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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. bushgirlsgonewild

    It sounds like your heart and "spirituality" are in conflict. I'll bet you have some trouble reconciling why the God you believe in would send nice people to hell, to be tortured forever.

    December 11, 2013 at 12:30 am |
    • Peggy

      My friend,

      Really? Does God send good people to hell? I think not.

      December 11, 2013 at 12:41 am |
      • bushgirlsgonewild

        Chuck Smith would disagree with you. (but not anymore, technically.)

        December 11, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
      • Noel

        So, you're saying that as long as I live a good life, (I won't rehash things I've done, I've done that in past posts), but I, and many others, would consider "myself" to be exceptionally moral.

        So, according to you, I can live my life just the way I've been, don't believe there is a god period, never has been, never will be, and I think that while Jesus existed as a person at some point in history, my personal feelings based on things I've read and research I've done, was that he was a trouble maker, with delusions of grandeur, and possibly a little schizophrenic.

        Many people would say that my dis belief in a god that is described by any organized religion, and my rejection of jesus christ as our savior, and feel he was just another person, those two things alone would be sufficient to keep me out of heaven. I've always disagreed, and think that even if there is a heaven, I'll be there when I die, because any actual god worth having doesn't need or want your belief, and wouldn't keep a good person to their core out of heaven....let alone burn and suffer for eternity in hell. If it turns out he IS the god most christians think and would turn me away. Good, Great even! I wouldn't want anything to do with him, and could probably be of better use in hell in making sure god is endown permanantly so no more "good people" have to spend eternity in agony. I mean, he really doesn't sound better than a Jeffrey Dahmer if he's the type of god most christians believe he is.

        So, in summation, thank you for being one of the few who think I'd get into heaven anyway, but the truth fo the matter is, I wouldn't want to be anyplace a "god" would keep someone like me out of. I'd rather go to hell.......only with my ideas and intelligence, I doubt Satan would have me suffer. High ranking officer right from the get go I figure.

        December 11, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
      • Banker

        There are no good people, only saved sinners and lost sinners. God gave us everything we need to know in the Bible and if you reject it, you'll have no one to blame but yourself when you die.

        December 13, 2013 at 12:20 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Bullsh!t. There's no actual (objective, factual, independent, verifiable) evidence to support the existence of any god or any of the alleged supernatural events in The Babble. You are mentally ill – delusional – get professional help (not from your cult's shaman). Merry Christmas!

          December 13, 2013 at 12:37 am |
        • bambibones

          You are responding to a mainstream, current, Christian theology that defines the world as being about God and sin – and humans. But Christian theology hasn't always been what it is today. Jesus himself probably wouldn't recognize the theological constructs created around him. Most of what we think we know about God and sin came from Paul – and there was a series of battles – and lives lost – before the whole redemption theme was accepted as, literally – gospel truth.

          I'm not a Christian, but I know that Christianity is more than the heaven/hell/sin/redemption package to which you are responding.

          December 13, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
      • Scott

        Well if GOd is the almighty creator, didn't he create hell? If he didn't then who created god? That would imply something existed before god. Does that mean that there is a super god that govers all gods out there? Can we call him "supe"?

        December 13, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • lol??

      Jesus warned the wurld. There are no good people. He has standards.

      December 11, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
  2. Peggy

    I am in the process of writing a book on how a young atheist helped me to strengthen my spirituality and belief in God. Atheists are great people who take moral responsibility for their actions and are careful how they treat others. Perhaps the ones I meet happen to be quality people. They do not have to believe in God if they do not wish to do so. Oddly enough, when I explain the basis of my faith, they agree that I should believe. The human part of me really like atheists. I enjoy their company and trust them. The spiritual part of me find them irrelevant.

    December 11, 2013 at 12:19 am |
    • Dandintac

      Peggy–thank you for your kind words. Not what I usually get from Christians in all honesty. Usually it's Hellfire and damnation, or charges of stupidity and personal insults.

      I have never agreed with anyone that they should believe in gods though. Would you mind trying me? I'll tell you if I agree, or if I don't then why I don't think such reasons justify belief. Thanks.

      December 11, 2013 at 1:11 am |
  3. NaphiSoc (@NaphiSoc)

    My mother was both an Atheist and an architect. She also admire religious architecture and I have that love too.
    I went to a private high school and our chapel – for the Christians – it was a secular school – was model on a chapel in France and Mom always wanted to see it – it was a grand space.

    I like the Catholic I believe church in San Francisco across from the Pagoda at J-town and the chapel at Valpo U in Valporaiso IN and some churches in architecture rich Columbus IN of all places and the meditation space at MIT in Cambridge Mass.

    I became a non-theistic Buddhist at age 19 – but appreciate the magnificence of some religious spaces.

    December 10, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • bushgirlsgonewild

      Yes, but too bad these photos don't show anything close to magnificence or inspiration.

      December 10, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • lol??

      Buddha was a spoiled rich brat. But what the hey, there's no money in working for the poor, unless yer a socie leader.

      December 11, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  4. Veronica

    To you all who need proof: God doesn't owe you any proof, but I feel the proof of his existence more and more the closer I get to him by obeying his word. We are just tiny beings in Gods universe and he doesn't owe you anything but he loves you anyways so why send yourself to eternal punishment when it's so easy to believe!

    December 10, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      God isn't walking around telling us he exists. So you're right, he doesn't have to prove anything. People like you are the ones saying he exists. It's YOU that should show us proof.

      December 10, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
      • Veronica

        Here's proof plus the fact of all the prophecies that have come to pass.
        http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Scientific-Proof-of-Bible.php

        December 10, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          There is no evidence for the creation myth. All evidence points away from a personal god.

          December 10, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
        • oo oo

          U have no evidence to support your claim and u no u don't. U r a liar

          December 10, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
        • Ved

          If God doesn't need to prove anything, then why do you, who have faith, feel that you need to prove anything. Instead of trying to prove your faith, just say that you have faith, and by definition, faith is not something one questions or tries to prove. The very act of trying to prove your faith devalues it. Just believe what you believe and let others without faith believe, or not believe what they do. You won't convince anyone any more than they can convince you.

          December 10, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
        • Noel

          Really Veronica? You can post that link, with a straight face, and claim it as "proof"? I checked it out for curiosities sake, because usually you don't see websites, or theists in general put this kind of stuff in print..............and now you know why. That was one of the FUNNIEST things I've read in a long time. Just given the fact that this is claiming to be EVIDENCE for god's existence, when all any of those really are, are the ones that science didn't disprove, none of which, either prove or disprove god. I mean really??? Like this one: "Blood is necessary for life-Leviticus 17:11, Date of Discovery By Man – 19th Century". W, wh, what?!?!?! There is so much wrong with that I don't know where to begin. First of all, I don't think man discovered you needed blood to live until the 19th century. I'm pretty sure the very first cave man who stabbed another and watched as he bled to death figured that one out all on his own. Then, to claim that the bible wrote that too as evidence for your argument? HOW?!??!?!?! Because they took something man kind had known about for hundreds of thousands of years before that and put it in a book????? Ok, fine. "you need air to live". See? See what I did? I took something that's been known about forever, put in books and print millions of times, but now I'VE said it and put in print. Wait, you're telling me science has also verified this to be fact??? Oh.......My.......GOD!!! LITERALLY! Because using your logic, I now am my own living proof that I am the God of god! Sweet!

          Well, at least the debates over. You can all just start believing in me now, praying to me.....if you'd like me to write down a bunch of stuff that is hard to understand and contradicts itself, I will, but I'll make sure dozens of people get their hands on it first, change it to their liking and to what suits their needs, then pass it off as my original word. So, yeah, I'll do all for you. Just be sure, more important than anything, is you change the address to where you're currently sending your religious money to my address. And remember, if you don't send me your money, or anger me in any other way, you'll spend eternity in the POLE!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, it's exactly like hell, but switch the heat and fire out for cold and ice.

          That is all. You'll never hear from or see me again, BUT DON'T YOU EVERY DOUBT ME! After all, I've been proven as fact by one of your owns criteria.

          December 10, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        Veronica, a website. God is reduced to a website. sad.

        December 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
        • bushgirlsgonewild

          That must mean angels are java code, Satan is malware, and baby Jesus is a link.

          December 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          LOL

          December 11, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Bob

      Nope, Veronica, a "god" that would threaten us with eternal punishment, especially for some relatively mild "transgressions" of a short mortal lifetime, doesn't "love" us. Such a creature would simply be a vicious ASS HOLE. It is just that simple, stupid.

      Go make yourself a better god than that, since it seems that you really have a need to get down on your knees to something.

      December 10, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
      • Veronica

        God is holy and we are sinners so we can't stand in the prescence of God in Heaven. So Jesus is our sacrifice so we can go to Heaven. Hell wasn't created for us but if we don't accept this sacrifice, that's what we deserve. Our mistakes and sins are covered by Jesus alone. Just pray and repent, it's easy, free fire insurance.

        December 10, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Evidence that people will believe anything. And if this is a put on I'm the gullible one.

          December 10, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
        • Veronica

          I'm sorry you feel that way. I really wish you well and you'll find the peace I have with Jesus. I didn't always believe and God helped me and he's not done with me or you yet. The gullible ones belong to Satan but the faithful will find truth. Love you all who are reading this. I'm sad for unbelievers. Find your own truth, just read the Bible and truth will find you.

          December 10, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
        • Bob

          Veronica, your beliefs in your sky fairy are pathetic and stupid. Your god as you describe it plainly would be an ASS HOLE, for threatening eternal torture for "sins" of a short mortal lifetime, and would be convicted of human rights abuse by any reasonable set of jurors. So, please stuff your sales pitches for your ass hole in the sky, where the sun don't shine. Seems that is the place for your ass hole "god" anyway.

          December 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
        • Bob

          Veronica, your beliefs in your sky fairy are pathetic and stupid. Your god as you describe it plainly would be an ASS HOLE, for threatening eternal torture for "sins" of a short mortal lifetime, and would be convicted of human rights abuse by any reasonable set of jurors. So, please stuff your sales pitches for your ass hole in the sky, where the sun don't shine. Seems that is the place for your ass hole "god" anyway.

          December 11, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
      • oo oo

        What a boob

        December 10, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
      • Fallacy Spotting 101

        Post by 'Veronica' includes a form of the flawed argument known as "Pascal's Wager".

        http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

        December 11, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • bushgirlsgonewild

      Hell probably doesn't exist any more than your god, but if he does , HE sends people the. I am not a believer. If you are right, and I die right now, I don't send my self there, your loving god does. And you must believe I deserve it.

      December 10, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
      • oo oo

        Wrong. But if it helps u....

        December 10, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
      • Veronica

        Whoever goes to Hell puts themselves there because they were sinners without the sacrifice of Jesus. He did everything to show us the way to Heaven. It's not all about proof, it's by faith alone.

        December 10, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          The hell you believe in is part of the Christian myth. The myth has more adherents with it than it would if hell were not included in it. So hell is included in it.

          December 10, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
        • Hear This

          V,

          No, "Jesus" didn't do everything he could to show us the way to heaven, unless he's really not all that smart and not all that powerful, not all that loving, and not all that just.

          December 10, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
        • bushgirlsgonewild

          Ok, let's try this once more: I die. I choose NOT to go to hell. I end up there. How the hell did that happen? Someone sent me there. Says so in the bible.

          December 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • No Evidence

          Sin is a man made concept Veronica. I'm glad you're happy but mental hospitals are full of happy deluded people.

          January 21, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
    • bushgirlsgonewild

      If god isn't into proof, why did Jeses supposedly appear to disciples after his death? To deliver proof.

      December 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  5. Autumn

    Jesus is the only way to Heaven and if you reject this, it will be too late after death when you finally see the truth. Jesus loves you and weeps for you! I care about you, please read the Bible and you will feel HIM.

    December 10, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      You mean it won't be a priest I'll be feeling.

      December 10, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Hear This

      If "Jesus" is weeping, it's his own da.mn fault. He could change it with a wiggle of his nose.

      December 10, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • Joey

      I read the bible, that is how I know most of it is not true.

      December 11, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
  6. Ivy

    To the author:

    What is the scripture verse in picture#1?

    December 10, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  7. oo oo

    Dandintac
    I'm sure 2000 years ago, vast numbers of believers in Zeus claimed to have transformed lives as well. Ever hear of Satya Sai Baba? Huge numbers of people claimed to have had their lives transformed by his religion as well.
    Hard evidence please? Something we can test and verify?

    present their testimony, if u r sure

    cross examine the hundreds of millions of witnesses to verify or discredit them. their voices join in a chorus heard across the centuries of time and throughout the nations, races, gender, ages and social and economic status.
    combine it with the written accounts from the first century through the present book of Acts chapter 2013 verse 12/10. add nature and the laws that govern our world and the incredible appearance of human beings

    and find out for yourself. this data is sufficient to warrant further investigation. iow, do not accept these things as proof. use it as a launch pad. HE IS or he isn't. ask him

    December 10, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  8. oo oo

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

    maybe, if i become an atheist, I'll grow up and begin 2 c true beauty in the universe. what do u have 2 do 2 become an atheist

    December 10, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • oo oo

      r their dues? supreme leaders? tenets of faith?

      December 10, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • doobzz

      "what do u have 2 do 2 become an atheist"

      Engaging a few brain cells would be a good start.

      December 10, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • oo oo

      r their dues? supreme leaders? tenets of faith? no?

      December 10, 2013 at 11:32 am |
      • .

        No, idiot, there's not.

        December 10, 2013 at 11:43 am |
        • .

          In other words, you don't have to ti.the 10% to your preacher, nor read a fable, nor come on a BB and steal names.

          You do good works without the threat of something in your future.

          Maybe once you get out of 7th grade and grow up a little, you can do that.

          December 10, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  9. Mitt

    Those pictures capture very nicely the serenity and peace inside the Chapel and the Synagogue.

    I will lift up my eyes unto the hills...

    Psalm 121:1

    December 10, 2013 at 8:27 am |
  10. pbuotte

    It is clear that it takes an unbiased atheist to show the diversities of faith. The MYsteries of faiTH = MYTH

    December 9, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • Gentle Godlessness

      I've never met an unbiased atheist.

      December 10, 2013 at 12:24 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        i've never met an unbiased anyone.

        December 10, 2013 at 9:21 am |
        • Akira

          Right?

          December 10, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Same here. If such a being existed it would likely be a god.

          December 10, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
  11. hearties

    Jesus taught everywhere, all over the place, road sides, hill sides, at the shore... Jesus was a teaching machine, one third of the planet believes him. He can't be matched for what he did for us. You will need more than just pictures of empty buildings to understand him.

    December 9, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • bushgirlsgonewild

      Jesus taught all over the place? Was he ever in LA? I THINK OF JESUS AND SPIDERMAN had a fight, SpiderMan would win. So there...

      December 9, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      After further review:

      Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

      earlychristianwritings.com/

      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      December 10, 2013 at 12:08 am |
    • doobzz

      Why does Jesus have to be carried everywhere by humans?

      December 10, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  12. hearties

    Jesus said to pray in a closet. Where are the pictures of closets?

    December 9, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  13. Angela

    In terms of charity work, the religious cannot be mocked. They do very good things for people in need (food, clothing, shelter, medicine, etc.).

    December 9, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      I noticed you didn't mention healthcare.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
      • RadRev

        Who do you think invented healthcare?

        December 9, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          Healthcare insurance. Giving someone a pill or pillow isn't insurance.

          December 9, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Healthcare insurance.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
      • Sophia

        You're absolutely correct. Christian charities don't typically provide healthcare insurance. They've been providing actual healthcare.

        December 13, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Saraswati

      In places like the United States and Saudi Arabia these religious organizations seek to dominate the support field, killing efforts to establish governmental resources which give people more dignity and a sense of inclusion. Attending a quality government school and receiving decent healthcare as a member of society give people a much greater sense of self worth than taking charity hand-outs. Look to see how other countries have succeeded.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  14. Ella

    "The goal is the same, to find the truth, but faith journeys on when reason has given up the chase. If the agnostic wishes to put down his satchel and quit, he cannot begrudge the believer who is willing to try a new path to reach the summit."

    December 9, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • Dandintac

      “The goal is the same, to find the truth, but faith journeys on when reason has given up the chase. If the agnostic wishes to put down his satchel and quit, he cannot begrudge the believer who is willing to try a new path to reach the summit.”

      You've made some mistakes here. It's not that "reason has given up the chase"–it is more like reason is looking for EVIDENCE. Otherwise you just have empty, unsupported claims. It is the theist who has given up the chase. How did life begin? GOD. How did the universe begin? GOD. And at one time–what is the sun? GOD. Thankfully for the last question, reason soldiered on after faith claimed to have the answer.

      It is not truth that many followers of the Desert Religions seek, but answers tailored to fit a preconceived conclusion.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
      • Sophia

        "And at one time-what is the sun? GOD."

        I'm confused. Unless you're talking about the Incas, Egyptians, etc I'm not sure how you're typing your 3rd point to Christianity.

        December 13, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
        • Sophia

          "tying," not "typing."

          December 13, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
        • Dandintac

          Religion generally, not Christianity specifically in the case of Sun Gods. Although Christianity borrows many beliefs and traditions from Pagan forerunners.

          December 15, 2013 at 12:21 am |
    • bushgirlsgonewild

      Faith = gullibility.

      December 10, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  15. Lloyd

    If you are a non believer, that is your prerogative, but stop attacking the believers. Ask yourself this question, WHAT IF THEY ARE RIGHT? JESUS LOVES YOU TOO. He died for OUR sins.

    December 9, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      So far based on what I've seen, they aren't wrong. We go through this song and dance all the time. You prove he exists. I cannot prove a negative. So the onus is on the believer.

      December 9, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Correction "aren't right".

      December 9, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Funny how believers are more than happy to share their views anywhere and everywhere but if someone stands up and disagress the response from them is 'Just shut up'.

      December 9, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
      • oo oo

        Anyone who claims prayer works, let's line up a bunch of amputees, or people with medical conditions that serious medical problems that never go into remission on their own, and are known to be incurable and untreatable. Have every believer in the world pray for them to heal

        so, amputees not growing their limbs back, even though prayers were offered, is proof god isn't real. nonsense
        December 9, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply

        Dandintac

        If God DID actually answer prayers, this would be proof of it–would it not? This would be a golden opportunity for god to prove himself and show that he is a good god. It IS evidence that a god who answers prayers does not exist. We can repeat this experiment over and over again. If there is a god, he apparently does not answer prayers.
        December 9, 2013 at 3:49 pm

        god doesn't answer prayers. jesus didn't really heal people either. not compared to all those who could be healed. just a tiny fraction

        December 10, 2013 at 10:30 am |
        • oo oo

          i guess jimmy carter's gods heal everybody. he wouldn't believe in gods who didn't do what they were told

          December 10, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • bushgirlsgonewild

      What if they are right...hmmmm. what if they are wrong? Your turn.

      December 10, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
  16. lolCAT2000

    Apparently we live in a time in which "faith" rhymes with "questioning".

    December 9, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
  17. Shaun p Shanahan

    I am the same but, have visited many church's in many counties. I think it's the splendor of such places

    December 9, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
  18. LilRdVet2

    If he's questioning faith...he's not an atheist...

    December 9, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • ME II

      He's questioning other people's faith; he himself doesn't have faith.

      December 9, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Stacey

      He could border on Agnostic Atheism as do I. Just because someone is an Atheist doesn't mean that they won't discuss, research "God" etc. Most times you will find that the Atheist knows more about God than many Christians (and other religions) profess to know. We've read, heard, watched and form opinions based on fact, observation etc. Just because one might question aspects doesn't mean they aren't truly a believer OR a non-believer. Just because someone carries a Bible and goes to church on Sunday, doesn't make him/her a Christian worthy of Heaven either. 😉

      December 9, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
      • Noel

        I agree 100% with that Stacey. I've considered myself an agnostic atheist for the past 10-12 years. I thought purely being atheist was almost as bad as being a theist. Both claim to "know" that their belief is the right one, whereas I like to state that frankly, since there is inconclusive evidence for every theism in the world, there isn't enough proof that atheists are correct either. So, by throwing "agnostic" in there as a prefix, I'm simply saying "I really tend to think there isn't a god or that no man made religion here on earth is viable (hence, the suffix atheist), but I'm humble enough to admit that no person who has walked on this planet since the beginning of time knew enough of the facts to make a claim as bold as the one every theist, and most atheists, tend to make, and that is, that they are POSITIVE, that their view is the right one."

        December 9, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
        • oo oo

          that's y jimmy carter believes. everyone who ever has lost a limb asked him to pray and everyone grew back his limbs. not bad
          December 9, 2013 at 3:29 pm

          December 10, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Dandintac

      If he's questioning faith, he's not an atheist? How in Hades do you reach THAT conclusion? It's just the opposite. If you question "faith" (by faith I'm assuming you are talking about the existence of a god), then you ARE an atheist. Do you believe in God? yes or no. Notice, the question is not about what you KNOW, but what you believe–right now, with the evidence that you have. If the answer to the question is anything other than Yes, then you're technically an atheist. Faith is active. You either believe or you don't. Being an atheist does not mean you KNOW, or that you are CERTAIN, or that you are unwilling to change your mind if evidence comes up, or that you have stopped seeking the answers to the biggest questions. It just means that you do not believe a claim of god, based on the evidence you have now.

      December 9, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
      • Noel

        I'll answer since no one else did. Yes, yes I do believe in god. I believe that when I die, if I've given them enough of my power through prayer to help keep them immortal, then one day, maybe I'll rewarded with an eternal home at the foot of Mt Olympus, where I can be close to the father of other gods, Zeus, and all the medium and lower gods. Plus, by spending eternity so near them, I'll get plenty of chances to see him throw that cool lightening bolt at people.

        Now, that may have seem sarcastic, however, growing up my parents wanted me to make my own choices on religion. When I was much younger, I thought that meant it was up to me to chose one, I was to young to fully understand my options. So, I saw a few things on TV over the years, and I thought "now there's a group of gods I could get behind. They dress cool, they all have cool weapons, they actually show up, quite often, to visit with their people, etc.

        December 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
  19. Reality # 2

    Photography, another tool to end the inanity of religion !!!

    December 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Evolution is cool

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

      Video works too.

      December 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
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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.