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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. PedsDoc

    why are Atheists so angry? I'm perfectly willing to go about my day without getting upset about an Atheist pinic, gathering, protest march, lawsuit etc. It seems that the movement can't tolerate anyone that doesn't buy into their belief system.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:19 am |
    • Observer

      If atheists or agnostics denied you equal rights, then you'd come back to reality. If they tried to put signs with "God is Dead"in school classrooms, then you'd finally catch on.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:26 am |
    • Kingfissure

      There are many reasons some atheists are angry. Stonings, child mutilation, oppression, subjugation of women (half the human race), demands for people that do not share your faith to live by your rules, religiously motivated terrorism, execution for being an atheist, charlatans using religious belief to prey on believers.

      The list is pretty long and severe. Most atheists would be quite content to just live and let live. I know I would.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:26 am |
    • Athy

      What's an atheist pinic? And don't capitalize atheist. It's not a proper noun. And it make you look uneducated.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:27 am |
      • Chancho

        The irony of your last sentence is hilarious.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:36 am |
        • Doobs

          How so?

          July 31, 2013 at 12:41 am |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      Because the religious have a nasty history when dealing with those that don't believe as they do. Because if we ignore believers, they plaster their BS on everything from our currency to our text books.....open superst ition (prayer) in public schools?

      If you want that crap for your kid enroll them in a private religious school ....don't corrupt what is supposed to be BY LAW a secular government/education system.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:31 am |
    • proud atheist

      As an atheist, the only time I get angry is when someone else's religious beliefs start to infringe on my civic rights, as well as the rights of others. Otherwise, when I hear someone talking about their religious beliefs, I don't feel angry. I feel sorry for them, because they sound so uneducated. Believing in sky fairies and ground trolls – it's just so ridiculous.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:43 am |
  2. Bryan Rick

    What's interesting is according to statisticians, and demographic sociological data, there is a significant % higher atheist population that are unemployed. The proportion of atheists in the working class are much smaller. It would make sense then, that atheists would have more time on their hands to veg out in front of their computers and troll around on the internet trying to feel important by bashing Christians.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:19 am |
    • Athy

      Would you care to reveal the source of your statistics?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • Sue Anne

      It doesn't take much time to post on locations like this when the reasons for atheism are so clear, and easy to recall. Coming up with intelligent responses to counter religious assertions is very easy, and take no time at all. 😆

      July 31, 2013 at 12:34 am |
    • Book'EmDan0

      Did you know that 83% of statistics are made up on the spot?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:52 am |
  3. Anton

    Jump on over to the enlighten side.
    When you are an atheist, you know that you make your own choices at every moment of the day.

    Peace to everyone: bye!

    July 31, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • AE

      All human being make their own choices every day.

      I got to imagine the humble ones don't declare this as an exclusive trait.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:21 am |
      • Ken

        What I hear very often from Christians, however, is their contentment to simply follow biblical rules laid forth by their pastors. So, it's a choice to accept a standard set of decisions instead of evaluating every situation on it's own, and determining the proper response independently, right?

        July 31, 2013 at 12:39 am |
        • AE

          There are a set of ideal standards I try to live up to, yes.

          I used to make up these standards for myself. They weren't very good standards. It didn't require much honesty.

          Now I follow standards that I find challenging: Loving others. Forgiving those who harm me. Being grateful even in trying times.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:43 am |
    • Bryan Rick

      You make your own choices without any standards of morality. As an atheist, you are an intelligent animal (not selectively crafted through evolution by God), you are lucky to be here, and the shear odds of you being here–and as a complexly evolved being–in a perfectly balanced universe are next to impossible. Yet here we are.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:33 am |
      • AE

        Mathematically the odds we are here is so amazing – the best word to describe it is: miraculous.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:40 am |
        • Athy

          It doesn't matter what the odds are. If it didn't happen, we wouldn't be here to observe it, would we? Is that concept a little of complex for you, AE? Look up the anthropic principle some time.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:55 am |
  4. bostontola

    Any god(s) that were created by man (god of Abraham, Hindu gods, Greek gods, etc.), have no more credibility than the Q.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Ummm. . . Name a single god that without question was not created by man.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:37 am |
    • scottywinster

      As an atheist I've long considered a Q-like being as more likely to exist than a timeless supreme being. That is, a being that does not precede the universe but began and evolved within it to a degree far more powerful than us. Given the power of evolution to result in such complexity, coupled with where we appear to be headed technologically, it doesn't seem all that far fetched to imagine beings evolving to a god-like level from our perspective.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:40 am |
  5. ClutchCargo

    You feel so enlightened in educating the rest of us. Thanks, but no thanks.
    Many of the greatest scientists and doctors throughout history and now are those that are the strongest in their faith. Those so close to the awe of science, realize and appreciate that we and this place can not be formed by pure happenstance, even after understanding the physical conditions that gave rise to it.

    If you choose not to have a relationship, you will not know what is lost. For this, I do feel sorry for you. Believe it or not, it is your conclusion that is closest to what a toddler child or monkey would conclude.....I can't see it, therefore, it must not exist. Just like love........not definable......not tangible.......must not exist?

    July 31, 2013 at 12:06 am |
    • thomas

      It's not that I don't see G, it's that I understand your reasons for seeing it.

      god is merely the mis-application of human's social ability – namely to infer intent and expectations of others – to try to explain the natural world.

      when we can't explain nature, we create a being and talk about intent and expectations of that being

      throw in a little uncertainty about the future, dabble on a little goodness from having faith and you can find courage to face uncertainty. I don't need stories myself

      July 31, 2013 at 12:09 am |
    • Anton

      Believe me, there is no atheist in the world, that when they run into a guy like you, does not think they are dealing with an intellectual infant.

      The way you felt at 10 when your friend who was 7 still believed in Santa, is exactly how we feel hearing you..

      That is how we feel when dealing with you.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:10 am |
      • AE

        Luckily there are a lot of doctors, surgeons, scientists, police officers, fire fighters, Presidents, psychiatrists, artists, writers, etc that do believe in Jesus Christ – and can talk to this man like an adult.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:15 am |
        • frank

          there are also a lot of firefighters, police, etc.... who believe in Krishna... and Odin... and Gaia... and ..... (insert any number of deities here). what of it? god belief does not make you a better person than an atheist.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:27 am |
        • AE

          I know it doesn't.

          The poster was comparing a man to a 7 year old because of his belief system.

          I know and love many atheists. And they don't talk like that poster.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:30 am |
  6. WhatGod

    This all so silly and please play along with me. Let's pretend that the idea of God and Jesus never existed. Suddenly, I awake one morning and begin telling adults all the stories of God and Jesus. Be honest! How many of you who believe in God and Jesus would say I was crazy?

    July 31, 2013 at 12:03 am |
    • thomas

      ...well I'd say telling adults might not be as effective as trying to scare children of h-e double toothpicks, but you can do it your way for all I care

      July 31, 2013 at 12:07 am |
    • spence

      travel back 200 yeasr and start telling people of giant metal machines that carry millions of people all over the world through the air, and little devices that fit in your pocket that lets you talk to anyone in the world, and EVERYONE HAS ONE, and it workks without a cord on invisible magic waves... youre insane! People fear and mock something they do not understand.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:22 am |
      • WhatGod

        Could be the lamest reply I ever read. We have proof of those things existing. Where is your proof of Jesus and God, which apparantly are the same person.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:28 am |
        • Polycarp

          A man who is BOTH a husband and father at the same time.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:47 am |
  7. AE

    Whenever I post this link in reference to Jesus being a complete copy of other myths and ask for credible source to back their claim – the person posting disappears.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/06/better-atheist-fact-checking.html

    Is this some kind of super-natural phenomenon?

    I really would like to see some credible source!

    July 31, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • Russ

      @ AE: relevant...
      http://orthodox-web.tripod.com/papers/fern_seed.html

      "I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this. Of this text there are only two possible views. Either this is reportage – though it may no doubt contain errors – pretty close up to the facts; nearly as close as Boswell. Or else, some unknown writer in the second century, without known predecessors, or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative. If it is untrue, it must be narrative of that kind. The reader who doesn't see this has simply not learned to read."
      -CS Lewis

      July 31, 2013 at 12:06 am |
      • AE

        I don't recall seeing that before. Thanks for sharing!

        July 31, 2013 at 12:08 am |
    • Austin

      one artifact that blows that theory away is the book of Enoch, which states that Noah put his nephew to death for writing omens down on the wall that the fallen angels told him.

      Enoch the seventh generation from Adam. this book was quoted by Jude, Jesus half brother and then Peter copied Jude.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:20 am |
      • Austin

        enoch also made it out with the dead sea scrolls from Qumran, the cave i think cave number 7 with the book of Isaiah, the one heralded the most.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:22 am |
      • Austin

        this is an execution for diabolical mimicry.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:23 am |
        • Austin

          the fallen angels were kicked out of heaven and ran around telling fake messiah stories. Noah put a stop to it. that is Justice.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:27 am |
        • Austin

          and yes, i am scared now.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:28 am |
        • AE

          Thanks. I'm not familiar with that, I'll read up on it!

          July 31, 2013 at 12:32 am |
  8. Polycarp

    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.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Their is "NO" proof that Atheist's exist themselves. They need the youth to survive, because they themselves lost their own youth with themselves. thus their immortal supernatural souls.

    July 30, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
    • Anton

      What.
      This aint xbox, get back to reality.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • thomas

      ...no proof I exist ... ??? I seem to be here. hmmn let me think about that.

      Anyway, you just believe what other people do because there is safety in a group and you don't know what else to think. Try seeing reality for what it is - it's eye opening.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • Dippy

      There, not their; atheists, not Atheist's. Go back to fifth grade. And don't drop out this time.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:07 am |
      • spence

        so your only argument is korekting someones spellling... you must be sooo right.. and Kool... you are a fuqueing jerkooff... 🙂

        July 31, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • Anthony

      Umm, ok.....

      July 31, 2013 at 12:16 am |
  9. thomas

    god is merely the mis-application of human's social ability – namely to infer intent and expectations of others – to try to explain the natural world.

    when we can't explain nature, we create a being and talk about intent and expectations of that being

    it's not so difficult to undersant

    July 30, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • thomas

      ...understand...( eeks typo )

      July 31, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • Bryan Rick

      I understand your explanation. But what this article and all the atheist cheerleaders on this thread are not realizing is this: Christianity is not just a religion, it is part of our culture. Our world would be terribly sterile, and boring if everyone believed just like Richard Dawkins for example. We'd all be a bunch of robots. Show some tolerance. Diversity is a good thing. Culture is a good thing. Stop being so ethnocentric. I'd like to see some cultural relativism exercised by some of these atheistic zealots here! The real issue is that some atheists are very insecure with themselves and their place in this world. Hence, they feel empowered to get behind a keyboard and start hating and trolling. This I think, empowers them.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:14 am |
      • Anthony

        LOL! How ironic it is that a christian would speak of tolerance and diversity!! True, christianity is not just a religion – it is also a disease, a curp, an abomination, an affront to the dignity of mankind. Humans are better than this set of myths and fantasiies.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:34 am |
      • HotAirAce

        The Mayans and Incas, and numerous other dead cultures and religions, provide the right amount of current cultural diversity. No need to keep the christian myth going as is. I'm sure we can fund good uses for their existing cult clubhouses.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:45 am |
        • Austin

          HotAirAce
          The Mayans and Incas, and numerous other dead cultures and religions, provide the right amount of current cultural diversity. No need to keep the christian myth going as is. I'm sure we can fund good uses for their existing cult clubhouses.

          Hot Air Ace, I too wonder what you all will do with their club houses .

          July 31, 2013 at 1:01 am |
        • Austin

          when the time comes, you can have the entire church i go to . its all your.s

          July 31, 2013 at 1:02 am |
  10. the truth has set me free

    religitards are losing. the truth is setting everyone free. these two thousand year fairytales need to go away! seriously

    July 30, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
  11. Karl

    Be a free-thinker and a humanist. I encourage everyone to be these two things. Neither doesn't necessarily have to define you as an Atheist, it means however that you have the ability to make rational and logical decisions, and having composed individual thought processes for yourself. It means you can be good without "God". It's not being indoctrinated into any belief, or system. Follow what you truly believe, not what others want you to believe. Educate yourself and be free!

    You can be spiritual and not be religious. I get a spiritual feeling looking at the stars and the vast distances of the cosmos, I get a spiritual feeling looking at nature, looking at love. You don't have to invoke "God" to appreciate that. We understand how scientifically that works. There is actually far more "evidence" to suggest that "God" does not exist, especially from a philosophical standpoint. The problem of evil, evolution, and modern theoretical/astrophysics have all demonstrated the improbablilty of "GOD" even if that wasn't the intention. The idea of a supreme being, a dualistic "God" that intervenes when "he" chooses is a dangerously old fashion way of thinking that has resulted in the irrational drama that religion has created.

    I have a pantheistic perception of reality, if people want to call nature, the universe, consciousness, and the laws that govern them "God" so be it ... That is all there is.

    If god is real, it *knows* exactly what it will take for us to believe it exists.
    It would be very easy for it to provide this information and it would *want* to provide this information.
    So, either it doesn't care if we believe, doesn't want us to believe, or doesn't exist.

    When Christians understand why they are Atheists to the ~ 3,000 Gods that humans have invented throughout the course of history, they will understand how non-believers, are Atheists to ~3,001 Gods. We just go one God further. The abrahamic God will be tossed along with other mythological inventions such as Zeus, Poseidon, Thor, etc.

    July 30, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • Polycarp

      If god is real, it *knows* exactly what it will take for us to believe it exists.
      It would be very easy for it to provide this information and it would *want* to provide this information.
      So, either it doesn't care if we believe, doesn't want us to believe, or doesn't exist.
      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
      In the VERY beginning, God created Angels, and gave them every thing upfront without the pain and suffering to find out if God is actually real. 1/3 of the Angels rebelled, took for granted that God created them. That 1/3 of angels got kicked out, thus God Created the HUMAN RACE ( NOT the planet itself ) bout 6, 0000 yrs ago ( when man understood WITH THEMSELVES that their is a God ) God WANT'S us thru natural, and supernatural reasoning to discover HIM. Through this process their is unfortunately pain and suffering, but that "WE" DON'T take for granted what those 1/3 of the angels did, but to hold on to what they have discovered with themselves.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:09 am |
      • Athy

        Polycarp, your writing is barely grade school level. How old are you?

        July 31, 2013 at 12:19 am |
        • Polycarp

          Is this the infinite best reply from very educated???, whom has never made any kind or type of mistakes themselves, at anytime in their own life time ???

          July 31, 2013 at 12:29 am |
      • Dippy

        Polycarp, do you know the difference between "there" and "their"? You should try to figure it out.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:21 am |
  12. Mary S

    Athiests love to repeat the same old tired refrain. They resort to name calling and ridicule those who believe in God and have faith. They do it time and time again. They just can't keep their mouths shut and mind their own business. It's getting pretty old. If you don't believe, fine. But keep your sarcasm and low class comments to yourself.

    July 30, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • Anton

      did you just call us low-class????

      July 30, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
      • Mary S

        Hmmm..maybe that was a poor choice of words. My apologies. However, if you read through the many comments, you cannot deny that many of these people refuse to accept that just maybe they could be wrong. I believe, but I don't belittle others who think differently and I expect the same respect from others.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:21 am |
    • the truth has set me free

      You're an idiot

      July 30, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
      • Mary S

        Thank you for proving my point, Truth.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • WhatGod

      No problem. As long as you agree to stop thanking God in front of atheists.

      July 30, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
      • Anthony

        Dear Lord, thank you for not blowing MY house down in the tornado that scrubbed the rest of my Oklahoma town from the map. II guess MY faith was just stronger than THEIRS... or it is a part of Your divine "plan".... or some other complete nonsense that the Sunday charlatan has drilled into my feeble skull.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:23 am |
    • scottywinster

      So you make generalizations about atheists and how they resort to name calling and then proceed to call them low class. Thank you so much Mary for demonstrating the hypocrisy so common among your ilk.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:07 am |
      • Mary S

        All you have to do is read through all of the comments on any number of these articles. It's the same old name calling time and time again. Just a few I've picked up in the comments: religitards, flying spaghetti monster, unicorn, make believe, idots. It goes on and on. Why must athiests always resort to name calling instead of having a good, respectful debate??

        July 31, 2013 at 12:14 am |
        • Anthony

          Mary, the word "debate" implies an exchange of views based on Reason and Argument. The believer, however, does not trust reason, as it virtually always points to the absurdity of the idea of a god. We atheists can't "debate" ourselves – it takes two to tango. Stated again – provide a reasonable argument for the existence of god, and many of us would respect the belief more.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:26 am |
        • Mary S

          It's faith in something greater than ourselves and this world. That there's meaning to our existence beyond the lifetime we are here on this earth. I don't walk around pushing my beliefs and faith on others, but when I read all of the belittling remarks from others, I just can't understand the anger.

          Now, I think I will sign off now. Work tomorrow. Have a good night.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:35 am |
        • Execptional Joe

          We do, we really do, and then someone quotes the bible, and it all goes to hell.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:28 am |
        • redzoa

          @Exceptional Joe – Excellent!

          July 31, 2013 at 12:36 am |
        • AE

          I agree with you Mary. Unfortunately some Christians do these things to (I'm guilty). But I'm trying not to.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:05 am |
    • Chris

      Christians are allowed to ridicule atheists and point the blame at atheists for all the problems the world is facing today. You've only just begun to see the first wave of those fed up with the destruction religion has caused. Buckle up.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:08 am |
      • Mary S

        Can you show examples of that?

        July 31, 2013 at 12:23 am |
  13. WhatGod

    If God created man, then why do men have 2 round circular objects with bumps on their chests? These objects are used for feeding infants and serve no purpose on men.

    July 30, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
    • Athy

      There's a proven explanation for this, but you seem to be incapable of understanding it. It would be too far over your head.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:11 am |
      • Anthony

        Yes, Athy, the explanation is called "evolution." It amazes me that believers trust science when they use a cell phone or car or fly in an airplane – but somehow science doesn't work in the case of evolution. Hmmm......

        July 31, 2013 at 12:29 am |
      • WhatGod

        Explain, with scientific proof, why God gave men ni.pples. By tha way, if you're going to use the Genesis argument that God made Adam to have ni.pples so Eve would have ni.pples, then you're going to have to explain to me how Eve got a uterus and doesn't have a prostate.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:44 am |
      • Or

        I think Athy has misread that post.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:47 am |
    • AE

      ni.pples?

      (this site is run on word press and some words are forbidden, like const.itution)

      July 31, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • Athy

      Nipples, constitution. Works for me.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:16 am |
      • AE

        There are certain words that the site won't let you post. Except for those who find the workaround.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:37 am |
  14. WhatGod

    My comments wont post.

    July 30, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • Athy

      Is that good or bad?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:17 am |
  15. Felix Sinclair

    "Don't just take my word for it. Do some research, and make sure to verify sources and credentials."
    "You found demonstrable proof that what I believe is wrong? I'd better re-think my belief then."

    What any credible scientist or philosopher will say, and what no evangelical theist will say.

    July 30, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Felix: sounds like you haven't had many conversations with scientists, philosophers or evangelicals.

      July 30, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
      • Kingfissure

        I have. That does accurately describe the position of 98% of atheists. If any verifiable evidence could be provided that any god exists you would convert most atheists immediately. I don't claim to know for certain that no god exists. I simply state that there has never been any testable verifiable proof that a god does exist. Without that proof there is no reason to believe that one does, so I don't.

        Though I hear theists try to say that this is not the position of almost all atheists, that is not the case. Any other position is a strawman. A simple conversation with any atheist will show it to be so.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:08 am |
        • Russ

          @ Kingfissure: your point of departure is flawed.
          the idea that "only what can be proven is true" fails its own criteria. it is an unprovable statement.
          in other words, it's self-refuting.

          if your epistemological foundation is itself self-refuting... what does that *prove* about the rest of the building?

          July 31, 2013 at 12:20 am |
      • Kingfissure

        I never said "only what can be proven is true". I said the only said that only things that have proof are worthy of belief. Your version is a strawman. The best strategy for having the best chance for your beliefs to be "true" is to require some evidence that they are. If I believe in things until there is evidence that they are false then I guarantee that some of the things I beleive will be untrue.

        no one can provide any proof that there is not a teapot orbiting the sun out past Uranus. But I don't have to believe there is one because that proof has not been provided. I can instead choose not to believe that Russell's teapot exists until it can actually be shown that it does.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:40 am |
        • Russ

          @ Kingfissure:
          1) i didn't quote you, i said "the idea that..." – and it certainly is the underlying idea of naturalism. are you claiming your position is not naturalism? seems you are hedging your bets.

          2) naturalism IS a leap of faith. it assumes things at the outset which are equally unprovable (such as the exclusion of the miraculous or the highly improbable).

          as Nietzsche himself said: "it is STILL a metaphysical faith that underlies our faith in science."

          3) Russell's teapot is a bad argument for both its triviality & its assumption that negative truth claims don't equally bear a burden of proof (especially in light of the fact that you exist & you didn't make yourself).

          "Philosopher Paul Chamberlain says it is logically erroneous to assert that positive truth claims bear a burden of proof while negative truth claims do not. He says that all truth claims bear a burden of proof, and that like Mother Goose and the tooth fairy, the teapot bears the greater burden not because of its negativity, but because of its triviality, arguing that "When we subst.itute normal, serious characters such as Plato, Nero, Winston Churchill, or George Washington in place of these fictional characters, it becomes clear that anyone denying the existence of these figures has a burden of proof equal to, or in some cases greater than, the person claiming they do exist."

          July 31, 2013 at 1:24 am |
  16. Just because

    I can't understand why a group/organization would want to take hope out of the equation of life? Why would any parent want to teach their child that they would become just old worm food! Really think about it! I am not saying anyone is wrong or right. I personally strongly believe there is an after life with god, and everyone has every right to believe in what they want... but I was taught to believe that which also gives me hope to live with. I can't imagine being told that there is no such thing as hope there is nothing to look forward to. Example that is like learning your child has cancer and you walking out of the doctors office and telling your child there is no hope your going to die there is nothing to believe in your just gonna die and thats it! I can't imagine the terrified look on a young child's face! That's pretty darn scary for any child to hear! And if your afraid of giving false hope to your child does it really matter, because if you are correct its not like anyone can say I told you so! ...But then on the plus side it would be great to believe you would be reunited with your loved ones.....again having hope!

    July 30, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • Anton

      An atheist, that does not live in a fantasy, can choose when to give a child hope and when not to.
      They are free.
      And that is the beauty of not being a mindless slave to something you were taught as a child.
      Believing in Santa feels good too, but it is a richer experience when you know there is no Santa.

      July 30, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
    • bostontola

      My hope lies with my children and theirs... It sounds like your hope is selfish, if you can't live forever you have no hope? That is selfish.

      July 30, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
      • the truth has set me free

        selfish is wanting to live in paradise for eternity. religitards are so ignorant and selfish

        July 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
        • Mary S

          "Religitards?" You've proven my point, @Truth. The vast majority of athiests are incapable of adding anything intelligent to a conversation and must resort to name calling. Grow up.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:06 am |
        • Anton

          MARY S
          Like when you called us low-class???

          I guess you are just applying selective logic: wonder where else that is applied?

          July 31, 2013 at 12:15 am |
        • Athy

          Mary, it's "atheist," not "athiest." And you want to appear intelligent?

          July 31, 2013 at 12:40 am |
        • Mary S

          Thank you, grammar and spelling police. It's late, I'm tired and made a typo. Have to go to work in the morning. Hope you have a good night.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:42 am |
      • Just because

        As I respect your response and anyone's beliefs or non-beliefs,
        if having hope (even false hope) is the most selfish thing I do in my life, then you are right I am a selfish person I will own up to that.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • scyes

      The reality that all or your thoughts, wisdom, memories, feelings are just worm food is very difficult to swallow. I speculate that's a major reason why religion was invented. Man can't deal with this reality. But to say there is no hope is not true. I have tons of hope and things to look forward to. Just none of it involves the after life.

      July 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
    • mplsmom

      I understand your sentiment because I was brought up with God and an After Life and found both to be very comforting. But now that I am raising my children, I just can't bring myself to tell them I believe in something I don't. I found that once I asked myself WHY I wanted to believe in an afterlife so much (so I could live on forever and never miss my loved ones, etc.) I realized that I didn't actually need an afterlife – I would not miss my loved ones because I would not be conscious, and life would become quite pointless if we really did live forever. It sounds cold at first, but you realize that you live on in memories and your mark on the earth, and it makes me appreciate my time here all the more.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:05 am |
    • Cira

      I think the sad thing about your comment is that you need the fantasy of an afterlife for "something to look forward to." Perhaps if you lived your life based on enjoying and finding meaning in the world that actually exists, you would not need to look forward to death. Science is the only thing that provides hope in the face of all the world's problems. It is not heaven that is going to give a child with a parent who has cancer hope, it is the possibility that one of the many doctors and scientists doing work and research on cancer will provide the cure. People should be teaching their kids about finding the joy and beauty in the real world instead of teaching them to have "faith" that one day they will enter a fantasy land.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:10 am |
    • scottywinster

      Wow! So you seriously equate lack of belief in a god and afterlife as implying total absence of hope? How would all these atheists be running around living happy and meaningful lives if they really were living without any hope? One aspect of today's modern era is that more and more people can see that the most hopeful and wondrous breakthroughs in technology and science are coming from people who tend towards disbelief. The youth are able to see that the more analytical and critical thinkers are the ones producing results with their ideas. The youth realize that those who are producing breakthroughs in medicine, physics and computing are using modes of thinking that produce breakthroughs and demonstrate the validaion of their ideas rather than desperately trying to prop up a crumbling edifice of archaic metaphors.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:26 am |
  17. Ohboy

    The reason Atheists know for a 100% certainty that there is no God is because they are the only ones who have already died and witnessed the blank emptiness that exists (or I suppose does not exist), and then returned to illuminate the rest of us who are so confused about a possible afterlife.
    That's right, isn't it?

    July 30, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • Anton

      There is a unicorn on the other side of the moon, that always hides when the earth's axis changes.
      I can't prove it, but that does not matter, I say it is so.

      July 30, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
      • Polycarp

        Good for you Anton, you are starting to make progress.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:19 am |
    • Felix Sinclair

      It's not the fault of atheists that you don't know what the word atheist means.

      July 30, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • Lou

      Nobody knows what happens when you die, that's the point. It is an eventuality, it happens to us all one day. Why fear an eventuality? That's unneeded stress. Live a good life and leave something behind for the next generations, that's the best we can do at this point.

      July 30, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • Kingfissure

      The overwhelming majority of atheists do not claim certainty on the existence of god(s). This is a strawman position shifting the burden of proof. Those kind of atheists are commonly referred to as gnostic atheists and are vanishingly rare.

      I am an agnostic atheist, most are. I do not claim to know that no gods exists. I merely say that no testable, verifiable proof has ever been presented to demonstrate that any god is real and not imaginary. Without that proof there is no reason to believe that any god(s) exist. So I don't.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:14 am |
      • Dean

        There is more proof that God exists than there is proof that God does not exist..........Like looking in a mirror.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:45 am |
        • Lou

          When I look in the mirror I see my ancestors, not a deity.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:03 am |
  18. blakenaustin

    It is a fool who says there is no God.

    July 30, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • Anton

      Who taught you that?

      I mean ingrained that into your thinking.

      I mean gave you no freedom to think for yourself.

      July 30, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
      • AE

        I believe in God.

        Care to tell me about your theory how somebody ingrained that into my thinking or gave me no freedom to think for myself?

        July 30, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
        • Anton

          Sure.
          Your parents believed in God too.

          July 30, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
        • AE

          Nope, my parents did not believe in God.

          My Dad, later began to believe in God. But I didn't live with him. And I didn't believe in God.

          An atheist can change and begin to believe in God.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:06 am |
        • Take a breath

          Judging by the reaction to your multiple fair and logical posts here, it appears that critical thinking is not encouraged by atheism.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:21 am |
    • bostontola

      There may or may not be a god, but any Abrahamic god is as real as Jor-El, all man made.

      July 30, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
      • Take a breath

        That is a fair point, but consider that if there IS a God, then the human brain is likely insufficient to understand the sheer complexity that is God. So the creation of certain God achetypes are simply a means by which people of faiths can begin to try to scratch the surface.

        My characterization of God is largely Christian. I grew up in a mainly Christian home (though an agnostic streak through the household), and i find the Christian conceptualization of God to be the most approachable because it was part of my childhood. I do not, however, discount that Allah, Zeus, or any other interpretation of "God" is equally valid for others.

        July 31, 2013 at 12:52 am |
    • the truth has set me free

      You're an idiot

      July 30, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Athy

      How can you be a fool for telling the truth?

      July 31, 2013 at 12:00 am |
  19. Belief is the Ignorant Man's Science

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

    No, there isn't another side to the story. There is one story that is a fantasy, and there are people who don't believe in that story.

    THE END.

    July 30, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • AE

      What do you think about people who believe and trust in God that make scientific advancements?

      They say science brings them closer to God.

      The Big Bang theory is credited to a Catholic man who said faith was important in his life.

      All people who believe in God are not ignorant.

      July 30, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
  20. WhatGod

    Where is my comment?

    July 30, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
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About this blog

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