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Why atheists should quit the 'War on Christmas’
The group American Atheists has placed this billboard in New York City's Times Square.
December 21st, 2013
10:22 AM ET

Why atheists should quit the 'War on Christmas’

Opinion by Chris Stedman, special to CNN

(CNN) - The “War on Christmas:”  what — or who—is it good for?

In recent years, one organization, American Atheists, has claimed the mantle of prime atheist promoter of the tired “War on Christmas” narrative.

This year, they ushered in the season with an electronic billboard in New York City’s Times Square carrying the message: “Who needs Christ during Christmas? Nobody.” The word "Christ" is crossed out, just in case their message wasn't clear enough.

The American Atheists maintain that their latest entry in the annual “War on Christmas” saga is a message to other atheists that they are not alone.

In a recent Fox News appearance, American Atheists President Dave Silverman said, “The point that we’re trying to make is that there’s a whole bunch of people out there for whom religion is the worst part of Christmas, but they go to church anyways, and we’re here to tell them they don’t have to.”

While that intention is important and admirable, very few people—atheist or theist—seem to interpret the message as welcoming to anyone. Many of the responses I’ve seen have been vitriolic and disturbingly anti-atheist.

Which raises the question: If the goal truly is to reach isolated atheists, why does the advertisement read as a dig at Christians? A better billboard for American Atheists’s stated aim might read: “Don’t celebrate Christmas? You’re not alone.”

As atheists become more visible in our society, the entire “War on Christmas” back-and-forth feels ugly and unnecessary. Worse still, it seems to do little more than offer ammunition to those claiming atheists are just mean-spirited grinches. Bill O’Reilly—one of the major “War on Christmas” soldiers—made that clear when he and I discussed the “War on Christmas” a couple of weeks ago.

Let’s not kid ourselves: There is no war on Christmas.

We live in a culture that privileges stories of conflict, so it’s understandable that this narrative would gain traction—with or without billboards. Much of this narrative is a manifestation of religious fears about our increasingly secular society, and it reflects widespread anxieties about atheists and religious differences. But it doesn’t reflect reality.

Rather, as religious diversity in the U.S. has become more recognizable, Americans have largely broadened their approach to this time of year. According to new data from the Public Religion Research Institute, the percentage of Americans who prefer the inclusive “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” has now exceeded the percentage that prefers “Merry Christmas.”

It’s not that Christmas is under attack; instead, our society is becoming better at embracing its religious diversity and challenging the notion that a single majority religion should dominate public expressions of belief.

So why does the “War on Christmas” narrative persist?

Based on how much play they give it each December, the “War on Christmas” narrative seems to be good for Fox News ratings. And American Atheists has openly admitted that it is good for their pocketbooks, as their talk show appearances bring in a swell of donations.

Consider this from a recent profile of Silverman:

“Silverman’s notorious anti-Christmas billboards and subsequent TV appearances have breathed new life into American Atheists and are often followed by an uptick in subscribers and donations. ... According to Silverman, the primary objective of the billboards is to get invitations to talk shows.”

In other words: American Atheists and Fox News - alongside conservatives like Sarah Palin - seem to have discovered a mutually beneficial relationship.

But does this relationship benefit atheists more broadly? Does it accurately represent the sentiments of nontheists in this country? Does it improve atheist-theist relations?

Does it lessen the widespread stigma and distrust that exists between atheists and theists, which enables atheist marginalization across the U.S.? Does it invite Christians to think critically about religious privilege?

Many atheists, myself included, suspect that there are more effective approaches to tackling these important issues.

To start, atheists can build positive relationships with believers to humanize our communities and educate one another about our differences. That’s something that billboards, for all of their flash and fundraising capabilities, likely won’t accomplish.

Atheists face real marginalization in the U.S., and it should be robustly challenged.

But we also have good tidings and great joy to offer—important contributions to the public square that are currently being drowned out by attention-grabbing billboards claiming “nobody” needs Christ in Christmas.

In the spirit of generosity, compassion, and kindness so often associated with this time of year, let’s ditch the billboards and build relationships of goodwill.

Chris Stedman is the Assistant Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, Coordinator of Humanist Life for the Yale Humanist Community, and author of "Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious." You can follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDStedman.

The views expressed in this column belong to Stedman.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • Christmas • Church and state • Culture wars • Discrimination • God • Health • Holidays • Opinion

soundoff (5,210 Responses)
  1. urnotathinkerareu

    0.25% of criminal prisoners are atheist
    Majority of Nobel Prize winners are atheist.
    Majority of University professors are atheist
    Majority of scientists are atheists
    Poverty rate is lower among atheists
    IQ rates are higher among atheists
    Illiteracy rates are lower among atheists
    Average Income rates are higher among atheists
    Divorce rates are lower among atheists
    Teen pregnancy rates are lower among atheists
    STD Infection rates are lower among atheists
    Abortion rates are lower among atheists
    Crime rates are lower among atheists
    Homicide rates are lower among atheists
    Please tell me...who is really blessed????????

    January 6, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
    • Observer

      Source please.

      January 7, 2014 at 1:47 am |
      • franticred

        Disclaimer: this is just looking at US data, as much as I was able to find.

        0.25% of criminal prisoners are atheist

        Incorrect – it's actually .07% of the population, per a 2013 poll of about 1/3 of the prison population. See: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/07/16/what-percentage-of-prisoners-are-atheists-its-a-lot-smaller-than-we-ever-imagined/ for the memo from the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

        Majority of Nobel Prize winners are atheist.

        Incorrect – an exact count is unavailable, however it would be correct to say that as a portion of the population, a disproportionate percentage of Nobel laureates are. This is purely looking at scientific and technological achievement, for the record. Peace prizes have gone to people associated with horrible acts, economics is all theory and is proven accurate one year and inaccurate the next, and literature is of dubious contribution to advancement – ignoring of course the fact that what some consider to be great literature, others feel is dull and uninsightful. I stick with science, because all scientific enhancement contributes to our advancement as a species. There are at least 68 atheist Nobel laureates out of 316 prizes given out (check the Nobel Prize home page for totals, and look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_atheists_in_science_and_technology for a count of atheist nobel laureates).

        Majority of University professors are atheist

        Grossly incorrect. Surveys indicate that 9.8% of University/College professors are atheist. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amarnath-amarasingam/how-religious-are-america_b_749630.html

        Majority of scientists are atheists

        There is no evidence for this. Every survey I looked at lumped agnostics or deists into the group. It may be true that many scientists are atheist, but from what I have read it is more accurate to say that most scientists are agnostic or deist. Either way, the claim that the majority of scientists are atheists is unsupported.

        Poverty rate is lower among atheists

        This is correct, however the correlation you are shooting for is not there. It would be more accurate to say that among the poor, it is more likely that individuals are going to be religious (because of a need to have hope for something better perhaps?). A poverty rate amongst atheists is difficult to assess however, and there is no correlation between being atheist making individuals more successful.

        IQ rates are higher among atheists

        Supposedly from a Harvard Study, which I see referenced everywhere, although I cannot find a link to it:
        Muslim- 92
        Christian- 98
        Pagan- 98
        Hindu- 104
        Buddhist- 108
        Jew- 115
        Atheist- 119

        IQ is merely a measure of learning ability – if you choose not to be open to new non-faith based information, it stands to reason that you are going to score lower. Regardless, I cannot find this Harvard study, so this claim is unproven.

        Illiteracy rates are lower among atheists

        There is a correlation between illiteracy rates being higher in more religious states, but that is all. While it is reasonable to assume that all things being equal, this means that more religion = lower literacy, I cannot find any research that determines specifically that illiteracy is higher among religious people.

        Average Income rates are higher among atheists

        http://www.pewforum.org/2009/01/30/income-distribution-within-us-religious-groups/ – At best, atheists would fall into the uunaffiliated group, which makes them about average. Looking at this report, religion doesn't seem to really play much of a role in income. Consider the areas in which these religions are largely practiced, and you will see it is more based in cultural and situational factors.

        Divorce rates are lower among atheists

        http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm – Atheists and agnostics together do. It is reasonable to assume that atheists would have a lower rate, based on the statistics only, however the data is not there to say for certain. Why the rates are lower could have nothing to do withsimply being atheist, as well.

        Teen pregnancy rates are lower among atheists
        STD Infection rates are lower among atheists
        Crime rates are lower among atheists

        These three all go together in this poll:
        http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2013/jun/29/al-westerfield-atheists-victims-of-hypocrisy-by/?print=1 – keep in mind however, that aside from using prison to determine crime rates (which is a somewhat reasonable measure), the other two are based of how religious the state is vs. pregnancy and STD rates. Despite this, it is reasonable to believe that such rates would be lower amongst atheists than at least some religions, as they would dogmatically be more likely to use condoms, etc. (as there is no religion telling them not to).

        Abortion rates are lower among atheists

        Correct – http://www.guttmacher.org/in-the-know/characteristics.html – about 30% of abortions are acquired by non-religious people. This includes atheists, agnostics, and likely non-practicing folks still claiming a religion. That likely means a fairly low percentage that are atheist.

        Homicide rates are lower among atheists

        Difficult to find supporting evidence for this, but given the disproportionately low percent of atheists in prison, and assuming that the distribution of criminal activity amongst those atheists is the same as that amongst religious prisoners, then it is fairly safe to assume that this statement is accurate. Good luck finding an actual study to back that up on paper, however.

        Please tell me...who is really blessed????????

        Well, by definition, an atheist couldn't consider him/herself blessed, right?

        January 24, 2014 at 8:14 am |
    • atheists are irrelevant

      The original post had just sum up my moniker.

      January 7, 2014 at 4:27 am |
      • atheists are irrelevant

        Rather, my moniker had just summed up the original post.

        January 7, 2014 at 4:31 am |
    • ECassious2

      Your "statistics are an absolute farce. In fact, saying "most" is not really saying anything. Please cite your sources?

      January 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
      • urnotathinkerareu

        its in the bible...god told me....I had a dream...I had a vision.....someone layed hands on me and I saw a flash of light....

        January 7, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
      • urnotathinkerareu

        and in reality...these statistics are correct. Like many of the other religious posts I will not cite my sources because...those are just simple facts.......if you want to know the truth do your own research. Unlike many christians I don't care what you believe and IF you believe these stats or not...but FYI they are true.

        January 7, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
  2. Dave8582

    Actually, I think Santa is more fun than Jesus and just as real.

    Santa is for the kids. Jesus for the adults.

    We make Santa real for the kids, by buying toys and "pretending" Santa brought them. We make Jesus real by "pretending" He can help us find our car keys and helped Grandma into the Golden Gates.

    It doesn't matter to me if Jesus is included in the Holiday Season. Don't we include Rudolf?

    Cheers!

    January 6, 2014 at 9:53 am |
  3. urnotathinkerareu

    How is it possible for a moral person to live blissfully in Heaven, knowing that countless fellow human beings are shrieking and writhing in agony below them? A majority of the damned did not have a true choice in selecting their religion—like many, they imbibed the beliefs of their immediate family as children, when their minds were malleable. If God has a plan for us all, as if often stated by evangelicals, the implication is that he selects where each of us is born. In doing so, is he not condemning countless people to suffer eternal damnation? A person in India will be indoctrinated into Hinduism—which, presumably, is a ticket to Hell—whereas a person born in Alabama is more likely to be born into an ultra-conservative Christian family. Our minds, our worldviews, are molded by our childhood environments and, perhaps to a lesser degree, by our experiences.

    Next, shall we discuss the futility of praying for material gain? Observe the world around you. Innumerable people suffer from problems that are far more severe than the problems most of us face. Their prayers are not answered — just think of the hundreds of millions of people that suffer from malnourishment and disease. Think of the myriad of issues that plague humanity. Why would the same god that ignored their far more desperate prayers answer your trivial prayer for an ‘A’ on a calculus test or to win a football game? Why should we, as well-fed, privileged people who live in lavish conditions compared to many in the world, plead for divine intervention? The whole notion strikes me as manifestly egocentric and naive.

    In addition, if God has a plan for us, does it not clash with the much-touted concept of free will? And, perhaps I digress, how is it just for God to punish all of humanity because one woman, Eve, disobeyed him in a single instance? It would be like sentencing you and your entire family to languish in prison because one of your distant predecessors committed murder. Such a punishment is redolent of North Korea’s “three generation punishment,” a punishment in which the state imprisons not just political dissidents, but also their children and grandchildren.

    – See more at: http://www.atheistrepublic.com/blog/sharathprabhu/religion-womb-arrogance-and-irrationality#sthash.NZT0ueyU.dpuf

    January 5, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
    • panthrotheist

      actually there is no free will,because we humans is part of god,our conciousness is his.therefore everything we do has a purpose only beyond our immediate comprehension or understanding.the problem lies in our concept or belief of the absoluteness of the philosophy of science,which by itself is part of gods evolutionary process,atheists has this mentality ,but since they are part of the process so its gods will through us .

      January 5, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
      • urnotathinkerareu

        mmmm..by the way........ANY evidence it is god?

        January 5, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
        • panthrotheist

          your reaction questioning the evidence of god is readily answered by my presence as the concsious part of him,and his delegation to me the responsibility of initiating the evolution through dialectical process .You cannot deny that i exist therefore he also exist,if you wont believe that you wait for the irrivocable answer 150 years of the evidence from now.

          January 5, 2014 at 11:41 pm |
    • nev

      before the arrival of humans 200,000 years ago,the earth had already existed billions before that,so all the events was directly related to gods conciousness through nature,now with our evolution to higher level,it is gradually shifted to us,we call that free will,but actually we are only part of it,that we have to realize the extent of our responsibility,and that is happening now,that is one of the proof.

      January 5, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
      • dev

        the evolutionary consequences is now a reality in the cosciousness in us modern humans when enviromentalist, conservationists and activists who in their own conscience had started to be aware of protecting the natural environment .their concern is not because of personal reward but an expression of that divine responsibility,that they themselves is not aware of .

        January 5, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
    • ven

      the diversity of religious faith through out the world through the ages is just part of gods will,in the evolutionary process of change it is necessary to have multiple variable inputs to achieved a sucessfull synthesis.since all religions is gods will,the purpose of such is beyond our comprehension or immediate understanding but it has a profound meaning and direction

      January 5, 2014 at 9:38 pm |
    • panthrotheist

      the evidence is your negative reaction and my response,remember i am part of him and He delegated to me as his conscious being now th this point in time of the evolution as the thesis and you will act or represent the anrithesis of the process

      January 5, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
      • Observer

        panthrotheist,

        "remember i am part of him and He delegated to me as his conscious being now"

        So does God STILL support slavery and beating helpless children with rods for discipline? What about gay rights? Is he still supporting discriminating against gays or does he prefer we use the Golden Rule?

        January 5, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
        • pathrotheist

          yes all your negative reckoning or observation in history is part of the evolutionary change,your reaction is part of the solution,the reasons for your concern on slavery ,gay rights etc ,will be resolved in the future for the good of humanity for thats his will,we have to experience and pass all this trials in life because thats part of the evolutionary process

          January 5, 2014 at 11:48 pm |
        • Observer

          panthrotheist,

          When did God change his perfect and "unchanging" mind? It's certainly not in the Bible.

          So does he favor gay marriage now?

          January 6, 2014 at 12:00 am |
      • urnotathinkerareu

        lets see....you now think gpod has chosen you to reprersent the positive and has chosen me to represent the negative? I am concerned that |he| never told me. It is a male god we are talking about here I hope. I wouldn\t want to offend his gender in case he would try and lob my balls off for making a mistake.....but I'm probably going to "hell" anyways because he has already chosen my path and I have nothing to say about anything.....he must be very happy but I am wondering if you know why he has done tjis? Using us as pawns in a game we know nothing about really. I mean....he is god right? It would be much easier if he didn't have to play this game with himself.....I mean...he knows the outcome before the game even understand he doesnt even tell us the damn rules.....what kind of a god plays by rules that only he knows and doesn't even tell us...probably because he already knows the outcome...its like playing cards with a stacked deck and he;s the dealer laughing at us all because he has all the aces.....I hate gods who do that. I am best suited for the negative side anyways after knowing how he cheats. What a dick.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • panthrotheist

          your understanding of the change process is very simplistic ,because your mind is not open,you specifically believe already in the traditional doctrines,Dogmas as shown in thousands of years of history evolves ,and the need for input variables ,meaning the diversity of religious belief is necessay because nature through his will is requiring this to happen,we are being educated by God in the events of history.In the past when there was no humans yet Gods will is directly manifisted in nature,with our coming and education through history,we gradually takes the responsibilty of implementing the will.Your complaint on your perception of abuse is just part of the complex process of educating us through experience.

          January 6, 2014 at 7:31 pm |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          You have no evidence for your "idea". End of story.

          January 6, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
        • panthrotheist

          you and me as the existing rational being is the proof of Him,our interaction is happening because of Him bringing us with Him to reality,there is no other credible cause of our origin except through the big bang and evolution after that.if you continue denying this facts,then you will deny yourself to irrationality and finally oblivion

          January 6, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          Well...thanks for the congrats on me doing my job. I do believe in Evolution and the big bang but can\t seem to quite believe in the god theory as a default for everything the godly do not understand or who don't have an IMMEDIATE answer for. WE may not know what caused it for a hundred years...who knows but because we dont exactly know right now doesnt mean god did it. And by the way...tell our employer I\m taking the rest of the week off......he just can't make his big plans without at least telling me what hours I'm going to keep too...or is that part of his big plan to just do whatever he wants without as much as an email letting me know I am part of his big fat plan...if it is.....I don't like him...I got other stuff to do.

          January 7, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
        • Observer

          panthrotheist,

          So your attempt at an answer was to say the only options are ones we can think of today. Not a good answer. Open your mind a little bit more.

          January 6, 2014 at 10:58 pm |
        • panthrothiest

          you have done your willed job for the present and with that you have to be congratulated,but we have more to do,at the present we are only begining to effect His will of change so wl have to concentrate on todays change,which is the the acknowledgement of a scientific God ,whose origin is energy and we the willed product or consequence of it for the realization of His will.

          January 6, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
        • Observer

          panthrothiest

          Sorry, but your "scientific God" violated most of the critical laws of science, apparently making them OPTIONAL if you can believe the Bible. So much for God and science working together.

          January 6, 2014 at 11:22 pm |
        • Panthrotheism

          The proof of panthrotheistic was the establishment of the monotheistic religion,Jesus Christ was the God whose religion had convinced the roman emperor to decree that the Roman Empire had to adapt Christianity as it's official religion,paving the way for science to grow or proliferate and in the church era ,because of the fast growth of science in the Christian world.But we are now at the crossroad of change,Christian doctrine is now in conflict with modern science ,so it has to evolve to panthrotheism,the future religion

          January 7, 2014 at 7:12 am |
        • Panthrotheism

          This is now the challenge of modern theologians to develop a religion where Jesus is God,sent by Him to save humanity but most doctrines in the bible must be revised.

          January 7, 2014 at 7:18 am |
      • Scott

        So you claim everything around us is proof He exists.
        Do you have another world/universe without His existence as a comparison? What would be different if Zeus never existed, what if FSM never existed, or what if the God of the Bible never existed?

        Why is it your deity explain what you see more than the thousands of others?

        January 8, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
    • ECassious2

      Writing a bunch of mystical junk on a blog does not make you intelligent or interesting. How about a true debate?

      January 7, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
      • Nev

        Most of us humans percieve God's mind as like us,that because of His omnipotence all for Him is perfect,He ievolved humans in a humanistic mind and conscience,so we have to experience all of this you consider as mistakes,you have to accept the fact outright perfection is ideal,but how can we learn the true human experiences.he wants us to arrive to perfection through evolution or gradual change ,not immediate outright.

        January 7, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
      • Nev

        Debate is good,but what effect does it make,The you tube debates of Dawkins and the rest are exhaustive enough for the sharp mind,What we need is introspection and ask ourselves,Since the origin of every thing is the Big Bang and He was pure energy then we call Him God or what ever name you like,then through billions of years everything what is now is a product of evolution including the development of consciousness,so there is a guiding hand or will.If we cannot understand it at this stage of our evolution does not imply that He does not exist.So to settle this paradox you simplify it.

        January 7, 2014 at 7:44 pm |
        • urnotathinkerareu

           Hold on there Mister....We know there was a big bang...we are not sure IF it was the origin of everything given they are now suggesting multi-verses...so this also expands the question. We don't know. Where you seem to slip[ off the rails all the time is your contention god and/or created consciousness exits without ANY evidence of ANY kind except AN IDEA! The double paradox cannot exist because you made it up.  It doesn't exist UNTIL you prove there is a god.....then there is no paradox....all ducks line up to say there is no god as it is right now. There is no guiding hand and no evidence that there is. WE dont have to prove that there is no god. You cannot prove something that does not exist...is that too simple for you? IF you continue to contend that god exists in more than an idea...get back to us...if not there is  no serious challenge that can be logically considered by those who are intellectually doing their best to be honest with what is known.. 

          January 7, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
  4. Tom

    There is a reason why some Christians don't celebrate Christmas. They understand that it's a collection of non Christian traditions (All of the things that make Christmas fun!)

    While we put Christ back in Christmas Let's...
    Put Saturn back in Saturnalia!
    Put the Moon back in Monday!
    Put Tyr back in Tuesday!
    Put Woden back in Wednesday!
    Put Thor back in Thursday!
    Put Frigg (Venus) back in Friday!
    Put Saturn back in Saturday!
    Put the Sun God back in Sunday!
    Put Ishtar back in Easter!

    January 5, 2014 at 8:10 pm |
  5. Nick

    It's not atheists who are committing war on christmas. It's christians pretending to be the first to have ever created a holiday that are declaring war on all the other traditions around this time. It's selfish, childish and sickening.
    The atheist is there to point out the fact that christians did not create ANY of their practices or rituals, not even christmas.

    January 5, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      yeah! end the war on Yule.

      we need to put the Lugh back in Lugh-mass, slayer of Balor.

      more importantly take the day off to remember those who fallen in Magh Tuireadh, and celebrate their memories with gifts and sex

      January 5, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
    • panthrotheist

      theists and atheists are humans,therefore they are part of god,physically and spiritually,Their actions are just part of their job in implementing gods will,since its through evolution that it is manifisted into reality,the dialectical process of arriving to the truth is necessary.and thats part of the process of change which is dynamic.

      January 5, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
      • Scott

        Theists and atheists are part of FSM and His noodliness.
        Hmmm, seems like an empty claim when the existence of FSM is not well supported.
        The claims that FSM had a noodle in evolution is based on what?

        As for the use of god vs. God - if it is any deity then God works, if it is referring to the god of the Bible then God is just a shorter way to reference one or more of the versions of that god.

        January 8, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
        • panthrotheist

          the purpose why God allowed multiple religions to evolve and exist in the distant and even today is because our minds intellectual capacity has increased tremendously after we became civilized about 10,000 years go.Earlier when we were hunter gatherers our priorities was just to find food to survive,Then we became more knowlegible and our concern includes the intelle tual need to understand the meaning and purpose of our existence,so God allowed the founding and establishment of many religions by humans to conform with their intellectual, social and educational development,Since this is not static,it contiually diversify and change to conform with their times of existince,History showed that this is continuesly improving,so the future expects changes towards Panthrotheism in accordance to His will.

          January 10, 2014 at 4:34 am |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          Did god ALLOW this or did humans EVOLVE because they began to understand the key to a btter life was to use their brain as well as their braun? You seem to think god |allows" for everything and if that is so why didnt he just create this in the first place....evolution or "allowed" creationism...one or the other but not both.....why? because there is no evidence to your claim that "god allowed".....when u have some then make the claim...until then...its ONLY a belief.

          January 10, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
    • ECassious2

      Christmas was a Holiday created by Christians and placed intentionally at the same time as a Paegan Holiday (way way way back) in order to draw attention away. Christmas has always been celebrated in this country with the understanding that it is the a celebration of the birth of Christ. The date is not known to be the literal birth date, but that is the intent. Whether you believe or not or like it or not, when you you Celebrate Christmas (gifts and all) you are partaking of the celebration of the Birth of Christ. The gifts represent the gifts from the wise men or as some prefer to say symbolizes Christ as the greatest gift of all. heck, even good ole saint nick (the historical figure) was a Christ follower. He embodied the giving christian Spirit. We don't have to worry about putting the Christ back in Christmas. He is embedded there. It is a christian Holiday, period. My thought for people who have a problem with the holiday is to simply not celebrate. This is what I do for various Holidays. You should teach Christmas a lesson and put it out of business.

      January 7, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
    • ECassious2

      By the way, the other Holidays around this time are represented. Christians are not trying to take over these holidays nor is anyone suggesting they should not exist. We aren't even celebrating them but insisting on calling them something else. Christmas is not the most popular holiday because it took over the other holidays. It has been the most popular, because this country has historically been a predominately christian nation and that is our Holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

      January 7, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
      • Scott

        Then don't get bent out of shape when someone says 'Happy Hollidays'.
        The only Christian aspect of Christmas is baby Jesus – which the date was selected to usurp other celebrations.

        January 8, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
  6. billy vidal

    christmass is wrong,, this is contrary to the laws of god about celebrate the death of jesus or paqua christmass is created of roman catholics to insult the laws of the god, and 25 ,, god never use this number, because this is a number of warrior or guerra,, and 12 also,, 12 means of back of v,, means againts,,,, i have no research of jesus birth but for me,,, sept 27, or october 27 , and this is the number of god,,,, november is 11 or killer 12 is december,, againts or rebel,,, 8 is august or evil or code number of rebel alien,,,,january up to april or 4 is from the god , may or 5 is for liar or reversable,,, 6 is code number of god or 666, the doomsday or final judgement,,, 7 is warrior the numerical code of satan or alien are 8 ,,13 ,,23 ,,,,,AND 5 BUT IAM NOT SURE FOR 5 BECAUSE THIS IS CONVERTABLE,,, W AND M,,

    January 5, 2014 at 9:00 am |
    • Kermtrebber

      Dude take your meds

      January 5, 2014 at 10:49 am |
      • CHRISTOPHER T. WILSON

        EXACTLY KERMTREBBER... ZANEX OR A VALIUM SHOULD DO THE TRICK! I NEED A TYLENOL 3 JUST FROM READING THAT.

        January 5, 2014 at 11:28 am |
    • john

      Something tells me you may have believed in g(G)od at one time. You went from god to God . Why would you capitalize the G in god if he was/is not real ? Just a silly thing I noticed. I once was programmed to believe in him the way my parents taught me. Now, with the world as it is, I just don't see it.

      January 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
  7. Wizard

    "To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency; to forgive them is barbarity."

    —Maximilien Robespierre, (atheist) 1794

    January 3, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
    • Ann M

      Also by Robespierre

      “The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.” Think, Home Schooling.

      “Again, it may be said, that to love justice and equality the people need no great effort of virtue; it is sufficient that they love themselves.”

      “Any law which violates the inalienable rights of man is essentially unjust and tyrannical; it is not a law at all.”

      January 4, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
    • Jeff Roem

      Didn't he get guillotined?

      January 4, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
    • Also known as "the Incorruptible"

      🙂

      January 4, 2014 at 9:37 pm |
  8. Chris Hitch

    Does baby Jesus cry when you war on Xmas? Does he wet his celestial pants?

    January 3, 2014 at 6:04 am |
  9. Al_Z_Brains

    Since I don't believe in an afterlife, my only purpose in life is to complain about Christianity on the CNN Belief Blog.

    January 3, 2014 at 3:15 am |
    • Reality # 2

      Expressing our First Amendment:

      Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

      Added details available upon written request.

      A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

      e.g. Taoism

      "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

      Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

      January 3, 2014 at 8:13 am |
      • Akira

        I don't read this chicks rants, ever. Not once, but, please keep posting. By all means.

        January 3, 2014 at 9:45 am |
      • Reality Poops

        "When I attack you, it's just criticism. When you attack me, you are practicing RELIGIOUS OPPRESSION AAAARGGH THE EVIL THEOCRACY!!!"

        January 3, 2014 at 11:11 am |
  10. Kev

    Tim

    "It is completely unfair to have someone make a choice without providing information that allows an informed choice. If your god (or any god) provides some concrete evidence of his existence, then there would be an actual choice to make; otherwise, it's just believing what someone else tells you without any real reason to."

    Really, I'm suprised that you haven't presented the concrete proof that there is no God, because just not having the proof that there is a God isn't proof that there is no God, and yet you seemed to have already made up your mind. Now I agree one has to be informed to make a choice, but where do you get that it has to be concrete evidence because if that were the case the White House and Congress wouldn't get anything done. OH WAIT!!!!

    "....and if I really want to and need to know, which I did, and that this supposed God wanted for us to find out through study,
    ..."

    "I hear this all the time: If you just study the Bible with an open mind it will all be revealed to you (ignoring the fact that plenty of people have done so and felt nothing). This is the point of view of an elitist from the first world with total disregard to the circu.mstances of lots and lots of people in much more difficult circ.umstances in the rest of the world who have neither the leisure time, education, literacy, or resources to "study" any religion, let alone choose yours to study."

    What I said was through study, PRAYER, AND TRYING TO PRACTICE THE TEACHINGS. You can study until your head explodes and it still won't get you anywhere unless do apply what you have been study. As how Socrates would have put it that to know the good is to do the good, and I believe that also applies to the gospel. You don't have to have a doctorate or have access to a library to "study", it cab also be done through discussion, going to church, and especially prayer and tying to walk the walk in order to learn, and I do believe God takes into account what someone had access to in life in making the judgement call.

    ""Again, any god just needs to provide some real evidence of their existence, not just word of mouth and a book that needs to be studied, if they really want people to have a real choice to make."

    You mean like for a 16 year old to really know what it is to own a car by having the parent hand the kid the keys to a fully paid for car including gas, insurance and maintenance because there is no way for the kid to know by having to have the kid at least work their way and partly contribute to the whole thing since experience never teaches anything?

    January 2, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
    • Kev

      oops, this was to go elsewhere.

      January 2, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
    • Observer

      Kev,

      How does a Christian CHOOSE between passages that pick on gays or CHOOSE the Golden Rule?

      January 2, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
    • Actually

      @Kev – "I'm suprised that you haven't presented the concrete proof that there is no God"

      That's sophistry, and discredited. It is impossible to concretely disprove the non-existence of things that do not exist. You can't prove leprechauns or Shiva don't exist either. The burden of proof in on the person making the original claim, which of course is that there is a god.

      But the case for no deities is much stronger, for the same reason the case against leprechauns is. And indeed you use it yourself for every other totally unevidenced claim that somkething exists, except your own god. It goes like this:

      The complete and total lack of any and all evidence that something exists is itself very very strong evidence that it does not exist. That is not absolute proof, but it is extreme probability, way over 99.99%. Now, if there is some text, any core errors will invalidate the credibility of the claims and take the probability even further. For example, Jesus said that prayer works absolutely, as asked, including having a mountain throw itself into the sea. Jesus was wrong, gods cannot be wrong, Jesus cannot be a god. Let's do it again. Jesus said that the end times would come in the lifetimes of some of his immediate audience, complete with God coming on the clouds for all the world to see. Didn't happen. Jesus was wrong, gods cannot be wrong, Jesus cannot be a god. You can do that with any religion's scriptures.

      So the probability of any deity or supernatural force is extremely low, and the probability that Christianity is correct is much less, infintessimally small.

      January 2, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
      • Kev

        Well, that post was meant to be placed further down where I was previously in discussion that would hopefully been better understood in it's context, but then again it may not have so anywho my point was just that the only fact established regarding the existence of God was that there was only a lack of fact ; a lack of fact proving that there is and a lack of fact proving that there isn't, and that in the end it all boils down to belief.

        For me if you believe that there is no God due to a lack of evidence, it really has no more rational merit or less rational merit than those who do believe who see that there is no proof to show that there is no God either. The same thing also applies where there is no more or less rational merit in believing in the teachings of the God of Israel over the gods of Olympus, or Asgard, or Tara, or the Nile or wherever. It's all simply a matter of belief.

        January 2, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
      • Kev

        So, how is it that it is proven that prayer doesn't work or that About the problem with the second coming? Would you actually care to cite the specifically where it says what you are talking about?

        January 2, 2014 at 8:45 pm |
        • Actually

          You want me to teach your Bible to you? Okay:

          Matthew 21:21: "Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done."

          Mark 11:23: "Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them."

          Go ahead and try it.

          Matthew 24:30-34 "“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened."

          Matthew 16:27-28: "For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

          Have you ever actually read the Bible? How could you not know what I was talking about?

          January 2, 2014 at 9:01 pm |
        • Kev

          Frankly, yes I do want to be taught since your interpretation is supposedly what was actually meant. So, lets see

          Matthew 21: 21 and Mark 11:23 Isn't talking about prayer working absolutely, it's talking about having faith and whether or not you have any doubt in your heart in which if there isn't any doubt you can move mountains. Where did you find prayer in any of those verses?

          Matthew 24: 30 – 34 This generation Jesus was referring to was for the generation who would be there when the second coming is near to see for the signs and you will know that the time is near. There is no specific reference that it was to the generation Jesus was speaking to at the time.

          Matthew 16: 27-28: For some of those disciples with whom Jesus was talking to who will not taste death until the second coming, I take it you are assuming that all of the disciples Jesus was talking to has in fact died, so if you care to verify that to include a when and where that would be appreciative.

          January 2, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
        • Actually

          @Kev: "Where did you find prayer in any of those verses?" How else are you going to ask it be done? Okay, let's go with your version. Have you ever been able to do anything like that? Have you ever heard of a non-Biblical human who could do that? Try it now. We will make it easy. Find a pencil and a glass of water. As you already have faith, then ask the pencil to throw itself into the glass of water, and of course you could not doubt because Jesus said it will be done for you. Go ahead, do it.

          You see, the point isn't whether it is prayer or not that doesn't work; it's that Jesus said that something you can do can't be done. Jesus was wrong. Or, absolutely nobody has faith because nobody can do it, and then everyone goes to hell. Because if you have doubt, you don't have faith.

          As to your next comments, you are saying that when Jesus said "this generation" he meant "not this generation." But of course there is no Biblical support for that at all. None. Zip. He was speaking to an audience, and so "this generation" can only mean "your generation" in context. Nothing in the Bible suggests anything else. I have heard that one before, but it's pretty weaselly.

          And weaselly is your thing, because you then said: "I take it you are assuming that all of the disciples Jesus was talking to has in fact died, so if you care to verify that to include a when and where that would be appreciative." What, Jesus pulled a sneaky and secretly kept one alive just so this would be true? What a disservice this ancient disciple did to Jesus and the human race by staying perfectly hidden and not spreading the word as he was supposed to. That's just so lame it's the last nail in the coffin of your argument. Really, you need to ask yourself why you would resort to such childish trickery.

          January 2, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
        • Kev

          Guess what, if the word PRAYER is not mentioned in those verses., the topic is not about prayer. It does not matter how you try to spin it.

          It does not matter how you spin it as Jesus said when the time does come near that this generation at that particular time near to his coming there will be signs to indicate at that point in time that the time is near.

          And there was nothing sneaky about it. Jesus said it straight up that that was to happen to some of his disciples to not taste death. As to why they may be kept hidden you can speculate all you want, but to say that they are supposed to be do this or that, it is not up to you to make that call. After all "To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven" Ecclesiastes 3:1

          January 3, 2014 at 1:08 am |
        • WASP

          @kev: ok you want a bible passage about "prayer" that will prove or disprove god; correct?

          ok simple enough, seeing you will ignore me after posting.

          1 KINGS VERSE 30-40
          30 Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come here to me." They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Your name shall be Israel." 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, "Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood." 34 "Do it again," he said, and they did it again. "Do it a third time," he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench. 36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and PRAYED: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again." 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD–he is God! The LORD–he is God!" 40 Then Elijah commanded them, "Seize the prophets of Baal. Don't let anyone get away!" They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.

          @KEV: so let's gather 400 of your gods followers and recreate this event. if your god doesn't show, then just as elijah showed your god isn't real; however if he sends down flame to consume the sacrifice, then he is real.
          i'm betting he doesn't show...............just be thankful atheists don't follow elijah example and have you taken to the bottom of a hill and slaughtered. XD

          January 3, 2014 at 7:09 am |
        • Kev

          @WASP,

          1 THE Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.

          2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

          3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring, O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

          4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.
          (Matthew 16:1-4 KJV)

          January 3, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
        • Thomas

          Kev

          "Through study, asking God in prayer whether or not he was there, and practicing the teachings and see how they work out in my life to know first hand."

          Just curious, how many religions did you need to study and practice their teachings before you found the one that worked for you? Just a hunch, but I bet it is just one, and it just happens to be the religion of your parents. How fortunate you found the right one first try and didn't need to take the time to investigate or try out any of the many, many others.

          January 3, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
        • WASP

          @kev: "4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; "

          soooooo basically you are saying that elijah is wicked? really? according to eye witness accounts god devoured the sacrifice to prove his power.

          now remember you asked for one with prayer about god, thus i provided ten passages about elijah praying infront of 400 followers of BAAL that had just failed to summon their god...........

          so how about it? we can recreate this event, and it's not seeking a sign because i know your god just like BAAL will not show. so what do you have to fear, it's not like we will take the 400 you choose down the hill and execute you all. XD

          January 3, 2014 at 8:09 pm |
        • Kev

          WASP,

          When Elijah made the challenge, it wasn't to show the priests of Baal and the like so that they would convert, after all when Jezebel heard what had happened to her priests, she didn't exactly convert now did she; unless you take the point about Jezebel seeking to kill Elijah as seeing the error of her ways. The purpose for Elijah's challenge was to remind his fellow Israelites who were torn in their worship between The Lord and Baal that they needed to make their choice and the demonstration was showing to them as a reminder of the promises or covenants they made with The Lord.

          So, in other words those who seek for a sign for proof of God claiming that they would then believe and convert , doesn't mean that would actually happen, and Jesus said that straight up to those seeking for a sign that even if a sign was given all that would happen is that the sign seekers would just make up some excuses, and justify to themselves that it really wasn't a sign.

          So WASP are you in the camp of being a follower that is torn between sides, or are you in the camp of full disbelief who are calling out for The Lord to show himself?

          January 4, 2014 at 12:25 am |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          QUOTE:, "and Jesus said that straight up to those seeking for a sign that even if a sign was given all that would happen is that the sign seekers would just make up some excuses, and justify to themselves that it really wasn’t a sign."
          This doesn't sound like an idea from a Creator who knows all and sees all and has already planned the outcomes of all living breathing beings on the planet does it? An "all knowing" creator wouldn't be engaging in trifle conversation such as this in the least. How convenient for the fabricators of the story to say that as opposed to a REAL all powerful creator would in making other more significant ways of communicating his all knowing plan to the subjects he claims to love and who wants to give them the best chance possible to be able to reach heaven. An all powerful creator would not make an excuse by putting it back on the people....wouldn't he search for a way to help them understand instead of accusing them of not having faith....trust must be earned by anyone asking for "faith"...an all knowing god would understand this......if no trust...no faith can be had....reading a book does not fulfill even the barest minimum of building a trust which is necessary if you are to ask for "faith". The stories of jesus cannot be true in many regards.....jesus would know better than to put if back onto the "non believers" he was trying to send a message to..if he indeed was....I smell hoax in the highest ...lol

          January 4, 2014 at 11:03 pm |
        • Kev

          Thomas,

          Yes, I am in the same faith as my parent's. However that being said there were definitely times in my life where I strongly questioned my beliefs not unlike many an atheist have done in being brought up in a religious home. The thing is though at that age my parent's didn't push me into just accepting their faith or else. I was free to explore and make up my own mind. I did freely go into studying for seeking guidance and eventually it did boil down to if you really need to know you should ask God.

          Frankly I was very hesitant about it for months because I was not sure what would really happen or how to handle it if I didn't get anything. I was just basically too scared to try, so I kept putting it off. However as time went on the need to know one way or other became more and more apparent and eventually the need to know outweighed my fear, so I did pray. What I received was a good comforting sense of assurance, but this type of comforting assurance was unlike anything I ever felt before and I cant really fully explain what it was because it was so unusual. But one thing it definitely was was that it was a sense of comforting assurance that God was real that he was listening to me that his teachings were in fact true.

          I'm certain there are those who say I was just delusional and was somehow subconsciously deluding myself or was just trying to justify my beliefs even though at the time I had some very deep fears and concerns believing that it was likely I wouldn't get anything. The thing is though no one can truly be in my shoes and get the full perspective to really make that judgement call. Like I've said the whole promise of getting to know through prayer has been laid out there before us, and that comes with all of the risks that go with it. The promise is all out there on the line. Whether that was a good move or a foolish move, the challenge to find out for yourself is out there to take up on.

          January 4, 2014 at 1:34 am |
        • Thomas

          Kev – Thanks for the response. It's not surprising that you chose the religion of your parents as the one to investigate–most people do investigate only one, and it's that of their parents. But surely you can imagine a similar spiritual experience happening for some of those who investigate Hinduism in India, Islam in Egypt, etc.

          January 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • Kev

          Actually Thomas,

          I cannot imagine what people of other faiths experience and frankly neither can you. You have to be in their shoes and in my case you have to be in my shoes. Otherwise you cannot imagine and least not imagine with any accuracy.

          January 4, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
        • Kev

          urnotathinkerru,
          "
          "This doesn't sound like an idea from a Creator who knows all and sees all and has already planned the outcomes of all living breathing beings on the planet does it?

          How do you know what an all knowing deity thinks like? If you were all knowing yourself I could see where you are coming from, but you"re not . Your understanding of things is just like the rest of us, which is LIMITED.. Have you ever considered an all knowing deity would be the one who actually has the big picture?

          "An "all knowing" creator wouldn't be engaging in trifle conversation such as this in the least."

          Again, how would you know? To me I can surely think of at least one reason as to why Jesus did bother to get into such trifle conversation, and that is teach us about the motives of those who demand a sign, and an all knowing deity would know that an account of that conversation would be written down.

          "How convenient for the fabricators of the story to say that as opposed to a REAL all powerful creator would in making other more significant ways of communicating his all knowing plan to the subjects he claims to love and who wants to give them the best chance possible to be able to reach heaven."

          Yeah there are certainly more surer ways of communicating, but we also are given free will in this life to make choices both good choices and bad choices, which do carry consequences for those choices. That is why I believe why there is evil in the world because all of us are given freedom to choose good or evil. Because of that people do get hurt, and many people may end up in life living in ignorance that due to no thought of their own.

          However, just like it says in 1 Peter chapter 3 where during the time between Jesus's death and resurrection where he was preaching to the spirits who were in prison who once lived from days of Noah and the flood, that they were actually not lost souls after all. So, that would mean that whether in this life after this life I do believe that everyone will have the chance to learn about the gospel and make their choice. As a result I believe that in the end everyone who was ever capable of being accountable will be held accountable, because everyone will eventually get their chance whether be in this life or afterwards.

          "....reading a book does not fulfill even the barest minimum of building a trust which is necessary if you are to ask for "faith".

          Of course not, that is why there is prayer and practicing the teachings, to see for them selves how their faith applies to their lives.

          January 5, 2014 at 12:19 am |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          I guess you got me....I can't even attempt to outshine that crop of wherewithall.....circular reasoning so complex you need a computer program to consider all the logistics of the matrix inside your head!

          January 5, 2014 at 12:41 am |
        • Observer

          Kev,

          "Of course not, that is why there is prayer and practicing the teachings, to see for them selves how their faith applies to their lives."

          Where do the morals come from that tell us the Bible is WRONG about things like slavery, discriminations, beating and selling children, etc.?

          January 5, 2014 at 12:26 am |
        • Kev

          Observer,

          Care to elaborate your points I.e. Your sources regarding slavery, domestic abuse, selling children and the like.

          January 5, 2014 at 9:29 am |
        • Observer

          Kev,

          Sorry. I assumed you had read a Bible.

          January 5, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          You cannot educate people at this level until they read and understand the foundation that their "beliefs" are based upon. If they don't understand that basic premise then it's like an arguement with a spoiled teenager....no reason....only emotional attachments to something they really don't understand.....the thinking and observing mind is much different than a non educatable emotional attachment. They will come around when they have had enough and had enough "eureka" moments that makes them realize that in all honesty "this religious worldview doesn't make evidenced sense because nothing supports it". The more reading from evidenced sources the better chance for a realistic understanding of HOW things work. .

          January 5, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • Kev

          Observer,

          Of course I have a Bible. I also assumed that you knew where in the Bible from which you are basing your assumptions on.

          January 5, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • Kev

          urnotathinkerru,

          Just keep believing. After all; all that you are doing on this blog is the same as what the theists are doing, which is believing,

          January 5, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
      • Actually

        That approach supports every god and supernatural being ever suggested. Do you similarly believe in Zeus or any other of the thousands of non-Christian gods? Of course not. You disbelieve in every other unevidenced god just as we do, for the same reason. Why do you make an exception for one, which is absolutely no more likely?

        January 2, 2014 at 8:49 pm |
        • Kev

          Through study, asking God in prayer whether or not he was there, and practicing the teachings and see how they work out in my life to know first hand. It's not actual fact. it's how how I personally applied and tested them on me. It's a way to find out what worked on a personal basis and that is how it goes for each and every one of us. We can only find out on a personal level. If you never tasted salt before and you wanted to know what salt tastes like, how are you going to know without trying and actually tasting for yourself?

          January 2, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
        • Actually

          That approach too supports every god and supernatural being ever suggested. That is exactly what the followers of Zeus and Allah and Shiva would do and say. And they would get exactly the same results as you got. They were and are exactly as sure as you.

          January 2, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
        • Kev

          We'll, if perchance there is a God out there who does not want to be made known but rather have us develop faith in that God, how else are you going to find out? The thing is whether or not any such attempt is valid or not is not known to anyone el but you. so, automatically many people will look at that with sceptic ism. So, what would be the solution but to try it out for yourself, because your not going to know any other way. The scriptures give that challenge straight up with all the risks involved when it comes to asking God in prayer for wisdom. Since the risk is there on what the scriptures say, then what is your hang up?

          January 3, 2014 at 1:23 am |
        • WASP

          @KEV: "what would be the solution but to try it out for yourself, because your not going to know any other way."

          you know what kindof people use that phrase?
          1) drug dealers
          2) used car dealers
          3) any person that can not prove or show what they claim to be true.

          XD

          January 3, 2014 at 8:43 am |
        • Damocles

          @Kev

          And how many times does one need to try it for themselves before saying 'eh, there's nothing there'?

          January 3, 2014 at 8:53 am |
        • Kev

          @WASP,

          Since you're comparing me to a drug pusher, I'll use these lines:

          Come on...what are you afraid of? It's only just some personal study and heart felt prayer? It's no big deal. You're going to like it. It's the best.

          January 3, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
        • Kev

          @ Damocles,

          Since I'm not the one who makes that judgement call, I would say that it's between you and the all knowing deity. If you figure your totally sure that there is no God after doing your praying, then you shouldn't have to worry about anything right?

          January 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Kev, many atheists exactly like me were Christians for most of our lives-decades with pure faith. Personal feelings that a myth is true does not amount to any evidence. The phrases you use are identical to the phrases used by those in cults and denominations you would say are not Christian and muslims and followers of other religions. But there is no method by which verifiable measurable results might demonstrate that one god belief/religion is more likely to be true than any other.

          January 3, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
        • Damocles

          Seems strange that a deity would remain silent. Maybe the silence could be construed as 'all posistions currently filled, please try again later'?

          January 3, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
        • Chikkipop

          The one thing that Kev and most theists I've ever met have in common is, they never consider their own ability to self-deceive, and the power of emotions in encouraging such deception.

          They seem completely unaware of the human capacity to believe incredible things for reasons having nothing to do with the actuality of the thing believed, even though there are countless examples. People believe because of personal weakness, because of their upbringing, because the community sanctions the belief & individuals desire to belong, etc.

          Former believers consistently confirm that self-deception was a major factor in their beliefs.

          Even as Kev tells of his study & prayer, you can see it's nothing more than an emotional commitment; if anyone actually came across significant information in the course of their journey, they would be able to convey it, just as anyone could in any other real pursuit of knowledge. They urge the rest of us to "just be open", failing to recognize that many of us have grown beyond deciding what is true based upon the emotional pull a story has on us.

          Such naivete has always fascinated me.

          January 3, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
        • Kev

          Cap,

          Of course there is no way to measure physically as to which side is right, including the atheist side, and yet you still make your choice because in your POV it is the logical choice to make, wherein my POV there are times that such physical evidence is not available and so a leap of faith needs to be taken.

          So that even though the end result can only happen on a personal level, it is definitely better than nothing and it's not like for those others that getting their own perspective through study plus prayer plus trying out the gospel principles is unavailable because it is it available; quite available.

          January 4, 2014 at 12:44 am |
        • Kev

          So Chickipop,

          Convey to me if I was someone who never tasted salt before what salt tastes like.

          January 4, 2014 at 1:41 am |
        • Chikkipop

          Oh, please!!

          Do you have any idea how many times we've heard the "salt" question!?

          You folks all pass around the same faulty arguments! It's bad enough that you can't spot their obvious flaws, but the worst part is, you all seem unaware of – or you ignore – the solid refutations we constantly provide.

          Salt.........wait for it...........EXISTS! There is no sane person who questions that fact.

          Now, compare that with describing an invisible being. P l e a s e tell me you get the difference!

          We have a choice: either there is an invisible, magical being who can only be found through "personal experience" (unlike anything else that objectively exists!), or a great number of our fellow human beings are susceptible to comforting stories, self-deception and an inability to think critically.

          Given all that we know about humans, which is the more reasonable choice?

          January 4, 2014 at 10:32 am |
        • Kev

          Chickipop,

          Oh please!! I didn't ask you what salt is . I asked you what salt tastes like. Apparently you didn't understand the question.

          January 4, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
        • Chikkipop

          Your gullibility is astonishing.

          What salt is. What salt tastes like. What difference does it make!!? IT EXISTS!

          Just because an objectively existing thing is difficult to describe in words does not mean it cannot be confirmed to exist by everyone! This is completely different from your god idea!

          There is no evidence for a god, and there is no evidence that people have ever experienced anything inside their minds that pointed to something that was objectively true OUTSIDE of their minds, but which could not be experienced by others unless they too had a "personal experience" of it.

          You are deluded. You don't know any better, and you most likely mean well, but that doesn't change the fact that your god concept is downright absurd.

          January 4, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Kev, I don't know what you mean by "it," when you were describing belief without proof (faith) and you say "it" is better than "nothing." Could you please rephrase that so I know what you mean by "it" and "nothing."

          I simply lack belief in any of the gods that have been described to me because all of them are invisible, undetectable, and seemingly, irrelevant. I don't know why someone would believe a thing that is invisible, undetectable, and irrelevant. I think it makes more sense to believe unicorns don't exist than to believe that they do exist for the same exact reason. I think you use the logic I describe above in almost every instance, too, and I wonder why you don't think it's appropriate reasoning to use when it comes to faith in any gods.

          January 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • Kev

          Cap,

          I think I see your point. I think what I should have said was that "it" was better than nothing meaning to find out and get some sense of direction to take on whether to accept or not accept the existence of God. If you feel that you need to know, study, practicing the teachings, and asking God whether or not he and his teachings are true would be a good route to take over just doing nothing and keep feeling frustrated. So, if you don't feel like you need to find out, the whole thing would be moot.

          January 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • Kev

          Chickipop,

          Your ignorance is astonishing. You refuse to accept that there are certain questions out there that cannot be answered without personal first hand experience. You keep focusing that on the point that there is no conclusive evidence that there is a God while refusing to accept that there is also no conclusive evidence that prove that there is no God either, but that's okay Chikkipop. You can just keep on BELIEVING.

          January 4, 2014 at 9:13 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Yes, Kev, neither side has proof, but what is the atheists side claiming? Nothing. We atheists aren't claiming anything exists.

          You are the one claiming something exists, exactly like a person claiming that their shiny rock is really an asteroid. I am right to be skeptical of both claims until I receive proof. I don't need proof that the rock is NOT an asteroid, the person wanting me to buy the rock at a large price needs to prove his claim to me.

          It's not an even comparison. Quit pretending that it is. When there is an absence of evidence for a positive claim, the more rational position is one of skepticism/disbelief. It's why you don't buy a home without lawyers and lots of paperwork. Skepticism is the more logical choice.

          As to all your claims about believing until you believe and then pretending to sort of believe until you kind of believe a little more, I've heard it all before....from various members of various cults, religions, and pop philosophies. Nice try.

          January 5, 2014 at 12:59 am |
        • Kev

          Cap,
          Of course you can be skeptical. I'm not saying you can't be, but what makes you think that you would not need a lawyer when it comes to accepting an atheist-based proposition?

          January 5, 2014 at 9:22 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Do you seriously not get it, still?????

          The side making the claim that SOMETHING EXISTS has the burden of proof. The one who disbelieves the claim needs no proof.

          If I claim to have a spaceship and an alien in my garage, do you need to provide evidence that I don't have it in order to be skeptical and disbelieve? NO, idiot. Since I am claiming that I have the spaceship and alien, I need to provide evidence before I can expect you to believe.

          How do you not get this simple, obvious rule of logic? It's like you're talking about trigonometry but you can't even add single digit numbers.

          January 5, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • Kev

          Cap,

          So, if your making a claim that positively God does not exist and I don't believe you, then gues has the burden of proof?

          January 5, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • Kev

          Cap,

          You still,don't get it that it is all relative???

          January 5, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
      • nev

        actually you dont have to prove the many deities or Gods that they really exist,because they really had existed in their times,They are part of the evolutionary process for us humans to transcend to higher consciousness.To simplify the analogy,when we were young and we are in the lower grade school ,we were taught simple subjects not advance literatures but simple stories even mythicals,The same with religion ,thousands of years ago when there was no science yet,primitive people had a religion, of course man made faiths to conform with their state of mind or intellect.But later atfter thousands of years we evolve into a more educated people and so new concept of God again was presented to them,another man made concept,and this go on and on ,until a few thiousand years ago.monotheism ,Judaism,christianity,islam,buddhism,etc also evolved,But with the accelerated evolution ,these faith again is threatend with obsolesencs because of of scientific developments and education.In panthroteistic faith ,the future religion needs to conform to evolutionary
        process,This proves that God is always there guiding the change.And it his will that made this a reality in history since the begining of the universe 13 billion years ago ,and this will continue to exist until He will completely fulfill His will to infinity,Thats PANTHROTHEISM,the futue, man made religion under His guidance through scientifiic evoluition after the Bi Bang

        January 3, 2014 at 10:02 am |
        • Chikkipop

          Forehead slap.

          My goodness, humans are a fascinating bunch!

          January 3, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          yes...no higher consciousness there...lol

          January 3, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
    • Chikkipop

      "You mean like for a 16 year old to really know what it is to own a car by having the parent hand the kid the keys to a fully paid for car including gas, insurance and maintenance because there is no way for the kid to know by having to have the kid at least work their way and partly contribute to the whole thing since experience never teaches anything?"

      No.

      January 3, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
      • Kev

        Care to explain why it is no, or is it that you just like to say no?

        January 6, 2014 at 10:42 am |
    • urnotathinkerareu

      a 16 year old??? a car? Keys to the car?...are you kidding me? A comparison to believing and committing your whole eternity to a god by asking for concrete evidence...hahaha...does not compute ..does not compute Will Smith?.......no wonder we can never have meaningful discussion...good attempt though...almost...lol

      January 5, 2014 at 12:04 am |
      • Kev

        urnotathinkerru,

        Yet you can't even explain why that analogy is meaningless. When you came up with your posting name for this blog were you looking in a mirror?

        January 6, 2014 at 10:34 am |
  11. Felix Sinclair

    Theist hypocrites, please stop your war on reality.

    January 2, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
    • fred

      If reality is that which actually presents itself regardless of the beliefs or perspective of the observer then God remains the predominate aspect of reality. End of story, facts are facts.

      January 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
      • At Barnes and Noble

        Yes fred facts are facts !!!

        January 2, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
      • Observer

        fred,

        We all agree that facts are facts. Remember that when you claim words don't mean what the dictionary defines them to mean.

        January 2, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
        • fred

          Words in the dictionary have different cultural meaning over time. When you take the words from 3.400 years ago that had a particular meaning to that culture you must take that usage. Take the word gay for example. 100 years ago we all enjoyed a gay marriage ceremony but today gay marriage means something else.

          January 2, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
        • Observer

          fred

          "Words in the dictionary have different cultural meaning over time. When you take the words from 3.400 years ago that .. "

          The Bibles were translated THOUSANDS of years later by SCHOLARS.

          Try again, unless you can list your credentials as a BIBLICAL SCHOLAR.

          January 2, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
        • fred

          Then you should listen to those scholars when they tell you that the Bible does not condone what we know as the African Slave Trade.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
        • Observer

          fred,

          Listen to those SCHOLARS who know FAR MORE about translating the Bible than we do. They are the ones who found that the Bible says there should be NO PUNISHMENT for beating your SLAVES with a ROD if they don't die in a day or so.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • fred

          Again, read what the scholars have to say about that verse. It is a contrast related to "an Eye for an Eye and a Tooth for a Tooth". If you strike a slave or anyone with a rod then you are guilty of killing a man and the punishment is death. If the man slave or not is alive after a few days then there is of course no death penalty for killing but an adjustment in civil court. That adjustment if the man is not slave is a function of the value lost. That adjustment if the man is your slave is the value lost as well because the slave is your valuable asset (property).
          These rules were put in place to set Gods people apart / holy from the barbarians around them.

          January 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
      • Observer

        fred,

        "These rules were put in place to set Gods people apart / holy from the barbarians around them."

        Your EXCUSE is that the loss is economical because of missing services. That would apply to ANY slave owner, not just "God's people".

        You also COMPLETELY IGNORE ANY COMPENSATION mentioned in the Bible for the slave, who is not a PERSON, but PROPERTY.

        January 5, 2014 at 12:50 am |
    • And again

      Define "reality".

      January 2, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
      • urnotathinkerareu

        REALITY....stick your finger in your bum. Non Reality...IMAGINE sticking your finger in your bum....REALITY...Evolution...non Reality...the poisonous pedagogy called imaginative religions.

        January 2, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • And again

          If you continue to think along the lines of the stinky monkey video, it's no wonder you never ask yourself deep questions.

          http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2006/10/25/does-reality-exist-only-in-my/

          January 2, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          no way to tell if spmeone is really schitzo??...I think this Prof is a whack job....if you look in the mirror and then say to yourself (according to her theory) This may not really be me...and if you believe that is true...well...you judge for yourself....lol

          January 3, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
  12. Ken

    Science was my most favorite subject, especially the Old Testament.

    December 31, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • lol??

      lol??
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      "Progress is important."

      Suzie Q

      378,095 BCE

      January 2, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
  13. Rodents for Romney

    Since when is "privileges" a verb ?

    December 30, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Dandintac

      I've seen it used that way before–although one might say in doing so that they are "verbing a noun"!

      December 31, 2013 at 12:52 am |
    • doobzz

      I guess it's the same way that "disrespect" became a verb.

      January 2, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
  14. TYRANNASAUR

    It takes a considerable amount of consciousness to come up with the idea of any god, so why is that insignificant?

    Actually it doesn't take any effort at all....you go from saying ...I DON'T KNOW ....to...IT MUST BE MAGIC / GOD.

    December 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • After a long delay

      You basically took the argument, twisted it, and used it to further your philosophical perspective. The argument was not on if Theism or atheism is a preferable position. The argument was that one must be conscious to take either position.

      January 1, 2014 at 8:09 am |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        That's a good point, Aald. It's also important to note that you have to be conscious of the idea of some sort of big, invisible, sky wizard chanting the universe into existence with magic spells in order to accept or reject that idea. So it's not just consciousness that's required for either the theist or atheist position, but consciousness of a particular mythology to accept or reject.

        January 1, 2014 at 11:24 am |
  15. TYRANNASAUR

    “Who needs Christ during Christmas?

    Actually it used to be Saturn's day... a ROMAN holiday ON THE 25TH of December when presents were exchanged....the Bishop of Rome moved in and changed it like he did everything else to make it a SO CALLED CHRISTIAN holiday....which it isn't.....so yes that is correct.....WHO NEEDS CHRIST DURING SATURN'S DAY?

    December 30, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Saraswati

      We already celebrate Saturn 52 times a year. Seems a little overkill for him to get another day. Let one of the modern myths have it.

      January 1, 2014 at 8:27 am |
      • After a long delay

        Happy Odin's day

        January 1, 2014 at 8:42 am |
        • Saraswati

          A good Odin's day here as I managed to get to sleep early this year despite all the Martian celebrations.

          January 1, 2014 at 8:57 am |
        • Jeez

          I thought it was Thor's Day. Are Odin and Thor having a power struggle again?

          January 2, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
  16. Ken Margo

    “Silverman’s notorious anti-Christmas billboards and subsequent TV appearances have breathed new life into American Atheists and are often followed by an uptick in subscribers and donations.

    In other words. "IT'S ABOUT THE MONEY" It doesn't matter if it's about religion or atheists. It boils down to money. You shouldn't have to promote your beliefs or non beliefs. Reality will ultimately determine what's real or isn't. That's why atheism is growing and organized religion is losing influence.

    December 30, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Promotion of beliefs works. That's how Christianity, Islam, Marxism, democracy, Buddhism and pretty much every other belief system spread. While atheism is not a belief system in itself, American Atheists go a step further in promoting policies, ethics and ideology.

      January 1, 2014 at 8:32 am |
      • Science Works

        Saraswati – there are nones too !

        Dysfunctional Republican Christians Vow To Destroy the First Amendment
        By: Rmuse more from Rmuse
        Tuesday, December, 31st, 2013, 10:13 am

        http://www.politicususa.com/2013/12/31/dysfunctional-republican-christians-vow-destroy-amendment.html

        January 1, 2014 at 8:37 am |
      • Ken Margo

        Happy New year Saraswati. No doubt promotion works. I said you shouldn't have to promote your beliefs. I think atheists don't need to promote. As religious individuals continue to stick their foot in their mouth, atheism will naturally continue to grow.

        January 2, 2014 at 4:55 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.