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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. VonDoom

    I'm all about making deals. Here lies the problem however, you ask to make a deal of "not" throwing Dawkins around as "most extreme" or "irrational" literally right after you do it. I honestly don't understand what makes him "most extreme" anyway. Right now he's on this platform with this story because he spoke out on being a victim as a child and recovering from it. Seriously, listen to yourselves, he was a victim of a pedophile and somehow this paints him as an extreme person? That's what you're literally using as ammo right now with Dawkins. I don't care how religious or non-religious one is, using that as ammo is sick.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • JLS639

      I agree with you. I think it is terrible that people try to paint him as an extremist for having the "wrong" reaction to what happened to him. It is so ironic that she condemns actions right after she takes them.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Or he correctly points out that Islam has stiffled science and scientific thought within the Muslim community? They have...what's wrong with saying it?

      September 14, 2013 at 10:45 am |
      • deep blue

        It is false. Look at the majority Muslim countries. They are poor economically. They have young populations and high food prices. This leads to instability. If you look at these countries, you can find many third variables that explain his correlations.

        Pretending that correlations imply causation is logical fallacy.

        September 14, 2013 at 10:52 am |
        • Mark

          Yet those third variables also point back to the original problem. Societies built on religion value dogma and tradition over rationality and innovation. Which values do you think lead to an econmically prosperous society?

          September 14, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • fookinGod

      and imagine the wrong doers are so called god believers.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  2. magicpanties

    "... 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."

    That is so funny. Faith is "the easy way out" and has not an ounce of integrity.
    There is no "truth" to imaginary beings, no god, no santa claus, no easter bunny.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • D-

      Thanks for your "opinion".

      September 14, 2013 at 10:45 am |
      • JohnnyAnalog

        The existence of a god is the biggest "opinion" of all

        September 14, 2013 at 10:48 am |
        • D-

          That opinion you just stated is actually bigger than that 'biggest opinion of all' you told me about. Yep.

          September 14, 2013 at 10:52 am |
      • TAK

        Science is not an opinion.

        September 14, 2013 at 10:56 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          Science uses the scientific method, something most atheists ignore.

          September 14, 2013 at 11:03 am |
        • doobzz

          @ JPT

          Why do you lie? Isn't lying a "sin" against your deity? One of the ten big ones? Quick, say the majik wurds before it smites you!

          September 14, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Jon

      Youre not very smart. Faith is required by all. To not believe in God or some form of all powerful creator is to believe in the Big Bang theory. This theory, which requires a large amount of energy to come from nowhere, violating all major laws pf physics. The particles from which they theorize this might have happened have been discovered, however those scientists who discovered these particles admit that they can not create them in any environment which could exist outside of their tests.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:57 am |
      • Mark

        There are a lot of extreme events that occur in nature that man can't recreate. So what's your point? An atheist is comfortable in saying we don't know yet, but logic certainly doesn't allow for the conclusion that God created everything and sent His son to save our immortal souls simply because we don't know. You have as much proof in your faith as someone that believes in the tooth fairy or in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or pink unicorns. That right there should alarm you.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:12 am |
      • Mark

        And by the way, the Big Bang Theory does not violate the major laws of physics or those laws wouldn't be worth very much since it was through those laws that we predicted it in the first place.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:15 am |
      • fookinGod

        as of today science is still at its infancy. very limited knowledge. can not answer everything. in time it flourish in knowledge and can answer everything. when is it going to happen? I don't know yet. but science DON'T WORK IN A MYSTERIOUS WAYS. be patient and your questions will be answered in order. that's all I can say.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:34 am |
      • doobzz

        Youre not very smart.

        Yes, I am.

        Faith is required by all.

        No, it isn't. I am not required to "have faith", "accept Jeebus as my lord and savior", confess my "sins" or accept any of your delusions.

        To not believe in God or some form of all powerful creator is to believe in the Big Bang theory.

        No, that's not true. It eliminates any alternatives, something scientists don't do. Only religious people say we don't know how it happened so goddidit.

        This theory, which requires a large amount of energy to come from nowhere, violating all major laws pf physics.

        Only religious people say we don't know how it happened so goddidit.

        The particles from which they theorize this might have happened have been discovered, however those scientists who discovered these particles admit that they can not create them in any environment which could exist outside of their tests.

        So? Even the most half-assed scientist feels comfortable saying "I don't know".

        Fifty years ago, Jacqueline Kennedy, just over 36 weeks pregnant, delivered a 4 lb. 10 1/2 oz. infant boy, who developed respiratory distress and died 39 hours later. At that time, the infant had a 15% chance of survival. The use of a respirator on premature infants was still considered controversial. Today, his chance of survival would be over 99%.

        The death of Patrick Bouvier Kennedy inspired the medical community to seek advancements in treatment of premature infants.

        Had the medical community decided that "we don't know exactly why this happened, so goddidit", many of the children I know, including one of my nephews, would be dead.

        September 14, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • fookinGod

      your wrong. Christians don't seek truth. if they do that their members will be enlightened and leave their religion which is equal to no money and their leaders no comfy life on the expense of the so called god believers.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:28 am |
  3. John P. Tarver

    So then, why does Putin's Syrian deal look so much more Christian than Obama and Kerry's bullying?

    September 14, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Justin - The Athiest

      Economics primarily. The only thing keeping the US's economy going right now is the military, And if we don't use said military people will want to diminish the size of it. So our "leaders" are left with any reason to use and deploy said military.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:55 am |
  4. BOb the Prairie Dog

    Hey Christians and Atheists, repeat after me: "NO ONE knows what happens when we die, and ANYONE claiming such knowledge is a liar who probably wants your money."

    September 14, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      As soon as they take the money, Paul of Tarsus says they are fake.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • really

      Hey Bob – If you're wrong and I'm right, I've lived my life trying to show love and compassion to people, to be honest, to feed the hungry, clothe the cold, and tend the weary as did my Lord. The church I attend is community focused, we don't like violence, and helping people who want to find a different way of living whether they are in prison, struggling with addiction, etc. is something that's important to us. If I'm wrong about what I believe, I die and tried to be a good person. If you're wrong and you die, where will you spend eternity?

      September 14, 2013 at 10:42 am |
      • Cricket

        Well, plenty of atheists do those same things... and if Mohammed was right, you're still screwed.

        I have no objection to someone doing good in the name of their particular lord... but it doesn't give them any leg up over those who do good for good's sake (or for some other god).

        September 15, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • Robert

      ...Actually if you did some research science tells us that upon death our brain releases the remainder of our neurotransmitters (Dopamine, Serotonin, etc.) as well as large amounts of Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) upon realization of impending death. This in turn creates something similar to an extremely peaceful dream state. Now, obviously we can never confirm this, as it dead people aren't too talkative, but people who have been brought back to life after a near-death experience have stated that they experienced something similar to this. As for our memories, personality, etc. that all dies with out brain.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:43 am |
      • really

        I have done research after I lost consciousness, fell 40 feet, drowned, and experienced what you described. I believe what I experienced was the brain releasing chemicals and shutting down. I'm very thankful paramedics were not too far away. That said, I choose to believe in Christ, the Trinity, and the concept of heaven. If I'm wrong, I die after living my life trying to be compassionate, helping those in need, and loving people some of who I don't like very much because of what they do. If you're an atheist and you're wrong...eternity is a long time. I'm sorry if people have forced religion on you. Freedom to believe or not believe is a great thing in my mind. Just as there are plenty of examples of violent Christians who used religion to increase their power, ability to dominate, or demean others, there are atheists that did the same thing (Hitler, Mao, Stalin). Lots of bad (I use the term 'evil') people in the world. The authors point is find people who are doing great things and listen to them vice listening to people preaching hatred, violence, etc.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:11 am |
        • Bad Boys, Bad Boys

          @really,

          Allah, Zeus, Ra, Vishnu
          Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

          September 14, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
  5. theala

    How sad. Looks like just about everyone in this forum completely missed the point of the article, which was to respectfully disagree.

    You guys have got the disagree part down. It's the respectful part pretty much everyone who's posted in this forum needs to work on (and yes, I'm talking to both the Christians and the atheists). The few exceptions know who they are.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  6. T

    While I do appreciate the intention, it is important to note that we are not a body of people. A statistical category, maybe, but not a unified group of people. As such I can't speak for everyone, but I know many atheists, myself included, who prefer to opt out of the question of religion entirely. Many of us couldn't care less what faith anyone else may choose. Mr. Dawkins (who seems to spend a great deal of time dealing with religion) is certainly not a voice for atheists other than himself.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:35 am |
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    September 14, 2013 at 9:27 | Report abuse | Reply

    September 14, 2013 at 10:34 am |
  8. rarehman

    This article is reflective of a very low intellect.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • Robert

      Most things written by Christians are.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:36 am |
      • GET0verit

        Congratulations on being the embodiment of an atheist stereotype. May we all learn from your vast knowledge and collection of PhDs

        September 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • really

      I used that same basic retort ("You're stupid") on the playground when I was five and got punched by a big kid. When I grew up I learned logic, fact, and proof were much better tools at convincing others of what I believe to be true than "She's got a low intellect".

      September 14, 2013 at 10:50 am |
      • Robert

        An anecdote about how you got beat up as a kid has nothing to do with this. Rarehman and myself only claimed that the author of this article lacks sufficient intellect and therefore understanding to be writing about a topic that requires an understanding of the arguments of both sides, something that we believe she does not. Even more so considering she is writing for what is supposed to be a reliable main-stream agenda-adhering news agency.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:03 am |
        • really

          So it's not that you disagree strongly with her opinion and are discounting her thesis based on her premise but believe her to be a person of low intellect?

          September 14, 2013 at 11:15 am |
        • really

          and I've found generalizing and stereotyping like the comment "Most things written by Christians are" to be inflammatory.

          September 14, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  9. Yahawaha

    Hell of a deal for you, I'd say. But, no thanks.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:33 am |
  10. Randyb

    Pat Robertson is not a Christian...he calls himself a Christian but there is nothing Christ-like in his message or persona. Same with Jerry Falwell and the huge number of evangelical hate mongers who live by the Old Testament instead of the New!

    September 14, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      Paul of Tarsus claimed you can tell the fake Christians because they get paid for their works.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:35 am |
      • G to the T

        Don't all pastors, priests and clergymen?

        September 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  11. Robert

    Christianity cannot argue with Atheism, as it would have to provide evidence to back up its claims. Atheism will always be the victor as it its retorts are based on scientific data, where as Christianity is based on faith, defined as belief WITHOUT evidence. Therefore, most claims made by Christianity have as much credibility as santa or the tooth fairy. "I believe this BS is real, so it must be!"

    September 14, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      Atheists suppress science in education, so no.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:32 am |
      • Robert

        Not at all. Atheism is well-known for being pro-science, anti-conjecture. I'm assuming you have proof to support your claim?

        September 14, 2013 at 10:35 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          Atheism suppresses science from after the 19th century, but they have you fooled.

          September 14, 2013 at 10:39 am |
        • Dictionary

          There is no scientific proof that God does not exist. And plenty of Christians are pro-science, too.

          September 14, 2013 at 10:42 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          Einstein's Copenhagen Interpretation of 1935 says, "Quantum Mechanics and relativity require a sentient being outside the universe to make our universe real." You know, the basis of all our modern technology.

          September 14, 2013 at 10:46 am |
        • cedar rapids

          'John P. Tarver
          Einstein's Copenhagen Interpretation of 1935 says, "Quantum Mechanics and relativity require a sentient being outside the universe to make our universe real." You know, the basis of all our modern technology.'

          you keep making claim of such a quote so you will need to cite source of that so we can see the context of that, especially as Einstein rejected quantum mechanics as being false.

          September 14, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
      • Justin - The Athiest

        I believe what he's getting at is the rejection of allowing creationism in the classroom. And the absolute thrashing scientists have given it. Creationism is not science, it is the literal taking of the bible and trying to make it fit in the real world. Most things come from nothing. or start from small beginnings. You don't see MASSIVE evolutionary leaps for a reason. Like going from fins to legs overnight.

        September 14, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Joe Lorenzo

      You are deluded if you think retorts regarding primordial soup and evolution solve the question on how we are here. It's laughable that you have co-opted faith as your own and call it science.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:41 am |
      • Justin - The Athiest

        So you think it's logical to be illogical and not use reason? Makes sense to me.... /sarcasm

        September 14, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • really

      Actually Christians can argue with Atheists (but those who are following the instructions of their God shouldn't be the ones arguing). The Bible teaches to live our lives as an example to others of love, compassion, kindness, helping the sick, feeding the hungry, etc. Those kooks, embarrassments, and terrorists who associate themselves with a religion to gain power, dominance, wealth, or demean others certainly aren't like the Christians who raised me or with whom I serve and worship. If you're good with being an atheists, I'm ok with that. I'm ok with being wrong about living my life as a Christian because if I'm wrong and die, so what. If you're wrong about atheism and you die, well eternity is a long time but it's your choice.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:57 am |
      • G to the T

        Sorry "really" but if that's the case, your "faith" is built on Pascal's wager must be quite shallow indeed...

        September 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  12. Searider Falcon

    "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."

    That is what believers don't get. They can never prove their "truth", just what they believe is the truth. As an atheist I can easily say that I don't know because that is the truth. But to say you know and it's the truth is both illogical and irrational.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Dictionary

      If you don't know what the truth is, you're an agnostic (a person who does not have a definite belief about whether God exists or not), not an atheist (a person who believes that God does not exist)

      September 14, 2013 at 10:37 am |
      • anilada

        There is a difference between not believing a god exists, and believing a god does not exist. An atheist is defined as someone who does not believe in a god.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:05 am |
      • G to the T

        They are not exclusive – while I don't believe it's possible to prove the existence of god (at least from our end), the sum total of all the evidence I have seen isn't enough for me to take the "leap of faith" necessary to believe in god. So I am an agnostic atheist. That help?

        September 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Kaelinda

      If you're willing to admit you don't know, then you are an agnostic, not an atheist.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:41 am |
      • Cricket

        You can be both – you can say you don't know, but chose to believe (not opposing thoughts, since faith does not require proof), or say you don't know, but feel there is no god, for the same reason, or for the reason of total lack of proof.

        As has been pointed out many times on this thread, atheism and agnosticism describe two possibly related but separate states. One's thoughts on whether knowing is possible, and what one decides to do with that.

        September 15, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • GET0verit

          Agnosticism is atheism when atheists are trying to make their numbers look better.

          September 16, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  13. rc

    so this article focuses on athiests and christians respecting ea other yet the author had to throw in a jab at muslims? how very christian of her. shes using the article as a trojan horse. its a distraction mechanism to deliver an unrelated message. even if it didnt originate from her.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Mark

      It was a quote from Dawkins. She's simply pointing out the stupid stuff that people from each side say. Does she in any way support his contention in the rest of her article? No.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Old cyclist

      The author didn't take a jab at Muslims, she quoted Dawkins' jab at Muslims. There's a difference.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  14. Mechahobo

    You know, I agree with this up to a point. I'm an atheist, and I think Dawkins, while a great scientist, is an awful "atheist spokesperson" that has put his own foot in his mouth too many times to count. But before you start trying to make deals with atheists about not judging you based on the most extreme Christians if you don't judge us based on the most extreme atheists, perhaps you should do something about the fact that there are millions of "moderate" Christians that still don't support equal rights for women, still don't support equal rights for LBGT folks, and still support faith-based anti-science in classrooms. Then we'll talk.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      Dawkins ignores the scientific method, so he is not a scientist. More like the retard in a wheelchair that also promotes the fascist social political agenda of the atheist.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:31 am |
      • Frank

        Sounds like someone is a Troll.

        September 14, 2013 at 10:36 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          Dawkins and Hawking may very well be trolls. I am getting some good traction in the science discussions, but NASA is holding to 19th century nonsense so far. Actually, the Colbert character is a troll I did at usenet in the 90's. You may remember the 1994 election.

          September 14, 2013 at 10:42 am |
      • cedar rapids

        'More like the retard in a wheelchair '

        well at least we now know you are not a christian and just a troll.

        September 14, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  15. Jeff

    Christianity is not about truth but faith, and unfortunately faith often runs counter to truth. That is why the Europe was plunged into the middle ages. The church exerted faith over truth. Current Christianity is the same way, there is a constant attack against science and the truth it produces because of religious Christian's faith.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • really

      and some famous atheists, like Stalin, Mao, and Hitler, led a bunch of people to other low points in history. Keep an eye out for those that want power. Look instead for compassionate leaders who care and walk the walk.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:25 am |
      • David F. Skoll

        Hitler was a Catholic. He often referred to God in his speeches.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  16. Scott

    If we talk about the truth, you guys always lose. Look no farther than the recent debate Dan Barker was in, down in Florida. (or any debate he is in, really) You guys don't have truth, not one iota of it.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:28 am |
  17. XACTOMUNDO

    I would agree with calling Dawkins abrasive or uncompromising, but not "irrational", as the author does in lumping him in with decidedly irrational religious leaders. Rationality implies the use of reason and logic, which are traits much more important to the scientific community than they are to religious thought.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      Preach it Dawkins, the fools eat it up.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:34 am |
  18. p57pasha

    As Christians it was once our sacred duty and trust to live our belief by example and not by rhetoric. We have reached this unfortunate impass with our neighbors of differing beliefs by insistence of our ways, by the radicalization of our truth and by the abandonment of our cross. Christ did not preach and act to save the righteous, whether these righteous believe in God or not. These souls have made their choice; let them live their choice. Christ preached, acted, walked among us to save us: the sinners, the doubters, the ones who must search for their way. We are the followers who denied Him three times; the faithless who had to place our hands in His wounds to finally believe in His Resurrection. And if we believe, we humbly and quietly live our belief. The bombastic Pat Robertson is no different from the auto-iconoclast Richard Dawkins. They shout their faith or lack thereof from the rooftops. Both are smug, comfortable and as empty as their words. -Not a lot there to be inspired by in either case. Let them walk their chosen paths in peace. As to this healing miracle within our own lives, even Christ said to tell no one. Live and, by your example, others shall see the Way by your light.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • therealwanderingcrow

      i am so saddened to see people still believing in invisible friends. I wish you the best in life and hope you get the best care possible....

      September 14, 2013 at 10:51 am |
      • kati

        imagine how i feel knowing u believe in invisible human love

        September 14, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
        • G to the T

          Are you claiming we don't know where emotions come from? Because that's a pretty weak argument for the supernatural if so...

          September 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  19. Mark Yelka

    The argument here is one sided. Religions spout not just words, but use violence to achieve their aims. Atheism may sometimes use more argumentative language, but that's the extreme worst that comes from Atheism. So, how about this: when Religion stops trying to hurt other people or make other people behave according to their dogma, then Atheists will surely be happy to not speak about the evils of Religion.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Scott

      Exactly. In a world without religion, 9/11/13 would have just been a Wednesday.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:31 am |
      • Kaelinda

        You may believe anything you choose. The universe is not obligated to keep a straight face.

        September 14, 2013 at 10:45 am |
      • Al

        It would have been the 40th anniversary of the coup and assassination of Salvadore Allende by forces of Augusto Pinochet and the Nixon administration.

        September 14, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Raymond

      Yes, because atheistic Communism/Fascism/Nazism is quite peaceful, and the contemporary abortion culture is a real good thing. I hope the sarcasm didn't go over your head, but given your preconceived views, I would not be surprised.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:35 am |
      • Mark

        Communism, fascism, and nazism are not atheistic qualities but rather nationalistic political qualities. Atheism dictates all are equal since there are no "chosen" people. This may naturally flow to socialism, but communism as a form of government is another thing entirely.

        September 14, 2013 at 10:47 am |
        • Raymond

          Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other monotheistic traditions are not political qualities but rather speak to the fundamental truths of human existence. Religion dictates all are equal since all are created by God. That some have chosen to use religion to further their political agenda is another thing altogether.

          If you read Stalin, Hitler or Mao and see what they have to about religion, you will find one commonality: they are atheists. In addition, atheism is a positive denial for the existence of God, which is merely another assertion of faith. This means that atheism is just another religion, albeit a self-contradictory one.

          September 14, 2013 at 10:54 am |
        • cedar rapids

          'Religion dictates all are equal since all are created by God.'

          except of course theres that whole favorite race stuff with the jews.

          'If you read Stalin, Hitler or Mao and see what they have to about religion, you will find one commonality: they are atheists.'

          If you read hitler you can see he claimed to be religious and claimed that killing the jew was doing gods work. He most certainly never claimed to be an atheist.

          'In addition, atheism is a positive denial for the existence of God, which is merely another assertion of faith. This means that atheism is just another religion, albeit a self-contradictory one'
          no it isnt. enough with this stupid claim. Having faith in an idea doesnt automatically make something a religion. I have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow but that does not mean I worship the sun.

          September 14, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • Cricket

          Atheism is only a religion if not believing in pink unicorns is a religion. It's a default setting, nothing more.

          And the fact that some very bad people were also atheists probably has more to do with them setting themselves up as god, than it does with any other attribute. Not believing in god has no more overall effect on one's life than not believing in sentient eggplants. You may be a complete ass, you may be the secular Mother Teresa. Whatever it is, you're not doing what you do because you *don't* believe in sentient eggplants... or God... or any god... but for reasons of your own.

          To be fair, I suspect a lot of folks who have gone to war for "religious reasons" hadn't the slightest belief that they were doing and god's work – they just knew their people would follow them better if they managed to convince them they were. None the less, plenty of popular support for wars *has* come through religious convictions.

          September 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
      • Al

        Ayn Rand, darling of the Libertarian Republicans, was a vocal Atheist. The small government Republicans are touting the beliefs of an Atheist.

        The Neo Conservatives philosophy came from the followers of Leon Trotsky, Most notably Irving Kristol and his son William Kristol. The Trotskyites tried to control the Democrats, but found them too anti authoritarian for their philosophy. The Trotskyites found the Republicans were more amenable to their authoritarian philosophy and their anti Stalin stance.

        The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a Socialist.

        Ted Cruz is a fan of Jesse Helms, a firm believer in Eugenics.

        GHW Bush employed a Neo Nazi, Tom Ellis in his presidential campaign. Once the media found out, he had to let him go.
        We are also well aware of the Bush family ties to the Third Reich. Prescott Bush had a sizeable stake in Silesian-American Corporation, profited from slave labor in Auschwitz.

        September 14, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
        • Al

          Oops, Tom Ellis was an employee of Jesse Helms, not George Bush. The exposed Nazi on Bush's team was David Lee Preston. Russ Bellant was also exposed by the Philadelphia Enquirer.

          Nazi Ties with the GOP:
          Radi Slavoff,
          Florian Galdau,
          Nicholas Nazarenko,
          Method Balco,
          Walter Melianovich,
          Bohdan Fedorak.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Justin - The Athiest

      And the forced indoctrination of children! All children are born atheists. And indoctrination is a violation of the non-aggression principle..

      September 14, 2013 at 10:36 am |
      • Raymond

        "Mom, where do we come from?" – 5 year-old
        "You come from a chance encounter of random mathematical formulas which happen to suspend itself in our current universe to bring about existence of things." – Mom
        "Thanks Mom, I love you!"

        September 14, 2013 at 10:41 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          Better than showing him her pee hole.

          September 14, 2013 at 10:43 am |
        • therealwanderingcrow

          remember , there are no invisible friends

          September 14, 2013 at 10:59 am |
        • cedar rapids

          well at least it would be true raymond

          September 14, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
        • Al

          That's OK with me. My self worth doesn't depend on believing I am a special creation.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
        • Cricket

          And this is a bad thing, how?

          September 15, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
        • G to the T

          Is "I don't know" really that bad a thing to say?

          Do you really need to create a strawman version of evolution to prove your point?

          September 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • kati

      2 my knowledge, sam stone ain't a christian

      September 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  20. Justin - The Athiest

    "I’ve seen my fellow Christians seize the opportunity to rail against the evils of atheism."

    Great way to make a deal right there, call the other side evil to vilify us, What evidence do you have that me and other atheists are "evil"? Have you ever seen atheists rally followers to purge "the holy land" of infidels? Set up trials for "witches"? Burn thousands of men and women at the stake simply because they didn't follow your line of thinking? How about set up "Nunneries" for towns to send promiscuous women where the priest would rent out said women to local travels and if said woman became pregnant would kill said child claiming it was a spawn of satan? Not enough? I can go on, and on and on.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • really

      Famous atheists who probably you'ld prefer were Christians: Hitler, Mao, Stalin. Plenty of Christians who will have a hard time justifying their actions come the day of atonement...

      September 14, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • kati

      if you believe christ cannot be real based on what someone did that was reprehensible, you then must also believe christ is real because someone did something wonderful

      September 14, 2013 at 1:41 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.