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. SuperPete

    How is this even remotely interesting? What, no one ever heard of Ayn Rand?

    September 11, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  2. Gary

    Good for you S.E. While I don't agree with you on everything, I do agree that atheism and conservatism are not incompatible. Now GAY and conservative, thats another matter.

    September 11, 2013 at 7:49 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      No it isn't. They're completely compatible.

      September 11, 2013 at 7:58 am |
  3. Pam's So Called Doctors

    My dearest Pam:

    Here are the qualifications of your so-called competi.tors with Dawkins and the like:

    John Carson Lennox is a British mathematician and philosopher of science who is Professor of Mathematics[1] at the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College, Oxford University. He is also Pastoral Advisor of Green Templeton College and Fellow of Wycliffe Hall (from wiki)

    Alister Edgar McGrath (born 23 January 1953) is a British Irish theologian, priest, intellectual historian and Christian apologist, currently Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at Kings College London and Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture.[1] He was previously Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford, and was principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, until 2005. He has also taught at Cambridge University and is a Teaching Fellow at Regent College. McGrath holds two doctorates from the University of Oxford, a DPhil in Molecular Biophysics and a Doctor of Divinity in Theology. He is an Anglican and is ordained within the Church of England.

    I think it was Phillip Johnson, author of the famous "Darwin On Trial" years ago who said that an "expert who speaks outside of his or her field is just another opinion."

    Gee, Pam...you would have done better with Michael Behe and he's been shown to not be a very good scientist.

    September 11, 2013 at 1:02 am |
  4. children of Israel

    Own backwards is nwo, the reason for world war 3 is to expose the twelve tribes of Israel, who are scattered into the four corners of the earth. Our Father is the God of Jacob *Psalm 77:10 And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. *Matthew 25:33 and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. *Psalm 78:68 But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved. (Lamentations 4:22)

    September 10, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • Reality

      And the rapid decrease in the number of followers of Judaism and Christianity is apparent from the above comments.

      And Matt 25: 33, it fails rigorous historic testing for the following reasons:http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb425.html

      Stratum: III (80-120 CE)
      Attestation: Single
      Historicity: negative

      And from Professor Gerd Luedemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 236.

      "This concluding text of Jesus' eschatological discourse fits Matthaean theology seamlessly.
      After the paraenesis in 24.32-25.30 the judgment by the Son of Man is depicted in a great painting.
      The judgment is of all human beings, but Matthew has his community in particular in view: cf. 13.37-43,49-50.
      In view of this similarity we must seriously consider whether the whole passage, Matt 25: 31-46, should be regarded as a Matthaean construction.for the following reasons:http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb425.html."

      September 10, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
  5. children of Israel

    Now Americult can not speak on Iran, because they have sold the souls of men to Syria and Russia. And China is in the judgment seat because England is amazed. This is prophecy & the red line is the red sea, Esau lineage is fully exposed. *Isaiah 20:6 how shall we escape?

    September 10, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
  6. children of Israel

    Is Americult a dictatorship, who made them God? *Psalm 73:11-12 And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. *James 2:6 But ye have despised the poor, Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? (Daniel 8:24-25)

    September 10, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
  7. Yuck

    Being in darkness is easy,but being in the light is hard,every day we choose to live in darkness or in the light.you choose ???

    September 10, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • Ken

      Depends on what you think of as "darkness" and "light". Personally, I consider ignorance of what we've learned of the universe through science to be the darkness. I choose to live in the light.

      September 11, 2013 at 7:57 am |
  8. The Reverend

    You can go to school, graduate, and become a doctor, but it doesn't make you an intelligent person.

    September 10, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Athy

      Actually, it does. An unintelligent person wouldn't be able to do that. The schooling process doesn't necessarily make you intelligent (but it helps), it just weeds out the dumb ones.

      September 10, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
    • Ken

      Well, it makes you an intelligent person, but not necessarily a wise one. I know plenty of doctors who smoke, for example. They're like the various scientists who deny evolution: doing something out of a personal gratification that they would never be able to defend professionally.

      September 11, 2013 at 8:01 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        That's a terrible comparison. Intelligent design, creationism or whatever whacky ideas people have are all bunk. Cigarettes however are a wonderful relaxant, great for taking the edge off a stressful day. Sure they're unhealthy, but what isn't these days? Also, doctors don't have to defend their lifestyles or live perfectly healthy lives. I know several doctors. They smoke, drink, eat fast food, one of them likes the occasional line of coke. It doesn't make them any less intelligent or any less credible as doctors. That's not true of scientists who deny evolution, certainly biologists at least, as they are denying a scientifically verifiable theory.

        September 11, 2013 at 8:13 am |
  9. Jethro

    "Conservative atheist" is not a contradiction, but it is an anomaly.

    September 10, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      No it isn't.

      September 11, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • Thinking things through

      I was raised by a conservative atheist/agnostic (mostly leaning to the former side of the pairing). Somehow, he never seemed like an anomaly. And definitely never a contradiction.

      September 11, 2013 at 8:18 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        It isn't. I know plenty of conservative atheists, myself included.

        September 11, 2013 at 8:28 am |
  10. children of Israel

    The God of Jacob rules

    September 10, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      To bad neither you nor he can prove it.

      September 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
      • Dippy

        Too, not o.

        September 10, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
      • Dippy

        Sorry. Too, not to.

        September 10, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
        • Akira

          Gaudere’s Law states:

          Any post made to point out a spelling or grammar error will invariably contain a spelling or grammar error.

          September 10, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Ken

      Some people are poor spellers and others use vulgarity in their posts, but that's no excuse for ignoring what they're saying, now is it?

      September 11, 2013 at 8:07 am |
  11. children of Israel

    The Rabbi is shut up on this. *Deuteronomy 28:68*

    September 10, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  12. Anon

    This nutjob is either a poe or has an extreme case of cognitive dissonance.

    September 10, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
  13. children of Israel

    Americult is destroying the world, by saying peace and safety. The world is going to rest in peace (Daniel 8:25) *Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. (Revelation 13:10)

    September 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
  14. Reality

    children of Israel,

    Read and thou shalt weep for all the time you have wasted:

    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 3:08 pm |
  15. children of Israel

    Whoever hates truth, you need to repent against evil. *John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (Job 32:21-22)

    September 10, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  16. children of Israel

    If you do not believe in Christ and his heavenly Father Jacob, why do you want mercy and goodness for? *John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. *Psalm 77:15 Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.

    September 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • reddragon

      Anyone can want peace and mercy and be good without believing in fairies, goblins, and santa.

      September 10, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  17. children of Israel

    Who is calling the God of Jacob, an angel of death? You are marked with the beast (Matthew 22:31:32) *Mark 12:26-27*

    September 10, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • The Reverend

      Give me an 'S'!
      Give me a 'T'!
      Give me a 'U'!
      Give me a 'P'!

      Oh, you get the idea...

      September 10, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
  18. Lee

    At least now we know you don't have to be even remotely intelligent to be an atheist.
    Personally, I thought any person who actually didn't believe in the "supernatural" had, at least a 3 digit IQ. Sadly, I appeared to have been gravely mistaken.

    September 10, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
  19. children of Israel

    Sharia law is the Devil, Christians are doing the works of Satan, praising men (1st Corinthians 3:21-22) Athesists are afraid to mention the God of Jacob out of their mouths, because Satan will kill them for taking a blood oath against him *Ezekiel 21:23*

    September 10, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  20. children of Israel

    Answer the door, who is the fairy tale? The Most High chose the God of Jacob and he will be at your door. If you dare speak out against the God of Jacob and his people, you will be put to death. Are you a believer? (John 10:7)

    September 10, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
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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.