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September 9th, 2013
03:29 PM ET

Fox News host: Atheists 'don't have to live here'

By Daniel BurkeCNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - Fox News pundit Dana Perino said she's "tired" of atheists attempting to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, adding, "if these people really don't like it, they don't have to live here."

The co-host of Fox's "The Five" was referring to a suit brought by the American Humanist Association in Massachusetts, where the state's Supreme Judicial Court heard a challenge to the pledge on Wednesday.

The group's executive director, Roy Speckhardt, called the suit "the first challenge of its kind," but Perino begged to differ.

Perino, who was White House press secretary for George W. Bush from 2007-2009, said she recalled working at the Justice Department in 2001 "and a lawsuit like this came through."

The former Bush spokeswoman added that "before the day had finished the United States Senate and the House of Representatives had both passed resolutions saying that they were for keeping ‘under God’ in the pledge."

"If these people don't like it, they don't have to live here," Perino added.

David Silverman, president of the American Atheists, called Perino's comments "bigotry."

"I, for one, am tired of those Christians, like Ms. Perino, who think that equality is somehow un-American," Silverman said. "If Ms. Perino doesn't like being only equal, it is she who will have to leave America to some other country that doesn't value religious liberty."

READ MORE: Famous Atheists and Their Beliefs 

In 2002, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with atheist Michael Newdow who argued that the words "under God" in the pledge amounted to an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. The Supreme Court overturned that ruling.

Congress added the words "under God" in 1954 amid the red scare over the Soviet Union. In November 2002, after the Newdow ruling, Congress passed a law reaffirming "under God" in the pledge.

Greg Gutfeld, another co-host on "The Five," continued the discussion after Perino, saying the Pledge of Allegiance "is not a prayer, it's a patriotic exercise. In a sense, it's basically saying: Thanks for giving us the freedom to be an atheist."

The Massachusetts case, which was brought by an unidentified family of a student at a school in suburban Boston, will be argued on the premise that the pledge violates the Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution.

READ MORE: Behold, the Six Types of Atheists

It is the first such case to be tried on the state level: All previous attempts have been argued in federal court on the grounds that "under God" was an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state.

CNN's Kevin Conlon contributed to this report.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church and state • Courts • Culture wars • News media • Schools • TV

soundoff (7,255 Responses)
  1. OHBuckeyeNot

    Ms Perino (unbeknownst to her, as per usual) has verbalized the latest rendition of that good old conservative standby: "America Love It or Leave It". Nothing new here - just recycled right-wing vitriol.

    September 10, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Grow Up

      And atheists are spewing the same general nonsense – if I hate it you better not say it or else I'll twitter and blog about it and cry like the little children we are because nobody liked us at Sunday School.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • Rajesh

      The demand to "remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance" is wrong. Majority of the folks in this country are not atheists. If you do not like it, do not say it. No need to take away the right of others who like to say it.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  2. chuck

    Blah, blah, blah. I love it when libs confuse glibness with intelligence. When "A Dose of Reality" is lying on his death bed his intellectual arrogance will seep like pus and he'll be crying to his lord for salvation. It's a common malady. Whiny liberals hate America and themselves.

    September 10, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • beachcombr

      I wouldn't count on that. Carl Sagan (who was an atheist, but never a militant one) kept his wits right to the end. He even wrote about it in the last few days of his life. For some people, facing an uncomfortable reality is better than a pleasant fiction.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Tram_McDooley

      Looks like whiny Chuck hates himself. You shouldn't! You only have one life and it's too short to spend mired in self-loathing.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:30 am |
  3. Mindforms

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" Note the Founders were very careful with this language. It does not read "one particular religion" or "a state religion," it clearly states "establishment of religion" as in, this government is not in the religion business, period. Who cares what Congress voted on Dana? They have not represented the people for years.

    September 10, 2013 at 9:14 am |
  4. George Johnson

    There is enough room in my world for the religious and non-religious. What I have a problem with is the religious that want to force-feed me their ideas. They would have me believe that I am less than human and doomed for all eternity if I don't think, act, and believe as they do. I find that mindset extreemly repulsive!

    September 10, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • Davis

      Not to mention extremely destructive to progress, freedom, and most everything America was founded on.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:16 am |
  5. James

    I'm a Christian, but I quit saying the pledge when I was a kid and not a Christian, and I still don't say it or sing the Star Spangled Banner either.
    Question for all you that want it removed. Is it EQUAL to remove it. No one is making you say it or believe it, its a choice. That's like saying I want car's removed off of the streets because someone ran over my kid. By me saying remove, I'm forcing my opinion on you, and not giving you a choice. There are things that we don't like, doesn't mean that we should force our opinion on others. I like to have the option to say I believe in God or that I don't, I don't like someone saying that I don't have that choice. How would you like it if someone said sorry you can no longer have the choice of transportation. Walk everywhere, or the choice of your place of work?

    September 10, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • sybaris

      Really?

      Bad analogy

      "God" invokes a system of belief that can incorporate laws to govern a society and regulate lifestyles, among other things.

      I know there are some people that worship cars but people that say "my car told me to......" are generally solitary individuals, eat potted meat and have 153 cats.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:24 am |
      • James

        My whole point is its about choice, you choose to do things or you don't. It's when we star taking choices away from people is when we start violating people's rights. It's like telling me that my dog is vicious because of its bread... oh but my dog has never bitten anyone, but that poodle across that street bites someone every day. but since my dogs bread is "Scary" I don't have the choice to own it. Quit trying to take peoples choices away. How about this, I'll make a deal with those who want God out. I'll take God out, if everyone of you quit breading. Oh that's stupid...so is taking God out, and for those who say well what about other god's. It says God, not Jesus. You can believe or not believe in any god that you want. It's your CHOICE!

        September 10, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • Misterwire

      I pray that God will bring all of you etheists to Christ so that you can see how sweet, great and loving our God is. The creator all things including the solid ground. Thank you God and please forgive the etheists and everyone of us and make us ready for the soon return of our only savior, Jesus Christ. On behalf of all the etheists, I say amen!

      September 10, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
  6. Pentheus

    "Under God" is not a statement of religion, but one of faith.

    There is a stark difference between Religion and Faith. One is concerned with what a person must do, and the other with what has already been done. It is the former which has been used as a bludgeon by those who have very little of the latter. It is a lack of faith (in accountability) which causes injustice – whether the instigator is "religious" or not. In this case the instigator is anti-religious.

    http://goo.gl/sQ9CFG

    The atheist's wish to abolish all public recognition of God "is like wishing that every nose in the universe were abolished, that smell of hay or roses or the sea should never again delight any creature, because our own breath happens to stink."

    September 10, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • Grow Up

      Pentheus, I love your quote at the end. Very nice.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:17 am |
  7. christina knight

    We atheists are the one group in the USA that it is still acceptable to discriminate against. Hopefully, things will change in the near future, but I am not optimistic. I suppose I will have to accept my status as a second class citizen for the time being.

    September 10, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Grow Up

      -dies laughing- Now that is funny.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:13 am |
  8. bookish

    The Cold War is over, we can take the "Under God" back out of the pledge. Believing (or not) in a god does not make you more or less dedicated to your country. I'm sure some people said they were tired of the Civil Rights movement, the Women's suffrage movement, the fight to get rid of child labor...I'm sorry you're tired, but this is how progress works. People fight so that they can be treated fairly in an unjust society and the folks who are tired are just going to have to get used to the fact that things change and that they often do for the better.

    September 10, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Jones

      Amen to that, Bookish.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:18 am |
  9. Stuart C. Hellinger

    When are some people going to learn that this is not and was not founded to be a Christian Country? The US was founded on the basis of freedom of religion, meaning that you can choose to worship any religion you chose, chose not to worship any religion or deity, of even refrain from acknowledging that any higher power exists. This is what made this country great and strong for over 200 years. These extremists are tearing the country apart. In some respects, many of them are no better than the Taliban.

    September 10, 2013 at 9:11 am |
  10. sparky

    you're right idiot. We don't "have" to do anything. Most particularly those of us that served for 20 years of our lives. You're free to go live in Jerusalem and be closer to your god

    September 10, 2013 at 9:10 am |
  11. jonny

    By her logic, if she (being Fox news) doesn't like abortion rights, welfare, Obama, the house of reps, Obamacare, etc... she should move to a different country?

    By her logic, we don't have the right to change things about the country we live in?

    Where does Fox find people with such a deficit in not only education, but critical thinking skills? It's astounding. Do they just recruit anyone who failed to finish the 10th grade?

    September 10, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • CJ

      When she was press secretary for Bush she stated on NPR that she didn't know what the Cuban Missile Crisis was, except that she was pretty sure it had something to do with Cuba and missles. She later said on a talk show that it was understandable that she didn't know, since this happened before she was born. She fits in perfectly at Fox.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:15 am |
  12. A Dose of Reality

    Top Ten Signs You're a Christian
    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours
    .9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt
    .8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
    2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

    September 10, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Grow Up

      Your dose of reality unfortunately sounds like the same kind of diatribe most evangelicals spew as well. You quite literally sound like whining mewling child desperate to tell their father how wrong they are. Once you perhaps grow up, gain a measure of reason, and truly look at the world objectively without this very sad and pitiful need to express yourself like a five-year old screaming how unfair things are....well maybe then the adults will listen to you.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Evenstar

      In time you will see the error of your ways and by then it will be too late. Disbelieve if you want to, but in the end ten billion sun block wont be enough for you.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:16 am |
      • Evangelos

        Ah, yes...bring out the classics: When evidence, logic and empathy fail, resort to hideous threats.

        September 10, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Tolerant Agnostic

      Couldn't have said this better myself!! And very funny too!

      September 10, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • truthprevails1

      10 signs of an unquestioning christian
      1- You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of your god.

      2 – You feel insulted and dehumanized when scientists say that people evolved from lesser life forms, but you have no problem with the biblical claim that you were created from dirt.

      3 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a trinity god.

      4 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the atrocities attributed to allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how god slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in the book of exodus and order the elimination of entire ethnic groups in joshua, including women, children and animals.

      5- You laugh at hindu beliefs that defy human and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women but you have absolutely no problem believing that the "holy spirit" impregnated Mary who then gave birth to a man god who got killed, came back to live and then ascended into the sky.

      6 – You are willing to spend your time looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of the Earth (4.55 billion years) but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by pre-historic tribesmen sitting in tents having a guess that the world is only a couple of thousand years old.

      7 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs –though excluding those in all rival sects will spend eternity in an infinite hell of suffering. Yet you consider your religion the most "tolerant and loving"

      8 – While modern science, history, biology and physics have failed to convince you otherwise some idiot rolling around the floor speaking in tongues may be all the evidence you need.

      9 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works and you think that the other 99.9% was simply the will of god

      10 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists, agnostics do about the bible, christianity and church history.
      But still call yourself a christian

      September 10, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • The truth is out there

      Your list should be on David Letterman so he can make fun of it.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Misterwire

      You must think you are some kind of intelligent person. All your writings and analogies will be presented before you on the day of God's Judgment. Remember one thing; you are standing on his solid ground which neither your scientists nor atheist made. SOLID GROUND, SOLID GROUND AND TO HIM BE ALL THE glory!

      September 10, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
  13. Evenstar

    Once upon a time it was as this:
    "For the LORD thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee." Deuteronomy 15:6
    But today it is as this:
    "The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail." Deuteronomy 28:43-44
    Sound familiar?

    September 10, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • A Dose of Reality

      Yea...more BuyBull verses. Whatever. When you can PROVE that any of it is real maybe it will mean something.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:11 am |
      • Evenstar

        Prove it is not!

        September 10, 2013 at 9:16 am |
        • The truth is out there

          They can't.

          September 10, 2013 at 9:23 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Idiot! Burden of proof lies on the one making the claim. Although proving your buybull wrong is quite easy...http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/index.htm and evilbible.com do a great job of it :-).

          September 10, 2013 at 9:26 am |
      • Bill Deacon

        Say Reality, can you tell us what the per capita debt for U.S. citizens is, including the national portion?

        September 10, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • sybaris

      So since you are quoting the OT do you also not eat shellfish, not wear clothes of blended fabrics, and do you promote slavery?

      September 10, 2013 at 9:28 am |
  14. Michael

    I'm glad this story ran and we got to be reminded by this quote from Dana Perino how lucky we are to no longer be run by that right-wing crackpot administration she was afiliated. Sadly the calamity and chaos they created persists, but at least now we don't have to hear this kind of mindless, hypocritical garbage emitting from the White House every day. Sadder still is the fact that this country does recognize an establishment of religion (Christianity) in many, many ways, not the least of which is that pointless phrase in the pledge.

    September 10, 2013 at 9:09 am |
  15. futureman2Calbikerman1

    When I am forced by group think at a ballgame or political funstion into saying the 1950s redscare edited pledge I secretly mean the true Gods, Zuul the Gatekeeper of Gozer , loyal only to The Destructor and Vinz Clortho the Keymaster. They comfort me in that moment of mass delusion.

    September 10, 2013 at 9:09 am |
  16. Amanda

    So America is free, but only to certain people. How nice...(sarcasm)

    September 10, 2013 at 9:08 am |
  17. Davis

    Video killed the radio star and science is killing the religion star. You better get used to it, because you're not going to like the alternative.

    September 10, 2013 at 9:08 am |
  18. Jones

    Atheists don't have to live here, that is correct. However since this a democracy, and not a Christian nation the public has a right to vote for who they want and whatever change they want. If Christians don't understand that they have neither the interest in America or the principles it stands for.

    September 10, 2013 at 9:07 am |
  19. Gotta Luv Me

    "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation under GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

    September 10, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • A Dose of Reality

      Ten Reasons You Know you are an Atheist.1. You were likely brought up a theist (probably a Christian if you live in the USA) and had to do your own thinking to rise above the beliefs that still occupy the mind of the believer. This usually involved being smart and working hard at school and college so as to get a good, accurate view of the natural Universe and overcoming significant social pressure to dumb yourself down and conform. In short, you had the guts to ask the hard questions and the brains to spot the weak answers. The more you came to understand the Universe, the less reason there was to believe in a god and the more you came to appreciate human nature, the more you understood why billions of us still do. 2. While rejecting the supernatural elements of the Bible, you nevertheless retain a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent you reject Christian morality, it is where it is mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, your basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – you just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over your head in order to act in a manner that you consider moral.3. You know a great deal more about the Bible than most believers. This is because you took the time to read it yourself and did not rely on the primary-color simple stories you learned in Sunday school. You have also probably done some research into the historical Jesus and have a good handle on where he REALLY fit in to the broader picture of the Middle East at the time. Needless to say, his miracles and other magic powers soon started to look pretty unlikely.4. Your knowledge of basic science and history is much stronger than that of your average believer. You likely have a basic working knowledge of physics, astronomy, evolutionary biology and cosmology and a good idea of the history of life on this planet. This acc.umulated knowledge puts you in a position to judge the claims of the Bible in a critical light and they are almost always found wanting. To the theist, this makes you “elitist” and ‘arrogant”. 5. You relish your role as a religious minority in the USA, as this gives you an impetus to fight and you understand how others with unpopular, but doubtlessly correct views have felt throughout history. There is something altogether satisfying to you about having a deep conviction you are right and being viewed with disdain for your views by the errant majority. You feel a quiet confidence that future generations will look back on you as a member of a class of trailblazers, as religious supersti.tions go into inevitable decline in popularity.6. You are likely more environmentally aware than your theist friends and colleagues and unlikely to fall for claims of industry and wind-bag politicians concerning the impact of man’s activities on the environment. You could no more act in an environmentally irresponsible manner because “god will keep us safe” than you could jump of a ship, believing King Neptune will keep you safe.7. You generally have a live and let live atti.tude, but will fiercely defend any attempts by theists to thrust their views on you or your children, directly or through control of school boards, the legislature or the executive. While you are prepared to debate and argue passionately with the theist on an intellectual level, you would never wish them harm or ill will. You know you are likely to be smugly told you will “burn in hell for all eternity” for your healthy skepticism. This highlights what you despise about religion, as you would not wish a bad sunburn on another, simply because they have a different religious view to you. You have never heard of an evolutionary biologist strapping a bomb to himself and running into a church yelling “Darwin-u akbar”.8. You likely know more about other religions than your average theist. This makes you less fearful of them and enables you to see parallels. You realize that, if you were born in India, you would have been brought up with a totally different religion. You realize that every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. They cannot all exist and you see the error all faiths make of thinking only theirs exist(s). This “rising above” the regional nature of all religions was probably instrumental in your achieving atheism.9. You likely have a deep, genuine appreciation of the fathomless beauty and unbelievable complexity of our Universe, from the 4 nucleotides that orchestrate every aspect of you, through to the distant quasars, without having to think it was all made for you. You likely get more out of being the irrelevant ant staring up at the cosmos than you do in having to pretend that it was all made to turn in majestic black-and-white pirouette about you.10. While you have a survival instinct, you cannot fear death in the way the theist does. You know that the whole final judgment story, where you may be sent to hell if you fail, is Dark Ages nonsense meant to keep the Church’s authority. You also know that you were dead for 13,700,000,000 years before you were born. It is impossible for you to fear death, for the simple reason that you know the capacity to fear (or to feel pain or discomfort) itself dies. You will not even know you are dead. Fear of death is as meaningless to you as is the fear of a vacuum, the fear of not being born. You feel a lot more secure, and indeed a deep comfort, in this knowledge, than you would in trying to yoke yourself to some quasi-hope that every part of your intellect tells you is untenable

      September 10, 2013 at 9:07 am |
      • Davis

        You know, the most important part of writing is the editing.

        September 10, 2013 at 9:11 am |
      • Grow Up

        Your dose of reality unfortunately sounds like the same kind of diatribe most evangelicals spew as well. You quite literally sound like whining mewling child desperate to tell their father how wrong they are. Once you perhaps grow up, gain a measure of reason, and truly look at the world objectively without this very sad and pitiful need to express yourself like a five-year old screaming how unfair things are....well maybe then the adults will listen to you.

        September 10, 2013 at 9:12 am |
      • Amanda

        Very nice! The first wall of text I have read in a comment that actually makes sense.

        September 10, 2013 at 9:12 am |
      • Jeff Williams

        Very well said, and pretty accurate. I can relate.

        I had a discussion with a born again uncle once where he claimed muslims in the middle east would have a chance to be saved through evangelism. All they had to do was accept the lord as their savior.

        So I asked him , Uncle Jim, if a muslim came to you here (in Tennessee), would you consider converting to Islam?

        His answer was a resounding "hell no!".

        I followed up with " then why do you expect muslims to do otherwise?"

        The reaction was priceless. It was as if there was a new verse in Genesis:

        "And, verily, as the world was silent, the lord created crickets."

        September 10, 2013 at 9:43 am |
      • Nate

        The irony is that atheists like you sound just as self righteous as the Christians you criticize. You probably are smart, and I'd say that's true for most atheists, but rubbing your intellect in the face of people who have come to different conclusions, and the constant jabs, doesn't sound like someone who is content. I guess my question is why do you guys have to be jerks about it? I imagine you'll say something about Christians being the same way, and I don't doubt you've run into some misguided idiots - there's a lot of them out there.

        September 10, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • TS

      only since 1954

      September 10, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • MIke

      For all you traditionalists out there shouldn't the pledge be restored to its original reading? which until 1954 did NOT have the phrase under God in it.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:13 am |
  20. A Dose of Reality

    Rather than inculcating our children with the primary-color simple Sunday school legends and myths most people do, might I suggest the following ten comandments to enable them to think for themselves.1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a parent, priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must. 2. DO NOT think that claims about magic and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars get frightened when you want to "look under the hood". 5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and goblins and believing in any of them does not make one moral.6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should I believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible. 7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”? 8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of god” or “god moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered wrong.9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”? 10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing. I sometimes think that, if we first taught our children these simple guidelines, any religion or other supernatural belief would be quickly dismissed by them as quaint nostalgia from a bygone era. I hope we get there as a species.

    September 10, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • Grow Up

      Your dose of reality unfortunately sounds like the same kind of diatribe most evangelicals spew as well. You quite literally sound like whining mewling child desperate to tell their father how wrong they are. Once you perhaps grow up, gain a measure of reason, and truly look at the world objectively without this very sad and pitiful need to express yourself like a five-year old screaming how unfair things are....well maybe then the adults will listen to you.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:11 am |
      • JJCommonSense

        All the commenter did was suggest that we seek beyond what's presented to us and told to us..... And the best thing that you can do is insult them? You do no more than to further validate his point.

        September 10, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • Regina

      Excellent. Excellent. Excellent. Very well said.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Kathleen

      Thanks Justin. I am going to keep a personal copy of what you posted. Makes sense to me. Even if there is a god and he gave me a brain, clearly I should be using it. I never understood why religion argues that the complexities of life are proof that there is a creator...but the one who supposedly created life, who we expect to be far more complex than life as we know it...formed all by itself.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:35 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.