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July 18th, 2013
03:14 PM ET

`Six Types of Atheists' study wakes a sleeping giant

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - They were trying to prove a simple point: That nonbelievers are a bigger and more diverse group than previously imagined.

"We sort of woke a sleeping giant," says Christopher F. Silver, a researcher at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. "We're a bit overwhelmed actually."

Silver and his project manager, Thomas Coleman, recently released a study proposing six different types of nonbelievers - from strident atheists to people who observe religious rituals while doubting the divine.

The study clearly struck a chord, particularly among triumphal atheists and uneasy believers. Articles appeared in in Polish, German, Russian and Portuguese, Silver said.

Here on CNN.com, our story "Behold, the Six Types of Atheists" garnered about 3.14 gazillion hits and thousands of comments.

Half the fun seemed to lie in atheists applying the categories to themselves, kind of like a personality test.

"I guess I'm a 1-2-4 atheist," ran a typical comment.

Other commenters questioned the study's categories, methods, and even the religious beliefs of its authors.

Silver and Coleman agreed to answer our readers' questions via email from Tennessee. Some of their answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: Several readers asked how you came up with your six categories of atheists? 

A: In a sense we let the participants inform our theory.

The categories were devised from a series of 59 interviews conducted with people nationwide who don’t believe in God. Participants were asked to define various terms of nonbelief as well as their own religious views.

We also asked participants to tell us their stories and how their religious views have changed over time. We found the most commonly repeated stories and descriptions and formed them into types.

We then used those types in the survey portion of the project. Each of the six categories proved to be statistically unique in a wide array of psychological measures.

Q: @PaulTK asks: Are atheists limited to the six categories your study proposes?

A:  We suspect that further research exploring people who don't believe in God will certainly expand the number of categories and fill in more details about the six we've named.

For example, we found that the Intellectual Academic Atheist type may produce a 7th type reflecting those who are more "philosophically orientated" versus those who are more "scientifically orientated."

Our study also gives some evidence that individuals may not believe in God but still identify with religion or spirituality in some way.

Q: @JessBertapelle asks: Can people fit into more than one category? 

A: The typology of nonbelief is fluid. Based on our interviews, we suspect people transverse the various types over the course of their lives. Since we did not conduct a longitudinal design (a study conducted over time tracking the same people) we are unable to validate this assumption.

For those of you who found yourselves agreeing with multiple positions, you may find characteristics that you identify with in all types but there is likely one type which is your preference.

Q: @Melissa asks: Why isn't there a category for "closet atheists"? 

A: This is an excellent question. Many of our interviews were done in strict confidence where the participant’s own parents, spouses, or children had no idea they were participating in the study. One participant hid in the back of her closet because she did not want her parents to discover she is an atheist.

But while there were plenty of “closeted” participants, they didn't agree in how they describe their religious views. That is, they ranged across a variety of our six types.

Q: stew4248 asks: How is this any different than religious divisiveness?

A:  There is vast diversity among religious believers, but it's unclear if such diversity exists within nonbelief.

We do know that the Antitheist category has much in common with religious fundamentalism. Likewise the Intellectual atheism/Agnosticism type has a lot in common with intellectual theology, although they are clearly not the same.

Q: How did you find the participants for the study?

Participants were recruited through nonbelief communities across the country. They were recruited face-to-face, through snowball sampling (participants sharing the study with friends), and through the Internet.

Project manager Thomas J. Coleman III is well known in the atheist community because he is suing the Hamilton County (Tennessee) Commission for their involvement in divisive sectarian prayer at meetings. His reputation helped locate “closeted” atheists to participate.

The regional breakdown of participants is presented on the project website.

Q:  A number of readers have also asked about your own religious affiliations, if you don't mind. 

Christopher F. Silver answers:

I was born and raised in the rural South to a deeply religious Methodist family. In my hometown everyone was Christian.  As was the case for many in our study, during college I was introduced to people from different cultures and ideologies. I was interested in studying different faith traditions and why people believe.

In many respects, research for this was a selfish enterprise for me. There is nothing more transformative than sitting with someone as they share their life story with you. Today I consider myself an agnostic in the real philosophical sense. The more I learn, the more I recognize the extensiveness of my ignorance.

Thomas J Coleman III answers:

My mother has been active in the Methodist church as a choir member and pianist for most of her life. My grandparents were very active in the church and went every Sunday. Growing up, I would often go as well.

But for me, “religion” was always something that other people did. I prefer to identify as a secular humanist.

Silver and Coleman would like to point out that their study was supported and conducted in collaboration with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Department of Psychology and the Doctorate in Learning and Leadership

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Faith • Nones

soundoff (4,594 Responses)
  1. skytag

    When I read Christians attempting to validate their beliefs words cannot express how embarrassed I am to think I was one of them for 40 years.

    July 19, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      What changed you?

      July 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
      • skytag

        I finally got to the point I couldn't keep rationalizing why the real world didn't match the religious stuff I believed. Believers, and certainly Christians, expend considerable effort trying to rationalize away inconsistencies between what we see in the world and what they believe. I finally realized the simplest explanation was the correct one: There is no God.

        July 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
        • 777

          B S

          July 19, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          @sky..................You are a true example of a rational thinking human being. The catholic church wants NOTHING to do with you.

          July 19, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          I've known a number of people, including myself who have approached Christianity and then left it, only to come back. There seems to be common point at which the experience of the mercy of God through the Passion of Christ becomes undeniable. That event is not irreconcilable with any practical physical reality. But, the people I've asked about this, being long time Catholics as well as Protestants, tell me there reached a point where they will never deny the faith again or the practice of it. SO, I always wonder what was really going on when someone tells me they left the faith after a long time as a supposedly devout believer. Did you not ever meet Christ?

          July 19, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
        • God wears panties

          Bill,

          Have you met the real Santa Clause?

          July 19, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
        • skytag

          "I've known a number of people, including myself who have approached Christianity and then left it, only to come back "

          I see no reason to believe this is unique to Christianity. Of course, Christianity isn't a religion so much as an umbrella that includes many different religions that have very little in common. The Amish, the Mormons, the Catholics, various fundamentalist churches — including the ones who speak in tongues and handle snakes, the Westboro Baptist Church, churches that denounce ho-mose-xuality as an abomination and churches that marry gays and admit them to their clergy, and a lot who belong to no church at all. If someone says he's a Christian it really tells you very little about what he believes.

          Bill, people choose to embrace a religion because it offers them a narrative they find more appealing than the alternatives of which they're aware, not because there is any evidence it's true. The narrative an individual chooses to embrace is largely dependent on the culture and society in which he was born and in which he lives, and the beliefs of people in his life he's respected.

          If you'd spent your entire life in a Muslim country it's almost certain you'd never have been a Christian. If you'd been born in ancient Greece you'd have believed in their gods. In ancient Egypt, their gods.

          If what Christianity teaches about God is true, why is it that only religions that share their roots with Christianity (such as Judaism) have anything significant in common with it? Any religion that doesn't share its roots will contain beliefs wholly incompatible with Christianity.

          The fact that some people decide to return to Christianity is not evidence anything it teaches is true.

          July 19, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
        • Maani

          Skytag: "If what Christianity teaches about God is true, why is it that only religions that share their roots with Christianity (such as Judaism) have anything significant in common with it? Any religion that doesn't share its roots will contain beliefs wholly incompatible with Christianity."

          An interesting comment, but one you seem not to have really given thought to. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all share a common ancestor, and a common history. Yes, there are differences, some of which might be called "severe.". But given that over 2.5 billion people – almost one-third of all people on Earth – believe in those three faiths, that's ALOT of commonality! Indeed, I am hard-pressed to think of a single thing in which a greater percentage of humankind believes.

          As for the second part of your comment, it is simply absurd. While it is true that non-Abrahamic belief systems will have elements that are "incompatible" with the Abrahamic faiths, few are "wholly" incompatible. Indeed, the largest belief system after the "big three" is Hinduism. And even in Hinduism, Jesus is revered. So one could argue that almost 3 billion people (Christians, Muslims, Hindus) have the "commonality" of revering Jesus, either as a great teacher (Hinduism), the second most important prophet after Mohammed (Islam), or the divine Son of God (Christianity).

          I realize none of this makes any difference re your own faith, or loss thereof. But I would have to agree with Bill that it sounds like you were never actually "touched" by Christ, and that your faith, such as it was, was never "internally strengthened" through fellowship with Christ.

          I wish you well.

          July 20, 2013 at 1:34 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Nobody has ever been "touched by Christ" and "internally strengthened." There are just people who believe it has occurred. Of course, those same people think that god just coincidentally agrees with their every opinion.

          The real problem is that there's nothing to measure to verify any spiritual claim by any believer. Whatever you want to believe, you can produce the faith that it is god's will and find the scriptures to back you up; and the other guy can produce the faith that it's not god's will and find the scriptures to back up the opposite of what you say. There's no method that definitively concludes whose interpretation is correct and whose is incorrect.

          July 20, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
        • Maani

          Capt. Obvious: "Nobody has ever been "touched by Christ" and "internally strengthened." There are just people who believe it has occurred."

          Carl Jung once said, "It is spurious to deny our neighbor his spiritual, psychological or emotional experiences. The best we can say is that we have not had similar experiences. Anything more is arrogance."

          July 20, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          Maani = Chad 2.0

          July 21, 2013 at 1:03 am |
        • skytag

          @Maani: "An interesting comment, but one you seem not to have really given thought to."

          As I shall show, you have this backwards. 😉

          "Judaism, Christianity and Islam all share a common ancestor, and a common history. Yes, there are differences, some of which might be called "severe.". But given that over 2.5 billion people – almost one-third of all people on Earth – believe in those three faiths, that's ALOT of commonality! Indeed, I am hard-pressed to think of a single thing in which a greater percentage of humankind believes."

          Believers suck at logic. First, the popularity of a belief is no evidence of its validity. That's a logical fallacy known as an ad populum (Latin for "appeal to the people") argument. If the popularity of a belief were proof it is true then the Earth would be flat and the sun would revolve around it, because at one time virtually every person alive believed those two things.

          Furthermore, as you point out, these three share a common basis. If they share a common basis there is nothing remotely remarkable about the fact that they share some common elements. But what do they share with religions such as those embraced by the ancient Greeks, the ancient Egyptians, early native American Indians, or the thousands of other religions made up by isolated cultures not influenced in any way by Christianity or its founding influences? If there were a God, a real God that existed, why would what people believe about him vary so dramatically from culture to culture, to the extend people couldn't agree on whether there was one god or many gods?

          July 21, 2013 at 2:08 am |
        • skytag

          @Maani: "As for the second part of your comment, it is simply absurd. While it is true that non-Abrahamic belief systems will have elements that are "incompatible" with the Abrahamic faiths, few are "wholly" incompatible."

          Why would any be incompatible at all if there were a real God out there guiding people's understanding of him?

          "Indeed, the largest belief system after the "big three" is Hinduism. And even in Hinduism, Jesus is revered. So one could argue that almost 3 billion people (Christians, Muslims, Hindus) have the "commonality" of revering Jesus, either as a great teacher (Hinduism), the second most important prophet after Mohammed (Islam), or the divine Son of God (Christianity)."

          As I said previously, the popularity of a belief is no evidence of its validity. There are easily understood factors that influence the popularity of a religion. Religions that involve a lot of ritual and personal sacrifice tend to survive and prosper better than those that don't. Religions embraced by conquerors tend to do better than religions practiced by the conquered.

          "I realize none of this makes any difference re your own faith, or loss thereof. But I would have to agree with Bill that it sounds like you were never actually "touched" by Christ, and that your faith, such as it was, was never "internally strengthened" through fellowship with Christ."

          And here we have the "No true Scotsman" logical fallacy, yet another rationalization. If by "touched" you mean "brainwashed beyond hope of escaping the cult," then apparently you are correct. Otherwise all I can say is if Christ didn't feel I was worth "touching" after 40 years then obviously he doesn't care any more about me than he cares about millions of the unborn he allows to die in miscarriages every year. If he can't be bothered to "touch" me in 40 years, why should I give a rat's behind about him?

          You folks have a whole list of rationalizations you can throw out to explain apparent inconsistencies. I know because I had one of those lists myself back when I was a Christian. My life is much simpler now that I've been able to replace that list with a single answer for all of these questions: There is no God.

          I believe you and Bill are touched, as in "touched in the head."

          July 21, 2013 at 2:28 am |
        • skytag

          @Maani: "Carl Jung once said, 'It is spurious to deny our neighbor his spiritual, psychological or emotional experiences. The best we can say is that we have not had similar experiences. Anything more is arrogance.'"

          So if a Mormon missionary tells you God answered his prayers and told him the Joseph Smith story is true and The Book of Mormon is an accurate translation of ancient writings on golden plates, you believe him?

          I've known a lot of Mormons and talked to a lot of Mormon missionaries. Mormons are an interesting conundrum for more mainstream Christians, because every argument used to defend more traditional Christian beliefs can be applied equally well to Mormon beliefs, yet more traditional Christians reject Mormonism, often calling it a cult.

          Mormons have something called the Testimony of the Three Witnesses:

          ******
          Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.

          Oliver Cowdery
          David Whitmer
          Martin Harris
          ******

          I don't know about you, but these guys sound pretty convinced about what they're saying. Now, if you're a Mormon, you see this as strong evidence the Book of Mormon is what Joseph Smith said it was. If you aren't a Mormon you'll dismiss this testimony as a lie or shared delusion. What these men describe either happened or it didn't. If it did, we should all be Mormons. If you claim it didn't happen, then you are denying your neighbor "his spiritual, psychological or emotional experiences."

          You, my friend, are a hypocrite. You would call anyone who denies your spiritual, psychological or emotional experiences arrogant while you happily deny the claimed spiritual, psychological or emotional experiences of others.

          July 21, 2013 at 2:45 am |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          Skytag

          Maani is just interested in twisting things up....he is exactly like talking to chad...and his goal is to protect his precious catholic church...using any means to do that ,,,disinformation..anything.

          July 21, 2013 at 2:58 am |
        • Maani

          Skytag: Your sophistry is excellent – but nevertheless transparent. You simply set up a straw man, and then knock it down. You have now glommed onto the word "validity" – yet this is a word I NEVER used or alluded to, nor was it even used by you in the post to which I responded. I was responding to comments you made about religion and religious history per se – NOT to the validity (or lack thereof) of those religions.

          As for your (again, sophist) question vis-a-vis my Carl Jung quote, the answer is "yes," I would believe him. This is because I actually agree with Jung's quote, where you, clearly, do not.

          Peace.

          July 22, 2013 at 1:32 am |
      • skytag

        For example, if God can change people's hearts, why didn't he change Hitler's and save the lives of tens of millions of people?

        If belief in God is based on a God that really exists, when we look at the religions men have created over the millennia, why is there nothing all of them have in common? If there is a God and he communicates with people who seek to know him, shouldn't all religions created by sincere people incorporate truths about God he has shared with all of them?

        If it's so important to believe in God, why is there absolutely no reason to believe he exists? Christians say God will reveal himself to you if you seek him out, but why would any rational person seek out something he has no reason to believe exists? That makes as much sense as digging up your back yard seeking buried treasure.

        Christians say God answers prayer, but there is no evidence of any kind any prayer ever uttered has ever been answered or had any effect on anything. Both our kids are seriously ill. We both pray for them to get well. Mine does, but yours dies. Christians will make excuses for why your prayers were ignored, but they're just making excuses. The evidence is clear that prayers are not answered, or if they are, it's so rare as to be statistically insignificant.

        On the subject of abortion, if all life is sacred and life starts at conception, why does God allow millions of the unborn to die from miscarriages and spontaneous abortions, more than die from abortions performed by humans?

        If God is perfect, why did he consider his first attempt to populate the earth such a colossal failure he wiped out all by eight people so he could start over hoping to do better the second time around?

        Shall I continue?

        July 19, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          I don't think you should necessarily continue. You're just parroting the kind of standard eighth grade atheist questions that are answered by reading any number of excellent authors. I recommend the classics like Chesterton, Aquinas, A'Kempis, Lewis, Bonhoeffer, Frankl but there are a number of modern people too who have illuminating stuff to say, Lucado, Graham, Colson, Sheen, Bannon, others. If you spent 40 years being a believer, I have to say I can't imagine what you did with the time if you didn't read any of these brilliant people and somehow managed to serve in any ministry yet never experience Christ in your midst. I'm sorry you wasted your time but I think you could have used better discipleship.

          July 19, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
        • God wears panties

          Bill,

          There are people in mental wards who cannot understand how the outside world cannot see or hear what they hear. You are not alone.

          July 19, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
        • skytag

          Congratulations, Bill. It didn't take you long at all to disparage me to justify avoiding questions you can't answer. In point of fact I wasn't "parroting" anyone. Those are genuine questions I have formed in my own mind. That said, it shouldn't come as a surprise if many others would have the same questions as they're fairly obvious questions.

          Yet despite the fact that they're fairly obvious questions you clearly have no answers for them, so you belittle me for asking them. Thanks for playing, Bill. I appreciate your willingness to be evidence Christianity is a fraud.

          July 19, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          Bill is just having a rough week.

          this focus on atheism has been a rough patch for some.....

          Bill are you Clergy? if so, don't worry- the Catholic Church is still insanely wealthy...it ll take it decades to disappear. you wont have to hit the unemployment line.

          July 19, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
        • niknak

          I don't think the catholic mythology has deacons, but I could be wrong.
          I have this feeling that Deacon Blues is in the Baptist mythology.
          Does it really matter?
          Myth is myth.

          July 19, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I find the "explanations" by those authors Bill mentioned very unsatisfying. If I had found satisfying answers to those questions, I would still believe. They are good questions; there are no good answers from the biblical perspective.

          July 19, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
        • skytag

          @Cpt. Obvious: Positing a possible scenario that could explain something is not the same as explaining it. To be an explanation they have to show what they posit is what actually happened, and we all know they can't do that. One of the beauties of atheism is that one possible scenario (there is no god) pretty much addresses all of these questions.

          July 19, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          skytag's questions are a constant bur under the saddle of the churches.

          Id add my own: If a god, any god, Christian,,,doesn't matter created the whole works, why is this Power very regional....with our "immortal souls" at risk – you would think that this God would have had a better press corp, a better travel agency...to the point that he could have gone gobal from the start.

          It would also seem that he kind of went with the lowest bidder on the editing of his literary masterpiece... the whole thing just doesn't work.

          July 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
        • Doobs

          @ Bill Deacon

          " If you spent 40 years being a believer, I have to say I can't imagine what you did with the time if you didn't read any of these brilliant people and somehow managed to serve in any ministry yet never experience Christ in your midst."

          In addition to being a liar and a coward, Bill, you're also a pompous ass.

          July 19, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
        • Jeff

          Bill is a staunch Roman Catholic.

          July 19, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
        • Doobs

          @Jeff

          Alrighty then, Bill Deacon is a liar, a coward, a pompous ass and a staunch Roman Catholic.

          July 20, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
      • niknak

        People like you Deacon Blues.
        God, save me from your followers.....

        July 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @Skytag.........................Congrats on clear thinking.

      July 19, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • OTOH

      skytag,

      I hear ya'. You (we) have valuable facts, insight and experience to contribute, though. I am always sort of floored when folks come on to us like we just rode into town on a load of pumpkins!

      July 19, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Colin

      The ex Christian does not exist . You deceived yourself for 40 years and God never knew you.

      July 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Colin, what percentage of people are "deceived" out of all those people who have faith in the god of the bible and sincerely believe that they are saved?

        July 20, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
        • Colin

          god is an idol. Anyone following a god is by definition not saved. There are a lot of gods mentioned in the Bible. The God of the Bible is God, those God loves God saves and they know God beyond a shadow of a doubt.

          July 20, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
      • Colin

        A lot.

        July 20, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        I "knew" it myself "beyond a shadow of a doubt" and I am now atheist. I know other atheists who believed just as strongly. I think it's a disgusting god that would allow people to believe in him and believe that they were true believers only to be told that somehow they didn't believe correctly enough and so even though they believe in the right god and the right way and had faith that they were truly worshiping correctly, they were really never saved.

        Anyway, that's just another way your god is a d!ck.

        July 20, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Colin

      Sorry cap it is impossible to be a real born again Christian and change direction. Had you continued as the "christian" you thought you were you would have been rejected at judgment and cast out with all the other unrepentant sinners. You have never known God and more importantly God has never known you.

      July 20, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
  2. skytag

    Does anyone else have problems with comments not posting for no apparent reason?

    July 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • ME II

      Who's got the list of banned character strings?

      July 19, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
      • Helpful Hints

        Mod. Daniel removed this the last time I posted it. I do not know what he's thinking... nobody can know these things otherwise.

        Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN Belief Blog/WordPress automatic filter:
        Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
        You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
        -
        ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
        co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
        co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
        crac-ker…
        cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
        ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
        ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
        ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, sopho-more, etc.
        ho-oters…as in sho-oters
        ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
        inf-orms us…
        hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
        jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
        ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
        koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
        ni-gra…as in deni-grate
        nip-ple
        o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
        pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
        p-oon… as in sp-oon, lamp-oon, harp-oon
        p-orn… as in p-ornography
        pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
        que-er
        ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
        se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
        sl-ut
        sm-ut…..as in transm-utation
        sn-atch
        sp-ank
        sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
        sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
        strip-per
        ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, t-itle, ent-ity, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
        tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, salt-water, etc.
        va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
        who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
        wt-f....also!!!!!!!
        x.xx…

        July 19, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
        • skytag

          Wow, if it blocks posts based on strings in the middle of words that's about the dumbest thing I've ever heard of.

          July 19, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
        • ME II

          Gracias

          July 19, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
      • skytag

        The comments that don't show up have no banned character strings in them and are pretty innocent. I've sent CNN e-mails on several occasions asking why a comment won't post and all I get is some canned response about refreshing my browser window.

        July 19, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
        • Helpful Hints

          skytag,

          Are you sure none of them were hiding in there somewhere - they can be real hard to find sometimes - but maybe you've found a new one. About the only thing to do is try your post one sentence at a time and see what flies... when you find the culprit, try one word at a time. Ridiculous, yeah, but it's what they've got here.

          July 19, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
        • skytag

          Thanks, Helpful. I never imagined the filter system was so brain dead as to block strings in the middle of words.

          July 19, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
        • Karin Werner

          Complete chained replies are removed, as well. Two of my replies are no where to be found. Where not one word or phrase would trip a filter.

          July 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Yeah, mine just went to Hades and was tortured by devils with pitchforks.

      July 19, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • niknak

      Yeah, its the god filter.
      When you post something that is offensive to god, it will not post properly.
      See, it is here protecting it's name, and just doesn't have time to stop things like Sandy Hook and Columbine etc.

      July 19, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        god sounds self centered.

        July 19, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
        • 777

          So do you......

          July 19, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
        • Observer

          Of course God is self-centered. 40% of the Ten Commandments are "how to worship ME".

          July 19, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
        • Maani

          Observer: 40%? Let's see:

          1. No other Gods
          2. No graven image
          3. Taking the name of the Lord in vain
          4. Observing Sabbath
          5. Honor parents
          6. No killing
          7. No adultery
          8. No stealing
          9. No bearing false witness
          10. No coveting

          Only the first two are actually about "how to worship Me." #3 is not about worship, nor is #4. And, of course, 5-10 are not either. Therefore, only 20% are about "how to worship Me."

          Remedial math is in the offing, if you want it. LOL.

          July 20, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
      • Colin

        Observer is known to be unobservant concerning the actual Bible. Someone somewhere must have told it a few stretchers and it endlessly parrots lies for Truth.

        July 20, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • LinCA

      For those that compose their posts offline and use Notepad++, I created a Python script that will scan selected text for the word fragments on the banned list. It will then insert a couple of HTML tags that will allow you to circumvent the filters.

      You can find the script below between the lines with the # signs.

      To install it:
      – If you don't already have it, get Notepad++ (it's a free download, just google it).
      – Go to: Plugins – Plugin Manager – Show Plugin Manager – add the plugin Python Script.
      – Go to: Plugins – Python Script – New Script.
      – Give the new script a name and save.
      – Copy everything between the # signs below into the new script.
      – Save the script.
      – Go to: Plugins – Python Script – Configuration – Add script to Toolbar icons.

      To use it:
      – Compose comment in Notepad++.
      – Select entire comment.
      – Run script by clicking the toolbar icon.
      – Copy and post.

      If you need to add new words, just add lines to te script in the "banlist" variable (mind the quotes and comma).

      Script below:
      #############################################################

      banlist = ( 'arse',
                  'bastard',
                  'bitch',
                  'clit',
                  'cock',
                  'coon',
                  'cracker',
                  'cum',
                  'cunt',
                  'douche',
                  'effing',
                  'fag',
                  'ftw',
                  'fuck',
                  'goddamn',
                  'gloryhole',
                  'homo',
                  'hooters',
                  'horny',
                  'hump',
                  'jackass',
                  'jap',
                  'jism',
                  'kinky',
                  'kooch',
                  'necrophilia',
                  'nigra',
                  'nigger',
                  'nipple',
                  'orgy',
                  'pis',
                  'poon',
                  'porn',
                  'prick',
                  'pussy',
                  'queer',
                  'rape',
                  'sex',
                  'shit',
                  'slut',
                  'smut',
                  'snatch',
                  'spic',
                  'tit',
                  'twat',
                  'vag',
                  'whore',
                  'wop',
                  'wtf',
                  'xxx',
                  'wonderful us' )

      editor.beginUndoAction()
      selStr = editor.getSelText()

      startAnchor = editor.getSelectionStart()
      endPos = editor.getSelectionEnd()
      if( endPos > startAnchor ):
          startAnchor = editor.positionFromLine( editor.lineFromPosition( startAnchor ) )
      else:
          tmp = startAnchor
          startAnchor = endPos
          endPos = tmp
      selectionLength = endPos - startAnchor
      addedCharachters = 0

      for index in range(len(banlist)):
          findString = banlist[index]

          if ( findString != 'wonderful us' ) :
              isWU = 0
              replacePos = 3
          else :
              isWU = 1
              replacePos = 10

          l = len( selStr )
          f = len( findString )

          if ( l >= f ) :
              c = (l - f)
              lastTagIsOpen = 1

              while ( c >= 0 ) :
                  clip = str.lower( selStr[ c : c + f ] )
                  if ( ( l - c ) > 2 ) :
                      if ( str.lower( selStr[ c : c + 3 ] ) == '<b>' ) :
                          lastTagIsOpen = 1
                  if ( ( l - c ) > 3 ) :
                      if ( str.lower( selStr[ c : c + 4 ] ) == '</b>' ) :
                          lastTagIsOpen = 0
                  if ( clip == findString ) :
                      if isWU :
                          selStr = selStr[ 0 : ( c + replacePos - 1 )] + '&nbsp;' + selStr[ ( c + replacePos ) : len( selStr ) ]
                          addedCharachters += 5
                      else :
                          if lastTagIsOpen :
                              selStr = selStr[ 0 : ( c + replacePos - 1 ) ] + '<b></b>' + selStr[ (c + replacePos - 1) : len( selStr ) ]
                              addedCharachters += 7
                          else :
                              selStr = selStr[ 0 : ( c + replacePos - 1 ) ] + '</b><b>' + selStr[ (c + replacePos - 1) : len( selStr ) ]
                              addedCharachters += 7
                  c -= 1

      editor.replaceSel( selStr )
      editor.endUndoAction()

      endPos = editor.getLineEndPosition( editor.lineFromPosition( endPos ) )
      editor.setSel( startAnchor, selectionLength + addedCharachters )

      #############################################################

      July 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
      • Really-O?

        @LinCA –

        Works great. Thank you.

        July 19, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
      • Athy

        Why not just unconditionally add the tags after every vowel?

        July 19, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
        • .

          That would the most logical approach. Much simpler code and no "bad word" list to maintain.

          July 19, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
        • Really-O?

          Seems to me that might be a good way encourage the moderators to prohibit all html tags.

          July 19, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
        • Athy

          Why?

          July 19, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
  3. Honey Badger Don't Care

    You forgot to mention the brothers after the flood too. 8 people all related. Unless the brothers were sharing their wives it gets very complicated.

    And talking about the flood, if the flood occurred in 2348BCE (Answers in Genesis) and the Exodus happened in 1444BCE (AIG) and the Israelites were in captivity for 400 years (AIG) isn’t there a problem?
    That means that in 504 years eight people went from being the only people on Earth to a population big enough to not only rule Egypt but to enslave themselves.

    Hmmmm……

    July 19, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      Ooops, meant to post below.

      July 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • skytag

      Ah, the great flood, pretty solid evidence that God considered his first attempt to populate the earth a total failure.

      July 19, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  4. Mark

    You may not be able to "prove" God's existence with scientific proof; but neither can you disprove it either. Can science prove beauty, love, justice, virtue, will, reason? Just because science can't prove something doesn't mean it isn't true. The scientific method itself has limitations. It is limited in the number of experiments it can perform. A certain number of experiments are performed and a theory is drawn up. Because of this inherit limit, science is approximate knowledge and can never cross the threshold of definitive knowledge.

    July 19, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Right, so it is simply left as unknown. It does not mean applying a god is the right answer either.
      One of the best quotes ever on this is: Science provides questions that may never be answered, religion provides answers that may never be questioned.

      July 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • G to the T

      True and our own subjective experience of reality makes it even tougher. But, all things being equal, I'll take a process that helps to screen out the subjective as much as possible rather than one that believes that personal revelation is a valid method for defining the objective world.

      July 19, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @mark, this is always the most entertaining argument. no one can disprove the existence of any gods, especially those that have been placed beyond the reach of the corporeal by their followers, yet it is likely that you consider your the only.

      it is a stupid argument. you'll have to do way better than that.

      July 19, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @Mark...........................I saw a pregnant full size elephant ride the NYC Subway and give birth at 3am. Since there isn't any proof that it didn't happen it must be true.

      July 19, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      " Can science prove beauty, love, justice, virtue, will, reason? " Sure, those things are subjective but easily-measured and quantified. Aw, I was supposed to say "No," wasn't I? Because "SCIENCE" is a religion and men in lab coats are priests? Sorry I spoiled your argument. You were going to prove God exists by beating up a scarecrow in a lab coat; carry on.

      July 19, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
      • Maani

        BibleClown: Actually, beauty, love, justice, etc. are NOT easily measured and quantified. You would have to explain what you mean by your comment. Since none of those (among other things) is "measurable" in the scientific sense – i.e., through verification, reproducibility, etc. – and since all of them are subject to falsification, I'm not sure how you can put them in the same category as scientific theorems for which a variety and reasonable (or better) amount of supporting evidence (via the scientific method) is available. Yet, as Mark points out, we all agree that love, etc. exist – primarily because we have a "shared experience" of them; i.e., we can "explain," at least in basic terms that others can understand, what those things are. Similarly, those of us who believe in God have a basic "shared experience" of Him. However, the "language" that we use to explain it is indecipherable to non-believers. It is the same thing as explaining "color" to a person blind from birth.

        July 20, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      " Because of this inherit limit, science is approximate knowledge and can never cross the threshold of definitive knowledge" Notice that you typed this into a precision instrument which then contacted a world-girdling network of satellites and beamed it to a central server, which relayed it thousands of computers within seconds. I think your definition of knowledge is faulty and maybe you need to try defining your terms before you start the debate? And you are trying to say that science can't detect God because He doesn't exist in this universe; I agree. I don't think He exists anywhere, but you have faith that He does.

      July 19, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • skytag

      These are some of the classic bad arguments put forth by believers. You can no more disprove the existence of leprechauns or vampires than I can disprove the existence of God, yet I'm willing to bet you don't believe either of these exist.

      I hardly think the inability to disprove something exists is a valid reason to base your identity and important life decisions on the belief it does, talk to it, and spend significant amounts of time trying to discern its true nature and how it wants you to live your life.

      As for beauty, love, justice, virtue, will, and reason, these are all just terms used to describe concepts, and all of them are subjective. No one claims any of them are sentient entities that have the power to create worlds, alter the course of natural events, hear your prayers, perform miracles, heal the sick, make it possible to exist beyond death, and so on.

      I can't "prove" love exists, but I can point to observable behavior and conclude love is the motivating force responsible for it. Researchers can identify the parts of the brain responsible for these emotions and measure synaptic activity corresponding to them.

      Of course, people have to point to observable behavior and explained it with the spiritual as well. People used to explain disease by attributing it to evil spirits. Then we learned about germs and abandoned the spiritual explanation.

      Science can't explain everything, but historically the pattern over time has been for science to displace spiritual explanations, not the other way around.

      July 20, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
  5. DM

    Just a note to Christians. If incest is wrong, why are we ALL the product of it according to the Adam and Eve story?
    If that's true, it was brother on sister or mother, etc.

    July 19, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      I have never heard a non-comical answer to that question – Where did Cain and Abel get their wives?

      How about this one – given what we know about genetics:

      1) God is male and has a Y chromosome
      or
      2) Jesus was actually female and passed for a man (bought a fake beard at a stoning?)
      or
      3) Mary lied about being a virgin.

      Apply Occam's razor to that and see what you come up with.

      July 19, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • God wears panties

      God is man
      Jesus was gay
      Mary was a wife who slept around

      July 19, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Maani

      DM: Re Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Cain's wife, etc.:

      "God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply...They were commanded by God to have children...We don't know how long it was until Cain took a wife...Those who are quick to say that Cain committed incest should realize that when there is no law, there is no transgression. But as the population grew large enough, and as the risk of genetic problems increased...God outlawed marriage between siblings." (Rev. Ray Comfort)

      July 20, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • God wears panties

      Maani

      DM: Re Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Cain's wife, etc.:

      "God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply...They were commanded by God to have children...We don't know how long it was until Cain took a wife...................
      >
      Well that is one way of dancing around the obvious

      July 22, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  6. Reality

    "Death's Debt is Paid in
    Full

    Death's debt is then and there
    Paid down by dying men;

    But it is a promise bare
    That they shall rise again. "

    Al-Ma'arri – 1000 CE

    July 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  7. R.M. Goodswell

    What cracks me up is the religious attack our science...we have their god pushed all the way back to TBB....they seem to lose track of the fact that their beliefs are based on, at minimum 1350 year old thinking (quaran) and somehow ancient philosophy can trump The Big Bang and the solid science that its based on. For those of you that dispute the science, remember, we have fusion reactors (same principle as the sun) coming on line for regular use in the next year- a small piece of the puzzle.

    July 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      What cracks me up is you think it's "your science" The Big Bang, genetic theory and a host of other disciplines are contributions of Catholics

      July 19, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      Most Christian scientists were 'Christian' – certainly Catholic simply to stay alive.... after this was no longer necessary their numbers dropped waaay off. And yes- a few modern Catholics have made significant contributions in the sciences...but by far the majority of modern scientists are non religious.

      Where does the opposition to the Big Bang come from Bill?

      And yes I can do some math here and there:)) ...also ok with the physics....its why im very anti religion and disgusted by the state of our world.

      July 19, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
      • Maani

        RMG: You regurgitate an insupportable canard when you suggest that scientists who were also Catholic (or, indeed, Protestant) were simply so "to stay alive." This has been debunked in the case of every Catholic and Protestant scientist who made major contributions to science – including, btw, Sir Francis Bacon, an ardent Catholic and the founder of the scientific method. Others included Copernicus, Kepler, Galilei (who remained a devout Catholic DESPITE his near excommunication), Newton, Faraday, Mendel (who laid the foundation for modern genetics), Kelvin, Pasteur, and Planck. In fact, quite the reverse of what you suggest is true; i.e., the situation today is that many scientists ARE believers, but they dare not "come out of the closet" for fear of being ridiculed and/or losing government and/or academic grants. BTW, it was a devout believer, Francis Collins, who headed up the Human Genome Project. Peace.

        July 20, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I don't think that scientists are lying about their religious beliefs. I believe that they are whatever they say that they are. I think that the rigor of the scientific method makes for less fundamentalist belief systems because the scientific method is founded in doubt.

          Also, wouldn't you expect one of these great scientists somewhere along the way to have some sort of evidence or proof for their god? But as it is, they all agree on the math and chemistry they utilize, but the believers among them believe in various different gods and doctrines and what not. Seems like if one god was more plausible to believe, all the scientists would lean towards belief in that god.

          July 20, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
        • Maani

          Capt. Obvious: Thank you for your measured response. The reason these scientists (and, I'm sure, others) did not see any conflict in the science they were doing (including use of the scientific method, once it was arrived at) and the deity they believe(d) in is exactly what most atheists are missing in this entire debate: that the realms of science and faith are, as Gould posited (and Einstein agreed), "overlapping magisteria." That is, they each have a function, and the "evidence" for each is quite different. The evidence for science is based on observation, experimentation, reproducibility, etc. The evidence for faith is NOT the same, but is no less "real" (i.e., within the spiritual realm). What I find interesting about debates like the one this article engendered is that so many atheists will argue "science," yet they do not look to actual scientist/believers who made significant contributions to science, yet saw no conflict in doing so while also believing in a "Creator." (This includes Darwin.) Peace.

          July 20, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          Maani

          Galileo didn't leave the church because to do so would be to lose the protection of the church... in other words, he could be "beaten and robbed – or even out right killed freely by Catholics without repercussions.

          "He was sentenced to formal imprisonment at the pleasure of the Inquisition.[60] On the following day this was commuted to house arrest, which he remained under for the rest of his life"

          remained a devote Catholic indeed....

          Just because you say something is refuted doesn't make it so....you ve played fast and loose with some numbers in other posts.....and you have misrepresented historical events – knowingly I believe (the whole Stalin – Mao issue) ...
          I think accuracy is a secondary concern to you.

          July 21, 2013 at 12:30 am |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          yet saw no conflict in doing so while also believing in a "Creator." (This includes Darwin.) Peace

          no ....never did Darwin support a creator...infact quite the opposite...he attended a church with is religious wife but never gave credence to a creator.

          July 21, 2013 at 12:40 am |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          conflicting info : Darwin started out believing but became agnostic – it seems his wife controlled his belief... once he lost her he left the religion.

          July 21, 2013 at 12:53 am |
        • Maani

          RMG: I cannot tell with you if it is ignorance or arrogance, but whichever it is, it is startling.

          Charles Darwin was NEVER an atheist. He began as a theist (his only earned degree was in theology), and then he was a deist. He did not set out to disprove the existence of God, only to disprove the notion of "special creation." He did so. But he did so maintaining a deist belief. Indeed, you appear to be rusty re Origin of Species. Here is Darwin's own conclusion:

          "Authors of the highest eminence seem to be fully satisfied with the view that each species has been independently created. To my mind, it accords better with what we know about the laws impressed upon matter by the Creator that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual...There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been breathed into a few forms or into one..."

          Get that? "The laws" (including random mutation and natural selection) "impressed upon matter by the Creator." And that "life" was "breathed" into "a few forms, or into one." These are not the words of an atheist, or someone out to disprove the existence of God. And before you suggest that he only said this to appease his religious readers, consider that the book has undergone over 20 iterations since that time, and NO ONE has ever sought to remove this phrase.

          You might also want to consider Darwin's own words toward the end of his life:

          "It is absurd to doubt that a man might be an ardent theist and an evolutionist...I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. – I think that generally ... an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind."

          Nice try. But you might want to actually READ "Origin" and study up on Darwin.

          July 22, 2013 at 1:44 am |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          I did say he was Agnostic Maani......How many forums do they have you spouting the same crap on? I found 2 others where you make the exact same attacks on people- word for word...in some cases a direct copy and paste....

          July 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          For You Maani,

          from Darwin's Autobiography:

          T"his conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the Origin of Species; and it is since that time that it has very gradually with many fluctuations become weaker. But then arises the doubt—can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions? May not these be the result of the connection between cause and effect which strikes us as a necessary one, but probably depends merely on inherited experience? Nor must we overlook the probability of the constant inculcation in a belief in God on the minds of children producing so strong and perhaps an inherited effect on their brains not yet fully developed, that it would be as difficult for them to throw off their belief in God, as for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake"

          Pretty clear later in life he understood the true nature of religion..no?

          July 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • Maani

          RMG: Do agnostics believe in a "Creator?" Because, as I pointed out, Darwin NEVER rescinded his belief in a "Creator": it was written into Origin, and was mentioned by him on many later occasions. So you simply cannot say "never did Darwin support a Creator." He most certainly did – throughout most of his life. If he "backtracked" in his later years, that is one thing. But that is not what you were suggesting.

          As for seeing me on other sites, I can only surmise that, since I do not post to other sites, someone is using my name and possibly even using my posts from this site. I swear to you on whatever YOU consider "holy" (LOL) that I do not post to any other sites.

          July 22, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          A site called truthdig doesn't ring a bell? same wording, same position....

          and no need to swear...it wouldn't help your credibility with me...

          Agnostic: = no proof one way or another...most, like Darwin, completely discount the Christian God...see my second Darwin post on page 17 (in duplicate) – he says outright that he doesn't believe in the christain god.

          July 22, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
        • Maani

          RMG: Mea culpa. Yes, I USED to post to Truthdig. However, that was at least a year ago, maybe more. And if I posted similar things, it is because the truth does not change. You said you found TWO other sites on which I had posted. Can you give me the second, because now I really am at a loss.

          July 23, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
  8. palintwit

    " So what we learn from Palin's return to the Fox News stable is that she has only grown wilder and more unpredictable, and that if she were an actual horse, in an actual stable, she would be put out to pasture, or perhaps dispatched to make way for a newer less botoxed horse. "

    July 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  9. bostontola

    Scientists don't consider the theory of relativity, theory of evolution, quantum theory, etc., truth. These theories make most of our technology work, medical instruments, satellites, etc. We bet our lives on these things, that's how much we all trust it, but its not truth. Believing the bible is truth, even though it is fraught with factual errors, shows a big difference between religious and scientific. Scientists view theories as testable and useful but not truth, religious view the bible as true and paper over the errors.

    July 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      The only science that deals with truth is mathematics. So, I would say that the only truth that exists is mathematical truth. Just try to explain that to a christian.

      July 19, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
      • skytag

        Even as a mathematician I wouldn't agree with this. There is obviously truth outside of mathematics.

        July 21, 2013 at 3:02 am |
  10. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    I respect reason, logic, kindness and patience, which is why I have so little respect for most Christians who I have found to be boistrous, illogical, rude, angry, judgemental and impatient. Maybe waiting around for 2000 years for your buddy to come back just messes with their heads or something.

    July 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Plus the broads are so chubby!

      They gotta shake some Sensa on those hosts!

      July 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  11. manhandler1

    The belief in some "God" or other, has led to more war,misery, death, discrimination and every other evil that you can possibly think of. What rubbish! It's the belief of the fearful and the weak.....people who live with the fear that they can't deal with the world with the capabilities they have as a human being. So they blindly turn to some book or other, the Bible, the Koran or whatever to tell them how to supposedly cope with the challenges of life.

    A huge amount of the bloodshed in the Middle East is because a dispute between the Sunni and the Shia Arabs in the year 632 between who should inherit the religious and political office of their prophet Mohammad. So hundreds of thousands of people have died because of that incredibly ridiculous dispute. The one thing that Lenin said that is a total truth is that "religion is the opiate of the masses." He may have been wrong about a lot of other things, but he was totally right on about that one. Religion is like a addictive drug that gives you a temporary high but often ends with disastrous consequences.

    July 19, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • William Demuth

      So true, and we humans have no more credit with the dealer!

      Withdrawal will probably be in the form of mushroom clouds

      July 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      "One of the things you learn from years of dealing with drug people, is that you can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug. Especially when it's waving a razor-sharp hunting knife in your eye. "
      Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

      True of religion, too, I've found.

      July 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • William Demuth

        The greatest read of my life

        The eloquence of Dante, without the hyperbole.

        I had a Nickname of Hunter in my younger days courtesy of that book!

        July 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • My Dog is a jealous Dog

          I saw Hunter once when I attended an "Austin City Limits" show. He was outrageously brilliant. My favorite quote of the evening was "I can't recommend hallucinogenics and explosives for everyone, but they work for me".

          It was a tragic loss to see him go, and his suicide note ripped right into my heart. I am glad that Johnny Depp finally got his ashes scattered the way Hunter wanted.

          July 19, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Maani

      M1: "The belief in some "God" or other, has led to more war,misery, death, discrimination and every other evil that you can possibly think of." Not quite.

      You should look up a guy named Rudolph Rummel. He is a historian who is considered the world foremost expert on death throughout history. According to Rummel, the number of people who have died as the result of holy wars, Crusades, inquisitions, witch hunts, etc. is ~75-100 million – in all of recorded history. Yet just three atheists – Lenin, Stalin and Mao – are responsible for over 100 million deaths – in just 75 years. And yes, a great many of those deaths were as the result of SPECIFICALLY anti-theist policies.

      So before you regurgitate insupportable canards, you might want to do a little actual research of your own.

      Peace.

      July 20, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
      • skytag

        Here's a major flaw in your reasoning: The killing of innocent people is inconsistent with what you believe about God, thus religiously motivated killing represents a glaring inconsistency.

        Atheism only has one official position, that there is no god. Since atheism per se takes no stand on the killing of innocent people, when an sociopathic atheist is responsible for the deaths of people, be it one person or a million, it does not represent any kind of inconsistency with his status as an atheist.

        Thus it is far more problematic when someone who believes in God and that people are created in his image and have souls kills an innocent person than for someone who thinks of people as really smart animals to kill an innocent person.

        It should also be noted that generally speaking, the people used in these kinds of examples are generally not the ones doing the actual killing. That would be their followers, and oftentimes those followers are not atheists. For example, Hitler, who is generally listed in these examples, never killed anyone during the time the Nazis ruled Germany. The killing was always done by his followers, and most of them were Christians.

        July 20, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
        • Maani

          Skytag: I was not engaging in "reason": I was stating statistics. While you may or may not be correct re the "reasoning" you cite, it does not change the fact that more people have died under atheist-led regimes than under religious-led ones. As well, you conveniently ignore the fact that some of the policies of these atheists that led to many of those deaths were specifically anti-theist policies. As an aside, the irony might be lost on you that, despite the fact that so many atheists here are so quick to note that believers do not have a monopoly on morals, you are essentially proving the point of believers that, from a historical perspective, atheists far more than believers have lacked morals vis-a-vis war and death. Peace.

          July 20, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Maani, Statistics out of context aren't very informative. I'm sure you've heard the saying "lies, damned lies, and statistics". Most of the peoplle killed under the totalitarian regimes that you refer to were not killed for religious reasons. Many deaths were in the fight for power and the struggle to keep it. Misguided agricultural policy resulted in 4 million people starving to death in the Ukraine alone under Stalin; just one example.

          July 20, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
        • Maani

          Santa: What part of "As well, you conveniently ignore the fact that some of the policies of these atheists that led to many of those deaths were specifically anti-theist policies" did you not understand?

          July 22, 2013 at 1:47 am |
      • Colin

        When finding war and death in history you do not have to look very hard to find a so called atheist in the woodpile.True Christians are free from causing wars but so called atheists stealing the t itle of christian are quite common.

        July 20, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          So the pope that sanctioned the Crusades was an atheist in disguise?

          July 20, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
        • A Frayed Knot

          Santa,

          Of course @Colin thinks that the Pope was not a "real" Christian. Only the folks that @Colin okays are okay

          ----------------------------------------------–

          Just for you Colin:

          "I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said 'Stop! don't do it!' 'Why shouldn't I?' he said. I said, 'Well, there's so much to live for!' He said, 'Like what?' I said, 'Well...are you religious or atheist?' He said, 'Religious.' I said, 'Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?' He said, 'Christian.' I said, 'Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?' He said, 'Protestant.' I said, 'Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?' He said, 'Baptist!' I said, 'Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist church of god or Baptist church of the lord?' He said, 'Baptist church of god!' I said, 'Me too! Are you original Baptist church of god, or are you reformed Baptist church of god?' He said, 'Reformed Baptist church of god!' I said, 'Me too! Are you reformed Baptist church of god, reformation of 1879, or reformed Baptist church of god, reformation of 1915?' He said, 'Reformed Baptist church of god, reformation of 1915!' I said, 'Die, heretic sc'um,' and pushed him off."
          –Emo Phillips

          July 20, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
      • skytag

        @Maani: "it does not change the fact that more people have died under atheist-led regimes than under religious-led ones."

        Perhaps. I would argue that your numbers don't include all people killed by believers motivated to kill by their religious beliefs. Holy wars produce large numbers, but countless people have been killed throughout history by people who believe they were justified by their religious beliefs. People burned as witches, blacks lynched by Christians in this county, people killed in human sacrifices, servants killed to accompany pharaohs on their journeys to the afterlife, untold numbers of people killed in various cultures because they were deemed to have offended God in some way, and so on. There is no way to estimate the number of people killed for religious reasons over the course of history, but the total is signficant.

        In any case, I still fail to understand what you think this proves. You cannot defend the actions of one group by pointing to the actions of another group. There should have been no deaths in recorded history motivated by religion. Pointing to what some atheists have or haven't done is irrelevant to that point.

        Another flaw in your argument is in ignoring the differences in populations and technologies. Your examples of atheists — Lenin, Stalin and Mao — are all relatively modern. Had population densities and technologies for traveling, killing, and spreading propaganda available at the time of the Crusades for example have been comparable to what Mao and Stalin had at their disposal I think it's safe to say the number of deaths from the Crusades would have been much higher.

        Comparing deaths by swords and arrows committed by people traveling by horseback to deaths by guns and automatic weapons committed by people who could travel by cars, trucks and planes seems disingenuous at best.

        "As well, you conveniently ignore the fact that some of the policies of these atheists that led to many of those deaths were specifically anti-theist policies."

        So what? Seriously, what do you think that proves? These arguments are lame. Believers such as Christians should, by all rights, adhere to a much higher standard in these matters than atheists. There should have been no mass killings in history based on religious motivations. That there have "only" been 75-100 million people killed for religious reasons is hardly compelling evidence of God's power to produce moral followers.

        "As an aside, the irony might be lost on you that, despite the fact that so many atheists here are so quick to note that believers do not have a monopoly on morals, you are essentially proving the point of believers that, from a historical perspective, atheists far more than believers have lacked morals vis-a-vis war and death."

        I think the irony here is that you have to compare the actions of believers who supposedly seek to do God's will to those of godless atheists to make believers' atrocities sound less atrocious.

        "Peace."

        This is patronizing. Grow up.

        July 21, 2013 at 3:46 am |
  12. William Demuth

    If Mary had aborted Christ would he have been resurrected in vitro?

    July 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Jenifer is a family name

      Provoker and Bully. Reprehensible.

      July 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
      • William Demuth

        But it secretly turn you on right?

        July 19, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
        • Jenifer is a family name

          No, I'm afraid I'm not into people with mental illnesses.

          July 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • Jenifer's panties

          Unbunch me, please.

          July 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
      • William Demuth

        So Abraham is OUT in your Church?

        No need to get your knickers damp, me and old Jeebus have an understanding

        He doesn't exist, and I do!

        Welcome to reality!

        July 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • William daMOUTH

      Your Mom should have aborted you.

      July 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • ME II

      Did you mean in utero?

      July 19, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "‘If any man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him, 13 and a man has intercourse with her and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband and she is undetected, although she has defiled herself, and there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act, 14 if a spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife when she has defiled herself, or if a spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife when she has not defiled herself, 15 the man shall then bring his wife to the priest, and shall bring as an offering for her one-tenth of an ephah of barley meal; he shall not pour oil on it nor put frankincense on it, for it is a grain offering of jealousy, a grain offering of memorial, a reminder of iniquity.

      16 ‘Then the priest shall bring her near and have her stand before the Lord, 17 and the priest shall take holy water in an earthenware vessel; and [j]he shall take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water. 18 The priest shall then have the woman stand before the Lord and let the hair of the woman’s head go loose, and place the grain offering of memorial [k]in her hands, which is the grain offering of jealousy, and in the hand of the priest is to be the water of bitterness that brings a curse. 19 The priest shall have her take an oath and shall say to the woman, “If no man has lain with you and if you have not gone astray into uncleanness, being under the authority of your husband, be immune to this water of bitterness that brings a curse; 20 if you, however, have gone astray, being under the authority of your husband, and if you have defiled yourself and a man other than your husband has had intercourse with you” 21 (then the priest shall have the woman swear with the oath of the curse, and the priest shall say to the woman), “the Lord make you a curse and an oath among your people by the Lord’s making your thigh [m]waste away and your abdomen swell; 22 and this water that brings a curse shall go into your stomach, and make your abdomen swell and your thigh waste away.” And the woman shall say, “Amen. Amen.”

      23 ‘The priest shall then write these curses on a scroll, and he shall wash them off into the water of bitterness. 24 Then he shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that brings a curse, so that the water which brings a curse will go into her and cause bitterness. 25 The priest shall take the grain offering of jealousy from the woman’s hand, and he shall wave the grain offering before the Lord and bring it to the altar; 26 and the priest shall take a handful of the grain offering as its memorial offering and offer it up in smoke on the altar, and afterward he shall make the woman drink the water. 27 When he has made her drink the water, then it shall come about, if she has defiled herself and has been unfaithful to her husband, that the water which brings a curse will go into her [r]and cause bitterness, and her abdomen will swell and her thigh will [s]waste away, and the woman will become a curse among her people. 28 But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, she will then be free and conceive children." Number 5:14-28

      So how would Mary have fared during this ordeal?

      July 19, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
  13. Complectus

    I believe I have to state I am agnostic as my comments will be reviled by many on both sides. Religion to me when looked at through the lense of psychology is about control.

    Many people cannot even fathom someone controlling themselves without some incentive to either do or not do. That's fine. Religion fits the bill for them. It helps give them something to get out of bed in the morning and actually have hope. A way to lift up their ego that helps them even face the horrible things that happen in the world. A way to strive to rise above their life, and ultimately a way to keep them more humble so that success or talent does not lead them to ruin.

    This is something above and beyond the "Does god exist" debate.

    Until a way is found to replace a lot of the outdated views that a lot of the more controlling religions have on "how one should live their life," we are not going to see religion die out. Period. End of discussion. Even when there is one, people will still want to have someone "of a higher power on their side."

    To me I see the concept of do as ye will an harm ye none as a way to live. And before you scream pagan at me, I like the taoist way of looking at diety better. All things are one and combined in an overspirit that links us all together. No one thing is more important than the other. Because a grain of sand exists, the sun exists.

    I like to laugh and have fun but when I look at it, I'm a small part of the world and my fellow men and women have the same rights of happiness that does not cause others pain.

    The religious moderates who try to find a better path through religion and help everyone because they have a defined mandate to love their neighbors I have no issue with. Their choices led them on a different path that tries to do the same thing.

    It's the ones who try to say this way is good enough for me, and should be good enough for everyone that I have an issue with. Or the ones that try to mandate that their religions laws should be applied to everyone.

    While I poke fun at the falacies of things, and yes I poke fun at how science fails at times (they can make a car that runs almost completely without gas, but they can't make deoderant that lasts more than half a day?), I can't help but express admiriation for the people that generally try to help people just to raise up mankind as a whole.

    Sorry for the wall of text, but having seen all of the rancor and cynacism out there, I wanted to try and interject my own views.

    You may all begin flaming me now.

    July 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Religions die with their last adherent

      Based on the world the way it is, I wouldn't be surprised if they were all dead quite soon.

      As for me, as long as the Middle East gets it first, and I can watch them fry on CNN, I will gladly take my rads.

      July 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
      • sam

        CNN will be running a feature on muffins and miss the whole thing.

        July 19, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
        • William Demuth

          Ironic but probably true

          But the Fundies, they will be watching "Honey Boo Boo" or Professional Wrestling and will die as they lived, oblivious to the reality all around them.

          July 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
  14. William Demuth

    To better define myself:

    So·ci·o·path [soh-see-uh-path, soh-shee-] Show IPA
    noun Psychiatry.
    A person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

    July 19, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Actually that diagnosis is obsolete

      I am in fact just evil.

      And quite good at it.

      July 19, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Jane

      How nice. You seem proud of that label. Now I know to completely ignore your posts.

      July 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      Only a socialist with pathologic awkward dementias would make beneficial condolences to illusively make connotations a glint of glamor their main pride's orifice...

      July 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
      • Complectus

        That was a bunch of words right there, but I am going to need to translate a bit to actually make sense of this one.... Here we go!

        Only a socialist (person who believes that all that people have should be spread amongs the society) with pathologic (constant) awkward dementias (awkward is peeing yourself in public... we'll avoid that. Dementias is seeing things and then ascribing illogical meanings to them either by choice or through chemical imbalances) would make beneficial (helpful) condolences (to assure someone that you care about them when something bad has happened) to illusively (false truth) make connotations (or allusions, a slanting of the bias of language toward) a glint (small reflection of light) of glamor their main pride's orifice (did .... did that sound like a dick joke to anyone else?)...

        July 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
        • lionlylamb2013

          Sire Complectus...

          It takes an elder to understand written words of strategically placed wordage usages "Complectus". Your butchery is that of a childishly demented yet still, motivated spirited being! Keep on with your studies... Maybe in 30 or 40 years, you might well gain the dignities from folks who now admire written rituals of séances conjuring ways...

          July 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
        • Randy

          I'd be surprised if lionlylamb could convince his one-eyed baldie to puke, let alone make a kitty shriek.

          Don't even try to translate LL's nonsensical ramblings. You'll give yourself a headache, and in the end, the message, even if plainly stated, is rubbish.

          As you can see, he defends his nonsense by saying "you aren't smart enough to comprehend what I'm saying", when the reality is, he's not smart enough to communicate effectively. Or he chooses not to, and this is his way of mentally masturbating.

          It's his silly shtick. His gimmick. He's about as profound as toejam.

          July 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
        • Thinker...

          Complectus: Well done! Also yes.

          Lionly: Please learn to use those big words properly; you are using suffixes in odd places and your punctuation isn't all that it could be.

          July 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
        • My Dog is a jealous Dog

          I at one time re-posted these ramblings with the words put in random order with random punctuation. Guess what, they made as much sense in random order as the carefully crafted posts we usually see.

          July 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      You have always sounded fairly rational to me William, though anyone pretending to be William is showing themselves to be no more mature than a 5th grader.

      July 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
      • William Demuth

        It is my evil twin, or just another of those "indiscretions" with Fundie chicks coming back to haunt me.

        I'll probably have to pay child support for it 😦

        July 19, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • Jenifer is a family name

          You're not funny William D, you're a rather insidious and reprehensible person. Regardless of whether or not someone has stolen your username, you're still the quintessential troll on these boards.

          July 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
        • Bible Clown©

          I think we know who's using your name. It's called Making Jesus Proud Of You By Lying. Old Christian tactic. You get fifty Jesus Points© for using it successfully.

          July 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
        • William Demuth

          Is that you mom?

          July 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
        • Akira

          You ticked somebody off, William.

          July 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • lionlylamb2013

          Teenagers these days! I wouldn't want to be them! Gosh be jiggers no!

          July 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
  15. JDV

    Oh where oh where could my baby be, the Lord took her away from me, she's gone to heaven so Ive got to be good.......who can finish the lyrics? C'mon now, dont be shy

    July 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • William Demuth

      But I can never see my baby because she is truly dead??

      July 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
      • JDV

        close very close.....dont give up – you have another chance

        July 19, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      No one leaves this world, our atoms are reprocessed back into nature as none of us have truly found a way to escape the earths gravity and there is no evidence of a spirit realm or anything supernatural. You will never see your loved ones again but you do get to be part of them when their atoms are scattered. I myself and made up of some ancient star dust, as are we all.

      July 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
      • JDV

        You believe such fairy tales?

        July 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        That is the only observable fact we know about us after we die. Everything else is make believe, like a little girl pretending to drink tea from an invisible cup.

        July 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • JDV

          The tea tastes mighty fine I must say

          July 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          Keep telling yourself that JDV and you might actually start to believe it. It won't make any of your fairy tale nonsense true but you will surely be convinced.

          July 19, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Now I don't know what stopped Jesus Christ from turning every other stone into bread, and I don't remember hearing how Moses reacted when the innocent first born sons lay dead, well I guess God was a lot more demonstrative back when he flamboyantly parted the seas – now everybodys prayin....

      C'mon, you know the rest of the words! Sing along!

      July 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • OTOH

      "so I've got to be good..."

      So I can give her hell for lying and running away with Larry.

      July 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
      • JDV

        WINNER!
        Collect your prize at the pearly gates.

        July 19, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • JDV

      I'm the host Doc – get your own show

      July 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Fundie mental

      Actually it's "so I can see my baby when I leave this world."

      Sounds like he worships the chick much more than God. He wouldn't make it to heaven.

      July 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      I always hated that song.

      July 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
      • OTOH

        Yeah, and "Suffering from depression, [Del] Shannon committed suicide on February 8, 1990, with a .22-caliber rifle at his home in Santa Clarita, California."

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Del_Shannon#Death_and_legacy

        July 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
      • Akira

        I never liked that song, either. Pearl Jam's version is equally as depressing.

        July 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      This is a much better song:
      Imagine there's no heaven
      It's easy if you try
      No hell below us
      Above us only sky
      Imagine all the people
      Living for today...

      Imagine there's no countries
      It isn't hard to do
      Nothing to kill or die for
      And no religion too
      Imagine all the people
      Living life in peace...

      July 19, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
      • Maani

        TP: What is ironic about your quoting Imagine is that Lennon was always annoyed with people who took what he was saying entirely out of context. Yes, Lennon was anti-religion in as much as he considered "organized, mainstream, hierarchical" religion bad. However, while he did not accept Jesus' divinity, Lennon nevertheless considered Jesus the most important human being who ever lived, and considered Jesus' ministry the most important teachings ever taught. And he lived by them (as with all who do, to the best of his ability). Lennon himself was agnostic (and a "seeker"), not atheist. So before atheists throw out the baby with the bathwater, they might want to consider that there is a difference between lyrics that speak to an annoyance with organized religion, and what the writer of those lyrics actually meant. Peace.

        July 20, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I was playing a gig the night Del shot himself. We did "Runaway" as tribute. John Lennon was my favorite Beatle and an outstanding human. Neither rise to the level of anyone I'd choose for a spiritual guide.

      July 19, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      So this is Christmas
      And what have you done
      Another year over
      And a new one just begun
      Ans so this is Christmas
      I hope you have fun
      The near and the dear one
      The old and the young

      A very merry Christmas
      And a happy New Year
      Let's hope it's a good one
      Without any fear
      And so this is Christmas
      For weak and for strong
      For rich and the poor ones
      The world is so wrong
      And so happy Christmas
      For black and for white
      For yellow and red ones
      Let's stop all the fight
      A very merry Christmas
      And a happy New Year
      Let's hope it's a good one
      Without any fear
      And so this is Christmas
      And what have we done
      Another year over
      And a new one just begun
      Ans so this is Christmas
      I hope you have fun
      The near and the dear one
      The old and the young
      A very merry Christmas
      And a happy New Year
      Let's hope it's a good one
      Without any fear
      War is over over
      If you want it
      War is over
      Now...

      July 19, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  16. OTOH

    Have a bunch of posts (and threads) been removed here?

    July 19, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Yes tial sts seem to be disa for some Biaz e re s n

      July 19, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • sam

        William, you're breaking up!

        July 19, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • William Demuth

          Tell my children I ov d t m

          July 19, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
        • Bones

          He's dead, Jim.

          July 19, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  17. TG

    The word "agnostic" was coined by Thomas Huxley (1825-95), a strong supporter of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. But where did Huxley acquire this word ? Actually, he was drawing on an expression used in another sense by a 1st century lawyer, the apostle Paul in the Bible.

    The word "agnostic" comes from the Greek word a´gno·stos used by Paul at Acts 17:23 when speaking to the Athenians and means "unknown". Paul was met by Epicureans and Stoics, who did not believe in a personal God. The Epicureans urged living so as to obtain as much pleasure as possible, holding that life came about by accident in a mechanical universe. The Stoics stressed logic, believing that matter and force were elemental principles in the universe, imagining an impersonal deity, rather than believing in God as a Person.

    But is God a´gno·stos, truly unable to be known ? Or can one come to recognize and know that there exists a Supreme Designer for all that we see ? For those who allow reason rather than arrogance to dominate, it is possible to learn that we exist as result of a Grand Creator. The Bible identifies him as Jehovah.(Isa 42:5)

    July 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

      It's possible to learn lots of things over time using scientific endeavors. But to take the word of a book, or a theory for that matter, as truth with absolutely no supporting evidence is silly.

      July 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
      • JDV

        Heeeeyyyyy siiiilllllllyyyyy maannnnnnnn

        July 19, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
        • Jane

          Heeeeeeeyyyyyyy, siiiiillllyy trrrrroooooooooollllll.

          July 19, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
      • Thought Purification

        ....and not only that but to take the words of books written in time frame when people claimed earth was flat or sun revolved around Earth !!

        July 19, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      " For those who allow reason rather than arrogance to dominate," he said arrogantly and for no reason, "bla bla bla and I'm correct." I know, I know, if you don't argue with us you won't get to watch us being tortured for your amusement when you become an angel in heaven, but do you have to be so full of it?

      July 19, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Maani

      Yes, Huxley was an agnostic. But it is important to note a passage of his exact words here: "I have never had the least sympathy with the a priori reasons against orthodoxy, and I have by nature and disposition the greatest possible antipathy to all the atheistic and infidel school."

      It is also worth noting Darwin's own words: "I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. I think that, generally, an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind."

      July 20, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  18. drowlord

    I'm not an atheist unless someone provokes the topic. I don't really identify myself that way. I'm just like a Christian the rest of the time - I go to work, I spend time with my kids, I cook, I clean, I read, I take care of the lawn...

    And when Sunday comes, I skip church just like all the Christians I know. Frankly, I look, act, and live just like Christians, which I suppose is why most won't ever realize that I'm not one of them.

    July 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Excellent

      Will you be a suicide bomber for us?

      If I get within a mile of the Vatican, the Pope will send "Lamb Team Four" after me

      July 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      Even Gentile Samarians are goodly people living a Life of leisured complacencies....

      July 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      They don't even notice the ultravision you drow enjoy...

      July 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "Gentile Samarians " lol

      July 19, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Why shouldn't you be able to be just like any other person? Rather than specifically a Christian?

      Atheism isn't a big part of my life in most ways – but in others – I don't want to be "just like a Christian" – I want us all to be accepted as just people. It'd be nice when you do a nice thing for someone else for it not to be called a "Christian" deed. And so long as I'm just another Christian to other's perception, they can keep on demonizing evil atheists as being everything they fear and hate.

      July 19, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Most people who think they "pass" are deluding themselves more than they are others. If you don't know what I mean then you don't know what I mean.

      July 19, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  19. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    "Archaic human admixture with modern Ho.mo sapiens occurred at least twice in history: with Neanderthals, and with the population to which the Denisova ho.minin belonged. A minimum estimated 1% to 4% of the DNA in Eurasians, North Africans is non-modern, and shared with ancient Neanderthal DNA rather than with Sub-Saharan Africans (i.e. Yoruba and San probands). A minimum additional estimated 4–6% of Melanesian DNA is from the archaic Denisovan hominins from Asia. Recent DNA analysis also indicates African admixture with a now extinct archaic population." – A Draft Sequence of the Neandertal – Genetic evidence for archaic admixture in Africa – North African Populations Carry the Signature of Admixture with Neanderthals

    Any Christians care to explain how the Adam account and our actual DNA record compare? And if Adam did not exist, then how are we to accept the premise of inherited sin and the need for a savior? Anyone?

    I have posted this a couple times and have yet to hear a single answer. Some like lol?? just tried to answer it with other questions like "Do you know when neanderthal females were in heat?" which as far as I can tell has absolutely no bearing on the discussion, we KNOW ho.mosapians and neanderthals interbred. So how about it Christians or any other religion out there, Muslim, Hindu, anything, just please explain the existence of neanderthal DNAin humans in relation to your esposed faith.

    July 19, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • JDV

      I'm sure satan might have a clue – ask him when you see him -–unless you want to ask Jesus and repent 😉

      July 19, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        Ahhh, the old "Satan did it!" when confronted by something factual that disproves your bible theory. DNA evidence that has been peer reviewed and is repeatable? Satan must have done it! Fosil record that doesn't jive with the Genesis myth? Satan must have burried those!

        What a sad fantasy world you live in. I'm sure you enjoy it as much as any other Larper (Live action role player) but your spells have even less effect than a beanbag magic missle.

        July 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • JDV

          Yes yes, of course – run along

          July 19, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • sam

        SATAN!

        July 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
      • Yuri

        Bible thumpers conveniently ignore scientific evidence by claiming Satan created it, yet readily believe words in a book for which there is essentially no supporting – or minimal – evidence. Yes, a great flood happened 5,000 years ago in the Middle East, the entire world to its inhabitants, but it wasn't the entire real world. Please explain how penguins from the South Pole, polar bears and ptarmigans from the North Pole, and kangaroos and Tasmanian devils from Australia, to name but a few, made their way to Noah's ark before the flood and then BACK home after the flood. Wait – I know! God reserved seats on Virgin Airways for all of them.

        Speaking of this "worldwide" flood: there were undoubtedly plenty of pregnant women at the time whose unborn fetuses died when they did. Wouldn't that make your god the greatest abortionist of all time?

        July 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
        • skytag

          You'll never get them to answer those questions because they haven't been given canned answers for them.

          July 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Watson and Crick were avowed atheists, therefore all science based on the understanding of DNA is evil!
      Pharmaceutical biochemists are no better than witches and warlocks.

      July 19, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
      • Maani

        Actually, Watson was an atheist, Crick was a self-described agnostic. As well, although they were both non-religious, their work would not have been possible without Gregor Mendel's foundational work in genetics – and Mendel was a devout Catholic.

        July 20, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      So anyone else want to try their hand at an answer other than "Ask Satan."? To me that is a bit like asking someone why they believe the earth is flat and they reply "Ask the Jolly Green Giant, he can see for miles..."

      July 19, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Dave

      Can you go put this over on the ELI5 ("explain like I'm 5") or atheism subreddit at reddit.com. I'd really like to know where this proposition is going, but, as written, this honestly just goes way over my head.

      July 19, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  20. Pray/Prey

    Doc Vestibule just stop, you make too much sense. Sense and religion don't go together, like oil and water they just don't mix.
    Anyway....
    BOW!!!!
    YIELD!!!!
    KNEEL!!!
    AND GIVE ME YOUR MONEY, ERRR UMMM, I MEAN DONATIONS!!

    July 19, 2013 at 1:48 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.