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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. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    "The Pew Forum on Religious Religion and Public Life released a survey on religious knowledge today. Atheists and Agnostics scored higher on it than anyone else, closely followed by Jews and Mormons, all Christians, Protestants and Catholics, were far behind.

    That's overall, but when you get into specific religions it does show a startling lack of basic knowledge by practltioners. From the report:

    More than four-in-ten Catholics in the United States (45%) do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ. About half of Protestants (53%) cannot correctly identify Martin Luther as the person whose writings and actions inspired the Protestant Reformation, which made their religion a separate branch of Christianity. Roughly four-in-ten Jews (43%) do not recognize that Maimonides, one of the most venerated rabbis in history, was Jewish." – npr.org

    I think this is the real reason Christians hate atheists so much.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • pat

      These are pertinent facts? More in the category of trivia

      July 31, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      You are quite right, according to the data nearly half of Christians consider their religion trivial as they apparently refuse to actually study what they are told they believe.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  2. dean

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

    July 31, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Chris

      Dean,

      You are confusing Athiesm with Agnosticism. In fact, you just gave a good description of Agnosticism.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • Rory

        No he's not. Atheism is the absence of belief in a deity. It is not the affirmative assertion that there is no deity.

        Agnosticism is more like "We don't know that there is or isn't a God so we'll be neutral." Atheists aren't neutral because they believe there is NO evidence that can show a God to exist. That doesn't mean there IS in fact no God. Just that there is no reason to think there is, and so thinking there is one is absurd. If evidence were to be presented which was convincing, a proper atheist response would be to accept the resulting conclusions (after subjecting the evidence to skeptical inquiry).

        Agnosticism draws false parallels between belief in God and non-belief in God by acting as though the scale is balanced in favor of either side. Atheists recognize that the scale of evidence is tipped overwhelmingly in the direction of non-belief. But they don't say that there "is no God" regardless of how much evidence exists. Religious believers, on the other hand, will insist there is a God regardless of how the evidence looks.

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

        And this is honestly one of the most annoying misconceptions Christians have of atheists, this idea that atheists would reject God if they ran into him after they died. IF Jesus was the son of god and came here to sacrifice himself for our sins and so on, then I wholeheartedly accept that. I don't quite understand the mechanics of how such a gift works or why it would happen that way, but if it was in fact true, I'd be the first one to say, "Well if this is how the universe words, then this is how the universe works."

        But there is currently no evidence to believe that that is in fact the case. I have enough faith to believe that if there was a God who had a personal relationship with humans and loved us all, that he would one day reveal himself if it would save us from eternal torture. Again, I don't understand how belief in God saves us from Hell, but if that is IN FACT the way the universe works, then I would want to live my life in accordance with that.

        But ALL OF THE EVIDENCE points to a universe created by natural processes and governed by the laws of nature. There is no evidence of God or an afterlife. So I'm not "rejecting" a God that is staring me in the face. I'm pleading with Christians, if you have even one shred of decent evidence to answer the question, "Does God exist?" to bring it forward so I can be saved.

        As of now you haven't done that, and I strongly suspect you can't. That is why I am an atheist.

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

          Rory,

          You point out two things. 1) that Atheism is a faith based system; 2) that Agnosticism is the lack of faith. Dean's commentary points to a lack of faith, not faith that God or some higher being doesn't exist. Therefore, he appears to be describing agnosticism. But then again, Dean can clarify what what he was trying to convey.

          And, as with any faith based ideology, Atheism has it's Zealots, eager to degrade anyone who disagrees with them, as displayed countless times on this board.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • Chris

          Also, I'm not sure where this sliding scale analogy came from, but Agnostics take on the whole there is a god/there is no god thing, is that it is beyond human ability to know one way or the other, such as it is beyond out comprehension to truly envision the total vastness of the universe.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • Ralph

      Dean~
      Sounds like agnosticism is your fortay. I agree–people throughout history have always made claims they can't back up. Whether you are an atheist or a believer it all comes down to what evidence can prove the claim–not rhetoric. Epiricism is the only thing one can count on. At least in this realm that we live in. Personally, I believe in god. I just don't think no one can speak for him.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
      • Rory

        Dean is correct. Atheists DO NOT say there IS no God. They simply say that there is no evidence that there is a God, and so it is absurd to believe in God.

        Agnostics believe the scale between God and No God is a balanced one. They think that there is essentially no way of choosing, but they put non-belief and belief on the same level. To me that really just seems like hedging your bets since there really isn't any evidence to suggest belief.

        But an atheist doesn't straight up reject the possibility of God. They just point out the absurdity of believing without ANY evidence, and sometimes go one step further and say that the lack of evidence suggests that we probably live in a universe created by natural processes.

        Notice that, unlike believers, atheists qualify their statements with words like "no evidence to suggest," "probably," "all the evidence points to." This is why atheism can lay claim to being scientific and based on evidence and religion cannot.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  3. Ron

    Christians and most religions spend their entire life getting ready for death. You can tell by the way they threaten others with death and warn they need to get ready this and that. This means they are motivated by fear. Without hell, you would have no christians as you would have nothing to threaten them with. When I did believe, I always used to ask why doesnt god just get rid of the devil? The answer is, God needs the devil to survive.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
  4. bmkinz1510

    Atheists are just unemployed internet junkies who spend all day on blogs spreading their narrowminded religion of their meaningless, pathetic lives. They are so jealous of Christians who believe there is more to this life than just the physical.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      Like David Gilmour, Steven Hawking, Einstein, etc. Sure.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Yes, we have a winner! BM is now all the way up to TWO whole lines of type.

      Still nothing but lies and misconceptions to spread, but at least capable of doing it at a level slightly above 5th-grade playground insults.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
      • bmkinz1510

        I am just trying to get to your level. Hang in there, I will get there.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • GAW

      Part of what you say is true but overall you have created a flammable straw-man.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Jealousy of delusion? Pity more like. What else in life do you take on blind faith – do you cross a road without looking? do you buy property, investments, automobiles without due diligence? Why believe in a god invented by Bronze Age sheepherders based upon their superstitions when we have evidence that those superstitions are based upon explainable phenomena and there is no tangible evidence for a god, including yours.

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

      He he he ... we're "jealous of Christians"? Thats a good one. Sorry dude, I watch my Niners kick azz each Sunday, while you are stuck in a crowded room with a bunch of smelly folks shouting "amen".

      Enjoy your hobbies, the rest of us are certainly enjoying ours.

      But you are correct – I am unemployed, but then again, I make $350,000 a year and smoke the best Northern Cali.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • mm1970

      hm...I'm an atheist with a full time engineering job and two boys to raise. Must admit I don't even know what Reddit is...

      July 31, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Ron

      Small minds paint with broad brushes

      July 31, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • ANCampbell

      I'm atheist and I'm employed. I go to work every day just like Christians. Your view of atheists is pretty sickening. I think you need to be more open minded and accepting of people and realize that not every human being is going to believe in fairytales and the like.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
  5. Debunking Atheists

    Hemant Mehta is one of the reasons I had to start my blog "Debunking Atheists" years ago, because he would not allow me to comment on his, he moderated me out all the time. They are NOT interested in truth, but pushing their dogma and religion, like this article here shows.

    1. There is no such thing as an “honest truth-seeker” who denies God, as their denial is itself dishonest (Romans 1:18-21).

    2. I would not use any evidence to convince anyone of something which Scripture says they already know. Evidence is presented to the judge and jury, and I will not elevate the unbeliever to that status and put God on trial.

    Our friend Sye Ten Bruggencate has given the tools for Christians to counter them in easy to understand terms. But do it kindly because our apologetic method eviscerates their worldview, we want to do it kindly because they may crash down into another false religion, instead of Christianity. Google, or YouTube, his name, or go to "proof that God exists dot org"

    You want to see Mehta get handed his hat? Get him to debate Sye. He might be too afraid of him though, as many Atheists are. He tends to hide behind his blog's moderation. That is why a debate would be great for that. Mehta can't run from a debate.

    Say this to the Atheist:

    "The supernatural is the presupposition of the intelligibility of the natural.” is the claim. In other words, without God you would lose the preconditions for the intelligibility you require to posit your hypothetical in science, logic, reason, etc.

    This is exposed by asking you a very simple question. How do you know your reasoning is valid without God, or being viciously circular?

    And watch the handwaving begin. Praise God.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Carl Simon

      Kudos to you!

      July 31, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      IOW, you have your conclusion, and no amount of evidence to the contrary — or pointing out the zillion and one flaws, contradictions, and stupidities of your source material, or the logical inconsistency of your arguments, or the gargantuan track record of failure of your prophecies or scientific "knowledge" — is going to convince you otherwise.

      Yeah, I can see why Hemant might have quickly tired of you.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
      • Debunking Atheists

        How ironic you say this. How do you know your reasoning is valid, without being viciously circular again?

        Contradictions? Hardly, and I posted about it: bit.ly/textuallypure

        July 31, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Debunking Atheists, I haven't seen you post one reasonable argument, proposition, axiom, conclusion, summation, whatever. Not one. All I've seen is a person who knows debate jargon and throws it against the wall and whatever words follow one another-–that's what you post.

        You really need to pray to your god for help. You're not making the slightest sense to anyone and you've put forth no argument whatsoever. Yeah, all the beams and forms and lumber are there, but there's no structure. Why don't you take it back to the basics, and list what your premises and conclusions are as simply as you can, and build from there. Or put down the b0ng or whatever and try more direct, succinct discussion.

        August 1, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
        • Debunking Atheists

          How ironic your entire post here is handwaving. You barely assert and proclaim that I am not making sense or not making an argument, without making the argument that I actually was doing that. It's so laughable, if it were not so sad.

          I will start slow for you, as you requested. Is is possible that you could be wrong about what you claim to know? If not, why not?

          August 1, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      Debunking Atheists says: Say this to the Atheist: "The supernatural is the presupposition of the intelligibility of the natural.” is the claim. In other words, without God you would lose the preconditions for the intelligibility you require to posit your hypothetical in science, logic, reason, etc.

      ... praise jesus!! I've seen the light! ... oh wait, no. what you wrote makes no sense. thanks anyway.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
      • Debunking Atheists

        My argument is not intended to be convincing, I am merely commanded to speak the truth, 'convincing' is out of my hands.

        FSM? As Dustin Segars said "Congratulations, you've just given up your atheism to defend your atheism, and (2) you've provided us no predictive prophecy grounded in historical events, etc., (3) and thus given us no good reason to believe in your god over a uniplural Flying Spaghetti monster."

        So our work here of 'Debunking Atheists' are done. Atheist no more! Next?

        July 31, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Lebowski

      You wouldn't have to "debunk" aithiests if your mythology was more believable.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
      • Debunking Atheists

        How do you know your reasoning is valid, without being viciously circular?

        July 31, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Will

      Although the writer here seems to pointing to the fact that the ratio of atheists to theists are disproportionately higher, he fails to recognize an important fact that atheists do not engage in fair play. A simple observation here would reveal that atheists have repeatedly in the name of 'moderation' reported abuse on Christian posts making it appear as if they have an edge over arguments. Wonder what makes them so insecure and fearful to let Christians challenge their world view.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • cedar rapids

        interesting claim.
        you need to prove that or instead be a false christian bearing false witness.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
      • OTOH

        Will,

        The only times (very few) that this atheist has reported abuse were for:
        - Over-the-top, totally gross bathroom language (not just simple BSs or the like) & triple-X-rated se.xual comments (not simple "f" offs, etc.)
        - Work-from-home computer scams
        - Some who have filled entire pages with columns of dotted lines or other obviously disruptive stuff like that
        - That reposted 10-times-per-day video of someone's electronic piano practice.

        ...and that's no matter which 'side' they came from.

        July 31, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Ron

      How do you know your reasoning is valid WITH god?? Longer words and better grammar does not make you smart, it just shows you know longer words and better grammar.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
      • Debunking Atheists

        Same way I can be certain of anything REVELATION.

        How am I certain that the revelation is valid? Because God has revealed it such that WE can be certain of it. Since all you (the Atheist) have is opinion, could not CERTAINLY deny it.

        I'm sure that if an "atheist" wanted to, they could surrender to God, confess and repent of their sins, put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and receive a full pardon by God. They just don't want to. Takes us right back to Proverbs 14:2, doesn't it.

        July 31, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Incorrect.
          I tried for decades, there is either no god, or god ignored me, no matter how "hard" I tried. I know you will then reply that it was something I was doing wrong...that would be correct. I tried to believe in something that does not exist.

          July 31, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
        • Debunking Atheists

          I am not doubting your "attempts". But why did you stop? Why did you claim you "tried"? Where you impatient with God, and His delivery?

          John 6:35-40, John 5:24 makes things abundantly clear God does not turn people away that approach Him correctly. I am sure you know what repentant is. It is approaching God, the Judge, with a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17) and throw yourself to the mercy of His court. You would not reason out of Christ, if Christ was indeed Lord of your reasoning. You wanted God to bow to your demands or something?

          Do you understand the difference between Justification and Sanctification? http://bit.ly/JustandSanct

          Scripture is clear:

          "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." ~1 John 2:19

          July 31, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Regurgitating the bible will do no good since I know it to be false.
          Try again.

          August 1, 2013 at 8:49 am |
        • Debunking Atheists

          HOW do you know it to "be false" Are you telling us all that by you merely barely asserting it or claiming it, we should trust you? Really?

          Tell us, how do you know your reasoning is even valid? Could you be wrong? Anyway, you made a positive claim of "I know it to be false.", so that burden rests with you. I am glad I am not in your shoes for that one. Praise God.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
        • fintastic

          Bible quotes again?........ pure nonsense.

          August 1, 2013 at 11:26 am |
        • Debunking Atheists

          It's like an unarmed criminal mocking a policeman for not giving up his gun. The reason for the mockery is obvious, but surely it would be foolish for the cop to hand over his gun?

          "The supernatural is the presupposition of the intelligibility of the natural.” is the claim. In other words, without God you would lose the preconditions for the intelligibility you require to posit your hypothetical in science, logic, reason, etc.

          This is exposed by asking you a very simple question. How do you know your reasoning is valid without God, or being viciously circular?

          August 1, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      You won't put God on trial? But one of his prophets did, why can't we? Why shouldn't we test God?

      "20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing. 22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”

      Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”

      25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. 27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. 30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs[a] of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.” 34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench. 36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” 40 Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there." 1 Kings 18:20-40

      July 31, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
      • Ron

        Stopped at "You won't"

        July 31, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
      • Debunking Atheists

        I don't discuss Scripture with those that don't hold it as authoritative. We all have rescuing devices. We're going to interpret Scripture with the revelation that God does not lie. You will interpret it with your "subjective" view of logic, that God does lie, etc. I can reconcile certain things the Bible says to a Christian, and we do. I am not going to reconcile with non Christians because you are going to bring your assumptions that God doesn't exist, that God can lie... ...If you are not entering with God cannot lie, then you are entering with an incorrect assumption and there is no reason to discuss anything about God or the Bible with you. You're going to come in with your interpretation, just as I am going to come in with my interpretation based on God's revelations. The most important point here, that you are unable to UNDERSTAND or know the truth UNTIL you repent. Repentance comes BEFORE knowledge of truth, not after: 2 Timothy 2:24-26

        Tell me, how do you know your reasoning is valid, without being viciously circular?

        July 31, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          You keep asking the same question over and over, but it really boils down to the fact that there is absolutely no evidence that any gods ever existed.
          On the other hand, genetics has disproven both the Adam and Eve story ad the Noah's ark story. Many sciences also disprove the Noah's ark story. They are myth., Since the "sin" in the Adam and eve story, which is false is the basis that your god sent his son to clean the sin, then tht too is false, so the entire religion falls apart simply because we know we did not all descend from one genetic set.

          What , on the other hand do you have that indicates that your or any of the other thousands of gods exist, without as you say using visciouly circular logic?

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

          HOW are you absolutely certain there are "absolutely no evidence that any gods ever existed"? Do you have anything to back up that positive barely asserted claim?

          Here I will refute your position. The Bible is evidence for God, and your very ability to reason about evidence is evidence of God. God has revealed Himself to EVERYONE, and that this is exposed with every truth claim, every knowledge claim, and even every rational thought you have.

          It's nothing new for people to deny the existence of God, or to create false gods, to worship so that they can be their own god. It's one of the oldest sins in the book.

          It's been rightly said that the "atheist" can't find God for the same reason criminals can't find the police. Because the police represent authority. Criminals would rather be their own authority (kinda like atheists).

          I'm sure that if an "atheist" wanted to, they could surrender to God, confess and repent of their sins, put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and receive a full pardon by God. They just don't want to. Takes us right back to Proverbs 14:2, doesn't it.

          The most important point here, that you are unable to UNDERSTAND or know the truth UNTIL you repent. Repentance comes BEFORE knowledge of truth, not after: 2 Timothy 2:24-26

          July 31, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          See , there is that ridiculous circular logic. The bible is right because the bible says it is right, there is a god because the bible says it is, and I know that is right because the bible says it is.

          You clearly are one of the millions of brainwashed minions. Good luck with that,
          I know the bible is false for the above mentioned reasons.
          Genetics has disproven the whole myth of Adam and Eve. We did not descend from one genetic set. That is impossible, so the myth is wrong, and I have done the math and verified it myself, as have hundreds if not thousands of scientists.
          Since Adam and Eve is a myth, original sin is a myth.
          Since Original sin is a myth, god did not need to send his son to save us from that sin.
          Since god did not send his son to save us from a myth, the story of Jesus is also a myth, therefore Christianity is false.

          August 1, 2013 at 8:54 am |
        • joe

          You argue with mentally deluded addicts.

          You have about as much chance going down to skid row and convincing a bum not to be a bum.

          August 1, 2013 at 8:56 am |
        • Debunking Atheists

          >>"See , there is that ridiculous circular logic."

          You keep bringing up logical fallacies as if you thought logic was absolute. I would ask you to try to be more consistent with your professed worldview, but rather I urge you to repent of it.

          >>"The bible is right because the bible says it is right, there is a god because the bible says it is, and I know that is right because the bible says it is."

          Evidence you're wrong yet again. You're not in a taxi and can get off when you arrive at your destination here. God revealed Himself in many, many ways through Natural and Special revelations. You would have to deny ALL of it, which is completely absurd. The revelation is not something you can escape. Even if you deny a special revelation, like the Bible you are still in the world of natural revelation. Bahnsen said.

          "Man was created as the image of God (Gen. 1:16-27) and thus cannot escape the face of God. There is no environment where man can flee to escape the revelational presence of God (Ps. 139:8). God’s natural revelation goes out to the end of the world (Ps. 19:1-4) and all people see His glory (Ps. 97:6). Therefore, even when living in open (idolatrous) rebellion, men are in the condition of “knowing God” (Rom. 1:21)—the living and true God, not merely “a god.” Christ enlightens every man (John 1:9), and so Calvin declares: For we know that men have this unique quality above the other animals, that they are endowed with reason and intelligence and that they bear the distinction between right and wrong engraved in their conscience. Thus there is no man to whom some awareness of the eternal light does not penetrate...the common light of nature, a far lowlier thing than faith (Calvin’s Commentaries, tr. T.H.L. Parker; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1959)." ~Bahnsen, Greg; Booth, Robert (2011-03-03). Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith

          August 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
        • Debunking Atheists

          BTW, How do you know your reasoning is valid?

          >>Genetics has disproven the whole myth of Adam and Eve. We did not descend from one genetic set.

          HOW are you absolutely certain that your reasoning is right about that? Could you be wrong? You say that with a confidence without considering that even genetics even agrees with Scripture (Look up Mitochondrial Eve, Y-chromosomal Adam)

          >>We did not descend from one genetic set.

          Yes, you barely assert that but the EVIDENCE ( Mitochondrial Eve, Y-chromosomal Adam) disagrees with you. So, obviously, your BIAS is showing.

          "The supernatural is the presupposition of the intelligibility of the natural.” is the claim. In other words, without God you would lose the preconditions for the intelligibility you require to posit your hypothetical in science, logic, reason, etc.

          This is exposed by asking you a very simple question. How do you know your reasoning is valid without God, or being viciously circular?

          August 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
        • Debunking Atheists

          BTW, How do you know your reasoning is valid?

          >>Genetics has disproven the whole myth of Adam and Eve. We did not descend from one genetic set.

          HOW are you absolutely certain that your reasoning is right about that? Could you be wrong? You say that with a confidence without considering that even genetics even agrees with Scripture (Look up Mitochondrial Eve, Y-chromosomal Adam)

          >>We did not descend from one genetic set.

          Yes, you barely assert that but the EVIDENCE ( Mitochondrial Eve, Y-chromosomal Adam) disagrees with you. So, obviously, your BIAS is showing.

          How do you know your reasoning is valid without God, or being viciously circular?

          August 1, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          "It's been rightly said that the "atheist" can't find God for the same reason criminals can't find the police."
          Wow, lying for your god, you must be so proud.

          How could you possibly know that your a$$ertion is right? Since you can't , that is a lie.
          As far as finding god, your bible is false. If there is a god, it certainly is not what is described in the bible. Your definition of a god is insufficent, or completely wrong.

          August 1, 2013 at 9:16 am |
        • joe

          “It’s been rightly said that the “atheist” can’t find God for the same reason criminals can’t find the police.”
          ---------–
          Why does someone need to find your God?

          Is your God lost? Is your God hiding?

          August 1, 2013 at 9:19 am |
        • Debunking Atheists

          >>How could you possibly know that your a$$ertion is right?

          Same way I can be certain of anything REVELATION.

          How am I certain that the revelation is valid? Because God has revealed it such that WE can be certain of it. Since all you have is opinion, could not CERTAINLY deny it.

          >>As far as finding god, your bible is false.

          Do you have any EVIDENCE to back up that barely asserted claim? Or do you wish others to take it on FAITH that you, as a fallible person, is trustworthy and truthful? My irony meter is smoking.

          >>Your definition of a god is insufficent[sic], or completely wrong.

          Do you need a mirror for that one? Because most Atheists worship the same god as Satanists, the god of "self". How ironic.

          Do you even concede that an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being could reveal things to us, such that we can be certain of them?

          August 1, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          So atheists are criminals now?

          August 1, 2013 at 9:26 am |
        • Debunking Atheists

          We all are silly. (Romans 3:23)

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6U7NZMgCzAg

          August 1, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Debunking Atheists is like a bombardier beetle, and Richard Cranium is like a guy wielding a military blowtorch.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
        • Debunking Atheists

          Either join the conversation or let the adults talk, peanut gallery. 🙂

          I will ask you then, How do you know your reasoning is valid? The follow up to that question is, could you be wrong?

          August 1, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • datawrecker

      "Say this to the Atheist:

      "The supernatural is the presupposition of the intelligibility of the natural.” is the claim. In other words, without God you would lose the preconditions for the intelligibility you require to posit your hypothetical in science, logic, reason, etc.

      This is exposed by asking you a very simple question. How do you know your reasoning is valid without God, or being viciously circular?"

      My reasoning is valid because I can stand before you or anyone and declaring your God to be false or non-existent and believe it in my heart.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
      • Debunking Atheists

        >>"My reasoning is valid because I can stand before you or anyone and declaring your God to be false or non-existent and believe it in my heart."

        So you take it on FAITH that God does not exist. How do you KNOW your reasoning is valid, though? Could you be wrong? If not, why not? You are confusing a feeling of certainty with actual certainty. One cannot BE certain of something which is not true. Since you admit that one can BE certain, then that some feel certain does not defeat actual certainty.

        Barely asserting God does not exist does nothing but confirm Scripture:

        "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his opinion."~ Proverbs 18:2

        "The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable" ~Jeremiah 17:9

        God does not send people to Hell for denying what they do not know, but for sin against the God that they do know. Hell's gates will be locked from the inside, as CS Lewis pointed out.

        July 31, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
        • PeterVN

          Claiming scripture as evidence for its claims is also circular reasoning. Claiming that all scripture is entirely true and evidence-supported these days is downright dishonest.

          "Debunking Atheists" is a liar, plain and simple.

          One suspects that with his blogspam, DA is also on the profit side of this religion con game.

          As that great blog quote said,
          "Religion is for the ignorant, the gullible, the cowardly, and the stupid, and for those who would profit from them."

          August 1, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
        • Debunking Atheists

          >>"Claiming scripture as evidence for its claims is also circular reasoning."

          You bring up logical fallacies as if you thought logic was absolute. I would ask you to try to be more consistent with your professed worldview, but rather I urge you to repent of it.

          Never said it wasn't circular, but it is not viciously circular as your position is. You see, God is revelatory and therefor can reveal things to us such that we can be certain of them, whereas you have no such claim to certainty.

          Now, all systems must ultimately involve some circularity in reasoning. For instance again, from Bahnsen, when you argue for the legitimacy of the laws of logic, you must employ the laws of logic. How else can you justify the laws of logic?

          An argument against God presupposes the falsity of the existence of God still presupposes God. The reason is, is because God is the necessary precondition for the laws of logic which are necessary to distinguish between truth and falsehood. Therefore, any argument that presupposes the falsity of the existence of God presupposes existence of God. This is a transcendental issue, an issue that lies outside of the temporal, changing realm of sense experience.

          >>“Debunking Atheists” is a liar, plain and simple.

          AGAIN, like Razi Zacharias said, you have just invoked a moral law, or standard in raising that claim that your worldview cannot account for. You're borrowing from the Christian worldview to make a claim in yours. THAT is a contradiction. Your basis for determining right from wrong stems from personal feeling, opinion or preference. So my question is, why should anyone of differing opinion suffer under your definition of what is 'right' or 'wrong'? Just because you call your opinion moral?

          >>"One suspects that with his blogspam, DA is also on the profit side of this religion con game."

          WRONG again. I have not, and do not, make any money off my blog. I want you saved silly. I give you time for that purpose. That being said, you're appealing to something OTHER then your own to make such an accusation.

          I will show you what I mean, is it absolutely wrong to profit off unsuspecting victims? If so, HOW are you certain it is? (maybe this will help show you that your contradictory worldview)

          >>"As that great blog quote said,
          “Religion is for the ignorant, the gullible, the cowardly, and the stupid, and for those who would profit from them.”"

          Erm, understand Atheism is ALSO a religion http://bit.ly/AtheistReligion Our courts know it too, Torcaso v. Watkins, Kaufman v. McCaughtry

          You're fooling yourself, once again. Big shocker there. God has revealed Himself to all mankind so that we can know for certain who He is. Those who deny His existence are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness to avoid accountability to God. It is the ultimate act of rebellion against Him and reveals the professing atheist's contempt toward God. We call it self deception. Self deception is very powerful to the mind. You believing that Atheism is not a "very profitable religion", is so very sad and absurd.

          Is it NOW your claim that NO one profits off of their atheism as authors, lecturers, and organizations? You're completely absurd! Richard Dawkins earns quite a good living off his Atheism, as merely ONE example. I have not earned one penny for my concern for you and warning you of your absurd worldview. Do THAT math in light of your quote. I dare you to ask Hemant Mehta how much he has profited from his atheism. Go ahead, I dare you.

          But anyway, is that "wrong"? *pshaw

          August 1, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        I have no problem in not believing in unicorns, although they might exist. I don't believe in unicorns, but if I saw one, or there were good evidence for them, I would believe. That seems a pretty sensible approach. Same deal with god. When there's a measurable effect that demonstrates the validity of the god hypothesis, I will fairly consider that evidence.

        Currently, there's no evidence for god, so I'm comfortable with nonbelief/atheism.

        August 1, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
        • Debunking Atheists

          "In fact, that cannot be evidence for God if he is a naturalist, or an atheist. Because according to him its not possible to have evidence for God. If he is in fact an atheist in terms of his views on reality, then all of these things must be reinterpreted so they are regimented, or will conform to, will comport with that man's naturalism, or atheism." ~http://bit.ly/stillevidence

          August 1, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Deflator

      "The supernatural is the presupposition of the intelligibility of the natural.” is the claim. In other words, without God you would lose the preconditions for the intelligibility you require to posit your hypothetical in science, logic, reason, etc.

      Not true – the presupposition of the intelligibility of the natural really isn't that far-fetched. Here's a great example: there was a point in time where humans misunderstood the phenomon of lightning, thinking it was somehow connected to the divine. In reality, as science has shown, it is merely the release of static electricity built up in the atmosphere. This theory was substantiated in the lab (ever hear of a Vandergraph generator?). Humans unraveled this mystery without the aid of any deity.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
      • Debunking Atheists

        >>"Humans unraveled this mystery without the aid of any deity."

        Naturalism is an attempt to understand the natural world in a natural way. Naturalism then in that sense is restricted to natural explanations for natural phenomena. If a natural explanation is inadequate then naturalism stops.

        "In fact, that cannot be evidence for God if he is a naturalist, or an atheist. Because according to him its not possible to have evidence for God. If he is in fact an atheist in terms of his views on reality, then all of these things must be reinterpreted so they are regimented, or will conform to, will comport with that man's naturalism, or atheism." ~bit.ly/stillevidence

        July 31, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
        • Debunking Morons

          You failed the moment you attempted to use the bible as evidence for god.

          August 1, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • Debunking Atheists

          Your very ability to reason about evidence is evidence of God. I don't expect you to like what I write. Assuming that your reasoning is not evidence for God, is question begging though, as you start with the presupposition that God does not exist in order to conclude that your ability to reason is not evidence of God.

          God has revealed Himself to EVERYONE, and that this is exposed with every truth claim, every knowledge claim, and even every rational thought you have. In other words, you know God exists and by crying "where is the evidence" is denying your own existence and rationality. Its absurd to reason with someone that is actually denying their own rationality and existence, all the while, demanding evidence for God.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Your ability to reason is not proof of god. How silly. God belief is just a hypothesis and all believers use the exact same method: faith. All believers use faith, nothing testable or measurable, so people just believe whatever they want or have been conditioned to believe about god.

          If you were born in a different culture, maybe a different society, time period, whatever, you'd likely believe in a different god. Interestingly, all the god believers from all different religions and parts of the world "believe" and use the same math, chemistry, and physics. But no, evidently god doesn't care what we think of him, but makes sure to make the laws of chemistry and math exceptionally clear.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  6. modmom2010

    .

    July 31, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  7. Gregg

    20,000 people at your atheist rally. Wow.
    3,000,000 Catholic youth to see the Pope....for an entire week.
    All is not lost!

    July 31, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Colin

      In Brazil! The third World is behind the USA in emerging from primitive superst.itions.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        and behind us in the debt per capita to the Central Bank

        July 31, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
      • GAW

        Long live the west?

        July 31, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
      • Gregg

        A thriving, democratic country, with the 7th highest GDP = 3rd World County????
        I think Brazil would be insulted.
        In addition, youth came from around the world. And no matter the country, millions of youth attend.

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

      When i was a Catholic girl in parochial school, we went on pilgrimages like this too. Most of our time was spent dodging the nuns, partying and meeting boys.

      Getting a trip to Rio for a week to "see the pope"? I'm surprised only three million showed up.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      Ever wonder how many millions of people have lived and died believing in Zeus, Ra, etc. etc.?

      People are gullible. News at 11.

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

        The difference is that God exists. Jesus lived and died (for us)! And it's a joy and a struggle to walk with Him.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
        • grist

          The people who believed in Zeus said the same thing: He is real. You are no smarter than them.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
        • Gregg

          But I’ve seen and heard proof of His existence!
          Also, I’ve found that intelligence has nothing to do with whether or not you believe.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      And three times as many muslims (who believe that women are property, that beheading and stoning are "OK") as christians. The majority is NOT always right.

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

        Jews, Muslims, and Christians believe in the same God. But Christians believe that the Old Testament prophecies were correct, and the Jesus is the Son of God. Billions upon billions of people believe in the same God. Some are misguided, some are confused, but search for truth/love/charity and you'll land in the right camp.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • grafactor

      "3,000,000 Catholic youth to see the Pope"

      Wow, that's a lot of youth for one priest.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
  8. Atheist Forever

    For thousands of years, man feared what he didn't understand, and when he didn't understand something, he blamed it on an invisible fairy (AKA "god"). The sea was a mystery, so a "god" must be in charge of it. When he didn't understand lightning and thunder, he figured that a "god" must be behind those things. Then there were "gods" of the sun, the sky, the earth, plants, animals, love, war, etc. For every point of ignorance, there was an invisible fairy behind it. It's understandable given the utter ignorance displayed in ancient man.

    But in 2013?!? Seriously!?!

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

      I expect that future historians will see the survival of Greco-Roman Judean mythology into the 21st Century as one of the greatest paradoxes of 21st Century Western civilization. One can imagine a future history book:

      “As late as the 21st Century, large numbers of Europeans and North Americans still believed in the mythology of the Greco-Roman Jews, including a god that supervised them every second of their lives for the purposes of reward or punishment in an afterlife, the ability to influence future events by silently praying to this god and the notion that this god created not only the entire World, but the observable Universe. This is quite remarkable for a culture and a people who were, otherwise, quite advanced.”

      July 31, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        You should learn to teach in the present before you wander off into the future Colin.

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

          I think Colin did just fine. Jesus used parables, Colin uses speculative fiction. Each effective in its own way.

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

        Religion explains in a way much deeper than science is capable of. Unfortunately, science is never exposed to the difficult questions. It makes claims that are counterintuitive, for example, materiel always existed and spontaneously exploded giving us the big bang. In what other part of your life would you believe a claim that something "just came from nothing"?

        July 31, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
        • Atheist Forever

          So let's expose your beliefs to that same logic. Where did your god come from? Did he just appear out of nothing? If not, who or what created him?

          July 31, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • LinCA

          @David

          You said, "Religion explains in a way much deeper than science is capable of."
          No, it doesn't. It simply proclaims that "goddidit". The assertions don't explain anything. If there is ever a question where science and religion come up with a different answer, religion is wrong. Without exceptions.

          Religion is very much like a broken clock when it comes to explaining the universe and anything in it. It may occasionally be right, but never because it got to the answer by applying the correct method.

          Science, on the other hand, is more like a clock that operates properly. It may not always give the exact right answer, but it will be close. It may occasionally have to be adjusted, or even replaced with a more accurate model, but it provides answers that are meaningful.

          You said, "Unfortunately, science is never exposed to the difficult questions."
          It may be time to take a basic class in science. It appears that you are clueless.

          You said, "It makes claims that are counterintuitive, for example, materiel always existed and spontaneously exploded giving us the big bang."
          That you have only evolved to barely be able to grasp concepts within your narrow view, is hardly the fault of science. The fact that you can't comprehend concepts that govern the universe is your problem (and by extension society around you).

          You said, "In what other part of your life would you believe a claim that something "just came from nothing"?"
          Like I said above, you should consider getting a basic understanding of science before you make a complete ass of yourself in public. Your ignorance doesn't make science wrong.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • dissidentfairy

      If they would have had access to the Bible they would have seen that all of those things are explained. Here are a few examples. "God himself in wisdom founded the earth. He solidly fixed the heavens in discernment. By his knowledge the watery deeps themselves were split apart, and the cloudy skies keep dripping down light rain." Proverbs 3:18-20- "He imparted weight to the wind; he regulated water by his measurement." Job 28:25-"God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing." Job 26:-"He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth..." Isaiah 40:22--"Where did you happen to be when I founded the earth? When the morning stars joyfully cried out together, And all of the sons of God began shouting in applause?" Job 38:4,7

      July 31, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
      • Thinker...

        What does 'fixed the heavens in dicernment" mean? The 'heavens' are not fixed; rather they are in motion. And how do you do something in dicernment.

        Also the earth is not a circle, it is a spheroid. A circle is a round flat thing, technically 2 dimensional, though for the cause of phisical discription it can be taken to mean a cylinder with a diameter much greater than its height such as a 'circle' of paper. A sphere is round in three dimensions like a ball. These two are not the same at all.

        By his knowledge the waters were split? Huh? The waters were split by knowledge? How does knowledge do anything? Knowledge is not an action, it is a concept.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          You don't get it because: "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine." Isaiah 55:8. Man cannot compete with the mind of God. It would be like a chess master trying to compete with a machine. "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11. Atheists are grasping at straws when they try and justify that a sphere isn't round or in circular form. The power of God is what man can't understand because man can't fathom a power that is far greater than his own, so, because he can't imagine it, therefore it doesn't exist-big mistake!

          July 31, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
        • joe

          quoting the bible to prove the bible is a non-starter.

          Get real.

          July 31, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • bens772

      Who are you trying to convince? Yourself or someone else.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        @bens 772 I'm merely responding to Thinker! @Joe that's rather asinine don't you think? Who do Atheists quote to support their misguided theory? They quote Man don't they? God's word is far above man's. So isn't it only logical to quote the Bible when speaking of the Bible?

        July 31, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  9. cribbooky

    I share the values of the church (do unto others, righteousness, love, etc), but I do not believe most of the doctrine. There are too many paradoxes that do not make sense. Why cannot God defeat the devil if the devil harms his loved ones, and God is all powerful and knowing? That is just one of many.

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

      You speak like the church created those values. They didn't.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  10. jefnvk

    Methinks Atheists take too much credit. Pretty much everyone I know that has left the church did so simply because they don't care anymore, it doesn't fit with a modern life. Agnostics, we are called, not atheists.

    I hate atheists more than I hate evangelicals.

    OH, and why can't CNN convert ALL of their articles over to DISQUS?

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

      Geez, why do you hate ANYBODY? It's such an unproductive usse of your valuable brain cycles, right up there with worry, guilt, and jealousy. The human brain is such an amazing asset, it's a shame to waste it like that.

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

      Interesting....as an Atheist, I don't hate anybody...though I do make sure to tell people when they're being d-bags, including the religious.

      If you hate so much, maybe you still have a little of that religious nature about you.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
  11. Scott Eafrati

    I enjoyed the column by Mr. Mehta. As a christian, I like when non-christians hold those of faith accountable. This of course, should be a two way street. Mr. Mehta's comments on the life, death and resurrection are a bit off...he says, "o 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." The last sentence is very true and should be on a billboard near every church. Believers and non-believers pay attention to those of faith because you can't hide God's light under the proverbial bushel. However the comment prior to that sentence is factually incorrect. Mr Mehta and CNN for that matter should do some homework before making statements like that. The resurrection of Jesus is one of the most historically factual events in our world's history. And don't take some guy from Pittsburgh's word for it...seek and you will find the truth for yourself.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  12. QS

    Religion creates an environment of such intense intolerance of anything outside that belief structure that to detach oneself from any given sect is equivalent to coming out as gay...you are to be just as hated and shunned for declaring your non-belief as you would be for announcing that you're gay.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
  13. Dudeyourontome

    Jesus was either gay or schizophrenic with no in between

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

      Uh ok, try to bring some intelligence to your next comment please. Insults do nothing to enlighten anyone.

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

        To be fair, there is about as much evidence for his statement as there is for him being the son of god, walking and water and rising from the dead. At least his statement has more plausibility.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
        • Blair

          Walking "on" water rather.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • bmkinz1510

      Yeah, you would know:-)

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

    "Hemant Mehta blogs at The Friendly Atheist. "..........

    Wow, what a "friendly" article.
    What humility.

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

      Are you anticipating some kind of correlation between friendliness and humility?

      They are 2 independent characteristics, you know.

      No, on 2nd thot, maybe you DON'T know.

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

      Well it certainly wasn't unfriendly, really just making observations. Not angry, not combative, so I'm really not sure what humility has to do with anything.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
  15. Kenneth

    Philosophy 101 taught me that I have proof that only I exist and the rest of you are just figments of my imagination.
    That means that all science and religion is at my discretion.
    I call a truce. As of now, quit worrying what other people choose to believe unless it directly affects you.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Our own mind is the only truth any of us really know. Solipsism is really the only rational outlook in many ways, but it's best to live your life as if other people are real, just in case. The Pascal's Wager of Solipsism.

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

      Go back and re-read your Phil 101 class notes, particularly the part about the contrapositive.

      NOT proving that something IS true is not the same that PROVING something is NOT true.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Solipsism is great – but take it one further.
      Pantheistic solipsism – every thought you've ever had and ever will have spawns it's own reality...

      If we're talking "I think therefore I am", I've always preferred "coitus ergo sum".

      July 31, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        There you go again Doc, using your wife as a means to your own existence. Do you call it love?

        July 31, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • ME II

      @Kenneth,
      I think you misunderstood Philosophy 100. You can only be certain of your own existence, but that does mean that everything else must be imaginary, only that it might be.

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

      I would highly suggest you consider enrolling in philosophy 102. That's a dangerous set of beliefs you're walking around with...

      July 31, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
      • Kenneth

        The meds my imaginary doctor prescribed are supposed to keep the danger to a minimum. 😉

        July 31, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
  16. Bullgator

    Perhaps it is not religion that the youth have a problem with?? Maybe it is the establishment/leaders that they have a problem with??

    For a very long time I had a problem with organized religion, not the bible, not the koran, or any other book, but organized religion. Much like our political offices, I believe that religious leadership has become corrupted and a drastic change is required.

    Maybe the youth identify with and call themselves atheist because they have not yet found the religion or the denomination with which they are comfortable expressing themselves. Furthermore, the path to change is not as clear. Creating change from outside the establishment of a religion is going to be far harder than getting a political or social cause noticed by politicians or the news media.

    Just a thought

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

      The bible and other religious books are filled with what many would call evil, its just not followed or taught anymore, but its still there. People don't need religion to be good, but religion is often used to be evil.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • TN28

        Isaiah 5 v 20. "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter"

        July 31, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • QS

      The research and evidence laid out in this article would suggest that your theory is incorrect.

      It is specifically the anti-everything culture of religion as well as the completely childish, magical nature of all religions that they have the biggest issue with...not that they just haven't found the right "magic".

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

        Scientists were once considered sorcerers. Who is looking for the magic?

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

          LMAO! They were called that by religion! Get a clue!

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

        ...isn't it funny how the atheists are now trying to debunk religion in the same manner. Since they can't explain it then it must be "magic".

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

        QS

        LMAO

        July 31, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
  17. False teachings

    My point is that obviously the creator of the universe must be very intelligent and powerful
    but believing that same creator requires and likes animal sacrifice so much that he gives
    9 chapters of instructions for it is just ridiculous!

    Disproves the god of the bible just like that. It's just not logical.

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

      Correct. NO "loving god" would demand human sacrifice, allow the most innocent to die of starvation and torture and disease. No "loving god" would demand you obey at the point of threats that condemn you to a burning fire pit of torture of eternity. It's so ludicrous....it really is. I just can't grasp how any thinking person embraces this utter nonsense!

      July 31, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  18. Jebus

    My point is that obviously the creator of the universe must be very intelligent and powerful
    but believing that same creator requires and likes animal sacrifice so much that he gives
    9 chapters of instructions for it is just ridiculous!

    Disproves the god of the bible just like that. It's just not logical.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  19. Jennifer

    I tihnk this article needs a more wide view of the situation. Peopple are not "christain" or "athesist" more so the point of
    beleiving in christ as your etc..." is irrelevent to this day and age and it is no longer a YES OR NO question. . it is moreso
    "what are you blabbling about, I have stuff to do"

    July 31, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Coherence is golden.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  20. TheHopefulFew

    You want to know why my generation is leaving the church? There are many reasons, but if you want to know why, in the purest sense, read some of these comments. The church gives us no real proof, and it all seems rather false to us, almost made up at time. Science, though ever-changing and questionable, gives us real evidence to its facts, and is tangible. This life is tangible, so why wouldn't things we believe in be tangible as well? Is it necessary to argue with people over something they'll never change their minds about? Religion is losing its grip on reality, as we find out why things truly are the way they are.

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

      Great comment – the only thing I would maybe correct is that religion isn't losing its grip on reality....it never had one.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Hopefully one day you will see the difference between what is material and what is real.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:44 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.