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Christians happier than atheists – on Twitter
In 140 characters or less, Christians seem to be spreading love and joy more than atheists.
June 28th, 2013
08:02 AM ET

Christians happier than atheists – on Twitter

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

(CNN) - Christians tweet from the heart, atheists from the head, according to a new study.

The study conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tapped Twitter as a research tool and compared the messages of Christians and atheists.

The conclusion: When they are limited to 140 characters or less, these researchers say, believers are happier than their counterparts.

Two doctoral students in social psychology and an adviser analyzed the casual language of nearly 2 million tweets from more than 16,000 active users to come up with their findings, which were published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

The team identified subjects by finding Twitter users who followed the feeds of five prominent public figures. In the case of Christians, those select five were Pope Benedict XVI, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, conservative political commentator Dinesh D’Souza and Joyce Meyer, an evangelical author and speaker.

In the case of atheists, the five followed feeds included Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Monica Salcedo and Michael Shermer - the latter two respectively being a self-described “fiercely outspoken atheist” blogger, and a science writer who founded The Skeptics Society.

With the help of a text analysis program, the researchers found that Christians tweet with higher frequency words reflecting positive emotions, social relationships and an intuitive style of thinking – the sort that’s gut-driven.

This isn’t to say that atheists don’t use these words, too, but they out-tweet Christians when it comes to analytic words and words associated with negative emotions.

Christians, they found, are more likely to use words like “love,” “happy” and “great”; “family,” “friend” and “team.”

Atheists win when it comes to using words like “bad,” “wrong,” and “awful” or “think,” “reason” and “question,” said Ryan Ritter, one of the students behind the study.

While not perfect – for example, this sort of word examination can’t account for sarcasm – word choices, Ritter and his colleagues argue, reflect something about a person’s mindset.

An analytical thinker (atheist) is more likely to be skeptical or critical, for example, whereas an intuitive thinker (Christian) is guided by emotion and certainty.

Based on previous studies cited by these researchers, analytical thinking may "diminish the capacity for optimism and positive self-illusions that typify good mental health."

Likewise, mentions of social connections, which they say are often provided in a “tight-knit moral community,” suggest stronger relationships among Christian tweeters and are, they add, often an indicator of happiness.

The takeaway, Ritter wrote in an e-mail, is “not that religion is associated with more happiness, per se, but why?”

“If we can understand the factors that facilitate happiness (e.g., increased social support), ideally we can use these insights to increase well-being for believers and nonbelievers alike,” Ritter said.

But the Twitter study doesn’t fly with everyone.

After reading an article about the study on Pacific Standard magazine’s website, Richard Wade, an advice columnist for the blog Friendly Atheist, called it “useless and misleading” and based on “sloppy research.”

He wrote, “The take away for most lay people is ‘Atheists are unhappy people.’ … How do you quantify ‘happiness’? How do you quantify ‘analytical thinking’?”

“Even in their acknowledgments about the possible biases in their study, the authors still use absurd and meaningless terms like ‘militant atheist,’” he added. “This study suffers from the same negative stereotypes about atheists that most of society has, and it has simply reinforced that prejudice with more muddled thinking.”

Ritter, who happens to describe himself as a happy atheist, said in hindsight he wishes they hadn’t used the word “militant” and that no ill will was intended. They simply wanted to describe those who have “extremely negative attitudes” when it comes to religion.

“I am a friend of the atheists! My response to Richard would be that he should apply the ‘principle of charity’ when interpreting other’s research (i.e., that it’s possible we’re NOT incompetent,” he wrote in an e-mail.

“This is not an assumption; this is the pattern we observed in the data.”

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Atheism • Christianity • Technology

soundoff (1,317 Responses)
  1. Dyslexic doG

    Christians

    We don't hate you. We hate the bronze age voodoo that is poisoning your mind and keeping you from your true potential.

    It's like we wouldn't hate you if you were a drug addict. We'd hate the evil drugs you are addicted to that were poisoning your mind and keeping you from your true potential.

    don't take our vitriol personally. We only want to help you get well. 🙂

    June 28, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Dyslexic doG- "and keeping you from your true potential."

      How arrogant. As if you have any concept of what one's true potential is.

      "It's like we wouldn't hate you if you were a drug addict."

      Except that faith doesn't equate to drug addiction.

      "don't take our vitriol personally. We only want to help you get well."

      Heal yourself from the poison that is pride, arrogance and ignorance first.

      June 28, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Glen

      Faith is actually a lot like drug addiction. Great post, DdoG.

      June 28, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      @Dyslexic

      Great post. The 'practices' of one's faith IS a drug addiction that is extremely hard to quit.

      June 28, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  2. Dyslexic doG

    How is Jesus God's son when they are one and the same person with a holy spirit in there somewhere?

    June 28, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      He explained Himself on comprehension terms of the human mind.

      1 John 5:7

      For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

      Amen. .

      June 28, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Science

      The wind was created by what HS ?

      June 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      1 John 5:7 is a nonsense. voodoo mumbo jumbo.

      Can you explain it to me in plain English?

      June 28, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Just like I am my father's son. He exists in me and I exist in him. In that sense, we are one. I am sprung forth from him and he is my source. Between us exist a tangible thing which does not exist between him and any other.

      This is as close to an earthly explanation as you are likely to get short of meditating on the words of Jesus when he speaks of His Heavenly Father.

      June 28, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Russell

      @Bill

      That explains nothing. All you did was put it into the completely wrong contest.
      And you forgot all about the three-way they are having with the ghost.

      June 28, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • JMEF

      Bill Deacon
      Ah come on Bill we all know you were a petri dish embryo that was implanted in vitro into a Lesbian mother and never had a father in the normal sense. Of course I could be wrong.

      June 28, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I always love how people who oppose the Church's teaching on genetic engineering, hom0s3xuality and marriage turn around and use them as slurs against someone.

      June 28, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • Sue

      Pot calling kettle...

      June 28, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      How so Sue? Do you have evidence of me besmirching someone's birth, orientation of parentage?

      June 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • JMEF

      Bill Deacon
      I could be wrong, but I like you to have something to whine about you are so good at it.

      June 28, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Just don't try telling me tomorrow you are for gay rights and embryonic stem cell research and we'll both be consistent

      June 28, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
  3. Arnold

    Why can’t we be friends b/c I am religious? Do you agree with EVERY single issue with your friends?

    June 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Look, you seem like a nice person... so this is probably not the right forum for you... Just looking out for you bro...

      June 28, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  4. BenJerry

    This study erroneously assumes that people under the influence of a religious delusion can think for themselves and can independently and sincerely have real emotions.

    June 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      We were humble enough to have our minds renewed by Jesus. You should do the same.

      June 28, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Athy

      So you have to be humble to be religious?

      June 28, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    who or what created god?

    June 28, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Arnold

      I believe God has always been.

      June 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      then why can't the universe have always been? Why the need for a creator?

      June 28, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Arnold

      It could have been and I could be wrong. It’s all a matter of faith not fact.

      June 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      thanks. I appreciate the honesty.

      June 28, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      doG, does your arrogance prevent you from learning His truth? You constantly ask this same question that you were given the answer years ago. Either you are trying to stump young Christians or you are trying to get data for a poll for no good deeds except ego purposes. .

      June 28, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @heavensent

      I keep asking the question in the hope of an answer.

      Arnold was gracious enough to give me his answer. I appreciate that.

      You, on the other hand, continue to dodge the question and revert to insulting me. I would appreciate an answer from you if you have one. I won't hold my breath.

      June 28, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Dyslexic doG- "then why can't the universe have always been?"

      Is that what you believe? What does science tell you?

      June 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Russell

      Science says it has always been here.
      Some silly thing about conservation of energy, and e=mc2

      June 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Kenrick Benjamin

      Dyslexic doG- Once you get to the ORIGIN ( God-Pure Energy) which is Eternal, you then begin to look at things in phases because they are literally no beginning or end, just the phases, for example; when our universe was created, first stars that were created, our Sun was created, Earth was created......eg.......eg. Now if we are talking about a Multi-Verse like science have speculated, it's the phases that each universe is created in and there end.

      June 28, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
  6. Daniel

    The headline is not only misleading but totaly false. The "reasearchers" claim to know how happy someone is based on a text analysis program? Seriously? I've known some of the most depressed Christians who are always repeating little happy prayers to try and get themselves out of funks, in fact some suround themselves with those possitive message posters because they need daily reminders to keep positive because they find so little else to be happy about. They are waiting on Christ but the waiting can get long and tiresome and boring which can leade many to depression or some vice.

    "With the help of a text analysis program, the researchers found that Christians tweet with higher frequency words reflecting positive emotions, social relationships"

    June 28, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Akira

      I am happy to say that I think this study is a load of hooey.

      June 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      "cow cookies" may be more positive than hooey 🙂

      June 28, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Akira

      I'm positive you're right. I love your answer more. 😀

      June 28, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      OK ... just for the sake of arguement ...lets assume that the study is 100% valid and true.
      That xtians ARE happier than atheists.
      I'm actually ok with that. I'd rather be sober and ( relatively ) unhappy in the face of reality, living my life in this natural world, than to lie to myself and live in a fantasy world.
      Just my opinion

      June 28, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
  7. Dyslexic doG

    Santa is in books like god. a large part of the population believes in santa like they believe in god. there is no evidence for either santa or god. santa delivers more actual gifts than god but god has better threats than just coal. they both have a naughty list. they both watch you when you're asleep and awake.

    we need to count whether Santa gets mentioned in more tweets than god. By this study's logic, whoever gets the most mentions must be true. Maybe god is true throughout the year and santa is true at Christmas.

    June 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      doG,

      Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all [is] vanity.

      Ecclesiastes 12:8

      Amen.

      June 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      I can't think of anything more vain then there is an all powerful creator that created everything for you and loves you.

      June 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • maximo

      unhappy ?

      June 28, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
  8. Rocket

    Christians seem to be spreading love and joy more than atheists. Wow that's a shocker, and they needed to research this. All they had to do was read the hateful rants and rages of these athiest on this site. I thought they created a hotline for that. You got to have LOVE before you can start to care about others

    June 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      I'm an atheist, so I am hateful?

      June 28, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      I have seen some atheists rant, I'll freely admit that. However, to make that statement without pointing to the HUGE number of Christian rants and raves on these blogs would be irresponsible.

      After reading these blogs for several years now I can honestly say the posters who get the most heated and angry and violent in their comments at least claim to be Christians, though I will accept that some may be poe's or trolls.

      June 28, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @Rocket

      We don't hate you. We hate the bronze age voodoo that is poisoning your mind and keeping you from your true potential.

      It's like we wouldn't hate you if you were a drug addict. We'd hate the evil drugs you are addicted to that were poisoning your mind and keeping you from your true potential.

      June 28, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • ME II

      @Rocket,
      It wasn't "spreading love and joy" it was simply "happier" based on words used in their tweets.

      Tweet: "Life is good because I know that the God of love and kindness exists and unbelievers will burn in hell."

      Is that spreading love? Because I'm guessing that the methodology used would class this tweeter (twitterer?) as "happy".

      June 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      And atheists used the word "believe" 61 times 54 versus per 100,000 words.

      How is "believe" an unhappy word? All context is removed in this analysis so "I don't believe in God" counts exactly the same in this analysis as "I believe in God".

      So does "I believe I'll have another beer."

      June 28, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      What insipid syrupy crap... "You gotta have love before you can care" methinks you have drank too much of your own koolaid. I donate to several causes that I feel are worthy. However strange... that I'm an atheist and somehow I still manage to care...

      June 28, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  9. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    This is much more fun than learning about MS Project. Damn that's a boring course... LOL

    June 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Arnold

      You don’t hate me b/c I’m a Christian do you?

      June 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I don't hate you Arnold... In fact, so far, you seem like a likable chap...

      June 28, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  10. bostontola

    The science/statistics can be good and the media conclusion can be misleading (quite common). The study was statistical. It showed a correlation. Correlation is not cause/effect. In this case, comparing happiness in a majority (Christians) to a tiny minority (atheists) should not be too surprising. Norway and Denmark have been rated the happiest in the world and have low rates of belief in god (less than a third of them believe in god). The media is very poor at understanding and communicating scientific and especially statistical data.

    June 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  11. midwest rail

    I wonder if the Pope will tweet about this.
    http://news.yahoo.com/vatican-official-arrested-corruption-plot-075720910.html

    June 28, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      He announced a commission to investigate corruption in the Vatican bank three weeks ago.

      June 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • So

      So that "commission" is kind of like letting the Federal Reserve go "unaudited".

      June 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I would say quite the opposite. When was the last time a member of the Federal Reserve was arrested? Probably means there's no corruption there huh?

      June 28, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Science

      Hey Bill the Federal Reserve is a PRIVATE bank..............not owned by the US Government .

      June 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Catholic boys

      Probably altar boys where they picked up the tricks of the trade.

      June 28, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • So

      So then that "commission" would be more like the "commission" to see if pedophile priests should be turned over to authorities or just moved to another church.

      June 28, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • JMEF

      Bill Deacon always deflects the scandals and crimes of the RCC and Vatican by comparing them to some other organization that maybe worse. Man up Billy, like Francis is doing, should have been done decades ago if not centuries. Admitting the crimes and cover ups would be the first step to recovery, much like your confessions Bill.

      June 28, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I guess I don't see what there is for me to admit. There is, has, was and will be scandals and corruption in the Church. That has little or nothing to do with the Gospel of Christ, the primacy of the Mother Church or the Bride of Christ.

      If someone slings mud on your mother, do you shun her? What if someone were to steal from your wife? Would you castigate her for it?

      When you try to disparage the Church because of the sins of some of her members, you are simply flapping your gums to hear yourself speak.

      June 28, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Thanks Science. We can always count on you to introduce completely irrelevant information that was already known.

      June 28, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Science

      All about money Bill.........nothing else no fairy in the sky needed...........crickets have DNA .......like the Prince of England .

      Do you have DNA BILL ?

      June 28, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • JMEF

      The same reason I would disparage your sister organization the Mafia when some of them are caught and brought to justice, whose money do you think the Vatican Bank has been laundering. What you never address is not so much the corruption but the cover ups of crimes and protection of criminals all around the world that leads to the highest leaders of the church, the RCC ad a body is an accessory before and after the fact. Church enforced "omerta" no less Billy.

      June 28, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I have DNA and I have fiat currency. I believe one is sacred and the other profane

      June 28, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I think you've read too many Dan Brown books

      June 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • JMEF

      Bill Deacon
      Actually Mario Puzo, do you deny the mafia connections between the Vatican and the Mafia? You know all about the dogma but nothing about the history of the RCC scandals.

      June 28, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Ah, the 80's. Can't you go back further and find scandals from earlier times? My point to you is this, as clearly as I can make it; The scandals and sins of people involved with the Church have little or nothing to do with the Church body as a whole. As horrific and scandalous as some of them are, they do not comprise the entirety of the Church. It's like saying you should kill yourself because you have a blemish on you face or that reading is evil because you were molested by a librarian. Perhaps football should be banned because of Jerry Sandusky and Tony Hernandez. Get it? You are practicing guilt by association and it is a poor tactic at best. If you have arguments against the philosophy of the Church or the dogma of the religion, I can respect the difference and argue the points. But to castigate me personally and my religion as a whole based on the known human failures of people I don't even know, or worse sensationalized fictions which you believe, is just ignorant.

      June 28, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Glen

      Bullcr@p, Bill AllCon. The church is responsible for what its high muckymucks do, and they are generally a pretty shady lot with documented crimes and criminal ties that are well established and have a long, sorry history. Time to hold the RCC b-tards accountable.

      Good to see them squirm as their religion declines and their coffers dwindle. Looks like you are squirming too.

      June 28, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • JMEF

      Bill Deacon
      Address the known demands from the Vatican for ormeta, the clergy sworn to secrecy. Address the orders from the Vatican to cover up and payoff the victims of abuse. It is not just a few bad apples it went to the core of the church and all around the world. Perjury and destruction of docu-ments in Australia, Canada, Germany, USA, etc. and the practice of protecting the wealth of the church by hiding funds and declaring bankruptcy. Address the Vatican Bank scandals and ties to the Mafia. You want to go back in history when the Bishop's competed for the papacy by spending vast sums on mansions and gardens in order to impress their fellows. It is ALL about money and wealth and you as one of the sheepies are blinded by the pomp and circu-mstance. No Bill you are willingly and blissfully ignorant because you want to be, you mentioned Da Brown, I responded with Mario Puzo in kind. A quick search of the facts will show the criminal connections of the Vatican over the years.

      June 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Then go arrest them. Clean out every scoundrel in the Vatican. Hang them all. Every politician who covers for them, every industrialist who finances them. When you are done the Mother Church, the Bride of Christ will be more radiant than ever and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen will be just as true.

      June 28, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Bahlowknee

      "clean out all the scoundrels" -then there will be no RCC left.

      Hey, great idea! Do it! Do it!

      June 28, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Gordo

      RCC is withering and dying. Let it rot, but jail the worst of them.

      June 28, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • JMEF

      Bill Deacon
      What a truly weak person you are, sad really, blind faith, you would have made a fine Nazi follower. Sandusky will probably die in jail for his crimes, those that covered up for him were disgraced, Paterno, and the insti.tution suffered penalties and a loss of reputation. I would just like to see the hierarchy brought to some kind of justice. Yes bring Ratzinger before a court make him take an oath and see what comes out, happened in Australia where the Archbishop had to tell the truth under oath about destruction of docu.ments and the hiding of criminals. Justice on earth not some mythical heaven. For once address the cover ups and forced omerta/silence.

      June 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Bill Deacon
      While the number of clergy directly involved in any given scandal may be small, the fact is that the hierarchy of the RCC has repeatedly conspired to shield the guilty from secular law enforcement.
      You'll note the case of the Magdalene Asylum I mentioned earlier. The bodies of 50 young girls buried in shallow, unmarked graves until someone asked a question, at which point they were cremated so as to eliminate any possibility of forensic investigation.
      Over and over again, the RCC has shown that their priorities are the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its as.sets. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, are subordinated to these priorities.

      June 28, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I think I understand your problem. Since you are an atheist, you are by definition a materialist, correct? In that case, all that is relevant to you is the temporal. All you see is the building and the money and the people. It's no wonder you are outraged by the abuses people have committed against those things then, and I include crimes against people, like murder and molestation. I would be too, and I am though to a lesser degree than you. The reason is that I see beyond the material. To me the Church is a living being of it's own. A divine being, in fact, that nurtures me, feeds me, provides me sanctuary and sustenance. The crimes of the little boys running around the palace are of no more importance in the eternal than when you stole some cigarettes as a child and thought you were getting away with something by smoking them in the bathroom. I will make one caveat, to the degree they sully the Gospel and prevent someone like you from coming to the Lord, they are guilty and Scripture holds that they will pay a price for that. But if I were like you, I would be just as outraged if I thought that what they do was the end of the story. I am so blessed that I can recognize that though she is scandalized, she is not scandalous.

      I also, think you have little or no hope of prevailing. For one thing, you don't know who your real enemy is. You think it is the Church and it is not. If you were sincere about wanting to do something, perhaps you should start going to mass and become involved on the inside to affect a change that way. I promise you that at some point, you would be able to make the distinction between the heavenly and the earthly and things would make a lot more sense to you then.

      June 28, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Here you go Doc. Some facts about the Magdalen Laundries. I'm still searching for information on what atheists communities were doing for the poor women of Ireland over the last century. I'll let you know when I find something.

      The report found that 10,012 women were committed to the workhouses from 1922, the first year of Ireland's independence from Britain, to the closure of the last two laundries in 1996. It found that the average length of stay was just seven months, not the lifetime imprisonment commonly depicted in fictional works. It said 14 percent stayed more than 5 years, and 8 percent more than a decade. And many hundreds checked into the facilities repeatedly for short periods, reflecting their poverty and the Irish state's inadequate facilities for women needing a home.

      It found that 27 percent of the women were ordered into the facilities by an array of state employees: judges, probation officers, school truancy officials, social workers, doctors at psychiatric hospitals, or officials at state-funded shelters for unwed mothers and their babies. Some 16 percent entered laundries voluntarily, 11 percent were consigned there by other family members, and 9 percent were sent there on the recommendation of a priest.

      June 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Bill Deacon
      Atheist communities in Ireland?
      Even today, Ireland is something like 85% Catholic!
      In the 20th Century, the RCC had a ridiculous amount of influence on Irish policies.
      The Catholics controlled the overwhelming majority of state hospitals, schools, and virtually every other social service.
      Where else could those unfortunate women be referred other than a Catholic inst/itution?

      June 28, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yeah, good point.

      June 28, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Science

      Bill Not good ....................the ethics of the R$CC

      Abortion refusal death: Hindu woman told Ireland 'is a Catholic country'

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/08/abortion-refusal-death-ireland-hindu-woman

      June 28, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Science

      Good ethics and morals above right Bill ?

      June 28, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  12. Thought Purification

    Christians are birds in the cage, and atheists are pet owners; birds are happier because they are fed well.

    June 28, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  13. lionlylamb

    Which belief is more positive to the beholder? Godliness of godlessness?

    June 28, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      shouldn't you ask which is more delusional?

      June 28, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Løki

      YAY! Die asshat ist wieder da!

      June 28, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • ME II

      Depends on whether you consider dealing with reality as "positive".

      June 28, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Dyslexic doG,

      Answering a question with a question. How quaint!

      June 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @lionlylamb
      if I wanted sh1t from you, I would have squeezed your head!

      June 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Dyslexic doG,

      Sugar coating your responses are we? Such positives cannot be overlooked! :mrgreen:

      June 28, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @lionlylamb

      true, true. I shouldn't have stooped to vulgarity. My apologies.

      June 28, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  14. Bill Deacon

    There's a misconception that Christianity is about happiness, whatever that is. Christianity isn't about happiness so much as it is about joy. But ultimately, Christianity is about holiness. Holiness produces joy but it may not produce happiness.

    June 28, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Do you

      Do you suppose Hitler is in heaven because he believed in John 3:16?

      June 28, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evl Twin

      Bill, I know you're kind of known on these boards as saying some dumb shit, but wow...

      June 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Christianity is about guilt and fear.

      June 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • ME II

      So, it's not about suffering?

      June 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Arnold

      Christianity is about love.

      June 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Three dumb comments, one of value.

      Suffering is one possible path of holiness. In the way Christ suffered, others who suffer may be brought to holiness and therein find joy that is their union with Christ. That is why I exclude happiness as a result. Happiness, to me implies a kind of temporary exhilaration. Like when a child receives a toy from Santa Claus.

      The joy which results from holiness is the deeper satisfaction and certainty which comes from the revelation that things are as they should be, indeed must be. Whether those conditions create temporal suffering or happiness is of no consequence. The goal is holiness and the result is joy.

      June 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Hobo Joe

      Bill Deacon,

      You will eat, bye and bye
      In that glorious land above the sky
      Work and pray, live on hay
      You'll get pie in the sky when you die.

      June 28, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      using Santa Claus and god in the one sentence is perfect, as they are both imaginary characters that appear often in books and large parts of the population believe in them despite zero evidence.

      well done LL!

      June 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      In the Eucharist the future breaks into the present time and we cannot help but be caught up in the glory and splendor of God. Although “his presence is veiled” the Lord of heaven and earth meets us in the Eucharist and calls us into communion with him. Our communion with God in the Eucharist is a foretaste of the heavenly banquet.

      June 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "Christianity is about love" Yes, as long you think and believe exactly what each particular cult version thinks and believes

      June 28, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Science

      There it is bill that blood cult gotta eat that wafer and drink te blood ?

      June 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Arnold

      Evil twin,
      There might be some Christians that feel that way but not all.

      June 28, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • JMEF

      Bill Deacon
      Born Agains are the most dogmatic of all, because it is the dogma itself that forms their belief system. The Born Again believes that everyone needs to be told what to do-– and they will tell you about it whenever they get the chance.
      Sound familiar Billy fits you to a tee you old sinner you.

      June 28, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Sorry, JMEF you got the wrong guy. I could care less what you do. Unless you're really hawaiiguest, whom you sound like. Then I still recommend confession. But it's up to you.

      June 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • JMEF

      Bill Deacon
      Not one of your other admirers, just me. So say for example I am a catholic woman in an abusive marriage and am also 8 weeks pregnant could you possibly restrain your self and not tell me what I should or shouldn't do Bill? You want all of America to obey your Canon all your posts indicate that fact.

      June 28, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I've lived long enough to be able to tell you that in situational ethics, I am unequivocally disqualified from offering advice on what a person should do. I am capable, however, of reminding people of the values and beliefs they have expressed to me as their own and asking them how their options might reconcile with those or conflict them. I'm also capable of untangling misconceptions people might have about what they think they believe.

      June 28, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Gordo

      ROFL LMAO at Bill Deacon claiming to be capable of "untangling misconceptions." Bill, you are seriously deluded, and not just about religion.

      LMFAO

      June 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      How so Gordo? Help untangle one please. Maybe you can start with my original post here.

      June 28, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Gordo must have gotten tied up somewhere in his rhetoric

      June 28, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Gordo

      Luv your needy suffering, little Billie be-tied. Whine on while we laugh at you.

      June 28, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  15. Arnold

    I think the religious and atheistic people on this blog should bury the hatchet.

    June 28, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Keep your hatchet... I would prefer to gut them like a jesus fish and then choke them with their own entrails until they start minding their own business... but the law frowns on that method...

      June 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      ....just as long as it's not burried in a skull or someone's back. Or any other part of the body.

      June 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Arnold

      Why do you hate the religious so much, eviltwin?

      June 28, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Hilarious. An atheist admits he needs an external morality to prevent him from committing atrocities. You folks just can't keep your story straight can you?

      June 28, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Your point is pointless Bill... I am a warrior (albiet a retired one) and I still think like one...

      June 28, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      @Arnold – Religion is a pestilence that holds humanity back from unification, tolerance, equality and peace...

      June 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      If you are truly a samurai you are also a defeated one.

      June 28, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Løki

      My honor is unblemished... nice try though...

      June 28, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • ME II

      @Bill Deacon,
      Don't make hasty generalizations, not all atheists are decent people, Evil twin and William Demuth come to mind. Just like not all theists are decent people.

      June 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      honorable to use two names? My how the lords have fallen.

      June 28, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Thank you ME. One of the things I wish I could see more of is people holding members of their own camp a little more accountable for faulty logic and diatribes on this board. It might go a long way towards advancing the dialogue. Too often I see piling on and partisan support based on ideology instead of philosophy.

      June 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Hey ME II. Let's take up the case of twin if you will. Here we have a man who claims to be an unbeliever. He recognizes no absolute moral authority. His methods are the way of the warrior. He believes in eliminating his enemies and imposing his own will on those around him by force if necessary. How shall we address him? If we impose our will on him and disarm him, are we not the same creature as he, only more powerful? By what standard are his values deemed lesser than ours? Is the fact that you and I agree he is not decent enough to convict him or do we need others approval? Perhaps the state should decide. Can we be certain the state has no self interest in his demise and our ascendancy, or worse, the opposite?

      June 28, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      2 names – irrelevant, you're grasping at straws now... and MEII you don't know me...

      June 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      That's just more of your relative morality. A great number of people might find using more than one name to be misleading which certainly can't be honorable. Perhaps if you beheaded all those who disagree with you....

      June 28, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Gordo

      "beheaded those who disagree with you". Good Catholic suggestion, Bill. You RCC's are darn good at those brutal killing techniques for people who reveal inconvenient naughty bits of your tribe. Gotta hand you that one.

      June 28, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Bill,

      "An atheist admits he needs an external morality to prevent him from committing atrocities. You folks just can't keep your story straight can you?"

      Why would you think all atheists should agree on either ethics or psychology? Atheism refers to one very small are – god existence. Beyond that there is no required agreement regarding morality, physics, non-theistic religion, psychology, supersti.tions or biology. Two atheists will agree on ethics no more than two a-martianists.

      June 28, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Sara, my comment towards whatever his name is isn't to highlight which standard of morality he uses, whether you or any other atheist agrees with him or not. It's to point out that without some standard or outside morality imposed on him, by his own words, he will degenerate to violence. While it may not be universal, I suspect it is statistically supportable that the objection most atheists have to the existence of God is the idea of objective morality. Are you willing to state that an objective morality exists without the existence of God?

      June 28, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yes Gordo, Catholics are beheading people everyday in every city on every continent. Man, you caught us.

      June 28, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Bill,

      "I suspect it is statistically supportable that the objection most atheists have to the existence of God is the idea of objective morality."

      I don't believe I have ever met a single atheist for whom this was the objection to the idea of a god. For some, though not all, it is a conclusion, but it is not something from which the existence of god's can be derived.

      June 28, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Atheist

      BD, since god doesn't exist your point is mute.

      June 28, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You're dancing around semantically Sara. Do you or do you not believe that there is an objective morality?

      June 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      If morality is objective then it follows there is an observer who hold that objectivity

      If it is subjective then we enter the arena with the barbarian. We may triumph, but we have only succeeded in proving we are more barbarous then he.

      June 28, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Saraswati

      No Bill, you're playing games. The issue you raised has nothing at all to do withwhat I personally believe. You claimed that the reason people object to atheism is because they don't buy objective morality. That is simply not true. That is a conclusion rather than a premise.

      June 28, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
  16. AverageJoe76

    Everybody is walking around trying not to spoil their 'soul contracts', so the deity of their liking will give them paradise in the afterlife. Yay. I'm happy they're happy.

    Now if they'd just keep all of that to themselves...... I'd 'ppreciate it. (sigh)

    June 28, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  17. Apple Bush

    I saw every episode of the Sopranos two times. Once by itself and once with narration. I was a junky, This is a sad day for food shakers everywhere.

    On the other hand, I went to see "God of Carnage" in L.A. with Gandolfini an it sucked. Yasmina Reza is kind of hit and miss.

    June 28, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • ME II

      @Apple Bush,
      You may want to repost this on http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/27/the-gospel-of-tony-soprano/

      June 28, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  18. Don

    "Christians, they found, are more likely to use words like “love,” “happy” and “great”; “family,” “friend” and “team.”

    Right, like "You atheists love Satan!" "Just great, DOMA is overturned, are you happy now?" "There are no gay people among my friends and family" "People who bat for the same team are gross!"

    June 28, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Lucifer's Evl Twin

      I never use any of these terms “love,” “happy” and “great”; “family,” “friend” and “team.”

      June 28, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  19. Apple Bush

    Put one foot in front of the other....and soon you'll be walkin' out the door!

    June 28, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Lucifer's Evl Twin

      Is it weird that I preferred Heat Miser?

      June 28, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  20. AverageJoe76

    I was happy when Santa and the Easter Bunny were 'real' to me. Now it's "The American Dream'....... maybe that's not some fantasy, right?

    June 28, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      That's a great observation about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

      June 28, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • ME II

      @AverageJoe76,
      Well said. I think most of us were happier when Santa was real to us.

      June 28, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Saraswati

      Someone always has to play the grown-up. Sometimes you just have tosuck itupand get on with it while the kids are playing.

      June 28, 2013 at 3:43 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.