home
RSS
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. George

    Talk about BS... The many leaving traditional church are not leaving God. They are still very much Jesus believing Christians. They are just disenchanted by organized church services. If they find a better church, they will attend it. If not, they will do as I do, search out other Christians to fellowship with on a daily basis and remain saved. Going to Church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to McD's makes you a hamburger. Believing and accepting Jesus as the Son Of God with all your heart, soul, body and strength is what makes you a Christian.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • HITLER WAS A CHRISTIAN

      I REALLY HAVE TO FART

      July 31, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • AM

      Well said.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Don

      I agree. Many Christians leave church because it doesn't offer them anything relevant. My understanding is that the true church is the body of Christ, which means it is made up of all believers, not just those who attend services in a building we call a church.

      That said, I personally believe that being part of being a community of believers is important for Christians. It allows to share resources so that we can serve others, teach each other and support each other. It also provides a way to worship God that is not possible alone.
      I can enjoy singing a solo, but I can not experience singing in harmony without others to sing with me. Worship is like that. You can (and should in my opinion) worship God in private, but I personally believe that some worship experiences are best experienced as a community.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:17 am |
  2. Don

    I am a Christian. I disagree with the idea that there is no God, but I have no problem with atheists or atheism. I believe in God because my experiences have given me sufficient evidence in my own life to believe that he exists. How could I possibly I ask someone who has not encountered evidence that God exists to believe in him? That makes no sense.

    An atheist friend of mine who was being pressured to attend church by her mother once ask me why she should have to go to church. I told her that she shouldn't go if didn't believe in it and didn't want to be there.Don't get me wrong, she would be welcomed to come to our church if she wanted to, but Christianity should not be forced on anyone.

    Christianity is (or should be) all about love and acceptance. I believe that if more Christians made an effect to love and understand those who do not share our faith, they in turn might come to understand why we believe in God.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Cassie

      As an Atheist I respect what you just said.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Kris

      Don, I genuinely respect your kindness and lack of judgement on others. However, please understand how I can't help but cringe when a Christian uses love and their religion within the same statement. There's no love in a doctrine that teaches eternal torment for nonbelievers.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:25 am |
      • Don

        Kris, I see your point. I have to admit that I haven't worked out the seeming contradictions caused by the presence of damnation in a loving faith. Some Christians say that hell does not exist. C.S. Lewis believed that you would be given a clear choice between God and hell before your final judgement. As for me, I don't have a good answer for you.

        I will say this. The idea of damnation should not be used as a tool to frighten people into becoming Christians. I call that selling hell insurance and I really dislike the practice. I believe people should come to God because they want to know and serve him, not because they fear hell.

        I believe that Christianity is about love because that is what I experienced when I came to my faith. I would be lying if I said that there were not things in the Bible that bother me and that I don't understand. I strive not to dismiss these concerns, but instead work to understand them. Still, I can say faith is about love because that is what I found there, despite the parts of the Bible I struggle with.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
        • Kris

          Don,

          I like that you're willing to admit that you don't have an answer. I'd have a much better time talking with theists if they were willing to admit some things they simply do not know or cannot come to terms with. I can say that while I was a Christian, I certainly experienced love. Love from my family, friends, love of myself and of others and the world we live in. The difference is that now I still have all of that and more without the need of a God.

          In any case, nice talk =).

          July 31, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Hippie

      As an atheist I Thank you! You are awesome.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
  3. Montecristo

    See http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/resources/aprtable.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Zeitoun for starters.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  4. mike

    So many people and atheists are trying to prove there IS NO GOD! This has been taking place for as long as people could think. By now some one surely would have proved it. People are still out to prove the Bible is fiction and to this day they fail each time. The Bible stands alone, no need to place other books or magazines with it, i.e the book of Morman, the Koran, the "watchtower". I am a Christain and I am ashame of most Christians, judging people, actions and thing. Jesus sayed "let the man with out sin cast the first stone". Therfore we all fall short of the glory of God. Do not Judge people, this is God's job and he seems to do it well.

    People that do not believe in God will be shown the truth in thier life time.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • HITLER WAS A CHRISTIAN

      HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

      THANKS FOR THE LAUGH BUT YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BIBLE IF YOU THINK IT ACTUALLY STANDS ON ITS OWN!!

      BAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

      BBWWWWAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

      July 31, 2013 at 11:07 am |
      • Avery

        And Christians are closed-minded? Be careful...

        July 31, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • mk

      'The Bible stands alone, no need to place other books or magazines with it, i.e the book of Morman, the Koran, the "watchtower". '

      See how easily you can dismiss others' books? That's how easily an atheist can dismiss yours.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Shamma Lammadingdong

      That's about as ignorant as it gets. You can't prove there is a god. Furthermore, all religious books are merely human accounts of people and events. They're not divine, and didn't fall from the sky after being written by an all powerful being. You may as well read the National Enquirer and believe everything in it is true.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Um, people have been trying to prove god since he was invented and have always failed. Its not up to the atheist to disprove your god, since its impossible to prove a negative, its up to the beleiver to prove it is true, which you cant, because it isnt.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • jose

      there is also no proof that there is a god, or even if there is one, that is the christian one or the muslim one or the budhist one, the last thing we need as a society is a religion telling us what to do or not to do

      July 31, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • cedar rapids

      sorry mike but your logic about disproving god is false.
      I could say the same thing if i asked you to disprove purple pixies called nigel.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  5. Jeff

    Religion, like gay marriage, is shifting quickly. The old ways are dying fast. While I'm still a cultural catholic, at age 52, I only recently scrutinized the existence of god and resolutely concluded that there is none. I wasted so much time.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:04 am |
  6. Kevin Flynn

    A big problem for Christianity is stupid Christians. So many times Christian "leaders" just say dumb things. However, I disagree with the author's idea that the free flow of ideas is leading people away from God. Ultimately, atheism has no substance and so if the substance and beauty and positive nature of Christianity's teaching is properly expressed, it beats out this movement of negativity and rejection every time. People want substance.
    As for the canard that religion and science don't mix, science and religion got along just fine until science decided it could posit theories of any sort, without any hard proof and insist these be accepted as truth.
    Sorry. Science will continue jumping from one conclusion to another and atheists and secularists will happily go along for the ride. Christianity is the rock. If people ignore it, that's their choice (free will given by God and all that) but there are always consequences.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Besomyka

      All I see is you saying, more or less, 'if Christianity is proven wrong, it will not change.'

      Which is precisely the problem. Christianity, and religious faiths in general, are inherently incurious about the world. All the energy goes into elaborating on figment of human imagination born from the longing to matter.

      It's like someone going on, and on, and trying to explain the deep and profound understanding gained by how a light saber is built.

      Fiction can represent greater truths, but it shouldn't be mistaken for reality. It's just a symbol.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:11 am |
      • Kevin Flynn

        I'm not sure how you got that from what I posted. Sorry if I was unclear. Point is not if Christianity is proven wrong it will not change. Not really sure at all how you got that from what I said. In fact, I dare science to go ahead and prove any, I mean any, dogma of the Church (I'm Catholic so...read the Catholic Church) wrong. Sure, the church has had opinions about this and that but when it comes to actual official teaching, science just can't touch it. The point is that Christianity has been debated and analysed and debated internally for 2,000 years yet its core beliefs remain unchanged. Those of faith understand why this is so. Science, on the other hand, changes its theories all the time. I'm not saying science is bad. That would be stupid. But to put all your "faith" in science as we know it and reject God, is equally absurd.
        Lastly, how on earth can you think religion is incurious about the world? C'mon, that just makes no sense. Questions about why we are here, where we came from, where the world came from and why, how nature works...these are all essential questions of christian philosophy and theology and in asking them for the past 2,000 years, the Church has given us some of the greatest scientists in virtually every field.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • Jeff

      "Science...post theories of any sort, without any hard proof and insist these be accepted as truth".

      Sir, I submit that you that you have no idea how scientific principles work.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Racer X

      Theories change. The technology that allows deeper insight to what we thought was true keeps opening more doors. That's why "science" keeps changing its mind. It's not satisfied with it's first solution to the problem. If that were the case, we'd still be lining up outside the barber for our weekly blood-letting.

      If someone finds comfort in religion, then I'm okay with that. I refuse to be an atheist troll. I live by the mantra of "Be a good person and help those that can't help themselves." Every religion preaches the same thing in some form or another. If they'd stick to that then this world would be a lot better off.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'Science will continue jumping from one conclusion to another '

      lets call this statement what it is because im fed up with seeing its like...............that statement is a lie. You are bearing false witness when you attempt to claim that science jumps to conclusions. It does not. It investigates, determines theories and laws based on observations and experiments etc. It adds information to existing information and may indeed modify a theory as more information comes to light but do not claims 'jumping to conclusions' as a slap against science in an attempt to justify belief in a god.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
      • some_guy24

        exactly. hes presenting the same old tired cliche points thats being regurgitated over and over again. my favorite i hear all the time is "it takes more faith to not believe...." you know the rest. i think the issue is people arent thinking for themselves and only hear from other innacurate people SCIENCE CONSTANTLY CHANGES ITS MIND from other anti atheists and they think, YEAH WHATS THAT ABOUT?! without actually looking into its validity

        July 31, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  7. WP

    Notice that the entire article is about why people are leaving Christian churches, not religion in general, but Christian churches. The focus on Christianity is weird; it's the primary focus. Very rarely do you hear them mention another religion.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Aer people leaving other religions too? Not as uch as christianity, hence the article. Not sure what you are trying to prove, if anything, or maybe you are just crying because people are leaving your cult in droves.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Max

      The lion's share of CNN's audience is American. Christianity has the largest following in that country out of the major religions. If you're in the entertainment business as CNN is, seems pretty cut and dry.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  8. ArchieDeBunker

    "We caused . . . ." Just because you may have caused it is not reason to be proud of it. Remember that Adolf Hitler caused the extermination of 6 million Jews – and he was proud of that too.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • HITLER WAS A CHRISTIAN

      HECK YES HE DID

      July 31, 2013 at 11:02 am |
      • lol??

        Did you covert to Islam in da big house?? Yer hubby, bubba, made you do it??

        July 31, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Max

      so if we follow your logic, every Nobel prize winner should not be proud of what they caused simply because they caused it? And every parent should have no pride for their children simply because they caused them?

      July 31, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  9. Chris

    Jesus taught not to judge yet all christians do is judge. Jesus taught not to desire worldly goods yet all churches seem to do is ask for money. Look at the mega churches in the south. The entire system we live in is based on buy for $1 and sell for $2. That is not very jesus like.

    its all a sham born of ignorance and greed.

    "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."

    Protect the young from the truth? Sounds evil to me.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Kevin Flynn

      Ever try getting through the day without making a judgement of some kind...any kind? Is the driver ahead of me going to change lanes? Is that bus going to slow down when I try to cross the street? Is that gang of kids going to leave me alone as I walk past? Is my next amorous advance going to be rejected? Etc. It's very difficult to live without making judgements about people.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  10. rapierpoint

    tallulah13

    I find it funny when someone appears so arrogant that they think they knew a person's entire belief system from a couple of posts. 🙂 All I did was point out that there are some vocal atheists that think they know everything and that anyone that doesn't believe the way they do are bad, insane, misguided, etc. In other words, there are some that are exactly like the sub-group of christians that they complain about. I'm not defending that sort of activity on either side.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • joey

      I agree with you. I don't think it's cool for anybody to try and tear apart or attack somebody's faith or lack of it.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • El Guapo

      *yaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwn*

      July 31, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • kdd2010

      Thanks for just being plain and honest.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • kginatx

      I couldn't agree with your post more. I wish more atheists/non believers would stop acting that way. I grew up in the church, fell away for a decade, and chose to come back on my own after exploring many faiths and beliefs (including atheism). My beliefs are my beliefs and they enrich my life. If you don't agree with my beliefs, that's ok. I'm not going to go around knocking on people's doors proselytizing or push my beliefs on others. Having been on both sides, there is plenty of room for respect and constructive discussion. So why do many atheists feel that they need to "save" me from religion and faith? They're behaving like many right-wing fundie "Christian" sects behave and it's frustrating, not to mention disrespectful to all sides!

      July 31, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  11. Peter Q Wolfe

    The whole proposition of God caring is irrational and not grounded in reality. Think about this that God is the 1% of 1% so he is rich and your poor right? Makes sense like millionaires that I've known like devote atheist and pseudo manipulaters for political gain don't care about the poor, margainalized or anybody but themselves.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Odds

      As god is a fabrication, he can be whatever we want him to be. That we consider this fantasy at all relevant, however, is irrational.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:02 am |
      • ECassious2

        Odds,

        Of course, you do realize that your belief that God is a mere fabrication takes just as much (more if you actually understand the fallacy of evolution) faith as my belief in a creator God. Science has not disproven God, nor is there a consensus among scientists that God does not exist. Of course, science has not, and will never be able, to prove that God does exists. Science, by definition, must look for alternatives to a creator. My point.....we are both living by faith in something.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:29 am |
        • cedar rapids

          how does it take more faith to believe in a natural process versus 'it was magic' as an answer?

          July 31, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • bens772

      God cared enough about you to die on a Roman cross in your place. He did it with no strings attached. It's a free gift. All you have to do is exercise your faith and believe it. Until you have enough faith to do this you will never understand what God's will for you is. This world is only a vapor, less that a grain of sand in the concept of time. You're wagering this against an eternity with someone who died for you.

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

        Is this the same god that believes children that are disobedient should be stoned to death?

        July 31, 2013 at 11:22 am |
        • Avery

          Nope, its the one who said he who is innocent of all sin shall throw the first stone...

          July 31, 2013 at 11:25 am |
        • ECassious2

          Cassie,

          There are two covenants represented in the Bible and described in separate testaments. (the old and new) Obviously, verses are meant to be read and interpreted in context of the old an new covenants etc..

          July 31, 2013 at 11:36 am |
      • OTOH

        bens772,

        You say it's a free gift (redundant, btw), with no strings attached, then you go on to describe the strings attached! One must ditch logic & reason and believe the fantasies and superst.itions of primitive Middle Eastern Hebrew men. I don't believe them. Shall I pretend?

        July 31, 2013 at 11:49 am |
      • cedar rapids

        'God cared enough about you to die on a Roman cross in your place'

        which means what exactly?
        what do you mean in my place?
        And how was it a sacrifice when 3 days later hes up and about again?
        And didnt he just 'sacrifice' himself to save us from himself?

        Its like the emperor's new clothes......sounds really good and everyone just nods like they know what it means but it actually means nothing.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  12. Chris

    Why is it that atheism and religious beliefs cannot seem to coexist? Religion is based in "faith" which has absolutely no reliance upon science. Conversely, science, true "understanding of the universe" science is based in faith – the faith that the theorems being utilized to "prove" something are actually true. Just as true as the fact that God's existence can never be proven, a true scientist will tell you that most scientific theorems cannot be proven. Many of the "laws" of physics today are conditional – i.e. laws apply at terrestrial speeds but not at relativistic speeds. People have faith in science and consider it to be the law because their feeble minds can understand it. But just as the origins of the universe are too complex for the human brain to understand so too is the existence of God. What would be nice to see is the human race understanding it has the intellectual power to be able to respect other people's beliefs and not persecute someone for them.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • janette

      Faith is gullibility, accepting claims without evidence. That's the opposite of science. Such a thing as faith cannot coexist with science. Eventually, such claims will head-butt with scientific facts, and when that happens, faith is always the loser, even if the gullible initially put up a silly fight. Read some history.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • not feeble

      You are making a basic scientific fallacy. It's not that people have faith in the world because it is too complex to understand. Quite the opposite, they have faith that through diligent research, they will be able to one day answer the questions that religion claims(falsely) to answer. Science may not have the answers yet, but that is no reason to say that they will never have the answer. Religion doesn't have the answer.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • tony

      No. Agreeing with scientific results, or not, is due to the premises being tested by experiment, showing them to be correctly understood, or not.

      Try doing that with an imaginary god.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • qo

      Replace "faith" with "confidence based on performance" and I'd agree with Chris. It's through science and NOT through religion that my smartphone, car, air conditioner, and refrigerator work. Hence, because science has proven itself, it gets my vote over religion and faith.

      August 1, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
  13. Divdar

    For being supposedly enlightened, the author sure doesn't know much about Christians. He agrees with the criticism, but that isn't supported by the facts. The amount given by his organization to charity is nowhere close to what religions give. And, I've never even heard about Reddit. Probably because Christians deal with actual personal relationships, not a virtual relationship over the internet.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • El Guapo

      Really? So you never heard of "christian mingle?" I'm married, but these people are always trying to get me to join their dating website. The irony.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:52 am |
  14. Simon Lloyd

    Religion and Atheism are very similar they are both a starting point one can use to justify ones actions.

    Most religions hand out a set rules and consequences, these are justified by some mythical being or force Karma or Allah(god), Vishnu, Jesus, Hell. Either way they are the Carrot and Stick that supposedly convinces people to be moral.

    My reason for having room for Atheism only is simple. My choices are my own, my actions are my own. I bow to no man on this planet and certainly not some thing that claims to own my soul.
    Atheist's who choose to dedicate themselves to the well being of man do so because we choose to. Because we believe it is right, not for fear of making the cut to heaven.

    Someone pointed out that Atheists have faith there is no god, and while I'm sure some of us will rebut this but I"ll admit it.
    I can't be Christian because I cannot forgive Christian actions from history. The same goes for Judaism though it's almost entirely from recent history that I despise that cult. Islam well honestly, can't say I have a direct problem with Islam, mainly because I can't name a single Islamic Sect without relying on some racist American nonsense. So they get a pass for now.....

    The longwinded point I will never believe in a god, But if your God is real and he Created Hell, then he isn't worth worshipping in the first place. This world we live in a horrifying place, I've worked my entire adult life to do 'good'. To help the poor, the sick the mentally disabled, the oppressed.

    We Don't Need Hell. If we have some god/s out there thinking that particular stick is needed, well they will NEVER be a 'god' of mine.
    So keep on threatening with that lack of fire, I'll keep on fighting for my values. Humans First.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • thomas

      GOD does exist because we create it!!!!!

      god is merely the mis-application of human's social ability – namely to infer intent and expectations of others – to try to explain the natural world.

      when we can't explain nature, we create a being and talk about intent and expectations of that being

      God is whatever belief we choose

      that does not mean God created earth or there is a heaven you know.

      my imagination exists too and if any of you atheists suggest it does not, I will tell you a story about how God gave his only son and you will agree

      July 31, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      I can't be Christian because I cannot forgive Christian actions from history.

      So, if you are confronted by a feminist who speaks to you about the treatment of women throughout history, should her and other women forgive, us men today for the actions of males in the past or even the present?

      July 31, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  15. CGAW

    Don't think so. Atheism has no logical basis. Secularism and poor leadership of faith organizations is the problem.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • tony

      logic creates atheism.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Andrew

      Atheism has no logical basis? Did they not teach science at home school?

      July 31, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Garnet69

      How is there no logic? To not believe in something that has not and cannot be proven is the very essence of logic.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      " Atheism has no logical basis"
      Incorrect. That statement on the other hand has no logical basis.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
  16. Erasmus

    Atheists live by Websters (dictionary) definitions.
    Christianity lives by the Bibles definitions.

    And if our dear Atheists do not live by Websters, then i should see just as many attacks on that book as well, surely theres "LIES" in there that have poisoned our childrens minds throughout the their years in academia and thereafter. Surely Websters has done this society a great disservice and should be rid off....................

    July 31, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      I dont recall Websters ever telling me to act like a total jerk to everyone that isnt like me. Nice stretch. Pretty pathetic if thats your proof of god, which still hasnt been presented.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:47 am |
      • Avery

        Prove to me what love is and how it is created, and I'll show you proof of God

        July 31, 2013 at 11:17 am |
        • Erasmus

          The Greeks have given you 3 deifinitions of love, and how it was created why ask for anything else, i'm assuming it misses the mark somehow. And if the Greek definitions are not correct, then we need to burn Websters books asap, again, due to the fact it is spreading untrues to our world.
          I gurantee you, i couldn't get 10 atheist in this forum to AGREE on one definition of Love, no consistency, only "i believe's"

          July 31, 2013 at 11:46 am |
      • Erasmus

        Sorry, wasn't aware the Bible holds a gun to our heads! Thats pretty powerful, to be an inanimate object and to be able to FORCE someone to do something.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  17. JCraw

    Believe in God or Gods is about having faith – not based on science or facts. It's none of your business what I believe in. Atheists try too hard to convince religious people that there is no God. If you don't believe in God – good for you (I don't care) but don't tell me what I shouldn't believe. Did you also notice that these atheists try to prove no God theory to Christians and not so much to Muslims or Buddhist, other religious people?

    July 31, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • El Guapo

      *yaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwn*

      Yeah yeah yeah. Ever take into account the religious demographic that frequents this website? When the others pop up, it's the same thing. Don't get your knickers all bunched up over a non-point.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • El Guapo

      *yaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwn*

      Yeah yeah yeah. Ever take into account the religious demographic that frequents this website? When the others pop up, it's the same thing. Don't get your knickers all bunched up over a non-point.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • El Guapo

      *yaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwn*

      You clearly haven't been paying any attention to the religious demographic that visits the blog.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • tony

      If you get your leaders to stop trying to corrupt our children, then it's a deal.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • cedar rapids

      76% of the US claim to be christian. Christians are the group with the loudest voice and most politcal clout in the US. Who do you think atheists are going to respond more too?

      July 31, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  18. Paul

    If god is made in man's image, as claims the philosopher, does that make him/her/it a sheep?

    July 31, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  19. dr shand

    to deny that that God/Jesus exists requires more faith than to believe He does exist....it would be awesome to see the faces of all the atheists when Jesus returns...the moment the light bulb comes on and the mouths hit the ground...

    July 31, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • El Guapo

      *yaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwn*

      That guy died a couple thousand years ago if he even existed at all. And if you read Matthew chapter 24, you'll quickly find that there won't be a triumphant return. Not to mention the fact that if you try to match heyzeus up with the prophecies of the torah, it's a laundry list of clear misses.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • janette

      We will see your when you are trembling in front of Allah

      July 31, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • tony

      But atheists would be the first to accept, based on that evidence.

      The thousands of different self-described US Christian sub sects would have a terrible time trying to accept the liberal jesus of the bible, if he appeared. Because he wouldn't match their various views of what they really wanted.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
      —1 John 2:18
      Christians have been waiting on tenterhooks for the Second Coming since the Bible itself was written.
      Many have prophesied the exact time of date of His return and ALL have been wrong.
      George Rapp said it would be September 15th, 1829.
      William Miller predicted October 22, 1844. Jesus’ failure to arrive is known as “The Great Disappointment”. Many of his disillusioned followers went on the found the 7th Day Adventist Church, who are still patiently awaiting His return.
      Charles Russell, 1st President of the Watchtower Society told his fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus would be back in 1874.
      Rudolf Steiner maintained that from 1930 onwards, Jesus would grant certain people psychic powers to enable them to witness his presence in the “etheric plane”.
      Herbert Armstrong, Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God said 1975.
      Bill Maupin managed to convince his followers to sell all of their worldly goods in preparation for Jesus’ return on June 28th, 1981.
      Benjamin Crème stated that on June 21st, 1982 Christ would make a worldwide television announcement.
      Mark Blitz, Pastor of El Shaddai Ministries says it would be September 30th, 2008
      Jerry Falwell said it’d happen between 1999 and 2009.
      Harold Camping told everyone that the Rapture would happen May 21, 2011 after failing in his first predicted date of 1994.

      Conversely, many believe He’s all ready come in the form of Sun Myung Moon, Emanuel Swedenborg, Baha u llah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, David Koresh, Hailie Selassie, John Thom, Arnold Potter, William Davies, George roux, Ernest Norman, Krishna Venta, Ahn Sahng-Hong, Jim Jones, Mashall Applewhite, Hulon Mitchell, Wayne Bent, Ariffin Mohammed, Mitsuo Matayoshi, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, Inri Cristo, Thomas Provenzano, David Icke, Shoko Asahara, Hogan Fukinaga, Marina Tsvigun or Sergei Troop.

      It would appear that the much lauded Jewish carpenter has been thoroughly dead for 2000 years and will remain so.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:47 am |
      • Avery

        Exactly, and the Bible says no one knows the day or the hour, so the Bible was right in all those instances.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:06 am |
      • Avery

        Oh, and the tomb is empty... We can find the buried remains of many people of historical significance.. But guess who's you won't find. Jesus, because he was more powerful than the grave, and death couldn't confine him.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:08 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        @Avery
        Sorry. The 2nd coming was supposed to have happened shortly after Christ's crucifiction.
        “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
        —1 John 2:18
        That was 2000 years ago.

        “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things be fulfilled.”
        – Matthew 24:34

        The biblical definition of a generation can be found in Psalm 90.
        "The years of our lives are 70; and if by reason of strength they be 80 years, yet most of them are labor and sorrow; for life is soon cut off and we fly away."
        26 Psalms 90:10
        This is confirmed in the Gospel of Matthew.
        "Therefore all the generations from Abraham down to David are 14 generations; and from David down to the Babylonian captivity are 14 generations; and from the Babylonian captivity down to messiah, are 14 generations."
        – Matthew 1:17
        Matthew is using the Psalm 90 definitions of Generation in order to tell a specific chronological story.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:15 am |
        • Avery

          How do you know what Matthew was referring to? Again, be careful when reading literally... But consider this: The disciples lived everyday with Jesus, they saw the entirety of who He was and what He stood for. If Jesus was a lie, or a fake, or a phony, wouldn't they have known it? If christianity wan't true, wouldn't these men who helped form it, know that? Now how many people have you met in your life who would be willing to die for a lie? All but one disciple was executed for belief in Jesus, yet not one of them turned their back on Him. If it was all a lie, wouldn't at least one have turned against God to spare his own neck?

          July 31, 2013 at 11:33 am |
        • cedar rapids

          'The disciples lived everyday with Jesus, they saw the entirety of who He was and what He stood for. If Jesus was a lie, or a fake, or a phony, wouldn't they have known it? If christianity wan't true, wouldn't these men who helped form it, know that? Now how many people have you met in your life who would be willing to die for a lie? All but one disciple was executed for belief in Jesus, yet not one of them turned their back on Him. If it was all a lie, wouldn't at least one have turned against God to spare his own neck?'

          You are working on the assumption that what has been written as to the events are true.
          You also forget that people are willing to die for causes even today. Heck, look at the people that stayed and died with Koresh.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:37 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "Now how many people have you met in your life who would be willing to die for a lie?"
          There have been a lot of Muslim suicide bombers reported in the last decade or so.
          Does their willingness to die for their faith make it true?
          What about the Heaven's Gate people?
          Jonestown?
          Kamikaze pilots?

          July 31, 2013 at 11:40 am |
        • Avery

          Jesus as a man, his disciples, and his ministry are largely undisputed because they can be proved by information from the time period...

          July 31, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Guess what, your zombie friend isnt coming back. LOL. And even if he were real, he wasnt that hard to kill the first time, what makes you think it would be difficult the next time. Only an idiot would think a god could be pinned up on a cross and killed so easily.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:49 am |
      • ml

        Call me an idiot for Jesus anytime. It wasn't the nails that held him on the cross. Many have made mistakes about when he will return, that's true. The Bible tells us that not even the angels nor the Son knows when he will return so far be it from anyone to speculate. The truly sad thing is that Jesus walked the earth caring for so many and people still want to kill him and wish him dead. Many things have been wrong that have been done in his name but he did nothing wrong. Love to all.

        July 31, 2013 at 10:58 am |
      • Avery

        Maybe Jesus let Himself be killed because He loved you?

        July 31, 2013 at 11:10 am |
      • Avery

        "Greater love knows no one than this, one who lays his life down for a friend."

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

      When considering the many Gods our collective world believes in, anything other than denying they exist would be to admit insanity. Conflicting groups of people – each group with millions of people possessing staunch faith in their own religion – believe they are right and the others are wrong and going to be punished. So, by your logic I shouldn't deny that *any* supposed gods exist, right? Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Xenu, Zeus, etc are all hanging out together and watching over us?

      July 31, 2013 at 11:16 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43
Advertisement
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.