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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

(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. are122

    Good idea. I want to know if they think physicist Paul Davie is right about the obvious creation of universe governing physical laws, if Einstein was right in a God presence and what they think about quantum mechanics that goes back to von Neumann, where one is led by its logic (as Wigner and Peierls were) to the conclusion that not everything is just matter in motion. If the human mind transcends matter to some extent, could there not exist minds that transcend the physical universe altogether? And might there not even exist an ultimate Mind? Many, many questions.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • JustRight

      Who cares what Paul Davies said? Or what Einstein said about god (though he feel more in line with atheism)? And quantum physics is not in anyway supportive of god...What in the world is you post even about?

      June 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      There are infinite possibilities .. the real question is "probability".
      For example: What is more probable .. the existence of a single eternal God or the existence of a blue Stegosaurus orbiting Pluto? Since we know that the color blue and Pluto do exist and that Stegs have existed but have no reason/evidence that a God exists ... no matter how ridiculous it is to believe in orbiting Stegs .. it is still infinitely more probable.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • DoesItReallyMatter

      Does it really matter after 100 year? By then, most of us who read this article will be dead already:)

      June 5, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
  2. snowboarder

    one day it will be determined that religious "spirituality" is just another trait which makes up humanity. some part nature. some part nurture. that gives a person the "feeling" of spiritual connection, probably not significantly different than the trait which gives a person the "feeling" of attraction to members of their own gender.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • lol??

      Ye ol' feelings of pleasure come in many flavors.

      "2Ti 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;"

      June 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • pervert alert

      Qu eers are an abomination not a feeling. They are sinners defective in all their evil ways. There is no comparison. Qu eers the people who gave AIDS to the world.

      June 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
  3. lionlylamb

    God and Gods onto even the sons of the Gods have come to mankind's passing movements across the varying voids of cosmic proportionalities. Humanisms are born onto the celestial chasms while the Godly families are born into and upon the atomized chasms. Both chasms of cosmologically ordained orders are maintained in relational accordance of astral projections keeping distances of spatial relativities succinctly apart of and from any objective cloisters deemed wanton by the one eyeing the differences between atomic and celestial variations around circulating clemencies of the Para mutual beneficiaries. Birth shall forever be as an enigma by those nearing their death. Shall one die and become reborn upon another plain of relativity unknown by their dying beliefs?

    June 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Thoth

      Birth is not an enigma. Sperm + egg + 9 months = birth.....

      June 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • JustRight

      thesaurus time!

      June 5, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Ill have what he's having, i've heard great things about the word salad here.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Thoth wrote on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm stating, "Birth is not an enigma. Sperm + egg + 9 months = birth....."

      Birth is the abilities for gathering together and congealing untold numbers of atomized cloisters into becoming cellular life formations of untold numerations culminating into any such living life's atomized physiological essence. The enigma is not with the known but rather the enigma is in the unknowable of that which is known. We know that a single sperm impregnated into a single egg creates a potential Life, but what we don't know is all the innumerable amounts of atoms it takes to make the cellular structures. Thusly birth is an enigma of cellular constructivism.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Thusly birth is an enigma of cellular constructivism.

      I meant to say,

      Thusly birth is an enigma of atomized cellular constructivism.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • .

      LL is the belief blog pseudo intellect and now you know why.

      June 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • a reasonable atheist

      Figuring out the quanti.tative atomic composition of a given object, whether it be a hunk of rock or a bundle of cells, is relatively straightforward. There's nothing unknown or unknowable about the process. I recommend 2 undergrad-level science classes (and their pre-reqs) to learn how: Intro to Biochem & Materials Characterization.

      June 7, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  4. Reality

    No 800 numbers needed:

    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.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • MormonChristian

      How do you "know" for sure?? Can you prove all of the above did not exist? Archeology can go both ways...i.e.I've met people who have made discoveries proving Abraham lived. I've been in Central America where the natives have legends of a bearded white god who visited from the sky and promised to return again.

      If we shut ourselves off to everything outside our senses, we don't imagine, we don't create, we don't progress. It just flies in the face of the nature of scientific discovery to state absolutely that something does not exist because we can't see it. No one has ever seen a neutron or an electron but we can measure their impact and influence.

      I say both extremes – extreme religion and extreme atheism – are dangerous positions. No one is as stupid as someone who won't keep an open mind. Science and Religion can and should co-exist.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • JustRight

      MormonChristian – why do mormons keep spreading this lie about the return of the white god? I know it supports your belief system but it fools no one who actually has any knowledge

      June 5, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • biobraine

      "I say both extremes – extreme religion and extreme atheism – are dangerous positions. No one is as stupid as someone who won't keep an open mind. Science and Religion can and should co-exist."

      What do you mean by extreme atheism? Atheists simply see no evidence and therefore do not believe in any gods. Period. End of story. You either feel compelled to believe in gods or you don't. Atheists look to evidence and observation to explain the universe. Our understanding of the universe is constantly evolving. This is not a problem for atheists. This is a problem for religious folk who look back to religions founded 1000's of years ago for an understanding of life.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Reality

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

      New Torah For Modern Minds

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

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

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

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

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

      June 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for the new members of this club:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      June 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Reality

      Also, only for the new members of this club:

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

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

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

      To wit;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

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

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

      p.4

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

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

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

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

      June 5, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Reality...you know they say that, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" right?

      How about you quit copy/pasting for one straight week and see if by the end of that time if anyone is begging for your return.

      June 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
  5. faith

    prove it isn't true.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      prove I cant fly

      June 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Princepoliblog

      Prove it is.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Thoth

      The Celestial Teapot – Bertrand Russell..... burden of proof lies with the claimant.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • CosmicC

      Flying is easy. You just throw yourself at the ground and at the last minute you just miss.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • COGowan

      Sorry, but when you're hoping to get others to believe as you do, the burden of proof is on you.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Colin

      Good point faith !! I now believe in Azura Mazda, Angus, Belenos, Brigid, Dana, Lugh, Dagda, Epona, Allah Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Atehna, Demeter, Dionysus, Eris, Eos, Gaia, God, Hades, Hekate, Helios, Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, Hestia, Pan, Poseidon, Selene, Uranus, Zeus, Mathilde, Elves, Eostre, Frigg, Ganesh, Hretha, Saxnot, Shef, Shiva Thuno, Tir, Vishnu, Weyland, Woden, Yahweh, Alfar, Balder, Beyla, Bil, Bragi, Byggvir, Dagr, Disir, Eir, Forseti, Freya, Freyr, Frigga, Heimdall, Hel, Hoenir, Idunn, Jord, Lofn, Loki, Mon, Njord, Norns, Nott, Odin, Ran, Saga, Sif, Siofn, Skadi, Snotra, Sol, Syn, Ull, Thor, Tyr, Var, Vali, Vidar, Vor, Herne, Holda, Nehalennia, Nerthus, Endovelicus, Ataegina, Runesocesius, Apollo, Bacchus, Ceres, Cupid, Diana, Janus, Juno, Jupiter, Maia, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Neptune, Pluto, Plutus, Proserpina, Venus, Vesta, Vulcan, Attis, Cybele, El-Gabal, Isis, Mithras, Sol Invictus, Endovelicus, Anubis, Aten, Atum, Bast, Bes, Geb, Hapi, Hathor, Heget, Horus, Imhotep, Isis, Khepry, Khnum, Maahes, Ma’at, Menhit, Mont, Naunet, Neith, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Ptah, Ra, Sekhmnet, Sobek, Set, Tefnut, Thoth, An, Anshar, Anu, Apsu, Ashur, Damkina, Ea, Enki, Enlil, Ereshkigal, Nunurta, Hadad, Inanna, Ishtar, Kingu, Kishar, Marduk, Mummu, Nabu, Nammu, Nanna, Nergal, Ninhursag, Ninlil, Nintu, Shamash, Sin, Tiamat, Utu, Mitra, Amaterasu, Susanoo, Tsukiyomi, Inari, Tengu, Izanami, Izanagi, Daikoku, Ebisu, Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Fukurokuju, Jurojin, Hotei, Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, Inti, Kon, Mama Cocha, Mama Quilla, Manco Capac, Pachacamac and Zaramama

      June 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Brewers_Fan7

      That is an absolutely horrible argument, however the comment you replied to does a fairly good job of breaking down why all the major religions don't hold up under scrutiny. "Prove it's not true" is a tired retort used by people who don't understand things like evidence, probability or critical thinking. Can I prove there's no God with absolute certainty? No, and neither can anyone else. What we can do is look at the basis for the various belief systems and use the evidence available to make some determinations based on observable data. That data in turn suggests that religions as a whole fail to hold up under scientific scrutiny. If you say that you believe in spite of all the evidence to the contrary and simply have faith there's really no argument for that. However, I'd ask you one simple question. If a religion is true then it would follow that the evidence available would support it, not contradict it.

      June 5, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
  6. Believer

    Psalm 14:1 – The fool saith in his heart, there is no God.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • mary

      Yawn. Got any better books to quote? That bible thing is a joke. Smart people can see right through it, stupid.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Exodus 21:20-21

      DIrections on how to beat your slaves

      June 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Princepoliblog

      But look who you are quoting...

      June 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Believer:
      "Psalm 14:1 – The fool saith in his heart, there is no God."

      A quite old and sometimes effective tactic – declaring that those who do not believe your story are 'fools'. Nobody wants to be considered 'dumb' for not seeing the Emperor's new clothes, or a 'bas.tard' for not seeing the Sultan's new turban, or a 'cuckold' for not being able to see the Miller's gold thumb.

      Even Joseph Smith used it when he gathered his 'witnesses' to his golden plates. He told them that only those with 'true faith' would be able to 'see' them.

      The ancient, primitive Hebrews who originated those Bible stories were quite adept at manipulative mind-games.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Doobs

      Ah, yes. And the emperor has no clothes.

      Just a play on people's insecurities and need to feel special.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      ReligionIsBS, why not cry out that you are a slave to satan's lies?

      June 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • bjackson

      because satan is as unreal as god

      June 5, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • sam stone

      No, the fools are the fvcknuts who quote iron age comic books as if they speak for god

      June 5, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • lol??

      from wiki,
      "................The Iron Age is the third principal period of the three-age system created by Christian Thomsen (1788–1865) for classifying ancient societies and prehistoric stages of progress.[2]"

      A triune form of classifyin'??

      June 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      1 Corinthians 13:11
      "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

      Believer ... does that help?

      June 5, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • faith

      they offered proof . they told us all about it. prove they were lying

      June 5, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Heaven Sent,

      Why dont you admit that you either own and beat slaves or that you dont follow the bible because you know its BS. And why are you getting mad at me for posting a bible verse, shouldnt that make you happy?

      June 5, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      > Psalm 14:1 – The fool saith in his heart, there is no God.

      Gullibility is the term we use when someone accepts a concept without adequate evidence for that concept.

      Pray tell, how do you know fools say there is no God? And by the way, really, really believing something isn't knowing.

      Thanks!

      June 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      The Book of Bugs 14:1: "What a maroon!"

      June 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
  7. Thoth

    IMO social pressure is the single greatest reason many people just go along with religion. They want to be accepted, and don't want themselves, or their kids to be rejected, and judged for not believing in 'God'. Humans are social creatures. That's the real void that church gatherings fulfill. From Sunday school to youth and adult groups, kids camps and schools. It's really about getting together and interacting with others in your community. Before I had kids my 'godless' life was not an issue. But lately it has been very difficult and sometimes even outright hurtful to raise my children in the bible belt. The judgment and cruelty of 'Christians', especially towards children is disgusting. It only took one parent who discovered that my children don't go to church to set the gossip wheel in motion. I used to have the position of live and let live. Because of the actions of 'good christians', I've become much more anti-religion.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • gracecaptive

      I am a believer, follower, and lover of Jesus. Let me just say I am deeply sorry for the way you and your children have been treated. That isn't the example set forth by Jesus in the Bible, and it isn't an appropriate or authentic way for people who profess Christianity to behave. I understand that every interaction you have with someone with a 'Christian' label on themselves will shape your view of Christianity as a whole, but I would encourage you to keep in mind that the negative experiences often aren't representative of the whole, and that they will be much more memorable to you than perhaps dozens of interactions you have had with Christians who treated you well. I have been treated poorly, called names, and shunned because of my faith, but I haven't based my opinions of non-Christians as a whole on the few whose behavior hurt me.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Social pressure, fairy tales, ignorance. You unbelievers have too many excuses to keep your sinful ways.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • bjackson

      So heaven, reading this book created by ancient goat herders is the way to go huh?

      June 5, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • midwest rail

      " You unbelievers have too many excuses..."
      Oh, the irony.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • CosmicC

      @Thoth – check out your nearest UU congregation. We are non-dogmatic and many, including myself, are atheists. About all we ask is that people make an informed opinion about what they believe and allow others to do the same.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Doobs

      @ gracecaptive

      I have been treated poorly, called names, and shunned because of my faith, but I haven't based my opinions of non-Christians as a whole on the few whose behavior hurt me.

      First of all, it's highly unlikely that you have had very many of those experiences if you live in the USA. The vast majority of this country follows Christian beliefs, and it is plastered everywhere, on our money, in our national anthem, in government buildings. It is nothing like having family and friends decide not to associate with you anymore because you are a nonbeliever.

      Second, you are an adult. You should be able to deal with the occasional insult you may receive. This poster is saying that her children are the targets of insults, by adults (and probably their children as well). To compare yourself with children who are being condemned to hell, ridiculed and berated BY ADULTS is absurd. His/her children are being verbally abused, and you seem okay with it.

      The poster even said he/she didn't have any problems until the parents of her kids schoolmates found out they didn't go to church and then started a hate campaign against them. I'd say Thoth has every right to be anti-religion.

      Suffer the little children, indeed.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
  8. faith

    snowboarder
    "all religious myths are considered the invention of men unless otherwise proven."

    what does that have 2 do with jesus christ, u moron?

    June 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • James

      Faith,

      Had you been born in the US in the 1500 you would have believe in animal spirits and never have heard of god or Jesus in your lifetime. You've been brainwashed as a child into a particular set of ideas, it's time to let go an accept the fact that they're just ideas and not facts.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • faith

      u have no proof what i'd believe, u stoopid idiot

      June 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Princepoliblog

      Apparently Grammar is not among your beleifs.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • James

      Prove that you wouldn't.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @faith, the story of divinity of jesus is a religious myth.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      James, God created all, even the animals. Same with nature.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • lol??

      The power of the god Beast is no myth, brought to you by the A&A's.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      because it has to do with religious myths

      try to keep up, gash

      June 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • sam stone

      faith is a troll

      how is that lawsuit coming, troll?

      June 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • faith

      u r more than welcome 2 b a fool.

      we have the record of him, of his life and death and resurrection. if u dispute that record, fine. but u have no evidence that can dismiss it.

      snowboarder
      @faith, the story of divinity of jesus is a religious myth.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      faith
      we have a record of Harry Potter, Bilbo Baggins, Superman and many other fictional characters. Jesus as a man may have existed...as a god...no.

      June 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Jesus christ IS a religious myth, you moron.

      June 7, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  9. tv22

    There's nothing to recover from. Faith has been proven to be good for you. This has as much credibility as camps that try to retrain gay people.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Please share this proof. I hope you're not talking about 9/11 or the crusades.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • bjackson

      What proof?

      June 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Alias

      @tv22
      Wrong. Sopport from others has been proven to be good for you.
      This can be from any group, no mythology required.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • MormonChristian

      @ReligionIsBS,

      You really believe there are no good things to come out of religion and that atheistic societies do no harm? You really should get outside more often...you are no better than the closed minded extremists who flew into the towers on 9/11. People with closed minds are what is dangerous to our society. That includes closing oneself off to all the good that is done out there...

      June 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Doobs

      @ MormonChristian

      You really believe there are no good things to come out of religion and that atheistic societies do no harm?

      Oh come off it. ReligionisBS didn't say anything of the kind and you know it, magic panty boy.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  10. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    It is a crime by American law to discriminate any one by race, color or creed, and hinduism racism, based on hindu atheism, criminal self center ism, as religion is a violation of American law. deserving to be prosecuted and eliminated as a crime against humanity.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uM85zVt6xCU&w=640&h=360]

    June 5, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • mama k

      Atheism is not a violation of American law. Islam bot has no facts; has a misguided, twisted understanding of U.S. history and law.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      History = His story.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • fintastic

      His story = mythology

      June 6, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      fintastic

      mythology is to believe that you are the fittest that survived. LOL

      June 8, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  11. Webster

    Atheism;

    a : a disbelief in the existence of deity

    June 5, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      James 3:8

      But the tongue can no man tame; [it is] an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

      Amen.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • sam stone

      Only imbeciles quote ancient comic books

      June 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Pete

      "But the tongue can no man tame; [it is] an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. "

      Yup this is coming from one of the worst offenders here. She has used her voice to ruin the peace of society by damning those that don't agree with her. She spews her prejudice and bigotry toward gays and lesbians, atheists and any others she loves to fight with, but atlas HeavenSent again proves she is clueless about the scriptures.

      June 5, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Pete, sough, Tom, said by a true BAITER. P.S. when are you going to get over your obsession with stalking me?

      June 8, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Mea culpa, that was to be cough.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • HeavenSent

      I just coughed up mea another furball.

      June 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tom as phony heavensent, do you understand stop stalking me?

      June 8, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  12. uos_spo6

    Religion is thought disease that conditions the afflicted for acceptance of lunacy as justified or empirical truth. It is a self-validating riddle. Fear is the only reason anyone subscribes, whether they are capable of admitting that to themselves or not. Free yourself from the spiritual, emotional and intellectual oppression and begin experiencing life through the beauty of mortal existence as a finite reality. There is NO absolute.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Fear = the beginning of learning wisdom.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Oakspar77777

      There is no absolute in a statement that lists several absolutes.

      Religion my be self-supporting, but that still gives it a leg up on your self-referentially incoherant statement.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • CosmicC

      Not true. There are plenty of greedy people seeking some eternal reward.

      June 5, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Pete

      "Fear = the beginning of learning wisdom."

      No it's been proven to be the greatest selling tool known to man.

      June 5, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Pete, cough, Tom, could you be any more paranoid?

      June 8, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      HS. Fear is the easiest way to sell religion and war. Look it up.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • HeavenSent

      In Santa we trust, you posted "HS. Fear is the easiest way to sell religion and war. Look it up."

      Answer: No need for me to look up the many reasons for war. Just be grateful that brave folks fight/fought and died for our freedom.

      June 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Joan

      Just be thankful that we have religions to thank mainly for the wars in the ME.

      June 8, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Joan, what a surprise LOL. A new dummy handle to contend with.

      June 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  13. egravante

    Atheism is a religion. Trying to convert people just like all the other worlds religions. So it goes to show that no matter what religion you practice, everyone tries to push their ideas on others instead of worrying about themselves....

    June 5, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Webster

      a : a disbelief in the existence of deity

      June 5, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Atheism is a religion like not believing in zeus is a religion.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • egravante

      Religion – the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices:
      Atheism – disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

      There are many Atheists which make them a religion. And this article shows that they are organized.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Lilith

      It is very hard for those who believe in religion to come to grips with the reality that a person can have no belief in deities, it's part of the damage.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      > Atheism is a religion. Trying to convert people just like all the other worlds religions. So it goes to show that no matter what religion you practice, everyone tries to push their ideas on others instead of worrying about themselves....

      A couple things wrong with your thought process here.

      1) Atheism isn't a religon by definition because it does not have any dogma nor has a spiritual diety.
      2) Atheists aren't going to the homes of these people, they're going to the hotline. So how is "atheism" wanting to convert people.
      3) Since there is no dogma for atheism, there's nothing to convert to.
      4) Parents tell their children that santa isn't real. Are parents converting to something?

      Yeah, might want to address those. There's more, but thought I'd give you a starting point.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • James

      We aren't trying to convert anyone. We're trying to protect ourselves and our decedents from being re-winded to the dark ages. I want my great grandchildren traveling the stars, not cowering in a mud hut because of a solar eclipse.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • uos_spo6

      Atheism is a school of thought that rejects the notion of Divinity which is proposed by most of today's major religions. Atheism is not a religion simply because it addresses a question that religion poses and because people propagate it. Atheism stands by itself and is separate, it is not a system or doctrine of beliefs, it is a non-belief.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      T.i.tus 1:10

      Amen.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Ernest T Bass

      @egravante...... "There are many Atheists which make them a religion."

      Really? there are many musicians.... does that make them a religion?

      June 6, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      egravante. Your definition of religion is missing one key component – that the belief is in a superhuman controlling power – aka god(s).

      June 8, 2013 at 11:50 am |
  14. Bails

    aren't all athiests doubters??!!!......

    June 5, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      No .. we simply have no reason to believe.
      Just like I have no reason to believe an infinite number of things I can imagine, like unicorns or blue orbiting stegosauri.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Webster

      Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[1][2] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.[3][4][5] Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist.[

      June 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Lilith

      Face it, by the time a believer comes to the point of calling for help, they are already an Atheist who just needs help breaking their psychological conditioning.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • CosmicC

      I consider myself an affirmative atheist. I believe there is no god. I think that's slightly different than saying that I don't believe there is a god. My belief is firmly founded in a critical analysis of the information available to me. I think that the more passive disbelief I used to hold was a bit of a cop-out on my part.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      +

      T.i.tus 1:10

      Amen.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @bails, doubt in the face of the irrationality of religion would be a virtue.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  15. val

    No 1800 number needed. Read the Bible all the answers are there...Some people have no self-control ( there lies the problem) – God Bless you all.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • June

      Thats like saying all the answers can be found in the latest John Grisham novel. Or Stephen King novel. Or any other horror flick novel.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I have

      Poorly written, badly edited, and the plot is absurd

      June 5, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • EvinAR

      The answer to everything, huh? Then why isn't the answer to 'are there infinite prime number pairs separated by a single finite number' in there? Why isn't 'how to escape Earth's gravity' in there? Why isn't 'is there life elsewhere' in there? Why isn't 'what connects all animals, plants, fungi, and microbes' in there? Why isn't 'what is light and how does it work' in there? Why isn't relativity in there? Why isn't the shape of the earth, or the universe, or the reason why the universe is expanding, or the reason for the shape of the earth, in there? Where are all twelve elementary particles in the Bible and their properties? The elements? How to fly? How to read brain waves? Where does it talk about pathological human bias? It explains electricity in the Bible, does it?

      The Bible is the answer for SIMPLETONS. The Bible seems to answer 'what is life?' with this complicated unfolding of fantastic tales... and do you know the only reason why? Because they didn't know what DNA was. That's all there is to it.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • James

      Yes Val you're right I found what i was looking for in Exodus 21:7 I'm selling off my daughters as servants, I'm going to be rich!

      June 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      June, William, Evin, James

      I think val meant all the answers to doubt.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @val, the bible is a book of myths and fables. it only leads to more questions.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Arrogance = T.i.tus 1:10

      June 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Read the Bible all the answers are there"

      Really? What does it say about who killed Jon Benet Ramsey?

      June 5, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Pete

      "Arrogance = T.i.tus 1:10"

      Once again HeavenSent shows how clueless she is about scriptures.

      June 5, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Pete, Since you will never figure it out on your own ... now you know who brainwashed you. And, LOL, you believe your thoughts are your own. LOL.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • midwest rail

      Adults who still type LOL to laugh at their own posts are intellectually stunted.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • HeavenSent

      midwest rail, It is amusing to me how antisocials love to be negatively conditioned.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • midwest rail

      Your "response" is, as usual, a non sequitur. But I've come to expect no less from you.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • HeavenSent

      midwest rail, whatever floats your boat. You still have no clue.

      June 8, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  16. William Demuth

    As one who has no memories of ever believing a drop of religion, I am wary of converts.

    An evangelical who ever believed is a danger, because the programing is so deep they might relapse at any time.

    I read this article and wondered what practical use these folks might be, and I had a flash of insight.

    Lets borrow a page from the Muslim playbook and spin some yarn about Atheist Martyr's and convince these folks to return to their churches and blow themselves up!

    June 5, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • James

      we're just after their votes. That's all we need to keep us from going backwards.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Chris K

      Calling Evangelicals a danger... then suggesting we blow up people who believe...

      A statement like this is assumed to be a joke. But it trivializes the idea that some people who fail to make their points intellectually will seek violence as a means to an end.

      Violence... not just for religious nuts anymore!

      June 5, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Chaos ruling supreme = T.i.tus 1:10

      June 5, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Pete

      "Chaos ruling supreme = T.i.tus 1:10"

      Really where in that scripture does it state that? LOL! You're clueless.

      June 5, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tom, stop posting under the Pete handle and stop stalking me.

      June 8, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  17. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    hindu atheist, ignorant self centered are defined the best, See, See they not, hear, hear they not, they just do not understand, Mathew 13:13. They are deaf, dumb and blind, Alquran. hindu secular s, ignorant self centered are blind to truth absolute GOD, even though, they know, nothing can exist without truth, and truth absolute is THE LORD GOD OF UNIVERSE..

    June 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Kris

      Learn to form a sentence in English first that is not full of grammatical mistakes and errors. Secondly, you believe in the Cult of Islam from what I can gather. It is an invention of a pedophile, a murdering lunatic and the Koran is full of contradictions in and out. So you really have no footing to comment about one of the most tolerant and encompassing religions of the world (Hinduism). Islam's contribution to civilization and society has been zilch! It has only given the world pain and suffering and terror. Contribution of Hinduism to the world are immense.. Yoga, Karma philosophy etc.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  18. Chris

    If you cannot talk to your clergy about your doubts, then you need to find a new place of worship. They should be comfortable enough in their faith to answer concerns about yours.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Colin

      But their advice is predicated upon the truth of the very thing one is quetioning. Might as well ask a used car salesman whether you should buy one of his cars...

      June 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Any "faith" should be able to stand up to questions, no matter what it is. To ask a clergy member about doubting your faith is like asking a butcher if meat is good for you.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Chris

      Your responses are predicated upon the understanding you have of religions. Not every place is as you think it is. In my place of worship, we can have intellectual conversations about issues we have with our faith. But go ahead and continue to group us all into the stereotypical evangelical. It makes you look no better than them.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • mary

      Chris, you've never had an intellectual conversation in your life. You lack the ability to have such a conversation.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • EvinAR

      Some people are smarter than clergymen. In fact, many atheists are smarter than clergymen. Their doubts are answered by evidence, not a run-around explanation that the clergy vomit from some place in their brain that makes psychologists facepalm.

      Just thought I should clear that up for you.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • EvinAR

      In the 'intellectual conversations' you have at your church, do you all ever bring up the reason you believe that a first-century man who perfectly fits his time as a Jewish revolutionary against Roman rule, who died in the same manner as most revolutionaries and blasphemers, became your god?

      I would have offered in such a discussion – maybe there was an eclipse during his crucifixion? Or maybe an earthquake? Maybe, in all of human history, this man was just REALLY lucky at the time of his death, combined with the fact that he was a very prolific prophet?

      The difference between you and me is that, when I read the Bible... I read it from the point of view of what I know about the natural world – as people know it today. I don't view occurrences that happen for natural reasons as ANYTHING of God, if they're mentioned in the Bible. You should too, and I think you'll find that a vast number of things which aren't just made up could indeed be natural occurrences that coincide with some significant human endeavors. Why can't people be realistic? We human beings seek PATTERNS, ALL the time. We're mistaken about these patterns ALL THE TIME.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      +++
      T.i.tus 1:10

      Amen.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Doobs

      Chris, when you have these intellectual discussions about the problems you have with your faith, has anyone ever said, "I'm starting to have doubts whether god exists."? or "We know the bible was wrong about the sun rotating around the earth. What else is it wrong about?"? In my experience with those types of discussions, no one would have dared. It would have been met with gasps and probably an immediate exorcism.

      In private discussions, I would my pastors questions about my faith, and received pat answers. When I pressed, they would inevitably become angry and begin to chastise me for daring to question god. I was berated, told I was going to hell, etc. It happened for the first time when I was five years old. I did try to find a church that could answer my questions, but the result was the same each time. No answers, just anger.

      You aren't having an intellectual discussion, you are just sitting around finding bible verses to support what you already believe.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • CosmicC

      I'm with Chris on this one, but then we have an atheists group that meets monthly and most of us attend Sunday services. I'm a UU. I wonder what Chris is.

      June 5, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Pete

      "+++
      T.i.tus 1:10

      Amen."

      You're clueless! Here's a hint "Paul's description is too brief to make absolutely plain the meaning of ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach (v. 11). This may be a reference to the turning of whole house churches to the heresy, or possibly some part of their doctrine challenged traditional concepts concerning the household."

      June 5, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Oh brilliant. Just like talking to a fox about not stealing chickens.

      June 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Forget the phony Pete handle. Tom, Ti.tus is Greek. He's not the Apostle Paul. Now, go back to you ABCs,

      June 8, 2013 at 10:53 am |
  19. coolusernametwo

    Are religions stupid, or are people? Most conmen are smarter than the conned!

    June 5, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Who's zooming whom? = T.i.tus 1:10

      June 5, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • Pete

      " = T.i.tus 1:10"

      Paul goes on to unmask the false teachers in the Cretan church. Paul's description is too brief to make absolutely plain the meaning of ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach (v. 11). This may be a reference to the turning of whole house churches to the heresy, or possibly some part of their doctrine challenged traditional concepts concerning the household.

      HeavenSent just cherry picks the bible without understand it. Too funny.

      June 5, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • fintastic

      Heavensent, I want to thank you for exposing christianity

      June 6, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Pete, cough Tom, ruining households. Now what do atheists do? Who conditioned atheists not to believe? Is anything sinking in or are you completely rock?

      June 8, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • HeavenSent

      fintastic, if any of you atheists had a brain among you that worked, I'd be amazed.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Tom, don't concern yourself with my knowledge of scriptures, figure out your connection to the scriptures I post.

      June 8, 2013 at 11:04 am |
  20. Just wondering

    @richard what exactly did I say that was rude

    June 5, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.