September 9th, 2013
09:04 AM ET

S.E. Cupp: `Conservative atheist' is not a contradiction

(CNN) - With "Crossfire" returning to CNN this Monday, September 9, CNN is taking a closer look into the hosts' lives with a series of Web videos.

In this first video, S.E. Cupp, a columnist, commentator and author, delves into her experiences with understanding religion and what it’s like to be an atheist and a conservative.

"To me, it never seemed like a contradiction," Cupp explains. "We have the same values," Cupp says of herself and religious believers. "I just think I get them from somewhere else."

Cupp, who has a master’s degree in religious studies, says she was always curious about religion. "I was just fascinated by the pomp and ceremony and ritual nature of religion, and yet couldn't completely get there ever; couldn't completely wrap my mind around the idea of God."

Cupp says she has been working on finding greater understanding for the last 20 years, and isn't giving up. "I want to get to the bottom of this story. It's something that I'll always be challenging myself on."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Church and state • News media • Politics • TV

soundoff (539 Responses)
  1. CommonSensed

    What happened to the voices of the moderates? All we get to hear from is the whackos on either end of the political spectrum.

    September 10, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  2. children of Israel

    The world rejected Christ denying our Father the God of Jacob rules (Psalm 59:13) Death to all who refuse to bow down to the God of Jacob *Genesis 27:29*

    September 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  3. children of Israel

    Allah is the Devil. JEHOVAH is Satan name his place for the dead souls to worship him. What is sodomy? That is a sodomite, Esau is asses and mules, the Edomite lineage *Matthew 5:17* (Deuteronomy 23:17)

    September 10, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • magicpanties

      And so the leprechaun did smite the elf, for it had lain with a centaur.
      (Unicorns: 4:20)

      September 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
      • reddragon

        I think I just peeed. Thanks for the laugh.

        September 10, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  4. children of Israel

    Is the God of Jacob a fairly tale? Answer that and death will come to your door. Watch how the nonbelievers shut up, and change the subject (Genesis 31:29)

    September 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • magicpanties

      Yes, it's a fairy tale.
      Please, please come visit me angel of death!!!
      That was funny.
      Tell us another one.

      September 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • CommonSensed


      So all the other religions are suddenly and now dead due to your angel of death? Wow. Spread some more mercy and goodness, will ya?


      September 10, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  5. magicpanties

    It may not be a contradiction, but it surely is stoopid.
    The conservative base is primarily hard-core christian.
    How could an intelligent atheist ever support the republican agenda?
    Just defies logic.

    September 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Daniel

      She said conservative not republican. I’m not an atheist; I follow the Daoist path and consider myself conservative because I believe people should take personal responsibility for their actions and thoughts.

      September 10, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  6. frespch

    Ken- enjoyed your banter with Vic- I must admit I am more of a believer in God than not.
    Surely those who have never had the opprtunity to hear of God cannot be judged.
    However those who have had the oportunity to study and have known of God can be judged, just because they don't accept the evidence does not excuse them from judgement, no more then it did the Saduccess, Pharasees, and Sanhedrin of Jesus day. Was Jerimiahs prophey of the destruction of the temple accurate, were the Jews taken to Babylon, were Daniels prophecies of the Kingdoms to come and fail true. Were all the prophecies fortelling the coming of Jesus true.
    Faith is described as the expectation of things hoped for and the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.
    Christ said that unless people saw signs and miracles they would not believe but after him there would be no more signs or miracles. It is now up to everyone to decide are these teachings just foolish or are they something more. My choice and yours.

    September 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  7. Anomic Office Drone

    I agree that "conservative atheist" is not a contradiction. However, "Republican atheist" certainly is.

    September 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  8. deavyin

    Yes, an atheist conservative is not necessarily a contradiction. However, S.E. Cupp claiming she is an atheist is. This is a woman who openly states she WANTS religion and hopes to be religious one day. She's a patsy and a disgusting person with small minded views. I've been watching her for years and I am never surprised by the stupid, inane, bigoted nonsense this girl spouts.

    September 10, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Why do you watch her?

      September 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
      • Agnostic Front

        Because her legs go for days and he faps while holding his Bible and crying.

        September 10, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
      • deavyin

        Because she is a 'rising star' who pretends to speak for a movement. She gives atheists a bad name time and time again and does so from a supposed position of authority. It's important to keep task of people who disparage you, as she often does. She has gone on to write books about the attack on christianity as though it is from the perspective of an atheist. She is a stooge of the right.

        September 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          If you and others are watching her or keeping track of her or whatever, she's not pretending to be a rising star, she is a rising star.

          September 10, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  9. Savior

    Just a liberal fornicator who wants our approval or her choice to quietly defy true conservatism. YOu are either a conservative or you aren't. Deny god and you are simply a liberal trying to lead us astray. Silly RINOs.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • frespch

      There is truly something wrong with your thinking.
      Only Republicans believe in God and there are no Republicans that don't believe in God.What a foolish little person you are.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Mark my words if and when these preachers get control of the (republican) party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians Believe they are acting in the name of god, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them."

      ~Republican Barry Goldwater

      September 10, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Conservative but not Republican is also not a contradiiction.

      September 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Agnostic Front

      He said "liberal fornicator". What is this the 50s? Do you flog yourself when you pop wood watching the Lawrence Welk dancers?

      September 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Anomic Office Drone

      So in your mind "small government" is a government that can impose religion on its people?

      September 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      You are a tool and a fool.

      Go pedal your sharia law in a non-secular country.

      September 10, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  10. ncgh

    I am an atheist.
    Economic conservative.
    Political libertarian.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:31 am |
  11. JFH

    It takes courage for a conservative to admit that they are atheist or agnostic. I think that there are many more of them out there but are afraid to "come out" because of the almost certain bigotry they will experience as a result of their honesty.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  12. Dave Young

    Finding God, and living your life as God would direct you has nothing to do with politics or lack of faith in liberal wacko politicians.

    September 10, 2013 at 8:57 am |
  13. thomas stone

    In college I did a study of atheism.I pretended to be an atheist.I attended meetings,rallys,etc.I found out that alot of atheists,not all,but alot chose atheism as an act of rebellion toward family or society and for attention.I spoke to many who didn't have a clue whether there could be a God or not,they were just following what they viewed as a take that dad or mom,take that society. I'm an atheist what are you gonna do about it.I met hundreds of people who called themselves atheists,it really was an eye opener and that's not to say that religion is on the up and up either,but none of this is God's fault,man has free will. I believe in God,but do I know absolutely I am right,no,it's called faith.Just as I can't absolutely guarantee God exists,a so called atheist cannot absolutely guarantee there isn't.If I am wrong I'll never know,but if I'm right and I have faith that I am,then I will witness these so called atheists begging for redemption,but it won't be granted. It must be an awful existence to believe that we came from slugs and monkeys and life ends with death,I for one don't... God bless

    September 10, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • christina knight

      I am an atheist and I reject belief in a deity, because Theism is irrational and I find that it is irreconcilable with a scientific world view. As for your alleged 'experiment' in college, one must question your motive as well as your credibility. What were you trying to accomplish aside from making a fool of yourself?

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

        Just a question but are you implying that anything that can be known can only be known through science?

        September 10, 2013 at 9:40 am |
        • Ken

          Real things that affect the universe, yes!

          September 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
      • Smarter than U

        I can't help noticing the irony of your first name being derived from Christ and you being an atheist. No big deal just a point of curiosity. Ironic too that the prisons are filled with guys name Jesus.
        Frankly, i am an atheist because i cannot find a shred of evidence of there being a diety. None. Just some anecdotes from Bronze era denizens. Loonies point to the bible to make life decisions for themselves and others. Ask those same people to have their surgeon perform a procedure they way it was done 50 years ago and they would call you a nut for even suggesting it. But live my life based on interpretations of 2000 year old nonsense. Of course.

        September 10, 2013 at 9:40 am |
        • hgflyer

          Why is it "loonie" to live your life according to biblical concepts, such as the ten commandments? With the exception of the very few religious zealots, no one is condemning you (actually, most of them are probably praying for you!) for your beliefs, so why do you feel the need to chastise those who choose to believe?

          September 10, 2013 at 9:52 am |
      • hgflyer

        Wow...so the 95% of the world population that believes in a Higher Power(s) are irrational. Way to be objective about your reasoning, ms. science! One scientific concept escapes you, however, and that's something known as a "theory". Is it really that hard to fathom the "theory" of the existence of a Higher Power?

        September 10, 2013 at 9:47 am |
        • jimbo913

          Religion isn't a theory, it is a hypothesis. Look up what a scientific theory means.

          September 10, 2013 at 10:36 am |
      • Aaron

        I find it irrational to believe that the universe came into being in a spontaneous creation out of nothing and then organized itself randomly until intelligent life was created. I might as well say that you could blow up a printing press and have all the typeface fall to the ground in matching font to spell out the declaration of independence.

        Maybe the idea of a creator is irrational to you but it makes perfect sense to others and vice versa. Live and let live. Like Thomas Stone said, in the end if there is nothing, I'll have no regrets because I won't be. But if there is something after this life, I will hopefully be prepared.

        September 10, 2013 at 11:05 am |
        • Sean

          Yes, such a complex thing as a printing press couldn't have just came into existence; it must have had a creator. Now, that said, your God must be much much more complex than a printing press. So who created him?

          September 10, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
      • frespch

        Christina- just thought you could use a little enlightenment. The Scientific community has no clue as to the origin of life.

        September 10, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Chris

      The beauty of being an atheist is that I don't have to prove there's no God.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • deavyin

      So very much wrong with this post. For starters, Belief in something without evidence (faith) is not only irrational but it is BY DEFINITION delusional. Here is the definition of Delusion: an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder. Having said that, you pretended to be an Atheist, met (as you claim) hundreds of atheists and, without citing evidence, painted a subjective picture of them based on your own perception. A perception that is obviously colored by your own views. It's tantamount to me saying that I have met literally thousands of Christians (true; i live in America) and from my interactions with them it seems that they are a bunch of delusional, brain washed, bigots who are afraid of, and lash out against, anything they don't understand. Do you not see just how stupid that sounds?

      September 10, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Agnostic Front

      Fixed it for you.

      In college I did a attempt at proving my religious conviction. I pretended to be an human being.I attended meetings,rallys,etc.I found out that alot of christians,not all,but alot chose thier religion as an act of obedience toward family or society and for attention. I spoke to many who didn't have a clue whether there could be a scientific explantation for things or not,they were just following what they viewed as a "love me" cry to dad or mom,"love me" society. I'm an christian, what are you gonna do about it. I met hundreds of people who called themselves christians,it really was an eye opener and that's not to say that non religous views are on the up and up either,but none of this is the human species fault, man has free will. I believe in God,but do I know absolutely I am right,no,it's called fear and cult indoctrination. Just as I can't absolutely guarantee God exists, a so called atheist does not have to absolutely guarantee there isn't as it is foolish to prove a negative. If I am wrong I'll never know,but if I'm right and I have faith that I am,then I will hope to be proven right so these so called atheists will stop laughing at me(otherwise known as Pascal's Wager) ,but it won't be granted. It must be an enlightened existence to believe that we came from years of evolution and from a species of primates that diverged thousands of years ago to walk upright and life ends with death,I for one don't. want to because that means there is a lot of fun I have missed out on, a lot of dirty dirty I did not do, and I will be highly perturbed.. may my imaginary friend say hi to you.

      September 10, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  14. Jan

    "What's God got to do with it?" Do with it?" or anything human for that matter

    September 10, 2013 at 8:02 am |
  15. children of Israel

    Wake up, no nore sleeping in bed *John 5:8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. *Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. *1st Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. *2nd Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

    September 10, 2013 at 2:43 am |
    • Reality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Added details available upon written request.

      September 10, 2013 at 7:51 am |
    • Smarter than U

      So much blather and barely intellegible. Keep memorizing and quoting this pablum. It will serve you well.

      September 10, 2013 at 9:41 am |
      • Reality

        Added details as requested:

        origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

        New Torah For Modern Minds

        “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
        Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

        The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

        Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

        The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

        The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

        September 10, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
        • Reality

          Details continued:


          Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

          "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

          Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

          Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

          Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As do BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

          The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

          Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

          September 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
        • Reality

          And still more details:

          Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

          From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

          Even now Catholic/Christian professors (e.g.Notre Dame, Catholic U, Georgetown) of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

          To wit;

          From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

          "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
          Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

          Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

          Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

          The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

          Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

          The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

          "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

          The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

          With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

          An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


          "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

          p.168. by Ted Peters:

          Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

          So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

          September 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  16. children of Israel

    Americult, they have rejected Christ the Israelite and our Father the God of Jacob is against them. The Arabs have the God of Isaac and the Africans have the God of Abraham. The so called white man attached themselves to our lineage.

    September 10, 2013 at 1:38 am |
    • USMC 1371

      Still believe in fairytales?

      September 10, 2013 at 5:21 am |
  17. children of Israel

    Salvation only comes through the God of Jacob, & the lovers of the world are dead souls to the most high God. Christ is the Star of Jacob (Numbers 24:17) *Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. *Numbers 24:19 Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city. *Matthew 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. *Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

    September 10, 2013 at 1:21 am |
  18. Rusty Yates

    We are all conservatives when we are happy with the current situation. We are all liberals when we want to change the situation we find ourselves in.

    September 10, 2013 at 12:50 am |
    • Observer

      Rusty Yates

      "We are all conservatives when we are happy with the current situation"

      It's good to see that conservatives appreciate the good job Obama is doing compared to the disaster of the Bush years.

      September 10, 2013 at 12:55 am |
  19. science, not myth

    religion = ignorance

    Whether Republican, Democrat or independent, religious people are dumb.

    September 9, 2013 at 9:29 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.