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After a schism, a question: Can atheist churches last?
Sunday Assembly founders Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans have begun to franchise their "godless congregations."
January 4th, 2014
09:00 AM ET

After a schism, a question: Can atheist churches last?

By Katie Engelhart, special to CNN

LONDON (CNN) - The Sunday Assembly was riding high.

The world’s most voguish - though not its only - atheist church opened last year in London, to global attention and abundant acclaim.

So popular was the premise, so bright the promise, that soon the Sunday Assembly was ready to franchise, branching out into cities such as New York, Dublin and Melbourne.

“It’s a way to scale goodness,” declared Sanderson Jones, a standup comic and co-founder of The Sunday Assembly, which calls itself a “godless congregation.”

But nearly as quickly as the Assembly spread, it split, with New York City emerging as organized atheism’s Avignon.

In October, three former members of Sunday Assembly NYC announced the formation of a breakaway group called Godless Revival.

“The Sunday Assembly,” wrote Godless Revival founder Lee Moore in a scathing blog post, “has a problem with atheism.”

Moore alleges that, among other things, Jones advised the NYC group to “boycott the word atheism” and “not to have speakers from the atheist community.” It also wanted the New York branch to host Assembly services in a churchlike setting, instead of the Manhattan dive bar where it was launched.

Jones denies ordering the NYC chapter to do away with the word “atheism,” but acknowledges telling the group “not to cater solely to atheists.” He also said he advised them to leave the dive bar “where women wore bikinis,” in favor of a more family-friendly venue.

The squabbles led to a tiff and finally a schism between two factions within Sunday Assembly NYC. Jones reportedly told Moore that his faction was no longer welcome in the Sunday Assembly movement.

Moore promises that his group, Godless Revival, will be more firmly atheistic than the Sunday Assembly, which he now dismisses as “a humanistic cult.”

In a recent interview, Jones described the split as “very sad.” But, he added, “ultimately, it is for the benefit of the community. One day, I hope there will soon be communities for every different type of atheist, agnostic and humanist. We are only one flavor of ice cream, and one day we hope there'll be congregations for every godless palate."

Nevertheless, the New York schism raises critical questions about the Sunday Assembly. Namely: Can the atheist church model survive? Is disbelief enough to keep a Sunday gathering together?

Big-tent atheism

I attended my first service last April, when Sunday Assembly was still a rag-tag venture in East London.

The service was held in a crumbly, deconsecrated church and largely populated by white 20-somethings with long hair and baggy spring jackets (a group from which I hail.)

I wrote that the Assembly “had a wayward, whimsical feel. At a table by the door, ladies served homemade cakes and tea. The house band played Cat Stevens. Our ‘priest’ wore pink skinny jeans.”

I judged the effort to be “part quixotic hipster start-up, part Southern megachurch.”

The central idea was attractive enough. The Assembly described itself as a secular urban oasis, where atheists could enjoy the benefits of traditional church - the sense of community, the weekly sermon, the scheduled time for reflection, the community service opportunities, the ethos of self-improvement, the singing and the free food - without God. I liked the vibe and the slogan: “Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More.”

Shortly thereafter, Assembly services began bringing in hundreds of similarly warm-and-fuzzy nonbelievers. The wee East London church grew too small, and the Assembly moved to central London’s more elegant Conway Hall.

The Assembly drew criticism, to be sure—from atheists who fundamentally object to organized disbelief, from theists who resent the pillaging of their texts and traditions. But coverage was largely positive - and it was everywhere.

In September, a second wave of coverage peaked, with news that the Assembly was franchising: across England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the United States and Australia. That month, the founders launched a crowd-funding campaign that aims to raise $802,500. (As of mid-December, less than $56,000 had been raised.)

Still, prospective Sunday Assembly franchisers seemed exhilarated. Los Angeles chapter founder Ian Dodd enthused that he would “have a godless congregation in the city of angels.” In November, his inaugural Assembly drew more than 400 attendees.

But as the atheist church grew, it began to change—and to move away from its atheism.

“How atheist should our Assembly be?” wrote Jones in August. “The short answer to that is: not very.”

Pippa Evans, Assembly’s other co-founder, elaborated: “‘Atheist Church’ as a phrase has been good to us. It has got us publicity. But the term ‘atheist’ does hold negative connotations.”

Warm-and-fuzzy atheism gave way to not-quite atheism: or at least a very subdued, milquetoast nonbelief. Sunday services made much mention of “whizziness” and “wonder”—but rarely spoke of God’s nonexistence.

The newer, bigger Sunday Assembly now markets itself as a kind of atheist version of Unitarian Univeralism: irreligious, but still eager to include everyone.

In a way, this is a smart move. According to the 2012 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 20% of Americans have no religious affiliation, but just a fraction of those identify as atheists.

A godless congregation is likely to draw crowds if it appeals to what Herb Silverman, founder of the Secular Coalition for America, calls “big-tent” atheism, which includes “agnostics, humanists, secular humanists, freethinkers, nontheists, anti-theists, skeptics, rationalists, naturalists, materialists, ignostics, apatheists, and more.”

But atheists who wanted a firmly atheist church—a Sunday Assembly where categorical disbelief is discussed and celebrated—will not be satisfied.

As the Sunday Assembly downplays its atheism, it also appears increasingly churchlike.

Starting a Sunday Assembly chapter now involves a “Sunday Assembly Everywhere accreditation process,” which grants “the right to use all the Sunday Assembly materials, logos, positive vibe and goodwill.”

Aspiring Sunday Assembly founders must form legal entities and attend “training days in the UK,” sign the Sunday Assembly Charter and pass a three- to six-month peer review. Only then may formal accreditation be granted.

This is not an East London hipster hyper-localism anymore.

Selling swag and charisma

Organized atheism is not necessarily new. French Revolutionaries, for instance, were early atheist entrepreneurs.

In 1793, secularists famously seized the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, to build a “Temple of Reason.” They decorated the church with busts of philosophers, built an altar to Reason, lit a torch of Truth - and brought in an actress to play Liberty.

A half-century later, French philosopher Auguste Comte drew acclaim for his “religion of humanity,” which imagined an army of secular sages ministering to secular souls. London has hosted formal atheist gatherings for almost as long.

History suggests, then, that there is nothing inherently anti-organization about atheism. As Assembly’s Sanderson Jones puts it, “things which are organized are not necessarily bad.”

To be sure, Sunday Assembly members in the United States say they've long wanted to join atheist congregations.

Ian Dodd, a 50-something camera operator in Los Angeles, had long been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church; he enjoyed it, but wanted something more explicitly irreligious.

Nicole Steeves of the Chicago chapter found herself yearning for a secular community—a “place to check in and think about things bigger than the day-to-day”—after having her first child.

But it is one thing to support an atheist "church" - where the ‘c’ is small and the effort is local - and another to back an atheist ‘Church’ that is global and centralized.

The former responds directly to the needs and fancies of its community. The latter assumes that its particular brand of disbelief is universally relevant—and worthy of trademark.

Centralized atheism also feeds hungrily on charisma, and Sanderson Jones, who resembles a tall, bearded messiah - and who, despite the SA recommendation that Assembly hosts should be regularly rotated, dominates each London service - provides ample fuel.

But it remains to be seen whether the Sunday Assembly’s diluted godlessness is meaty enough to sustain a flock.

“Because it is a godless congregation, we don’t have a doctrine to rely on,” explains Sunday Assembly Melbourne’s founder, “so we take reference from everything in the world.”

So far, Assembly sermonizers had included community workers, physicists, astronomers, wine writers, topless philanthropers, futurologists, happiness experts, video game enthusiasts, historians and even a vicar. The pulpit is open indeed.

My own misgivings are far less academic. I’m simply not getting what the Sunday Assembly promised. I’m not put off by the secular church model, but rather the prototype.

Take an October service in London, for example:

Instead of a thoughtful sermon, I got a five-minute Wikipedia-esque lecture on the history of particle physics.

Instead of receiving self-improvement nudges or engaging in conversation with strangers, I watched the founders fret (a lot) over technical glitches with the web streaming, talk about how hard they had worked to pull the service off, and try to sell me Sunday Assembly swag.

What’s more, instead of just hop, skipping and jumping over to a local venue, as I once did, I now had to brave the tube and traverse the city.

Back in New York, Lee Moore is gearing up for the launch of Godless Revival - but still speaks bitterly of his time with the Sunday Assembly network.

Over the telephone, I mused that the experience must have quashed any ambition he ever had to build a multinational atheist enterprise.

“Actually,” he admitted, “we do have expansion aims.”

Katie Engelhart is a London-based writer. Follow her at @katieengelhart or www.katieengelhart.com.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church • Faith • Houses of worship • Leaders

soundoff (4,535 Responses)
  1. huskiemom

    So, now we know atheistic church is run by two dumb hipsters.

    Life is now much more hilarious!

    January 5, 2014 at 8:23 pm |
  2. L

    Hey atheists, you can only be atheist in your home and your churches(if you attend). You cannot openly attack, insult, or question religion at all whether online or offline. Your religion CANNOT be in our gov't or school system. How many atheists would freak out if that happened, so why do they want it done to other people?

    January 5, 2014 at 8:23 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Well for starters, once again, it's not a religion, and secondly name me one public school that is pushing atheism as a belief system.

      January 5, 2014 at 8:48 pm |
      • theridge

        Once again, you can make anything a "religion"! You create your own reality. And all public schools push the complete fraud as evolution to the helpless kids.

        January 5, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
        • Cedar Rapids

          Evolution has nothing to do with atheism. Heck the previous pope said the church has no problem with the idea of evolution as the method used by god.

          January 5, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Evolution is science, creationism is hocus pocus. Schools should teach science.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
        • theridge

          science is anything they want to cook up and publish in the books. It can go in whatever direction they want to portray. Mainstream science will completely ignore new discoveries if it goes again what they want to paint up for the system. we are living in the matrix and cedar rapids and santa here are products of a hook and sink line for this matrix. so sad nobody can think with an original mind set 😦

          January 6, 2014 at 7:08 am |
  3. Sunflower

    I wonder when Atheists apply for the building permit for their churches with towns...what building use they file with zoning board? Commercial use of the property, residential use or religious use? Just wondering.....

    January 5, 2014 at 8:23 pm |
  4. Robert Raulerson

    If the scientists are right, Jupiter is just a big ball of gas. You couldn't even stand on it. Same for Saturn. Nothing on Venus, Uranus, Myanus, Theiranus, ect. Why create all those planets that nothing can live on? This is Intelligent Design? The Big Guy just likes Big Round Things?

    January 5, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
    • CoedBathroomsNondadFathersGaysFirst

      The plan is to blow them up. For kicks.

      January 5, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
    • Ask Him

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoncJBrrdQ8&w=640&h=360]

      January 5, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
      • Cedar Rapids

        Dawkins responded to this editing and stated that he was prepared at best to claim alien influence was not an impossible state but that such aliens would themselves have evolved. He was not claiming a chance for a deity

        January 5, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
    • Ecology

      Well at some point we will need a place to put all of our non recyclable plastic.

      January 5, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
    • theridge

      There is a big ball of gas between your ears!

      January 5, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
    • Linden Pike

      The majority of this planet in uninhabitable as well

      January 5, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
  5. Robert Raulerson

    I'm trying to see how the San Andreas Fault Line fits in with the 'Intelligent Design' storyline. If Gawd made California for people to live on, then why did IT leave a big freakin crack in the foundation? If that is Intelligent Design, what do you call Nitwit Design?

    January 5, 2014 at 8:16 pm |
    • huskiemom

      Nitwit design is atheism.

      January 5, 2014 at 8:21 pm |
      • JJ

        *groan*...I'd be embarrassed if I were a fellow Christian.

        January 5, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
    • theridge

      You got a long ways to go don't you? Were you a cast member on idiacrocy because I bet you fit rite inn hahah!

      January 5, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
    • Joe

      Have you been taking advantage of the new marijuana legalization laws?

      January 5, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
  6. CoedBathroomsNondadFathersGaysFirst

    !
    !
    !
    ! 🙂

    January 5, 2014 at 8:16 pm |
  7. Richard Daly

    testing 123------- am I on?

    January 5, 2014 at 8:15 pm |
  8. gordo

    I don't get why any "atheist" would want to spend their time acting just like "believers", even down to calling each other a cult! I conside myself a non-believer but have zero interest in congregating with others. Why bother?

    January 5, 2014 at 8:15 pm |
  9. Joe

    It looks like to me what we have here is egos getting in the way of doing the work of the church. It's too bad the two different factions can't set aside their differences and get back to worshipping Satan under one roof.

    January 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm |
    • hee hee

      Boogeyman!

      January 5, 2014 at 8:20 pm |
    • Chikkipop

      Oh. Joe. You must have misunderstood.

      They don't believe in things like "Satan".

      January 5, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
  10. Webellion

    Whew. Finally atheists can start killing each other over their disagreement over non-beliefs!

    January 5, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
    • Salero21

      Kim Jung Ill did his uncle last week! 😉

      January 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm |
      • Vic

        Last month.

        January 5, 2014 at 8:16 pm |
    • Answer

      Look at the freaks rally amongst themselves ..

      CNN does a great job at baiting you morons.

      January 5, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
  11. Brian

    Why are atheists so infatuated with religion?

    January 5, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
    • Salero21

      Is not complicated, atheism is Total stupidity. Is in the Bible!

      January 5, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
      • Nunvell

        Wanna know what else is in the bible?

        ~If you wear a garment made of two fabrics, you shall be killed
        ~Eating shellfish bars you from the kingdom of god
        ~You MUST kill someone for working on the Sabbath, and to not do so is to aide in their breaking of biblical law

        Don't cherry-pick your biblical laws to suit your needs. The entire book is an irrelevant archaism. You can't just choose what laws "still matter" and what ones don't "suit your needs." You take them all or you admit you're a Sunday christian and almost as atheist as myself.

        January 5, 2014 at 8:48 pm |
    • Robert Raulerson

      It's a problem that people think is a solution. That makes it a special kind of problem.

      January 5, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
    • churches for joiners

      Religion is fascinating. It boggles the mind things people will believe. But churches are for bully joiners. People who need leadership in their endeavors to push others.

      January 5, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
    • L

      It's part of their religious cult.

      January 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm |
    • Confronting Ray Comfort: Debunking "Evolution VS God"

      There are nut jobs out there that want to go after children !

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtrZYecJ8QA&w=640&h=360]

      January 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Why are religionists so persistent that we believe the same nonsense they do?

      January 5, 2014 at 8:16 pm |
      • Conspiracy

        Spend some quality time with a good conspiracy theorist some time. We are way worse.

        January 5, 2014 at 8:19 pm |
    • hee hee

      I'll stop talking about religion when religious folk stop trying to work bronze-age myths into the school system, trying to influence the political direction of the country, relocating child molesters, advocating legislation which I oppose...

      Not to mention knocking on my door on Saturday morning, blocking my wife in the street while she's pregnant and pushing a stroller...

      Is it a bit easier for you to understand now? I'll be happy to show some indifference when I'm left alone. Until then, you'll have to hear people disagree with you. I hope it doesn't hurt your feelings too much.

      January 5, 2014 at 8:18 pm |
      • Ask Him

        LOL...say "bronze-age" some more...it makes you sound soooo smart.

        January 5, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
        • david

          well said

          January 5, 2014 at 8:33 pm |
        • Chikkipop

          But more importantly, it's accurate.

          January 5, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
        • Cedar Rapids

          It wasn't Bronze Age? Stone Age then?

          January 5, 2014 at 9:16 pm |
        • JJ

          I think it's really Iron age. But...still it's all about talking snakes and other childish myths that thinking people no longer follow.

          January 5, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
  12. Robert Raulerson

    Should we take 'In Gawd We Trust' off our money? No, says I! It's too good a joke to do without! Here we are, the most materialistic society in History and we put 'In Gawd We Trust' on our money! And you don't see how funny that is?

    January 5, 2014 at 8:10 pm |
    • Conspiracy

      They don't call it the "all might dollar" for nothing.

      January 5, 2014 at 8:16 pm |
    • Vic

      Satan wins when he sways man to disbelieve in God because of sin. A Christian does not give up on God because of sin, we are saved by the Lord Jesus Christ. That's how "In God We Trust" found its way to the US legal tender.

      January 5, 2014 at 8:29 pm |
      • Nunvell

        Wrong. The civil war is how misguided plebeians allowed "In god we trust" onto our money. Our currency once had a much better slogan on it: "Mind your business!"

        How about the quote from our founding fathers in the Treaty of Tripoli: "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

        Our founding fathers were enlightened thinkers, mostly deists, and would scoff at- if not spit upon- your misguided fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is for sheep and sheep-minded pawn-leaders.

        January 5, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
        • Vic

          The form of government does not need to be an ecclesiastical one. The "Treaty Of Tripoli" was an intelligent political measure.

          "We The People" is what matters, the vast majority of which believe in God, always have.

          January 5, 2014 at 9:12 pm |
      • Chikkipop

        Dag.

        I hate it when Satan wins.

        January 5, 2014 at 9:11 pm |
  13. Johnny Noir

    This post-theist sees absolutely no reason to go to any atheist "church." Won't be going to "No Allah Mosque" either.

    January 5, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
  14. Ignoramus

    -BREAKING NEWS- I am starting a church next week to disprove the existence of Unicorns, Yetis, Leprechauns, Fairies and honest politicians.

    January 5, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Your church sounded plausible up until the 'honest politician' part...

      January 5, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
      • tye ukpong

        please remove my email from alerts.  thanks

        ________________________________

        January 6, 2014 at 7:37 am |
  15. HalS

    As a self proclaimed atheist, the "Atheist Church" is an oxymoron. Are people that needy??!! If it means that much to be around people, have a weekly block party! If you want to start an organization for charitable purposes, create a non-profit!! But I'm sorry; I AM AN ATHEIST and I DO NOT GO TO CHURCH.

    What on earth does the sermon consist of and what is the premise of this "church"? Will they be going door to door to evangelize and convert in order to increase membership?? And which part of organized religion (or a cult) does this not imitate? Please DO NOT show up at my door!!! I will say the same as I do to Christians – I'm Hindu!

    Sounds more like a bunch of ex-Christians who were offended in one way or another by their life long CHURCH and RELIGON. By joining the new "atheist fad", they will somehow "show" their old "God-believing" friends and family that they have a new place to belong. Or either someone under the guise of atheism, found a great way to part fools from their money. The likes of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Benny Hinn will be proud!! Either way, they are all dolts!

    January 5, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
  16. DamienFish

    I believe that I higher power exists. But that higher power first set the framework for our physical world, and let it go. On our little and very common planet we evolved into complex organisms through natural selection, and we live and die by chance, influenced by our decisions and actions.

    The Universe contains millions of worlds just like ours and somewhere an alien is having the same debate on whatever they use to communicate with each other.

    January 5, 2014 at 8:00 pm |
    • theridge

      Then that is your reality then son. I believe the entire universe is steril except here on earth-prove me wrong!

      January 5, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
      • G to the T

        Statistically speaking, it is more likely that there is other life out there than there is not.

        January 6, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
  17. theridge

    Religion is man-made rules. It doesn't undermind the fact of Intelligent Design in everything from cells to galaxys. Don't let man's rules turn you away from the Creator of the Heavens and the Universe. The Rockefeller's, Rothschilds, and several other wealthy families planned all this confusion 200 years ago. They want you to think like an atheist so you don't ever know they worship Lucifer. It's a long dark rabbit hole for you peeps that decide to look this agenda up!

    January 5, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
    • Conspiracy

      I love conspiracy theories, especially that one, but one problem. If they worshiped Lucifer wouldn't they want us to at least think Lucifer exists?

      January 5, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
      • theridge

        No they don't want you to believe in any higher power. It is to dumb the mind down. "conspiracy theorist" is the term Hitler used when folks questioned him on a one world race-he said 'no your a conspiracy theorist for believing that.' So keep enjoying cnn or whatever corperate controlled mainstream news station you watch and take another flu-shot!

        January 5, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Interesting theory... no one would suspect that you're not stupid or insane...

      January 5, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
      • theridge

        So I'm insane that the folks controlling the currency are insane? Good to know how your mind works. It will all be revealed to you but unfortunately you won't wake up until you are waiting in line to go to a govt controlled fema center

        January 5, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
      • Conspiracy

        Let, haven't you ever read any of this before? Man as man's final answer, god as government and so on? Right or wrong it's one hell of rabbit hole.

        January 5, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
        • theridge

          To you or anyone who uses the term conspiracy theorist I challenge you to look this stuff up and get off the cnn bandwagon. All I do is question known liars. You "believe" in them and trust them while I do not. Soooo do humanity a favor and take a couple more flu-shots.

          January 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm |
    • HalS

      I don't know about the Rockefellers, but the Rothschild's are Ashkenazi Jews. Also, the worship of "Lucifer" (which means morning star) is from one of the "man-made" religions you mentioned.

      January 5, 2014 at 8:17 pm |
      • theridge

        they are into more than that son! The rules are man-made however, the spiritual world is not. good luck in life!

        January 5, 2014 at 8:31 pm |
        • HalS

          The "Spiritual world".....do you see dead people?? Don't believe in luck nor need it, son!

          January 5, 2014 at 8:41 pm |
        • HalS

          Oh, I forgot to add....they are CAPITALISTS!! And that goes for the Rockefellers as well.

          January 5, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
        • G to the T

          "...spiritual world..."

          I see dumb people!

          January 6, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
    • david

      Sanderson and Pipa? Let them eat their cookies and sip latte frappucino in their "church".... it's a perfect oxymoron for the ridiculous atheist cult to occupy their time doing.

      January 5, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
  18. Skeptic

    "Atheist Church" – contradiction in terms.

    January 5, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
  19. Answer

    Hey believers ...

    Confirm the following statements about what you believe in.

    ~I believe that only ONE god exists. (True or False)
    ~I believe that if only ONE god exists; then NO other gods can possibly exist. Making "my god" in existence; as the only one out there. (True or False)

    And lastly to prove that you have a flaw in your logic system::

    ~I believe that if one god can exist out there; then it is possible that other gods can exist, as well. (True or False)

    January 5, 2014 at 7:55 pm |
    • Brian

      True. True. False.
      I fear you are no philosopher.

      January 5, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
      • Answer

        Ya just look at yourself, tool.

        That false statement confirms what is trapping your mind. "I have to state that there is only ONE. In order for me to keep my delusion."

        Congrats.

        January 5, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
    • Answer

      Here is the logical format in mathematical terms:

      ONE god: 1
      Only ONE god, no matter what: 1= Still only 1, 1+0= Still only 1, 1+0+0, Still only 1, 1+0+0+(0 exp to 1trillion power) = Still only 1

      Or:

      1 Exists, then 1+ (1 other god) = 2 gods, then 1+ (2 other god) = 3 gods ..etc to trillions beyond in gods.

      January 5, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
      • Brian

        The problem is that the question you asked cannot be reduced to mathematical terms.
        Formal logic is basically nothing more than arguing semantics.

        January 5, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
        • Answer

          How you people love the protection of that faulty bubble.. it just makes me laugh.

          "I want my god. It will definitely protect me. And I'll go to heaven."

          January 5, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
        • Brian

          Except that I am a Buddhist.

          January 5, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
        • Answer

          Even a buddhist is in the same faulty boat.

          Do you know why people want their delusions ? That ole comfortable feeling.. it's a laugh – always a laugh.

          January 5, 2014 at 8:10 pm |
        • Brian

          I get that 'ole comfortable feeling every day of my life. My religion enriches my life in innumerable ways. It enriches it here, now.

          January 5, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
        • Answer

          A buddhist wouldn't leave the buddhist faith, but many do leave the faith. Why?

          Buddhists have the concept of reincarnation ~ it's the most redeeming feature of the faith.
          Buddhists get converted by the moronic likes of the Abrahamic religion because of the systematic usage of psychological attacks that reduce the human condition. Once you dehumanize another human being ~ strip them to their core of their once held believe and instill a fear based religion into them, they'll turn as readily as any other person.

          January 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm |
        • Answer

          Brian, you can stay in your 'faith' or whatever you want to call it.

          Once you realize that small comfort that you brag about to everyone is just the shell of "trying to protect the dogma" is really just that; then you'll see why that comfort is so useless.

          January 5, 2014 at 8:17 pm |
        • Brian

          I fear you are ignorant of Buddhist doctrine.
          The Buddha taught the doctrine of "an-atman"...no soul...no transmigration, no rebirth...
          but continue to wallow in ignorance and try to convince others you know what you are talking about/

          January 5, 2014 at 8:17 pm |
        • Answer

          Go on and teach it everyone then.

          Brag onwards about. Let's see you brag about it til you drop dead.

          January 5, 2014 at 8:18 pm |
      • theridge

        You are lacking in your sx life aren't you? Can't get it up anymore? gotta annoy some trolls online all night with some math formula that doesn't makes sense except in your own cacified brain?

        January 5, 2014 at 8:21 pm |
        • Answer

          You got that right.. the freaks love to retaliate. Just like you.

          Trolling you freaks is just a laugh.

          January 5, 2014 at 8:28 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.