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September 14th, 2013
08:01 AM ET

Hey atheists, let’s make a deal

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN

(CNN) - Famed atheist Richard Dawkins has been rightfully criticized this week for saying the “mild pedophilia” he and other English children experienced in the 1950s “didn’t cause any lasting harm.”

This comes after an August tweet in which Dawkins declared that “all the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.”

Dawkins is known for pushing his provocative rhetorical style too far, providing ample ammunition for his critics, and already I’ve seen my fellow Christians seize the opportunity to rail against the evils of atheism.

As tempting as it is to classify Dawkins’ views as representative of all atheists, I can’t bring myself to do it.

I can’t bring myself to do it because I know just how frustrating and unfair it is when atheists point to the most extreme, vitriolic voices within Christianity and proclaim that they are representative of the whole.

So, atheists, I say we make a deal: How about we Christians agree not to throw this latest Richard Dawkins thing in your face and you atheists agree not to throw the next Pat Robertson thing in ours?

Now I’m not saying we just let these destructive words and actions go—not at all. It’s important for both believers and atheists to decry irresponsible views and hateful rhetoric, especially from within our own communities.

(Believe me. There are plenty of Christians who raise hell every time Robertson says something homophobic or a celebrity pastor somewhere says something misogynistic.)

READ MORE: Why millennials are leaving the church

But what if we resist the urge to use the latest celebrity gaffe as an excuse to paint one another with broad brushes?

What if, instead of engaging the ideas of the most extreme and irrational Christians and atheists, we engaged the ideas of the most reasonable, the most charitable, the most respectful and respected?

Only then can we avoid these shallow ad hominem attacks and instead engage in substantive debates that bring our true differences and our true commonalities to light.

It’s harder to go this route, and it takes more work and patience, but I’m convinced that both Christians and atheists are interested in the truth and in searching for it with integrity, without taking the easy way out.

Pope Francis took a step in that direction this week with a letter in a Rome newspaper responding directly to questions posed by its atheist director and inviting respectful open dialog between nonbelievers and Christians.

READ MORE: Why millennials need the church

So, yes, Richard Dawkins is an atheist. But so are authors Greg Epstein and Susan Jacoby. So is my friend and fellow blogger Hemant Mehta. So is Sir Ian McKellen. So is ethicist Peter Singer, who may or may not be the best example.

And yes, Pat Robertson is a Christian. But so is Nelson Mandela. So is acclaimed geneticist Francis Collins. So is Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee. So is Barack Obama. So is Stephen Colbert.

And I'm willing to bet that the same collective groan emitted by millions of Christians each time Pat Robertson says something embarrassing on TV sounds a lot like the collective groan emitted by millions of atheists when Richard Dawkins rants on Twitter.

Still, in the end, it’s not about who has the most charismatic or generous personalities in their roster, nor about who has the most “crazies.” It’s about the truth.

So let’s talk about the truth, and with the people who most consistently and graciously point us toward it.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "A Year of Biblical Womanhood" and "Evolving in Monkey Town." Evans blogs at rachelheldevans.com, and the views expressed in this column belong to her.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Christianity • Faith

soundoff (5,916 Responses)
  1. Jimb

    the real problem is that there can be no rational discussion about magic. God is not real. Move on into the 21st century. : )

    September 14, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      If atheists adopt just 20th century science, I will stop smacking them.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:16 am |
      • tallulah13

        We'd rather stay in the 21st century. We'll leave the backward thinking to the christians.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:19 am |
        • Beachplant1

          touche!

          September 14, 2013 at 11:28 am |
  2. jimatmad

    How about you quit voting the Republican Christian theocrats into high offices, Ms Evans?

    Atheists just want to be left alone, without being forced to follow the rules and laws of the modern American Christian Taliban.

    September 14, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Gotta Luv Me

      Atheists can move out of our country, is that too hard to do? After all, they are the minority and the most hateful group rejected in America.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:18 am |
      • tallulah13

        Silly troll. The Constitution is on the side of the godless. If you want a theocracy, move to Iran.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:21 am |
      • tony

        Yup. Then you could have a great christian nation, like Franco's Spain, or Pinochet's Chile.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:21 am |
      • J

        Thats the dumbest thing I've ever heard, why can't Christians move out of the country? Were all created equal

        September 14, 2013 at 11:37 am |
      • Chris

        @gotta luv me "the most hateful group rejected in America". That, by far, is the most ridiculous statements I have read in a very long time. As an atheist I am not hateful at all towards people that have religious beliefs and I feel far from rejected. Is this how Christians really feel? How very sad.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:41 am |
      • Beachplant1

        "our country"??? Did you buy the country and forget to tell the rest of us? I never did get the check.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • ram

      Good suggestions.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • deep blue

      where in the article did the author say how she votes in elections? I must have missed that.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:22 am |
  3. therealwanderingcrow

    i feel very saddened today , people fighting over invisible things.

    just like Christianity , there are many forms of atheism , Buddhists are the largest group they do not believe in deities or prophets , the budda claimed no holiness, deity. just a way of life.

    i couldn't believe this when i spoke to them...........please lets not continue this mess , or how are we better than what's happening in the middle east..........you just play keyboard warrior from home instead of fighting in the streets ........

    in the bible Jesus shamed his own disciples when they made fun of non-believers and the good things they do for people.
    and heres one thing

    1 Corinthians 7:13-14

    If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

    September 14, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  4. Somewhere in Montana

    Hey Christians, please understand that most atheists don't hate Christians (or Jews, or Muslims, etc). We simply don't buy into your belief system.

    While some atheists might buy into the Christian "value" system (do unto your neighbor, yata, yata, yata...), and even recognize that it serves a greater good by providing a common behavior model for society, we also recognize your bible for what it is; the end-result of too many translations by politically motivated and self-serving individuals over the last couple of thousand years.

    Additionally, many atheists don't want anything to do with organized religion as a whole, where the real objective seems to be to collect the obligatory 10% (or wait, is it now like tipping, where if you don't tip 15% you are cheating them, oops. somehow that got bumped up to 18% even though inflation provides a built-in cost of living increase, but don't get me started on that scam).

    Also, many of us are simply repulsed by the seeming majority of self-righteous "born-again" hypocrites who view atheists and agnostics as unclean unless we get down on our knees and pray with them personally for forgiveness (one of my favorites, to quote my sister, "Oh Jeffrey, quit being such an ass and just accept the lord Jesus Christ as your savior". Gotta love that sales pitch).

    Also, many atheists simply recognize your religious beliefs for what they really are, the result of years of successful brainwashing by your parents, the "moral" majority, and society as a whole that started the day that you were born. Plus the fact that atheists had the inner strength to rise above that brainwashing simply scares you to death.

    So as I said, most atheists really don't hate Christians (or Jews, or Muslims, etc), but many of us do feel sorry for you.

    PS: I am personally an agnostic, but from a Christian perspective that would seem to be a moot point since most Christians don't seem to grasp the distinction between atheists and agnostics. Personally, I suspect the real reason Christians despise atheists and agnostics so much is because we throw better parties, which they seldom get invited to.

    September 14, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Snoopz

      Could you possibly have been more condescending or insulting? Just because you don't believe in a god is no reason for you to get pleasure from trying to tear down the faith of others.

      I'm an atheist, and people like you are the ones who give us a bad name.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:17 am |
      • eric

        I applaud you! Thanks for pointing out that not all atheists are this way. We need more of that. Then again, "we" as Christians need to act and be more "Christ" like lol.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • eric

      This is the perfect example of why atheists, for the most part it seems, will never get along. You started out fine and it HAD to turn into a prententious diatribe. Without fail, this happens every single time. How about leaving out mockery, condescension and arrogance from your post? I mean, that's what a highly evolved intelligent creature...ooops, can't call you a creature because that insinuates you were "created" and that would point towards a "creator"....anyway, that's what an intelligent person would do. To be honest though, an intelligent person would not argue over something they say doesn't exist....but, I digress. Logic is difficult.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        An intelligent person wouldn't claim something is real based on "religious faith".

        September 14, 2013 at 11:25 am |
      • Pseudotriton

        Intelligent people are not "arguing over something that doesn't exist". We are arguing against the ignorant people who continue to insist that something exists without a trace of evidence to back it up. It's everyone's duty to stamp out ignorance in society because too much of it is just not good for anyone.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • counter

      You went on and on but sound embittered to me. Your sister is right. Stop being a ass.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:24 am |
      • Cricket

        If three replies in a row show up – not my fault – the auto-filters are on my case, and I can't figure out why...

        I agree that the above was a bit condescending and over the top – but having moved to an area that is pretty... like whole milk, let's try that... and being subjected to lectures almost daily (though I've never been told "don't be an ass, accept Christ as your savior", I can see how if a person lived in an area like this, and also had to deal with family piling on... yeah... bitter could happen.

        It's the unrelenting sameness of it all... they don't give up... tends to make a person snappish after a while.

        September 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  5. tony

    Overall this article sounds like a desperate (of someone who maybe actually losing their faith) attempt to have atheists somehow justify some aspect of religion. As if logic could be negotiated.

    September 14, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • joand

      Bingo.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:24 am |
  6. TLORop

    There's a difference between a celebrity atheist saying something stupid and offensive and a celebrity christian saying something stupid and offensive.
    Atheists are not an organized anything we don't have any leaders who represent us. And because we don't have common beliefs aside from the the disbelief in a creator we don't represent each other in the slightest.
    Christians are organized. You do have elected or appointed leaders. And as a christian you also represent your religion.

    September 14, 2013 at 11:11 am |
  7. kati

    horus commanded his followers to cast out demons and to preach the gospel wherever they went

    September 14, 2013 at 11:10 am |
  8. Michael

    Here's the problem with your proposal: Pat Robertson is a leader in the Christian Community. Richard Dawkins is just a man with a Twitter account. Since Atheist have no organization or structural leadership within their community, what Richard is saying is just as meaningful as what you are saying regarding your church. And the messages that Church Leaders spread reach a broader audience than a few people with Twitter accounts do. I'm not saying that either side is right, but you cannot compare the two and expect it to be a fair comparison.

    Instead, we should have a discussion on whether or not the right messages are coming out of the different communities, whether they are Christian, Atheist, Muslim, or Jedi. What happened to the basic tenants that all men are to follow: Love your neighbor, do unto others as you'd have them do unto you, be a person. That's what is missing in all of this rhetoric going around. People get so caught up on whether their side is right or wrong. It doesn't matter. It never has. Whether you pray to God or Allah, neither give you the right to pass judgement upon your fellow man. Just be a good person. The type of person you'd want to encounter on the bus, in the elevator, on the streets. Once we start doing that, we as a people can achieve great things together, for the benefit of all mankind.

    September 14, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Rosi

      Your comment is praiseworthy – except for one small detail : "God or Allah"?
      Don't you know that Christians who pray in Arabic or Indoniesian also pray to Allah?
      Just like Christians who pray in German pray to Gott, Christians who pray in Spanish pray to Dios, Christians who pray in Hindi pray to भगवान.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Snoopz

      Richard Dawkins makes a living off of insulting religion, like Robertson makes one off of perverting it.

      Dawkins presents himself as a leader with authority to sell books and speaking engagements. Don't pretend he doesn't see himself as an atheist leader. And he does not represent most of us atheists.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:26 am |
      • tallulah13

        Actually, Mr. Dawkins makes a living from appearances and from writing books that provide evidence as to why belief in god is not logical or realistic. Evidence is what it is. If you are troubled, perhaps what you should research what you believe and consider why the truth offends you.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • AV

      Pat Robertson is not a leader of the Christian community. There is only one leader of the Christian community. That is Christ Jesus. Pat Robertson is just a man. He does not represent me. He certainly does not represent any other Christian I know. Nor does the Pope speak for me, for I am not Catholic. Anything the Pope says does not speak for the entire Christian community. Again, because Christ Jesus is our only official leader.

      When either Pat or the Pope speaks, do not look at them with high stature or prominence. They are men. They are our equals. Their words carry weight only when they are in line with Christ. So, when you hear them speak, take their words and weigh them with the Bible. If they do not align, then you discard those words and don't let them play in your memories.

      Also, Christians have to be careful about throwing things in people's face. I don't bother with Hawkins' words outside of his field of study. I certainly wouldn't hold anyone with a similar "belief" accountable for his words. We should not hold any human beings accountable for the words of other human beings, just because they claim to believe in the same God or faith or absence of faith. Joe Brown may be an atheist, but his words mean nothing to Jason Jones. (Those names are just randomly generated and are not in reference to specific individuals.)

      Stop throwing other people's words in people's faces. Hold people accountable only for their own words.

      September 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
      • Pseudotriton

        "when you hear them speak, take their words and weigh them with the Bible. If they do not align, then you discard those words and don't let them play in your memories."
        Does that mean I can ignore their words when they don't condone slavery or misogyny like the bible does? So it's the same ole' favorite tactic by Christians, to cherry-pick the part they like, be it from the bible or the words of their leaders. The ultimate goal is to highlight the parts that reflect themselves favorably and brush over those that embarrass them. It's all about stroking their own ego.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • AV

          It's the same ole tactic of non-Christians to cherry-pick the parts from the Bible they dislike in order to make a derogatory statement that benefits no one.

          September 15, 2013 at 1:30 am |
  9. Guest

    Coming from an agnostic, atheists always seemed a bit egocentric and immature to me.

    September 14, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • magicpanties

      Coming from a left-handed person, Guest always seemed a redhead to me.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:11 am |
      • Snoopz

        Most of us atheists are just fine. It's comment section c0cks like magic panties that make the rest of us look bad.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      Agreed.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Burgermeister

      I hear if you deride the person hard enough, their argument goes away.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:13 am |
      • Guest

        They are exactly what I'm talking about (~90% of the trolls on the internet seem to be atheists from my experience). When I see Tebow drop to one knee after a TD and make Christians feel good about being Christians it makes me smile. I take Christianity (specifically Jesus' teachings) for what it is, a great philosophy to live your life by. For some reason, the entire existence of the religion drives atheists completely crazy though. I just never understood it. For all the talk of religious intolerance from the non-believers, atheists seem to be the most intolerant of everyone.

        September 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
        • Robert

          Keep telling yourself that until only you believe it. Everyone else sees you flailing your pencil arms against your bird chest "I got the atheists again yee haw!" We are tolerant as long as you keep it out of public policy. Until then we will continue to point out the insanity of religion. Your response is another exhibit for self deluded nuttiness. Do continue...

          September 14, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Ken

      Most atheists are probably agnostic about the existence of gods. As an agnostic, you don't believe that any gods actually exist, right? Same for us, so you're an atheist too.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:13 am |
      • Burgermeister

        Not exactly. Agnostics just won't make a judgment call one way or the other. They're the "I don't have sufficient information" crowd.

        Most atheists are actually agnostics who regard see the existence of god as unlikely enough that they might as well just call themselves atheists.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Doug

      How is not believing in a deity immature?

      September 14, 2013 at 11:16 am |
      • Guest

        It's not. Just seems that immature people flock to atheism. I think most people just use it atheism as an opportunity to declare themselves smarter than everyone else. If I ask them how life sprang up seemingly magically out of carbon and gas they don't know. If I ask them what created the big bang that supposedly created the universe they don't know. But they have no problem saying they KNOW every religious person is 100% wrong and then proceed to step on everyone else's beliefs to fuel their own sense of superiority.

        September 14, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
        • Robert

          Keep telling yourself immature people "flock" to atheism. This is exactly why we fight religious influence in government. By the religiots very nature you marginalize us as immature so our voice is somehow not developed enough to guide public policy. Nice job living down to your religion's well earned reputation as dumb.

          September 14, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Agnostics always seemed a bit wishy washy to me"

      makes just as much sense.

      Oh and if you don't believe, you are an atheist.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:16 am |
      • Cricket

        Technically, you could believe and still be agnostic. Believing on faith doesn't negate an admissions that we can't *know*, or that we can't have proof.

        However, an agnostic believer would certainly be less likely to go around telling other people that the Bible (or whatever other holy book ) was "proof". They would be admitting that they believed on faith, not proof, which seems the more honest position, either way.

        September 15, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Rosi

      Coming from an atheist, agnostics always seem a little immature to me – they can't even decide whether or not they believe.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:26 am |
      • Pseudotriton

        ^This!

        September 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
      • Guest

        Why decide? We are all probably wrong anyway, including the priests you call scientists.

        September 14, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • Pseudotriton

          People who can't decide (agnostics) just don't know how to take the evidence in front of them and form a logical conclusion. Nobody said anything is the absolute truth, but that doesn't mean one cannot come to some sensible conclusion. And some wild ideas a bunch of goat herders dreamt up 2000 years ago are not on equal footing as evidence-based science, and do not deserve equal consideration as logic.

          September 14, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So basically, Guest, you think you are superior because you can't decide.

      September 14, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
      • Cricket

        I don't know that I'd say that makes Guest superior, but I'd argue that it makes him more intellectually honest that most. If "atheist" meant "doesn't believe in a specific god with specific traits", then I'd say yes, a quick perusal of the daily news would provide enough evidence for anyone to make a decision with 99.999% accuracy. But it doesn't mean that – it means doesn't believe in *any* god... including one that pretty much stays the hell out of the way, and maybe occasionally takes a poke at people just to stir things up. Evidence that one doesn't exist is a bit more spotty, and validates an "I don't know" stance.

        Loki and Coyote and various other trickster gods would be mighty hard to *dis*prove by a preponderance of evidence. An aloof, remote god even more so.

        September 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  10. dmwinsd

    There's nothing wrong in saying "He doesn't speak for all of us." All groups should stand up for themselves when some element of their fringe, or some member who has media access, makes a statement or takes an action that paints the group with a shocking color.

    September 14, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • TimH

      Where are all the Christians denouncing Robertson, then? I watch a lot of Christian TV and I don't see any of the others taking Pat to task. It's like they're all afraid to start criticizing each other.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:17 am |
      • Snoopz

        Robertson, Osteen, et al are just scammers. They're in it for the money. Most actual Christian leaders probably ignore them like one would a black sheep.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • Pseudotriton

          You think Robertson would've lasted this long on TV if he didn't have a substantial amount of followers?

          September 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  11. Adam

    Wow. She posts and intelligent and well worded opinion piece and all of the comments are from the people she's talking about. How about all of you posting here take a step back and actually think about what she's saying before outright dismissing it because she's Christian? By doing so, YOU are the weak intellectual. The irony here is delicious.

    Atheism is no more or less "right" than anything else. They are both systems of belief based on faith. Which one you choose to believe is up to you and no one should criticize you for it.

    Guys like Dawkins and Robertson just need to be ignored. They say and do the things they do for attention. Nothing more.

    September 14, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • tony

      logic isn't faith. Just about the opposite.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:09 am |
      • VIVI

        We don't need your faith we have f*** fate. – Marilyn Manson

        September 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Burgermeister

      "They are both systems of belief based on faith."

      Well, I suppose when your definitions are circular, you can describe anything in any way you want, now can't you?

      September 14, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Hugh McMichael

      Atheism isn't based on "faith", it's based on evidence. Or more cogently, the lack of any evidence for God's existence. This is a common theist tactic, to insist the not believing in something is in fact a faith based position, because it buttresses the theist's indefensible worldview. What part of "not" don't you understand? Atheism is "faith" in the same was that "off" is a television channel.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:15 am |
      • Guest

        What created the explosion that supposedly created the universe? How did life spring up out of carbon and gas when science has never been able to recreate anything remotely like it?

        God is just another theory that has never been debunked and makes about as much sense as the Big Bang and Primordial Soup theories. You want to believe in your nonsense, why not let them believe in theirs? What makes your nonsense more 'logical'? They use their beliefs to feel better about death and you use yours to feel better about being average.

        September 14, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
        • nojinx

          The gods make less sense than the theories because they lake any evidence to even for a hypothesis to test. The Big Bang, etc., all have rationally reached evidence to support them. There are empirical reasons we think the universe exploded at one point, but none to suggest a god was involved.

          The key is: is there any part of your life where you choose to believe in something despite a lack of evidence?

          September 14, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
        • nojinx

          "...form a hypothesis to test." My error.

          September 14, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
        • Joey

          God will never make it the level of theory.

          September 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Rosi

      Atheism is a lack of faith.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:27 am |
      • Pokemon

        It's not as black and white as that. /pun intended

        September 14, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Pseudotriton

      Stop trying to pull the opponent down to your level. As many here have already pointed out to you, atheism, or a lack of belief, is not a belief. It's a conclusion arrived after examining all the available evidence using logical reasoning. Just because you base your faith on total illogical pseudo-intellect doesn't mean others are doing the same.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
      • Guest

        Illogical god verses logical theory that life sprang up from a pond with no previous life in it.

        Face it, you don't know anymore than they do. Your entire belief system is based on faith and instead of worshiping an idea greater than yourself, you worship your own ego.

        September 14, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
        • Pseudotriton

          What a load of bollocks. Science is not a belief system. Pulling others down to your level does not make your beliefs any more valid. The fact that you think those two are the either sides of a coin shows your ignorance in science.

          September 14, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
  12. wassupUSA

    I don't recall a major Christian movent to ESTABLISH a state religion (it does not say "seperation of church and state"). Also, you need to acknowledge the "free exercise thereof" part of the first amendment.

    September 14, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      The Freemason social engineering of the first amendment excludes atheists.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • ram

      Well, by the back door, yes there is every day. When laws are based on religious beliefs it has the same effect.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • MisterPrecedent

      The First Amendment doesn't say "establish a state religion", either. The prohibition is against laws RESPECTING an establishment of religion.

      September 14, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
  13. sdadf

    Here is the deal: Christians can voluntarily report to microchipping stations for the implant that will allow them to wortk and buy food, or we fire up the FEMA camps.

    September 14, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      Is that from revelations?

      September 14, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Mike Honcho

      LMFAO!!!!!!

      September 14, 2013 at 11:17 am |
  14. K

    What was offensive about what Dawkins said? He claims being abused but unharmed in the long run? He is resilient, good for him. What's the problem? Robertson on the other hand, attacks large groups of people and stands in judgement of them. To compare Dawkins to Robertson is wholly unfair.

    September 14, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      Two religious leaders is what they are.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:04 am |
      • tony

        Scientific thought process is not a religion. Any more than being given the right change at the supermarket is worship.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:07 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          The scientific method rules science and Dawkins ignores it.

          September 14, 2013 at 11:12 am |
        • tony

          Ignores what part exactly?

          September 14, 2013 at 11:13 am |
      • Rosi

        Atheism is not a religion.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:28 am |
      • Pseudotriton

        Why is it always the theists' favorite tactic to pull others down to their level? Religion is totally illogical and is not an alternative of science. Get over it.

        September 14, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • tony

      Amen

      September 14, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  15. FreeThinker

    Don't pray in my schools, and I won't think in your church... deal?

    September 14, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      Schools teach nonsense as science.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:05 am |
      • tony

        as if you would know

        September 14, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Mike Honcho

      LOL.....Thats a good one!!!!

      September 14, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  16. magicpanties

    With all of the awful things in this world (e.g., how many children are starved, killed, molested every minute of every day...), your silly god [who does nothing to stop the evil] is either:
    1) asleep
    2) incompetent
    3) malevolent
    4) nowhere

    September 14, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      These are the days of the sins of man.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:06 am |
      • magicpanties

        You must one of the crazies that truly believes the rapture will happen in your lifetime, right?
        It must make you feel so important and special to know that god has chosen you!

        September 14, 2013 at 11:09 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          I am not special, my master can make another of me from a stone.

          September 14, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Snoopz

      Why can't you just accept the beliefs of others without mocking them? That's the only problem with atheists – the militant ones who have to mock others. Similarity, the militant Religious people who insist on lecturing everyone should also silence themselves.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  17. Sid Stewart

    very liberal approach to religion; Jesus would not approve of this article per His Gospel teaching

    September 14, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • sam stone

      so, sid, you are jesus's spokesman?

      September 14, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • magicpanties

      ahem, god here (that means Jesus too).
      I approve of this article.
      Sorry, Sid.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  18. Sid Stewart

    make a deal with atheists? you must be in jest; atheists cannot make deals as they do not believe in values; Christ did not make a deal with Satan; also Mandala and Obama are not Christians; maybe in name but not in practice or teaching

    September 14, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • magicpanties

      What values do you refer to?
      The values of the christian crusades? the inquisition? the witch burning? the adultress stoning?
      hmmm...

      September 14, 2013 at 11:04 am |
      • counter

        YOu gotta go wayyyyy back in time ... right magic smartie pants. What a loon.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • sam stone

      sid: that was sure an effective argument

      September 14, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • smeeker

      There's a christian post for you.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  19. kati

    FSM said, "i am the light of the world"

    September 14, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  20. Sd

    Atheists have completely forgetting that America allows signs, voices, and actions to be heard without the threat of jail, persecution, or forced alliance with any group. They seem to think that because they don't like something, then whatever group entails that "idea", that they have to change merely because atheists don't like it.

    The very idea of atheists thinking this way is beyond words but it shows their personality disorders and self-righteousness in which they expect others to live as they do or create a country in which it appeases their delicate sensibilities.

    In other words, an atheist expects to walk without seeing anything that offends him/her. An atheists expects to listen to discussions without anything that offends him/her. This type of personality is one in which it shows very clearly that atheists are mentally-immature, not well versed in American politics, and has little patience for anything other than their own selfish desires.

    I have little time, if any at all, for anyone of this nature and it's tiresome. Grow up atheists. The world does not surround your needs and you'll just have to live with what you don't like. See a cross? look the other way. hear the word God in a conversation at the coffee shop? Block it out and think of something else. That is how you deal with life.

    When I don't like something there are two ways in which I deal with it; I either completely ignore it or there are times in which I open my mind to it. I believe you can always learn from something. Just because I don't like something does not mean it is wrong. That is the crux of how atheists think; they think just because they don't like something, it is wrong. How narrow-minded and uneducated could a person be to think this way.

    September 14, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • sam stone

      you are a hateful little fvck, aren't you?

      September 14, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • adamstanley

      well said!!!!

      September 14, 2013 at 11:15 am |
      • adamstanley

        listen to yourself, that's sound a little hateful, does it not?

        September 14, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Sd a joke

      You are everything you described in your article. Unexcepting of anything you don't comprehend. Most of us big bad atheists could care less if you build a huge cross, pray to a mistacle being in the sky, or live your life out of a fairy tale book. Just don't ask for my tax dollars to do it, bring it in to public schools, or try to shove your beliefs down mine or my kids throats.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • ZoomyZoomZoom

      I am all about live or let live. What I don't understand is that a Christian is allowed to discuss his/her beliefs to anyone who will listen yet if I merely say that I'm not so sure I agree, my opinion is viewed as some kind of attack. I'm not attacking anyone for their beliefs, I'm merely expressing another opinion. If Christians feel that an opposing idea is so hurtful, does it occur to them that listening to their ideas (as though they're facts not to be disputed) is not hurtful to me (since I'm not allowed to participate in the conversation other to shut up and listen)? That's where any animosity that I have comes from. Don't talk to me about it unless you're prepared to have a thoughtful discussion with someone who has an opposing viewpoint.

      September 14, 2013 at 12:07 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.