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July 30th, 2013
02:17 PM ET

Why are millennials leaving church? Try atheism

Opinion by Hemant Mehta, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Articles and books about why millennials are leaving Christianity often focus on what churches are doing "wrong."

They're anti-gay, anti-women, anti-science, anti-sex-education and anti-doubt, 
to name a few of the most common criticisms.

I don't disagree with those critiques, but there's another side to the story.

While Christians have played sloppy defense, secular Americans have been showing off some impressive offense, giving young Christians plenty of reasons to lose faith in organized religion.

For instance, atheists dominate the Internet, rallying to thriving websites and online communities in lieu of physical meeting spaces.

Even a writer for the evangelical magazine Relevant admitted that “While Christianity enjoys a robust online presence, the edge still seems to belong to its unbelievers.”

Atheists outnumber Christians on popular discussion forums like Reddit, where subscribers to the atheism section number more than 2 million. The Christianity section is not even 5% of that.

The Internet-based Foundation Beyond Belief, which encourages atheists to donate to charitable organizations, just celebrated raising $1 million for worthwhile causes. (Disclosure: I serve on its board of directors.)

Moreover, blogs and websites espousing non-religious viewpoints and criticizing Christianity draw tons of Internet traffic these days. For every Christian apologist's argument, it seems, there's an equal and opposite rebuttal to be found online. I call that "Hitchens' Third Law.”

READ MORE: Why millennials are leaving the church 

Christians can no longer hide in a bubble, sheltered from opposing perspectives, and church leaders can't protect young people from finding information that contradicts traditional beliefs.

If there's an open comment thread to be found on a Christian's YouTube video or opinion piece online, there's inevitably going to be pushback from atheists.

There has also been a push by atheists to get non-religious individuals to "come out of the closet" and let people know that they don't believe in God.

Among other things, this proves that anti-atheist stereotypes aren't accurate and, just as important, that atheists aren’t alone in their communities.

There's the Richard Dawkins Foundation's Out Campaign, with its Scarlet A badges.

There are atheist-encouraging billboards in 33 states financed by groups like the United Coalition of Reason.

There's even going to be an 1-800 hot line for people "recovering" from religion.

READ MORE: Atheists to start 1-800 hot line for doubters

And last year, an estimated 20,000 atheists turned out for the Reason Rally in Washington, a tenfold increase from the previous atheist rally in 2002.

But more than anything else, atheism's best advertisements may be the words of Christian leaders themselves.

When Pastor Mark Driscoll belittles women, Rick Warren argues against same-sex rights or Rob Bell equivocates on the concept of hell, we amplify those messages for them - and it helps us make our point.

(It goes without saying that the pairing of Pat Robertson and YouTube has been great for atheists.)

Pastors are no longer the final authority on the truth, and millennials know it.

Even if they hold Jesus' message in high esteem, the Bible as it has traditionally been preached by many evangelical pastors is becoming less and less attractive to them.

A 2012 study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PDF) showed that many Christians aged 18-24 felt that Christianity was hypocritical (49%), judgmental (54%) and anti-gay (58%).

In addition, Christianity Today reported last year that fewer than half of born-again Christians under 35 opposed same-sex marriage.

When millennials' pastors and hearts are going in different directions, church leaders should be worried.

Can churches win back the youth?

Barring a complete shift in beliefs, that may not be possible. Some of the proposed solutions seem ludicrous to millennial atheists like myself.

For instance, there's been talk of finding a better way to reconcile science and religion. Whenever that battle takes place, religion loses.

There are some questions we may never know the answer to, but for the ones we can eventually answer, the scientific explanation will devour the religious one. Mixing science and religion requires a distortion of one or the other.

READ MORE: Behold, the six tribes of atheism 

What about focusing on the message and life of Jesus?

While this sounds good philosophically, the myth surrounding Jesus is part of the problem with Christianity.

To believe in Jesus means believing that he was born of a virgin, rose from the dead and performed a number of miracles.

There's no proof of any of that ever happened, and atheists place those stories in the same box as "young Earth creationism" and Noah's Great Flood.

To be sure, if Christians followed the positive ideas Jesus had, we'd all be better off, but it's very hard to separate the myth from the reality.

In short, there are many reasons the percentage of millennials who say they've never doubted God's existence is at a record low, and nearly a quarter of adults under 30 no longer affiliate with a faith.

The church has pushed young people away, yes, but there are also forces actively pulling them in the other direction.

It appears that atheists and Christians are finally working together on the same task: getting millennials to leave the church.

Hemant Mehta blogs at The Friendly Atheist. The views expressed in this column belong to Mehta. 

Photos: Famous atheists and their beliefs

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church • Culture & Science • Faith • Internet • Nones • Opinion • Science • United States

soundoff (5,653 Responses)
  1. Famous millennial atheists?

    Ok, those atheists that you are using as the epitome of atheism to attract 'millennials' needs to be updated.

    You can hardly spot one or two millennials there. You don't want to come across as a older cynical generation while recruiting.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Patriots

      Grey hair symbolizes gray matter 😉

      July 30, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
      • Bryan Rick

        No, it's just a sign their telomeres are reducing.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • Doobs

      To be fair, the heading on the slideshow doesn't say that it's exclusively millennial atheists. Besides, I doubt many intelligent millennials would be swayed one way or the other by an actor or a comedian.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  2. Lukas77

    My arguments against atheism are in respect to the general mantra accepted and proactively perpetrated by its adherents in predominantly neopagan Western societies, including the United States.

    "The philosophical burden of proof or onus (probandi) is the obligation on a party in an epistemic dispute to provide sufficient warrant for their position. This holds true for either party." Further, atheists attempts to shift this burden of proof through the error of argumentum ad ignorantiam or ""appeal to ignorance" (where "ignorance" stands for: lack of evidence to the contrary)."
    Argumentum ad ignorantiam "is an inference that a proposition P is false from the fact that P is not proved to be true. Arguments from ignorance are based on the absence of evidence and may fail because the lack of evidence for P does not prove P to be false."

    Further, if atheists step up and claim there is absolutely no deity, then they should be prepared to provide evidence for that assertion.

    Therefore, since you atheists (generically speaking as atheists do not exist by themselves in a vacuum) are unilaterally making the negative claim that God does not exist (I never tried to prove to you God exists although I believe this by faith) through its intellectual leaders in numerous media venues throughout the world (e.g., newspapers, books, magazines, tv and radio interviews), the burden of proof is on atheists, not me, to prove their claims are "ABSOLUTELY" true;

    . . . and if you cannot prove the central tenant of atheism - the absolute nonexistence of deity, then atheism, as a philosophical understanding of reality, succombs to its own futility (i.e., uselessness).

    July 30, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Johnny

      That would make religion useless as well since no religion in the history of the world has ever absolutely proven there is a god.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      wow...a lot of verbage to say nothing. Most atheists do not believe in any deities, but are open to the possibility that there may be one. One thing for certain, there is no evidence anywhere to back up the hypothesis that any of the thousands of gods that men have worshipped actually exist.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
      • Bryan Rick

        No, actually, that would be agnosticism...

        July 31, 2013 at 12:52 am |
        • Thinker...

          Actually that would be agnostic atheism. Agnostic/gnostic refers to knowledge while atheism/theism refer to belief. I do not believe in any of the gods I have heard about, but do not claim to know that there are no gods. It would be impossible to make such a claim since there is no evidence for or against.

          An evangelical would be a gnostic theist (they believe in a god and claim personal knowledge of said god). A deist would probably be an agnostic theist (they believe in a greater power but claim no knowledge of said power). An anti-theist would probably be a gnostic athiest (they do not believe in a god and in many cases claim to know there are no gods). Most atheists are probablly agnostic atheists (do not believe in a god but do not claim that there are no gods).

          July 31, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      You're as brutal in your torture of logic as your xtian forebears were in their torture of heretics.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      Nice cut and paste Lucas. As I said before, atheism is the refutation of the claim that there is a god. The onus of proof is on the person making the claim, i.e. the religious, not the atheist.

      I am an anti-theist as well as an atheist with respect to most claims of Christians simply because of the fact that their god claims are self refuting. You cannot claim that your god is all just and then say that you will burn in heII for eternity for the finite crime of not believing in this deity.

      Your god cannot be all powerful and still let people suffer as they do.

      Your god claims fall far short of the mark.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
      • Lukas77

        Ad hominem attacks will not win the day. Your cut and paste argument is irrelevant to our discussion. If you do not have valid criticisms to refute my arguments against the unilateral claims of atheists, you are obfuscating.

        Moreover, I have never tried to absolutely prove to you that God exists. I am not God so I cannot prove to you He exists. Belief in God comes through faith which comes through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. However, I do believe there is clear anecdotal evidence for the existence of God in creation (beyond that which comes from Christian faith) and that is - the heavens and the earth reflect the glory of God.

        Since you atheists are unilaterally and proactively claiming that deity does not exist, prove to me, then, that deity absolutely does not exist. Please address my arguments and stop responding with obsfucations, circular reasoning, profanities, ad hominems, and illogical relativist explanations that lead nowhere except meaningless irrationalities.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Do you have proof for your Holy Spirit, or are your beliefs an infinitely deep set of unproven myths? At what point does belief in unproven myths become delusion, a mental illness?

          July 31, 2013 at 1:00 am |
        • Hemlock

          The absolute proof that your "God" does not exist is all around you. That which you deem "creation" is based on proven science. There are scientific explanations for how stars work, which completely invalidates the rejection of logic inherent in the "God created them" statement. Plato had it right all along.

          July 31, 2013 at 4:57 am |
        • watergirl

          This is a pretty sad arguement. You don't have to prove that god exists because you have faith, but athiests have to prove he doesn't.

          In simpler terms, you think athiests are wrong because they can't prove that 2 headed leprechauns don't exist, but you don't have too prove they do, because you have faith that they do.
          Sorry, faith isn't a get out of jail free card.

          July 31, 2013 at 9:27 am |
        • ensense

          Is there any scientific explanation of how matter came about?

          July 31, 2013 at 10:02 am |
        • Lady E

          You can't prove a negative, however your "proof" God exists due tot he holy spirit and creation are ridiculous. What you call the holy spirit is different for others, and I won't even get into the evolution discussion

          July 31, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
        • gorunnergo

          What you are basically saying is "GOd exists because i think he does" And you sound like an idiot

          August 2, 2013 at 1:01 am |
      • Lukas77

        People freely choose to go to hell because they hate God, not the other way around.

        People cannot commit every vile sin under the sun, never repent, and then expect to go to heaven. To argue, otherwise, is nonsensical and illogical.

        Ask God to break the spirit of rebellious pride in all of your unbelieving hearts and that he give you a repentant and contrite heart and a spirit of belief in the true God the Most Holy Trinity (this is called being born-again/converted). Then repent of all your sins to God, admit Jesus, the manGod, is your only savior, and call up a Catholic Church and ask to become a new Christian and be baptized. Go to church on all Sundays and holy days and lead a holy life through prayer, fasting and sacrifice (also read a Catholic Catechism). For fallen away Christians, ask for the same and then come to the Catholic Church and go to confession. If protestant, call up a Catholic Church and tell them you would like to become a Catholic Christian and also go to confession.

        Also, whether you or anybody else (including myself) like it or not, God is bound by his supernatural law and He will not diverge from it. God the Father placated his wrath against mankind for their sins (which began with the original sin of Adam and Eve) by having his only Son, Jesus, die on the cross for repentant sinners. If sinners do not accept the divine mercy of forgiveness that comes through the innocent blood atonement of Jesus on the cross, those sinners will be judged by God the Father's wrath brought about by sins never atoned for. Moreover, unrepentant sinners will by their unrepentant nature hate God and prefer to go to hell and burn in hell forever. Please pray that God break your hearts of stone by filling you with the love of the Holy Spirit so the foregoing inevitable outcome for unrepentant sinners does not come to fulfilment.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
        • Observer

          Lukas77,

          The ONLY people who can hate God are your fellow believers. Tell them.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
        • Lukas77

          I do, every time I preach to them to repent of their apostasy against the true teachings of the Catholic Church. However, you are obviously wrong to claim that only Christians can hate the Holy Trinity. All those who reject, and therefore hate, the true God, include both believers and unbelievers alike. There are, hypothetically, both christians and nonchristians in hell.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • AdamC

          Sounds like an interesting script for a fictional story.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • Amor DeCosmos

          I don't hate God, the same way you don't hate unicorns... pretty silly to hate something that doesn't exist...

          July 31, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Lou

      Let's run a test....All of us ask for whatever god for a doughnut to prove it's existence if 55% get a doughnut then it exists.... Ohhh wait, there self protecting rules about calling god out.....

      July 31, 2013 at 12:11 am |
      • ensense

        you sound like a id-10-t.

        July 31, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • anarimus

      Lukas77 Logic dictates that the burden of proof lies upon the person making the claim. I am an atheist because due to the extreme lack of evidence to prove that there is a God and the massive evidence that disputes the various claims made by world religions (creation myths, flood myths, etc.) there is no logical reason to believe in a God. Atheism is a belief system but unlike other belief systems it is primarily skeptical and requires hard proof not faith. Until you understand that you will have a hard time understanding atheism.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Starman

      \\Further, if atheists step up and claim there is absolutely no deity, then they should be prepared to provide evidence for that assertion.\\ I think you are confused. Atheists state that you clearly (as well as the other 10,000 religions out there) have not established in *any* way that your deity exists. You assert that *your* god is the true god of these 10,000 so it is *your* burden to prove it period. I could tell you that a "flying pink invisible unicorn" is flying above your house and use your logic to tell you that *you* must prove that it doesn't exist. Most atheist simply see your religious dogma has what it really is.. complete and utter slavery.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • illusive

      Wrong wrong wrong wrong

      Most atheists do not claim "There is no god(s)", they say "I don't believe there is a god(s)"
      There is a big difference there. let me elaborate with the gumball example.

      Let's say that we have a giant jar full of gumballs. We have no knowledge of how many gumballs are actually in the jar. There are two people looking at the jar. Let's call them Tom and Adam. Tom says to Adam, "There are an odd number of gumballs in the jar!"
      To which Adam replies, "I don't believe you because you have no way of knowing that."
      Now, by rejecting Tom's claim that there is an odd number in the jar, Adam is not asserting that the number is even. He is simply asserting that even tho there are only two mutually exclusive possibilities, you can not assert either because there is no way of knowing by simply looking at the jar. Therefore, you must take the default position and withhold belief in either direction.

      The basic premises of the above analogies applies to God claims as well. Theists are claiming that there is a God and atheists feel that they have not met their burden of proof and must therefore withhold belief. Then, since no proof for God exists, we go about living our lives as if there is no God. Everyone does this with just about every mythical creature or God except the one that they believe in. No one feels the need to prove that fairies, or big foot, or Zeus, or Thor don't exist. They simply withhold belief because there is no proof. Other Atheists and I simply apply this to one more God than most theists do.

      July 31, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Edward

      May your god strike me dead as I write this reply....oh look, I am still here. Absolute proof given.

      August 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  3. Honey Badger Don't Care

    Bill Deacon is just one of those cafeteria xtians that have to rationalize away the bad parts of the bible so that they can sleep at night. Delusion is a biotch.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Observer

      Bill Deacon is another one of those hypocritical Christians that loves to preach from the Bible and run away when questions are asked about what it really says.

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

        Deacon Blues is like most of the fundies, only the good parts of the babble are worth knowing.
        The bad parts are just allegory and not meant to be real, or were some scribe's error.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Lycidas

      So you now have to create a comment thread to bash someone? How evolved of you.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        Hey any press is good press. I take it as a compliment, or at the least a surrender.

        July 30, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  4. Honey Badger Don't Care

    Drugs are bad, m-kay.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  5. Honey Badger Don't Care

    "There are some questions we may never know the answer to, but for the ones we can eventually answer, the scientific explanation will devour the religious one. Mixing science and religion requires a distortion of one or the other."

    I love that line right there, it says it all.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Liberal Lutheran

      " "There are some questions we may never know the answer to, but for the ones we can eventually answer, the scientific explanation will devour the religious one. Mixing science and religion requires a distortion of one or the other."

      I love that line right there, it says it all." "

      There are certain questions that science is very good at looking at: How tall is the biggest tree, what is the chemical formula makes the best rocket fuel, and how was our galaxy created...etc. Faith or religion on the other hand answers the question why? Why were we made? Why do we have emotions love? Why does this decision make sense to me now but I came to a different conclusion ten years ago. Science will never be able to answer that question because science is not interested in that type of answer because it is not measurable. In my opinion, we have to drop this science versus religion argument that one is better at answering questions then another because they both answer different type of questions.

      I am still waiting to hear why science feels that we are here? Or the mathematical expression for pure love? Or why we are programmed to have faith, I am not just talking religious faith either, but faith in our fellow human being? Or why do we have emotions in the first place?

      July 30, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
      • genelabs

        Emotions such as hate, love, greed, is part of our defense mechanism for our survival, which was perfected through evolution and are not god given. Now if you need an algorithm on how to detail emotions just ask any statistician that runs polls, pretty sure you can found out what individuals either loves or hates. Science at the end of day is what provides a lot of our answers.

        July 31, 2013 at 6:17 am |
      • AdamC

        If religion stopped attempting to answer the questions that science already answers, or were willing to retreat will science proved them wrong, you might have a point. But religion is about control. Its about putting butts in pews and dollars in the collection bin. That is all.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  6. Bill Deacon

    One of the things I like about the internet is that it makes research so easy. Now, instead of relying on "what my uncle who's a Catholic said", people can look up the catechism themselves. They can find out exactly what the trial of Galileo was about and the Church's real posture on science.. They can study the letters and intent of the early church fathers as well as the Crusades. They can study the biology and physiology for themselves and see why the Church teaches the value and dignity of human life from conception to natural death. They can read about the rights of workers and the arguments against slavery. They can study the effects of feminism, capitalism and any other ism and compare it to the social teaching of the Church. The internet is like a giant magnifying glass and the Gospel is the light of the world. Anybody remember what happens when you focus a light through a magnifying glass?

    July 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Observer

      Bill Deacon

      "They can read about the rights of workers and the arguments against slavery."

      Lol! According to the Bible:

      What was the punishment if a slave owner used a rod to break the arms and legs of female slaves who didn't die in a day or so?

      July 30, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        Nothin', nuff said.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        Exactly my point Observer. You can cherry pick a Scripture and use it to obfuscate the point but a few seconds on the internet shows me that the cause for workers rights was first advanced by the Peasant Revolt of England supported by an priest named John Ball. He based his thoughts on the equality of men granted by their dignity as the image of God Fascinating isn't it? Did you know that Lutheranism and the Protestant Reformation were the prime exponents of the right to private property? I mean talk about let the light shine!

        July 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
        • Observer

          Bill Deacon,

          Why didn't you answer my question? It's still there.

          If you are going to use the Bible as an excuse to put people down or to deny them equal rights, shouldn't you have to know what it says?

          July 30, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
        • Doobs

          You can also avoid answering a question by telling stories about obscure Lollard priests.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
        • Observer

          "Willingly no one chooses the yoke of slavery."

          - AESCHYLUS (from 500 years before Christ, who never condemned slavery although he had the power to do it)

          July 30, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          There are no reliable sources for the life of Aeschylus. He was said to have been born in c. 525 BC in Eleusis, a small town about 27 kilometers northwest of Athens, which is nestled in the fertile valleys of western Attica,[12] though the date is most likely based on counting back forty years from his first victory in the Great Dionysia.

          You should know better than to quote someone you can't prove ever lived. As to the Bible verse you are seeking clarity on, I make two suggestions. The first is to pray and ask God to reveal to you what the meaning is. The second is to find a priest who can help you. I think one gets into trouble interpreting Scripture for others without a proper background. I wouldn't rely on your interpretation and I doubt you'd accept mine.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
        • Observer

          Bill Deacon,

          "As to the Bible verse you are seeking clarity on, I make two suggestions."

          I am not seeking any clarity. The answer is as clear as it can be. You are the one who is so unfamiliar with the Bible that you are completely stumped. Take your own advice. If you can't figure it out, ask God such a simple question.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
        • AdamC

          Classic Christian dodge. When the bible says something unpopular or evil, give an example of a different situation that shows religion or a religious person doing something positive.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      the bible supports slavery throughout. there are rules for selling your own daughter into slavery in the bible. disgusting book.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
      • tbay

        Good use of a hot button topic to make a point.

        But slavery in the bible and what the US is guilty of have nothing in common. What the bible describes as slavery is much more along the lines of butlers and maids today. Live in support staff. The only exception is that criminals back then didn't go to jail when they stole, they worked off the debt. And that is why punishment was allowed for when people refused.

        There are actually a number of excellent articles written on this subject explaining all about it. Sadly, you'd have to drop your preconceieved notions for them to mean anything.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • niknak

          How about we take you back and sign you up for some of that slavery then tbay?
          I mean, you make it sound kinda homie and fun.

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

          I sure hope that tbay is not from the same place I am because then I can own him for life, and even pass him on to my living family members when I die, at least according to the bible.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
        • Thinker...

          Slavery in the Roman empire was far more pervasive than slavery in the American south ever was. Yes there were many house slaves. Yes they functioned as maids and butlers (and bed slaves as well). There were also the slaves who worked in the salt mines. There were the slaves that worked in the stone quarries and iron mines. There were the slaves that did the grunt work of building Rome's great monuments. There were the slaves that were forced to fight and die on the sands of Roman arenas. In Rome as in the American south a master could treat a slave however they wished because that person was property. Killing or maiming another man's slave was considered vandalism or destruction of property, not murder. The only difference between Rome and the American south (some states, not all) was that in Rome it was legal to free a slave. It almost never happend, but it was at least legal.

          July 31, 2013 at 9:55 am |
        • Starman

          Not really, its a good example how you individually deny large sections of your bible to fit your own needs as society has changed. In fact, the bible was the key reason for the rationalization of slavery and even after it was abolished, it was the key rationality to segregation. It just so happens today that this is shunned so you now change how you read your bible. I challenge you to read that book from page to page like most atheists have.. which is why they are atheists.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
        • Dandintac

          "What the bible describes as slavery is much more along the lines of butlers and maids today."
          This is one of the biggest cr ocks of sh it Christians use today. Do you buy and sell your butlers and maids? Do you beat them? Do your children inherit them as property? The Bible explicitly allows masters to beat their slaves.
          "When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)"
          God, being all-powerful, and supposedly all-good, could have stopped it, and all the other vile behavior in the Bible. He DID NOT. Instead, he commands it!

          August 1, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • Johnny

      When you shine light through a magnifying glass you can light stuff on fire.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        A plus Johnny is mechanics, physics, comprehension and theology.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • niknak

      Then how come you have not been able to provide some links to the proof of your god Deacon Blues?
      I mean if it is so easy to come up with proof using the internet, then I would a ssume that proof of your special friend would be on there too.

      As you and I both know, we non believers have been asking you for some proof for quite some time now.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        Reasonable evidence would suffice.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        We have the reliable witness of the Apostles, all the saints and martyrs, the testimony of the early church fathers as well as the procession of our ancestors plus the conviction of the present faithful. We are not subject to the tyranny of the living or of the fashion of the moment. We find this credible evidence. The incredulous may not.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
        • niknak

          No we don't Bill.
          We have unverifiable "eye" witness accounts from a manuscript that has been rewritten over and over again.
          That is proof of nothing.
          And everyday, science keeps unraveling your various myths to the point that you have been pushed back all the way to the big bang as your aha proof of your creator.

          Again, I don't care that you find some value in a myth.
          Why do you believers have to push it on us?
          I bet an atheist has never come to your house to talk you out of god.
          Yet I am bothered weekly by various myths knocking on my door trying to talk to me about god.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          I didn't say you had them niknak. I said we have them.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Aparently Christianity under the magnifying glass is causing people to flee.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        perhaps, Sara. But something I learned by googling G.K. Chesterton, which I don't think anyone can dispute is that the Catholic Church has spent more time thinking about thinking than any other organization currently on the planet. Every time you think you have a new and modern idea, the church has probably already been there and had more and smarter people thinking about it longer than you have. So, while people may not be pleased with the Church because it refuses to gratify them in exchange for the truth, eventually honest grown ups will return to the truth.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
        • niknak

          I will agree Blues.
          They have had the money to be able to do that, and I give them credit for keeping civilization going thru the dark ages.
          But it has come at a cost to them.
          These learned men have pulled back the curtain and have shown that much of what religions preach is easily explained by modern science.
          That is exactly why the muslims will not let their people get any education and try to limit contact with the rest of the modern world.
          They don't want their authority challenged in the same way.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
        • Saraswati

          @Bill, If you can't think freely without the constraints of scripture, you aren't really thinking.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Sara are you saying that if you have to stay on the road that's not really driving?

          July 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          If I have to use harmony and meter that's not really music?

          July 30, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          You call it falling, I call it dancing

          July 30, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
        • Saraswati

          @Bill, I'm saying that if you're paddling around in an inner tube you aren't really swimming.

          July 30, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
        • Edward

          Honest grown-ups are returning to the truth....atheism!

          August 5, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
      • midwest rail

        I don't believe that it is Christianity itself under the magnifying glass causing people to flee. I believe it is contemporary Christians themselves, and their behavior under the magnifying glass, that is causing people to flee.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Sadly, I am forced to agree. But think through what you are saying. Are you willing to deny the truth simply because some people who proclaim it are less than perfect? Doesn't seem logical to me.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Think through what you're saying, Bill. Church is not the sole arbiter of truth.

          July 30, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
      • Starman

        Ya, seems like a lot of "miracles" disappeared with the invention of the photograph and then reappeared with the invention of Photoshop.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
  7. Colin

    Ten Ways You Know you are an Atheist.

    1. You were likely brought up a theist (probably a Jew or Christian if you live in the USA) and had to do your own thinking to rise above the beliefs that still occupy the mind of the believer. This usually involved being interested in science and thereby getting a good, accurate view of the natural Universe and overcoming significant social pressure to conform to religious beliefs. The more you came to understand mother nature, the less reason there was to believe in a god and the more you came to understand human nature, the more you understood why billions of us still do.

    2. While rejecting the supernatural elements of the Bible, you nevertheless retain a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent you reject Christian morality, it is where it is mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, your basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – you just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over your head in order to act in a manner that you consider moral.

    3. You know a great deal more about the Bible than most believers. This is because you took the time to read it yourself and did not rely on the primary-color simple stories you learned in Sunday school. You have also probably done some research into the historical Jesus and have a good handle on where he REALLY fit in to the broader picture of the Middle East at the time. Needless to say, his miracles and other magic powers soon started to look pretty unlikely.

    4. Your knowledge of basic science and history is much stronger than that of your average believer. You likely have a basic working knowledge of physics, astronomy, evolutionary biology and cosmology and a good idea of the history of life on this planet. This acc.umulated knowledge puts you in a position to judge the claims of the Bible in a critical light and they are almost always found wanting. To the theist, this makes you “elitist” and ‘arrogant”.

    5. You relish your role as a religious minority in the USA, as this gives you an impetus to fight and you understand how others with unpopular, but doubtlessly correct views have felt throughout history. There is something altogether satisfying to you about having a deep conviction you are right and being viewed with disdain for your views by the errant majority. You feel a quiet confidence that future generations will look back on you as a member of a class of trailblazers, as religious supersti.tions go into inevitable decline in popularity.

    6. You are likely more environmentally aware than your theist friends and colleagues and unlikely to fall for claims of industry and wind-bag politicians concerning the impact of man’s activities on the environment. You could no more act in an environmentally irresponsible manner because “god will keep us safe” than you could jump off a ship, believing King Neptune will keep you safe.

    7. You generally have a live and let live atti.tude, but will fiercely defend against any attempts by theists to thrust their views on you or your children, directly or through control of school boards, the legislature or the executive. While you are prepared to debate and argue passionately with the theist on an intellectual level, you would never wish them harm or ill will. You know you are likely to be smugly told you will “burn in hell for all eternity” for your healthy skepticism. This highlights what you despise about religion, as you would not wish a bad sunburn on another, simply because they have a different religious view to you. You have never heard of an evolutionary biologist strapping a bomb to himself and running into a church yelling “Darwin-u akbar, Darwin-u akbar”.

    8. You likely know more about other religions than your average theist. This makes you less fearful of them and enables you to see parallels. You realize that, if you were born in India, you would have been brought up with a totally different religion. You realize that every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. They cannot all exist and you see the error all faiths make of thinking only theirs exist(s). This “rising above” the regional nature of all religions was probably instrumental in your achieving atheism.

    9. You likely have a deep, genuine appreciation of the fathomless beauty and unbelievable complexity of our Universe, from the 4 nucleotides that orchestrate every aspect of you, through to the distant quasars, without having to think it was all made for you. You likely get more out of being the irrelevant ant staring up at the cosmos than you do in having to pretend that it was all made to turn in majestic black-and-white pirouette about you.

    10. While you have a survival instinct, you cannot fear death in the way the theist does. You know that the whole final judgment story, where you may be sent to hell if you fail, is Dark Ages nonsense meant to keep the Church’s authority. You also know that you were dead for 13,720,000,000 years before you were born. It is impossible for you to fear death, for the simple reason that you know the capacity to feel pain, or to regret or fear itself dies. You will not even know you are dead. Fear of death is as meaningless to you as is the fear of a vacuum, the fear of not being born. You feel a lot more secure, and indeed a deep comfort, in this knowledge, than you would in trying to yoke yourself to some quasi-hope from Bronze Age Palestine that every part of your intellect tells you is untenable.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • AE

      In my time of need there were places I went where people who had faith in God helped me. For free.

      I didn't see any places like this from atheists. Unless I was willing to pay money (therapy, counseling).

      July 30, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
      • Colin

        Ok, so some Christian cured your syphlis for free. So what?

        July 30, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • niknak

          Using modern medicine derived from science.....

          July 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
        • AE

          Use modern medicine derived from science that came from minds of people who believe and trust in God.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        AE
        I suppose you went to everyone there and asked about their beliefs?
        I am an example where you could go to a chemical dependancy clinic, run by a minister, and you would find one of the volunteers (me) to be an atheist.

        So did you ask everyone or are you just leaping to an unjustified conclusion?

        July 30, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
        • AE

          No. There were places like AA and churches that offered help to me.

          I didn't see any other options, beside paying money to see a doctor or go to a clinic or having people try to prescribe me medication.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Seriously

      If, on your death bed, you really feel more secure than me, you'll be secure in a hopeless hope. That there's nothing. Whereas I, on my death bed, will be filled with the greatest hope and knowledge ever, that of everlasting peace and happiness with no pain or doubt or anger or hate.

      I leave you with this, if you're right and I'm wrong we both descend into nothing. If I'm right and you're wrong, things are a little different.

      August 1, 2013 at 11:40 am |
      • Rascal

        What if we're both wrong, but the Muslims, or the Bhuddists, or the Zoroastrians were right? If you chose the wrong denomination then the jealous and vengeful God will not accept you into His kingdom and you're screwed for Eternity. He's kind of a dick that way.

        August 27, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  8. Brother Maynard

    "Try Atheism" ?
    Atheism is not 'tried'. Atheism is the end result of an investigation of ones religion and finding that it is wanting.
    At least that is what happened to me. I didn't wake up one day and say " I think I'll be an atheist ".
    Then a week later said "Wow this atheism is great ... I think I'll stick with it"
    For me it was a 35 year struggle that honestly I went kicking and screaming.
    Do not 'Try Atheism'. Unbiasely ask questions and demand answers of your religion.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you believe something or you don't. it's that simple. but i think by saying "try atheism" he's saying, "try asking deep questions about your religious belief." that's all.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Unbiasely ask questions and demand answers of your religion."

      A wise perspective to have.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      More like Try Skepticism. A healthy use of skepticism will naturally lead to atheism.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
      • AE

        Not according to all scientists.

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

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

        –Lord William Kelvin,

        July 30, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
        • Honey Badger Don't Care

          We went over this before AE, you're a dumb azz.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
        • Saraswati

          If you've got to stretch back to the 1800s that ought to tell you something.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
        • AE

          “Recently I have gone back to church regularly with a new focus to understand as best I can what it is that makes Christianity so vital and powerful in the lives of billions of people today, even though almost 2000 years have passed since the death and resurrection of Christ. Although I suspect I will never fully understand, I now think the answer is very simple: it’s true. God did create the universe about 13.7 billion years ago, and of necessity has involved Himself with His creation ever since. The purpose of this universe is something that only God knows for sure, but it is increasingly clear to modern science that the universe was exquisitely fine-tuned to enable human life. We are somehow critically involved in His purpose. Our job is to sense that purpose as best we can, love one another, and help Him get that job done.”

          –Richard Smalley,

          He wrote that in 2005, 9 years after winning the Noble Prize in Chemistry

          July 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
        • lol

          And then you think about it and realize you are literally almost the size of nothing compared to the grand scale of the universe. Humanity is in no way special, religious people and leaders just badly want it to be.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  9. flying spaghetti monster

    HAHAHAH oh man are you messed up in the head. A psychologist would no doubt have years of work to get through whatever the hell weird complexes you've got swirling around up there to come up with dreams like that and then extrapolate from them some weird ish about cisterns and water. Get help friend, this is your only life to live.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • niknak

      You guys actually took the time to read that stuff?
      Man, you must have drank heaps of coffee to get thru THAT.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
      • Doobs

        No, most of it is copied from Austin's squish kitty period. I just skimmed the new paragraphs.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  10. Doobs

    Austin, you probably just had a couple of wet dreams.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
  11. Lukas77

    If you claim deity may exist (even if that belief is 'vanishingly small') then you are an agnostic, not an atheist. An atheist MUST believe in the complete nonexistence of deity, otherwise he/she is an agnostic. Remember, if you claim that deity absolutely does not exist, then you are claiming you are in essence all knowing (even though this is not true), an attribute of deity, itself, and therefore you become a false deity, which is to be denied under the central tenant of atheism.

    In this regard, an online reference defines atheism as being "in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist."

    Finally, with respect to atheism not being a belief system, atheists' argument in this regard, are circular in nature. While atheists may want to think they do not "believe" in the nonexistence of deity, if they do not in practice actually "believe" this central point of atheism, then atheism is a nonexistent philosophical understanding of reality. What atheists are proposing is that they lack rational thinking brains and, instead, are irrational animals that are controlled by instinct/habit with respect to the claimed nonexistence of deity.

    I do, however, agree with atheists on one point - the absurdity of all other religions besides Christianity, as I believe by faith that Christianity is the only true religion and founded by God, Himself, Jesus Christ.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Johnny

      I consider myself to be an atheist because if asked I would say I don't believe in god. That doesn't mean I know that there is not a god, but it does mean that based on the current evidence I see no reason to believe in one.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
      • Lukas77

        To be honest with you, your response is circular reasoning double talk. What you are really saying is you are an agnostic.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
        • AdamC

          No. Just as there are many different types of Christians, there are different types of atheists. Atheist is a label that one can apply to them self to identify with other nonbelievers.

          I'm pretty certain unicorns don't exist. Am I 100% absolutely positive? Of course not, because I can't prove that unicorns don't exist. That doesn't make me agnostic on unicorns. I'm clearly in the "unicorns don't exist" camp.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          Gnosticism refers to knowledge, and theism refers to belief. The two are mutually exclusive and can be used in concert to describe one's position.

          Gnostic Theist – "I know there is(are) a god(s)."
          Agnostic Theist – "I believe in god(s) based upon faith rather than knowledge."
          Gnostic Atheist – "I know that no gods exist."
          Agnostic Atheist – "I don't believe in god(s) due to a lack of evidence."

          You are lumping all atheists into the gnostic atheist category, which is incorrect. Gnostic atheists represent a minority of atheists. Most people who identify as atheists put themselves into the agnostic atheist category.

          August 1, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "An atheist MUST believe in the complete nonexistence of deity, otherwise he/she is an agnostic"

      your whole premise is wrong. atheists don't say it's definitely 100% that a deity doesn't exist. you can't prove a negative. if you know how to prove a negative, i invite you to explain how. so you can't prove the non-existence of god. what atheists say is that the chance is so minute it's not worth considering. there is the same possibility that the my left nut is god as there is that the christian god is god. there is an equal chance that zeus, ra or odin exist. or any god anyone can imagine. because there is ZERO proof of any god and because the idea of a magic sky fairy is so silly, the chance of it being true is almost nil. atheists often refer to god definitely not existing, but it's really just a unbelievably small number not worth honest consideration.

      agnostics aren't saying there is almost no chance of a deity - they're saying they don't know. plain and simple.

      see the difference?

      July 30, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • niknak

      And how pray tell did you come by that Puke as?
      Did you study every religion and choose xtianity?
      I bet not.
      You came to your belief because you were born into a xtian home.
      Had you been born into a muslim one, you would say that was the correct one.

      But you and I are close, I just believe in one LESS god then you do......

      July 30, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Paul Littlefield

      Lukas77, you have an incorrect understanding of atheism & agnosticism. Agnostics make no claim to knowledge of deities – they believe it is not possible to know/prove the existence of any supernatural creatures. Atheism is the lack of belief in religion; that is, they do not follow a religion.

      You can be an agnostic atheist. You don't have a belief in any god, nor do you believe it is possible to prove the existence of one.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
      • Lukas77

        That is atheism according to your own personal definition. I can tell you, though, your relativistic response makes it virtually impossible to pin you down on any possible belief in anything, including almost all areas of science, most of which is theory (e.g, evolution, age of the universe, gravity, etc.), not proven fact (e.g., speed of light) .

        When you have such great faith in the unproven unknown, atheism inherently reveals itself as a pseudoreligion where self becomes deity (although false deity).

        July 30, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • fintastic

      "Finally, with respect to atheism not being a belief system, atheists' argument in this regard, are circular in nature. While atheists may want to think they do not "believe" in the nonexistence of deity, if they do not in practice actually "believe" this central point of atheism, then atheism is a nonexistent philosophical understanding of reality."

      Big load of crap. another moronic word twister...... Atheism = lack of belief in god. Very simple, not the pile of stink you posted about " nonexistent philosophical understanding of reality"..... ...... I believe that I don't believe?.. really this nonsense again... what a laugh.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Lukas77

      For atheism to exist on its own as an INDEPENDENT philosophical belief system, true atheists have to believe, without exception, in the absolute non-existence of deity; and the only way they can do this is to take on an attribute of deity called omniscience (the quality of being all knowing). In this respect, they want mankind to believe that they are 'all-knowing' that deity absolutely does not (and never did) exist; and that if you believe in deity you are absolutely a backward neerdowell relic left over from the dark ages. In the end, atheism as a belief system becomes denuded by the reality that the requirement of implicit self-deification destroys the very core foundation principle of atheism - that deity (whether feigned or not) absolutely cannot exist. For the foregoing reason atheism is a self-contradictory and a dead philosophical belief system.

      The problem is that because atheists cannot absolutely prove the nonexistence of deity while demanding people believe they are absolutely right in this regard, by default, leads to the inevitable conclusion that atheism smacks of feigned self-deification (i.e., atheists are absolutely right simply because they say they are right, while never having proved to society why they are absolutely right in the first place).

      Conversely, if atheists actually admitted they might possibly be in error, even by the slightest, faintest possibility regarding their core tenant that deity cannot exist, then they would no longer self-deify themselves and inevitably become at least agnostics and at most Christians who believe in God the Most Holy Trinity.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        Lukas, what do you not understand about atheism being the refutaion of the claim that a god exists? There is no evidence for any gods therefore the default postion is to NOT believe in one.

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

        You are erroneously assuming that anyone wants atheism to be a "belief system". All it is is a lack of belief in gods. It is no more a "system" of thought that the lack of belief in the Easter Bunny.

        July 30, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
      • AdamC

        Re-read what Saraswati posted. Then re-read it again and let it sink in.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Lukas, this is not how these words are used by most modern atheists. i'm not crazy about the vocabulary, but you have to recognize what they are claiming when they use these terms.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  12. Sam Yaza

    cant keep a lie going soon enough it all comes to light, the lie of Christianity is finally coming to an end

    July 30, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      i'm not saying i don't believe in the spiritual only i don't believe in your Human Jesus, and i believe Yahweh is the god a hatred destruction and lies

      July 30, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  13. MikeC

    All that organized religion was designed and good for is to control people. It has been that way for centuries. Before is was lets have a lot of gods to control people and then narrowed it down to one god to keep it simple

    Organized religion is a way to put fear into people and suck you dry of money. If there was a god and heaven and you died then met god and he or she (whatever) said, "I am sorry but the religion you chose was the wrong one!" Bummer! LOL 🙂

    July 30, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • niknak

      Problem is Mike, each one thinks theirs if the "correct" myth.
      And they will kill your children to prove it to you.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
      • Lou

        correct....we need to ignore all these "faiths" and stand together as humans and not angels in waiting...

        July 31, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • Lycidas

      "All that organized religion was designed and good for is to control people."

      Evidence to back up this assertion?

      July 30, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
      • niknak

        See Saudi Arabia for a start.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
        • Lycidas

          Sorry, mentioning a country does not show how religion was originally created to control people. In case you are not understanding it....a result (a nation using religion to control ppl) does not mean that religion was created to control people.

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

          Prove to me it wasn't meant for control of the masses, Lydia.
          In fact, please provide some proof of you particular myth.
          I have asked and asked yet you provide nothing.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
        • niknak

          It certainly seems to control you.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
        • Lycidas

          "Prove to me it wasn't meant for control of the masses, Lydia."

          Are you asking me to prove a negative? To all the atheists reading this...IS THAT POSSIBLE?

          "In fact, please provide some proof of you particular myth."

          I have no particular myth.

          "I have asked and asked yet you provide nothing."

          Kind of hard to provide you with something for a particular myth I do not have.

          "It certainly seems to control you."

          Nothing controls me. So far I have offered up facts, have asked questions and pointed out flaws in your argument.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
      • Ernest T Bass

        Iran?

        July 30, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        Evidence you ask....how about world history.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
        • Lycidas

          Sorry but world history does not prove that organized religion was designed to control people.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Yes it does, but lets examine your bible. A set of instructions on how to act , what to think, what to do in various situation, how to beat your slaves, to make your daughter marry her rapist ( an order from the bible that is still practiced in Morocco).

          It tells you how to treat your fellow man, and even includes a set of 10 of the worsoffences against your god,

          All of those rules and instructions, and you don't believe that it was intended to control people?
          Seriously? Have you read the bible, even a little?

          July 30, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
        • Lycidas

          "Yes it does, but lets examine your bible."

          No it doesn't and I have no bible.

          "All of those rules and instructions, and you don't believe that it was intended to control people?"

          As I have stated before, this is not evidence that religion was created to control people. Just because religion has been used to control people does not mean that was it's original purpose as the orginal statement on this thread implied.

          "Seriously? Have you read the bible, even a little?"

          I have read the bible many times through and took numerous college classes on the topic. Have you?

          July 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Saraswati

      "All that organized religion was designed and good for is to control people. It has been that way for centuries"

      It's because of this kind of erroneous belief that secularists have not progressed more rapidly in this country. If you look at the sociology of religion, it provides a wide range of benefits, from personal comfort, to social services, to community. Until this issues are better addressed in our society, progress away from religion will be slow.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        I agree with your premise Sara, just not your conclusion. Too often anti-theist use illogical argument based on misinformation and bias to advance their agenda. Religionists do the same. As I stated earlier, one of the benefits of the internet is the ability to research the history, study the data and meditate on the great thinkers to a degree that a few generations ago, only the wealthiest could have afforded as an education. I believe that the more one does this, the more one will be drawn to the Gospel. The reason I think so is I believe the Gospel is the truth and the truth will prevail.

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

          The gospel writers never met the supposed Jesus of Nazareth.....Emperor Constantine's mom created most of the Jesus sites in Israel. The gospels was but together by pagens ....

          July 31, 2013 at 12:17 am |
  14. Bootyfunk

    christians hate stories that point out religion is dying. they hate any article that says a single good word about an atheist, including that more and more people are turning to atheism/humanism. christians hate facts. education and the internet are killing religion. fact-checking is the great enemy of the church. and less and less people rely on "magic" as a good explanation for how the world works.

    modern ethics > biblical morals

    atheist fun facts:
    atheists have a lower rate of divorce than christians
    atheists have a lower crime and incarceration rate than christians
    atheists have a higher education level in general
    atheists know more about the bible than christians in general

    July 30, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "christians hate stories that point out religion is dying."

      No evidence that christianity is dying. Considering that it is the largest religion in the world currently, it is safe to say that it will be around longer than most current nations will be.

      "they hate any article that says a single good word about an atheist,"

      No they don't.

      "christians hate facts. education"

      No they don't.

      "modern ethics > biblical morals"

      More like that modern ethics from the westernized world influenced heavily by Greco-Roman tradiitons and Christianity are not always compatable with certain biblical ethics.

      "atheists have a lower rate of divorce than christians"

      Legitimate evidence lacking. In fact, Nevada, Maine, Oregon, Vermont, Wyoming and Washington are among the top ten states with divorces and they are NOT in what is called the Bible Belt.

      "atheists have a lower crime and incarceration rate than christians"

      ?? Since when does an officer ask a person what their religion or lack thereof is when they arrest someone?

      "atheists have a higher education level in general"

      And are you implying that higher education makes you what? A better person?

      July 30, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        In June, the Barna Group published a new study examining the numbers, lifestyles and self-perceptions of American atheists and agnostics in contrast to those who actively participate in the Christian faith. The “No-Faith” segment was defined as anyone who openly identified themselves as an atheist, an agnostic, or who specifically said they have “no faith.” “Active Faith” was defined as simply having gone to church, read the Bible and prayed during the week preceding the survey. The study says:

        “No-Faith” individuals are younger, likely male, unmarried, college graduates, and earn more.

        The proportion of atheists and agnostics increases from 6% of Elders (ages 61+) and 9% of Boomers (ages 42-60), to 14% of Busters (23-41) and 19% of adult Mosaics (18-22).

        +++ and the barna group is a super pro-christian research center and they still said atheists are more educated. they also show stats that religion is losing the youth.

        -------------------------------------------------
        and yes, they keep lots of records in prison:

        Appendix: 1997 Federal Bureau of Prisons from Denise Golumbaski, as formatted in Rice/Swift
        Note that in this version, the names of a couple of religious groups remain non-standardized, and self-identified "Atheist" remains separate from "Unknown/None."

        Response Number %
        ---------- --–
        Catholic 29267 39.164%
        Protestant 26162 35.008%
        Muslim 5435 7.273%
        American Indian 2408 3.222%
        Nation 1734 2.320%
        Rasta 1485 1.987%
        Jewish 1325 1.773%
        Church of Christ 1303 1.744%
        Pentecostal 1093 1.463%
        Moorish 1066 1.426%
        Buddhist 882 1.180%
        Jehovah Witness 665 0.890%
        Adventist 621 0.831%
        Orthodox 375 0.502%
        Mormon 298 0.399%
        Scientology 190 0.254%
        Atheist 156 0.209%
        Hindu 119 0.159%
        Santeria 117 0.157%
        Sikh 14 0.019%
        Bahai 9 0.012%
        Krishna 7 0.009%
        ---------- --–
        Total Known Responses 74731 100.001% (rounding to 3 digits does this)

        Unknown/No Answer 18381
        ----------
        Total Convicted 93112 80.259% (74731) prisoners' religion is known.

        Held in Custody 3856 (not surveyed due to temporary custody)
        ----------
        Total In Prisons 96968

        the population of atheists in this country is estimated between 8-16%, yet they make up only .2% of the prison population. seems if you're an atheist you are much less likely to be a criminal, right?

        it seems you don't know how to do research on your own. should i point out the other websites that prove what i'm saying about divorce too?

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

          Typical of your garden variety of fundie, funky booty.
          Once you post the proof, and as you say that is just one source, she runs away and hides.
          Just a simple google search brings up heaps of links to even more evidence of what you said.

          You can lead a believer to the truth, but you can't make them learn anything.

          July 30, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
        • Lycidas

          "the population of atheists in this country is estimated between 8-16%, yet they make up only .2% of the prison population. seems if you're an atheist you are much less likely to be a criminal, right?"

          No. Correlation does not imply causation. You are trying to imply that being atheist means you are a better person morally because prisons do not hold a large number of atheists. That is a fallacy.

          Also..do better research. According to Pew, only about 1.6% of Americans are atheist. (http://religions.pewforum.org/reports) See, that is called citing information. Try it sometime 😉

          "it seems you don't know how to do research on your own. should i point out the other websites that prove what i'm saying about divorce too?"

          Nice ad hominem insult there. Total fail of course but still nice. Since you put so much faith in percentages, African American males make up a large percentage of the criminals in prisons. Much more than their percentage of the US population. Would you say that being African American makes you more likely to be a criminal then? Based on your faith in percentages, I would guess your answer would be yes. Then you would offer clarification of why you would say yes instead of blindly just going with the stats.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Also..do better research. According to Pew, only about 1.6% of Americans are atheist. (http://religions.pewforum.org/reports) See, that is called citing information.

          That data is from 2007. It's time they updated it, but they haven't done a comprehensive survey of affilliation since then.

          The 2012 data from Pew is:
          Atheist ...... 2.3%
          Agnostic ... 3.4%
          Total .......... 5.7%

          It's still small, but there's no question that it is growing and people are becoming more willing to self-identify as atheist/agnostic, meaning fewer closet atheist/agnostic.

          The percentages for millenials are much larger.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
        • Lycidas

          "That data is from 2007. It's time they updated it, but they haven't done a comprehensive survey of affilliation since then."

          Yep, ten years more recent than what Booty referenced.

          "It's still small, but there's no question that it is growing and people are becoming more willing to self-identify as atheist/agnostic, meaning fewer closet atheist/agnostic."

          True and in no way am I trying to say it's not growing. But many atheists on here have this very odd idea that if atheism grows that must mean there is an equal decline on the side of religion or more specifically christianity. It is quite possible that the increase in atheism could be simply those that once said no affilation has changed it to flat out atheist.

          They also seem to fall into the trap which is group think. If a Christian would say; "Since there are more christians than any other...they must be the correct ones." This would be a fallacy that I doubt anyone would argue against.

          But then you have atheists that say: "The number of atheists are growing, therefor we must be correct." This too is a fallacy. It doesn't matter if every single person becomes a christian, atheist or a pastafarian....the truth (whatever it is) will still be the truth.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          What is happening is that the number of self-identified Christians is shrinking and the number of non-religious (including atheist/agnostic) is growing.

          Here's an assessment I did including multiple 'reputable' surveyors. Everyone counts slightly differently.
          The substantial drop is in Evangelical Protestants (from 26.3% to 19 or 20%).

          ................................................... Pew-07 ... Pew-12 ... PRRI-12 ...Gallup-12
          Evangelical Protestant ............. 26.3% ... 19% ....... 19.9% ....... 51.9% (including other Christian)
          Mainline Protestant ...................18.1% ... 15% ........ 14.9%
          Historically black Protestant ..... 6.9% ..... 8% .......... 8%
          Catholic ...................................... 23.9% ... 22% ........ 22% .......... 23.3%
          Mormon ....................................... 1.7% ...... 2% ......... n/a .............. 2.1%
          Jewish ......................................... 1.7% ............................................ 1.7%
          Muslim ................................................................................................. 0.6%
          None .................................................................................................. 17.8%
          Atheist ......................................... 1.6% ..... 2.3% ..... 6.7% (with Agnostic)
          Agnostic ..................................... 2.4% ..... 3.4% ..... n/a
          Other secular unaffiliated* ...... 6.3% ..... 2.7% ..... 7.3%
          Spiritual but not religious ......... n/a ........ 7.4% ..... n/a
          Religious unaffiliated ............... 5.8% ..... 3.6% ..... 4.3%

          * Not atheist/agnostic, but not spiritual or religious.

          July 30, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • TN28

      A true christian does not hate anything. Love, peace and joy are the fruits of the Holy Spirit. I personally am not shocked at all regarding atheists or articles such as this. All it comes down to is man loving his sin, if there is no God then you can sin all you want & all is good. I get it. Atheism works perfectly for your sin & is the easy way out. Lets just be real. That is hillarious that you would say an atheist knows the bible better than a chrisitian. Atheists know more about a book that they do not even believe in? Wierd. Let me correct you if I may. Atheists misunderstand and rip apart the bible for thier own personal pleasure. Then a very unholy man judges a very holy God. Christians take time to study and reflect on the word of God. That is the difference.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
      • grafactor

        You say you don't hate anyone, and I believe you, but you haven't taken the time to try to understand or at least see the other's point of view. Instead all you've done is smear people and decided that YOU know all there is to know about the motivations of people you've never even met, regarding their lack of belief in gods.

        I know many atheists through my meetup group. They are good people. They raise their children to be honest and kind to others. They care about social issues. They are as good as any christian, and better than many.

        And yes, many of us have read the bible and know more about it than many christians do. I myself have two different translations and also an audiobook version. I also own the Book of Mormon, the Koran, the Baghavad Gita and the Upanishads (but I guess they don't count, because they are the "wrong" religion.

        Your comments seek to do nothing but disparage and slander good people, and all for the crime of not believing a thing for lack of evidence. I am so heartily sick and tired and fed up with ignorant, slanderous people like you who judge others like this, and all for what they believe, or don't believe.

        You're a disgrace.

        August 1, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
  15. Just another millennial

    Who woulda thunk that Rachel Held Evans would walk into the trap laid by the 'friendly atheist'

    July 30, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Jetliner

      Rache Evans probably is a closet atheist.

      July 30, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
      • niknak

        Most religious people are closet atheists as well.
        They just don't have the courage to stand up to their family and friends and tell them.
        So they go along with the sham so as not to be ostracized.
        Or they are in the middle east and fear getting stoned to death, which is a legit fear.

        July 30, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
        • Lycidas

          "Most religious people are closet atheists as well."

          No.

          "They just don't have the courage to stand up to their family and friends and tell them."

          Then they wouldn't be the type to have the internal courage to do anything to change how they see the world.

          "So they go along with the sham so as not to be ostracized."

          No.

          July 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • niknak

          Sure they are.
          If not, then why do they get so upset when you tell them you don't believe in god?
          Because deep down all of you have zero tangible evidence of your sky fairy friend.
          You only believe in your personal myth because you were brought up in it, NOT because you found evidence for it.

          If you want to howl at the moon, it is your time to waste.
          But stop trying to make the rest of us go out and howl with you.

          And another thing, us non believers are tired of paying local taxes that your various houses of myth don't have to.

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

          Lycidas

          "Then they wouldn't be the type to have the internal courage to do anything to change how they see the world"

          Atheists tend to look for the latest breakthroughs in science to change how they see the world.

          Christians tend to look at a stagnant book from thousands of years ago for how they see the world.

          July 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
        • Lycidas

          @niknak- "Sure they are. If not, then why do they get so upset when you tell them you don't believe in god?"

          They don't.

          "Because deep down all of you have zero tangible evidence of your sky fairy friend."

          Who are you meaning by "you"? And I am afraid you are leaving science behind again and going into poetics. No one on here has ever expressed that they worship a sky fairy friend.

          "You only believe in your personal myth because you were brought up in it, NOT because you found evidence for it."

          Again..who is this "you"? Are you attempting to take a generlized topic on faith and switching it out for a personalized view of faith? I've known people raised by atheists that are religious...so you pov is invalid.

          "If you want to howl at the moon, it is your time to waste. But stop trying to make the rest of us go out and howl with you."

          I am not trying to convince you to do anything. You seem very confused on here though as to what your goal is when commenting.

          "And another thing, us non believers are tired of paying local taxes that your various houses of myth don't have to."

          There you go again trying to make this a personal topic. I have no "house of myth" of any kind. Sounds like you have an issue with our Govt. When was the last time you wrote a letter to your Congress Rep about this topic?

          @Observer- "Atheists tend to look for the latest breakthroughs in science to change how they see the world."

          I will agree that some do.

          "Christians tend to look at a stagnant book from thousands of years ago for how they see the world."

          I will agree that Christians look at the Bible for reference and guidance. Whether it is stagnant or not is not exactly a proven thing. I doubt most would call the wrtiings of Plato stagnant in regards to philosophy or Darwin's writings on evolution stagnant in regards to evolution.

          July 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
        • niknak

          I am not confused at all Lydia.
          I have asked, as well as others have asked, for even the slightest proof of your creator being real.
          Nothing ever comes of it except bible quotes.

          Look, I don't care how you want to spend your time. If it is in some house of worship, knock yourself out.
          What I want is for you believers to keep your religion to yourselves.
          Stop trying to force it into our government, our courts, our schools, our medicine and our bedrooms.
          And while you are at it, maybe start paying some taxes so when the streets need repair, your houses of worship can pitch in some too.

          Is that too much to ask of you?

          July 30, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • Lycidas

          "I am not confused at all Lydia."

          You past comments say otherwise.

          "I have asked, as well as others have asked, for even the slightest proof of your creator being real."

          I have yet to claim a creator, so I have no reason to try to prove one.
          Oddly enough, I have asked people like you to prove that the God of Abraham was a man made concept. They have all failed in doing so.

          "Look, I don't care how you want to spend your time. If it is in some house of worship, knock yourself out."

          Ditto.

          "What I want is for you believers to keep your religion to yourselves."

          If you mean to not use the govt to impose religious beliefs upon people...I agree. If you mean for people not to take into account their views on morality and faith when they vote...I would disagree.

          "And while you are at it, maybe start paying some taxes so when the streets need repair, your houses of worship can pitch in some too."

          I think most people that are part of a religion in this nation pay their taxes for street repair.

          July 30, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
        • watergirl

          @ Lycidias

          Actually some of what he is saying is true. My generation in my family are all athiests with the exception of me, who follows a nature religion. None of us, can tell our parents that we don't believe. They would flip. I know many others in the same position.

          July 31, 2013 at 9:21 am |
        • Lycidas

          You have my sympathy that your parents aren't open to your views on the subject.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  16. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    "It appears that atheists and Christians are finally working together on the same task: getting millennials to leave the church."

    Yay! We finally have something in common! The Churches don't want the millenials because the millenials push for equal rights for all and the millenials don't want to be in the Churches because they find them hypocritical and outdated.

    July 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
  17. tbay

    athiests appear to have take a few pages from the JW and Mormon (LDS) playbooks.

    And with their leader and messiah, Richard Dawkins, potificating at the helm, they are fast becoming the most religious non-religion on the face of the earth. Look out communists, the athiest zealots are soon taking over your number 1 spot.

    July 30, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      As an atheist I have donated to local charities that provide food for those in need, I have never sent a single dime to Richard Dawkins or his estate or any atheist group. I have no leader and have no need for a messiah or savior. Your equation is invalid.

      July 30, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
      • tbay

        so you are a non-practicing athiest. Good for you

        July 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          it's fun to try to equate atheism and religion, haha. calling atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color. fail harder, tbay.

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

          "it's fun to try to equate atheism and religion, haha. calling atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color. fail harder, tbay."

          Actually there is nothing wrong with comparing some types of atheism to that of religion. Many atheists seem to have this need to "preach" their views to those they know will disagree. That is similar with many faiths.
          Atheism tends to have its leaders like many religions. And while you might think that doesn't count since you do not involve yourself with these "leaders"....what would your response be to a religious person that doesn't have a leader either?

          It's not the non-belief that is being comapared to a religion but the manner in which many athiests conduct their behavior in regards to that non-belief.

          July 30, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
        • fintastic

          Stupid comment.. how do you practice not beliving?

          July 30, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
        • fintastic

          "believing"

          July 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          Actually there is nothing wrong with comparing some types of atheism to that of religion. Many atheists seem to have this need to "preach" their views to those they know will disagree. That is similar with many faiths.
          +++ bad comparison. we are trying to talk cult members into leaving the cult and thinking for themselves. trying to talk someone into relying on facts and logic instead of faith and magic isn't preaching - it's trying to deprogram brainwashing.

          Atheism tends to have its leaders like many religions. And while you might think that doesn't count since you do not involve yourself with these "leaders"....what would your response be to a religious person that doesn't have a leader either?
          +++ sorry, richard dawkins isn't a leader. he can't give a command to anyone as the pope can. i don't have to do anything any atheist says. there is zero repercussions. not so for christians that disobey church leadership. another bad comparison. and my response to a religious person without a leader would be, that's a good start. now disavow your belief in an invisible sky fairy and start using logic and compassion to guide your life.

          It's not the non-belief that is being comapared to a religion but the manner in which many athiests conduct their behavior in regards to that non-belief.
          +++ atheists don't lead their life by a silly set of rules written by bronze/iron age goat herders that thought the earth was flat. we don't read that g.ays are evil in a 2K old book and use it as an excuse for bigotry. basically, you're saying atheists can't talk about atheism or they are just like a religious kook. i disagree.

          July 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
        • Lycidas

          "bad comparison. we are trying to talk cult members into leaving the cult and thinking for themselves. trying to talk someone into relying on facts and logic instead of faith and magic isn't preaching – it's trying to deprogram brainwashing."

          No, it's not. You do not agree with them and in essense want to "save" them from themselves.

          "sorry, richard dawkins isn't a leader."

          He is one that is cited for his views. His books are referenced for support. He is as much a leader to the atheists of today as Paul is a leader to the christians of today.

          "he can't give a command to anyone as the pope can."

          No but whoever said that being a leader means giving orders?

          "i don't have to do anything any atheist says. there is zero repercussions. not so for christians that disobey church leadership."

          You are incorrect. Many christians go against what the church says. Being christian does not mean subjugating yourself fully to a leader ot church.

          "now disavow your belief in an invisible sky fairy and start using logic and compassion to guide your life."

          I have no belief in any invisible sky fairy and I use logic and compassion every day. I suggest you try to avoid poetics and stick with factual statements.

          "atheists don't lead their life by a silly set of rules written by bronze/iron age goat herders that thought the earth was flat."

          I didn't say atheists did. No offence but something being from the bronze/iron age does not make it instantly incorrect. I would suggest you might want to leave behind this notion that being in the here and now makes your opinions instantly superior to people from the past.

          "basically, you're saying atheists can't talk about atheism or they are just like a religious kook. i disagree."

          I said nothing of the sort. I did say that some comparissons make sense.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @tbay
      the big difference is that atheism relies on facts and reason. the pillars that hold up religion are guilt, fear and ignorance.

      July 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @tbay, Your assumption that most atheists are reading or even care about Dawkins just shows your ignorance on the subject. Most of the world's atheist live in countries where he's virtually unknown. My own family has generations of atheists going back well before Dawkins was born, let alone put pen to paper.

      July 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      @tbay – Here is the important detail you seem to be missing (maybe on purpose), to be a Christian one must (should) read the bible, learn about Christs life and emulate him. To be an atheist you don't have to read anything if you do not want to, you can simply refuse to do any research at all and let the zealots on either side try and persuade you with their message, or, like most atheists, you can grow up pre-persuaded (aka indoctrinated) and in a fit of passionate zealotry actually read the bible, study it and then dismiss it as the misogynistic book of fairy tales it is.

      July 30, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
  18. Lycidas

    Long story short: Atheists are getting their perspective out into the venues that people under 35 frequent most and therefor those people tend to share those views more.

    July 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • niknak

      No.
      People are finally questioning the bull that their parents made them believe in since birth, and seeing that there are zero facts to back up the claims of all the worlds religions.
      Atheism is the end result.
      In anther 50 years the vast majority of the world will have left these stupid stone age myths.
      The exceptions will be the brain dead muslims and xtian fundies, who will cling onto their myth until the bitter end.

      July 30, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
      • Lycidas

        niknak- "People are finally questioning the bull that their parents made them believe in since birth, and seeing that there are zero facts to back up the claims of all the worlds religions."

        No. People have questioned religion waaay before we ever came about. They just now have a way to discuss those doubts with others.

        "Atheism is the end result."

        Atheism is a result but there is little to imply it will be the end result.

        "In anther 50 years the vast majority of the world will have left these stupid stone age myths."

        It's nice to see you have such strong faith in the societal impact you think atheism has in the world. Of course your factless number of 50 years stands in stark contrast with the tens of thousands of years that humanity had religion within it. It is more likely that atheism will continue to grow in the next 50 years but highly doubtful it will ever have a majority within that time period.

        "The exceptions will be the brain dead muslims and xtian fundies, who will cling onto their myth until the bitter end."

        And there you go into poetics that are not based on any facts. Typical.

        July 30, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          "It's nice to see you have such strong faith in the societal impact you think atheism has in the world. Of course your factless number of 50 years stands in stark contrast with the tens of thousands of years that humanity had religion within it. It is more likely that atheism will continue to grow in the next 50 years but highly doubtful it will ever have a majority within that time period."
          +++ more technology has been invented in the last 50 years than the 10K before that. information is at our fingertips like never before. the internet is killing religion. the only place religion will continue to grow is in 3rd world nations where education is rare, africa, parts of asia and south america. industrialized nations are moving away from religion, as all reputable studies show. it may take 100 years instead of 50, but he's exactly right - religion is going away. people are questioning religion in a way they've never been able to do before. fact-checking is killing christianity.

          July 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • Lycidas

          "more technology has been invented in the last 50 years than the 10K before that. information is at our fingertips like never before. the internet is killing religion."

          No, religion is still about. The advance of technology will not eliminate religion within humanity.

          "industrialized nations are moving away from religion, as all reputable studies show."

          Hmm, I think we are in disagreement over religion and faith. While I agree that organized religion is declining in some places, that does not mean that belief in a higher power is going that way as fast or at all.

          "it may take 100 years instead of 50, but he's exactly right – religion is going away."

          No, he is not. He is guessing and hoping it will go away for good. Guessing and hoping are not scientific.

          July 30, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
        • Edward

          Recent statistical programs have predicted the demise of organized religion by the year 2075. These same programs predict trends in the stock market and even weather patterns to an amazingly high degree. It is the logical evolution of mankind to move forward and join together to reach peace. It will not get done by the religious and those of faith.

          August 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
      • flying spaghetti monster

        I don't know about 50 years, but I am hopeful that over time religious nonsense will become less and less of an influence in our societies. I think the ability of people to talk about it anonymously on boards like this one has significantly accelerated this process, because prior to this ability, people could only talk about it in small groups of confidants, or risk social ostracism because the majority of people were church-going by default because their parents were too.

        Now, it's possible for people to compare notes and discuss the obvious inconsistencies and inadequacies of religion without risking the backlash from narrow minded fools in any serious way (getting flamed by trolls on a message board being much preferred to being cast out by ones' family, friends, community, etc.)

        July 30, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  19. Bill Deacon

    It's an opinion piece. Big surprise, an atheist thinks atheists are cool.

    July 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Reality really offends you, doesn't it?

      July 30, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
      • Lycidas

        I don't see how he was offended by anything. He merely pointed out that it is no surprise that the author of this opinion piece supports his view so strongly.

        July 30, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
        • niknak

          Your whole belief in god is an opinion, as you have zero facts to back up it's existence.
          So what is your point?

          July 30, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • Lycidas

          "Your whole belief in god is an opinion,"

          What belief was that again?

          "as you have zero facts to back up it's existence."

          I have never mentioned to having a faith or the ability to offer up any facts (however you would define that) to support any religion. Do you have evidence to offer up to the contrary?

          "So what is your point?"

          I think I made it.

          July 30, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
      • tbay

        Nah, people always think there organization is the best. Doesn't mean they are right or wrong, just opinionated.

        BTW – change your name to Opion Prevails. There won't be much truth from anyone here. The only winners wil lbe those who yell the loudest

        July 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Doobs

      It's an opinion piece. Big surprise, an atheist thinks atheists are cool.

      Bill Deacon is just miffed because there's only been eight pieces in a row about the pope.

      July 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I wouldn't say miffed. I would say I think the discussions the pope's comments have generated will be more fruitful than this article and here's why. The author stars out saying that what the previous article on the millennial exodus from the church focused on was the errors churches are making and not on the positive attraction atheism offers. i was settling in for a good read on the attraction of atheism, which disappointingly was never offered. We got some rehashed statistics about how all the cool kids on the internet are flocking to atheist sites. But no convincing argument about why atheism is right, only repackaged claims, most of which are distortions, about why Christianity is wrong, or more explicitly how modern churches are doing it wrong. I was underwhelmed.

      July 30, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
      • Doobs

        Frankly, Bill Deacon, I think you're giving those pope articles far too much value. The pope has gone back to his palace, the confetti has been cleaned up, and the poor of Brazil have gone home with a lot of false hope and probably a lot less money. They'll hang the pope souvenirs on the wall and try to feel blessed about their poverty, because the pope says suffering means you are close to god.

        Talk about fluff pieces. Kissing babies and babbling sappy platitudes isn't exactly revolutionary behavior for someone who's looking to convert people to their side. Candidates for office do it all the time.

        July 30, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
        • Bryan Rick

          I'm not a Catholic, but I can tell you, you must know nothing about the current pope. He lived his entire life in poverty on purpose. He had numerous chances to live amongst the elite in his life, however he always preferred to live among "the least of these." I'd say regardless of his religion, the guy is a class act.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:43 am |
  20. Joseph

    Guess all the Pope topic blogs aren't getting the amount of comments CNN wants..time for this story that is sure to bring them in.

    July 30, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • tbay

      They have to give equal time. If they don't, someone is likely to call them Fox News... and no one wants that

      July 30, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      great story and perfectly relevant to the religious current.

      July 30, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
      • Joseph

        not saying it isn't relevant but cnn would probably like to shake things up a little. One can only talk about the Pope and Catholics so much before people want something differen to talk about.

        July 30, 2013 at 2:45 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.