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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. bostontola

    Not a scientific sample, but the atheists I know don't care what anybody else believes. None of them likes to be told what they should think or believe, none of them like to be threatened. Many feel like some Christians, usually evangelical or fundamentalist, are pushy with their beliefs and want to impress their beliefs on broader society. I am particularly peeved when some Christians want to impress their beliefs into public education. They create canard science and want it in science class. They find a few scientists that endorse it, even though the vast majority don't, to justify it.

    July 26, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
  2. JimK57

    What are these laws athiests say people of faith are trying to pass? Please don't say pro-life or anti gay marriage because there are athiest groups against these things too.

    July 26, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Observer

      True, but it's mostly religious groups that are using money from their tax-free churches to sponsor most of the opposition. Meanwhile, those who support gay rights and pro-choice help subsidize those churches with our tax money.

      July 26, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      All I hear is Catholics complain about those issues. The atheists I've read on this blog have not mentioned abortion or gay issues at all.

      July 26, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Proposition 8 in California, the ballot measure to ban gay marriage was backed by millions of dollars and weeks of campaigning from the Mormon and Catholic churches. It wouldn't have passed without the money of believers.

      Did you ever hear of Christians trying to get prayer into the public schools? Does that ring a bell?

      Can an atheist run for president? No? Why do you think that is?

      The Christian church has always maintained a stranglehold on public policy in the United States, and with luck, those days are coming to an end.

      July 26, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
      • Maani

        EnjaySea: "Can an atheist run for president?" Although I "get" your question, the answer is "of course they can." And I am surprised that none of the billionaire atheists (who could finance their own presidential runs) have not done so.

        Re Christian money behind Prop 8 and other religious causes, has it occurred to you that not EVERY Christian supports such measures? The biggest mistake that most atheists make is painting with the broadest of brushes: rather than use words like "some" or "many" or "most" re Christians, most atheists simply paint the entirety of U.S. Christianity as a monolithic group that supports everything the so-called "Christian right" (which, like the Moral Majority before it, is neither) lobbies for.

        July 26, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          Ok so what is your position on those issues?

          July 26, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
        • jazzguitarman

          Maani, you’re correct that us non-believers do tend to lump Christians into one group and that isn't right or fair. But where you vocal in your opposition to what I feel are the insane policy views of a large group (if not majority), of Christians? If you are vocal, than thanks! If NOT, than your giving tactical support.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
        • EnjaySea

          Okay, if we're going to mince words, yes an atheist "can" run for president, but they'll lose the election, and all the money they spent on it, because the culture in Washington requires the candidate to be Christian. If you don't know that, then you haven't been paying attention.

          Did it ever occur to me that not every Christian is a social conservative? Why yes, that occurred to me, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with my point. My point was that proposition 8 initiative won because of Christian money. It was an example of Christians injecting their dogma into the political system of our country, which was the original poster claimed was not happening.

          July 29, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
        • Maani

          jazzguitarman: Suffice to say that, as a "center-left" evangelical minister, I have been actively "fighting" the so-called Christian Right for at least two decades. Hope that clears up my bona fides. LOL.

          July 29, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Lisa

      I'm going to say pro-life and anti-gay marriage because I believe you'd be hard-pressed to find an atheist who believes it is okay to deny women control over their own reproductive health and the ability to decide whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term or, likewise, who believes it's okay to deny marriage to a couple based only on gender orientation.

      July 26, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
      • jazzguitarman

        Sadly I know of a few atheist males that voted for Prop 8 here in CA. They are just hom o phobic. One doesn’t need to believe in a god to feel that way.

        July 26, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
        • skytag

          Atheism isn't a perfect shield against religious thinking. Most atheists in the U.S. were raised Christian homes and have lived their lives around Christians. I've been an atheist for several years now, but decades of attitudes and reactions drilled into your brain don't disappear overnight just because you realize they have no rational basis.

          July 26, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
        • AE

          H@mophobia exists outside the religious realm, too.

          And there are plenty of Christians that are not h@mophobic.

          July 27, 2013 at 1:19 am |
        • Maani

          skytag: "Most atheists in the U.S. were raised Christian homes..." Most?! Where do you get this drivel? Do you simply make s- up to support your extremist position?

          July 29, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
        • photografr7

          I am an atheist who was brought up in a Jewish home. Or rather, it was a home filled with Jewish tradition. I don't recall ever asking my parents directly if they were atheists, but I suspect they were. But in the 1950's, the last thing you want to do is admit that. If they had, their Christian friends might have done to them what Christians have done to those who don't believe in Jesus throughout history, and it's not pretty.

          July 29, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
        • Maani

          photografr7: Was your home secular or religious? I grew up in a secular Jewish home; there was no God, religion, etc. My mom is a scientist, my father was a mathematician (and a Marxist). Both were dyed-in-the-wool atheists. My older brother remains an atheist, and my younger brother is agnostic. I am the only believer in my family, and "came to faith" in my young adulthood. Thus, I was not a product of "indoctrination" (as Skytag would like to think...LOL.) I came to faith THROUGH reason, NOT despite it. I did not "cast off" my empirical upbringing when I became a believer; for me (as for so many others, including many scientists), there is no cognitive dissonance between reason and faith, nor any "war" between science and religion. I abhor extremist, fundamentalist positions on BOTH sides.

          July 30, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
        • photografr7

          I was brought up in a secular home. No Bah Mitzvah for me. Is that even spelled right? No idea. Anyway, by 13 I was a died in the wool atheist, so there was no way a Rabbi was going to sprinkle Holy Water on me (or does a Priest do that?) Then, when I turned 18 and went to college, all the women I met at bars were screaming, "Oh My God! Oh My God!" by the end of the night, but I'm pretty sure they were atheists too.

          July 30, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
      • JimK57

        Lisa, Check this out.

        http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pro-life-atheists-invade-the-american-atheist-convention

        July 26, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • skytag

      As others have pointed out, the overwhelming majority of people trying to limit abortion and gay marriage are Christians. These are the two issues that come to mind off the top of my head that have any real backing.

      There was an attempt recently to have Christianity declared the official religion of North Carolina. It didn't get very far, of course, but there weren't any atheists backing that one.

      July 26, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  3. Joel

    God did not intend for us to go through this life alone. I used to try to live my life apart from God, I remember it well. Those days do not compare with these days, since receiving Yeshua/Jesus as Messiah and Savior, the One who atoned for my sins. Now I have peace with God through faith in Yeshua, and I seek His guidance for ALL aspects of my life. Spiritual of course, Family, Work, and Travel...etc. Its hard to imagine now living my life without His continual blessing and guidance. May you find His peace that passes all understanding. Shalom

    July 26, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • JWT

      Living without any of the gods is easy.

      July 26, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      So when you have s3x, is god watching?

      July 26, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
      • skytag

        Only if he has access to the web.

        July 27, 2013 at 7:37 am |
    • EnjaySea

      We don't live this life alone. We live this life with family and friends.

      "God" couldn't have intended us to live with "Him", if this deity you speak of doesn't exist. You can't cause it to exist by believing that it does. Your rapture is a standard human response to a suspension of disbelief in a god. This response also does not cause a god to exist.

      July 26, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Lisa

      Everyone's experience is different. I don't "try to live my life apart from God". I simply was never told of the stories of God and, when I heard them later in life, they didn't make sense and didn't seem rational.

      I am not alone. I have friends, family, pets, and enjoy all of life on this planet regardless of how we all got here. My goal in life is to be excellent to others and try to always do the right thing. I don't need a God to tell me what that is. In fact, I see some use God's direction to be mean to people and it's ugly.

      July 26, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
  4. AE

    “Sometimes when I'm faced with an atheist, I am tempted to invite him to the greatest gourmet dinner that one could ever serve, and when we have finished eating that magnificent dinner, to ask him if he believes there's a cook.”
    ― Ronald Reagan

    July 26, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      One only needs to go in the kitchen to see the cook. There is no evidence of a god or that a god created the universe and all in it.

      July 26, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
      • The Strawman Cometh

        But one needs to have the knowledge of where to look and how to get there to find the cook.

        Those of faith claim to know this in relationship to their god.

        July 26, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          If their delusions keep them happy, that's fine. But they don't leave it there – they want to set laws based upon their religious beliefs, set school curricula based upon their religious beliefs, have their religious prayers in public meetings, put their religious texts on public buildings, etc.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
        • chance

          So Santa are you saying you would not allow praying in public? are trying to say religion should only be behind closed doors?

          July 26, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          I could physically show the cook or how to find the cook. Gods are in the mind of the believer; there are those who believe as you do about Amaterasu but you reject that and other gods when there is the same evidence for them all, i.e. none.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Chance, Would you want prayers of other religions, say, Islam, Shinto, Judaism at town hall meetings or football matches. You only think it is a good idea because it is the prayers of your religion.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
        • AE

          “I believe that the more thoroughly science is studied, the further does it take us from anything comparable to atheism.”

          “If you study science deep enough and long enough, it will force you to believe in God.”

          – Lord William Kelvin (who was noted for his theoretical work on thermodynamics, the concept of absolute zero and the Kelvin temperature scale based upon it)

          July 26, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
        • chance

          Santa I would want freedom of religion; sure there are limits but what you want is unreasonable.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
        • Pope On A Rope Soap

          AE, we can go on all day quoting and counterquoting scientists about god, but the reality is that most respected scientists and most smart people think that Christianity is a total fraud, quite apart from any deist or other god beliefs and speculations. And you still can't provide any proof for your religion.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
        • AE

          Pope On A Rope Soap

          I believe you think that Christianity is a total fraud.

          But I don't think you get to speak for most respected scientists or most smart people. If I want to know what a respected scientist or a smart person thinks, I will ask one.

          You can speak for internet atheists that post on a faith and belief blog. You are qualified for that.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
        • redzoa

          "Santa I would want freedom of religion; sure there are limits but what you want is unreasonable."

          It is not unreasonable to expect our civil government to operate in a fashion which doesn't prefer a particular religious view over another and which doesn't prefer religious views over non-religious views. Freedom of Religion can only be preserved as an individual liberty when a society vigilantly rejects attempts to entangle religious views with civil government. History has shown over and over the costs to individual religious liberty when government takes an active position for or against a particular religious or non-religious view.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
        • Maani

          Redzoa/Santa: Interestingly, neither of you has directly addressed Chance's suggestion: that what you are ultimately seeking is that faith and religion may only be practiced "behind closed doors." If that is NOT what you are suggesting, please explain in what ways – how and where – you would accept the "free practice of religion" anywhere other than in a religious building or at home.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
        • redzoa

          @Maani – I'll never understand why theists believe their faith requires the validation accompanying direct recognition by civil government. You are free to pray virtually anywhere at anytime (minus the standard time, place, manner restrictions that apply to all free speech). You are free to stand in the public square. You are free to place adds on radio, tv, billboards, etc. You are free to march to the Capital steps and hold a rally. You are free to employ any public forum to express your religious views. Even within civil government forums, individuals are free to express their particular religious views, e.g. a valedictorian's speech, a legislator comments on the floor, a president's comments in the state of the union, etc. What is not acceptable is the use of government powers or resources to directly endorse one religious view over another, or to endorse a religious view over a non-religious view. In other words, the public square need NOT be devoid of religious expression; however, this religious expression must not be directly supported by or endorsed by the state.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
        • skytag

          @Austin: "sky tag, if you were to put me into isolation for three months, God would probably produce more spirit revealing dreams to get your attention, to work with people."

          If God were real, given that there are billions of believers and over a billion Christians, if God cared about us so much it seems to me there would be more people who had the "proof" you claim to have. Furthermore it seems to me this proof would be made available to the faithful, not criminal types who have turned their back on God.

          You are clearly not very bright, as you can't seem to grasp much of anything I say. You never address any of it, you just respond with one of your monologues full of claims no one can verify. I said what I'm about to say before, but try to let it sink in this time:

          God had four decades to give me some evidence he was out there, and he didn't, and I'm not going to go vandalize a church and end up in jail to see if what worked for you will work for me. God had his chance, if he exists. I think he doesn't and that your "proof" is just some coincidences you decided to interpret as acts of God.

          "all i am saying, is that God gives gifts, gifts of faith, spiritual gifts.. and that is what I experienced and I do have the data to back that up.. you say this is subjective...........no it was not."

          So you say. You just don't get it, do you? It's all in your head where no one can objectively verify it. Of course it's subjective, and experience shows us that just because someone believes something that doesn't make it true.

          "i would be insane to deny God as the author of all spiritual miracles."

          Of course. The issue is not who authored them, but if they really happened.

          July 27, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
        • Maani

          Redzoa: Then we are in general agreement. I would point out, however, that the actual language of the Bill of Rights says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Thus, while you are correct that no religion can be favored over another, this language does NOT necessarily favor a non-religious view from a religious one. i'm not suggesting this is a good thing, only that it is true.

          July 27, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
        • Maani

          Pope: "We can go on all day quoting and counter-quoting scientists about god, but the reality is that most respected scientists and most smart people think that Christianity is a total fraud, quite apart from any deist or other god beliefs and speculations."

          "Most respected scientists?" Really? Are you aware that in every study and poll for the past 90 years – the first one done in 1916, the most recent in 2006 – the number of scientists who believe in God (i.e., specifically a God that one can "interact" with) has not budged? It remains at 40%. And another percentage are "spiritual"; i.e., NOT atheists. So, actually, it is split pretty much down the middle, with about 50% of scientists being atheist (or agnostic) and 50% being believers (or otherwise NOT atheists). Might want to do some research there, buddy.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:16 am |
      • AE

        “If we need an atheist for a debate, we go to the philosophy department. The physics department isn’t much use.”

        –Robert Griffiths (winner of the Heinemann Prize in mathematical physics)

        July 26, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Is that intended as proof of a god?

          July 26, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
        • chance

          Santa the point is physics corroborates with the theory of God.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Chance, DNA, Big Bang, and more show that the creation myths of all religions did not happen. That is the foundation of all religions. There is no evidence of a personal god so all religions are baseless.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
        • Observer

          chance,

          The Bible offers nothing to advance science, but does constantly violate the most certain laws of science and physics. Read one.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
        • AE

          – Is that intended as proof of a god?

          No. Have any of your posts ever proven there is no God?

          July 26, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
        • AE

          “Those who say that the study of science makes a man an atheist must be rather silly.”

          –Nobel Prize winning physicist Max Born

          July 26, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE,
          Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.
          Bertrand Russell

          You do not believe in Zeus, Odin, Amaterasu among others – have you provided proof that they don't exist?

          July 26, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
        • chance

          First off the bible was not intended to offer advancement is science so what good is that argument. Its almost ridiculous to look for science in book that had no intentions to be a science book. So you point is ridiculous. Also all science has corroborated with a finite universe meaning it had a beginning meaning the Bible is still viable.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE, Quotes from scientists do not provide evidence of a god. The bible is proven to be incorrect. The foundations of your religion are shaky. That is the definition of delusion.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
        • jazzguitarman

          AE, so you believe in anything that one can NOT prove does NOT exist? Of course not. So why a belief in a so called 'god'? Why not a belief in the gods as defined by ancient Greeks?

          July 26, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
        • chance

          furthermore RNA to DNA required for evolution has never been replicated in a laboratory. So you expect people to leave their faith for your faith and just believe DNA appeared out of mindless process when it can not even be replicated in a lab.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
        • chance

          The quotes are not profs they are arguments that show the God theory is viable. Get over it...

          July 26, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          chance,
          The bible claims to explain how the universe and any life in it came into being; science shows that the foundation of the bible is incorrect. Very little else in the bible can be verified. If there were a god it would be pre-Big Bang which invalidates the creation myths of all religions

          July 26, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
        • Observer

          The only science in the Bible is the science fiction story about Noah's Ark.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
        • jazzguitarman

          chance, a so called 'higher power' as it relates to initial creation is viable, but the Christian myths are not.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
        • AE

          @ In Santa We Trust

          Why did you keep insisting I prove God to you?

          I don't have to prove God exists to you.

          I know God exists.

          Just because you don't see the evidence doesn't make it any less real to me.

          You are a man that posts constantly on a faith and belief blog. God seems to be on your mind a lot.

          Good luck on your search, keep coming back!

          July 26, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          chance,
          Evolution is universally accepted – there is a mountain of proof for it: DNA, geographical distribution, tree of life, more complex organisms are more recent, etc. We may not understand the details of all mechanisms but it is evident that it happened.
          Why do you accept science when it brings you satellite TV, GPS, internet, air travel, auto travel, vaccines, etc. but deny science when it challenges your delusion? It's the same method.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
        • chance

          the bible gives you the person behind the process of life, the universe not the actual scientific play by play. that was not its intention the bible was writtin to show you the person behind the processes. Again the bible was not inteded to give the science behind the process we observe.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE, Because you and your kind push religion into society, insisting that there is a god and that it is your god and that we should all accept that in our life.
          btw I'm not searching just resisting. Much as you would resist another religion being this dominant. I'll bet you wouldn't want sharia law or mosques calling to prayer 5 times daily.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          chance, The only "evidence" we have is the bible itself. The bible is based upon ancient superstitions. Modern knowledge shows us that the bible is incorrect in many things including the creation myth and the rest is largely unbelievable.
          There is no evidence of a god since the Big Bang.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
        • chance

          Santa do you not understand science is accepted by me, its why i have faith. You want me to leave my faith for your faith. I dont believe all this process could have happened randomly and whala we have the universe as it is today. Dont you get it all the advanments in science have led me to my faith, in your case they have led you to yours and you just believe chance is at work...

          July 26, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
        • AE

          – Santa

          Please explain how I "push religion into society".

          Since you know me so well, give me 1 example.

          And, just to show you are not a hypocrite, explain how you do not do the same thing.

          I'm not sure what you mean by "your kind", but it sounds like you are stereotyping. What do you mean by "your kind"? My race? My nationality?

          July 26, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
        • AE

          – chance

          One major misconception I've found about internet atheists on this board is that they think they have some exclusive access to science.

          Which is just not the case. There are way too many well respected scientists who believe and trust in God for this to be seriously considered.

          The number one item taken up into space by NASA astronauts: religious items.

          My church provides education on science and certainly does not shy away from the topic.

          Peace.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • chance

          furthermore biblical creation has not been disproven by science, it has complimented it. We know the universe is not eternal it had a start. In short that start is God. the creation described in the bible was not intended be scientific; that’s a ridiculous notion and argument, to think that was its intentions. The creation in the bible was merely a description of the authority of God to a ancient people.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
        • chance

          AE i'm glad there are people like you! why people think science is the death of the church i'll never understand. Peace

          July 26, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
        • Observer

          chance

          "First off the bible was not intended to offer advancement is science so what good is that argument. Its almost ridiculous to look for science in book that had no intentions to be a science book."

          First of all, the bible is intended to be a book of TRUTH. Supposedly the most knowledgeable man ever was Jesus, and yet he couldn't tell people ONE new fact about science. You know, like that the earth was a sphere and not the center of the universe. Instead of telling people to wash their hands, he told them not to worry about taking care of their bodies.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE,
          You started this thread with a dig at atheists. From that I presumed that you were a christian (being the dominant theists on this board).
          Most christians on this board feel that it is acceptable to push their religion into the public arena – I thought you'd actually said that but looking back I see it was someone else. The political reality supports that general statement.

          Christians push their religion into society in the ways I've already mentioned: prayer at public meetings, laws based on belief, religious texts on public buildings, etc.

          By your kind I meant christian.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
        • AE

          Observer

          The Bible is a collection of stories, history, genealogies, poetry, songs, parables, testimonies and wise sayings.

          It is not intended to be a science manual. Or read like one.

          It speaks to our hearts.

          Maybe God wants your heart? All the material world can disappear one day. But the Bible says your love will live on.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          chance
          Biblical creation has been disproven by science. The sequence of the creation of the earth is incorrect. The Adam and Eve story is incorrect.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
        • Observer

          AE

          Observer

          "The Bible is a collection of stories, history, genealogies, poetry, songs, parables, testimonies and wise sayings.It is not intended to be a science manual. Or read like one."

          It is supposed to be TRUE, however. Science fiction is pawned off as truth in the Bible. Then the Bible is used to trash other people.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
        • AE

          Santa,

          I've never tried to do a prayer at a public meeting.

          Or pass laws based on belief. Or place religious texts on public buildings, etc.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
        • AE

          Observer

          The Bible reveals truths about human beings. Yes.

          What do you mean "It is supposed to be TRUE." True by your standards? How do you prove a parable true? The nature of a parable is that there is no "moral", but it reveals a truth about the characters in the story.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
        • redzoa

          I'm not a physicist, but to my knowledge, what we know is that the accelerating expansion of the universe can be reasonably traced back to a singularity. The expansion is perhaps a type of "start" of the universe as we know it but again, there is no evidence suggesting causal agency in the existence of that singularity or the transition into the accelerating expansion. But regarding the creation story, it makes specific factual claims (albeit, internally contradictory when comparing the two different creation narratives) regarding the order of creation which are directly contradicted by observable, physical evidence, e.g. earth before sun, the order of the appearance of particular forms of life, etc. To suggest science "compliments" the Biblical creation story is akin to suggesting the science investigating the mammalian physiology of Rangifer tarandus "compliments" the story of Santa Claus and Rudolph.

          The power of "mindless chance" combined with selective forces has been repeatedly demonstrated to be a "creative" force far superior to direct design, whence its applications in biomedicine (e.g. RNA aptamers) and industrial materials sciences (e.g. combinatorial chemistry). To dismiss "chance" out of hand betrays a standard argument of personal incredulity based in a lack of familiarity with what the science actually says and how it is validated in application.

          Lastly, there is some irony in a person who accused me of "hiding behind ignorance" in conceding what I didn't know, but then turns around and relies on this very same ignorance as an erroneous form of support for their preferred non sequitur of "God did it."

          July 26, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE, I notice you didn't quiz chance when he(?) said "people like you" or is that because you think he's your kind.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
        • Observer

          AE

          "I've never tried to do a prayer at a public meeting. Or pass laws based on belief. Or place religious texts on public buildings, etc."

          That's good. If all Christians were like you, this discussion might not be happening. Please spread the word to fellow believers. Maybe then we'd have far fewer Christian hypocrites picking on gays or pretending that the Bible ever opposes abortion.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
        • Observer

          AE

          "What do you mean "It is supposed to be TRUE." True by your standards? How do you prove a parable true?"

          How do you or ANYONE know what is true in the Bible and what is a parable? Answer: it's all pick-and-choose. Pick what you like and ignore the rest.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
        • AE

          – AE, I notice you didn't quiz chance when he(?) said "people like you" or is that because you think he's your kind.

          He was saying "people like you" in reference to people that believe in God but don't fear science like you were stereotyping me as.

          You were referring to "people like you" in reference to people who push their viewpoints on others (which is a lot like what you do!).

          July 26, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
        • AE

          Observer

          Yes, there are Christians that are hypocrites. But what do we do about the atheist hypocrites?

          You can point at the shortcomings of the Christians, but what you are really pointing out are human flaws.

          Often we point at other people's defects to avoid looking at our own.

          People were hypocrites long before Christianity came into being. And those who reject Christianity act just as hypocritical.

          Look at the evidence.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
        • Chance

          @redzoa

          Your account of the origins of the universe go back to singularity and get cloudy after that...How is that you avoid causation?

          Secondly as stated further up the thread, the biblical account of creation was to show the authority of God to an ancient people. the bible was written for us not to us (modern people). The point is it was not intended to be a scientific play by play. The point I would like to make is God is my point of origin. What is yours? infinite regression? where is your origin?

          July 26, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
        • AE

          – How do you or ANYONE know what is true in the Bible and what is a parable?

          True by whose standards?

          July 26, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
        • Chance

          @Observe
          the bible's intention was Truth! Truth of something greater than us. Again it was not intended to give the periodic table or a theory of everything. The main truth/idea found in the bible was intended for a relationship with us.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
        • AE

          "Jesus’ parables tend to be deeply engaging and really frustrating at the same time: you can meditate on them, struggle with them, enter into them, speak of them but you just can not solve them. The best way to suck the life out of a parable is by attempting to figure out the so-called moral of the story. Parables aren’t about morals they are about truth – hidden, unyielding, disruptive truth. The kind of truth that simply can’t be contained."

          July 26, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
        • Chance

          @Santa
          I couldn't let this one liner of yours pass 'If there were a god it would be pre-Big Bang which invalidates the creation myths of all religions'

          Obviously you don't know God. God is eternal thus pre big bang. He is self sufficient ie not needing anything outside of himself to exist. So please stop trying to say the big bang invalidates GOD. The big bang points to a infinite creator of a finite universe. why do you think the mverse theory was made? to get around singularity of the big bang. Singularity is a positive for the theory of GOD.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
        • Observer

          AE,

          "People were hypocrites long before Christianity came into being. And those who reject Christianity act just as hypocritical."

          There are hypocrites everywhere, but my discussion here is about hypocrites who use their religion as an excuse like when choosing passages against gays while ignoring the more important Golden Rule or pretending that the Bible has anything negative to say about abortion (when it actually offers more to support abortion than oppose it).

          July 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
        • redzoa

          @chance – I take this as your concession that your position is, in fact, based in "hiding in ignorance" and the non sequitur of "God did it." I repeat that neither I nor anyone else knows the ultimate origin and further add, I feel no need to make one up just to placate fears of mortality or purposelessness.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
        • redzoa

          " The big bang points to a infinite creator of a finite universe. why do you think the mverse theory was made"

          This is what I mean by non sequitur. It simply does not follow that a singularity or the expansion requires casual agency as both could very well be the result of purely natural phenomena.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
        • Observer

          Chance

          "the bible's intention was Truth! Truth of something greater than us. Again it was not intended to give the periodic table or a theory of everything."

          You are trying to pretend I was talking about the periodic table when I actually was talking about the destructive instructions from Jesus to not worry about taking care of your body. See a difference?

          July 26, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          God is first of all a thing hoped for. There is no theory of God, just a peculiar hope of some people that there is something about the Universe that knows they are here and cares about them. Something eternal and powerful. Nothing would bring up the possible existence of such a thing if not for that.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
        • Chance

          Thank for admitting to hiding behind ignorance @redzoa. I give the credit of my origin to GOD not ignorance and welcome all the scientific data that is to come. It further gives glory to the creator. I don't simply prescribe to your stereotype of GOD did it, I love to see the way he did it and science does that for me. I do give credit to your enormous faith to believe all this just happened.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
        • redzoa

          @chance – I see that you are incapable of distinguishing the humility and intellectual honesty of acknowledging what can be and what cannot be known with the arrogance of erroneously conflating unsupported, faith-based belief with actual knowledge.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
        • AE

          – Observer

          Yes. Some Christians are oppose abortion and gay rights. And use the Bible to explain why.

          Some atheists oppose abortion and gay rights. And are just as hypocritical.

          I like what the Bible has to say about hypocrisy. 🙂

          July 26, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
        • Chance

          Observer

          I know your not as ignorant as that comment came off but let me break it down for you. Jesus was making a point there and many other places in the bible that this flesh is meaningless compared to eternity. Look at the context and you will see that every time Jesus said it is better to loose this life than loose the next life. What your not grasping is Jesus also said to take care of your temple (your body) because that's where God dwells (with in us).

          July 26, 2013 at 7:01 pm |

        • AE loves what the Bible has to say about hypocrisy. That we justly deserve eternal punishment for it?

          July 26, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
        • AE

          A hypocrite is a hypocrite.

          Whether he/she uses a Bible or not.

          Whether he/she is an atheist or a Christian.

          "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. "

          July 26, 2013 at 7:05 pm |

        • Then we don't deserve eternal punishment for hypocrisy?

          July 26, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
        • Observer

          AE

          "Some atheists oppose abortion and gay rights. And are just as hypocritical"

          True, but it's a lot differen to insist you oppose those "because the Bible says so" when no one believes every word of the Bible.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
        • Chance

          @redzoa so your humble now??? I don't claim to know everything either but I do claim to know my origins. I don't hide behind ignorance and then talk about humbleness. So you want me to abandon my faith for your faith that rest in blind process that know no origins.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          It would be good to start with admitting the things you don't really know, Chance. Start with the things that perhaps can't be known at all.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
        • Observer

          Chance

          "I know your not as ignorant as that comment came off but let me break it down for you. Jesus was making a point there and many other places in the bible that this flesh is meaningless compared to eternity."

          I know you're not as ignorant as that comment came off but let me break it down for you. It is NEVER a good idea not to take care of your body unless you are on your deathbed, which Jesus obviously wasn't talking about.

          (Matt. 6:25) “Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about
          your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes?” [Jesus]
          (Matt. 6:34) “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough
          trouble of its own.”

          Read a Bible.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
        • AE

          Observer

          If they actually believe God is opposed to h.mos@xuality and abortion than they are probably being honest. Not hypocritical. They may be wrong by your standards.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
        • Chance

          @observer

          I guess you didn't read my comment. I admitted that you would find many parts in the bible about the flesh being meaningless compared to eternity. Past the verse where Jesus says to respect your temple (the human body) because that's where God dwells.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
        • AE

          @ Then we don't deserve eternal punishment for hypocrisy?

          I'm not the judge of your life. Your hypocrisy is between you and your maker.

          If there is no God and what we do doesn't really matter once we die, don't worry.

          If there is a God and what we do really does matter, pray.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:18 pm |

        • God dwells in weak minds. Your body is neither here nor there.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
        • AE

          Definitely Jesus seems to be saying that God is more concerned with our spirit (which is eternal) over our body (which is not eternal).

          That is why I think He wants our hearts not our minds.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
        • Observer

          AE

          "If they actually believe God is opposed to h.mos@xuality and abortion than they are probably being honest."

          They are hypocrites because they ignore the more important Golden Rule and you NEVER hear Christians trashing their own for the much, much bigger number of Christians who commit the Ten Commandment sin of adultery by divorcing and remarrying. It's all pick and choose.

          As far as abortion goes, the Bible NEVER mentions it by name and so never even calls it a sin or abomination. Since actions speak louder than words, it's pure wishful thinking that God cared about it when he was torturously drowning every pregnanat woman, child, baby and fetus on the face of the earth.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
        • redzoa

          "@redzoa so your humble now??? I don't claim to know everything either but I do claim to know my origins. I don't hide behind ignorance and then talk about humbleness. So you want me to abandon my faith for your faith that rest in blind process that know no origins."

          As I stated before, and as you still fail to comprehend, yes, I offer it is both more humble and intellectually honest to accept the limits of what can and cannot be known rather than arrogantly confuse one's unsupported, faith-based belief as reflecting actual knowledge. In other words, you do not "know" your origins; rather you have an unsupported, faith-based belief concerning your origins. Furthermore, I would not call the clear and frank acknowledgment of what I don't know "hiding" lest you consider an acknowledgment standing in plain view a form of "hiding." And no, I've not asked you to abandon anything, let alone your faith. Rather, I've pointed to the logical discrepancies both in your preferred epistemology and your conflation of a preferred theology with cosmology.

          But here is the true test of humility. I concede I could be wrong and that your understanding of God and creation could be absolutely correct. Are you willing to concede that you too could be wrong and that your understanding of God and creation could be absolutely incorrect?

          July 26, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
        • Observer

          Chance

          "I guess you didn't read my comment."

          I sure did. Jesus used a terrible example to try to demonstrate the point, didn't he?

          July 26, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
        • AE

          Observer

          Well, I guess be glad you are better than those people?

          I'm not really sure what the point of telling me about some people you are imagining and the motives you imagine is supposed to prove.

          There are people that subscribe to a general belief system you subscribe to that do incredibly hypocritical and questionable things, too.

          Welcome to the club.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
        • Chance

          @ observer no i don't agree with you. TO me it shows the far further importance of eternity rather than the temporal flesh.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
        • AE

          –I sure did. Jesus used a terrible example to try to demonstrate the point, didn't he?–

          NOPE!

          Your understanding of it may be terrible.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
        • Observer

          AE,

          "I'm not really sure what the point of telling me about some people you are imagining "

          Please be more specific because your statement appears to be total nonsense. I deal with reality, not imagining things like talking nonhumans and unicorns.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
        • Observer

          Matt. 6:25) “Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes?” [Jesus]
          (Matt. 6:34) “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

          NEVER good advice unless you are dying, if even then. If Jesus was actually talking about something else, he should have had smarts enough to say what he really meant.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
        • Chance

          @redzoa
          it's not arrogant to say you know your origins. I'm not willing to concede to mindless processes that I could be wrong. For me all the evidence points to a infinite creator. It's not arrogant its confidence in the universe I observe that it was created. I don't know everything but I know my origins.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
        • AE

          Observer

          You brought up the topic of religious hypocrites. It seems like you are imagining what they believe and what motivates them. Right?

          But none of it seems that applicable to me or anything I've said.

          I don't see any religious hypocrites talking about the Bible and abortion and gays.

          Just you.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
        • Observer

          Chance

          "it's not arrogant to say you know your origins."

          Your origins are your parents.

          Even if intelligent design turns out to be true, there are an infinite number of explanations, not just the ONE that you blindly accept. We could have been created by Zeus or a committee of zombies or the Three Stooges before they came to earth. All you have is wishful thinking to know just like the rest of us.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
        • AE

          Observer

          You need to put those verses in context. Read what was before and after those verses. Jesus certainly wasn't giving eating advice in those passages.

          Read some commentary on it. There is much more than meets the eye in those verses.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
        • Chance

          your understanding of the text is elementary at best. atheist like to use these verses quite often but the argument is ridiculous once you understand the point Jesus was making. 1 st more important than anything on this Earth is your relationship with God. More important than food clothes anything. 2 Don't worry about tomorrow in the context that you cant control what is to come in this life. We don't know what the future holds in this life so don't stress over it. The concept is not hard to understand. Observer try harder.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
        • redzoa

          @chance

          "I'm not willing to concede to mindless processes that I could be wrong."

          Call it confidence it you wish, but under any reasonable definition, within the present context and in the absence of any supporting evidence, this is arrogance born of faith erroneously confused to be knowledge. Furthermore, it is clear that you lack the requisite scientific background to understand those "mindless processes" you detest, i.e. your argument of personal incredulity founded in an argument of ignorance. Nonetheless, in light of your above statement and your clear inability to acknowledge the simple fact that you could actually be wrong, I rest my case . . .

          July 26, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
        • Observer

          AE

          Observer

          You brought up the topic of religious hypocrites. It seems like you are imagining what they believe and what motivates them. Right?

          "But none of it seems that applicable to me or anything I've said.". You said that you don't "pass laws based on belief" and I complimented you for it saying that I wished other Christians did that rather than the hypocrisy from so many.

          "I don't see any religious hypocrites talking about the Bible and abortion and gays". Check any Christian bloggers when the topic comes up.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          The most important thing in life is one's relationship with something that is (deliberately?) hidden from us. Something for which there is no evidence that it is real, or that it interacts with our world at all if it is real. We should set aside worldly concerns for it?

          July 26, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
        • Observer

          (Matt. 15:2) "Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread."

          More bad hygiene.

          July 26, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
        • AE

          - Check any Christian bloggers when the topic comes up. -

          Some. Not all.

          Just like some (but not all) atheists act a lot like the "religious hypocrites" they profess to be better than.

          July 26, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
        • AE

          Observer

          – (Matt. 15:2) "Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." –

          The religious leaders (many of them giant hypocrites) couldn't condemn Jesus for breaking any of God's laws.

          So they tried to condemn him of breaking the elder's laws.

          And by washing of hands, they meant more than how we wash hands today. The elders had a ceremony they performed for hand washing. Basically, they thought they could get closer to God by creating their own special purification codes. And all rabbis had to follow this special code, or else they could be punished.

          Jesus called it out as BS.

          July 26, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
        • Observer

          AE,

          Please supply Bible verses saying how important it is to wash your hands to prevent disease. Certainly Jesus knew this.

          July 26, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
        • AE

          Obsever

          How about Proverbs 26:4-14?

          July 26, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
        • Observer

          AE,

          So you are completely stumped.

          July 26, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
        • AE

          I am stumped.

          You posted some scripture about Jesus talking about ceremony laws. Not hygiene. I'm not sure why you are asking for hand washing tips from Jesus.

          And before that you posted some scripture where Jesus was talking about anxiety, and you seemed to think it was tips on how to eat.

          July 26, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
        • AE

          (Matt. 6:34) “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

          –Obsever: –NEVER good advice unless you are dying, if even then. If Jesus was actually talking about something else, he should have had smarts enough to say what he really meant.–

          What good does worrying about tomorrow do?

          Tomorrow is not guaranteed. You might die tonight. And you would have wasted time worrying about something that never was going to happen (tomorrow).

          He didn't say don't plan or even think about tomorrow.

          He said don't worry.

          July 26, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
        • Observer

          AE,

          lol. Can't you do any better to try to avoid answering than that?

          Please supply Bible verses saying how important it is to wash your hands to prevent disease. Certainly Jesus knew this.

          Still COMPLETELY STUMPED?

          July 26, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
        • AE

          You've proven (I can see the evidence) you have a poor understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, yes, I'm completely STUMPED by your request.

          Is it that, Jesus Christ son of God, in all his infinite knowledge and wisdom should have mentioned that washing hands is important to prevent disease?

          So what?

          There are verses in the Old Testament that address hygiene, that we still follow today. Do you really want me to search those for you?

          July 26, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
        • Observer

          AE

          Is it that, Jesus Christ son of God, in all his infinite knowledge and wisdom should have mentioned that washing hands is important to prevent disease? So what?"

          Countless misery and shortened lives could have been prevented, but "so what?"

          We were discussing science (long ago) and this was the simplest example of how Jesus could have shown some knowledge of a simple concept from science that could have been passed on. Like everything else, Jesus (and the bible) did zero to increase scientific knowledge. The Bible, however, is loaded with stories about violating laws of science, especially physics.

          July 26, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
        • AE

          Yet some Christians who believe and trust in God are credited with discoveries that lead to the importance of medical hand washing.

          And some Christians who believe and trust in God are credited with discoveries and educating other people about physics.

          Some people who believe and trust in the Bible have contributed a lot more to science than you have.

          Maybe you are wrong about your assumptions.

          Maybe we have science books to deal with science.

          And health education classes to deal with hygiene.

          And the Bible to deal with the will of God.

          July 26, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
        • skytag

          @chance: "Santa the point is physics corroborates with the theory of God."

          When someone says something like this you know his brainwashing is complete. There is absolutely no rational basis for this, it's just something you've decided to believe hoping it will lend some kind of objective credibility to what you believe.

          July 26, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
        • Observer

          AE,

          My assumption is that the world's most knowledgeable man might have passed on some of that knowledge to help people prevent diseases and dying much too early.

          My assumption is that a guidebook from a perfect God might be perfect and absolutely clear to every person who might rely on it.

          My assumption is that a book from God would dispel some of the ignorance of his followers who had totally false ideas of the earth they lived on.

          Like you said, my assumptions could be wrong. Maybe just unrealistic.

          July 26, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
        • skytag

          @AE: "Have any of your posts ever proven there is no God?"

          The onus is on you to show there is a reason to believe he exists, not on us to prove he doesn't. The idea that one should believe in something for which there is no evidence unless it can be proven not to exist is just stupid. If that were valid thinking the I should live my life as if leprechauns, vampires, Santa Claus, alien abductions and monsters under my bed were real.

          Furthermore, from a practical standpoint, I'm not going to invest time, energy, and money in God without at least some objective reason to believe he exists.

          July 26, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
        • skytag

          @AE: "Yet some Christians who believe and trust in God are credited with discoveries that lead to the importance of medical hand washing."

          And others are credited with claiming disease is caused by evil spirits.

          "And some Christians who believe and trust in God are credited with discoveries and educating other people about physics."

          And others are credited with excommunicating Galileo for saying the Earth revolves around the sun.

          I don't know what you think you're proving here, but human beings are very good at compartmentalizing, which allows them to embrace contradictory attitudes and behaviors. It's almost as if they can switch out belief systems at will. This explains why the founders of the KKK were Christians and most lynchings of blacks in the 20th century were committed by Christians.

          Hitler is often credited with the deaths of millions, but in point of fact the only person he ever killed during the time the Nazis ruled Germany was himself. The rest were done by his followers, most of whom were Christians.

          Hypocrisy is the result of this capacity for compartmentalizing. When we're advocating something one belief system and set of values is dominant. When we practice something else it's because we've switched out those beliefs for a different set.

          My point is that God and science are distinct and separate. The fact that someone can be a brilliant scientist and believe in God is not evidence science supports the existence of God.

          "Some people who believe and trust in the Bible have contributed a lot more to science than you have."

          Another snide, disparaging remark unbecoming a true Christian. Shocker.

          July 26, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          chance
          You don't know that god is eternal. The Big Bang does not point to a infinite creator. You connect them to maintain your flawed narrative.
          What I meant was the bible and the texts of all other religions pertain to what is generally called a personal god. Science shows that we have explanations for everything since the singularity of the big bang (that the bible purports to explain), so no personal god needed to explain natural phenomena. Time to move away from ancient superstitions. None of us know what was before the singularity, so that is the only place a god could possibly exist, but I doubt that.

          July 26, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
        • AE

          So, when posting on a "faith and belief" blog, the onus is on me to prove to a skeptical internet atheist that God exists? And I have no right to ask a poster for the same kind of evidence he has demanded from me many times? (And never has responded to the evidence I can provide).

          Nope.

          God exists.

          Even if 2 or 3 skeptics who spend a lot of time posting on a "faith and belief" blog don't agree, guess what? He still exists.

          And the onus is not on me to prove it to you.

          July 26, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE
          You can believe in a god, but you have no evidence for one beyond ancient superstitions which are disproven. You have no evidence that Amaterasu does not exist yet you do not believe in her. Read the Bertrand Russell teapot analogy that I posted earlier.

          July 26, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
        • AE

          You can deny God. But you can't prove to me that God is not real.

          I follow Jesus Christ. Not Amaterasu.

          And I'm not going to dedicate my life to a teapot. That analogy is interesting, but really doesn't hold water when one puts it tot the test.

          July 26, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
        • skytag

          @AE: – How do you or ANYONE know what is true in the Bible and what is a parable?

          "True by whose standards?"

          Truth is relative? I'm pretty sure he meant how can we know which parts of the Bible are intended to be taken literally and which are intended to be taken allegorically. It strikes me as an important question.

          July 27, 2013 at 8:29 am |
        • skytag

          @chance: "why people think science is the death of the church i'll never understand."

          Nothing will be the death of the church is there will always be plenty of people who prefer a comforting fairytale over harsh truths.

          That said, if you were familiar with history you would know over time science has debunked many beliefs held by believers. For example, we now know disease isn't caused by evil spirits and seizures are not caused by demonic possession or witchcraft. It's kind of amazing how many things used to be explained by supernatural causes, and still are today in less developed cultures where education is minimal.

          Over time science has shown many of these supernatural explanations to be wrong as sciences expands what it knows. This trend has been going on for hundreds of years. Every time science debunks a supernatural explanation by showing what's really going on it casts doubt on the validity of what religions tell us.

          Furthermore, the more science can explain the less we rely on religion to explain things, and this undermines a fundamental reason religions spring up in the first place, which is to explain the unexplainable.

          July 27, 2013 at 10:26 am |
        • Austin

          sky tag, if you were to put me into isolation for three months, God would probably produce more spirit revealing dreams to get your attention, to work with people.

          the only reason i don't like the james rhandi foundation is because it sounds like he want a public spectacle, involving universities and press.. that is kindof annoying.

          all i am saying, is that God gives gifts, gifts of faith, spiritual gifts.. and that is what I experienced and I do have the data to back that up.. you say this is subjective...........no it was not. i would be insane to deny God as the author of all spiritual miracles.

          July 27, 2013 at 10:34 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE, My point was, you deny Amaterasu, but you cannot prove that she doesn't exist – despite that being the same standard you are setting for atheists about your god.
          Don't forget, you started this thread with a dumb quote implying that Reagan, and by inference you, have evidence of a god that is self-evident. You have yet to provide any evidence and cling to your ancient superstitions in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

          July 27, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • Observer

      “It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it's the parts that I do understand.”
      Mark Twain

      July 26, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Lisa

      Oh, please, I'll answer that question without a free meal.

      A meal is not at all comparable to a huge cosmic mystery. One can easily find the cook or determine how a meal was prepared. It's readily available information.

      So to assume because there is a creation that there must be a creator and to ask, as you did here in another post, someone to prove there is no God is equivalent to saying "prove that unicorns don't exist."

      A negative cannot be proven. Evidence can be sought to prove a positive, i.e. the existence of something. There is no evidence of a God and many of us have seen belief in God sometimes lead to bad things – probably because people assign power to God and then speak on his behalf (they "hear" what he says). I'm not saying belief itself is a bad thing but it can be used in very bad ways.

      July 26, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
      • AE

        "A god who let us prove his existence would be an idol."

        Deitrich Bonhoeffer

        July 26, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
        • Athy

          So god won't let us prove he exists? Makes perfect sense.

          July 26, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
        • AE

          “A God who let us prove [scientifically] his existence would be an idol.”

          A god who could be tested and verified by a “scientific method” would be an idol, not God.

          God is known by revelation, given to us in the Scriptures, not by scientific testing.

          God's proof exists if faith, not the scientific testing that the internet atheists posting on a faith and belief blog demand.

          July 26, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
        • Observer

          God could take less than 5 seconds to prove his existence. The scientific method would be irrelevent. We don't need any formal scientific method to see that the sun exists, for instance.

          July 26, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
        • AE

          I know God exists.

          One of the biggest obstacles to knowing God is pride. Seek humility.

          July 26, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
        • Observer

          AE

          "One of the biggest obstacles to knowing God is pride. Seek humility."

          Totally irrelevent. Pride has nothing to do with it. Pride can't change what the Bible says and that's the real problem.

          July 26, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
        • redzoa

          "I know God exists."

          Ahhh . . . if you actually "knew" then you wouldn't call it "faith" . . .

          July 26, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
        • AE

          Wrong. That is not what faith is.

          July 27, 2013 at 12:42 am |
        • redzoa

          Right . . . .

          July 27, 2013 at 12:53 am |
        • AE

          Faith – Complete trust or confidence in someone or something

          I have faith in God. Someone.

          July 27, 2013 at 1:17 am |
        • redzoa

          I see you chose not to include the second and more appropriate definition of faith from your google search:

          "2. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof."

          Regardless, in light of this more proper definition of "faith," particularly the not based on proof portion, you still don't "know God exists" where the relevant definition of "know" would be:

          "to be aware of the truth or factuality of"

          In other words, for the same reasons you would argue an atheist cannot definitively know god(s) don't exist (a position I would agree with), you are likewise incapable of arguing actual knowledge that god(s) do exist. Do enjoy the semantic quibbles or is this another example of a theist erroneously conflating actual empirical "knowledge" and "faith-based belief"?

          July 27, 2013 at 1:29 am |
        • AE

          I'm talking about confidence and trust in God.

          The same kind Martin Luther King, JR testifed about when he said:

          "I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. No never alone. No never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone."

          And as the voice washed over the stains of the wretched caller, King reached a spiritual shore beyond fear and apprehension. "I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never experienced Him before," he said. "Almost at once my fears began to go," King said of the midnight flash of illumination and resolve. "My uncertainty disappeared. I was ready to face anything."

          The first definition seems very appropriate.

          July 27, 2013 at 2:03 am |
        • redzoa

          Actually, you stated you "know God exists" which is quite different from your tangent into subdefinitions of "faith." Epistemology aside, your first definition still builds from a foundation lacking any empirical evidence for the "someone or something" and is inextricably tied to the second definition I provided. Normally, I wouldn't follow this type of thread, but your inability to concede the difference between actual knowledge and faith founded in the absence of empirical supporting evidence is both perplexing and frustrating. I've already conceded that I cannot possess actual knowledge of whether God exists, why is this same simple and factual concession so difficult for theists?

          July 27, 2013 at 2:31 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Because knowledge of God is conferred as a special gift on the believer who believes on the basis of faith, redzoa, AE knows that God is real. That is justification as mysterious as the God that must hide itself to avoid being an idol.

          July 27, 2013 at 2:37 am |
        • AE

          This theist knows God is real. I can not honestly deny God.

          It is not a philosophy I decided sounds good.

          That understanding that Martin Luther King, JR talks about is real.

          And it is great. Don't close your mind to God just yet.

          July 27, 2013 at 3:15 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "I know God exists."

          You can't "know" this, you believe this. Religious people are always claiming they know stuff. Most of them agree on this, with the possible exception of people who believe in multiple gods, but as you examine the beliefs of more and more religions what you find are believers who "know" contradictory things.

          For example, a Mormon will tell you he knows the Book of Mormon is true. Members of any other Christian denomination will tell you they know it isn't. There are a lot of people who "know" Islam is a false religion and about 1.5 billion Muslims who "know" it isn't.

          Seems irrational to me to believe people can possess knowledge that is inconsistent with other knowledge.

          Believers like to say they know things they only believe because it reinforces their belief

          "One of the biggest obstacles to knowing God is pride."

          I'm pretty sure the biggest is the fact that he doesn't exist. 😉

          "Seek humility."

          Why? You're not humble and you claim you know God exists. If that's true then humility is clearly not a prerequisite for knowing God.

          As an aside, why are there so many people who "know God" but believe different things about him? Is he a politician, telling different people who know him different things based on what they want to hear?

          July 27, 2013 at 8:52 am |
        • skytag

          @redzoa: "I've already conceded that I cannot possess actual knowledge of whether God exists, why is this same simple and factual concession so difficult for theists?"

          Here's my theory. In your case your belief doesn't require anything from you.

          On the other hand, once someone believes in God it follows he should invest time and effort trying to understand that god, what pleases him, what angers him, what he expects of him, and so on. In most belief systems sacrifices are required, such as foregoing carnal pleasures, donating money, leading an appropriate lifestyle, and so on. It's easier to make the sacrifices and follow the teachings if one feels certain what he believes is true than if he only believes it's probably true.

          Also, if you convince yourself you "know" what you believe is true it makes it harder for others to create doubt in your mind. Having no evidence whatsoever for what they believe makes believers inviting targets for both atheists wanting to challenge challenge their beliefs and people of other faiths seeking to convert them. If they project themselves as having a rock-sure knowledge it makes them less inviting targets.

          Finally, there are so many believers claiming they "know" these things it can be disconcerting to not feel that way. If you "know" God is real but I only "believe" God is real I'm going to feel I'm missing out on something. The more I want to know those things the more likely I am to believe I know them.

          July 27, 2013 at 9:39 am |
        • Maani

          Observer: Yes, it would take God less than 5 seconds to "prove" He exists. But then, wherewith faith? After all, if God "proves" his existence, there would not longer be "belief" or "faith," but only "knowledge." But God does not want "automatons" who believe in Him because they "must" (i.e., because He has "proven" His existence). This is the essence of "free will": the free will to accept or reject the God that gave us free will.

          As for "faith," dictionary definitions are not applicable; the only applicable definition is the one in Scripture: "Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen." This is a far cry from simply "believing without proof," as most atheists here suggest. Believers HAVE "evidence" of "things not seen," even if that evidence is not scientifically provable.

          July 27, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
      • redzoa

        On second thought, don't bother answering. This is already boring and I suspect you wouldn't be able or willing to provide a simple, straight forward response that didn't: a) delve into subjective anecdotal experiences; b) involve other quotes from perceived authority; or c) attempt to further realign your statement that you "know God exists".

        July 27, 2013 at 2:37 am |
        • AE

          Nice, thanks for answering for me. You want insist on anything else about me!

          Honesty, open-mindedness and willingness is the way to God.

          It is not that hard.

          July 27, 2013 at 3:36 am |
        • AE

          Do you want to insist anything else about me – is what I meant.

          You don't pull that kind of crap on your loved ones do you? I hope not.

          July 27, 2013 at 3:38 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "Honesty, open-mindedness and willingness is the way to God."

          Funny, I found those to be the key ingredients in realizing there is no God.

          July 27, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • skytag

      I'm sorry, but you didn't state the point you were trying to make. Was it that Ronald Reagan wasn't very bright?

      July 26, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Reagan's quote is just another example of Christian bumper-stickerism. The cleverness of a saying does not increase its veractiy.

      Of course the atheist would believe there was a cook. That's because chefs actually exist.

      July 29, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
      • photografr7

        Amen, EnjaySea.

        July 29, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Reagan was really playing to the cliche that he was stupid with that comment.

      July 29, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
  5. AE

    You have a body... you are a soul.

    July 26, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Observer

      Semantics only. The religious use of "soul" has zero proof of its validity.

      July 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • niknak

      Having soul is much better then being a soul.

      July 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
      • fyi

        * than

        Then = time (then I went to the store)
        Than = comparison (better than nothing)

        July 26, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  6. lol??

    Sheesh skintag, you are as windy as Rick Warren, who tries to put a saddle on the backs of believers, with all yer proofs and facts to back you up!! Now please stop being disingenuous and let the general populace in on your dirty little secret of math/2.

    math/2 is discovered or invented?? That is the question. Today ,which side of the flip flop do you fall on, subject to change, of course??

    July 26, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • EnjaySea

      Uh... what?

      July 26, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
      • skytag

        You don't actually read his gibberish, do you?

        July 26, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
        • EnjaySea

          I do, if only to see if I can find the very first post of his that actually makes sense.

          So far, no cigar.

          July 26, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
        • skytag

          Okay, if you find one let me know. I might consider reading it. I stopped reading his drivel because none of it ever made any sense.

          July 26, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  7. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    The debaters try to apply their definitions of words, say like facts or faith, to the scriptures. That can't work and is just hubris.

    July 25, 2013 at 12:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Jesus, the Creator, often imitated, never duplicated.

    July 26, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • Austin

      And he was clothed with a robe dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
      Rev 19:13
      Leviticus. 23
      10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. 11 He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. 12 On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the Lord a lamb a year old without defect,

      July 26, 2013 at 12:38 am |
      • skytag

        Quoting scriptures in a discussion like this makes you look like you're trying to reinforce your brainwashing. If you had any sense you'd distance yourself from lol?? as he's a known troll who, if he is in fact a Christian makes Christians look bad.

        July 26, 2013 at 4:04 am |
        • o

          lol?? is a good source of rational thought

          July 26, 2013 at 4:32 am |
        • skytag

          "lol?? is a good source of rational thought"

          Really?

          "lol??
          Your comment is awaiting moderation.
          lol??
          Your comment is awaiting moderation.
          lol??
          Your comment is awaiting moderation.
          lol??
          Your comment is awaiting moderation.
          lol??
          Your comment is awaiting moderation"

          Oh wait, I think I see what you mean now. Thanks.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:16 am |
        • Pete

          What even funnier is that he's quoting Leviticus which is the holy code for Israel priests and doesn't really apply to Christians today. It only shows this clown doesn't comprehend the bible either.

          July 26, 2013 at 10:07 am |
        • lol??

          Pete, Christians are the saved, born again, spiritual Israel. God is Spirit. He' s always been Spirit and showed the world that Spirit is what endures. Christians are the future.
          1)Spirit-eternity past
          2)Israel- lost, after the flesh, expired and divorced, present
          3Spirit- saved Israel, eternity future

          July 26, 2013 at 10:21 am |
        • Pete

          "Christians are the future."

          That's why the numbers believing in your religion has stayed stagnant for 2000 years when compared to the population growth at 33%. What's even funnier is you're clueless about Leviticus.

          July 26, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  8. There is a God and He loves you all deeply...

    You cant debate God.....you cant use logic to explain God.....You cant use your small finite mind to try and explain away an infinite God....Man is flesh and blood but man has a spirit and some things can only be received and revealed thru spirit...And what you dont see is actually more real than what you can observe with your five senses....And BTW I didnt say religion i said God......Religion is man made tradition....God is real.....develop a personal relationship with the one who created you and gave you life.....God has a purpose for your life......

    July 25, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      No. You were right. You can't use logic to explain god. The rest of that post was silly and unnecessary.

      July 25, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
      • Austin

        Jehovah Shammah
        The Lord Provides

        July 25, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
        • skytag

          Never pass up a chance to reinforce your brainwashing.

          July 26, 2013 at 4:08 am |
        • Maani

          Never pass up an opportunity to be condescending, demeaning and dismissive.

          July 26, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Thank you ,but I prefer reality.

      July 25, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • skytag

      Well, one thing's for sure. The people who make up Christianity were smart. They created a God they characterized as being so far out of our realm of existence, so powerful, so immune to the laws of time and space and matter that they make up any excuse they want when they need to explain anything. How convenient. As for you, how gullible.

      July 26, 2013 at 4:07 am |
      • Kev

        So, what makes you think you have all the variables to consider when making your "logical" conclusion? If you don't have all the variables, you can be as logical as you want and yet still be wrong.

        July 26, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • skytag

          "So, what makes you think you have all the variables to consider when making your "logical" conclusion?"

          Have you ever noticed how whenever someone purports to represent another person's opinion with a question that starts with "so" it never actually represents what the other person really believes? Straw man arguments are intellectually dishonest, something unbecoming a true Christian.

          I know I don't have all the "variables," but in terms of verifiable evidence I have as much as you, but unlike you I can admit I don't know such things as how the universe got started instead of making up imaginary beings to explain it.

          "If you don't have all the variables, you can be as logical as you want and yet still be wrong."

          Yep, but if you don't have any more variables than I have and you reject logic and you just make up explanations that have no supporting evidence your chances of being right are even less than mine.

          Here's something I've brought up many times but you folks never have the courage to address:

          Unfortunately for your side, there are countless examples throughout history where believers in supernatural beings such as god and evil spirits attributed various phenomenon to them, only to have science later debunk those explanations. For example, we now know epilepsy is not caused by evil spirits, nor are epileptic seizures caused by demon possession. In times past those were common explanations from folks just like you so desperate for an explanation they just made one up and decided to believe it.

          In fact, there are still cultures where the people believe disease is caused by evil spirits. There are many, many examples of supernatural explanations eventually debunked by science. So we know conclusively that you people not only can be, but have been wrong. However, there has never been a case where a scientific explanation was debunked because it turned out God did it.

          In other words, in every case where we've been able determine the validity of a supernatural explanation it has been shown to be wrong. That's not a very impressive track record, sport. Of course, what would you expect when people just make stuff up, right?

          So from where I sit the odds are decidedly in my favor. Sorry.

          July 26, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
        • Kev

          Breaking down diseases doesn't prove there is no God behind the trigger.

          July 26, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
        • Kev

          @Skytag, You are absolutely right about my beliefs not being verified, and I cannot verify those beliefs. Of course I also mentioned that they were my beliefs as opposed to claiming that they were facts. Like I said I believe in a God who does not want to be made known but would rather have each of us develop our faith. That means that each of us has to find out personally for ourselves and make our conclusions based on our own personal findings and our own personal experiences

          July 26, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • lol??

      1Cr 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

      July 26, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "develop a personal relationship with the one who created you and gave you life"

      I have, I call them Mom and Dad. Two human's that can be shown to exist and who I know for certain are responsible for my existence.

      July 26, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • LinCA

      @There is a God and He loves you all deeply...

      You said, "You cant debate God."
      Sure you can. You can debate gods just like you can debate the Tooth Fairy.

      You said, "you cant use logic to explain God."
      Baloney. Gods aren't mysterious. There is a perfectly simple explanation for them. All gods, including yours, were invented to explain things that primitive people couldn't explain. The myth simply grew from that.

      You said, "You cant use your small finite mind to try and explain away an infinite God."
      Gods are only infinite in the simple minds of believers. There is no reason to assume they exist outside of those simple minds.

      You said, "God is real."
      Your god is just as real as the Tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny. Belief in your god is just as reasonable as a five year old's belief in monsters under his bed. Even a belief in Santa or the Loch Ness monster are far more reasonable than your infantile belief in your god.

      To remain a believer you have to remain ignorant.

      July 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Kerry

      What I also don't see is any evidence of punctuation in your post.

      July 26, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
  9. skytag

    I read an article in Scientific American recently titled, "Strange but true: Infinity comes in different sizes." It discusses a well known result students of mathematics learn early on in their careers because it's a good example of how the obvious is not always true. The article included Cantor's proof of the proposition that there are more irrational numbers than rational numbers.

    Perhaps as interesting as the article (and the reason I'm bringing it up here) were some of the comments under it. Some were from people who clearly had no significant training in mathematics who claimed the article was wrong and proceed to offer proofs to support their claims. The proofs all suffered from serious flaws I might expect from a freshman math major.

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people just can't admit they don't understand something. Forced to choose between admitting they didn't understand a well known proof that's been around for more than a hundred years, or believing this proof and every mathematician in the world — as well as the author of the article were wrong, these people opted for the latter. "Yeah, you proved it, but it's still wrong."

    Belief trumps facts, logic, even mathematical proofs it seems. I wonder if any schools offer a program in faith-based mathematics.

    July 25, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • Saraswati

      You'll oftenget a similar result when introducing the Monty Hall problem to people for whom it's unfamiliar. Idon't think that, at least initially, it's that they are unwilling to admit anything, but that they genuinely don't know and are so used to living their lives with a core assumption going unchalleneged. The problem comes with a few folks who still can't accept their assumptions might be wrong even after learning that there's wide consensus on the answer by those who've studied it. These are the folks who like to talk about "common sense" and who, as we know from research is common among the religious, rely heavily on intuition aand believe all answers are intuitive. Perhaps it is that assumption, that answers are easy and obvious, that we need to work on cracking when kids are young.

      July 25, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        So does it boil down to educating them in school?

        July 25, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
        • lol??

          Commies educate alright. Destroy the fathers and bully their world.

          "Isa 3:12 [As for] my people, children [are] their oppressors, and women rule over them................." That's a sign of decadence for you with seared con-sciences.. Gangs in the streets, gangs in washington!! TOP DOWN gunmint, the socie way.

          July 26, 2013 at 1:14 am |
        • skytag

          We don't do enough to teach people to be rigorous in their thinking. In order to do that you have to be willing show people they're wrong, and too many people are reluctant to do that. It risks confrontation, resentment, hurt feelings, and so on, so in a lot of interactions when someone is wrong the other person just politely nods his head in agreement and then proceeds to ignore everything the person said. But the other person walks away believing his reasoning was just validated.

          My daughter's boyfriend is an accomplished college athlete. He's won national awards in Canada, went to college on athletic scholarships, and so on. My daughter says sometimes someone who doesn't know him will start explaining to him how to play football or baseball (both of which he's quite good at) and he just nods and is very attentive, as if he thinks the other person knows what he's talking about. My daughter is amazed at his patience and willingness to humor them, but he's a really nice guy who loathes confrontation, so he'd rather waste a little time and pretend to respect what they're saying than explain to them he has far more experience in those matters than they do.

          Teaching people at a young age to think critically and logically would help a lot.

          One way to do that is to have them look at questions where the obvious answer is wrong. Human beings want answers. If they can't find them they often make some up out of thin air just so they have answers. You see that a lot in religion. Also common is accepting the first answer, or the one they can most easily understand, and that satisfies their need for an answer with minimal effort. Ensuring your answer is the right answer involves more work.

          To reduce this phenomena in people I think you'd have to almost bombard them with questions whose right answers are not the obvious ones. I say "bombard them" because experience shows that one or two examples aren't enough. A few examples can be dismissed as exceptional cases, anomalies, or they can make up excuses for why they got it wrong that time, but in general their technique is sound.

          My background is in mathematics. My master's advisor used to say the obvious is hard to prove and often wrong. In mathematics, arguments like "obviously" and "clearly" just don't cut it, and the slightest flaw in your logic renders your argument worthless.

          I remember sitting in on a topology class once as a graduate student. The professor was my advisor, a small, gentle man who looked a bit like a short Alfalfa from Our Gang and always wore a bow tie. One of the students in the class was at the board presenting a proof. At one point she made some claim to justify a step in the proof, and the professor quietly asked, "How do we know that?" She fumbled around for a bit, realized she couldn't justify it, apologized and sat down, mortified.

          Mathematics is unforgiving. A mathematical proof is not an argument that convinces some people. Every claim in a proof must be valid and verifiable or you have nothing. There is no middle ground. If even one person in the world can identify a flaw in your logic your proof is worthless. Most people don't even understand the meaning of the word "proof." A proof is an argument based on rigorous logic at every step. Evidence is "proof" of something only if there can be no other explanation for it. Something you think supports your position isn't proof.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:14 am |
        • required

          Given that you feel math outclasses the bible, this will be easy for you. Your job is to write a single sentence that convinces anyone that reads it, that diffy Q is worthwhile be studied. And that even though you might not believe it has value to you, it's valid for others.

          That said, there are eye witnesses that went to their deaths saying that they saw Jesus die on a cross, and saw him again days later alive, then later still saw him raise up into heaven, all the while proclaiming he is the Son of God sent to do that for others sins so they could be saved. That sentence just now is reason enough for people to believe Jesus. It does not require people to be experts at such, but it does show that not everyone had to be an expert, or an eye witness to have faith that it's true.

          There are multiple instances of witnesses saying things most would not expect, for example, Stephen seeing heaven, then geting stoned. Why didn't the account have all the priests and accusors dying right there on the spot if they picked up a stone? If it's a made up story... explain why Stephen was stoned to death with no help from anyone in heaven right then and there. His statement of seeing such and the author of the text saying it was real, does not match what a made up story would entail.

          Regardless, God exists and it's obvious just from what he said, to me anyway. It's also obvious that Jesus died for our sins and raised again the third day, for those that believe him and repent, and do the will of God. That is love, the definition of it, from the creator of the universe, God.

          July 26, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
        • required

          That right there has got to be one of the anti-climax stories ever told, but because Stephen in the account given is said to be looking right into heaven at the time and he is said to be seeing angels, God, Jesus, all of them that he could see, and... they did nothing but watch him die. The obvious answer if it was to convince others then, is to take that massive build up to heaven opening up and the wrath of God right there ready to wipe them out... and wipe them all out, earth opening up, people exploding, being run through by angels... but nothing happens, they watch and Stephen dies with no help to stop them or anyone in that opened up heaven telling them to stop.

          July 26, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
      • OTOH

        @required,

        And what do you have, other than your biased book of legends, that any of those 'martyrdoms' happened?

        July 26, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
        • required

          What do I have? A brain, it functions, and I know the difference between trying to prove God right, instead of trying to prove him wrong. You will get exactly what you wanted to prove, because as we all know, skeptics can deny anything, so if they want denial to stick, it does, to them. You get stuck there and can't free yourself enough to find God.

          But back to Stephen, the account writer talking about Stephen, builds this incredible story around Stephen being captured and then during his trial, he's telling the high priests about history leading up to Jesus, and this is contrasted against Jesus who told them nothing and then was crucified and died on a cross. So anyone writing a "made up story about an unknown called Stephen" at this point, they have it all for a story, a prophet of God telling off high priests soon after the Son of God was put to death and rose again.
          Stephen didn't hold back in telling them off, so what's stopping God from wiping them all out right then and there after heaven opens up? Stephen sees heaven open up, sees God, Jesus, and angels, and right then, there isn't anything stopping the wrath of God if they attack Stephen. The author has full reign to "lie as much as he wants" and kill anyone with "made up storylines". Why didn't he?
          Write a new ending for Stephen, what would you write? Why didn't the one writing it say the same or similar?

          The response from all in heaven watching Stephen was: no action, nothing said to stop it, as Stephen is stoned to death. They saw it all, all of them in heaven watching, and they could have wiped them out, killed all of them. But the account of Stephen ends with him asking God to forgive them as he dies.

          What kind of ending is that to all the build up prior to it?

          Why did the author of the account say it? What gain is there to build up like that, only to end it with Stephen seeing God, and being stoned to death after? If you were going to "make up a story" and have it be believable based on what God could have done, why not have Stephen ascend to heaven and some few that tried to stone Stephen before, have them swallowed up in the earth, or some other wrath of God type actions to end the account with a bang so everyone will believe it?... since that's your's and other atheist's claim, that it has to be made up, and they said what ever would get people "sending money for the scam". Right?

          The account of Stephen makes no sense as a made up story, but makes all the sense in the world being what it is: the truth.

          July 26, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
        • OTOH

          required,

          I repeat. There is nothing... read: **nothing** else to confirm that this event ever happened. Paul of Tarsus doesn't even mention it (and the story was written long after Paul died). No records of it anywhere.

          I don't know what the author of the story had in mind... it could have been any number of emotionalistic, mystical-drama connotations. Maybe it was advocating speaking out for the "faith", with martyrdom as having happy ending?

          August 2, 2013 at 3:10 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Great point, skytag. I personally think it is probably something to do with the geometry of our neurons that are greatly affected by our childhood beliefs. For instance, a person may "lose" their religion and no longer believe, but still be plagued by concepts that differ only in name. Beliefs drive us and so changing them is oh so uncomfortable! Suicide is just cognitive dissonance in extreme.

      Your example reminded me of the famous experiments where the test was on a single subject in room full of peers. It was a set up. All the other "participants" were told to give the WRONG answer to certain questions asked to a group. For example, two parallel lines on a card with a question of which line was longer: A, or B? B would clearly be longer, but all the participants would answer that A was longer. The subject's most likely response was to agree with the group.

      We want security in our beliefs and in our social group. It's all evolution's fault!

      July 25, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
      • skytag

        "We want security in our beliefs and in our social group. It's all evolution's fault!"

        It's part of our nature to want to be part of a group. Being part of a group makes you safer and more likely to succeed. I'm sure they don't even realize it, but one reasons believers try to convert people to their beliefs is because such conversions validate their beliefs.

        Someone said a while back in this discussion that it takes courage to be a Christian. How silly. In a country where Christianity is and always has been the dominant religion being a Christian requires less courage than any other option. Being an atheist requires much more courage in America than being a Christian.

        July 26, 2013 at 5:23 am |
        • Vic

          We discussed this before but I did not have a chance then to elaborate more.

          Yes we humans are social beings. We need to have a sense of community and a support system as well as validation from others. And like you mentioned before, it is indeed human nature to seek validation from others. I myself seek validation from people on so many levels, e.g. personal relations, job performance, personal views on matters at hand, etc.

          Now, when it comes to believing in God, there are believers who seek validation for their faith from other people; however, that is not the main source of validation! I myself as a believer in God, seek validation of my Faith in Him directly from Him! That's some of the work of the Holy Spirit in us by the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course when I find people believing in what I believe I feel good but it is not necessarily my source of validation.

          July 26, 2013 at 9:12 am |
        • skytag

          Since the first human being made up the first god believers have sought validation of their religious believes from their gods, and most would tell you they received it. Yet there is nothing all of those religions have in common. You believe you have proof, but people have always said that and you can't all be right, but you're all just so sure you are.

          July 26, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • AJax

      Skytag, perhaps you can help. I'm a theist that has a low opinion of religion. I believe in a LifeGiver because I observe life. What I observe does not power itself, my conclusion is the energy is generated, transmitted and controlled by another. The 4 laws that govern energy organization (gravity, electromagnetism, weak and strong nuclear) are precise and immutable. I'm no scientist but these facts make me conclude there is a Source and Provider of energy to all observable life. Where do I have this wrong?

      August 2, 2013 at 3:32 am |
  10. skytag

    Christians should spend more time studying other religions, especially less mainstream religions, and learn about some of the stupid and at times vile stuff people have done because they believed in the supernatural and made up explanations out of thin air to explain the unexplained. There were tribes in Africa where people believed twins were evil, so if a woman had twins they'd take them out into the woods and let them die.

    I don't think most people fully grasp how many people have been killed, tortured, and persecuted by people who just decided with no evidence that something about those people was evidence of evil. But hey, if they had proof they won't need faith, right? If you have faith twins are evil, they must be evil, right?

    July 25, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @Sky..................It would only enforce their belief that Christianity is better.

      July 25, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        or should I say reinforce.

        July 25, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
      • skytag

        Now we're talking about degrees of wrongness. "Does your religion have a lot of dumb ideas in it or just a few?"

        July 25, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        @sky.........That's where logic comes into play. Like you mentioned above, me below.

        July 25, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Both travel and cultural studies actually do tend to loosen assumptions and broaden perspectives. People need not only to read widely at an early age, but to get out and meet people with differing views. I say this not only for Christians, but for everyone,

      July 25, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        Unfortunately other countries may not be so welcome to others. Censorship and other restrictions may limit your exposure.

        July 25, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • Austin

      hey this thread is so obsence it isnt' even funny. you all are sick. now we are guilty of starving babies in the woods?

      get real. you flat out have demented atti.tudes. you are going to take one thing from histrory and repeatedly smear it across J C because this is the result....you get someone like hitler with little tinges from the heart that are what we call murderous hatred. you are both guilty of prejudice.

      July 25, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
      • skytag

        @Austin: "hey this thread is so obsence it isnt' even funny. you all are sick."

        I knew you were afraid of the truth, but I didn't realize you thought it was sick and obscene.

        "now we are guilty of starving babies in the woods?

        It is an historical fact that based on beliefs in gods people have done that. They have also burned people for being witches, tortured people for not being good enough Christians (the Spanish Inquisition), offered up human sacrifices, and committed far to many acts of barbarism in the name of their gods to list here. I deal in facts. You hide from them in your delusions and Bible verses.

        "get real. you flat out have demented atti.tudes. you are going to take one thing from histrory and repeatedly smear it across J C because this is the result....you get someone like hitler with little tinges from the heart that are what we call murderous hatred. you are both guilty of prejudice."

        You're nuts, and you obviously aren't very bright. Everything I have stated is factually accurate. Blame your delusions if you can't handle reality. I couldn't care less if you attack me with this kind of crazy talk. It only further confirms my assessments of you. Flail away.

        July 26, 2013 at 5:51 am |
    • Austin

      if they had proof they won't need faith

      wrong , you do not understand. if you have proof you still have your sin nature. overcoming that takes daily faith in God's promises,and you realize that you need to have faith in God to get past your self because you put this off daily. that takes faith, not proof.

      July 25, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
      • skytag

        I have heard countless Christians say that if you had proof you wouldn't need faith. Go argue with them, not me. Remember, I think your kind of faith is just a way of avoiding unpleasant realities.

        July 26, 2013 at 5:54 am |
  11. Ken Margo

    The one thing Austin, chad, Bill Deacon and their ilk fail to understand is that god HAS to use logic. If god doesn't use logic, then god is as illogical as humans. He's no better than me or you. Since god HAS to use logic, then the bible should be the most logical book out there. If you agree some of the passages in the bible are illogical. Why would you worship someone/something that is illogical? If god is as illogical as humans, it would explain some of the nutty behavior of those that follow him. (ex. Westboro Baptist Church, People who say the world is going to end. etc.) And finally if god is as illogical as humans, then he's no god.

    July 25, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • Jim P.

      "God" just makes it up as he goes and when called out on it simply tells people 'MY ways are not your ways" or tells someone (Job in this instance) that unless that person can tell God the location of God's secret snow and hail warehouses (I'm not kidding), he, God. doesn't have to answer him or explain anything. (Job 38:22)

      July 25, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
      • PDXSerric

        So God enacts plausible deniability? That makes a lot of sense, actually...

        July 25, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
  12. Austin

    skytag
    "More proof religion is a fraud and that it makes people stupid."

    Hey Sky tag, no i was not telling you you have a demon, i am illustrating a person who's eyes are focused in a sick way. someone who is locked in to the wrong idea. like hitler. You are conversing with someone here who has a real life, supernatural gift. I am not going to state the gift because you will taunt and label me and take the gift out of context, but my point is that you are the one with the delusion that you think you KNOW that God and satan are ficti.tious. as someone else said, you cant prove a negative? idk. My experiences are real time honest representations. My dreams were written down at the time of the dream, with zero bias or fill. If I skewed the experiences in my brain, this is the only chance for me to be deluded. and I am perfectly healthy and am real life proof that God is prophetic and sovereign and present right now.

    You just don't understand yet. I am sorry for that, I am going no where. We can talk this out. you need to pay attention to details and listen to what I am telling you.

    July 25, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      Austin; Why can't you understand that many here feel you're the delusion and immature, and maybe even a fraud?. I'm glad you're myths work for you but why the need to ask others to believe them? My wife and I are very happy with what life has given to us and what we have worked for.

      July 25, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
      • Austin

        maybe we need to have a sit down and you can see my papers and we can go through them one by one. and you can see my facial expressions and put me on a lie detector.

        July 25, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
        • jazzguitarman

          People that said they have talked with aliens from outer space can pass a lie detector test. I.e. delusional people really believe that what they think they have experience really happened. Another definition for this is insanity.

          I have no interest in determining your mental state.

          July 25, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
        • skytag

          I used to date a woman who had eight dogs. All of them had papers.

          July 25, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          I used to date a woman that could barely read the paper.

          July 25, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
        • skytag

          @jazzguitarman: Sometimes in these discussions I feel like I'm talking to aliens.

          July 26, 2013 at 10:23 am |
      • Ken Margo

        @Jazz.....................Yeah meet up with Austin. Then you can see for yourself he's a salted nut.

        July 25, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Austin

      I have a bout twelve different examples. lets start with the one that happened tenth in line.

      I had allready had five or six spirit led dreams when i was in jail. I had a list of 100 people that I shared Christ with and had shared the miracles with, and led them in the Word. I was in a work pod in jail with about 25 guys in the dorm. a few of them had started throwing trash at me , and one of them racked me with a roll of t.p. when I had a stomach virus. I was asleep when it happened so I was mad and threw my headphones at the wall. and looked over at 4 guys who were taunting me. I said in my head "I wonder if that kid has the light in his eye"

      22“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,c your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eyes are unhealthy,d your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

      the next morning, on of the kids comes up to me and says, " i had this dream last night that i was going around looking in peoples eyes to see if there was a special light, to see if they were posessed or not"

      a few days later, one of the kids who was vitriolic and filled with hate for me because of the gospel, lost his money. I written down a dream 30 days earlier that he lost his money. this kid only had money a hand ful of days, he was always broke no visitors. when he lost it, is said "watch this" and i pulled out the dream about it, as he had for 2 months heard me talking about the tile patio dream and called me crazy. a few days later, the kid sleeping next to me pulled out a blue print he drew of a house, with an above ground pool , a deck around it and a privacy fence. and I had the dream of touring this place two days earlier, and I had the dream written down.

      want proof? ask Sheldon Clay, send the FBI.

      I have 8 other examples of this stuff, these instance being the ones that were not completely centered in the Word of God. the other ones were dreams i was having the night before i would read the scripture the next day, and this is stuff I had zero knowledge of. The book of Jeremiah, I could not have even told you the story because I had never read it.

      When it happens ten times in 4 months, you start to realize that (why was i writing them in the first place.? the cat dream. the st. louis arch dream............. I have proof of God my friend. why me? I have no clue but my situation resembles the God you hear of in the bible.

      Peace to you and spirit filled truth. Seek the Holy Spirit.

      July 25, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
      • Damocles

        Hmmmm.... strange that a deity sends you dreams about above-ground pools instead of something useful. Ohhh... I see, it sent you dreams of patios as well. Truly remarkable.

        July 25, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
      • Observer

        Austin,

        Get ahold of yesterday's newspaper and see how accurate your horoscope was. Amazing!

        July 25, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
      • skytag

        There was a guy recently at a Cleveland Indians baseball game who caught three foul balls and picked up a fourth in a single game. The odds of that happening are probably no better your dream experiences being coincidences.

        July 25, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
      • skytag

        Apparently God gives proof to criminals and losers while the people sacrificing and trying to live his teachings don't get squat. If God is real and that's really how he works, you're welcome to him.

        July 25, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          LOL

          July 25, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
      • Paul

        "I had allready had five or six spirit led dreams when i was in jail."

        No, that is you applying the label spirit led dreams but you merely have selective memory bias.

        Various psychological processes have been offered to explain experiences of apparent precognition. These include:

        –Selection bias where people remember the "hits" and forget the "misses," remember coincidences more often than other non-coincidences, or when they were correct about a future event rather than instances when they were wrong. Examples include thinking of a specific person before that person calls on the phone. Human memory, it is argued, has a tendency to record instances when the guess was correct, and to dismiss instances when the guess was incorrect.

        –Unconscious perception by which people unconsciously infer, from data they have unconsciously learned, that a certain event will probably happen in a certain context. As with cryptomnesia, when the event occurs, the former knowledge appears to have been acquired without the aid of recognized channels of information.

        –Self-fulfilling prophecy and Unconscious enactment in which people bring events that they have precognized to pass, but without their conscious knowledge.

        Some psychologists have explained the apparent prevalence of precognitive dreams in terms of memory biases, namely a selective memory for accurate predictions and distorted memory so that dreams are retrospectively fitted onto subsequent events. In one experiment, subjects were asked to write down their dreams in a diary. This prevented the selective memory effect, and the dreams no longer seemed accurate about the future. Another experiment gave subjects a fake diary of a student with apparently precognitive dreams. This diary described events from the person's life, as well as some predictive dreams and some non-predictive dreams. When subjects were asked to recall the dreams they had read, they remembered more of the successful predictions than unsuccessful ones.

        July 26, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Ken Margo

      What time is your next psychiatrist examination? You have a supernatural gift? I guess you're the guy with red tights and an "S" on your chest. You're one of the reasons atheists exists because you make absolutely zero sense. Lets leave Christianity out of it for a second. look at the middle east and check out another whack job religion. Islam.

      In the middle east under Islam:
      There's no abortions, birth control, gay marriage or stem cell research.
      Divorce is rare and 95% of the people follow Islam.
      Those are conditions the catholic church would KILL for in this country. How has it worked out for Muslims?
      Are Muslims happier than the rest of the world?
      Do Muslims have more money? More success?

      THE ANSWER IS NO. WHY? Because Allah is as real as your Christian god. Neither does anything for anybody. We have hunger, disease,wars, poverty, homelessness, illness, earthquakes, floods and every other disaster you can imagine since this planet has existed, Since Jesus died for our sins and you know what NOTHING HAS CHANGED. You would think all these powerful gods would stop something from happening. BUT IT'S TOUGH TO STOP ANYTHING WHEN YOU DON'T EXIST.

      July 25, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • Observer

      Austin,

      As far as I know James Randi is still offering tons of money for ANY supernatural feat you can demo and prove.

      Go for it. You can then afford to find something better to do with your time than talk to us.

      July 25, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • Observer

      Austin,

      Powerball jackpot is $196 million. Will you share some of that with your blog buddies?

      July 25, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • skytag

      The problem you consistently ignore is that history is full of examples of who talked just like you, where just as sure as you, and what they believed was not real. There are people today in other religions who would say pretty much exactly what you're saying.

      You ignore an important implication of the fact that there really are delusional people out there, that if anyone can be deluded the possibility exists that you are deluded, and the deluded never realize they are deluded, so the upshot is that your unverifiable claims prove nothing to anyone else. I have only your word that anything you tell me is real. Given that people can be deluded or more often, allow their desire to believe something destroy their objectivity to the point their conclusions aren't reliable, your claims about private, personal experiences no one outside your head can verify simply aren't enough for anyone but you.

      The best case scenario for you is that you are one of the few people God cares about and the rest of us don't matter enough to him to give us any reason to believe in him. If that's the case I see no practical difference between not believing in God and believing in one who doesn't give a rat's behind about me. Don't bother regurgitating a lot of Christian platitudes about God loving everyone, because I gave him my best for four decades and if that wasn't good enough for him he can screw off.

      I believe the real answer is that he just doesn't exist, but frankly, if I'm wrong I don't really care.

      July 25, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
  13. The one person on this that is not a troll

    Nothing which means no exist-able matter explodes. That is scientifically wrong. Yet the only way atheist cling to their faith. Throw all the theoretical (thought up by humans) explanations you want but if things are truly constant around the universe Nothing would exist. {0 = 0 not 0 = 1}Please, people die of starvation and a thousand horrible things by people regardless of religion, yet your well spent time is on a computer arguing. Why not prove (if you think religion is below you) and go volunteer your life to ending the pain and suffering of others rather than arguing. dawkins can be as rich as he wants but what real good has he ever done? Write a book, well good for him. Did he use his money to end homelessness? Human trafficking? If he has made a few donations than good for him. Why not put your fervor into helping the world (like most true religious people do). In the end it does not matter how much you argue, every one dies. Please use the little time we each have to bettering the world not ranting and arguing in circles. "Do to others what you would have them do to you" -Jesus. So the next time you are handing a poor man a lunch, or helping a disabled person you can say "I did this with the same amount of energy it took to argue" Because as for me I'd rather pay for a lifetime of meals for a homeless man than read another of these pointless comments.

    July 25, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      If only I could be more like you.

      July 25, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Lets see... do I give a crap what you just typed? Answer: Nope.

      July 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
      • John

        You took the time to type a response so apparently you do, no offense

        July 25, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          I skimmed it and commented, so what?... What are you the 'caring' gestapo?

          July 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • redzoa

      Two points:

      1) That we do not precisely understand how the universe began does not logically default into causation by agency, which then necessarily invites the infinite regress into the string of causation capped off with a special pleading argument by definitional fiat of "uncaused cause."

      2) Although the advice to actually contribute to the betterment of the world is admirable, you simultaneously commit a "No True Scotsman's Fallacy" in alluding to "true religious people" as actually making this effort while inferring that non-religious people do not. Furthermore, it can be argued that confronting particular belief or non-belief claims with the potential of shaping individual behaviors (and at the larger scale, government policy, regulations, and laws) can, in fact, provide benefits. On one side, theists would argue that a world directly shaped by god belief drives more beneficence, mercy and charity. On the other, atheists would argue that a world directly guided by reason and evidence is more effective in addressing both general and specific issues affecting the rights and quality of life of individuals and societies. Although these threads often degenerate, the simple act of engagement in the discussion provides a means to examine one's position and how it relates to what we might agree is a shared goal in mitigating suffering and improving the human condition.

      July 25, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
      • ME II

        @redzoa,
        Well said!

        July 25, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
      • Dave

        It is difficult to think of any vocal atheists who also head charitable causes, while nearly every major charity can be traced to a religious origin. A world without religion would be one with much less care shown for fellow human beings. This is particularly true for advocates of the evolutionary theory, which has frequently been used to justify acts of mass genocide when one race is regarded as being superior and more highly evolved than another.

        July 25, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
        • ME II

          "This is particularly true for advocates of the evolutionary theory, which has frequently been used to justify acts of mass genocide when one race is regarded as being superior and more highly evolved than another."

          1) Religion is frequently used to justify acts of mass genocide. Shall we convict religion for that?
          2) Atheism does not equal Science and Science does not equal Atheism.
          3) What group to be targeted for mass genocide is most frequently mentioned or most often cited? Jews, a religious group.

          July 25, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
        • skytag

          "It is difficult to think of any vocal atheists who also head charitable causes, while nearly every major charity can be traced to a religious origin."

          So? If you think this is evidence for God's existence, it is not.

          "A world without religion would be one with much less care shown for fellow human beings."

          This may or may not be true, but either way it isn't evidence for the existence of God. The only thing needed for religion to encourage people to do good works is that they believe it's true. In fact, perception almost always trumps reality in life. In some cases it's referred to as the placebo effect.

          "This is particularly true for advocates of the evolutionary theory, which has frequently been used to justify acts of mass genocide when one race is regarded as being superior and more highly evolved than another."

          More proof religion makes people stupid. Religion has been used to justify acts of genocide as well. Furthermore, even in cases where "survival of the fittest" has been used to justify genocide, the people doing the actual killing have not been atheists. To the best of my knowledge the only person Hitler killed during the time the Nazis ruled Germany was himself. Everyone else killed under Nazi rule was killed by his followers, most of whom were Christians.

          July 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
        • redzoa

          While evolution has been used to justify various racist and eugenicist atrocities, the actual science of evolution clearly indicates that a species' fitness increases in proportion to their genetic variability. There are few people who don't recognize the deleterious effects of the in-breeding required to maintain pure-bred organisms. Similarly, ecology recognizes the deleterious effects of mono-cultures and their susceptibility to predation, disease, and other stochastic events. Suffice it to say, your attempt to link the science of evolution to some inevitable apathetic genocide betrays a miscomprehension of the actual science.

          July 25, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
      • chance

        @redoza your first point is merely suggesting we don't know the start of the universe but we do agree there was a start and the universe is not infinite. What is your explanation to this? do you simply hide behind ignorance? or do you have a idea/theory?

        July 25, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
        • redzoa

          Whatever idea or theory I might have is pure conjecture in the absence of evidence . . . as would be your own ideas or theories.

          July 25, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • knowmoststuff

      Then shut up and go feed the needy.

      July 25, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Hodor

      I think that is fascinating. Railing against the merits of argument by partaking in the argument. How delightfully warped.

      July 25, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      You're the biggest troll here. The only person of your post was to call other a troll NOT to discuss the article related to this site. Then you claim you are out helping people all the time BUT, you took the time to post as a troll. What a fraud.

      July 25, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Hodor

      You're making the argument that argumentation is a waste of time. That makes my head hurt.

      July 25, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Mudface68

      Maybe we could all just pray

      July 26, 2013 at 10:37 am |
  14. Elliott Carlin

    I'm glad we've awakened a 'sleeping giant' which affirms......well, nothing really.
    Sounds like a tempest in a tea pot.
    When you guys get together, do you sit around and stare since there's really nothing to talk about religion-wise, because, well, God doesn't exist?

    I'm sure you crafted your 'liturgy' from the Unicorn Society. LOL

    atheism has two tenets: 1. God does not exist, and 2. I hate Him.

    July 25, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • redzoa

      I would slightly revise your two tenets:

      1) God(s) and all claimed supernatural events are unsupported by any empirical physical evidence providing the basis for the reasonable conclusion that they likely do not exist.

      2) The god(s) frequently claimed to exist, as depicted in the various holy books, reflect logical and moral inconsistencies such that they deserve neither deference nor respect. Similarly, apologists who would defend such abhorrent depictions of deity behaviors as justifiable deserve the disdain of any reasonable person who accepts empathy as the principal component of any viable moral framework.

      July 25, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      You're right on #1 but stupid on #2.

      July 25, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      atheism has two tenets: 1. God does not exist, and 2. I hate Him.

      You're absolutely correct. I just hate things that don't exist.

      July 25, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        I thought it was: 1. God does not exist, and 2. Believers are idiots

        July 25, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
        • skytag

          You got it.

          July 25, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
      • skytag

        I live in central Florida where it's hot most of the year, so I hate Ra, the Egyption sun god.

        July 25, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • skytag

      More proof religion is a fraud and that it makes people stupid.

      July 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  15. Mitch

    Short explanation of some common religions...

    Judaism – The first religion God gave to mankind. Abraham's second born son Isaac was chosen to establish a group of chosen people.
    Christianity – The second religion God gave to mankind, this time to bring salvation to everyone.
    Islam – A religion founded by the descendents of Abraham's first born son Ishmael, who were angry that his birthright was 'stolen' and detest Jews for this reason. They feel that they are God's true chosen people.
    Hinduism – Hindus recognize God but are hopelessly confused about how to reach him. They may not have had contact with him since the Babel incident.
    Buddhism – A philosophy founded by a man who urged humility, now treated as a god.

    July 25, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • MM

      How incredibly patronizing. Thank you.

      July 25, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • skytag

      A short description of all religions: A fictional narrative intended to help people avoid dealing with some of the harsh realities of life and encourage them to be better citizens and members of the society in which they live.

      July 25, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
      • morning dawn

        skytag, how is it the humans have this built in impulse to worship and see a god in powerful actions? why the animals don't do this also, some are nearly as smart.

        July 25, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • skytag

          In the earliest stages of a religion people are typically looking for ways to explain the unexplainable, such as why it rains, why natural disasters happen, why people get sick, there are seasons, what the stars are, and countless other questions for which current science had no answer thousands of years ago. Even today in some parts of the world there are cultures where people believe evil spirits and demon possessions cause illness.

          I believe people are driven to find answers for these questions because understanding the world around us gives us some hope of controlling it. This is the basis for medical research, for example. The more we understand what causes a disease the more hope we have of finding a cure or a way to prevent it, or in the best case scenario, of wiping it out as we did smallpox. Unfortunately, our need for answers is so great that oftentimes when we can't know the explanation for something we just make one up to fill the void. This is common in religion, but you also see it a lot in politics. Actually, you often see it in science, the difference being that in science it's just a theory until you can confirm it, whereas in religion and politics it tends to be elevated immediately to the status of fact and truth without any verification.

          Once people make the leap to concluding there is a god or a collection of gods behind these events, they typically want to find a way they can influence the actions of those gods. If you understand a disease you can control it with medicine or other treatment, but if a god is responsible the only way to control it is to influence the relevant god.

          So for example, if you were an early American Navajo indian you would have believed Tonenili was the god of rain. Once you believe that the obvious next step is to speculate about how you can influence Tonenili to make it rain, and in the right amounts. The most natural assumption is that gods like what people like: to be noticed, respected, revered, and feared. With that in mind worship is a no-brainer. If human leaders like people to bow to them, wouldn't a god want that as well?

          Along with this comes a desire to understand bad things, such as floods, plagues, and other natural disasters. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to speculate these things are the actions of angry god. Now you just have to figure out what makes the gods angry, what appeases their anger, and what makes them happy. Of course you're flying blind on all of this because Tonenili doesn't exist, so he's not going to be able to tell you what makes him angry. You just have to muddle along the best you can and hope you get it right.

          The process of creating a religion tends to be a slow one involving a lot of gradual steps. The major religions we see in the world today have evolved over hundreds or thousands of years, but they most follow the pattern I described, so for the most part they all involve some form of worship, the concepts of rewards, punishments, and obedience, and so on.

          Note that this explains why there have been so many different religions and why there is nothing they all have in common. If people are making up religious belief systems entirely out of their imaginations it only stands to reason that what one group of people in one part of the world come up with will be different than what a different group in some other part of the world come up with independently.

          If God really existed then it's reasonable to assume all or almost all religions would be established with some degree of guidance from him, and hence share significant commonalities. It would be like asking a thousand eyewitnesses to an event to write up a description. They wouldn't all agree on the details, but there would be significant agreement on certain aspects of it. For example, if you asked a thousand people to write a short paper describing a football game they attended, they'd all describe a football game and probably agree on who won it, as well as which teams were playing. There might be some variation in their memory of the final scores, their account of the half-time show might vary, and so on, but no one would describe a baseball game.

          On the other hand, if you told that same thousand people to write a fictional short story, you'd get a thousand different stories with virtually nothing in common. The reason there have been thousands of religions with nothing they all have in common is that they're all works of fiction created by people who had no interaction. The only time you get any significant commonalities is when two religions share a common root, such as the various Christian denominations.

          Does that at least partially answer your question?

          July 25, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Mark

      Good job Mitch on the descriptions

      atheism= nothing exploded and magically exploded for no reason, creating everything and then rearranged magically for no reason into magic goo that became the dinosaurs.

      0=1 I am not a professor in physics but it seems that the people that have the most faith are atheist.

      July 25, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
      • LinCA

        @Mark

        You said, "atheism= nothing exploded and magically exploded for no reason, creating everything and then rearranged magically for no reason into magic goo that became the dinosaurs."
        You are clearly clueless. Atheism is a lack of belief. Nothing more, nothing less. Atheism says nothing about the start of the universe, or life on earth. Rejecting the obvious insane assertion by religiots that there must have been some creature that farted it all into existence, doesn't automatically mean a firm belief in anything else. Most atheists are open to natural explanations, but will, for the time being, accept "we don't know (yet)".

        That said, a universe that started from nothing requires far less faith than any religious explanation. Any god that could have created this universe present a problem far greater than the "universe from nothing" problem. By asserting there must have been such a creature, you create a problem of where this creature came from, and where is resides, and how it came to be so complex that it was capable of doing what you claim it did. What's more, you make these claims without the first piece of evidence in support.

        You said, "I am not a professor in physics"
        That much is blatantly obvious.

        You said, "but it seems that the people that have the most faith are atheist."
        Ignorance is at the root of your misunderstanding.

        Believers are no more advanced in their beliefs than a five-year old that still believes in the Tooth Fairy. The support for either claim of existence is equal. Their respective "theories" have equal merit (none whatsoever, just in case you missed that part).

        To be a believer you have to be ignorant, willful or otherwise.

        July 25, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
      • ME II

        @Mark,
        Christain: Same thing, but add a magical being who magically knows everything and magically can do anything, but doesn't do anything.

        July 25, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
  16. skytag

    In my mind there are two variations of the question "Does God exist?" One is the obvious, literal question as I just stated it.

    The other goes something like this: Is there anything one could reasonably call a god that cares one whit about anything that transpires on this planet or in any of our lives?

    For example, suppose Christians are right, up to a point. Suppose an all powerful being created the universe, terraformed this planet, and created the life on it. According to the Bible we know God was so disgusted with the results of his first effort at creating the human race he slaughtered all but eight of them so he could start over from scratch and try again.

    What if he decided the second attempt was just as big a failure? After all, there is nothing in the Bible suggesting he made any revisions to the human design, so any fundamental flaws in people before the flood would still be there after the flood. What if God just gave up on us at some point and just abandoned us to try again from scratch on some other planet entirely?

    If that were the case, one could say God exists, but for all practical purposes here on Earth he doesn't. He's not listening to our prayers, changing anyone's heart, working any miracles, or paying any attention to us at all.

    I would point out that this scenario is entirely consistent with Christians' #1 argument for God's existence, which is that the universe and life must have had a creator. The above scenario allows for a creator, but not for banning abortions or gay marriage.

    Before I'm going to be willing to "seek God" I need some evidence he isn't on some other planet in another galaxy where I can't possibly find him.

    July 25, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
  17. skytag

    In the past, epilepsy was associated with religious experiences and even demonic possession. In ancient times, epilepsy was known as the "Sacred Disease" (as described in a 5th-century BC treatise by Hippocrates[87] ) because people thought that epileptic seizures were a form of attack by demons, or that the visions experienced by persons with epilepsy were sent by the gods. Among animist Hmong families, for example, epilepsy was understood as an attack by an evil spirit, but the affected person could become revered as a shaman through these otherworldly experiences.
    [...]
    In Tanzania to this day, as with other parts of Africa, epilepsy is associated with possession by evil spirits, witchcraft, or poisoning and is believed by many to be contagious.[92] In ancient Rome, epilepsy was known as the Morbus Comitialis ('disease of the assembly hall') and was seen as a curse from the gods. — Wikipedia

    Being wrong in attributing epilepsy to demons or evil spirits is obviously not proof every claim attributing something to the supernatural is wrong, but it is proof believers can be wrong when they make such claims. These claims are never supported by any evidence. Many, such as this one, have eventually been shown to be false, and none have ever been proven to be true.

    That means in every case where the validity of such a claim was established by objective evidence it was determined to be false. Not a very impressive record. Given this reality, why should I give any of these claims any credence?

    Note: "Because I believe them" is not a valid reason. Sorry.

    July 25, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • niknak

      No, the fundies have graduated to speaking in tongues as their latest creep show religious proof of their magic man.

      July 25, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  18. Henry

    One of the large groups missing from the typology is what I call "Temper Tantrum Atheists" - that is, people who call themselves atheists because they are mad at God. Most eventually go back to believing, so I suppose it's not a surprise that none of them would have been available for the study, but in any given group of atheists there are always a good number who say they don't believe while secretly looking for a reason to go back. You find this with many Christian apologists who claim to have been an atheist earlier in life, such as C.S. Lewis and Lee Strobel. You read their reasoning for having doubted, and it's pretty shallow.

    July 25, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Saraswati

      What evidence do you have that these people are "mad at god?" Is this something you have actually heard them say? since atheists don't believe in god, it is unlikely that they would say any such thing, which makes this just your interpretation, based, quite likely, on your own believe that these folks must still sense god's presence. This always seems a convenient little story for the theist, because otherwise you have to accept that a person could feel a god's presence and then become aware that it was all a delusion, much like the awareness that many feel about the voices in their heads when treated with antipsychotics.

      July 25, 2013 at 11:19 am |
      • skytag

        I assume he's thinking of people who got mad at God because he failed to do something they believe he should have done and decided he must not exist. In The World at War a holocaust survivor tells a story of a Jewish Rabbi who prays for God to save the Jews being put to death in the camps. and when nothing changed he said, "There is no God."

        July 25, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
      • Saraswati

        You may be right. I've never met these people but certainly heard they exist. I'd say it would be a pretty tiny group in any of the religions that take God's goodness as a preamise.

        July 25, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • skytag

          Typically they're people who have experience some tragedy they believe God would have prevented if he existed, based on their understanding of him. It could be his failure to save the Jews dying in the death camps, protect innocent children from predators who molest them and kill them, or some such thing.

          Believers always have an excuse for the fact that God never does squat, but not everyone is buying all those excuses.

          July 25, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      I dont know anyone who is an atheist because they are mad at an imaginary being. You make no sense.

      July 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Where is your evidence for atheists or most "Temper Tantrum Atheists" eventually go back to believing?
      Where is your evidence for a god?

      July 25, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • dimensio0

      I believe that you have confused the wishful thinking of religious apologists with a demonstration that the class of "atheist" to whom you refer is "large" or even statistically significant.

      July 25, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Vic

      That type is actually listed on the following wiki (2) :

      http://atheism.wikia.com/wiki/Types_of_atheists

      July 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  19. skytag

    @Austin: "My situation is absurd on first glance"

    Your story is interesting, but was barely coherent and there are alternative explanations for what you claim you experienced. Someone posted some good thoughts on this earlier, but in the time I have been composing these responses a block of comments has been deleted, including your comment and his.

    You said you had a Christian family, which likely means you were raised as a Christian. Even when you later rebelled those teachings and values were still in your head somewhere, even if you rejected them or ceased to be conscious of them. But having been put there when you were very young, impressionable, and trusting, they would have real staying power.

    The struggle you described took place entirely within your own head, a battle between deeply rooted values and images from your past and the more recent thoughts and images of your — at that time — rebellious present. Eventually your old values won out.

    "i want to help you see. maybe you would be to scared as of yet. dont you recognize the evil that is a destroyer?"

    I recognize a nut job talking nonsense when I see one. God and Satan have something very important in common: There is no evidence or reason to believe either one exists. Satan is just something believers made up so they could have a mystical explanation for bad things they couldn't explain otherwise and didn't want to attribute to God. The example I usually give is the belief once commonly held that disease was caused by evil spirits. Epilepsy is a good example:

    In the past, epilepsy was associated with religious experiences and even demonic possession. In ancient times, epilepsy was known as the "Sacred Disease" (as described in a 5th-century BC treatise by Hippocrates[87] ) because people thought that epileptic seizures were a form of attack by demons, or that the visions experienced by persons with epilepsy were sent by the gods. Among animist Hmong families, for example, epilepsy was understood as an attack by an evil spirit, but the affected person could become revered as a shaman through these otherworldly experiences.
    [...]
    In Tanzania to this day, as with other parts of Africa, epilepsy is associated with possession by evil spirits, witchcraft, or poisoning and is believed by many to be contagious.[92] In ancient Rome, epilepsy was known as the Morbus Comitialis ('disease of the assembly hall') and was seen as a curse from the gods. — Wikipedia

    This allows you to give God all the credit for anything good that happens while blaming Satan or other evil spirit for everything bad.

    July 25, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  20. skytag

    @Austin: "As I sit here and tell you the truth about the proof I have, you are dancing around in your head on auto offend.
    and you are nice guy but what is normal and decent to you, is based upon unchecked UNbelief."

    If you mean my judgment isn't influenced by fanciful tales of miraculous events and mystical powers no one can show are real, I agree.

    "While you form intelligent sentences appealing with sense you are probably doing the one thing you despised about the crusaders and adolf Hitler."

    When you start comparing people to Hitler you know you've lost the argument.

    "Matter of fact, you are probably receiving silent voice impulses demonically."

    ROFLMAO Yes, logic and rationality are of the devil. God gave us brains, but never intended for us to use them, is that it?

    "as in your thoughts may be molded by a demon that you have never seen. If you only knew what he looked like. or knew how many people it controls. or who his boss is."

    You are so pathetic. I have posted countless of well-reasoned comments and you've never had the courage to address anything I say. You respond to my comments, but not to their content, because you have no counter arguments. Your responses are always more unprovable claims intended to reinforce your brainwashing. Quote scriptures, regurgitate the same claims over and over again, all without ever acknowledging I have valid arguments. You are nothing more than a brainwashed bot doing what you've been programmed to do.

    Now you're making up stories about demons controlling me. As sad as that is, from where I sit it's the funniest thing I've heard in a while. Yes, demons are making me think rationally and logically with my brain. I'm surprised Thor hasn't already struck me with lightening for my sin. Do you know a good prayer I can use to ask God to forgive me for using my brain?

    "imagine a demon who has his eyes way too close together because he has tunnel vision and his mind is stuck with obsession, like he cant unfocus on the lies. all he can do is focus on a lie and so his whole head resembles obsession."

    It's probably not a good idea to tell people here what you look like.

    The reason you can't refute my arguments is not that demons are helping me compose them, but that they are based on sound logic and knowledge of human behavior, not fairytales and wholly unprovable claims.

    "do you understand that being stuck like that is the absolute freakiest imaginable scenario, and that the masses are this way?"

    Do you understand this doesn't make sense to sane people?

    July 25, 2013 at 10:47 am |
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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.