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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. NavinJay

    Jesus predicted atheists would make fun of his followers. Wow. Really? I'll say i was dead and came back to life and predict people will make fun of me. makes me a God?

    September 15, 2013 at 6:47 am |
    • Mark

      Only makes you God if you predict it and actually do it. I will keep watching the news to see if you come through. Or are you just making up a silly story to make a silly point?

      September 15, 2013 at 6:59 am |
      • sam stone

        mark: a claim of resurrection is not the same as proof of it

        September 15, 2013 at 9:03 am |
  2. NavinJay

    "Here is what the Bible teaches," he said in response, as posted on his Desiring God ministry's website. "God always punishes people because of what they know and fail to believe. In other words, no one will be condemned for not believing in Jesus who has never heard of Jesus. SO, the BEST way to get MORE people into Heaven is to NOT tell them about JESUS. Unless you're a masochist and just want to cause misery.

    September 15, 2013 at 6:15 am |
    • Mark

      Jesus walked on earth. Jesus performed miracles witnessed by thousands, Jesus was observed on earth after dieing on the cross, Jesus predicted atheist(gentiles) would make fun of his followers. Jesus loved them anyway and so did his disciples. Jesus said he was the son of God, and those who witnessed his miracles daily spread the news. Evidence that demands a verdict. Luke a doctor interviewed witnesses to gather facts and wrote Acts. Atheists spend countless hours throwing out generalizations to dispute something they don't believe....Oh Paul predicted this.....For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. He was nice enough not to mention wise in their own eyes, and intelligent in their own opinion. In other words many atheist were are so predictable. Not all atheists are zealots however, as not all Christians are as atheist portray them.

      September 15, 2013 at 6:18 am |
      • Jack

        First rule when setting up a new religion – tell the followers that there will be doubters. Your argument is silly.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:34 am |
        • Mark

          Thanks for making my point.

          September 15, 2013 at 6:37 am |
      • truthprevails1

        "Oh Paul predicted this."

        Of course he did (if he even existed)...they wouldn't want you questioning the crazy stories and walking away. And no Mark, this doesn't prove your point considering you base your point off of a 2000 year old out-dated book of fairy tales that can be debunked numerous times over...using the bible to defend the bible is circular and fails.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:45 am |
        • Mark

          Truth..A. you will come back..B. Remember what happened 30 years ago? Remember where you were when the shuttle exploded? Remember where you were on 9/11? Don't write it down because what you wrote down someday it will be a fairy tale. What Jesus did in His time was 9/11 for the good. Oh and that story about the girl lifting the car off of her father to save his life awhile back, will be a fairy tale too someday.

          September 15, 2013 at 6:56 am |
        • M

          I would agree. Writing things down does not make them a fairy tale. But, the unsubstantiated stories told do make them mythical.

          September 15, 2013 at 7:15 am |
        • Mark

          Makes them mythical? Or possibly makes them mythical? Which leaves room for them being truth.

          September 15, 2013 at 7:25 am |
      • Dennis

        Mark you are right. We as believers have nothing to prove to anyone, its all there in the scripture. I just hope it won't be too late for any of them. People have refused to see though deep down in their hearts truth shouts. What is happening was foretold 2000 years ago and it was said there will be great falling away, this is not a surprise to Christians at all. Even though its a huge grief seeing people rebelling knowing their predicament, we rejoice too because we know our redemption is near as this things are being fulfilled.

        September 15, 2013 at 7:09 am |
        • Mark

          Relative to all this I pray for them.

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

          "its all there in the scripture"

          That is circular. Using the bible to prove the bible fails. The burden of proof always lies on the one making the claim, so yes the burden is upon you.

          September 15, 2013 at 7:34 am |
      • sam stone

        mark: fewer people would consider christians zealots if more christians had the intellectual honesty to admit that their claims are opinions, rather than facts

        September 15, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • NSL

      So NavinJay, your outrageous and insulting comments, your intolerance, your hate for anyone who doesn't believe your beliefs, your narrow-mindedness in looking at the world, and your scorn of those who don't fit in your mold proves the article above is complete nonsense and tripe.

      You're right there with Roberson as something (Don't quite know what it is.) that's lower than the low.

      September 15, 2013 at 6:47 am |
      • One one

        Atheists don't preach that believers deserve to be tortured in hell for eternity for not believing as they do.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:56 am |
        • Mark

          Neither do all believers. Thanks for making he articles point.

          September 15, 2013 at 7:07 am |
      • NavinJay

        I don't have any beliefs. I have acceptance of the natural world. And, I'm just expressing my views. I can see how you might not like them. But, not as bad as people telling me that I'm going to hell. You won't go to hell if you don't accept what I say. You will die into the nothing that was here before you were conceived. Rejoice in that. 🙂

        September 15, 2013 at 7:14 am |
        • Dennis

          You have a conscience Navin and you alone knows what it is telling you. why fight something so hard, something you don't even care about? That in itself should tell you something.

          September 15, 2013 at 7:30 am |
        • Mark

          You're right this earthly vessel will crumble like dust, however my soul will be rejoicing in heaven something we as humans can't wrap our heads around.

          September 15, 2013 at 7:30 am |
        • sam stone

          Another unprovable claim, Mark

          September 15, 2013 at 9:13 am |
  3. Evert van Vliet

    Time doesn't exist, nations don't, god/allah/jaweh same thingy....

    Who started selling the planet by the way, and who made that a "right" to inherit (well beyond one's very own use)?..as far as I can observe we already had the fullest right to be present and ownership is made up...so what's up with all collections?

    Even a guy who went by the name of jezus as well as the latter day mohammed were against such....only the jewish religion states different "being" the chosen peeps and a "promised" land and more fun like that, is there such a thing as coincidence?

    Personally I think it's really funny how folks are eventually willing to let "their" god(s) for what they are; nonsense, yet all other make believe stuff stays mandatory.

    NUTS!

    September 15, 2013 at 6:15 am |
  4. Phillip

    Lol. What are you talking about? Richard Dawkins didn't say anything wrong. Everything that he said was correct. He didn't defend pedophilia, or declare that mild pedophilia has no long lasting effects. He basically said that mild pedophilia doesn't always produce long lasting effects, and that we can't always judge someone in the past by the same standards of today. And he's right. There's no reasonable way that you can use what Dawkins said against us. So we'll keep throwing Pat Robertson in your face. Thanks.

    September 15, 2013 at 5:58 am |
    • Your superior

      What did pat Robertson say or do that was so bad?

      September 15, 2013 at 6:16 am |
      • Sane Person

        Plenty. You can google his best quotes if you want. Most recently, he made a claim that gays use a special aids infected ring to cut people while shaking hands.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:31 am |
      • aldewacs2

        .. well ... just about everything.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:34 am |
  5. Natch

    How about we just declare that atheism is nothing more than a belief in nothing, make it a religion, then tell the atheists to shut the h*ll up??

    September 15, 2013 at 5:57 am |
    • NavinJay

      Belief in nothing is nihilism, not atheism. Get your isms straight bucko!

      September 15, 2013 at 6:00 am |
    • Sane Person

      Hey, this is your delusional blathering we get every Sunday here. You don't see an Atheist blog section on CNN. You guys, "shut up." We're tired of listening to your willful ignorance and pretending its a valid or worthy position to hold.

      September 15, 2013 at 6:13 am |
      • Evert van Vliet

        " We're tired of listening to your willful ignorance and pretending its a valid or worthy position to hold."

        So what is?

        Isn't that what makes for common sense?...asking that one simple question, what is valid (let alone worthy)?

        Personally I don't believe anything "just" 'cause it's been written down (and taught to be the case from day 1 of one's (and a bunch of others) existence.

        Funny thing is that all of it is "supported" by elaborated courtship which in itself is made mandatory, 'cause, hey, education is important we all know that right?

        Let's make a deal?...yeah right!

        In the meanwhile the planet is still being destroyed as if it's god's order to do so, peeps still fight each other because they are told it's a duty to do so by those who gave them their very first flag in their little proud hands....regardless of the color combi-nation nor "motives" imprinted on the paper item on a stick, mind you!

        I'm wondering how many of you are insulted by now by "me" (actually it's an observation) ....I know it's an insult to call a non-theist an a-theist and declare war on all of them but this goes for almost everything we HAVE to accept as "reality".

        We know what we don't want; a sense of realism.

        Just read these blogs and be careful for the banana peels.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:42 am |
  6. NavinJay

    Actually, I'm starting my own religion. I'm deciding what kind of afterlife I want to have and then building the religion around that. And i will write it all down in a book. I mean, afterall, if it;s written in a book, it's GOT to be true!

    September 15, 2013 at 5:52 am |
    • Evert van Vliet

      Bookkeepers claim the same, now what?

      September 15, 2013 at 5:54 am |
      • NavinJay

        I'll make up a story about how I died and came back to life. People eat that kind of crap up!

        September 15, 2013 at 5:58 am |
    • Mark

      Many have tried and failed as would you.

      September 15, 2013 at 6:21 am |
      • NavinJay

        Dunno, that Smith guy hit it big...

        September 15, 2013 at 6:35 am |
        • Sane Person

          Joel Osteen successfully fleeced a few million folks. Seems its a good gig to get.

          September 15, 2013 at 6:38 am |
        • Mark

          Fleecing obtain a great deal of money from (someone), typically by overcharging or swindling them. His people give willingly to help thousands eat whom don't have enough. We all have free will.

          September 15, 2013 at 6:43 am |
        • sam stone

          mark: free will and an omniscient god are incompatible

          September 15, 2013 at 9:16 am |
      • Jack

        Joseph Smith and l. ron hibbard had success not that long ago.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:37 am |
  7. Sane Person

    "Faith" deserves as much respect as flat-earthers, moon landing hoaxers, birthers, Area 51 alien believers, holocaust deniers and people who buy crap for $19.99 from Vince Offer at 2am.

    September 15, 2013 at 5:51 am |
    • Evert van Vliet

      The holocaust never happened as advertised though.

      September 15, 2013 at 5:53 am |
      • Mark L

        No, it was worse.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:15 am |
    • Mark

      Relatively Sane person, ever experience this in your life? Flat earther!

      1. FAITH
      complete trust or confidence in someone or something
      synonyms: trust, belief, confidence, conviction;

      September 15, 2013 at 6:32 am |
      • Sane Person

        Faith – Believing in something regardless of fact, evidence, logic, reason, or rationality. See also : Gullibility.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:36 am |
        • Mark

          Forgot to answer the question. Wait by not answering you answered it.

          September 15, 2013 at 6:40 am |
        • Sane Person

          I didnt "forget." You can't write clearly. Of course I've never believed in faith. That should be obvious. Even Reagan said "trust, but verify". You can tell me you have a nickel in your pocket, and since that is believable, and hardly extraordinary, I'll believe it to likely be true. Now if you claim to have a leprechaun riding a unicorn in your pocket, then I'm gonna have to see that before I give any benefit of the doubt. In either case, I'd never testify as to the validity of either claim without proof. Religion REQUIRES people to suspend rational thinking in order to believe. They even gave it a name. "Faith" And they have you convinced that it is something good to have. Faith is synonymous with gullibility. You take someone's word for something amazing, and never even for a second doubt it. You happily run along spreading the same claims trying to get other gullible people to repeat it.

          September 15, 2013 at 8:35 am |
      • Damocles

        Umm... that definition goes a bit further...

        1. belief or trust: belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof

        September 15, 2013 at 7:54 am |
  8. Kieran Murphy

    There was a short blurb on Islam, but the entire article focused on Christianity. Once again the christians ignored the hindus, the Buddhists, and folk religion, and Sikhs, and Judaism. But that's okay cause you think christianity is the right answer and all those are wrong. Atheists see them all as the same though.

    September 15, 2013 at 5:45 am |
    • Evert van Vliet

      Humans don't really care about all of the above.

      September 15, 2013 at 5:47 am |
    • NavinJay

      Actually, by Western standards, about 80% of Buddhists are atheists since they don't worship a God.

      September 15, 2013 at 5:49 am |
      • Evert van Vliet

        I don't but that doesn't make me anything but me.

        September 15, 2013 at 5:51 am |
        • Sane Person

          It makes you a board contrarian.

          September 15, 2013 at 6:10 am |
        • Sane Person

          bored too.

          September 15, 2013 at 6:11 am |
    • lol?? Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      Buddha,
      "......................“… a human being?”

      “No, brahman, I am not a human being.”.............................."

      So he's a talking stone??

      September 15, 2013 at 6:42 am |
      • lol?? Your comment is awaiting moderation.

        Gallstones talk. Americult's wemen take care of their little Buddha pwoblem in their wombs by seein' a gud doctor. Planned Parenthood in da hood approved.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:58 am |
  9. Nate

    The word 'believe' is the absolute center of the reason atheist cannot reason with the theist. No person convinced of anything without evidence can long be trusted. Theist humans cannot eliminate 'believe' from their vocabulary, and atheists cannot add it to ours. It is the fulcrum of all conflict.

    September 15, 2013 at 5:37 am |
    • Evert van Vliet

      There is no conflict, that too is make believe.

      There is however a conflict of interest!

      September 15, 2013 at 5:40 am |
    • NavinJay

      I thought it was because they think stories of a mind reading magical omnipotent daddy figure watching us from the sky are REAL is the reason why we couldn't reason with them. I mean, come on, if they believe THAT, they are nuts. How do you reason with crazy people?

      September 15, 2013 at 5:43 am |
      • Mark

        Jesus walked on earth. Jesus performed miracles witnessed by thousands, Jesus was observed on earth after dieing on the cross, Jesus predicted atheist(gentiles) would make fun of his followers. Jesus loved them anyway and so did his disciples. Jesus said he was the son of God, and those who witnessed his miracles daily spread the news. Evidence that demands a verdict. Luke a doctor interviewed witnesses to gather facts and wrote Acts. Atheists spend countless hours throwing out generalizations to dispute something they don't believe....Oh Paul predicted this.....For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. He was nice enough not to mention wise in their own eyes, and intelligent in their own opinion. In other words many atheist were are so predictable. Not all atheists are zealots however, as not all Christians are as atheist portray them.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:17 am |
        • Sane Person

          Peter Griffin got beat up by a 6' tall boxing chicken. I have video proof if you'd like to watch.

          September 15, 2013 at 6:33 am |
        • Mark

          Really...would you die for it if someone told you you are a liar?

          September 15, 2013 at 6:48 am |
        • sam stone

          mark lots of people died with the branch davidians. does that make marshall applewhite a prophet?

          September 15, 2013 at 10:50 am |
        • fyi

          sam stone,

          David Koresh had the Branch Davidians . Maurice Applewhite led the Heaven's Gate cult.

          September 15, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  10. DJ

    I think this is an outstanding opinion piece. We live in this weird age of the 24/7 news cycle, and we hear about every awful thing said and done by the extreme elements of every religion, anti-religion and point of view. We see the comment sections loaded with crazy remarks and hatred and we do tend to start to feel like that's the norm. I'm an atheist, and I know many other atheists, but not one of those people want to push their beliefs down the throats of Christians (the way so many in this comment section will today). I know several Christians and only one of them wants to force her religion on everyone else. That's what people want to do on the extremes. It's the same with religion as it is with politics. We hear about the wackadoodles on the fringes, but most aren't like that. To my fellow atheists here who are posting messages slamming people for believing in their religions: grow up and learn the value of "live and let live".

    September 15, 2013 at 5:26 am |
    • NavinJay

      The Bible requires them to convert people. They are not very good Christians if that is not what they are trying to do.

      September 15, 2013 at 5:34 am |
      • Your superior

        The bible requires us to tell others about Jesus. To give our testimony. Whether u believe or not is up to u.

        September 15, 2013 at 5:56 am |
        • NavinJay

          But why would it require it? I am not required to tell people about atheism. I guess the more gullible people you can get to believe you the less silly you think you are.

          September 15, 2013 at 6:03 am |
      • lol?? Your comment is awaiting moderation.

        Christians don't convert people, liar. That's a work of God.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:16 am |
        • Sane Person

          Well, then god is riding around my neighborhood in white shirts and ties handing out pamphlets all the time.

          September 15, 2013 at 6:34 am |
    • Nate

      Revelations 3:16- the god Jesus (as the judge determining entrance to heaven) spits the lukewarm Christians out of his mouth. Sure, 'let's make a deal'.

      September 15, 2013 at 5:40 am |
      • Evert van Vliet

        Funny....and not all so called christians believe the book of revelation belongs in the bible....what a mess!!!..:)

        September 15, 2013 at 5:45 am |
    • Your superior

      Well said.

      September 15, 2013 at 5:57 am |
    • donna

      Really, you think it's outstanding journalism to take someone's comments about a personal experience completely out of context? How is it "right" to criticize him for sharing what he and his friends (who he talked to about this) experienced? What's wrong with that?

      September 15, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  11. Bill

    There is no deal. Go to the CBS game show for that. As an atheist I could care less about what Dawkins or other atheists say. They do not influence my thoughts nor are they or myself out there trying to convert people. It is quite different with Christians, muslims and Jews....they feel the need to impose their beliefs on others using the famous lines...."the bible says"....so please keep your deal!

    September 15, 2013 at 5:21 am |
    • Evert van Vliet

      All they try to do is convert power to them, with nonsense that still goes best collectively without the need to provide anything but fear.

      Yep, you're right, sounds a lot like politics.

      September 15, 2013 at 5:28 am |
    • NavinJay

      But you see, THAT is the problem. They MUST impose their beliefs on others. if they don't, their religions will die off much faster then it will right now. The default common sense logic is there is no mind reading magical daddy in the sky watching us. Common sense will eventually win out. It's inevitable. But, if they can brainwash people early enough and get them into believing in their religions, it will take longer for common sense to prevail.

      September 15, 2013 at 5:29 am |
      • Evert van Vliet

        Common sense dictates the same about founding daddies and everything that came along with them.

        "Best" case scenario you'll have the rights to complain against a slab of marble.

        September 15, 2013 at 5:38 am |
      • lol?? Your comment is awaiting moderation.

        Socialism as taught by the Frankfurt School demolishes the child's father's authority. Mob power and gang bangers here "Wegodians" is, if ya know what the meaning of is, is.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:14 am |
        • Evert van Vliet

          The moment you "start" teaching socialism, or anything else along those lines like ; communism, capitalism, democracy a/o anything that comes along with it you know there's something wrong...non of the above ever stood a fair chance to exist or to be challenged as the standard to live by.

          Monkey see monkey do, nothing really ever changed.

          If "only" for that simple reason going back to a smaller scale would make a major difference; though shall not steal including the minds of little kids.

          September 15, 2013 at 7:03 am |
    • Your superior

      Actually Dawkins IS trying to convert people. He's trying to convert them to atheism. That's why he writes.

      September 15, 2013 at 6:02 am |
      • NavinJay

        You really can't be serious. Darwin simply wrote wrote what he observed about the natural world. Its called SCIENCE. Get an education will you?

        September 15, 2013 at 6:26 am |
        • Move_on

          Eh? Darwin?

          September 15, 2013 at 6:45 am |
  12. Infidel-!

    "Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty and wisdom will come to you that way"
    Christopher Hitchens

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEVntZ8a-xk

    September 15, 2013 at 5:20 am |
  13. Infidel-!

    Respect children by allowing them to think for themselves.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBV3eqvQPJs.

    September 15, 2013 at 5:16 am |
    • Evert van Vliet

      This is truly sickening!

      Mental abuse to the point of an emotional break down.

      Strange no action against stuff like this is being taken...is this why folks start to become all emotional when I dare to state america doesn't really exist either?

      September 15, 2013 at 5:22 am |
      • Your superior

        Mental abuse? Breaking down? Did u not watch the video? The child cries out of happiness and joy. It's something that happens to believers when they feel the love n joy they get when worshipping God. It's not a bad thing. You truly do not understand. Best feeling in the world is the joy that comes from knowing Jesus.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:22 am |
        • aldewacs2

          You're entirely missing the point.
          The fact that these young children are being brainwashed into their local religion-du-jour, is child abuse of the first order.
          The parents or guardians should be vigorously prosecuted. The psychological damage done is enormous.

          September 15, 2013 at 6:49 am |
        • visitor

          You are wrong. Spiritual bliss is lovely. I have been there. But no one needs Jesus to experience spiritual bliss. I didn't.

          The degradation comes in when you teach those same children they need to Worship G-D or Jesus to experience spiritual bliss. More degradation comes in when you teach them that if they do not Worship G-D or Jesus, they get no bliss, or if they feel it without worshiping G-d or Jesus, it is coming from a satanic place insulting their very beings. The free fall comes in when you teach that they need Jesus to be "saved" from eternal damnation. The child abuse comes in when you teach them they will roast in h-ll for eternity for not worshiping G-D or Jesus. Vanity sets in when when the "saved" actually believe, they are saved and the others, aren't. This holier than thou vanity leads to narrow mindedness and ignorance and tribalism. The ugly tribalism comes in when same abusers try to hoist that nastiness on other people's children, sometimes violently, or insult another spiritual experience or LACK OF for that matter, as marks of a dark and ugly devil who will torture one through eternity. Whatever it takes to grow the tribe....teach everyone in proximity that they are not safe for eternity unless they tow the religious line.

          September 15, 2013 at 10:29 am |
        • Andy Klein

          All "spiritual bliss" is, is an emotional crescendo that can be reproduced by the "God Helmet" using electromagnetic impulses to the brain, and most of all, drugs (both illegal and legal of course).

          I can't believe the junk I'm hearing from theists. We've already beat these arguments to death as a movement. Your religion is without any defense.

          September 15, 2013 at 11:08 am |
        • Evert van Vliet

          Whatever the emotion evoked....'cause it's a "happy" girl doesn't make the abuse any better.

          September 15, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  14. NavinJay

    We do not "believe" in Evolution. We accept it's validity based on facts and science. Religion has no facts. Therefore, you are forced to use the word "believe". You have to "believe" in something to override your common sense since without evidence or facts, you still accept something is real.

    September 15, 2013 at 5:12 am |
  15. NavinJay

    Proving God with the Bible is like proving Spiderman with a comic book. Face it, religion has no facts. Think about this. If everyone worshiped and prayed to 1+1=2 and had "beliefs" in it and was forcing people into accepting it, would you might think maybe 1+1 doesn't equal 2? Do you think there is a reason there is no religion around 1+1=2?

    September 15, 2013 at 5:06 am |
    • lol?? Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      No, "it" is not scripture in your facing. You have confused the "Word of God" with a book. That's another name of Jesus, as found in Revelation. Too much time on Facebook, Inc?? Face it.

      Jer 7:19 Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?

      September 15, 2013 at 6:06 am |
  16. Infidel-!

    Like Pat Condell , I'm a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ You Gotta Be Kidding Me.

    Just doing my part to spread the word:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPAC_cGVnUg

    September 15, 2013 at 5:06 am |
    • Galaxy101

      " You don't have to lift a single brain cell...." BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA ! 😉

      September 15, 2013 at 5:25 am |
  17. Evert van Vliet

    The fact that "america" does exist as much as everything else make believe that comes along with it doesn't mean I'm against any individual who goes along with it.
    Making a deal based on utterly nonsense I refuse to though, I already came in peace for crying out loud!

    September 15, 2013 at 5:04 am |
    • lol?? Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      It really shouldn't be called the US of america anymore since the socies stole the state gubmmints representation by passing the 17th amendment. Now it's mob power right out of Sodom and why it's all over. Top down bullyin', yeah baby!!

      September 15, 2013 at 5:46 am |
      • Evert van Vliet

        It's called neo-management and it's gone global with it's very own set of rules no nation can trump.

        Dare to say anything and you're a communist....LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!

        September 15, 2013 at 6:03 am |
        • lol?? Your comment is awaiting moderation.

          Nothin' new about neo-management. It's a sensuous carnal consensus straight out of Genesis and Eve's little conversation with the serpent. It can be a killer, fer sure. Lost a few in NASA.

          September 15, 2013 at 6:31 am |
  18. Andrew

    I am confused, What Dr. Dawkins said, while could be inflammatory is in fact a true statement. Now when Pat Robinson speaks he mostly spouts made up stuff or biblical statistics that just aren't true.

    September 15, 2013 at 5:03 am |
  19. momzna

    How about the real deal? Christians stop talking nonsense about science, and atheists stop making fun of religion. It's pretty annoying when evangelicals talk about creation of the Earth and life on it. Christianity was not invented to explain the origins of the Universe, but to explain why it is wrong to feed fellow human beings to lions. It's about human soul, about society and the ways to live in peace with yourself and your neighbors.

    September 15, 2013 at 4:50 am |
    • Evert van Vliet

      But they are making fools out of themselves.

      Don't you shoot no messenger!

      September 15, 2013 at 4:53 am |
  20. Your superior

    What has Pat Robertson done or said that was so bad? Why is there so much anger and hatred towards him and all Christians here?

    September 15, 2013 at 4:48 am |
    • NavinJay

      What hasn't he said that was so bad?

      September 15, 2013 at 4:56 am |
      • Your superior

        Very weak. U can't come up with even one example?

        September 15, 2013 at 5:05 am |
    • Evert van Vliet

      One (nor a bunch of others) can "be" a religion....therefore I don't hate you.

      September 15, 2013 at 5:19 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      SOME PLUM PAT ROBERTSON QUOTES:

      "Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It's no different. It is the same thing. It is happening all over again. It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the hom.ose.xuals who want to destroy the Christians. Wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America today. More terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history."

      "The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

      "I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period."

      "Like it or not, males have a tendency to wander a little bit. What you want to do is make a home so wonderful that he doesn’t want to wander." – giving advice on "The 700 Club" to a woman whose husband cheated on her

      This little tidbit is from right after the earthquake in Haiti:
      Haitians were originally under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon the third, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you will get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal. Ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other."

      September 16, 2013 at 12:42 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.