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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. Kenneth

    The most interesting thing, to me, about this conversation so far is the total lack of political tangents. No anti-Obama rants, nothing about Benghazi. Granted I haven't read every comment, but this thread seems to be singularly focused.

    September 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Bob

      And isn't that a relief?

      September 14, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
      • Kenneth

        It kind of is. Although politics could easily be brought into this with Rick Perry and his crowd trying to get creationism and intelligent design put in biology textbooks in Texas.

        September 14, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
        • Bob

          Political zealots could bring it up on a website for food recipes! And your right about Texas.

          September 14, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • donna

      My experience is that that's more common when the comments are in this format. For some reason, disqus attracts more troll type behavior.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
  2. lol?? Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Where are all the sciency types that should be sayin' Dawkins the abused is why he's an abuser??

    September 14, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
  3. BVeNard88

    I see a lot of "atheists" here... Let me ask you a question because as educated as you seem to be you feel that we "Christians" are nothing more then delusional people who believe in a la la land.

    But I have a question for you "How do people really know that atoms exist even though they can't see them?". No one has ever really seen an atom. Humans, like you, seem to like to see something before they believe in it. I am sure there are some people who object to that since there have been claims that electron microscopes have imaged atoms.

    Now I said no one has seen an atom, but we have seen so much evidence of their existence that most of us believe in them. Most of the experiments, like those at Jefferson Lab, work by bouncing something off an atom, like an electron, and watching where the electron goes after it bounces out of the atom. Of course, an electron is smaller than an atom, so it would seem to get trickier. An electron is actually pretty easy to see since it leaves tracks in many things. Using those tracks, we can build a pretty nice picture of an atom. The story is typical in science and many human endeavors. Someone comes up with an idea and then tries to prove it. One could argue that Columbus' trip was an experiment to prove or disprove his theory that India could be reached by sailing West from Europe.

    The point is... you still cant see an atom. However, people like you and me tend to believe its still there. Just like most of the world believes in their theology everything from Paganism (and I mean western European druidism), to Buddhism, to Christianity. We all have something in common. We believe in something higher then ourselves.

    Maybe that will give you something to think about before you open your "educated" mouths and spew "uneducated" words.

    September 14, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • Observer

      Everyone is certainly free to not believe in atoms or to believe in unicorns, talking serpents and dragons.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • RootieKazootie

      The word "belief" is ambiguous. Belief in "atoms" is evidence based (just as it belief in "air" which you also can't see, but there's sure plenty of evidence that it exists). Religious beliefs are not evidence based- they're based on nothing.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
      • BVeNard88

        Actually they are based on experience.

        Would you tell a magician that magic doesn't exist because you cannot replicate the very trick he makes? (not all magic is illusion by the way.

        Would you tell a ballerina or a contortionist that it is not physically possible to what they do because you cant do it? Yet they do it everyday?

        Would you disagree with a theoretical Physicist that there is no way that light has mass... yet they are working on proving it does.

        Religion doesn't always need hard proof. I wasn't there when the big bang happened. I wasn't there when the earth was created. I wasn't there when early man walked the Earth. I wasn't there when Christ was risen on that cross, I wasn't there to see the anguish in his mothers eyes when he died and I wasn't there for when he rose from his grave to take his place at the right had of God. However I believe.

        September 14, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
        • G to the T

          If you want religion to answer the same questions as science then you do need evidence. Experience is a VERY transitory thing and open to all kinds of influences. Evidence should be the same for everyone (though interpretations of the evidence could certainly vary).

          September 18, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • Jake

      Who said atheists have to see something to believe it exists? I can't see a baby in womb, but I can see evidence that a woman is pregnant and I believe there is a baby coming. You're entire comment is based on an incorrect assumption.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
      • BVeNard88

        I didn't mean at as just atheists. I meant humans as whole usually like to see things to believe it exists. And some people have "seen" heaven, angles and/or even God. Who are we to judge if that is what they have seen. Even non believers have become believers in their personal experiences. Again I ask... who are we to judge?

        September 14, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • sick of christian phonies

      As you pointed out, there are reams of evidence that atoms exist, even though we can't "see" them. Thus we "believe" in them. There is no comparable, provable evidence for a god or gods' existence. Not for any of the systems of belief you mention.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
      • BVeNard88

        Ah... but personal experiences, and things like science cannot even explain religion.

        How do you know the run actually rises? Imagine that you are at a party one evening, and it turns out that one of the guests doesn't believe that the sun rises in the morning. How do you convince him? Of course the sun rises! But it's so obvious that it's hard to prove. You could say, "the Earth rotates, so that the sun appears to rise above the horizon." Is that a better or a worse argument than "I've seen the sun rise many times"?

        Once it was believed that the sun rose with the help of the God Apollo, without him the world would forever be enveloped in black and darkness. The seas would be unruly without Poseidon. The living world would be consumed with he walking dead if it wasn't for Hades. There would be no love, beauty or wisdom without Athena. In Egypt there would be no children and crops without Bast, Meskhenet, Isis, and Satet. In India there would be no music, no life and no culture with Krishna.

        My point is that no matter how silly it seems for you to see people believing in one God or many Gods what proves that they aren't there? Has science proven what many have seen with their own eyes? Democritus' atom theory could never be proven until some invited the equipment, yet we still believed. Can you imagine that? He came up with an idea, but it took 2,400 years before anyone figured out that he was right!

        Just some thoughts....

        September 14, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • Bob

      You presented a cogent argument, right up to your last sentence. "Maybe that will give you something to think about before you open your "educated" mouths and spew "uneducated" words." This is exactly the type of adversarial behavior of which the author speaks. Why throw in the "uneducated" comment. You could have ended it perfectly by saying only "Maybe this will give you something to think about".

      September 14, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
      • Jake

        In what way do you think he presented a cogent argument? His entire post is about atheists having to see things to believe it, which is completely untrue.

        September 14, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
        • Bob

          Perhaps a poor choice of words on my part. I meant that he presented his argument is a reasonable manner, did his best to support his premise, and did not fall into the to often seen fallacy of argumentum ad hominem, until the last sentence Sorry for not being more clear.

          September 14, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
        • Jake

          No problemo Bob.

          September 14, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
        • BVeNard88

          I am a female not a male. And I have studied many different religions and belief systems... And actually my entire post wasn't about Atheists having to see everything to believe it exists. However, the main Atheist argument about religion is there is no proof that a God or many Gods exist. And my main argument was there was never any proof to Democritus' atom theory until 2.400 years after it was thought up about. Yet we still believed it.

          September 14, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
      • BVeNard88

        You are correct in stating that my last sentence in my statement could have done without the "uneducated" word bit. However, now you know how it feels to have someone claim that your intelligence is feeble due to believing in a higher power. That one is crazy for believing the world is not flat yet round, that all things contain atoms even if it couldn't be explained right away. I rather believe now, then not believe when my time on Earth has ended and I am standing in front of St. Peter, with my mouth wide open saying "but...but...but...". I do hope that make sense.

        September 14, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • Mir

      You are so delusional. Experiments to prove the existence of atom leads to the same conclusion no matter how often repeated. Can you give me an experiment that proves existence of God every time you conduct it?

      September 14, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
      • BVeNard88

        Democritus' atom theory could never be proven until some invited the equipment, yet we still believed. Can you imagine that? He came up with an idea, but it took 2,400 years before anyone figured out that he was right! Maybe it will be the same for religion...

        September 14, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
        • Carbonman

          I have to maintain there's a slight difference between what Democritus envisaged and what we now call the atom. He would have been astounded at having an example of a molecule. Modern scientists adopted the term 'atom' in part as homage to an early scientific theorist.
          Science and religion will never reconcile except accidentally.

          September 14, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
        • BVeNard88

          Carbonman... An atom a fundamental piece of matter. (Matter is anything that can be touched physically.) Everything in the universe (except energy) is made of matter, and, so, everything in the universe is made of atoms. A you know around 400 BC a greek dude named Democritus came up with the idea that something could be cut into it's smallest piece and it would still be the same object.(aka an atom) He was also the first person to write the word atom down. For these reasons Democritus was given credit for the idea and the name. So I was still correct.

          September 14, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
  4. MikeK

    Wow! Virtually every post in the reply threads are by the same extremists the article suggests we invalidate. I will conclude the art of discourse is dead, and that none of you can see beyond your myopic views.

    September 14, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • Kenneth

      Watch out, when I said something to that effect I was lambasted.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • lol?? Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      Debaters are hooked.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  5. waitasec

    1st define what a christian is.
    this is so ridiculous. when we discuss the lakers, we don't confuse them with the knicks.
    when we discuss a car, we don't confuse it with a motorcycle. when we discuss a tree we don't confuse it with a bush.
    the reason pat robertson is associated with christianity is because he claims to be one. so lets define what a christian is...and you know what...that cannot be determined. you know why, because it is a subjective belief system...so what? thusly since we cannot find a definition for what a christian is, then these christians beliefs systems are nothing more than
    opinions...so what?

    September 14, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • Jake

      You're right. I am an atheist, but considering how Christians believe pretty much whatever they want (evolution, for example), and still claim to be Christians, I could say I'm an atheist and a Christian with equal legitimacy.

      I think the fact that Christianity has no clear definition is the only reason it survives. People just change their views and say that's their version of Christianity, which is ridiculous.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
  6. Peregrine

    Colin, according to Christianity none were innocent, all deserved hell, because of original sin

    September 14, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
  7. Hooligan

    Dawkins has a brilliant mind, but he is wrong here.

    Every person is different, it may not have harmed him... but to say no child was effected is just flat out stupid and prone to be wrong.

    September 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • donna

      Where did you read that he said that about everyone? He was speaking about the personal experiences of him and his friends who he talked to about it.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • Jake

      What did he say exactly? I find it doubtful that whatever he said was meant to imply that child abuse is acceptable. I suspect he just meant that he was one of the lucky ones who didn't end up mentally disturbed for life as a result of religion.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
      • donna

        My comment went to moderation limbo, so I'm not going to use all the proper words.

        Dawkins has often talked about the trauma he experienced from being told by his family, who he trusted and believed, that he might go to heII when he was young. He very strongly believes that telling children they are going to heII is a form of child abuse, especially when people children love and trust say it because children are biologically predisposed to believe what they say.

        So in this case he was talking about how not all forms of child abuse have the same impact on the child's life. His example was that he had been touched "mildly" by a teacher at school. And while he knew it was gross and uncomfortable, it was a single event and he was able to share with his classmates who had the same experience. Years later, the teacher committed suicide and Dawkins talked to his former classmates about the teacher and talked about how they didn't think it had a major impact on their lives. He proposes that it is more traumatic when touching comes from family who you are supposed to trust, or is ongoing, or becomes more physically involved.

        It's all perfectly rational- just a big taboo subject...

        September 14, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
        • Jake

          Yeah, makes sense. So why does the author of this article suggest he said something inappropriate? Seems like she just wants to attack Richard Dawkins for no apparent reason.

          September 14, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
        • donna

          Yes, I think so.

          He made headlines in a few papers with this, I think the phrase "mild pedophilia" was too good for some people to pass up. But it makes perfect sense to me...

          September 14, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
  8. Kenneth

    Alanis Morissette should have seen this discussion for her song. It is the height of irony that an article calling for rational, respectful discussion engenders everything but.

    September 14, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Gus

      You're one to talk, Mr. Stool Sample.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
      • Kenneth

        If you bother to read my posts, Gus, you will see I was civil and reasonable until personally attacked.
        so, yes, I am one to talk.

        September 14, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
        • Wendy

          Kenneth, Gus may not have, but I looked, and you did start the gutter insults.

          Caught ya, little one. The egg is dripping off your face.

          September 14, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
        • Kenneth

          Look farther Wendy.

          September 14, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
        • Kenneth

          Sorry, that maybe should be further. I get them mixed up.

          September 14, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
        • Kenneth

          For your reference, Wendy, I got on here around page 8 and have been in and out since.
          Sorry, no egg here, little one.

          September 14, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
        • Wendy

          Nope, little Kenneth, in that thread you really did start the gutter insults and the thread shows that obviously. 'nuff hedging already. Grow a spine already. You know what you did was wrong.

          Stow the excuses and wash that egg off your dirty little face, or ask Mommy to do it for you. She would do well to rinse your mouth out with soap too.

          September 14, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
  9. bobbie jo justice

    People need to keep their fairy tale religios beliefs to themselves keep your god off of money and out of the pledge of allegiance

    September 14, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
  10. Time For You To Grow Up...

    “We were convinced that people need and require faith. We have , therefore, undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and though not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.”

    Hitler, in a speech in Berlin, 1933

    September 14, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
  11. Lionly Lamb

    PROOF CANNABIS CURES CANCER – VARIOUS NEWS...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZG0btRUIKc&feature=player_detailpage

    September 14, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • Observer

      We keep seeing more and more evidence that cannabis causes severe mental problems that result in people interjecting totally unrelated comments into a conversation.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        I think LL actually needs to find himself a dealer and roll a big fat 'j' and relax. This seems to be LL's protest to his fear of being caught should he smoke it illegally.

        September 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  12. No one

    What was the original sin of Adam that supposedly doom all of humanity to suffering?
    If you believe that and think your so called god is worth worshipping, go f*** yourself.

    September 14, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
  13. Milroy

    first of all God is not obligated to proof anything to anybody that he exist you will die that is fact nobody can change that the earth has rebelled against his laws so u will die in your sin and be separated from him unless u accept jesus as lord he is only one that can save u to have eternal life if belief in him or not it won't change him from coming soon end is near all people very soon won't say their no god because when he comes nobody will be on cnn or any news site or even on internet to type anything, god people will be saved the rest who reject will be destroyed like it or not that is fact so smarten up before it's late u can't blame anybody but yourself then. if u not going be happy with god in his kingdom u don't have to come u will die that will be the end of u forever.

    September 14, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • Time For You To Grow Up...

      You write like a second-grader... And you think like one, too.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    •  

      Godless Vagabond
      Try some punctuation next time, Milroy. You know, those funny little marks on the lower right hand part of your keyboard. My third-grade grandson can write better than you. However, you do make Lionly Lamb's posts seem almost coherent by comparison.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • ThereIsNoGod

      So if you don't believe you will be destroyed?
      Wow, and you still worship this murderer!

      September 14, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
      • lol?? Your comment is awaiting moderation.

        Where's the law that says God shouldn't kill?? 'Sides he'll raise you again.

        September 14, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • DOG

      RELIGIOUS RADICALISM MUST HAVE BEEN YOUR DEFENSE AGAINST SHOWING UP IN SCHOOL WITH THE NAME MILROY.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
      • No caps lock, please!

         

        September 14, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
  14. wakeup333

    Human beings wrote all books on earth. Flesh & blood, extremely fallible human beings.

    We poor specimens were able to decide, all by ourselves, what right & wrong are. We pass laws based on these common beliefs. How could we have done it without invisible beings helping us?

    Same way we built the Pyramids, the Panama Canal, the Mars rovers and the hydrogen bomb. Same way we write poetry and cut off heads. Everything grand and base, good and evil, comes from us. Not some invisible bearded guy in the sky. Or some horned demon below our feet.

    We alone control our fate. No invisible help required.

    September 14, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • ThereIsNoGod

      How dare you use logic! You will burn in hell....lol!
      Nicely said but you really can't win with these people. They will just say satan made you write that.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • lol?? Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      1Cr 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
  15. Praise Jeebus Ya'll!

    Dawkins is a scientist, not a religious leader.

    Roberstson is a religious leader with millions of followers.

    September 14, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
  16. Kate

    JESUS CHRIST: "When the time comes My dearly beloved daughter for The Warning, a number of signs will be revealed.

    I tell you this to remind all God’s children that they must prepare themselves beforehand.

    The two stars will collide and many will be fearful.

    There is nothing to fear because this is the greatest gift I bring so that not one soul is lost to the fires of Hell.

    Then, My Cross, will appear in the skies and not one person will fail to notice.

    Many will fall down in fear and a great shaking, like an earthquake, will be felt.

    Then will come the silence.

    Always prepare for this day as if it were tomorrow. Seek redemption now and reveal to Me your sins.

    Catholic must go to Confession.

    For those who are not Catholics they must recite the Crusade Prayer (24) I give to the rest of the world for My Plenary Indulgence.

    This gift of My Plenary Indulgence is for all of God’s children of every creed and offers a great cleansing. Do not reject this Gift. Accept it.

    For Catholics who question My Gift and who have begrudgingly criticised My Gift I say this.

    Do you believe that I would not bestow this Sacrament on all of God’s children?

    You must be generous of heart and happy that I do this. Do you think that they should not be given such a Gift? If you do then you don’t truly love Me.

    Bow your heads and praise God for this wonderful Gift given to mankind to save their souls.

    Then, during The Warning, all those who have redeemed themselves in My Eyes will not suffer the pain of Purgatory.

    Those who see their sins unveiled before them, as seen through My Eyes, will be shocked.

    Many will find it difficult to accept how blackened their souls are.

    Those who do and show remorse will ask Me to pardon them. And I will.

    But some will not be sorry and will defend, in their heart, the atrocities they committed as they appear before My Eyes. They won’t repent and will slap Me in the face.

    Either way the fires of the purification and suffering will be felt by all sinners.

    The length of time will depend on the gravity of their sins.

    Those who pull away from Me need your prayers. They will be given more time to turn back to Me and ask Me to forgive them.

    But that time could be as short as a day or as long as a few years.

    No one but My Father knows the date of My Second Coming.

    The time between the two events will not be as long as you may think.

    Finally, My children will realise the time they are living in and accept the Truth.

    For those who know the truth now and who believe in Me you have a duty to pray for the souls who will not accept My Mercy.

    My daughter, My greatest desire is to save the entire world, including those who are lost to Me.

    All the prayers of My followers, who unite as one voice, can help Me to do this.

    Go in Love. Trust in Me always for the time is short and the plans for the salvation of humanity rests in the hands of My Eternal Father.

    Your Beloved Jesus"

    http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com

    September 14, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Time For You To Grow Up...

      Nice fairy tale... but it's not believable by a rational adult.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
      • DOG

        WOULD THE KEY WORD HERE BE "ADULT"

        September 14, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
        • No caps lock, please!

           

          September 14, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Kate, I'll see you in the Rapture Capsule with the unicorns. Don't forget to wear your nose ring – the big steel one that I padlocked the chain onto when we were practising for the Uplifting.

      This time, though, close your mouth when the swirling starts and your head goes down, so the floaters don't get in like they did in our last practice.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
  17. Lionly Lamb

    Me and Cancer-The Cannabis Oil Cure…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEi7HNLNTQk&feature=player_detailpage

    September 14, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    •  

      Stop it already! Uncle, uncle!

      September 14, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  18. BiblesMakeGoodTP

    Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, GreekGodism(sp?), Norsegodism(sp?) and the other thousand or so human-made belief systems all make ridiculous claims without a shred of proof.

    Lose all the gods. Keep learning. We have learned more in the last 3 decades about the true nature of the Universe than in all Humankind's time prior to this.

    Iron age cults with horrific written instructions hurt all of us as a species.

    Your belief in a god is solely to protect your immortal soul. Solely. Ego. Self. Understand that in the same way a slug has no soul, neither do we. Death is coming, not your daddy. Be real, be good, have fun, be well, Salaam.

    September 14, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Andy Klein

      Never have I heard it put so perfectly. May I quote you when I confront theists in the future??

      September 14, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
      • BiblesMakeGoodTP

        awwwww.....shucks...(cheeks turning rosy)

        I am old. I once read every book considered worth reading. I walked this planet. I study Human faces and all animals. I befriended a whale 60 feet down once and fought off a 25 foot tiger shark another time. sighs. Humans are stupid and vain. These 2 defining tenets wreck us. The coming hundreds of thousands of years will be extremely and extraordinarily interesting now that we have achieved sentience and this measure of technology.

        Be well. time to sleep.

        September 14, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • lol?? Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      Ego is a theory. Must be some kinda trick.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
  19. NorthVanCan

    It would do well to make religion a class is school. Educate the kids about how religion shapes history and todays world .
    Who could argue with that and keep a straight face.

    September 14, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Kenneth

      It's called Comparative Religion and is taught in perhaps 30% of school systems nationwide. Or was. With budget cuts it may be less now.
      It looks at most major religions from a purely historical perspective.
      Except in Texas, where we are now in a bitter fight to keep creationism and intelligent design out of biology textbooks.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
      • Wendy

        Religion does seem to be in decline, and not just in education. I don't think it lines up well with what young people to day are faced with.

        September 14, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
  20. mike

    Tell ya what, when you tell your religious buddies to stop killing us, persecuting us, or bullying our children, then we will be kind to you. Till then, live in fear for the day we come to power and show you what anger looks like in its raw form.

    September 14, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Switzerland

      Nothing like using the same violence to get your point across with. Making you, I suppose, no better than the Christians you're bashing. Well done, Bluto!

      September 14, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • M

      You need help.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Colin

      When atheists rule millions die. Atheists have brutally tortured and murdered more innocent people in the last 100 years than were killed in all previous centuries. Thanks for the heads up and the view into what atheism is really all about.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
      • Praise Jeebus Ya'll!

        Ever hear of the Inquisition? How bout the Crusades?

        September 14, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
        • Colin

          Atheists are not above lying about their beliefs to accomplish their murderous ends. The crusades inst ituted by evil under the atheist deception of being the church pales when compared to the millions murdered by atheist stalin alone.

          September 14, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
        • Observer

          No atheist ever did anything REMOTELY CLOSE to this:

          (Gen. 7:21) “And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and ALL HUMAN BEINGS”

          September 14, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
        • Dr. Mu

          The murders Colin presents were not done under any dictate of atheism. The bible and the koran, both of which describe socialist, welfare state religions, actually demand murder by their followers repeatedly.

          September 14, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
      • optikradio

        Really? In the name of Atheism? Do tell us who these people were, as the history books don't appear to mention any such figures.

        September 14, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
        • Colin

          Not "in the name of" but because they were atheists. How dense can you be?

          September 14, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
        • AON

          Colin, how dense are you that you equate totalitarian murders with the millions that have been killed IN THE NAME OF GOD? When you can actually say these were done IN THE NAME OF ATHEISM, you may take off your dunce cap, Colin. You are the stupid one.

          September 14, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
      • Time For You To Grow Up...

        More people have been murdered in the name of religion than for all other reasons combined... Ever heard of Hitler??

        September 14, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
      • Chris

        In the bible god killed 10 million people, ya when atheists hit that number then theists have an argument.

        September 14, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        That is an inane straw man argument...

        You would have to show causation that the dictators acted BECAUSE of their lack of belief...which you cannot.

        September 14, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
      • Switzerland

        Colin, you keep positing this blatant fallacy in an attempt to bolster your tenuous position on Christianity.
        If you need to break the 9th Commandment to reinforce your belief, you aren't a very good advocate.

        September 14, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • John-117

      Who's persecuting you? Someone defending their religious beliefs from an atheist is not persecuting.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Mitchell

      Mike, you exaggerate like an idiot. Atheists are such stupid idiots, especially Dawkins, who admits in the film "No Intelligence Allowed" that he believes we could be "created." What a bunch of friggin' losers.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Mark

      Wait to make her point by generalizing as she noted. Don't hurt yourself.

      September 14, 2013 at 7:07 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.