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December 7th, 2013
09:16 AM ET

An atheist photographer focuses on faith

Opinion by Mark Schacter, special to CNN

(CNN) - I don’t believe in a divine presence, nor do I subscribe to any organized religion.

And that, perhaps oddly, is why I am drawn to the mystery of faith.

With the wonderment of an outsider, I try to understand the seemingly incomprehensible (to me, at least) pull that faith exerts over so many people's lives.

As a photographer approaching this mystery, I am confronted by what might seem like a contradiction: Photographs capture what can be seen, and yet faith is often invisible.

But even if personal faith can't be seen directly, there are some tangible traces of its existence, and that's where I point my camera.

In particular, I photograph houses of worship, whose bricks and clapboard, stained glass and steel are often the largest and most visible manifestations of religious faith.

I've photographed Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Baha'i sanctuaries in the United States and Canada.

I've also interviewed Christian ministers, a rabbi, a imam and a Buddhist scholar about the significance of their spiritual homes, pressing them to explain how they reconcile their sometimes opulent houses of worship with the fact that religion is ultimately about transcending worldly things.

Often, they answered that the magnificent building is of little consequence. It serves a valuable purpose only if, through its grandeur, it transports worshipers to a spiritual state of mind.

“The point of the building is to leave people feeling awestruck,” said the Rev. Michael Busch, rector of St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto.

But is it the building itself that gives the space a sacred quality, or is holiness derived from the devotions of worshipers, present and past, who have occupied the space?

I don't pretend to know the answer to that question. But I do know this: Even an ardent atheist can look at a house of worship and see the signs of an invisible human longing that is common to us all, believer and unbeliever alike.

Mark Schacter is a photographer based in Ottawa, Canada. Mark's newest book of photography, Houses of Worship, has just been published. It's available now in Canada and will be released internationally soon. His website is www.luxetveritas.net.

The opinions expressed in this commentary belong to Mark Schacter.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Buddhism • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Houses of worship • Islam • Judaism • Mosque • Opinion • Sikh • United States

soundoff (2,235 Responses)
  1. bostontola

    From the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion:

    185 undergraduate volunteers were administered the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility. Low susceptibility was as sociated with perceiving one's mother as slightly religious or not religious (p < .05), and high susceptibility was as sociated with having undergone the experience of being "saved" (P < .05).

    It is likely that humans practiced shamanic healing for many millennia. Studies within anthropology, folklore, hypnosis, medical history, and religion support the point that suggestions from shamanic rituals have medical effects. Shamanic/hypnotic suggestions may reduce pain, enhance healing, control blood loss, etc. Those more responsive to such suggestions would have a survival advantage. As a consequence, shamanic rituals selected for genotypes connected with hypnotizability. With the selection of hypnotizability, modern forms of religious sentiment became possible.

    December 8, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  2. Rainer Braendlein

    The great discrepancy between Sunday and Monday cannot be bridged by magnicficent church buildings. We all need pastoral care in order to find a balance between Sunday and Monday, an evenness, in a highly secularized world where Christianity is about to go down. To unite Sunday-life and Monday-life, a very challenging task, but the issue can be settled through highly skilled and devoted pastors.

    "it transports worshipers to a spiritual state of mind." (a magnificent church building)

    Unquote.

    A believer should always be in a spiritual state of mind, and should not depend on any magnificent building.

    Ain't I right that we compartmentalize too much today. We distinguish between our existence during the work week and our existence in the church as if we could compartmentalize ourselves in two different persons, time-dependent. Of course, we cannot split ourselves in two persons, we are always one and the same person.

    Hence, if we need a magnificent church building to transport us to a spiritual state of mind, then maybe there is something wrong with us. We have failed to remain in God's presence during the work week, maybe, and want to replace that through a spiritual ecstasy in the church building. Monday we get disillusioned again.

    A spiritual state of mind we preserve through exercising love and righteousness during the work week; after that we can gather even in an ugly cottage at the weekend, and be happy nevertheless because God is present through the Holy Spirit. Where the Holy Spirit is present, there is the Temple of God, the Christian Church.

    December 8, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Cynthia

      If you're commenting directly to this guy, it's gonna be wasted, since his first words were "I don’t believe in a divine presence, nor do I suscribe to any organized religion."

      December 8, 2013 at 11:31 am |
      • Rainer Braendlein

        My general purpose is to eradicate misconceptions of Christianity. Nearly every article posted on CNN Belief Blog is full of prejudices, misconceptions, slanders, etc. of the Christian faith.

        December 8, 2013 at 11:37 am |
        • igaftr

          You mean YOUR version of Christianity.

          There are many other christians who disagree with you.

          December 8, 2013 at 11:39 am |
        • Rainer Braendlein

          My version?

          You imply something totally wrong.

          In a American free church any bricklayer interprets the Bible according to his limited mind and heart. That is what you mean with the word "version".

          I don't advertise my version here but the doctrine confirmed by the Protestant Churches (see their old confessional docu-ments), the Bible, the Fathers of the Church. Of course, the Bible has the highest authority but in order to find good access we need the Fathers of the Church and the confessional docu-ments.

          December 8, 2013 at 11:45 am |
        • Science Works

          Hey Rainy what about the ACCENTS ?

          New Fossil Species Found in Mozambique Reveals New Data On Ancient Mammal Relatives

          Dec. 4, 2013 — In the remote province of Niassa, Mozambique, a new species and genus of fossil vertebrate was found. The species is a distant relative of living mammals and is approximately 256 million years old. This new species belongs to a group of animals called synapsids. Synapsida includes a number of extinct lineages that dominated the communities on
          land in the Late Permian (260-252 million years ago), as well as living mammals and their direct ancestors.

          http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131204181813.htm

          December 8, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • Science Works

          * ANCIENTS*

          December 8, 2013 at 11:51 am |
        • Justice

          Amen to that. Right now Christians are being slaughtered in a country where they are the majority. A country that has fallen prey to Islamic radicals who practice the rule of the machete against infidels, kidnap boys to join their forces and slaughter families simply because they're Christian.

          It is no joke what is going on here on this blog. It's a travesty of the power of hatred and indifference.

          God be with our brothers and sisters in Central African Republic and the ones being called upon to help.

          December 8, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • Cynthia

          Oh, I dunno. I see you slandering a large group of Christians on an almost weekly basis.
          I agree with igaftr.

          December 8, 2013 at 11:59 am |
        • sam stone

          well, we are glad we have you to be the authoritative voice of christianity

          you and gopher

          and larry of arabia

          and robert brown

          and fred

          and AE

          December 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
        • Cynthia

          [I don’t advertise my version here....]
          Yes, you do. You advertise your website regularly. You just get deleted because it's against the TOS.

          Justice: what is happening in Africa is awful. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, should be slaughtered because of faith/lack of it.

          December 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
        • ME II

          @Justice,
          I hope your "brothers and sisters" include those of all religions and non-religion who work for peace.

          December 8, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • David

          Misconceptions of Christianity? Then start with Christians – they believe their morality is based on a system rather than an authority who simply says "do what I'm telling you!".

          December 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
  3. Dyslexic doG

    Apple Bush, Colin, Bootyfunk, Doc Vestibule, bostontola, Richard Cranium, Tom, Tom, the Other One, WASP and igaftr, you are all my heroes! Thank you for your work.

    December 8, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • igaftr

      I was R Cranium....decided to change ....I took the name so people who like to change peoples names would have no where to go since I call myself a derogatory name, but it didn't matter. So now my name is an acronym.

      December 8, 2013 at 11:11 am |
      • Cynthia

        I got mine, f the rest?
        Just kidding. What's the acronym stand for?

        December 8, 2013 at 11:35 am |
        • Actually

          Pretty slanderous for someone who takes others to task for slander, Cynthia. Not exactly "Do unto others" and "Judge not, lest thou be judged," but of course we so rarely see Christian posters actually following the mandates they claim as being so important.

          And that loos like an "a" to me, not an "m."

          December 8, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
        • igaftr

          Certainly you need to have interesting abilities. Can you nimbly turn hard in applesauce?

          December 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
        • Cynthia

          I noticed the a after I posted. Sorry.

          Did you notice the just kidding part?

          December 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
        • Cynthia

          Not slandering anybody, nor taking anyone to task, Actually, just having a little fun.
          Idle speculation as to what the acronym was.

          Wow. Sorry if I offended anyone.

          December 8, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • igaftr

          Oh... Ithough you meant what does your acronym stand for (CYNTHIA)

          For mine, you will need to guess.

          December 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • Akira

          I wondered where you had gone, i.

          December 8, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
        • igaftr

          Akira
          I figured you might have spotted it in the writing style or the occasional (attempted) humorous remark...yep...still here

          December 8, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  4. oo oo

    To the contrary, it is more fantastic than we can imagine – hundreds of billions (trillions) of galaxies with hundreds of billions (trillions) of stars, nearly all of which have planets, some right for life; planets so hot that they rain glass; stars made of diamonds;

    and to think i no the one who made them and broadcast them like seed to decorate the universe for me.

    December 8, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      such an infantile, fairy tale explanation of the world. it would be laughable if it wasn't so pitiful.

      December 8, 2013 at 11:08 am |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        Dog , I feel sorry for a person who cannot dream and isn't drawn to beauty and sees it necessary to belittle those who do.

        December 8, 2013 at 11:24 am |
        • ME II

          Dreaming and beauty don't require faith that those abilities were granted by some deity.

          December 8, 2013 at 11:57 am |
        • Actually

          That was pure fiction, though.

          December 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  5. Rainer Braendlein

    "it transports worshipers to a spiritual state of mind." (a magnificent church building)

    Unquote.

    A believer should always be in a spiritual state of mind, and should not depend on any magnificent building.

    Ain't I right that we compartmentalize too much today. We distinguish between our existence during the work week and our existence in the church as if we could compartmentalize ourselves in two different persons, time-dependent. Of course, we cannot split ourselves in two persons, we are always one and the same person.

    Hence, if we need a magnificent church building to transport us to a spiritual state of mind, then maybe there is something wrong with us. We have failed to remain in God's presence during the work week, maybe, and want to replace that through a spiritual ecstasy in the church building. Monday we get disillusioned again.

    A spiritual state of mind we preserve through exercising love and righteousness during the work week; after that we can gather even in an ugly cottage at the weekend, and be happy nevertheless because God is present through the Holy Spirit. Where the Holy Spirit is present, there is the Temple of God, the Christian Church.

    December 8, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Pete

      "and be happy nevertheless because God is present through the Holy Spirit."

      Total hogwash. You don't need a god to be happy. What you are feeling is simply a chemical reaction in your brain that even an atheist can feel when they meditate and simply relax your mind. You don't know what true happiness is because you need a crutch in life through your cult to deal with reality.

      December 8, 2013 at 11:06 am |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        Pete, you need to meditate and relax your mind and ask yourself why it's necessary to attack people of faith .

        December 8, 2013 at 11:27 am |
        • David

          Faith is a delusion and those operating under it are not immune to criticism any more than those who claim to have visited other planets and travel on alien space ships.

          December 8, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • igaftr

          sounded like he is going after the faith and not the person. He just did not use any tact.

          Look up what an iconoclast is. A valid reason to challenge all faiths is to place them into the crucible of truth. It is necessary to challenge even ones own beliefs in order to find what really is...and what really is not.

          "Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip"
          Winston Churchill

          December 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      such an infantile, fairy tale explanation of the world. it would be laughable if it wasn't so pitiful.

      December 8, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • igaftr

      Or...

      You really are in the Matrix and are just programmed to think that way.

      Just as much evidence either way, and just as much evidence for an infinite number of other possibilities.

      December 8, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Cynthia

      Since that quote came from an atheist, if day he was moved by the beauty of the church.
      Or is that reserved soley for goose stepping Christians?

      December 8, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  6. Dyslexic doG

    all of us are born as atheists

    it's in buildings like these that children are systematically mentally abused as parents and priests brainwash them with bronze age fairy stories and the threat of eternal fire and torment if they don't believe.

    these grand buildings are places that retard the progress of the human race.

    December 8, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  7. Doris

    A speech by Bart Ehrman at Stanford about the story behind who changed the bible and why and the history of the bible and how they got tainted. He is a former Christian bible scholar who studied the bible and found the mistakes and became an agnostic.

    This speech is a must see for christians who ask questions like:
    Who wrote the gospels?
    Is the bible the word of God?
    Are there contradictions?
    Does the bible contain errors?
    Is there evidence or proof?

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0zWbL8Uqfw&w=640&h=360]

    Dr. Ehrman, author of over 25 books including three college text books, received his PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary (magna cum laude). He is currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Dr. Erhman just concluded an all-day seminar entitled "The Other Gospels: Accounts of Jesus Outside the New Testament" which was held Dec. 7 at Smithsonian Institution's S. Dillon Ripley Center on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

    December 8, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • lol??

      Bart can't kill the Christian word too fast, otherwise who would need his books??

      December 8, 2013 at 10:20 am |
      • Billy

        you didn't know, lol??? the Word kills itself. information age, dude – wake up. still haven't figured out how many stables Solomon had?

        December 8, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • devin

      His is the story and angle typical of most liberal theologians over the past 150 years. Nothing new here.

      December 8, 2013 at 10:38 am |
      • lourie

        Ehrman certainly has some interesting venues. Who would be similar to him, devin, over the past 150 years?

        December 8, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Realist

      ------–
      ------–

      ... http://www.GodIsImaginary.com...

      ... and thank goodness because he ...

      ............. emanates from the .............

      ... http://www.EvilBible.com

      ------–
      ------–

      December 8, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      thanks Doris!

      the book is so obviously manmade. there may or may not be a god but anyone believing that load of rubbish is either lying to themselves or delusional!

      December 8, 2013 at 10:55 am |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        dog, if you only read one paragraph in the Bible, and it was where Jesus said that we should love one another and love God with all our hearts, you would have read themost important verse it contains.

        December 8, 2013 at 11:37 am |
        • Shell

          lngtrmthnkr, why would an omnipotent being, a "god", need or demand anything from us?

          December 8, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
  8. Rainer Braendlein

    Faith is not always invisible – on the contrary.

    If somebody exercises inbiased love towards his fellow human beings then faith becomes visible. Faith and Christian acting are so strongly connected that you can nearly say Christian acting is faith, and faith is Christian acting. Saving faith is much more than to accept something as true. Today many Christians assume they would get into heaven simply because they accept it as true that Christ died and rose for us, that Jesus had paid the bill in advance. Yet, if this insight doesn't become an acting faith, a faith which leads us from selfishness to unbiased love, then we will face a rude awakening at Judgement Day. At Judgement Day we will only come through when we have overcome our bad old nature through the power of Jesus death and resurrection – Jesus didn't die only for our forgiveness but also in order to set us free from egoism.

    St. Paul said: "Present your bodies as a living sacrifice!" Did St. Paul mean that we should commit suicide? Never! St. Paul meant we should overcome our selfish old nature which is tightly connected with our body through faith in Jesus, and love God and our neighbour.

    December 8, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      unbiased

      December 8, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • igaftr

      "If somebody exercises inbiased love towards his fellow human beings then faith becomes visible"

      False...love and humanity become visible....it is an unjustifiable leap to conclude that love and humanity are from any divine influence.

      December 8, 2013 at 10:04 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        well said!

        December 8, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • lol??

      Egoism is only an unproven theory adopted by the rich. The fraudian Freudians outsmarted themselves. Such is vanity and the ways taught at the Frankfurt School.

      December 8, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      How can we get connected with the releasing power of Jesus' sacrifice?

      The issue is that by reason we often only grasp the atonement character of Jesus' sacrifice, and that could cause that we become worse instead of better after conversion. We could think: "O, Jesus has paid my bill in advance, therefore I can increase sinning, or sin carelessly."

      In order to solve this problem. God has insti-tuted the sacramental baptism where we die together with Jesus, and resurrect together with him. We get connected with the releasing power of Jesus' death and resurrection – we die for the sin, and enter Christ. After we have been baptized there is no more asking if we had the true faith or not but simply increasing Christian acting. On the basis of our baptism we act Christian despite our sinful old nature or body. Of course, this is a life-long process of learning and growing but there is no reason to remain a complete sinner after baptism – that would be fatal.

      December 8, 2013 at 10:09 am |
      • Billy

        Did you forget the part about throwing garlic over your shoulder? I thought that was essential.

        December 8, 2013 at 10:18 am |
      • igaftr

        Ridiculous Rainman....
        I was baptised presbyterian as an infant. That does not make me christian.
        I since learned that the bible was created and is nothing but propoganda.
        Sprinkling magic water on someone has nothing to do with their behavior, and it is society that determines which behaviors are appropriate. Thinking any god had anything to do with it, or that your "good" behavior will find favor with some god...well that has yet to be verified by ANYONE.

        December 8, 2013 at 10:19 am |
        • Rainer Braendlein

          I am very glad that you have been baptized as an infant – yet, don't assume that it was a magical act – it was no magical act but a divine act.

          At sacramental baptism the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is made present, so that our faith is strenghened in an incredible way. Jesus died 2000 years ago in Israel. That barrier of space and time is bridged by baptism. Hence, if you up to now could not believe in Jesus who died so long ago and far off – do it right now refering to your infant baptism where you already met him. Start Christian love towards your fellow human beings right now – overcome your natural selfishness.

          December 8, 2013 at 10:29 am |
        • igaftr

          No rainman...it was neither divine nor magic...it was a ritual. Just because someone said some magic words over water does not mean it somehow changed the water...it is still just water...a simple chemical compound with amazing characteristics...one of the reasons it was incorporated into your relgion is because it was realized that water is a key to life...not divinity.

          Since I know christianity is nothing but a metaphor, and propoganda, I am not a christian because NO ONE is a christian, though many believe themselves to be... until one can show that any gods exist in the first place, AND it is the Abrahamic god, then you would have to determine which of the 40,000 versions of christianity are correct..... a fools errand.
          It is far easier to folow the history and see why your book, your god, and the NT needed to be created, BY MEN...no evidence of divine inspiration... a line showing the previous cultures your story was taken from, and one can see where the wisdom of men was incorporated....just in your version it is not mans wisdom, but something from some deity ( who until the NT was a very vindictive, murderous, egotistical god), who suddenly is all love and flowers.

          Once you see the bible for the progoganda that it is, you can free yourself from the ridiculous stories, false stories and just try to do right by your fellow man.

          Your clinging to those superst!tions helps no one.

          December 8, 2013 at 10:53 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        bronze age voodoo. nothing more.

        December 8, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • sam stone

      faith is a mental process

      mental processes are invisible

      rainy, you are deluded

      December 8, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  9. lol??

    Marxism is a feminit's faith and is very popular where women are given the power of life and death over the next generation. The A&A's are big on legislating their beliefs.

    One hell of a price for you to get your kicks
    Ooooh that smell
    Can't you smell that smell
    Ooooh that smell
    The smell of death surrounds you
    Ooooh that smell
    Can't you smell that smell
    Ooooh that smell
    The smell of death surrounds you

    December 8, 2013 at 9:27 am |
  10. sybaris

    The difference between me and your god is if I saw a baby being ra.ped I would try to stop it

    December 8, 2013 at 9:21 am |
  11. Justice

    It's good to see the mob is still at it. God hasn't had this much attention from non-believers in years. Publicity, good or bad but publicity all the same.

    December 8, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • igaftr

      Yes...Quetzlcoatl is pleased.

      December 8, 2013 at 8:32 am |
      • sybaris

        Why would an omnipotent god need attention?

        December 8, 2013 at 9:16 am |
  12. DC

    atheists obsession with something/someone they don't even believe in is downright hilarious

    December 8, 2013 at 7:20 am |
    • Russ

      Valid point.

      Here's another question – If you learned your religion for the very first time as an adult, would you believe it?

      December 8, 2013 at 7:31 am |
      • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        Or even better, if one was raised in the Middle East instead of the U.S., would be just as likely to be Christian?

        December 8, 2013 at 7:39 am |
        • Russ

          It's also interesting that otherwise intelligent people can also be religious. It's almost as if they can wall of a portion of their brain.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:47 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Michael Shermer called them logic-tight compartments. Perhaps we all have them. Believers use them.

          December 8, 2013 at 9:37 am |
        • Science Works

          Or as the poster Vic tried to classify logic – as one of the senses ?

          December 8, 2013 at 9:50 am |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Russ, it's also strange that a person of obvious intelligence can ignore the obvious signs of creation that are so easily seen ,of course you need to have your eyes open to see them.

          December 8, 2013 at 11:42 am |
        • igaftr

          ing

          What obvious signs of creation?....since no one has ever shown any to exist, by all means...show your evidence so that I may explain to you why it is not evidence of creation.

          December 8, 2013 at 11:48 am |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Igaftr ,You exist, that's an obvious sign of creation. Take a first aid class,learn of all the safety devices in your body to help keep you alive in cases of trauma. Why is the body so well made? why all the safeties built in to prolong life? Just happened by accident? I'm only scratching the surface as the whole of life has many many factors that were obviously engineered into living things to allow the proliferation of life and diversity.

          December 8, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
        • igaftr

          lng
          Nice try, but wrong. The fact I exist is NOT evidence of how I got here.
          Evolution explains the "fine tuning" you speak of, with far better accuracy than god did it, especially since we can trace genetically some of the "fine tuning"

          A tree is a good example of a tree....it is not evidence of how it came to be a tree.

          Try again.

          December 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Igaftr, I also believe in evolution, and many changes over the centuries and eons have come about in our DNA because of environmental changes such as the need for lighter skin tone in the darker skies of northeren Europe,a small example of a switch being thrown in responce to the bodies need for vitamin D.This to me ,says a designer is present.

          December 8, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • igaftr

          "this, to me, says a designer is present"

          Exactly why you will never know reality. Your bias. You have already concluded a "designer" when there is NOTHING to back up the hypothesis.
          The ONLY conclusion you should have is that we cannot reach a conclusion at this time. To have already decided, is to show your bias...preventing you from exploring the infinite other possibilities.

          A fine example of religious teaching getting in the way of knowledge.

          December 8, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          lgaftr , yes ,you caught me. I am biased, I do have a belief in God. But consider that you are also biased in the opposing direction. You seem to assume a lot in that things just randomly happen because they happen .Therefor no designer need apply.Or because evolution made it that way.But who designed the evolutional process.?

          December 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
        • Saraswati

          lngtrmthnkr, Why would the process need a designer? I have no idea whether or not their was one, but to assume one is necessary seems a very strong and unjustified bias.

          December 8, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Sarah, the simple act of life and the processes of the different forms that all have their own systems and their own processes and find nourishment and fit in to the puzzel of the planets life system,speeks to me of a designer. Just as there are many different auto manufacturers making various styles and models of cars that are in no way as complex as life forms ,we know without question they have a designer.Dosn"t it defy reason to not believe in a grand design and a grand designer?

          December 8, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Believing in a "designer" appears to be a very ancient human trait. Humans have worshiped literally thousands of gods throughout history. It's a primitive way to deal with the unknown: Put a human face on it and attempt to bargain with it by offering it things that you value. The more we've learned about the natural processes of the universe, the fewer gods are needed. Perhaps someday, when humans have learned not to fear death, the rest of the gods will disappear.

          December 8, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • sam stone

      it is more amusement with theists delusions

      December 8, 2013 at 7:35 am |
      • Russ

        I don't want to insult or offend anyone because this is a touchy subject. It just comes down to whether or not something is true or not. The Bible is impossible. I'd like it (at least the good parts) to be true, but it just isn't.

        December 8, 2013 at 7:44 am |
        • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          Agree, it would be wonderful if there was such a being, but not jealous, vindictive, cruel one described in the Bible.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:52 am |
        • oo oo

          that's ok russ. i worry about the moment u enter hell. that will be indescribably awful

          December 8, 2013 at 9:46 am |
        • Colin

          Really oo oo? So, your theory of your god is that a person doesn't have to kill, they don't have to steal, nor do they even have to litter. All they have to do is have and honest, reasonable and rational disbelief in the Christian god and he will inflict a gruesom, relentless, tortourous penalty on them a billion times worse than the death penalty. And he loves them

          December 8, 2013 at 9:52 am |
        • oo oo

          i am happy to tell russ that doubt has no bearing on eternal destiny.

          December 8, 2013 at 10:00 am |
        • oo oo

          god, my god and father

          DAD!

          DADDY!

          HELP ME! WHERE ARE YOU? WHY HAVE YOU LEFT? WHERE ARE YOU!!!

          sounds like unbelief expressed by the one who came and died a criminal's death

          December 8, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • lilyq

      There's really no such thing, only people angry at God deluding themselves into thinking if they say He doesn't exist they will appear "intelligent" and at the same time punish God for whatever didn't/doesn't go well in their lives.

      December 8, 2013 at 7:36 am |
      • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        We can't be angry at something we don't believe exists – that would be irrational. But, we can be angry about all the harm believers do when they practice the immoralities that lie inside their ancient belief system.

        December 8, 2013 at 7:41 am |
      • Reality # 2

        Why would your god allow the following:

        Strong circ-umstantial evidence that there is no god (or did they all die as martyrs?)

        Number of god's creations who died horrible deaths from the following diseases:

        1. 300,000,000 approx.
        Smallpox

        2. 200,000,000 ?
        Measles

        3. 100,000,000 approx.
        Black Death

        4. 80,000,000–250,000,000
        Malaria

        5. 50,000,000–100,000,000
        Spanish Flu

        6. 40,000,000–100,000,000
        Plague of Justinian

        7. 40,000,000–100,000,000
        Tuberculosis

        8. 30,000,000[13]
        AIDS pandemic

        9. 12,000,000 ?
        Third Pandemic of Bubonic Plague

        10. 5,000,000
        Antonine Plague

        11. 4,000,000
        Asian Flu

        12. 250,000 or more annually Seasonal influenza

        December 8, 2013 at 8:28 am |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Those are very good questions Reality 2, you should ask him.

          December 8, 2013 at 11:45 am |
      • sam stone

        Or, pompous people thinking they know the mind of this "god"

        December 8, 2013 at 8:53 am |
        • oo oo

          u claim u no his violent thoughts and intentions all the time. and of course u r more pompous than ur father

          December 8, 2013 at 9:49 am |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Or pompous people thinking the mind if God can't be known..If you want someone to love you .wouldn't you want them to get to know you first?

          December 8, 2013 at 11:48 am |
        • Hermit

          lng,
          "If you want someone to love you .wouldn't you want them to get to know you first?"

          They would never get to know me if I spent my (and their) entire life hiding in a sp.ooky mansion...

          December 8, 2013 at 11:58 am |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Hermit, he isn't hiding from you ,you are hiding from him. Any one can know God ,it doesn't take any special person to understand him. The lowliest person on earth can know God, course you have to believe there is one first,and there's the problem.

          December 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
        • Hermit

          lng,
          "Any one can know God ,it doesn't take any special person to understand him."

          Yeah, you can give 'him' absolutely *any* characteristics that you can dream up. Pretty slick, eh?

          December 8, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
        • sam stone

          faith: still hiding behind many screen names?

          jeebus is waiting for you

          December 8, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
        • Hermit

          lng,

          lt sort of reminds me of the old Everley Brothers song, "All I Have To Do Is Dream":

          When I feel blue in the night
          And I need you to hold me tight
          Whenever I want you, all I have to do is
          Drea-ea-ea-ea-eam

          I need you so that I could die
          I love you so and that is why
          Whenever I want you, all I have to do is
          Drea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dream
          Drea-ea-ea-ea-eam

          December 8, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Hermit, Yes I've been called a dreamer,but I'm not the only one maybe some day you will join me and the world will live as one. I like the Everly bros "Dream ,Dream Dream.

          December 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
        • Hermit

          lng,
          "Yes I've been called a dreamer,but I'm not the only one maybe some day you will join me and the world will live as one."

          Touche!

          Fine, as long as you acknowledge that it is a dream - wishful thinking - and don't claim it as fact, without a whit of verifiable evidence, as is your wont with your "God" character and the accompanying fantasy scenarios.

          December 8, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Hermit, It's as real to me as the air I breathe,but I know it is only real to the one who believes. Someday you may feel the way I do ,or maybe not. Life is an experience of discovery,enjoy .

          December 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
      • tallulah13

        It looks like lilyq is just another liar for Jesus. They should start a club.

        December 8, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • igaftr

      DC
      You are quite wrong.
      We do not believe in gods, that is true, but it is the belief in gods that absolutley exists and that is the curious part.
      It is the BELIEF that is being challenged, since it is the belief that has had negative impact on many of us who do not believe as the majority believes.
      Once you understand we know the BELIEF exists, you will see your statement is off base.

      December 8, 2013 at 8:22 am |
      • so so

        "ELIEF that is being challenged, since it is the belief that has had negative impact on many of us who do not believe as the majority believes.
        Once you understand we know the BELIEF exists, you will see your statement is off base."

        ur misconstruction of faith is deliberate and evil. otherwise, u and your other selves would have denounced hitler and sam the donkie puncher

        December 8, 2013 at 9:55 am |
        • igaftr

          get lost troll.

          December 8, 2013 at 10:01 am |
        • oo oo

          nah.

          truth's a pitch ain't it

          December 8, 2013 at 10:07 am |
        • igaftr

          You would not know truth...your posts show that consistantly you are a lunatic.

          Just because one does not come out against sam stone, does not mean they endorse him.
          also, when, where is that lawsuit by the way faith? You claimed it was the biggest lawsuit in US history....that means you expect over a billion dollars because you throw hissy fits.
          Go take your meds and find a nice coloring book.

          December 8, 2013 at 10:13 am |
        • sam stone

          faith/hhari/bethany is nothing but a troll

          faith, suck a 12 gauge

          December 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Science Works

      DC

      Bill Nye: Debate Over Evolution In Texas Schools Is Jeopardizing Our Future

      Posted: 11/23/2013 5:01 pm EST | Updated: 11/23/2013 7:28 pm EST

      That boils down to telling children how se-x works too DC go figure so that means parents did it DC not some god did it !

      December 8, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • sybaris

      It's not so hilarious when your President justifies the murder of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi's because his god whispered in his ear that "it's the right thing to do"

      We really don't need world leaders who take direction from imaginary beings.

      December 8, 2013 at 9:18 am |
  13. Steve

    It's unexplainable, and for me took some time to admit I didn't understand it but can't really explain it away. Whatever God is its there and helpful. I'm not saying I believe in an afterlife and a plan. But I won't mock it either. If you are an atheist and at peace and content then you really don't have a reason to understand or obtain faith imo.

    December 8, 2013 at 7:12 am |
    • Russ

      Question for debate: All-in, has religion been a "net positive" or "net negative" for humans since their beginning?

      Although religion is fictional, it's undeniable how behavior is influenced.

      December 8, 2013 at 7:26 am |
      • sam stone

        i think you can argue both sides

        December 8, 2013 at 7:36 am |
      • oo oo

        wrong question

        December 8, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • sybaris

      If your child came up to you and told you that 2+2=fish would you correct them?

      With that analogy maybe you can start to understand how Atheists feel about religionists.

      December 8, 2013 at 9:20 am |
      • igaftr

        " May I mambo dog-face to the banana patch?"

        Steve Martin on teaching your child wrong.

        December 8, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  14. BO

    If you don't stand for anything, you will eventually fall for anything.

    December 8, 2013 at 6:52 am |
    • OB

      Nice trite phrase, there, BO, but a little thought will show that not standing for something is no guarantee that you will fall for anything, and standing for something is no guarantee you won't fall for anything.

      December 8, 2013 at 7:13 am |
    • sam stone

      great bumper sticker philosophy. if you get your philosophy from a bumper sticker, that is

      December 8, 2013 at 7:39 am |
      • oo oo

        u get urs from the comic books of dm murdock

        December 8, 2013 at 10:05 am |
  15. Aj

    Wow... This is in the latest news. There isn't like a cat stuck in a tree somewhere? Someone was tipping cows? A murder in a park? Anderson Cooper miss his flight to some war torn town? CNN is hurting for some stories. Big clue here guy, biggest secret to faith is don't block it... You got nothing to lose. Very prominent and incredibly smart people lived their lives with faith, notables LeMitri who proposed the Big bang theory was a priest, Galileo who despite everything he went through with the state and churchnever gave up on his Christian prpractices and look at the timeless legacy he left. Anyways....

    December 8, 2013 at 6:52 am |
    • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      Yes, people who had (or choose to have) little awareness of the real world tend to believe in things that are not true.

      December 8, 2013 at 6:54 am |
      • lilyq

        You mean they aren't true ... for you. You cannot speak for anyone but yourself.

        December 8, 2013 at 7:09 am |
        • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          I can speak for myself and as a former believer understand why many will not speak for themselves – fear of an imaginary eternal punishment.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:12 am |
        • Whammy

          Truth is singular. Its "versions" are mis-truths. Belief can vary from individual to individual, but there is only one truth. Believing something to be true does not make it so.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:23 am |
        • lilyq

          @whammy Amen to that!

          December 8, 2013 at 7:38 am |
        • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          "Truth is singular. Its "versions" are mis-truths. Belief can vary from individual to individual, but there is only one truth. Believing something to be true does not make it so."

          Ah, finally, something we can agree on. There is only the truth, and there will always be what many people choose to believe. Believing something to be true does not make it so, and the more voices behind it does not make it any truer.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:44 am |
      • lilyq

        Right. For yourself only.

        December 8, 2013 at 7:21 am |
  16. Sporkle

    "Often, they answered that the magnificent building is of little consequence. It serves a valuable purpose only if, through its grandeur, it transports worshipers to a spiritual state of mind."

    Nonsense. People don't spend money on opulent churches just for the possibility of inspiring "a spiritual state of mind". They make a big, shiny church for one reason only: to attract suckers. If it weren't a worthwhile investment in terms of luring a cache shallow churchgoers, it would never get built.

    December 8, 2013 at 6:09 am |
    • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      Not true. Churches are monuments to belief.

      December 8, 2013 at 6:12 am |
      • Sane Person

        More like monuments to the gullible.

        December 8, 2013 at 6:43 am |
        • Chris

          Right...Just like people who buy books by a guy (Christopher Hitchens) who says atheist communists should be considered theists and Martin Luther King was not a true Christian...and who lost debates to William Lane Craig and Rowan Williams are not gullible.

          December 8, 2013 at 6:56 am |
        • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          "...who lost debates to William Lane Craig and Rowan Williams are not gullible."

          I have absolutely no doubt that you truly "believe" Hitchens lost those debates. Deluding yourself won't make the truth any less true.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:03 am |
        • lilyq

          @Youtube, EXACTLY

          December 8, 2013 at 7:10 am |
      • lilyq

        Churches are where we go to worship God. It's God's house.

        December 8, 2013 at 7:13 am |
        • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          No, it's not God's house, it's the worshipper's house, and they decide you they accept and don't. God, if he truly existed, would accept all, unconditionally.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:21 am |
        • lilyq

          Oh. You who do not believe in God know what God would do if he were real? Oh bless your heart.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:22 am |
        • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          Absolutely. We can imagine, as you do, a love greater than any human love we have ever experienced. Why is that so difficult for you to understand?

          December 8, 2013 at 7:29 am |
        • lilyq

          Absolutely you can imagine but you do not know. Isn't that what you meant to say?

          December 8, 2013 at 7:31 am |
        • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          We can only know an emotion when we experience it, rather than trying to convince ourselves that we have experienced it.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:47 am |
  17. Steve

    The oddest thing how viciously the atheist attack something they say is not real.

    Do you feel threatened by our supposed fantasies?

    December 8, 2013 at 5:44 am |
    • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      That's an interesting question. I think that an honest answer is "yes," some of us known the discrimination that is practiced by believer upon non-believers, the ridicule. Also, when one believes in an afterlife one tends to pay less attention to the hear and now, because it is not important. That partially explains why so many people walk around in a daze about our diminishing mineral and energy resources, overpopulation, pollution, crime, etc.

      So, I guess religion is harmful in a sense as well as providing a sense of tranquility (which is beneficial) to those who are unable to accept and deal with reality.

      December 8, 2013 at 6:00 am |
      • lilyq

        Most of us know discrimination practiced on believers by nonbelievers.

        December 8, 2013 at 7:16 am |
        • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          You are being dishonest with yourself. Believers are in the vast majority and one but has to browse your local place of worship to hear what the majority think about the minority.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:22 am |
        • lilyq

          I wish I understood where you are coming from, your perspective, because you seem to have all the answers for that which you have no understanding.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:26 am |
        • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          Having been a believer, I heard the whisper belief of the members of the church which differs from their promulgated professions. Please, we all know it's true.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:34 am |
        • lilyq

          Please. You know what is true for you.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:38 am |
        • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          Now your are being dishonest about what you know to be true – whisper belief.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:48 am |
        • sybaris

          When you are the majority you are not experiencing discrimination, you are experiencing the minority's push for equal rights

          December 8, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Sporkle

      Let's turn your comment on its head. I'm guessing you believe Islam's version of God is a fantasy. Since their version of God doesn't exist, you're not afraid of it. Thus, by your logic, you should have no problem with Muslims making up 80-90% of your country's population, voting primarily for Muslim candidates, and constantly striving to make their belief system the law of the land - as is the case with Christians in the United States. How odd that anybody would oppose such a thing.

      December 8, 2013 at 6:16 am |
      • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        Are you talking about the same version that leads some people to fly jets into building or explode bombs strapped to believers? Yes, I am concerned about that. I also concerned about them cutting people's hands off as a form of punishment.

        With them, Christians share some of their bigotries and discriminations (women, s-exual, racial), so while I don't believe, it does not make me unconcerned.

        December 8, 2013 at 6:23 am |
        • Sporkle

          I wasn't referring to extremism in particular, but let us not pretend that Christianity has never inspired terrorism.

          I was thinking of some of the features that a nation as Muslim as America is Christian might have. Maybe women would be expected to wear a hijab. Perhaps alcohol would be prohibited. Certainly our leaders would be almost all Muslim, and even the more secular among them would always be careful to avoid offending Islam. And of course there would be those on the right, advocating for Muslim prayer in schools, not worrying about how the few Christian children might be impacted, and doing whatever they can to write bits of Sharia into the law of the land.

          I don't think any of this is far-fetched - it's just the Muslim version of our predominantly Christian nation. As a non-Muslim, would you just let this happen? If your answer is "no", you're beginning to understand how it feels to be a non-Christian in the United States.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:06 am |
        • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          Oh, please stop with all the "why is everybody picking on little ole US," routine. No one is preventing you from teaching your creationism in your church, or whatever else you want. It's a free country and foolish adults are allowed to submit themselves to all sorts of things. Just keep it away from the rest of us who don't share your brand of religious morality and understanding of the world.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:27 am |
        • Sporkle

          Was that reply for me? I'm not a Muslim, I'm just pointing out how even "moderate" aspects of religion - including Christianity - shouldn't be imposed on people or codified into law. Your "keep it away from the rest of us who don't share your brand of religious morality" is exactly how I feel. Unfortunately, most Christians only apply that notion to "other" forms of belief.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:35 am |
      • Science Works

        The child ABUSE – mental – physical – se-xual (RCC) is what sparkie ? (scary bad)

        Clue they all should be in jail ! 14 years in jail for cutting ?

        Female genital mutilation a 'huge problem' in U.K.
        An estimated 66,000 girls and women affected, no prosecutions

        By Gabrielle Fahmy, CBC News Posted: Dec 04, 2013 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Dec 04, 2013 5:07 AM ET

        http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/female-genital-mutilation-a-huge-problem-in-u-k-1.2439423

        December 8, 2013 at 6:55 am |
    • sam stone

      i feel annoyed by the legislation of your fantasies

      December 8, 2013 at 7:40 am |
    • Jeff Williams

      """Do you feel threatened by our supposed fantasies?"""

      Not at all. 'Exasperated' is a better way to describe it.

      December 8, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  18. Belief Is Your Choice

    I was rasied Catholic. Do I believe in a high power or a great unexplained force. Yes I do. But I do not take what the bible says word for word just more as a guide book/story book that teaches the good and bad. And I also love to learn about different religions from around the word. I like this article a lot because it was written in a way that dosent say religion is bad or anything to that effect just that a an atheist can have a place in a house of worship even if it is as a spectator.

    December 8, 2013 at 5:39 am |
    • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      As a former Catholic and religious person, I do appreciate that church brings people together once a week to think about morality, even though there are some immoralities mixed in – religion is a work in progress. Atheism does not have that and I often wonder what most people, who do no seek intellectual enlightenment over reality tv and Monday night football, would fair without religion. The sociopathic postings of some atheists on these and other boards should give all of us pause as to whether atheists have a superior morality as we profess.

      December 8, 2013 at 6:06 am |
      • Sporkle

        Have you read any Daniel Dennett? He seems interested in many of the same questions as you. The "everything associated with religion is bad" approach is ridiculous on its face; Dennett tries to examine the value of religion to society from an objective viewpoint, examining whether it is a net positive despite being based on fantasy.

        December 8, 2013 at 8:10 am |
        • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          I did see an interview with him, Hitchens, Dawkins, and one other person. They were asked this very question and Dennet was the only one who had reservations about the elimination of religion/would we be better off, while acknowledging that religion still does great harm. It's one of those "be careful what you ask for."

          December 8, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      """I do not take what the bible says word for word"""

      Why not? How do you know what to use and what to discard? The most fervent take it literally. There is no cherry picking.

      At the fundamental core of christianity is a god which promises a glorious afterlife to its true believers — but only if they zealously adhere to myriad rules that forbid or strictly limit basic human pleasures in this life. And the more fervent you become, the more frivolous and life-restricting are the rules you must obey.

      Most people would agree that ‘thou shalt not kill’ or ‘thou shalt not steal’ are reasonable rules, but at the other extreme you have people in so deep they’re not allowed to make a phone call on a Saturday.

      You, on the other hand, are apparently trying to distance yourself from what you believe are falsehoods in the bible. What does that tell you? It tells me that you are advancing intellectually despite your childhood brainwashing. Keep up the good work.

      December 8, 2013 at 9:53 am |
  19. Create-A-Bug

    There are myriad of beliefs and religions that got corrupted by human hands as any other thing in world. In that sense we can drive a very good relation between religions and environmental corruption as both been handled by humans desires/ actions, so my modest conclusion that almost all current religions/ belief systems have been engineered to serve as any other product with an expiration date. So I believe that re-examining our person one's beliefs is the right direction to discover the True God/ Creator of the universe, it has to be one out there that is "human hand" free:). we just have to keep looking.

    December 8, 2013 at 5:34 am |
    • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      There may be forms of existence that go beyond what we understand, but I have not seen any evidence of that despite hundreds of years of scientific tools and thousands of scientists available for the investigations of such claims and phenomena.

      December 8, 2013 at 6:09 am |
  20. Anonymous First

    Personally, I believe it's very self centered to maintain the belief life is a random series of events that just occurred through time. We are tiny beings on a sphere, spinning through an infinite galaxy. That things just "ARE" makes no sense to me. Believing in a superior being (regardless of what you call Him) seems no more silly than thinking that the universe just IS. Where did particles come from? They just.... are?!? Seems like a similar argument for God, if you ask me. I don't discount evolution; I, like many other Christians, do not take all the teachings of the Bible literally. There's quite a bit of insightful brilliance in the Bible, should you open your mind to it.... even if you don't believe the Word, you might at least respect it with a bit of context! Anyway, how is love rational through evolution, if there's no God? That's an aspect that's always tripped me. Romantic love serves very little purpose for propagating the species. Maternal/paternal love, yes, but an inclination towards monogamy... jealousy playing a heavy factor.. just doesn't fit. Without bonding emotions, we'd still be able to pro-create- more so, in fact- just like animals. Anyway, I'm not trying to change any minds here, but faith isn't such a bad thing. All believers struggle with faith from time to time... it's natural. But, feeling completely loved in spite of your flaws, your screw ups.... trusting in redemption... aiming to help others who are in need...it's pretty special. Most Christians don't judge, honestly. We're certainly not perfect. Maybe, in some ways, we're less perfect- that's why we need God more? And, we're vocal, not because we want you to be wrong, but because we want you to feel that same sense of being unconditionally loved. The same sense of purpose, hope, optimism. Anyway, enough said on this platform. Just wanted to throw my two-cents out there!

    December 8, 2013 at 5:21 am |
    • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      "Anyway, I'm not trying to change any minds here, but faith isn't such a bad thing."

      Indeed, atheism requires more strength than belief does. Being honest about the meaning of all the discoveries in science and the contradictions, accepted immoralities, errors and revisions of the Bible despite the vast majority of the population still doing so, sometimes at peril to one's or one's family and social acceptance, requires incredible strength.

      December 8, 2013 at 5:56 am |
    • Street Epistemologist In Training

      Faith can be defined as pretending to know things you do not. Are you pretending to know things you do not? Isn't "I don't know." a more honest and rational answer than "God did it."?

      December 8, 2013 at 6:55 am |
      • lilyq

        Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.

        December 8, 2013 at 7:19 am |
        • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          You are right about one thing and one thing only, faith is that which is only hoped for. Just ask the millions who perished in Germany during WWII. A whole lot of hoping went on, unanswered, and millions suffered and died. Horrible things happen when people of conscience choose to do nothing. Me? I'll set "faith" aside, roll up my sleeves, and help bring about change for the better.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:37 am |
        • lilyq

          Oh here we go with that tired argument. You think because a believer has faith that God will do his bidding? No. Bad thing happen to good people. We are not and have never been promised a life on this earth free from trial and tribulation. It's not what happens to us it's what we do about it and with it.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:41 am |
        • Youtube - Neil deGrasse Tsyon - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          Please, stop deluding yourself by inventing falsehoods to explain your belief.

          December 8, 2013 at 7:56 am |
        • Street Epistemologist In Training

          "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen."

          What does that mean? How can faith (pretending to know things you don't) have real substance? How can faith (pretending to know things you don't) be evidence?

          The above is a fine sounding set of words, but does it have any real meaning?

          December 8, 2013 at 8:10 am |
        • igaftr

          lilyq
          Faith is willfully ignoring what is and what we know, abandoning logic and reason, for what you WANT to believe is true.

          December 8, 2013 at 8:13 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.