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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. Seth

    In my experience, atheists seem to have a greater habit than most of flaming their beliefs publicly, often to even greater and more hostile extent than most fundamentalist Christians I've encountered. As a former agnostic and current panentheist, I can understand the skepticism many atheists harbor toward religion and the existence of a higher power. The primary logical inconstancy that always bothers me however, is the assumption that without a higher power, meaning can somehow applied to the universe through the individual despite the fact that, according to the materialist atheist worldview, in several billion years humanity will be gone, the universe will have expanded into a cold and lifeless husk, and nothing any human being ever did, learned, discovered, or achieved will have mattered at all, so why care? Every atheist I've met insists on a logical distinction that separates atheism from nihilism, but no one has been able to effectively describe what this may be. Perhaps most religions may have it wrong, but if atheism wins out, why does it even matter? Can't we all just live and let live instead of breeding the pretentious intolerance advocated by Hitchens and Dawkins or the fundamentalist dogma of uncompromising religious sects?

    January 18, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Seth, do you ever plan and execute parties....like birthday parties or anniversary parties? Do you ever go to movies or plays or sporting events? Why? If they're all going to end and all those people will eventually die and all those movies and sports teams will eventually be forgotten? You're not a hypocrite, are you?

      January 20, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
    • The Reason

      Your experience sounds a little skewed if you ask me.

      What you assume that there has to be a meaning to the universe?

      January 21, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
      • The Reason

        *Why do you assume that there has to be a meaning to the universe?

        January 21, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
    • igaftr

      Seth
      One more time...
      Atheism... NOT belief in deities (note it does not address any belief, only NOT belief)

      Nihilism...is a belief

      see the distinction?

      When someone says they are an atheist, it does not address what they DO believe, just what they do not...and only one thing they do not believe.

      If you want to compare beliefs against what AN atheist believes, you will have to ask that atheist what they believe...since being an atheist does not address the individuals belief.

      January 21, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
    • alwaysamuzed

      You are certainly making some rather HUGE and completely unfounded presumptions about what a person who DOES NOT believe in a deity thinks and feels!
      You CANNOT simply cram each and every atheist into a single little pigeon hole of YOUR OWN creation because each and every atheist is DIFFERENT!
      The ONE and ONLY thing that is "common" between ALL atheists is the simple fact that they DO NOT believe in a deity! There is nothing else that is "common" between them as they are all individuals with vastly different points of view!
      DUH!

      April 7, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
    • edschultz31111

      This has nothing to do with atheism or religion. The problem is that we, as humans do not really know where we came from. We just give our opinions with little support, but the reality is that we don't know where we came from.

      Atheism is a form of belief. Do you know for sure were we came from? If not, then you can't rule out another possibility, unless you can prove that you know for a fact with 100% certainty of our origins.

      June 15, 2014 at 6:33 am |
      • timelessphoton

        Yes I know for sure where I came from! I came from my parents, they came from theirs, and it all goes all the way back like that to single cell stands confirmed in the fossil record. You can visit the museums and look at the dates and fossils yourself if you really care about your origins. Evolution is descent with modification. Do you have parent? Yes, then you are a descendant. Do you look identical to either one of them? No, then you are modified. Take biology classes and you can lean more about how it works. I can't teach you everything here. Sorry I don't have enough time or money for any grander exposition but now you are on your way. Cheers!

        June 25, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          well said!

          June 25, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
  2. Mike

    I can respect an honest agnostic, but atheism is nonsensical. If there is no higher force, and the universe itself is not a conscious, higher force, then the universe is by definition "senseless". Yet atheists are pretentious enough to somehow believe that their brains, which are a result of billions of years of random events in a senseless universe, are capable of transcending the universe, looking down upon it, and calling it "senseless".

    If your thoughts are the result of a senseless universe, then you cannot trust your own thoughts. Atheism is a house of cards.

    And we all know that 99.9% of atheists become that way just to irritate Christians, specifically, more often than not, their parents.

    January 8, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
    • bushgirlsgonewild

      Flawed logic, but what can you expect from someone who is an adult (presumably) and still has an invisible, imaginary best friend.

      1. You state: If there is no higher force, and the universe itself is not a conscious, higher force, then the universe is by definition "senseless". OK, assuming you are defining senseless as 'not possessing a conscious', why should it? Does you think atoms, rocks, mountains, planets, and solar systems have sense or consciousness? If yes, prove it.

      2.: Yet atheists are pretentious enough to somehow believe that their brains, which are a result of billions of years of random events in a senseless universe, are capable of transcending the universe, looking down upon it, and calling it "senseless".

      Who said brains are the result of RANDOM events? How are brains capable of "transcending the universe" and "looking down at it"? I'm an Atheist and my brain has never transcended by body, much less the universe. If something transcends
      the universe, where does it go? What place do you call that? Can I get cheap tickets to it? What's the weather like?

      It must be located above the universe, if you can look down at the universe.

      Actually, Atheists don't claim anything about the universe or our brains or anything else except: We don't believe there are gods. This is based on the lack of evidence. Why don't you believe in Big Foot?

      January 8, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
    • CHOIR LOFT

      To deny God is to assume godlike intellectual powers, in and of itself the ultimate act of conceit. To state that there is no God one must have the ability to see into every corner of the universe at every second it existed. No man has this ability, yet the atheist claims he does. He is either the greatest liar ever known or insane. And such men accuse the rest of the world of insanity? This is a joke, right? The real joke is the atheist himself for he doesn't even realize the foolishness that comes out of his own mouth.
      and that's just me, hollering from the choir loft.....

      January 10, 2014 at 11:25 am |
      • Lou

        No one is deny any god anything. If one of them want some attention and obedience they should make themselves be known instead of using over edited goat herder scribbles.

        January 13, 2014 at 8:59 am |
      • No Evidence

        To state "there is no god" is simply based on no evidence for god, that the crap that you spewed.

        January 21, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • No Evidence

          ......Not the crap.

          January 21, 2014 at 11:46 am |
      • The Reason

        To believe in god is to assume godlike intellectual powers, in and of itself the ultimate act of conceit. To state that your god is the right god, one must have the ability to see into every corner of the universe at every second it existed. No man has this ability, yet the christian claims he does. He is either the greatest liar ever known or insane. And such men accuse the rest of the world of insanity? This is a joke, right? The real joke is the christian himself for he doesn't even realize the foolishness that comes out of his own mouth.
        and that's just me, hollering from the loft of reason.....

        January 21, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
      • stephennowlin

        Dear Choir Loft - welcome fellow atheist! I'm not being facetious, really - I presume you do not belief in the gods Zeus, Helios, Odin, or Thor, and that we agree in our non-belief in virtually all of history's gods except for one. Along with me, you do not believe in the Hindu godesses Durga or Kali and their many divine equals, in spite of their sincere worship by nearly 1 billiion followers today who would disagree with us. So I must imagine that your critique of atheism above applies as equally to your own many non-beliefs as it does to the single one over which you and I happen to disagree.

        March 12, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
      • timelessphoton

        To deny god is to assume intellectual godlike powers? No it's not. It is to deny the existence of gods and godlike powers. Atheism is the exact opposite of what you just said.
        Furthermore you do not have to look at every corner of the universe! Why would you? Does God hide in corners of the universe? What an odd claim to make. Your claim is that you have to look in every corner of the universe in order to know whether God exists or not then how did you come to the conclusion that God exists yourself? Did you look in every corner of the universe? Do I have to look in every corner of the universe to believe that unicorns do not exist? Do you believe that unicorns exist, and if you don't then why not? Have you looked in every corner of the universe to confirm their lack of existence?
        I'm glad you think atheists are so knowledgeable, but why is that atheists need to have all the knowledge in the universe to confirm God, yet a believer needs to know nothing or have no knowledge at all, just faith? You should hold your own belief up to the same standard that you measure atheists with. See Matthew 7:1-5 for some good advice straight from Jesus.

        June 25, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
    • Religion is NOT healthy for children and other living things

      It appears to be YOU who is "pretentious" about your so-called "faith" and NOT the "atheists" !!
      Atheists are not "pretentious" about anything since that is the very mindset that atheists reject !
      Poorly educated believers such as yourself seem inexplicably frightened of atheists and other intellectuals who are not afraid to think for themselves! You must live in constant FEAR that someday you will discover the atheists had it right all along and that all of your consternation over faith is just a sad, pointless waste of time.

      January 15, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
      • Dan

        What if it is real? The truth is that no one really knows because no one (other than Jesus, for the believers) has been back to tell about it.

        Science is wonderful for helping us explain all kinds of things. However, science can't tell you how to live. Science can't curb unacceptable behavior. Maybe you can argue that laws can. I think that all reasonable people can relate to "carrots" and "sticks". Laws are sticks, while faith provides a carrot. For many, it's a way to be reflective and pursue a path of virtue and self mastery.

        Hey, maybe you are already there on your own without the benefit of faith. Great! I am truly happy for you. For many of us regular folks, faith gives us the opportunity to be recognize our natural gifts and employ them for the good of as many as possible not just ourselves. At the same time, it helps us to be humble, recognize our faults and strive to do better. Why begrudge this?

        January 15, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
        • David

          Don't need faith to be humble, or understand yourself, or to do better. Faith is only one thing: belief without good reason. Faith doesn't provide insight, enlightenment , or anything positive.

          January 21, 2014 at 12:38 am |
      • IGWT

        Do you really BELIEVE what you are saying? At least you believe in something even if it is a complete and utter lie! No one fears an atheist!! No one!

        January 28, 2014 at 8:52 am |
      • mmonica1207

        II know that this post is quite old but I couldn't help but to respond to your statement. I am a Christian and therefore I believe in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. If there is no God, how are we able to do what we are doing and able to feel what we feel so strongly? Are you saying since there isn't any definite proof God is real he doesn't exist? So the Bible is just a bunch of mumbo jumbo? I'm curious as to why you believe life doesn't have any meaning. I mean so why live? Why like what you like and love whom you love if you believe they don't have a purpose. You say to believe in God is a waste of time and that atheist have it right, so tell me why are you so busy reading this blog? If you don't believe in it or particularly care for the thought, then why are you so bothered by the fact that someone else does? People who don't care about a certain subject, usually don't indulge in it. I honestly don't believe people can believe in nothing. I find it to be lazy and irresponsible. But why should you believe in time if there is no God. There is no constant FEAR of you being right. That's absurd. Any person who believes has only one fear,and that's of God. God gave of us free will so therefore we too are not afraid to think. I believe and I'm speaking only for myself that God is real and that atheist like yourself refuse to believe because you are afraid to.

        February 26, 2014 at 9:35 am |
        • alwaysamuzed

          WHY do YOU presume that your imaginary "god" is the one and only "POSSIBLE" justification for any and all meaning for one's life? That might make sense to YOU, but that has no validity nor reasoning for those of us with our own intellect!
          YOUR presumptions have no purpose nor any meaning for me nor any other person who can think for themselves!
          I am so sorry that you have such a tiny little mind that you cannot comprehend any reality beyond your ancient mythology...

          April 7, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
      • rjf2014

        When people like you belittle others and put them down because of a difference in ideas and what they may believe and to call those who have religious beliefs poorly educated it really makes you look like the one who is not truly educated and makes you look very ignorant which is sad.

        June 24, 2014 at 10:41 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      It's a shame that you're such an idiot, Mike.

      January 20, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
    • stephennowlin

      " . . . If there is no higher force, and the universe itself is not a conscious, higher force, then the universe is by definition "senseless"."

      This is a straw-man argument - atheism does not render the universe senseless, that is an entirely subjective conclusion on your part. In the greatest works of art and literature (or the universe), meaning is not found in the atomic structure of their materials, it is in the ideas they forge in collaboration with the human mind. The exploration and savoring of meaning in our lives is irrelevant to the existence of a so-called higher power.

      March 12, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
    • alwaysamuzed

      I'm afraid your meaningless circular logic has no place nor purpose in a world of facts and reality!
      You are free to "believe" whatever illogiocal nonsense you desire, but please refrain from imposing your ignorance on others...

      April 7, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
  3. CHOIR LOFT

    "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." – Hebrews 11:1

    It is not religion that sustains us. It is God. Religion is only the groups expression of faith. Our faith is an expression of hope in God.

    Judge not that ye be not judged all ye scoffers and bigots.

    There are here in these posts many who either in ignorance or abject hatred of all that is good express lies and indecent remarks to oppose the pilgrimage of faith. These are the children of satan – those who oppose all that is decent and good and kind in this sad world. These are the true hypocrites who assume they are so pure in themselves that they can heap accusations and guilt upon everyone who seeks hope in God. These are they who judge the faithful to be liars yet promote their own agenda of lies and murder. These are the true criminals who assume they can blame others yet remain aloof from guilt themselves. These are the greatest fools in the history of mankind for they deny the God who humbled Himself to save them from their self-imposed blindness.

    In accusing the faithful of guilt, the atheist allows himself to be judged also. In this the atheist finds no solace, for the godless have no one to forgive them. He who damns God condemns himself for his judgement is upon his own head.

    Faith saves. Bigorty damns.

    and that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

    January 8, 2014 at 11:15 am |
    • No Evidence

      Faith does absolutely nothing except make you feel good about your delusion of an imaginary god.

      January 20, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
      • IGWT

        Ha, that's rich...a non-believing, faithless person trying to tell someone about faith. Good on ya, mate!

        January 28, 2014 at 9:25 am |
        • igaftr

          What is even more rich is thinking that leaving a message in reply to someone from over a week ago, has a point.

          January 28, 2014 at 9:30 am |
    • The Reason

      ” These are the children of satan” – lie
      ”These are the true hypocrites” – kind of like you
      ” they can heap accusations and guilt upon everyone” – kind of like you
      ” These are they who judge” – kind of like you
      ” These are the true criminals who assume they can blame others yet remain aloof from guilt themselves” – kind of like you
      ” These are the greatest fools in the history of mankind” definitely like you

      January 21, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
  4. maggie

    it's just architecture

    January 7, 2014 at 2:51 am |
    • bushgirlsgonewild

      Yes! and often dreary at that.

      January 8, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
  5. Allen Stone of Montgomery Works Inc.

    Harold Camping was a good God and Prophet and now He is in heaven which is good news. Now, Obama is our God and Prophet for the world and He has a new heaven at the Whitehouse for the christians. We need to read the good gospels of Camping and Obama so we will get right. For details, call us at 240–344-1323 or 240–567-1409 to speak to Kimberly Brown.

    December 27, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • No Evidence

      Camping was an old fool who wasted his time attempting to force fit a book of mythology into reality. ....and taking money from the deluded.

      January 21, 2014 at 11:50 am |
  6. Dandintac

    You know–think of the vast resources throughout history that have been channeled into religion. The vast infrastructure of priests, rabbis, mullahs and Imams and preachers. The huge churches–the Vatican, all the massive gothic cathedrals. Vast resources diverted to religion. Tons and tons of wealth over the centuries.

    I love the architecture–but just imagine if instead, this wealth had been channeled into education and research, and the teaching and inculcation of supersti tion had gone unfunded instead. Where would we be now?

    Probably on our way to the stars. The first colonists to Alpha Centauri, Barnard's Star, Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani would probably be on their way right now.

    December 25, 2013 at 12:04 am |
  7. TYRANNASAUR

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

    People look at this from the stand point of NOW.....the early religious building were built to overwhelm and scare people so as to control them...early religious structure were not for the people to ENTER......they were places where the priest visited to SERVE THE GODS THAT LIVE OR VISITED THERE....AND GET MESSAGES FROM THE SECRET UNSEEN GODS to convey to the people.....this goes back even before the great Egyptian temples and gods....way way back into prehistory.

    December 24, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • David

      "...and see the signs of an invisible human longing that is common to us all, believer and unbeliever alike.". Is he talking about feeling horney?

      December 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    December 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • David

      The only thing prayer has been demonstrated to change is the thickness of one's skin on the kneecaps.

      December 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  9. marni

    faith is a unique individual experience that cannot be put exactly into words... or photos. Unless faith takes you in a state that you're supposed to be, you would not really know the magnanimity of what you are missing...

    December 18, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • David

      Sounds like you are describing an LSD experience. Faith is a mental disorder.

      December 18, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
      • Hmmm

        If you are telling me that religion is imagination I'd have to agree with you, if you are telling me you have no imagination then I feel sorry for you.

        December 19, 2013 at 7:28 am |
        • David

          Imaginary and imagination are two different things.

          December 19, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  10. 7

    Everyone is welcome to visit ...

    http://www.thetreasureofzion.com

    December 16, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
  11. Child of God

    About a year ago I started reading the Bible and it changed my life. I study everyday and see prophecies fulfilled in the news everyday. After starting as a sceptic, I have found truth and peace in Jesus and have done much research from even non biblical sources. Did you know that the non believers during the time of Jesus actually made up lies to explain away the obvious power He had? They claimed when he went to Egypt he practiced sorcery and magic and that's how he was able to heal so many. They couldn't deny his miracles they witnessed so they had to explain it away! Back then they didn't have a leg to stand on when it came to Jesus because they had all the proof in front of them whereas you all claim the writers just copied everything from the Old Testament.

    December 16, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Can you give examples of specific prophesies fulfilled (in the news)?

      December 23, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
  12. Lana

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeedE8vH1FQ&w=640&h=360]
    Y

    December 16, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
  13. Child of God

    Accept Jesus or perish. We are nothing to criticize Gods ways. He is God, we are not. The answers are in the Bible but only the unhardened heart can find them.

    December 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • igaftr

      That old threat...believe in our book or you'll be sorry.

      Quetxlcoatl will be most angry with you for worshipping the wrong god.

      December 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Pascal's Wager is a dud – look it up.

      December 23, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
  14. oo oo

    They don't criticize hitler

    December 16, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • bushgirlsgonewild

      Hitler was a Christian, of the catholic species.

      December 16, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  15. Missy q

    Why have all the Christians taken all the torture and persecution if they weren't 100% sure of Jesus? Would atheists die in the same manner for their beliefs in science?

    December 15, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • bushgirlsgonewild

      Plenty of people who we not Christians have been killed and tortured for that very reason. And why does anyone, atheist or theist need to die? What exactly is your point? Plenty of soldiers have been killed in immoral wars.

      December 15, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • Dandintac

      "Why have all the Christians taken all the torture and persecution if they weren’t 100% sure of Jesus? Would atheists die in the same manner for their beliefs in science?"

      One can have 100% conviction–that does not make it true. Many of the followers of Jim Jones in Guyana and David Koresh in Waco were 100% sure as well. So what does that prove? I would add that such conviction is not a strength–it is a weakness of religion. The hijackers who flew planes into buildings have 100% conviction. I'll take a doubter any day. If you have 100% conviction, that means your mind is closed to new evidence.

      December 15, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
      • bushgirlsgonewild

        Well said.

        December 15, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
      • Scott

        WORD!!!

        December 23, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
  16. Dr James

    Jesus fulfilled 61 major and over 200 prophecies in his lifetime. The mathematical and scientific odds of any man fulfilling just 8 prophecies is almost impossible let alone over 200. That’s science proving Jesus is the Messiah. Turn to him my friend. Every knee shall bow to him in the end but if you use your free will to accept him now, you can receive the gift of eternal life. Don’t wait, not everyone gets time to repent on their death bed!

    December 15, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • BSinestra

      Wow, no one wrote anything down while jesus the illiterate, but omnipotent allegedly lived. I think the apologists are on a serious marketing campaign ..They have been since they invented this religion.
      The one thing christianity doesn't need is ...jesus

      December 15, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
      • Dr James

        There was writing even before the time of Moses. Just because it didn't all survive history doesn't mean it didn't exist. Science doesn't have the particles that collided in the Big Bang but they still claim it happened.

        December 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
        • igaftr

          Sorry "Dr." James....the Big Bang has been proven...it did happen.

          December 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
        • Dan

          And by a Catholic priest, no less. Faith and science are not incompatible.

          December 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
        • The truth is out there

          We cannot prove the big bang happened as nobody was there to see it.

          December 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
        • No Evidence

          Lots of things were written down, doesn't make them true. Talking snakes anyone?

          January 21, 2014 at 11:53 am |
    • Dr James

      Some fulfilled prophecies:
      Born in Bethlehem, called out of Egypt, grew up in Nazareth, rode on a donkey into Jerusalem, sold for 30 pieces of silver, betrayed by a friend, kept silent to his accusers at trial, and many more! Look it up on google or read the New Testament.

      December 15, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
      • Rascal262

        What are the odds that books written after Jesus' death were able to correctly predict all the events of his life after they had already occurred? Pretty good actually.

        December 30, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  17. Wie Khiong

    Having read not a few comments, I have to sadly concur that "most people don't think, they merely rearrange their prejudices." Unless we learn to challenge our own beliefs the way we challenge others', whatever they may be can be no more than a blind faith at best or a delusion at worst, be that for or against religion (especially the puerile version of Christianity).

    December 13, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • David

      I must concur however I beg to differ.... (sarcasm heavy)... People who adopt faith are r e t a r d e d and have given up or else never had the ability to think.

      December 13, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
      • The truth is out there

        Very narrow minded or closed minded.

        December 23, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • David

      Really? How does he define "nothing"? I think he had a problem there.

      December 13, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
      • Wie Khiong

        It's done!

        December 14, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • bushgirlsgonewild

          Ah, ok....huh?

          December 14, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
      • Dan

        I see your many posts on the topic and it seems as if you are just plain angry at the idea that some of us believe in God. You actually call us "retarded". I can envision all of your arguments, now. If there was a God, why is there so much pain in the world? Why did so-and-so get this awful disease? It's all been said and done before. When I read your posts, its clear that you have a faith, too. Your faith appears to be science. However, science doesn't explain everything. Perhaps science can explain how the combination of certain amino acids form a life, but it doesn't tell you how to live. It doesn't tell you how to be humble. It doesn't tell you how to relate to other people. Maybe you are just a hell of a guy, but, you sound more like an angry relativist to me.

        Go ahead and hate faith all you want. But, you have to admit that religion and faith are the reason for the entire development of western civilization. Religion has brought you academia, philosophy, morality and society. You are standing on some very tall shoulders, my friend.

        December 14, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
        • bushgirlsgonewild

          Actually, I would ask, "if your imaginary god is so great, why am I more moral than it?"

          December 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
        • Wie Khiong

          @bushgirl, don't worry about it; you've already answered the question correctly.

          December 16, 2013 at 9:01 am |
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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.