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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. Leon

    Ok, I definitely have to say that this has to be the most sensible christian statement ever. As I understand it, agree to disagree and don't let the town drunks play. I was brought up a christian and I have had friends who would question my faith because they were atheist. I understand what it is like to want cold hard facts before believing something and I can empathize with my friends when saying that it is difficult to explain how blind faith can be a good thing. I don't watch Pat Robertson, nor did I ever like the 700 club. My mother used to make jokes when I was bad saying that she would "Give me a knot so bad that Oral Roberts couldn't swear it off" I've always seen evangelists as money grubbing, television time hogging sad excuses for Christians. The thing that I have read in this article is basically what I tell my friends..."Don't question my faith and I won't question your lack of it!"

    September 14, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
  2. Dave

    Hey, when an atheist isn't prevented by law from holding public office, then I'll think about it,

    September 14, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Colin

      America is one nation under God.
      "an atheist is not a patriot and should not be a citizen of the United States..." Former President, Patriot, War Hero and Living Legend George H W Bush.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
      • Jon Dough

        Just another hateful quote from a theist..

        September 14, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
      • eja

        Living legend? You have to be kidding.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • JeffinDallas

      The do something to change the laws. The power is in your hands to challenge the laws in your state courts. Stop waiting for people to take that first step if you're dissatisfied.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
  3. skeptimystic

    I want to be free from having to think about religion or a god entirely. Atheism isn't a belief system. It doesn't have a set of rules or tenets. But because it has to respond to religious belief systems it appears to be a religion of its own. It isn't a religion. It is the freedom from religion. Christians feel threatened these days. It is how Atheists have felt forever because there are some who believe we have no ethics or morals because we don't believe in a god or have a religion. That is an absolutely ridiculous notion. I won't attack you for your beliefs if you don't attack me for my lack of belief.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  4. Vic

    I think a lot of commentors are missing the point here. Rachel Held Evans' call for a deal is concerning the "Golden Rule" and not for either side to change their opinion. In other words, she is calling for a cease fire.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Colin

      There can be no truce between God and belial.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  5. jonline

    No deal. Christianity has done more harm than any other religion in the history of mankind. More people have been killed in the name of Jesus Christ than will ever be killed by any other man.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Leon

      What about Allah? Or do we just not have the numbers on that yet? Let's check the Kuran shall we?

      September 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
  6. Lionly Lamb

    International Medical Cannabis Policy Panel

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHuSKh54ZUo&feature=player_detailpage

    September 14, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  7. PeterVN

    As an earlier, great blog post said, "Religion is for the ignorant, the gullible, the cowardly, and the stupid, and for those who would profit from them."

    Dawkins tells it like it is. Those who can't take it are cowards.It's that simple.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • RheaCountyGradwhoknowsyou

      Science changing every 4 years what a "fact" is ... that is where we should put our faith? The universe is too orderly to have not been designed by a higher level being. Limiting yourself to what exists in the physical realm, limits your ability to progress yourself intellectually.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
      • Jon Dough

        Science is a self correcting religion is not.

        September 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
      • eja

        Science is meant to change as new discoveries are made. Its the strength of science, not the weakness. Religious dogma never changes, no matter what evidence is provided to the contrary.

        September 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
      • GreenClogs

        Evolution has been proven every day for over 100 years. What on earth are you taking about?

        September 14, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
      • Jon Dough

        Science needs facts not faith.

        September 14, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
        • RheaCountyGradwhoknowsyou

          Science is dependent upon ignoring some facts to prove others. This changes every five years because someone's apprentice who knew about the cover up, uncovered something and covered other things to make new facts. Science isn't about knowledge its all about the $$$$$$$$$$$$. You pay a scientist enough, and he will say whatever you want him to.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
        • eja

          @rhea – wow, you better tighten your tinfoil hat. Making up conspiracy theories out of thin air is also known as LYING. Doesn't your holy book prohibit that?

          September 14, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
      • rdeleys

        It's clear you've already decided what's true and false based on your religious beliefs, not an objective evaluation of the evidence. You see what you want to see. That doesn't mean it's true! You've been thoroughly duped!

        September 14, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
      • snowdog74

        It's not the facts that change. It's the explanations for them that get better with more evidence. Religion does not have a self-correcting mechanism when it is found to be incorrect. If scientists identify that what was thought to be demonic possession is really schizophrenia or epilepsy, religious texts aren't modified to accommodate this improved understanding of how the world really is.

        Also, the media do a very good job of mangling what is actually published science... journalists frequently sensationalize and misinterpret findings. This is not a reflection of the process of science failing. It's a reflection of bad journalism.

        Lastly, there is the Argument from Authority problem.... It is not the opinions of people about science but the scientific findings that speak for themselves. A scientist may believe that fairies are real, but does their published research support those conclusions with evidence?

        Science is a process for continuously improving our understanding of how things work in the real world. The facts don't change. What changes is our understanding of how those facts are interconnected by cause and effect.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
  8. SATAN

    The difference is: Pat Robertson's crazy beliefs are straight out of the Bible. One of Atheism's strengths is that it has no infallible holy text.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • RheaCountyGradwhoknowsyou

      It all comes right out of the old noodle right? No intelligent people before you laying the way for your actions?

      September 14, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  9. Matt

    Christianity is responsible for much of the world's suffering while Atheism is not. No deal.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Colin

      Atheists have brutally tortured and murdered more innocent people in the last 100 years than were killed in all previous centuries.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
      • mmmmmmm

        bs

        September 14, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Nope. Stop lying. It makes baby jesus cry.

        September 14, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
      • Colin

        Historical facts easily proven.

        September 14, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Here we go again! Silly christard, you know this game...you provide evidence that has no scientific merit and we prove you wrong...why do this to yourself? Do you enjoy looking like a moron? You know you can't win unless you're trying to beat us at a contest of who is crazier-in which case you win hands down.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
      • James T

        If you didn't pull that statistic out of thin air, you should tactfully inform the person or organization behind it that they are an idiot(s).

        September 14, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
        • Colin

          Numbers don't lie you do the math.

          September 14, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
        • James T

          I would, if there were any numbers to go along with your absurd claim.

          September 14, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
      • Duncan

        citation? pretty big claim to make without a citation

        September 14, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
      • Adam

        Pretty sure this is false, but even if it were true, none of the murders were committed in the name of Atheism.

        September 14, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
      • Matt

        BS. Go back to whatever hole you crawled into and next time make sure you're not arguing with a historian if you plan to use history as proof. Nazi party in and of itself killed more people than all the atheists combine throughout all the years atheism has existed.

        September 14, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
      • eja

        The difference is that it wasn't done in the name of atheism, unlike religion.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
      • Time For You To Grow Up...

        No, religious people have, and they do it in the name of God... Ever heard of Hitler??

        September 14, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
      • wakeup333

        Yawn! Atheism isn't an ideology. It's apolitical. It has no reward or punishment. It says NOTHING about government, race, money, war, peace, or rights to land. Nothing about love, hate or death. It simply says: invisible imaginary beings don't exist. "No god(s)." Period. That's it. Nothing more. Or less.

        Stalin, Mao & Pol Pot may have been atheists. But they didn't kill BECAUSE they were. They killed because they had an ideology: communism, which divides people into classes & pits them against each other. Blaming atheism for deaths caused by communism is like blaming shoes for those deaths, since Stalin, Mao & Pol Pot all wore shoes.

        Not believing in god tells NO ONE to kill. You need an ideology for that. And atheism is not an ideology.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
        • Nathan Hevenstone

          Can we please stop calling those regimes "Communist"? Read about Communism. Read what Marx wrote.

          Those regimes were the exact OPPOSITE of Communism; they were Authoritarian.

          Communism was best seen in the hippies communes of the late 60's and in SOME (not all) Israeli Kibbutzes today.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • RheaCountyGradwhoknowsyou

      Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, and Kruschev are responsible for more deaths upwards of 100,000,000 deaths just from 1930 thru 1990, than all the rest of Christian History 2000 year from the birth of Christ up until today 2013. Read a book. No one has done more for charity or for the poor than Christianity. No nation, or government has provided more for the poor or suffering than christianity. No other religion even! Read a book.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
      • eja

        So what, they didn't kill because of atheism, its because they were DICTATORS.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
      • Matt

        Wow. 100,000,000. Getting closer to the equivalent of Christianity just in the Crusades.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • rdeleys

      Really? Hitler was a Catholic. He never renounced his faith, and Pope Pius never excommunicated him....so I guess it;s all OK, right?

      September 14, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
      • RheaCountyGradwhoknowsyou

        Hitler was an atheist, if he had any religion at all, it was Satanism. Look at all the satanic symbols he chose for his Soldiers uniforms and all the satanic practices he conducted at Strausburg Castle. Read a book.

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

          You read a book. What was written on German soldier belt buckles?

          September 14, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
        • Nathan Hevenstone

          Hitler's chosen motto for the Nazis was "God with us". Atheism was outlawed in Germany, with "Christians studies" being forced into school and evolution replaced with Creationism in German science classrooms... being an outspoken atheist got you sent to the death camps. Charles Darwin was one of many blacklisted science authors under Hitler's Germany.

          If the man was actually an atheist, as you claim, why the hell was he intent on persecuting his fellow atheists... and, indeed, making Christianity the law of the land?

          September 14, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
        • jens gessner

          Hitler was NOT an atheist. For the most part of his life, he was a devout Catholic, and his public comments reflect as much. In fact, even his plan to eradicate Jewish people in Europe was rooted in the predominant doctrine of his time, the belief that Jewish people committed 'deicide' and were to be held collectively responsible for it. He specifically described his plan as a 'Christian deed'.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • Leon

      The abuse of Christianity in during the medieval period was an abuse of power of the monarchy. Since then Christianity has had many versions such as Protestant, Lutheran, Baptist, etc. Each sect believes in its own way. The Kuran has been twisted by people such as Al Qaeda and just as many, if not more have been killed for a belief. Belief is not just Christianity! You could believe that you are smarter than everyone here and be willing to kill for it. It is a belief system, not a murderous pact. Your statement is a moot point and based on a belief, does that make you unworthy to be an Atheist?

      September 14, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
  10. RheaCountyGradwhoknowsyou

    You mention one thing an atheist did and say we will forgive that one thing, if atheists forgive hundreds of years of abuse? Why not bring up Communist China and Soviet RUssia who killed more in 80 Years than all the worlds wars combined from the begining of warfare until today? Atheists have been responsible for the most recent genocides. They are terrible! Richard Dawkins is not a debater either, you cannot have a conversation with atheists because they limit their intellect to only what they can observe in the physical realm. They have no idea what lay in the metaphysical, nor do they care. THey limit their minds to only what physics can explain... if it can't their argument changes to "it will some day" which is a cop out. Atheists don't believe in spiritual renewal or spiritual beings, when have been observed throughout history. Further more, they lie about Christianity's contribution to Science, the Arts and Human Rights (which wouldn't exist if it weren't for Christians). Issac Newton, Leonardo DiVinci, Bach, the Father of Genetics Mendel, For Centuries, Christians were responsible for all the Scientific developments in medicine and philosophy that propelled Europe ahead of the rest of the world. Muslims are not doing anything for society besides providing Oil. Buddhists provide nothing. Christianity is different from all other religions and cannot be lumped in with others. I remember you Rachael, hows your sister?

    September 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Gary

      You idiot. Those killings were not done by any dictate of atheism, whereas the sick Christian bible demands that beleivers do murder. The Quran is even worse.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
      • RheaCountyGradwhoknowsyou

        The dictates of all atheist leaders who have ever lead a nation are mass murder. You don't need a book you have whats called a pattern of death.

        September 14, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
        • eja

          Baloney. Where is your proof that every atheist leader ever was a murderer? Don't bother trying, because no such proof exists.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Gary

      You idiot. Those killings were not done by any dictate of atheism, whereas the sick Christian bible demands that believers do murder. The Quran is even worse.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  11. Dr Tom

    There is no scientific proof that God exists and indeed there cannot be anymore than there can be scientific proof that God does not exist. Religiouus belief is outside of science. It is only through faith that we can believe inGod. It is only those of too litttle faith that insist or even discuss a "proof" of God's existence.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • mmmmmmm

      That doesn't make sense. That sounds like magic. You can't prove something that does not exist.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • RheaCountyGradwhoknowsyou

      Explain how the order is such in the world that it can be scientifically explained and scientific constants exist? Everything in math and science is based on these very orderly constants that smack in the face of Chaos bringing about order, and push the idea of intelligent design? Fibonacci, saw it, Pathagrious saw it. Are you smarter than they were? What about Issac Newton? Wake up.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
      • Gary

        Rhea, your post is stupid. "We don't know." is the appropriate answer, not "God did it."

        September 14, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
  12. Suresh Chari

    Why millennials are leaving the church – because church, God, faith, religion, spirituality, animism, Santa, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, palmistry, tarot-reading, astrology, alchemy etc. are all ... IRRELEVANT. They got us to where we are today, for that we are appreciative. But beyond that, sayanora/goodbye/auf weidersehn/au revoir/buh-bye.. Technology is the new Church/religion/God. Deal with it.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
  13. Rachel Held Over - CNN should just fire her

    Rachel Held Evans publishes another weak article, this time full of false equivocation. Richard Dawkins should get credit for courageously telling it like it is, in the face of religious persecution and threats of violence. Period. No apology is necessary for him, nor by him.

    CNN, please fire Rachel Held Over and hire a real journalist.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • mmmmmmm

      I agree

      September 14, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • JeffinDallas

      She's a blogger, she doesn't work for CNN, this is an opinion piece. How dumb are you?

      September 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Suresh Chari

      Well-stated. It's a shame that more of us aren't as outspoken..

      September 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Rachel Held Over - CNN should just fire her

      False, Jeff. She gets money for her story. You are the stupid one. Go back to playing with yourself.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  14. Joe Mahma

    No deal. The entirety of Judeo Christian beliefs are beyond ridiculous and of course, Dawkins is always right.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • mmmmmmm

      well said

      September 14, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  15. n8r0n

    Yeah, how about "no deal", Christians.

    Richard Dawkins may be blunt and rude, but what he said was 100% factually accurate. All the world's Muslims do have fewer Nobel prizes than members of that one, esteemed university (by a factor of 3!). Fact. It may be uncomfortable for Muslims, and maybe for other religious people, too, but that doesn't change its veracity.

    That's what scientists do. We find and report on facts. Not only the comfortable ones.

    Dawkins is responding to the prevailing anti-intellectual, anti-science viewpoints of so many Muslims, and he's completely justified in mentioning this statistic. This phenomenon is certainly not limited to Islam, as Christian fundamentalists in the US are also conducting an assault on science. But, as Dawkins repeatedly says, Islam is certainly the worst offender (right now) of the world religions.

    Pat Robertson gets criticized for saying things like "Haitians made a deal with the devil to obtain their freedom". Do you see the difference? Like Dawkins' comments, they make most people uncomfortable. Unlike Dawkins' comments, they are not facts.

    So, sorry, irrational Christian lady (sorry for the redundant language), but these two are not mirror images. No deal.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Rachel Held Over - CNN should just fire her

      Right on.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
  16. mmmmmmm

    The bible contradicts itself. We will never leave Christian's alone because they believe in fantasy. This b%^& thinks this will work. Fat chance.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • BRW

      The plural of "Christian" is "Christians", not "Christian's". Intelligent people are able to use apostrophes correctly – and other amazing feats of spelling prowess.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • mmmmmmm

      no proof

      September 14, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things,
      Proven

      September 14, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
      • mmmmmmm

        Meditation has been proved. Not prayer. It has been shot down in recent studies. SCIENCE

        September 14, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Time For You To Grow Up...

      Yes... It makes them worse.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
  18. Gordon Campbell

    Atheism is just another belief set, there is absolutely zero proof that God does not exist. One would have to search the entire universe to prove such a bold statement as "there is no God". On the other hand there is ample historical evidence, writings and eyewitness testimony that there is some form of super-intelligence that has had contact with humans. The evidence exists in too many cultures and there is some symmetry of certain themes among different cultures spread apart by ages and miles. Cultures with similar "God" stories, have had absolutely ZERO contact with other cultures who have remarkably similar narratives in their historical archives. Moderrn human "science" likes to posture itself these days as the "end all, be all, know all" authority on all things natural, super or quasi natural, however, again, human "science" is a long way from explaining all of the different phenoms of the super-universe, both the macro and the micro. We are talking about a universe that is infinite in every direction and dimension, not just distance, but time, and super and sub-atomic resolution. To make a statement that "there is no God" is actually one of the most UN-SCIENTIFIC statements a person could make, without having completed the proper research and confirmation of the entire cosmos to prove that theory. Atheism, therefore is a more fantastic and far-out belief than the tooth fairy or the easter bunny, because it is rooted in absolutely ZERO fact, ZERO scientific data, zero research and study, and ZERO eyewitness testimony. In short, atheism is the biggest self-deluding and dangerous lie going. Evidence and the law of averages strongly contends that a person who allows themselves to be deluded by atheism undoubtedly has a very rude awakening coming some day, perhaps not that far away in time either, probably, within the span of their own human lifetime. People should keep an open mind about everything in the universe. Atheism is the most profound close-minded mental and emotional condition that has ever afflicted humanity. Beyond that argument, it is also the most INTOLERANT religion of all of them, because most atheists constantly ridicule, demean, harass and threaten the rest of (the majority of) humanity that has a strong belief in a Higher Intelligence and the evidence that has been passed down through the ages, that there is, in fact. a God.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Mike

      > Atheism is just another belief set, there is absolutely zero proof that God does not exist.

      Shouldn't the burden be on the theist to prove that gods exist?

      September 14, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
      • donna

        Not a set Mike. Set means multiple. Atheism refers to a SINGLE belief or lack of a SINGLE belief. Nothing more, nothing less.

        September 14, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
      • donna

        Oh sorry, I didn't know > means quote. I'll redirect my comment. 🙂

        September 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • mmmmmmm

      You are a fool to think that we are going to go through space to prove that their is no god.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
      • Dippy's Assistant

        "there", not "their", stupid.

        September 14, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
        • Suresh Chari

          LOL.

          Signs at a dive shop:
          * Surfs Up!
          * DVD's for Sale.
          Eeew..

          September 14, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
        • mmmmmmm

          Name calling English major. There their is a problem in english. Your stupid. You wouldn't say it to my face.

          September 14, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • JeffinDallas

      How does that work, sparky? Atheists don't believe in gods, so how is a disbelief a belief? Ignorant.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      You obviously lack the comprehension of what an Atheist is. It is strictly the disbelief in any god. I will never say it isn't possible that a god or gods don't exist, I can't possibly know that, however there presently in the scientific world is not substantial evidence to support any god, so without that evidence there is no reason to believe.
      What evidence are you purporting that supports a god? You have officially made the claim there is a god...I disagree, show me your evidence or admit you don't know.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
      • Gordon Campbell

        ....show me the nucleus of an atom.....show me the rest of the invisibile light spectrum...let me hear the sounds that are undetectable by the human ear, the sub and super sonic sound waves.......what are UFO's? There's all kinds of evidence, photographic, phsyical, scientific and eyewitness testimony that there's something poking around in our atmosphere...so what are they? Who are they? Or do they simply not exist? Might it be the God Yahweh and his angels, or the fallen angels? Might it be something or somebody that you should be very concerned and aware of? "God" doesn't necessarily have to operate to your particular given set of known laws of phsyics, or within the narrow bands of light or sound that humans can detect. If I tell you there is nobody in that room, but I didn't go in there and search the entire room, then yes, I am lying to you. We are talking about the difference between light and darkness, positive and negative, finite and infinite of which humanity has a very narrow perception.

        September 14, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Just because we don't have an answer for everything does not mean that you get to invoke a god, at least not without providing the evidence that that god exists. Mankind has been invoking gods since forever. When something is not comprehended a god is usually invoked. We've seen this long before christianity took hold. lightening wasn't understood-so a god was invoked and so on....the christian god is not much different. What we do know is that we can take all the evidence we have from a scientific stand point and say with reasonable accuracy that the bible is wrong due to the many contradictions within, that go against the true evidence...so if I can't believe in your holy book, why should I believe in your god?

          September 14, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Ned

      Gordon Campbell, your post is bullshit. As far greater minds than yours have said, atheisim is no more a belief than not collecting stamps is a hobby, and no more a belief than bald is a hair color.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • donna

      Gordon,
      Atheism is not a set of beliefs, it's a singular belief.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Jon Dough

      So you're saying the lack of a belief is a belief? I say no evidence of a god has ever been presented.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
      • Gordon Campbell

        Atheism is the belief that there is no God. Just as Christianity is the lack of belief that there is no God. It can be stated both ways. What you say is a non-belief, is in fact, a belief because it is not rooted in any known facts. There is an exhorbitant amount of evidence that there we are not alone in the universe, and we have been visited throught the ages, and are visited still. This evidence exists in eyewitness testimonies, photographs, and film. The problem is, we haven't yet determined who or what "they" are, have we?

        September 14, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
        • Sue

          In that case, "we don't know yet." is a good answer, not "we are certain that a god did it".

          However, we can certainly conclude that the Christian god does not exist, since Christian doctrine is multiply wrong, and internally inconsistent and self-contradictory.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • Suresh Chari

      Yes, atheism is a belief, just like 2+2=4 is. You are a mo–r-on.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
      • Jon Dough

        Definition of atheism (n)

        Bing Dictionary

        a·the·ism

        [ áythee ìzzəm ]

        1.unbelief in God or deities: disbelief in the existence of God or deities

        Synonyms: nonbelief, unbelief, doubt, skepticism, incredulity, freethinking, disbelief, godlessness, agnosticism, humanism here is the deffinition for you.

        September 14, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
        • Gordon Campbell

          That's easy, I don't believe in your finite dictionary.....

          September 14, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
        • Jon Dough

          Typical theist ignore the facts that are rifgt in front of your face.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
      • Jon Dough

        BTW thanks for the ad-hominem attack it only goes to show you have no leg to stand on for your statement.

        September 14, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • eja

      You're whole rant is bogus. Just as you can't prove God doesn't exist, you can't prove God does exist. There are no facts, scientific data, scientific research and study in Theism. Certainly no one has witnessed God. Atheism is not a religion BY DEFINITION. Its simply the lack of belief. Using your distorted logic, simply not believing in unicorns makes me part of a religious group. If there was absolute proof of God, you wouldn't need FAITH, now would you?

      September 14, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • jens gessner

      Gordon Campbell, it's like this:

      We observe the world around us and accept the things we see as fact. We require evidence for all the concepts or things that we can not readily observe in nature. The more outrageous the concept, the more compelling the required evidence.

      An example: How do we 'know' that Antarctica really exists? Most of us have never been there. But we have numerous accounts from others, we have satellite pictures, maps etc. Therefore we have come to accept the existence of Antarctica as fact.

      The important distinction here is 'compelling evidence'. What about – say – the island of Atlantis? It has been mentioned in literature. Does that mean the island exists? On the matter of Atlantis, we know, of course, that its mere mention in literature is not enough evidence. No satellite picture shows a mystical island, no travelers have ever been there etc.

      Which brings us to back to religious claims. There is no evidence required that God (or Atlantis) does not exist.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • J

      gordon, after reading this i would say that you are not a person of faith. i have no desire to point out all of the inaccuracies of your post, of which there are many. however, your lack of faith jumped out at me so strongly that i had to respond, something i never do. faith is the belief in something that CANNOT be proven. by saying god is fact you demean everyone out there who believes. god is not fact, therefore faith may exist in religion, and belief is stronger. and, don't be so angry, god wouldn't like it.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
      • Gordon Campbell

        There doesn't need to be "faith" when one has a firm belief that is rooted in personal experience.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
      • Gordon Campbell

        "faith" is for those who have not yet seen God....and who struggle with the reality, they have to rely on a "faith" that the stories are true..However, if you've already seen and experienced God, then you have no need of "faith"

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

          Faith in absurd god stories such as the Christian ones is purely for cowards too weak to face the obvious facts.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
        • jens gessner

          "...if you've already seen and experienced God, then you have no need of 'faith'."

          The human mind is susceptible to all kinds of delusions. That does not make it real.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Mike V

      Most atheists, including Dawkins himself, don't make the claim that "there is no god". That's probably the most common misconception about atheism. They simply lack a belief in one, usually due to a complete lack of evidence.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
  19. Rosamelia

    It's funny how the author's discourse has its core in a major strawman: that atheists' arguments are shallow ad hominem attacks... how ironic...

    September 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Jon Dough

      That's typical of theists?

      September 14, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  20. One one

    Counter proposal:

    Stop trying to insert religious practices and beliefs into public schools.

    Stop trying to insert religious practices and beliefs into public laws.

    Stop using money and the pledge allegiance as a vehicle to promote your religious agenda

    Churches pay the same taxes as any other private club.

    If the religion enterprise agreed to these conditions, it would be a starting point for discussing a "deal".

    September 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • duneduder

      Thank you for this succinct, thoughtful reply to more of the same fawning for religious rights. You're correct; there is no "deal" while religious zealots desire to maintain their agenda of guilt, shame, and fear.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • JeffinDallas

      Nothing funnier than a butthurt atheist with a persecution complex. 🙄
      Poor you.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.