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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. Sid Stewart

    make a deal with atheists? you must be in jest; atheists cannot make deals as they do not believe in values; Christ did not make a deal with Sata; also Mandala and Obama are not Christians; maybe in name but not in practice or teaching

    September 14, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • smeeker

      What a "christian" post. stinking hypocrites anyway.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • dmwinsd

      Sid Stewart, where in the world did you get the idea that atheists do not believe in values? Do you actually know any? I bet you do, but they just don't wear their religious opinions on their sleeves. Can't you imagine that an atheist would think that he should do an honest, competent job if he is paid to do so? Don't you think that an atheist would teach her children to treat others well? Don't you think an atheist might help a person in need?

      September 14, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  2. dzerres

    OK deal but only if I get a tax write off for atheism or we eliminate tax write offs for groups like Robertson's. Until then no deal. Dawkins doesn't speak for me, he doesn't have a "700 Club" daily on TV begging for money and we atheists aren't knocking on people's doors nor demanding speaking engagements at public events like inaugurals and graduations.

    September 14, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • deep blue

      what atheist organization do you want to receive tax exempt status?

      September 14, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  3. shk87

    Religion is biased towards what the answer is. Science doesnt care what the answer is necessarily, just get it right. Religion begins with an answer and then looks to justify with a lack of science. Science starts with a question and doesnt give an answer until the information gathered suggests one with overwhelming evidence.

    Faith is the opposite of truth. Faith is believing despite what logic, common sense, and data tell you. I wont ever believe something because I want it to be true or have faith, I will believe something if logic and information give me reason to believe it. Also, for the things that we dont know to be true yet, the answer "we don't know yet" is a suitable response. It isnt godly until proven otherwise.

    By definition I am an atheist but it is not because I do not want god to be true. It is because in my eyes it simply isnt. What I want to be true is irrelevant when determining what is true.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Science is about knowledge without absolute certainty, religion is about absolute certainty without knowledge.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:09 am |
      • G to the T

        Brilliant summation!

        September 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • counter

      No, you are a materialist. You cannot fathom that truth can be gathered without science. facts are a subset of truth. Not ALL truth can be empirically proven. You are immature.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:16 am |
      • shk87

        I am immature because I dont believe without reason to believe? I clearly said saying I dont know is fine. I am fully aware there is more we do not know than we know and much can not be figured out. I still dont go around picking and choosing things to believe or not believe without REASON. I dont claim things to be unwaveringly true without any concrete explination like religion. So the things you believe to be true how do you justify it? "i just have faith ". Aka you dont believe in a truth you believe in something that you want to be a truth.

        curious, how do you gather a TRUTH without science? How can you make a claim that something is a TRUTH without any information suggesting such? Not a rhetorical question. Asking you this personally.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:30 am |
      • fookinGod

        You are definitely wrong. facts = truth and truth = fact not a subset your talking about. simple as that.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:39 am |
      • G to the T

        I think your definition of "truth" is a bit broader than I would be willing to concede.

        September 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  4. TAK

    Wait, Richard Dawkins is an extremist? Who has he killed, tortured or imprisoned lately?

    September 14, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • deep blue

      Who has Robertson killed, tortured, or imprisoned lately, besides torturing his viewers with his presence I mean (he obviously can't help that).

      September 14, 2013 at 11:01 am |
      • Jason

        As has been brought to light in the past, and will again in the very near future, Pat Robertson has a purported connection to African blood diamonds and gold mining in the Congo. Both of these ventures are notoriously inhumane and, in fact, are condemned worldwide by humanitarian groups.

        Now, I did say "purported" for those who prefer 'innocent until proven guilty'. I would only warn those who would prefer to think Robertson innocent that they not defend him too strenuously lest you end up looking foolish in the future...

        September 14, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • fookinGod

      FookinGod

      September 14, 2013 at 11:40 am |
  5. Nathan

    "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?"

    In principle, I agree.

    But here's the thing. Atheism has no central tenets, no core, shared morality or system of ethics, and no recognized hierarchy of leadership, enlightenment, or training. Not that people don't "follow" Dawkins in the atheism movement, but he's just a dude spouting off offensive things at this point and probably should be getting called to the mat for more and more of them. But while he is an atheist, he holds no official capacity as a representative of atheist thought or interpretation outside his popularity. Pat Robertson, on the other hand, DOES hold an official capacity within his faith, backed by training in interpreting scripture and a self-proclaimed direct line to god. Dawkins' statements are Dawkins' opinions. Pat Robertson claims his statements are often the DIRECT REVELATION of the will of his god.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • deep blue

      And many Christians believe he is full of it. So, perhaps Robertson speaks for some Christians. Some atheists on this forum have defended Dawkins's beliefs, so perhaps some share belief systems with Dawkins. That does not negate the point that there are many Christians that don't want to be associated with Robertson and many atheists, including me, that don't want to be associated with the likes of Richard Dawkins.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:00 am |
      • Nathan

        Agreed. Not only do many Christians not like Roberston, but he doesn't like most Christians by his own admission–openly calling anyone not Southern Baptist as essentially a follower of the anti-Christ. But the point still remains that nothing other than books sales makes Dawkins a leader in atheist thought whereas Roberston has a seminary degree and official ordainment from his faith as a qualified leader and interpreter of god's word. No, he is not representative of all Christians, but he does hold, for his branch at least, official decree of his position and authority, which is what makes the offensive things he says so much worse. Because they are a recognized within many Christian circles as actually having divine inspiration and not merely being his popular opinion.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • counter

      But Robertson is not the representative of Christianity -all of it. Atheist types project that many times, not all the time. RD is pretty representative and he does have tenets. You just are not looking.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:01 am |
      • Nathan

        He has tenets, sure, but atheism does not. At least not central ones derived from the same, shared, agreed upon source.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:05 am |
        • counter

          Atheism tenet- God does not exist. Science must prove that God exists . Not buying your assertion.

          September 14, 2013 at 11:18 am |
        • G to the T

          Counter – Atheist tennant – Because there isn't sufficient evidence of the existence of god, I don't believe in it's existence.

          That's pretty much all of it... anything else is up to the individual. There are "new age" atheists who believe in "energies" and "aliens" but don't believe in god.

          September 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • Honey

          @counter: Not quite. Atheism is merely a lack of a belief in a god or gods. That's it. And "lacking a belief" is not a tenet. Otherwise my lacking a belief that giant purple monkey men live in the core of the moon is a tenet as well.

          Granted, that lack of belief can be an active–or positive–lack of belief (i.e., "I actively claim that there is no god"). But it can also be a passive one (i.e., "I am not claiming definitively that there is no god, but I lack a belief in one due to a lack of evidence"). Many atheists, often self-labeling as agnostic-atheists, fall into the latter camp. Like myself. I won't tell you that there is no god because I don't know. I will tell you that I lack a belief that there is a god because there is absolutely no empirical evidence to support the claim that there is. I share a lack of belief with other atheists, I do not share any central tenets. And any tenets I do share are coincidental, as there is no central, authoritative, or definitive text for atheism or prescribing atheistic beliefs, morality, or other ideas.

          September 17, 2013 at 10:54 am |
      • fookinGod

        if Robertson is using the bible, the same bible used by Christians then he is representing the Christian because he uses the bible where as RD does not use any referential book to say his opinion. I think your argument can be debunked by senior kindergarden.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  6. kati

    "Except the vast majority of Christians are represented by people like Pat Robertson"

    once in a while, it would be nice if athies presented an argument with some meat to it. moron chad, did you count the votes he got?

    September 14, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  7. Beau Zozonli

    Here's a deal: We atheists will abide by the 1st amendment if you Christians will.

    Fat chance of that.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Gorsh

      Expressing their beliefs as protected by freedom of speech?

      September 14, 2013 at 10:58 am |
      • Deez

        Express all you want, but don't change laws to force others to abide by any religious opinions.

        As with everything in science, laws that govern society must be studied, peered reviewed, and agreed upon with as much logic as possible. As opposed to "My religious book says so, so you can't argue with it."

        If you want to run your society by religion, just look at the middle east as an example. If you want to run your society with logic, look to Scandinavian countries (and a lot more).

        September 14, 2013 at 11:06 am |
        • kati

          Deez
          Express all you want, but don't change laws to force others to abide by any religious opinions.
          As with everything in science, laws that govern society must be studied, peered reviewed, and agreed upon with as much logic as possible. As opposed to "My religious book says so, so you can't argue with it."
          If you want to run your society by religion, just look at the middle east as an example. If you want to run your society with logic, look to Scandinavian countries (and a lot more).

          jeez deez, what percentage of Scandinavians are christian? (according to the fundiathie definition?)

          September 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • kati

      you mean like donkey punch pallen?

      September 14, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  8. Jason

    Truce? I don’t think so. There is a glaring difference between Dawkins and Robertson in that one speaks a reality, the other speaks from an antiquated tome full of hate, violence and myth.

    Dawkins didn’t make a gaff. He merely turned his critical eye from Christianity to Islam for a moment and, surprise, surprise, the Muslim community declares Jihad. The most ironic, stupid thing I’ve heard from Dawkins critics is that this proves he is ‘racist’. Since when has ‘Islam’ become a race, not a religion? Since when is Islam off limits to the exact same criticism Dawkins has been giving other religions for years? And how, pray tell, does a barb in the side of Islam translate to a moratorium on Christian foolishness?

    Robertson and other ‘Christian’ mouthpieces like him have a huge following… thus a huge influence… on what ‘Christians’ believe. When these people say things that are supposedly ‘Christian’, yet so off-the-wall that their sanity comes into question, they need to be shown to be the charlatans and snake oil salesmen they are.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      Both Dawkins and Robertson are full of it.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • deep blue

      What Dawkins and Robertson have in common is neither speak for me. Those complaining about Dawkins should not lump me in with him just because I am atheist. That is the authors point.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:57 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        And I agree.

        But comparing Dawkins to Robertson is like comparing Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Smith. All people can be wrong but some people are scam artists and are just dishonest.

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

          you need to compare Robertson and joseph smith. they are both loonies. Jefferson and RD are intellectuals. can discuss anything under the sun.

          September 14, 2013 at 11:53 am |
  9. Charles Darwin

    No deal!!

    This fairy tale needs to have an ending and the book put away for good.
    It's time to grow up folks!

    September 14, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      The end of time and creation will be here soon enough.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:55 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Where have we heard that before...?

        September 14, 2013 at 10:58 am |
      • doobzz

        Any day now...

        September 14, 2013 at 10:59 am |
      • G to the T

        Would you go so far as to say it will happen "within this generation"? Or should we interpret that differently?

        September 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  10. crtRodney_unBeliever

    "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."...
    Well, lady, this is where you just shot yourself in the foot. When it comes to truth, real provable recognizable truth, you can't even tie Richard Dawkins' shoe laces. He is a scientist, he deals in scientific truth, facts, ma'am.

    You however wallow in age old man-made tales. It"s fine if you want to believe in them, but please don't call them truth. A moslem's truth is different from yours. A hindu has a different truth, even baptists can't agree on catholic truth (how funny that is, I've heard numerous baptists say, in person, that catholicism is not a "religion"... priceless). Campare that to the truth that Dawkins works on, that is finding scientific answers to nature, the planet and the universe function. Now that's hard work, and scientists don't burn each other at the stake if and when they disagree, they just work a bit harder to find out what's a true fact.
    What a self righteous, small minded article. Go back to your biblical womanhood, you know where Abraham has multiple wives, where women don't vote, inherit property, are themselves property, get stoned (not in the nice way..) for wearing men's clothes etc... It's all in your lovely bible... good luck.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      Dawkins rejects the scientific method and is not a scientist.

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

        In your world, is the sky blue?

        September 14, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  11. Chad

    // within Christianity and proclaim that they are representative of the whole.//

    Except the vast majority of Christians are represented by people like Pat Robertson. Plus, as other posters have pointed out, what exactly did Dawkins do that is extreme? He talked about his own issues and early childhood trauma. Also, the statements about Muslims is simply accurate. Countries dominated by Muslims are not academic bastions of learning, the same criticism can be applied to Christian fundamentalism, neither Muslim fundamentalist nor Christian fundamentalist contribute any lasting input into academic circles. This is not to say that people who are academics cannot be Christian or Muslim, but those that are academics usually are not fundamentalist and the vast majority of believers ARE fundamentalist.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • deep blue

      Fundamentalist atheists probably don't contribute much either. Have you read any of Dawkins's works of philosophy. They are plain awful.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:53 am |
      • John P. Tarver

        Dawkins and Robertson are both religious leaders, but only one admits it.

        September 14, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      Trauma before the age of 8 can lead to psychological fracture and science says Dawkins is wrong again.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • counter

      Many of our finest universities were founded by Christian people with deeply held Christian beliefs that YOU would call fundamentalist. You are full of it.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:04 am |
      • G to the T

        Contrary to what many would say – intelligence and education are no gaurantee of atheism. Some of the most intelligent people in history have steadfastly believed things I'm sure all modern peoples would find at least unusual, if not bizarre.

        Belief is not contingent on intelligence, but reasonings for beliefs can be. That's why it's so important to test your beliefs and try to be honest about the results. It's also why I would content that science is a better system for defining "truth" because it is self-correcting and depends on independantly verifiable information, rather than internally generated beliefs.

        September 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  12. Kevin

    Poorly constructed argument on behalf of the author; demonstrated very little critical analysis. There is no deal to be made. When our ancestors discovered the world was round in shape and not flat, did we need to say "let's make a deal?"

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

      The Flat Earth Society exists and I suggest every Christian join it now.

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

        Strawman argument. Would debate you face to face anyday.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  13. John P. Tarver

    I think a real atheist ends up in Sheol, or as Christ called it Paradise.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  14. Puzzled in Peoria

    If we authentically follow Jesus, we don't compromise our beliefs, as he did not. There's no need to attack atheists, but on the other hand, I will not say that every religion or even no religion is true.

    Those Christians who steadfastly stand by Jesus words: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me." (John 14:6), are the ones who receive the most scathing criticism, as I'm sure there will be to this post.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • magicpanties

      I "authentically" follow my invisible pink unicorn.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:52 am |
      • John P. Tarver

        Unless you walk backwards that is. Let that "unicorn" heal up panties.

        September 14, 2013 at 10:58 am |
      • notmagic

        You are here looking for God. Your pride and arrogance are standing in the way.
        You are not an intellectual. Denying God does not make you smart. You come on here to make yourself feel superior to other people, because no one can prove God to YOU. If you were actually smart and had something truly great to offer people you would not be posting your silly opinion in the message board of a christian writer's opinion piece.
        It is pretty obvious your postings are a cry for help. They don't say much about the people you try to slander, and say a lot more about you.
        FACT is you are just as bad as what you profess to hate.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  15. JERRY MACINTYRE

    Please list the evils of atheism as I would be curious to know what wrongs I am committing. Religion , no facts , no proof just I believe does not work for me.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      See southern Africa.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:47 am |
      • G to the T

        OMG Tarver – just because some attached the word "Darwin" to "Social Darwinism" doesn't mean he invented it, endorsed it or believed in it. Indeed, "social darwinism" and its basterd child "eugenics" are exactly what happens when someone lets their pre-defined prejudices color their thinking. In true evolutionary terms, there can be no such thing because we are all one species. It was only victorian racism that had people trying to apply his theory to their own prejudices.

        September 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • deep blue

      That's not what the author meant. It was a dismissive comment toward those that pretend that all atheists have the same beliefs as Dawkins. She was clearly disagreeing with the critics.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:49 am |
      • freefromtheism

        then she should have put it in quotes

        September 14, 2013 at 10:50 am |
      • John P. Tarver

        Plenty of atheists know Dawkins is no scientist.

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

          Actually, you reveal your own lack of a fundamental understanding of science. Or haven't you read Dawkins' books about evolution? Or is it that you tried but couldn't understand them?

          September 14, 2013 at 11:05 am |
        • Cricket

          You keep saying that, but as the man said, "I don't think it means what you think it means". Example? Citation? Proof? I submit that if he is not, an awful lot of what should be pretty smart folks have been thoroughly decieved...

          " 1954-1959 Oundle School
          1959-1962 Balliol College, Oxford University
          1962-1966 Research Student, Oxford University (D.Phil., 1966)
          1965-1967 Research Assistant to Professor N.Tinbergen FRS
          1967-1969 Assistant Professor of Zoology, University of California, Berkeley
          1969-1970 Senior Research Officer, Department of Zoology, Oxford
          1970-1990 University Lecturer (US: Adjunct Professor) in Zoology, and Fellow of New College, Oxford
          1989 D.Sc. (Oxford)
          1990-1995 Reader in Zoology (US: "Associate Professor" or "Full Professor"), Oxford University
          1995-2008 Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science,University of Oxford, and Professorial Fellow of New College[5] "

          From RationalWiki

          September 15, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Gorsh

      Few "isms" are inherently evil.

      It is in the implementation.

      The more people bang their chest about how right they are and how wrong others are, the more problems come from them.

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

      No proof of evolution. It's only by faith that one believes in it.
      Atheist killed 20 million in Russia and 60 million in China. That's more than all wars on Earth throughout history.
      Eugenics an extreme evil is the domain of atheism.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:03 am |
      • G to the T

        Vic – it never ceases to amaze me how diametrically opposed we can be on so many things.

        September 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  16. Edward C.

    As an atheist myself, all I ask is that those irritating Bible thumpers stop knocking on my door asking me to join their church. I respect your Freedom of Religion, but you don't respect my Freedom FROM religion!

    September 14, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      Put a flag up, it keeps most of them away.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:48 am |
      • Edward C.

        I live in a new neighborhood, so we are targeted frequently. If it were not against my HOA, I would paint a Pentagram on my front door!

        September 14, 2013 at 10:52 am |
        • John P. Tarver

          The witnesses will flee the flag.

          September 14, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Observer

      No, I will ask a little more than that. Quit trying to infuse your religious beliefs into to government that I live under and the schools that teach my children. I want to spare them from your religious indoctrination and let them find what they see as the truth through their own reflection and study.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:56 am |
      • Jon

        But quite obviously, only discover the truth as you want them to see it. You sound just as bad as the morons that want to send their kids to cools that teach everything based on religion. A healthy mix from which kids can make their own minds up is good.

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

          Excuse me Jon? Where did you get that from my post? You accuse me of the exact opposite position that I tried to support. I never said that I expected them to adopt my positions. My entire point is that I believe this is a journey that they need to make themselves, through their own study, their own reflection, and their own reading. I count myself as an atheist, but if my own children, after their own introspective journey of study, reading and experience, decide they are catholic, jewish, methodist, etc, then so be it. I will respect that decision that they were allowed to make on their own.

          September 14, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Skeptic Al

      I wish religious people would stop coming onto religious message boards and talking about god like it is a fact.

      There is a good reason why I spend 10 to 12 hours a day talking about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. 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So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. I love science and history so I am an atheist. So I come to a religious board to talk about a god who does not exist. I love science and history so I am an atheist.

      And do say I am actually here looking for God. That would be way to obvious and I would have realized that by now.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:57 am |
      • John P. Tarver

        Dawkins rejects the scientific method and is no scientist.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  17. JohnnyAnalog

    Request Denied:

    "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?"

    This statement alone makes anything you say worthless on this topic.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • josiferg

      right on the money. Denied! ms. evens just wants attention so she could be famous and sell more book. idk why CNN is giving her some space. she don't look intelligent enough for a debate. plus the fact her believe in her god shows how unintellectual the debate would be.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:55 am |
  18. Burgermeister

    It isn't clear with whom the author of this article is supposed to be "bargaining". Presuming that Dawkins is a representative for all atheists is as preposterous as presuming Robertson speaks for all religious folk.

    So, with such an ill-defined target, what was the point of this article?

    September 14, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • deep blue

      The purpose of the article is to convince people that they can call Pat Robertson the idiot that he is without pretending that because she goes to church too that she is also an idiot with the same belief system.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      Putin made a better deal than the murder Kerry wanted.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • josiferg

      Nothing. she just wants to sell books which nothing you can learn.

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

        Rachel has much in common with Dawkins then.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  19. fookinatheists

    I'm tired of all these f@#$ing atheists telling me that's there no God. If theres no God then how did david escape the lions den huh? Who pulled that off? Wasn't the big bang that's for sure. Who made Adam and took one of his ribs to make Eve? Oh I know, it must of been a whole lot of nothing exploding into something right? Atheists claim they have a passion for reason, but they have no explanation on why there are still monkeys if monkeys evolved into us! They're a religion! Atheism is a religion! They worship nothing! They teach nothing of morality because there's not God to guide their way! There's a special place in hell for you arrogant atheists! You'll burn in hell for all eternity with your prophets Richard dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.

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

      Literally LOL!

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

      I hope this is sarcastic.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • wth

      poe's law at its finest

      September 14, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Edward C.

      And I am tired of you religious nuts knocking on my door asking me to join your stupid Church. Preach all you want in your little holy sanctuary, but stop bugging me about Faith. I don't knock on your door asking you to stop believing in God!

      September 14, 2013 at 10:48 am |
      • fookinGod

        you know why they are knocking at your door? Cuz their numbers are diminishing which means their money collection is getting small. |Bottom line they want you hard earned $$$$$$. So their leaders can live a comfy life at your expense.

        That is what religion is all about.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • magicpanties

      The answer is simple, my small-minded minion.
      My invisible pink unicorn is responsible for the universe, and yes, she also saved David from the lions, among many other miracles.
      Please don't tell me my unicorn is imaginary, as you cannot prove she does not exist. Therefore, she must.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:50 am |
      • John P. Tarver

        If you rubbed it less your "unicorn" would not be raw and pink.

        September 14, 2013 at 10:53 am |
        • jens gessner

          Whoa, easy there. The pink Unicorn is a clearly a 'he'. How dare you insult the pink unicorn?!

          September 14, 2013 at 11:00 am |
      • fookinGod

        good one. you made me laugh and forget about these religious loonies.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Charles Darwin

      You forgot to mention a talking snake.

      It's cr*p like this that shows how ignorant people are.
      No deal, we just can't stand by and listen to this moronic babble without speaking out against it.
      We didn't start it but intend on winning the battle of ignorance.

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

        slowly these religion is fading away cuz people are getting more intelligent

        September 14, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • dudicus

      uh , its daniel and the lions den, not david bro.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:55 am |
      • fookinGod

        Obviously he is not reading his so called book of god.

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

      This is some good trolling. Congrats.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Mark

      Please learn a little about evolution before you castigate it. Your ignorance is very apparent when you make such idiotic statements. If all organisms must evolve the same way as you indicate, why isn't everything a human? And as to your monkey comment specifically, can you climb a tree as well as one?

      September 14, 2013 at 10:58 am |
      • fookinGod

        Confucius said do not argue with stupid

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

      your so called god, david, adam and eve are all myths, folklore just like puff the magic dragon, Cinderella, alice in wonderland etc.. science is slowly answering some unanswered questions by religion. in time they will be all answered by science.

      I thinking you are creating a new definition for atheism by claiming its a religion. how can that be a religion? enlighten all of us atheist.

      Burn in hell? Look at yourself. where do you think you are?

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

      Stop feeding this troll.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Imagine No Religion

      You are an idiot, and have no ability to logically reason or critically think. You don't even have the ability to Google, because if you did, you'd find that all your lame arguments are easily debunked.

      You are free to live within your 2000 year old delusion all you want, but leave rational thinking to those of us who are trying to move human civilization beyond ancient myths, superstitions, and fairy tales.

      Please get out of the way, and stay out of the way!

      -–
      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." - John Lennon

      September 14, 2013 at 11:07 am |
      • fookinGod

        the so called jesus is another fairy tale courtesy of bible.

        September 14, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Joey

      Most likely there never was a David, and therefore he never had to escape from a lion's den. It makes for a decent story though.

      September 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  20. Wes Scott

    There is one HUGE difference between atheists commenting on Christians and Christians commenting on atheists – atheism is NOT an organized religion where people practice a common belief, whereas Christianity is specifically that, albeit with different interpretations about exactly what Jesus said and believed.

    In other words, atheists are not a group, whereas Christians are most certainly a group identified by their common belief that a mortal man (Jesus) was a god born of the copulation between god the father and a mortal human woman. As an atheist, whenever I speak about anything related to religion I am speaking for myself. When a Christian leader speaks he represents the beliefs of a huge hoard of other people. When I see huge hoards of Christians rising up and overthrowing their leaders, like Pat Robertson, Robert Tilton, Robert Schuller, the Pope, pedophile priests and bishops, Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, Creflo Dollar (who is the ONLY one to use a name that reflects his true mission), Orel Roberts, Jim and Tammye Faye Bakker, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland,Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, Reverend Ike, T.D. Jakes, Joel Olsteen, James Robison, and a few hundred other charlatans like them, then I might start to see a difference between average Christians and those who speak for the Christian community as a whole.

    You are known by the company you keep. If you allow religious leaders to go around blasting people and telling them they are going to hell because of their lifestyle, then don't be surprised when few take you seriously.

    September 14, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • D-

      Stick around. Some of the atheists on this board act a lot like the right-wing fundie xtians they proclaim to hate so much.
      It is nothing new and obvious to everyone but them!

      September 14, 2013 at 10:48 am |
      • doobzz

        Stick around. Some of the Christians on this board act a lot like the left-wing atheists they proclaim to hate so much.
        It is nothing new and obvious to everyone but them!

        September 14, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • fookinGod

      don't you notice? in science when we say 3+3=6 we never question it. In religions there are so many sects that uses and interpret the bible but they can not be one. what does that tell you? bible is a book of fairy tales. so may interpretations results in so may religious sect. how can you believe in the bible which had no definitive answer except god works in mysterious ways. in science if we fail to answer a questions we dig and try again till we get an answer.

      September 14, 2013 at 11:23 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.