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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. Colin

    In total, according to actual numbers in the Bible, throughout the Old Testament, God kills about 2,500,000 people (in addition to drowning the whole planet of over 100 million at one point). By comparison, Satan kills 10. To put it mildly, the Judeo-Christian God is a brutal, bloodthirsty thug; a spoilt child with unlimited powers who flies off the handle whenever he is displeased.

    July 31, 2013 at 4:35 am |
    • lol??

      "......................Judeo-Christian God .................." Is this some kinda new age marriage, hyphenated and all?? Better check out the scripture about God's bill of divorcement.

      July 31, 2013 at 4:39 am |
    • Tyler H

      This is a common argument many Atheist make to discredit God. God did rid the Earth of many people throughout the Old Testament. However, let's take the example of the Egyptians. The Egyptians were murdering innocent people throughout history. They would take Jewish newborns and brutally drown them in the Nile River as a means of live abortion. They worked these people tirelessly, and they never showed a bit of remorse. So, you decide whether the Egyptians received exactly what was coming for them. It is quite likely, the Jews would have been eradicated from the Earth had they had to work in these conditions for hundreds of years more without the help of God. God is not bloodthirsty, he is simply right and just.

      July 31, 2013 at 5:03 am |
      • Colin

        Oh nonsense. The late Bronze Age Egyptian society was not fundamentally different to any other of the time and region (and significantly more advanced than most). They are deamonized in the Bible because it was written by the Jews, a rival society!!

        Ever wondered why the Bible is all about the Jews? Why was God so obsessed with them, while totally ignoring the Sub-saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Chinese, Ja.panese, Russians Polonesians, Amero-Indians and the rest of the 200 million people alive 3000-2000 years ago.

        Hmmm, did God create the Jews or did the Jews create God?

        July 31, 2013 at 5:13 am |
      • sam stone

        we do not try to discredit god. we simply do not believe in god.

        July 31, 2013 at 5:26 am |
      • sam stone

        right and just?

        more like vindictive and petty

        July 31, 2013 at 5:29 am |
  2. Christopher Lewis

    For all of you who are on the fence. There is a difference between being religious and being a Christian. A Christian has dedicated himself or herself as a follower of Christ and true discipleship. Religion is often an act, ritual or show. I am a Christian; I am not religious. However, as I have said, Satan is a "deceiver". So he is causing those of you who would be Christians to turn away by discouraging you with religious people. He will never let true Christians have media time because he knows this will draw you to Christ. Study the bible for yourself and you will not be deceived or disillusioned. Write the words on your heart and you will see clearly the manifold wisdom of God. Follow man blindly and you will lose faith. We are in a "spiritual battle" and that you see with your eyes and touch with your hands everyday is not the real enemy. The atheist here are not the real enemy but the puppeteer behind them.

    July 31, 2013 at 4:25 am |
    • Colin

      Of all the silly superst.itions of the Christians, the myth of Satan is probably my favorite. It is just SO silly. God allows an immortal archenemy to exist so there is a place called hell for non-believers and other "bad people" to burn forever in.

      Think it through. I don't have to kill, I don't have to steal, hell, I don't even have to litter. All I have to do is have a reasonable, honest and rational disbelief in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty upon me an infinite times worse than the death penalty. And he loves me.

      Let's subject this "cherished Christian doctrine" to the probing light of say.......fifth grade mathematics.

      Approximately one hundred and ten thousand million (110,000,000,000) people have lived on Earth. Given all those who have, over the centuries, rejected the Christian god, or who have otherwise committed mortal sins, there must be literally thousands of millions of people burning for all eternity in the cosmic oven of hell set up by their all-loving god. Some must have been burning for thousands of years by now.

      About 100,000 people die every day. There must be a constant stream of thousands of forlorn souls every day into the one way pit of hell their “all-merciful” god set up and maintains.

      But, far, far worse than sheer overwhelming numbers is the extent of the punishment. There is no way out, no parole, no time off for good behavior. You don’t just burn, you burn for all eternity. Billions of people and thousands of daily new arrivals burning for all eternity!

      No criminal justice system in the history of the Human race, even those established by the most despotic of tyrants, comes close to matching the unfathomable barbarity of their “infinitely benevolent” god.

      Hitler murdered six million Jews in his concentration camps, but compared to the Judeo-Christian god, Hitler was a bleeding-hearted wimp. A goose-stepping girlie-man. Their “all-caring” god not only burns billions more than Hitler, Pol Pot and all other dictators and tyrants added up, he keeps doing so to them for all eternity! I would not wish a bad sunburn on a person simply because they have a different religion to me, let alone fry them for all eternity.

      It is also odd that their all-loving god is also all-knowing and knows which souls will go to hell before they do. He even knows it before they are born, and yet he still creates them. He is worse than a psychopathic teenager who breeds litter after litter of kittens so he can slowly roast them in ovens.
      That is the problem with using the same deity to be both the carrot and the stick. It gets really silly really quickly.

      How they believe this utter garbage in the 21st century completely eludes me.

      July 31, 2013 at 4:29 am |
      • lol??

        Did you just call your own perceptions "utter garbage"??

        July 31, 2013 at 4:35 am |
      • Christopher Lewis

        Disbelief in Satan as a myth and fable: This is what makes the great predators of the earth so dangerous. The prey don't believe that they are there until it is too late. All of the great minds that are dead but spew atheist ideas when they were alive are like that gazelle in the clutches of the lion or the wilder-beast in the mouth of the crocodile.

        Praise God! You are speaking through me tonight. Use me!!!!

        July 31, 2013 at 4:51 am |
      • Greg

        Excellent post, Colin

        July 31, 2013 at 8:45 am |
  3. cm

    Really? Your perceptions are kind of warped cuz although there are a selected few who are anti most believers ain't. I guess you swallowed the kool aid just as much. Secularism is so disconnecting and easy.

    July 31, 2013 at 4:24 am |
  4. Jill Jackson

    Check out "The Zygan Emprise", by YS Pascal, free on iTunes, for a fascinating sci-fi fantasy perspective on the Jesus myth.

    July 31, 2013 at 4:03 am |
  5. Nobody really believes this article

    Everyone is supposed to become atheist, and the Pope says atheists will be in heaven. The net result being everyone is supposed to reject God, while living in heaven... and God goes where?

    No thanks, I'm sticking with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and his Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth that died for the sins of those that believe him and repent of their sins... and do the will of God.... and love him.

    July 31, 2013 at 3:56 am |
    • Colin

      That's OK, not eveerybody has the brains to drop the myths of their childhood.

      July 31, 2013 at 4:14 am |
      • Pancakes

        You feel that 'nothing' is your creator. What do you feel when you think you're above your claimed creator nothing, when you know nothing can't do anything? You want to run tests on nothing, write equations to model it, and then write papers telling everyone how you've mastered nothing and gone to the depths of nothing where no one has been before.

        That is so empty.

        July 31, 2013 at 5:02 am |
        • Ernest T Bass

          My parents are my "creators"

          July 31, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  6. marianne

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJ6ruM7Muo8

    July 31, 2013 at 3:47 am |
    • lol??

      Any scripture for the age of the earth?? I stopped right there. BTW, the USGS position on the age has a mighty big assumption.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:58 am |
      • Pancakes

        God said the earth at the start was a void and without form... so it's that old right after that. Yes, a big assumption.

        July 31, 2013 at 4:38 am |
      • fresh shrimp from Shanghai Harbor

        You made it 9 seconds in?

        Ill take the USGS data over 2000 year old religious claims. The USGS data comes from observing the decay of radioactive isotopes on earth and the Moon ...it may not be exact but its in the ball park.

        July 31, 2013 at 4:42 am |
  7. Fred

    I have no trust in Atheism. All i see is atheists people are bullies who are calling people all kind of names. Laughing at others, they ridicule people and making fun of them. Nothing in their actions point out that atheism is good. Bill Maher is always on TV laughing at people and calling people all kind of names. Atheists so far haven't shown that atheism is something good. All we see from atheists is very negative. Their comments about God and Jesus are so full of hatred that one would thing that they believe in God existence, otherwise they wouldn't spend all this energy talking a bout him.

    July 31, 2013 at 3:44 am |
    • sam stone

      and all we see are christians blathering empty proxy threats of what their god will do to us if we don't kowtow to the edited, translated hearsay that makes up the bible

      July 31, 2013 at 3:55 am |
      • devin

        That's " all you see"? Where? Apart from the obscure Pat Robertson types, I don't see it.

        July 31, 2013 at 4:09 am |
        • ferit

          what will your god to to non-believers?

          July 31, 2013 at 4:18 am |
        • sam stone

          devin: fair enough. i was speaking of those posting on these boards. i know many christians in real life, and they are generally fine, upstanding people. on the boards, though, the extremes tend to come out

          July 31, 2013 at 4:34 am |
    • fresh shrimp from Shanghai Harbor

      Im with you Fred

      Whatever happened to the days when you could burn somebody for witchcraft if you didn't like them, I mean really...
      It was fun laughing and ridiculing gays till they took that away.

      And now we have to tolerate these cowardly attacks from atheists? – we used to be able to kill these freaks and it wasn't even a sin!

      Bring back the old days! make the sun orbit us again – I liked that!

      July 31, 2013 at 4:07 am |
    • ferit

      there's nothing wrong with ridiculing other's thoughts and beliefs. that's free speech in full. atheists don't kill and cause wars though.

      July 31, 2013 at 4:10 am |
      • ferit

        if nothing good comes out of atheism check out scandinavia with the highest rates of atheism, but also the highest standards of living in the world.

        July 31, 2013 at 4:16 am |
    • Christopher Lewis

      The moderators must be atheist so I will re-word my response to you. You are making the right choice to cling to God and not man. All you have to do is read and watch the news to realize that for all his intellect, mankind is an open sore to himself.

      Yet God teaches us that we should love others as we love ourselves. If we do this, the world would be great as people would ensure the peace and safety of others because this is what they would want for themselves.

      Now, how could anyone who professes to be so intellectually sound deny this logic.

      July 31, 2013 at 4:16 am |
      • sam stone

        You take the word of man, attribute it to god, and then speak of logic?

        wow, amazing the mental gyrations you go to

        July 31, 2013 at 4:37 am |
  8. Ted Testerson

    Your religion is stupid.

    July 31, 2013 at 3:31 am |
  9. Tracy

    The genie is out of the bottle on this one, good luck turning the tide against reason. There is a direct correlation between the amount of easily available knowledge, and the dropping support in religion. Further, more and more people, largely due to the internet, are finding that they are not alone in questioning the stories of the bible.
    If "religion" wants to know why they lost me, it really comes down to two things.
    1. The stories, to put it kindly, are ridiculous. There are too many stories that qualify, which I think most already know.
    2. The majority of christians pick and choose what they decide to believe. Too often, when something sounds ridiculous or goes against their own belief system, they say that the scripture isn't meant to be taken literal.

    July 31, 2013 at 3:30 am |
    • lol??

      Did you speak metaphorically in your comment??

      July 31, 2013 at 3:34 am |
  10. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    A&A's are big on silencing other comments, liike gud little Nazis with ovens.

    July 31, 2013 at 3:30 am |
  11. Christopher Lewis

    Christians, don't lose faith and your knowledge of God. Remember that God teaches us that the way to eternal life is narrow but the way to destruction is wide. So, if people are leaving the church, this is prophetic. Shout with joy that your are the few and the proud. Also, Christ stated that "the gates of hell" would not "prevail" against the church, so why would your worry about some atheist. We are not going anywhere!!! Make sure you teach your children daily and really well, they are trying to reach them through the educational system.

    Blessings!!!

    July 31, 2013 at 3:28 am |
    • Tracy

      OMG....the ending was perfect. "They are trying to reach them through the educational system"....LOL. Yes....that's 100% correct, and the fact that you don't get it is hilarious.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:33 am |
      • Christopher Lewis

        Oh, I get it. You see "Satan appears as an angel of light". So, what you might believe to be the most harmless thing is the way by which he enters in. You are talking intellectual. I'm talking spiritual. We might as well be talking two different languages.

        July 31, 2013 at 3:35 am |
        • Christopher Lewis

          By the way, ridicule and taunting is a juvenile debating tactic which only energizes me as my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ teaches that we are blessed when we are persecuted. You can't play on my emotions with words like "hilarious", accept to make me optimistic and encouraged at your attempt.

          July 31, 2013 at 3:39 am |
        • redzoa

          "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions."

          -TJ (speaking of the trinity, but pretty much applicable to most of these types of posts).

          July 31, 2013 at 3:45 am |
        • Tracy

          Um...apparently I did get an emotional response from you. Apparently it worked as witnessed by your comment, and then your comment of your own comment. But yes, we are talking from two different points. As you said, I am talking from the side of intellect, which means that you are not.

          July 31, 2013 at 3:46 am |
        • fresh shrimp from Shanghai Harbor

          ut-oh...careful guys, Chris is powering up!

          July 31, 2013 at 3:53 am |
        • Christopher Lewis

          Well, how successful has your ridicule been to my faith tonight. You intellectuals will never understand us spirituals. My roots run deep. I doubt that some secular ridicule will shake my faith. And this is why "the gates of hell" nor the ridicule of the atheist will never prevail against the church. We will be here until the end of time; and we know we will be in the minority. Why? Because God has promised us it would be so.

          July 31, 2013 at 3:58 am |
        • sam stone

          "By the way, ridicule and taunting is a juvenile debating tactic"

          As are proxy threats/warnings

          July 31, 2013 at 4:00 am |
        • sam stone

          "and we know we will be in the minority. Why? Because God has promised us it would be so"

          Yet the vast majority of the nation are christian. Was your god lying or merely wrong?

          July 31, 2013 at 4:03 am |
        • MOCaseA

          Well "Satan (which is a word never used in the Bible by the way) appears as an Angel of Light." Right. But God sends us Angels of Light as well... How are we supposed to know which is the real Angel, since Satan is the King of Lies and can easy say he IS an Angel of Light? Wait, now I'm confusing myself... Satan will "appear as" and Angel, but God sends Angels too, so how are we supposed to know which is the Angel and which is Satan? Also, while I have no problem with Faith, I have some serious issues with Dogma. I also have some serious issues with organiged religion and the idea of superiority based on some intangible belief.

          I have known many people to treat me like less than dirt because I'm what is considered a heretic (once part of the church, but left because the "faith" and dogma was so hypocritical that I spoke out and was kicked out). They look at me and see the "devil" at work. I look at me and see someone who finally realized that all the wonder tales, all the stories, all the miracles, and all the dogma shown in the Bible was nothing more than people with little or no control over their own lives trying to exert control over others. Don't get me wrong here, many of the core teachings of the Bible are good teachings, and are central to maintaining a productive and successful society, but are in no way exclusive to the Bible. They are common sense. But trying to use the Biblical mythology to control and subdue a free society is only going to drive more people away from it.

          Long and short, you have the right and freedom to chose what you believe. But don't try to make that choice for everyone else, and don't try to use your faith as a reason to deny others their freedom of choice.

          July 31, 2013 at 4:19 am |
        • sam stone

          "You intellectuals will never understand us spirituals"- christopher

          "These are simple farmers, people of the land, the common clay of the new west......you know, morons" – Blazing Saddles

          July 31, 2013 at 4:42 am |
      • Christopher Lewis

        Yes, you did pull out an emotion. Excitement and happiness at being ridiculed. "count it all joy, when you fall in to divers temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith produces patience." Thanks for helping me to become more patient in my defense of God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

        July 31, 2013 at 4:10 am |
        • Colin

          So you believe that an infinitely-old, all-knowing being, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies about 13,720,000,000 years ago, impregnated an Iron Age Jewish virgin with himself, so he could give birth to himself, then sacrifice himself to himself to forgive the “original sin” of a couple we now all know never existed?

          July 31, 2013 at 4:19 am |
        • Ernest T Bass

          @colin......... wow, when you put it that way, it almost sounds ridiculous (LOL)

          July 31, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • marianne

      You quickly demonstrate the bad "thinking" that goes into religion. First, faith and knowledge are mutex. If you have faith, you don't know. If you know, you cannot be said to have faith. Next, you say people leaving church is prophetic. I am sure you also believe people joining church is prophetic. So what's NOT prophetic? You have built yourself an unfalsifiable delusion. This type of shoddy "thinking" is part of the reason why religion is irrelevant in the information age.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:39 am |
      • lol??

        Ok lady, what's the Biblical meaning concerning faith?? Don't be slippery now.

        July 31, 2013 at 3:52 am |
      • Christopher Lewis

        First, I am not religious. I am a Christian, which means follower of Christ. Secondly, "if you have faith the size of a mustard seed" all is possible. If you faith is that strong, then you KNOW that God's word does not come back void. It is not faith to hope and wish. In your dictionary faith is defined as "belief and trust in and loyalty to God." How can you have loyalty in something that you don't KNOW about. How can you have TRUST?

        John 17:3 3 And this is life eternal, that they might KNOW thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

        Marianne, the bible clearly speaks of a time when the Church will be isolated in the world and it not because of shoddy thinking but because people will not be able to "endure sound doctrine". In other words, no one will want to hear what the bible really teaches us about how to live. This is why people are leaving. There are those in the church who refuse to change the word to fit man. This is why people are leaving the church. But God is the creator; we must bend to him not the other way around.

        You must study the Word to Know what God wants of you.

        July 31, 2013 at 3:52 am |
    • sam stone

      Do you seriously desire ETERNAL life?

      July 31, 2013 at 3:56 am |
      • Christopher Lewis

        Do you seriously desire to be no more than road kill in the streets?

        July 31, 2013 at 3:58 am |
        • sam stone

          it's not what i desire, but it is what i believe happens

          i would rather believe the truth than a comforable lie

          July 31, 2013 at 4:52 am |
      • lol??

        Job 2:4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.

        Yea or nay?

        July 31, 2013 at 4:13 am |
      • ferit

        I do Sam, but I'm an atheist because if anything science can give me eternal life, not religion.

        July 31, 2013 at 4:23 am |
        • sam stone

          ferit: would it not be boring after the first few hundred years? and, does life imply health?

          July 31, 2013 at 4:48 am |
  12. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Christians, it's time to come out of the fully leavened churches. When the Beast gubmint pals up with the fwaidy cats from the closets trollin' fer votes, it should mean something to you as a sign of the time. You don't want to be judged with the girlies in the pulpits.

    July 31, 2013 at 3:24 am |
  13. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I'm tired of the lie that humanity is progressing and even capable of it.

    July 31, 2013 at 3:21 am |
  14. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Death is an enemy. That's why it's death/2...

    July 31, 2013 at 3:20 am |
  15. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    People are made in the image of a triune God. Blow off that dialectic you are hooked on. Serpents and socies speak with forked tongues.

    July 31, 2013 at 3:19 am |
  16. chuck

    This place gets dumber every day..........................

    July 31, 2013 at 3:13 am |
    • devin

      Have you noticed if this phenomenon coincides with the time you log on?

      My apologies, that was just too easy.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:22 am |
  17. Andrew

    Athiests... continuing their fight against religion by preaching

    July 31, 2013 at 3:05 am |
    • Observer

      Christians . . . continuing to tell people they are going to hell for not believing all of the book they don't believe all of.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:09 am |
    • Rick

      Except your point is...well...pointless. The real point is WHAT religion and atheism are preaching. And frankly, if there was no religion atheists wouldn't need to preach, whereas before religion someone decided it was necessary to invent it and to preach it.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:23 am |
      • Beth

        Atheism is a lack of belief in god.

        That's it.

        July 31, 2013 at 3:43 am |
        • Ernest T Bass

          @Beth, that is true but the moronic word twisters try their best...

          July 31, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • marianne

      What's your point? Are you saying preaching is bad? Immoral? Cheap?

      July 31, 2013 at 3:45 am |
  18. Steve T.

    Why are people upset? Atheism is good, it means adults are thinking for themselves. When they don't think for themselves it's where the societal and personal problems start. Maybe eventually they'll reach the conclusion to become Christian and have stronger, logical faith than people just "born into it," who think it's the "only way." Maybe they won't. Who cares.

    The thing that gets to me is that Christians are upset because the higher power will be angry at atheists, because they don't worship him. Any deity with that quality is not worth worshipping, ever. Not in a trillion years. And if the creator doesn't require worship, then the atheists are fine anyway. It's a win/win.

    July 31, 2013 at 3:03 am |
    • Andrew

      I love how athiests think that because they think differently, that they are "thinking for themselves"

      You are following just as blind a path as religious fundementals...

      July 31, 2013 at 3:07 am |
      • Steve T.

        This isn't true, it is a huge deal if someone gradually reaches the conclusion to become atheist. Just think about the "celebrity atheist" articles CCN has. They actually have to write an article about it because there are none. Questioning social conventions, why we should do something just because it is "normal," is an extremely valuable path. And that is how injustices and the progress of humanity grows.

        July 31, 2013 at 3:16 am |
      • Tracy

        "A blind path"? No, not even close. Most atheists have been raised in church, or exposed to religion in one way or another. Atheism is less popular in the US than muslims, and some of their followers are terrorists against the US. So to making the decision to be atheist is difficult. You have to chose to disregard what you have been taught your entire lift, go against the belief system of your parents, and make that initial decision to question the stories you have been taught at the risk of being sent to hell by a god that loves us. Religion has that little catch all there. Question your faith and you turn your back on god...which prevents critical thought on religion. Too many are scared to question what they are being taught...blind faith.

        July 31, 2013 at 3:44 am |
    • Steve T.

      I also want to add that if you're atheist, respect the qualities of faith.

      Use common sense. How many Christians do you come across in real life that are extremely kind? Christianity like most religions teaches non-self. What are the advantages of that compared to going on egotistical rages on the forums? Are you happy preaching atheism or unhappy? Which seemingly negative consequences of religion derive from the religious texts and which are based on universal human flaws? Do religions aim to work on our human flaws? IMO think analytically and have respect.

      If atheism is correct then never speak badly about anyone, ever, you will draw more people to the philosophy.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:13 am |
    • fresh shrimp from Shanghai Harbor ..GoGo Walmart

      How dare anyone not believe in the Bible! How can 2+ billion people be wrong? right? .....right?

      July 31, 2013 at 3:17 am |
  19. Bryan Rick

    Funny how radically preoccupied with religion atheists are. I make a few comments at the bottom of this article, go away for a couple of hours, then fire my laptop back up to have my Gmail indicate I have 126 replies from this thread. I wouldn't have found them except I was going through my spam folder to which they were all relegated. Atheists, please, find something better to do really...

    July 31, 2013 at 3:02 am |
    • Athy

      Religies, find something better to do, really.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:04 am |
  20. Christopher Lewis

    I really feel sorrowful for people whose only hope is what they believe man can provide them. What a sad condition. In that sense, we are no better than the lower form of animals, just more civilized and dressed in clothes. With that being said, why are we so vastly different than every other life form on this planet. We clothe ourselves because we have a consciousness about nakedness when all other animals are clothe only with what nature has given them. Where did the thoughts of nakedness come from, the thoughts of good and evil. Why do we have this when no other animal on earth is remotely close to this level and quality of existence. If we are the objects of natural selection, why have we accelerated so quickly beyond all other animals. Why are we so vastly different then every other form of life on this planet. What, we just happened to find the fast lane in evolution, a lane exclusive only to us and no other life form on this earth. Really.

    July 31, 2013 at 2:54 am |
    • sam stone

      "I really feel sorrowful for people whose only hope is what they believe man can provide them."

      Like the men who wrote the bible?

      July 31, 2013 at 4:06 am |
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About this blog

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.