home
RSS
July 30th, 2013
02:17 PM ET

Why are millennials leaving church? Try atheism

Opinion by Hemant Mehta, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Articles and books about why millennials are leaving Christianity often focus on what churches are doing "wrong."

They're anti-gay, anti-women, anti-science, anti-sex-education and anti-doubt, 
to name a few of the most common criticisms.

I don't disagree with those critiques, but there's another side to the story.

While Christians have played sloppy defense, secular Americans have been showing off some impressive offense, giving young Christians plenty of reasons to lose faith in organized religion.

For instance, atheists dominate the Internet, rallying to thriving websites and online communities in lieu of physical meeting spaces.

Even a writer for the evangelical magazine Relevant admitted that “While Christianity enjoys a robust online presence, the edge still seems to belong to its unbelievers.”

Atheists outnumber Christians on popular discussion forums like Reddit, where subscribers to the atheism section number more than 2 million. The Christianity section is not even 5% of that.

The Internet-based Foundation Beyond Belief, which encourages atheists to donate to charitable organizations, just celebrated raising $1 million for worthwhile causes. (Disclosure: I serve on its board of directors.)

Moreover, blogs and websites espousing non-religious viewpoints and criticizing Christianity draw tons of Internet traffic these days. For every Christian apologist's argument, it seems, there's an equal and opposite rebuttal to be found online. I call that "Hitchens' Third Law.”

READ MORE: Why millennials are leaving the church 

Christians can no longer hide in a bubble, sheltered from opposing perspectives, and church leaders can't protect young people from finding information that contradicts traditional beliefs.

If there's an open comment thread to be found on a Christian's YouTube video or opinion piece online, there's inevitably going to be pushback from atheists.

There has also been a push by atheists to get non-religious individuals to "come out of the closet" and let people know that they don't believe in God.

Among other things, this proves that anti-atheist stereotypes aren't accurate and, just as important, that atheists aren’t alone in their communities.

There's the Richard Dawkins Foundation's Out Campaign, with its Scarlet A badges.

There are atheist-encouraging billboards in 33 states financed by groups like the United Coalition of Reason.

There's even going to be an 1-800 hot line for people "recovering" from religion.

READ MORE: Atheists to start 1-800 hot line for doubters

And last year, an estimated 20,000 atheists turned out for the Reason Rally in Washington, a tenfold increase from the previous atheist rally in 2002.

But more than anything else, atheism's best advertisements may be the words of Christian leaders themselves.

When Pastor Mark Driscoll belittles women, Rick Warren argues against same-sex rights or Rob Bell equivocates on the concept of hell, we amplify those messages for them - and it helps us make our point.

(It goes without saying that the pairing of Pat Robertson and YouTube has been great for atheists.)

Pastors are no longer the final authority on the truth, and millennials know it.

Even if they hold Jesus' message in high esteem, the Bible as it has traditionally been preached by many evangelical pastors is becoming less and less attractive to them.

A 2012 study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PDF) showed that many Christians aged 18-24 felt that Christianity was hypocritical (49%), judgmental (54%) and anti-gay (58%).

In addition, Christianity Today reported last year that fewer than half of born-again Christians under 35 opposed same-sex marriage.

When millennials' pastors and hearts are going in different directions, church leaders should be worried.

Can churches win back the youth?

Barring a complete shift in beliefs, that may not be possible. Some of the proposed solutions seem ludicrous to millennial atheists like myself.

For instance, there's been talk of finding a better way to reconcile science and religion. Whenever that battle takes place, religion loses.

There are some questions we may never know the answer to, but for the ones we can eventually answer, the scientific explanation will devour the religious one. Mixing science and religion requires a distortion of one or the other.

READ MORE: Behold, the six tribes of atheism 

What about focusing on the message and life of Jesus?

While this sounds good philosophically, the myth surrounding Jesus is part of the problem with Christianity.

To believe in Jesus means believing that he was born of a virgin, rose from the dead and performed a number of miracles.

There's no proof of any of that ever happened, and atheists place those stories in the same box as "young Earth creationism" and Noah's Great Flood.

To be sure, if Christians followed the positive ideas Jesus had, we'd all be better off, but it's very hard to separate the myth from the reality.

In short, there are many reasons the percentage of millennials who say they've never doubted God's existence is at a record low, and nearly a quarter of adults under 30 no longer affiliate with a faith.

The church has pushed young people away, yes, but there are also forces actively pulling them in the other direction.

It appears that atheists and Christians are finally working together on the same task: getting millennials to leave the church.

Hemant Mehta blogs at The Friendly Atheist. The views expressed in this column belong to Mehta. 

Photos: Famous atheists and their beliefs

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church • Culture & Science • Faith • Internet • Nones • Opinion • Science • United States

soundoff (5,653 Responses)
  1. Godoflunaticscreation

    This article shows that there is a glimmer of hope for humanity. It's time people started growing up and moving forward. Christianity has weighed progress down all too often.

    July 31, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • bmkinz1510

      Yes, Humans should live like the animals from which they came. That's progress!

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

        News flash! You are an animal. Although your ignorance may cause people to confuse you with a vegetable.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
        • bmkinz1510

          You are correct to a degree. We are animals but God created us in his likeness which is the ability to reason and differentiate between right and wrong (have morals) instead of living only by animal instincts.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • justageeker

      What progress do you mean exactly and how do we measure it?

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

        I suggest you find yourself a dictionary.

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

      that's right. well said

      July 31, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
      • Godoflunaticscreation

        LOL

        July 31, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  2. Agnostic Fred

    Interesting posts from both sides. Here's my two cents.
    Given all the things we don't know about the universe (yes we know lots of stuff but hardly everything) , personally, I don't see how anyone can really claim to have the answer regarding the existense of some greater power. Yes I get it that there's a lot of angry people out there that feel oppressed by organized religion. Ok, opression of gays, women, people of color, you name it, organized religions are guilty and deserve criticism. But if the real question we are asking is "is there a greater intelligence driving the universe and beyond". In my opinion we simply don't know enough to answer this question in a definitive manner, and the wiser course is to at least keep an open mind about it. it shouldn't be a war between believers and non-believers. We should work on getting along, regardless of our beliefs. Hasn't the debate over religion caused enough pain and suffering for humanity already.
    Move forward people.

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

      Careful. There's no room in this thread for reasonable thoughts. Just the witless fight between Atheists and Theists.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
      • Mark from Middle River

        ...but we/they are right and they/we are wrong.

        Be very careful standing in the middle guys. 🙂

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

        Just like Jesus, if that's all you seek, you're guaranteed to find it.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
        • justageeker

          I seek the truth without regards as to what side it is on.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      So you're saying the christian god and Zeus are just as real? You're dealing in what ifs. We can make up an infinite amount of gods or any other creatures and say that they might exist. It is a fools game. Bottom line is, we have no proof for these man made concepts. We have proof that the christian god doesn't exist just as much as the argument for Zeus or Thor.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
      • justageeker

        You have proof God does not exist? Nice. Please provide it. Not even some of the most hard core Atheists on this board admit that you can disprove something that doesn't exist.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • Baldie

          True, you'll never meet an athiest able to disprove santa or the easter bunny or magic gnomes either. They have much in common with god in that way. Completely ridiculous notions made up and believed in by the gullible.

          But hey, can't prove they don't exist.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      How about telepathy? Does it work? No serious evidence FOR it, but no obvious scientific reason why, in principle, it COULDN'T work. Best to keep an open mind and wait for more testing and evidence to come rolling in, right?

      Well, what if you've been testing the same proposition over and over for several thousand years and there's NEVER been any evidence for it? Yeah, yeah, the neutral philosophical position is still to keep an open mind on the off chance that something MIGHT come rolling in. But, in the meantime, are you going to live your entire life as if this evidence-less proposition is actually TRUE? Just because it can't be definitively DISproved?

      Forgive my frankness, but that doesn't seem very bright.

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

        "Best to keep an open mind and wait for more testing and evidence to come rolling in, right?" – Why not? At one time folks thought the world was flat but a few decided to keep searching for the truth no matter how bizarre.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • QS

      While some apparently believe this to be a "reasonable thought", I find it to be nothing but a cop-out.

      We don't know so we should accept all opinions as possible? Not even close.

      There is always enough there with any religion to determine that those opinions are not possible. And based on even the small amount that we now do know of the universe it becomes increasingly less probable that an all-knowing, all-seeing omnipotent being created and controls all in the universe.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
      • justageeker

        "becomes increasingly less probable" – Why did you choose those words?

        July 31, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
      • Agnostic Fred

        I'm not saying we shouldn't think about these issues or discuss them. But , in my opinion for one side to say "we have the answer" is false. And therefore the incredible division in society caused by the debate is a the ultimate tradgedy of this whole issue. Its like the old commercial where people are fighting over whether a beer is "less filling or tastes great". Its not worth the cost. Consider this, there's over three thousand posts and replies to this article. What aren't these people accomplishing today because they're doing this?

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

      I'm an atheist, but I'm also an agnostic. I don't believe in god, but I also don't know for a fact that there's no god.

      It seems to me perfectly reasonable to defer belief in a thing until convincing evidence is presented. I also don't believe in the Loch Ness monster. Do I know for certain there isn't one? No, of course not, I haven't personally gone over the whole of Loch Ness with a net or a sonar or whatever, and besides, someone can always tell me that Nessie snuck around behind me when I was surveying that corner of the Loch over there. You can never know for certain.

      The problem is though, the statements "I believe in God", and "I do not believe God" are not two sides of the same coin. One is a belief that a thing is, the other is a lack of that belief. Being in the middle is not the reasonable position, because otherwise we'd on the fence about every god ever believed in, not to mention astrology, Bigfoot, UFOs, unicorns, pixies, and every other silly belief that people have ever had about the world.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
  3. give it up for the big guy

    I have a question for atheists. I’m curious about how they feel about President Obama and if they voted for him? Obama has stated multiple times in interviews that he is a Christian. He is a man who was baptized in 1988 at the Trinity United Church of Christ and was an active member for many years until parting with them in 2008 after statements made by Rev. Wright. He has stated in interviews that his faith has grown stronger while in office. He held a prayer meeting before his first debate with Romney. In reading through these comments I have felt such an intolerance and hatred toward people who believe in God. In a nutshell I’m gathering atheists feel people who believe in God have less intelligence and are basically stupid for believing. Do you really believe this about Obama?

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

      Politicians will adopt the religion of their electorate whether they believe it or not. I suspect he is atheist or, at worst, agnostic, but that is pure supposition on my part. Whatever one might think of his political positions, he seems way to bright to be a believer.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Baldie

      Why do I need to agree with every single thing a candidate believes to vote for him/her??? I voted for Obama. I think his belief in god is stupid. Nobody's perfect. Otherwise intelligent, rational people believe and do dumb things all the time.

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

      Believing in God does not make a person stupid. Obama is definitely not stupid. He's a politician, he knows he can't get elected dog catcher in this country unless he invokes an Invisible friend.

      I will note too, that despite his harping on about god more than GW Bush did, there are still people who think he's a muslim, or a communist, or both. Now... those people ARE stupid.

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

      Because Obama is a Christian that we can get along with. He clearly believes with the founders of our country and the reason of its founding... That of a secular government. Most atheists have absolutely no problem with religionists up to the point when they yet again try to force it down peoples throat.

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

      yes

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

      I'm an atheist. I voted twice for Obama, worked on both campaigns, and donated money. I did so because, all things considered, McCain and Romney were way worse. As a political liberal (who, contrary to the stereotype, believes in 100% of the Bill of Rights and a scientific approach to public policy), I generally have found Obama to be a serious disappointment.

      Frankly, the recent president who probably came closest to atheism was Ronald Reagan, who didn't slather his every speech with god talk and never attended church while he was in the White House. He probably wasn't an atheist, but he was sure no evangelical Bible-thumper, either. Nonetheless, I loathed his politics, and his economics were properly described by George H. W. Bush as based on voodoo more than reality.

      If 2 candidates were otherwise about even on most of the major issues of the day, I'd vote for the one that came closest to my atheistic beliefs, but it sure wouldn't be my #1 concern, unlike a walloping large number of Christians in this country.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      Anyone waiting for an openly atheist candidate to vote for in America is going to be waiting for a while, methinks. Just because I think obama, or whatever candidate, may believe in god, it's still worth it to vote for somebody, based on what policies they espouse.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • QS

      I voted for him, but yes, it is one of his less attractive qualities.

      But it's not always about intelligence – though that is typically the biggest reason – with some it is simply fear of mortality, and for others it's just about giving an appearance.

      I think a lot of politicians probably claim to believe in some religion or another because they know they'll get more votes that way...a sad truth about our country that people have to fake it just to serve in public office because the public is so rabidly religious.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Doobs

      I couldn't care less about the POTUS's religious beliefs. He's there to do a job, and he'll be evaluated on how well he does it, nothing more.

      I worked in the biotech industry for a long time. I had the privilege of working with some of the most intelligent people in the world, who came from all over the world and practiced many different religions, as well as no religion at all. It was never a problem because they never brought their god to work with them. The science wasn't different for a Jewish scientist or a Hindu scientist. When it came to science, we all believed in the same thing, the robustness of the scientific method, the data we gathered, and the evidence we saw after repeated testing.

      I don't know how they reconciled their religious beliefs and their scientific knowledge because I never asked them. We didn't discuss religion at work.

      Since we were making medicines that are routine treatments for cancer patients, end stage renal failure, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, and metabolic diseases, it is to the patient's benefit that the supernatural or miraculous was not included and we only proceeded with what we could prove worked and was safe.

      Intelligent people come from all backgrounds, as do stupid people.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • josiferg

      it was not about obama's religion he was voted or elected for. it was about his promise on change. you are way out of line

      July 31, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Patrick

      What difference does it make who someone voted for? Logic dictates that we should vote for the person we feel is the best candidate for the job. Religion has nothing to do with it.

      "In reading through these comments I have felt such an intolerance and hatred toward people who believe in God. In a nutshell I’m gathering atheists feel people who believe in God have less intelligence and are basically stupid for believing. Do you really believe this about Obama?"

      Nice strawman.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • ubi dubium

      Obama's positions on most issues are closer to mine than any of his opponents have been, so I voted for him. Sure, I wish he was less religious, he's not perfect and there's other things I wish he would change also. But it's unlikely that a non-religious candidate could have any chance of winning in the near future, so we have to compromise on a candidate who can actually win and who's not a theocrat. Obama may be personally religious (or at least claiming to be), but he's not trying to force me to be religious too. I can live with that.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  4. Gabreil Sanchez

    I would rather die with hope then to end my life not knowing what would happen after life. Jesus taught us to love each other,be compassionate and be willing to forgive. What is so bad about that? So yes if you turn to god and repent from the heart you will be forgiven and lets not forget the final judge in my belief is god. Peace with you. Gabriel:.

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

      Mahatma Gandhi, a Hindu, said much the same thing. He too was killed for his beliefs. Why believe Jesus and not HIM?

      That wasn't a rhetorical question. Seriously, why NOT believe in Gandhi's peaceful Hinduism?

      July 31, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
      • justageeker

        Exposure?

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

        Sounds like your intellectual enough to understand that is a personal choice. I assume you believe in whatever you choose.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
      • bmkinz1510

        Jesus claimed to be God. Gandhi did not! Duh!!!

        July 31, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • ubi dubium

          So there's a point in favor of Gandhi!

          July 31, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
      • Mark from Middle River

        "We believe as much in the purity of race as we think they do, only we believe that they would best serve these interests, which are as dear to us as to them, by advocating the purity of all races, and not one alone. We believe also that the white race of South Africa should be the predominating race. Gandhi

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

      So you don't really believe but are believing out of fear? Got it.

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

      I would rather die with hope then to end my life not knowing what would happen after life.
      ------–
      So should I become a Muslim so I can die with hope?

      think before you speak.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Sanity Clause

      If you re-read the article, you'll see that the author even stated that Jesus's message was a worthy one. The issue is with the "miracles" that Christians have to cloak his experience in which cause people of rational thought to turn away from the church.

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

      As an Atheist I almost hope I'm wrong sometimes....because I'd love to get to heaven and slap the sh!t of this d-bag god so many seem to think is just the greatest!

      Oh, but wait, here comes the zealot cavalry to remind me that I will never get the chance because I'll be going to hell instead!

      LMAO! Those zealots I tell ya....got a silly, childish, irrational and illogical answer to everything, don't they!?

      July 31, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • Ron

      "Jesus taught us to love each other,be compassionate and be willing to forgive" If that were the only words in the bible, nobody would have a problem with it. Then again it wouldnt be a religion.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • josiferg

      since you mentioned after life,can you name a person. if you name jesus, ithought he is you god?

      July 31, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Jake

      Would you rather know the truth or believe a lie? The truth is religion is fabricated and there has never been any evidence of an afterlife. These are childish beliefs, but even children should not be lied to.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Jesus taught us to love each other,be compassionate and be willing to forgive.'

      unless you die an unbeliever, in which case you will burn forever in fiery torment as punishment......in his love and mercy.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
  5. Atheist Forever

    Any god with the power you claim would NEVER allow the innocent to perish when he could save them, IF he was the GOOD god you say he or she is.

    Let's face it. If he does exist, he is an absentee parent at best, neglectful more likely, and cruel and lazy at the worst. If he DOES exist, I for one would not even consider pledging allegiance to such a nasty creature. Only a gutless coward would worship such a nasty creature, if he does exist. Weaklings....

    July 31, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • bmkinz1510

      Funny! God does not allow the innocent to perish. He welcomes them home!

      July 31, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
      • bmkinz1510

        Boy, you really have some inner turmoil. I truly hope you find some peace.

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

          Are you talking to yourself again? There are meds for that.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
      • RichardSRussell

        I'm sure this is welcome news to 20 families in Newtown, Connecticut, who will be opening the doors of the REAL homes of 20 dead kids to their return based on your say-so and nothing else.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
        • bmkinz1510

          Why didn't Atheists prevent the shootings in Newtown?

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

          Well bm, atheists aren't claiming the ability to be anywhere and everywhere and all knowing and all powerful. I can assure you that if this athiest had those powers, like any other decent human being athiest, theist or otherwise, I most certainly would've stopped the shooter. "God" isn't even a decent human being, let alone diety.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
      • josiferg

        do those innocents that your talking about contacted you and said they were with god. phony beliefs.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • SCBAMA

      You have a right to believe as you do but you don't have a right to judge or condem others for what they believe. You sound like a lonley person.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
      • jodiha

        Sorry SCBAMA, you are half correct. You have the right to believe whatever you wish. Everybody has the right to think your belief is ridiculous, no matter what it is.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
      • Doobs

        I have every right to condemn you and your horrible religion when you start telling me that you need to be in charge of my medical and reproductive decisions.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • pjusa

      There are no atheists in fox holes and no atheists on death beds. When you are at death's door remember that you don't believe.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
      • RichardSRussell

        When you start out with 2 blatant lies, it's hard to swallow the empty threat that you follow them up with.

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

        There are no atheists in fox holes
        -----–
        False logic. There are no Christians in fox holes either. Right now they are all Muslims. So does that make Islam true?

        think before you speak.

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

        "There are no atheists in fox holes and no atheists on death beds."

        So what you are saying is as an atheist I won't have to risk my life by going to war and I can live forever. Sign me up at the next atheist convention!

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

        And there are no believers at birth either.

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

        Six months ago I held the hand of my good friend while he was dying. We talked about religion frequently over the years. He had traveled all over and lived in many countries, so he was familiar with many religions and cultures.

        He was a combat veteran of WWII and the Korean War. He was also an atheist, and spend a lot of time in foxholes, getting shot at. While an officer in Korea, he was addressing a small group in a classroom when a young North Korean soldier burst in and fired five shots at him. He missed, and was immediately killed. In neither case, nor when he was actually in the process of dying, did he express any interest in a god of any sort.

        How do I know this for a fact? He was lucid until the end and told me so.

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

      Sometimes you have to touch the hot stove yourself before you believe that it will burn you. Some people learn to wear seatbelts only after having an accident. Sadly some people will only believe in God after they go to Hell.

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

        One of these things is not like the other...can you guess which?

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

        A hot stove is real..... heII is not.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
      • Blair

        Squeezebox, I can see evidence of what happens when someone touches a hot stove or doesn't wear a seatbelt even though I haven't done it myself. I see no evidence of going to hell after I die.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
      • josiferg

        how do you know there is hell. have you been there?

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

        Believe or burn. Does nobody see that christianity is based on threats?

        July 31, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Debunking Atheists

      Before we address that you have made some assumptions of your point that you will have to defend before the claim is even valid. Like Razi Zacharias said, you have just invoked a moral law, or standard in raising that claim that your worldview cannot account for. That is your presupposition of the claim, is it not? Otherwise, the claim self destructs.

      Atheist forever, huh?
      My Dad said something along the same lines of "I am glad I will be in Hell, that is where all my friends are" which is stupid to me.

      Do you think there are reunions in Hell? Do you think it will be a joyous occasion to "meet up" with loved ones? Its called Hell for a reason. It is separation from Love, that is Hell. Isolation, separation, and condemnation describes Hell. Certainly better then "A celebration."

      Silly Atheist logic. 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.

      Because you have railed against God your entire life and not have God's will be done, i.e. repent and placing your entire trust in Jesus Christ for your Salvation with your heart, mind, and soul, then God will have your will be done and that is separation from Him. We call it despair.

      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.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
      • grafactor

        A pity there isn't a hell for presuppositionalists to go to when they die, so they can all play "gotcha" with each other for ever and ever.

        Kidding actually. I wouldn't wish hell on anyone. It's an infinitely unjust punishment, and I'm glad it doesn't exist.

        July 31, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
        • Debunking Atheists

          Unjust? How so?

          Before we address that you have made some assumptions of your point that you will have to defend before the claim is even valid. Like Razi Zacharias said, you have just invoked a moral law, or standard in raising that claim that your worldview cannot account for. That is your presupposition of the claim, is it not? Otherwise, the claim self destructs.

          You DO want separation from God, do you not? He is having YOUR will be done, that's all.

          July 31, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
      • cedar rapids

        '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.'

        rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, rubbish.
        it really is. You guys need to get over this idea that atheists are atheists because they want to thumb their noses at your god.
        We dont believe there is a god, pure and simple. pick a god, any god, from any time period, any religion, and we will tell you it doesnt exist.

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

          >>"You guys need to get over this idea that atheists are atheists because they want to thumb their noses at your god."

          God does not send people to Hell for denying what they do not know, but for sin against the God that they do know. Because you have railed against God your entire life and not have God's will be done, i.e. repent and placing your entire trust in Jesus Christ for your Salvation with your heart, mind, and soul, then God will have your will be done and that is separation from Him. We call it despair. Hell's gates will be locked from the inside.

          >>"and we will tell you it doesnt exist."

          That positive claim holds the burden of proof. God revealed that everyone knows He exists, He created the world. He revealed that His existence is necessary for knowledge, ethics, aesthetics, etc. So you're making an implicitly positive claim by saying you do not believe He exists, and therefore you own a burden of proof.

          A friend of mine also did a great article on that point: http://bit.ly/BoProof

          July 31, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
  6. Colin

    I bring you the 10 Commandments for the 21st Century.

    I. THOU SHALT NOT have false gods before me. All Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jains, and Sheiks shall forthwith abandon their faith and culture and adopt the Christian god.

    II. THOU SHALT NOT blaspheme and shall worship me always. Even though I created the entire Universe and its 400,000,000,000 galaxies, each with 100,000,000,000 stars and planets, about 13,700,000,000 years ago, I need constant attention from h.omo sapiens or I will have a temper tantrum and drown them (again).

    III. THOU ART under constant supervision by me, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I monitor your thoughts, too. I do so simultaneously for the other 7,000,000,000 living h.omo sapiens. If you displease me, I will burn you for all eternity.

    IV. THOU SHALT NOT think for thy self. Thou shalt blindly accept what thou hast been taught as a child and shalt value blind belief in me above all other traits. Eschew thinking for oneself – it is dangerous. Thy brain is merely to be used for praying and keeping thy ears apart.

    V. ACCEPTETH always circular reasoning. Believe in God because it is written in the Bible and believe the Bible because it says it is written by God.

    VI. THINKETH that I read your mind and hear your prayers and intervene to alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to answer them.

    VII. THOU SHALT NOT covert thy neighbor’s wife, unless she is a virgin, then it is ok to r.ape her. If she is British, I will count it as penance. Women can covert they neighbor’s husband all they want.

    VIII. THOU SHALT link a belief in me to morality. Thou shalt not realize that one can abandon the supernatural beliefs of Christianity without abandoning its morality.

    IX. THOU SHALT burn in hell if thou does not accept these rules. I shall provide absolutely no evidence of my existence then demand blind belief in me. Those who are naturally skeptical have breached my commandment about not using their brain and I shall burn them for all eternity, even if they are otherwise fine people – because I love them so.

    X. ACCEPTETH that there are 10 commandments above, even though there are only nine, because I say so. If one has true faith in me, one will accept that 10 is 9 and 9 is 10, and then that three gods are one and one god is three and that there was no Adam and Eve but that I sent my son to save humans from Eve’s original sin, that I am all powerful and loving, but send a good percentage of the 100,000 human beings who die every day to the hell I created and maintain. Blatant contradictions are merely meant to test one’s faith.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • denver

      Zing.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • bmkinz1510

      Get off the EBT card and get a job!

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

        You hit the head on the nail. Get off the EBT card.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
      • Colin

        Excuse my ignorance, but what is an EBT card?

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

          Electronic Benefits Transfer. It LOOKS like a credit card, but it's more secure and anonymous than the food stamps or welfare checks that it has replaced.

          July 31, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
      • Troub

        He could be a trust-fundie. Inherited a grip of money, has tiem to post all day on the internet.

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

      The 10 Commandments are about how God wants us to treat other people. Because God loves those other people.

      "Thou shall not kill", Love does not kill

      "Tho shall not steal", Love does not steal

      We have a God of relationship. We are created for relationship.

      Offer tolerance, not hostility.

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

        not possible (tolerance). Remember, as long as christians are hostile we must meet them with hostility. Of course we will convince ourselves somehow that we aren't trolls.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • AE

          Jesus says to do the opposite.

          July 31, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • treblemaker

      I leave you the Ten Commandments for ALL centuries, not just the 21st. For reference, read Exodus 20: 2-17.

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

      LMFAO!

      July 31, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • josiferg

      your 10 commandments are phony. even you yourself is violating your own 10 commandments.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Ron

      Not sure if trolling... or a really honest christian....

      July 31, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  7. MIKE

    Greeting,
    I am currently a youth pastor. I know the arguments that are being portrayed here. I was an atheist at one point. However, one can argue the existence of a God. I had the argument for a long time. Well where did it end up? To my knowledge just another argument. So many people rather argue about the existence of God or not and not allow yourself to learn from one another. Some of my greatest friends are atheist. How can that be?? Well it because I take people for who they are. Am I sad that most dont understand true Christianity? Yes! However, it should never stop us from helping others. This Garbage of trying to one up everyone is the very problem we have. We need to start helping the human race together. God (if you believe) is the only one can change a life. I went from no hope to now having it. No one can argue that. I live as Christ died for me and All i want to do is Give him back the Glory. That is the essence of our faith. For the atheist it will and can be different. Truly, I hope you all can make a positive difference in someones life today.

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

      Definition of "true Christianity": the flavor *I* believe in, not one of those other 5000 heresies out there who CLAIM to be true Christians, just like me, and with just as much personal validation from Jesus himself.

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

      Honest question:
      What motivated you to transition from atheism to Christianity specifically instead of one of the many other religious traditions?

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

        It had to do with the personal relationship that people had and I looked in the bible on how the "religious people" acted and Jesus did not enjoy that. So, when I commited myself to Christ I wanted to love His people no matter what. I cant change peoples minds or hearts but I know I can love them for who they are.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
        • denver

          Let me be more specific: Why did you turn to the Bible and Christianity over say, Hinduism or Zoroastrianism?

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

          Denver – Your question makes no sense whatsoever because it assumes they were exposed to everything first.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          it makes perfect sense to ask the question.
          Its not as if the person lives in a vacuum where he has no access to material to research religions.
          And the question is used to determine whether such research did take place or he simply stuck to the first one he came across, which is very shortsighted.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
        • justageeker

          "And the question is used to determine whether such research did take place or he simply stuck to the first one he came across, which is very shortsighted." – Come on now. Now you want to attack them personally? For not knowing ALL religions before they made a choice. That's really reaching new lows. I'm going to guess it would be physically impossible to learn all there is to know about all religions in a single lifetime just to make a decision. Cliff notes on each maybe but no degree of accuracy.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          I dont recall saying 'ALL' at any point, in upper case or low.
          And declaring that sticking to the first one you come across as shortsighted is hardly a personal attack. I would apply that statement as an overall principal.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • denver

          justageeker:
          You should stop assuming you know what I said and just read what I said. Does it strike you as odd that people just happen to end up following the religion that's all around them in their culture and that they tend to assume- based on nothing, apparently- that they just happened to be born in the right place at the right time to end up in the one true religion?

          When MIKE said he used to be an atheist, that implied to me that he came to religion later in life and, hopefully, had a chance to look around a little bit and decide which religion was best. That's what I was asking about.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
        • justageeker

          ALL is implied as you used the term research for his decision making. If you do not research them ALL then the research is still flawed and any decision they make is still flawed whether they researched 1 or 20 or anything less than ALL.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
        • justageeker

          Denver – Perhaps I was wrong on my interpretation of your post. My apologies.

          July 31, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • joe

      I am currently a youth pastor. I know the arguments that are being portrayed here. I was an atheist at one point.
      -------
      9/10 chance you are uneducated and ignorant. 95/100 chance you don't hold a post college degree. 99/100 chance you are not a scientist.

      That your God continually chooses the least educated and most ignorant to do Its bidding while It hides speaks volumes.

      That you pass on a story to children as factual about an invisible fairy who creates things with fairy dust should be criminal.

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

        You appear to be a judgmental tool. 100/100

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

        I am actually very educated...But that is not the argument here. I am sorry that you must continue to belittle people because they have hope in somthing that you dont. I am not a scientist. But that argument can not work, there are many scientist who are Christians and many that are far educated then you. That in no way belittles you intellect. Just saying there are always people that are smarter than you. as you know dumber as well.

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

        Wow, Joe, your nastiness will probably do more to turn people from atheism than anything a Christian could say. And no, I don't personally believe in any gods.

        August 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Jake

      What is your best evidence for the existence of god? What was it that convinced you?

      July 31, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Ernest T Bass

      Wrong Mike, How can you "argue" the exsistence of god without evdence? you have this feeling inside?.. based on mythology?.. I am very sorry that you gave up logic and reason for fantasy and imagination.

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

      The very nature of being an atheist is that you have no reason to believe in any deities because of absence of evidence. Did you all the sudden find this evidence or did you suspend reason or suffer a brain injury of some kind?

      Also, how did you make the giant leap from atheist to, not only believing in a god, but the Christian god in particular?

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

      Mike, How can you "argue" the exsistence of god without evidence? you have this feeling inside?.. based on mythology?.. I am very sorry that you gave up logic and reason for fantasy and imagination.

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

      Mike, How can you argue the exsistence of god without evidence? you have this feeling inside?.. based on mythology?.. I am very sorry that you gave up logic and reason for fantasy and imagination.

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

        Sorry for the multiple posts......

        July 31, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
      • Kevin Flynn

        Why is it that believing in God is the only thing for which atheists demand absolutely conclusive proof? Do you make such demands of the other sciences? Most people do not but then when it comes to God, forget the eyewitness testimony to miracles. Forget the teaching of Christ Who by the account of those who knew Him most and had nothing to personally gain, was divine.
        Do you know for certain that your great, great, great, great, great grandfather existed? Most do not and yet they accept he must have because they are here and every effect has a cause, in fact, a first or prime cause.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
        • JR

          "Do you make such demands of the other sciences?" You're not seriously claiming that believing in a deity is a science are you?

          July 31, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
        • datawrecker

          We do make such demands on science. That is their whole job. Proving the existence of their theories. Why hasn't religion taken the same stance? Are you afraid of what you will find? That the real truth will finally become known to all.

          July 31, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
        • Kevin Flynn

          @ JR. Science is merely the study of something. Theology is the study of God. Ergo...

          July 31, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
        • Kevin Flynn

          @Datawrecker. Religion or at some do attempt to provide evidence or prove the truth of their claims. It's called theology and is usually underpinned by philosophy. Both are studies previously called sciences by most of the academic world.

          July 31, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          But for example, to study trees there are many physical trees to examine; one can cut them, grow them from seeds, etc. repeatable experiments. Humans believe in gods because our ancestors had no explanation for phenomena such as eclipses, earthquakes, thunder, lightning, floods, drought, disease, scarcity of food, etc. and came to the conclusion that they were signs form, or acts of, gods. We have explanations of these phenomena and so no longer need ancient superstitions.

          July 31, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
  8. Cliff

    Why do atheist spend so much time attacking something they say doesn't exist? As a Christian i have to LOL!

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

      Because you Christians keep trying to have your fairy tales encoded into civil law, despite the separation of church and state in the USA.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
      • bmkinz1510

        Doobs, when you keep your beliefs out of the public sector, then we will too.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          you have that order the wrong way around.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
      • Cliff

        Oh, you mean 'thou shalt not kill'? Ok, you repeal that locally and see what happens, lol.

        July 31, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • denver

      Honestly, Cliff? Probably because it bothers a lot of atheists to see others fervently believe in something fundamentally irrational. I agree, it's a pointless argument to have since you can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason them self into.

      If the "choice" to become religious is arbitrary or conditioned but has no rational underpinning, no amount of logic will undo it.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
  9. Kenneth

    The common thread I see between believers and non-believers is a lack of any curiosity about the details of what the other actually believes and why.
    Have any of you ever, with an open mind, asked a person you disagreed with, "How did you come to this place in your life?"
    Something to ponder.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Doobs

      I spent fifty years as a devout religious person before becoming an atheist. I'm very well acquainted with what I believed in and why, as well as how my beliefs changed over the years before I left them behind.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
      • Kenneth

        That is a very good start, but not the focus of my question.
        I too, know why I am where I am.
        But I have no idea why you are where you are.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • ubi dubium

          Kenneth, there are thousands of atheists on the internet that would be happy to give you a thorough discussion of how they got to where they are. And we tell our stories all the time, and there are whole websites devoted to that. (Try ex-christian.net, that's a good place to start.) If you ask honest questions and don't preach, you'll get lots of honest answers.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • SGTRena

      Yep, asked my mother, asked friends, asked pastors, went to a variety of different Christian churches growing up. The one thing that always held true was that no one could or would (or even bothered to try) answer my questions. Instead what I usually got was some overtly defensive backlash as a result.

      By 20 I was pretty ambivalent about whether there was or was not a God. After observing a number of self-professed Christians doing things that were against the basic tenets of Christianity, I also discovered that not many self-professed Christians had actually read the bible. I did. I read the Old and the New Testaments. I new scripture inside and out. I guess everyone else just went to church to get it read and interpreted. Just a bunch of hiprocrisy.

      I think people should just be generally decent people, do their best, and quit waiting for some paternalistic finger wagging from eons ago to wag in their general direction. People, as a whole, can debate an idea; they will kill each other over their belief system.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  10. Samuel

    My grand father was a Hindu from India who later accepted Christ and served as Pastor for 42 years.
    I am very sure he was not a FOOL.
    I wish the author and others who have commented travel a few place of beauty and creation and ask a question, Did americans or europeans or asian create such beautiful mountains, valleys etc.

    Thirdly, Report the truth not half truth. While i agree young people are disliking church, its only half truth.
    Why not go to growing churches in america and other places where young people are actually doing great things through the church. WHy not go to the elevation church in Charlottle and see what young people are doing.

    Good reporting and good comments should be balanced.
    There is averse in the bible which say in proverbs... The FOOL has said in his heart, There is no God.
    I believe in God who sent his son Jesus Christ. Give chance for each one to decide.

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

      which god?

      July 31, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
      • SCBAMA

        What does it matter? You don't believe anyway. Try not to trample on others for their beliefs. It makes you as bad or worst than the person trying to push their Christian beliefs on you. In most cases worst because you are judging someone else for what they belive in.

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

          Not asking for my benefit, just concerned that they may be subscribing to the wrong god.

          Regardless, when religionists stop trying to push their myopic and irrational beliefs into public law then I will stop exposing their willful ignorance.

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

          Who's trampling? He just asked which god.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • joe

      My grand father was a Hindu from India who later accepted Christ and served as Pastor for 42 years.
      I am very sure he was not a FOOL.
      ------
      And all the Pastors who decided to get educated and after getting educated dropped Christianity? What about them?

      July 31, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • JR

      " am very sure he was not a FOOL." No, just shows the tenacity of the American missionary to dupe others and destroy cultures.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'I wish the author and others who have commented travel a few place of beauty and creation and ask a question, Did americans or europeans or asian create such beautiful mountains, valleys etc.'

      .......My response is that when Creationists talk about God creating every individual species as a separate act, they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things. But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, [a worm] that's going to make him blind. And [I ask them], 'Are you telling me that the God you believe in, who you also say is an all-merciful God, who cares for each one of us individually, are you saying that God created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child's eyeball? Because that doesn't seem to me to coincide with a God who's full of mercy'
      David Attenborough.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  11. ncmyk

    interesting...putting so much effort in spreading the atheist movement basically make them "evangelical atheists."

    July 31, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      More like exposing ignorance for what it is.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      You know, I think UFO believers and water dowsers are screwy, too, but I don't spend nearly as much time pointing that out. Why not? Because they aren't trying to get the government to use its power to push alien conspiracy theories or ban the scientific study of hydrology.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • sybaris

      Yes!

      Schools and universities are our churches!! Teachers are our ministers!! Taxes are our offerings!!

      July 31, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Kevin Flynn

      Makes sense. Atheists have no belief system, no morals and no ethics (at least none which can be based on anything real). What else do they have to do but bash believers?

      July 31, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
  12. ubidoob

    /r/atheism is the worst possible example you could give of an influential atheist group- it is an anti-christian subreddit circlejerk that even many atheists dislike. It's really just a place to go to get patted on the back for being hateful and for scoring sweet, sweet karma. Additionally, it's userbase is the size it is because, until recently, it was a default subreddit for subscribers to Reddit. That is no longer the case due to how irrelevant and extreme the subreddit has become.

    As a millenial who grew up extremely religious but no longer attends church (nor is it likely that I ever will for the rest of my life)- the problem I have with church is the social club of the church itself. Churches are all talk and no walk. If Jesus came strolling into any church on any given Sunday- he'd start flipping tables again.

    It isn't that Christians, like all humans, are sinners- it is that Christians are hypocritical, judgmental, unrepentant sinners. We all make mistakes but it takes a special kind of person to believe the teachings of Christ that they agree with and hold them close, while judging others for their sins. The modern church is an outdated gathering of Pharisee's who congregate weekly to advertise how Christlike they are among each other while continuing to live in sin. Only God can be the judge and there is a difference between being judgmental and condoning. No one has to condone a lifestyle that they do not support but it isn't the place of a true Christian to judge.

    I apologize for any offense caused but the only benefit I see in the modern church is to teach obedience to children. My two oldest children attend church weekly with my mom for the obedience church teaches but they will no longer attend church when they come to the age that their church starts targeting and condemning certain lifestyles while turning a blind eye, using the pulpit to promote inequality and discrimination- usually through politics, and all that fun jazz.

    The church is so far out of touch with the rest of the world, I cannot imagine the landscape changing anytime soon. Christianity is only barely more relevant than Islam but Islam has a dedicated base to continue to grow and breed off of (under privileged and uneducated throughout the Middle East.)

    Best wishes with your religion.

    Christianity will continue to appear foolish until Christians truly adhere to Matthew 7, versus 4 and 5: "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."

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

      Sin is as much a manmade concept as religion is. Not sure why you seem to be anti-religion (which is good) yet still adhere so much to its false teachings.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
      • ubidoob

        I am not exactly anti-religion and because of my upbringing, I still have several convictions- just far fewer than those who need to advertise their faith publicly so that it can be reaffirmed by those who share in the weekly song and dance. I believe that religion has a lot to offer, much more than a lack of it does, in making people greater contributions to society. At its core, Christianity teaches people to be positive contributions to their society and where I find my greatest dissatisfaction is that this message is long lost to the political leanings of the pulpit and those with deep pockets. I think current Christianity is at the furthest point it has ever been in teaching its followers to contribute to society positively and lead by example.

        Religion can be a powerful tool to organize and unite many people for a singular cause to improve the situation and plight of others and improve society. If it was used that way and not as a weapon to judge and discriminate against others.

        Unfortunately, religion frequently becomes self-serving and those who adhere mistakenly believe that their belief is a free pass for their activities and their sins can be washed away as simply as asking for them to be, which misses the point of personal accountability and improvement.

        Christianity is probably a lost cause. Not quite as lost as Islam, in my opinion, but not that far behind either.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • CRayDallas

      Maybe you should take that log out of your eye before you start judging all Christians. We are not perfect, we are just SAVED SINNERS that are a work in progress.

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

        You are exactly the kind of Christian I am talking about. Unable to take responsibility or ownership for your own faith. You are the reason your religion is floundering.

        Best wishes.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  13. Aerin

    God is a self-serving myth made by man.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • bmkinz1510

      Smile! God still loves you and hopes you come home soon!

      July 31, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
      • Atheist Forever

        You mean to the invisible sky city in the clouds? Will santa and the easter bunny be there also?

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

        The epitome of religious arrogance.

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

        " hopes you come home soon!" You mean he hopes you die? Can he not perform this very simple task?

        July 31, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
  14. Harold

    The best thing atheists have going for them is the Bible... simply read the bible, actually read it for yourself without someone else telling you how to interpret it to meet their agenda, and you will/should become an atheists.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Thinker...

      Its actually a fairly hard read. Particularly if you start at page 1 and try to work your way through. Gen 1 and 2 don't even agree with each other.

      It is an interesting read in a cultural anthropology kind of way, but nothing more for me. Too much of it contradicts itself and the god portrayed, particularly in the old testament, cannot logically be a god. An all-powerful god would have no use for many of the emotions we have, particularly fear, yet fear seems to be one of the top three emotions it exhibits (jealousy for example is rooted in fear). The threats issued and all that are a fear reaction. An all powerful being would have no use for threats and punishments.

      It seems to be humans trying to assign motive and intent to the universe then having the stories used as a means of control. And that makes far more sense than such a book being fact. Particularly if you have studied ancient cultures and the power structures they had.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  15. HM8432

    The church has no one to blame but themselves for the exodus of Millennials. They are not being proactive in adjusting their styles of evangelism to suit the needs of today's younger generations. Atheists taking credit for this, is like how al-Qaeda takes credit for any significant loss of life due to a manmade tragedy; they're a toothless joke, all talk. The truth is, Millennials may be leaving the church, but they are much more spiritual in a Christian-sense than past recent generations. We still have our foot in the door, so to speak!

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

    Listening to atheists is what led me to leave the church I was raised to be a part of, so yes, Mr. Metha has a point. Great article and I'm glad that it has made it on to CNN, where atheists can further get their rational points across.

    July 31, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  17. Atheism is a belief

    atheists have to believe, there is zero scientific proof that humans evolved. Science is 100% exact proof. Evolution is a "theory." Hence we need to "believe" in evolution – how about that...

    July 31, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      How about that, indeed? I can't recall the last time I've seen so many errors crammed into so few words. You are the current front-runner for the Hemingway Terseness Award on the CNN Belief Blog.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Kenneth

      You misunderstand the definition of theory.
      And there is a ton of proof for evolution. Have they filled in all of the details? Of course not.
      But making claims that there is zero proof for verified scientific principals makes all Christians look like the Westboro Baptist Church.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • bmkinz1510

      Evolution is not testable (results are not reproducible) so it does not adhere to the Scientific Method.

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

        hey, great conclusion. Spoken like a true scientist. So let's just go with a invisible fairy who used pixy dust to create man. Makes perfect sense to me. How about you?

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

        oh, bullshi.t.

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

        Geez, you are just a total renaissance man, aren't you? A reliable font of misinformation on MANY different subjects.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
      • Baldie

        Why don't you look into some experiments done on fruit flies and foxes in Russia, just for an appetizer. For the main course, think about any time you or anyone you care about has taken antibiotics.

        Or just remain intentionally ignorant, which I'm guessing you prefer.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
        • bmkinz1510

          Adaptation is not evolution. That's a good one:-) Resistant strains of bacteria are still bacteria. When they evolve into a different species, let me know. Will ya???

          July 31, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
        • Baldie

          You do understand that "bacteria" is not a species right? That there are many different species of bacteria?

          And why do you get to ignore millions of years of fossils?

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

        Evolution isn't testable? That is a lie.

        Evolution occurs all the time, all around you.

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

        What a really silly statement. Evolution has been thoroughly tested. It has been observed directly. We understand genetics. We understand archaeology. We understand molecular biology. We understand a lot. Get real!!

        July 31, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Lebowski

      Another believer grasping at straws. Atheism is a lack of belief no matter how you scream that it is a belief because it validates your own rather bizarre beliefs.

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

      I believe are the future....teach them well and let them lead the way. Show the all the beauty they possess....iiiinnnsssiiiiiidde.....give them a sense.........of......pride.....

      July 31, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • vulpes

      The problem with people who post things like you posted is that there is an obvious lack of knowledge about what science actually is and how the process works. Your post is invalid because your assumptions are incorrect.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Umbren

      First, a scientific theory is not what you think it is. Secondly, the evidence to support human evolution is undeniable. Look at Chromosome #2 as a perfect example of evidence that supports human evolution. Lastly, only a religion deals with absolutes, science does not.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'there is zero scientific proof that humans evolved.'
      not true, there is plenty of evidence to suggest a common ancestor for man and apes.

      'Science is 100% exact proof.'
      It most certainly is not, and never claims to be.

      'Evolution is a "theory." '
      Evolution is a scientific theory, which is different from the everyday common man use of the word theory, in the same way that a scientific law is different from a legal law.

      'Hence we need to "believe" in evolution – how about that...'
      er, yeah, dont call us, we'll call you.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  18. Atheist Forever

    For god so loved the world...

    That he let his own children die of starvation and war, standing by idle, while he could have saved them.

    He so loved his children, that he told them that they will either worship and accept him without a shred of evidence, living every moment for his wishes, unless they want to be burned and tortured in an invisible fire pit for eternity.

    What a great guy!

    July 31, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • bmkinz1510

      Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world."

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

        Nice way to excuse the abuse and neglect of your "loving god". Thankfully your sky fairy lives only in your books of mythology.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
        • bmkinz1510

          Why doesn't the Atheist (the one true religion) save the starving children and prevent all wars?

          July 31, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
        • Atheist Forever

          Because we aren't gods who dwell in the stars with infinite powers? Just a guess....

          July 31, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
        • Baldie

          Athiesm isn't the one claiming the existence of a supernatural magical being that can do anything it wants anytime it wants.

          July 31, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      And he loves us so much he created this entire physical universe so that we could spend 70 to 80 years in it in order to be judged and sent to another dimension of either ultimate pleasure or ultimate pain...

      That reminds me of a song from an old Val Kilmer movie Top Secret "How silly can you get, yeah yeah! How Silly can you get, ooh my..."

      July 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • David

      The suffering you mention is often man made. The evidence of the divine is quite substantial. I would ask that you look up the odds of life coming into existence ex nihilo, they are statistically zero. Read Aristotle's Posterior Analytics and then Aquinas Summa Theologica.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
      • Atheist Forever

        I don't care who causes what.....any god with the power you say would NEVER allow the innocent to perish when he could save them, IF he was the GOOD god you say he or she is.

        Let's face it. He is an absentee parent at best, neglectful more likely, and cruel and lazy at the worst. If he DOES exist, I for one would not even consider pledging allegiance to such a nasty creature.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
      • Deflator

        Could you please elaborate on this evidence using overwhelming observation in the form of empirical data that can withstand peer review?

        July 31, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • cedar rapids

        implausable does not mean impossible david.

        July 31, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  19. Hoof Hearted

    You atheists sure do invest a lot of time and energy into something you supposedly don't believe exists.....

    July 31, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      We have not doubt that IGNORANCE still exists. It's rampant in fact, and needs to be exposed for what it is.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
      • flying spaghetti monster

        Plus, despite what you might think, it really doesn't take too much effort to debunk your myths. Also, it beats work.

        July 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
      • Linda Moreno

        You and many in todays tech savvy world are causing what was foretold would happen to be fulfilled.
        Thank you!
        For in so doing, unbelievers just like you are fulfilling what is written in Luke 17:26-30 – (Just like in Noah's and Lot's day people were unbelievers and scoffed at those who had faith)
        "Moreover, just as it occurred in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of man:27they were eating, they were drinking, men were marrying, women were being given in marriage, until that day when Noah entered into the ark, and the flood arrived and destroyed them all.28Likewise, just as it occurred in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building.29But on the day that Lot came out of Sod′om it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed them all.30The same way it will be on that day when the Son of man is to be revealed."

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

      The ones you see here are a self-selected minority. The great majority of the world's atheists — about a billion Chinese — have more pressing concerns and will never show up here.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Because you theists want your religion to be front and center of society and law. Note I said your religion – Christians would object to Sharia law and Islamic beliefs dominating society, but are quite happy pushing their own religion.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • T

      I don't speak for everyone, but I like to debate/argue this topic because if someone had truly challenged my beliefs when I was younger, I would have been a lot better off.
      Additionally, it makes me exceptionally angry that otherwise intelligent people are able to be duped into submission by religion. The best way to combat that is to argue and challenge believers and their beliefs.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  20. Lucius

    What causes a gay man to become a priest? It's obvious that according to christian theology he's going to burn in hell for all eternity just because of who he is, and yet he's driven towards this doctrine, why? In hopes of convincing god that regardless of his orientation he's actually a loyal servant and thus should be forgiven? Strange

    July 31, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • A follower

      God loves the sinner but hates the sin.

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

        Allah?

        Or which God are you talking about?

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

      Why do gay men go into the priesthood?

      WIllie Sutton, famous bank robber of the mid-20th Century, spent half his life in prison but always turned to bank robbery again as soon as he got out. Once a reporter asked him "Willie, why do you rob banks?" and he replied "Because that's where the money is!"

      And the sacristy is where the altar boys are.

      July 31, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.