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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. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Good Morning, Vietnam

    For the A&A's that had Bozo as a dad and who played the 6 bit bucket game, you still have a slight chance of getting a prize.

    Now for a song.

    Well I pulled outta Pittsburgh a rollin' down that Eastern Seaboard
    I got my diesel wound up and she's a runnin' like a never before
    There's a speed zone ahead alright I don't see a cop in sight
    Six days on the road and I'm a gonna make it home tonight
    I got my ten forward gears and a Georgia overdrive
    I'm takin' little white pills and my eyes are open wide
    I just passed a Jimmy and a White I been a passin' everything in sight
    Six days on the road and I'm a gonna make it home tonight
    Well it seems like a month since I kissed my baby goodbye
    I could have a lotta women but I'm not like a some other guys
    I could find one to hold me tight but I could never make believe it's alright
    Six days on the road and I'm a gonna make it home tonight.......

    August 3, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  2. photografr7

    Have any of you "BELIEVERS" ever listened to a debate on religion? Here's one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfBanmw2ecQ&list=TLBssQL4aAeNk Unfortunately, most of you are Christians, so you will probably disagree with BOTH speakers, one of the greatest outspoken atheists of all time, Christopher Hitchens, and a Rabbi. You must feel so alone watching both of these fine speakers express opinions that you don't.

    August 2, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • ODD BALL

      Why dont u stop being a ball full of hate and just be at peace with your lack of belief in any deity. Its people like you who like to SHOVE beliefs in nothing down peoples throat that give athiesm a bad name...away with u ! go back under the rock u crawled out from

      August 9, 2013 at 7:07 am |
      • photografr7

        ODD BALL, if that's your real name, it's religion that gives atheism a bad name, so be gone.

        August 9, 2013 at 7:43 am |
      • John

        I've had plenty of polyester prophets of fuller brush gods show up at my door, never an atheist .

        August 9, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  3. Iwanna Know

    Interesting read (most of it anyway).
    Just to set the stage, I believe religion has no place in government. I believe there are good people who are of various religions and also are atheists. If faith is good for you & you think you are better for having it, good for you and I won't think any less of you, as long as your are respectful of me.

    For those who cannot live & let live as atheists, I ask you....

    1) What is it you hope to achieve by impressing your dis-belief on those who believe? Is it that you will then be "right"? That seems really selfish if that is the case and especially if the actions of the newly disbelieving stay otherwise the same as before when they believed.

    2) If you were to replace the "church" with "Wal-Mart", "a sports team" or "exercise", would you blanket the entire population of persons who support those as you would a church? For that matter, insert your own profession as I am sure there are criminals amongst your profession. Look around, you should already be doing that with the same distain & bitterness that you have shown in this blog.

    3) Be accepting of some ones well wishes towards you. As seen elsewhere in this blog, are you offended by "break a leg" if you aren't an actor? Are you upset by someone who throws coins in a fountain for a wish, crosses their fingers for good luck, blows out birthday candles after making a wish or how about someone who says, "salu" when they toast a gathering of friends? If you are an atheist, just accept that a "prayer" is the same thing as those, from someone that cares about you, even though you have a different idea about faith.

    What I would like to see is that the tolerance you want from believers, be demonstrated by you and show them the "right" way to behave towards others and quit being prejudice of others. (In other words, quit embarrassing well behaved and good meaning atheists! Spend your efforts on getting criminals prosecuted, regardless of faith/belief or non-belief. Seriously, you're embarrassing us!

    July 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • Maani

      Thank you for your reasonable post. I would like to two things.

      First, it would seem that one of the goals of the atheist, and particularly scientific, communities would be for more believers to understand, accept and respect science, in various areas. Yet when scientifically-minded atheists engage in condescension, dismissal and mean-spiritedness, they drive more believers AWAY.

      Second, since, as you suggest, Christians are not a monolithic group, there are millions of Christians who have similar views to most atheists with respect to a number of socio-political issues. Yet, again, by engaging in condescension, dismissal and mean-spiritedness, many atheists alienate millions of potential allies.

      Thus, the approach of many atheists, is hopelessly counter-productive.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:51 am |
      • mindless lackey # 473

        you mean atheists are condescending and mean when they point out inconstancies and outright lies thrown around by some believers like yourself. Any opposition to the religious money machine is seen as an unwarranted attack.

        August 1, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • Maani

          No, they are condescending and mean when they are...condescending and mean. Intelligent discourse, even with people with whom one disagrees, should be done with humility and respect – even if the other side is not exhibiting the same humility and respect. I do not expect you to agree with my belief, or with some or many of the things I say or the positions I take. But none of that is cause for condescension or meanness. If YOU cannot be civil, don't blame it on the other person. Peace.

          August 1, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
        • mindless lackey # 473

          The instant you use disinformation, intelligent discourse goes out the window....beyond setting the record straight all that remains is to ridicule the attempt. Nobody should ever respect a liar.

          August 1, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
        • photografr7

          Discourse is usually reserved for compromise (that is, to find a middle ground). Since atheism is based on evidence and believers says "*#%#&%#* the evidence, I trust faith," there isn't much room for compromise. So why debate?

          August 1, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
        • mindless lackey # 473

          If you allow only one side to be heard...you will get one side...and that's it...That hasn't exactly worked out for non believers in the past few centuries. The problem is when faced with the truth, superst ition crumbles. Why is it btw, that non believers should be the ones to shut up-to not debate?

          August 1, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
        • Maani

          Please point out where I have "lied."

          August 1, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
        • Iwanna Know

          I have been involved in both believers & non-believers discussions in which they turn hateful & condescending...and sometimes name calling when they run out of constructive things to say. If you don't want to contribute to "money machines" I suggest you avoid contributing to them. Be realistic and evaluate who you support as you shop or worship, if you worship.

          So far, it seams folks are still focused on belief /non-belief as the issue when I really think it should be on what is the negative activity that needs to be addressed, regardless of belief status. Pedophiles? Terrorism? Tax evasion?......

          August 6, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
      • Jessica

        What I find funny are many of the comments saying athiests are rude and don't want to talk openly and are more condescending. I have found the exact opposite to be true in my personal experience. I think a lot of these posts are stereotyping or generalizing, which is not surprising. We all do that.

        August 6, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
      • JBoston

        "Intelligent discourse, even with people with whom one disagrees, should be done with humility and respect – even if the other side is not exhibiting the same humility and respect."

        There are two problems I have with this.

        First, it's ridiculous to demand that one side hold themselves up to a standard the other side will not. If I engage in a discussion with a theist and they ridicule my beliefs I am sure gonna return favor.

        Second, it's hard to have a conversation with most theists when there is not even agreement on the language being used. I'll explain by way of this paraphrased conversation I typically have.

        Theist: So you don't believe in god, huh?
        Me: Nope.
        Theist: Why not?
        Me: Because up until now I have not been presented with sufficient evidence to support the claim of their being a god.
        Theist: Lack of evidence!?! Open your eyes! All of creation is proof of god's magnificence and existence!
        Me: /facepalm

        August 7, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • EnjaySea

      I post about atheism, not to change the minds of Christians, but to voice alternatives to religion, for the "undecided voters" who may be reading these comments.

      Your comment frames atheists as aggresive promoters of their ideas, and Christians as gentle praying folk. Let's not forget that for hundreds of years, and right up to the present day Christians have scoured the planet looking for pagans, and jews, and infedels, in order to impose their beliefs on them.

      Where was their "acceptance" of other people's beliefs? Why did they need to be "right"?

      You are free to lecture atheists for being too forceful, but the believer / nonbeliever debate is a valuable one, and needs to continue, even if it makes you uncomfortable.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
      • EnjaySea

        Search and replace "infedels" with "infidels".

        July 31, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
      • Iwanna Know

        Precisely my point! Condescension, dismissal and mean-spiritedness offers no constructive support to coexistence whether made by believers or nonbelievers. It seems that the Atheist who are insistent on insulting and stating mean-spirited comments of believers are the ones who get all the publicity! It is difficult to be seen in any other way when that is what the media has to present.

        Regardless of the topic, I suspect more people are apt to consider a calm and politely delivered message vs. a message that is being yelled and insulting.. Facts are that the US is predominantly occupied by folks with some form of religious belief.

        It is the loud & confrontational (believers & atheists alike) that seem to feel they are supreme and drive a wedge into what could be a peaceful relationship with a majority of believers.

        In the US we are "free" to do many things, but not all things are productive in achieving our goals of being treated as equals, regardless of our non-beliefs.

        July 31, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
        • EnjaySea

          I agree that it goes both ways, and that reasoned discourse is the only way to influence people. That's why I triple-check everything I post to make sure it doesn't contain insults, personal attacks, or personal accusations.

          My reaction to most posts from atheists on this blog is: "Stay off my side!"

          July 31, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
        • Maani

          EnjaySea: "My reaction to most posts from atheists on this blog is: 'Stay off my side!'"

          LOL! I appreciate and applaud your comment. Bravo.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
        • Jeremy

          I would add the above article's comparison of some atheists to religious fundamentalism which I think is a very accurate statement. Just like the crazy pushy self-righteous Christians, Muslims and what not, there are obviously the same ilk in the atheism crowd. It's unfortunate that they are loud enough to "seem" to some that they represent the entire community.

          August 1, 2013 at 10:56 am |
        • photografr7

          If certain atheists weren't loud, you would never know their names, and their message would have been drowned out - long ago - by the religious message that's drummed into every American's ears since childhood. If John F. Kennedy had whispered, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" into the ears of his children instead of loudly on national television, would you even know he said it? KEEP YELLING ATHEISTS!!!!

          August 1, 2013 at 11:12 am |
        • EnjaySea

          I agree that we need to be loud. I just don't think we need to be mean.

          August 1, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • mindless lackey # 473

          Enjay Sea,

          Believe me, not all atheists are "on your side".

          August 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
        • EnjaySea

          I believe you.

          August 1, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
        • Maani

          photografr7: Perhaps you miss the irony in your citing of JFK's quote. After all, JFK was a practicing Catholic, and his quote was a paraphrase of something Jesus said. LOL.

          August 1, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
        • photografr7

          If J.F.K. was a practicing Catholic, it just proves one thing: Not all Catholics are bad.

          August 1, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
        • Maani

          photog: Can I quote you on that? LOL.

          August 1, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
        • CamDen1

          Your hypocrisy knows no bounds. In a country where most are religious, somehow, you are a victim to atheists? Somehow we are loud? You guys are the ones screaming from your pulpits. And if that isn't loud enough, you broadcast yourselves from sea to shining sea. And if that isn't loud enough, you'll send little minion missionaries around the world to do the proverbial screaming for them. If atheists have any disdain for religion, it is because of all the harm religion does around the world and the inherent discrimination that we face every day by the likes of people, like you. Fact: Amidst any subgroup in America, considering race and religion, it is the atheist that got the most votes as the person you would not vote for as President. That isn't based on substance, morality, ethics, or policy. Strictly based on the color of skin, or the religious orientation, it is atheism that suffers the most prejudice. You even showed your bias in your post. Atheists should just shut up and be happy when someone wants to offer them a prayer? WHY? It isn't my religion! How arrogant of the religious to think that I should just be grateful.

          It's easy for someone in the majority to make these claims of calmness and peace but that is not what us atheists see coming from the other side either. Were religious people promoting peace when they voted down gay marriage (a civil rights issue, opponents of which will be viewed in the same light as the opponents against civil rights in the 50s and 60s) You are just so comfortable in the majority, you can't see the prejudice and bias you put on people that aren't like you. Besides, you consider my beliefs inherently negative because I am telling you, "You are wrong, you pray to nothing, you fast for nothing, you are organic matter that will die and then rot." Surely, I don't say it in those words, but religious people don't like to read between the lines of an atheist. It's just that simple.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
        • photografr7

          Well said, my man.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Between which affairs was JFK a practicing catholic?

          August 11, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Jimmyjam048

      One thing is certain. There are No dead atheists.

      August 1, 2013 at 1:13 am |
      • photografr7

        You mean I'll live forever? Thanks for the "good news:"!!

        August 1, 2013 at 11:13 am |
      • tallulah13

        Aw, Jimmy. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but everybody dies. Christians, atheists, agnostics, muslims, hindus... Everybody dies, and that all there is. At least, that's what all the real evidence indicates. Fairy tales can't protect you from reality.

        August 1, 2013 at 11:20 am |
        • photografr7

          I think what he meant to say was, "No one dies AN ATHEIST." Meaning, all atheists "see the light" on their death bed. I assure you I won't, but no one more than me wants to be gently removed from my mystery to a place of eternal love and joy. Ain't happenin' .... But if I'm wrong, you'll never know it!

          August 1, 2013 at 11:34 am |
        • tallulah13

          Oh, I know what he meant. But his silly comment had more than one meaning, and I chose to address the other.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:20 am |
        • Iwanna Know

          I find it amusing that no one has really answered this, except to say that they want "believers" to know there is the option of not being a "believer". It seems even in this blog, folks are still more interested in dispelling a myth than addressing ill-will or bad behaviors. What are those behaviors that are ONLY demonstrated by "believers" that will miraculously be changed & society will no longer deal with, when they stop believing?

          I ask this one more time....

          1) What is it you hope to achieve by impressing your dis-belief on those who believe? Is it that you will then be "right"? That seems really selfish if that is the case and especially if the actions of the newly disbelieving stay otherwise the same as before when they believed.

          August 18, 2013 at 10:38 am |
        • photografr7

          If children were playing with fire because they didn't know any better, or if a dogs were about to drink poison thinking it was a delicious beverage, it would be the duty of a mature adult to prevent the above from happening. Atheists are those mature adults.

          August 18, 2013 at 11:09 am |
        • DLC53

          pretty much!

          August 18, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        jimmyjam is right.
        There are no dead atheists, nor religious people or anything else. Once dead the brain ceases to function, so there is no belief one way or the other.

        August 1, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  4. George Busch

    So what are the six types. I'm curious to nkow what type os athiest I am. 🙂

    July 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • photografr7

      I think they left out the 7th type, me.

      August 1, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • CheCheImFurst

      Is one type a person raised that way? Everyone is born an atheist, in the sense they have no concept of deities. But if that concept is never introduced as a young child and/or you're casually told that they don't exist and keep the mindset into adulthood, do you fit into one of the study's categories?

      August 1, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
      • Maani

        CCF: "Everyone is born an atheist." I would assume that means that you don't believe in a so-called "God gene?"

        August 1, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
        • CheCheImFurst

          Yes, I'm an atheist (non-theist) and irreligious.

          August 2, 2013 at 1:39 am |
    • chrisnfolsom

      There is only one "type" of Atheists – you don't believe in a God...

      There may be many types of beliefs that have atheism as their core, just as all the "Theist" based religions. We don't say there are six types of Theists, we focus on the Religions, and that is what is missing – a modern Religion/Belief system for Atheists – as Atheism does not mean without rules, just about whether God exists or not.

      August 11, 2013 at 9:48 am |
  5. Tim S.

    To say there is no God is based upon nothing. To say there is a God is based upon no proof. One side will never convince the other; it is impossible. To the athiest, proof is essential; to the theist, faith is paramount. They are diametrically opposed. To argue like this is beyond worthless; it is silly and an absolute waste of time. All this does is make the blatherers feel better about their own position. Congratulations, you've posted. And, achieved absolutely nothing.

    July 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • eeLymmoT

      "Congratulations, you've posted. And, achieved absolutely nothing."- Tim S.
      'Physician, heal thyself' is my reply to your last line. Funny, I never thought I'd quote the Bible (Luke 4:23) but your level of hypocrisy justifies it.
      As someone who used to be a faith-based believer, your comment is not exactly accurate. Science, logic and reason pointed out the flaws in theistic beliefs that I could no longer deny. The population of believers letting go of faith is growing at great rate. People are seeing the failures of faith and religion in the progress of humanity.
      Faith is no virtue. Believing something without adequate evidence or justification is, by definion, guilibility. It's so ironic how people use reason and evidence to act in every aspect of their life (health, relationships, money, ect.) to the most fullfilling but when it comes to "magic" and the most outragious claims imagined... the most impossible things concieved, all that's needed is faith and then it's believed as truth. How silly would it be to use this tact in any other aspect of life?
      It's foolishness and worthy of ridicule.

      July 30, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I don't post here to change the minds of the faithful Tim. I post here to voice alternatives to religious dogma, for those "undecided voters" who may be reading.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
  6. blammage

    To quote a line from I can't remember which movie (I want to say it was one of the Star Treks): "We are simply carbon based life forms. We exist, and then we cease to exist."

    This is far too scary a concept for some to accept, without having their courage shored up by believing that some higher power is going to "save" them from the inevitable. But, not all of us need that sort of crutch.

    July 30, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • Maani

      To call your comment "hopeless broad-brushing" would be too kind. So many atheists make the same mistake: assuming that Christians are a "monolithic" group: that they all became Christians either through indoctrination as children or because they need a "crutch," particularly as the result of fear of mortality. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:55 am |
  7. photografr7

    I don't revile believers, I envy them. I wish I could believe something without evidence, but I can't. By the way, the Bible is no more evidence for the existence of God than Juius Leblanc Stewart's painting "Nude in the Forest" is evidence that women actually stand around nude in the forest.

    July 29, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • Maani

      The only "evidence" we have for the "Big Bang" is (i) minimal at best, (ii) speculative, and (iii) evidence of EFFECTS, NOT of cause. Yet you believe in THAT, don't you?

      July 31, 2013 at 1:58 am |
      • photografr7

        No, I don't "believe" in the Big Bang. The Big Bang is a scientific theory based on evidence. Theories come and go, and if new evidence comes along that trashes the Big Bank Theory of the Universe, it will be replaced with something better that fits the "model" (the totally of the evidence) better. What scientists will never do is throw out all of the evidence and declare, "OK, I guess God did it." That will never happen.

        July 31, 2013 at 5:35 am |
        • Maani

          You seem to like to ignore what is written, set up a straw man, and beat it down mercilessly. LOL. My post ADMITS that the Big Bang theory is based on "evidence." However, I explain what is "weak" about that evidence. So while there may not be "no" evidence, you DO believe in something for which there is precious little evidence. For me, that amounts to much the same thing.

          July 31, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  8. isa justa mee

    For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who do not believe no proof would be enough.

    July 29, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • Denny

      Amen . For believers will be disaster if they have proof,because then they KNOW! And that's a whole different word.By the way I'm an atheist.

      July 29, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
      • photografr7

        Scientists BELIEVE from the evidence. Believers KNOW from faith. I'm an atheist too, and a writer on the (modern) history of science.

        July 29, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      The first sentence should cause you shame, not pride. The second sentence is stupid and wrong. Sorry that you thought you were clever.

      July 29, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • OTOH

      isa justa mee
      "For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who do not believe no proof would be enough."

      Is this god really at a loss at knowing precisely what would suffice as proof for each and every one of us?

      July 30, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • EnjaySea

      I hear that sentiment quite often from believers, that we atheist are "unconvincable". That's utter nonsense. I believe in thousands and thousands of things that have been proven to be true. And I'll believe in a god, when and only when, the existence of that god is proven, just like anything else.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
  9. maggie

    If you people really want to know if God exists just look into our planet and look at yourselves and if you do not say the same thing King David said centuries ago" In a fear inspiring way I am wonderfully made" then something is really wrong .

    July 29, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • EnjaySea

      Our existence does not indicate that there was a creator. Only those who already believe in a god, and believe that this god engineered life, sees the mark of this creator wherever they look. I don't believe in a god, so I just see the universe when I look at life.

      July 29, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • Michael

      No, nothing is wrong with someone that has a different worldview than you do. Mature people tend to understand the concept of agreeing to disagree. There are some immature, insecure people who demand that *everyone* adhere to their point of view because they themselves don't, in their heart of hearts, believe that said view holds any water and are seeking confirmation via popularity, because if more people believe it, it MUST be correct.

      There are many more possibilities than being poofed here by a creator god, and even if there were some kind of creator, there is no logical reason to assume that there is only one of them. I withdraw from speculating on whether there is such a being until sensible proof for one has been provided, and the religiously inclined have never been able to come up with any even as many of their number insist that their beliefs are factual.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I was taught to always seek the truth, therefore I cannot believe in something like a god. Despite the thousands worshiped throughout history, there isn't any evidence that any of them have ever existed, and there really isn't any need for them, anyway.

      When I look at the universe and fail to see god, my reaction is the only one that makes sense to me. It is the only one that is truly honest.

      July 29, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
      • photografr7

        Besides, why do you believe in the the Judeo-Christian God. There have been thousands of Gods in history, most of which have come and gone. What's wrong with the Muslim God or the Hindu God. They are perfectly fine Gods, as Gods go. And yet, the God in the Holy Bible is the only TRUE God. So you believe at least TWO things by faith (i.e. without evidence): 1) God exists 2) the God of the Holy Bible is real, and all the rest are second-rate. How much more do you believe by blind faith? The universe is 10,000 years old? Men rode dinosaurs? Is there more?? I pity you... I really do.

        July 29, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
  10. Marcus

    Your atheist story got "3.14 gazillion hits" CNN?

    July 29, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • photografr7

      The debate has gone from "No one can be an atheist" to "There are six kinds of atheists." It's making me sick.

      July 29, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  11. MAgister

    Thing is, have all the little studies you want. I will continue to believe. In fact, I want a non-believer to get in my face. Come on, atheists! Get in my face about how I'm an idiot for not being more like you. Intolerant sons of....

    July 29, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Alma

      You're getting in our face for being atheists. If you really want to engage one, you have to be prepared to actually learn something and not just start a fight. You're the reason why religion is a joke.

      July 29, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
      • photografr7

        MAgister, we're not so much mad at you as we are sad for you. If you still believed in the tooth fairy, for example, we'd know you were too far gone to bother hating."Pity" is a great word.

        July 29, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      You're not an idiot MAgister. However I think referring to atheist as "intolerant sons of..." is ironic, to say the least.

      July 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Terri

      Hahaha, really Christian of you to log on to start a fight and call others intolerant. I doubt you have the sense to recognize the irony of your post. Onward Christian soldiers....

      July 29, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • docmagnus

      If you believe that strongly you shouldn't care about a study of nonbelievers. In fact, you shouldn't even post. ... UH OH!

      July 29, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  12. Freedom

    Wow, atheist label themselves into 6 category. As always the sheep mentality still alive and well among all labeled and categorized people. Believe it or not, atheism is another form of belief it doesn't matter how you try to explain it. Forms of beliefs are not just religious, but being an atheist, liberal, conservative, etc... are all belief system that one believes in. If you don't believe in an organization or status you would not label or categorize yourself into one. Therefore, I will say this to all sheep that labels or categorize into a group:

    SHEEP! Get back in line and follow your shepherd (label/category/organization/political party, etc..) to your demise.

    No matter what you say a label, category or affiliation are belief systems. No matter how you prepare and cook a fish, it smells and taste like a fish.

    ATHIESTS, BEFORE YOU COMMENT MY BLOG, READ AND READ AGAIN MY TWO METAPHORS.

    July 29, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • photografr7

      Next, we'll learn there are reformed, conservative and orthodox atheists, and Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, and Hasidic atheists, and of course the dreaded Jihad atheists. This is an obvious attempt to break our small group into six even smaller groups, and to call atheism a religion, which it's not. Atheism is no more a religion than not believing in fairies or myths is a religion.

      July 29, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • x1plus1x

      Non-belief is not belief.

      Furthermore, a belief system is not the same as a Faith Based belief system. In a Faith Based belief system, the belief is not based on logic or reason, but rather on the stories of the divine that you've been told.

      In Non-Faith Based belief systems, the belief is based on experiences, information, facts, and data (ie, not faith) I believe that rain falls down to the earth because I've seen it happen every time it rains. If I said that I believe that one day the rain will fall up to the sky, then that is a faith based belief because there is no evidence to suggest it's true.

      July 29, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Michael

      Researchers tossed atheists into these categories, the atheists themselves didn't do it. Get over yourself.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
      • blammage

        Amen, brother. (pun very intended) This was the reply that I was going to post. TESTIFY!!

        July 29, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • Bill

      Atheism is a religious belief in exactly the same way that "bald" is a hair color.

      July 29, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
      • blammage

        Oh my God! (again, pun intended) I loved this! I literally doubled over in laughter. Priceless! (Also, I'm stealing this to use daily!)

        July 29, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
        • photografr7

          He stole it, but yes, it's funny and clever.

          July 29, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
      • Cyd

        Wait a minute though...if you choose to be bald, does that qualify as making a hairstyle choice?

        July 30, 2013 at 12:30 am |
        • chrisnfolsom

          But not a hair color – interesting there though what about if you pick a wig?
          That is where you have beliefs – you can have beliefs that have atheism as their base, just like you "can" have theists without any "flavor"
          Generally to have something (vs the absence of something) you have to have some context which is why you have to have a belief system/religion attached to a God.

          August 11, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • tallulah13

      Actually, this is a rather shoddily executed study performed by people who were paid to do so. It has no bearing on my life or on my lack of belief in god. I simply don't believe in god because there is no evidence that a god exists.

      Your frothing-at-the-mouth comment certainly has no value to me. It is nothing more than an ill-informed rant with no basis in reason or reality. The only person you make look bad is yourself.

      July 29, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
      • photografr7

        Actually, tallulah13, I think we are different types of atheists! lol You believe that God doesn't exist because you've seen no evidence for a God. That's not why I'm an atheist. I'm an atheist because there's no reason for one. I believe the existence of the universe and of earth and of man have perfectly good explanations without bringing God into it. If I saw a bridge and wondered, "Why don't the cars fall into the sea." A Christian might say, "Because it's God's will." I might say, "Because of engineering and physics."

        July 29, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
        • tallulah13

          The fact that science can explain all the things attributed to gods is part of the lack of evidence, but the thing that convinced me most was history. We are fortunate to live at a time where we have access to the histories of many cultures, going back thousands of years. At least I count myself lucky, because I'm a history nut.

          This is what I have learned from studying history. This is why I am an atheist. (I'm cutting and pasting from a prior comment I made because I'm lazy):

          Humans have worshiped literally thousands of gods throughout history. Those gods have ALWAYS reflected the morals and the aesthetics of the cultures that invented them.

          Most of those gods represented natural phenomena that our relatively primitive ancestors had no way of understanding. Why else would so many disparate cultures have gods of thunder? It is no coincidence that there is no need for thunder gods now that we understand the mechanisms of lighting. Gods are/were a way of appealing to and controlling the unknown.

          No single specific god ever developed simultaneously in two unrelated regions. No god has ever gone where humans did not take them. It took the christian god 1500 years to do something so simple as cross an ocean. He had to wait for humans to take him to the New World.

          July 29, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Those atheists which absolutely believe that there is no god, and state that unequivocally, are exhibiting a form of belief. I'm not one of them.

      I simply lack a belief in a god. Show me proof that one exists, and that lack of belief will magically disappear.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  13. photografr7

    I always thought I was the "kind" of atheist who - at the risk of alienating every single believer - used to say, "The Bible is an interesting book, and it might even help some people, but it's NOT the word of God." Here's why I still believe that.

    No one said it better than Sam Harris, but I've also wondered why the Bible seems to have been written by a scribe in the 1st Century and not inspired by the word of an all-knowing and omni-present deity. I don't know how many planets were known when the Bible was written, for example, but you would think that an all-knowing and omni-present deity would know that some of the "stars" were actually planets, and informed the scribe of such. And what about those "fuzzy" stars? Didn't an all-knowing and omni-present deity know they were actually galaxies? Not to mention that all of these stars, planets and galaxies DO NOT actually circle the earth, or did God not want to spoil scientific discoveries for the rest of us?

    July 28, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • The Truth

      "1 Very truly I [Jesus] tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man[a] "John 3:11-13 (NIV)

      July 28, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
      • photografr7

        Can we first agree that the words in the Bible were not written by Jesus himself, and the scribes who wrote them may or may not have known him in person? If you remember that old child's game of "telephone," you know that stories change as they pass from one to another, especially if we are talking decades. So if you were to show me Jesus' Bible, I might be impressed. But whatever that is that you study every night ain't it.

        July 28, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
        • Maani

          Re the New Testament (which is what I believe you are referring to), you are incorrect that no one who wrote the gospels knew Him directly. Matthew and John actually lived alongside Him, and Luke almost certainly knew Him. Mark may or may not have, though it is likely he did. Simon Peter and others knew Him. Paul, of course, did not. If you are interested in knowing what Jesus said, find a "red-letter" NT, which allows one to easily see what His words actually were.

          Re "the Bible Jesus read," ironically, there is an excellent book by that name, which I highly recommend. It is called (obviously) "The Bible Jesus Read," by Philip Yancey.

          August 1, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
        • photografr7

          I'm just curious. What percent of the world's "believers" believe that Jesus is the son of God? If believers can't even agree among theselves, what right do they have saying atheists are wrong?

          August 1, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
        • Maani

          photog: If you are talking about Christians (i.e., Catholics and Protestants of various denominations), then I can safely say that I, personally, have never met a single one that does NOT believe that Jesus was the son of God, nor have I ever heard of one. If, however, you are using the word "believers" in a broader sense, then I cannot give you an answer.

          August 1, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • skytag

      There are many, many questions of this kind the existence of God would raise, but the believers always have some rationalization to deal with them.

      A religion is like a conspiracy theory. The narrative begins with a one or two unprovable beliefs. Then when someone challenges them with one of these kinds of questions you make up some theory to address it. The theory doesn't have to be verifiable or consistent with any objective evidence, it only needs to be consistent with existing parts of the narrative.

      Do this enough and eventually you build a relatively complete narrative that is internally consistent, but none of it can be supported with any objective evidence.

      A smart thing to do when creating a religion is to stipulate that its god is incomprehensible, all-powerful and not subject to the laws of time, space, or matter. Once you do that, your god has no constraints, which means you can make up pretty much any story you need to answer any question.

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

      The bible is not a scientific book but where ever it touches on science it always correct. For ages men thought that the earth was flat but the bible describes it as a circle, they thought the universe was standing still but it says it is expending. If the bible is from the men of the 1 st century, it is safe to say they were more advance in science than we are since it is recently we are finding these things out. Thre is something that scientists can do to show that the bible is from men by doing one small thing. There is a passage in the bible that says that we can not turn on gray hair back to his natural color. The need to create a drug or something to turn our gray hair back then they will prove that the bible is not from God.

      July 29, 2013 at 11:13 am |
      • photografr7

        "Debating a moron is futile." - Einstein

        July 29, 2013 at 11:27 am |
      • blammage

        Uuuuhhh, Maggie, honey: "It is better to keep ones' mouth closed and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt."

        July 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
        • photografr7

          Wow. Either Maggie hasn't cracked open the Bible or a science book, but I suspect the latter. And no, the universe is NOT 10,000 years old, let alone six days.

          July 30, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • ryebreadreturns

      The bible has very little to say about planets or stars or the position of the earth in the cosmos. The geocentric model of the universe was promoted by the church hundreds of years ago because it seemed consistent with the bible. There's more to it than that but that's the basic reason. But the broader answer to your question is that it's possible to be a Christian and not believe that every word of the Bible is 100% accurate. Christians of a more intellectual persuasion often believe that the bible was inspired by God, but that God didn't literally instruct the scribes who wrote its various books on exactly what to write. If you think about it that would be a little silly. God is all-powerful but s/he needs a person sit down to put words on a parchment? Why wouldn't God have just carved the whole thing into stone on a tablet as God did with the 10 commandments? It makes more sense, I think, to think of the bible as a series of personal accounts of God's works in the world. I believe God inspired those who wrote the words, and over time through God's influence, consensus built on which books should go into what we now call "The Bible". So while every word is not the literal truth (the words were written by human beings, and human beings are fallible) the Bible does contain truth about God within it. As you read the Bible and pray and meditate on it, and talk to other believers about it, you will begin to understand that truth. There's nothing particularly unusual about this interpretation. They idea that religious truth is revealed through persistent study and devotion to religious texts has been around for centuries. The idea that religious texts are a kind of "instruction manual" and all you have to do is just read it and the truth becomes plainly obvious used to be well outside the mainstream of religious thought. But religious conservatives have had a great deal of success with that idea in recent years even though it leads to contradictions and nonsense. The promote the Bible as containing easy answers to common everyday problems which has a strong appeal to certain types of people who want to see everything in black and white. It's distressing because they give the rest of us a bad name.

      July 29, 2013 at 11:38 am |
      • photografr7

        If God is all-knowing and the Bible is the word of God, why is the Bible so wrong in so many ways?

        July 29, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  14. Rob

    I'm sick of false dichotomy journalism – people arent just "types" that magically confirm to these half-ass journalist's categories. The more you try to quantify reality – the more you miss the deeper intrinsic truths. There are as many 'types of atheists' as there are atheist. If you want to really get to know someone – talk to them, observe them, laugh with them, cry with them. Even myers-briggs fails to an extent when trying to grasp someone's character.

    July 27, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  15. skytag

    @chance: "the bible gives you the person behind the process of life, the universe not the actual scientific play by play."

    The Bible gives you comforting fairytales. God is credited with creating everything to support the idea that he has power and authority over us. If the story were that God just happened upon us instead of creating us then most people's response to claims we should obey him would be "Get lost. Go back where you came from."

    On the other hand, if he is responsible for our existence and everything we enjoy and need in this life, then we clearly owe him something.

    July 26, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • Austin

      On the other hand, if he is responsible for our existence and everything we enjoy and need in this life, then we clearly owe him something.

      Dont forget to sleep .

      July 27, 2013 at 10:17 am |
      • skytag

        Why did you bother quoting me? Note that I said "If." It's a big if that isn't satisfied if he doesn't exist.

        July 27, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • photografr7

          If you were to ask a believer how he knows that God exists, he will likely give one of three answers: 1) faith 2) the Bible says so 3) evidence (the universe, etc.) proves it. As far as "the Bible says so," that's like asking someone if what's written on the Internet (or Wikipedia) is true. When you ask them how they know it's true, they say "Because the Internet says so."

          July 28, 2013 at 9:19 am |
        • jaareshiah

          I again came across one of your responses to skytag, saying that "If you were to ask a believer how he knows that God exists, he will likely give one of three answers: 1) faith 2) the Bible says so 3) evidence (the universe, etc.) proves it." Well I will give it try to show that there is a Creator.

          Lets preview some evidence and in which it can be asked, Does precision and organization arise by accident ? For example, the layout of the galaxies in the universe shows exacting organization, being arranged in clusters and super clusters. Our Milky Way galaxy is part of the Local Group that consists of some 54 galaxies that is part of the Virgo Supercluster that has at least 100 groups of galaxies that is organized into what is called filaments, like a spider's web, and not scattered randomly.

          We all know that a well organized home does not come accidentally, so how could this colossal organizational arrangement have occurred without the hand of a super human power ? And further consider, How could all the galaxies be in exacting motion along with the individual stars along with the planets and moons that circle them ?

          For instance, we know that each car in, say the city of New York, has a driver that keeps it from (hopefully) crashing into other cars. So what keeps the galaxies and stars and planets and moons all in their precise respective orbits so that they do not collide with each other ?

          Motion does not happen at random but is an action by an outside force, for Newton's laws of motion says that (1st law) that an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted on by an external force. So who or what is the "external force" that placed them in their flight path and maintains their precise movement ? Our moon's orbit is so precise that it can determined where it will be several thousand years in advance, if need be.

          And also give thought as to why the moon is so vital for life. For example, if there was no moon for the earth, which by the way is 1/4 the size of the earth (which is absolutely critical when calculations are made for the amount gravity needed for earth's tilt of 23.45 degrees, causing our four seasons), then the earth's tilt would range from 0 to 85 degrees, making life impossible. An accident ?

          Even the size of the earth is crucial, for if it were slightly smaller, then gravity would be less, causing water and the atmosphere to dissipate into space. On the other hand, of the earth were slightly larger, gravity would be stronger and then the light gas of hydrogen (much lighter than air) would not disperse into space at its now prescribed rate, eventually resulting in the earth being unable to sustain life. It is an explosive hazard when concentrations exceed 4 percent. High concentrations causes suffocation.

          So where should the evidence lead us ? That a Supreme Designer created all life and the universe and made the earth for humans to enjoy, along with all other life on it. However, due to hatred, destruction of the earth's ecology, sickness and death (caused by a rebel son of God called Satan), life is not fulfilling, but is a "hit and miss" situation of any happiness.

          But our Maker made life to be enthralling, to be deeply satisfying. Anyone who wishes can become part of His grand living arrangement on a paradise earth that he has purposed in the near future. You can be a part of it too.

          April 30, 2014 at 7:56 am |
        • skytag

          Using the Bible to prove God is real is like using The Night Before Christmas to prove Santa Claus is real or The Lord of the Rings to prove hobbits are real.

          July 29, 2013 at 1:31 am |
  16. skytag

    @AE: "Maybe you are wrong about your assumptions."

    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 demonic possession. In times past those were common explanations from folks 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 wrong, but have been wrong on multiple occasions. 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, yes, we could be wrong, the odds are decidedly in our favor. Sorry.

    July 26, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • AE

      "you folks" "your side"? "our favor"?

      Sorry, but all you are proving to me is that you are incredibly arrogant. I can't let you just "sit" there and do nothing but try and take credit for "your side" that you probably have done very little for.

      There are way too many great scientific minds that happen to believe in God for you to take sides on this issue.

      There are churches that embraces science. It supports, encourages and educates about the subject.

      Tell me something you have actually done that has contributed to the advancement of medical or technological advancements.

      I promise I can find someone from "the other side" that can top you.

      Do you have the courage to take that challenge?

      July 26, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
      • skytag

        You're pathetic. All you seem to have are personal attacks. My personal contributions to the advancement of science are irrelevant. The suggestion that one's arguments only have merit if one is a noted scientist is just stupid. It makes no more sense than saying your arguments only have merit if you're rich.

        If you actually had any valid counter arguments to what I'm saying you would offer them. Your need to resort to these personal attacks and lame tactics only prove you know you don't have any such counter arguments. You're one of the poorest excuses for a Christian I've seen here. You're doing more to damage the image of Christianity than I ever could. Keep it up.

        July 26, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
        • AE

          I LOVE how you resort to personal attacks...while accusing me of resorting to personal attacks. 🙂

          July 26, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
        • AE

          You're pathetic. (PERSONAL ATTACK!) All you seem to have are personal attacks.

          You don't see the hypocrisy?

          July 26, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
        • skytag

          @AE: "I LOVE how you resort to personal attacks"

          I don't "resort" to personal attacks, because I have defended my positions with sound logic and reasoning. All you have is personal attacks. Seriously, I'm happy to see you act like a jerk, as it only undermines any notion that Christianity has a positive effect on people. There are wonderful Christians and there are jerks like you, but that's just who each of you are by nature.

          July 27, 2013 at 12:07 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "You don't see the hypocrisy?"

          I said earlier that you were a slow learner, but I was wrong. That would imply you are capable of learning and adjusting your behavior, which is clearly not the case. Please reread my comment about hypocrisy. If you aren't smart enough to understand it, find someone who is to explain it to you.

          July 27, 2013 at 12:09 am |
        • AE

          What do you call a person that criticizes a person for using snide remarks, and then uses snide remarks himself?

          July 27, 2013 at 12:32 am |
        • answer

          a skytag?

          July 27, 2013 at 12:40 am |
        • Austin

          a wife

          July 27, 2013 at 10:20 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "What do you call a person that criticizes a person for using snide remarks, and then uses snide remarks himself?"

          I didn't criticize you for them, I merely pointed them out since a true Christian wouldn't engage in such behavior. A true Christian would also express regret and stop doing something once it was pointed out to him, but all you've ever done is attack me for saying it. If you really believe all that Christian stuff you might consider acting like a Christian, of only so you don't make other Christians look bad.

          July 27, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
        • Maani

          The most amusing comment so far is Skytag's comment about what a "true Christian" would do, since, based on his hundreds of posts, his knowledge of what might even be CALLED "true Christianity" is weak at best, absent at worst.

          July 27, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Jesus said "Turn the other cheek" and "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." From the behavior of the christians on this blog, it appears that Jesus didn't know jack about how christians should behave.

          July 29, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
        • photografr7

          Millions of human beings have been slaughtered in the name of Christianity. Where was "turn the other cheek" then? If I found out that the "club" I belonged to had carried out atrocities, I would terminate my membership immediately. To remain means you condone their actions.

          July 29, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
        • Maani

          Tallulah: I think you have it backward. Jesus DID know how Christians should behave. The problem is that all too many don't follow His example.

          photografr7: "If I found out that the "club" I belonged to had carried out atrocities, I would terminate my membership immediately. To remain means you condone their actions." Like they say, be careful what you wish for... The "atheist" club includes anti-theist people like Lenin, Stalin and Mao who committed as many atrocities as did religionists. So are you "condoning" their actions?

          July 30, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
        • photografr7

          Maani, you are confused. Stalin and the others were atheists, indeed, but they didn't commit those atrocities in the name of atheism. They just happened to be atheists who committed atrocities. On the other hand, the atrocities committed by Christians were done in the name of Christ. When I spoke about withdrawing from a club, I meant a club filled with like ideas, not a club that happens to have a few bad apples.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
        • Maani

          photografr7: You teach the history of modern science? Well, this is something I teach. Many if not most of the policies of Lenin and Stalin – which led to the deaths (including murders) of at least 50 million people – were SPECIFICALLY anti-theist policies. They were NOT just atheists who "happened" to commit atrocities. They were atheists who (i) murdered believers BECAUSE they were believers, and (ii) systematically attempted to dismantle the entire religious structure of the country, including burning down or otherwise destroying thousands of houses of worship. If we add Mao into the mix, we can add another 50 million dead, again at least partly, if not mostly, as the result of SPECIFICALLY anti-theist policies.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:07 am |
      • Fernando

        There's one fatal flaw in your argument. He neither stated or suggested that there aren't "many great scientific minds that happen to believe in God." Nor did he say or imply that his personal contributions to science were superior to those of Christians.
        You made that all up. It seems that you weren't comfortable arguing the argument, so you just changed the parameters of the argument.

        July 27, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
        • larrylivingston

          Errr, wait though. I am unaware of ANY great scientist living today who is a christian...so please name him. Show me an example of JUST ONE great biologist, physicist, mathematician, or astronomer living today who is a christian. (and no, whoever the idiot was who made up the creation museum does not count as being "great" LOL).

          July 28, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
        • Maani

          LL: Francis Collins is a world-respected geneticist who headed up the Human Genome Project. He is also a Christian.

          July 28, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
        • Maani

          LL: William Phillips is a Nobel Laureate in Physics, and a devout Christian. BTW, in studies and polls taken over a period of 90 years (the first on in 1916, the most recent in 2006), every single poll of active scientists has showed that between 30% and 40% are believers (in God), and that fully one-quarter to one-third of THAT number are Christians. As well, of the 60% to 70% that do NOT believe in God, the majority are "spiritual" in one way or another; i.e., they are not atheist, but agnostic or even a tad more than agnostic.

          July 28, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
        • photografr7

          As a famous atheist once said, "You can believe anything you want, but keep your beliefs out of the laboratory." What he meant was, Christianity and science cannot co-exist. If you believe in miracles or if you believe that prayer can change physics, chemistry or genetics, or if you believe that dinosaurs lived with ancient man, or that the universe is 10,000 years old, you have no business being a working scientist. [A doctor is NOT a scientist by the way] .

          July 28, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
        • Maani

          photografr7: Excuse me? Please tell me why you are putting words in to Larry's mouth. He said, "I am unaware of ANY great scientist living today who is a christian...so please name him. Show me an example of JUST ONE great biologist, physicist, mathematician, or astronomer living today who is a Christian." How do YOU know that he "meant" something other than what his question clearly asks? I responded to his question. End of story.

          July 29, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
        • photografr7

          John Carson Lennox is a Christian. He is also a British mathematician and philosopher of science , a Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, a Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College. He also an idiot.

          July 29, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
        • Maani

          photografr7: "He also an idiot." I need not tell you that resorting to ad hominem attack is the mark of someone who has nothing to say. Apparently you also an idiot. LOL.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
        • photografr7

          Calling someone an idiot is not an attack. It's my personal assessment of their mental ability on the genius-to-idiot scale.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
      • blammage

        AE, here's your problem sport. In your post, you say that many intelligent people believe in god. I believe you are using specious reasoning to try to make an invalid point. Just because someone is intelligent, doesn't make them brave.

        Intelligent people can still be afraid of many things, including what might happen to them after death for example. Their choice to believe in a god, likely has more to do with fear, than an objective and analytic examination of the available information. In my experience, one of the bigger factors in becoming a non-believer is the strength (read: bravery) to cast off the shackles of the belief systems of the majority, and face life's trials and tribulations without the comfort afforded by religion.

        Strength (bravery) and intelligence are two completely different things. Your seeming confusion on the subject is just one more example of believers choosing to see and believe what they wish while ignoring the obvious.

        Intelligence is but one factor in the overall equation, although by and large, people of higher intelligence are more likely to be non-believers than believers. In fact, many in the scientific community believe that the increasing march of the average level of human intelligence (I.Q.) is just one reason that we have more non-believers now, than at any other time in history. There are of course other contributing factors, such as an increased tolerance for differing points of view and protections for those in society's minorities, but the trend is undeniable.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
        • photografr7

          During the middle ages, most if not all people believed in God, and a certain percentage of them were no doubt intelligent. Therefore, being intelligent doesn't mean you are always right, or always moral, or always nice.

          July 30, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
        • johnsullivanmusic

          aaaz

          July 31, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Kev

      Skytag, You haven't given any specific examples that actually show without any doubt whatsover that science has proven my beliefs to be wrong.

      July 26, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
      • skytag

        Perhaps, but what I have shown is that the underlying basis for your beliefs is fundamentally flawed, as it has on many occasions in the past been the basis for beliefs that turned out to be false. In fact, as I pointed out, there has yet to be a single case where beliefs based on it were confirmed to be true.

        When people hear something, they tend to react in one of two ways. If it's something they want to believe they ask, "Can I believe it?" If it's something they don't want to believe, they ask, "Must I believe it?"

        This phenomena is strongly present in your comments, especially this one. Basically your position is that despite any evidence supporting them, you will cling to your beliefs unless something forces you to abandon them. This makes you anything but objective when evaluating arguments and evidence, and having such an clear agenda makes your conclusions unreliable.

        July 27, 2013 at 12:00 am |
        • AE

          What about this:

          “It may seem bizarre, but in my opinion science offers a surer path to God than religion.”

          –Physicist Paul Davies, the winner of the 2001 Kelvin Medal issued by the Inst..tute of Physics and the winner of the 2002 Faraday Prize issued by the Royal Society (amongst other awards), as cited in his book God and the New Physics.

          --–

          I'm going to trust this guy over you, skytag. No offense, but all you are offering is a strong opinion.

          July 27, 2013 at 12:05 am |
        • AE

          Man I love science!

          And I love the scientists that know and trust in God.

          Hallelujah!

          “God [is] the author of the universe, and the free establisher of the laws of motion.”

          –Physicist and chemist Robert Boyle, who is considered to be the founder of modern chemistry.

          July 27, 2013 at 12:07 am |
        • Kev

          Actually, you haven't proven any flaws whatsoever

          July 27, 2013 at 12:11 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "What about this: ... I'm going to trust this guy over you, skytag. No offense"

          Why would I be offended by the fact that you seek bias confirmation? I already explained why these quotes are nothing more than card-stacking (a propaganda technique) and an attempt to use an appeal-to-authority logical fallacy.

          Nor am I offended by the intellectually dishonest way in which you completely ignore my comments pointing out the fallacy of using such arguments.

          I finally, I am not offended that you completely ignored the content of my comment because you had no counter argument. In fact, I appreciate the fact the implication that you know I had a valid point.

          "but all you are offering is a strong opinion."

          It is not an opinion that believing in the supernatural has frequently led people to believe things later demonstrated to be false. That's an historical and scientific fact, and that was my point here.

          July 27, 2013 at 12:17 am |
        • AE

          skytag

          All you are doing is spouting off opinions and insisting that you are being logical and reasonable.

          You are all talk.

          You claim "your side" has exclusive claim to science.

          Yet there are way too many Christians ("the other side") that have actually contributed more than you.

          July 27, 2013 at 12:30 am |
        • AE

          "I already explained why these quotes are nothing more than card-stacking (a propaganda technique) and an attempt to use an appeal-to-authority logical fallacy."

          And I disagreed with you. That was so silly I ignored it.

          Pope on a Rope said most scientists viewed Christianity as a fraud.

          I provided some quotes that countered his statments... from actual scientists.

          It really was a valid use of a quote.

          You are the one taking my quotes – and using them in the same way you accuse me of doing.

          CAN YOU REALLY NOT SEE YOURSELF DOING THE EXACT THING YOU CRITICIZE ME OF DOING?

          Practice what you preach. Please.

          July 27, 2013 at 12:39 am |
        • Observer

          "I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature."
          - Albert Einstein, The World As I See It

          July 27, 2013 at 12:47 am |
        • skytag

          @Kev: "Actually, you haven't proven any flaws whatsoever"

          I cannot force you to accept reality. I've known that from the beginning, but you are clearly wrong.

          The basis for your beliefs has led people to believe things that turned out to be false. This is an historical fact, and I have given a specific example. If a reasoning process can produce a false conclusion, it is flawed. You can deny this, of course, just as I can deny the sun is hot, but you cannot make reality go away by denying it. A reasoning process that leads to false conclusions, even if only sometimes, is flawed in some way.

          I prefaced my comment with the observation that none of you ever address my point, and you are no different. My point, in case it wasn't clear to you, is that in times past people have attributed phenomena in the physical world to supernatural causes, only to have science later debunk those explanations.

          The example I gave was attributing disease to evil spirits, but there are others. Once it has been established that claims something is the work of supernatural forces can be and have been wrong, then all such claims become suspect, especially since no such claims have ever be proven to be correct.

          So basically, if you make a bunch of claims, and some of them are shown to be false while none have been shown to be true, you're record isn't very encouraging and your reasoning process is highly suspect.

          If you predicted the winner of the Super Bowl for the next 20 years, and you were wrong the first 5 years, don't be offended if people don't put much stock in the remaining 15 predictions. 😉

          Basically that's what's happening here. Over the centuries there have been many claims regarding the supernatural. Some have been proven wrong, none have been proven to be accurate, and the jury is still out on the rest of them.

          July 27, 2013 at 12:48 am |
        • AE

          “The more I study science, the more I believe in God.”

          –Albert Einstein

          “I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon. I want to know his thoughts; the rest are details.”

          –Albert Einstein

          July 27, 2013 at 12:48 am |
        • AE

          – The example I gave was attributing disease to evil spirits, but there are others. –

          This is what the best scientific minds came up with, too.

          I can find you medical references, that have no references to religion, that describe blood letting as a sound medical treatment.

          Really? We used to have poor medical understanding? NO KIDDING! I can't imagine any church denying that fact. It doesn't really prove your point.

          Have you ever looked in the medical breakthroughs that have come out of Christian societies?

          Ever wonder why a lot of hospitals have a Christian name?

          You really are not proving anything to anyone... but yourself.

          July 27, 2013 at 12:55 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: Your continued use of quotes as part of an 'appeal to authority' logical fallacy even after I have explained why they don't prove anything make it clear you have no interest in honest discourse.

          July 27, 2013 at 12:57 am |
        • Observer

          "It was, of course, a LIE what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

          - Albert Einstein, letter to an atheist, 2/24/1954

          July 27, 2013 at 12:57 am |
        • Kev

          How did John Wilkes Booth kill Abraham Lincoln when it was clearly a piece of lead projected out of a small metal tube which went right into Lincoln's head destroying brain tissue that really killed him? Ahh, the clarity science brings.

          July 27, 2013 at 1:01 am |
        • AE

          skytag

          @AE: Your continued use of quotes as part of an 'appeal to authority' logical fallacy even after I have explained why they don't prove anything make it clear you have no interest in honest discourse.

          Uh.. you didn't have a problem with A Pope On The Rope's 'appeal to authority', did you?

          Just my use of an 'appal to authority' to counter his.

          Just because you explain your opinion about something, doesn't prove anything.

          You do not hold some exclusive access to truth.

          Only a God is capable of doing something like that. And you are not God.

          July 27, 2013 at 1:03 am |
        • AE

          You also don't have a problem with Observer's 'appeal to authority'.

          July 27, 2013 at 1:05 am |
        • Kev

          Has it ever come across to you that the simplest explanation may not always fit the bill. If you feel that that you can so affirmitvely conclude that there is no God then you would at least have to have to start with very definitive idea of what God is and what are God's intentions. So how does your school of thought apply regarding the fewest of explanations and fewest assumptions apply when it comes to God who does not want to be made readily known in the first place, but wants us to develop faith in that God instead.Your school of thought could apply well if the notion of God was a God who either wants to be made known or doesn't care whether or not to be made known, but your school of thought doesn't apply at all if said God does not want to be made known but would rather have humanity develop faith, which is not a perfect knowledge. The problem is most believers believe in that type of God, which your school of thought cannot set those parameters around.Now if that school of thought helps you come to a belief or an opinion that there is no God then fine, because I certainly could not bring any solid evidence to contradict that belief, but if your proclaiming that there is no God to be a fact, there really is no basis for that fact.

          July 27, 2013 at 1:06 am |
        • AE

          Kev –

          I'm not very familiar with Ravi Zacharias, but I love this quote:

          “To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, “I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge”

          July 27, 2013 at 1:09 am |
        • Ken

          AE
          Problem is, a great many atheists don't really claim to know for certain that there are no gods anywhere, only that all the claims of gods so far fail to prove that any actually do exist.

          July 27, 2013 at 1:25 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          AE, if you want to bring up your supposed being of infinite anything and assert that it is real, you can do that all day long. You can't by wishful thinking, or an ontological proof, or by any means at all make it real if it is not. You also can't provide anyone with sufficient evidence to raise the question of its reality to where it merits (much less demands) consideration.

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

          And you can post on a blog dedicated to faith and belief all day long, too.

          I gotta think God gets a kick out of it. (Because you are here a lot, talking about God).

          July 27, 2013 at 2:06 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          To oppose unfounded belief, and the worst of it – religion.

          What you said earlier suggests that your belief is justified by something that is accessible only to the believer, only once the believer does believe. Do you know that this would not happen with belief in anything else?

          July 27, 2013 at 2:31 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "I already explained why these quotes are nothing more than card-stacking (a propaganda technique) and an attempt to use an appeal-to-authority logical fallacy."

          "And I disagreed with you. That was so silly I ignored it."

          Both assessments are accurate, but it's become apparent you'll say anything with no regard for the truth. You don't try to engage in discussion, you simply try to wear people down with a constant stream of personal attacks and belittling remarks. I've seen that strategy many times. The goal is to be frustrating and obnoxious enough that your opponent gives up trying to reason with you, at which point you tell yourself you've won the argument because you're the last man standing, although I strongly suspect from your commenting style that you're a woman.

          "Pope on a Rope said most scientists viewed Christianity as a fraud."

          So? I am not him.

          "I provided some quotes that countered his statments... from actual scientists."

          As I explained, and you ignored, posting a few quotes from a handful of scientists out of tens or hundreds of thousands of scientists only proves that not all scientists view Christianity as a fraud, although I would point out that as I recall some of those comments didn't mention Christianity specifically. In any case, I doubt anyone here is dumb enough to believe ten or twenty quotes proves something about "most" scientists.

          To disprove his statement about "most" scientists, which is more than half, you would need the results of some poll or survey, not a few cherry-picked quotes you picked because they support your side.

          "It really was a valid use of a quote."

          Valid for what, proving that there are scientists who believe in God? No one has suggested otherwise. Perhaps the problem here is one of reading comprehension. "Most" is not "all." Had Pope on a Rope said all scientists viewed Christianity as a fraud then indeed you only needed one quote to prove him wrong. But he said most scientists viewed Christianity as a fraud, which means more than half, and you can't disprove that with a dozen quotes unless there are less than two dozen scientists, which I don't believe is the case.

          Now, to be clear, I have no idea if he's correct or not, and am not taking a stand regarding his claim, I'm only saying you haven't debunked it, not by a long shot.

          "You are the one taking my quotes – and using them in the same way you accuse me of doing."

          Rubbish. I haven't used them at all.

          "CAN YOU REALLY NOT SEE YOURSELF DOING THE EXACT THING YOU CRITICIZE ME OF DOING?"

          No. Your delusions are private to you.

          "Practice what you preach. Please."

          Give it a rest. It's not my fault you suck at debate. I think your problem is that you've been winning arguments by bullying people so long you don't even know how to do anything else. You can't bully me. You keep posting nonsense and I'll keep explaining why it's nonsense. Works for me if it works for you. 😉

          July 27, 2013 at 4:36 am |
        • AE

          "Blind Spots are those personal habits that we can't see about ourselves that everybody else can see."

          We all have these.

          When I point these out to you, you start crying about it being a personal attack.

          Personal attack? Like you are running for Congress or something?

          I don't know you personally, so how can I personally attack you?

          I'm attacking what you say and how you present yourself.

          Arrogant. Rude. Hypocritical.

          Your actions speak louder than your words.

          July 27, 2013 at 4:51 am |
        • skytag

          @Kev: "Has it ever come across to you that the simplest explanation may not always fit the bill."

          Of course, silly. However, I do believe Occam's Razor has merit:

          Occam's razor ... is a principle of parsimony, economy, or succinctness used in logic and problem-solving. It states that among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected. In other words, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. – Wikipedia

          For example, you come home from vacation and find everything in your home as you left it. Here are two hypotheses to explain this:

          1) Someone broke into your home, took copious pictures detailing where everything was, rummaged through your stuff, and then using the pictures he took as a guide put everything back the way he found it.

          2) No one was been in your home while you were gone.

          Both are plausible hypotheses, so which one do you choose to believe? If you're like most people, you'll find the second one more likely.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:04 am |
        • skytag

          @Kev: "If you feel that that you can so affirmitvely conclude that there is no God then you would at least have to have to start with very definitive idea of what God is and what are God's intentions."

          Not so much. I just need to see some reason to believe I need to turn to a supernatural being to explain something. History has demonstrated on many occasions the danger of attributing phenomenon in the physical world to supernatural causes.

          "So how does your school of thought apply regarding the fewest of explanations and fewest assumptions apply when it comes to God who does not want to be made readily known in the first place, but wants us to develop faith in that God instead."

          The claims that God doesn't want to be "readily known" and carefully avoids providing evidence of his existence were contrived to explain the lack of evidence. In fact, the latter one is used to get you to believe it's actually desirable to have no evidence. Any religion worth a hoot will have some teaching whose sole purpose is to deal with the inevitable "Where's your evidence?" questions. What you said is the Christian answer, to which I would respond, "how convenient."

          This raises another question I've posed many times but none of you folks has ever tried to address. Christians frequently tell me I need to seek God to know he exists. This "seeking" process involves time, energy, and effort to engage in activities such a praying and reading the Bible. But if from the outset I see no reason to believe God exists, what's my incentive to invest that time and energy seeking him?

          To me it makes as much sense as digging up my yard looking for buried treasure or flying Ireland to seek leprechauns.

          The people willing to invest that effort is a sincere effort to find God want to find him. But the very fact that they want to find him means they will not be objective as they evaluate potential evidence. Instead they'll be trying to find evidence of his existence, and when people are looking for evidence to support a bias they can always find it, particularly when the evidence is all in your perceptions, in your mind.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:29 am |
        • skytag

          @Kev: "Your school of thought could apply well if the notion of God was a God who either wants to be made known or doesn't care whether or not to be made known, but your school of thought doesn't apply at all if said God does not want to be made known but would rather have humanity develop faith, which is not a perfect knowledge."

          Unfortunately this just sounds like a copout, an excuse. My take on it is that if God has worked so hard to ensure I'd have no reason to believe he exists then he shouldn't have a problem if he's successful and I believe he doesn't exist.

          Frankly, it seems inconsistent to me for people to act as if it's sooooo important to believe in a God who has been so careful to avoid giving anyone a reason to believe in him.

          "The problem is most believers believe in that type of God, which your school of thought cannot set those parameters around."

          Religions are basically conspiracy theories. They start with a few unproven beliefs, and then as question arise their followers come up with an ever expanding web of theories to provide answers to key questions and explain away what appear to be inconsistencies. In a fully mature religion the web is complete enough to provide answers for almost any question one would pose. The problem for the skeptic is that there is no evidence for anything in the web and so nothing in the web of theories can be tested objectively. You are expected to accept everything in it on faith.

          Typically this process leads to a characterization of God as a being so advanced, powerful, immortal, and not subject to the laws of time, matter, and space that his followers can make up any excuse they choose to address questions, since nothing about their god (or gods) can be subjected to any kind of objective verification or scrutiny, just like everything else in the religion.

          If you want to believe in this God then you happily accept all these unsupported explanations with little or no hesitation. But if you lack that bias of wanting to believe from the outset you'll want some evidence showing the belief system in question is anything more then the product of some creative imaginations.

          "Now if that school of thought helps you come to a belief or an opinion that there is no God then fine, because I certainly could not bring any solid evidence to contradict that belief, but if your proclaiming that there is no God to be a fact, there really is no basis for that fact."

          Do you believe it's a fact that there is no Santa Claus, or is it just your opinion, and you could be wrong? How about leprechauns, vampires, and extraterrestrials living among us? And do you apply this same standard to God? Is it just your opinion God exists and you could be wrong, or do you believe it's a fact?

          July 27, 2013 at 5:50 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "I'm not very familiar with Ravi Zacharias, but I love this quote:"

          I'm not surprised, as it's BS. There is no rational basis for it whatsoever.

          July 27, 2013 at 5:53 am |
        • skytag

          @IMHO: "p.s. We are on our own here on planet Earth – no one is out there – no one is coming. We need to do the best we can to make things nice."

          I hope you aren't including Santa Claus in that, because if he isn't coming I'm gonna be sad.

          July 27, 2013 at 6:34 am |
        • AE

          We are human beings, not rational beings.

          A rational being is like a robot.

          Love is not rational.

          Music in not rational.

          Art is not rational.

          Life is not rational.

          I'm sure you can type a long and boring argument that shows you think it is, but there is more to life than being rational.

          God wants our hearts, so he speaks to our hearts.

          Those who can't see this are described as blind. The book even says 'you have eyes but don't see'.

          Spiritually blind.

          Perhaps you are so caught up in being right and so rational, you are blind to God.

          Seek humility – because you are human.

          July 27, 2013 at 10:01 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: – The example I gave was attributing disease to evil spirits, but there are others. –

          "This is what the best scientific minds came up with, too."

          Not based on science. What you say does nothing to invalidate my point, which is that when people believe in the supernatural they'll attribute phenomenon in the real world to with even though they have no rational reason to do so. They do because they want an explanation so badly they'd rather had one they made up with no reason to believe it than admit they just don't know the cause.

          What you people refuse to acknowledge, and perhaps even recognize is that if some phenomenon in the real world have been falsely claimed to have supernatural causes then other claims not yet proven one way or the other could also be wrong. For example, just as evil spirits don't make people sick, maybe the universe wasn't created by a supernatural power.

          Think of it this way: You predict the outcomes of the next 20 Super Bowls. After five years all of your first five predictions turned out to be wrong. Fifteen of your predictions are for games that haven't been played, so we can't know if those predictions are accurate or not. However, given your track record so far there isn't much reason to believe the next 15 will be correct.

          Similarly, humans have made hundreds of claims of supernatural forces causing one thing or another in the world around us. In every cases where we've been able to determine the validity of those claims they've turned out to be false. There are still plenty for which the jury is still out, such as the claim God created the universe. But given the religionists' no-wins-so-far record I see no reason to put any stock in any of these claims.

          "I can find you medical references, that have no references to religion, that describe blood letting as a sound medical treatment."

          So what? If it makes any claim that involves spirits, demons, or other supernatural forces it's an example of someone who believes in supernatural forces wrongly claiming with no evidence that they are responsible for something they aren't. It doesn't matter if it's a formal religious teaching or not. It's still an example of people wrongly attributing something to supernatural forces.

          "Really? We used to have poor medical understanding? NO KIDDING! I can't imagine any church denying that fact. It doesn't really prove your point."

          Of course it does. You can't justify them blaming evil spirits for disease just because they don't know the real reason. They could have said, "We just don't know." That's what medical science does today and they could have done the exact same thing 200 or 500 or 5000 years ago. The only reason that idiocy is far less common today is that so many of those baseless claims have been debunked.

          "Have you ever looked in the medical breakthroughs that have come out of Christian societies?"

          Total non sequitur. You suck at debate. You need to take a course in logic, because you really stink at it.

          "Ever wonder why a lot of hospitals have a Christian name?"

          Another non sequitur.

          "You really are not proving anything to anyone... but yourself."

          Your assessment of my arguments is meaningless. Your logic sucks, your capacity for understanding my arguments is minimal at best, and you have no interest in objective discussion. You have an agenda, so instead of trying to understand my arguments you're just rattling off a lot of irrelevant stuff that does nothing to address my actual points and then declaring I haven't proved anything.

          You're not a very honest person. I suspect you get away with these kinds of tactics in real life because people don't want to risk having to deal with your nasty personality when you can't get your way, but this is the Internet. That trick won't work here, at least not on me.

          July 27, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        While some scientists have expressed opinions about the validity of religious beliefs, I don't know that many, if any, have attempted to prove or disprove religion using the scientific method. It is far more significant to me that no believer, not even a top-dog charlatan shaman such as any Pope-A-Dope, cannot provide factual, independent, verifiable and objective evidence for their cult's beliefs.

        July 27, 2013 at 12:39 am |
        • skytag

          Their answer to this is to claim it's actually better to not have evidence. How convenient, since they obviously don't have any.

          July 27, 2013 at 1:01 am |
        • uncommonly quite

          Where have I seen this before?

          Joe 2:27 And ye shall know that I [am] in the midst of Israel, and [that] I [am] the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

          Oh... here: Acts 2:17

          Hearing, seeing, dreaming, God doing things... in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

          July 27, 2013 at 8:49 am |
      • AE

        You mean God is unlike anything else?

        Yes. Put your trust and confidence and God, and see what happens.

        If you can seek humility, he can work wonders in your life.

        July 27, 2013 at 3:19 am |
        • IMHO

          AE,

          Are you saying that you have humility? From what I have read here, my humble opinion is – no. You sound sort of arrogant and co.cksure.

          July 27, 2013 at 3:37 am |
        • AE

          I've been an atheist for a long time, so, yea, I'm a lot like the other people on this page. You are right.

          I'm working on humility. And I'm working on seeking God.

          July 27, 2013 at 3:42 am |
        • Tim Haley

          @AE

          How are you seeking God ? And since you think you have, wh

          November 1, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
        • IMHO

          While it sounds kind of unhumble to say that I'm humble, I'm pretty sure that I am.

          I sought your "God" for over 50 years, with no answer.

          The likelihood that the fantasy "God" of the ancient Hebrews is real is nil. It's a good thing too, because that one is quite horrid. If there is some other one out there, we are not in on it.

          July 27, 2013 at 3:54 am |
        • Tim Haley

          @IMHO

          You were seeking "God" in the wrong place for all those 50 years, just as a geologists who drills where there is no oil, turning up a "dry hole". To look in the churches of Christendom for who God really is, is like going to an auto parts store for groceries; you won't find any. To look in Eastern religions, such as the three major ones of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, will also be a "dead end street" in looking for God.

          The Bible establishes that there is only "one faith" at Ephesians 4:5, not "many roads leading to God". Jesus said that "broad and spacious (any religious thought no matter how bizarre) is the road leading off into destruction.....whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road (difficult, tough to squeeze through) leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it."(Matt 7:13, 14)

          And at Micah 4, it says that in our time period, that "in the final part of the days (or "in the last days"), the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains. And it will be raised up above the hills, and to it peoples will stream. And many nations will go and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah and to house of the God of Jacob. He will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.....They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation."(Micah 4:1-3)

          Thus, only in this "mountain of Jehovah" will anyone learn about God accurately. All other places are "dry holes".

          November 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
        • IMHO

          p.s. We are on our own here on planet Earth - no one is out there - no one is coming. We need to do the best we can to make things nice.

          July 27, 2013 at 4:02 am |
        • AE

          Humility is not:
          – being judgmental (don't expect others to behave like us)
          – vanity (being self consumed leaves no room for humble behavior)

          * Being a doormat does not demonstrate humility
          * Treasure the value of all human life, including your own

          Areas to find humility:
          -The words you say.
          -Avoid boasting and bragging.

          Humility requires a sacrifice of pride and a paradigm shift away from self-centerdness. In a world that encourages self indulgence and material wealth, humility may be challenging to acquire.

          The benefits include peace, wisdom, respect and healthy relationships.

          July 27, 2013 at 4:06 am |
        • AE

          That is from something I wrote down, but can't remember from where. But I have notes on humility I read when I start to not act humble.

          I just wanted to share. Peace.

          July 27, 2013 at 4:09 am |
        • AE

          When Martin Luther King, JR promises "I just want to do God's will!", it sends chills down my back.

          That man trusted and placed his confidence in God.

          I've been seeking and finding this God.

          He exceeds all human understanding, just like MLK promises happened to him.

          I can not deny God anymore. Honest.

          July 27, 2013 at 4:14 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "You mean God is unlike anything else?"

          He's like everything else that doesn't exist.

          "Yes. Put your trust and confidence and God, and see what happens."

          Why should I "put my trust" in something I have no reason to believe exists? And even if I did, in which god or collection of gods should I put it and why?

          "If you can seek humility, he can work wonders in your life."

          You are too funny. You are the most obnoxious person to come along in this discussion. You have been insulting, dishonest and intellectually dishonest, arrogant and smug. You have foolishly tried to excuse that behavior by attacking me, but in doing so all you've really demonstrated is that all your believing in God has done nothing to make you a better person than I am, at best. You are the best evidence I've seen in a while that Christianity is a fraud.

          July 27, 2013 at 6:12 am |
        • AE

          Are you trying to demonstrate to me how a person should act?

          You seem to do the exact same kind of things I do.

          When I point this out... you jump into denial mode.

          Can you admit that you are a bit hypocritical at times?

          (ps I've rarely met a person that isn't hypocritical. It is a pretty common human trait. All the defects you are pointing out in me – you possess, too. I possess them. So do you. Can you admit that?)

          July 27, 2013 at 10:05 am |
        • stephan

          @AE

          Further up you say "I've been an atheist for a long time", so you where not born into Christianity? Not born into it like many of us "athiests" who no longer recognize the ancient Hebrew god, thought up by goat herders as legit?

          This would explain your zeal as you bow to the goat herder god, your new found friend.

          July 28, 2013 at 9:19 am |
        • TG

          How can we show our trust and confidence in God ? How is what Solomon wrote in the Bible book of Proverbs to be applied, whereby he said: "Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways, take notice of him, and he will make your paths straight" ?(Prov 3:5, 6)

          Does trusting in God mean that his personal name of Jehovah is to be hidden or never used, like the churches have been doing for centuries ? How can a person become intimately acquainted with God without knowing and using his personal name ? Jesus said in prayer just hours before his death: "I have made your name manifest to the men whom you gave me out of the world."(John 17:6)

          How can we "not rely on (our ) understanding", but "take notice" of Jehovah God, so that our ' paths will be straight ' ? James, the half brother of Jesus Christ, told the apostles and older men in Jerusalem, that "Symeon has related thoroughly how God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name."(Acts 15:14) Thus, there would be a group of individuals that would become "a people for his name", standing for and making known the name of God as Jehovah.

          James may have been pointing to the Bible book of Exodus, for at Exodus 3, God tells Moses: "This is what you are to tell the Israelites, ' I Will Become has sent me to you.' " and then says: "This is what you are to say to the Israelites, ' Jehovah the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob has sent me to you'. This is my name forever, and this how I am to be remembered from generation to generation."(Ex 3:14, 15)

          So, is it not important to come to know God by his personal name, and become attached to the "people for his name", those who are his witnesses, those who are ' trusting in Jehovah' ?

          November 29, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
      • skytag

        @AE: "All you are doing is spouting off opinions and insisting that you are being logical and reasonable."

        If I weren't being logical and reasonable you should identify the flaws in my logic. Instead all you do is attack me.

        "You are all talk."

        And you are? LOL You are wasting your time with these incessant personal attacks. They don't bother me a bit because I see them for what they are, evidence that you have no counter arguments.

        "You claim "your side" has exclusive claim to science."

        Now you're just lying. I've never made any such claim. What I said, and it's factually accurate, is that there are many examples of science debunking claims of spiritual causation.

        "Yet there are way too many Christians ("the other side") that have actually contributed more than you."

        Snooze alert. These lame attempts to discredit me with personal attacks say a lot about you and nothing about me.

        July 27, 2013 at 4:14 am |
        • AE

          Science is science.

          It doesn't belong to atheists. It doesn't belong to Christians. It is just the study of the natural world.

          You seemed to make statements, by using words like "our side" that you could claim some kind of access to science I can't.

          Sorry. This is not a personal attack: there are Christians that have contributed more to science than you.

          Just as there are atheists that have contributed more to science than me.

          You started hostile posts against me, by pulling my quotes out of context from the conversation I was having and starting new threads with my quote as the topic.

          And please quit whining about personal attacks. If you can't take it, don't dish it out.

          July 27, 2013 at 4:24 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "Science is science. It doesn't belong to atheists. It doesn't belong to Christians. It is just the study of the natural world."

          Thanks, but we already knew that.

          "You seemed to make statements, by using words like "our side" that you could claim some kind of access to science I can't."

          I am not responsible for anything you chose to believe I meant when I said something else. I say what I mean and mean what I say. I use complete sentences, correct grammar, punctuation and spelling. If at any point you think I'm saying something I didn't actually say you're almost certainly wrong.

          "Sorry. This is not a personal attack: there are Christians that have contributed more to science than you."

          You keep saying that as if it has some value. It's a meaningless observation, and certainly doesn't invalidate my arguments in any way. Feel free to stop wasting your time arguing against a position I don't even hold anytime you think you're up to engaging in more honest dialog.

          "Just as there are atheists that have contributed more to science than me."

          Equally meaningless in this discussion. Frankly I have no idea why you've spent so much time and energy arguing with about scientists. I think it makes you look nuts. I wasn't the one who said most of them think Christianity is a fraud. In fact, I made no statements at all about what scientists believe regarding God. But hey, if you want to keep harping on this, feel free, I just think it makes you look a bit irrational to spend so much time arguing with someone when he hasn't commented on it one way or the other.

          "You started hostile posts against me, by pulling my quotes out of context from the conversation I was having and starting new threads with my quote as the topic."

          And this isn't whining because...? Once again it would seem you are using the "You did it first!" argument so popular with seven-year-olds.

          "And please quit whining about personal attacks."

          That trick won't work on me. You can't intimidate from confronting you with your behavior by calling it whining.

          "If you can't take it, don't dish it out."

          I'm taking it just fine. I'm only pointing out personal attacks are all you seem to have, which is indicative of a very weak position. Trust me, I've been discussing politics, and to a lesser extent religion online for many years. If personal attacks bothered me I'd have quit years ago.

          I am not whining or complaining and as I stated earlier I couldn't care less personally, as your attacks only make you look weak. I'm just pointing them to point out they're making you look weak. Flail away, baby. Sling poo to your heart's content. All it will do is make your finger smell bad. 😉

          July 27, 2013 at 6:32 am |
        • AE

          You are whining and complaining... about how you are not whining and complaining.

          CAN YOU REALLY NOT SEE YOURSELF DOING THIS?

          July 27, 2013 at 10:07 am |
      • skytag

        @AE: "Blind Spots are those personal habits that we can't see about ourselves that everybody else can see."

        "When I point these out to you, you start crying about it being a personal attack."

        Here we go, more belittling. So now I'm crying? In your dreams.

        "Personal attack? Like you are running for Congress or something?
        I don't know you personally, so how can I personally attack you?
        I'm attacking what you say and how you present yourself."

        What pathetic rubbish. Really, you're wasting your time with this nonsense.

        "Arrogant. Rude. Hypocritical."

        To answer your earlier question you could attack me by calling me arrogant, rude, and hypocritical. Oh wait, you just did. You could also call me incredibly arrogant and say I'm all talk. Oh wait, you did that earlier.

        "Your actions speak louder than your words."

        You're projecting. As usual, everything in this comment is an attempt to belittle and disparage me personally. Not one attempt to identify any flaws in my arguments. At least you're consistent.

        July 27, 2013 at 6:03 am |
  17. skytag

    @AE: "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."

    This is a snide remark unbecoming a true Christian. People like you are the best evidence I know that Christianity is a fraud. Unlike you, I don't have to ask anyone anything to know what a smart person thinks, because there is plenty of objective evidence suggesting I am one.

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

    See above.

    Pope On A Rope Soap makes a good point: Your quotes are meaningless, you just aren't smart enough to realize it.

    First, cherry-picking quotes is a propaganda technique known as card-stacking. 990 out of 1000 people could believe something and you could just quote the other ten. Furthermore, there's a double standard at work when you suggest it's evidence of God when some scientists and smart people believe in him, but when other scientists and smart people don't their opinions are dismissed out of hand with claims we can't discern the truth of God through intellect.

    The whole "scientists" thing is a logical fallacy known as appeal to authority. Why should anyone believe a chemist has is more credible as an authority on the existence of God than anyone else? Generally speaking, and definitely in Christianity, a god's creators imbue him with characteristics that ensure no scientific or objective argument can be used to disprove his existence.

    In Christianity he's all powerful, invisible, not subject to any of the laws of time, matter, or energy, and so on. Such a characterization allows those who believe in him to make up any explanation they feel like using to address any question posed about him. He becomes the central figure in the ultimate conspiracy theory. Any observation or question challenging his existence can easily be dismissed with some excuse because there are no limitations on what you can claim about him. Convenient, eh?

    July 26, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • AE

      Thanks for pointing out my snide remarks, and then demonstrating that you too are capable of making the same kind of snide remarks.

      I hope you hold yourself to the same standard you are using to judge me.

      You criticize me for pointing out scientists are Christian, but totally ignore Pope On A Rope Soap's pretty much doing the exact same thing I did.

      "Convenient, eh?"

      No. Not convenient.

      Following Jesus Christ is challenging. It'll turn your whole philosophical theory upside down and leave it out to dry.

      July 26, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
      • tallulah13

        Oh, no thank you. I prefer to live a reality-based life. I'm a better person when I'm not weighed down by a book of mythology written by relatively ignorant people who lived in a very specific culture which is utterly different than our own. Perhaps if there were any evidence at all that any god exists, I would change my mind, but at this time it seems rather silly to believe in a fantasy just because it's popular.

        July 26, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
        • Tim Haley

          Is the Bible "a book of mythology written by relatively ignorant people" ? Or is the Bible the most unique book ever written ? Have you carefully examined the Bible or is your comment because of hearsay ? For example, a man named Job, who lived some 3,600 years ago and was "the greatest of all the people of the East", made a startling statement, saying that God "stretches out the northern sky over empty space, suspending the earth upon nothing."(Job 26:7)  Now how could Job know that the earth is ' suspended upon nothing ' over 3,500 years ago, since the earliest telescope was only made in the 17th century C.E. by Galileo ?  It was not until July 1969 when astronauts walked on the moon, that man could absolutely verify the earth is ' suspended upon nothing'. Or how was David, a shepherd who lived some 3,000 years ago able to speak of our DNA in the Bible book of Psalms (139:16), saying of the "embryo; (that) all its parts were written in your book (the DNA)", since DNA was not discovered until 1953, when Francis Crick and James Watson was able to unravel its chemical structure ? Hence, how is the Bible, a book you labeled as "mythology" able to be so far advanced and ahead of its time ? Would not the wise course to give a more serious consideration of the Bible rather than a condemnation ?

          November 29, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
      • skytag

        "Thanks for pointing out my snide remarks, and then demonstrating that you too are capable of making the same kind of snide remarks."

        First, you cannot justify your behavior by talking about someone else's behavior. Second, you just admitted that your behavior is no better than an atheist's. Duly noted.

        July 26, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
        • AE

          I don't think I am any better than an atheist. Correct.

          If you point out a person's bad trait, while at the same type demonstrating that same trait in your own behavior: that is hypocrisy.

          I am pointing that out to you. You are being a giant hypocrite. I provided you evidence.

          July 26, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
        • TG

          It is no wonder that many turn away from Christianity, for your comments are often mean and spiteful, rather than following the apostle's Paul's words: "Let your words always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should answer each person."(Col 4:6)

          And at 1 Corinthians 4, Paul further says that "when insulted, we bless; when persecuted, we patiently endure; when slandered, we answer mildly."(1 Cor 4:12, 13) Anyone who calls himself a "Christian" must follow the perfect example that Jesus set, whereby "when he was being insulted, he did not insult in return....but he entrusted himself to the One (Jehovah God) who judges righteously."(1 Pet 2:23)

          And at Isaiah 50, of Jesus, it was written: "The Sovereign Lord Jehovah has given me the tongue of those taught, so that I may know how to answer the tired one with the right word."(Isa 50:4) Hence, when Jesus was handed the scroll of Isaiah just after his baptism, he read from it (at Isaiah 61:1, 2) that "Jehovah's spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor...to preach Jehovah's acceptable year."(Luke 4:18, 19)

          Hence, Jesus preached "good news" (not insulting news), the message of a heavenly government created to restore genuine peace to the earth as was in the Garden of Eden before Adam's rebellion. Jesus sought to draw all sorts of people to him, teaching any and all who would listen about this heavenly government, called God's kingdom.(Luke 8:1)

          November 30, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
        • skytag

          @AE: "I don't think I am any better than an atheist. Correct."

          If your religion can't help you become a better person than no religion at all then it isn't worth much.

          "If you point out a person's bad trait, while at the same type demonstrating that same trait in your own behavior: that is hypocrisy."

          First, as I said, you cannot defend your behavior by talking about mine. You really are a slow learner, aren't you?

          Second, you are mistaken:

          hyp·o·crite noun \ˈhi-pə-ˌkrit\
          1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
          2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

          A person is a hypocrite if he doesn't follow his own beliefs, not those of others. For example, if you were a Mormon who drank alcohol you would be a hypocrite. I drink on rare occasion, but I would not be a hypocrite for pointing out you were not living your beliefs because the consumption of alcohol is permitted in my belief system. Or, if you were an Amish man who shaved it would not make me a hypocrite to point out that you were a hypocrite because shaving is permitted in my belief system.

          The flaw in your thinking is that your argument is only valid when both people share the same belief system, which is not the case here.

          "I am pointing that out to you. You are being a giant hypocrite. I provided you evidence."

          The only evidence you have provided is that Christianity isn't doing much for you and that you aren't very smart.

          July 26, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
        • AE

          @AE: "I don't think I am any better than an atheist. Correct."

          – If your religion can't help you become a better person than no religion at all then it isn't worth much.

          Nope. I really don't think Jesus Christ asks us to think we are better than others.

          He actually asks the opposite of us.

          Of course, he didn't come to bring a religion that can help us become a better person.

          "If you point out a person's bad trait, while at the same type demonstrating that same trait in your own behavior: that is hypocrisy."

          - First, as I said, you cannot defend your behavior by talking about mine. You really are a slow learner, aren't you?

          If you can do it. I can do it.

          - Second, you are mistaken:

          - hyp·o·crite noun \ˈhi-pə-ˌkrit\
          - 1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
          - 2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

          What do you call it when a person criticizes you for using snide remarks and then proceeds to use snide remarks himself?

          July 26, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
        • skytag

          @AE: "If you can do it. I can do it."

          Except I haven't done what you're doing. At no time have I justified anything I've done by saying you do it too or you did it first.

          In any case, this is about as childish as justifications get, and it says you have no values guiding your actions. Instead, you simply adopt my values. If you had your own, what you "can do" would be limited to what your values allow. And in the case of a Christian, those values should be consistent with Christian values, unless you're a hypocrite.

          But you just admitted you have no values of your own guiding your actions, because according to this you are limited only by what I do, which says you have no moral compass of your own.

          "– Second, you are mistaken:

          – hyp·o·crite noun \ˈhi-pə-ˌkrit\
          – 1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
          – 2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

          What do you call it when a person criticizes you for using snide remarks and then proceeds to use snide remarks himself?"

          If he shares your beliefs about what are and aren't appropriate ways to talk to people, he's a hypocrite. If not, he isn't. I explained all this previously in some detail. The fact that you ignored it makes this attack intellectually dishonest, or maybe you're just dumb as a post.

          It is not inconsistent with my beliefs to make snide remarks, so there is nothing hypocritical in my pointing out when you make one. Seriously. Reread the definition. It's only hypocrisy if I act in contradiction to my beliefs, and that hasn't been the case.

          Acting in contradiction to Christian beliefs doesn't make me a hypocrite because I'm not a Christian.

          It inconsistent with the teachings of Christianity to make snide remarks, as Christianity teaches its followers to be patient, kind, long-suffering, love your enemies, pray for those who despitefully use you, turn the other cheek, and so on.

          Of course maybe I've been operating under a misconception. Perhaps you aren't a Christian and don't even believe in God, but are just here trolling around looking for a good fight. But if you are a Christian then you subscribe to a set of beliefs and teachings, and when you fail to act in a manner consistent with those teachings you are being a hypocrite regardless of what anyone else does.

          July 27, 2013 at 7:09 am |
      • skytag

        "I hope you hold yourself to the same standard you are using to judge me."

        Why should I? As an atheist I make no claims of moral superiority or that God is helping me to be a better person. If you actually believed all that nonsense about God and spirit and Christians wanting to please God and perfect themselves you wouldn't try to justify your poor behavior as a Christian by comparing it to that of an atheist.

        To make matters worse, even when your bad behavior is pointed out to you, instead of repenting of it you just try to justify it.

        These kinds of comments are evidence Christianity is a fraud. And for the record, I don't have a problem with that. 😉

        July 26, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
        • Maani

          So in other words, your condescension, dismissal, combativeness, antagonism, mean-spiritedness, etc. are simply part of who you are, and you are fine with that?

          July 27, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
        • ED

          Skytag, I couldn't help but be drawn to you after reading your thread. It’s so refreshing to find someone who isn’t a brainwashed religious zealot. I’m amazed at your patience in trying to get through to AE. (It’s sad but I doubt that you’ll be able to pierce the fog of his indoctrinated mind with logic.)
          Anyhow, I was wondering… why, do you suppose, Christians expect nonbelievers to prove that their God doesn’t exist? They readily accept that the Easter bunny & tooth fairy aren’t real. Not to mention they no longer believe in any of the old gods (i.e. Zeus, Apollo, Aphrodite, etc.). So why cling to a jealous god who wants no other gods before him (thus implying that there are other gods?)?
          My guess would be that they can’t deal with the scary notion that once they’re dead they cease to exist. So, they’d rather believe in an afterlife where they get to see all their loved ones while spending an eternity worshiping their deity of choice.
          Perhaps it’s simply out of fear. If I believed in their hell I’d certainly be afraid too! It’s scary to think that because I "don’t believe" I’m going to hell for all eternity (pretty severe punishment for simply not believing, don’t you think? I’d say the punishment doesn’t really fit the crime but I’m just a lowly human who doesn’t believe it being vindictive just because someone chooses not to worship me).
          I am open to the possibility of their being an omnipotent super being (if for no other reason than because I can’t prove there isn’t one) however, if one were to present him or herself to me I think I’d have a hard time respecting this omnipotent being that has had the power to prevent wars, protect the innocent, and create a better life for all, but chooses not to. Instead this deranged “god” would rather watch us lower life forms spend our entire lives worshiping it while it lets millions of innocents suffer unspeakable atrocities (some of which are even committed in the name of God).

          July 30, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
        • Maani

          ED: Setting aside the absurdity of your broad-brush comments ("brainwashed religious zealots"), and the fact that a great number of Christians are no more "fearful" of death than most atheists, I do want to ask about your comment "I think I’d have a hard time respecting this omnipotent being that has had the power to prevent wars, protect the innocent, and create a better life for all, but chooses not to. Instead this deranged “god” would rather watch us lower life forms spend our entire lives worshiping it while it lets millions of innocents suffer unspeakable atrocities (some of which are even committed in the name of God)."

          Assuming for a moment that we have "free will," why would you blame the "wars," "harm to innocents," "lack of a better life" and "unspeakable atrocities" on God, and not on humankind, since it is humans who make war, harm innocents, create the life (or lack of it) here, and commit the unspeakable atrocities? Yes, God could "prevent" all that. But why WOULD He, if He gave us the free will to do as we please, and those are the things WE choose to do? Should we only have free will to do "good" things, and God should simply "not allow" ANY "bad" things?

          There is a name for that. It is called Heaven. And while I realize you do not "buy into" that concept (since you do not "buy into" an afterlife), it is nevertheless "internally consistent" with the concept of God, and even the "goodness" of God.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
      • skytag

        "Following Jesus Christ is challenging."

        Obviously you are not yet up to the challenge. But that said, the degree to which it's challenging varies considerably depending on which variant of Christianity you choose to follow. Christianity isn't a religion as much it's a religious smorgasbord, ideal for the church-shopping crowd, people who want all the benefits of the core narrative but want to be able to pick and choose how and to what extent they have to incorporate it into their daily lives. Some Christians are part of no denomination whatsoever, while others embrace variants requiring considerable sacrifice, such as the Amish. This ability to pick and choose is a major reason Christianity is so popular, this and the fact that it offers so much while asking so little.

        "It'll turn your whole philosophical theory upside down and leave it out to dry."

        None of your delusions interest me, this one included.

        July 26, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
        • TG

          @skytag

          You are so right that so-called "Christianity" is "a religious smorgasboard", in which there are an estimated 41,000 different sects and denominations to choose from among the churches. If one religion of the churches doesn't satisfy a person, then they can go back shopping for another sect or denomination that appeals to them.

          However, the Bible does not support the multiple denominations and sects that are now existing, but sets forth the guidelines for only "one faith".(Eph 4:5) The sarcastic remarks by some who profess to be "Christian" (such as "It'll turn your whole philosophical theory upside down and leave it out to dry"), would naturally cause those who do not adhere to so-called "Christianity" to be offended and thus reject their pleadings.

          And because there are so many different religions that profess Christianity, spread out over so wide a range of teaching, that as you have said, "is a major reason Christianity is so popular."

          But genuine Christianity is called "The Way" in the Bible (Acts 9:2; 19:9), establishing that there is only religion that teaches "the truth" of the Bible, not some 41,000. This "one faith" is known for showing agape love, love that does not insult, or mock, or use sarcastic remarks.

          It's God is Jehovah, "the Creator of the heavens, the true God, the One who formed the earth, its Maker who firmly established it."(Isa 45:18) So please, do not blame the Bible and genuine Christianity for what those who profess to be "Christian" have fomented.

          November 30, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
  18. Jack

    Hello Atheists. I do not feel you all should be generalized.

    July 26, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.