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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. Bill Hartley

    "Whenever that battle takes place, religion loses."
    "The scientific explanation will devour the religious one."

    That is as dogmatically prejudiced as the Medievalists were about the advent of new science. That is not friendly atheism.

    With those presuppositions, why would any Christian want to take issue with you on the internet?

    And...proclaiming the advance of atheism by how many "hits" it gets vis-a-vis Christians is, well ... just funny. And a bit pathetic. I suppose it gives Atheism the credential of that funny cat that jumped out the window...did you see that one? That was awesome!

    Christians share their beliefs because they want others to have a blessed life. To my understanding, atheism doesn't have any good news. Just iconoclastic, prideful, "you need to think like me" bullying. It may be working, but it isn't helping.

    And it's not true.

    August 2, 2013 at 1:00 am |
    • Observer

      Speaking of bullying, believers often tell nonbelievers that they will go to hell for not believing all of a book that they don't believe all of themselves.

      August 2, 2013 at 1:06 am |
      • Bill Hartley

        Yes, believers quote Jesus and many others who speak of judgment in the afterlife. If they're accurate, they won't align going to hell with accuracy of belief, and certainly won't set themselves up as the standard of appropriate belief.

        If a fireman does all he can to get me out of a burning building, I'm thankful for the "bullying."

        August 2, 2013 at 1:10 am |
        • ME II

          ... if there is actually a fire. Otherwise, it's just a home invasion.

          August 2, 2013 at 9:45 am |
      • Observer

        Bill Hartley,

        "To my understanding, atheism doesn't have any good news."

        Some of the good news from atheism is that you shouldn't believe all that you read in the Bible like its support of slavery and discrimination against women, gays, slaves, and the handicapped.

        August 2, 2013 at 1:16 am |
        • sam stone

          the good news about atheism is that you can make your own decisions about what is moral issues, and that is true morality

          August 2, 2013 at 8:59 am |
        • sam stone

          i did not review my prior post before posting. it was meant to read "you make your own decisions on what is right and wrong concerning moral issues"

          August 2, 2013 at 9:02 am |
        • Ken

          Another bit of good news is not being condemned to eternal torment just because you dared to think something different. I can't even fathom how much anxiety and mental trauma the belief in hell has caused. Living for heaven has also caused people to complacently go about their lives as though they don't really matter, that they're just some ordeal to suffer through en route to the next one. The good news her is that atheism frees you from feeling that this life, the only one we know that we have, is meaningless.

          August 2, 2013 at 9:57 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          You corrected your grammar sam. Now it's just your philosophy that's wrong.

          August 2, 2013 at 10:46 am |
      • Angry Marine

        Do you ever get tired of repeating that line? Over and Over and OVER. Think up some new material.

        August 2, 2013 at 10:19 am |
        • grafactor

          It happens though, some Christians Do say that.

          I can't understand how someone can believe that it's possible for people they know and care about to be tortured forever just because of what they believe, and still get up and go to work in the morning. I can only assume that on the deepest level they don't really believe it.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:36 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          1. Why are you angry, Angry Marine?
          2. Why do you think it's a good idea to advertise your anger in your screen name?
          3. Did you know that when a person gets angry, it automatically reduces their powers of reasoning? In some cases, anger can cause a person's IQ to drop around 20 points.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
        • Angry Marine

          Why do you care? Like you stated it is just a screen name. Kind of like yours. I am not Angry at all, I am just really tired of seeing the ol " you are going to burn in hell" crap, over and over and over. I don't throw my belief in your face so don't throw your disbelief in mine. Seems that is the only real argument you have against someone who believes in something that you don't. The hell factor. I would bet my life that at least half of you that cry about believers shoving it down your throats, are just making it up ,or you saw someone else post it. No one pushes anything on anyone who doesn't want it. Like I said earlier, find a better argument than the Hell one it is very old and worn out. Have a nice Day.

          August 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Thanks for the reply, Angry.

          I don't usually argue "the hell factor," but I do think it says a lot about your god that his best idea contains an element of eternal human suffering. Usually I just mention that when it seems prudent to do so.

          The bible and its god seem incredibly childish and stupid, and some believers are complete d!cks. I say that we should argue as coherently and as honestly as possible, and see what ideas are more or less reasonable. I don't see a need for anger or generalization when civil and specific discourse can occur if but only the two or three participants choose to behave in such a way.

          August 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • utalkintome

      we lead more blessed lives than you...why? we do good things knowing there isn't a petty god who will punish us for nothing...unlike you who will do good things because it will get you a better seat up in heaven...which sounds more moral?...oh by the way, your fear is showing....its time to move passed these ancient ideology's and move mankind forward which relgion does not do ....i'll bet you 10 bucks right now the pope is a closet atheist

      August 2, 2013 at 3:44 am |
    • One one

      "Christians share their beliefs because they want others to have a blessed life."

      Only a fool would fall for that line of BS. They want to "share" their beliefs to promote their religion and expand their enterprise.

      August 2, 2013 at 5:57 am |
    • One one

      The so called "good news" Christians preach is a lie and a fraud. That's bad news.

      August 2, 2013 at 6:02 am |
    • Mirosal

      So tell us, just how many Atheists have come knocking on your door, telling you that you are inherently bad from birth, and need to subscribe to THEIR point of view, or you'll be condemed for all eternity? Talk about bullying .... !!!!

      August 2, 2013 at 6:33 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Your statements are so clear and definite that you must have conclusive, objective, factual, independent and verifiable evidence for your beliefs. Or are you just another blow hard, delusional, mentally ill believer or simply a liar?

      August 2, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • tallulah13

      Why does atheism need "good news"? Atheism is simply the lack of belief in god. It doesn't require fan-fare. Only facts.

      The fact that christianity claims to have "good news" highlights one of it's many flaws. Christianity makes claims it has no way of proving. It is selling a product that it can't produce and can't verify. It can't even provide actual testimonials, just stories from a 2000 year old book.

      I wouldn't call this rather blatant use of unfulfillable promises to gain supporters "good news". I'd call it a lie.

      August 2, 2013 at 9:38 am |
  2. Michael

    Fascinating. I have followed the atheist-religious debate for over a decade, and the same thought perennially comes to mind, but sadly hardly ever gets commented on in print, at least not within this debate. But all you have to do is move into the spirituality frame of reference, and "God" becomes a lived consciousness that we can actually experience, as real as the state of consciousness you and I may be in right now. It's, like, no big deal: For example, right now I'm writing into a comment section of a blog, thinking thoughts, and I'm aware of it. The next moment, I might have a sense of an undeniable yet beyond-all-reason filling with God consciousness. Sorry, it doesn't get more blunt than that, or more impenetrable and unsatisfying to both "atheists" and the "religious" than that. But it is easy and obvious to me to consider myself both atheist and religious at the same time. How and Why? Because I don't believe. I experience, or for a slightly descriptive word if you wish, "inspirience," to have the experience of what is within.

    Lots of people gloss over at the word, "within." That's fine. The crux is that all of what I said above is so vexing because it is a removal rather than an adding. How do you remove what I'm talking about removing (which I haven't defined yet)? By concentrating to the point of quiet mind. A concentrated mind (different from concentrated on reading, writing or on a task, but concentrating on one's being itself. Concentrating on breath is a good start, but not really it either) removes the habitual running thoughts that we have had as automatic patterns since young childhood. Parental input, social insecurities, clingings and aversions, etc., all have a phenomenal opportunity to be removed if we concentrate to a quiet mind. They come UP before they are removed, so most people, like I said, gloss over on "within."

    That's where the action is though. I know God, because I know my Self (oooh, big controversy the religious there). Also because I am willing to truly experience the absence of any "habitual thought of God" and therefore know not-God, then the default is to return to reality as God (big controversy for the atheists there!).

    Neither atheists nor the religious get it, but people who get it get both atheists and the religious.

    August 2, 2013 at 12:38 am |
    • gorunnergo

      Have any proof? Nope, didn't think so

      August 2, 2013 at 12:57 am |
      • Bill Hartley

        You ask the question, not wanting an answer, then answer it.
        That's good atheism.

        August 2, 2013 at 1:02 am |
        • utalkintome

          that's all we do bill! we ask questions and usually have more answers than any religious person with actual evidence to back them up...have you noticed that athiests know more about religions than the religious? do you wonder why that is? its because we are tired of the indoctrination of BS...so we read your crazy books and find so much BS in them.....THE INTERNET: WHERE RELIGIONS GO TO DIE

          August 2, 2013 at 3:49 am |
        • tallulah13

          No, Bill. That was one comment by one person. What you are doing is judging an entire group on the basis of a two sentence reply made by one individual. Should your judgmentalism typical christianity?

          August 2, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • One one

      It's all in your mind.

      August 2, 2013 at 6:05 am |
    • Saraswati

      I think, though, that you are discussing something very different from the god of theists (who you are calling "the religious"). Perhaps this is the experience some of them are achieving, but do you really think all who say they feel god have achieved it in this manner?

      August 2, 2013 at 7:17 am |
      • Michael

        Fair. But likewise, do you really think the atheists experience the profundity of the nothing, the mysterious void perhaps charged with yet-undetected undiscovered quantum forces?

        August 2, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Pete

      "The next moment, I might have a sense of an undeniable yet beyond-all-reason filling with God consciousness. Sorry, it doesn't get more blunt than that, or more impenetrable and unsatisfying to both "atheists" and the "religious" than that."

      That's what we call it's all in your head. It's the one part of the debate spiritual people don't like hearing either. They have shown that when you meditate or think about a god your brain is actually releasing a chemical into your brain to make you feel good about yourself. Yes, we can all achieve this regardless of the need for a god. You might have felt it after you were done writing your post but what happened is your ego got inflated and your brain released a chemical so you felt good about your post and your belief in a god, but the reality is it all happen in your head. There is no consciousness, it's your brain and when it dies so does your consciousness, that the blunt truth no one like about this life.

      August 2, 2013 at 10:20 am |
      • Pete

        I wish there was an edit button.

        "that the blunt truth no one like about this life."

        that's the blunt truth no one likes about this life.

        August 2, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Ann

      The Force is strong in this one.

      August 2, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  3. Fodder

    Mark Driscoll does not belittle women. Ever.

    August 2, 2013 at 12:34 am |
  4. bostontola

    "Modern science is not only compatible with Christianity, it in fact finds its origins in Christianity"

    Muslims were more involved in scientific origins than Christians. Muslims were key to developing experimentation and the scientific method itself 1000 years ago. It is true that science blossomed during the enlightenment centuries later in Christian dominated societies with Christian dominated scientists, but not origins.

    August 1, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
  5. niknak

    This board is as dead as jesus.
    Had a few moments to do some xtian bashing, and I all get to bash is Fancy pants?
    Not even worth the effort of typing.

    August 1, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • One one

      Ok, you want a sparing partner, lets go !

      You are a godless, unsaved, worthless piece of trash who deserves to burn in hell !

      I am looking forward to hanging with Jesus while he burns your a$$ in hell while I drink beer and eat popcorn!

      Yahoo ! I'm washed in the blood of Jesus !

      August 1, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
      • Bill Hartley

        I'm sure One One isn't really a Christian, because no godly person would ever say the things he just said. Please don't associate genuine faith with outbursts like that.

        August 2, 2013 at 1:13 am |
        • sam stone

          yet a watered down version of that from those of "true faith" appear on these boards daily, warning atheists about hell

          i think bitter, angry people find comfort in a bitter, angry god

          August 2, 2013 at 8:12 am |
    • Bill Hartley

      A fantastic example of the heart of a "kind atheist."
      The world will be a better place when people like you are in the lead.
      I can hardly wait.

      August 2, 2013 at 1:03 am |
      • tallulah13

        So someone, as a joke, paraphrases a common christian sentiment (at least on this blog) and you find if offensive? Perhaps you should chide the christians, Bill, because that joke could not have been made if some christian hadn't seriously used it first in an attempt to hurt.

        August 2, 2013 at 9:52 am |
  6. Science

    You know about all those religious knowledge surveys? I think they should add in a couple of Science questions just to see which religion actually knows more about the world they live in, rather than in the myths.

    I remember I once had a good laugh when a significant about of people didn't know the Earth revolves round the sun in a year.

    August 1, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • Fancy_P

      Modern science is not only compatible with Christianity, it in fact finds its origins in Christianity. Just like you. With no Christianity, you'd be a Muslim slave today.

      August 1, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
      • One one

        Muslim slave, Christian slave, I'll take no religion, no slave.

        August 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
        • Fancy_P

          Christians stopped accepting slavery, and what happened?
          Slavery still exists. It just went underground.
          Out of sight, out of "One one's" concern, hrmph!

          August 1, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
        • One one

          @fancy, in the USA, Christians fought a war to preserve slavery and lost. Lets get the record straight.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
        • Saraswati

          @One one, the people fighting on both sides of that war were mostly Christian, and both sides justified their positions with Christianity.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:47 am |
      • Observer

        Fancy_P,

        How can you be so foolish as to bring up slavery since it's supported by the Bible? You have read a Bible, haven't you?

        August 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
        • Fancy_P

          I'm a slave.
          Watch me stop paying off my debts or taxes and watch what happens.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
        • niknak

          Most likely Fancy pants has not read a bible, or at least not the whole miserable thing.
          I work with fundies like him, and it astounds me how little they actually know about what it contains.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
        • Fancy_P

          If I had a nickel for every time a fundie atheist told me they think they knew the Bible better than me I'd be rich.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          I've spent 30 years studying it and have read it cover to cover more than 4 times in my life, what about you Fancy pants?

          August 1, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
        • Fancy_P

          Same here.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I would bet every possession I own that I know the bible better than Fancy P.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          I think that's a pretty obvious bet Captain...

          August 1, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
        • Saraswati

          @fancy,

          "I'm a slave.
          Watch me stop paying off my debts or taxes and watch what happens."

          The same thing that happens to everyone else who stops paying taxes. Slavery, by definition, is an unequal system.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:49 am |
      • Thinker...

        Actually if there was no Christianity Islam would likely not exist. The world would be a much different place if you remove a major cultural shift. Saying things like "you would be a Muslim slave if Christianity didn't exist" is not a good argument since you cannot simulate the results of such a change so long ago.

        August 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "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

      If Christians don't even know their own faith as well as atheists, I find it hard to believe they would score very well on a science survey.

      August 1, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • krhodes

      I didn' realize you were around several hundred years ago when the vast majority of humanity did not know that. By the way...it was a Christian who figured that out.

      August 1, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Yep. A Christian FIGURED it out. The bible was no help at all on the matter and its implications would lead a person to believe that the sun revolved around the earth which was a flat, circular disk with pillars and a dome of sky with the "lesser lights" of the stars and a moon that shone of its own light.

        But yes, a Christian person figured it out with science, not the bible, and not faith. Goody.

        August 1, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
  7. Fancy_P

    When I went to college we found out I had an atheist roommate. 'Hide your wallet' my mom warned me. Wish she also told me to hide my cds, books and jacket.

    August 1, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • MandaMoo

      How funny! My Christian roommate stole my clothes, my cash, and my boyfriend. She was truly a good Christian bi**h.

      August 1, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
      • Fancy_P

        She was not a real Christian. If she quacks like a duck... she is an atheist.

        August 1, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          There's no way to tell who is a "true Christian" and who isn't. It's not like you can test it like colorblindness. I've known great Christians and horrible ones, and great atheists and horrible ones, but overall, the award for sheer pride and arrogance goes to the Christians. Not all, but the majority of them.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
        • One one

          Please educate us. What is a "real" Christian ? Are you a real Christian ?

          August 1, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
        • Fancy_P

          A "real" Christian does not steal from their roommate.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Again with the No True Scottsman bvllsh!t?? Please. There's no way to measure and determine whether someone is or is not a Christian. Even Christians know that.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      I call bull shlt. Nothing about your story passes the sniff test. It's just a sad attempt to say atheists are evil.

      August 1, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Jolene

      My christian roommate stole my car, my cash, and my boyfriend.

      August 1, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • Pole dancing for Jesus

      You went to college?

      August 1, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
      • Fancy_P

        G-g-g-g-g-graduated.

        August 1, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Oh, colleges will pass some dumb-as-sh!t people, no question. You sound incredibly ignorant, so perhaps you'll want to carry that diploma around with you for people who just can't come to grips with the fact that you graduated college. I would have never guessed it.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • God

      Fancy Pants, You ain't a real christian if you want learning that ain't in the bible.

      August 1, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
      • Fancy_P

        Not true.

        August 1, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      What's funny about this is that 76% of the prison population comprises of Christians and only 1% are Atheist.

      August 2, 2013 at 7:10 am |
    • tallulah13

      This one's not even a good poe. Just a troll.

      August 2, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  8. Agnostickids

    I sure hope the younger generation is leaving the churches behind...I have quite a few friends in their 20's and 30's and they are pretty religious. I blame it on the W. Bush era and the way they were all raised with fear...after all – fear = religion.

    August 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Science

      I think Bush era is actually the main reason why there are more Atheists. Because 4 planes had people in them killing in the name of religion.

      August 1, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
      • Saraswati

        I'd have to agree. Islamic fundamentalism has really caused people to look more critically at Christian, Hindu and Jewish fundamentalism and to treat these beliefs with appropriate caution.

        August 1, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
        • LogicalBeliever

          I somewhat agree with that statement. Given that any member of any belief system can do bad things, when something bad is done on the world scene, it does cause people to take pause. However, this is not just an issue with organized religion. Look at the 20th Century examples of governments that expressly rejected the Judeo-Christian moral code and embraced an Atheistic world view, in many cases imposing it on their citizens: the Soviet Union, Communist China, Communist Cuba, Nazi Germany to name a few. The absence of religion and its associated moral code is not always a good thing – actually, the 20th Century showed it was never a good thing.

          August 1, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
        • Observer

          Nearly all of the world's conflicts today are a result of differing religious opinions.

          August 1, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
        • Saraswati

          @Logical, Agreed that secular fundamentalisms can have similar problems. But I think the focus since 9/11 has been on the fundamentalisms in religion. And in reality, because of the inspired text problem, the religious fundamentalisms can take hold even without the government control needed for most secular fundamentalisms to gain such power.

          August 1, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          governments that expressly rejected the Judeo-Christian moral code

          I thought the United States did that in 1789.

          What exactly is the Judeo-Christian moral code again?

          I didn't realize that not honoring your father and mother was a crime. Plus, "coveting" is the cornerstone of consumerism.

          August 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
        • LogicalBeliever

          @"I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV" – if you think you would have faired better in the Soviet Union, Communist China, Communist Cuba or Nazi Germany – then have at it. The track record for Atheistic-inspired governments was instantly abismal right out of the gate whereby they committed some of the worst crimes against humanity that the world had ever seen. Yeah, I would much prefer the Judeo-Christian moral code any day.

          August 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
        • Observer

          There was one time in our history when religious people had nearly absolute control of an area. The result was the horrendous deaths resulting from witch hunts. Fortunately, we don't follow a large number of the commands in the Bible.

          August 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
        • mindless lackey # 473

          Please provide an example of: an atheistic INSPIRED government. that is with atheism as the prime mover.

          the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China were perversions of communism btw....Totalitarian states – not true communism

          the Reich was extreme nationalism with their own take on Christianity .....

          August 1, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
        • Fancy_P

          The best country in the world is Christian.

          August 1, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @L.B.

          sorry to burst your bubble, but we don't have a government "inspired by the Judeo-Chrisian moral code".

          We live in a capitalist financial system in a republic with (in theory) democratically elected representatives. I fail to see where Christianity has any 'inspiration' of this world view. Jesus wasn't very keen on the merchant classes as I recall.

          August 1, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @Fancy P,

          if you are referring to the United States, it is not and has never was a "Christian" country. It is (and proudly so) a nation where freedom of and from religion is the first enumerated right of citizens.

          August 1, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
        • Fancy_P

          Atheists call it a Christian country when we talk about the bad things (wars, witch hunts, slavery).
          But when we talk about the good things, atheists want to drop the Christian label. Hrmph.

          August 1, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @Fancy_P,

          atheists (well certainly not me) don't call the United States a "Christian" country – ever.

          The United States may contain a majority who identify as Christian, but that doesn't make the country a "Christian" country. It was founded on principles of liberty, including religious liberty.

          August 1, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
        • MandaMoo

          Fancy, atheists have nothing to do with it. The United States has no official religion, and it is like that for a reason.
          It would appear that your college education didn't require government/civics classes for graduation. I would have speculated that you attended Liberty, except you stated you had an atheist for a roommate. An d we both know THAT would never been allowed.

          Hrrumph.

          Logical, Nazis were overwhelmingly Christian, so your continued use of them as some sort of slam against atheists is absurd. Also, those regimes you brought up were totalitarian regimes, and their crimes were not done "in the name of atheism", but in the name of power and control.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
        • Fancy_P

          It was founded on principles of liberty, including religious liberty... by Christians.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
        • Fancy_P

          Nazis were atheists. They said to put the 3rd Reich before Jesus. Killed you if you put Jesus first in your life.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Fancy, You should research before you post – the Nazis were not atheists. Hitler has written a lot about being a christian.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
        • Fancy_P

          He wrote a lot about how he hated Christianity. That is why he had them murdered.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
        • niknak

          No Fancy pants, the Nazis were xtians.
          Why not do a bit of research before you post things.
          Might make us take you more seriously.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          Gott mit uns (meaning God with us) is a phrase commonly used on armor in the German military from the German Empire to the end of the Third Reich, although its historical origins are far older.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
        • Fancy_P

          "In God We Trust" printed on our Christian dollar bills.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          Besides the point that "In God we Trust" wasn't added until 1956, the German motto shows who they believed they were serving. There is no doubt that Hitlers Catholic roots played a huge role in his ideology and his decision to dehumanize and murder the jewish population in Europe.

          August 1, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
        • Observer

          Fancy_P

          "In God We Trust" printed on our Christian dollar bills."

          It's the dollar bills of the UNITED STATES, not just Christians, Jews, atheists, agnostics, etc. Get serious.

          If we followed the Bible when it comes to laws, slavery would be legal. Fortunately, we are smarter than that.

          August 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
        • redzoa

          "There is no doubt that Hitlers Catholic roots played a huge role in his ideology and his decision to dehumanize and murder the jewish population in Europe."

          Regardless of Hitler's personal beliefs or lack thereof, the scarier part is that he was able to garner the overwhelming support of a nation of otherwise Christian believers. This really argues against the notion that Christianity, or religion in general, provides a sufficient grounding in morality. I'm no expert, but I believe Hitler was simply capitalizing on the antisemitism of another "great German," Martin Luther. It's a relatively small step from acquiescing to alleged divine edicts to then acquiesce to the edicts of a human cloaking themselves in divine authority. But like the modern apologists who defend the child and infant slaughter depicted in 1 Sam 15:3, they can't really be blamed, they're just following orders and who are we to question . . .

          August 1, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
        • Bryan Rick

          UNSUBSCRIBE ME!!

          On Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 1:38 PM, CNN Belief Blog wrote:

          > ** > Saraswati commented: "I'd have to agree. Islamic fundamentalism has > really caused people to look more critically at Christian, Hindu and Jewish > fundamentalism and to treat these beliefs with appropriate caution." >

          August 2, 2013 at 4:00 am |
      • qo

        Agreed. I was and atheist prior to 911, but I KNEW I was an atheist only after 911 and the religious right's response.

        August 1, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
  9. LogicalBeliever

    The problem I consistently have the the Atheist view point is that despite claiming to be so logical and science-based, under scrutiny, it is not. There is patently no scientific "proof" that our universs created itself and all the laws of physics say otherwise. Any scientists that may have theories that say otherwise have certainly not proved them, and I would dare say that such theories are likely impossible to prove. That being said, Atheists make a leap of faith from their unproven science to say that there could not possibly be a creator. I would have more respect for the Atheistic position if more of them were more honest about their position and admitted that they too are choosing to believe something that cannot be proven – just like religious believers who use science as well as theology to arrive at a different conclusion.

    August 1, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      You again have made the a$$umption that there was nothing before our universe. We do not know.
      Everything else you have said is based on that false a$$umption.

      You really do not understand logic in the slightest do you. You claim to be logical, and put others logic down.

      Seriously, learn more about logic before making any more ignorant posts.

      August 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
      • LogicalBeliever

        Richard, how is it a put-down to simply ask for an explanation as I follow the logic that Atheists themselves state, and require others to demonstrate? It is not quesionable that there can be multiple universes, but it still comes back to how matter can be created from nothing – there is no "scientific" explanation for that. As such, logically, for an Atheist whose only compass is science to believe that matter came from nothing without any proof that this can actually happen – that, my friend, is indeed an Atheistic leap of faith – welcome to church

        August 1, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I do not know why there is matter and energy, but it obviously exists and we use it an manipulate it based on what we have learned from scientific processes which continually "weed out" any ideas that do not provide consistent results.

          I see no evidence for any gods, and because I see no evidence, I do not believe in any. Just because I do not believe in any gods does not mean that I have to have an explanation for everything in existence. Your proposition that an atheist should have some reasoning for why there is matter and energy is absolutely ridiculous. Learn how to use that brain of yours and reason.

          August 1, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
        • Humdadeedumdadee

          What gets me about atheism is how hypocritical their argument is. They say, "We do not know what caused the big bang." However they go on to say, "But we do know it was not a supernatural being."

          So atheist don't know but they do know. If you say you don't know, then how can you say it wasn't something outside of space, time and material, i.e. supernatural.

          August 1, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
        • redzoa

          1st off, the "matter from nothing" is not, to my knowledge, the foundation of the big bang, rather, it was a singularity whose source/duration is unknown and may never be known (but in any case, does not logically demand causal agency for either its existence or expansion). And contrary to the claimed hypocrisy, most atheists do not claim actual knowledge of the non-existence of god(s); they point to no supporting empirical physical evidence as the justification for their rejection of the existence of god(s). A subtle, but significant difference there . . .

          August 1, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        You are demonstrating an amazing lack of reading comprehension.

        Have an adult help you with the big words this time...ready?

        WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE THE BIG BANG.
        You again make the a$$umption there was nothing.
        There very well could have been something. There could have been previous universes before ours that ours erupted from, the matter could have always existed ....AGAIN>>>WE DO NOT KNOW.

        GET IT NOW?

        August 1, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
        • LogicalBeliever

          Thank you for making my point – I believe we are making progress. You say things like "could have been" "we don't know", etc. – precislely because these things are not proven and are theories. But Atheists constantly berate believers for believing in things that are not proven but have imperical evidence based upon science and theology. You keep falling back on the same problem – you use scientific proof as your only compass and this seemingly poses a problem for believers in your mind (in reality it does not as believers use science and theology) but then bail out when the scientific proof you demand of others is not there for your own "beliefs". Oh, and spare me the constant references to be uneducated – honestly, that is such a repeated and worn out mantra from self-elitist Atheists

          August 1, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Is it even possible for you to make the least bit of sense every once in a while. Atheists don't know, and we don't claim to know. It's an interesting mystery. Yippee.

          YOU are the one claiming to know something you have no idea about because you don't have any tools that would allow you to know. You're just boasting that your belief is correct because that's what you've been taught to do--just like any muslim in Saudi Arabia would for his god belief.

          August 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          illogicalbeliever
          I am a scientist and use logic continuously. Of course I say we do not know, because we don't.
          I do not see how I made your point since your point was concoluded with the illogical a$$umptions.

          It is quite possible that the universe did, in a way spring from nothing, since one man's nothing is another mans interdimensional something. but that view is misleading, and it would take more space than this blog to explain what the current theories entail, and how we are testing them out.

          August 1, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
        • LinCA

          @LogicalBeliever

          You said, "Thank you for making my point"
          No, Richard Cranium didn't.

          You said, "I believe we are making progress."
          Not much.

          You said, "You say things like "could have been" "we don't know", etc. – precislely because these things are not proven and are theories."
          They are hypotheses. They are possibilities that are not excluded by evidence or logic. They are also extensions of what we know to exist. We know that there is at least one universe. It is therefor not unreasonable to postulate that there could be others (without claiming that there must be others).

          You said, "But Atheists constantly berate believers for believing in things that are not proven but have imperical evidence based upon science and theology."
          If you postulate a creature for which there is no evidence any exist, you claim something that is unprecedented. You attempt to establish precedence where none exists. You are, of course free to put forth your hypothesis, but you bear the responsibility to establish what would make it reasonable. Claiming magic (which is what you do by inserting a creature for which you have no evidence), isn't a reasonable approach.

          You said, "Oh, and spare me the constant references to be uneducated – honestly, that is such a repeated and worn out mantra from self-elitist Atheists"
          If you fail to see the fallacy of the arguments advanced by theists, what other conclusions are there?

          August 1, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
        • LogicalBeliever

          Richard, OK, so the summation of your "theology" is, to quote you, "AGAIN>>>WE DO NOT KNOW." This, therefore would logically mean that you would and should be open to believing in anything that science and theology may "prove" in the future – including the existence of God. However, you seem to have already vehemently omitted that possibility from the equation. Just seeing a lot of preconceived biases floating into the Atheistic word view.

          August 1, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Incorrect again.
          I do not believe that any of the gods that man has worshipped exist. So I am an atheist.
          There could be a god or gods. We do not know, so I am also an agnostic.

          Basically I believe that any definition man has made is insufficent or incorrect for what might be considered god(s).

          As for what else I believe, I simply do not have the time to explain it to you.

          Just because I don't believe in any gods, does not mean I don't have beliefs.

          August 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
        • Observer

          A "God" could exist. The reason that the God in the Bible is not considered a reasonable answer for so many people comes from reading the Bible. The lack of logic makes many people atheists and agnostics.

          If it turned out there was a "God", hopefully he is much wiser, more logical, kinder, and more compassionate than the often vain, mass-killing one in the Bible.

          August 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
        • redzoa

          "But Atheists constantly berate believers for believing in things that are not proven but have imperical evidence based upon science and theology."

          I believe you meant "empirical" evidence. Nonetheless, empirical evidence in the scientific sense extends beyond the standard definition of true sensory evidence to include that which has been validated by independent experimentation, i.e. testing a hypothesis, confirming/rejecting the hypothesis based on the observed outcome, and then endless independent replication. There is no scientific evidence which directly provides positive support for the existence of god(s). Because the supernatural is not amenable to testing, its mechanisms are capable of explaining any and every observation, thereby, they effectively explain nothing and are unfalsifiable. That you cite theology as a valid support is a little silly. Whereas actual science invariably converges to provide the facts we take for granted, theology and religion invariably diverge yielding the ever increasing and conflicting sects with each sect convinced they possess the "truth."

          August 1, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
        • Saraswati

          @Logical, Saying that One doesn't believe a universal cure for cancer will ever be found is very different from saying that none of the treatments we've come up with so far have proven to be a universal cure. One may exists, but I'm willing to bet its not one currently on the shelf at my local pharmacy.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • bostontola

      The only atheist viewpoint I know of is there is no god. Positions on science and proof vary from one atheist to the other. If you allow yourself a little more nuanced perspective of atheists, perhaps your problems will go away.

      August 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
      • LogicalBeliever

        If you delve a little deeper into the flaws and limitations of Atheism, perhaps your unbelief in a Creator will go away

        August 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
        • bostontola

          You said you had a problem with atheist viewpoint, then presented a viewpoint not held by all atheists. Your inability to get the connection shows you to have serious logical failings.

          August 1, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          " the flaws and limitations of atheism."

          Really? How is there a flaw in NOT believing in something that there is not one shred of evidence for?

          Show me the flaws and limitations of my not beleiving in Santa Claus, The Loch Ness monster, the giant invisible dragons that make the wind.

          I grow tired of this since it is like teaching a 5 year old calculus. He just doesn't get the errors in his reasoning, and would not know logic if it had lock jaw on his kiester.

          August 1, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Science

      Thank you for showing your complete lack of knowledge in cosmology.
      No Scientist ever said the world created itself. What we do know is that the limits of our observations cannot currently go further than the Big Bang because it is a point singularity which our current knowledge of physical laws can't handle. What comes before that goes into the realm of Mathematics..

      August 1, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • WASP

      @believer:
      logically go back and read my posts, they may help you get an understasnding of the laws of physics and how your thought of an eternal god is illogical. 🙂

      August 1, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Saraswati

      While I have seen a few nuts online claim there could not possibly be any gods, I have never in real life met one of these people. Most of the people I talk to on a daily basis don't believe in God's, but none of them would deny the possibility that some might exist.

      August 1, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Cylon

      The vast majority of atheists I know do not say there could not possibly be a creator. We do say that there is insufficient evidence to justify a belief in an intelligent creator. But you are as aware as I am that the claims of religions go far beyond just saying "there is a creator." If all religions preached Deism there would be far fewer atheists who would care enough to even try to refute it. But there's a huge difference between saying "it's possible that the universe had an intelligent creator" and saying "the intelligent creator of the universe created us all sinful and will torture us forever in a hell he also created unless we believe in his son who is also him who came to earth 2,000 years ago in a backwater corner of the Roman Empire and got killed and raised himself from the dead for good measure." Other religions have similarly unlikely claims. Is it any wonder that there are people who don't accept any of them?

      August 1, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "Atheists make a leap of faith from their unproven science to say that there could not possibly be a creator."

      No, most atheists I know have never said anything of the sort. They do however point out that there is no evidence of a creator.

      "I would have more respect for the Atheistic position if more of them were more honest about their position and admitted that they too are choosing to believe something that cannot be proven"

      Wrong again. Most atheists are honest about not having all the answers, and they are fine with that as we gather more and more raw data about our universe. It is only the religious which are to impatient to wait for evidence and want to start drawing pictures of things they imagine in the dark.

      "– just like religious believers who use science as well as theology to arrive at a different conclusion."

      Completely different because atheists have not drawn a conclusion as to the origin of the universe, they often hold several competing possible theorys that are at this stage just hypothetical. Believers cling to their conclusion of God so tightly you can see the white knuckles of their faith because deep down they know they are grasping nothing but feel that any doubting or opening of their fingers to examine what they are holding might mean they lose their grip on the indoctrinated reallity they were so comfortable growing up in. Most atheists were just willing to open their hands and look and found them empty but are now getting derided for their bravery and castigated for questioning the status quo.

      August 1, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Logic, it's absolutely amazing how much ignorance of science you can demonstrate in such a short time. First, theories are never "proven". As a matter of fact, unless they are falsifiable, they don't even qualify as scientific theories. Also, if you actually believe that something is never created from nothing, you should look up "virtual particles" sometime. It will help aleviate your obvious ignorance.

      August 1, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  10. Sam Yaza

    Yahweh is the god of lies destruction and hatred that's why people are leaving.

    August 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
  11. hisgoodteenr

    why do millennials leave the church? because religion doesn't make sense and the young people have a developed BS sensor. plain and simple.

    August 1, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      And the more they use the internet the more finely honed that BS detector gets.

      August 2, 2013 at 10:19 am |
  12. bostontola

    Many of the arguments I see below invoke proof. Not going to happen either way. Proof is inaccessible at this point in our development. It may be helpful to distinguish 1) the belief in a specific god (e.g. Jesus), from 2) belief in the possibility of some god. I see Christians talk as though if there is a god, it must be theirs. I think every god that has been conceived of by man (and there's lots of them) is overwhelmingly likely to be man made and not real. The evidence is in their own scriptures. They are full of inconsistencies that anyone outside their faith can see, and factual errors. If there is god(s), they aren't the ones man invented. My personal belief is there are no gods, but that's not important.

    August 1, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Reality

      Taking it another step:

      Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

      Added details available upon written request.

      A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

      August 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
      • bostontola

        To be fair, Buddhists don't represent Buddha as a god. They don't have need of gods. They are arguably an atheist religion or philosophy.

        August 1, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
        • Sam Yaza

          some are some Aren't, i have a Buddhist friend who worships Benzaiten/Saraswati also have one who worships Kalli.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Agreed with Sam, some Buddhists are atheists, some are not. Some Hindus are actually more or less atheist, too, though its a much smaller percent.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
        • bostontola

          Then that person is part Buddhist and part Hindu. I was talking about people who are Buddhist only. Not important either way.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  13. dissidentfairy

    Wasp: You are right when you say Free Will = Chaos and God's Will = Order. Never a truer word spoken. Those who wish to align their lives to obey God will flourish, because, He, just like you, in regards to your son, knows what's best for man. The people who object to Him are the ones who wish to challenge God and break all the rules, if not, then why not align oneself to do the will of God? After all, you have a little boy to think of. Don't you as a parent wish to do what is best for him? Give him some hope for the future? As it stands there is no hope without God. "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:14

    You are right the two don't make good bedfellows because Chaos has no place in God's order!

    Richard: I'm sorry you thought I said nothing. Science has by no stretch of the imagination proven God not to be true. How many times have you read the Bible? I mean read it through and through, cross referenced scriptures, compared it to science, archeology and history?

    Here is what God thinks about man's wisdom and science: "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, "He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness." 1 Corinthians 3:19...."At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and revealed them to little children." Matthew 11:25...."He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them and he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." Matthew 18:2-6..."Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil." Proverbs 3:7...."So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18..."Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them." Proverbs 26:12....The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." Psalms 14:1...."My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine." Isaiah 55:8..."Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

    I hope you guys have a change of heart before it's too late. My father was a devout Atheist too, he is a highly brilliant man. His big hang up was 'where did God come from' he just couldn't get past it for the longest time....but he finally did. Now he is a firm believer in God. "Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Isaiah 55:6-7

    August 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      I hope you guys have a change of heart before it's too late. My father was a devout Trekkie but hates the Star Wars universe, he is a highly brilliant man. His big hang up was 'where did the force come from' he just couldn't get past it for the longest time....but he finally did. Now he is a firm believer in Yoda. "Seek the SITH LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous Jedi his thoughts: and let him return to the SITH LORD, and have mercy on him, and to the light side of the force he will be pulled, for he will abundantly be pardoned by letting go of his hate." SWG 14:34-38

      August 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • mindless lackey # 473

      Creationists amaze me. You short change your God so badly it isn't even funny.

      Omniscient – Omnipresent – Omnipotent – Do you people ever, for one single second, ponder the meaning of these words?

      We – mankind, will never approach those three words in anyway, shape or form...and our sciences have left your god behind badly. Even from a social standpoint we have an idea of morality and social acceptability that eclipses the Bible in every way - even if we don't always follow it.

      Your God, by the definition of those three words, should have given us a launch that would make today's tech look like stone age cave art...and STILL leave us in awe.

      August 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Science

      Yea, we should stop using Electricity and Mathematics and the Engine because these are the inventions of wise people trapped in their own cleverness. Let's all go back to living in a world that could not possibly feed 7 billion people, because after all Science is foolishness to your God.

      Oh and here's the most brilliant part, you will actually get to slowly starve to death, because you don't have access to cars that let you steal food from somewhere else.

      August 1, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • WASP

      @ FAIRY: ok now you are just a boring troll, put thanks for enteraining me while i was at work. 🙂

      please feel free to stick your head back under god's skirt and kiss his butt some more because he wasted a mind when he made you. XD

      August 1, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        "But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken." Matthew 12:36

        August 1, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  14. Eric G

    Will a believer please provide verifiable evidence to support their claim that a god or gods exist? All claims of fact carry an inherent burden of proof. Please establish that a god exists so we can address the other topics.

    August 1, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Why should I offer you the proof I found only by finding my way to the foot of the cross? You are free to either accept my witness or forge your own path to whichever end it brings you.

      August 1, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
      • Which God?

        Bill, you coward and lying hypocite. You CAN"T provide proof. You have none. All you have is your say so, and a feeling/opinion./faith/belief. You have faith, therefore you believe, or the other way around. Sounds like a firm foundation from which to start a religion.. Oh, wait...there is one that started like that. Yours.

        August 1, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
        • LogicalBeliever

          Honestly, it appears that Atheists have made their blind belief in science (even when it is not proven) a faith in and of itself. I really can at least understand the logic. I also see the logic of a religious believer using science as well as theology to believe in God. The thought that it is an either-or proposition (i.e. either believe in science or believe in God) is simply not the approach that most educated, informed believers take. Science takes us so far and then kinda stops regarding our physical world – if this is your only compass, you will need to take a jump of faith (the way Atheists do – to say that science answers it all – we simply do not have proof). The logic and wisdom of theology takes us so far regarding God and then kinda stops – we also need to take a leap of faith using the data from science and theology to believe in God, but it is quite logical. The problem I have is the hyprocrisy of Atheist pointing the finger at religious believers for not having proof when Atheists themselves do not have the scientifice proof that they are requiring of everyone else.

          August 1, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          illogicalbeliever
          "we also need to take a leap of faith ".There is no logic in taking a leap of faith. None whatsoever.

          You clearly do not understand the word logic. Try again

          August 1, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • LogicalBeliever

          Dick Cranium, you are beginning to sound like and evangelical preacher stomping his feat. The fact is that there is no scientific proof for a universe that creates itself – all the laws of physics actually teach against this. Many many scientific thinkers have already acknowledged this. Your blind faith in unproven science i s indeed a leap of faith and it is quite hypocritical of you and various other Atheists to belittle religious believers who use science and theology to arrive at a different conclusion. Try again.

          August 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • Reality

          o "In the 1930s, theoretical physicists, most notably Albert Einstein, considered the possibility of a cyclic model for the universe as an (everlasting) alternative to the model of an expanding universe. However, work by Richard C. Tolman in 1934 showed that these early attempts failed because of the entropy problem: according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, entropy can only increase.[1] This implies that successive cycles grow longer and larger. Extrapolating back in time, cycles before the present one become shorter and smaller culminating again in a Big Bang and thus not replacing it. This puzzling situation remained for many decades until the early 21st century when the recently discovered dark energy component provided new hope for a consistent cyclic cosmology.[2] In 2011, a five-year survey of 200,000 galaxies and spanning 7 billion years of cosmic time confirmed that "dark energy is driving our universe apart at accelerating speeds."[3][4]

          One new cyclic model is a brane cosmology model of the creation of the universe, derived from the earlier ekpyrotic model. It was proposed in 2001 by Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University and Neil Turok of Cambridge University. The theory describes a universe exploding into existence not just once, but repeatedly over time.[5][6] The theory could potentially explain why a mysterious repulsive form of energy known as the "cosmological constant", and which is accelerating the expansion of the universe, is several orders of magnitude smaller than predicted by the standard Big Bang model."

          What we do know: (from the fields of astrophysics, biology, biochemistry, archeology, nuclear physics, geology and the history of religion)

          1. The Sun will burn out in 3-5 billion years so we have a time frame.

          2. Asteroids continue to circle us in the nearby asteroid belt.

          3. One wayward rock and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.

          4. There are enough nuclear weapons to do the same job.

          5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.

          6. All stars will eventually extinguish as there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen in the universe. When this happens (100 trillion years?), the universe will go dark. If it does not collapse and recycle, the universe will end.

          7. Super, dormant volcanoes off the coast of Africa and under Yellowstone Park could explode cataclysmically at any time ending life on Earth.
          8. Many of us are part Neanderthal and/or Denisovan.

          Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse without recycling, 100 trillion years?

          August 1, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          illogical believer.
          You are making false a$$umption after false a$$umption.
          You first presume that the universe created itself, we do not know what happened before the Big Bang, we do not know what was if anything.

          You have no problem saying that the universe did not create itself but then where did god comoe from ?

          You claim that I have "blind faith" in science. First, science is a tool, the data that science finds is what one may or not have "faith" in. Since I am a scientist, I do not have blind faith. I work with this stuff daily, and have done the math so to speak.

          Since there is no evidence that any gods exist, the existance of any god is only a hypothesis. There is an infinite number of hypothesis other than the god hypothesis, so making a , as you say "leap of faith to one of an infinite number makes the a$$umption that you are right, and that is where you logic train jumps into the absurd.

          Again, you clearly do not understand what logic is, you do not know me or what I believe.

          Stop with the wild speculation, the presumption and the a$$umption.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
        • ME II

          @Which God?,
          Name calling does nothing but antagonize and is a fallacious tactic anyway.

          @LogicalBeliever,
          I think you misunderstand, Atheism is a lack of belief, not a belief in science.
          Atheism does not equal science and science does not equal Atheism.

          August 1, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
        • Saraswati

          @Logical, Just backing what MEII said. Atheism just means you don't believe in gods. You don't have to support anything else regarding science to be an atheist. You could be an atheist who believes in the power or crystals or homeopathy or qi or reincarnation. You may be thinking of materialism or something other than atheism?

          August 1, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
      • grafactor

        So Bill, in other words, you got nothing.

        August 1, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
      • niknak

        So Deacon Blues, if you went to your doctor and he prescribed armadillo ur ine injections for a serious problem you had, you would not ask to see his evidence for it effectiveness, but would just go along with on his word only?
        I bet you wouldn't.

        But you believers say this all the time, that we just have to go by your word that god exists, without any proof whatsoever.

        And why your god?
        Hindus would say the same about theirs, yet you don't believe those gods exist.
        Why are you right and they are wrong?

        August 1, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
        • Angry Marine

          I really don't think any one is saying "go by my word ". What I see happening is believers saying if you want proof do a little research on your own.

          August 1, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          "do a little research on your own."

          This is the response I would expect from someone who has no evidence to submit. If they did have any evidence of anything supernatural there is no doubt they would be trying to get some TV deal out of showing the world proof of Jesus.

          I don't have to spend three months in the Ireland searching for leprechauns to not believe in them...

          August 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
        • Angry Marine

          Just the facts
          So you are saying that you have evidence that there is no God? Well why didn't you say so? Now we can all stop calling each other names and move on to other things. What I really want someone to explain to me is, IF there was a big bang, why does earth have the only KNOWN elements that can sustain life. Mind you I did not say (Name one that is close), I said the ONLY one.

          August 1, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
        • joe

          IF there was a big bang, why does earth have the only KNOWN elements that can sustain life. Mind you I did not say (Name one that is close), I said the ONLY one.
          -------
          You know what's disingenuous? When a Christians tries to pull out a science fact only when they think it supports the per-determined conclusions and the rest of the time they just ignore science.

          Your alleged science question just shows your ignorance.

          August 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Angry Marine
          Actually, the Curiosity Rover has confirmed that Mars once held all the necessary elements for life, including fresh water.
          Because Mars doesn't have magnetic poles in the way that the Earth does, its atmosphere was more susceptible to change via solar radiation and cosmic rays – thus the window during which said life could have existed was comparatively short.

          August 1, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          "So you are saying that you have evidence that there is no God?"

          I have exactly the same evidence that there are no leprechauns as I do that there is no God. Seeing how the lack of evidence for leprechauns does not somehow mean they exist, the same goes for God. I am not making the claim "There is no God!" but rather it is the religious who make the claim "There is a God!" and I am simply asking for any sort of proof of that claim, which as of yet no one has ever provided. Ever.

          August 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
        • joe

          You are talking to a wall. These people have no interest in being honest. They are mentally deluded addicts. You have as much chance of convincing them as you do going to skid row and convincing an old bum to no longer be a bum.

          August 1, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
        • Angry Marine

          @ Doc
          That is my point Doc. There is no other planet like earth. Why? Did the big bang just choose the earth? Why haven't scientists thru out ALL the years of study not found one single clue or anything about other life forms on other planets? Did the earth evolve from another planet (lol)?

          August 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • Angry Marine

          Thanks Joe I really appreciate your kind words. I did not know that Christians could not believe in science as well as a creator, thanks for clearing that up pal. Have a great day.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • Athy

          It's comments like angry marines's that further verify the studies that show believers have much lower IQs than atheists. The errors in his position are too numerous to even try to describe. And probably futile as well.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Angry Marine
          It is only very recently that we've had the ability to look for Earth like planets.
          So far, we've only visited 1 other planet and have all ready found evidence that the necessary building blocks for life were there at one time.
          The Kepler Observatory has only been in space for 4 years and has catalogued thousands of exo-planets, including many which are Earth-like.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
        • Angry Marine

          Athy,
          Duh thanks I think, as my IQ is so small to tell what you meant.

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

          As I expected.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
        • mindless lackey # 473

          Doc,

          These people have no idea of the scope of the universe ....to say we,ve seen 5% of the known universe is a gross understatement, billions of galaxies each containing billions of stars.

          these people don't understand odds: yes earth is unique and our existence may be a one off- remove ONE of millions of variables and humanity doesn't happen... that does NOT mean there is a god....Jupiter is unique, our star is unique, kepler 10b is unique.

          they are thinking on at best a planetary scale.. and most cant grasp the last century...let alone 13.7 billion years.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
        • Angry Marine

          @ Doc
          To my knowledge the only evidence that the Curiosity has found, is large craters from impacts of comets/asteroids, some mountainous terrain, and Possibly some form of water. But it still does not answer the question. We have been studying our universe for many decades ( not years ) DECADES, and still have no PROOF of any planet with a balanced atmosphere like we have on earth. I wonder why that is? My question really must have struck a nerve with Athy, she chimed right in to call me an idiot.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
        • mindless lackey # 473

          Angry Marine,

          Every planet, every star in the universe is unique...each will have a different mass, a different chemical make up ... who know what other forms of life are evolving on other planets... it does not mean there is a god...certainly not the Christian God that is the origin of the whole creation concept.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
        • mindless lackey # 473

          to clarify:

          certainly not the Christian God that is the origin of the whole creation concept. – in relation to ID and the question of creation.

          All other similar creation stories developed by man have been dismissed -even by Christians, which is funny to me.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Angry Marine

          You said, "So you are saying that you have evidence that there is no God?"
          Very few atheists do. They tend to be atheists because there is no evidence for any gods.

          You said, "What I really want someone to explain to me is, IF there was a big bang, why does earth have the only KNOWN elements that can sustain life."
          What makes you think that Earth is the only planet that could possibly sustain life? In our solar system, Earth is currently the only planet that we know has life, but others may have, or have had life.

          The odds that Earth is the only planet in the universe that has, or can support, life is getting smaller by the day. Keep in mind that there are some 400 billion (400,000,000,000) galaxies in the universe. Our Milky Way galaxy is but a fairly ordinary one, yet it contains around 100 billion (100,000,000,000) stars. It is estimated that stars have, on average, more than one planet. That together would put the number of available planets in the universe in the vicinity of 40,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets. We know that at least one of them supports life.

          Another thing to keep in mind is the distances between potential life-supporting planets and our own. Our own galaxy is approximately 100,000 light years across, and the next nearest galaxy, the Andromeda Galaxy, is a 'mere' 2.5 million light years away. No information will travel faster than light and that includes any signals that distant civilization may broadcast. That means that any information that we receive from distant parts of the universe are already very old by the time they reach us. For us to be able to directly detect other civilization they would have to have been broadcasting their presence in a fairly narrow window, far enough in the past, for their signals to reach us when we are capable of detecting them. As a comparison, our signals that might be detectable (radio transmissions), only started about 100 years ago, so they have traveled less than 1% of the diameter of our own galaxy.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Angry Marine
          Some engineers from the Curiosity team recently did a Q&A. Here's what they had to say about the rover's most significant discovery to date (and bear in mind its official mission is only half done)
          “The results from our first rock drilling told us that the past environment, when that mudstone rock formed, was suitable for life. The mudstone formed in an ancient river system or an intermittently wet lake bed that could have provided the chemical energy and other favorable conditions for microbial life, if life existed then. This ancient wet environment was not harshly oxidizing, acidic or extremely salty. All the necessary chemical building blocks were available.”
          The Opportunity rover has been up there for a decade but has only traversed around 20 miles of the Martian surface. And bear in mind that it's array of tools is far less advanced than Curiosity's. It too has found solid evidence of pH neutral ancient water – and that was only a few weeks ago!

          Furthermore, while we have been looking for Earth like planets for a couple of decades, we've only just begun to have the practical knoweldge, expertise and technology to do it in a meaningful way.
          The Kepler project really is the first time we've been capable of having a good look around us – but the Galaxy is unfathomably vast! It is a mighty big haystack, but we've already identified some shiny bits that look a lot like needles. As time goes on, we'll find more and we'll take a closer look. A lot of them will be something other than a needle, but we've just started the search.
          The Hubble telescope, while giving us an awesome look at phenomena we were previously incapable of seeing, doesn't have the capacity to do an ana/lysis of anything as tiny (on a cosmic scale) as a planet.
          Teh Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) was only able to peer at a small section of sky for a few years – at it was only able to hunt to repeating radio wave patterns.

          Let's do a thought experiment that might help put things in perspective.
          let's say a new kind of microsope has enabled us to identify a new kind of plankton. So far, that rock has only been seen on the shoreline where it was discovered.
          Can you imagine how long it would take to examine the entire ocean with that new microscope in a hunt for another specimen of that plankton?

          Now multiply that scope a billion-fold and you'll begin to comprehend the vastness of our galaxy. Not the Universe, just our own Milky Way galaxy.

          August 1, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
        • Athy

          Do you think angry marine is capable of actually understanding that?

          August 1, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
        • ME II

          @Angry Marine,
          "We have been studying our universe for many decades ( not years ) DECADES, and still have no PROOF of any planet with a balanced atmosphere like we have on earth. I wonder why that is?"

          This is like asking why someone hasn't found their keys yet in a stadium the size of a planet... when they can't leave their seat.

          (note: The scale is probably off, but on the conservative side.)

          August 1, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Actually, astronomy demonstrates that there are all sorts of planets and they're all over the place. It's almost a foregone conclusion that there are probably millions of planets similar to the earth. Also, life can exist in all sorts of places. Gas clouds many hundreds of times the size of our entire solar system may be teeming with extremeophiles and other microbial life. Perhaps, if we lined up all the life-bearing planets in existence, earth would be one of the boring ones.

          No evidence for god, though.

          August 1, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
        • Angry Marine

          @ Athy,
          One thing I do understand quite clearly is that you are very rude and sarcastic. You know nothing about me nor my intelligence level. I would suggest that if you cannot come to one of these forums with an open mind to others opinions, is that you just butt out of others conversations. Thank You and have a great day.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:25 am |
        • Saraswati

          @Marine, while I agree with you that Athy is out of line making assumptions about anyone's IQ, you are pretty far off in your understanding of what we have been able to study of the universe...which is only a tiny fraction of a percent. We are nowhere near being able to even estimate the likelihood or prevalance of life on other planets.

          The difference between atheists and theists in IQ is only about 5 or 6 %, btw, enough to be easily masked in either direction by other factors. The figures for analytic tendencies are more convincing, although not stunning. Anyone who pulls out IQ averages in any argument is getting pretty desperate.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:36 am |
        • HotAirAce

          If not being able to prove that there is another planet like Earth after looking for DECADES is a major fail, what can be said about believers not being able to provide a single fact about even one of the thousands of alleged gods after MILLENNIUMS of claims and failed attempts at proving the existence of any god?

          August 2, 2013 at 9:04 am |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        "So Deacon Blues, if you went to your doctor and he prescribed armadillo ur ine injections for a serious problem you had, you would not ask to see his evidence for it effectiveness, but would just go along with on his word only?"

        No, what Bill is saying is that if you had some armadillo ur ine and you really really wanted to use it for something so you went seeking something to pour it on, you will find what you seek...

        August 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
      • Saraswati

        Bill, the problem with your logic is that the precise quest you recommend requires that one already believe that there is some validity in that quest. Most of us seek truth and for many of us it leads nowhere near Christianity. The reason it does for many in the US is a simple desire for the answers to be close at hand and wrapped in tradition. But at that point your quest is already tainted. You can't get away from the reality that your god is sending people on a treasure hunt, all with different maps, and telling them that the fate of their immortal souls rests on the result of that rigged hunt.

        August 1, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
      • EnjaySea

        I think most atheists do recognize that people believe for a reason, Bill. Believers, in fact, feel that they have evidence via their subjective experience.

        For those of us who have had no such experience, or tried to reach that experience but never did, or had the experience but recognize it as a product of the brain, your story doesn't provide any evidence that's useful for the rest of us.

        In effect, your god only exists for the distinct group of people who "feel" it exists, and that's where it stops. The rest of us need a bit more to go on than hearsay.

        August 1, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Well put. I don't deny that what anyone experiences counts as "evidence"...after all, evidence is a highly subjective term, despite how we might prefer a neat and tidy world. It just isn't adequate "evidence" for anyone who either hasn't experienced it or, in most cases, is aware of the experiences the brain is capable of producing on its own.

          August 1, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Eric G

      I thought it was a simple request. With all the people who believe so strongly, I was sure that at least one of them could provide at least one tiny little piece of verifiable evidence supporting their claim that a god exists.

      Anyone? Anyone?
      Bueller?

      August 3, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  15. LogicalBeliever

    Just thought I would share the following link; it demonstrates how an intellectual Atheist can arrive at a belief in God if he/she constintently follows logic and truth:

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/march/atheists-dilemma.html?start=1

    August 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      The "logic" is flawed. There is no logical way to conclude any gods exist. There is no evidence that can be verified, so you cannot logically conclude the god hypothesis as correct.

      August 1, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        what is the nature of the flaw?

        August 2, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • LogicalBeliever

      It's really only "flawed" if you are bringing in a lot of preconceived baggage against it rather than being open to where true logic would lead you – as the Atheist in the article above did. Many many scientists have done just that. It is quite interesting, for example, that the scientist who did the research regarding the origins of the universe and coined the phrase "Big Bang Theory" (which so many Atheists accept as fact) was indeed – wait for it – a Catholic priest, Georges Lamaitre. See the link below:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lema%C3%AEtre

      August 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
      • bostontola

        How is it logical to say god is the result of deductive reasoning because a Catholic priest was a major contributor. Catholics have made great scientists in the past, so have Islamists and Jews. It is not related to whether god exists or not.

        August 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
        • LogicalBeliever

          If you read the general theme of most any blog where Atheists converg (like this one) – there is an over-arching message that no real thinking person could possibly arrive at believing in God, much less be an instrumental scientist themselves in furthering the development and thought of the origins of the universe. My post is intended to dispel that stereotype that is perpetually repeated by so many Atheists (and I will allow that just possibly, you are the rare exception). 🙂

          August 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • Observer

          LogicalBeliever

          "If you read the general theme of most any blog where Atheists converg (like this one) – there is an over-arching message that no real thinking person could possibly arrive at believing in God"

          If there is an "an over-arching message that no real thinking person could possibly arrive at believing in God" it may come from actually reading a Bible and listening to apologists' pathetic attempts to make excuses for much of what it says.

          August 1, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
        • LogicalBeliever

          An yet there are a plethora of open-minded former-Atheists and scientists who would disagree with you. Just wanting you to be open to the fact that many many educated, intellectual, scientific thinkers have pondered this stuff just like you and arrived at believing in God. Ironically, Atheists often rely on research from educated believers that Athiests use to seemingly dispel God. Just be open minded and logical and you will find the truth 🙂

          August 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • Saraswati

          @Logical, certainly a thinking and even an occassionally critical person can believe in various religions. It is quite possible to be brilliant in one area, while wearing blinders in another, be it about religion, your spouse, free will, your own skills and talents or any number of things. We have brilliant people in a wide variety of fields from a diverse set of backgrounds. However, there is adequate research to indicate that *on average* non religious folk are more analytical and rely less on intuition that religious folk. Not to say there aren't a heck of a lot of non-analytic atheists...there are. We're just talking broad averages. However, we also have evidence that you can diminish religiosity by training people to become more critical and analytic in general. This is part of what we see happening today as constant exposure to conflicting opinions breeds a more critical audience at a young age. 12 year olds can engage in arguements with diverse populations that once were the experience of college students. People can read news from sources far outside their own communities. It does make a difference in who people are and how they approach truth.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
      • T

        I posted this already but it may not have gone through. If you get it twice I apologize.
        You can point out religious people that have done otherwise great things in various fields, including science, and you would be right to do so. However, that doesn’t mean their beliefs on another topic are correct. I trust my electrician to wire my house, not give me financial advice.
        Two things stuck out to me in that article
        1) The uncaused cause argument. The author seems to be content with believing god is the first cause, but who created god? Don’t get me wrong, the big bang doesn’t explain the beginning adequately either, because there must have been something before the big bang. Both positions are subjected to an infinite regress. However, there is proof of the big bang so we know that happened. We have no such proof for god.
        2) The author goes very quickly from being a deist (a god exists) to a Christian theist (the Christian god exists). The second page shows one paragraph of books she read on the subject, but deals with no intellectual argument one way or the other. I find it highly suspect, if not poor writing, that she was able to be convinced so quickly without actually addressing the specifics of her conversion.
        Atheists find god and theists lose faith; neither addresses the validity of the arguments.

        August 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
        • LogicalBeliever

          Well, let's remember that she was writing an "article" for a magazine and not a 2000 page auto-biography where she could go into minute detail of all her thoughts – I think her article adequately captured the essence of her journey. Also, please remember that science and faith are not identical – it is Atheists who have made science somewhat of a faith-system and require scientific proof for everything – fair enough – but then they bail out when science cant take them far enough to prove all of their conclusions which basically leaves them in a rather hypocritical situation of choosing to believe something without real proof just the way religiious faith believers do.

          August 1, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
      • T

        I don't expect a long, exceptionally detailed account. But if the purpose of the article is trying to convince me as an atheist that I'm wrong and can be convinced logically to believe in a god, it leaves a lot to be desired. I can be convinced by good arguments, and the article didn't seem to present any.

        There's a lot to take in in the second part of your response. I'll try to break it down.
        I don't know how you can say science is a faith based system, and in the same breath say that we require evidence. It's not a faith/religion/creed, it's just science. We (and by we I mean people) use science to arrive at conclusions for the betterment of mankind and without the scientific method we would certainly not be enjoying modern conveniences like we do today. There's absolutely no faith involved there.
        Lastly, it's completely irrational to arrive at a conclusion without evidence to prove the conclusion. When you set out to prove something, you don't start at the end (conclusion) and work backwards. You search for evidence and go where the evidence ultimately takes you. If science can't prove anything before the big bang, for example (and again I would point you to Krauss), it is absolutely foolish to draw ANY conclusion about existence before the big bang. We can (and should) speculate and toss potential ideas around, but so say that we know something without supporting evidence is foolish.

        August 1, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        It always amazes me that the religious people love to point this out. It is a moot point.
        The Big Bang theory does nothing to address the existance or non-existance of any deities.
        You looked up who presented it but did you read the theory, comprehend it?

        August 1, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
      • Ann

        The author of that article even stated, "If I wanted to continue forward in this investigation, I couldn't let it be just an intellectual journey." I agree with her. Intellect would not have allowed her to conclude that her silly swamp experience was a revelation from god. She unfortunately put her intellect aside.

        August 2, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Of course, of course, there are plenty of believers who like to trumpet that they used to be atheists. All believers were atheists until someone or something convinced them otherwise.

      There is no "turn of logic" that will convince me that a god exists. I need someone to "turn in proof".

      August 1, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
      • Saraswati

        People going on about their own experience, either way, is waste of time with regards to proving anything. It's all very well to add your own history to the mix as others might relater, but we know we have transitions from religion to non-religion and cross religions all of the time. Some beliefs, such as atheism, are growing, while other beliefs are shrinking, but either way people change in all sorts of directions for all sorts of of reasons. No one should think their own experience proves anything to anyone.

        August 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Sorry everyone, I got busy yesterday and it looks like I missed a lengthy and almost productive discussion. It wasn't until I got down to Sara and NJC's comments that I felt like the topic and my response to the OP was actually addresses. So here's what I think. If you know that there is no evidence outside of my subjective experience, or what I would call my witness, that you would accept and you have assured yourself that your own personal search for truth has led you to a different conclusion than mine. The why not just accept that we have been granted different revelations? I'll accept that your quest is valid and the results you got satisfy the parameters of your thesis and you accept that I have had a genuine experience with something which cannot be communicated third party.

          Matthew 11:27 –
          All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

          The thing that is interesting to me is that you don't see Christians begging for evidence and proof of atheism. It leads me to conclude, as many have stated, that they would be glad to believe if only they could. The answer is you haven't been chosen to receive the revelation. I for one don't subscribe to the "you must have faith" argument. I believe faith is the consequence of obedience. If you aren't willing to be obedient, you won't have faith so it does no good for a believer to say so to an unbeliever. What the believer should say is "You must submit yourself to God" then faith will come.

          So, it seems there are three possible exercises and results:

          1. Submit, obey, seek, find faith
          2. Doubt, reject, contend, resist faith
          3. Suspect, inquire, remain uncommitted, repeat.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:44 am |
        • EnjaySea

          Bill has informed me: The answer is you haven't been chosen to receive the revelation.

          Forgive me if I point out how particularly convenient that justification is. You come from the position that there are revelations to be "sent" to people, because some guy named Matt in first century Judea says so. I don't believe or trust Matt, and I see no reason to assume that he had special access to the truth.

          From where I stand, no evidence has been presented to me directly or indirectly, objectively or subjectively that a deity has, or ever has existed. Since I don't believe in this god, you must see how it follows that I don't believe there are revelations to be passed out like cosmic candy to the chosen few.

          Why do I care what you, or your fellows believe? Why don't I just live and let live? Because your Church imposes its morals on the society I live in (i.e. Catholics and Mormons raising millions to pass prop 8 in California). I think this is wrong, and I will continue to speak out against your Church until they learn to live and let live themselves.

          August 5, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
        • joe

          The answer is you haven’t been chosen to receive the revelation.
          ----------
          Patently absurd explanation that your God hides while the most uneducated and ignorant and mental in society do its bidding.

          August 5, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
  16. dissidentfairy

    Wasp: You are confusing perfection with being robotic. God didn't make us to be robots. He could have but what enjoyment to him would that have been? If people were like automatic wind up toys doing exactly what he says on command that would get pretty boring after a while. What he wants are people who love and worship Him because of their own free will. You might say 'what free will? If one has to obey God or die that's not free will.' The truth is those who draw close to God genuinely love him based on the fact that they have taken the time to analyze God's word the Bible and have come to love and appreciate him based on what they have learned. They don't fear God as in being killed dead, they fear to displease him because they wish to be loved by him.

    The devil was also given free will. God made him the most beautiful of all the angels and had given him special authority over man but he abused that power by deceiving them into worshiping him when they ate of the fruit. He challenged God that if given a chance he could turn All men against him. He tried with Job and even tried to tempt Jesus Christ by offering him the kingdoms of the world if he would fall down and do an act of worship toward him. God could have destroyed the devil back then but all of the angels were listening, maybe wondering if he could do as he claimed, so God is allowing him to prove that he is wrong, that he can't turn all men against Him.

    "Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God." 2 Corinthians 4:4..."And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and it's angels battled but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven, so down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth, and his angels were hurled down with him." Revelation 12:7-9..."Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short." Revelation 12:12..."We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one." 1 John 5:19..."And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light."... 2 Corinthians 11:14"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12"....The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the Devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him." Revelation 12:9..."Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7

    The scripture you quoted is: "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so some have entertained angels without knowing." Hebrews 13:2. It's actually one of my favorites but what does it have to do with the devil?

    August 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      You go an awfully long way to say nothing. What you have stated is belief, and since science has disproven enough of the bible to show that it is quite flawed, believing in any of it calls the reason and logic of the believer into question.

      for example, god cannot be omniscient if we have free will. If I can truly choose one action over another, but god already knows what action I will take, it is not free will.
      If history is set to the end of time, there are no actions I can take to change it, so there is no free will.

      Part of the contradiction that shows the belief to be false.

      August 1, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • WASP

      @FAIRY: " free will / God"

      done this before, shall do it again.

      god knows everything you will ever do or think about doing way before humans were ever "created" "ALL-KNOWING"
      god is everywhere so he sees everything. "ALL-PRESENT"
      god made everything............ "ALL-POWERFUL"

      now here are the major failures of that "logic illusion"

      christians like to say "god has a plan for us." yet in the next breath say "god gave us free will"; that is the logic failure right there...............if you have children you would understand this.
      example: i PLAN for my rambunchous 3 year old to go to bed a 9 p.m. (i'm god to a 3 year old, all powerful, all knowing and always there when needed.)
      now seeing this child has a mind of it's own, (FREE WILL) it decides he wants to play with his trucks instead; so without directly intervening which would negate the child's FREE WILL to choose for itself in order to keep my PLAN from totally going to carp.

      thus to sum up; FREE WILL = CHAOS
      GOD'S WILL = ORDER
      the two can not exsist in the same instance, they don't make good bed-fellows. i tried to keep this simple as possible, i think i explained it to my 3 year old this way. lmfao

      August 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        I just responded to you Wasp but I was unable to reply to you directly because my computer was in a loop and wouldn't let me.

        August 1, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "If people were like automatic wind up toys doing exactly what he says on command that would get pretty boring after a while." Right, because we are his toys and it's our job to keep him entertained...

      "What he wants are people who love and worship Him because of their own free will." I love how so many morons believe they "know" what God wants when after reading the bible several times myself I would never assume to know what the supposedly mighty and unknowable creator of the universe wants.

      August 1, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
      • Angry Marine

        Pretty sure he wouldn't want you running around calling people that have different views than yours MORONS.

        August 1, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        Oh, i'm not calling him a moron for having different views, i'm calling him a moron for thinking he "knows" what a supposedly eternal all powerfull all knowing creator of the universe wants.

        August 1, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        I don't claim to know all there is to know about God. Far from it but I do know enough to be convinced of his existence and what he requires of me as a person. "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

        August 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
        • grafactor

          Would that be the same Ecclesiastes that says,

          “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
          says the Teacher.
          “Utterly meaningless!
          Everything is meaningless.”

          August 1, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Science

      Yea, God gave free will so that he can tell Adam "Don't eat the apple" when he knew perfectly well that it wasn't going to stop Adam from eating, making it a totally ineffective warning. And then I am somehow held responsible for that "crime" a supposedly long dead ancestor committed.

      Makes perfect sense. Not!

      August 1, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
      • Angry Marine

        So you know it was an apple, when no one thru out history knows for sure what it was. Now prove it was an apple.

        August 1, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        Apparently God put two forbidden trees in the garden and didn't know which one Adam was going to eat from. Just sort of sux for us that he chose the tree of the knowledge of good and bad instead of the tree of life where we all would have inherited immortality instead of death. But then again, the story of Adam is as likely to be true as the story of Atum who the Egyptians believed created himself, using his thoughts and will out of the watery chaos they called Nu.

        August 1, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
  17. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Lazarus evoluted outta the grave??..

    August 1, 2013 at 10:53 am |
  18. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Turning the US's military defensive forces into Powicemen. ain't gonna work out. Now ya got the military turning the Powice into military with the explosion of SWAT teams. Christians, get outta the gubmint churches. The Beast mob is hungry.

    August 1, 2013 at 9:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Truth Prevails 🙂 sayz,
    "You are extremely misguided. Scripture does not pertain to those who don't share your belief and we seem to be doing well without having a fall back."

    Isn't that a rather crude and primitive att*itude, dude?? With all the followers of Scientism claimin' man is almost 1/2 mil years old and not much was written down?? The A&A's are always makin' prophetic utterances, "HISTORY will show.....!!"
    It wasn't that long ago history was written by the victors. NOW ya got people claimin' victory before the wars are over, spinning as they go along! Progress??

    August 1, 2013 at 10:51 am |
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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.