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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. Kevin Harris

    Atheism is untenable in light of discoveries in cosmology. Of the worldview options, Naturalism is not the best. It fails to explain the discoveries in cosmology that the universe had a beginning 13.7 billion years ago. Consider:

    1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
    2). The universe began to exist.
    3). Therefore, the universe had a cause.
    And...

    1). If the universe was eternal in the past, an actually infinite number of concrete moments would have to be traversed in order for *this moment* to arrive.
    2). It is impossible to traverse an actually infinite number of concrete things.*
    3). This moment (e.g. today) has arrived.
    4). Therefore, the universe is not eternal in the past.

    These scientific and philosophical arguments, if sound, combine to show the universe had a beginning and therefore had a cause. What would the attributes of such a cause be? One can do a deductive conceptual analysis (and doing so avoids things like God-of-the-Gaps-type arguments) and arrive at some possibilities.

    #1. It would be timeless because it caused time, spaceless because it caused space, immaterial because it caused matter and energy, and powerful because of the vastness of the universe. Therefore, the cause would be timeless, spaceless, immaterial, and powerful.

    #2. Philosophically, there are only two things which fit #1, Abstract Objects (like the number "7"), and something of the order of mind..

    #3 Abstract Objects do not cause anything (have no causal power). Therefore, something of the order of mind is the best candidate.

    #4. Therefore, Theism is the best worldview option.

    *Note: God is not a "number of things", but would be absolutely simple in nature, and non-contingent, etc. so could therefore be eternal.

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

      You religious people don't get it do you?
      Just because we don't understand something, yet, does not mean it is or was cause by god.
      Yes there was a big bang and the universe started.
      But just because science has not figured out what started it does not mean it was done by god(s).

      August 2, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
      • Kevin Harris

        I don't get it? You are accusing me of God of the Gaps! I clearly showed how it's not! Don't let your emotions get the better of you my friend! Read my post carefully and respond to the premises please!

        August 2, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Kevin Harris

          You said, "I don't get it?"
          Color me unsurprised.

          You said, "You are accusing me of God of the Gaps!"
          The gap being the origin of the universe.

          You said, "I clearly showed how it's not!"
          No, of course you didn't.

          You said, "Read my post carefully and respond to the premises please!"
          You leap from assigning the cause of the universe to a god. That may be deism, but it isn't theism. If you want to call whatever gave the universe its start your "god", that is fine, but once you start to worship such a cause, you will have undoubtedly crossed over into the realm of insanity.

          Calling the, as of yet, unknown method by which the universe started "god" is confusing at best. The ulterior motive of theists tend to be to assign their god to that method. It is, in that case, a "god of the gaps".

          August 2, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      Let's start at the beginning

      1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

      PROVE IT – unless you can prove this your whole argument is nonsense

      August 2, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
      • My Dog is a jealous Dog

        And how about this...

        Whatever exists had a beginning. So what is the cause of your god?

        August 2, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
        • niknak

          He is like most believers here, they copy and paste some drivel from some fundie website, then post it and then run away when the obvious holes are poked into it.
          Believers only like preaching to the choir.

          August 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
        • Kevin Harris

          Wow! You didn't get to the asterisk I guess! Slow down and read if you want to interact please!

          August 2, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
        • AE

          How about: God is eternal.

          But His creation has a beginning and an end.

          August 2, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
        • LinCA

          @AE

          You said, "How about: God is eternal."
          So is the Tooth Fairy. Care to provide some evidence for your imaginary friend?

          August 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
        • AE

          No, the tooth fairy is something my parents told me to ease my fear about losing teeth. By the age of 12 I knew there was not a fairy entering my room and placing $1 under my pillow and taking my tooth.

          I can't prove God to you on a message board. Especially when you seem more concerned about proving yourself right than learning about the Great Spirit of the Universe.

          August 2, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
        • Kevin Harris

          @ LinCA Care to respond to the evidence I gave at the start of this thread?

          August 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Kevin Harris

          You said, "Care to respond to the evidence I gave at the start of this thread?"
          See above.

          August 2, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
        • LinCA

          @AE

          You said, "No, the tooth fairy is something my parents told me to ease my fear about losing teeth."
          And your god is something my parents told you to keep you in line and to ease your fear about dying, among other bullshit.

          You said, "By the age of 12 I knew there was not a fairy entering my room and placing $1 under my pillow and taking my tooth."
          You got a dollar? No fair.

          The only difference between the Tooth Fairy and your god, is that your parents allowed you to stop believing in one, and not the other.

          You said, "I can't prove God to you on a message board."
          Of course you can't. You can't because there is as much evidence for it as there is for the Tooth Fairy.

          You said, "Especially when you seem more concerned about proving yourself right than learning about the Great Spirit of the Universe."
          I love to learn about "the Great Spirit of the Universe". Science reveals it, piece by verifiable piece.

          August 2, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
        • AE

          –The only difference between the Tooth Fairy and your god, is that your parents allowed you to stop believing in one, and not the other.

          I don't believe in God because of my parents. One doesn't believe, the other didn't start believing until I was older and we didn't live together anymore.

          –Of course you can't. You can't because there is as much evidence for it as there is for the Tooth Fairy.

          I can't prove it to you. Your are just one person and can really only speak for one person. Yourself.

          I'm not required to prove everything I believe to everyone I meet. But there are plenty of sound minded and kind people that believe like I do. I don't have to convince them, because they have the proof they need to believe in God.

          August 2, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
        • LinCA

          @AE

          You said, "I don't believe in God because of my parents. One doesn't believe, the other didn't start believing until I was older and we didn't live together anymore."
          You must be one of the few as in the vast majority of cases, children get their religion, or at least the silly beliefs at their core, from their parents. If that wasn't the case with you, I wonder who infected you? A girl friend or boyfriend, perhaps?

          You said, "I can't prove it to you. Your are just one person and can really only speak for one person. Yourself."
          That implies that you think that gods are only real to the one believing in them. No argument there. But that doesn't make them real in the sense that we understand other things to be real, such as material objects, radio waves and gravity, and such.

          You said, "I'm not required to prove everything I believe to everyone I meet."
          True. I don't particularly care what you believe. It's a free country, and I respect your right to believe whatever nonsense you want.

          Just keep in mind that, if and when you decide to display your irrational beliefs for everyone to see, you should expect to get some questions.

          You said, "But there are plenty of sound minded and kind people that believe like I do."
          Also true, but that doesn't mean that their beliefs are any more rational.

          You said, "I don't have to convince them, because they have the proof they need to believe in God."
          I know. It's not that big of a secret. But it does leave me to wonder what you are doing on this comment board. You've been here long enough to realize that it's mostly those that don't believe like you that will reply.

          August 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
        • AE

          Are you an atheist or agnostic because your parents were atheist/agnostic? Do they believe? Do they live nonsensical and irrational lives? Do you have any loved ones that believe in God? Are they infected? Do you accuse them of having a disease?

          I lived as an atheist for a long time. And what you say just doesn't seem to be true.

          I am here because I like to talk about my trust and confidence in God. And just because a few resident posters on here are hostile to me doesn't sway my faith. I actually ask God to not let me be like that anymore. Because sometimes I do get hostile toward others, and it really just harms myself.

          Why are you here? If you are so rational why don't you post on a scientific blog? It does not seem rational for you to be here.

          I'm a human being – not just a rational being. Life doesn't always seem to be so rational at times. Perhaps that is why we have 2 sides of our brain – a rational and a imaginative side.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
        • LinCA

          @AE

          You said, "Are you an atheist or agnostic because your parents were atheist/agnostic?"
          No, I grew up with christian parents, although I'm almost certain that they were faking it.

          You said, "Do you have any loved ones that believe in God?"
          Yes.

          You said, "Are they infected?"
          Yes.

          You said, "Do you accuse them of having a disease?"
          No. I will not discuss religion and the beliefs at their core, unless a believer brings it up. Most of my family and friends know where I stand, and those that believe tend to avoid the subject. Smart move on their part.

          You said, "I lived as an atheist for a long time."
          So, you could get yourself to start believing in the Easter Bunny again, if you tried?

          You said, "And what you say just doesn't seem to be true."
          Take a close look at how religious beliefs are distributed, geographically. Most people get their religion from their parents through decades of indoctrination.

          You said, "I am here because I like to talk about my trust and confidence in God."
          And I like to point out how silly those beliefs are.

          You said, "And just because a few resident posters on here are hostile to me doesn't sway my faith."
          Don't consider me hostile to you. I have nothing against you, and as I mentioned above, you are free to believe whatever nonsense you want. I only have issues with irrational beliefs.

          You said, "Why are you here?"
          This is entertainment for me (I have the BB bookmarked under "Entertainment". True story).

          You said, "If you are so rational why don't you post on a scientific blog?"
          What makes you think I don't?

          You said, "It does not seem rational for you to be here."
          Religion is one of the worst detriments to society. If I can convince even one innocent bystander of the silliness of it, my job is done. I realize that staunch believers are probably a lost cause, but someone who may have doubts, may be saved.

          You said, "I'm a human being – not just a rational being."
          Don't you mean: "I'm a human being – just not a rational being". Sorry, I couldn't resist.

          You said, "Life doesn't always seem to be so rational at times. Perhaps that is why we have 2 sides of our brain – a rational and a imaginative side."
          There is no need to using one to the exclusion of the other. Imagination is fine. Some of the greatest joy is derived from an active imagination. Our own and through arts, that of others. But when it comes to decisions that affect your life, and the lives of those around you, checking your rational side at the door doesn't help.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
        • AE

          –You said, "If you are so rational why don't you post on a scientific blog?"
          –What makes you think I don't?

          Because you seem to always be here.

          Making fun of infected and people with irrational beliefs as entertainment? I think that is the definition of conceited.

          I work with people that deal with issues you imagine I have; hostility, ridicule and acting conceited to them is not helpful.

          Tolerance, humility and kindness goes a long way in dealing with people like that.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
        • LinCA

          @AE

          You said, "Making fun of infected and people with irrational beliefs as entertainment?"
          The debates are fun. Making fun of the zealots is gravy, and it's not that religion is an illness for which there is no cure.

          You said, "I work with people that deal with issues you imagine I have; hostility, ridicule and acting conceited to them is not helpful."
          Ridicule is often the last resort when dealing with a ridiculous position. If someone hasn't reasoned him or herself into a position it is almost impossible to reason him or her out of it.

          You said, "Tolerance, humility and kindness goes a long way in dealing with people like that."
          I will tolerate it to the point where it starts to affect me or those around me.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
        • AE

          Humility is the way to God. Difficult, but not at all impossible to do.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
        • LinCA

          @AE

          You said, "Humility is the way to God. Difficult, but not at all impossible to do."
          There you go again. I thought we were having a discussion on things where we might find common ground, and you go off on a mind fart.

          As an adult, checking your brain at the door is an absolute requirement to find a "way to God", and in no way different from finding the Tooth fairy. I'll pass.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
        • AE

          Or don't seek humility and think you are right.

          August 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
        • AE

          I used to think like you.

          But then I realized there were people that were a lot smarter than me that believed in God.

          I insisted they were delusional and believe in fairy tales. But once I started to listen with an open mind I realized that was not always the case.

          August 2, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
        • LinCA

          @AE

          You said, "Or don't seek humility and think you are right."
          About there not being any gods? I'm almost certain that I'm right about that one.

          You said, "I used to think like you."
          I find that hard to believe, but if so, please tell me what terrible accident caused you to abondon reason?

          You said, "But then I realized there were people that were a lot smarter than me that believed in God."
          The smarter you are, the fewer do. The fraction of the population that are believers will drop to single digits if you get up among the highly intelligent.

          You said, "I insisted they were delusional and believe in fairy tales. But once I started to listen with an open mind I realized that was not always the case."
          What convinced you there was a god? If you thought like me, you were convinced that the existence of gods is highly unlikely, and the christian god impossible.

          August 2, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
        • AE

          I don't abandon reason. I use it just like you do. It is a survival tool.

          I just don't arrogantly claim some kind of exlusive access to it like I used to do.

          And – this isn't a strictly logical world. We are not robots.

          –The smarter you are, the fewer do.–

          Are you just talking about book smarts? I've been told the poor, suffering and widowed respond better to the gospel than priviliged and well-to-do Americans.

          And there is a lot written about the needy people are God's people. Jesus says "the last will be first, and the first will be last."

          That is a lot different than the American vision of the highly educated and rich people are the best.

          What convinced me there is a God?

          Seeking humility. Honestly looking at myself, and admitting when I am arrogant, selfish and hypocritical. Asking God to overcome these defects. Helping others. Those are some of the simple things that I started doing.

          August 2, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
        • LinCA

          @AE

          You said, "I don't abandon reason."
          Yet you believe in creatures for which there is no rational reason to do so. So, I beg to differ.

          You said, "I use it just like you do."
          No, you don't.

          You said, "It is a survival tool."
          While it helps, it is not required. Superstition has had evolutionary benefits. It is partly the reason why humans are having such a hard time shedding religious nonsense.

          You said, "I just don't arrogantly claim some kind of exlusive access to it like I used to do."
          I don't claim exclusivity.

          You said, "And – this isn't a strictly logical world. We are not robots."
          That we are not robots is blatantly obvious, but that doesn't mean we should relish in ignorance.

          You said, "Are you just talking about book smarts?"
          I'm talking about intelligence.

          You said, "I've been told the poor, suffering and widowed respond better to the gospel than priviliged and well-to-do Americans."
          No surprise there. Scam artists prey on the weak. They are easy targets.

          You said, "And there is a lot written about the needy people are God's people."
          Yup. Desperation can drive people to do irrational things.

          You said, "That is a lot different than the American vision of the highly educated and rich people are the best."
          A highly educated person is far less likely to fall for the scam. Being rich has nothing to do with it, other than that it can provide for a better education.

          You said, "Seeking humility. Honestly looking at myself, and admitting when I am arrogant, selfish and hypocritical. Asking God to overcome these defects."
          Since you must have started from a position where you did not believe in gods (you claimed you thought like me), how does that work? How is that different from asking the Easter Bunny to help you?

          You said, "Helping others. Those are some of the simple things that I started doing."
          I help others. No imaginary friends required.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
      • AE

        You can't think of any rational reason to believe in God?

        I know people who are very rational and believe in God. In fact, I am. But I know people who make a living in the science field – and I imagine you would look silly pretending like you are more rational than they are.

        The difference between God and the Easter Bunny?

        The Easter Bunny is something we tell children. It is like a fairy tale.

        Maybe God reveals himself to the humble? To those who don't think they are better than others? Those who don't think of their family members as being 'infected'?

        You may be the only thing standing in the way of God working in your life.

        All of your claims and insisting you are more reasonable – it is just your opinion. That is all.

        You haven't won anything. You aren't any better than a poor man who just got scammed into giving away his last dollar.

        We are all equal in Christ.

        August 2, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • Damocles

      Timeless because it caused time.... spaceless because it caused space.... existenceless because it caused existence? Let's go further... brainless because it caused brains.... loveless because it caused love....

      Which moment are you talking about? This one? Wait... maybe this one... ooo that moment was nice, I'll have to remember that one. Before you have a second, you have half of one second and then you have a quarter before a half and an eighth and so on and so on. Technically we have yet to reach the first second of anything.

      You must add a bit more to your #1: It would have to be hateful, envious, joyful, destructive, punctual, lazy, murderous... if it is eternal and all-encompas-sing, it would, at best, be neutral. You are describing something you can't possibly understand, yet want to bask in its light.

      August 2, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
      • Kevin Harris

        Something eternal does not cause existence! And I would assume brains are material, and love can be concomitant within the nature of a being.

        Secondly, are you actually saying moments do not exist? It took a moment for you to type that! Contradiction.

        Thirdly, the ontological status of what created the universe is being discussed, not the potential moral ramifications found in creation. All those things (hateful, etc.) do not exist in and of themselves. They are perversions of something else. One cannot have a perversion unless one has a version.

        Finally, just because we can't know something exhaustively does not mean we cannot cover many of its attributes.

        August 2, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
        • Thandie

          Kevin Harris's position:
          "Something eternal does not cause existence!"

          You just blew your whole Christian God theory right out of the water. Well done.

          August 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
        • Kevin Harris

          @Thandie, good try! Something which exists eternally does not cause existence itself! It would have to exist in order to cause existence! Well done!

          August 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
      • Damocles

        @kevin

        Sorry it took me so long to respond, I fell asleep. These types of conversations interest me so hopefully you haven't lost interest.

        I did not say that 'moments' don't exist, I merely said that there are countless moments within a moment.

        The whole perversion/version thing is flawed because you can't have the version without the perversion, either. A thing making something has to have knowledge of those attributes it puts into its creation. Besides that, hate, or at least a strong dislike for 'nothing' being the state of the universe at that time, would have been the motivating force of a being creating 'something'.

        The problem you run into is that if there was 'nothing' for something to create with, then how did it create anything? You can not argue that 'something can not come from nothing' and then basically say that that is the case. You are trapped: either something can come from nothing as a natural course and therefor needs no creator, or the stuff was already here before that creator got here and it was just meddling with the natural order of things. You can try to make the argument that this thing exists outside of our space/time, but it still means that something above it, also outside of our space/time, obviously, had to make as well.

        Let's also consider, for a moment, that even if there is a 'creator', it doesn't have to be especially powerful. We see what we see and say 'oooo some super-duper, awesomely powerful thing must have made all this'. Not true, the thing could have been a C- student. As far as we know, we are the only planet with 'life' on it. What if the top student in class made a universe where all the planets were teeming with life? This creator of yours could be the laughingstock of his class. Could feel shame at what it has done... could feel hatred towards its failed creation....

        August 3, 2013 at 2:38 am |
    • ME II

      @Kevin Harris,

      "1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause."

      This has not been shown to be true in all cases.

      "2). The universe began to exist."

      This is not known either. The Big Bang is thoght to be the begining of space/time as we know it, but was it the begining of the "universe"? We don't know since we don't know what happened before the Big Bang.

      "2). It is impossible to traverse an actually infinite number of concrete things.*
      3). This moment (e.g. today) has arrived.
      4). Therefore, the universe is not eternal in the past."

      This same logic would apply to an 'eternal supernatural being' would it not?

      "#1. It would be timeless because it caused time, spaceless because it caused space, immaterial because it caused matter and energy, and powerful because of the vastness of the universe."

      Even with your logic, all that is required is "It" to not be of this time, space, etc. "It" could still be of another, say a multi-verse.

      August 2, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
      • Kevin Harris

        Show me one case where something can pop into existence uncaused from literally nothing! Don't say Quantum Mechanics – that has not been show either. The quantum vacuum is not "nothing". It has structure. And there are over 10 different interpretations of QM. Which is right?

        Secondly, you just jumped right in without reading the whole post! Are you that anxious to close your mind when it comes to this topic? Read the asterisk when it comes to God's eternality then we can discuss.

        Thirdly, the multi-verse, if it exists, just puts the problem back a step. What caused the multiverse, etc.? The Guth-Vilenkin theorem shows that any universe/multiverse that is expanding is not eternal in the past.

        August 2, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
      • ME II

        @Kevin Harris,
        You claimed that "Whatever begins to exist has a cause," therefore I assume you are able to show that the opposite is impossible or necessarily self-contradictory... not just that it's never been seen.

        You are asserting that a non-contingent being exists. This is special pleading. If you can assert a being non-contingent then I can assert the universe non-contingent.

        Yes, a multi-verse would push the problem back one step, just as non-contingent being would. What caused your God to exist?

        I don't claim to fully understand Guth-Vilenkin, but I think it assumes an overall positive expansion of the universe and specifically states that there may well be a scientific explanation/understanding of the universe pre-Big Bang.

        August 2, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
        • Kevin Harris

          ME II, the first premise is a metaphysical principle that is older than Plato: from nothing, nothing comes! "Nothing" is not something! There is not even the potential for something in nothing! This is held in the annals of philosophy. If you would like to show that 1) the principle is false or 2) is not at least more plausible than its negation, you have a huge burden of proof!

          Secondly, I didn't assert that a non-contingent being exists. I showed the steps to get there! In addition, I gave arguments that the universe is quite contingent, and leads to something non-contingent.

          Non-contingent beings do not have a cause. They are independent. As Leibniz pointed out, there are only two kinds of being: necessary beings (which exist of their own nature, i.e. cannot NOT exist, and contingent beings, which require something else for their existence. The universe is the latter. Right?

          I told you what GV model says. Expanding (bubbling) universes are not eternal in the past. Also, I didn't just give scientific evidence for the Big Bang, I gave you philosophical evidence (impossibility of traversing an actual concrete infinite) to consider.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • Hifi

      So you are of the school of thought which is, "Everything I needed to know about logic I learned in kindergarten?

      August 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
      • Kevin Harris

        No, but apparently you are! It would be logical to respond to my premises would it not? FWIW, it is a waste of time to post stupid, snarky things like that! Contribute something positive to life rather than something negative! The world will be a better place!

        August 2, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
      • Jen

        Kevin, you sure drank the Koolaid. What's worse, though, is your pretenses to having an understanding cosmological science and quantum theory. You are pretty easy to see through. You are dishonest as well as deluded.

        August 2, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
        • Kevin Harris

          Jen, none of that addresses anything I wrote! Please! Show me where I'm wrong, which premise is false and why, etc. You've done nothing but attack me, not the arguments I put at the beginning of this thread. That is called Argumentum ad Hominem. Why don't you correct me or perhaps ask me questions (I've studied this for decades!).

          August 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • Evelyn Harris

      Kevin, such a god as you present potential characteristics for is wildly inconsistent with the claimed features of the Christian god. And the "arguments" you present are mostly unsound, as well as specious.

      August 2, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
      • Kevin Harris

        Evelyn, please show me how the arguments are unsound. I could say the same thing back to you! And actually, the attributes I've given so far *are* consistent with the Christian God (eternal, powerful, creator, universe had a beginning, immaterial, etc.). What you are right to point out is the Kalam Cosmological Argument itself only shows a beginning of the universe. What the candidate are is subject to further conceptual analysis (which I did).

        August 2, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
      • Evelyn Harris

        Wow, Kevin, you're quite the blowhard. Now how old does the bible say the earth is again? And what's that phrenic nerve of yours doing there, of all places? Love those mustard trees too.

        Do lose your lastworditis already, while you're at it. You suck.

        August 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
        • Kevin Harris

          Evelyn, I'm curious why you are so emotional about his and downright nasty to someone you don't even know? I'm at least a fellow human being on a journey for truth the same as you! Forget about me, your challenge is to look in the mirror and figure out why you are so angry about this?

          Genesis does not say how old the Earth/Universe is. "Yom" (day) can mean a long period of time. In fact, there are indications in the scriptures themselves that the universe is very ancient and that is consistent with our best science.

          The mustard seed was the smallest that the local farmers used ("that you sow upon the land"). Jesus was not saying it was smaller than the orchid seed, etc. (Not sure what you mean about the nerve. What's up with that?).

          August 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
      • Kevin Harris

        Evelyn, be nice to me! We may be cousins! 🙂

        August 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Kevin, causality, while a handy point of view, kind of like Newtonian gravity, pretty much falls apart when studying quantum phenomena. A fine example of this is virtual particles. And, I admit that I get a kick out you describing god, the theorical (using the word lightly) most complex possible being, as "simple". Since it is the most complex possible being, per Occam's razor, it is the least likely answer to ANY question at all.

      August 2, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
  2. aallen333

    Atheism only enforces the reality that there is a God. What is atheism if not a form of religion that non-believers revert toward to express worship toward the idol of their imaginations. All people were created to worship. If you are in right relationship with God, it is Him that you worship. If you are not in right relationship with God, your mind will inevitably magnify the object of your affection into godlike proportions. For some this includes animals. For others this includes money. For others this includes s-x, s-xuality and s-xual orientation. And for those who have decided to audibly deny God, their denial (or atheism) becomes their God. What are the identifiers of worship – is it not a focus of thought, time and adoration. I can think of no other terms that accurately describe the behavior of atheists toward their profession of faith in atheism.

    August 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      So what about the 4 billion people that worship other gods besides your version? Are they all okay? Or are there now more restrictions to be placed on belief?

      Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a s exual position.

      August 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      hahahhahaahahhahhaah, i love this one this drool is how Christians deny the existence of other gods, not knowing it deny the existence of their god, monotheism is a lie; its ether all gods are real or none.

      August 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • niknak

      so NOT collecting stamps is just as much a hobby as collecting them is?

      August 2, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
      • Sam Yaza

        my hobby is not getting out of bed in the morning, but i don't see what scare crows has to do with anything

        August 2, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Jake

      Seriously, what are you even talking about? Atheism is not a religion. No, people not believing in a god doesn’t somehow magically mean that there is a god. How can you honestly even think that makes any sense at all? It’s truly insane.

      August 2, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
      • Sam Yaza

        i think we already confirmed that Monotheist are insane

        August 2, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      So if someone identifies as being apolitical, what is their political position?
      Is being asymptomatic a sign of illness?

      August 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "All people were created to worship."

      There's your problem. Not only is that an unprovable premise, it is nonsense.

      August 2, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  3. Sam Yaza

    why because science disproves Christians beliefs and proves Pagan beliefs,.. we Druids have been saying the forest is an interconnected organism for 8000 years
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8SORM4dYG8

    August 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  4. AverageJoe76

    If all/or ONE of the 'Gods' praised on Earth are real, then why are they hiding from us. Why be unseen, then give your prophets instuctions to have the masses recognize and worship them? I mean, what part of the game is this? "I'm here, but you cannot see nor hear me"

    Life's full of challenges already. Was that nessessary?

    August 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      I think Bill Hick's summed it up best:

      "God put [dinosaur fossils] here to test our faith!" … I think God put you here to test my faith, dude. Does that bother anybody else, the idea that God might be fvcking with our heads? I have trouble sleeping with that knowledge. Some prankster God runnin' around, [pantomimes digging] "We'll see who believes in me now. I am the Prankster God – I am killing me!"

      August 2, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
      • AverageJoe76

        LOL, hilarious!

        August 2, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Bill Hicks was the master.

        "A Christian told me that he was really offended by my jokes, so I told him, 'Well, forgive me.'"

        August 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
      • Atheist, me?

        The joke is that faith in the Bible means believing that your positive action will give you a positive result in the long run. Do you believe that being loving to others has a positive result?

        August 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
      • Atheist, me?

        Faith as defined in the Bible is believing that positive action will eventually produce good results.
        That is why I am not an Atheist. What you don't understand you will have contempt for. Unfortunately Atheists don't recognise this simple principle.

        August 2, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • AE

      Do you seek humility? I know my pride was a huge obstacle that prevented me to understand how God works in my life.

      August 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
      • AverageJoe76

        I am humble. Doesn't escape the fact that God cannot been seen, heard, and it seems, found. That's all, really. My antennae's up, but I'm not picking up any reception.

        August 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • AE

          I am not humble. So I do somethings, like prayer and service, that humble me. And I can start to see a loving God at work in this world.

          That's just my experience though.

          August 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
      • Douglas

        AE, your "experience" ranks right up there as proof of anything, with that of those who have "experienced" alien abduction.

        No, don't keep on trying. You'll just make a bigger fool of yourself.

        August 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/uk-pol-admits-affair-alien-lover-article-1.1376650

          This guy drew pictures of the cat queen alien who would abduct him and then mate with him. I mean, he has pictures people, how much more evidence do you need?

          August 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
        • AE

          Sure. My experience as a human being is the greatest thing I have to depend on.

          August 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
        • ME II

          @Just the facts Ma'am...,
          LOL.
          Of course, the Bible forbids adultery, but is ET se.x really adultery?

          August 2, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
      • niknak

        AE,
        You said you were agnostic, and you had some event happen in your life that a xtian helped you with.
        And you say that is why you are a xtian now.
        Question for you,

        If you became a xtian because it was a xtian that helped you, would you have become a muslim instead had it been a muslim that helped you?

        August 2, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          Let's be real, you know as well as I do that there is no way xenophobic AE would accept help from a Muslim.

          August 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
        • niknak

          I am curious as it spouts off all the time that it found god because of some help it got from some xtian.
          Would it have found allah instead?

          August 2, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
        • AE

          Maybe. I don't know the answer to that hypothetical question.

          I suppose if I came to know somebody like Jesus Christ I might.

          August 2, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
      • niknak

        But AE, the muslims have their version of jeebus too.
        And a holy book that tell you how to live.
        In fact, all the religions have these things too.

        Why are they all wrong, yet the one you follow is right?

        August 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
        • AE

          In my experience it doesn't work for me.

          I don't think they are wrong. Or I am right.

          What Jesus Christ says seems true to me.

          August 2, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
        • niknak

          So you are claiming the jesus actually speaks to you?
          Was this happening before that xtian helped you, or did it start after?

          If someone told you they were being spoken to by the pink unicorn would you believe them?
          Or would you just think they were insane?

          I know which answer I would go with.

          August 2, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
        • AE

          Yes. I'm sure God has always been trying to talk to me, but my pride and arrogance got in the way.

          A hypothetical person talking about a hypothetical pink unicorn?

          August 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
        • niknak

          Does not matter.
          If anyone claims invisible beings are communicating with them, the vast majority would think that person was insane.

          I would wager that the vast majority of religious people would have issues with your story that jesus/god is communicating directly to you.
          And many would think you insane for taking that tact.

          August 2, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
        • AE

          It does matter. It is relevant.

          That are way too many people that believe in God that hold positions they wouldn't be able to hold if they were deemed insane: physicians, surgeons, police officers, fire fighters, airplane pilots, Harvard University professors.

          I've never met a Christian that didn't think that God communicates with them. I didn't say I hear an audible voice – God speaks to us in different ways.

          August 2, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          It's just popularity. You'd be considered crazy to believe in Thor, now, but it used to be perfectly rational. Back in the day, you'd have been the odd one out if you didn't believe in Thor.

          August 3, 2013 at 12:49 am |
  5. Robert Brown

    3 causes of unbelief; the devil, the flesh, & the world.

    August 2, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      #1 cause of disbelief, there is no God.

      August 2, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
      • Angry Marine

        So you have proof of this statement? Source Please. We all very much want to see your evidence.

        August 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
        • bostontola

          Angry,
          You don't need proof for disbelief. If there was proof, it wouldn't be in the realm of belief/disbelief.

          August 2, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          Here is how we arrived at our current position: The religious claim "There is a God!" the non-religious ask "What proof have you of this?" and the religious reply "We have faith!" to which the response is "No, I said proof, not faith. What proof do you have?" to which again we get "We have faith!" to which the non-religious can only draw one conclusion "So you have no proof then? So God does not exist?" and the angry reply from the religious then becomes "What?! How dare you say there is no God! What proof do you have that there is no God?!" at which point any reasonable person would walk away...

          August 2, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
        • ME II

          to be fair I think @Angry Marine might have been talking about this, " there is no God."

          August 2, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          correction: at which point any reasonable person would 'sigh' and then walk away...

          August 2, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          As you're the ones making extraordinary claims, let's ee some extraordinary evidence.

          August 2, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
        • fred

          If man provides proof then that proof would establish the Bible wrong. Jesus did not provided proof to the demands of non believers that had already rejected him. Jesus went a step further and said he spoke in parables so those with eyes could see and those with ears could hear. In the Old Testament Abraham had to step out in faith without evidence or proof. Looks like what you are asking for will never be given.
          In those cases where Jesus performed miracles it was generally to establish certain principles and fulfill prophecy (John called them signs because they pointed to the redeemer) as his purpose was the cross.

          Belief is not a matter of proof as atheists believe there is no God without proof, believe in naturalism as origin of life (without proof), believe in an accidental universe and accidental existence against all odds (without proof) etc. etc.

          August 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          I don't ask nonbelievers to prove that there is no God. I do believe that if you seek God with your heart, he will find you & give you a reason to believe.

          August 2, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
        • sam stone

          Robert: Look up "confirmation bias" and then get back to us

          August 2, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          If you seek Allah you will find him. If you seek Jesus you will find him. If you seek Odin you will find him. Starting a journey of discovery with the conclusion already in mind and the way to arrive at your pre-concieved destination is to believe in your already held conclusion is not really a journey at all. It's more of a bunker mentallity where you hold a single position and challenge anyone to move you from your defensive posture where the challenge is not so much to find the truth but to hold on to whatever ground you had already taken which is usually inherrited from peers and parents during early indoctrination.

          August 2, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • Robb

          Yes I do have proof that god does not exist. However, it is not the kind of proof I can show or that can be demonstrated. It is a reveled truth that I know in my heart, and that is just as good as evidence right. And after all you can't prove I don't have proof that god doesn't exist.

          August 2, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
        • fred

          We all have reasons to believe or not as proof requires acceptable standards of evidence. We know right up front that God is not of matter and substance that lends itself to standards of evidence that are limited by their vary nature by matter and energy they are composed of. In short man can only prove that which was created since everything known is made of that which is created.
          God was not created and simply is. All of science hits a dead end at the point of God. Even the Bible cannot capture God as God cannot be contained within the limits of our time and space constraints. All science points towards causation, in order for the theory of general relativity to hold it is known that causation had to be outside our known dimensions (this is not proof of God only proof that creation of time cannot come from within that same time boundary). The list of reasons for God goes on as does say Hawking's reason for no god needed. When probability of existence was proven impossible based upon only a single universe Hawking's introduced M theory. We all support our bias

          August 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "I do believe that if you seek God with your heart, he will find you & give you a reason to believe."

          This premise fails when presented with the number of people who were raised religious and sought God with the hearts yet left their beliefs behind – not because they were abused by priests or because pastors are sanctimonious and hypocritical or any of the all too human 'failings' of the religious, but because they simply came to disbelief in God.

          August 2, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        GOPer, belief to disbelief=the parable of the sower = the devil, the flesh, & the world.

        August 2, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • bostontola

      I wish you were right, if so, there would be very few believers. The devil is a childish thing, but if the flesh and world caused disbelief, there would be few believers.

      Really? The world?

      August 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        The world, as in our secular society. It isn't illegal so it must be ok.

        August 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
        • bostontola

          Once again religious people state things that are factually wrong. It's no illegal to say the N word, but public people who say it lose big time, because it's wrong. There are many other examples of legal things that are shunned.

          August 2, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • flying spaghetti monster

      I agree! The devil, the flesh, and the world.

      The devil: As they say, the devil is in the details. Thus, the details of religion are a huge reason why people are giving up on it. Any detailed examination of the bible leads rational thinking people to seriously question its vaunted status as the 'word of god.'

      The flesh: The brain being the fleshy part most responsible for disbelief, provided that that brain's owner is using it from time to time. The other fleshy bits responsible for disbelief include the naughty parts - as people try to come to grips with the contradiction between a god who gives us natural urges would make those same urges sinful. Makes you wonder.

      The world: The natural world, all around us. As science and observable, repeatable, evidentiary based explanations for nature and life come into focus, we lose the need for the stop-gap god solutions which were all our primitive ancestors had to cling to.

      The devil, the flesh, and the world, indeed.

      August 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Desires are healthy, be fruitful & multiply, if you were never hungry you might starve.

        August 2, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
        • Thandie

          Thus, desire isn't a sin. It's natural.

          August 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • sam stone

      right, Robert, not like it is an absurd story

      August 2, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • sam stone

      robert: you said to me a few months ago that you never seriously considered the possibility that there is no god. Why not? Do you lack the courage to test your own convictions? Do you find it more comfortable to go along with the beliefs of your family and/or culture?

      August 2, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      More like – logic, reason, and common sense!

      August 2, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Robert Brown' is an instance of a False Dilemma fallacy.

      http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      August 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Sorry to bother you, again.

        August 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
  6. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    American public secular society = giant pool at water park
    Religious ideology = urine

    Atheists are not peeing their own brand of ideology into the pool, they are simply asking the religious to use the private bathroom for their personal faith instead of the public pool so the rest of us don't have you peeing in our mouths. We aren't saying you can't pee, just do it at home or in private, it is that simple.

    August 2, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      This is easily confirmed by watching a few minutes of the Yellow News coming from FOX & Friends...

      August 2, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  7. Jonah

    Recently I had a pipe break in my home. I wasn't going to make claim on it, but at the urging of family and friends, I finally made a claim with my insurance company. Everyone has a lot of faith in insurance companies and the promises they make. The initial estimate of repairs came in at many thousands, but then the adjuster started whittling away here and there and by the time he was done, they owed very little leaving me to make up the difference. Why am I saying all this here? Our society is full of misleading representations and out right lies. "Dust in the wind", my friend, "all they are is dust in the wind!" You can't depend on anything being as represented. Yet, as Jeremiah said,"11 Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. (Jeremiah 2:11)13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:13) We continue to put our faith in "broken cisterns, that can hold no water".

    No one has ever been misled by the scriptures or the prophets and apostles! Everything is exactly as represented! By keeping all the commandments, and, yes, I am LDS (mormon to you), so that includes abstaining from alcohol, bad drugs, tobacco, tea and coffee; I have observed my family to prosper and to find peace and happiness. I find it to make much more practical sense to put my faith in the Lord!

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

      Consider for a moment that there is no such thing as "The Lord". The Lord is the promised insurance payment.

      August 2, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • bostontola

      "Everything is exactly as represented". Not really, bible says the earth was created before the sun, says land animals were created before sea animals. Says bats are birds (—Leviticus 11:13-19, KJV). There are lots of flat out falsehoods.

      August 2, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Jonah

      Nephi seems to have had it "spot on" when he said, "34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. (2 Nephi 4:34)

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

        Do you believe the Old Testament is absolute truth?

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

        Yep, the fantasy world is much more satisfactory and rewarding - **anything** you wish or imagine can be "true".

        August 2, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • ME II

      There are many problems in the Bible, if taken literally.

      August 2, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • iiss

      If you believe the bible is all true and has never led anyone astray, why don't you read up on some of its
      internal contradictions? In other words, forget about all the bits where the words of your religion contradict
      the physical reality - just focus on the ones where different bits of your holy book contradict one another!

      Start here – there is ample fodder:

      http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html

      If you can base your life on something which is not consistent with the real world or even itself, more power to you.
      The rest of us like to think about things a bit, however.

      August 2, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
      • Tyler H

        This is a two way street. There are many places in the Bible where there appear to be contradictions, but that doesn't mean that most of them cannot have explanation. In fact, many of these contradictions are not contradictions at all and are a product of context being lost in the translations. Going to the original greek can solve many problems in some cases.

        http://www.thedevineevidence.com/skeptic_contradictions.html

        Just as you can post a link to all of the contradictions you speak of, I will post a link containing a list of fairly detailed responses:

        http://www.thedevineevidence.com/skeptic_contradictions.html

        August 2, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • dissidentfairy

      Jonah, I too am a believer. I'm not a Mormon but I respect your beliefs. I do have one question for you though regarding one of your beliefs. Why do Mormons abstain from wine? It's not that I have an issue with abstaining from alcohol because I don't. In fact it might be a good thing, but, the Bible seems to be okay with moderate use of alcohol, even Jesus Christ turned water into wine. So why do Mormons refrain and based on what Biblical command? I'm going to cite a scripture that is in support of a little wine being good for the body. "Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses." 1 Timothy 5:23

      August 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
      • Jonah

        I am trying very hard to respond to you, but every time I do, cnn deletes it. Must be a bad word buried somewhere. This is very frustrating!

        August 2, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
        • Helpful Hints

          Jonah, Check your post for any of these:

          Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN Belief Blog/WordPress automatic filter:
          Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
          You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
          -
          ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
          co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
          co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
          crac-ker…
          cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
          ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
          ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
          ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, sopho-more, etc.
          ho-oters…as in sho-oters
          ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
          inf-orms us…
          hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
          jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
          ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
          koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
          ni-gra…as in deni-grate
          nip-ple
          o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
          pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
          p-oon… as in sp-oon, lamp-oon, harp-oon
          p-orn… as in p-ornography
          pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
          que-er
          ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
          se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
          sl-ut
          sm-ut…..as in transm-utation
          sn-atch
          sp-ank
          sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
          sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
          strip-per
          ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, t-itle, ent-ity, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
          tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, salt-water, etc.
          va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
          who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
          wt-f....also!!!!!!!
          x-xx…

          August 2, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          I understand. I hope you are able to post your answer because I really would like to know. Wine is mentioned a lot in the Bible and it would seem that many of God's servants did consume it. The only place in the Bible I see where it's condemned would be for over usage and drunkenness which is understandable. So I guess my question would be how do Mormons Biblically justify abstinence for all their members? I understand choice but if it can't be Biblically justified then by what or who's authority?

          August 2, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
      • Jonah

        Let me just cut down my response to say that God has said through his living prophet, that pork is ok to eat now with modern practices of cleanliness, but alcoholic beverages, which used to be weak, are now much much stronger and are not good for man.

        August 2, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
        • Cabernet

          Jonah, I'll bet you tried to say, "gr.apes", didn't you?

          August 2, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Thank you for your reply. Of course there are various strengths available today but how do we know what the strengths were back then? Maybe they were stronger than the wines today. Who knows! The Bible does say that a little wine is good for the body so where does it say in the Bible what you just said? I'd really like to know. I've read the Bible several times and have never found it. I admit I learn something new every time and always discover something I may have over looked before, so I'm not saying that there isn't a scripture to support your views, but I haven't seen it. I'm thinking it might be a church doctrine rather than a Biblical command.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      If no one has ever been misled by a prophet – then what are the Mormons doing in SLC? Do you all have your sense of smell removed – how can you stand living next to that sea of stagnant goo?

      August 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Brian

      "No one has ever been misled by the scriptures or the prophets and apostles!"

      Lololol

      August 29, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  8. Saraswati

    I'm afraid the broken pages have made commenting on here a lot less fun. I'll check back in a few weeks to see if CNN has fixed this site so it works. Have fun all!

    August 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • OTOH

      I hear ya', Saraswati, and I so agree.

      It's difficult to comprehend how a company like CNN (or WordPress, if it's their fault) can't figure out a way to fix this - it's been going on for a couple of weeks. I'll bet that we even have computer-program savvy posters here who would know how to do it.

      August 2, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • Vic

        Yep, just change the "dynamic allocation" for page size to a fixed one.

        August 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Yes, it is very frustrating.

      I don't know why it works on some topics and not on others.

      August 2, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
      • OTOH

        I don't know either, @I'm not..., and I know pretty much zilch about programming or formatting, or whatever it's even called, but it seems like it began when the new Editor started deleting stuff. Maybe if he left a placeholder ("Post Deleted", or something), it would stop the page numbers from shifting backward... is that what's causing the "Recent Comment" mess?

        August 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          It all started when they changed the number of posts displayed per page from 20 to 10 to 15 and back up to 20, all in the space of a day or two.

          August 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
  9. bostontola

    A stunning, incontrovertible fact:

    Most of the human beings in the world today are victims of the mass delusion of their religion. A maximum of 1 can be right.

    Next century, people will look back in amazement that in the 21st century the earth's humans were in mass delusion.

    August 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  10. Vic

    A lot of people here on CNN Belief Blog say that they don't believe that God, or a god, exists, yet, when you follow their line of thinking, you can't help it wonder: is it really that they "don't believe" or that they just "don't want to believe?!"

    August 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Vic, you only ask that question because you believe and cannot comprehend an alternative.

      August 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
      • Ann

        He just doesn't want to not believe.

        August 2, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Do you have any evidence of a god? The ancient superstitions have been replaced by knowledge. No need for a god as indeed there is no evidence for any.

      August 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Okay, you're right. Now I "want to believe"!

      Okay I'm waiting... Did that cause a god to suddenly pop into existence?

      August 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Jake

      Why would anyone not want to believe that if they follow a few simple rules, they'll go to a magical place when they die for eternity? It's not that we don't want to believe, it's that it's unbelievable.

      Either way, you don't get to choose what you believe, so what we want is irrelevant.

      August 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Actually, I really would like to believe. I really wish there was a god. I cannot believe in any gods though, because there is no good evidence for any of them. There goes your theory, I guess.

      August 2, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • dissidentfairy

      There may be some who are sincere but I agree with you based on the hostility I've seen. The majority don't Want to believe!

      August 2, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
      • Jake

        Please explain what makes you think that atheists don't want to believe that? Also, please explain how "wanting" to believe something has any relavancy on actually believing something. I want to believe there's a billion dollars in my bank account.

        August 2, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          I just responded to you but it was deleted. To answer your question as succinctly as possible Atheists online mock, ridicule and profane believers. If they were really sincere they wouldn't do that. They would listen and disagree in a polite manner. The fact that they are rude and hostile for the most part indicates that they don't want to believe they just want to argue.

          August 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
        • Jake

          I don't understand how you think the two things are related. Even if some atheists are hostile towards religious people, how does that indicate that they don't wish that religion were true? They simply don't believe it and in many cases, think that people who do believe it must be crazy / delusional.

          August 2, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, what it means is that if you are being defensive in this case, you are in denial.

          August 2, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Why would anyone not want to believe? Sure, I could imagine not wanting to believe in a particular god (Kali pops to mind for me), but I think even the most unimaginative person would agree there could be some nice, fun and interesting gods. I would love to find out some of these existed, but I have never seen evidence. The gods that have been presented to me so far have all been fairly implausible.

      August 2, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      It's not that you don't believe in Zeus, Vic, it's that you don't want to believe!

      August 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
      • Saraswati

        Nicely put. Vic, is that the reason you don't believe in Zeus?

        August 2, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • dissidentfairy

      Wanting something is not the same as going after it. There are dreamers who dream and there are those who dream and bring their dreams to fruition.

      August 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Vic

      Well, I met many people in the past who had no faith in God, or a god, who would naturally agree that logically speaking, there must be someone behind all of this; however, they don't want to commit to any specific faith.

      August 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
      • Saraswati

        Were you recommending they put a list of god names in a hat and pull one and then work on ignoring any inconsistencies they saw?

        August 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
      • Ann

        Believing that "I can't come up with an explanation for the universe that doesn't involve a deity" is not the same thing as logically proving that there MUST be a deity.

        August 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
      • ME II

        @Vic,
        "Well, I met many people in the past who had no faith in God, or a god, who would naturally agree that logically speaking, there must be someone behind all of this;..."

        I can't speak for them, but I don't see a logical reason why someone must be behind everything. Care to explain that logic?

        August 2, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
        • Vic

          First Cause.

          August 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,
          1) Is a "first cause" logical?
          a) How exactly does a "first cause" exist, In the first place?
          b) Is causality always necessary?
          c) if b) hen how is a) possible?
          2) Even if one were necessary, it is not logically necessary for it to be "someone".

          August 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Vic, Even if there were a "first cause" why do you presume it was your god. You have no evidence.

          August 2, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • GodFreeNow

          Again Vic, you can insert the magic bunny theory here to see if you idea passes the smell test. If you can insert "magic bunny" into a theory and it still has equal weight and validity as the god theory does, then you know your logic has gone awry.

          August 2, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
      • Vic

        @ME II "..."

        For this universe, which is ever changing, hence finite, hence can not be eternal, hence had a beginning, to exist, there must be a cause. Since the universe had a beginning, there must be a cause that is outside the universe's beginning that is non-temporal (without beginning nor end,) hence unchanged, hence uncaused, hence a First Cause
        (Eternal.)

        August 2, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,
          1) I don't think you have established that this universe is finite. We don't know what went on before the Big Bang or if "before" had any meaning. The space/time as we know it may just be another phase of the universe or a particular aspect of a larger reality. The point is we don't know.

          2) I don't think you've established the necessity of causality, especially before space/time even existed. Perhaps the universe caused itself, spontaneous creation. The point is we don't know.

          At the same time you are claiming that your "first cause" is uncaused. This is an example of special pleading.

          3) I don't think you've established, if there was a "first cause", that it was "someone", an intelligent being. Perhaps, a mult-verse does exist and has always existed that continually spawns singularities. The point is we don't know.

          Or perhaps another approach.
          If change negates infinity, then how could a "someone" cause a "first cause" without changing?
          If change does not negate infinity, then why can't the universe, in some form, be eternal?

          August 2, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
        • Vic

          Change implies finiteness! The least of motion (e.g. expansion) is change, hence temporal, hence finiteness. That's a scientific basic.

          The universe could have not caused itself since its finite, temporal, had a beginning (non-eternal.) Only a cause outside the universe's beginning that is non-temporal, hence eternal, could have caused it. The First Cause can only be non-temporal, that is non-changing, that is infinite, that is Eternal.

          August 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • Vic

          Regarding the Multiverse Hypothesis, that is highly implausible, especially by the Occam's razor principle. Even if there were multiple universes, for the sake of argument, there must be a First Cause for them!

          August 2, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Vic, Even if there were a "first cause" why do you presume it was your god. You have no evidence.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
      • Gadflie

        Vic, at the very, very best (and this is being generious), causality is an unproven postulate. And, first cause a pipe dream.

        August 2, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      Most of us as children, believed in Santa Claus. Then we were either told he wasn't real, or we finally began to apply logic to the possibility of his exsistence. I believe it was the "flying reindeer" that was the nail in Santa's coffin...

      August 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
      • Saraswati

        For the record, I would very much LIKE to believe in Santa.

        August 2, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
        • Johnny

          Yeah, if Santa were real it would save me a little bit of money when he brought my kids presents.

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

      So Vic, any advice for someone who really really wants to believe in Odin?

      August 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
      • Vic

        Well, I am only speaking on one level, that is the existence of God. The next level would be who that God is.

        August 2, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          But what does personal desire for something to be true have to do with something actually being true? It would not matter how much I wanted Odin to be real if he does not exist, and the same goes for Yahweh or Jesus or Zeus for that matter. No amount of hoping or wanting will make something true. So what are you left with when you realize that wanting something to be true makes no difference? The only thing left for me is actual study and investigation which so far shows ZERO evidence for anything "supernatural" having ever occured and no evidence of Odin or Zeus or any other Gods/gods.

          August 2, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • ME II

      @Vic,
      Actually, I want to believe in what really exists, be that god or no god. It just that I see no reason to think that a god actually exists.

      August 2, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        This reminded me of a joke. Two blondes were walking along and came upon some tracks. The first blonde says "I think those are deer trakcs!" and the second blonde says "Nope, those are definately bear tracks.." and they were still arguing when the train hit them...

        August 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
        • ME II

          So what happened to the bear and the deer?

          August 2, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • sam stone

      How is belief a choice,Vic?

      Can you choose to believe in something you find to be unbelievable?

      Here is a test in case you might wander into intellectual honesty.....

      Believe as hard as you can that Bugs Bunny is god
      Put all your faith in it,,,,
      seek Bugs with an open heart
      Bugs was sent here to pay for your sins....

      doesn't work, does it?

      how do you expect people can have ANY feelings toward a being in which they do not believe?

      Just a thought.

      Take the challenge, if you have the ba11z

      August 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
      • Vic

        Creator and creature are never equal, conceptually and actually!

        August 2, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • sam stone

      Apparently, Vic is yet another christian who cannot answer that question. I supppose I can't blame them, lacking courage and all. That is why they cower before their god and allow others to take the punishment they have been told they deserve.

      August 2, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  11. GY

    Do atheist groups have weekly or monthly services? If so, what are the topics of conversation?

    August 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Jake

      I practice my atheism every single day by not going to church. The topics of conversation I have while not going to church vary widely.

      August 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      It depends on the group. I think many groups divide their time between volunteer work, discussing unconst.itutional laws that teabaggers and evangelicals want to force on everyone, and cool debates and scientific discoveries and such.

      Why do you ask?

      August 2, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
      • GY

        Just curious. Thanks for the information.

        August 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Secular humanists do.

      Google "good without god" if you really want to understand more about humanist groups.

      Atheists in general, no.

      August 2, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      If you are interested look here:

      Church without God – By Design
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/22/

      August 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Full article:
        http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/22/church-without-god-by-design/

        August 2, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
        • GY

          Thank you.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Most atheists don't belong to groups that center on atheism, because it's just a lack of belief like no believing in leprechauns. Where there are groups they mostly focus on legal issues related directly to atheism or personal issues of dealing with family.

      Atheists often do, however, belong to other groups of people who share their moral, metaphysical and/or scientific beliefs. Some examples of groups atheists might belong to:

      Unitarian Universalists
      Scientific Pantheists (atheist, despite name) or Universal Pantheists (mostly atheist)
      Secular Humanists
      Various Buddhist or Mindfulness groups

      If you want to know what these groups discuss you can look at their websites online.

      But many atheists don't belong to such broad groups, preferring to focus on more specific or local issues by joining political or environmental organizations.

      August 2, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  12. bostontola

    "presenting an unprovable belief as "science."" Who came up with Intelligent Design? Accusing atheists of doing what religious actually do? There is a word for that, hypocrites.

    August 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • bostontola

      Meant as a reply below.

      August 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  13. Doc Vestibule

    While "happiness" is a slippery term to quantify, there does exist a "Satisfaction with Life Index" created by an Analytic Social Psychologist at the University of Leicester.
    Dr. White analysed data from numerous sources, including UNESCO, the CIA, the New Economics Foundation, the WHO, the Veenhoven Database, the Latinbarometer, the Afrobarometer, and the UNHDR.

    The top 10 countries on this index – Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Iceland, The Bahamas, Finland, Sweden, Bhutan, Brunei and Canada, most have significant non-believer and/or non-Christian demographics.
    In Denmark, only 28% of citizen believe that there is a God ( Eurobarometer Poll 2010).
    20% of Swiss citizens describe themselves as irreligious.
    Under half (44%) of Austrians believe there is a God.
    Iceland is tricky since they have a state religion and at birth, chidlren are automatically entered into the religious group the mother belongs to but recent polling shows at least 10% of the population is openly atheistic.
    In Finland, 57% of people say their agnostic/non-religious, according to IISP polls.
    Brunei is around 65% Muslim and only 10% Christian.
    In Bhutan, 70% of the population is Buddhist with the remainder practicing a cross between Hinduism and Buddhism.
    1/4 of Canadian citizens say they have no religion, with that figure increasing all the time.

    So to say that people are miserable without Jesus, or a religion in general, is not accurate.

    August 2, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
  14. Kindoalkun

    This article is a gross oversimplification of Atheism. How can a simple lack of a belief in something unite a group of people? Oh, that's right...to some it's MORE than that. And there's the issue: what exactly IS an Atheist?

    The common thread among Atheists and Theists? A relatively small portion of each group are dogma zealots and cannot tolerate when other people's beliefs conflict with theirs. See: Evangelicals and Internet Atheists.

    This current "Atheism" movement is just another example of a group of people with borderline Narcissistic Personality Disorder who feel some sort of compulsion to convince others of their beliefs. Supreme irony that these folks are trying to shove a belief down someone's throat that is just as unprovable as Theism. What's next, Atheists going door-to-door or at the airport with pamphlets and a book summarizing their beliefs?

    August 2, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • bostontola

      Your premise is false, atheists have no dogma, they don't even have a creed, so your conclusions are unfounded. Religion represents their beliefs as absolute truth, atheists do not.

      August 2, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Jake

      "How can a simple lack of a belief in something unite a group of people?"

      People who believe in that thing make laws based on that thing that discriminate against the rest of us. Is it really that hard to understand how people can unite to fight against such persecution?

      August 2, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Good job on displaying your arrogance and pride in obvious lies and falsehoods. Lemme guess. Christian?

      August 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Did you read this article from a little while ago:

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/15/the-six-types-of-atheists/

      The whole point of that survey was to quant!tatively measure just how many atheists are in a category related to "people with borderline Narcissistic Personality Disorder who feel some sort of compulsion to convince others of their beliefs".

      In their survey, about 15% of the non-believers surveyed self identified as "anti-theists". And yes the people self-identifying as "anti-theists" do score higher in narcissism.

      Based on the numbers were talking about (less than) 15% of perhaps 6% of Americans. Why are you so afraid of these people?

      August 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      http://www.atheismresearch.com/
      Nominal Comparison of Scales by Nonbelief Type:

      Scale ............................................................... Lowest Score ...... Highest Score

      RYFF Autonomy ................................................ Agnostics ............ Anti-Theists
      RYFF Positive Relations with Others ............ Anti-theists .......... Ritual Atheists
      Narcissism ......................................................... Activists .................Anti-theists
      Rokeach Dogmatism Scale ............................ Ritual Atheists ..... Anti-Theists
      Multidimensional Anger Inventory .................. Academics ........... Anti-Theists
      NEO Neuroticism Subdomain ......................... Multiple ................ Multiple
      NEO Openness to Experience Subdomain ... Non-Theists ...... Activists
      NEO Agreeableness Subdomain .................... Anti-theists .......... Multiple

      Do if you want to portray anti-theists as angry, dogmatic and disagreeable narcissists, go right ahead. You have some data to back it up. But don't conflate the term to include the majority of atheists.

      August 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Ann

      Did you mean Borderline Personality Disorder or Narcissistic Personality Disorder? They're separate diagnoses, you know. Very different from one another.

      August 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
      • Saraswati

        I suspect he/she might have meant people who are right on the border of having narcissistic personality disorder. The whole comment made no sen, though, so just guessing...

        August 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        At the bottom of the page Kindoalkun added "xenophobic" to the list of atheistic attributes!

        August 2, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
        • Ann

          Well, I'll give him/her one thing – spelling is excellent.

          August 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • The Spaghetti Monster

      Atheists can unite to point out that religion is the purposeful suspension of critical thinking. In fact, we quite enjoy pointing out religions lack of logic.

      August 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Thandie

      This has got to be the worst case of supposition and a bad attempt at pseudo science that I have ever seen. You have written nothing but a puerile load of BS.

      I should think that you, yourself suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder for thinking that you sounded educated either in atheism or NPD.

      I'm calling BS on both. You know nothing.

      August 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  15. bostontola

    Atheists are about 2% of the population.
    Christians are about 75% of the population.

    When 2% talk it up and the 75% feel bullied, they 75% need to man up.

    August 2, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Saraswati

      It does come off as a lot of very pretentious whining. I think it's only a small minority of Christians who engage in this spoiled brat behavior, but I do wonder if they ever get a glimpse of how it makes them look to everyone else, including, from what my friends tell me, most other Christians.

      August 2, 2013 at 11:18 am |
      • bostontola

        This kind of behavior is consistent with a group that has low confidence in their position. It may be that subconsciously they sense that the whole bible thing is not real. It's hard to allow yourself to admit that what you believed for most of your life is poppyco.ck.

        August 2, 2013 at 11:33 am |
        • Kindoalkun

          In my experience, most Atheists are xenophobic misanthropes with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. And yes, a great number of Theists are as well. The difference is the hypocrisy of presenting an unprovable belief as "science."

          August 2, 2013 at 11:56 am |
        • bostontola

          Kindo,
          You reveal a fundamental lack of understanding of what science is. Science does not seek to prove things. Science finds explanations that can be tested. Your own flawed thinking process is being projected onto others.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I agree, kindoallauddkuman Christians shouldn't shouldn't present unprovable belief as "science" with hypocrisy. I mean, the correct answer of "we don't know" is easy enough, why go through all the trouble of talking about some hypothesis with absolutely zero evidence like "Big invisible sky wizard chanted magic spellz to make da worldzz?"

          August 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
        • Which God?

          kindo, apparently you haven't met any atheists, as you spout utter nonsense, cloked in pseudo psychological bullshiitt terminology. Trying to make yourself look intelligent? Try using factual information instead of your drivel.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "most Atheists are xenophobic misanthropes with Narcissistic Personality Disorder"

          Ummm, they're not. Most atheists are not xenophobic at all. Do you even know what that word means?

          Some certainly are high on the narcissistic scale, but I would say no more than 15% – based on the study presented a little while ago. Just like narcissistic theists (many of whom really are also xenophobic) they are more visible.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          A very close friend was at one time a nonbeliever, hearts change, minds change.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
        • Saraswati

          @Kindo,

          "In my experience, most Atheists are xenophobic misanthropes with Narcissistic Personality Disorder"

          Can I assume you've met 2, maybe 3 atheists? Were they all working on the same Dutch campaign to, say, identify visa applicants who had previously stated they wanted to set up sharia law in Europe? Just saying...that's the only context in which I have EVER heard secularists called xenophobic.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • Jake

          Saraswati, my guess is he doesn't know what xenophobic means. I don't think there's any doubt that atheists are far less xenophobic than religious people.

          August 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
      • Sam Yaza

        Athiest xenophobic? yes Narcissistic but xenophobic

        misanthropes is also wrong most atheists are humanistic and still adhere to human "divinity" (humans some how superior to other animals) this is not a thought you in most pagans that have the mind set of animals humans plant being equal as fare as "life" sees it were the ones who have the possibility of being misanthropic do to humans treatment of "life" i my self am a misanthrope, and you will from time to time her me preach about how 60-80% of humans are this planet needs to die. a lot of my atheist friend hate it when i get all misanthropic but it for the betterment of life on this planet.

        August 2, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  16. LogicalBeliever

    I wonder if the millennials that are embracing Atheism are also aware of the statistically higher rate of suicide among Atheists in comparison to believers – it would seem that, in this regard, Atheism is not good for mental health? Of course this really does not say anything as to whether Atheism is true or not, but it does provide an interesting foot note on the overall life experience of Atheists as compared to believers.

    August 2, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • LogicalBeliever

      This link provides an interesting perspective on the suicide rate among Atheists

      http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_suicide

      August 2, 2013 at 10:36 am |
      • ME II

        Interesting. The first citation in your link:
        "In 1894, the NY Times declared regarding atheism and suicide:"

        Other citations are more recent though.

        August 2, 2013 at 11:07 am |
      • EnjaySea

        Wow, you've got me worried now!

        I think I'd better start believing in gods and godesses, and devils and angels, and saints and miracles, and scriptures and dogma - proof or no proof - otherwise I might just have to kill myself.

        August 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
      • lol??

        Some people,

        "Rev 9:6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them."

        August 2, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Saraswati

      You are pointing out that people who belong to a religion that bans them from doing something are less likely to do this thing. This is like pointing out that Catholics are more likely to drink than Mormons. I know a family where almost everyone lives to be over 100. The normal mode of death in that family is suicide, and for them that is considered normal: each person decides when to go when it is his or her own decision and most friends are gone. If this family were Christian certainly they would not commit sucide, but does that make them somehow more miserable or better off for their freedom to choose?

      There may well be something in the data you cite, but without more information it tells us nothing useful

      August 2, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Jake

      Do you have any reason to believe that that is a causal relationship and not just correlated?

      Atheists are also much more intelligent on average. Do you think that becoming an atheist would somehow make you more intelligent?

      August 2, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • LogicalBeliever

      I am certainly not claiming to have exhaustively read all the data on this issue or that I am an expert, but there is a lot of data out there that simply indicates that Atheists have a markedly higher rate of depression that results in suicide, and that these suicides are not just some end-of-life decision when they are 100 years old. Just something to ponder for millenials who are choosing their moral compass as they manuever onward in their lives.

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

        The depression found among atheists only occurs in areas dominated by Christianity. In places where atheism is common we see that atheists and Christians are about equally happy. Minorities usually suffer when the majority are oppressive.

        August 2, 2013 at 10:53 am |
      • Jake

        Even the blatently biased link you posted says there is no link between atheism and depression. And despite using the word "causal" many times, they provide no evidence of actual causality.

        "No differences in the level of subjective and objective depression, hopelessness, or stressful life events were found."

        August 2, 2013 at 11:00 am |
        • LogicalBeliever

          I think you need to consider the entire messare/quote, rather than just the one line that suits you; here it is:

          Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation. Unaffiliated subjects were younger, less often married, less often had children, and had less contact with family members. Furthermore, subjects with no religious affiliation perceived fewer reasons for living, particularly fewer moral objections to suicide. In terms of clinical characteristics, religiously unaffiliated subjects had more lifetime impulsivity, aggression, and past substance use disorder. No differences in the level of subjective and objective depression, hopelessness, or stressful life events were found

          August 2, 2013 at 11:08 am |
        • Saraswati

          @Logical, could you specify what point you are trying to take out of that quote that hasn't already been addressed?

          August 2, 2013 at 11:14 am |
        • Jake

          I did read the entire quote. There's only one sentence that addresses depression and that's the one I included in response to your claim that atheists have a higher level of depression.

          I am certainly not suggesting that anything on that site has much merit considering even the name of the site shows a clear bias. I'm just pointing out that even that biased site that YOU provided contradicts what you're claiming.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:14 am |
      • LogicalBeliever

        Yes, that is an interesting theory, but I have not seen any data that demonstrates that as the cause across the board. Since this occurence of depression is even particularly higher in countries where Atheism has been more accepted (like Sweden), that would fly against what you are saying. The data I am seeing seems to more indicate that Atheism does not provide a world view and moral code that motivates its followers to endure through the hard times of life and have real meaning; thereby allowing depression to brew and suicide to be a viable solution.

        August 2, 2013 at 11:03 am |
        • Jake

          You really need to understand the difference between causality and correlation if you want to understand the "why" behind statistics. Sweeden may have high rates of atheism and suicide. And those two things may have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Perhaps the fact that it's dark 20 hours a day for much of the year has something to do with it (duh!).

          August 2, 2013 at 11:11 am |
      • Saraswati

        1. Religious people only happier when they are the majority.
        2. Less religious countries happier.

        http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/201102/does-religion-make-people-happier

        August 2, 2013 at 11:06 am |
      • bostontola

        Most burglars wear blue jeans, therefore blue jeans cause burglary. We should ban blue jeans.

        August 2, 2013 at 11:08 am |
        • LogicalBeliever

          That is an amusing analogy – and it seems to be exactly the kind of thinking that Atheists apply to faith; seemingly saying that we should ban faith (or be free of it, etc.) as they blame religion for all the evils of this world. Heck, now religion is even responsible for Atheists commiting suicide – lets just get rid of all that religion and we'll all be better. Kind of like getting rid of all the burglars who wear blue jeans. Thanks for the humor 🙂

          August 2, 2013 at 11:15 am |
        • Jake

          I don't think it was meant to be amusing. I think it was meant to point out that you can come to ridiculous conclusions if you don't understand the difference between causality and correlation. With the evidence you've provided, it would be equally ridiculous to conclude that atheism causes increased rates of suicide.

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

          And yet in this very discussion stream, it has been pointed out to me that the rates of suicide among Atheists are attributed to being the minority among a believing populace – thereby implying a causal relationship that religion in society causes Atheists to commit suicide – equally if not more so ridiculous.

          Actually, I am not really necessarily saying that there is a causal that has been demonstrated – but it is an interesting point of data that suicides are higher among Atheists – that is just a fact – draw your own conclusions.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:30 am |
        • bostontola

          LB,
          I never heard an atheist want to ban faith. Atheists like freedom of speech. Your lack of understanding of the things you comment on (correlation v causality), and your unsubstantiated assertions (atheists want to ban faith), severely undercut your name.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:40 am |
        • Jake

          It was pointed out to you that the data suggests that it's not religion / atheism that causes differences in levels of happiness, but rather it's about being in the minority vs. majority. There is no difference in happiness in countries where atheism is prevalent and in those countries overall happiness is higher. I'm not claiming that atheism causes happiness anymore than religion does, I'm just pointing out that there are clearly other factors involved.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:40 am |
        • LogicalBeliever

          Bostontola, while it is refreshing to hear that you personally do not want to ban religion and seemingly have respect for it, you simply cannot deny that many of your Atheist peers have a much less warm view and do indeed make comments that say to ban religion, or free our world from religion as it has caused all the evils we experience. Just read any Atheist blog and this theme comes up again and again. It is never constructive to make such comments and I am glad you dont endorse them. 🙂

          August 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
        • bostontola

          LB,
          There is a difference between wishing something didn't exist and wanting it banned. I wish there were no Nazis, but I wouldn't seek to ban them or prevent them from peacefully marching in Skokie. As I said, I know of no atheists that would seek to ban any religion.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
      • Saraswati

        From the above source:

        "According to Gallup data for 2010, the happiest nations were Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands. "

        You have to be wary of data that compares based on medical reports since in the US large portions of the population are financially unable to seek help for mental health issues so they go untreated and uncounted.

        August 2, 2013 at 11:12 am |
        • LogicalBeliever

          To my knowledge (not exhaustive), the data that I read was not getting into the mental health history and details of Swedish citizens, but rather, just tabluatng the occurence of attempted and committed suicides and the rate is markedly higher per capita in Sweden where Atheism is much more accepted.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:20 am |
        • Saraswati

          @Logical, You originally were making statements just about suicide. I pointed out that you can't look just at suicide as a meaningful measure because there may be perfectly good reasons that non-Christians are more likely to kill themselves rather than live unhappily. You are the one who then brought depression into the mix.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:27 am |
        • LogicalBeliever

          Yes, and I am simply saying that the data I have read did not go to that level. Are you really saying that a decisively higher rate of attempted and committed suicides across and entire group of people would not indicate some serious depression issues? Really?

          August 2, 2013 at 11:34 am |
        • Saraswati

          @Logical, it depends on how large that rate is. However the difference in rates between the US and Sweden small (usually around 10% difference). I have no difficulty imagining that people with equally bad depression are more likely to kill themselves when they think they aren't going to spend eternity in hell as a result.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:47 am |
        • LogicalBeliever

          A 10%, double-digit percentage increase in suicides is an alarming difference that should not be brushed under the rug. Again, can't assign definite causation, but it is an interesting foot note when millenials might be choosing their moral compass. Have a blessed day 🙂

          August 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
        • Saraswati

          @Logical, I never suggested sweeping it under the rug, but that it is small enough to be accounted for by a wide vaiety of variables. As I have noted several times, it is well beyond obvious that people who are not afraid of going to hell for suicide will be more likely to commit suicide even when they are equally or less depressed than another who fears for thei immortal soul. If in one country 3/4 of the population thinks they' may go to hell for killing themselves, and in another that figure is onlt 1/10th, you are going to see a significant difference in suicides without any difference in depression. In some cases those people will be making what most would consider a mistake and would otherwise have progressed to happy lives. In other cases the decision is made by people after years of ill health. We'd need a LOT more data to compare the countries.

          We also have a lot of data pointing to higher suicide rates during periods of long sunlight as occur in Swedish summers. More compelling, is the observation is that in the happiest countries and communities suicide is often more common. The leading theory is that because people are much happier on average, those who are left out are so rare that their situation compared to their neighbors appears even more desperate. In other words, if you live in a place where everyone is overworked and miserable your own misery doesn't looks so bad. But move somewhere where people are generally happy and if you can't pull your act together, well, life really sucks.

          This is all stuff that a lot of bright folks have been studying a long time, and lack of belief in God is hardly a leading theory.

          August 2, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I think I have read all of your posts, and I'm still waiting for you to say something sensible, much less "logical.' Keep trying?

      August 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
      • Douglas

        Cpt. Obvious, I have to totally agree with you.

        "LogicalBeliever", perhaps you should revert to one of your other monikers; your present one sure doesn't fit you, at least for the "logical" part. You've so far only demonstrated the antithesis of logic, in your posts in the present thread.You'd do yourself and the world a good turn if you would spend some on one of the many intro to logic websites that you can easily find (or should be able to).

        August 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
      • LogicalBeliever

        Typical response when you really dont't have one. Simply labeling anything you dont agree with as "illogical" regardless of the data is just not a very mature response, but somewhat expected. No need to reply of all you have is more of the same.

        August 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  17. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Margo, George Bush?? You haven't noticed the cycle??

    white horse-Bush I
    red horse- Clinton
    black horse-Bush II
    pale horse- Obama

    Next on the agenda-Christian destroyin'

    July 31, 2013 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    Snickers
    What? Lmao...what color is "pale"?? Adjust your tin foil cap, Moon Unit.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Could it be green, like ye ol' greenbacks??........

    August 2, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • lol??

      lol??
      lol??
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      Pale is χλωρός [chlōros] from which we derive chlorophyll, which denotes green.

      BTW, tin foil is obsolete....

      August 2, 2013 at 9:44 am |
      • Rob-Texas

        You know, you're not funny. Crazy isn't funny, it's sad and it's sick. Littering these boards with your foolishness doesn't amuse people, it makes us wonder when you're going to get your meds or when your trailer is going to finally be towed out into the woods.

        August 2, 2013 at 10:01 am |
  18. Goesthere

    Well sadly that's a lot of young people that now believe in nihilism. So they have one life to live, nothing to make them feel connected to the Earth or the Universe (and I'm not talking about god) and then they die and cease to exist...forever forgotten, their lives meaning nothing. How sad and empty it must be to feel that way.
    I'd rather be agnostic. I cannot prove there is a god, but I can't prove that there isn't something out there that wants us to go on in some way or other.

    August 2, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • tallulah13

      That's rather like saying "I know that there is no evidence that the Loch Ness Monster exists, but I want to believe in one." Personally, I'd rather wait for evidence before I believe that anything is real.

      As for kids, most of them are all right. It's the bad ones that get all the press.

      August 2, 2013 at 9:29 am |
      • Goesthere

        Good for you.

        August 2, 2013 at 9:37 am |
      • tallulah13

        Yes it is.

        August 2, 2013 at 9:44 am |
        • Henryo

          tallulah, if you have only one life to live, with nothing after, why do you spend so much time on the belief blogs? If I were an atheist like you, I'd be outside improving my life and the world around me. I certainly wouldn't be forcing people to think the way that I do and I absolutely wouldn't be putting people down for the beliefs that get them through the dark periods in their lives.

          August 2, 2013 at 9:55 am |
        • tallulah13

          Henryo, how I spend my time is my own business.

          Religion may be a happy story that helps you get through bad times, but I have seen bad times created by religion. When I was a child, a friend of mine was being molested by her step-father. Her mother was aware of this, but she was a good christian woman, subservient to her husband, so she didn't call the authorities or even try to stop him. The catholic church has a history of protecting clergy who directly prey on children, and certain radical sects of mormonism have institutionalized child abuse. Why in the world should I respect that?

          Christianity has been used as an excuse to discriminate against good friends of mine, just because they were gays and lesbians. Christian politicians and pundits have tried to push their faith into the governing of this great secular nation: Why shouldn't I point out that their religion has no basis in reality, therefore has no place in government?

          The little helper that gets you through "dark times in your life" has been used as a tool to create dark times in the lives of others. A moral person would find a new crutch. Religion is not a benign force. It is a power grab with a lie at it's heart. It may offend you when I point out that lie, but it's meant to make you think.

          August 2, 2013 at 10:16 am |
        • Henryo

          tallulah, who said anything about religion? I'm agnostic, I don't believe in organized religion. But being agnostic means I don't subscribe to nihilism.
          Yes, what you do with your time IS your business. It's just unfortunate that you are a self-proclaimed missionary of atheism. Isn't that somewhat redundant?

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

          @Henry,

          "But being agnostic means I don't subscribe to nihilism."

          Could you clarify this a bit? You believe its impossible to know whether there's a god so that negates meaninglessness? Or provides meaning? Alternatively,epistemologically, agnosticism to many *is* nihilism, so I think you need to fill us in on what exactly you mean when you say nihilism and how your beliefs about knowledge have anything to do with that.

          August 2, 2013 at 10:51 am |
        • tallulah13

          Commenting on a board where religion is being discussed is not being a "missionary". You appear to be a very dramatic person, Henry.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • ME II

      Meaning comes from what we do in our life, the lives we touch, the things we accomplish, the legacy we leave.
      If you think that your own activities will mean nothing once you die, then your life may have been meaningless, but don't assume everyone else's has been.

      August 2, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      What makes you think that without a belief life is meaningless to those of us who do not believe in a god or anything after this life? My life has plenty of meaning and given that an afterlife can't be shown via evidence to exists, the meaning of my life is far greater than you might imagine...every day is a new day and in turn, a chance to make someone happy even if in the smallest of ways. I have a wonderful connection with the planet I love. I give back to it in so many ways and take note of how to help maintain it.
      I'm an Agnostic Atheist. The terms are not mutually inclusive...one defines knowledge, the other defines belief. I will not be dishonest and state that I know with 100% certainty that a god or gods or an afterlife don't exist but I will state that until I see evidence for any of it, I simply see no reason to believe it.
      Jerry Dewitt said it best...
      "Skepticism is my nature.
      Free Thought is my methodology.
      Agnosticism is my conclusion.
      Atheism is my opinion.
      Humanitarianism is my motivation."
      (to know who this man is, you can read about him here: http://www.clergyproject.org/)

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

      Goesthere
      Atheists may usually reject strictly religious principles, but they don't typically reject having any morals, or believe that life is meaningless. Atheists also come in every age group. I, myself, am in my 50s. I'm also agnostic. I don't claim to know that there are no gods anywhere, or that none have ever actually existed. I am, however, completely convinced that all of the arguments for there being a god active in this world, and any that may have created the universe, are unconvincing. I'm an atheist because I don't believe the current claims that there is a god. If you don't actually believe in a god, or gods, then you are also an atheist, even if you are agnostic about the possibility that there are any. See how that works?

      August 2, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Try not to conflate atheism with nihilism, anarchism, fascism, satanism, communism, existentialism, empiricism, or any other "ism".
      It is a negative term that describes only what one does NOT believe and implies to behaviours, morals, beliefs, or other characteristics whatsoever.

      August 2, 2013 at 9:50 am |
      • lol??

        How 'bout wrapping all the isms into Vainism for the A&A's??

        August 2, 2013 at 9:58 am |
        • Truth Prevails :-)

          How about you enroll yourself in an English class?

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

          @Truth, He does it intentionally. I'm really not sure why anyone engages with this guy..

          August 2, 2013 at 10:56 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          I think he's hilarious

          August 2, 2013 at 11:12 am |
        • Saraswati

          @Bill, Are you serious or joking? Really, I'm curious as humor is such a subjective thing I imagine it's possible someone does find him funny.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:16 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          Oh I'm serious. I think he makes brilliant points that often go undetected, which his targets often label as nonsensical or deluded. His references are obscure I'll grant, but his philosophy is consistent and he gets to the point

          August 2, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Goesthere

      Wow, lots of responses with a lot of self-righteous hot air. Funny how you all wax sentimental and caring to my post, yet looking back at your posts on most of the belief boards, I'd say that you're all struggling with your own ident*ty and where you fit in, in the scheme of things. It's alright to admit that you're not sure that atheism is the right thing for you. After all, you can't prove that there ISN'T something 'out' there anymore than a religious person can prove that there is.
      Anyhow, why not put your money where your mouth is, and get out and make the world a better place. Touch lives MEII, prove your morals Ken and keep trolling the boards Doc.

      August 2, 2013 at 10:33 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        On which other boards have you seen me?
        This is twice in as many days that someone has said that my moniker is a common sight on all manner of comment boards, and yet I've only ever posted here...
        I'm curious to know if I've a digital doppleganger.

        August 2, 2013 at 10:56 am |
      • ME II

        @Goesthere,
        "...get out and make the world a better place."

        Who says that we aren't?

        "yet looking back at your posts on most of the belief boards, I'd say that you're all struggling with your own ident*ty and where you fit in, in the scheme of things."

        Thanks for your concern, but it is misplaced.

        August 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  19. lol??

    Twisted A&A mind, "God supports slavery!!"

    The Creator, "Luk 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,"

    Meanwhile, their Beast gubmint god is enslaving people left and right, the ones they "let" live.

    August 2, 2013 at 7:11 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Oh yes, the great ploy of picking and choosing. Have you ever read a bible? Do you own one?

      August 2, 2013 at 9:59 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.