January 8th, 2014
08:39 AM ET

Pastor tries atheism, loses jobs, gains $19,000

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor
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(CNN) - In the past, at times like these, when his life foundered and frayed around the edges, Ryan Bell often prayed for help. But this year, at least, the pastor has resolved not to.

For the next 12 months, Bell says he will live as if there is no God.

He will not pray, go to church, read the Bible for inspiration, trust in divine providence or hope in things unseen. He’s taking the opposite of a leap of faith: a free fall into the depths of religious doubt.

Bell’s “intellectual experiment,” which began January 1, has already borne dramatic consequences.

In less than a week, he lost two jobs teaching at Christian schools near his home in Los Angeles. He’s 42 and has been a pastor or in seminary for most of his adult life. Now he faces the prospect of poverty and taking odd jobs to feed his two daughters, 10 and 13.

“There have been times, usually late at night and early in the morning, when I think: What have I done? It really undermines the whole structure of your life, your career, your family,” Bell said.

But just as the man of God began to despair, he found help from an unlikely source: atheists.

'Suspending belief '

The seeds of Bell’s journey were planted last March, when he was asked to resign as pastor of a Seventh-day Adventist congregation in Hollywood.

He had advocated for the church to allow gay and lesbian leaders, campaigned against California’s same-sex marriage ban and disputed deeply held church doctrines about the End Times.

Eventually, his theological and political liberalism became more than leaders in the denomination could bear, and he lost his career of 19 years. His faith was shaken, and for a while Bell became a “religious nomad.”

On the positive side, losing his church job gave him the freedom to question the foundations of his religious belief without fear of troubling his congregation.

“I could finally pursue those questions that had been bouncing around my head,” he said, while earning money from teaching, speaking and consulting jobs.

MORE ON CNN: Behold, the six types of atheists

Then, after lunch with a friend last year, he thought: What if he tried out atheism, and lived with no religion at all for a year?

“It’s like when you go to a movie and you suspend disbelief for three hours to get inside the story,” Bell said. “I’m suspending my belief in God to see what atheism is all about.”

Bell, who still holds ministerial credentials in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, thought it would be a neat little intellectual experiment.

He would interview atheists, attend gatherings of nonbelievers and read through the canon of skeptics: Friedrich Nietzsche, Baruch Spinoza, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, among others.

When friends got sick, instead of praying, as was once his immediate response, Bell said, he would “do something tangible and practical and supportive for them.”

He would start a blog, “Year Without God,” and write about his faithless journey. Bell thought maybe a few people would read his posts, follow along and offer advice or criticism.

“I didn’t realize, even four days ago, how difficult it would be for some people to embrace me while I was embracing this journey of open inquiry into the question of God’s existence,” Bell wrote on Saturday.

‘We need to talk’

The first signs of trouble came around the turn of the new year, just days after Bell announced his experiment online.

Texts and e-mails arrived from friends, family and colleagues with the ominous phrase, “We need to talk.”

Kurt Fredrickson, a friend of Bell’s and associate dean of ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, sent one of those messages.

Bell, a graduate of Fuller, had taught in the school’s doctorate development program for the past year. But Fredrickson told his friend that his sabbatical from faith meant a sabbatical from the seminary as well.

“From an academic standpoint, and even as a personal journey, I’m really excited about what Ryan is doing,” Fredrickson said.

"There is no honest person of faith who doesn’t have doubts, and Ryan is being courageous enough to take a step back and assess his life. This is bold stuff.”

But Bell’s job at Fuller was to help students through their doctoral dissertations, a particularly stressful time, Fredrickson said, when seminarians need to lean on a person with strong faith.

“They are flying solo for the first time, and we want to not only teach, but to nurture souls as well,” Fredrickson said. “Ryan saying he’s going to be an atheist for a year is a little contradictory to that.”

Fuller would be happy to talk to Bell when his experiment is over, the dean added.

MORE ON CNN: What Oprah gets wrong about atheism

Azusa Pacific University, where Bell had taught intercultural communication since 2011, also declined to renew his contract.

Rachel White, a spokeswoman for the school, wouldn’t comment, saying it was an internal personnel matter. But she said all school and faculty are expected to sign a statement of faith outlining their belief in Christianity.

Also this year, Bell lost a consulting job with a Seventh-day Adventist Church in Glendale, California.

Bell said he bears no ill will toward the church or the schools that let him go, though he wishes they would tolerate, if not support, his atheism experiment. The loss of income has led to some family stress, he said.

“I have kids to support and utilities to pay and the rent is due,” Bell said. “At this point I’m willing to do almost anything.” Bell said he and his wife are divorcing, though not because of his atheist experiment.

Meanwhile, the phone calls, e-mails and texts from friends and family worried about the fate of his soul continue to pour in.

‘A beautiful gesture’

“He learned what it’s like to be an atheist real fast,” said Hemant Mehta, a prominent atheist blogger and schoolteacher in Illinois.

Mehta said he knows many atheists who fear that “coming out of the closet” will jeopardize their jobs and relationships, just as in Bell’s experience.

Mehta said he doesn’t exactly agree with the premise of Bell’s experiment. How does someone pretend to be an atheist? It’s not like a hat you wear to see if it fits. Faith taps into deeply held beliefs and emotions. Even during his experiment with atheism, won't there still be a nagging suspicion in the back of Bell’s mind that God exists?

(For the record, Bell describes his current theological views as agnostic - somewhere between belief and atheism. But he's trying to put that aside for the year to live and think like an atheist.)

Mehta said he admired Bell’s pluck and sympathized with his plight. Though he had never spoken with the pastor, Mehta set up an online fundraiser for Bell on Tuesday. In just one day, nearly 900 people donated more than $19,000 to help “the pastor giving atheism a try.”

“I think more than anything else, people appreciate that this guy is giving atheism a shot,” Mehta said. “I mean, he lost three jobs in the span of a week just for saying he was exploring it.”

Bell said he knows Christians and agnostics who have contributed to his fundraiser as well, so it’s not an all-atheist effort.

Still, he’s impressed that nonbelievers have flocked to help fund his experiment

“It really validates that the (atheist) community is really all about the search for truth,” Bell said. “They know that I might not even end up as an atheist at the end of my search, but it doesn’t matter to them. It’s such a beautiful gesture.”

Will the support tip Bell toward atheism? The pastor is agnostic about that, too – for now.

MORE ON CNN: Can atheist churches last?

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • evangelicals • Faith • Lost faith

soundoff (6,251 Responses)
  1. Reality # 2


    Ryan's fund for "fun" is up to $26,789 as of 3:50 PM on Monday afternood, 1/12/2014.

    January 13, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
  2. Austin


    hey i have one for you. here is the background for my confidence. I had a dream that i was in Missouri and there were like 5 tornadoes coming down all the way to the ground. This was a few months before the Joplin Missouri tornado

    Two days ago I had a dream that I say the exact same scene, like 5 or 6 tornadoes touching the ground, and I was on a bridge in North Lincoln Ne, facing north and the tornadoes were NW in the Raymond NE area.

    My prediction is that there will be a huge tornado there this year. within 60 mile nw of Lincoln NE

    January 13, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
    • Ben

      Some things are pretty easy to predict. Likely the destruction of the second Jewish Temple was one of those things. There were just too many zealots and messianic claimants stirring up trouble for the Romans not to be forced to crack down.

      January 13, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
      • Austin

        too easy? the last major tornado of note worthiness in Nebraska was 4 years ago or more, Hallam NE. the Joplin tornado was a major tornado. as far as i know, NO ONE, including myself "predicted" the tornado. I am "predicting" a mojor tornado in an isolated area man.

        I am not a weather forecaster,. with a computer model.

        January 13, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • Ben

          At this exact moment they are considering passing a Bill to make it mandatory for schools to have a minimum of three tornado drill a year, the same as fire drills.

          It doesn't sound like they take that likelihood very lightly.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • Austin

          I hear ya, this is one opportunity for me , and that is all. but for me, i have evidence and data from the past that gives me the confidence to allow this to be said in the first place. it says that prophecy is a spiritual gift to feed the believers and to edify them. Non believers are expected to ask for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the gift of faith and forgiveness,and to then grow to maturity and seek spiritual maturity and seek His will.

          For me, this is just a gift. It's not mine, its His.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • Pete

          "I hear ya, this is one opportunity for me , and that is all. but for me, i have evidence and data from the past that gives me the confidence to allow this to be said in the first place. "

          No you can't. There are many athiests that have exactly the same types of dreams, it has nothing to do with a god.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          The last major Tornado in Nebraska was 4 years ago Austin? Really? Try October 2013. Not to mention major Tornados are relatively common here on the plains. But if your prediction does not come true will you admit that is evidence you do not have the "gift of prophacy"? I doubt it.


          January 13, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • Ben

          For argument's sake, lets say that dreams sometimes do come true like you say. Why would you assume that this is some kind of evidence for your God when many other religions and superst_itions also claim it?

          January 13, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • Ponyboy Garfunkel

          Austin – Why on earth would a god be dealing out such a silly gift? Why wouldn’t it just come right out and say the thing. The creator you have imagined would have to be nuts. Do you think the creator is nuts?

          January 13, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • devin

          A few weeks ago, seriously, I had a dream I was on a date with Cheryl Tiegs( for those to young to remember you'll just have to trust me when I say she was very "nice" in her day). My prediction is, within a few weeks my wife will be serving me with divorce papers. Fortunately, I recognize the fact that my dreams have less to do with God attempting to communicate His plans to me and more to do with the pepperoni pizza I had for dinner.

          January 13, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
        • sam stone

          For his next trick, Austin is going to predict that it will be very cold in Alaska this winter

          January 13, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • Austin

          the spiritual gift is for the edification of the church. I don't rule you out of that. if you look at the tornadoes in Nebraska, when was the last f 4 or f5 that that leveled a town? they were not predicted 2 months out in a specific location.

          If this one does not work for you that is fine with me I could care less. We will see what's next, if anything. Maybe my service or experience is up. I have no clue it's not up to me.

          January 13, 2014 at 8:34 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          The last F-4 tornado in Nebraska was 4 months ago. You are being dishonest Austin as usual. If your prophacy fails are you going admit your "gift" is bunk?

          January 13, 2014 at 8:42 pm |
        • Observer


          "they were not predicted 2 months out in a specific location"

          Okay. Let's see what you have said to be sure:

          An f4 or f5 tornado will hit the Raymond NE area in March, 2014

          Is that what you are predicting? Yes or no?.

          January 13, 2014 at 8:50 pm |
        • Austin

          give it the whole season to october.

          January 14, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
    • Observer

      Based on Historical Tornado Data Lincoln, Nebraska is located in following risk area: HIGH RISK.

      from a website for homes.

      January 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
      • Austin

        ok go back in history and find a tornado in nebraska with the Joplin Mo proportion. I am not loosing patience with you I know you want objective evidence, but again this was a dream.

        I have a dream, a specific area, and a subject, a massive tornado. if any more come up, i will look you up. fair enough?

        i had this dream before about tornadoes in MO before it happened in Joplin, now i had the same type of dream, and it was tornadoes NW of lincoln NE

        January 13, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • Rob

          A tornado on tornado alley? That's like predicting a hurricane will affect Florida.

          All tornados are "noteworthy" to those affected. You seem positively gleeful at the thought of destruction and death.

          I dream of tornadoes a lot. Always have. Probably because I live in an area that is prone to them.


          January 13, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • Austin

          that is rational skepticism. a fair statement. I don't even know if it will happen either. I am not confident i am simply connecting the dots of my past dreams. but I do have proof of spiritual revelation.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • Ben

          Wait a minute, are you the guy who use to go on about cats dying in your dreams?

          January 13, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • Squish Kitty

          I sacrificed myself for Austin Ben....so he could know he had the "gift"...Meow

          January 13, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • King of Darkness

          mmmmm yeah. I'd love to assist you with your bountiful gifts!

          January 13, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • Observer


          Within 30 miles of Lincoln is considered a HIGH RISK area for tornados.

          Your prediction includes this ENTIRE HIGH RISK area and is FOUR times as big.

          January 13, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • Austin

          lincoln has never been hit by a tornado as long as ive been around 35 years, nothing but some isolated wind damage.

          hickman and hallam NE were nailed about 5 years ago that was south east of town.

          other than that, the little tornadoes do come though, but nothing like Joplin MO. I think that i remember 1 or 2 people dying from tornadoes in the past 5 years. 1 was in hallam. since the Hallam tornado, there have been no major hits, and I am giving you an honest dream.

          I have no clue if it will happen. I have no authority to say that it will. I have past experience with visions confirmed and no future authority.

          January 13, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "I have no clue if it will happen. I have no authority to say that it will. I have past experience with visions confirmed and no future authority."

          So you chalk up the "hits" as confirming your girt of prophacy and if they miss it is not your fault....please, please look up "confirmation bias". This is a perfect example. And there was an F-4 Tormado 4 months ago in Nebraska so quit saying it has been 4 or 5 years.

          January 13, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
    • King of Darkness

      I have also had dreams that came true and predicted the future as well. But you also have to look at it objectively. How many dreams have you had in your life that have NOT predicted the future? Now compare it with the amount that have and you'll see it's most likely just coincidence. Although, it has nothing at all to do with god. Many folks believe you can tap into the collective consciousness and astrally project your soul through time and space. A god is not required for that.

      January 13, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
      • Austin

        rob, these illuminations all began through the Word of God. I have intelligible data that points to the bible as the direct spiritual power behind every bit of this. God is the father of all things spiritual.

        Seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is God's essence of love, and He has justified you through HIm,which is a free ticked to the Holy Heaven and abode of God.

        Your soul is eternal. Take hold of life in Christ.

        January 13, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • King of Darkness

          "I have intelligible data that points to the bible as the direct spiritual power behind every bit of this."

          Could you please point me in that direction? I'd like to see the data that points to the bible as the "direct spiritual power behind every bit of this"

          January 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • sam stone

          You claim to have all this data. but refuse to submit anywhere it can be independently verified

          This makes you a blowhard

          January 13, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
      • Pete

        Yeah, it's called neutrinos. I have dreams the come true all the time without a belief in a god. It's part of our brain, our animal instincts. It has nothing to do with a god.

        January 13, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • Austin

          pete i had scripture that i had not read revealed in a dream, 2 nights in a row. from Jeremiah and lamentations. that was supernatural.

          January 13, 2014 at 8:43 pm |
        • Pete

          LOL! I had dreams that came true when I saw the movie Harry Potter! That's called a coincidence not supernatural. You have 100's of other dreams in your life that did not come true. The point is we all have these types of dreams, some that directly affect our lives but it has NOTHING to do with the supernatural and more to do with our brains.

          January 14, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Austin: Given how volatile this planet is your prediction means nothing. We know that tornadoes are extremely likely and we know that area's that haven't seen certain weather patterns are facing those. The only way you're special is that you're so ingrained in your delusions that you believe them to be reality and yet when challenged to be tested, you slink away like a little coward.
      No matter what is stated to you, you're never going to understand or care...and you still come here knowing you will be ridiculed-do you enjoy that? Is there some cheap thrill in knowing people laugh at you and think you need to be seen by a mental health professional?

      January 13, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
      • Austin

        hey bro they put me in jail and i had 10 visions and handed people dreams about them that had just come true. have you ever done that? that was awesome.

        January 13, 2014 at 8:41 pm |
    • devin

      I had a dream a few weeks ago, seriously, that I was on a date with Cheryl Tiegs ( for those to young to remember, you'll have to trust me when I say she was very nice in her day). My prediction is, that within a few weeks my wife will be serving me with divorce papers. Fortunately, I recognize the fact that my nocturnal hallucinations are less about God attempting to communicate HIs plans to me and more about the pepperoni pizza I had for diner.

      January 13, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
    • Billy

      Actually it may mean that the Mormon Jesus will finally be doing one of his two planned touchdowns.

      January 13, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
    • Observer

      Based on statistics from 1961-1990:

      Nebraska has an AVERAGE of 36 tornadoes PER YEAR. That AVERAGES one tornado EVERY TEN DAYS.

      January 13, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
  3. Austin



    Yep. You were unable to come up with even ONE thing Jesus told us about science. He could have helped millions by just telling people that germs exist and it is important to wash your hands. He either didn't WANT to tell us or didn't KNOW.

    the proper respose

    Genesis 1:26 ►

    Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image
    Genesis 1:26 ►

    Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image

    ◄ John 1 ►
    New International Version

    The Word Became Flesh

    1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcomea it.

    January 13, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
    • King of Darkness

      Who exactly is "us" if god was alone at the time (as per bible)?

      January 13, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
      • Austin

        US, was the father , son and Holy Spirit. They are 3 distinct forms AS one Godhead.

        God is omnipresent, in all forms. for example , The Angel of the Lord, was the preincarnate Christ, the person of Christ in the form of and Angel.

        God , transcends a physical body, He can be or do anything. and His choice was to manifest Himself as the Father in Holy Heaven, the son who died for our sins, and the Holy Spirit, who wants a place in your soul right now!

        so in John 1, where it say He was in the beginning, this is who us is. And the bible specifically explains that . Christ , the 2nd person of the trininty, is the co-creator of the universe. He was always God, he did not start existing when He started in the womb of Mary, He always was.

        3 forms, ONE God. God (plural) was alone.

        January 13, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • King of Darkness

          If they are 3 parts of one god, there is still no reason to say "us", unless he's schizophrenic. He uses the word "I" constantly in the old testament, so it shows grammatical inconsistency. Why would he constantly refer to himself as "I" yet for that one passage in the old testament says "us". And how could the son be part of god before god even created him? He's making humans in the image of a father a son and holy spirit? Say what?

          January 13, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • King of Darkness

          I don't refer to my head, my heart and legs as "us". Why would god do the same for parts of him?

          January 13, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • Ben

          The prophets use to have a dickens of a time trying to get the ordinary folk to give up their other gods. Why couldn't it be a holdover from those older, polytheistic beliefs?

          January 13, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • King of Darkness

          Good point. The book of Moses is very wishy washy with its accuracy. There is a TON missing from those stories and we don't even know how far back they originally go. We do know there were 3 different versions of genesis.

          January 13, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • redzoa

          This reminds me of one of my favorite Jefferson quotes. Although, he was specifically targeting the trinity, the first line is applicable in a variety of contexts . . .

          “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.”

          January 13, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
  4. Ellen G. White never saw the rock coming.

    *+*+.................. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    January 13, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
  5. Contacts

    Notify the editors about abuse of the "Report Abuse" feature:


    January 13, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
  6. OTOH

    Some threads have disappeared overnight AGAIN! I spent time and did a bit of research for my comments too - dammit!

    January 13, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
  7. 00 00

    i am the light of the world
    the good shepherd
    bread of life
    the alpha and the omega
    the way
    the lamb of god



    January 13, 2014 at 11:54 am |
    • Ben

      Even a "good" shepherd only keeps sheep in oder to fleece them periodically, and then feast upon their flesh after they've outlived that purpose.

      Is that how you see your God?

      January 13, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
      • Austin

        no, the good shepherd is collecting "seeds of Abraham"

        John 18:36 ►

        Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place."

        in otherwords, furthermore we have been gifted with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, this is the seal of God that we are saved as eternal son's and daughters of God. The kingdom is an eternal spiritual kingdom, where our glorified bodies will not need to refill with energy. There will be no death.

        The good Shepherd is the Shepherd of souls. The fisher of men.

        January 13, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • OTOH

          Ah, "the fisher of men"!

          - Bait 'em
          - Hook 'em
          - Kill 'em
          - Eat 'em
          - Sell 'em

          What silly analogies you guys come up with!

          January 13, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
        • Austin

          Isaiah 53

          do you find the Moses festivals calendar ordained in Leviticus 23 analagous to the lLamb of God, that after 1400 years of sacrificing the unblemished Lamb, that the Christ was crucified by the people who wrote Isaiah 53 on the afternoon of the passover celebration?

          That is sovereign power.

          January 13, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • Ben

          But you still fail to acknowledge the implications of these analogies. Shepherds prohibit the freedom of their sheep. Wild sheep can do an affective job of keeping predators at bay all by themselves, and some can live to a ripe old age, while it is a certainty that no sheep survived being roasted under the shepherd's "protection". Protection from other predators, yes, but they would be (and still are) routinely slaughtered for their meat after their usefulness as breeders and wool providers was over.

          If this is not how Christ operates, then he really should not have alluded to himself as a shepherd. Perhaps he meant "zookeeper" instead?

          January 13, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • Ben

          Isaiah 53 refers to the nation of Israel as a "Suffering Servant", not the expected Messiah.

          And how can Christ be both the Good Shepherd and also a Lamb? Isn't that conflicting imagery?

          January 13, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • Fan2C


          Those ancient Hebrew drama-queen storytellers were experts at dreaming up clever emotionalistic parallels and metaphors to capture the imaginations of their target audiences.

          January 13, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • Austin

          you can choose to go and say you do not believe in anything you want from 2000 years ago that is of prophetic nature.

          you are a liar about the suffering servant. read the darn thing that was about Jesus Christ. you are a stubborn fool. there are other rich fools. but stubborn is a choice. am i correct ? is it your choice to be stubborn?

          go and find a more prophetic book if you can that has greater accuracy. you can not. further more, I have received a supernatural testimony from the Holy Spirit, and so i can tell you with authority that you are wrong. and that authority comes from the Father of all things spiritual.

          He is Lord.

          January 13, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Rob

          So....everyone who has a different interpretation than Austin is a liar. Or a fool.

          Shove it, Austin. You're acting like an ass.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • Austin

          go read the suffering servant Rob Isaiah 53. It is completely rediculous to insist that Jesus Christ could not have been what that is referring to when the entire old testament is a prophecy about the lamb of God, the Messiah, and his kingdom.

          you simply are a rejector of Christ and the truth. if you have not experienced the authority of the Holy Spirit, you have no authority to comment on who Jesus Christ is , or interpret the Word of God.

          Revelation 19:13 ►

          He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
        • Rob

          I just read it.
          This is not what I posted about.
          You don't know WHAT I believe, but you chose to start condemning me, anyway.

          As I stated, you're an ass.
          You lack reading comprehension, and you utterly fail as proselytizing.

          You are hateful. You reject that someone else interprets the Bible differently, and you condemn and judge. Tedious Christian behavior that Hesus wouldn't put up with for a second. I would say YOU are the fool.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • Austin

          rob sorry. look at the entire thread. we are talking about the good shepherd. that is related to Isaiah 53. what are you talking about.? people here are wrong about their interpretation. Isaiah 53 is a prophecy about Jesus Christ.

          The entire old testament is.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • Austin

          rob, if you reject the resurrection of the messiah, you are WRONG. The resurrection is the truth for the entire world and every man who has life and a soul.

          Jesus Christ is your creator and redeemer. You are justified only through Him, the Lamb of God. This is the new promise, the better promise, the new testament from God.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • Ben

          He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendour.” Isaiah 49:3

          The author carries this into chapters 52 and 53. Ask yourself why verse 10 states "he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days" if it were meant to apply to Jesus who died childless at a young age?

          January 13, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
    • Soulone GodKiller

      dont forget the mass murder of the planet

      January 13, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
      • Austin

        there is no injustice

        those who reject salvation and choose to follow satan into the abyss go there as they choose.
        those who choose eternal life and salvation receive that.

        the choice is yours

        January 13, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • No Evidence

          I only "reject" mythology as reality. The mythology I'm speaking of is of course the bible.

          January 13, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • King of Darkness

          Austin, how do you know that the bible is the truth while the other ancient myths are all false? I mean, you should be careful about which one you pick right, since your soul is on the line? Just wondering what makes you so sure that your choice is THE choice.

          January 13, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • Austin

          genesis, "created in our image" John 1 "HE was in the beginning, all things were made through Him" including Satan who fell and know the creator.

          Satan had a false religion for the Canaanites right? Cain killed abel, he was outcast, and boom, we have a false religion.

          Satanic deception is false. he is a liar.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • Ben

          I cannot "choose" to believe in something that I have no good reason to believe in, can you? That's why Pascal's Wager is such a silly argument. Someone can get you to say that 1 + 1 = 3 by holding a gun to your head, or some other hell-like threat, but it wouldn't actually make that math true, right?

          If the idea is to have the threat of hellfire worry you into becoming desperate enough to believe in a Savior, then you're grasping at something out of desperation, not soberly choosing something that actually makes sense. If somebody came to your door and told you that he had poisoned your water and that you were about to die unless you drank some questionable liquid from a flask would you just believe him? Probably no, and neither do we when it comes to the Christian threat of a hellfire that we have no evidence for being avoided by a saviour that we also have no evidence for.

          Besides, there have been hundreds of similar threats coming from other religions that nobody takes seriously any more, so why should we take your threat seriously?

          January 13, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • Austin

          You will never have the evidence you need unless you beg the baptism of the Holy Spirit because of your sin. That is the only way that you will progress in spiritual truth.

          Again, I can only confess that I have experienced the authoritative revelation of the Spirit, within. God is the father of all things spiritual and there is a battle for the spirit. there not a battle for fossils or rocks. God intends to dwell within you, as a supernatural light. unless of course, you reject Him for who He is.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • Rob

          You can repeat that as often as you like, Austin. I'm glad you've convinced *yourself*. And that's the beauty of what you believe; that any evidence to the contrary will be summilarily dismissed by you.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
        • King of Darkness

          You quoted the bible, but you didn't explain why you believed it. How do you know that the bible is indeed the truth and not a deception by Satan? I used to be Christian, I know what's it's like to believe it, but no such truth was ever revealed to me despite believing it with all my heart. There is just as much evidence that the bible is true, as there is for the greek gods, or for the story of Horus. I just don't see how a loving god creates a torture chamber and throws non believer into it. Please be careful what you place your faith in. Demonic rituals that invoke eating human flesh and drinking blood? Do you guys really see what you are following here?

          January 13, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • Ben

          How can we tell the difference between your "authoritative revelation of the Spirit" and someone else's memories of reincarnation, alien abduction experience, or ghost story? The folks who believe these things will gladly tell you that all you need do is get hypnotized to learn about your past lives, and so on. So, what's the difference?

          January 13, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
  8. 00 00

    i am the light of the world
    the good shepherd
    bread of life
    the alpha and the omega
    the way
    the lamb of god


    January 13, 2014 at 11:49 am |
    • King of Darkness

      So you are god? Can you meet me at my house later? I have some important business and another bet to discuss with you. It's been a long time, old man!

      January 13, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
    • E before I

      I am the Lord of the Ring.


      January 13, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
  9. JB

    Looks like the persuasive argument removal police were at work overnight and took out a couple of good threads. Losers.

    January 13, 2014 at 8:20 am |
    • ven

      strictly speaking ,atheism is not a religion ,but scientifically amd based in the panthrotheistic faith they are part of the will of God to become active and organized at this point of our evolutionary stage of change from the present obsolescent religions to a future scientific faith .where we will be gradually assertive of His delegated Will in us.The atheists will highlight most of the profound arguments that will reveal the truth.I suggest to the netizens to log to atheist debates in the net.

      January 13, 2014 at 9:35 am |
      • Post Holiday Nut Sale


        January 13, 2014 at 10:18 am |
      • Observer


        "change from the present obsolescent religions to a future scientific faith"

        Jesus should have been the smartest person who ever lived. Please list EVEN ONE of the advances in science that he told us about. What did he tell us about scientific FACTS that was new to man? Did he tell us about germs? Did he tell us that the earth wasn't the center of the universe?

        January 13, 2014 at 10:47 am |
        • ven

          yes Jesus was sent by God 2000 years ago because at that time humans needed Him and even until a century more from now. God has reveald now His will again in history by providing us the intelectual faculties ,scientific knowledge and discoveries and most relevant the internet to get into the deep consciousness of us humans ,The cosequence of our present interactions will be the realization of our oneness with Him in the future.

          January 13, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • Madtown

          at that time humans needed Him
          Humans in North America didn't need him? Jesus was sent to 1 small area in the middle east. Why do you think God just didn't send a son/daughter to each culture and region on earth at the time? There were many, and they all contained God's human creation. God isn't powerful enough to have more than 1 son?

          January 13, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • ven

          to madtown,Why Jesus was sent in Israel,because that place was part of the Roman Empire,the center of the worlds civilizatoon at that time,in the third century after Him,the Roman emperor ,Constantine decreed that christianity was the official religion of the empire,and soo the teachings of Jesus inspired the whole empire ,now the present Europe and the Middle East has prospered more than anywhere else in the world,The Americas was not even discovered yet by Columbus,With the prosperity of the empire was the growth of scientific knowledge that leads to what we are now,it happened because its part of Gods Will ,History is its Reflectiom.


          January 13, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • Joey

          So god didn't know that North America existed? Or did he just not care about the people living there who wouldn't hear about Jesus for some 1500 years?

          January 13, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • Observer


          Yep. You were unable to come up with even ONE thing Jesus told us about science. He could have helped millions by just telling people that germs exist and it is important to wash your hands. He either didn't WANT to tell us or didn't KNOW.

          January 13, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • ven

          now I understand the problem why most people cannot easily comprehend the reality of God,its because of lack of adequate knowledge of history.But I am optimistic that the process of change or evolution which will take centuries to be realized will be more easy and accelerated in the future ,with better educational system.

          January 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
        • King of Darkness

          Well he did have technology like rocket boots and food replicators. How else would he have done the 'walk on water' thing and the water to wine thing and the replication of the loaves of bread and fish? The dude was probably from outer space and preached the whole god thing to avoid being crucified. Unfortunately he caused such a stir that he was eventually executed for blasphemy.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • Austin

          the Passover Lamb, and He was the Isaiah 53 prophecy if you read it you can tell without a doubt.
          1400 BC
          Nisan 14 Passover blood of the lamb to escape death ,death of the first born
          Nisan 15 Unleavened Bread sin, the rise up out of bondage from slavery
          Nisan 16 Feast of First fruits............reserection first fruit of the spirit, resurrection power of salvation

          January 13, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
        • Madtown

          The Americas was not even discovered yet by Columbus
          Your post makes very little sense. So again, the humans that were in fact living in North America at the time of Christ, were they not creations of God? Who cares if the Roman Empire was indeed the "pinnacle of civilization" at that time, there were other humans living in other regions on every continent. Did God not care about them? He must not have, he didn't send a son or daughter to give these people the divine message.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • King of Darkness

          Thanks for reminding me about passover. Yet another instance of god being blindly vengeful. Why on earth would an all knowing being require his followers to kill a lamb and smear it's blood over the door to save them from the holy spirit that he created (or is part of him). Wouldn't he already just know who is faithful and who is not? It's another story from the bible that doesn't make the least bit of sense.... unless the original meaning was different. Blood of a lamb could refer to some type of technology that protected them from radiation or something similar.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • Observer


          "now I understand the problem why most people cannot easily comprehend the reality of God,its because of lack of adequate knowledge of history"

          Yep. The Bible NEVER gives dates on anything. No date for Adam's creation. No date for the flood. No dates for Moses.
          However, the Bible does give ages, but can't keep them straight, like how old men were when they became kings.

          January 13, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
        • ven

          madtown,The evolutionary process that effect His will is not interventionary in its process,it follows the law of nature,God is not Human ,we are only part of Him,our wisdom is infinitesimaly small,The reason is beyond us,just like History ,it is only after thousands or millions of years that we understood why it happened,for example,Why the dynasours got extinct, millions of years ago,to pave the way for smaller animals and ultimately humans,Thats why to apply the present human logic on history is illogically simplistic.

          January 13, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
        • Madtown

          Thats why to apply the present human logic on history is illogically simplistic.
          There aren't too many posters here that make less sense than you. You're one of a kind, good work!

          January 13, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
        • G to the T

          "the Passover Lamb, and He was the Isaiah 53 prophecy if you read it you can tell without a doubt."

          Mark (the earliest) says it was the day after the Passover meal, John (the latest) says it was the day before the Passover meal. And they said these things for different reasons.

          January 13, 2014 at 8:15 pm |
    • ven

      thanks editors forvsending me a clear message that i dont belong here in this blog,so i will concentratevon writing my inspired ideas on a book to attain my goals of Him

      January 13, 2014 at 9:43 am |
      • Observer


        Enjoy your CONSPIRACY THEORY but the REALITY is that you likely were swept out with comments in the same thread that violated CNN Terms of Service.

        January 13, 2014 at 10:40 am |
        • Jeff

          Probably because the original poster is the known troll,"L", under another name.

          January 13, 2014 at 11:41 am |
        • OTOH


          I would like to see verification that any official moderator deleted those posts (or the original one, thus sweeping out the replies) for TOS violations. Posts are removed by participants too, who "Report Abuse" a certain number of times - and the editors don't seem to care a whit. I'd be willing to wager that the "Report Abuse" deletions far, far, FAR exceed any moderator involvement. *Sigh*

          January 13, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • Observer


          Agreed. I do wish that the moderator took a more active part and clamped down on rude, vulgar people and THE DIMWIT who uses multiple handles including stealing names to lie.

          If nothing else, it would be good to know if comments were deleted by the moderator or people. Just a one-line explanation would help.

          January 13, 2014 at 7:54 pm |
    • midwest rail

      The entire argument as to whether it is or isn't is irrelevant.

      January 13, 2014 at 7:55 am |
    • igaftr

      Shouting atheism is a religion is someone who doesn't know the meaning of the word atheist, or atheism.

      Not believing in santa is not a religion.
      Not believing in the tooth fairy is not a religion.
      Not believing in god is not a religion.

      January 13, 2014 at 8:12 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I would like to hear someone explain how "theism" is a religion.

      January 13, 2014 at 9:28 am |
      • aldewacs2

        From the Free Dictionary:

        Religion: "Belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny".

        Theism: "Belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in a personal God as creator and ruler of the world."

        Good enough?

        January 13, 2014 at 9:47 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          No, I guess I wasn't clear. I want someone to explain how "theism" is a specific religion...like Catholcism....or Hinduism. That is what is being claimed about "atheism".

          January 13, 2014 at 11:04 am |
        • illusive

          Theism is not a religion
          Theism is just believing that one or more gods exist
          Many religions are theistic (contains one or more god), but not all. There are atheistic religions as well (Buddhism).

          This help?

          January 13, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Theism is just believing that one or more gods exist"

          Yes... exactly

          and atheism is just believing that one or more gods don't exist...and is therefore no more of a religion than theism is.

          January 13, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • Ben

          There are atheistic religions, like Buddhism, but not all atheists are buddhists by a long shot, and few American nonbelievers you'd meet on such a board as this would believe in something like reincarnation.

          January 13, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
        • Austin

          cain killed abel and there was a false caananite religion immediately. why

          genesis "created man in OUR image", John 1 "He was in the beginnning. All things were made through Him,"

          Christ is creator, created Satan who fell and immediately tempted (attack with intent to destroy) and started false /deceptions, false gods.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • Ben

          "OUR image" could be a holdover from those polytheistic beliefs that always got the Hebrews into trouble, right? Even the 10 Commandments states that there were other gods whom YHWH was jealous, and the prophets had to constantly rag upon the common people to stop worshipping these other gods.

          January 13, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
      • Ben

        Belief in god(s) is either a "yes" or "no" answer.

        "Yes", you believe that some god(s) exist = theism. "No", you do not believe that some god(s) exist = atheism.

        Now, after you believe in some god, most people choose to worship it for various reasons. How you worship, and the theology describing your relationship with this god is what is know as "religion", is it not?

        So, how can not worshipping gods that you don't believe in anyway amount to religion? It's like saying that not playing sports that you don't like is a sport onto itself, which is just silly.

        January 13, 2014 at 10:11 am |
        • Jeff

          Don't try to reason with a person who insists that atheism is a religion; it is glaringly obvious that they don't know the definition of the word 'atheism'.

          January 13, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • Ben

          I think it has to do with how popular it is these days to say that Christianity isn't a religion, but a "relationship" with Christ. Everyone else, in their opinion, must be mired in false religion.

          Personally, whenever I hear this line I like to say that I have a personal relationship with reality. 😉

          January 13, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • Austin

          you have a personal request and compulsion for the absence of spiritual reality. and you get what you want. this is just like the mob who called for Christs death instead of Barabbus.

          there is no injustice for those who insist on the torments of rejecting God.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • Ben

          "there is no injustice for those who insist on the torments of rejecting God."

          Do parents have the right to torture their kids if they reject them?

          January 13, 2014 at 8:23 pm |
      • Melissa

        Nooo, actually religion is more than that dictionary reference gives. Religion is a codified system that all its followers must live by.

        For example... christians must follow the teachings of christ. Following the teachings of buddha makes you by definition NOT christian. If you are wearing the magic underwear and claim to believe that the underwear is magic, then you are most likely mormon, but you are not hindu. You cannot run around claiming "harm none" as a wiccan but actually harming living things anyway (a wiccan does not kill birds to take their power in energy, for example).

        Since atheism has no such codified belief system, and system of living, as religion does, it is NOT a religion. The only unified thing about atheists is that they don't believe in any deity. The people that claim atheist religions are real are quite frankly, lying and doing it to mess with the religious peoples heads. Atheists have no book to read, no god to worship, no codified way of doing things amongst each other. They are not like scientologists, mormons, christians, buddhists, or even zoroastrianism. Heck, they can't even be called jedi and that's a religion invented for entertainment purposes. They can't even be called "flying spaghetti monsterists" because they aren't. There is nothing unified between them except that they don't believe in deity.

        January 13, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • King of Darkness

          Hey! I find your lack of faith disturbing. Ask Vader if Jedi counts as a religion, it most certainly does because people DO follow it (a watered down version of it at least)

          January 13, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • Barcs

          Actually the Jedi religion is powerful version of Buddhism.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
    • King of Darkness

      Shouting that Christianity is right or the bible is the word of god doesn't make it true.

      January 13, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
      • Austin

        no the gift of faith does though. The baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the spiritual gifts that will come, those are personal evidence, data, and proof of the life of Christ, the resurrection of the Lamb of God. you can not obtain that proof through some outward physical object. God is eternal spirit.

        looking out , outside of the internal presence of the Holy Spirit, is called "putting another God before God, who is internal"

        scientific evidence is idolatry. God demands that you observe Him within your own tent/ tabernacle.

        January 13, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • King of Darkness

          Everything you just said is NOT proof of anything except that people believe Christianity and the bible. That doesn't make it true. It may make it "real" because it is real in your subconscious based on your perspective, ie it becomes real to you. Scientific evidence is verified data based on experiments, not idolatry. Worshiping idols is just a guess, much like believing the bible is true. How you can even relate science and worshiping idols together in the same point, boggles the mind. They are vastly different.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
  10. Bootyfunk

    do you think he is giving up christianity because the bible talks about unicorns, satyrs, dragons, c.cokatrice and other mythical creatures, making it sound like a fairy tale? or because there is a talking snake and talking donkey (just like in Shrek!) or because a guy lives in the belly of a whale for 3 days (just like in Pinocchio!) or cause of all the other magic stuff, like people walking on water, parting seas, healing by touch, etc.?

    if they would only put 'Once upon a time...' at the beginning of the bible

    January 13, 2014 at 6:26 am |
  11. Bootyfunk

    when i first saw the pic for the article, i thought the guy was taking a bong-rip.

    January 13, 2014 at 6:17 am |
  12. bostontola

    Man has posited thousands of Gods. There is absolutely nothing, NOTHING, that distinguishes the Abrahamic God as more credible, or more likely to be real than any of the other Gods that almost all people agree were invented by man.

    January 12, 2014 at 10:37 pm |
    • Anthony Crispino

      I'm preeeeeetty sure that stuff about Jesus turning water into fish shows him to be more real than say booda. And what about that inaccurate conception – huh? Not any broad can pull that off.

      January 12, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
      • bostontola

        Inaccurate conception. That's awesome, thanks dude, one of the best I've heard in a while.

        January 12, 2014 at 11:03 pm |
        • King of Darkness

          It makes perfect sense. Mary cheated on Joseph, got pregnant and she lied about it so badly that she believed the story herself. Back in those days they'd stone people for things like that so it makes sense that she would try to cover it up. Either that or Joseph got her pregnant before marriage which was also a big no no and they lied about it to save face.

          January 13, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
        • Dandintac

          I think it was Hitchens who phrased it something like this: "What is more likely, a virgin birth, or that a teenager girl should lie?"

          January 13, 2014 at 9:14 pm |
      • fyi


        "inaccurate conception" - funny!

        I hate to step on your humor, but the "Immaculate Conception" myth is not the same as the "Virgin Birth" one. IC is that Mary was allegedly born with our "original sin".

        January 12, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
        • fyi


          January 12, 2014 at 11:07 pm |
      • saggyroy

        The inaccurate conception? What do Lynn Swann and Franco Harris have to do with it?

        January 13, 2014 at 5:47 am |
        • saggyroy

          Not Swann – Jack Tatum, sorry.

          January 13, 2014 at 5:57 am |
        • sam stone

          it was inaccurate because it was headed for frenchy fuqua

          January 13, 2014 at 6:07 am |
      • aldewacs2

        ??? More like inaccurate contraception.

        January 13, 2014 at 10:55 am |
    • Shouting "Atheism is not a religion!" doesn't make it true

      Atheists create their own reality without any gods besides themselves. What's the difference?

      January 13, 2014 at 7:52 am |
      • igaftr

        False. Atheists do not create their own reality. Reality exists, not created by anyone.

        Shouting that atheism IS a religion is just flat out incorrect. Is not believing in santa a religion?

        January 13, 2014 at 8:09 am |
      • bostontola

        I would accept that we are create our own realities, just like we create our Gods. I'm pleased that we can now agree that our Gods are created by us.

        January 13, 2014 at 9:09 am |
      • Ben

        Why do you assume that everyone needs "gods" in their lives so much that they need to elevate themselves to that position after throwing out all the supernatural ones? I'm perfectly content with seeing myself as just a human being without superpowers, or a super powered best friend that does my bidding.

        January 13, 2014 at 10:21 am |
        • King of Darkness

          It's an ego thing. Many religious folks have the inherent need feel special. To them, being hand designed by an all powerful being makes them feel good about themselves and their life. It gives life meaning and gives answers to the ultimate questions. Unfortunately in reality nobody knows these answers, but believing in something like a god is comforting to people.

          January 13, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • Ben

          I believe that we show greater character when we admit that we actually don't know the answer to something, instead of just making up some answer to comfort ourselves.

          January 13, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
  13. bostontola

    If atheism was a religion, how would that change anything? God would still be imaginary.

    January 12, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
    • Yep, atheism is a religion folks!

      Atheists are like everyone else. You believe there is no God. Still a belief that CANNOT be proven no matter what internet atheist trolls say. Get over it already.

      January 12, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
      • No, atheism isn't; you continuing to troll this over and over doesn't make it one!

        Do not believe in any gods; not just your particular flavor. It's non-discriminatory.

        January 12, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
      • bostontola

        Funny, you dodged the question.

        January 12, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
      • Neo Atheist

        If Atheism is a religion then my not collecting stamps is a hobby and bald is a hair color.

        January 13, 2014 at 3:07 am |
      • saggyroy

        We will get over it when you stop using your religion to legislate who people can marry, insisting on teaching your mythology into a science classroom, covering up crimes against children, allow birth control in countries that can't feed themselves in the first place....need more?

        January 13, 2014 at 5:53 am |
      • Brainwashed Christians

        another "i believe that I don't believe" moron.

        January 13, 2014 at 9:27 am |
      • Ben

        It's not that I believe that no gods exist as much as I don't believe in any of the claims that gods actually do exist. God may exist for all I know, but I find the various claims by Christians no more compelling than the reasons put forward by Hindus for believing in their gods. I see no reason to accept the claims about God in the Bible as more accurate than any other holy book's claims about it's gods. God may exist, but I just don't accept Christian's, or the Bible's word on it.

        January 13, 2014 at 11:21 am |
      • bcs2006

        Its really not

        The only thing that makes it even resemble a religion is that like religion, it deals with the god question. Thats it, and that is really a minor fraction of what makes something a religion

        January 13, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • Ben

          More like, you either have a ball (theism), or you don't have one (atheism).

          Playing a ball game (religion) requires a ball, right?

          January 13, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
      • exlonghorn


        A key fundamental difference exists between theists and atheists.

        Theists think they already have all the answers in their 2,000 year old book written via hearsay from a couple dozen different people covering a span of time of something like 5,000 years and conveniently geographically focused on one very small area of the Earth. It is filled with mysteries, miracles, and plenty of events that defy logic or understanding, and rife with internal contradictions along the way. But strangely these things all stop and don't occur again in modern times.

        Atheists are constantly seeking to learn more, and to deepen their understanding of the world and the universe. It's a good thing that so many of our scientists and researchers are atheist. Without them, we wouldn't understand so many diseases or made so many advances into genetics, among other areas. Even Newton was limited by his faith. Isaac Newton was one of the greatest intellects the world has ever seen. His laws of motion and his universal law of gravitation, conceived in the mid-seventeenth century, account for cosmic phenomena that had eluded philosophers for millennia. Through those laws, one could understand the gravitational attraction of bodies in a system, and thus come to understand orbits. However, there were bodies exhibiting unstable orbits that Newton could not explain mathematically with his models. So in the absence of data, at the border between what he could explain and what he could not—Newton rapturously invokes God and declares an "invisible hand" is at work in maintaining the cosmos. And that's where Newton's contributions largely stop. A century later, the French astronomer and mathematician Pierre-Simon de Laplace confronted Newton's dilemma of unstable orbits head-on. Rather than view the mysterious stability of the solar system as the unknowable work of God, Laplace declared it a scientific challenge. In his multipart masterpiece, Mécanique Céleste, the first volume of which appeared in 1798, Laplace demonstrates that the solar system is stable over periods of time longer than Newton could predict. To do so, Laplace pioneered a new kind of mathematics called perturbation theory, which enabled him to examine the cuumulative effects of many small forces. According to an oft-repeated but probably embellished account, when Laplace gave a copy of Mécanique Céleste to his physics-literate friend Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon asked him what role God played in the construction and regulation of the heavens. "Sire," Laplace replied, "I have no need of that hypothesis." Oh, if only Newton set God aside and maintained his curiosity! Who knows where we would be today!

        The burden of proof rests with theists. Atheists simply describe what they can experiment with or directly observe. Atheists aren't out to prove there is no God...they simply point out all the things wrong with the thinking and lack of evidence exhibited by theists.

        January 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
    • jorge

      very true mr bostontola. some god may be there or not but for us the most we can tell is its in some of our imaginations

      January 12, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
  14. Dyslexic doG

    Why doesn't your god appear to the world and show everyone he is the one?

    He seems to be narcissistic enough and vain enough and insecure enough to want more adoration and more worship. Your book which you keep bleating is the "word of god", certainly sees god commanding you endlessly to adore him and worship him and bow before him and idolize him and praise him.

    It would be effortless for him to show himself, like he seemed to do pretty regularly back in the bronze age, and he wouldn't have to send so many people to eternal fire and pain and torment. Surely, if he is the loving god that you claim, he would be anxious to save all these people rather than damn them?

    I am shaking my head as I write this, in amazement at the pure infantile foolishness that enables you to believe in something so patently false.

    It's amazing. Simply amazing.

    January 12, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
    • huh

      He chooses not to reveal himself at this time. You think its not fair that he require us to believe in him blindly. But he is God and he doesn't even have to care if you believe in him or not. Have some humbleness. We have maybe a good 50 years of self awareness and thats it. So maybe you should appreciate what He has done. Or do you think the universe, life, physics, music is all an accident? God has a plan and earth's history has been written in the Bible. In the end it will be shown what is fair.

      January 13, 2014 at 9:35 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        and how you know this? did god tell you? did your priest tell you, and how do they know? did you just make it up based on what you think?

        January 13, 2014 at 10:03 am |
      • Ben

        "he doesn't even have to care if you believe in him or not."
        Yet he apparently cares enough to torture people who don't believe in him for eternity.

        "the universe, life, physics, music is all an accident? "
        Not an accident, but just a natural outcome. You wouldn't call an apple dropping downwards an "accident", would you? As far as we know, natural laws like gravity are the very reason why we have a universe in the first place. Not everything needs to be intentionally "caused" by some intelligence.

        January 13, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • King of Darkness

          Gravity doesn't exist. The apple falling isn't natural it's "intelligent falling".

          January 13, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
      • exlonghorn


        The universe, life, and physics isn't an accident...there are laws and theories that these things follow. It's how we give order to everything we can observe. But to make Newton's leap and conclude that everything we can't explain must therefore be evidence of the hand of God is just incredibly poor reasoning.

        "God has a plan and earth's history has been written in the Bible." With that evidence do you make this claim?

        January 13, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
    • Kev

      Oh the narcissism of a God to command us to worship him because there is no other choice available to us such whether or not to obey those commandments. After all, nothing shows a person's willingness and devotion quite like not having to rely at all upon faith and to feel like you have no choice in the matter since you know that God is right there in front of you observing your next move.

      So, just how many times did God present himself to everyone on Earth in the Bronze Age? So, if that was the case that God presented himself to everyone on Earth, why were there so few who were actually followers of Yahweh?

      January 13, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
  15. Robert Raulerson

    If William Lane Craig says, "Gawd did not begin to exist", on what does he base that statement? He says Gawd exists but didn't begin. Where is his proof? Surely he won't go back to the Cause and Effect Argument, having just told us it doesn't apply to Gawd. He pulled Gawd out of thin air. He's got nothin.

    January 12, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
    • Ben

      They believe that it actually makes more sense for a being such as God to have always existed, without parents, and with the power to magically create the universe as opposed to a universe that developed naturally. They simply cannot see that their answer, rather than being a better alternative to the complicated scientific one, is actually far more convoluted.

      January 13, 2014 at 11:58 am |
    • Vic

      For this universe, which is ever changing, hence finite, hence can not be eternal, hence temporal, hence had a beginning, to exist, there must be a cause. Since the universe had a beginning, there must be a cause that is outside the universe's beginning that is non-temporal (without beginning nor end,) hence unchanged, hence "UNCAUSED," hence a "First Cause" (Eternal.)

      Change implies finiteness! The least of motion (e.g. expansion) is change, hence temporal, hence finiteness. That's a scientific basic.

      The universe could have not caused itself since it is finite, temporal, had a beginning (non-eternal.) Only a cause outside the universe's beginning that is non-temporal, hence eternal, could have caused it. The First Cause can only be non-temporal, that is non-changing, that is infinite, that is Eternal.

      January 13, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
      • Another View

        John Sargeant

        Blogger on Ho-mo economicus’ Weblog

        Why We Need Richard Dawkins
        Posted: 13/01/2014 17:15


        January 13, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
      • King of Darkness

        false. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change forms. This is PER Einstein. Therefor, energy is eternal. No need for an external magical god. The universe could simply be one dimension of millions. It could be in a constant cycle of big bangs. Unfortunately we don't know enough to use a terrible argument such as everything requiring a first cause. We don't know about other dimensions, how time passes there, or creator / creator races.

        You have to think of the origin of souls right (assuming they exist). Who's to say that souls didn't start out as a single energy atom and evolved over time into what is there now? If life can evolve from a single cell to complex humans, why couldn't a similar process effect life outside of this dimension? Anyways there are way too many unanswered questions to simply sit back and say 'god did it' and call it a day. There could potentially be WAY MORE research to be done. Religious folk don't really like research though, because over the years it has done nothing to prove god and hasn't shown a single naturally occurring action or event to require a deity or outside interference. There's way more to this cosmic soup than we know. Even the basic theories about it like M theory are incredibly complex. Defaulting to god because we don't know the full picture is downright lazy.

        January 13, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
        • Vic

          You are confusing the "Conservation of Energy" with the "Origin of All things."

          Energy is a thermodynamic entity that is in a certain form that can be quantified, and it can change from one form to another while being conserved, hence, it is a physical entity, hence, it had a "beginning," hence, it is finite.

          Anything that has a "beginning" could have not been out there for all infinity/eternity to be eternal/infinite.

          Furthermore, your multiverse position is one of the worst apologetics, it miserably fails the Occam's razor.

          Last but not least, Christians are the most pioneers in the history of science to this day. Christians founded the branches of "Modern Science" as well as the "Modern Scientific Method."

          January 13, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
        • Ben

          If time is a dimension like any other then it unwrapped with all the others after the beginning of the Big Bang. All forms of "energy" came into being at that time as well. I know that it's difficult to wrap a mind around, but it actually makes more sense than all this "God is eternal and uncreated" stuff.

          January 13, 2014 at 8:29 pm |
      • Ben

        Yet, if time itself is a dimension that unwrapped along with all the others in the Big Bang, then your whole argument falls apart completely, doesn't it?

        January 13, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • Vic

          No it doesn't.


          January 13, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
        • Ben

          Why not? You say time starts with God creating it, but what if it starts with the Big Bang, meaning that there was no "before" expansion. That makes it eternal according to the definition. So, unless you imagine your God existing in time before the beginning of the universe, I don't see the problem.

          January 13, 2014 at 8:14 pm |
  16. Robert Raulerson

    Your 'Design Argument' is just the Cause and Effect Argument re-stated. You're saying, 'here you have an effect – design- which must have a cause – a designer. Same argument put a different way. I'm surprised at the number of Gawdders who don't know that.

    No, actually I'm not surprised by anything that Gawdders do.

    January 12, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
  17. Robert Raulerson

    If every effect must have a cause then that leads me to posit an infinite regression of cause and effect – not an 'un-caused first cause'.
    You say an infinite regression is impossible? Why?
    Also, how is an 'un-caused first cause' possible?
    Both an infinite regression and an 'un-caused first cause' sound far out, but one is no farther out than the other.
    Of course, Hume argued that we don't really know that every effect has a cause, just that one thing happens after another. Hmmmm.

    January 12, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It's difficult to imagine a cause for time: events require time and are ordered by time such that one can be said to precede another, which is part of what's needed to say that an event is the cause of something.

      January 12, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
      • Robert Raulerson

        I know you said something, but I'm danged if I know what.

        January 12, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
      • bostontola

        Time is not much different than space, it is all part of the same thing, space-time. When space was created, time came along for the ride. That's why it is meaningless to ask what came before the Big Bang.

        January 12, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Yes. I like to think about a universe on the surface of a sphere with poles. Say the North pole is the beginning and and space is slices along lines of latitude and as you head toward the South pole you are moving forward in time. You can't say there is a cause for time any more than you can say there is a cause for the direction South. Perhaps the North pole is the "cause." Is the North pole God in this universe?

          January 12, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
        • bostontola

          A pole does have a cause though, rotation. The conservation of angular momentum applied to the flotsam that became earth caused the poles (the 2 points where the earth intersects the axis of rotation. What caused the rotation in the first place? I'm not sure we know exactly, but random motion of the particles, if not perfectly balanced, would have a net angular momentum.

          January 12, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
        • Vic

          The earth has North and South poles because of the "Magnetic Field" generated by the its metallic molten core.

          January 13, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
        • Vic

          The earth has North and South poles because of the "Magnetic Field" generated by its metallic molten core.

          January 13, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
    • bostontola

      I don't understand those assertions people make as if there is unanimous agreement. We don't know if this is the only universe, if there are an infinite number of universes, if infinite regressions are impossible.

      "Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence."

      That statement Is false. Particles begin to exist all the time out of the vacuum with absolutely no cause.

      January 12, 2014 at 5:51 pm |
    • No Evidence

      In the mean time, none of this is evidence for a god.

      January 13, 2014 at 9:32 am |
    • Vic

      The answer to your question is quite simple, it is "change."

      "Change" implies beginning, hence "finiteness." Anything that changes has a beginning, hence could have never be out there for all eternity to be infinite, hence finite, hence not eternal.

      'Infinite regression' is impossible because of "change." Regression is going from one state to a previous one, that is definite "change."

      Therefore, it is a "logical must" that there is a "First Cause" for everything that has no "change," hence, infinite—eternal, outside of the caused and its "beginning," and therefore, "UNCAUSED."

      January 13, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
      • Vic

        "..could have never been out there for all eternity.."

        January 13, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.