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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. Skeptical Bright

    The author does not address Dawkins' main point of view. He describes himself as a "militant" atheist", deliberately pushing the boundaries, challenging the status quo. He is the voice for many of us who have had their rights trodden upon over the centuries. One notable example is the religious fervor of the 50's when the Catholic Church pushed for and got religious messages in the pledge of allegiance, our money, and the like. He is a reasonable man active in the Humanist movement and a recognized scientist. But he has chosen the position of crusader for the rights of atheists raise the level of awareness of the issues

    September 14, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Fred

      Hate to tell you this, but "In God We Trust" on money started in the 1860's during the Civil War.
      But please, don't let any facts derail you from your rant...

      September 14, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        "In God we trust" first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864 and has appeared on paper currency since 1957.

        it's a habit of Fred's, not to tell the whole story ...

        September 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
        • Good Cents

          The first coin minted in the U.S. was Benjamin Franklin's design. It bore the words "Mind Your Business". ***That's*** what a real "Founding Father" thought.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugio_Cent

          September 14, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • Robert

          A religiot being selective with the facts? Noooooo (sarcasm)

          September 14, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • William

          Mr. Dog is correct. "In God We Trust" was added during and in response to the great red scare. Fred. where do you get your information?

          September 14, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
      • Robert

        In God We Trust was not on all currency until 1956. Don't let that fact disrupt YOUR rant. It was not on the nickel from 1883 to 1938 on and on.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • mac12311

      Many here claim Dawkins is not their leder now you seem to embrace him as such. In doing so you seem willing to excuse his sometimes visceral statements. Chalking it up to his desire to be a crusader on your behalf. This takes place while you routinely point to the evil leaders in Christianity. Perhaps you should do some introspection before bashing others. Having your rights trodden upon for centuries and then using the pledge (voluntary) and our currency (here's a hint just carry a check card) as examples seems like quite a poor example.

      There are plenty of evil people in the world and yes some occupy positions in one religion or smother. Others have no religious affiliation and still more are atheists. That meansthe only common denominator is they are human and thus capable of evil or good...the reasons hardly matter.

      September 14, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        when just about all Christians will tell atheists that they are going to hell to burn in agony for all eternity, I don't think that Dawkins' witty digs quite compare.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • mac12311

          You really need to get a grip on yourself. The vast majority of Christians wouldn't say a thing to you about where you are headed when you die. That my friend is a fact

          September 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
        • Robert

          Another lie from a Xian. Do continue...

          September 14, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
      • DrewNumberTwo

        Of course reasons matter. Reasons are why actions are taken.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
      • tallulah13

        I don't see Dawkins' statements as terribly offensive. He was not permanently damaged by what he experienced as a child and indeed, the Arab world was a hotbed of learning until radical muslims took over. How again does that compare to vilifying minorities and blaming them for natural disasters?

        September 14, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  2. Pensador R.

    This was all fine until you mentioned "the truth" and that it was important to find it, considering what you believe is the truth.

    September 14, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  3. Laura

    Let's see, generations of oppression, laws against running for office, continually fighting for the separation of church and state, being told that if we don't like it we can leave...hmm. I don't think so. If you don't like what Dawkins says, that may be because you are a Christian. That doesn't mean what he said was inflammatory to atheists. If atheists agree with him, then why on earth would we even consider "bargaining" with the 80% of the country that is still trying to oppress us with the continuous fight against the separation of Church and State? The people who want ID taught instead of Evolution? The people who still want to get prayer into schools? The people who want to make Christianity the national or state religion? The people who just this past week said that they are sick of us and if we don't like it we can leave? if you want us all to get along then start by making churches pay taxes, encourage kids to explore every other religion as well as no religion, have a little oversight of priests and support laws that keep state and church separate.

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

      Very well said.

      September 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Skeptic Al

      Thanks. That is a nice broad negative viewpoint of a group of people I don't like.

      September 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • RCM

      So you think that starting to make churches pay taxes and oversight over priests is not a violation of the separation between church and state? Please explain to me your logic.

      September 14, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
  4. How About Teaching Your Children Sense and Tolerance

    ggggg

    September 14, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  5. Godoflunaticscreation

    You know people are getting desperate when they start trying to make deals. Your religion is finished. I will welcome the new era of enlightenment.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Deeter

      She was saying that for rhetorical effect. There is no Christian-Atheist peace summit planned.

      September 14, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
      • Yea

        That guy needs to learn how to read between the lines. Wow.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
  6. NorthVanCan

    Atheists are winning.
    No deals with the devil needed thanks.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • CONGRATULATIONS.

      Good job winning atheists! You are awesome! All you did was declare god doesn't exist and now you are intellectuals! That is all it takes.

      September 14, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
      • Time For You To Grow Up...

        When compared to people who believe in talking snakes?? Yes, we are intellectuals.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
        • Yahweh

          Don't forget the talking donkeys and zombie flesh/ blood rituals. I'm really starting to regret that I ever said a thing on that mountain.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
        • CONGRATULATIONS.

          YES YOU ARE! And instead of posting on science or technology blogs, these atheist intellectuals like yourself spend a lot of time here talking about a god that doesn't exist.
          Fact is, they don't feel good about themselves. So they come here to tear others down. You really aren't that smart. You have a poor understanding of theology. You are not a scientist and certainly don't make a living in any field that requires logical and rational thinking skills. And no intellectual atheist I have ever met spews the garbage you do. I know and love many atheists. I know and love many idiots.

          You are an idiot. Trust me, I'm an expert on the subject.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • Robert

          I agree; you are an expert on idiocy through decades of practice....

          September 14, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
        • Cedar rapids

          'Fact is, they don't feel good about themselves. So they come here to tear others down. You really aren't that smart.'

          fact is with a statement like that you show that they arent the ones that really arent that smart.

          September 14, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  7. Bravo

    I find this line very amusing:
    "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."

    In reality, faith in general, Christianity in particular, are only interested in taking the easy way out. There is no desire to research, observe and formulate credible theories based on facts. There is only the interest in attaining blind followers whom describe the processes of nature as something the Divine has done and no further investigation is needed.

    In truth, atheist are interested in tangible fact that describes the natural world. Christians are interested in describing their faith in a manner that makes the vapor of their faith more tangible and which they can parlay off as the truth.

    By the way, I don't like the context within which people of faith abuse that word "truth". The word lies on a blurred boundary of fact and fiction, and Christians utilize the word at nauseum to convey their impossible beliefs as if they were fact. Truth is based on perspective, what one finds to be true for him is not true for another. Truth is not universal,...for instance, what one hindu believes is the truth about the afterlife is not true for a Christian, or Muslim or Jew. What all Muslims, Christians, Hindu's, Jews, etc know however is that 2+2=4. That is a mathematical fact. It is tangible, it is provable and it is universal...the same cannot be said of all religions.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  8. Bryant Lister

    Comparing Richard Dawkins to Pat Robertson is incredibly ignorant. Dawkins' comments about pedophilia were based on his own experience decades ago, and he did not express any notion that pedophilia is not a crime. Were his comments insensitive, yes, but comparing those to the comments of religious cult evangelists like Robertson is foolish at best. If you want to actually have a conversation without invoking Robertson or Dawkins, that's great...let's talk about how the christian cult (just like every other cult) is based on ancient fairy tales and nonsense.

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

      Amen.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Fred

      You mean in much the same way that evolution is based on nonsense and fairy tales?
      "See, there was this lizard, okay? And it morphed into a bird, ya see? And, and, then one day it figured out how to fly..."

      September 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
      • Godoflunaticscreation

        Yeah I mean the only difference is that one was proven by science to be true and the other is just the ramblings of some sheep herders over 2000 years ago who thought that the wind blowing was a sign from god.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
      • Bryant Lister

        Freddie, you only succeeded in demonstrating that you don't understand that theory of evolution.

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

        It seems like you should at least do a little bit of research on evolution. Otherwise, you just sound ignorant and make any argument you may have against evolution null and void.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
      • Ungodly

        Sounds like you haven't evolved yet. Please crawl back under that rock.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  9. Time For You To Grow Up...

    There isn't just one god... And there isn't just one god for every religion... Every believer creates a god in their own image, so there are billions and billions of gods, each one a unique figment of someone's imagination.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  10. Hell and destruction are never full

    🙂 No deals.

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

      I'm with you...No deal see what your invisible man in the sky has to say about that.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Observer

      Hell is probably full of hypocritical Christians who picked on gays or pro-choice supporters.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
      • Fred

        My guess is: probably not.

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

          Fred,

          You could be right. Maybe God really like hypocrites.

          September 14, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  11. exred

    Richard Dawkins isn't telling people, including children, that they will be forever tortured by fire if they do not believe what he believes. Religion, and christianity in particular, is based on abuse of children.

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

      Only internet atheists and right wing fundie xtians preach that.
      You guys are A LOT alike!

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

        The important thing is that you have found a way to feel superior to both groups.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  12. BDC

    Err, no, this 'deal' makes no sense. Pat Robertson basis his beliefs on what's in the Bible. Dawkins does not base his on any doctrine that atheists hold to be universally true.

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

      So Pat Robertson bases his beliefs on what's in the bible, a book of stories. And anyone of follows the scientific evidence regarding the creation of the universe is an atheist, glad we got that cleared up.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
      • Deeter

        Are you a Biologist? Are you a Geologist? If not, you also are also just taking someone else's word for it.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • donna

          You don't have to be a biologist to understand the world around you and basic logical processes.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Deeter

      I've read the Bible four times. In no place does it advocate making a spectacle of yourself the way Pat Robertson does, quite the opposite. If Jesus were here today, he would likely have pointed out the similarities between the Pharisees of his day and the televangelists of ours. I seriously doubt Pat Robertston reads his Bible, or he would know this. He may skim it, but he does NOT comprehend.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
      • Fred

        Saying that Pat Robertson is a typical Christian or a typical preacher is like saying Britney Spears is a typical single mother.

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

          Agreed.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
      • Cricket

        Oh, I'm sure he's read it and knows it minutely. I'm also sure he knows practically no one in his audience has, so with a little careful steering away from the tricky parts (why he has to know it well), he's good to go.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
  13. Relictus

    Christianity is holding society back. Views that creationism is factual, or that abstinence works, or that stem cell research is unethical – all those things hold back civilization. Stop telling me what to do, and I will try not to laugh at you.

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

      Some Christians believe in those things. But not all. And some atheists actually do, too.

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

      Sorry, but Christianity is not holding civilization back. Got any facts to back that up? I didn't think you did.
      Abstinence does work, but not everryone wants to wait. In a choice of "abstinence vs. do what you want to, here's some condoms," I think abstinence is better. In either casee, you have to teach that actions have consequences.

      September 14, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
      • jens gessner

        You are right, Fred. YOU should wait.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • Robert

          Religiot assertions that abstinence should be public policy is the problems. How is that "just say no" campaign working for us? How is that war on drugs going? How is that abstinence policy coming? Fail, fail, and double fail...

          September 14, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  14. gt

    ptmom02, that's just what Satan wants you to believe. I'm sure he's happy with your position.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  15. 633music

    I do not believe in Atheists.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • William

      Most Atheists would say that too. A lot of us despise living under a label, and live as individuals who fly no flag. A lot of us are very reasonable, friendly, and diplomatic when it comes to religion – we understand the state of things, and while we understand what is at stake, we also understand it makes more sense to work within the world rather than against it in order to make progress. I am terrified of heights, as a consequence I hate rock climbing, but that doesn't mean I call myself an anti rock-climber. Similarly, the word Atheist makes no sense to me. If I were to call myself anything, I would call myself a Humanist because I believe in the potential value and goodness of all human beings. I deeply love our species and believe we should consider ourselves greater than all that is or has come before us – we should be humble before no one but each other. I believe in rational approaches to solving the problems of our species in order that the needs of all may one day be met.

      September 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
      • Deeter

        I think a distinction needs to be made between Atheists (who just don't believe in God(s) ) and Anti-Theists like Richard Dawkins and his ilk who can't stand the fact that other people believe in a Higher Power. They, like fanatics of every ideological stripe, seek to control and dominate public discussion and the private lives of their neighbors.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
        • Robert

          Typical religiot; the point goes right over your head. Even the most strident of atheist does not care that you believe, go to church, pray, on and on. Don't confuse the agenda of the religious which is to control with the agenda of atheism which is to allow humans to follow their own drummer without pushing that drumbeat on everyone with government policy.

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

          It's a rare atheist that could give a rat's butt what anyone else believes. Many of us do care a great deal about what others *do* about what they believe. Like damaging the credibility of our education system by demanding creationism be taught as science (I don't know many who would object to it being taught *about*, which is an entirely different subject). Trying to compete in a world economy is hard enough, without undermining both our knowledge base and the respect of people educated elsewhere.

          September 14, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
      • Sean

        William, you hit the nail on the head. That's exactly how I feel and what I tell others.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
      • Robert

        You are making too much sense here.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  16. leif

    this article is a gross assumption of atheists and hilariously hypocritical.

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

      Atheists descending into fanaticism themselves is hypocritical

      September 14, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  17. tony

    Let's make a deal. CNN stop paying Rachel for substance free articles. Rachel, donate all past payments to a non-faith driven charity.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • CNN Belief Blog Atheists

      Don't stop her articles! It is fun for us to try and insist our opinion is the correct opinion over her opinion. We fail miserably at things like science. So we come here to feel better about ourselves.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Deeter

      Counter Proposal: CNN, stop covering the antics of Pat Robertson and Richard Dawkins, and get back to covering hard news. Remember "If it bleeds it leads?" cynical as that expression is, it would be an improvement at this point.

      September 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  18. Del

    No deal. Dawkins stated a verifiable fact about the Muslims. Christians think that their unverifiable opinions are equivalent.
    Nope. Sorry.

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

      Let's make a deal? No.

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

      You beat me to it. However, Dawkins's earlier statement about pedophilia is unadulterated, uninformed opinion, every bit as bad as one of Pat Robertson's howlers.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • John P. Tarver

        Roberts is in general agreement with Dawkins on a wide range of issues and that alone is an indictment of Dawkins.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
      • donna

        His comments were about his personal experiences- that's the opposite of an uninformed opinion.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
      • Cricket

        I'm not sure how someone can have an uniformed opinion about their own experiences?

        September 14, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
  19. aallen333

    From whence comes the order in the universe. Can you tell me who directed it and established its foundations? From whence comes the intelligence of man, his ability to form words and understand workings of the stars, moon and sun? Tell me if you can explain this. Why are there seasons and who instructed nature to dress herself for each occasion. Who has command of the seas and set their dominion and borders that they know not to cross. Who knits together the infant in its mothers womb and indwells it with a knowledge of the life giving substance its mothers bre-sts? Tell me if you are so wise? Atheists pride themselves for making grandiose comments of the obvious but are short on credible answers of the who, how and why? Atheism is foolish at its core and is the choice the simple because the alternative is too much for them to bear.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • jens gessner

      Easy. Start reading the right books.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
      • aallen333

        That's not an answer, because you have none.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
        • jens gessner

          Alright, I'll bite. What would you prefer:

          1.) An easy answer, even if – after closer analysis – it makes very little sense, or
          2.) The process of learning, even if we have to revise our answers on occasion.

          "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world." (Richard Dawkins)

          September 14, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Del

      From whence came your imagined creator?

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

        All creatures have a creator.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • Time For You To Grow Up...

          Yes... Their mother.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • Target

          Is that what your mother told you?
          I bet she would say God created you, not her.
          I also would say she didn't raise you to act like this. Right?
          Will you ask her?

          September 14, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Time For You To Grow Up...

      The difference, of course, is that atheists are happy to admit we don't have all the answers while we search for them... Theists think they DO have all the answers, even though their beliefs are based on fairy tales that have been proved to be childish fiction.

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

        Nope. You don't speak for all atheists. Not all atheists are happy to admit what you think. You are not their leader and have not been elected to speak for them.
        Pretty much you can provide your opinion (in the message section of an opinion piece dedicated to a Christian writer)

        September 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
        • Time For You To Grow Up...

          What a juvenile response... Of course I don't speak for everyone... I was just pointing out a fact about atheism in general... I'm not the slightest bit surprised you've convinced yourself of the existence of talking snakes.

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

          You posted an opinion about atheists. Not a fact.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • Time For You To Grow Up...

          "You posted an opinion about atheists. Not a fact."

          No, it's a fact... People who think they have all the answers are religious... People who realize we're constantly searching for the answers are atheists.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
        • Target

          No, that is a broad generalization. I know religious people that can admit they don't have all the answers. Some even go as so far to say they worship a mystery.
          But, you seem to think you have all the answers. And by insisting your opinion is a fact just points to your arrogance.
          You really aren't saying much about religious or atheist people. You are just saying what you are.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • jens gessner

          It certainly describes the position of atheism very well.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • An actual atheist

          Dude, shut up. An atheist just doesn't believe in god or gods. It doesn't mean we are any better than others or that we should romanticize what we do.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • Time For You To Grow Up...

          YOu lack the basic logic skills to understand... It's not a generalization to say all atheists disbelieve in god, it's a fact... What I stated is a fact, too... It's a pillar of atheism.

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

          Correction, people who realize we're constantly searching for the answers are NOT atheists, their 'realists'.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
        • Time For You To Grow Up...

          "Correction, people who realize we're constantly searching for the answers are NOT atheists, their 'realists'."

          An atheist is a type of realist...

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

          80% of the atheists that post on here really don't really know much about science.

          And if they decide to get a formal education in science, there is a good chance a religious person will teach them about the science they claim to have superior access to.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
        • Robert

          Where is your data that 80 percent of atheists don't understand science?

          September 14, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • Deeter

          I wish Time DID speak for all Atheists/Anti-Theists. You all wouldn't be nearly as insufferable.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • INfo

          Robert

          I said 80% of the atheists that post on here. The atheists that post on here represent less than 1% of the atheists world wide. Most atheists I know want nothing to do with them. Basically they are just trolls trolling religious boards.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
        • Robert

          OK; provide the data that 80 percent of atheists who "post here" or even that 1 percent of world wide atheists even post here. You are sounding very silly. Troll? I read an article and then post something. Besides; to use your logic that atheists "troll" here does that mean that 80 percent of christians here are easily trolled? Give it up please; it is embarrassing for you...

          September 14, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Info, could I see the data you collected and review your chosen method of an.a.lyzation? thanks.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
      • Fred

        Proven to be childish fiction? You sound just as half-baked as every other atheist I've ever seen.

        September 14, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
        • Skeptic Al

          You just need to GROW UP Fred. Grown ups create silly names and tell other people to grow up. We also insist our understanding is a fact. And if you disagree it must be because you believe in fairy tales.

          My parents are Christians. They are actually pretty kind people. Erhhhh.... But they need to GROW UP.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • Robert

          By virtue that religion can not be proven the religious are actually caught in a dilemma that they themselves do not understand. First: even the religious are atheists/infidels to someone and Second: if you say that your religion needs to be disproved then you have to accept that Zues exists which would violate your own religion's requirements for membership.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Edward T

      That moronic christian circular reasoning crap is just worthless. God doesn't exist because you lack basic elements of education, you really need to try better that "Oh because we're here".... come on son.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
      • Fred

        Can it be any worse than the tired old evolution argument, "I found two old bones. That proves we evolved from a critter that hung upside down in a tree."

        September 14, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • midwest rail

          You've never read a science book, have you ?

          September 14, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
        • INfo

          I found a fragment of a jaw bone, lets imagine and build the bone structure of a never before seen primate. Look from that little bone fragment we created a full skeletal structure. lets see if anyone is willing to believe that from a bone fragment we can create a link to a slowly evolving human being...

          ...in walks a CNN Religous Blog atheist who learned science from a unscientific looney atheist website.

          "Looks fine to me!"

          September 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
        • Yahweh

          This represents a new level of stupidity. Show some respect to those that went before you and made all that you hold dear possible.

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

          The difference is that evolution self identifies as a THEORY. Religion does not.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Perhaps the only theory more robust than that of evolution is QM. The vast majority of incoming data strengthens or better defines both theories. If you have a data set that casts doubt on either of these theories, the active scientists working in the fields would greatly appreciate the opportunity to examine your experiments and reproduce the results on which you are basing your conclusions.

          I must confess that I am interested as well. Can you present your data and give a summary of the methodology you utilized to conclude that evolution is a)false and b) as you describe it?

          thanks.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Craig Millett

      Such pompous gibberish! Who put all this junk in your head? It must have been god. I'll listen to Dog instead.

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

      You're asking those questions the wrong way. If you start by asking "Who did this?" and "Who did that?" you're starting with the implication that it must have been some sort of action that made any of those things happen. "Why" is the right question. "Why do the seasons change?" Well, because we get closer to, and further from the sun. Also because the earth is on a tilt, therefore certain parts get more sun at certain times. "Why do humans have conciousness?" Well, we're not entirely sure. But instead of jumping from "I don't know" to "Someone MUST have made it happen," atheists (not speaking for all of them, of course) try to look for logical explanations. A lack of evidence for a natural occurrence is not evidence for a supernatural occurrence. Hope that helps.

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

      Who created God from nothing? Is that idea any less "foolish" (in your words) than believing that maybe, just maybe, God can be skipped completely? Maybe if you actually read other books than the bible (which I have read) and Christian scholars (of which I've read plenty when I was a Christian) you'd see how ludicrous and ignorantly biased your views are. As far as I'm concerned, people who mock the theory of evolution don't truly understand it. Try reading some of Dawkin's books in their entirety rather than cherry picking a few out of context quotes. Try reading books like "A Universe From Nothing" by Lawrence M. Krauss or "The Grand Design" by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow. Will you? I doubt it, because the truth is terrifying for you people who've based your beliefs on fairy tales rather than scientific evidence.

      September 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
      • Fred

        The truth is not terrifying. The books you named all start out with their minds already made up: anti-Bible, anti-Christian, anti-God. Their arguments are all slanted to back up their pre-determined opinions.
        Don't get mad just because not everyone agrees with you.
        Do I understand the THEORY of evolution? Yeah, but I also understand that it doesn't hold water. Did you see where a scientist recently said that life could not have evolved here as previously thought and that it must have somehow come here from Mars?
        Sounds pretty desperate to me...

        September 14, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
        • Yahweh

          That sounds desperate but a deity that creates the known universe in 6 days yet doesn't know what to do about some iron chariots. I mean, do you people even realize how stupid you sound?

          September 14, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
        • Cedar rapids

          'Did you see where a scientist recently said that life could not have evolved here as previously thought and that it must have somehow come here from Mars?'

          no, can you cite the source where the claim was made?
          and can you also cite where it was claimed this is considered the view of science today?

          September 14, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
        • Mac

          LOL
          Mind made up?
          Of course they have their minds made up when they write the book.
          They've already seen the evidence.
          No scientist starts writing a book without all the data in hand already.
          The book is a means of describing their findings.
          Christians, on the other hand, believe everything on faith first and try desperately (without success I might add) to make their science fit their beliefs.

          Oh yeah, and one thing that's REALLY rich is how Christians will say "God is supernatural and cannot be proven or disproven with science" and then they will come up with lame garbage like creationism to "scientifically" back up their claims for God.
          Hypocrites!
          Either accept the facts of science or don't dabble in it at all.
          You're just wasting everyone's time.

          September 16, 2013 at 11:20 am |
        • G to the T

          You are conflating the theory of evolution with a theory of ambiogenisis. Evolution doesn not speak to the origin of life, so stop trying to make it try to. AS for ambiogenisis – there are many theories – "clay crystals" ,"RNA world", panspermia (the one you seem to find SOO incredible), "primordial soup", etc.

          At least attach the right theories if you have a problem with them. The fact that you don't leads me to believe you really DON'T understand the science...

          September 17, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
        • *

          * it's "abiogenesis"

          September 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • james

      Quoting Solomon and Job will get my attention any time. Wisdom long before man came to believe He had any, thanks aallen, j

      September 14, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • isolate

      The universe, as far as we can prove, began in utter chaos and organized itself according to known laws of physics and chemistry. What happened at the precise moment it came into existence is still being hotly debated, if you'll forgive the pun. It may never be known, since the answer may lie outside the boundaries of this particular universe. What does a butterfly know of the caterpillar?

      You're assuming the need for an outside agency to "direct it and establish its foundations," when there is no evidence that such a pseudo-anthropomorphic agency was involved. If you can prove there was such an animal, please submit a paper to a leading peer-reviewed science journal to inform them of the fact. They'd love to have a hypothesis that stands up to scientific scrutiny, and if your hypothesis prevails, you could look forward to a Nobel prize in the near future!

      The origins of human intelligence, verbal ability and comprehension of the forces active in the universe have not yet been established at a level that satisfies scientific inquiry. Since testability and provability are essential to science, there are many areas of study where satisfactory answers have yet to be provided. Remember that science as we know it dates from the Enlightenment; prior to that we had the so-called Dark Ages, where religion had all the answers and anyone who disagreed with those answers was put to death in some unpleasant fashion. As the old saying goes, science has questions that may never be answered; religion has answers that may never be questioned.

      The seasons are caused by the 23.4-degree axial tilt of the Earth from true vertical. Over billions of years earth's life has evolved to adapt to the changes that inclination causes in the length of the day and the ambient temperature. Life neatly adapted itself to the axial tilt, without the need for a stage manager.

      The (highly changeable) borders of the seas are determined by the rules of thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, plate tectonics, gravity and others. For infant development see genetics and embryology. For the evolutionary history of milk-giving animals, search for that term online. Look into organic chemistry for its composition.

      As for grandiose comments, what can top YHWH's evasion of Job's question? Instead of responding honestly he just huffs and puffs bombastically, storming about on an exaggerated ego trip like any of the other desert gods popular at the time. Then he demands a sacrifice to himself. What a guy!

      Today's Bible verse to contemplate: "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Your beliefs, no matter how strong they are, do not affect reality.

      September 14, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
  20. Bootyfunk

    basically, this author, like so many other christians, is trying to keep her religion from being criticized. so she finds one comment from one atheist and compares it to the 1000s of comments made by christian leaders. that in itself is funny.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:35 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.