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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. Ben Coates

    I think I've had the middle ground on this for some time. And this is where I agree and disagree with atheists. I agree that no one should believe in anything simply because others do. In fact I'll take that one step further and say that I don't believe in "believing." You either know something or you don't. Faith is pointless and stupid. Even those who claim to have "faith" probably "believe" in God because they have had an experience that afforded them an obscure "glimpse" (i.e., intuition) of a greater design or intelligence. I know God exists because of some rather remarkable experiences involving dreams that turned out to be symbolic blueprints for events / eras years later. My dream diary tells me there is a hidden infrastructure to experience and my experience with "ghosts" tell me this as well. Now as for being able to characterize these things – to tell you exactly what God or ghosts are - I cannot do - not completely at least. But I know they're there.

    By the same token, just because some authority like the Church, academics, or my parents cannot tell me what God is, doesn't mean I should dismiss Him. Just because I do not believe in everything the Church prescribes doesn't mean I should dismiss Him. (I never will share the Church's views on contraception and other things political, but that does not mean I no longer believe in a higher power). Even if Jesus never existed in a historic sense, does not mean I should dismiss Him. The Church offers a means of relating to all things irrational in this life and to things that transcend our biological existence on this planet. It's a beautiful, necessary, and irrepressible human function. Now just because I don't attend weekly church services does not mean I think the Church should go away either. I love the smell of churches, the iconography, the myth as an imperfectly finite interpretation of something infinite that cannot be completely apprehended by our conscious minds. This brings me to my opposition to Fundamentalism. A literal and logical interpretation of the Bible is dumb as rocks but so are the atheists who reduce all spirituality and religion to this one Fundamentalist adversary.

    And there are cultures where Catholicism will thrive forever. Just because one generation of Americans has lost interest, does not mean a thing. Americans don't have a spiritual bone in their bodies anyway. The acquisition of wealth is their priority and they worship at an ATM.

    Anyway I will go back to enjoying my modern and phenomenological conception of spirituality and at the same time appreciate as an artistic sensibility the myth of the church as a bridge to all things beyond our comprehension.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      "Americans don't have a spiritual bone in their bodies anyway."

      Nope, not a one of the 315,000,000 of us, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
      • Ben Coates

        You are obviously not acquainted with the various non-spiritual reasons for attending Church and maintaining membership in a "faith."

        July 31, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Tom

      Probably the best comment I ever read on CNN ...or anywhere for that matter. That should become a facebook "shared" item for sure... Thanks for that Ben.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
      • Tom

        BTW, I'm NOT the same "Tom" and the guy below (next post)

        July 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
        • Tom

          ...but we are on the same page...

          July 31, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
      • Ben Coates

        Your welcome, Tom

        Matthew "Ben Coates" Giarmo

        July 31, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  2. Tom

    Ever notice that secularism does not lead to contentment. Keeping up with the Jones’ – being the mantra. Collecting the most toys and having as many orgasms as possible may be the goal of most – but in the end it is selfish and unfulfilling

    While I agree it is no longer politically correct to be a Christian – Christians are not looking for secular societies approval. The Roman Catholic Church is not a social club. Please your body as you see fit – but living an unselfish spiritual life, according to Jesus, will leave you much happier.

    Now throw your stones

    July 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      It fulfils my needs far more than Bronze Age mythology ever could.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Nah, George Bernard Shaw already threw the only one needed on this score:
      "The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one."

      July 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers are among the freest, most stable, best-educated, and healthiest nations on earth. When nations are ranked according to a human-development index, which measures such factors as life expectancy, literacy rates, and educational attainment, the five highest-ranked countries - Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands - all have high degrees of nonbelief. Of the fifty countires at the bottom of the index, all are intensly religious. The nations with the highest homicide rates tend to be more religious; those with the greatest levels of gender equality are the least religious.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      Since most of America is "christian", then THEY own most of the responsibility no?

      And BTW, can you name a war going today that isn't rooted in religion? Can you show me a super religious country that does not also see it's own people being oppressed to some degree? Can you show me a poverty filled country that doesn't embrace religion? '

      Didn't think so...

      July 31, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
      • LogicalBeliever

        You're kidding me, right? Ever heard of the Soviet Union, Communist China, Nazi Germany .... Virtually every modern instance of a government that has formally rejected the Judeo-Christian moral world view has ended up oppressing their citizens in the most horrible ways. Thankfully, the Judeo-Christian voice is still a powerful one in today's world – so much so that it successfully helped to disband the Soviet Union. Long live the Church! We pray for you Atheists all the time and the door is always open.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      Tom: "it is no longer politically correct to be a Christian"

      You cannot seriously think this is an accurate description of the current state of affairs in American society.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • ME II

      @Tom,
      "Ever notice that secularism does not lead to contentment. Keeping up with the Jones’ – being the mantra. Collecting the most toys..."

      I think you are confusing secularism with materialism.

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

      Why do you equate shallowness with a lack of belief in the supernatural?

      July 31, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Sven

      "it is no longer politically correct to be a Christian"
      A staggeringly ignorant comment. It's borderline-impossible for non-Judeo-Christians to have a meaningful political career.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • John

      The church is not interested in secular selfishness. See the Vatican and mega-churches. They all wear rags and live in the woods.

      July 31, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
  3. DC

    You know atheists are the most miserable creatures you'll ever meet. They literally believe in NOTHING

    July 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      We believe in not posting the same lie twice in a row due to twitchy trigger fingers or short attention spans.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
      • bmkinz1510

        Wow, Richard that was a good one. I can see you were the debate team captain:-)

        July 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Eli Cabelly

      Actually, that would be Buddhists. They believe in the great Void as their diety. Some jewish formulations of diety come close to the Void as well.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • GAW

      Generalize much?

      July 31, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Dudeyourontome

      Incorrect. I believe you're a moron.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • sly

      Wrong Bozo –

      I believe in the $350,000 I make each year, and all the beautiful women I date. My Giants and Niners and Warriors are among the best at their sports. I enjoy great meals, $50 glasses of wine, and the highest quality Northern Cal smoke.

      And, my Little League team won the sectionals while my son pitched a no-hitter.

      Not to mention the beautiful mountains, surfing the Pacific, and the fact that I live in one of the most beautiful counties in the world.

      What's your problem? You sound miserable. Bet you spend all day praying to Allah to Jesus' or whomever your God of the week is, and you likely eat at McDonalds most of the time, alone, since you bore all the ladies.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Blair

      My understanding is that the strong majority of Atheists believe in seeking out the truth wherever that leads. If it leads to God then so be it. The problem is thus far, its led away from God.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Doobs

      I believe in lots of things. Deities just isn't on of them.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  4. DC

    Atheists are the most miserable creatures you'll ever meet. They literally believe in NOTHING

    July 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      We believe in science, and other tangible things.

      What do you believe in? Invisible sky fairies in invisible cloud cities, invisible horned devils in invisible fire pits....etc.

      How do you keep a straight face when making a comment like that? Seriously...

      July 31, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Derp

      July 31, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Engineer in Raleigh

      That's called 'nihilism', you fvcking imbecile.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
      • bmkinz1510

        Wow, stooping to name calling.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Ummm, did you read the original post?

          July 31, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • ubi dubium

      Then you haven't met very many of us. We're not miserable. We don't believe in "nothing",; we just don't believe in gods, including yours.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  5. Ricardo Carvalho

    Atheists, whose pride is the search for evidence adn truth, fails exactly on it: Refuting the evidence and therefore ignoring the truth.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  6. Jebus

    To all the bible believers just read the first 9 chapters of Leviticus. Do you really
    think the creator of the universe likes animal sacrifice that much? Seriously,
    why do you believe that stuff?

    July 31, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      Why not? We are supposed to believe that our "loving god" allows millions of innocent children die of disease, starvation, thirst, etc., and we are just supposed to accept it. Why not that too?

      July 31, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
      • bmkinz1510

        Dang, God is not Santa Claus. I fear you are very misguided.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
        • Atheist Forever

          RIght....

          He is a "loving god" who is very vengeful, cruel, and neglectful...but I'm still supposed to kiss his rear end....NOT HAPPENING. I'll leave that to cowards like yourself.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
        • bmkinz1510

          You mean righteous God! Who said you are supposed to kiss his rear end? You have a very distorted view of Christianity. No wonder you are an atheist.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
        • Atheist Forever

          What is "righteous" about allowing innocent children to die of starvation, war, torture, thirst when he could supposedly stop it in and instant?

          Oh I forgot, you just pull out the "we are not wise enough to know his great works" line.....BS!

          July 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
        • LinCA

          @bmkinz1510

          You said, "Dang, God is not Santa Claus."
          True. Santa is far more likely to exist.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • John

          Guessing that a threat of eternal damnation for not accepting "him" would result in some ass kissing, no?

          July 31, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
      • libertyadamson

        According to the Bible, it isn't God's capriciousness that allows that to happen. Besides, if athiesim is so much better than a God who would allow it, why hasn't atheism thought and practice put an end to it? Atheism never will, so it's moot to blame the God you don't believe in!

        July 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
        • flying spaghetti monster

          Ummm... ever heard of the polio vaccine? That's what science did. Eliminating diseases which were lovingly created by your god.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
        • AtheistSteve

          Because atheism isn't a thought or process. It's a reaction to theism. Theism which acts like a viral disease that just won't go away...like herpes.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • libertyadamson

      He didn't require HUMAN sacrifice. Other 'religions' have required that and you don't seem to be so vocal about it.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        *Cough* Isaac *Cough*

        July 31, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • Eli Cabelly

          Actually, that's an example of personal sacrifice. Isaac was a grown man, and Abraham was an old man who usually didn't go on the hunts when that story happened.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
        • flying spaghetti monster

          Eli Cabelly: "Actually, that's an example of personal sacrifice. Isaac was a grown man, and Abraham was an old man who usually didn't go on the hunts when that story happened."

          What? god tells abraham to sacrifice his son, and you're saying that's "personal sacrifice?"

          July 31, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
      • Jebus

        Except for Jesus, right?

        July 31, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • ubi dubium

          And Jephtha's daughter. Everybody seems to forget her.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
      • bfpiercelk

        That would probably be because those religions are no longer practiced...

        July 31, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
      • datawrecker

        So god is malevolent and condones the killing of its creations for its entertainment.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • TN28

      Well that is the problem. There is "reading" the bible and then there is "understanding" the word of God. Leviticus for example is an old testament book that applied to the first civilization of Israelites. Aka, Levitical law. At that time, God was living with Moses and the Israelites. His rules and judgement were specific to that particular civilization, he was not speaking to us living in 2013 ok. This is why the bible is a book that needs to be harmonized as a whole, not cherrypicked. The new testament is concealed in the old testament, the old is revealed in the new. Moreso you have to fully understand the specific book you are reading in, its time-frame & (especially if it is one of the old testament levitical law books) & who it is pertaining to. All very necessary factors to take into consideration prior to evaluating or inconclusively ripping apart the word of God.

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

      Why do atheists always think that the sacrificial laws of Leviticus still apply? I thought they were supposed to be big on reading and research before forming an opinion.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • flying spaghetti monster

        have you read your bible? jesus says in the nt that the laws from the ot still apply.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        I bring up Leviticus when a Christian references OT material first.
        Some Christians like to cherry pick passages (especially from Leviticus and Deuteronomy) to justify one type of bigotry or another, at which point I consider it fair game.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
      • Mark

        The fact that they applied at one time should be enough to show you that the whole thing is a ruse, CMoses. What is so different about people before Jesus that those sorts of practices were necessary?

        July 31, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  7. Ricardo Carvalho

    The more Cience discovers, more evident becomes that God wrote the bible....

    July 31, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • SeaTigr

      Still waiting for the scientific discovery that the universe really was created in 7 days...

      July 31, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
      • justageeker

        Ummm. You realize that the leading scientific theory says everything came into existence immediately right? That blows away the 7 days by a lot.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
        • Jake

          That is not what science says and those that say it does either do not understand it or are lying to justify their claims.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
        • justageeker

          So, Jake, how do you interpret the big bang theory?

          July 31, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          'Ummm. You realize that the leading scientific theory says everything came into existence immediately right? That blows away the 7 days by a lot'

          No it doesnt. Not even close. The big bang theory says the universe came into existance then but doesnt claim the planets, stars and so on were created fully formed in that instant as well, complete with complex life etc.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • justageeker

          SeaTigr said "universe created" so I agree that it is still changing but creation through the big bang was supposedly instant.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
  8. ay the ist

    It is nice to finally read some articles on atheists without a negative slant. I remember growing up and getting books on evolution thrown away at school by born-agains. As for religious not trying to legislate beliefs? REALLY?? "In God We Trust" was added to our money. Most removal or "religious" holidays from schools are from groups that feel the holiday is too pagan (i.e. Halloween or Christmas) or people worried about jewish, Islamic, Wiccan, or other religious holidays being forced on their kids. The one funny thing the article fails to note is the teachings of Jesus are not all good living, many are of believing in one god and casting out demons or worse (better to tie a milestone around the neck of a non-beliver and toss him in the sea than for him to lead one man astray...or something close to that). There is also a growing group of scholars that fully question if there was a historical Jesus and he was not just the remaking of one of several gods from local religions like Dionysus or Mithras which all had recorded and fully dated rebirth celebrations on Easter long before the timeline of Christ's birth (you know the date that no one actually has recorded, they have tons of speeches, but I guess it was too hard to write down an age or a date...).

    Atheists should not become a group to remove other's religious rights, but please don't delude yourselves that you are not living in a country that is still trying to repress the non-religous.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  9. Blair

    "What is the real message Atheism is spreading?"

    Search for the truth. Don't just believe / have faith in anything. Go where the evidence takes you.

    That in turn tells me it is a bad idea to have Christians, Muslims, Jews or any religion that promotes "faith" in non-evidence based ideas. Religion evades the truth and only the truth can help us make informed decisions about how to better humanity.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • bmkinz1510

      Please relate observable evidence to human spirituality.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • lol??

      Truth is a slippery thing in Scientism.

      "Jhn 18:38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault [at all]."

      July 31, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
  10. no ting wong

    Friendly atheist makes some compelling points:

    "Christianity was hypocritical (49%), judgmental (54%)"

    -We are yet to find an atheist that is judgmental 😉 If you find one please notify the press.

    Atheists outnumber Christians on the internet

    -True, who would want to hang out with a bunch of people who are intelligent (or should it be internetilligent/googligent), perfect, always polite, non-judgmental, non hypocritical, friendly , non trollish folks eh?

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

      Do I sense some sarcasm?

      July 31, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
  11. Ricardo Carvalho

    “Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.” ― Ronald Reagan
    “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable.”- George Washington
    “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” – Benjamin Franklin
    I am busily engaged in study of the Bible. – Abraham Lincoln

    Just to start with.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      Favorite comment by those who believe in the great invisible sky daddy:

      "Atheists believe in nothing".

      How about this: We believe in science, fact, reality, and evidence. YOU believe in imaginary / invisible creatures based in mythology.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
      • justageeker

        But science has yet to provide an answer for everything. So you believe in science which ironically is the same as someone who believes in a God. You are no different from a Theist.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
        • Jake

          Science has provided answers to many things. If fact, the computer you are using is based in science and is completely understood. It didn't pop into existence because someone prayed for it.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
        • Atheist Forever

          So....if you don't understand something, it MUST be caused by an invisible sky fairy, right? VERY logical there...

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

          "So....if you don't understand something, it MUST be caused by an invisible sky fairy, right?" – Heck no. But I also have no evidence to rule it out however outlandish the idea might be.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          'But I also have no evidence to rule it out however outlandish the idea might be.'

          what a bizarre outlook. so you also dont rule out that the universe was created by a pink dragon wearing a tutu?

          July 31, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
        • justageeker

          "so you also dont rule out that the universe was created by a pink dragon wearing a tutu" – Nope. I'm being honest to myself when I say I don't know. Certainly there are less believable theories between them all but I cannot say definitively which one is correct therefore I cannot reliably rule one out. No matter how bizarre the theory is.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
      • bmkinz1510

        You believe only in the physical and painstakingly avoid the spiritual because it is too scary to contemplate.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          scary wasnt the word we were thinking of.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Austin

      Quotations. Uh huh. And this proves what exactly?

      July 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  12. justageeker

    Atheists versus Theists is the same battle of wits...or lack of. Same as two kids in the playground arguing over which one ran to school faster when both got a ride. Pointless gibberish meant only to force their view on someone. Time to grow up kids. And just because this is an opinion article from an Atheist...time to grow up Atheists.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      Uh....one group believes in invisible sky fairies, the other faces reality. Which group needs to be ashamed, really?

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

        Ashamed is a different story. My statement holds true. Both are sides are equally wrong if they try to enforce their views or belittle their fellow human being. Both should be ashamed.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
        • Atheist Forever

          WRONG. You have to speak truth to power, the overwhelming power of those basing life on fantasy / mythology, invisible fairies. These things hold us back, and they are illogical, and therefore they need to be confronted, like racism, and other forms of counterproductive behavior.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
        • Avery

          I like your use of the word "power"! You're so right, there is power in those who believe in God! Power through Him!

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

          Wrong? Speak the truth? So Mr. Atheists...what exactly is the truth? Brilliant scientific Atheist and Theists alike are still searching for the truth...but you have it. Please do tell. Tell us the truth with 100% evidence to back it up. The entire world will listen to you. I promise! Now if the truth is simply saying someone else is wrong then simply crawl back under your rock.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
        • fintastic

          "truth" requires evidence. Evidence for god? ZERO.

          August 6, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  13. Atheist Forever

    A charitable atheist like David Gilmour helps the poor because he truly desires to help others.

    Christians do it out of guilt, shame, and the fear that their "loving god" will torture them for eternity if they don't do it. Lovely isn't it?

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

      Umm. Not true in all cases.

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

      Hardly true in ANY case. What believers have you been exposed to exactly?

      July 31, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Erik

      Maybe some do, but for most Christians who try to follow Jesus the command to "love your neighbor as yourself" will be a much stronger motivation than avoiding some future punishment. Do we fail? All the time. Am I better than you because I believe in God? Nope. But neither are you better than me because you reject a belief in God.
      I believe in a God who created this wonderful world we live in, with all the mysteries yet to be discovered. My God is a God of order, and Science is an awesome way to learn about the Creation. To me there is no contradiction between God and Science, for each answers questions that the other cannot or does not.
      In the media and in comments on articles such as this one, I see much more name calling by athiests than by Christians. I would hope that we could all live peacefully together, and disagree and dialogue without throwing names at each other.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
      • Atheist Forever

        Out of FEAR. How honorable.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  14. lol??

    Science is controlled by the rich or the mob. Pick yer poison. The gubmint did LSD experiments on unknowing citizens.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
  15. db

    More people have died on this planet because of religion than by any other means. The quicker science can prove that god does not exist, the quicker human beings can become truly great. It will happen. it may take many more centuries, but progress is being made, albeit slowly.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • justageeker

      I would argue that most people have died of 'natural' causes. Nice try troll.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
      • RichardSRussell

        Well, as long as intentionally misrepresenting the comment you're addressing seems to be OK with you, I'd argue that ALL deaths are caused by God, so his followers must be evil.

        See what happens when you open the lid on THAT particular debating technique?

        July 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
        • justageeker

          Ummm. I guess it means Theists win since you just said God created their deaths therefore you must believe in him?

          July 31, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Some guy

      Science will never prove that God doesn't exist. It's not logically possible. It's part of the reason why nonsensical religious beliefs have lasted as long as they have. Some are impossible to disprove.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  16. Jake

    Religion refutes science by telling lies. That is in no way a method to advance religion, and makes those that care about the truth even more likely to leave their church.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
  17. Jack

    In the end one of the two will be right:

    The atheists hope they are right because otherwise they are doomed for all eternity.

    The religious hope they are right because otherwise they “wasted “their life believing on “imaginary fairies”.

    If you had to pick your poison, which one would you chose?

    See you at the finish line….

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

      So G*d is going to condemn me to an eternity of suffering because I did not believe in Him – even if I led a good life?

      What a pr!ck...

      July 31, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
      • Jack

        Because you chose not to believe in him. Free will is yours...

        July 31, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          sorry but you cant 'choose' to believe in something or not. Its not like you can force yourself to believe something if you dont believe it.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • Jack

          That’s why it’s call faith. Because you chose to believe, without any proof. If there is proof, then you don’t believe, rather you understand and accept the proof. Proof implies no other option. Having to choose is very inconvenient because choice implies accountability for ones choice. In the end that is what religion comes down to, did you choose to believe or not.

          July 31, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
        • Kevin Harris

          There are degrees of faith. What you are describing is one aspect called fideism (blind faith). The follower of Christ does not have to exercise blind faith, but can have reasonable faith. Faith is the assent, or confidence, or trust that a given proposition is true and can be supported by facts and evidence. While it is difficult to prove anything with 100% accuracy, it's not necessary. One can be warranted in one's view even if 100% proof is not available.

          July 31, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      This is just a dumbed-down version of Pascal's Wager, an apologia that's so wrong in so many different ways that there are entire websites devoted to pointing out its many problems.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
      • Jack

        But it costs me nothing to believe, it's easy and a lot of fun!!!!

        July 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
        • jwt

          There is no reason to believe in your particular version of a god.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          only if you are believing in the right god jack, else you are in just as much trouble as us.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • Debunking Atheists

          >>There is no reason to believe in your particular version of a god.

          We both agree then, there is no reason to believe in your particular version of a god either. Atheists worship the same god as Satanists, they worship the god of "self" There is only one God. It falls to the legitimacy of the scriptures and the foundation of where the god you serve comes from. I lean on the God of the Bible, not only because he revealed himself to me, and I chose to accept and believe on his son, and because the endless truth IN scriptures let alone the countless prophecies that God's word has spoken that have come true and are still coming true. God has also revealed it to us such WE can be certain of it. The God of Israel and the Bible is real and the only true God, not because I say so, but because He does.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • Milton Platt

          Atheists don't believe in a god...look up the definition..........

          July 31, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • Debunking Atheists

          There is CERTAINLY no "Lack" in your beliefs, as an Atheist: http://bit.ly/lackofbelief

          Milton Platt? The one that I worked with at Parrot?

          July 31, 2013 at 5:08 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.