Church without God - by design
Members of an atheist congregation at Harvard listen to music during a recent gathering.
June 22nd, 2013
11:25 AM ET

Church without God - by design

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

Boston (CNN)-– It’s Sunday in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a rapt congregation listens to a chaplain preach about the importance of building a community.

A few dozen people sit quietly for the hourlong service. Music is played, announcements are made and scholars wax poetic about the importance of compassion and community.

Outsiders could be forgiven for believing this service, with its homilies, its passing of the plate, its uplifting songs, belongs in a church.

If so, it’s a church without one big player: God.

Sunday’s congregation in Cambridge is a meeting of the Humanist Community at Harvard University and the brainchild of Greg Epstein, the school’s Humanist chaplain.

A longtime advocate for community building, Epstein and his group of atheists have begun to build their Cambridge community and solemnize its Sunday meetings to resemble a traditional religious service.

To Epstein, religion is not all bad, and there is no reason to reject its helpful aspects.

“My point to my fellow atheists is, why do we need to paint things with such a broad brush? We can learn from the positive while learning how to get rid of the negative," he said.

Godless congregations

For Epstein, who started community-building at Harvard nearly 10 years ago, the idea of a godless congregation is not an oxymoron.

“We decided recently that we want to use the word congregation more and more often because that is a word that strongly evokes a certain kind of community - a really close knit, strong community that can make strong change happen in the world,” he said.

“It doesn’t require and it doesn't even imply a specific set of beliefs about anything.”

Epstein is not alone in his endeavor. Jerry DeWitt, who became an atheist and left his job as an evangelical minister, is using his pastoral experience to building an atheist church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

This Sunday, DeWitt's congregation will hold its first meeting as a "Community Mission Chapel."

"When you become a part of this congregation, this community, you are going to become part of a family," DeWitt told CNN. "There is an infrastructure there for you to land in. There is going to be someone there to do weddings and to do, unfortunately, the funerals."

READ MORE: Unbelieving preachers get help to 'come out' as open atheists

Sunday school for atheists

As members of the Cambridge congregation file into a wood-paneled classroom at Harvard, singer Shelley Segal greets them with a few songs from her latest recording, called simply, “An Atheist Album.”

Taking a hint from the theme of the event, Segal strums on her guitar and belts her song, “Gratitude.”

“I don't believe in a great power to say thank you to,” Segal sings. “But that won’t take away from my gratitude.”

Harvard's humanist chaplain Greg Epstein leads an atheist gathering.

After the music, Epstein offers a few words of greeting before the meeting gets to its heart: a discussion about compassion.

A four academics and a journalist discuss the effects of religion on raising children and their ideas about compassion. Congregants listen intently, some even taking notes.

Each service has a message – compassion, evolution or acceptance - after which congregants engage in a lengthy discussion.

Before the main event, kids are invited to what some parents refer to as “Sunday school,” where Tony Debono, a biologist Massachusetts Institute of Technology, teaches the youngsters about evolution, DNA and cells.

There's little talk about organized religion, positive or negative.

Likewise, down in Louisiana, said his atheist services will not be anti-religion.

"What we are looking at doing is different," DeWitt said. "If you are a religionist and you come and sit in our pew, the only way you can leave offended is because of what you don’t hear and what you don’t see. We won’t be there to make a stance against religion or against God."

Coming out of the closet

In the last few years, the number of “nones” – those who don’t associate with any organized religion – has grown at a rate faster than any other group. Nones now represent one in five Americans, according to a 2012 Pew Research Center poll.

Although the number of atheists has grown, too, there are still a large number of “nones” that choose not to associate with the label “atheist.”

Some at Harvard’s Humanist congregation fall into this category.

“I don’t particularly have a religion,” said Anil Nyer, a neurologist who brought his daughter to Humanist Sunday school. But Nyer also said he didn’t want to label himself as an atheist.

One reason to shy away from the atheist label: Many Americans hold a negative impression of nonbelievers.

According to a recent Public Religion Research Institute poll, nearly 40 percent of Americans believe that atheists are changing American culture for the worse.

“Whenever we put atheists on a list like this and we compare them to other groups, atheists tend to come in towards the bottom of that list,” said Robert P. Jones is the CEO of Public Religion Research Institute.

“Americans tend to hold a lot of reservations about atheists.”

Epstein hopes his congregation can change that.

By formalizing meetings and building a strong community, the Harvard group hopes it can be a model for other atheist congregations forming around the country.

A group meets during an atheist gathering in Boston.

More atheists may come of the closet if they know a congregation will be there to support them, Epstein said,

“Being an atheist is something we want people to come out and be,” said the Humanist chaplain. “There are so many people, probably millions, who are humanists or atheists or nonreligious in private and nobody knows."

Epstein said he gets e-mails daily from people founding atheist meet-up groups.

“Tulsa, Oklahoma; North Carolina; London; Vancouver, Canada; Houston, Texas,” Epstein said, listing the sources of the most recent e-mails.

“One part of what we are saying is come on out and let your neighbors know” about your disbelief, he said. “It is not going to make you worse of a person, it is going to make you a better person to be more open about who you are.”

Rituals for the irreligious

For the last few years, the Humanist Community at Harvard has operated out of a small three-floor walk-up off the bustling streets of Harvard Square. The walls are littered with posters about atheism – tributes to famed atheists Eddie Izzard, Seth MacFarlane and Stephen Fry.

Because of the scattered furniture and the Harvard dorm feel, Epstein jokingly describes the space as “college broke chic.” That’s being generous – but it's also about to change.

Starting in the fall, the Humanist Community at Harvard will begin meeting in a nearly 3,000-square-foot community center with an event space for nearly 100 people.

Although the plan is to use the space at the group’s headquarters, it will also serve as a broader community center for the group that Epstein and others are trying to build in the Boston area.

“What we really would like to see is a community center where people can come by at anytime and to use it as a space to study or have a meeting for various committee,” said Chris Stedman, the assistant humanist chaplain at Harvard.

Stedman said he sees the new building as a place for people to gather, not only to become part of a humanist community, but to also become more engaged with the world.

When he talks about his plans for the future, Epstein appears to long for a time when the new community center could mimic aspects of church - a place for baby-naming ceremonies, weddings and funerals.

The success of an atheist church will depend on walking the thin line between too much and too little ritual, Epstein said.

Humanists boast a proud freethinking streak, and some at the Harvard event said they don’t want to be associated with any sort of dogma or belief system - or even a system based on disbelief.

Anyway, Esptein said his congregation will be less a group of people united by beliefs - or disbelief - and more like an opera, or a painting.

“Our community is like a work of art," he said. "Hopefully people will respond to that work of art and it will garner controversy and discussion like a work of art."

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church • Houses of worship • United States

soundoff (6,897 Responses)
  1. guest

    tomorrow is go to church day for these atheists

    June 29, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
  2. Goaty McCheese

    So they have their own churches, and they just created their own icons down in Florida. Next thing you know they'll be criticizing people who don't agree with them – oh yeah they're doing that already.

    June 29, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Why do you say that as if it's a bad thing?

      July 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
  3. Books of Creationism and Intelligent Design are banned from public schools

    Because children deserve genuine scientific knowledge not religious nonsense.

    June 29, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Andres

      I agree with that. If a parent wants to get religion in a child, they should take child to church themselves.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  4. LIGHT

    One more about the miracles of Quran:

    Then We developed the drop into a hanging, then developed the hanging into a chewed lump of flesh.(23:14)

    The Quran continues displaying its miracles in its description of “alaq” succeeded by the “mudga” (chewed lump of flesh) stage. As a matter of fact, the embryo in the uterus has the appearance of a chewed lump of flesh, a tiny piece of flesh. (22: 5), speaks “of chewed lump of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed,”

    which is a good description of the aspect of the fetus. The aspect presented to our sight is of an indented figure whose head, feet and internal organs have begun to develop (partly formed, partly unformed).

    Prof. Keith L. Moore says that he had a model made in plastic in the shape of an embryo and bit on it, leaving the marks of his teeth; this seemed to be an exact reproduction of an embryo, and explained the indentation referred to in the Quran.

    Signs in the high universe, seas and inside the wombs where no one can tell but Allah.

    June 28, 2013 at 3:30 am |
    • Science

      Hey light ................truth no fairy in sky needed to create you !

      June 28, 2013 at 6:11 am |
    • ME II


      1) Simple observation of miscarriages would reveal the appearance of fetal development.
      2) If you qouted the first part of that verse (ayat) it wouldn't be quite as impressive since sperm doesn't form into an embryo on it's own.

      "Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allah , the best of creators." (23:14)

      June 28, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Andres

      No wonder muslims are so ancient thinking. Now, who would understand what is said there? Can mean 1000 things.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  5. LIGHT

    See this also:

    He has let free the two seas meeting together. (55:19)
    Between them there is a barrier which they do not transgress. (55:20)

    A famous French oceanographer, J. Cousteau, gives the following account as a result of his studies in water barriers: “We studied the assertions by certain researchers about barriers separating seas, and noticed that the Mediterranean Sea had its own salinity and density and housed autochthonous fauna and flora. Then we examined the water of the Atlantic Ocean and discovered features entirely different from those of the Mediterranean Sea. According to our expectations, these two seas that merged in the strait of Gibraltar should present similar characteristics in terms of salinity, density and other properties. The two seas presented different features even though they were adjacent. This greatly puzzled us. An incredible barrier prevented the two seas from coming together. The same sort of a barrier had also been observed in Bab Al-Mandab in the Gulf of Aden connecting with the Red Sea.

    June 28, 2013 at 3:18 am |
    • ME II

      Apparently the two do mix.

      June 28, 2013 at 9:42 am |
  6. JoeC

    Atheist prove that there is a God because they have this need to get together to worship the god of Nothing. It reminds me of the tv show Seinfeld, when Jerry and George want to do a show about "nothing". What makes it funny is that their "nothing" is something.
    I don't have to prove to anyone that their is a God. God exists and the atheist go to great lengths to prove His none existance.

    June 28, 2013 at 1:26 am |
    • Doobs

      Reading comprehension is hard, isn't it?

      June 29, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • BryanT

      Joe, did you actually read the article?
      From your response I would guess you just skimmed the headline.

      July 1, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  7. LIGHT

    For those atheists who don't believe in anything, and for Christians who don't believe in Quran please read this:

    Do not these disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were an integrated mass, which We then split, and from water We made all living things? Will they not believe even then? (21:30)

    With power did We construct Heaven. Verily, We are expanding it. (51:47)

    On that day We will fold the heaven, like the folding of a book. Just as We initiated the first creation, We will revert it. This is Our promise. We will certainly fulfill it. (21:104)

    The greatness of the Quran, which stated 1400 years ago that the universe was created from the one primordial wholeness(which we are calling the big bang theory), that it expanded, and that it would shrink back -at a time when all scientific evidence was lacking- is understood better today with the advance of science and the discovery of the mystery of the universe.

    See how Quran is talking about the past, the present and the future of the universe very accurately where no else can do it.

    Know show us what did the Earth or the Nature said to us.

    June 28, 2013 at 1:22 am |
    • Rules of Conduct

      First of all, for Mohammed to be right, many of the big guns in the bible have to be a liar. The first being Gabriel, because Mohammed said Gabriel told him things that were outright contradictions to what he said before, from God. And if Gabriel wasn't
      lying, then God would have to have lied, for Mohammed to be right.

      I don't think so, neither of those are acceptable, therefore Mohammed is the liar.

      Mohammed also said that Jesus didn't die on a cross, but instead, someone else took his place on the cross and Jesus floated away through the ceiling, not dying for sins of others, etc... which makes all the apostles liars for Mohammed to be right.

      No, that doesn't fit either. Mohammed is just a liar, that's all you can say about it. All those people in the New Testament did not lie. They told the truth... so Mohammed is a liar... liar, liar, liar.

      But Gabriel, he is the most awesome angel around, he cleans up, he cleans up the entire mess.... someday... and years ago.

      June 28, 2013 at 2:50 am |
    • LIGHT

      If Mohamed as you are saying why Gabriel was coming to him for 23 years? Why he didn't stop?

      From the beginning why Gabriel was coming to Mohamed ? Because he is a prophet? if so prophets will never lie.

      Because Mohamed was a normal man? Why then Gabriel was coming to him?

      the question is how Mohamed knows all such things and more if he is not a prophet, and if he is a prophet, prophets will not lie.

      Much better if you try to watch Tom and Jerry as such kinds of conversations are not for those like you.

      Much better to use your brain in thinking instead of using another part.

      June 28, 2013 at 6:06 am |
    • ME II

      "The greatness of the Quran, which stated 1400 years ago that the universe was created from the one primordial wholeness(which we are calling the big bang theory), that it expanded, and that it would shrink back..."

      It seems that you have taken a lot of license with the interpretations here, but the last part seems to be in contradiction to reality. With the evidence that the expansion of the universe is actually accelerating, it seems less and less likely that it will collapse back at any point in the future.

      June 28, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • My blue friend

      Jesus set the standard. No better friend anywhere.

      Mohammed lied.

      June 29, 2013 at 3:02 am |
  8. Salero21

    If anyone needed any more evidence as to how much stupidity is involve in atheism this should be it.

    June 28, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • Rules of Conduct

      The "ex pastor" looked at it originally like a job, making money, he did not look at it as loving God. Someone that loves God will tell people about God for free, or at their own expense, because they love him. They certainly won't walk away from him, or try to boot him out of a place where people are meeting. If someone loves God they will want God with them, not away from them.

      What they probably want, is a club... a hating God club.

      June 28, 2013 at 3:10 am |
    • JBOOMstillLying

      RULES of Conduct says:

      "Someone that loves God will tell people about God for free..."

      Apparently you haven't turned on a television or attended church in the last 40 years.

      He also said: "What they probably want, is a club... a hating God club"

      What is it with you Christians that you can't even understand a simple definitiion?..atheists don't hate what doesn't exist.

      They do, however, despise boneheads, such as yourself, who can't read a dictionary or can only read an apologists ramblings.

      June 28, 2013 at 3:16 am |
    • My blue friend

      Of course atheists hate God. He stole all the names and concepts of a church, then said he didn't want God there. He sent out the big fu to God while taking everything he could to dupe people into thinking they'd get what they get at a church, a chance to get closer to God.

      I know how to get closer to God.

      June 29, 2013 at 2:57 am |
    • Doobs

      @ blue

      Christians didn't invent the idea of getting together to share common interests, nor do they own words.

      June 29, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • My blue friend

      It's always an image of what's related to God... then they try to take God away from what he is, or is about.

      People meet sometimes because they love God, that is why they're there. They are not there to make up words.

      It's hard to be the better man, when you forget you're tryin...

      It's a lie, what they're doing is lying to people. God exists, people love him, get it straight.

      July 1, 2013 at 5:33 am |
    • Nice Try

      JBoom… You stated: "What is it with you Christians that you can't even understand a simple definitiion?..atheists don't hate what doesn't exist."...

      You are a liar and I will prove you wrong by asking you two simple questions:

      Question 1: As an atheist, do you believe God exists, yes or no? Answer: No.

      Question 2: Have you ever in your life said or thought anything bad or evil about that same God you say doesn't exist? Answer: If you say Yes, then it proves my point. If you say No, then you are a liar. Case closed.

      July 2, 2013 at 2:17 pm |

    Atheism under One GOD,

    by Perfect –Mathematical & Symmetrical– Design!



    June 27, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • Science

      bottom one for chad/vic and Freddie !


      June 28, 2013 at 12:08 am |
  10. KTShamim

    Church without God? Crops without rain?

    [Qur'an 2:257] "There should be no compulsion in religion. Surely, right has become distinct from wrong; ... "

    [Qur'an 18:30] "And say, ‘It is the truth from your Lord; wherefore let him who will, believe, and let him who will, disbelieve."

    [Qur'an 6:108] "And if Allah had enforced His will, they would not have set up gods with Him. And We have not made thee a keeper over them nor art thou over them a guardian."

    June 27, 2013 at 3:00 am |
    • anything you post may be used

      If a man tells you an angel of God, lied, you should think what?

      You should think the man is a liar.

      The angel Gabriel, did not lie.

      Jesus died on a cross, for others sins, and rose again the third day. If you believe him and repent of your sins, and do the will of God... you get what?

      June 27, 2013 at 4:50 am |
    • Eye Warship Satin


      June 27, 2013 at 7:33 am |
    • ME II

      "Crops without rain?"

      This is called irrigation.

      June 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • One one

      Gods without eternal punishment and torture?

      2 Thessalonians, 8-9:"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."

      Not to worry, it's just a myth.

      June 27, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
  11. Debra

    Supreme Court striked down DOMA. God's Will?

    June 27, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • lively and courteous discussion

      Gen 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

      June 27, 2013 at 12:52 am |
    • Observer

      lively and courteous discussion,

      Yep. And God also said that marriage should be FORCED on people, but let's IGNORE that.

      June 27, 2013 at 12:56 am |
    • Debra

      Exodus International, Christian Group That Provided ‘Gay Therapy’, Apologizes, Shuts Down. God's Will?

      June 27, 2013 at 1:12 am |
    • Nice Try

      Debra... No not God's will. Lucifer's will. So he can get you to sin and send your soul to hell. Didn't you know, Lucifer is big in politics these days?...

      June 27, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • sam stone

      Nice Try is a troll

      NT......jeebus is waiting

      June 27, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • fintastic

      No such thing as "Lucifer" Nicetry..... try reality for a change.

      June 27, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • One one

      There are no gods. It's the Supreme Court' s will.

      June 27, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Debra

      Nice Try, no, that's God's Will alright. Go figure it out, you dummy!

      June 27, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
  12. Fake science

    It's long overdue given atheists banking so heavily on nothing creating things, so I have taken it upon myself to compile and update all the facts known about what nothing has done, said, and plans to do in the future so atheists can use the list as a reference. The last time I posted this I noticed the type was possibly set too small, so I have corrected that. Anyway, here is today's updated list:

    I'm embarrased at how long it took to type all that in. The spell checker says it's OK, so feel free to copy/paste it into your Christian bashing replies when they tell you the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob made everything, the entire universe, and his son Jesus Christ of Nazareth died for your sins, if you repent of your sins and believe him.

    June 26, 2013 at 11:46 pm |


      June 27, 2013 at 2:09 am |
    • ME II

      @Fake science,
      Isn't that the list of all the things your God has done?

      June 27, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • RGE50

      Fake: I'm not sure if it's my browser or if this was just sarcastic and I didn't catch on, but your list appears empty on my screen. If your serious please try your entry again.

      June 27, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • sam stone

      Nothing creating things?

      You know us so well, Fake science

      June 27, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Your god is as invisible and undetectable as the list you posted. Why is it that people with all different types of god beliefs and dogmas/religions all use the same math and chemistry?

      June 27, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • One one

      So, where is the list ? Are you the god of nothing ?

      June 27, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Fake science

      Well, that was more of a paragraph format for what God has done. List formatted would look something like:

      1. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob made everything, the entire universe
      2. God sent his son Jesus Christ of Nazareth to die for your sins, if you repent of your sins and believe him.

      That is not the entire list of things God has done or plans to do. For that, the list is too long to include, an infinite number of DVD's might hold that list... maybe.

      I'm including the list of things nothing has done again here for completness:

      June 27, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • Saraswati

      It seems to me that nothing created your god.

      Your linguistic problem stems, by the way, from a gross misunderstanding of modern science.

      June 27, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
  13. jboom

    G to the T,
    the ones I have found are a stretch. Could you post something.
    And the article by K.Miller posted above, though its wordy, essentially does nothing to strike down Behe's argument. So the TTSS is a sub-system of the BF. Even if those parts are repurposed, they still must be reassembled properly. Besides, that explains only about ten parts out of 40. Its typical of the articles I have seen which is why I asked for a textbook.

    "Like the creationists who repeatedly argue every new fossil discovered leaves 2 more gaps to fill, jboom is resting on "
    the fossil record is a joke. Darwin nkew it but hoped that we'd have more fossil finds in the future. 150 years later, we have a lot more fossils. But they do not show the gradual morphing of one form to another. So the theory gets revised. Oh let us guess again. The pace of change was interspersed with rapid changes and slow changes. The sampling rate of fossil recovery is too decimated to capture those periods of slow change that would show the gradualism.
    Its like fitting a Nth order polynomial to a data set of N points. It fits, but its not reality.

    ""adequately" to presumably mean, to his/her personal satisfaction. However, I would suspect that jboom is not adequately versed in the science to even begin to appreciate the basics, let alone the available literature demonstrating"

    Irrelevant to the points of discussion.

    " novel functionality of complex specified systems. But more telling is that jboom is resting in the gap of knowledge and throwing up his/her hands to proclaim "God did it" while actual scientists continue investigating. Because jboom would "

    again, another misrepresentation if claims of ID.
    Its not what is not known, its what IS known that drives ID proponents.
    If you flip a coin 500 times and get heads 500 times in a row, then we can say its what we DO know that gives us reason to suspect that the coin or process is not fair.

    "have the mechanism be supernatural, there is no possible way to investigate further. This is why ID is both non-scientific and a dangerous "science-stopper." ID indicates that we should stop conducting research and simply marvel at the mysterious and untestable ways of the designer . . ."

    To say ID is a show stopper merely shows you have not read any ID authors. They hold exactly the opposite view. The want more science.

    June 26, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
  14. churchoffreethought

    There are already atheist churches in Houston and the DFW area that have been around for many years – check out these churches of freethought !

    June 26, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • jboom

      chuckle ... implying that Christian churches do not support free thought ?

      June 26, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Do you support gay marriage, jboomboom?

      June 26, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • jboom

      what hath that to do with free thought?

      Free thought does not change the definition of a word by fiat.

      Do I support gay marriage? Thats like asking if you believe in God? You;d say there is no god. I say there is no gay marriage.

      I support civil unions. I do not support changing our language by vote. A 5-4 vote mind you.

      Shall we being to call a pentagon a hexagon? a circle a triangle.

      Marriage is what it is and we all know what it is. Its common sense.

      June 26, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • jboom

      or let there even be a ceremony with 2 grooms or 2 brides.
      But give it a name.
      Its not marriage.

      June 26, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh? That's not what it was 400 years ago. Or 1000 years ago. Who says it's what you think it is?

      Who says you get to tell others what it is?

      June 26, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • Saraswati

      One of the odd parts of this story is that they make it sound like a new thing. There have been similar churches and organizations for well over a hundred years.

      June 26, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • The real Tom

      I've often said that when someone states "It's common sense," or "Period, end of sentence," or "'Nuff said," or "End of discussion", it's a pretty good bet that said poster is a complete and utter asshole.

      Thanks for bolstering my theory with concrete evidence, fvcktard.

      June 26, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • jboom

      i don't have to. We all know what it is. Get real!

      Ever read the book Doublespeak?

      June 26, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @real Tom, The very words "common sense" are my big tip off to move on. Anyone who doesn't realize why that term and concept are ridiculous is unlikely to be worth debating.

      June 26, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • jboom

      real tom, this is not a general discussion. Its a particular discussion in a particular place at a particular time.
      The fact that you can make a generalization about past discussions and their use of the phrase 'common sense' has no bearing on this particular, specific discussion. Its a red herring and shows that you are too angered by the truth to engage in dialogue.

      June 26, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Nope, boom-boom, sara nails it. Some dick who uses the term "common sense" doesn't have a leg to stand on, or he'd stand on it. You're toast. Buh-bye.

      June 26, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oooh, I have a new platitude to add: "Get real." Thanks, boom-boom!!

      June 26, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • jboom

      reel tom,
      You were the one that asked the question.

      June 26, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • The real Tom

      lol? Is that what your tongue's doing right now?

      Figures. Are you drooling, too?

      June 26, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Science

      jboom =L4H maybe or Russ ?

      June 27, 2013 at 3:35 am |
    • The bible says I can have multiple wives.

      If memory serves me correctly, the word "marriage" didn't exist until around 1050 AD. At the time, it was spelled "mariage" and was defined by the catholic church. We know today that the catholic church is and has always been a corrupt organization bent on control. The catholic church was responsible for countless numbers of torture and death. Thankfully it has lost most of its control.

      Now, if you think "marriage" defines the union between one male and one female, you are agreeing to the definition created by a corrupt organization that condones and covers up what priests do to children. Very holy indeed.

      Now, if you want to believe in the biblical definition of marriage, then you openly agree to having multiple wives. The bible was perfectly fine with polygamy. It was also perfectly acceptable to force yourself on a female, however violently you wished to go about it. But, as long as you married her, it was perfectly acceptable.

      Do you want to continue this discussion?

      I didn't think so.

      June 27, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • sam stone

      "implying that Christian churches do not support free thought ?"

      not implying it. outright stating it

      June 27, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Happy Atheist

      Should two atheists be able to get married? How about two people who are unable to have children? Do we give those relationships a new name also? Marriage is for everyone who wants to participate, your religious definitions hold no water as the courts have found. Your argument hasn't a leg to stand on. Your grandchildren will think back with some shame when they recall their bigoted grandparent, but likely they will just send you to assisted living somewhere they don't have to hear your rhetoric or let anyone else hear your bigotry. The country has moved on, your only choice now is to stay living in the past or to get on board.

      June 27, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • jboom

      The bible says I can have multiple wives,

      red herrings thru and thru

      Fact is, we all know what marriage is. Now a very tiny, vocal minority (3-6%, though the masses believe it to be 20-25%) with the help of the PC though police have persuaded the courts to engage in DoubleSpeak.

      As I said, one can be willing to concede all for the benefits of gay marriage, but it is DoubleSpeak through and through to call it marriage.

      Call it marriage. Its not.

      June 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • jboom

      its folks like yourself with a narrow view framed by the PC thought police that stifle free expression by accusing one of bigotry.

      Its bigotry if the benefits are not conferred the way you want it done?

      Why must it be done with DoubleSpeak? Orwellian DoubleSpeak does not bode well for truth.

      June 27, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      @jboom – which part of my comment was "DoubleSpeak"? I thought I was very clear.

      June 27, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Am I alone is seeing some curious similarities between the posts of jboom and Chad? Thoughts from the forum?

      June 27, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Sorry, "Am I alone in seeing", not "Am I alone is seeing". Damned typos.

      June 27, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • mama k

      hmm. is it Chardonian enough without the "@" usage?

      Not sure. I have to look at more of them.

      June 27, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @mama k –

      I agree that the formatting is different; however, there are enough syntactical similarities and recurrent grammatical errors, which are hallmarks of Chad's posts, that I'm a bit suspicious. In addition, Chad has been uncharacteristically absent and, during this same period, jboom has engaged in a posting fervor. Hmmm....


      June 27, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • mama k

      I keep wondering about this Vic character. Because Chad has just started using more bold and italic right toward the end of the last posts I read by him.

      June 27, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @mama k –

      We all know Chad is prone to using sock puppets (textbook example – http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/06/richard-dawkins-evolution-is-not-a-controversial-issue/comment-page-10/#comments), so I wouldn't be surprised if he's adopted several that are new. I'll have to look into "Vic's" posts...I'll let you know my take.

      Perhaps Chad's just on vacation or, perhaps, the ass-kicking he took in the thread below inspired him to adopt some new handles.


      June 27, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I wondered what happened to our snarky little buddy.

      Mind you, I'm a bit tired of the repet!tion around here lately.

      June 27, 2013 at 9:33 pm |

    Atheism under One GOD, by Design.


    June 26, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
  16. Megadork fest

    Atheist: "If you don't support my macroevolutionary theory I'll flush your bible down the toilet"
    Christian: "No we need to talk about bible study!"

    Both of you move out of your mom's basement, take a lover, discover beer and stop fighting eachother. You are both geeks enough for the whole world to take notice.

    June 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  17. bostontola

    I'm proud of our Government today, so glad we live in a secular society rather than under the tyranny of the majority.

    June 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • Salero21

      So... majority rule as in a Democracy is according to you "Tyranny". So you know that the likes of you are still in the minority like maybe a 10%.

      June 26, 2013 at 6:08 pm |

      democracy? You need to study. Civil rights cannot be taken away by any majority.

      June 26, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • Thinker...


      1) we have a republic, not a democracy.
      2) The Tyranny of the Majority is one of the biggest dangers in a democracy/republic. It is against that very danger that Judicial Review was included in the consti tution (also why we have a bicameral legislature). It is the check against mob rule that allows the government to do unpopular things (like desegregation) without the need to build majority support and prevents them from passing legislation that curtails the rights of the citizens as given in the Consti tution (like making firearms illegal). What if religion became the minority and congress tried to outlaw religion because more of the people that vote for them want it gone? The Tyranny of the Majority is the majority taking rights away simply because there are more of them.

      June 27, 2013 at 11:49 am |
  18. Salero21

    SCOTUS & POTUS are just like the Godless "church" of atheists. The end results and the consequences of Godlessness is the best argument for Godliness.

    June 26, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • bostontola

      There are lots of other countries to live in, why are you staying?

      June 26, 2013 at 5:25 pm |

      Heard your bs all my life. You lost the cultural war back in the 70s. Your tired rhetoric puts you in the minority, just look around. Now you can take your own advice.
      Nonsense like yours is just the death cry of dying dinosaurs, bye bye.........

      June 26, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • WASP

      WOW! JUST WOW! i haven't ever seen such a fast moving hamster wheel of logic. XD

      June 27, 2013 at 7:06 am |
    • sam stone

      "Waaah, waaah, waaah"

      thanks for the hissy fit Salero

      June 27, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Salero21

      Sam is stoned 😀

      June 28, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • Salero21


      On account of what? What kind of stupid reasoning is yours?

      June 28, 2013 at 12:02 am |
  19. Real Wisdom

    Thank You Atheists and Unbelievers For Proving That The Bible Is True…

    As much as the atheists with their lies and slander, attempt to prove that the bible is untrue, all you're really doing by your efforts is just proving that the bible really is true. Because the scriptures has long prophesied for thousands of years that people like you would exist in the latter times, and would do what you are doing. And we are now living in those latter times. Here are some examples of what the bible has long predicted…

    2 Peter 3:3 – Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers (and there are scoffers aplenty on this forum), walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? (ie, saying Where is the rapture?) for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation…

    2 Timothy 3:2 – This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers (ie, speaking evil of God), disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection (ie, gays), trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good (ie, haters of Christians) 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God…

    2 Timothy 3;13 – But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived (notice it says they would get worse and worse, and not better and better, that is happening today).

    1 Timothy 4:1 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith (ie, depart from the truth), giving heed to seducing spirits (ie, things which sound good to them), and doctrines of devils (ie, false teachings and false beliefs); 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron…

    2 Peter 2:12 – But these, as natural brute beasts (ie, many men are not human, but are actually beasts with flesh on), made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not (many people are doing that on this forum); and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

    And those are only a few scriptures. I could quote you many more. Yet those scriptures were written more than two thousand years ago and are perfectly accurate about our current times. Only the true Word of God could have been so accurate in predicting that such things would happen today. So thanks to the unbelievers and the atheists for proving that the scriptures really are true…

    June 26, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • ME II

      And behold water shall fall from the sky!

      "people like you would exist in the latter times,"

      Then apparently it's been "latter times" for nearly 2000 years.

      June 26, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      And the bible is true because the bible says it is true......

      June 26, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Ave atque Vale

      Real Wisdom,

      There were "scoffers" and all the rest from Day One of your legend hitting the streets. What a trite, hard-sell tactic from Paul of Tarsus (or whoever wrote Timothy) and whoever wrote the book of Peter.

      June 26, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      All holy books claim that the unbelievers of that text are: fools, stupid, beasts, devils, etc, etc.. What else would they say?

      June 26, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Russell

      Except that those interpretations of those passages could apply to every time for the past 2000 years.

      June 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • sam stone

      lies and slander?

      jeebus is waiting

      eat your shotgun

      June 26, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      "those scriptures were written more than two thousand years ago and are perfectly accurate about our current times."

      For none of those things existed in those days...oh, wait a second, this just in, yes, it has been confirmed that ALL of those things were happening back then as well...

      "despisers of those that are good (ie, haters of Christians)" Don't forget that adding ANYTHING to your bible is a sin punishable by the second death. You wouldn't have just added that bit about Christians being "those that are good" did you?

      I have a prediction for you. I predict that all those who believe in invisible fairies will continue to claim they are being persecuted by those who don't believe in their fairies. Some believers will even get very angry and attack the non-believers both verbally and even physically. The believers will push and push their prophecy of them being attacked and maligned until no one else on the planet can stand them anymore so gives in and attacks them fulfilling their self fulfilled prophecy.

      What most ignorant fake worshipers of invented deities don't understand is that even if they can make their dreams of Armeggedon come true, even if they get what they want by seeing millions of non-believers murdered and tortured and burning in a global religious conflict, it will not make their God real. The burning flesh of their enemies will not awaken their faux God from his cosmic nap, it will just prove to the remaining humans that religion is to big a liability to continue and so society will cut the head off the slimy snake that is organized religion and rejoice.

      June 26, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Marion

      This whole post proves that you will reinterpret anything within the Bible to suit your bigoted agenda. Not a big stretch of the imagination that the early writers would have built in some fail-safes to counter anyone with a dissenting opinion, being that there was such hoopla going on at that time. Nice try.

      June 26, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • Hitler did nothing wrong

      Real wisdom you are wasting your time atheists are too dumb to know the truth.

      June 26, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • sam stone

      hitler: eat your shotgun

      June 26, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Real Wisdom

      To: "ME II", "Goodswell", "Ave atque", "Cpt. Obvious", "Russell", "Sam Stone", "Happy Atheists", "Marion", "Hitler", etc"…

      You guys are so deep in denial, you'd deny you even had a nose on your face if it wasn't attached. LOL… But being in denial won't save you...

      June 26, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Real Wisdom

      To: "Hitler did nothing wrong"... Sorry Hitler. Didn't mean to include you with that group...

      June 26, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • fintastic

      Coming from someone who confuses the fairytale mythology of the bible with reality...just another religious moronic nut job.

      June 26, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Real Wisdom

      fintastic… "…giving heed to seducing spirits (ie, things which sound good to them), and doctrines of devils (ie, false teachings and false beliefs); 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron"…

      Yep, that's you.

      June 26, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Real Wisdom

      fintastic... Here's one more: "speak evil of the things that they understand not (many people are doing that on this forum); and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;"

      Yep, that's you as well. LOL...

      June 26, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • Ron

      Real, amen They act as though they are on to something new. lol Nothing but old rebellion.

      June 26, 2013 at 8:24 pm |

      It appears that you cannot even convince yourself.

      June 26, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • skytag

      "Thank You Atheists and Unbelievers For Proving That The Bible Is True…"

      Thanks for more evidence religion makes people stupid.

      "all you're really doing by your efforts is just proving that the bible really is true. Because the scriptures has long prophesied for thousands of years that people like you would exist in the latter times"

      I doesn't take godlike omnipotence to anticipate people will think you're a nut job for believing a lot of outrageous stuff for which there is no evidence whatsoever. In fact, its pretty obvious to anyone with a brain. People who engage in propaganda always instill little tricks like this in their followers to reduce the chance reasonable people will cause them to question what they believe.

      "And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible." — The Book of Mormon, Nephi II 29:3.

      The Book of Mormon predicts people will reject the writings of Nephi saying they already have a Bible and don't need another one. This is common claim heard from today's Christians when talking about the Book of Mormon. According to your logic that proves the Book of Mormon is true.

      June 26, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • skytag

      Everything described in those verses is standard human behavior and has been happening for a long as Christianity has been around. Predicting people will do things they have always done and then being right is hardly proof those predictions are divinely inspired. It only proves the authors weren't clueless about human nature and behavior.

      June 26, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • Nice Try

      skytag… "scoffers", "speaking evil of things you understand not", "deceiving and being deceived", "giving heed to seducing spirits", "following doctrines of devils"…

      Yep, that's all you. The scriptures nailed it to a tee. Did I leave anything out? LOL…

      June 27, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • fintastic

      @Real Wisdom...... quoting the book of mythology.... how convincing. LOL

      June 27, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • fintastic

      @nicefail........... oh!!! the "devil" I'm so afraid of the man with the red suit pointy horns and pitchfork!... you are so deluded.

      June 27, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Real Wisdom

      fintastic… "…giving heed to seducing spirits (ie, things which sound good to them), and doctrines of devils (ie, false teachings and false beliefs); 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron"…

      Yep, that's you (believing in things that are false). So what part of that did you not understand?...

      June 27, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • fintastic

      @real wisdumb.... the part I don't understand is where you confuse myth with reality.

      June 27, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  20. lol??

    SCOTUS is actually obsolete. Who represents the state gubmints in washington?? No wonder they get bullied by the feds. It's time to get rid of the term, United States, when the main gubmint player is just a power grabber.

    How 'bout Revised United deMobocracies of America??

    SCOTUS woould have to be SCROTUM.......

    June 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Ono

      If they had the balls

      June 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "SCOTUS is obsolete"


      The SCOTUS is more relevant than ever and apparently the justices take their jobs seriously. More so than Senators and Congressional representatives.

      State Governments need to stop being the lap dogs of the American Legislative Exchange Council (aka 'bills bought and sold by conservative special interests for conservative interests').

      June 26, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • lol??

      They've been reduced to divvying out the wages, err perks of debt from the usurpers.

      June 26, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • lol??

      ".......State Governments need to stop being the lap dogs............." Won't happen. Senators are elected at large and are beholden to the fantasies of the electorate. They could care less what the budgets are in the state capitals. State gubmints are not represented. 55 or no highway funds!! That's as close as it gets.

      June 26, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      There is a picture on the web that has the Justices grouped for a photo – their robes covered in company logos like race car drivers. After their Citizens United ruling, I don't think they are impartial at all. Corporate money has effectively removed us from what little say we did have in our government.

      June 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      If his spelling didn't inform you of his education level, let me just inform those new here that lol?? is a complete Trollron (Troll-Moron Hybrid). Most of us just ignore it, but some of us are unable to resist his blatantly idiotic posts and often find ourselves wrestling with a figure made of tar as it were.

      June 26, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • lol??

      HA, yer zombie pals need and appreciate yer mediatin' my posts. They are especially fond of yer arrogant desires. Those BA's are so hard to come by.

      Bachelorette of Arrogance by Athena!!


      June 26, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • lol??

      I used to go by the handle hippy poet my real friends know hwo I am

      June 26, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • lol??

      Hi jack.

      June 26, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • skytag

      A good therapist could help you with this abnormal need for you attention you clearly have.

      June 26, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
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About this blog

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