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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. Time For You To Grow Up...

    How about this deal instead...

    If you don't pray in my schools, I won't think in your church.

    September 14, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Kenneth

      Original

      September 14, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • Colin

      I know schools that are used to hold Sunday Services. Schools used not only for prayer but for worship and all forms of Christian assembly and why not. If you can not pray your thinking is as useless as weeds in a garden.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
      • Time For You To Grow Up...

        'As useless as weeds in a garden' describes prayer perfectly... Try to remember that no one else can hear the voices in your head.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
        • Colin

          Truth be told when God speaks many have heard.

          September 14, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
        • G to the T

          Colin – funny then how no 2 of the listeners can agree what he said then...

          September 18, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  2. Paul Deane

    The sad part is that Christians have to be so defensive. Why is it that so many crazies feel obligated to propound their ideas and claim they are Christian concepts?

    September 14, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  3. Chaos

    "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?"

    No deal. You chose a peon. You people have countless nutcases.

    September 14, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  4. Kenneth

    PeterVN posted

    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.

    Yea, Peter, tell that to John Polkinghorne.

    September 14, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Fred Phred

      In many cases religion is also for the indoctrinated. They believe because it's what they were taught as children.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
      • Kenneth

        As is politics, sports, ethnic views, social standing and everything else that makes up human nature.
        That is why I appreciate my parents. As I grew up they took me to different churches and told me to make up my own mind when I was ready.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
        • G to the T

          Different flavors of ice cream are still ice cream. Did they by any chance take you to a synagoge? No? How about a mosque? Any buddhist temples?

          September 18, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  5. Mentalcase

    I stole this post.

    You’ll find that most (ex-Christian) atheists don’t believe for one or more of the following reasons:

    The concept of an immortal being makes no sense to us.

    The concept of an all-powerful being makes no sense to us.

    The concept of an all-knowing being makes no sense to us.

    Throwing the three together into one being cubes its implausibility.

    We tend to have a good working knowledge of the age, size and history of the Universe. The idea that a being would create the entire thing – with 400,000,000,000 galaxies, EACH with 100, 000,000,000 stars and even more planets, then sit back and wait 13,720,000,000 years for human beings to evolve on one planet so he could “love them” and send his son to Earth to talk to a nomadic group of Jews about sheep and goats in Iron Age Palestine (while ignoring the rest of the 200 million people then alive) makes no sense to us. Did God make the Jews or did the Jews make God?

    The answers usually proffered for what we see as basic logical flaws in Christianity – “you have been blinded by your lack of faith” “God moves in mysterious ways” “God is outside the Universe” or “our minds are too small to understand the greatness of God” are never satisfying to us. We see a retreat to mysticism as the first refuge of the cornered fool.

    The common argument, “well, what caused the Big Bang?” with the implication that, because we have only theories and no iron clad explanation for the Big Bang yet, [the Christian] god must have caused it – does not make sense to us. “I don’t know” does not equal “god” to us, much less the Judeo-Christian god. We feel the answers to such a question are much more likely to be found in Einstein’s equations, quantum physics, large particle accelerators and radio telescopes than in Genesis Chapters 1 through 20. We’re crazy aren’t we?

    We do not see miracles in things like tornadoes missing a certain trailer in a trailer park, cancer going into remission or Tim Tebow winning a football game.

    We understand that Christianity is one of many, many religions in the World, and we don’t think that we were lucky enough to have been born in the one part of the World that “got it right”. Likewise, we know how all faiths evolve, morph and change over time and do not think we were lucky enough to have been born in the one generation that “got it right.”

    We tend to have a basic knowledge of history and know that there is nothing magical or special about the supposed history of the Jews, gospels, letters, apocalyptic story (Revelations) and other materials that found their way into the Bible, in that they are largely indistinguishable from the other mythology and religious writings of the pre Dark Ages Mediterranean.

    Human beings are terrified of their own deaths and we see the various religious beliefs that try to “wish it away,” such as reincarnation, living happily ever after in Heaven with Jesus, having your own Mormon planet etc. as nothing more than childish stories for the more näive, timid minds among us.

    We do not see morality as predicated upon a belief in the supernatural. We accept that one can be moral without believing in the supernatural and that doing so is no guaranty that one will conform to the norms of society that people call “morality”.

    “You can’t prove God doesn’t exist” is not a convincing argument to us, or even a relevant point, as in inability to disprove something is a far cry from it being true. We cannot prove that the Hindu gods Shiva or Vishnu do not exist either, nor Santa Claus for that matter, but that is hardly a reason to believe in them, or even evidence for their existence. It is impossible to prove a negative in this context.

    When one looks at the various Christian beliefs that were once firmly believed – Adam and Eve, Noah’s flood, people living to be 700 or 900 years old, the Red Sea splitting, water turning into wine, a talking snake, a man living in a whale’s belly, people rising from the dead, Jesus driving demons out of people and into pigs – but which are now acknowledged by most thinking people to be mere mythology, it is pretty hard to give a lot of credibility to what’s left.

    It is hard not to consider Christianity as based on circular reasoning. Most Christians believe in God because the Bible says so, then turn around and say they believe the Bible because it is the word of God. To draw an analogy, “I believe Mao Zedong was a great man because The Little Red Book says so, and the reason I believe The Little Red Book is that it was written by Mao Zedong, who was a great man.” Do you even have the slightest idea of how your Bible was compiled over the centuries or who decided what to include and what to exclude and on what grounds? Can you even name one of hundred plus authors who contributed to it? One of the many people who decided what got in and what didn’t?

    To be bluntly honest, the more one comes to understand mother nature, the less reason there is to believe in a god and the more one understands human nature, the more one sees why so many of us still do.

    So, before you next proudly proclaim that you know the secrets to life, death, the origins of life on Earth and the origins of the Universe, simply because your parents or priest taught you some comforting stories from late Bronze Age Palestine as a child, you might like to reflect upon the overwhelming enormity of the claims you are about to make and the complete paucity of evidence that underwrites those claims.

    Or, put another way, stop cuddling your Bible and wallowing in your ignorance and face the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death with a bit of emotional and intellectual courage. If you want to spend your entire life groveling before and supplicating yourself to something, at least make it something that exists.

    September 14, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • lerianis

      The answer to that is that religion was created by humans and so was the whole 'god' fallacy.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Fred Phred

      You stole this garbage? Why? If you're going to steal something make it something worth reading please.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
      • sybaris

        yet you read it and the only rebuttal you could come up with is "garbage".

        September 14, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Vic

      A lot of atheist posters here on the CNN Belief Blog blame Christianity for what Hitler did!

      September 14, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
      • Vic

        Oops..wrong thread, sorry!

        September 14, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
      • Time For You To Grow Up...

        Hitler was a Catholic... He committed atrocities in the name of god and religion.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
        • Vic

          He renounced Christianity and Hitler turned into and operated as an extreme socialist under a German and not Christian God!

          September 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
        • Vic

          Hitler renounced Christianity, and he turned into and operated as an extreme socialist under a German and not Christian God!

          September 14, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
        • Jon Dough

          That's why the SS had belt buckles that said "gott mit uns" God with us.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
        • Time For You To Grow Up...

          "Hitler renounced Christianity, and he turned into and operated as an extreme socialist under a German and not Christian God!"

          By current definitions, Hitler was a fascist, not a socialist... And here's one for you to think about...

          “I shall remain a Catholic forever.”

          Hitler, to his General Gerhard Engel, 1941

          September 14, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
        • Vic

          [
          "According to Max Domarus, Hitler had fully discarded belief in the Judeo-Christian conception of God by 1937, but continued to use the word "God" in speeches – but it was not the God "who has been worshiped for millennia", but a new and peculiarly German "god" who "let iron grow". Thus Hitler told the British journalist Ward Price in 1937: "I believe in God, and I am convinced that He will not desert 67 million Germans who have worked so hard to regain their rightful position in the world."[46]"

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Adolf_Hitler
          ]

          September 14, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • Gordon Campbell

      But then one day you'll be walking alone in the forest, and the clouds will split open and you'll be blinded by The Light and deafened by The Thunder of the Almighty! It very quickly puts it all in perspective and you'll realize, it is a purely personal, existential Thing! Nobody is going to experience it but you. And no amount of storytelling is going to synthesize the Experience!

      September 14, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
      • G to the T

        Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. Don't assume that just because I no longer believe in God that I wasn't a true believer in the past.

        September 18, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  6. wakeup333

    For those who missed the "atheism killed more people in the last century than religion ever did" debate earlier:

    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 6:21 pm |
    • lerianis

      Actually, they were not atheists, they were people who bought into their own propaganda and thought that they were gods.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      That is exactly correct .. and atheists know this while believers choose not to accept the reality of it.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • CEBundy

      Great point!

      September 14, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • Colin

      And yet ever atheist that has assumed totalitarian powers has engaged in a form of mass murder,numbering victims into the millions. Language cannot disguise the results. Atheists murdered their fellow beings not in the name of atheism but because they were atheists they were without moral restraint.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
      • Jon Dough

        Your bye-bull tells you to kill people.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • Lilith

      Actually Hitler was raised Catholic and Stalin was raised orthodox Christian and attended an orthodox Christian college. A real case could be made that their religious background made them into the madmen they were.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Vic

      A lot of atheist posters here on the CNN Belief Blog blame Christianity for what Hitler did!

      September 14, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
      • Vic

        BTW, Hitler turned into and operated as an extreme socialist and not Christian!

        September 14, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
        •  

          Godless Vagabond
          "Socialist" is a religion now?

          September 14, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
      • Lilith

        I don't blame Christianity for Hitler, I blame the follower mentality since he couldn't have done what he did without people with the follower mentality.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
      • Vic

        [
        "According to Max Domarus, Hitler had fully discarded belief in the Judeo-Christian conception of God by 1937, but continued to use the word "God" in speeches – but it was not the God "who has been worshiped for millennia", but a new and peculiarly German "god" who "let iron grow". Thus Hitler told the British journalist Ward Price in 1937: "I believe in God, and I am convinced that He will not desert 67 million Germans who have worked so hard to regain their rightful position in the world."[46]"

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Adolf_Hitler
        ]

        September 14, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
  7. Al

    How about a different kind of deal?

    We stop writing, commenting and publishing media about religion or lack thereof completely and let people live their lives fully without being harassed. Sounds pretty neat.

    September 14, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
  8. John Gillot

    The "Good Christian" moderators here are still censoring opposing posts points of view, like common Taliban.
    They're clearly deceitful hypocrites.
    –Go to "Contact Us" on CNN and complain like I did.

    September 14, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Time For You To Grow Up...

      It's unlikely that it's the moderators, but probably is the Christian readers who think they're doing humanity a service by clicking on the 'Report Abuse' button every time they read something rational.

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

      I've been complaining about that too. They leave horribly crude offensive posts, but will censor people's valid opinions. I've gone to respond to a post that I disagree with to find that it's been deleted by the moderator. I've even re-posted some of those because I thought it was so completely unfair.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
  9. Time For You To Grow Up...

    The true irony behind this article is that American atheists are created by Christians... Every time a rational person hears a Christian declare that the Earth is 6000 years old, or that every non-believer is going to hell, or that one cannot have morals without religion, another atheist is created... The number of atheists in America is directionally proportional to the amount of dogma spewed by Christians.

    September 14, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • RheaCountyGradwhoknowsyou

      I disagree, you can see that atheists make up less than 1% of the population... so how can you even say they are as prevalent as you make out they are? Christians make up 80% of the population... you are in a vast minority here.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
      • Jon Dough

        If 1.3 bilion people want to believe in the same lie it's still a lie.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
      • Time For You To Grow Up...

        Of course, both of your numbers are wrong... Most experts now believe atheists are 5%-10% of the population, while less than 70% identify as Christians... And don't forget the 'No Religion' is the fastest growing belief system in America.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
        • lol?? Your comment is awaiting moderation.

          A&A's need a brain scan to prove they're not psychopaths.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
        • Time For You To Grow Up...

          "A&A's need a brain scan to prove they're not psychopaths."

          LOL... Typical 'nothing' response.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • Elliott Carlin

      Then perhaps you need to go into Wikipedia and adjust that 2% figure they indicate for the # of American atheists. LOL

      September 14, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
      • Jon Dough

        I've never been poled on it so I can't take it seriously.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
      • eja

        Aren't you aware that wikipedia is a reliable source of information?

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

          *not* not a source of reliable information.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
        • Elliott Carlin

          Sorry, I thought you fit the 13-35 demographic that uses wikepedia

          September 14, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • CEBundy

      I wouldn't give Christians that much credit.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Kate

      God truly exists. But He will never force you to believe in Him or to be with Him in Eternity. It is your choice. Your free will is a Gift that will never be taken away from you. But the choice is made now. After death you will not have the chance to be forgiven the sins, which is needed if you want to live with God in Heaven. The reality of hell is very true. It is eternal choice. If you refuse Jesus Christ to be your King, how can you enter His Kingdom? Please, read this Message below at thewarningsecondcoming.com and give God a chance to show you, who He really is.
      http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com/message-to-agnostics-atheists/

      September 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  10. cosmo

    Im glad im agnostic. Im free to ignore all of you. Because I don't care what both sides have to say.

    September 14, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Gordon Campbell

      But you DO care because you had to come in here and say that you are the one that is right (for not caring) and that both sides are utterly wrong, how can that be? How utterly lonely that place must be!

      September 14, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
      • Fred Phred

        One man's lonely is another man's peaceful.

        God made us all different., if that helps you understand it better.

        (ok he really didn't make us but if it makes my point I'll go with that).

        September 14, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • I wonder

      cosmo,

      As an agnostic, do you pray to a god or gods?
      - If so, why?
      - If not, why not?

      I'm thinking that you do not, though, because you do not believe in any of them (no belief in a god or gods = a–theism). Not believing in a god or gods (a–theism) is connected to not knowing (agnosticism), but it is a separate factor.

      I'd guess that you do not pray one day and not the other, choosing a different god each time. I'd guess that you live your live a–theistically.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
  11. Kenneth

    I see the dog and pony show continues unabated.
    Can we see a show of hands of anyone who's minds, positions, opinions or dogmas have been changed one bit by the now 28 pages of rant?
    Anyone?

    Anyone?

    September 14, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Elliott Carlin

      Well, perhaps just a little. I didn't realize atheism's loudest voice espouses pedophilia. So in a sense, yes, some of my thoughts have changed.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
      • Switzerland

        He doesn't "espouse" pedophilia. Why are you lying?

        September 14, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
        • Elliott Carlin

          Anyone who says an adult putting his hands down a little boy's pants doesn't harm the little boy is espousing pedophilia. Not that difficult. Would any parent, in their right mind, leave their kid with Dawkins?

          September 14, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
  12. HONEyWoMAN

    I promise not to paint with broad strokes until I yet again get poked in the eye with the pointy end of the brush by yet another christian who thinks that I'm an atheist because I "don't understand" what being a christian really means, or until I yet again am assaulted at my front door by a christian or two who think I need their intervention to live a happy life. Then, I'm not just going to paint broadly; I'm going to throw the entire bucket. Not only do I not experience Dawkins' rhetorical style as "gone too far," but I don't respond well to the parental coersion dripping from this article, addressing me as though I were a child who doesn't already know not to judge one person by another's actions. I get the intent of the article, and believe it's an okay thought, but just the comparison of Dawkins to Pat Robertson as equal counterparts makes me question Ms. Evans' sanity and, therefore, anything she has to say. Disqualification by poor comparison.

    September 14, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • RheaCountyGradwhoknowsyou

      You look at these posts, and you tell me who is the most picked on and ridiculed for their beliefs? Christians or Atheists? Who is prejudiced against who? Who is telling people they are stupid and wrong for what they believe? And over something they even admit they are not sure on! This isn't like an argument about 2+2=4, this is a philosophical debate, between someone who is extremely philosophical and someone who isn't at all and deals in absolutes, and limits their absolutes to what can be seen with their eye. There are no blind scientists. Just ones that limit themselves to only what can be seen.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
      • HONEyWoMAN

        You assume that because I don't believe that I'm "not at all phylosophical". The very opposite is true. What we have in common is that neither of us knows what lies beyond this life. The difference between us is that I continue to be curious and to explore and enjoy all kinds of possibilities, while you close your eyes to all possibilities other than one. Does that make me the one who is non-phylosophical? For me, the most dangerous aspect of christianity is that in order to believe, one has to close the eye of reason and embraces church dogma. Scientists are the ones who explore and discover so I 'm not sure to what you're referring when you say they are limited by what they see. They make hypotheses based on the unknown. It's called science Religion is based on following dogma without question, which makes your statement that atheists aren't sure about what they think ironic and pretty darn funny.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • Fred Phred

      Well said. If I had a dollar for every Christian who projected onto me that something MUST be missing in my life and that I'm really a sad person without a relationship with Christ, I'd be a rich man. When I explain to them that my life is great, they start to explain that I don't really understand what GREAT is.. And I assure them that there is no misunderstanding, I don't need a God to pray to, and in fact I find the practice useless. Of course they are stunned that I don't need to feel that God is in control of my life and has a plan for me.

      Anyway, it's a circular argument so I've stopped trying to have a dialog with those who want to save me from eternal damnation.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
      • HONEyWoMAN

        I agree. I, too, no longer try to have meaningful conversations with christians about anything spiritual. Not only circular but so full of church dogma that I can't even find any spirituality to discuss. I know this is not true for all christians, but certainly a great enough preponderance that I avoid those conversations.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • Switzerland

      Hmmm. Generalizing. Precisely what the point of the article was.
      Feel better now for having vented your spleen?

      September 14, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  13. John Stefanyszyn

    An atheist walks into a bar and sits down at the bar, at which there is a Christian, a Catholic, a Muslim, and a Buddhist sharing a drink.
    They offer him a drink....and ask him what is your pleasure?
    He answers...the same thing you're drinking....a glass of "Freedom".

    BUT it is Only Christ that will rule as the One King according to the One Will of the Creator and NOT according to man's first love for his "freedom will" which confesses that it is right to be free to worship any 'god'.

    September 14, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Time For You To Grow Up...

      Your beliefs have no effect on reality... The fact is that the bible is a poorly written, fictional storybook and you've based your life on fairy tales... How sad for you.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Wm.Russ Martin

      Your god weeps for your logic and comprehension.
      How about atheists call out everyone who is a idiotic numbskull? How many atheists have already told Dawkins that many of his recent statements are asinine and we would really, really, really like him to shut his yap?
      Will theists do the same?
      No gods. No masters. No heroes.
      I believe in no gods. I have no masters. I have no heroes, Dawkins el al included.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • Garin H.

      Why would I want to worship some so-called god when he has condemned me to burn in a place he names as hell for being exactly as he created me to be ? What kind of mercy is that ? And besides all that, I have tried being a christian in my lifetime. I discovered that I can't stand the followers of Jesus. Every church I went to was full of people who do the exact opposite of what Christ taught. Their motivations are selfish. They are not concerned for the well being of those who are hurting, instead they are concerned about their own seat in heaven, and THAT is the prime motivation. When I see a pastor of a large church in Portland, Oregon giving marital counsel to a couple when he is banging the guys wife after choir practice, who after getting caught and leaving his own family marries the wife of the couple he was counseling and starts a new church full of unsuspecting and ignorant believers, I have to wonder if faith is something that people like you just blindly accept without any thought of who you are following or whether there is any validity to what you are now adhering to. I call it stupidity. I was taught in church to shun my family if they did not accept my newfound belief system, and that I had a new family. Yes, I let myself be led by the nose, and made a fool of myself just as you are doing now John. What about people who lived 10,000 years ago ? Will they be saved ? Or will God condemn them ? But WAIT ! The earth was created 6,000 years ago ! They couldn't have existed; but I am sure you have some ignorant reason to explain that one away. How did Cain run off after killing Able and start building cities when he was the 4th person to exist on earth ? And yet people like you blindly accept that as the unquestionable word of god.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
  14. Lionly Lamb

    Juicing Raw Cannabis…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=HNnIVntof3U

    September 14, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  15. naturechaplain

    As a former Christian Minister I can appreciate this appeal, esp since I live with a Minister and still work with people of faith. In fact I even teach a course on "'World Wisdom" that of course includes "secular" wisdom (after all, wisdom is wisdom). So this appeal seems wise and reasonable. There IS common ground for theist humans and non-theist humans. Guess what it is?

    September 14, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • Time For You To Grow Up...

      You got one part right, 'wisdom is wisdom'... But having faith in things that have been proven to be fallacies is the opposite of wisdom.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Hey! You!

      Getting, and keeping, religion out of government?

      September 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • Elliott Carlin

      "As a former minister..."
      If only we could get the rest of the non-believers, charlatans and skeptics out of the pulpits, we'd do much better.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  16. Robert

    It's ironic to me that, even though I've been an Atheist my entire life, in spite of Catholic School, most Christians that I know well get along with me just fine. They don't preach to me and I don't tell them my opinion. I knew I didn't believe their story when I was just a little kid. But in todays world I like most Christians as long as they keep their religion to themselves we never have a problem. It's when they start to pontificate and judge and condemn me to hell for not believing their story, that the troubles start. They always seem to want to change my mind and I have no desire at all to change their minds. As the world gets more and more divided it's sad that we use religion to divide us. Hey if you're nice to me and respect my rights to believe what I want, then you and I can be friends. Otherwise take your religion someplace else.

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

      Very well put Robert. I too have friends who believe. I don't judge them, I just don't share their belief. If a believer engages me or challenges me I will take part in the discussion and can put together a coherent argument against their position. I don't think I've ever changed the mind of a true believer, nor do I expect to but if they want to challenge me, I will rise to the occasion particularly with those who wish to invoke a literal interpretation of the bible.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
      • Elliott Carlin

        James, you appear to be fairly modest person. LOL

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

        Thank you James. I think a lot of what I've learned in my 60 some years is that, what I believe is my business. And as long as you're tolerant of my non-belief, we will not have a problem. Although I do want to yell and scream when I hear of people like Joyce Meyer who makes millions upon millions of dollars tax free. And her god tells her she needs to collect more of his love offerings. Oh brother!

        September 14, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
  17. Rachel Held Over - CNN should just fire her

    No deal for Rachel.

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

      Get the pitchforks! Grab the torches! Burn the witch! Idiot.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
      • Time For You To Grow Up...

        Burning witches was a religious activity... Nice try, though.

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

          Exactly.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
        • Elliott Carlin

          At least we now know atheists condone pedophilia like the RCC.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
        • midwest rail

          An obvious lie, Elliot. Well done.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
        • Elliott Carlin

          Midwest-Isn't Dawkins an atheist? and didn't he essentially condone pedophilia? With Hitchens gone, you guys need to find another pony to ride.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
        • midwest rail

          You guys ? Please cite any post where I self-identify as an atheist. Your post remains a lie. Nice try at deflection though.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
        • Elliott Carlin

          Midwest-you are speaking for a group you aren't part of? I cited fact-don't dilly dally if you are sitting on the side-lines.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
        • midwest rail

          You cited nothing more than a statement made by one man. Your post remains a lie. Nice try at deflection again.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
        • Elliott Carlin

          Midwest, you probably write letters to the editor complaining about comic strips. I'll make it simple: atheism's current loudest mouth said nice things about pedophilic activities. Feel better now? LOL–have a great weekend lie detector.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Adults who still type "LOL" to laugh at their own posts can be dismissed as intellectually stunted. Next.

          September 15, 2013 at 8:48 am |
  18. Joni

    Just keep your religion to yourselves. Religion and matters of faith should be a personal and private.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Gordon Campbell

      When the whole world is burning up and being destroyed by evil, there is absolutely no justification for keeping one's religion to oneself, and that's part of the problem, the suppression of POSITIVE ideas, and a message of love and hope and the champion of forces of the natural and supernatural for the good of humanity. Contrarily most are now in favor of letting the tide of wickedness wash over the entire planet in order that you not have to suffer our "belifefs". All part of the diabolical plan. You allow yourselves to be played like harps. No thanks, I prefer to not shut my mind or mouth about it. I think it needs to be shouted from the rooftops, wake up humanity, your time is very short!

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

        You imply there is no morality or sense of right without belief. I reject that position in its entirety.

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

          I imply that, yes indeed, there is definitely a certain degree of immorality in closing one's mind to the possibility that we just might not be alone in this big ole' universe, nor are we the lords and masters of our own destinies.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
        • Elliott Carlin

          Thanks James. Without your input on this board, we'd never know the truth.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
      • youreyesareweird

        The funny thing you miss is this "wicked" wave washing over the world is from religion. If you want to stop evil, then put down your childhood fantasy stories and start living in reality.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
        • Gordon Campbell

          Having survived more than 50 years of "reality" quite well thank you, the development of my belief is not based on any childhood fantasy or even anything I read in a book. It's experiential. I've experienced God. Plain and simple. I can't put it to you any other way. And God does not operate on any of the usual channels where you are seeking It. You've got to place yourself outside of the mortal. You've got to open your mind. If you don't want to, that's fine, but don't expect me to lie around and wallow in your mud puddle of fear and uncertainty. I know God because I have experienced It. It exists.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
        • Elliott Carlin

          When that little cell crawled out of the muck and mire 35 million years ago, were laptop computers a reality? Perhaps you should keep more of an open mind towards things (God and Christianity) not in your reality.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
      • Wm.Russ Martin

        Thanks for your concern. Now, please do bugger off – the world doesn't need you or your kind butting in everywhere.
        Beam – eye, etc. To you closet to pray. And pray and pray and pray. But please don't bother us with your mutterings.

        September 14, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • CEBundy

      Absolutely! Especially keep it out of our legislature! Which isn't to say that they can't go out at do good works, but they certainly don't have to push your religion onto those that you help. Religious people should adopt the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. It I don't ask, your don't tell me.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
      • Gordon Campbell

        I don't have a problem with that myself, because your "legislature" is not really legislating anything of any worth. You are absolutely 100% correct. You can't "legislate" morality or immortality. I agree 100%. God does not concern himself with human government anyway. "Render to Caesar what is Caeser's". It doesn't matter. Yes there are misguided people who profess to believe in God or know the way, but they are usually exposed when most of their endeavor concerns that of the fleshly pursuits. The business of God is purely the business of the human soul. Nothing else matters. YOu can spend lifetime concerning yourself with the <100 years of fleshly pursuit, or perhaps you can turn your third eye inward and begin exploring your own soul, your own immortality, the part of you that will go on after all of this is over, and in a flash of light you will be changed. You'll not need any of this, not even your body. YOu just don't get it do you?

        September 14, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
  19. Rachel Held Over - CNN should just fire her

    Dawkins merely speaks the truth. If you can't face it, grow some courage.

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

      Dawkins and truth int he same sentence? Now there's an oxymoron.

      September 14, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
      • Time For You To Grow Up...

        People who believe in talking snakes are wrong about virtually everything... Thanks for providing proof.

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

          I guess when you read about Robert E. Lee being referred to as the "Grey Fox" in 2000 years, you will think... wow, those mythological beings like Grey Foxes that won battles out numbered and out fed, they sure tell good stories.. Cause liberals like you will think it wasn't a metaphor. Talking snakes, again, it is possible there were talking snakes if they were in the spiritual world and not the physical. Open you mind to beyond what is observable in a lab. Love is not observable, neither are morals. Yet they still exist.

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

          @Rhea – Not believing in talking snakes, or heck, even being an atheist doesn't make you a liberal. Grow up.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
        • RheaCountyGradwhoknowsyou

          @eja: Only LIberals limit themselves from the metaphysical.

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

      He only speaks what he can observe and repeat in a lab... that doesn't mean its the whole truth or even part of the truth. He is making his "facts" based of less than a fraction of a percent of the evidence necessary to make any call one way or the other about anything. It takes just as much faith not to believe in God as it does to believe.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
      • Jon Dough

        It takes as much faith as not believing in the pink unicorn on the far side of the moon.

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

          Again, you take something that doesn't exist physically, and make out like you prove apoint by saying it doesn't physically exist. Fact is, you have no clue what exists metaphysically, and you have shut yourself off from it. No one things Angels and God are in the physical realms and can be found on a mountain somewhere. Only scientist think that. God exists in the heavenly realms, the metaphysical.

          September 14, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
  20. CEBundy

    I will wholeheartedly agree when I hear Christian leaders resoundingly denounce Pat Robertson. And when I see Christian legislators stop pushing the Christian beliefs into law. Richard Dawkins is not a leader of athethism, he's just a guy with an opinion. So it's not really the same thing, as he is not denying rights to gays or women.

    September 14, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
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About this blog

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