. Is this a reflection of your mental state?

      June 5, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Science

      Chomp on that bone...................creationists. chadie too..................evolution at its best the old croc.

      No horn-y red beast needed.............time for it to get out of the bedVrooooom !

      Fourteen Closely Related Crocodiles Existed Around 5 Million Years Ago

      May 21, 2013 — Today, the most diverse species of crocodile are found in northern South America and Southeast Asia: As many as six species of alligator and four true crocodiles exist, although no more than two or three ever live alongside one another at the same time. It was a different story nine to about five million years ago, however, when a total of 14 different crocodile species existed and at least seven of them occupied the same area at the same time, as an international team headed by paleontologists Marcelo Sánchez and Torsten Scheyer from the University of Zurich is now able to reveal.


      June 5, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • midwest rail

      " Science " has devolved into a cut-and-paste bore. Exactly like the poster(s) he makes fun of.

      June 5, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Science

      Facts work with a source !

      June 5, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Science

      By the way I have all kinds of chondrites to chose from !

      June 5, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • midwest rail

      Here's a fact for you – 1/2 the time you sign on, you spell science wrong. Yeah, I'm going to pay attention to someone like that.

      June 5, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • science

      The fairy in the sky DID not create US evolution did !

      June 5, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Science

      And if people see the same fact/information 3 times or more ...............it is more likely to sink in MAYBE

      June 5, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Science

      No fairy in the sky needed ...................big little bang ......chad

      Hubble Maps 3-D Structure of Ejected Material Around Erupting Star

      June 4, 2013 — A flash of light from a stellar outburst has provided a rare look at the 3-D structure of material ejected by an erupting nova.


      June 5, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Science

      Agree the bible is BS !!!

      Biblical Marriage Not Defined Simply As One Man, One Woman: Iowa Religious Scholars' Op-Ed



      June 10, 2013 at 7:42 am |
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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.