home
RSS
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. juliuscaesar108

    Sounds nice, but do you think people are going to go with your ideals? People have passion and anger issues where everything is personal, and when things get personal no deal will be made on your ideals. I wish people could follow this, but there is always an action-reaction, especially online.

    Good luck!

    September 15, 2013 at 12:42 am |
    • heehee

      yes I"m very angry. grrr.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:44 am |
  2. rene

    All well and good to counsel that extreme-vitriolic voices not be taken as representative.

    But the implied symmetry between the two groups is false. There are some strident skeptics, but they are individuals–not organized–and lack any meaningful financial resources or collective support.

    Hate-based believers are a serious section of the religious community, though not yet a majority. They demand money from their followers, and mount multiple aggressive campaigns against culture. And they have a pronounced and singular drive to impose their position on others.

    There really is no atheist counterpart to the likes of Robertson, Bachmann or Phelps.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:40 am |
  3. John

    I think with these comments that many of the atheists here have demonstrated they are just as arrogant, closed minded, afraid, and self-centered as Dawkins.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:40 am |
    • heehee

      Because what else could explain disagreement with you?

      September 15, 2013 at 12:41 am |
      • zeyn2010

        LOL

        September 15, 2013 at 12:45 am |
      • Casey

        ... and... with your snarky and snide reply, you prove his point.

        September 15, 2013 at 12:59 am |
        • heehee

          I have been shamed. I see now that his post invited communication. If only I had not been so snide.

          Had I posted a serious argument, he would have read it carefully, and addressed the points I raised sincerely and without absurdly caricaturing my views or character.

          September 15, 2013 at 1:09 am |
        • Casey

          @hee hee. Yes, that would be the idea. You may have gotten into a respectful, and considered discussion. Then again, you may have been met with something less than that. You'll never know because... as I hope you realize, your dripping sarcasm (in the previous post as well as this new one) precludes the possibility of reasonable discourse.

          You seem to have such a low opinion of others, and that is unfortunate. Although it is understandable if you spend a lot of time on these comment boards. Respect, civility, and basic politeness is something that is severely lacking in our society, and it is particularly manifest in these types of forums. It becomes a way to inflict, belittle, or WIN over other people. It's really sad to see how our society has decayed.

          September 15, 2013 at 1:55 am |
        • heehee

          Hi Casey,

          I'll respond to your criticism sincerely.

          There is a pattern to my posts. When someone raises a point which I think honestly addresses some issue, I respond to it and try to engage. There are a few up here, but of course I don't expect anyone to keep track. I think some of them were yours.

          However, as soon as I see absolute certainty, insults, silly claims about what atheists are like in person (e.g., we all can't let go of sin, we're all angry, we're all arrogant), obstinate refusal to read and take in a point or new information, then I do not treat posts with respect. The reason is that I can see that some people are simply not interested in trying to understand my point of view. I have no interest in trying to persuade such people. In that case, one of my goals is to expose those people's mistakes and motivations as clearly as possible with humor. If you re-read the sequence of posts above, you'll find that that's what I've done. John was indeed not inviting communication, and were rather smug, which is rich coming from someone accusing others of being arrogant.

          September 15, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Doris

      Dawkins – arrogant? He seems quite patient IMHO with the like of this person, for instance:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AS6rQtiEh8

      September 15, 2013 at 12:45 am |
      •  

        Godless Vagabond
        You're absolutely right there, Doris. I wouldn't have lasted 10 seconds with this cretin.

        September 15, 2013 at 12:47 am |
        • heehee

          agreed. In fact, he is my model for patience in the face of absurdity. I wish I could do what he does.

          This is not sarcasm.

          September 15, 2013 at 12:51 am |
  4. Julian Blair

    The article starts with a typical straw-man argument. MOST atheists, including Richard Dawkins, don't point to the most fervent Christians as representative of all Christians. Anyone who has read Rickard Dawkins' book, "The God Delusion", or has listened to him talk would know that. The point most atheists, including Richard Dawkins, make is that both the Christian Fundamentalists and the moderate Christians use the Bible as their guide. Each group points to passages that are pleasing to them, and ignore other passages. Often, that "crazy" stuff spoken by Christian fundamentalists, is simply them QUOTING the Bible. For example:

    "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

    The real problem with "moderate Christians", is that they also elevate the Bible as a moral guide. Like all religious people, they treat it as a menu, simply picking and choosing what they like or don't like. But that doesn't make their interpretation of the Bible any more valid than the Fundamentalists' view. If you start with the premise that the Bible is a moral guide, then you give license to everyone who might actually READ WHAT THE BOOK SAYS. Moderate Christians are a serious problem because they 1) elevate the Bible as a moral guide, 2) Promote the idea that Faith (belief without evidence) is a virtue (it isn't), and 3) fund anti-gay bigots like the Catholic Church, and 4) promote moral and cultural relativism. About #4, when a moderate Christian sees a Muslim kill someone for the crime of blasphemy, like happened in Syria recently, the moderate Christian will say that the killer is "distorting Islam". The moderate Christian has trouble understanding that the killer may have just done what he was instructed to do in his religious text. Of course, the Koran also gets treated like a menu, so most Muslims would ignore that kind of instruction.

    Also, what Dawkins said is not shocking or crazy. In the last 20 years, All the Islamic countries in the world have produced less scientific and technological innovation than the 8 million people in Israel. And it's not because they're all poor, look at Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, etc. What's their excuse? And in his comment about the affects of the "mild" pedophilia, he included himself in that, and was thus speaking from personal experience. Or would you argue that you know him better than he knows himself?

    September 15, 2013 at 12:38 am |
    • michaelflyger

      Why can't I +1 you wonderful people? Thank you for being one of many helping to spread reason.

      September 15, 2013 at 2:37 am |
      • Julian Blair

        Thanks guys

        September 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • alan

      Well done

      September 15, 2013 at 7:19 am |
  5. kati

    It is an often used and easily denied strategy. As athies clamor to try to persuade me they have so many reasons for rejecting god, it becomes obvious quickly that they know they have no such thing. They keep churning the topics, especially when they are puzzled.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:38 am |
    • heehee

      Actually, I enjoy your posts.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:41 am |
    • GodFreeNow

      We don't need to convince you. Reason always wins out over time. It's only a matter of time. You may not get it, but your children will... and if they don't, theirs will. If this weren't true, you'd likely still believe the earth was the center of the universe, as the infallible church would have had you believe.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:43 am |
    •  

      Godless Vagabond
      Keep posting, kati. Your mindless babble is a great promoter of atheism.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • heehee

      Huh? I am so puzzled. How does she remain so calm whilst assailed by her enemies? She must have some source of inner peace, which I am denied.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:53 am |
    • heehee

      And how will I persuade her, if she has called me out on clamoring?

      September 15, 2013 at 12:54 am |
    • Doris

      Why is it that some believers claim that atheists reject god? What a silly notion. If you can demonstrate that your god is there to be rejected then you might have something there.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:56 am |
  6. BigJ

    Last I checked, atheists don't typically try to enforce their beliefs by encoding them into law. Christians, on the other hand...

    September 15, 2013 at 12:35 am |
    • heehee

      No, but we persecute Christians by disagreeing.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:39 am |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        Did you know the French revolutionaries also disagreed with the Bourgeois... ?

        September 15, 2013 at 1:59 am |
    • Casey

      Actually they do try to encode them into law, they're just not that successful at it. (there's that whole Const1tution thing to get around you know).

      The thing I find annoying about atheists is that, since they have no Faith, they feel the need to belittle others who do. They hold out instances of people practicing their religion as an infringement of their rights. Atheists seem to interrupt the Freedom of Religion as.. the freedom FROM religion, and they take this to the logically absurd extreme that, anyone practicing their Faith within earshot is an infringement.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:55 am |
      • heehee

        Example please. (of trying to codify atheist beliefs into law).

        September 15, 2013 at 12:59 am |
        • Casey

          Most recent... trying to change the pledge of allegiance. That was a couple of days ago I think.

          September 15, 2013 at 1:04 am |
        • Casey

          How about another one... yesterday, they were trying to shut down private, faith based adoption placement centers because they had child placement criteria that aligned with their Faith.

          September 15, 2013 at 1:06 am |
        • Casey

          Another... they tried to have the 10 commandments removed from a county court house.

          September 15, 2013 at 1:07 am |
        •  

          Godless Vagabond
          These are simply attempts to bring our laws into alignment with our constitution. We're also trying to get the god reference off our currency for the same reason.

          September 15, 2013 at 1:10 am |
        • Observer

          Casey,

          The Ten Commandments have very little to do with our laws.

          The people wanting to change the Pledge advocated going to what it said BEFORE the religious groups had it changed.

          September 15, 2013 at 1:13 am |
        • heehee

          I don't see how those are examples of codifying atheist beliefs into law. Do you understand the difference between demanding that government not respect a particular religion, and legally imposing your beliefs?

          Except possibly the adoption center example. Could you provide some information? Are you sure they weren't objecting to government funding or a tax-exempt status?

          September 15, 2013 at 1:15 am |
        • heehee

          sorry, my post was unclear. Please replace "respect" with "endorse".

          September 15, 2013 at 1:16 am |
        • Casey

          The Const1tution protects the right of people to practice their Faith. It prevents the government from sanctioning a particular religion, or hindering the free practice or expression of any religion. Nowhere does it say that, because you have no religion, that you can prevent others from practicing theirs. You do not have the right to prevent others from living their lives according to their Faith. If a private adoption agency wants to place children only with people who practice within the Christian religion, well... that is their right.

          September 15, 2013 at 1:16 am |
        • Casey

          @ Observer... actually... you are very incorrect. The foundation of our legal system is built off the framework of the 10 Commandments. You should consult legal history if you care to verify what I am saying.

          September 15, 2013 at 1:19 am |
        • Observer

          Casey,

          Words not found in the Const-itution:

          God, Jesus, Christ, Christianity, Bible, Ten Commandments

          September 15, 2013 at 1:19 am |
        • heehee

          Having the ten commandments in a courtroom is a very clear and precise example of sanctioning a particular religion.

          No one wants to legally prevent you from being Christian. I'm still waiting for an example.

          September 15, 2013 at 1:20 am |
        • Observer

          Casey

          "@ Observer... actually... you are very incorrect." WRONG. You need to read them. You weren't close.

          Ten Commandments:
          1: Have no other gods – NOT A LAW
          2: Make no graven image – NOT A LAW
          3: Don’t take the name in vain – NOT A LAW
          4: Honor the Sabbath – NOT A LAW
          5: Honor thy father and mother – NOT A LAW
          6: Thou shalt not kill – NOT UNIQUE TO CHRISTIANITY (long pre-dated it)
          7: Thou shalt not commit adultery – huge number of Christians commit adultery by LEGALLY remarrying
          8: Thou shalt not steal – NOT UNIQUE TO CHRISTIANITY
          9: Thou shalt not bear false witness – NOT UNIQUE TO CHRISTIANITY
          10: Thou shalt not covet – NOT A LAW

          September 15, 2013 at 1:22 am |
        • Casey

          @ hee hee... this is the same argument that atheists always make... and an intellectually honest evaluation makes it clear that they want all expressions of Faith to be stopped. Atheists are not concerned with Government sanction of a particular Religion, even though this is the argument they hide behind... they want to suppress any expression of Faith. We could debate the term "Under God" (as used in the pledge) to see how this endorses a particular religion. I think that all religions are covered under this statement... (although I admit limited knowledge of eastern religions).

          September 15, 2013 at 1:26 am |
        • Observer

          Casey,

          There is no reason why a patriotic American should have to include any religious reference in order to show his official support. Our nation is a collection of many religions and those that have none. Your limited vision does not mean that everyone should follow it.

          September 15, 2013 at 1:32 am |
      • Casey

        hee hee. Actually, the case I am referring to had them posted on the grounds, not inside, along with other symbols and references of other religions. There was a star of David, a cross, etc. But the case was focused on the Commandments ( I guess because it was the only written artifact, and not just a symbol... but I'm not certain of that).. and it was sited as being there because it is a legal foundation as I had previously noted. The case was settled by placing an Atheist inspired writing on a nearby bench...

        Atheists are so very sensitive and uncomfortable. Why is that? I mean... Why are Atheists so uptight? I don't freak out whenever someone wishes me a happy Ramadan, or happy Passover. I just thank them, wish them well, and go on my merry way.

        September 15, 2013 at 1:38 am |
        • Observer

          Casey

          "Atheists are so very sensitive and uncomfortable."

          Do you mean being very sensitive and uncomfortable when HYPOCRITICAL Christians are denying equal rights to gays?

          Do you mean being very sensitive and uncomfortable when Christians call law-abiding pro-choice supporters "murderers" by PRETENDING that the word "abortion" is actually in the Bible?

          September 15, 2013 at 1:45 am |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          " I don't freak out whenever someone wishes me a happy Ramadan, or happy Passover. "

          Would you freak out if you were asked to salute the flag and repeat the line "One Nation, Under Allah, indivisible..."? Just asking...

          September 15, 2013 at 1:54 am |
        • Casey

          @Just the Facts Ma'am...

          I would find it odd because the word is not in English. "Allah" actually means God. It is just another language... and since we speak English here, and the rest of the pledge is in English... well.. it would seem very very odd. Don't you think?

          September 15, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
        • Casey

          @Observer

          You really have a way of throwing in unrelated elements into a conversation. When I say Atheists are uptight and uncomfortable in their own skin.. it's because they have this tendency to, by any and al means they can contrive, tear apart others Beliefs. If you don't believe... OK.. that's your choice. Why do you have to try and keep convincing others over and over again? Who are you trying to convince?

          Abortion is a very difficult subject and MANY struggle with the idea. That includes Atheists and people of Faith. So.. you pop out something that has nothing to do with the topic.

          I don't know of any Christians who want to Deny Gays equal rights. Everything I ever heard is all about the definition of marriage. Christians have trouble with a re-definition because it is a part of their Faith (It is a Holy Sacrement of the Catholic Church). Everybody I know thinks a good compromise is Civil Unions... which give all the same rights... Without re-defining Marriage.

          You spew hate and call them (shouted) HYPOCRITICAL (your words) ... I find you to be a wholly self serving, intellectually dishonest individual with no tolerance for others... you take joy in finding fault with others, and I see no benefit for further conversation. I hope that one day you grow up, and learn individual tolerance, and come to grips with your own Beliefs. I will pray for you.

          September 15, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • DrewB

      Communist nations such as the USSR and China in keeping with Marx's teaching had very strict laws against religions of all sorts. China still mandates Atheism for communist party members and strictly regulates any other religion.

      September 15, 2013 at 1:59 am |
  7. David

    I don't get it. Are you saying that Dawkins was incorrect when pointing out that Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes that Trinity? I fail to see what is so offensive here.
    I have to admit, I haven't seen the data; he may or may not be correct. But rather than attack him for stating, according to him, a fact, show the data to demonstrate that he is wrong. Otherwise, what's the beef?

    Oh yeah, that's right. Religious people are scared of facts.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:33 am |
  8. CdnJim

    The author is an atheist herself, as is every christian. She does not believe in the gods Zeus, Thor, Isis, Apollo Vishnu, etc. etc. Today's atheists simply don't believe in one additional god to the hundreds that Jew/Christian/Muslims don't believe in. The monotheistic religions saw themselves as outgrowing the archaic pantheistic religions, admitted atheists have outgrown the archaic monotheistic religions.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • mike

      No, atheism is the lack of belief in any gods. I get the sentiment, but it's inaccurate.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:39 am |
      • AtheistSteve

        No.
        Atheism is the rejection of theist claims. Every theist bases their belief on the narrative of some particular religion. So the Christian rejects the narrative of other religions as false while maintaining that theirs (the Bible) is true. Same for Muslims with their Qur'an or the Jew with their Tanakh and Hindu with the Bhagavad Gita.
        All these narratives are equally suspect and a compelling argument for the existence of any particular god hasn't yet been made. The fact that each can dismiss the others shows this to be true.
        So I'm an atheist because theists haven't convinced me that their god is real not that no god is possible.

        September 15, 2013 at 1:23 am |
  9. wow

    I have a deal. How about until God arrives and decimates all of the groups that were wrong, leaving the one group who has been right for the last 2,000 years , we respect each other's beliefs no matter what they are.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:29 am |
    • kati

      It is called bluster. Anyone no what it means in this context?

      September 15, 2013 at 12:32 am |
      • heehee

        Know, I don't no.

        September 15, 2013 at 12:35 am |
        • kati

          It means to direct information away from the true topic to avoid losing face, etc. Often done in a heated, frustrated fashion

          September 15, 2013 at 12:43 am |
        • heehee

          Is that what's going on? I didn't no that.

          September 15, 2013 at 12:45 am |
      • Dippy

        Kati, it's "know," not "no." But please keep trying, your posts are a riot.

        September 15, 2013 at 12:51 am |
        • heehee

          Spoilsport.

          September 15, 2013 at 12:54 am |
        • Dippy

          Well, I wasn't sure kati could pick up on the sarcasm, so I thought I would "spell it out" for her, so to speak. Sorry.

          September 15, 2013 at 12:57 am |
    • Eugene Choo

      Become a Christian while there is still time. Don't regret it in the future. I will be praying for you.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:40 am |
      • heehee

        Oh noes! You mean there's a deadline? Buy now – supplies are limited! I'd better pick up the phone!

        September 15, 2013 at 12:43 am |
  10. Brisancian

    Ms. Evans: And the extreme statements of Jesus or Moses or Paul? Are they off the table too?

    "And a person's enemies will be those of his own household." ~ Jesus (Matt. 10:36)

    “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword." ~ Jesus

    (Matt. 10:34)

    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters,

    yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." ~ Jesus (Luke 14:26)

    “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled!" ~ Jesus (Luke 12:49)

    September 15, 2013 at 12:27 am |
    • kati

      Extremely precise. When raised to hate god and all religions as the most evil influences-by far- in all human history, and then becoming a true born again believer in Jesus Christ, u better believe swords of hatred and disappointment and bitterness cut through a family.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:48 am |
      • Brisancian

        Been a Christian for 35 years. Seen plenty of wars among Christians do that without any outside help. The problem is that dogma cannot be verified. Nobody's dogma can be verified: Christian, Muslim, Mormon, etc. Belief does not require evidence. It stands quite without it, or in the face of it. By this mechanism, we can amass thousands of disparate views, all claiming to be correct, and without the slightest means of adjudicating between them. The sword of division is untestable but dogmatically held life-and-death beliefs. And plenty of religions wield that.

        September 15, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  11. heehee

    Wake up, sheeple!

    I don't actually have a point, I just always wanted to post that.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:27 am |
  12. Leslie

    The author writes: "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."

    If you're a Christian and you groan because of what Pat Robertson says, I'm sorry to say but that's your inner atheist trying to be heard.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:26 am |
  13. johannflobberschnoggit

    My response to this article would have originally been "well, obviously," but then I skimmed the comments. So yes, Miss Evans, this atheist will accept your deal. I agree not to hold most Christians responsible for the views of Christian extremists, because honestly, Dawkins has been an embarrassment and I don't wish for others to identify me as aligning myself with his views just because we share similar opinions on deities.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:26 am |
    • heehee

      What do you object to, specifically?

      September 15, 2013 at 12:27 am |
    • donna

      How is he an embarrassment?

      September 15, 2013 at 12:41 am |
  14. cm

    I would have offered the deal to keep your mouth shut. No one really wants to hear from a wounded unbeliever, who likes to take out their fustrations on others.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • heehee

      easy there, killer.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:25 am |
      • Captain America

        Rachel Held Evans, special to 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.”

        Are you so ignorant that you do not understand he meant didn't do lasting harm to HIM!!!!!!! cause they found a way to deal with it and move on.... you do know you only have so many letters you can tweet...its not like he can explain more within a tweet...your really desperate to find a flaw in dawkins words arn't you...please keep looking...

        September 15, 2013 at 12:54 am |
        • heehee

          are you sure you're replying to me? you seem to have read a lot into my three words.

          September 15, 2013 at 1:02 am |
  15. MikeA

    She says that she won't use what an atheist said against him and then she goes ahead and does that. She quotes Dawkins. Mormons send missionaries, but if an atheist tries to convert people he is viewed as evil. What's wrong with being just as aggressive as Mormons are?

    September 15, 2013 at 12:23 am |
    • heehee

      Logic isn't this author's strong point.

      "Hey all atheists – don't treat us as a group".

      September 15, 2013 at 12:25 am |
  16. j

    I reject your offer.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:21 am |
  17. Demanding proof

    I hereby demand proof in the existence of god. If proof cannot be provided in due haste, then all Christians are foolish myth purveyors.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • just a thought

      Can you prove there is no God?

      September 15, 2013 at 12:29 am |
      • zeyn2010

        LOL it doesn't work that way! We didn't make God up – I can interpret the Gods/angels in holy books as aliens, seems more realistic actually. Can you prove God is not an alien?

        September 15, 2013 at 12:38 am |
        • just a thought

          Of course it doesn't work that way for you because you are unable to provide any proof that God does not exist. Just the fact of the existence of all creation points to God. The world and the entire universe proclaims that God exists. It shows intelligent design and not mere happenstance or evolution. The human body itself and the way it's designed and works should be evidence enough. No amount of time could ever produce such a complex life system

          September 15, 2013 at 12:51 am |
        • Damocles

          @just

          Why does any of that point to a deity? Since the human imagination can come up with seemingly anything, it makes just as much sense to say that a purple-spotted elephant created the universe as it was running from its arch-nemesis, the red-spotted lion.

          The human body very much speaks to happenstance and evolution with its unnecessary organs and need for a brain that functions differently from other animals to make up for the fact that we don't have wings, or claws, or are unable to survive crushing ocean depths. The rest of the animal world most definitely tells the tale of evolution. Is there only one type of spider? No, there are many. Why? Because they adapt to their surroundings and evolve in ways to better deal with them.

          September 15, 2013 at 3:35 am |
      • Grigglesnonks

        Can you prove there are no grigglesnonks?

        September 15, 2013 at 12:39 am |
        • Ngedere

          Of course it doesn't work that way for you because you are unable to provide any proof that Grigglesnonks do not exist. Just the fact of the existence of all creation points to Grigglesnonks. The world and the entire universe proclaims that Grigglesnonks exists. It shows intelligent design and not mere happenstance or evolution. The human body itself and the way it's designed and works should be evidence enough. No amount of time could ever produce such a complex life system

          September 15, 2013 at 3:37 am |
    • Eric

      I turn around and Demand proof that there is not a God or you are a self center fool. There is a reason it is called Faith because no one can prove to someone else that God does or does not exist. The belief that God does not exist is exactly that Belief requiring a certain amount of Faith. Too often Atheist feel free to attack Christians misusing the Guise of Separation of Church and State. I got news for you guys. IT WAS NOT THERE TO PROTECT THE STATE FROM THE CHURCH BUT THE CHURCH FROM THE STATE. (Yes I am yelling to get through some dense heads.) The church of England routinely attack other faiths through the State which cause many of our forefathers to flee to the colonies. Causing the founders of this country to put in means to try to prevent this from happening in their new country.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:36 am |
  18. Astra Navigo

    No deal.

    Here's the rub. Atheists don't belong to a group. Christians do. (It's called a 'religion'.) The only thing I have in common with other atheists is that I don't believe in Imaginary Friends.

    On the other hand, you guys (yes; I'm speaking to all of you Christians, the so-called 'good' ones as well as the Robertsons of the world) are members of a club which was founded 2,000-odd years ago, and which (among other things) have codified in your 'book' some pretty healthy doses of misogyny, blind obedience and how-to-best-treat-your-slaves.

    You own all this. Don't want to? It's not as easy as wincing every time Pat Robertson or another Fundie apologist opens his or her pie-hole.

    Nope – if you don't want to own it all, then leave the club. It's that simple.

    If I belonged to a club which rejected persons of color, women, or other minorities, or which held to Bronze-Age practices regarding marriage and personal property, I'd leave – so I wouldn't be (rightly) tarred with the same brush.

    You should, too.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • j

      I agree 100%.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:22 am |
  19. Scott

    Its too bad that people have to rip on someone who seems to be legitimately trying to be tolerable and understanding. Everyone has personal views and beliefs, atheists and religious people alike. I for one appreciate people who can respectfully discuss differing view points without calling those of opposite believe outright liars or frauds.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:16 am |
    • RootieKazootie

      So if I tell you I believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny you would like to pursue a respectful discussion with me about my belief system?

      September 15, 2013 at 12:19 am |
      • kati

        We realize your Santa easter bunny argument means much to you and that is wonderful, you no?

        The challenge is this, some want to concentrate on serious issues that have everlasting repercussions.

        September 15, 2013 at 12:27 am |
        • heehee

          How do you know?

          September 15, 2013 at 12:37 am |
        • Doris

          "some want to concentrate on serious issues that have everlasting repercussions."

          actually, I see it more like this:

          some want the everlasting so bad, they have concentrated too hard without really knowing the object of their concentration. Ancient mythology is the guide? Please. This has resulted in serious repercussions. They have yet to demonstrate any success in achieving their goal.

          September 15, 2013 at 12:39 am |
        • Dippy

          Kati, you seem to have a problem differentiating between "no" and "know." You no? How about an answer, yes or know.

          September 15, 2013 at 1:20 am |
  20. Ovhnyc

    i will take scientific truth over abominable fairy tales any day. this article is insulting to atheist. the author is too brainwashed to give a valid argument.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:16 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67
Advertisement
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.