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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. EastCoastAgnostic

    How about we make a different deal: we atheists, agnostics and other non-religious people will stop calling out the extreme behaviors of your faith systems, if you stop providing cover for them and remaining dead-silent when they say or do really stupid things.

    Standing by quietly in the shadows while someone who claims to believe what you do commits an atrocity doesn't make you simply an observer... it makes you an accomplice.

    And that goes for not only you Christians, but Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and everyone else. If you don't like what's being done in the name of your faith, then grow a backbone and fight it!

    September 14, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Target

      No. I know a lot of atheists, agnostic and non-religious people that don't want you to speak for them.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
      • EastCoastAgnostic

        Target = attempted argument FAIL.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
        • Fred

          How did he fail? Did he say something you didn't like and now your feelings are hurt?
          Typical of any atheist I've ever dealt with.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
        • Robert

          Typical religiots answer: Create the conclusion (atheists feelings are hurt) and then group us all together. Religion limits the mind and you are another example of that self imposed limitation.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
  2. allenwoll

    Atheists and Theists have a GREAT deal in common : They BOTH believe that which can NOT be OBJECTIVELY proven and follow their BELIEFS on FAITH and faith ALONE ! ! !
    .
    The positions of BOTH are indeed laughable when viewed with an open mind ! !
    .
    The thing is - SOME agency created the Universe and THAT is ALL we CAN know for CERTAIN ! !
    .

    September 14, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      So, because you can't prove that I don't own a pet that is an invisible and undetectable dragon the size of Jupiter, it means that your belief and mine are of the same value? Is there a 50% chance that I actually own an invisible and undetectable dragon the size of Jupiter?

      September 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
      • Target

        Are you being honest or dishonest about your dragon?

        September 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I'll tell you when you answer the question as it is posed.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
        • Target

          God exists. God's existence isn't dependent on any hypothetical pet you can imagine. And whether I can disprove or prove your imaginary pet, God still exists.

          So, are you being honest about your pet? I am being honest about God. You must be here looking for something like God. I think that is obvious.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
        • Robert

          OK I accept your god as real as long as you practice my belief that you have to leave fish in your yard every day to appease the pink penguins that live underground and influence the weather.

          September 14, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Time For You To Grow Up...

      The difference is in how we advance our beliefs...

      Science is the study of reality...

      Religion is the study of fantasy.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
      • Pol Pot

        Please don't equate science with atheism.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
        • Target

          Yes and thank you!

          September 14, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
        • Time For You To Grow Up...

          It's not about equating, but there is a correlation... Atheists use logic and facts to understand the universe... Science is the use of logic and facts to prove a hypothesis.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
        • NOOOOO

          Atheists don't believe in the divine.

          Being an atheist doesn't mean you use logic and reason any better than someone else. Imagining you do just makes you arrogant.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
      • Target

        Religious people study, support and educate about science, too. And there are plenty of atheists who don't know or care about science at all.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
        • Time For You To Grow Up...

          Mainstream religious people shun science because it exposes the fallacies of their religious beliefs... The Earth is 6000 years old?? Seriously, grow up.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
        • EastCoastAgnostic

          Echoing what you said to someone earlier, Target, "You do not speak for all religious people. They have not elected you as their representative. Please stop making broad statements about a group which you are unauthorized to represent."

          September 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
        • Target

          Not all religious people believe that. Fact is, there exist religious people that know a lot more about science than you.
          Your attempts to stereotype "religious" people as inferior to atheist people is a joke.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
        • Fred

          It's funny how atheists always break out the second-grade-recess arguments in order to speak their minds.
          "I'm smarter than you are!"
          "My hero is smarter than your hero!"
          "You're dumb and I'm smart!"
          You guys are HILARIOUS. Please keep it up, I find you very entertaining.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • awww

          baby intellectuals. they try so hard

          September 14, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
      • SalinasPhil

        Amen 🙂

        September 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • CB

      How do we know that something created the universe? If you think everything had a creator, what created the creator? You can't say something had to create it and then say the creator always was. If the creator always was, the universe most certainly could have happened. You must be a Christian. And as Dawkins says, the only difference between an atheist and a theist is I believe in one less god then you.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "The thing is – SOME agency created the Universe and THAT is ALL we CAN know for CERTAIN ! !"
      and how do we know that for certain? you are guilty of exactly that which you decry.

      there is no proof for god - true. no proof for atheism? tell me how to prove a negative. seriously - tell me how to prove a negative and i'll get right on it. how could one possibly prove atheism? all proof points toward atheism and none toward the existence of a god - but how could someone possibly prove atheism?

      September 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • leetlib

      That's not entirely true. Many atheists - most, in my experience - are theists in that they follow a belief system. They believe that God does not exist. However, some atheists and, indeed, without a religious belief system.

      Essentially, a genuine atheists neither believes that God exists nor believes that God does not exist; they choose to hold no belief on the matter, for the objective truth of God's existence cannot be known.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
      • d-bags

        According to that logic, the "genuine atheist" must also hold the same stance on the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and my Leprechaun friend named Jeff, for the objective truth of the existence of these creatures cannot be known.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
      • Yahweh

        You need to get to a dictionary and fast. That was painful to read.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
      • Cole

        Atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color. What you're describing as a "true atheist" (ugh.) is agnosticism. Atheism is nothing more than the belief that there are no deities.

        September 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Richard Pinkman

      "They BOTH believe that which can NOT be OBJECTIVELY proven and follow their BELIEFS on FAITH and faith ALONE ! ! !"

      This has to be the most idiotic thing I have ever read. Do you really believe that science is all faith based? Please tell me you are joking...

      September 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Joe

      Because believing that a supreme being that existed before the universe and created the universe so they could create humans and then save them with itself who is also a human but also the supreme being is the same thing as believing that we don't know what started the universe because we don't have that much scientific knowledge.

      Seems the same to me.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  3. badskippy

    "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."

    and yet, "Christians" sit back and allow those with ugly, hateful words ramble on and on and do nothing about it. even the so called leaders and politians who claim to be Christian – are allowed to spout off hate and then cry foul and accuse those of us taking issue with their words as being the intolerant ones.

    i am SICK of the Christians boo-hoo-ing and claiming they are being persecuted, all the while condemning and spreading hate about anyone that isn't just like them.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  4. gt

    Better to believe in God and find out there is none than bet there isn't one and find out there is. Atheists commenting on the essay are hateful. They don't want to believe in God because they think they are so smart. As Jesus said-a fool says there is no God.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • zeyn2010

      So you think you can fool God if you believe in Him just in case He exists???

      September 14, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • bostontola

      Sounds like you think you are so smart that you know what motivates atheists to say what they say. Pretty arrogant to make such sweeping pronouncements.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      pascal's wager. full of holes. bad bet.

      better to live your life in a cult following all kinds of crazy rules just in case the cult is right? wrong!
      you waste your life, the only one you have, on the miniscule chance your christian god is the right one?
      it's not a 50-50 choice - you realize there are other gods? heard of odin, ra or zeus? what if they are the right gods? what if the christian god is wrong? what will you do when zeus shoots a lightning bolt up your @ss because you worshiped yahweh instead of the true thunder god?

      see how silly your logic is?

      September 14, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • sybaris

      which god?

      September 14, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
      • zeyn2010

        aliens... LOL

        September 14, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Meredith S.

      Here, RIGHT HERE, is the point of this essay. You are generalizing, and it doesn't reflect well upon Christians like me who don't fall into the trap of sweeping generalizations.
      Reply to the person you think is making a hateful statement. That's what the reply button is for.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
      • Target

        Bingo!

        September 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Pascal's Wager was debunked as soon as he made it.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
      • Target

        Every opinion that Santa makes in his 10-12 straight hours, 6 to 7 days a week on here is also debunked immediately after he says it. Yet he keeps coming back and talking about a God he doesn't believe in.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • John P. Tarver

          Seeker.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
        • exlonghorn

          target,

          Please, by all means, go ahead and debunk his debunk of Pascal's Wager.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • ptmom02

      How can people say that with a straight face??? I'm going to believe in god even though I admit there may not be one...whhaatt?? How about just live a good life and do good things and don't worry about any god?

      September 14, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Dana

      Let's just hope the "real" God isn't part of an extinct religion. Then we're all screwed.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Show me something that Jesus said that was not self-serving in some way.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      sorry gt but that was most unchristian, consisting of hate and bearing false witness. dont be a hypocrite now

      September 14, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
      • Robert

        There is the rub; the religiots say we are fools not to believe in god and then whine when we tell them to stuff it. Uh ok. Dish it but can't take it eh?

        September 14, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
  5. NorthVanCan

    The pursuit of stamping out dangerous ignorance and bigotry that causes so many wars is the noble job of the Anti-theist.
    A contribution to humanity worth celebrating.
    One day they will thanked .

    September 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • zeyn2010

      Agreed, it is a noble job.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  6. Bootyfunk

    i love how this author wants to make a deal because one atheist author wrote one thing that was inappropriate. and you want to make a deal of one atheist making bad comments vs. 1000s of christians? nope, sorry, doesn't work that way.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
  7. ricker

    Logic, theory, common sense, knowledge, education..............."you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows". With every ostentatious, gaudy, flamboyant, outrageous costume every pope has ever worn and every giant, humongous church ever built and every little child being/ever sodomized.........more and more people are being brought closer to the truth. It's too bad there isn't a god that would punish every priest that's ever committed any crime. Cary on.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      "a principle that I think underlies all wealth, a principle that Jesus gave: "Unto him who has, more will be given.""
      – Pat Robertson

      "And now our income is in the $600 to $700 million range."
      – Pat Robertson, one question later in a Time magazine article

      September 14, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  8. james

    The list of "Christians" you mention may be questionable as to who calls them that since many verses in the Book they claim to use betrays that claim. (see Matt.7:21-23; Matt.22:34-40;John 13:34,35; John 17:1-3,24-28;) and others on request. Just because someone calls themselves a Christian does not make them one.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Bart

      You are not the judge of who is or isn't one either. So don't act like you are.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
      • james

        i did not claim to be the judge but the book they use judges them and betrays them so maybe you read it wrong, peace, j

        September 14, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
        • Bart

          If you are not the judge then you have no standing to make comment on whether people are or are not Christians. The Bible tells you to love your fellow man, all of them, period. Stop worrying about who is or is not following the rules as you see fit and start loving as you have been instructed.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
        • james

          bart, why are you so angry applying to me things I did not say or mean. I hope you get help soon and please I do not mean to judge you but really want you to seek help from The Book or any other place you deem worthy.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      The problem, james, is that nobody can tell who is and isn't a Christian, and the believer uses the same method to believe he is a true believer as he also uses to believe. Tell me, what's the difference in someone who believes he believes and somebody who merely believes?

      When you have a verifiable method to determine who is and isn't a Christian, you can say something. Until then, though, you're in the same boat they are: You both believe you believe but perhaps neither of you believe it correctly enough for your god to consider you a true believer. According to you, some people believe they believe their entire lives, then they get to the ultimate judge who tells them that they aren't really a believer because their belief didn't meet his standard, so they merely believed that they believed, but they didn't really believe.

      Good luck on judgment day.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • james

        that is exactly what I said but used some verses in the book to help them along the way and that is what is so obvious but then you knew that , right cpt?

        September 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  9. John

    No.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  10. Dana

    Sure Rachael Evans, that sounds like a fair enough deal. I'm an atheist, and I do get frustrated with Richard Dawkin's vitriolic tone. But, uhm, just out of curiosity... how was his statement about Islamic innovation untrue, exactly? Islam carried the torch of civilization and knowledge while Europe slumbered in darkness, but since the middle ages, Muslims as a demographic hasn't done much outside of the achievements of the Ottoman Empire (which itself had stagnated centuries ago). While everyone seems to be outraged by Dawkins stating this simple fact, no one has been able to repute it.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • bostontola

      I agree, the Muslim comment was a fact not an opinion.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      well said.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      "reFute?" perhaps?

      September 14, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • ME II

      I think the issue was the implication that Muslims are somehow less capable, which is not established

      September 14, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        no, the implication is that they are stagnant because of their strict religious views.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • Dana

        Yes, and how would that be untrue? Hindus, Buddhists, and Confuscians don't seem to have this problem, but adherants to Islam seem to be at a disadvantage, with brilliant Muslims having thrived in spite of their religion, not because of it. Islam, in its current modern incarnation, is an impediment to knowledge and innovation and Richard Dawkins made light of this. It didn't always used to be that way for Islam. In medieval Cordoba, Islam was a patron of tolerance and invention. Today, its generally xenophobic and unyielding to liberalism.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  11. NorthVanCan

    They must be feeling the crushing weight of reality if they have reached the point of making deals with the Atheists .

    September 14, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • zeyn2010

      Yeah haha

      September 14, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • 19strings

      LOL! Well said!

      September 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  12. magicpanties

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

    There is nothing "gracious" about brainwashing children with ancient myths.
    Organized religion would fade away in a generation or two if kids weren't indoctrinated with the same hooey their parents got saddled with.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • zeyn2010

      Yep

      September 14, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
  13. Bootyfunk

    "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."

    that's hilarious. if you wanted truth, you wouldn't be part of a religion. each religion teaches it's story of magic instead of truth. if you wanted truth, you would step back from your religion and stop looking at it through rose-colored glasses.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  14. DaveLake

    For those that believe in the bible.
    Moses came down with the Ten Commandments. One of the COMMANDMENTS-you are commanded-Thou shalt not kill.

    Of course he quickly ordered people to kill!

    Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said: 'Whoso is on the LORD's side, let him come unto me.' And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them: 'Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel: Put ye every man his sword upon his thigh, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.' And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. (Exodus 32:26-28)

    Ah-excuse me-ordering peole to kill right after telling them not to kill. A child can see the problems with this myth.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • jens gessner

      He came down the mountain with 15 commandments, but he dropped the third tablet, and it shattered. Mel Brooks clearly demonstrated this. Hence the lack of morality among religious folk. – They obviously miss a few rules.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  15. 21k

    how bout xtians doing more to prevent their own pastors from committing pedophile crimes. and stop the tax exemptions for religious bizznezzes while you're at it. i'm tired of paying taxes for you to brainwash more kids into believing in nonsense.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Richard

      You are obviously to stupid to read what was printed and get the good from it. You are one of the raving loons both sides should not be listening to. Please go take your meds and log off the net for a month or ever.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
      • 21k

        but i am smart enough to spell "too" correctly. and you would state "forever" not "ever" in that last bit.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  16. zippy

    There are atheists and there are anti-theists.
    The atheists I know are generally live and let live kind of people.
    Anti-theists seek to stamp out any view contrary to their own.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      not really. anti-theist, like theists are more pro-active in trying to turn people away from religion, but it doesn't mean they are stamping out all other views. christianity does the same - but doesn't sound like you judge as harshly.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      It's a very small percenta.ge of atheists who are religious anti theists, though.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Nick

      You mean by evangelizing their views? Oh, wait, that's something religious people do, but its okay for them to do it, right?

      September 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  17. ...

    I can never bring up religion, but it is always ok if atheists do. And then they always whine... Seriously, leave my religion alone.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • bostontola

      Bring up religion whenever you want.

      Read your own post, is it not whining?

      September 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Melissa

      No one cares about your religion. They care if your religion tries to control the lives of others.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
      • zeyn2010

        Agreed!!

        September 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • doobzz

      But you DO bring up religion, again and again. You continue to shove it illegally into our public schools, in our courts, in our government buildings, on our money, into our laws. Then when you get push back, you whine about being persecuted for your religion.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  18. bostontola

    This is the dumbest article I've yet read on this blog. Feel free to throw Dawkins statements into atheists face. When religious leaders of significance say inane things they will be called out for it. Intellectual debate shouldn't have truces, that is lack of conviction. If Dawkins says something dumb, he should be called out. How does that impugn other atheists? The premise of this article is stupid and she needs to be called out for it.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Gyro10

      Amen!

      September 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Meredith S.

      It doesn't, bostontola. And neither should Pat Robertson's idiotic remarks reflect on me as a Christian.

      And yet it does. I notice a trend on this board on both sides to pick one person as representative of a whole group. It's wrong, and that's what RHE is talking about.

      I get her point completely. Generalizations are dumb.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
      • bostontola

        Generalizations are unfair and often dumb, a truce is dumb.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  19. 19strings

    The entire problem with this article is in defining Dawkins as an extremist. Equivocating him with the likes of Pat Robertson? I have trouble taking that comparison seriously. While one could make a good argument that Dawkins could be more tactful at times, the arguments he makes regarding atheism are not extreme at all. But Robertson is both tactless AND extreme. The author here is confusing delivery with content. She doesn't agree with Dawkins views on the lasting damage of pedophilia and suddenly he's as ridiculous as the likes of Pat Robertson? That's absurd.
    As for the author's concern for classifying "Dawkins’ views as representative of all atheists," I say, go ahead. I'm more than comfortable with christian folks or anyone else assuming Dawkins represents my atheist views.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Terrin Vann

      You sir, I agree with

      September 14, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Nick

      Thank you! Pat Robertson is an extreme media personality, nothing more than a talking head who spouts off the most radical non-ideas. Richard Dawkins might say some rude things sometimes, and he certainly has strong beliefs that religious people will disagree with, but he is an insanely accomplished evolutionary biologist. When he speaks, he is speaking with the authority that his decades of knowledge and experience in his scientific field have provided. In his mind, because of his vast stores of knowledge about the field of evolutionary biology, he knows for a fact that a god could not exist. I am inclined to agree with him, and I have no problem being associated with his views whatsoever. I don't condone everything he says, but as you said, it's a matter of tact, not of delusion and hate as it is with Robertson.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • TiglathPileser

      Really, so you are o.k. with the idea that "Aliens may have started life on earth" (Dawkins quote) and his current follishness about pedophillia represents your views?!?!

      September 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • nojinx

      Agreed. The author makes an error in that Dawkin's "extremism" is an aspect of his style and demeanor, but that substance of what he presents is relevant in the greater discussion between the more reasonable camps. Robertson may speak with a gentle demeanor, but his extremism is in his substance.

      In the end, the analogy is a failure.

      September 14, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  20. Melissa

    How about we atheists make a deal with you religious nuts? You keep your religion to yourselves, and we won't work so hard to stamp it out.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Creemore

      Marry me Melissa, well said!

      September 14, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Richard

      religious nuts, great way to start working together to make a better world. I am afraid what you say about blacks and latinos in private with your obvious bigotry. I will ask Odin to not strike you with anything. Not sure if Zeus will hold back on the thunderbolts tho.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • TiglathPileser

      Feel free to 'keep trying to stamp it out", you've done a fine job so far -lol

      September 14, 2013 at 1:30 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.