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. Marty Nee

    TB – it is not the "moral high ground" we are holding. It is the rational and reasoning high ground. Look at it this way: if you were alive 600 years ago and I told you there was a power that could light the darkest places, transmit our words and images around the globe instantaneously, transport us to the tops of the highest structures you would say that had to be the power of God.

    We know now that that power is electricity, it functions within the domain of science and we don't really attribute mystical powers to it. I'm pretty sure that all of the questions that still remain unsettled, like how did the universe and time come to be, will be discovered similarly. Nothing in Recorded human experience is flowing in the direction of the Bible as an answer.

    September 15, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • counter

      There comes that elitist streak atheists have. Only THEY are rational, because they only beleive in what they can prove in life.

      How stupid.

      September 15, 2013 at 10:20 am |
      • Marty Nee

        To base your understanding of the world on science and things that can be proven is not elitist; it's rational. My response was to TBone who claimed atheists wanted the "moral high ground". I don't think that atheism lays stake to any particular higher morality, or amorality for that matter.

        September 15, 2013 at 11:12 am |
      • sqeptiq

        You need to look up the word "rational."

        September 15, 2013 at 11:57 am |
        • Marty Nee

          based on or in accordance with reason or logic.
          "I'm sure there's a perfectly rational explanation"
          synonyms: logical, reasoned, sensible, reasonable, cogent, intelligent, judicious, shrewd, common-sense, commonsensical, sound, prudent; More
          antonyms: illogical
          (of a person) able to think clearly, sensibly, and logically.
          "Andrea's upset—she's not being very rational"
          synonyms: sane, compos mentis, in one's right mind, of sound mind; More
          antonyms: insane
          endowed with the capacity to reason.
          "man is a rational being"
          synonyms: intelligent, thinking, reasoning; More

          Can I help you with anything else?

          September 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  2. LakeRat1

    What Rachel says is so obvious and sensible. However, the belief systems of the differing viewpoints kind of make it necessary, or at least, extremely tempting to put the others down. Lord knows (ha!), that I have taken many opportunities to bash the fairy tale believers. But I feel that a lot of the motivation I have to do this, results from "religious" people trying to inappropriately control our lives. The ones that are the best at this are the nut jobs.
    It is therefore necessary that all of us needs to take the effort to understand the other's beliefs, and to actually make this a part of their "religion" (or non-religion). More importantly, we have to quit feeling that our religion dictates that we have to control everyone else's lives. Remember, "freedom OF religion" also means "freedom FROM religion".

    September 15, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Nicodemus Grumpschmidt

      I love seeing frustration come out of believers when faced with the indisputable observations of great thinkers like Richard Dawkins. You love to take him out of context and completely misinterpret him simply to keep your completely baseless beliefs alive, no matter how fact-lacking they are. Ms. Evans is a prime example of this. When the REAL truth comes out, the religious right can't handle it and gets all defensive. Ms. Evans, please address the following point. If throwing the next Pat Robertson lame-brained quote at you is unfair, then why do you even call yourself a Christian? He's referencing parts of the bible that support his view. Have you ever REALLY read the old testament? Do you understand how much misogyny, infanticide, genocide, spousal abuse, and all-out hatred of people different from thou is condoned by those horrible writings? Yes, that negative side of your religion IS an integral part of your religion as a whole. Try as you might to deny it, it's still there and always will be. Calling yourself a Christian means you're carrying the horrible baggage of the old testament along with the "miracles" of both testaments that never happened.

      So, as far as making a deal, on what sensible grounds is your proposition? There are none. After all, atheists are atheists because they choose to use their brains to think beyond the cr@p you're still espousing. Yes, you've completely missed Richard Dawkins's point along with completely misinterpreting what atheists are about. Your essay here clearly indicates that you're afraid of us, otherwise you wouldn't be so hostile when we effectively counter your evidence-free belief system. We are NOT out to harm you. However, we do get a kick out of your silly misinterpretations.

      Don't let baseless old writings hinder you. Thinking for yourself is so refreshing and liberating.

      September 15, 2013 at 9:55 am |
      • counter

        I am thinking about myself. I give up self to follow Christ. As our many atheists, you are a pompous elitist that thinks he/she knows more or is more "rational" Sorry, don't buy it.

        September 15, 2013 at 10:22 am |
        • sqeptiq

          The elitist is the believer; being the "elect" or the "saved" when others are doomed is the definition of elite. Before you throw a word around, please learn what it means.

          September 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
        • sam stone

          don't you feel you "know more", too?

          September 15, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  3. AGeek

    If you wish to talk about truth, you need to be able to cite actual, verifiable, reliable sources. Quoting a book doesn't cite any more truth than can be found in a Spiderman comic book. You come up with truth and you have yourself a deal.

    September 15, 2013 at 9:26 am |
  4. Arlen

    I find it fascinating that CNN runs an article disclaiming atheism or Christianity (I have no idea how these articles are classified as "faith" articles), and yet the same comments from the same people are always posted. The atheists totally disrespect the Christians, feeding them to the verbal lions, and the Christians turn the other cheek (most of the time) the way Christ advocated. CNN gets the ratings they desired and they are truly the only ones who seem satisfied, because next week, they will do it all over again.

    September 15, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • FreeFromTheism

      "Christians turn the other cheek"
      HAHAHA right
      on top of that, you should really do some research to try to understand what that expression truly means, because it doesn't mean what you think it does

      September 15, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • saggyroy

      Most of us do not disrespect the christians, it's their belief we disrespect. "Love the believer, hate the belief" – Not sure who said that.

      September 15, 2013 at 9:34 am |
      • counter

        You don't love the believer. What a crock.

        September 15, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • sqeptiq

      Christians are the modern day equivalents of the Romans turning thumbs down to the lost, condemning nonbelievers to eternal torment. I have never seen an atheist promise eternal damnation to believers.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
  5. jkflipflop

    I would almost believe this pile of garbage if it didn't immediately start off with a "us vs. them" mentality. This woman is brainwashed beyond all hope of redemption.

    September 15, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • LakeRat1

      That the whole point of the article. It is us vs them (oro should I say "them vs us"). Rachel didn't make this happen. That's just the way it is.

      September 15, 2013 at 9:31 am |
  6. Profbam

    Dawkins statement about the Muslim world is correct. 1000 years ago, Islam led in science, medicine and literature. Who came up with Arabic numerals and a base 10 numbering system? But as they degenerated into fighting amongst themselves over the Truth, their leadership in intellectual activity dissipated. If the great poets of that time were alive now, they would be condemned as heretics and executed.

    September 15, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • usmovers

      Oh My GOD! What a racist thing to say! Just because its true doesn't mean we should SAY it out loud! Don't you know that today we've come to understand that if a fact about a group of people sheds a poor light on them, that fact should be suppressed!!!

      September 15, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  7. PR

    Only one real problem here when referring to the "truth" - every religion EVER founded is/was based upon the following: an intricate dogmatic system of fear and control based upon supposed exclusive 'divine' revelations, visions, hallucinations, etc...all designed as a spiritual Ponzi scheme to own people, control them through fear and forced stupidity, steal away their money, steal away their free will, and indoctrincate their children so that future generations will render unto the high priest what is the high priest's...EVERYthing...

    So, if you want the TRUTH, I would suggest leaving religion of ANY ilk VERY FAR behind you...

    September 15, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • Sanir

      Agree 100%. Best comment on this article.

      September 15, 2013 at 9:38 am |
  8. buttonbaby

    If I ever decide I need a god, I'll pick one that i don't have to bargain with.

    September 15, 2013 at 9:09 am |
  9. buttonbaby

    To think that christians are worried about atheists is amusing. We just wish you'd leave us alone. Americans are pressured into christian-ism in one way or another every single day by even the average store clerk who will, unsolicited, suggest you have a blessed (christian) day, or by the neon sign at the local real-estate office that suggests several biblical chapters you should read that day, or by the meeting of the PTA that opens with a christian prayer. We can leave you guys alone; why can't you return the favor??????

    September 15, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • JeffreyRO5

      At work, I get a monthly report from a consulting company that has a biblical verse at the end! This is a business report, for God's sake! It has nothing to do with religion or faith. So far I've indulged this guy but I'm going to request he remove it, if he doesn't want me to worry that everything else in his report is based on make believe!

      September 15, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • LakeRat1

      I love the first sentence! If I had a GOD, I wouldn't be worried about ANYTHING!

      September 15, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • Analgousshark

      Everyday that goes by in the scientific community points more towards a creator, however it is not a creator in the sense that science loves to hate. What I find hilarious is the fact it was okay to push the science to its borders of our understanding when it seemingly showed we were here simply by random chance. The mathematics involved in such a theory has long proven absolutely impossible, yet science still followed this flawed logic. Intelligent design theory doesn't have a religious basis at all, yet scientist who support it as extremely viable and more than likely what happened because it explains everything so eloquently, much more so than lightning hit a mud puddle and life sprang from it. In their efforts to push science further they are finding more and more points that support ID. Yet because they feel as though religious folks will use it, they refuse to support it in schools. This is the same type of thinking from religious zealots at the turn of the last century that stopped science from progressing as fast as it could have, had it had wide support. Look at our understanding of genetics. How is it not possible that this same idea wasn't used to create us? Science cannot have it both ways. Either you search the skies with an open mind understanding that other races could be a billion years ahead of us, or even 200,000 years. Look what we have done in 100 years. Can you imagine what we might do in another 1,000. So what if we went to another planet with a very small amount of people? Enough to start a civilization on another planet, but because of the distance we either couldn't go back or like the moon we considered it not worth it to send another craft? What happens when all of this technology, IE "the holy grail" is gone? People live like they did 50,000 years ago or even more? So when they get to the space race and someone says "hey guys do you think its possible someone brought us here?" and everyone says look you better not say that too loud or you risk loosing your job or tenure......How is this type of ignorance any different than when its conveyed for religious reasons? People who actually believe we are here by mere chance with no assistance from anyone or anything have got to be the most close minded ignorant group of folks ever to live on this planet. Study physics /mathematics. You will find out it is absolutely impossible that life is not in the cosmos, and it is also impossible that they inhabit all ranges of progress. It is impossible when your considering JUST our galaxy numbers. Think about the fact that there are infinite amount of those in the universe. Infinite means every conceivable idea is plausible and will exist in some form close to its parameters. Creator whether its alien beings or the traditional god paradigm;Is there any difference? If something did the creating shouldn't we feel thankful? Thinking their is no creator of any kind is as ignorant as thinking black people were not equal to whites and deserved to use separate schools. Remember when our best scientist thought we were the center of our universe or solar system as it was known at the time. How ignorant was this? You must always keep an open mind especially when you have the physics and mathematics telling you your ideas are not correct. The evidence that we were planted here or assisted in our development is staggering, overlook it at your own peril. People love ignorance as it is truly bliss. There should be no debate on whether there is an intelligent designer somewhere, the only debate should be who it is or was. Wouldn't someone with space travel under their belt scientifically look like a god to primitive man? Of course they would.

      September 15, 2013 at 9:39 am |
      • Richard Cranium

        I got in two or three sentences and you had already shown you don't know what you are talking about. You make a lot of false presumptions ( like saying "seemingly showed we were here simply by random chance. The mathematics involved in such a theory has long proven absolutely impossible") OK. I'm game, show me this math you have that proves it impossible, I will show you the flaw in your math.

        Show your work. As far as the rest of it, No point in continuing since you made s moany false statements right from the start.

        September 15, 2013 at 9:44 am |
      • visitor

        "Everyday that goes by in the scientific community points more towards a creator, however it is not a creator in the sense that science loves to hate."

        Right there, most posters will not read the rest of your uber-long post. "Science" neither loves nor hates. Look up the definition.

        September 15, 2013 at 9:51 am |
      • JeffreyRO5

        Intelligent Design is just creationism in a new package. It is not science, by definition: it tries to explain phenomena as directed by an outside force, rather than by natural forces.

        September 15, 2013 at 9:57 am |
  10. Carl

    To compare Hawkins to Pat is insane. Hawkins can back up what he says, Pat can only point to a 2000 year old book written by sheepherders. What a lousy, weak, pathetic god you christians have. All powerful, but can't make his point without a old book? Really? And he has the perfect plan already in place? Then why are you wasting your time praying? Useless and moronic!

    September 15, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • Mark

      They were fisherman, tax collectors,doctors. At least get your facts semi right.

      September 15, 2013 at 8:50 am |
      • Stephen

        Terming someone "doctor" in those days is painting with a pretty broad brush. None of the "Book" was actually written by God or Jesus and it was at least 50 years after the so called resurrection before anyone started writing stuff down. So you have a collection of fables and muddied recollections that are now revered worldwide as "the Gospel". And you wonder why we don't believe?

        September 15, 2013 at 9:03 am |
        • Mark

          Luke was a doctor and it was 30 years. Thirty years from now talk to people about 9/11 and see if they can recollect it. Something as profound as God on earth is more memorable on a level you apparently don't get.

          September 15, 2013 at 9:08 am |
        • sam stone

          mark: talk to people on 9/11/31 and you will get many different accounts of what happened to the twin towers

          September 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
      • M5150

        Actually 30 years was the earliest it could have been. it was probably closer to 50 or 60 and eyewitnesses were not involved with the writing. It was stories passed down, as was the old testament. Dont forget the books that werent included or the votes are the 1st Council of Nicea that 300 years later that helped shape the book you know today.
        To compare it to 9/11 or anything that happens today is insane. 30 years from now you'll run into people who remember Miley Cyrus twerking. There is a little but more media coverage now...there is video and audio evidence. We dont rely on faith to believe that 9/11 happened.

        September 15, 2013 at 9:33 am |
        • Mark

          Peter was an eyewitness, James was the brother of Jesus and an eyewitness. Paul persecuted Stephen who was an eyewitness.The media has changed and is much more of an overload factor in memory. Back then is is what they had oral and scribeing was it.

          September 15, 2013 at 9:41 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Are you saying that the eyewitnesses to Buddah's miracles could not have been wrong? Cool.

          September 15, 2013 at 10:13 am |
        • G to the T

          Sorry Mark – but there's no evidence (other than tradition) that the 4 gospels were written by the authors attributed to them. It's even fairly certain that only about half of the letters by Paul were acutally written by Paul.

          You place far more faith in the integrity of the bible than I am willing to.

          September 19, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • jamie

      I will pray for you.

      September 15, 2013 at 8:52 am |
      • action

        Ewww Mark someone said they are going to pray for you, that would make me feel dirty.

        September 15, 2013 at 8:57 am |
        • Mark

          That was actually a reply to Carl. Take your time don't hurt yourself.

          September 15, 2013 at 9:00 am |
      • sam stone

        we will think for you

        September 15, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Analgousshark

      If your going to use science to back up your points why do you avoid it when you argues with your current understanding? Dr Michio Kaku has said explicitly, it is mathematically impossible that life/advanced life isn't out there in the universe. Since its infinite there is infinite possibilities. He and others have also pointed out that intelligent design to our universe makes more and more sense the more they discover and study Mbrane theories. This is not your traditional God but because people lump it in with that scientist run from it. So if you would like to be considered in the same category with those people who believed earth was the center of the solar system / universe back in the day. Keep on believing life is here by random chance and that people who believe in life beyond earth are crazy. Ignorance is bliss I suppose. Don't be upset because others have their own idea who created the universe, but know this, based on the latest understandings of physics and membrane theories, someone did. People gasp when someone mentions our evolution was more than likely adjusted and prodded along by advanced beings, yet they love to read stories about cloning and genetic alteration on our own planet......the hypocrisy is astounding.

      September 15, 2013 at 9:49 am |
      • sqeptiq

        You have just proven that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

        September 15, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  11. Mark White

    Make a deal?
    I don't really think either one of us cares what the other thinks.
    If you have a problem with Richard Dawkins take it up with him.
    I don't care about what you believe. LOL

    September 15, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • M

      You haven't thought about his very deeply. Obviously some religious people become atheist – many can be persuaded if you just use consideration and understanding instead of vitriol.

      September 15, 2013 at 8:48 am |
      • JeffreyRO5

        Did someone appoint you hall monitor or something? You keep providing discussion etiquette instructions. The author has made a provocative and mostly ridiculous claim: that atheists say foolish things, just like christians do, so let's call it a draw. Yet atheists don't make claims in the name of atheism (how could they? There's no doctrine, no principles, no practices around which to base foolish statements, just that god doesn't exist) the way that christians do with christianity. Christianity has lots of rituals and rules and regulations and literature around which to connect foolish dots and make even more stuff up.

        September 15, 2013 at 9:02 am |
        • M

          My point is to educate atheists to think before they write, to be persuasive rather than childish, or worse, sociopathic.

          September 15, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • jamie

      respect each others opinion

      September 15, 2013 at 8:52 am |
      • JeffreyRO5

        Why on earth should I respect an opinion that is based on make believe? If a grown man comes along and insists that Santa Claus is real, that he really lives at the North Pole and employs elves to make toys for delivering on December 25, should I respect that opinion?

        Part of the frustration of being a non-believer is being told we have to respect people who want to believe there's a sky fairy. Says who? Why do I have to respect a grown person, presumably sane, who insists that the earth is only 6,000 years old, that snakes can talk and that it's ok to believe in a malevolent god who drowned innocent men, women and children because he found them defective???

        September 15, 2013 at 9:07 am |
        • counter

          Well, I don't respect anyone that gets perturbed by a scripture verse at the bottom of the report from an outside firm. What a chip you have on your shoulder about believers, what they believe, and their influence on society! Newflash, pompous one!- everyone has a seat at society's table to do that !

          YOU ARE A CRYBABY.

          September 15, 2013 at 10:30 am |
      • M

        No. It is not respect for another's opinion, necessarily, but to have considerate discourse.

        September 15, 2013 at 10:01 am |
  12. Dyslexic doG

    One of the most perfect descriptions of the Christian mindset:

    “This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise.

    - Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

    September 15, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • Mark

      If that puddle would have come back to its fullness without rain your right. The other puddle said, I'm here randomly, wait is that the Son coming out, oh its just the Son, wait I'm evaporating, my time was so short.

      September 15, 2013 at 8:49 am |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        That's a fairly good retort, Mark, but the argument from incredulity fails because it does not point to any characteristics of the proposed designer. Chemistry and math prove themselves by their own use, but religions bicker and fight over what god might be and what he might want. Chemical elements and mathematical theorems have been derived from the laws of nature by people unknown to each other and separated by distance and centuries.

        If we can say anything about god, it is that he/she/it really wants us to clearly understand chemistry and math, but he/she/it doesn't give a sh!t what we think about it. If humanity and all records of humanity were destroyed and an entire new "crop" of humans were plunked down with no records at all, math and chemistry would arise as science and the facts would be exactly the same; but the religions would all be different.

        A person or a puddle can believe anything by faith.

        September 15, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  13. anon2no1

    When the "reasonable" Christians out there will take action to get their extremists out of our faces, then maybe I can stop painting them all with the same brush. Why don't you start by removing your Bible-toting judgmental hypocrites from womens' clinics around the country? Screaming "murder" and "you're the mother of a dead baby" doesn't seem very Christ-like to me.

    September 15, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • M

      That doesn't make any sense. If one person wrongs you because of their political beliefs, do you label all of those same belief as being just as extreme?

      September 15, 2013 at 8:44 am |
      • jamie

        You can see it clearly

        September 15, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      And Christians, please curb your manic brethren who write or maintain US legislation is based wholly or partially on your bronze age story book:

      1. the laws still on the books in several states preventing an atheist from holding office.
      2. Laws that try and limit the teaching of evolution in school.
      3. Laws that limit access to contraceptives.
      4. Laws that limit a woman's right to choose.
      5. Laws that limit gay rights.
      6. Laws that limit immunization against HPV.

      and many, many more ...

      September 15, 2013 at 8:47 am |
      • jamie

        There are many wrong. But to say that all " Christians, Atheist, Jews say this or that is wrong. The majority of people actually do not make laws so vent your anger at those who do make up the laws

        September 15, 2013 at 8:58 am |
      • action

        They will not fight for those things, that list would make them admit that they were wrong.

        September 15, 2013 at 8:59 am |
  14. Dyslexic doG

    Jesus was just David Koresh 2000 years earlier. A sociopathic conman with a good story and lots of charisma. All this foolishness, without a shred of proof, has sprung up from there.

    utter, mind numbing nonsense.

    September 15, 2013 at 8:40 am |
    • M

      Very sociopathicly written, I must say.

      September 15, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • Mark

      Really were you there or are you basing your statement on research, or just making it up to be vindictive? How do you know Koresh existed?

      September 15, 2013 at 8:44 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        how do I know Koresh existed? Really?

        that's hilarious!

        September 15, 2013 at 8:49 am |
        • Stephen

          CNN told me so.

          September 15, 2013 at 9:06 am |
      • Mark

        Prove it!

        September 15, 2013 at 8:51 am |
      • tom LI

        Ah the old tiresome cliche of "were You there?" Its a useless argument, and one only meant to distract – plus its not worhty of a answer, or consideration.

        September 15, 2013 at 9:08 am |
        • Mark

          Really because I thought just making up facts was a useless argument and meant to deflect truth. Take your time Tom.

          September 15, 2013 at 9:32 am |
        • Mark

          Really because I thought just making up facts was a useless argument and meant to deflect truth. Take your time Tom your going to be alright.

          September 15, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • belasontom

      Hear, hear.

      September 15, 2013 at 8:44 am |
    • Patti

      Dyslexic, i'll take it a step further and say David Koresh wasn't around 2000 years earlier, because he didn't exist. There was not ONE single historical word (not 1 Roman record) written about Jesus DURING his supposed lifetime. Think about it, all the miracles, healings, the thousands that gathered in crowds and no records, not 1 letter writing by an individual who witnessed tany of it. ALL writings were decades after his purported life was over and they were all RELIGIOUS, not historical or secular. Check it out.

      September 15, 2013 at 9:04 am |
  15. FAH

    Ezekiel 25:17. "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the
    tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through
    the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike
    down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you!

    September 15, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      a little Pulpy and definitely Fiction ...

      September 15, 2013 at 8:31 am |
      • FAH

        well played haha

        September 15, 2013 at 8:32 am |
        • FAH

          Factoid didn't get it.

          September 15, 2013 at 8:34 am |
        • Dyslexic doG


          September 15, 2013 at 8:37 am |
      • jamie


        September 15, 2013 at 8:59 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Very much fiction silly christian! The facts are against you!

          September 15, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • Factoidlover

      Very civil. Very nice. God's a bully and will beat me up.


      September 15, 2013 at 8:32 am |
      • M

        Taking the point your were just trying to make, watch how it's done:

        "The Bible has numerous accounts of God being cruel. How is it that my mother can show more compassion that all-powerful God?"

        Let the strength of your argument do its talking.

        September 15, 2013 at 8:38 am |
      • Sigi

        Others call it KARMA, ok?

        September 15, 2013 at 8:44 am |
  16. Hell and destruction are never full

    The Science Church is way over funded by da gubmint. Robots on Mars are gud enuff. Now would somebody get movin' on laws to keep Wall Street from chasing homeowners that have tax liens. The pharisee fees eat em alive. And the TAXES are high because of the greedy educratists doin' it for the Science Church.

    September 15, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • M

      No, you are trying to bring our civilization to the same backwardness that Neil DeGrasse Tyson spoke about, the same thing the Muslims suffered centuries ago when they decided that religion had all the answers they needed. We people of science will never yield.

      September 15, 2013 at 8:42 am |
      • Dyslexic doG


        this doG is wagging his tail! that was beautiful!

        September 15, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • One one

      Science actually works and delivers tangible benefits to billions of people. The only thing religion delivers is mind candy.

      September 15, 2013 at 8:50 am |
      • Profbam

        Religion also provides psychopaths and megalomaniacs with justification for their evil actions.

        September 15, 2013 at 9:08 am |
      • Hell and destruction are never full

        Make those dividend checks out pronto. The property owners are short of cash.

        September 15, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Hell and destruction are never full

      How come the Science Church can't count and demands endless sacrifices?? My theory is greed. For the Christian,

      "Jhn 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."

      Let the educratists and scientists that are engaged in reverse engineering make their OWN sacrifices.

      September 15, 2013 at 9:56 am |
      • tallulah13

        This whole sacrifice thing is one of the creepier aspects of christianity. It just makes me shudder when they rejoice that an innocent man was tortured to death so that they don't have to be responsible for their own actions. The joy they so often express at this thought is possibly the most selfish thing I have ever heard.

        September 15, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
        • Hell and destruction are never full

          Well, you just keep on enjoyin' yer demobocracy death. The joy is the resurrection and comes from God.

          September 15, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  17. No one

    So what was the deal anyways? You wanted to use your book as truth? Can I use Lord of the Rings?
    You may want the truth, but do you deny facts?

    September 15, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • JeffreyRO5

      I think she's trying to say, not very effectively, that Atheists say ridiculous things, just like Christians. The weakness of her argument is that Atheists don't make claims and proclamations based on Atheism, the way that Christians do with god and christianity. No Atheist ever looked at a piece of toast and, upon not seeing the face of a god, declared it validation of his non-faith. How many times have christians seen the face of jesus christ/god/virgin mary in an object, and declared it validation of their faith/a miracle?

      With no infrastructure, set of beliefs, rituals or rites, or formal organization, Atheism doesn't have the structure around which to make ridiculous and bizarre claims, such as "God is punishing [fill in the blank] by unleashing hurricanes/tornadoes/floods, etc."

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

      As an atheist, I have to say, you need to stop reading about atheism for a while and instead read about persuasive argumentation.

      September 15, 2013 at 8:36 am |
  18. devin

    The few, the proud, the atheists.

    September 15, 2013 at 8:24 am |
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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.