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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. aginghippy

    "So let’s talk about the truth, and with the people who most consistently and graciously point us toward it."
    Herein lies the fundamental difference between atheists and believers in any religion: atheists embrace science and the search for truth; believers willingly ignore the truth in favor of a belief system. At the risk of sounding like the oh so controversial Dawkins, believers need to imagine living in a world full of adults who stubbornly insist that unicorns are real. They have no evidence to support such an outlandish claim, yet the "a-unicornists" are expected to respect their faith, watch politicians thank unicorns for good fortune and ask unicorns to protect us from harm, and see civil liberties threatened if the unicornists perceive the actions of others to be upsetting to unicorns. Now imagine another group of people who believe that leprechauns are real. They hate the dirty unicornists, who obviously don't know the "truth" about the wonders of leprechauns, and see no solution other than to kill as many unicornists as possible.
    In this imaginary world, you scratch your head wondering how anyone could believe in unicorns OR leprechauns, much less that these deluded people are shaping world history. THAT is the truth endured by atheists on a daily basis, and the author wants us all to hold hands as we jointly embrace the truth?! Give me a break!

    September 14, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • mac12311

      You seem only to associate evil with belief in a certain religion. Certainly as an aging hippy you know this to be factually incorrect.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:05 am |
      • aginghippy

        I think all religion can be the inspiration for horrendous behavior. I don't like the word "evil", as that term is of a religious connotation.

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

          And Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao were religionists? The greatest evil in history as the murdered tens of millions of their own people. Religion can cause havoc when misapplied, but it takes atheism to create true horror.

          September 14, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Hitler was a Christian, acting for his idea of god. The other two operated as fundamentalists who placed themselves in a "god-like" role and behaved as an evil deities. They did not do evil for atheism, though, they did it for other ideals. Believers work their evil specifically for their god.

          The difference is striking, regardless of your ridiculous "math," you claim to understand.

          September 14, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
        • Lt. David J. Smith

          Sorry but Hitler was christian, he was an altar boy and even considered becoming a priest. He also received endorsements from the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope. Stalin himself was religious too and had spent some time in the Seminary training to become an Eastern Orthodox Priest.

          I could equally argue that being christian causes you to commit mass murder on an industrial scale.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
        • David

          Hey Grouch, check out these web sites regarding HItler and Christianity:

          http://www.nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm

          http://www.nobeliefs.com/Hitler1.htm

          September 15, 2013 at 2:38 am |
        • G S-T

          Grouch, u are so wrong. I'm German and let me tell you.... Hitler was a Catholic . He was not an atheist .

          September 15, 2013 at 7:21 am |
        • rollawaythestone

          Actually, Hitler targeted Catholics as well as Jews during the Holocaust. There is significant research that although Jews were the main focus of his plans, if the extermination had gone on much longer he would have targeted every other religion as well. Hitler may have grown up Catholic, but merely used it to manipulate the people of Germany into a trusting state. The reason that the Pope and other Christian leaders didn't speak out is complex, but many historians believe that it was to protect Catholics and Christians from becoming too large a target (though most agree that this was a futile hope that only ensured short term safety). I would also argue that anyone with such an obvious disdain for human life is inherently not religious.
          That stated, I don't agree that all of these dictators that committed these atrocities did so due to the fact that they were atheist. There have been equal atrocities committed by Christians (see the Armenian Genocide). Desire for power is a HUMAN flaw, not one that only nonbelievers posses. As a Christian, I believe it is important to recognize Christianity's realities and the failing of fellow believers in order to reach a civil and respectful understanding of all faith systems
          T

          September 15, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • TiglathPileser

      Actually your first sentence does point to 'the fundamantal difference", as you clearly intimate in your post, Atheists believe they know everything that is knowable (a typically arrogant stance that has been consistantly dissproven throughout history), while Christians have the 'hope' of faith. I find it sad that the so-called 'scientific community' is steadfastly set on purposefully limiting the potential of the human mind by trying to limit a view point that they feel does not align with theirs.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:09 am |
      • Brown

        "I find it sad that the so-called 'scientific community' is steadfastly set on purposefully limiting the potential of the human mind"

        Your quote is laughable and ignorant, basically your saying blind acceptance is better for your brain than logical contemplation.

        September 14, 2013 at 9:16 am |
        • TiglathPileser

          Ah, theres that all knowing arrogance...No, Im saying that leaving optional trains of thought open for debate instead of summarily dismissing them is logical contemplation, but clearly your brain is already limited in that regard.

          September 14, 2013 at 9:35 am |
        • krreagan

          TiglathPileser:
          It has been discussed for 3-4 thousand years and the religious has had the hand of a bully for most of this time and they still cannot provide a rational argument to! So how long do we continue to debate? Religions lost this argument a long long time ago. They just have not realized it.

          September 14, 2013 at 10:22 am |
        • Grouch

          Quiet Comptemplation. Any finite person divided by the infinity of existance = 0. That means you don't exist, never existed, nor will exist in the future. Therefore, I don't believe in you.

          September 14, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Your beliefs are as irrelevant as your silly ideas of what const.itutes "math."

          September 14, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
      • TiglathPileser

        krreagan

        TiglathPileser:
        krreagan:
        "It has been discussed for 3-4 thousand years and the religious has had the hand of a bully for most of this time and they still cannot provide a rational argument to!"
        You stating it as fact does not make it so. Seeing as you go back that far, apparently you have not heard of the Roman Empire (not much to do with religion), or the Huns, or the Persians, you may want to claim that much of later history trial and tribulations were due to 'religion' but if you were to be truthful, it was really about power and those who sought it used what ever tool they ahd at their disposal.
        "So how long do we continue to debate? Religions lost this argument a long long time ago. They just have not realized it."
        And apparently i missed that arguement, the only offer is see is that Atheists claim it isnt true because science cannot prove it. My point is that if we close our minds to the possibility of anything outside of science we are purposefully limiting orselves. As for the arguement, please enlighten me as to the specifics of the loss (again, saying that the religious cant prove it does not award atheists a win any more than saying art cannot be proven to be beautiful).

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

          Excellent post... power, whether religiously prompted or not, is the root of evil. Also, science cannot disprove religion. It can point out errors and guide our knowledge, but even today, science is debunking previously held beliefs. Beliefs such as oats help lower cholesterol, or you must drink 8 glasses of water a day. Within the last couple of decades, they laughed at the scientist who suggested h pylori causes ulcers.
          As Socrates said, "a wise man knows the extent of his ignorance."

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

        Tiglath – atheists generally came to be atheists by figuring things out for ourselves. We didn't just sign up for someone else's list of beliefs. When you start a sentence with the words "Atheists believe...", anything that follows will be nonsense.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:44 am |
        • TiglathPileser

          Mick
          Mick
          "atheists generally came to be atheists by figuring things out for ourselves. We didn't just sign up for someone else's list of beliefs."
          As did I when I became a Christian.
          " When you start a sentence with the words "Atheists believe...", anything that follows will be nonsense."
          Precisely the same logic can be applied when you start a sentence with "atheists generally"...

          September 14, 2013 at 11:59 am |
        • Rett

          Mick, the validity of truth is not dependent on the process one used to embrace that truth (coming to the conclusion by your own research or being brought up to believe it)...if it is true its true no matter the path you took to find it.

          September 14, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
      • aginghippy

        Science is neither arrogant nor "all knowing", and those of us who respect science will never claim to have all of the answers. By definition, science is the QUEST for knowledge. It is always self critical and WELCOMES new information which disproves previously accepted theories. If hope in the existence of a god brings you comfort, who am I to deprive you of it? However, for a believer to call an atheist's admiration for science a form of arrogance, when the "church" will tell you everything you need to know is contained in a holy book...well, that's just priceless. Religious icons like the Pope, who presume to dictate human behavior based on some pipeline to God...THAT is arrogance!
        Every comfort you enjoy, from your good health to the use of your computer, was brought to you by science. If left to the religious leaders, both past and present, we would still believe that the earth is flat and 6000 years old, modern medicine would not exist, life expectancy would still be around 35 years of age, women would still be nothing more than a man's property and virtually every aspect of modern living would be nothing but a pipe dream. You will go about this day, and every day to come, enjoying the fruits of the blood and tears of men of science who dared defy the church to seek out the truth, but you will whine about the arrogant scientists with their know it all mindset. What a hypocritical tool you are!

        September 14, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • TiglathPileser

          Aginghippy;
          Good for you that you feel you can speak for 'science' (do i need to point out he intent of my original post was the arrogance of Athiests and not science?)
          Just for fun I looked up the "definition' of science from several online dictionaries, not one of them mentions a 'quest for knowledge', being "self critical" or "welcoming new knowledge", this type of self centered opinion and ignoring of facts that is becoming the modis operendi of atheists..."believe me because i say so". Talk about hypocritical!!!
          In your rant you also make many assumptins of what i believe, which indicates you are again, assuming you have a level of knowledge you clearly do not (I am not catholic for example). I also do not disbelieve science and generally support it , I simply do not dismiss things outside of science simply because Richard Dawkins (or others, say it cannot be explained) that is BY DEFINITION close minded.
          As for me enjoying the fruits of science being hypocritcal?!?! I guess (see, Im guessing like you but am admitting it) you are assuming I dont believe science invented the things you mention...that would be foolish, but I am slowly becoming used to that.

          September 14, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
        • Grouch

          I believe in a God, and I don't think the world is flat. I don't think the Earth is 6000 years old, I have no issues with some of the basic tenants of evolution, I don't have problems with the coexistence of science and God. I have studied higher math and it tells me that finite beings don't exist. I've studied quantum physics and know what you believe to be real (pay attention) isn't.

          September 14, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          LOL!! "Higher math" (whatever that is) has proved no such thing to you. Higher math, if it proves anything about the human condition, demonstrates that certain questions seem unanswerable and beyond our ken.

          If "higher math" proves that human consciousness isn't finite, you should submit your proof(s) and collect your Nobel prize and become the most famous person on earth.

          September 14, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
        • aginghippy

          TiglathPileser,
          The sentence you needed to verify with the use of online dictionaries was simply this: "By definition, science is the quest for knowledge". If science is not that, you need to explain to this arrogant atheist what exactly your dictionary says it is.
          The scientific method is indeed self-critical and does indeed welcome new information with which time honored theories can be revised or discarded. If you knew anything about science, you wouldn't need me OR a dictionary to point these things out to you.
          You say that your attack was on atheists, not science, yet you complained that the "scientific community" was purposefully limiting the potential of the human mind. I naturally assumed that you have a certain contempt for men and women of science.
          I would like to hear how religion enhances the potential of the human mind, and how science limits it. If you mean considering ALL possibilities with equal zeal as only those for which we can find a shred of evidence, I suppose you are right. Science doesn't waste much time considering the stories passed down by any religion. That's not the purpose of science. Let the theologians debate things like virgin births and resurrections, seas parted by magic men and the likelihood that a big boat carried two of every species (all 8 million of them). Let the theologians ponder creationism and let the scientists prove beyond a reasonable doubt that every living thing can be linked to a common ancestor. I'll give you a hint: It's name wasn't Adam OR Eve. To use an old joke: Keep an open mind; just don't open it so much that your brain falls out.
          I did not mean to imply that I knew what YOU personally, TiglathPileser, believe or to which religion you belong. I'll admit that I sometimes speak in general terms when addressing a believer, using examples that may or may not apply to that particular god botherer. My reference to the Pope was just one example of a religious leader who arrogantly pretends to know "God's will", and then more arrogantly tells others how to please his imaginary friend. The author mentioned Pat Robertson as another bad example of religious pomposity. The list goes on and on. If you belong to any church,TiglathPileser, or ascribe to any religious belief system, there is a good possibility that you are being told by some religious leader/authority about fundamental "truths" contained in that religious dogma. Perhaps you have come to your own conclusions about the nature of God. One thing is certain: you don't care much for atheists. Your contempt for me and my brethren obviously stems from your perception that we think we have all of the answers. I haven't contributed one iota of information regarding the origin of the universe or the origin of life. I don't claim to absolutely KNOW anything. I can't even say for certain that there is no such thing as a god, that is, I can't PROVE there is no god. I consider it a waste of time to attempt to disprove the outrageous claims made by others. I can't PROVE there is no tooth fairy, but won't spend much time thinking about it. Before you rush to label me agnostic, however, know that I am convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that there is no god, based on the complete lack of evidence to support his/her/its existence. The level of proof required for me to change my mind on that is extraordinary. I don't even consider the quest for god to be worth a second of my time. The typical agnostic is skeptical but open to the possibility of a god, perhaps even hopefully awaiting proof of his/her/its existence . To prevent the limitation of human consciousness, I presume, you would prefer we all limit ourselves to agnosticism and avoid atheism. I fail to see how that would make the world a better place, but by all means go on hating atheists and keep an open mind about any and all things supernatural. As I sarcastically alluded to, in response to another participant, its is always perplexing to feel the level of hatred and contempt exhibited by MANY of those who profess to be filled with Christ's love. All I ask, all any atheist will typically ask, is that no believer in any deity attempt to influence the law, deny human rights or limit scientific advancement based on the belief in said deity.

          September 15, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • Seth

          AMEN! Those stupid scientisty know-it-alls who obviously didn't invent my iPhone.

          September 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • tallulah13

          "I have studied higher math and it tells me that finite beings don't exist."

          Then it's time to publish! Get that "higher math" peer reviewed, then publish! You have some revolutionary numbers there.

          September 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
      • MisterPrecedent

        Atheists DON'T claim to know everything. NOBODY KNOWS how the solar system or life began. Atheists don't feel the need to invent fairy tales to explain it. Scientists use the available EVIDENCE to devise theories about the most likely explanations. There is NO EVIDENCE of the existence of any gods.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • Grouch

          There is no evidence that you exist. Math proves otherwise unless you happen to be a infinite being.

          September 14, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
        • TiglathPileser

          MisterPrecedent
          "Atheists DON'T claim to know everything"
          Really? You may want to read a few of the atheist posts on here then (or elsewhere.) They consistantly claim (and my understanding it is fundamental to being an atheist, as opposed to an agnositic). That God does not exist. The only way to make that claim is to 'know the unknowable". I will happily agree there is some level of, what you would likely call a lack of proof, but as with anything, the level of proof required for one person is different than for another. I am presntly satisified with the level of proof of God that I have, that may or may not change as I study and learn. That should not lead you or others to be arrogant and demeaning about my position.

          September 14, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
        • Carbonman

          What you wrote here hits the nail on the head. There is nothing wrong with answering "Where did the universe come from?" by saying "I don't know." So many people are terrified of not having a definitive answer to the big questions that they use codified fantasy to comfort themselves – thus religion is born.

          September 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
        • Seth

          Tiglath, you DO misunderstand. Athiests reject the idea that there is a god, because there hasn't been any clear evidence or proof to back up the claim. Maybe a god does exist, he just sucks real hard when it comes to proving it.

          September 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
      • bmurdoc

        "I find it sad that the so-called 'scientific community' is steadfastly set on purposefully limiting the potential of the human mind by trying to limit a view point that they feel does not align with theirs."

        Holy crap this sentence is scary ignorant. I hope you don't have any children to brainwash as you so clearly have been.

        September 14, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
        • TiglathPileser

          bmmurdoc
          Really? Which part do you find scary? The part that indicates someone can actually think on their own instead of being duped into the idea that believing everything that they read on the internet or that someone can think for themselves?

          September 14, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          Science is a tool for evidence-based learning and organizing information. Unfounded (ie, evidence-free) claims cannot be considered using the scientific method because there is no evidence to consider nor any information gleaned to organize.

          Science has repeatedly been employed in attempts to measure specific claims made by adherents of various religions and has yet to see a significant correlation. For example, the "power of prayer" is something oft-attempted to be measured, yet any study attempting to do so results in non-prayer groups getting the same results as prayer groups, demonstrating that prayer and random chance produce the same outcomes. Also, science has repeatedly been employed to demonstrate that claims made by various religions are patently false (age, size, shape of the earth, geocentric vs heliocentric.. etc.). Religion makes unfounded claims from within the gaps of our knowledge. Thanks to science, these gaps are continuously shrinking.

          Your assertion that scientists claim to "know everything" is absurd and belies your ignorance of the scientific method.

          September 17, 2013 at 9:31 am |
        • Andy

          Wasn't there a study this past year about prayer for heart attack victims, verses without? They found that those without prayer actually had a higher rate of survival...

          September 17, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Magister

      I will keep believing, even if it offends your socialist sensibilities. Now take your patchouli stink back to the commune and wait for the SWAT team to bulldoze your squatter's leanto.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:13 am |
      • krreagan

        It's not your belief that offends... it's you religions attempt to force itself on everyone else that offends!

        September 14, 2013 at 10:25 am |
      • aginghippy

        I can just FEEL God's love in your comment.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • TiglathPileser

          Aginghippy
          I find it unlikely that an atheist would understand, let alone 'feel' God's love, or is this simply another example of something you 'know'? I understand you are attempting to be demeaning by intimating that 'a Christian is being mean' but it is actually a good example of how people (like you) have made their minds up on how Christians should act and will be happy to tell them how they should...we wont bother with the facts around it though, it appars that your 'scientific mind' has itself made up on popular cultures view already.

          September 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
      • action

        I serve in the military, have a nice house, vote mostly conservative and do not believe or disbelieve in god. I just don't waste my time trying to prove things that cannot be proven, and focus on what matters to me, family, friends, food on the table, and not getting shot in the face by somebody that does believe in god. lol

        September 15, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • GetReal

      Science and spirituality are not mutually exclusive. Religion or atheism, as I have experienced them, have little to do with either.

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

        So you mean they are mutually exclusive? I had a professor who suggested they were because science cannot prove or disprove. I would tend to believe someone who has 8 years of education.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • stephanie

      Exactly what scientific proof do you have that God does not exist? I am a Christian and a scientist – and they coexist quite happily together. Belief is based on faith – and whether or not you want to admit it atheism is a belief system not a scientific reality based on fact.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
      • Battleship Agincourt

        Lie.

        It is not our burden to prove that your god doesn't exist, as that's not even what the vast majority of us believe in. Firstly it's on you to first demonstrate your god exists, which no one has even come close to proving. Second the vast majority of atheists don't in fact make the positive claim that a god doesn't exist. Most would say that you've failed to meet your burden of proof, and so we don't believe. Thirdly we actually can (and have) since demonstrated that your said god cannot exist if the attributes you've assigned to it are paradoxical. Fourthly you must not know enough about the Earth or the universe to realize that just about everything pertaining to Genesis has been proven wrong.

        Also I highly doubt you're a scientist, unless you've segregated your religious beliefs completely from your understanding of the real world. If that's still not enough atheism isn't a religion in itself... it's a position that reasonable people take when confronted with the baseless assertions you make. There is a reason that over 90% of the scientific community are atheists... when you learn more, the less plausible the bible becomes.

        September 14, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
        • Brian

          You mentioned that atheists can deny the existence of a God if it is proven paradoxical to the qualities that have been attributed to it (or something close to that) You also mentioned that the burden of proof is on those who claim their is a God. I claim that your system of wanting proof is a paradox. What type of proof do you want? In a court of law, eye witnesses are very important and can be the basis for a ruling. The Bible is full of eye witnesses into Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. A whole city saw him die, then over a thousand people saw him living for 40 days after. The reliability of the accuracy of the original written word making it to this point in history is better than any other ancient text, through early copies and the amount of early copies found. The eye witnesses had nothing to gain from these claims if false, but eventually lost their lives defending it. If you want more recent first hand accounts of God working, go to any church and start talking to individuals who have had personal accounts of how God has worked in their lives or answered prayers. God often works in subtle ways, directing and influencing people to do things they never would. I'm sure you would say these are coincidences or luck (even though mathematically, the probabilities would be staggering) The problem, is that by your definitions, you have also set up a paradox. You want God proven in ways that cannot prove God. Most people that I have talked with who want proof of God, want scientific proof. He cannot be scientifically proven, tested, or even observed in tangible, measurable ways according to who we are saying God is. Just because we cannot prove within your system of measurements, does not mean that God does not exist. I cannot prove to you that God exists, however God can prove that to you. The Bible says that if you truly search for him, He will make himself known to you. Run this test, Pray every night for a month for God to reveal himself to you. Even if you give God 5 quiet and alone minutes every night, see what happens. Say "God, if you are real, reveal yourself to me. Make yourself known to me." and then sit quietly for about 5 minutes and see what starts to stir in your mind and heart. That's often how the Holy Spirit will start to reveal himself to you. This is the proof that God offers, now the burden is up to you to examine the results.

          September 15, 2013 at 1:33 am |
        • Z

          Are you open to the idea that the characterization of religion you just painted is not representative of the whole? By your definition I would be an atheist. But I am a person of faith. If you are willing to subject your understanding of religion to the logical, empirical perspective that you hold it to we might be able to have a conversation. Until then you are simply evangelizing an ideology to suit your own purposes without regard for what can be objectively known about the topic. Sound familiar?

          As a christian, and a scientist, who is more than happy to have this conversation without reliance on "belief" or literal interpretation of old books.

          Z

          September 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
      • Angry Lice

        If you were actually a scientist, you'd know that your statement of proving god doesn't exist is nonsensical. The burden is in your court. But if you're going to play that game, what evidence do you have to prove that the Hindus are wrong and your sky fairy is the correct one? What evidence do you have to prove that I'm not god?

        September 15, 2013 at 1:02 am |
    • isprosperityteachingbiblical

      So please explain why no fossils have been found of anything partly evolved if science is so perfect? Surely by now there would be at least one fossil of something that is part one thing and part another?

      September 14, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
      • Factoidlover

        Every creature is "partly evolved." Meaning that all creatures are adaptations of earlier forms and are undergoing evolution as different evolutionary pressures work on them, sometimes at very slow rates.

        September 15, 2013 at 8:01 am |
    • j

      That was beautiful prose man. I think I shed a tear.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • John Fields

      "atheists embrace science and the search for truth; believers willingly ignore the truth in favor of a belief system"
      I would like to quote Virgil(whom I despised when I had to translate him 46 years ago so I am a bit of a hypocrite)
      "No re coacti necessaria" or as Sportin' Life put it: "It ain't necessarily so!"
      many on both sides of the fence don't see the truth. IMHO many scientists are more hidebound and biased then many people of faith. even Voltaire was grateful for what the Jesuits gave him...
      and Dawkins isn't someone of science, again in my opinion, he is just a mouthy bigot.
      I cant see how you can get so obsessed that there is only one truth and persecute the non-believers and not realize you have replaced conventional religion with a new pseudo science. you can have faith and use your mind, logic, and be rational. you can be an avowed folower of scientist and the vilest bigot ever.
      organized atheists are just following a new religion and are just as fanatical as any other new faith. you don't have to have a supernatural being to be a religion, look at Buddhism.
      you talk like the office of the curia. a are you going to put on your pointy hat and have an auto da fe?

      September 15, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Sam Kincade

      Please understand that not every believer denies science. Many of us believe and understand science. We just believe that some higher power is in charge of the science. Many of us believe in evolution and to deny it is stupidity. We just believe that there is a higher being that guides and directs the order!

      September 15, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • AgingHippyIsAwesome

      You good sir are awesome for saying this. I am posting it on my facebook, it is exactly how I feel. Know you are not alone!

      September 15, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Arya Dharma

      Problem lies with religions having inerrant books and unquestionable Prophets or God, such as Christianity. They start the discussion with the premise they know everything and the other person is a fool (or utterly evil). You can't have open civil discussion with the closed minds.

      September 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
      • draco

        Let's list a few morons interested in the spiritual side of things: Soren Kierkegaard, William James, Aldous Huxley, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger, Paul Tillich, Mohattma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Leo Tolstoy, Martin Buber. Maybe you're just arguing against your straw men, who are all right-wing fundamentalists.

        September 23, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • draco

      Hitler was raised Catholic and like all politicians gave lip-service to religion. He also bad-mouthed Christianity in his tabletalk and said how cursed the Germans were to be stuck with such a wimpy religion. Nazism was a sort of neo-paganism with Hitler in the God position, appealing to early proto-Germanic myths and values, such as Wagner exemplifies. Nazism had its own marriage and funeral rituals to replace Christian rituals. Hannah Arendt in Eichman in Jerusalem talks about a specific ceremony high-level Nazis could partake in to disavow their Christianity. Hitler gave the complete works of Nietzsche, perhaps the essence of anti-Christianity, to Mussolini. The equation Hitler = Christian is basically guilt by association and essentially means, "I don't like Christians so I'll call them Nazis." History is more complex. Unfortunately, Christian antisemitism undoubtedly made Hitler's work easier than it would've been otherwise.

      September 23, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  2. cos

    OF COURSE in the end it's about which group has the most crazies, when that group of crazies is significant enough in numbers to, either directly or through their elected representatives, implement laws or actions that discriminate against a minority group, cut funding to research that would benefit us all, deny dangerous truths about the impact of humanity on the environment, limit the rights of women, cause violence/wars, etc.

    Nobody is worried about the individual crazies, it is the political influence they wield, and the larger population of others with similar views that they represent. For every Pat Robertson, there are many others who want to implement his agenda. The agenda of Dawkins's fans is much more harmless, and they lack the political power to effect much change anyway. False equivalence.

    September 14, 2013 at 8:58 am |
    • aginghippy

      Bravo!

      September 14, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • Magister

      Crazies? You mean like the liberals? Oh wait....they're not crazy.....they're cannon fodder.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • Mama3

      I can assure you, the agenda of Dawkins and his followers is NOT, in fact, much less harmful.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Patrick

      No deal.

      Dawkins and Robertson are not even close to being the same level of "crazy". Dawkins isn't crazy at all, just sometimes too sharp-tongued and with the occasionally gaffe. Roberston blames abortionists and gays et. all for 9/11 and natural disasters. Are you kidding me? These are not on the same level. If these are the two figures you have picked for the "extremists" of each side then that's pretty telling.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • In the end...

      In the end, it's all about what is the TRUTH. It's about where you placed your TRUST.

      September 15, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  3. Chris

    Most Christians I know think Obama is a Muslim. Even though he supports gay marriage, which means he couldn't be less Muslim if he walked into a Mosque soaked in pigs' blood.

    September 14, 2013 at 8:58 am |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      Yeah after almost 6 years they still believe he is going to try to implement Sharia law. Clueless.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • myuntidydesk

      Well then you know some stupid Christians.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • TiglathPileser

      Well then you clearly need to get away from the commune more often...

      September 14, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Magister

      Obama is like a skin tag. He exists only to be removed.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • Mama3

      I'm a Christian, and I go to a church with 5,000 members. I know of no one who believes Obama is a Muslim.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:08 am |
      • Erin

        You are the finest example of brain washed to the point of upper level stupid!!!

        September 15, 2013 at 9:23 am |
  4. sean

    This article is one of the most pathetic things I have ever read. Who cares that this freak your talking about is a Atheist. Keep the tiny little many in your head to yourself bcs it's considered crazy in every other context except religion. Original sin is my favorite...nothing like all those evil babies to keep people up at night

    September 14, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • Magister

      The funny part of all this is that you don't realize a) religion is a human right, so you won't be stopping it with your little neuroses, and 2) if it's all imaginary, why are you so threatened by it? And

      September 14, 2013 at 8:59 am |
      • Magister

        The funny part of all this is that you don't realize a) religion is a human right, so you won't be stopping it with your little neuroses, and 2) if it's all imaginary, why are you so threatened by it? And yes, the tone of your post indicates that you feel threatened by my exercise of my rights, which not even your house nig-nog Obama can do anything about, no matter how deluded and narcissistic the two of you get.

        September 14, 2013 at 9:01 am |
        • What is going on? FREEDOM

          We aren't threatened by the religion. WE are threatened by those who try to shove their beliefs down other people's throats. For instance, the law demanding that God should be included in the pledge. That is illegal and shows favoritism toward one religion.

          September 14, 2013 at 9:03 am |
        • Jim

          Go ahead and do us a favor and drink that flavoraid.

          September 14, 2013 at 9:04 am |
        • Patrick

          "If it's imaginary why are you threatened by it"

          Because it influences public policy? And contributes to things like the hatred of gays? I don't feel threatened by "it", I feel threatened by the fact that the people who believe it have a long history of politically imposing their intolerance

          September 14, 2013 at 11:56 am |
        • FreeForm

          Magister

          From the sound of this post you don't seem very Christian. However, you DO sound like a member of the KKK, which is another radical group which cloaks itself in Christianity. Hard to disprove that, at least...

          September 14, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    Hey Christians......ADULTS WITH IMAGINARY FRIENDS ARE STUPID!

    – JCS

    September 14, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • Magister

      Hey Dyslexic, ADULTS WHO FEEL THREATENED BY PEOPLE WITH IMAGINARY FRIENDS ARE PARANOID FASCISTS WHAT OUGHT TO BE SEVERELY BEATEN FOR NOT BEING ABLE TO LIVE AND LET LIVE. IN FACT, HOLD STILL. i'M COMING TO ADMINISTER ONE.............

      September 14, 2013 at 8:57 am |
      • Jim

        Keep drinking your flavoraid.

        September 14, 2013 at 9:01 am |
        • TiglathPileser

          OOOOOHHHH BURN!!!! Ill bet it took your 12 year old brain weeks to come up with that one.

          September 14, 2013 at 9:14 am |
        • Magister

          This from a guy who thinks Obama is god? YOU go drink your flavoraid, then watch as I and the other RIGHT people TOTALLY dismantle everything your house nig-nog has done, ESPECIALLY Obamacare.

          September 14, 2013 at 9:16 am |
        • The other Pat

          Pat Robertson doesn't say "embarrassing" things. He says "hateful, malicious, evil" things that nobody of the Christian faith finds abhorrent enough to put a stop to.

          Rachel you can't help the narrative if you are likening yourself to the Pope.

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

        Interesting that you talk about "Live and let live". It is precisely the Christian inability to keep their religion to themselves that causes the problem. No one would care if they were able to have their beliefs, live their lives as they chose, and not inflict (and the term inflict is certainly apropos) it on the rest of humanity.

        ...but they can't do that. Their doctrine itself calls for the "spreading of the word". They even go to other impoverished nations and convert others to religion with bribes of aid and food. You want to eat? That's awesome, why don't you read this book and come to a class to?

        As a former church member through my mid-twenties, I have also been privvy to the rampant hypocrisy throughout christianity. The same people you see in the pews on Sunday were the ones out getting drunk and comitting adultery the week before...or better yet, in the south, the ones who are clearly racist instead of following any of their own religious book's teachings on loving thy neighbor.

        Religion has always been a tool of the wealthy to control and protect their assets from the lesser educated masses:

        "What's that? Your life is terrible? Your poor? Well, let me tell ya brother. If you will not kill me, steal any of my stuff or sleep with my wife, there is a kingdom with streets of gold waiting for you. Oh and, you'd better follow this teaching and no one else's, or you won't get it."

        Streets of f-in gold....seriously.

        If you want to raise your children in that religion , fine. Its morals aren't terrible. But for the love of your God...keep it to yourself.

        September 14, 2013 at 9:14 am |
        • TiglathPileser

          Yea, all that "love your brother as yourself" crap is just detestable. Todays society is much better of with the Dawkins "ME-ME" (yes, I know its meme), self centered greed approach. You may want to do some real fact checking instead of going off of your personel experience from what ever small community you are from, the 'church' does much real good in the world. (but yea, not all of it)

          September 14, 2013 at 9:18 am |
        • Shawn

          Tilgath...please address the inability of Christians to have their religion and keep it to themselves or move along. I've been to many many churches and see largely the same thing. The intolerant elderly, the hypocritical middle age and the out of control youth. Not a total generalization, I've met a handful of truly devout Christians that were amazing people...and you know what, they didn't try to force feed it to anyone.

          September 14, 2013 at 9:24 am |
        • Shawn

          And I'm SOOOO surprised to see that you're a racist Magister. Truly surprised.......

          September 14, 2013 at 9:29 am |
        • TiglathPileser

          "Tilgath...please address the inability of Christians to have their religion and keep it to themselves or move along. I've been to many many churches and see largely the same thing. The intolerant elderly, the hypocritical middle age and the out of control youth."
          Well, I've been to 'many' that dont have those things but I believe that is irrelevant. I hate to say it but the real answer to your qustion is 'people are people', wether Christian or not. I attend 'many' secular events/groups where the same things and worse happen on a more regular basis...people are people. If you are going to use them as your measuring stick then you are starting off aiming low. I hope that even Atheists are looking to improve themselves and not just be better than Joe next door (I'm sure Dawkins can support that, from an evolutionary perspective that would lead to the decline of the human race).

          " Not a total generalization,"
          Actually, on comparitive terms it is likely that it is. The 'many' your refer to is unlikely to represent a percentage of the whole.
          " I've met a handful of truly devout Christians that were amazing people...and you know what, they didn't try to force feed it to anyone."
          And those are the ones we shold be supporting and not tearing down, as our friend Dawkins is trying to do.

          September 14, 2013 at 9:46 am |
  6. Kevin

    The difference between yourself and Professor Dawkins, is that when he makes a claim he can back it up.

    September 14, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • Thinking Man

      Such as the claim that the “mild pedophilia” he and other English children experienced in the 1950s “didn’t cause any lasting harm.”

      On what authority does he make this claim, and where is the proof?

      September 14, 2013 at 9:22 am |
      • TiglathPileser

        The same authority that he makes his claims as an athiest, his education in biology...

        September 14, 2013 at 9:38 am |
      • Jonathan

        He explains himself (and apologizes) quite clearly here:

        http://www.richarddawkins.net/foundation_articles/2013/9/11/child-abuse-a-misunderstanding

        Something I never see from any Christian making ludicrous statements.

        September 14, 2013 at 9:40 am |
        • TiglathPileser

          @Jonathan
          "Something I never see from any Christian making ludicrous statements" , then you have never followed many.
          Dawkins does this on occasion as any astute politician does ONCE HE FEELS THE HEAT. He is obviously much more interested in keeping his cult of followers than letting his real opinions stand. Seriously, just stop and apply some Atheist logic to the process that someones brain would have to go through to let a statement like that come out of their mouth.

          September 14, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  7. Mike in SA

    Works for me, however it appears you will not get much support from the atheists if their consensus is anything like the ones posting here.

    September 14, 2013 at 8:52 am |
  8. Kyle

    Dawkins no more speaks for me than Fred Flinstone does. Gaffes made by the likes of Dawkins and Robertson do not and cannot change the undeniable and unalterable truth that religions are man-made nonsense. So, No. No deal.

    September 14, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • Peick

      I love the big, dramatic words like unalterable. You certainly have waxed eloquent...in your own mind.

      Please do us and logic the favor of defining your terms. What exactly do you mean by religion? Is it a set of belief about ultimate reality? Or just a set of rituals and practices to access that reality? Or something else?

      If it is the first definition, then, my friend, you have a religion. No one lives without any viewpoint at all about ultimate reality.

      Next, to make an absolute claim that all religions are nonsense implies that you know something the rest of us don't and can therefore say with confidence that the other views are false. Again, sounds like a religious viewpoint.

      There are so many examples of how such a statement as yours is either ill-defined or else not even truly logical, that I have to wonder at least about your honesty if not also your intelligence.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:00 am |
      • Magister

        While I appreciate and agree with your viewpoints, you are wasting your time. These people are the new, self-appointed Thought Police and it is pointless to try to reason with non-rational creatures.

        September 14, 2013 at 9:03 am |
      • Jim

        Keep drinking the flavoraid.

        September 14, 2013 at 9:06 am |
      • Kyle

        @ Peick – Have you ever heard of a dictionary?

        @ Magister- Awe... another victim of the thought police!

        September 14, 2013 at 9:24 am |
        • Webster

          Kyle,

          While you're perusing the dictionary, look up the noun "awe" and the interjection "aw".

          September 14, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Nice post, Kyle

      September 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  9. What is going on? FREEDOM

    Haha thats funny. Unlike Christians, Atheists are quite individual in their statements and such. I would say the same could not be applied to most Christians.

    September 14, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Rett

      The atheist responses to this article don't seem to be too individual, just regurgitated rhetoric

      September 14, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • mac12311

      Given that there are literally 100s of millions of Christians in the world. I am eager to see the scientific analysis you conducted to arrive at the conclusion that all Christians think the same.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:14 am |
      • Magister

        There won't be any scientific analysis. Leftists talk to hear themselves talk. They don't actually have a rational basis in fact for their opinions, just the childish delusion that Marx was right, which he was not.

        September 14, 2013 at 9:18 am |
        • What is going on? FREEDOM

          That funny. You Christian extremists are so clueless.

          September 14, 2013 at 9:24 am |
        • G to the T

          60 years after the "red scare" and you're still talking about "godless commies" eh? I'm neither a liberal nor a deist. Why are you trying so hard to prove the article correct?

          September 16, 2013 at 9:40 am |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Missed the word "most" did you? You prove in every post that you really can't comprehend what you read.

        September 14, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  10. Dyslexic doG

    Richard Dawkins may be provocative but he still states FACTS.

    by definition, every Christian's conversation is, though delusively, non-factual and therefore a continuation of long running LIE.

    September 14, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Magister

      A lie? You mean like the ENTIRE liberal left-wing agenda?

      September 14, 2013 at 9:19 am |
  11. JP

    No deal. Here's the deal that should be made. Religion is a personal choice. Keep it personal. Don't force your religion on anyone else. Same can be said of atheists. Religion has no place dictating anyone's life but your own. Once you can recognize that, we have a deal.

    September 14, 2013 at 8:50 am |
  12. SAS

    Too retaerded beyond words.

    September 14, 2013 at 8:49 am |
  13. noyourgod

    I will make that deal – as soon as the morons that keep funding Robertson close their checkbooks.

    September 14, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • Grouch

      Fortunately those m0r0ns have a right to open their check books. The same right gives you to spout your hate speech here, gives Mr. Robertson the right to preach what he wants. I don't like what Robertson has to say any more than I like to read your hate speech. Bigots are bigots, but they are allowed to say what's on their minds because we are a free people.

      September 14, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
  14. Dyslexic doG

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

    Rachel: given that your whole belief system is based on an imaginary being in the sky, you really shouldn't go brandishing the word "truth" around. Wait until you can provide some proof ... ANY proof ... one iota of proof, that your god even exists and then we can have this discussion.

    September 14, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • mmaxum2002

      I love it when they preach "the truth shall set you free" then go on to tell lies, because that's all religion is, lies.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:08 am |
  15. Realist

    Throw whatever you want in my face...couldn't care less. What Richard Dawkins said and Pat Robertson's stupidy have nothing to do with the fundamental issue with all religions: Anyone making claims to have everything figured out down to the most granular detail how everything happened and why wre're here without a single shred of rational, logical evidence is delusional. Nobody has to "prove" that this god or that god DOESN'T exist, vecause that's not how logic works. If that were the case, then a claim that a gaggle of fairies lives under my garden would be tru until proven otherwise – which can't be proven. I don't label myself an atheist because it would lend itself to the assumption that I support whatever the perceived agenda is of the "atheist" movement. I question EVERYTHING, especially claims that aren't supported by a single shred of logical evidence.

    September 14, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • jj

      Thank you. That's brilliant.

      September 14, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Jim

      Yep, you got it right. TV church is short lived anyways. People are starting to realize they are fake and a scam. All churches are the same. They are no better then Jim Jones.

      September 14, 2013 at 8:58 am |
      • Rett

        I am assuming you have been to all churches?

        September 14, 2013 at 9:22 am |
        • Jim

          I am assuming you have proof of anything? Then, hush.

          September 14, 2013 at 9:42 am |
        • Rett

          "All churches are the same" where is the proof? That is what you seem to hold in high esteem so I am sure you can back your statement up.....or is "hush up" all you got (BTW thanks for the flashback to my grandmama with the hush up comment)

          September 14, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Magister

      Wow! ANYONE making such claims, huh? For a non-believer you sure do throw around a lot of universals! And you also use a lot of absolutes; a feature shared by most Nazis.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:04 am |
      • Jesse Needham

        My Irony meter just broke. Thanks!

        September 14, 2013 at 10:32 am |
      • Former Christian

        Nazi? Hitler was a Catholic who ordered the murders of Jews just because they were Jews. I'm sure that Jesus was a flaming racist like you, since being Christian is to be more Christ-like.

        As an atheist, I don't try to convert others to atheism, but I will not stand for anyone throwing their beliefs in my face. If you want to have a personal relationship with a deity, it should be private. As a community, keep it in church. Keep it out of my home, my government, my schools, my life. That's what secularism is. THAT is freedom of religion. It is also freedom FROM religion.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:17 am |
        • aelric75

          Hitler was not a Christian. If anything, he and Himmler were fascinated by the occult and so-called "magical" traditions of pre-historic Europe. If you read accounts by the children of Nazi leaders, they almost all state that they were not raised as Christians. Martin Bohrman, Jr., said in one account that the first time he was asked to pray as a teenager, he didn't know what to say because he had never heard a prayer in his life.

          And even if you could prove that Hitler was a Christian, you would still be unable to make any generalizations from that because of people like Deitrich Bonhoeffer and Corrie Ten Boom

          September 14, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • Grouch

          Hitler was no such thing. You can argue your point without distorting history or out and out lying. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were all noted Atheists who without compunction, murdered 10s of millions of their own people over points of view. True atheists one and all.

          September 14, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • TiglathPileser

          Former Christian
          " It is generally believed by historians that Hitler's post war and long term goal was the eradication of Christianity in Germany."
          But, like most atheists I see on this post you probably have your mind made up and are much more knowledgable and all-knowing than who ever wrote the article this quote is from, feel free to go back to your opinion and we won't bother oyu with facts.

          September 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
        • Maani

          I agree: all too many atheists want so badly for Hitler to be Christian so they can lay the blame for his actions on Christianity. Sadly, those atheists have very little knowledge of Hitler. Here are a few choice quotes:

          "The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity's illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure." Adolf Hitler

          "The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light, and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity. The Jew who fraudulently introduced Christianity into the ancient world – in order to ruin it – re-opened the same breach in modern times, taking as his pretext the social question. Just as Saul became St. Paul, Mardochai has become Karl Marx. Christianity is the invention of sick brains. The war will be over one day. I shall then consider my life's final task will be to solve the religious problem." Adolf Hitler

          "We follow not Christ, but Horst Wessel, Away with incense and Holy Water, The Church can go hang for all we care, The Swastika brings salvation on Earth." Hitler Youth song lyrics

          "It is through the peasantry that we will finally destroy Christianity. One can be a Christian or a German, but not both." Adolf Hitler, 1933

          September 15, 2013 at 1:29 am |
      • FreeForm

        And the KKK, which it sure sounds like you're a member of, Magister...

        September 14, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • My2Sense4U

      Took a while to read down from the top before I got to this sensible email. Atheists can no more prove that God doesn't exist anymore than believers can prove that he does.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:06 am |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Just like you can't prove that I have a pet that is an invisible dragon. Of course, I can't prove that I have an invisible dragon for a pet, but according to your reasoning, you should believe I do have an invisible dragon because neither of us can prove what we claim.

        Stop being so stupid.

        September 14, 2013 at 9:30 am |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Sorry, my mistake. You can't prove that I DON'T have an invisible dragon as a pet, just like I can't prove that I do have one; therefore, you should believe I do have an invisible dragon for a pet.

        September 14, 2013 at 9:32 am |
        • Chris

          Invisible dragons would still have mass, so could easily be disproven.

          September 14, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
        • Robert

          OK; then show the invisible mass of your god. Bet you have some excuse or other. Snicker...

          September 14, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
      • the real god

        It has been proven that god does not exist- man wrote the bible, so MAN created god.

        September 14, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • A reasoning person of faith

      Realist – I think you make a fundamental error demanding quantifiable data as proof or logical evidence. There are plenty of things we can't prove by scientific method exist, but they do. Like love. Compassion. People who get well when doctors say they should have died, and have NO explanation for it. We can't "measure" any of that (okay, so a pound of love might be a really good box of dark chocolate), but I doubt we can say that those things don't exist. And faith should be reasonable. But it appears from your diatribe, you are long since past even considering a reasonable conversation. And that's sad.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:09 am |
      • Grouch

        "There are plenty of things we can't prove by scientific method exist" and turn right around with Quantum Physics and prove wasn't true at all. Everything you believe is a fairy tail. All your precious science is for not once you explore the realm of Quantum.

        September 14, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Rett

      If millions believed a gaggle of fairies lived under your garden it might be worth checking out.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:25 am |
  16. darth cheney

    The author doesn't understand the concept of base rates. The majority of Christians in the US are, in fact, similar to Pat Robertson in their beliefs, while the majority of atheists are not similar to Richard Dawkins. Instead, as SFAW points out, the author just picks out one extreme case and tars a group she is ignorant (and perhaps fearful of) while ignoring the mainstream ideological problems associated with the hypocritical Christian right.

    September 14, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • Magister

      Ooooh! Base rates! Was that on your word-a-day calendar? Because your post demonstrates NO understanding of it. You are probably one of those people who shrieks "tolerance" rhythmically, and I know this because people like you ALWAYS follow up your "tolerance" shpiel with generalizations like "most Christians are like Pat Robertson", but hey – thanks for the laughs.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • Grouch

      The MAJORITY. With that lie you kill any credibility you thought you had. You can't even apply your religion correctly – science.

      September 14, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  17. paul

    small problem: we don't "follow" richard dawkins.

    we don't assume he's some leader sent to teach us the "one true path" of atheism. he's just some dude.

    until you understand that very, very, very basic fact, i don't see why i should take you seriously.

    September 14, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • proud2bsecular

      Perfect comment. Individual thinking versus group thinking. A book by Dawkins or Hitchens is a book. Even the most committed atheist would not say these authors' expressed opinions should be taken as THE WORD. THAT'S the difference between these groups.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Chris

      Pat Robertson isn't Jesus. He did not write the Bible. His word is not THE WORD.

      He influences some people, just like Dawkins influences some people.

      September 14, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
      • Robert

        Typical xian logic. Keep going the laughs keep on coming...

        September 14, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
  18. Chetak

    All religions are based on fraud and greed. The fundamental principle of compassion is totally lacking in their leaders, with some exceptions (Mother Teresa). Most religious leaders live in great comfort, are morally corrupt and only pay lip service to help the poor and down trodden. People like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet do more for the poor without espousing religious nonsense. Atheists are more fit to get to the proverbial Heaven than so called religious people who are totally intolerant of other people's opinions even those based on proven science. No deals with the intolerant

    September 14, 2013 at 8:44 am |
    • mac12311

      Please share with us the scientific survey that proves your hypothesis that atheists contribute more to the poor and suffering than religious people do. I would love to review your research on this as I know how atheists are interested in fact based discussions

      September 14, 2013 at 9:25 am |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Did the post make that claim? No, it did not. The poster mentioned two specific people, and made NO claim about atheists contributing more than Christians. Learn to read, dummy.

        September 14, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Rett

      "If heaven were attained by merit your dog would get in before you" Mark Twain.... If good works got you through the gates then what you said might be true.

      September 14, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Grouch

      Oblivion help you. You are a such a bigot. You would make a dandy racist.

      September 14, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • tbp100

      Sadly, Mother Teresa was no Mother Teresa.

      http://www.meteorbooks.com

      September 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  19. Dyslexic doG

    Thanks Rachel! That was funnier than a Seinfeld episode! LOLOLOLOLOL

    September 14, 2013 at 8:43 am |
  20. Joe Carson

    We (humans) are either here an planet earth for the purpose of being God's "creation-caring-for creatures" here – i.e. "made in His image" because of that responsibility, shared by no other species (Christian meta-narrative) or we are here because of "chance and necessity" – the impersonal working out of nature's laws, including natural evolution) and multiple random events in 14 billion year history of universe and 4 billion year history of earth (atheist meta-narrative).

    Those are quite different stories with huge implications for our indiidual and collective human existence, because atheists agree with Christians that, whether intended or not, mankind is (or has become in past few hundred years) the "creation-caring for creature" on planet earth, with the ability – and increasingly achieved ability -to damage/destroy its ecosystems for its present life-forms, including us.

    So I say "3 cheers for Rachel's proposal!s." and suggest http://www.metanexus.net as a resource for respectful voices from atheist community.

    September 14, 2013 at 8:42 am |
    • FreeFromTheism

      "whether intended or not, mankind is (or has become in past few hundred years) the "creation-caring for creatures" on planet earth" I don't even know what that means.
      No, atheists don't all agree on that, whatever that is.

      September 14, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • G to the T

      I would argue that there are many more than the 2 alternatives you provided. There could be multiple gods, the creator of the universe my not have anything to do with us, etc.

      September 16, 2013 at 10:12 am |
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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.