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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. Abdullah

    Christianity, as it is practiced today, is nothing but polytheism – worshipping of a human being, an angel (holy ghost) along with the One True Deity. That's why it makes no sense to so many young people.
    Just to be sure: Jesus never said "worship me;" not even in the present day bible you'll find Jesus saying that anywhere. And everyone knows bible has been rewritten many times to fit the day's demands. But even then, even in the King James Version (irony, versions of a devine book!) nowhere you'd find Jesus demanding to be worshipped. By definition, God's first demand is that humans worship Him. Yet, Jesus never demanded that. Go figure!

    July 31, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      It's no more or less stupid than islam, and actually I would say that islam is the scourge of the religious world for the violence that comes with it.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I always love it when someone thinks the KJV is the source

      July 31, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
  2. Nick

    You may not believe in God but, trust me, He believes in you. Unfortunately...

    July 31, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • JR

      Santa believes in you too and always knows if you've been naughty or nice.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • E before I

      Trust you? That's the problem. I've heard who-knows-how-many contradictory claims throughout my youth, backed by "trust me." It's what drives many to research for themselves and come to the conclusion that there is no credible evidence for the existence of a god, let alone the truth of any religion. You'll need more than "trust me."

      July 31, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Chris

      Why is your God always a "He" Why not call it a "She"

      Also how can you believe in something so silly as as magical being in the sky?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Chris

      I am so proud of the younger generation for coming around on this issue. It is embarassing for America to still have so many Christians. But things are progressing. The world will be a better place when religion is not as prevelant as it has been. All religions, not just Christianity.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Milton Platt

      Care to support your conjecture with facts?

      July 31, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
  3. kenny

    confucius came up with the most simple concept for civilized humans to live by. He came up with it 500 years before jeebus and a billion people follow his PHILOSOPHY to this day. It is the root of human nature explained. RECIPROCITY. If you do good for others they will actually feel compelled to do good towards you and vice versa. It is INSTINCT which just like any instinct we can resist but the consequences are usually bad. We don't need a god to explain this or give us RULES to follow that essentially follow this concept sprinkled with cultural b s that men in power added for their own selfish reasons. We don't need pastors or priests to tell us what to do and how to behave where we are punished or rewarded for eternity in a make believe fairy tale existence that is IMPOSSIBLE to prove. You didn't exist before you were born and you won't exist after you die.... its that simple ... even if it is sad/scary. You won't know it so GET OVER IT.

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

      Yeah, Confusianism (?) was even the state religion in China for centuries. We should get that!

      July 31, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  4. AuntySocial

    I stopped believing back in the 1970's when I was just 8 years old. Forty years later, I still don't believe. The only person who influenced my decision was me.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      Nice to see that some can apply logic over emotion and fear.

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

      Not true. Something had to influence you.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
      • BP

        Something like, none of this makes any sense when compared to the way the real world works. Everyone is born an atheist, the Jesus myth has to be drilled into you.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
        • Avery

          Haha, that's exactly what the Bible says, that we are all born with evil in our hearts destined to sin and to spit in the face of God. That took no realization on your part, that's our natural human instinct. It takes something more to say hey, I can't do everything on my own and to put your faith in someone else because you can't do it all on your own.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          'Haha, that's exactly what the Bible says, that we are all born with evil in our hearts destined to sin and to spit in the face of God.'

          what sort of brainwashing do you need to have gone through to claim that concluding that it doesnt make sense equates to 'evil' and 'spitting in the face of god"?

          July 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
        • BP

          Apparently I can "spit in the face of God", I'm such a badass!

          July 31, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • kgavranovic

      What is right for you may not be right for me and vice versa.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I can't believe you don't see the irony in your own statemnet

      July 31, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
  5. Aaron

    Here is my thing; Once someone can PROVE to me that our earth came from a speck of dust. I might think about atheism. But then they have to PROVE how that speck of dust got there. And then they have to PROVE our infinite, no existing border of space just "appeared," then I will think about it. But how can people say they are atheist until they can rule out that our universe wasn't created

    July 31, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      Aaron = I can't prove the big bang = there must be invisible sky fairies doing everything.

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

        Atheist Forever = I cant prove the big bang = I will believe in it anyway

        July 31, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
        • kamamer

          Though I can't speak for the person above, I can say the evidence for Big Bang convinces me it is the best explanation that fits the observable data.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
        • rafterman11

          You can prove the Big Bang is true more than you can prove the existence of God, e.g., the uniformity of background radiation throughout the universe.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
        • Atheist Forever

          I don't believe in invisible fairies just because I can't explain something. What sense does that make, really?

          July 31, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
        • james madison

          Aaron – can you prove god exists? No? Why then do you believe in god if you can't prove he exists?

          Your argument is beyond hypocritical.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • JR

      But you have no problem believing that your sky god always existed, right?

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

        Yes. Has MAN been able to "create" anything?"

        July 31, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
        • Atheist Forever

          What proof do you have that an invisible sky fairy has ever done anything?

          July 31, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
        • llewdor

          Has god?

          July 31, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
        • Ray

          Aaron, I really don't understand what you're saying. You want PROOF of this and that to be an athiest, yet you cannot PROVE that god exists or most of the things in the bible ever happened (hence, it's called FAITH). Sorry, but that's quite hypocritical to the nth degree. Who made god? He cannot have always existed or everything would have already happened, that simple. I don't care what you believe or don't believe, but your post is truly backwards.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
        • Milton Platt

          Whether or not man has created anything has nothing to do with the question of whether any god exists.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • kamamer

      What would you accept as proof?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
      • Aaron

        when man creates something

        July 31, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
        • kamamer

          What is your definition of "create"?

          July 31, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
        • Truth Prevails :-)

          Man created that computer you're using. Man created that medicine you use when you're sick. An ATHEIST had a large hand in creating the internet you use. No god required and no evidence to say a god exists.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
        • ABCA

          Man has created many many things, just look at the periodic table of elements, there's quite a few things on there man has created (one small example). Man also created religion so...

          July 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Anon

      Some basic planet formation info.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2d7joOgVLg

      July 31, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
      • Ron

        LOL!!

        July 31, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • llewdor

      Why do you believe in the sky god, then? Has that been PROVEN to you?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • tevii

      Interesting comment... then why dont you require proof in a god?
      And if there is a god... WHERE DID HE COME FROM?
      and if he always was, then why couldnt the univers just always be?
      Religion is for people who have no interest in knowledge

      July 31, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • justageeker

        "Religion is for people who have no interest in knowledge" – And that alone says a lot about your misunderstanding of the human spirit.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • grafactor

      I will never understand why theists see what's wrong with this argument. They think something as vast and complicated as the universe could not just come into existence "from a speck of dust". So they propose that it's been created by something.

      But this Being that created the universe would have to be even more vast and complex than the thing it has created. Where did that come from? What are it's/his/her qualities? In order to explain something you've something that is unexplained. Therefore you've explained nothing.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
      • justageeker

        The same as atheists have explained...well...nothing.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • sybaris

      Funny, Christians don't accept the Big Bang Theory but accept that their invisible sky man poofed the universe into being out of............wait for it........................nothing!!

      July 31, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
      • justageeker

        And do you have a theory on how everything got here or do you believe one of the two you mentioned? Because either is equally amazing and equally hard to believe.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Ron

      Aaron, your statement says that someone must prove that stuff just appeared... yet you believe god snapped his fingers and stuff just appeared. Struggling with what the difference is here... And who made god appear? By your definition of stuff just not appearing on its own, then how did god get here? By your own standard of proof, you should not be a christian either.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      So you have 2 theories Aaron. One suggests a scientific reason as to how we came to be here, the other one suggests a supernatural one. ,
      How can you look at those 2 options and declare the supernatural one as being the more likely? I just find that so bizarre.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Kay

      I think that folks like you don't understand that not believing in God is usually simply an absence of belief in the existence of a God, rather than a stand that "God does not exist". Most of us aren't anti-God. We simply have no reason to believe that God *does* exist. Atheism is not a religion. It's simply an absence of belief.

      Frankly, if the existence of God were proven, and no longer a matter of faith alone, I'd change my mind and admit I was wrong...and so would most ahteists. But, until then, we aren't going to waste our time on trying to prove a negative. On trying to prove that God does *not* exist. That makes zero sense. Rather, we look to explain things that we *know* exist but we don't fully understand yet,.

      But so often we're asked to 'prove' things that are beyond human knowledge at the moment. There are countless things we didn't used to know that we now do. At some point, we likely *will* be able to answer your questions, but not yet.

      The fact is that there's no evidence that the earth came from a speck of dust. The fact is that the "universe" is expanding...so our old definition of "universe" was in error. For all we know, we're in a giant time loop. Someday I expect we'll know.

      But my concern with your type of question is that you want us to explain where the "first stuff" came from without being able to answer other people's equally serious question of "where did God come from?"

      Now, I've heard from religious friends things like "God was always there" and "God can do anything". But those aren't answers. Those are merely faith-based explanations offered because they can't come up with anything else. It's like answering the question with "It was magic!"

      The deal is that people *are* working to explain theories like the Big Bang. Just because it hasn't been completely explained yet doesn't mean it can't be completely explained.

      At the same time, personal faith is just that..."faith". It's *not* evidence. It's *not* proof". I recognize those differences...which is why I can be comfortable with other people's faith. I wish more people could recognize and accept them.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  6. Brian

    Have atheists done anything for anybody?

    July 31, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • datawrecker

      How about, been more accepting of other people's views than Christians.

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

        They haven't been more accepting of Christians' views . . .

        July 31, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
        • Truth Prevails :-)

          Why should we accept views that demand oppression of women, children, gays and anyone else who does not agree with your belief? Why accept views that would see a person tortured for eternity?

          July 31, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      Ever heard of David Gilmour the founder of Pink Floyd? He has been knighted for his devotion to the poor, and his work, his donations. There are many many more. You don't have to believe in sky fairies to help others.

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

      It's just that atheists aren't organized and always feel the need to let everyone know when they are out helping their fellow man like Christians always do.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • justageeker

      Of course they have...troll.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      David Gilmour isn't the founder of Pink Floyd

      July 31, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • mk

      Angelina Jolie, a goodwill ambassador for the UN, does not identify with any religion.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Ron

      Every major invention you use, to include the plastic in the keyboard you are typing on, and the light over your head, was invented by athiests. And even funnier is the numbers you use to count with are ARABIC. lol look it up.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • OTOH

      Brian,

      The largest humanitarian givers in the world are agnostic/atheists Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
  7. Aaron

    Here is my thing; Once someone can PROVE to me that our earth came from a speck of dust. I might think about atheism. But then they have to PROVE how that speck of dust got there. And then they have to PROVE our infinite, no existing border of space just "appeared," then I will think about it. But how can people say they are atheist until they can rule out that our universe was not created.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      So since you can't understand science, there must be an invisible sky creature responsible for everything? Do you ever stop to think about that logically?

      You can't prove the big bang, yet you are willing to believe in invisible sky fairies....makes GREAT sense!

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

        Spontaneous generation theory. Proven it doesn't exist

        July 31, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
        • Atheist Forever

          Then that invalidates your sky fairy too. After all, where did he come from genius?

          July 31, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
        • I respectfully disagree

          Then that proves that god couldn't spontaneously generate the unvierse either. The whole point of science is to disprove things, that is how we LEARN. It is called The Scientific Method. The earth was flat just a few hundred years ago until someone PROVED that is wasn't flat. Then they used that to LEARN more about what the earth was, if not flat. Since the earth couldn't be flat, then logically, it had to be round. Now, we know this and it's not even up for debate. This will be the way of religion. One day, science will advance to the point at which religion will be fully disproven and then it will be tossed into the same category as the flat earth society. The evidence is out there and it is growing. I don't care if you believe it or not because that is your fundamental right as a human, but don't act like I have to prove anything to you when you have nothing to back up your own assumptions.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
      • justageeker

        @Atheist Forever – Funny. One person who doesn't know telling the other person who doesn't know how silly they are. Witless battle forever.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Joay

      It goes both ways. Can you prove that god created the Earth? There is no evidence for creation, it is simply a belief and a worldview.

      Atheists simply believe that god does not exist. They do not rule out the POSSIBILITY of a creator, but believe the possibility is incredibly unlikely and not grounded in science or observable evidence. There are hundreds, if not thousands of gods you choose not to believe in (Zeus, Thor, Ra, any form of polytheism), ask yourself why you don't believe in those gods and maybe you can understand why so many people choose not to believe in yours.

      The fact is there are many questions we do not have the answer to yet, or we may never be able to answer. Just because we cannot say something is for sure does not prove the existence of a higher power.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Blah

      Give your heart and soul to our Dark Lord Satan and be set free!

      July 31, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Mike Vaughn

      "Whatever man does not understand, he attributes to God."
      Think about that sentence for a bit.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • tevii

      Interesting comment... then why dont you require proof in a god?
      And if there is a god... WHERE DID HE COME FROM?
      and if he always was, then why couldnt the univers just always be?
      Religion is for people who have no interest in knowledge

      July 31, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • datawrecker

      If god exists, what created it? This argument can go on forever on both sides religion. The fact is that we have no where near the intellect required to understand or prove the existence or creation God.

      This argument can go on for science as well. We do not have the intellect required to understand or prove the creation of the universe. How can the universe have been created without god? If god created the universe who created god?

      Either way, I am more likely to follow science. At least when science gets something wrong we get an apology. Unlike religion which literally goes on a witch hunt and tries to eradicate non-conformists or non-believers.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
  8. solex

    Greatest quote EVER about Christianity was made by Ghandi:

    "I like your Christ. I do not like Christians. Christians are so unlike your Christ".

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

      This is a great quote indeed. I think the point is lost on most religion denying atheists though lol.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
      • Atheist Forever

        No, it's exactly why we generally despise FAKE religious people including Christians.

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

          "It amazes me to find an intelligent person who fights against something which he does not at all believe exists."

          – Gandhi

          July 31, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
        • AE

          "It amazes me to find an intelligent person who fights against something which he does not at all believe exists."

          – M.Gandhi

          July 31, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
        • OTOH

          AE,
          "It amazes me to find an intelligent person who fights against something which he does not at all believe exists."

          Atheists do not believe that a god exists. Believers, however, *do* exist, and they often want to control things according to their fantasies and superst.itions. We are discussing their beliefs - that's all.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
        • AE

          Gandhi said it.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • ME II

          What Atheist doesn't think that believers exist?

          July 31, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • AE

      "God is conscience. He is even the atheism of the atheist."
      – Gandhi

      July 31, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • AE

      "Atheism is a denial of self. No one has succeeded in its propagation."

      – Gandhi

      July 31, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Yes, religion was really good for Gandhi.

        Just ask Nathuram Godse.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
  9. mickinmd

    "To believe in Jesus means believing that he was born of a virgin, rose from the dead and performed a number of miracles....atheists place those stories in the same box as "young Earth creationism" and Noah's Great Flood."

    To be an atheist does not mean believing Jesus was not one of the greatest men, if not the greatest, who ever lived. It's the miracles and supernatural stuff – written down no sooner than 50 years after he died – that are b.s. But his existence occurred too soon before his followers recruited followers to be made up. The Jewish Roman-citizen Josephus has a brief description of Christians in his histories and mentions James, who led the Jerusalem branch of Christianity around 40-50+ AD, when Josephus lived in Jerusalem, and calls him Jesus' brother.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Jesus is not one of the greatest men who ever lived. It is an unacceptable premise. Great men do not walk around claiming to be the son of God. If you are rational you must either accept that Jesus is who he says he is or that he is a raving lunatic. There is no middle ground.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
      • I respectfully disagree

        maybe not a raving lunatic, but certainly manipulative to the point where he made people believe he was the son of God. Maybe he really thought he was and the uneducated peseants would be likely to believe anything that might assure them of a better life in the future. Living conditions of the day were awful and life was short and ugly. It would definately be an easy feat considering how little people of that time period knew about biology, physics, chemistry etc. He certainly wasn't the only person to be crucified that day. It was a common punishment in those days.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
      • datawrecker

        You forgot the third option. Jesus was the world's greatest con man. Ultimately convincing millions of people he was the son of god.

        Actually. As we currently understand, Satan is the father of the lie and he would betray the world by creating the greatest lie ever told. That lie is that Jesus was the son of god.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
      • ME II

        @Bill Deacon,
        How about the middle ground of Jesus being a great man who was misquoted.

        July 31, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • Emkay

      The Josephus account is widely considered to be a forgery by historians.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
  10. Peter Q Wolfe

    Honestly the funny thing is when christians or any religious person quotes 'The Bible' or any religious texts. Ha, I'm telling you that I can make up just as appealing of a book. A real loving quote would be "Universal health-care for everyone" or "the pursuit of knowledge whether stem cells, nanotechnology, cloning, etc to further human knowledge that is based on logic not baseless conjecture that slows progress".

    July 31, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Lycidas

      I think it's funny too Peter. Just as funny as when atheists quote some white guy from 200 years ago about his views on religion. I mean, who cares what Jefferson had to say right? He was as advanced as we are in the here and now.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
      • datawrecker

        Advanced.... like clinging on to fictional teachings from over 2000 years ago.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      How to create your own logically circular, scientifically primitive, regionally based, unauthenticated, verbally transmitted religion that last 2000 years and shapes all of modern society.

      first: nail yourself to a tree.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        You missed the bit about telling everyone to be nice to each other for a change.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
  11. Gus

    Let's not forget the disgust we feel when Islam rears it's ugly side.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Guess What

      I'm pretty sure that Christians will gladly accept the alliance with atheists (& Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, etc.) in the endeavor to control radical Islam.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
  12. Ben

    To any Christians reading these comments – there are many unbelievers here who are spewing hate at you (and many who are just trying to have rational discussion). You want to respond with anger because they are belittling you and God. Remember, we are ALL God's children, regardless of whether we believe it or not. Don't respond in anger, but in compassion. We can't always see His plan, but God is working in every detail of our lives.

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

      Good reminder.

      Psalm 25 helps me when I'm tempted to act on anger.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
      • mk

        OR, you could count to 10 or sing a song or run around in circles or think of a joke. Do you see how people can deal with life without a religion?

        July 31, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • AE

          Psalms are ancient wisdom. Even people who are not religious find them helpful.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      God is working on things is he? Like what? What is he doing? Where is the evidence? Is he working at killing lots of young children through disease and starvation every day too? Oh, I forgot, that's part of his grand plan that we aren't "wise enough" to understand. PUKE! Dimwit...

      July 31, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
      • Dr. James K. MacGregor

        Namecalling...way to stay classy.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  13. Andrew

    The spell is broken. Let thoughtful reasoning rain down and quality of life blossom.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  14. GAW

    But calling people delusional, stupid, morons ans mentally ill won't attract people to atheism any more that a screaming preacher condemning you to hell will attract people to Christianity. How you believe something and how you treat those you disagree with makes all the difference.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • AE

      They don't actually believe people who believe in God are mentally ill or delusional.

      I'm sure they trust doctors, pilots, scientists, police officers, bosses, co-workers, etc. that believe in God.

      And people who are truly mentally ill or delusional – they don't try to insult or demean them. I'm sure they have compassion.

      RIGHT?

      Because if they seriously think being hostile and mean to mentally ill people is appropriate... God have mercy!

      July 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
      • lol??

        Ever heard of counting trees in Siberia?? Or what Hitler did to the sick??

        July 31, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  15. JV

    Hey you Atheist out there.. Please chill out and let people discover for themselves what they want to believe. I myself, know there is no God of any sort. Its almost ridiculous to believe in such a thing. Religion is a little creepy to me, but the fact is religion keeps people fed, clothed and sane more than any problem its causes. Do you do that? True practicing Christians are usually very kind people in the most selfless of ways.. Isn’t that what it is all about? Humans are vicious animals, and we need anything and everything possible to hold back the animals in some people. Religion does that. Religion is ingrained in our traditions, and customs whether you want to admit it or not.. It’s not thrown in our faces anymore. You have won to a degree. So chill the hell out. You are looking as nutty as the religious extremist

    July 31, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Ken

      You have a far more difficult time discovering the truth for yourself if you only ever hear one side of the debate. One-sided presentations are the things of propaganda a la Joseph Goebbels. That's why it's important for us to continually present the other side, yes?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
      • lol??

        Same ol', same ol' Hegelian dialectic from the Frankfurt hot dogs. The serpent has two points on his tongue.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • E before I

      I agree to a certain extent as I refrain from insulting theists. I don't see them as mentally ill and almost all my friends are theists. However, I sometimes feel compelled to clear up misconceptions about atheists and challenge claims to truth and knowledge; sometimes, they bring it on themselves.

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

      I would agree with your assessment of "true, practicing Christians" being a force for good in the world. Unfortunately, that fits only a tiny percent of the Christians I've met in the last 60 years.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      To answer one of your question (about giving to others), I'm an atheist. I'm also up to 32 gallons of blood donated to the Red Cross. But I don't feel any great compulsion to go strutting around in public — the way the religionists do — saying I wouldn't have done this EXCEPT for my atheism. I would've done it anyway. I think it's kind of sad that the only way some people will ever be moved to show sympathy and support for their fellow human beings is if their church tells them they have to do it.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • eric

      While I disagree with some of what you said, I applaud you for have a more mature and realistic view than most atheists.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      Religion keeps people at war, it keeps them killing each other, and it keeps them in poverty. You need a reality check. Where you find poverty, you almost always find fundamentalism of one sort or the other there with it. Get a clue.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
      • justageeker

        So before religion people did not kill each other?

        July 31, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
        • RichardSRussell

          Dude, learn some logic. If I said "Catholic priests molest little boys", would you immediately leap to "ALL Catholic priests molest little boys" or "ONLY Catholic priests molest little boys"? There is truth in the original statement, not so much in your parody of it.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
      • JV

        Religion, power, resources and greed have driven war thru human history. War is a human condition fed by much more than religion. If you eliminate religion from the instigators of war you have 10 other causes. You have to expand your reasoning and logic to think bigger, because you sound no different than a Muslim extremist.

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

      "religion keeps people fed, clothed and sane more than any problem its causes. Do you do that? "

      I myself don't do it directly, JV, but I donate 3-5% of the total yearly income of my husband and I to charities. I don't go through some religious organization to do it by putting it in a basket at collection time, so it's not counted on the backs of any organization except the one I donated directly to. I also help in soup kitchens and tutor kids in reading. Does any of this count if it's not affiliated with a religious effort? Why do you assume that it's the religious people that are keeping the poor afloat?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Rhaj - Haja Raza

      > chill out and let people discover for themselves what they want to believe.

      I am atheist, and I agree with you... if it is just for me, as individual, or for my friend/neighbour/colleague/.

      But when I think of the people who are getting too much into deep in religion, and in the society is getting taliban-like, I think you have to stand for what you... don't believe.

      > religion keeps people fed, clothed and sane more than any problem its causes. Do you do that?

      I agree with you; I can't match Mother Teresa.

      But I agree also with the critics when they say: Mother Teresa was creating mouroirs (a place where people are left to die) but not hospitals.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  16. Aaron

    What I don't understand is all the hate towards Christians. Which is worse; trying to do good all your life and when you die nothing happens )if you assume Christianity does not exist, or living shamefully and when you die you DO burn in hell (assuming Christianity does exist)?

    July 31, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • denver

      Honestly, Aaron, the right answer is to do good things simply because they are good. Not because you're afraid of hell. Not because the local church says they're good.

      What's important is to understand what "good" is and be good for it's own sake.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Why do you see attempts to introduce rationality to people as hatred?

      If I saw somebody talking on a cell phone and getting set to step in front of a bus, and I said "Hey, look out!", do you think it's because I HATE them?

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

      > What I don't understand is all the hate towards Christians.

      What are you referring to? Nonsense on anonymous CNN message boards, or something in real life.

      I have not met a scientifically minded person that hates people due to their belief in mythology.

      Christians often say than their deity will torture people for disbelief.

      Scientifically minded people can't really say a similar third party threat, other than "when you die,...you die".

      If you think fact based criticism of beliefs is hateful... well that makes no sense in a free society.

      Your quiz assumed that Christians do good, and non-Christians do "shameful" things. Any evidence for this?

      And also your quiz, you missed a few options:
      – when you die nothing happens
      – when you die you DO burn in hell, or you are trapped in heaven forever, worshiping your hopefully benevolent dictator.
      – when you die, you find out the vikings where right, and Zeus says ...
      – when you die, you find out Buddhism was the correct path, and you are reincarnated as a ???
      – when you die, you find out that Aliens have been watching, and transport your memories to another place in space, and they judge you on something arbitrary (oh, I guess this is the same as heaven/hell with God as the omnipotent alien being).
      ...

      If you believe in magic (like having your memories/soul magically transported somewhere on your death, or other "miracles" that only occurred in pre-historic, pre-scientific times), then logic and science are not relevant. Why bother with explanations, if the core of the explanation is magic?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
  17. Believer

    It is very misinformed to say that having faith in God is restrictive, or even abusive. All of us are sinners. Sin is what holds us all back from true inner peace and outer joy. The more you understand this, the more you will believe - the more you will seek God and clearly see the Truth.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      I dunno, Believer. I've had some great times doing some good ol' fashioned sinnin'. Doesn't seem to be holding me back from inner peace or outer joy...

      July 31, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'All of us are sinners. '

      because a god tells us we are. we have no say in the matter, we are all automatically condemned unless we do as he says.
      doesnt sound like a loving forgiving god to me.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  18. Avery

    There is a God and He loves you. The Bible is His love story for you and for all of humanity. God, who is all powerful and all knowing created the earth, not some improbable explosion or expansion. If you look around you can see the wonders of the God and his divine creation of our world. Then, after creating the world, God created us and He put us on the earth and gave us only one rule. Now as humans tend to do, we did the one thing we were told not to do and because of that we were separated from God because a righteous God cannot exist in the presence of sin. God could have just left us at that and watched as we suffered and anguished with no hope of life, or he could have killed us right there. But he didn't. Instead, he set about to redeem us of our sins and to reconcile us to Him. To do so He sent His only son Jesus who came to earth, lived a sinless life, and took all of our sins, past present, and future, upon himself. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for our sin, and because of Him, we no longer have to be estranged from God. All we have to do is accept God's gift and our sins are wiped away and we will live with God once we die with all the wonderful things he has created for us. However, if we reject that gift, God gives us what we asked for which is separation form Him. If this is what we choose we live for eternity in a place void of all the things God created for us: there is no joy, no hope, no peace, no comfort, and no love. Instead, we, by rejecting God, choose to live forever in a place filled with hate, anger, devastation, despair, fear, and hopelessness. But we don't have to. All we have to do is accept God's gift of Jesus, and our sins are wiped away. God bless.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Dr. James K. MacGregor

      *Like*

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

      Inconsequential and delusional verbal diarrhea

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

        I'm sorry you feel that way

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

          Don't be... you should feel sorry for yourself... You sound like little naive children waiting for Santa clause. That's really sad.
          Plus, all the violence in the name of god thru the centuries... it's disgusting. Religion and the "god" thing are a plague to our species...

          July 31, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • AE

      Thanks for sharing. Once I got the message into my heart – it started to make sense.

      We are not just rational/logical beings. We are human beings. We have a rational side of our brain. We have an imaginative side of our brain. God speaks to both sides. Use your brain as it was intended to be used – maybe you'll find God?

      God wants our hearts, not just our minds.

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

        What does god say to the rational side of your brain? I get that religion fills a huge emotional and psychological hole in peoples' lives, but I'd not heard of this other aspect.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
        • Avery

          For me it's more rational to believe that there is a God who created everything than it is top believe that a cosmic explosion occurred and as a result the earth was formed the perfect distance from the sun with the perfect conditions to sustain life. I just look around at how beautiful our world is, the mountains, the oceans, the sunsets, and I think that there is no way all of this could have been an accident!

          July 31, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
        • denver

          Avery:
          In what sense do you consider belief in an implausible assertion for which there is no proof "rational?"

          Theories like "'The Big Bang", for example, are simply the best working idea available based on the information we have. Observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background line up nicely with it and there's a whole raft of science under all of it. But cosmologists will not say with religious fervor that "This is how it happened."

          If those people with all that data still won't emphatically state that they know the truth, how can we reasonably accept people with literally no data that claim to know the truth? Nobody is saying that this is all an accident, but you're appealing to the anthropic principal in a way that is... questionable.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • MJH

      Just your opinion. Mine is there is no god and no supernatural being to make any of us feel bigger then we actually are

      July 31, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • E before I

      This "gift" you speak of sounds more like a suicide vest.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • denver

      It's a beautiful metaphor but why is any of it more plausible than any other religion? I'm not asking to be offensive, I'm genuinely curious.

      I perceive that the "choice" of a particular religious tradition is largely arbitrary or a result of cultural conditioning. How can you be certain that Hinduism is wrong? Or Zoroastrianism? Or some as yet unrevealed truth?

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

        Honestly, the way to know that Christianity is the one true religion is to look at Jesus and then to look at the cornerstones of other religions.. Look at Buddah... He's dead. Muhammad is dead. Joseph Smith is dead. But Jesus is not dead, he is alive! Because of His sinless life and because He was fully God and fully man, he rose from the dead and those defeated sin! All other religious leaders are dead, but Jesus is alive!

        July 31, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
        • denver

          Avery, this is all very implausible. To believe Jesus isn't dead (or that he existed) you have to accept the truth of Christianity. And if you have to accept the truth of Christian scripture to arrive at the conclusion that Christian scripture is true....

          Do you see where this is going? It's entirely circular. I'm not trying to deprive you of your belief- and I doubt that I'd succeed if I tried- but you really haven't answered my question. For no clear reason, you're sure of the truth of Christianity, which leads me back to "arbitrary or a result of cultural conditioning."

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

          the way to know that Christianity is the one true religion is to look at Jesus
          -----
          You're ignoring what Denver said. What if you've never heard of Jesus? There are plenty humans on earth right now that fall into that category. Why? They are every bit as human as you, yet God hasn't shared this message with them. Are you special?

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

          No, I'm not special, and that is the fault of us as Christians who haven't taken what we know to be true to those who haven't heard. But that doesn't mean it isn't true. As a child I didn't know the stove was hot, but that doesn't mean because I didn't know I wasn't burnt by touching it.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
        • denver

          Avery:
          Regarding the hot stove, you make a good point. I can demonstrate in an irrefutable, empirical, and completely reproducible manner to anyone, anywhere, that a hot stove is hot. No matter where you're from or what your life experience is, if I put your hand on a hot stove, you will recognize it's heat. If, for some reason, you have no functioning nerves in your hand, you can still observe the damage caused to your skin in the form of a burn.

          God has no such test. God stipulates that he's beyond any such test. You can't show god to anyone. You can't prove god to anyone. The difference between god belief and the belief that stoves are hot is night and day.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
        • Avery

          So if there is no God, then how would an explosion, something destructive in nature, be a constructive event? Or, to go further, how would an explosion cause a world where we have beautiful mountains, oceans, forests, sunsets? An explosion placed at the perfect distance from the sun to sustain life? An explosion formed our atmosphere and made it capable of supporting life? An explosion created life? And because of an explosion we developed from single-celled organisms?

          July 31, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
        • Madtown

          Christians who haven't taken what we know to be true to those who haven't heard
          -----
          The notion that missionaries need to "educate" those who haven't heard the word, is arrogant. You're saying your way is the only correct way, the true way. You have no way of knowing this. Think about it like this: if someone knocked on your front door, told you the religion you follow is incorrect, told you their religion is the true religion, and that you need to immediately begin following their religion, because they said so. Would you be open to this? Of course not. Yet, that's what your missionaries do, and what you're suggesting they should do. Besides, God is powerful enough to create this entire universe, surely he's powerful enough to distribute a single message to everyone, if he wanted us all to follow it.

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

          If God were to write that in the sky or to appear to everyone and tell them Himself, then wouldn't everyone believe? That would require no faith.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
        • Avery

          And that is anything but arrogant.. I'm admitting that as Christians we haven't done our part. And you're thinking about it all wrong... If I knew the cure to cancer, but decided not to tell you because you had your own why's to try to cure it, so I just sat back and let you die from cancer, how horrible of a person I would be!

          July 31, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          'So if there is no God, then how would an explosion, something destructive in nature, be a constructive event? Or, to go further, how would an explosion cause a world where we have beautiful mountains, oceans, forests, sunsets? An explosion placed at the perfect distance from the sun to sustain life? An explosion formed our atmosphere and made it capable of supporting life? An explosion created life? And because of an explosion we developed from single-celled organisms?'

          but an explosion didnt create any of those things, that isnt the claim. And you need to get over this idea of the big bang actually being an explosion.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          'If God were to write that in the sky or to appear to everyone and tell them Himself, then wouldn't everyone believe? That would require no faith'

          And? what exactly? the bad thing about that is what?

          July 31, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • denver

          Avery:
          No aspect of cosmology from The Big Bang forward requires divine intervention. Under the theory, the "explosion" wasn't a constructive event; it simply provided the material which later underwent natural processes which we now characterize as "constructive" because of the anthropic principal. That is, we assume that the universe we have now is "good" because it gave rise to our existence.

          An explosion didn't create mountains, it created gas clouds which coalesced into planets where, over millions of years, rock was thrust up to form mountains. An explosion didn't create an atmosphere, it created the elements which comprise the gas that forms our atmosphere. That explosion created chemical compounds that probably gave rise to life. But that's abiogenesis and is altogether a different issue.

          The funny thing, to me, in all this is that science proves it is right again, and again, and again. Over and over every day, we build on scientific knowledge in real and obvious ways. The observations that allowed us to discover the Cosmic Microwave Background are basic in physics and physics is literally everything you see around you in the modern world.

          And yet, religion has no predictive power and yields no practical output but we accept grand religious pronouncements about the world that are without any rational basis. Sure, religion has a place in the world and spirituality is important to many people. But- and I swear I'm not trying to be provocative here- it has literally no value when it comes to explaining the physical world. None.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • Madtown

          And that is anything but arrogant.. I'm admitting that as Christians we haven't done our part.
          ------
          That is pure arrogance. You think it's up to you, to convince the rest of the world that YOUR OPINION is the one they should also follow, even if they don't know the first thing about the reasoning behind your opinion. You're at the height of arrogance, thinking you know something that is unknowable. What if you had been born in a primitive culture in South American, in the rain forest jungle? You'd never hear of Jesus, and by your definition would never go to heaven. You didn't make a choice to believe, or not believe, in the ways of christianity, because you've never heard of them. That makes no sense.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • Avery

          No predictive power? What about when the Bible predicted that Israelites would one day once again be brought together in their own country such as what happened in the 1940's? and so you admit there was an explosion... what exploded and whatever it was that exploded, how did it get there?

          July 31, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • joe

          so pathetic. Your leather bound book of short stories is rife with errors. Errors of biology, geology, astronomy, physics, etc. etc. Why it's as if the people who wrote the stories were just simple ignorant primitives from 2000 years or more ago.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
        • Madtown

          If God were to write that in the sky
          ----–
          This would be the only way any religion could claim it is the "correct" religion, because in this case it would be EQUALLY accessible and available to every human being on the planet, all of God's creation. God could also write it on the moon.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
        • Avery

          Madtown, I don't have all the answers nor will I ever. But what I do know for sure is that YOU have heard the story of Jesus and have been told all that you have to do to accept Him. Now you're acceptance or rejection of Him is on you... but so are the consequences of that decision

          July 31, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
        • denver

          Avery:
          Israel is hardly a prediction in the scientific sense. Scientists predicted subatomic particles and not even just that they'd exist, what they'd look like and how they'd interact with other particles. And it did this by merely observing the natural world and building on theory. Excuse me, but saying, "The Israelites will have a country some day" is a bit different than saying, "There's this thing called a quark and here are it's physical properties and, though we can't see it yet, people will discover it in the next 50 years."

          And I'm not admitting there was "an explosion." I was trying to describe- very briefly- the details of The Big Bang in response to your questions. Does it surprise you that I'm OK admitting that I don't know for a fact that such an explosion happened or where all the matter in the universe came from? I admit it freely; I don't know. There's nothing wrong with not knowing.

          But if you want to play "how did it get there?" you're going to have to climb the philosophical mountain of "where did god come from?" And, no, it's no OK to claim god needs no origin because, again, only people who already accept Christian scripture find that convincing.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
        • Madtown

          what I do know for sure is that YOU have heard the story of Jesus
          ------
          Right, I have, because God placed me in an area of the world where christianity is available and prevalent. Same for you. That is the reason you follow it, because you like it and it works for you, and IT'S AVAILABLE TO YOU! This is not an arguable position. We are no different in God's eyes than any other human on earth. There is also no religion that is equally available to all on earth. Therefore, God doesn't care which religion we follow. It's just simple logic. God gave you a brain, use it.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          'What about when the Bible predicted that Israelites would one day once again be brought together in their own country such as what happened in the 1940's?'

          You mean the prediction everyone knew about when it was decided to create the nation? That kind of invalidates its a bit.
          And if it had said 'the Israelites will have a nation created for them in 1948, after WWII, after a period of bombing British based hotels', then I might be more impressed.

          July 31, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
        • Avery

          Madtown, your statement sounds a lot like "whats true for you is true for you and whats true for me is true for me" doctrine... a relative truth. Well what if my truth is that your truth is a lie? Is my truth still true then?

          July 31, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
        • Madtown

          what if my truth is that your truth is a lie?
          ---
          What if God really has given the "1 true religion" to that primitive culture in the South American rain forest, and you've never heard of it? Then you're not following the truth, are you? Bottom line is, none of us know the answers to any of these questions. Man-made religions, christianity, etc, don't provide real answers. Believe what you want, but keep yourself grounded in reality and realize that the doctrine you follow is not a universal truth for all of humanity.

          July 31, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      "There is a God and He loves you."

      Sayin' so don't MAKE it so, Avery. Why should I take YOUR word for it instead of, say, David Koresh's? Or Ayatollah Khomeini's?

      All you've done here is say WHAT you personally happen to believe. You've given no indication at all of WHY you believe it, let alone any reason whatsoever for anyone else to believe it. Put up or shut up.

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

        No, this isn't just what I believe, this is what was written by over 60 authors over a period of 2,000+ years, and it all fits together to form the perfect story of God's love for us and His desire for us to come to know Him. If you want cold hard facts that "prove" to you there is a God you'll probably never find them. That's the whole point of faith. Believing in the things you can't see. Its like air... no one knows where it comes and where it goes, but every time I breathe, I believe again and again that its there.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Never have, never will

      Everything you wrote above was taught to you as a child. You believe it because you were told to. Not a bit of investigation was needed on your part to form these conclusions. These ideas were planted in you when you were most venerable. I sincerely hope that one day you come to realize this. You did get the "story" portion right about the bible, so there is hope.

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

        Actually thats not true. i was taught this as a child, but I didn't believe at first. I went through the motions and appeased my parents for so long and pretended to believe. But I was putting up a front and being a liar and I knew I didn't believe. Then one day, I realized the impossibility of the accidental happening of everything around me and I could see the genuine love of God for me from the Bible. it was a genuine and personal realization of my one and no one else.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
        • Avery

          And true stories are still stories

          July 31, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Madtown

      The Bible is His love story for you and for all of humanity
      ------
      Even for those humans he created that he placed in an area of the world where they will never learn of the bible? If the bible is God's story for all of humanity, why wouldn't he provide access to the bible for all of humanity? Doesn't make much sense.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
  19. Felix Sinclair

    Younger generations just aren't buying into that "I love you and you better love me and believe and do everything I say or else" crap.

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

      Exactly! The Christian god has to be the biggest crybaby narcissist I've every heard of.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
  20. Aaron

    What I don't understand is all the hate towards Christians. Which is worse; trying to do good all your life and when you die nothing happens )if you assume Christianity does not exist), or living shamefully and when you die you DO burn in hell (assuming Christianity does exist)?

    July 31, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • E before I

      You do realize that many do good for the sake of humanity, and don't need to do good because a religion tells them to. If you deny this, you deny reality.

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

        ok I will rephrase that then. How about trying to follow the Christian religion (which includes doing these things)? What do people fear losing? maybe that's what I want to ask

        July 31, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
        • E before I

          You have to understand that I understand Pascal's wager. However, some of us care about what is true and how do we know it's true. When we look into religious claims, we simply do not find one single piece of credible evidence advocating for it. I can fake it, but deep down inside, it won't change the fact that I don't believe in creation, the virgin birth, resurrection, miracles of Jesus, Noah's Arc, or any of the other supernatural claims. But we still have a sense of empathy and do not desire to bring harm onto others for our own selfish gratification. We can be good without god.

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

        You’re wrong. Many dont do good for the sake of humanity, but only talk about it, and expect someone else to do it. The democrats party is a case in point. Im with you, believing in a God is a little delusional and creepy but ill give it to the ones who truly serve humanity, even if it is because of their religion. Christianly feeds and helps people all over the world with no agenda or expectation of votes, and they do it in the most selfless of ways. Atheists, and people such as yourself do not.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • mk

      Why do you assume that atheists live "shamefully" and have no morals? That is such a myth. My moral compass is guided by a phrase that MANY great people have uttered in some form: Do unto others. It has nothing to do with burning in hell or punishment though. Why would I do something to someone that I wouldn't want them to do to me?? You don't need a list of 10 rules or a book or a church to figure that out. It's common sense.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Doobs

      If those were the only two choices, you'd have a point. Unfortunately, you only present the "good, loving Christian" vs. the "shameful, horrible atheist".

      There are Christians who live shameful lives and atheists who live good, loving lives, as well as everything in between.

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

      'If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed' ~ Einstein

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

      What about assuming that anybody who doesn't believe in God must be living their lives shamefully and are almost certainly on their way to hell?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Ralph

      Unfortunately, many 'need' religion like an adult security blanket. Which is sad considering all the harm organized religions have done (and continue to do) in the world. Look at Islam; it's ok to convert to it ...but convert FROM it, someone will find and kill you. Insult it, and you're lucky in many parts of the world if they don't whittle your head off. (Not that Christianity was any better in that respect; Go see the torture exhibit in San Diego sometime.)
      The brutal fact of the matter is that religion in it's totality is just hopeful nonsense. Humanity will either outgrow it or eventually destroy itself.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:56 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.