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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. lol??

    Christians trolling?? It's part of the fishing job. Leave it up to the A&A's to steal another word.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      That's funny

      July 31, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  2. N. Velarde

    Atheists fulfill what Jesus said would happen: "Blessed are you when people laugh at you and mock you and say all kinds of evil things about you because of me" Matthew 5:11. Jesus also said that his word would never pass away. 2000 years later it has not passed away.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • E before I

      The Buddha's name has been around 500 years longer than Jesus. Is this a legitimate method of determine what is true?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
      • AE

        In Buddhism they try to avoid suffering and seek a state of nothingness?

        In Christianity I believe I am taught that suffering will happen. And seek God's good word.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
        • JKE

          Actually Buddhists believe that suffering is a necessary part of life and the only way to deal with bad karma. This is to achieve Nirvana which is the end of human suffering not nothingness. But Buddhists are actually atheists as we believe Buddha was a man who achieved enlightenment and who taught others how to achieve the same. He was not a god.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
      • N. Velarde

        Jesus is Alive and full of love. Jesus endured the suffering of the cross and all of the public humiliation and shame that went with it. Buddha is dead. I will put my money on the one who rose from the dead. Who foretold this very conversation would happen. That there would be doubters and not everyone would believe. That's okay. Jesus is still alive.

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

          There is no historical evidence that a 'Jesus' individual even existed. (And if he did, he certainly wasn't a zombie demigod.)
          BTW, the Romans were meticulous record keepers; There is NO record of Pontius Pilatus ever judging over him either. The whole Bethlehem census/birth myth contradicts known Roman law.
          Those that take the New Testament literally are especially foolish -those tales were handed down (and nodoubt garbled) for centuries by illiterate peasants until anything was ever written down.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  3. James

    The writer (and atheists exulting here) give themselves too much credit. They seem to think that their crew has, by sheer logical argumentation, been responsible for the rise of the millennial generation dropping out of organized religion and identifying as "non-religious." A much more influential factor has been long in the works: i.e. the collapse of traditional, 2-parent homes that provide a nurturing environment and an overall positive image of lived "religion" on a daily basis. It's no surprise to me that, with the mass breakdown of the traditional, nuclear family as the basic cultural anchor of society, therefore, "irreligion" is on the rapid uptick in our times.

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

      I don't agree. I'm betting the majority of the atheists here were raised in a "nuclear family" with a particular religion then became unbelievers later in life when they were mature enough to reason for themselves.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
      • lol??

        Atheists never ripen up for pickin'. That doesn't say much for their maturity.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
      • James

        Statistical data would be hard to come by, either way. So we are dealing with our perceptions here (mostly anecdotal). But I sense that the "missionary atheists" (i.e. many on this board who are passionate with the zeal of any religious fundamentalist to "convert" others to the cause of militant atheism) would need to trumpet their relative "success" as being mostly the result of their sheer logical and rhetorical brilliance. Obviously, I see many other factors at work here (sociological, historical, etc.) that provide a more plausible explanation of the topic at hand.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • lol??

      It was a planned breakdown. Check out Bloom's Taxonomy and the Frankfurt School. Kill dad and you kill the Father.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • To Get You Started

      Well, here's some anecdotal evidence to help you get started collecting that data. My parents are married, pretty happily at that, and me and my three siblings are all atheists. Both of my parents are believers and while they don't go to church every week, they do go most weeks and are very good people.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  4. Peter Q Wolfe

    Would you choose to believe in a deity who trusts in human intellect to think for yourself or be told how to think by a out dated manual? Conservatives sure like regulations just they happen to be 2000 or older rules on a 2013 automobile lol. Picking up on the price of churches that millions are spent on construction projects and no mention by conservatives on the waste on churches or cemetaries. The free market has limits so they just contort the "Free Market" right?

    July 31, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Madtown

      Right. God gave us an intellect, and minds capable of critical thinking. We need to make sure to use them.

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

      Gold foil covered cathedrals – for the people ......

      July 31, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  5. bmkinz1510

    Atheists are afraid of God and afraid of accountability to a high power. Their smart alec comments are proof of this. They are bitter, miserable souls. God help them!!!

    July 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • denver

      Atheists are just people who see the universe differently. For my part, I see no reason to believe any god exists, I don't need an easy answer for "where this all came from", and I actually kind of cherish the mystery.

      That said, even as an atheist I can empathize, understand that you're lashing out for some misguided purpose, and forgive you.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
      • bmkinz1510

        I am just emulated the Atheist's On-line Code of Conduct. Annoying isn't it:-)

        July 31, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
        • denver

          Trolling is always annoying. Do you adhere to the OT? This is a very eye for an eye mentality.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • tony

      Back at you.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Drinky Crow

      Why would we be afraid of something that doesn't exist? I tell you what I do fear, however. Fanatical Xians.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • E before I

      So if deep down inside, we believe a God exists and we will be held accountable for not kissing his hiney, do we really think that denying its existence is some kind of loophole? You got us there :rolleyes:

      July 31, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Blair

      Step me through the logic how smart alec comments "prove" we are afraid of God and accountability to a higher power. If your reasoning makes sense I'll consider returning to the church.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
      • bmkinz1510

        Atheists completely avoid the subject of the spirituality of humanity.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
        • denver

          This is a funny comment to make when you consider that atheism is largely a reaction to human spirituality.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
        • Blair

          This maybe true. However, you changed the subject. Please show me how you deduced your conclusion that we are afraid of God as proved by our smart alec comments. This is your chance to convert someone back to the faith.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Don

      Most of the atheists I know are very different than the people you describe. They are atheists because they see no evidence of God. Many of them were brought up in churches, but the teachings just didn't ring true to them. I understand this, I didn't really believe it either until I was in my late twenty's. The atheists I know respect my faith and often ask questions about it so they can understand it better.

      Please do not lump all atheists in the same pot. Yes, some are disrespectful, but so are many Christians.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      bmkinz1510
      "Atheists are afraid of God and afraid of accountability to a high power."

      I would most certainly be afraid. As soon as and if this "God" would actually prove itself and what it wants, I'd oblige. I will not oblige co.ckeyed superst!itions, however.

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

      Yes, we are so afraid.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Rob

      Utterly pathetic comment... Fear is a lot more your problem than mine.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Jess

      You don't actually know anyone outside of your church family, do you?

      All athiests are not bitter and miserable. They are not "afraid" of a god they don't believe in. They try to use logical reasoning and scientific discovery to understand the world around them, and not just rely on "God made it that way" like so many Christians do.

      I don't identify as an athiest. I was raised in a Southern Baptist church for 18 years of my life, until they ostracized my family because my parents got a divorce (they are both much happier people post-divorce, I'm so glad they did it). Some of the people there spread rumors about us. The best rumor was that I (at 23 years old) was pregnant, that my aunt heard from one of the teenagers there. That one cracked me up... What's the point of that? So what if I was pregnant? I'd been in a committed relationship for 5 years, I would have been in a lot better position in my life than a lot of my peers were when they had kids!

      But I digress...

      Like I said, I am not an athiest, but I do not trust organized religion. A lot of the teachings stick with me, I still believe that there probably is a God, but a scientific education had debunked so many of the "truths" that they tried to teach me. Evolution is real. The earth is millions/billions of years old. The Sun doesn't revolve around the Earth. We are likely not the only life in the Universe.

      There is so much that they don't teach you, that because we do have access to the Internet and cultures and education that so many people didn't or still don't have access to, it is just impossible for me to stay involved in religion. I still go to church with my dad on Christmas and Father's Day, but that's for him. I don't need it to be happy with my knowledge and beliefs.

      If you believe in God and religion, good for you. Don't tell me I'm a bad person just because I don't.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Ricky

      It seems that believers are afraid to recognize that there is no one masterminding their existence. They are afraid of dying and knowing that that is it, that there is no afterlife were you will see your loved ones again. I think they are terrified by the fact that no one is going to even up the scores in heaven, rewarding the poor and less fortunate ones for having lived a terrible life. It is scary to realize that if someone dies young in a car accident, there is no master plan, no mysterious ways justifying it. It is scary to see that if someone manages to avoid justice in this life, nobody is going to punish them and make them pay in the afterlife. I get it. Recognizing these facts can be scary, but covering your head with a blanket is a childish way to try to protect yourself from scary things.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  6. Blair

    I can't tell you how happy I am to see all these "religion is dying" articles on CNN. In the end Atheists will inherit the earth.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • tony

      only what's left after all the "war on ....." sequels.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
      • Blair

        Perhaps we'll get a "War on Religion" article 😛

        July 31, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  7. Never have, never will

    It's abuse to tell a child they will burn in a place called hell unless they believe. This is how the message is kept alive, through fear and intimidation. Let your child grow up without the irrational teachings of the church. My parents actually believe I am going to hell for my disbelief. It's the abuse they suffered as children at the hands of religion that causes them this mental anguish today, not my disbelief. When I was a child I saw this for what it was and I played the game until I could escape. So happy to see more than ever are escaping this mistreatment and abuse.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • tony

      Amen.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  8. Fiscalcons

    I am not a self identified Christian, but I did grow up in the Christian church. I do have issue with some of the extreme stances taken by many different faiths. That being said to "celebrate" the fact that your secular foundation reached a million dollar goal is almost laughable. Do you realize that is just over 1 TEN THOUSANDTH of the charitable giving in a typical year by just the members of the Evangelical Faith. That's right, just one segment of the church puts your online doners to shame. While there certainly issues to fix, keep your celebrations grounded until you can actually afford to feed and house the homeless in a city larger than Bucksnort, TN (which happens to be one of my favorite town names of all time).

    July 31, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • tony

      given to what and whom? You just shone the spotlight on the reason for so many break away evangelical groups – MONEY.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      You kind of ignore several facts here. 1) this church has been in the habit of collecting money for about 2000 years longer than this organization so has a bit of a head start. 2) The numbers of christians vs the number of atheists is also far far higher.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
  9. Doc Vestibule

    If the One True Deity, shaper of The Universe, wishes their words to be transmitted and adhered to, they should have been a bit less ambiguous. Expecting people to select "The Truth" out of limitless possibilities on faith alone seems a sloppy way to run things – especially if the punishment for a wrong choice is eternal torment.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
  10. gladiatorgrl

    Religion is a cult. Many people are finding help on aetheist websites to leave the cult.

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

      just to join another?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
      • E before I

        I hate to admit it, but for some people, atheism is somewhat of a cult.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
        • JV

          Almost a religion to some.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • bmkinz1510

      According to Mr. Mehta, Atheism is the fasting growing cult in the world.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • tony

      Enjoying science 101 at school, and independently thinking for the rest of your life is a cult?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
      • Rob

        For these delusional clowns, independent thinking is too abstract a concept. They have no idea what it means... It's like trying to explain to them a color they have never seen.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Seth

      And join the "cult" of Atheism. They are all the same things, whether your "religion" is Science, or a belief in a higher power, or creator, what is the difference? Christianity has some great messages, and presents a moral compass. Not to belittle Atheism, but it seems to me that the only goal of Atheism is to destroy religion. Why? What are Christians, Muslims, Jewish people doing to hurt you by practicing their religion and worshiping their God in churches, Synagogues and Mosques? Atheists like to say there is so much hate in organized religion, but some of the most horrible people posting in comment sections are Atheists, bullying someone for saying "Praise God". What is the real message Atheism is spreading?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
      • cedar rapids

        'Not to belittle Atheism, but it seems to me that the only goal of Atheism is to destroy religion. Why? What are Christians, Muslims, Jewish people doing to hurt you by practicing their religion and worshiping their God in churches, Synagogues and Mosques?'

        And if those religious people kept their religion to their places of worship then there wouldnt be an issue but its a blatant falsehood to suggest that is all they do.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
        • JV

          I have no problem with religion except Islam/Muslims. That religion is a cancer on humanity. It is the culture and insanity in breeds in people. It will not modernize, its very intolerant, oppressive and interpreted in sick and twisted ways. More than any other religion on earth.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  11. bob@deism.com

    The studies also show that the majority of people who don't claim any religions (the ones classified as "nones") do hold Deistic beliefs and not Atheistic beliefs. That is, they believe in The Supreme Intelligence/God but not in religion.

    Progress! Bob Johnson
    http://www.deism.com

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

      Deism is hardly a belief at all. My wife was once a deist in that she believed there was "probably something, somewhere out there" but adhered to no creed.

      If the existence of such people reassures theists I'm not sure why as it seems to invariably evolve to some variety of atheism.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • MoveForward

      Deism is often a stepping stone to atheism. I once would have considered myself a deist but science has opened my mind up to reality and deism has been replaced by the natural forces of the universe.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  12. libertyadamson

    Silly athiests. I would think you would LOVE Christianity – in the Bible, in the Book of Revelation, there comes a time when the Jesus they don't believe in will take his people (Christians) away from the earth. So ultimately, the God athiests don't believe in will grant them their wish and take away the Christians they dislike. So why not be ok with there being LOTS of Christians to be taken away so more of the earth's resources will be all for athiests. Of course, if you want to know the end result of the world existing without Christians in it, you have to actually read the book of Revelation.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Dan

      By athiest, I assume you mean atheist. If I was into believing fairy tales, I can think of much more happier things to believe in than Revelations.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And on the day when all of the true, humble, compassionate, forgiving, charitable, non-judgemental Christian ascend bodily to Heaven, I'm sure the world will miss both of them.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Punchmaster

      Your comments stem from intellectual dishonesty, conditioning, and fear. Nothing more.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Felix Sinclair

      Worst troll attempt of the day.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Doobs

      Silly Christian, most of us have read Revelation, and found it to be as ludicrous as the rest of your book.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • you aren't listening

      It's not that athiests don't like you, athiests simply don't believe that jesus is going to come back and take everyone away to be all nice and happy. It is simply not going to happen. The fact that you demean athiests by acting like you are better than them for believing in something that is not going to happen shows that you aren't listening. I don't care what you believe, but you act like not believing the same thing as you is an attack on your character or something.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  13. believetonotbeilieve

    You are ALL losers. What you do here on earth doesn't matter. You will never be remebered, you can't take anything with you when you die, no one cares about your pathetic lives sitting here on a computer cause mom and dad won't unground you. NOBODY in this world cares what ANY of you think. Know why? You're gonna die because people don't evolve themselves. If you did, you would have the fountain of youth by now. Do me a favor and kill yourselves in grand fashion. Drop the bomb, because frankly, you people are de evolving in the wrong direction. Commit suicide, it's better! NO ONE loves you cause they will DIE too. LMAO!!!!!

    July 31, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • GAW

      I don't think that you should go off your meds yet.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Commit suicide? YOU'RE the one who thinks life doesn't matter. YOU go first.

      As an atheist, I figure this is the only life I've got, so I'm going to max it out.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • noone

      Huh?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  14. Ron

    Every christian knows what it feels like to be an athiest. Think about how you feel about Hinduism. Do you hate Hindus? Do you feel superior or better than them? Do you think they are stupid because they are hindus? Would you be upset of hindus tried to make laws based on hinduism that affected you? Would you be upset if you had to be around hindus and they always told you that you would be punished and you had no soul and you were a hateful person because you didnt believe their nonsense? Do you care one way or another about a hindu god? That is what it is to be an athiest. It is the absence of belief in nonsense. In other words, Im not buying it.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  15. dean

    I think people tend to have a lot of misconceptions about atheist, one of which is that atheist think that they KNOW there is no god (and that such knowledge requires some kind of faith since it is unprovable). Really though I don't think you'll find many atheists who say that there is definitely no god – you can't disprove the existence of a supernatural being using physical means (and even if god is a physical being perhaps we haven't found evidence yet). That said, and atheist's disbelief in the Christian God is something similar to their disbelief in Zeus. We can't really disprove Zeus' existence but we are skeptical about him and feel pretty safe saying that he doesn't exist. Again that's a belief that can't I cant prove, but my feeling is is that the burden of proof falls upon the person making the claim – if I claim that I am a god and I made the universe you of course would not believe me because I have no physical proof to back it up. We live in a rational world and rationality is something that is inherent to human nature, it something that people from all cultures and backgrounds have some appreciation for. I don't think religion is like logic or reason as it requires faith which I think is a learned behavior. Faith isn't something that can be appreciated by all humans without some kind of intervention. If having faith that a certain god exists is so important, I don't understand why it's something that isn't more prevalent and why it's not more like an instinct.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  16. Reason (Voice Of)

    Here's a novel idea...how about everyone admit that we have no idea how we got here, no idea if there is any meaning to life other than what we give to it while we are alive, we have no idea if there is a God, Gods or a supreme being and we have no idea if there is an afterlife. And we NEVER WILL KNOW. There is no proof or evidence one way or the other. Can't we all agree on that at least? Faith by its very definition is a "belief in something without a basis in logical proof". Believe what you want and respect other people's right to believe as they wish. Life's too short to waste time arguing your point of view to people who are content with theirs even though it may be different. I don't "think" there is a God or an afterlife, but it takes a hell of a leap of faith to admit that I do not know for sure. I don't know for sure, no one else does and no one ever will in this life. Am I the only person on the planet that recognizes this? And the kind of condescending crap in this article makes me very reluctant to ever want to label myself as an athiest. If athiests don't believe in religion, then why do they spend so much time talking about it? Why care at all, except to shove your beliefs down other's throats and then condemn Christians and Muslims, ect. for doing the same exact thing. If there is a God, I bet he is laughing his ass off at all the teeming masses fighting over whose smarter and who is right and wrong in the comments sections on the internet. HAHA!

    July 31, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • justageeker

      Well now...you just rained on believers and non believers parade. Don't be so logical!

      July 31, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Is there such a thing as a square triangle? No? How about dry water? No? Maybe an integer that's both odd and even at the same time? No?

      These are not merely things that are not observed in nature, they are LOGICAL IMPOSSIBILITIES.

      So too is any being said to possess an ultimate characteristic, such as omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, or omnibenevolence. The only such critter for which not just one but ALL such ultimate characteristics is claimed is the monotheistic Yahweh, God, or Allah of the Abrahamic religions. And it takes virtually no effort at all to show that these powers not only logically contradict each other (if God knows what's going to happen for all future time, he's powerless to change it; if he CAN change it, he didn't know) but also themselves (Can God make a rock so heavy he can't lift it?)

      Therefore I state, contrary to your assertion, that we CAN know that such a critter not only DOES not exist but CAN not exist.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Ben > Reason

      Part of me agrees with you, but as a Christian, God commands us to spread His story. There are plenty of things and ideas that organized religions do wrong, but we see spreading the gospel as God using us to carry out His will.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      Sigh. Come one, you surely have heard a response to this argument before. I agree with you that we can't know one way or the other. But that does not mean that people like myself should just roll over and be quiet when we don't think that religious believers should be able to force their beliefs on society by codifying them into law.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      '. If athiests don't believe in religion, then why do they spend so much time talking about it? Why care at all, except to shove your beliefs down other's throats and then condemn Christians and Muslims, ect. for doing the same exact thing.'

      Its god that atheists dont believe in. We believe in religion because its constantly trying to push itself on society so we know its real. And dont confuse trying to stop that with 'pushing your beliefs down others throats'.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  17. dillweed7

    Two words:

    Sam Harris

    July 31, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  18. Punchmaster

    The only thing that's kept religion alive for so long is the existence isolated cultures (whether it's 3rd world countries or rural Alabama) with limited access to outside (and contradictory) information. The information age means less and less isolation, which means the jig's up for mythology and the days of feeding controlled groups of people nonsense are done....And never coming back. In the words of Col. Troutman from First Blood, "It's over, Johnny, it's over!!!".

    July 31, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • AdamC

      100% correct. Which is why R's always want to de-fund education.

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

      Just a thought, take a moment what is a singularity? The point at which our understanding of the universe stops. As a Theoretical physicist I am bound by the actual facts, and currently something started it all. Something does not come from nothing. Believer due the lack of evidence.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  19. denver

    Amusingly enough, I think it was Penn Jillette who offered one of the most damning criticisms of theism I've ever heard. To paraphrase:

    If you could somehow destroy all human knowledge of science and religion and then wait a few thousand years, what you'd find is that science came back looking exactly the same as it does now and religion would be completely different. Trigonometry would be discovered again and it'd work exactly the same way. People would still worship gods, but they'd all be different and so would their stories.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  20. Romney2016

    The Founding Fathers wanted America to be based on Christian Beliefs.

    Bring America back to the World Power it used to be! Bring America back to the tolerant and respected position it used to hold. For over half a century America has been going down the drain as the Liberals and done their best to remove God from our once Great Country. It's time to STAND UP and preach the teachings of Jesus to all our children! It's time to STAND UP and fight for God and America!

    July 31, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "As the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christtian reilgion...."

      – Treate of Tripoly

      July 31, 2013 at 11:54 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        That's the Treaty of Tripoli.
        Sorry. Typing fingers must be runnning out of power

        July 31, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • only one side is fighting

      Fighting is the whole problem!!! You act like everyone is so below you and they need to shape up and fight the good fight, well, how about we all just STOP fighting and maybe people will stop hating each other too. Religion was specifically separated from the state when the US was formed. It wasn't until the 50's and the red scare that "In God We Trust" was printed on money and "Under God" was put into the Pledge of Allegiance. It was because the McCarthyists were certain that the commie pinko spies would never say "Under God" and would be outed. Come on now, for someone who claims to be such a riteous Amurican, you should at least know that.

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

      "The Founding Fathers wanted America to be based on Christian Beliefs."

      The likelihood that this is true is directly proportional to the number of occurrences of the words "Jesus", "Christ", "God", "Bible", and "Christianity" in the US Const¡tution.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • mrskippy

      Actually, it was McCarthy who got "Under God" added to the pledge back in the day. While you're right, the country has been on a slide for about half a generation, that slide started about the time people like you demanded God be a part of the country.

      Just sayin.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Bring America back to the World Power it used to be! Bring America back to the tolerant and respected position it used to hold. For over half a century America has been going down the drain as the Liberals and done their best to remove God from our once Great Country.'

      50 years ago the US had jim crow, blacks had to sit at the back of the bus, have their own water fountains and places to eat. Fights broke out when they tried to integrate schools.
      Sure, lets go back to this 'god loving' time in the US.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
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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.