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Can you really 'try on' atheism for a year?
Ryan Bell's "year without God" experiment has drawn a wealth of comments, from scornful to supportive.
January 14th, 2014
01:20 PM ET

Can you really 'try on' atheism for a year?

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor
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(CNN) - Ryan Bell, a one-time Christian pastor, says he didn't expect his yearlong experiment with atheism to get much attention.

"This wasn't intended to be an international journey that was done in public," he told CNN's Brooke Baldwin last Wednesday.

But what began as Bell's personal project has now been covered by NPR, the BBC, Religion News Service, and, of course, here at CNN.

READ MORE: Pastor tries atheism, loses jobs, gains $19,000

It's not just the mainstream media that are along for the ride, either. Dozens of blogs and columnists have weighed in on Bell's "Year Without God," with responses ranging from support to skepticism to scorn.

Sikivu Hutchinson, a writer who has criticized the lack of racial diversity in the the atheist community, called Bell's foray into atheism "secular tourism."

"Bell joins a jam-packed, largely white, mostly Christian cottage industry of religious leaders who are capitalizing off of untapped reserves of atheist dollars, adulation and publicity by jumping onto the 'maverick ex-pastor' bandwagon," Hutchinson wrote in a recent blog post.

PZ Myers, an American scientist and prolific blogger on atheism, echoed Hutchinson's comments, and called Bell's experiment "simply ridiculous."

"It’s not a set of superficial practices, it’s a mindset," Myers said of atheism. "What’s he going to do at the end of the year, erase his brain?"

Since the responses have been so varied - and so interesting - we wanted to know what other thinkers and scholars have to say about Bell's experiment with atheism.

In short, we asked a whole bunch of smart folks if it's really possible to "try" atheism for a year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we got a wide variety of answers (The old adage about "three rabbis, four opinions" seems to apply to atheists as well.)

Some of these submissions have been edited for length and clarity.

Catherine Dunphy, executive director of The Clergy Project 

It would be accurate to say that some of our members tried similar experiments, though in a much less public fashion and for a shorter period of time before leaving their faith.

For myself, it was in stages. First, I decided to just stop praying and see what would happen.  Then I stopped going to church, and finally I decided that the idea of God just didn't make sense.

It was like learning to swim with "water wings." Eventually I realized I could float all by myself.

Testing the atheism waters, is in many ways an intellectual process but it is also intrinsically linked to emotion. God is often seen as a surrogate parent, a protector, a supporter. Untangling oneself from this type of over arching narrative is never easy.

Bell should be applauded for his attempt to ask the hard questions. Whether he'll be a theist or atheist on the other side of this journey, I don't know. But it is a good thing that he is wondering.

Penny Edgell, sociology professor, University of Minnesota 

What Bell is doing makes a sense if you remember that it is through daily practice that we become the people we are.  Meditation, daily prayers and devotions ... these are how people become Christian, Muslim, a believer of any kind.

And it's not just religion; there are all kinds of practical, self-help guides to being a better mom, a better husband, a more passionate lover, etc., all of which focus on doing the things that a better mom, husband, or lover would do until you a) feel more momly, husbandly, loverly feelings and b) it becomes a habit to act in the appropriate role-enhancing way.

So there is no reason to be skeptical about Bell's experiment.  Quite the opposite - it may work, and more profoundly than he anticipates.  A year is a long time, and if he really spends that year doing the things an atheist would do, he may not only act like an atheist, but feel like one, and in that union of action and feeling, find that he has become one.

Paul Fidalgo, spokesman, Center for Inquiry 

I think there is at least potential for profound personal and political implications to the discoveries Bell may make in his experiment.

Many people in times of crisis put a great deal of hope in the idea that God will come through, or execute a plan that makes sense of it all. But what happens when the mental and emotional energy that goes into prayer and wishing were put toward something more concrete?

Bell’s experiment won’t settle the religion-versus-nonreligion debate by any stretch of the imagination.

But he might help us to understand what powers we sacrifice when we spend less of ourselves on entreaties to an unknowable being, and direct those energies toward dealing with the real world, as it is, right now.

Dale McGowan, author of "Parenting Beyond Belief" and "Atheism for Dummies"

Trying atheism is not only possible, it’s a very common step out of religious belief. The comedian and author Julia Sweeney called it “putting on the No-God glasses” to see what the world looks like when you stop assuming a god is running things.

A lot depends on how serious and honest someone is in the experiment. There’s a tendency to scramble back to old explanations at the first snap of a twig or the first feeling of wonder.

But those whose will to know is stronger than the will to believe usually find their way out. And when they do, the most common emotion they describe isn’t the anguish and despair they were told to expect — it’s freedom and relief.

Dave Muscato, spokesman, American Atheists 

I think what Ryan Bell is doing is a great thing. It's important to try to see other points of view so that you can have a better understanding of why other people don't believe the same things that you do. I don't think it's quite possible to try on the absence of belief the way he's intending to, though.

If Bell has made the choice to drop faith in superstition in favor of what the evidence shows, then he can understand the atheist experience. If he is holding on, he's not doing what an atheist does. He's simply not practicing his religion. I would say that a better name for this would be a lapsed Christian, not an atheist.

An atheist is an active role, not a passive one. We don't simply stop reading the Bible and stop praying and stop going to church. We love the process of learning and exploring answers.

Instead of resorting to "God did it," atheists are comfortable saying "I don't know, but I'm going to find out." That's where the fun starts; it means we're on the right path to finding the real answers to our questions.

David Myers, professor of psychology, Hope College 

In my book, "A Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheists," I quote the Christian author C. S. Lewis:

"Believe in God and you will have to face hours when it seems obvious that this material world is the only reality; disbelieve in Him and you must face hours when this material world seems to shout at you that it is not all. No conviction, religious or irreligious, will, of itself, end once and for all [these doubts] in the soul. Only the practice of Faith resulting in the habit of Faith will gradually do that.”

Indeed, psychological science confirms that attitudes and beliefs tend to follow behavior.  Act as if you believe—or don’t—and in time your beliefs may shift toward your actions.

Mitchell Stephens, author, "Imagine There’s No Heaven: How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World"

I admit to being uncomfortable with the notion of “trying” atheism.

Can you try to have a conviction? And atheism, unlike religion, is not something that is simply accepted on faith. It presumes to be the result of reasoning and investigation. Limiting the experiment to a year also seems a bit artificial: that reasoning and investigation should never end.

Perhaps by “trying,” however, Bell means allowing yourself to be open to arguments that challenge your convictions. That certainly is noble. And the reading list of atheists and some of the West’s great questioners Bell has assigned himself is impressive. I would hope that nonbelievers would be as eager to confront the ideas of Kierkegaard or Dostoevsky.

Doubt, too, is noble. Surely, there is enough of it recorded in the gospels. Bell deserves credit for exploring rather than suppressing his doubts. He seems a thoughtful and courageous man. It is easy to imagine this being a rich and rewarding year – or lifetime.

It is a shame that some of Bell’s co-religionists are not better able to tolerate this exercise in openness and doubt. Perhaps that is one of the limitations of resting convictions upon faith rather than reasoning and investigation.

Merold Westphal, philosophy professor, Fordham University 

I think it is possible to "try" either atheistic unbelief or theistic belief to see if it "fits" in the sense of doing the practices that go with the position - praying or not praying, going to church or not going to church, reading the Bible or not reading the Bible, etc.

But I very much doubt that it is possible to suspend belief in the sense Bell suggested.

We do get caught up in the world of a movie and feel, for example, real anxiety. But then someone coughs or talks and we remember that what we are watching and hearing is fiction and the real world is the one where I'm sitting in a theater. We haven't ceased to believe, and the sense in which we have temporarily suspended belief (for an hour or two, not for a year) depends on powerful external  aids.  I'm not sure ceasing the practices of faith can have the same result, especially over so long a time.

Lauren Anderson Youngblood, spokesperson, Secular Coalition for America  

I'm not exactly sure how you would "try" it, because atheism is not a religion with rituals and obligations (attending church, fasting, not eating pork, etc).

Either you believe or don't believe. If you're on the fence, I would say you're an agnostic, not "trying" atheism.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Faith • Lost faith • Nones • Spirituality

soundoff (3,260 Responses)
  1. 00 00

    why would god allow people to ask silly questions?

    January 16, 2014 at 5:11 am |
  2. GOOD NEWS

    Extraordinary Claims like: "There is a GOD"
    requires Extraordinary Evidence.

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES

    January 16, 2014 at 4:41 am |
    • igaftr

      Old news.
      You have none. There is no evidence.

      January 16, 2014 at 8:15 am |
    • panthrotheist

      your existence as a material being is one of the simplest proof of God.Before the big bang there was nothing where you are now,but 13.7 billion years later today you are here ,blogging .This not fiction or magic,the fact that you exist ,was because of that formula E=MC2 ,nobody who is knowledgable enough can refute the confirmation of that last year at Cern,Switzerland.But dont worry,you and I shall refocus our energy on the new forthcoming faith.Panthrotheism.

      January 16, 2014 at 9:20 am |
  3. Bootyfunk

    you can't choose to believe something - you either do or you don't.
    try it.
    think of a mythological creature you don't believe in (ie bigfoot, unicorns, chupacabra, tooth fairy, etc)
    now make a choice to believe in said mythological creature.
    you can't.
    make a choice to believe you're the king of siam.
    do you really believe it?
    make a choice to believe blue is red, red is yellow and yellow is blue.
    can you really do that?
    the answer is 'no' to all of them.
    you can't choose to believe something.
    you can't choose to believe in god.
    you either do or you don't.
    the concept either makes sense to you or it doesn't.

    January 16, 2014 at 2:17 am |
    • Dandintac

      Booty,

      Great observation. I've never understood this notion that what we believe is something that can be flipped on or off like a light switch. And it's not like you're in the grocery store just trying to choose a brand of peanut butter either. These are the deepest, most profound and important questions of all.

      Human beings generally believe things because they are either a) persuaded in some manner; or b) indoctrinated, usually as a child. Persuasion can take many forms. As an atheist, I ask theists to try to persuade me evidence and logical argument, but none have been able to succeed, but persuasion can be mainly emotional, and this is the tack I see most Christians use against their intended marks (for lack of a better word). I group brainwashing in with indoctrination–they are basically the same, except that one is more severe.

      January 16, 2014 at 10:15 pm |
  4. o

    Men of cents trust God
    NASA told me that
    On Mars

    January 16, 2014 at 1:58 am |
  5. Reality # 2

    And who again created your creator???? Or the next creator??? Or maybe it all occurs according to the following?

    Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this chaotic, stochastic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in three- five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the v-agaries of its local star.

    January 16, 2014 at 12:06 am |
    • Dandintac

      "And who again created your creator???? Or the next creator???"

      Hey bub, it's turtles all the way down!

      January 16, 2014 at 10:17 pm |
  6. urnotathinkerareu

    A fish transitioning into a new species...possibly???
    http://www.sci-news.com/paleontology/science-new-fossils-tiktaalik-roseae-01686.html

    January 15, 2014 at 11:38 pm |
  7. urnotathinkerareu

    A fish caught in "the transitioning process". Possibly what a change in species looks like. Amazing science....
    https://ca-mg5.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch?.rand=feq7gcdai4qvd#mail

    January 15, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
  8. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own — a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms. – Albert Einstein

    January 15, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Oops – wrong spot!

      January 15, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
  9. Quip

    "Bell joins a jam-packed, largely white, mostly Christian cottage industry of religious leaders who are capitalizing off of untapped reserves of atheist dollars, adulation and publicity by jumping onto the 'maverick ex-pastor' bandwagon,"

    –That is true, name a person of color who was able to jump on this "bandwagon", they can probably beg for a hitchhike, or simply be content posting on articles such as these. 😉

    January 15, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
    • Brandon

      That makes perfect sense as to why most claim to be former Christians, it's almost like wearing a designer label.

      Guess calling oneself a former Christian is equivalent to driving a Lamborghini as opposed to calling oneself a former Buddhist which might equate to driving a Hyandai.

      January 15, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
    • Dandintac

      If one is interested in "dollars"–then the smart money is on religion. There are far more bucks to be made in religion than in atheism–far, far more. If Bell really wanted to cash in, at the end of his "experiment"–he would come back to religion and say how horrible it was to be an atheist, and write a book about it. It would eagerly be published by a Christian publisher and gobbled up by the legions of Christians out there who would put out money for it. Religion has always been far more lucrative than skepticism.

      As far as diversity and color–people believe what they believe. You can't force people to disbelieve in order to meet some sort of politically-correct standard. It's not like they're being hired through an interview process to be professional atheists.

      In time, more people of color will become atheist. Already one can find more and more African-American atheist than there were a few years ago. A sociologist could probably explain what's going on with this.

      January 16, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
  10. No atheism please

    If atheists are more moral than religious people and don't need religion to be moral, why do they follow laws created by flawed men/politicians? Why follow a law that states murder is a crime? Why follow any law created by man IF following religion is wrong and immoral since to atheists it's man made? Hmmmmmmmmmm? Most of your morals are based on laws that are man made! So atheists aren't more "moral"! What a bunch of fakes and liars!

    January 15, 2014 at 9:22 pm |
    • Observer

      No atheism please,

      Speaking of FAKES and LIARS, do you BELIEVE and SUPPORT every word of the Bible or are you just a hypocrite who picks and chooses?

      January 15, 2014 at 9:25 pm |
      • No atheism please

        Let me ask you a question: do you know the difference between Jews and Christians? Would a Jew follow Christian beliefs? Would a Christian follow Jewish beliefs in areas that cannot apply to Christian believers? If I was to take ancient Jewish religious laws seriously(all 600 of them) I couldn't believe that Christ died for my sins. It would be impossible to accept since they sacrificed animals to God to cleanse them of their sins. Do I pick and choose? No. I am not Jewish therefor I cannot practice their religious laws such as stoning or killing children for disobeying. That was HOW THEY lived. It was THEIR way of life. If you are convinced that Christians must follow ancient Jewish laws when they aren't Jews means atheists don't know more than Christians and some Christians don't know anything about the bible. If you claim that I must follow ancient Jewish religious laws when I am not a Jew, you need some serious proof that Christians MUST follow what Jews did besides the popular quote said by Jesus.

        January 15, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          5:17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
          5:18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."
          Matthew

          Do you interpret this as meaning that Leviticus still applies to Christians, then why pick and choose.

          Otherwise you can throw Leviticus away. What did Jesus say about the gays again?

          January 15, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          Many OT, NT and koran thu-mpers are actually thu-mping the rules and codes of the ancients like King Hammurabi and the Egyptians who wrote the Book of the Dead and who did NOT need revelations from angels or mountain voices to develop needed rules of conduct for us h-o-minids.

          "Hail to thee, great God, Lord of the Two Truths. I have come unto thee, my Lord, that thou mayest bring me to see thy beauty. I know thee, I know thy name, I know the names of the 42 Gods who are with thee in this broad hall of the Two Truths . . . Behold, I am come unto thee. I have brought thee truth; I have done away with sin for thee. I have not sinned against anyone. I have not mistreated people. I have not done evil instead of righteousness . . .

          I have not reviled the God.
          I have not laid violent hands on an orphan.
          I have not done what the God abominates . . .
          I have not killed; I have not turned anyone over to a killer.
          I have not caused anyone's suffering . . .
          I have not copulated (illicitly); I have not been unchaste.
          I have not increased nor diminished the measure, I have not diminished the palm; I have not encroached upon the fields.
          I have not added to the balance weights; I have not tempered with the plumb bob of the balance.
          I have not taken milk from a child's mouth; I have not driven small cattle from their herbage...
          I have not stopped (the flow of) water in its seasons; I have not built a dam against flowing water.
          I have not quenched a fire in its time . . .
          I have not kept cattle away from the God's property.
          I have not blocked the God at his processions."

          "The Book of the Dead was written circa 1800 BCE. 2 The Schofield Reference Bible estimates that the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt and the provision of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai occurred in 1491 BCE., some three centuries later. Many religious liberals, historians, and secularists have concluded that the Hebrew Scripture's Ten Commandments were based on this earlier docu-ment, rather than vice-versa."

          January 16, 2014 at 12:11 am |
        • Reality # 2

          Only for the new members of this blog:

          Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life e.g. Do No Harm.

          No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, popes, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

          Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

          January 16, 2014 at 12:13 am |
        • Roger that

          Jesus was a Jew. Christianity was invented long after he died.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:45 am |
        • Reality # 2

          The evolution of Christianity:

          2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
          – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

          30-60 CE Passion Narrative
          40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
          50-60 1 Thessalonians
          50-60 Philippians
          50-60 Galatians
          50-60 1 Corinthians
          50-60 2 Corinthians
          50-60 Romans
          50-60 Philemon
          50-80 Colossians
          50-90 Signs Gospel
          50-95 Book of Hebrews
          50-120 Didache
          50-140 Gospel of Thomas
          50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
          50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
          65-80 Gospel of Mark
          70-100 Epistle of James
          70-120 Egerton Gospel
          70-160 Gospel of Peter
          70-160 Secret Mark
          70-200 Fayyum Fragment
          70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
          73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
          80-100 2 Thessalonians
          80-100 Ephesians
          80-100 Gospel of Matthew
          80-110 1 Peter
          80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
          80-130 Gospel of Luke
          80-130 Acts of the Apostles
          80-140 1 Clement
          80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
          80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
          80-250 Christian Sibyllines
          90-95 Apocalypse of John
          90-120 Gospel of John
          90-120 1 John
          90-120 2 John
          90-120 3 John
          90-120 Epistle of Jude
          93 Flavius Josephus
          100-150 1 Timothy
          100-150 2 Timothy
          100-150 T-itus
          100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
          100-150 Secret Book of James
          100-150 Preaching of Peter
          100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
          100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
          100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
          100-160 2 Peter

           4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."

          The current situation:

          The Apostles'/ Creed 2014: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

          Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
          and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
          human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

          I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
          preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
          named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
          girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

          Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
          the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

          He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
          a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
          Jerusalem.

          Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
          many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
          and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
          Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
          grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
          and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
          called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

          Amen
          (references used are available upon request)

          January 16, 2014 at 7:50 am |
    • urnotathinkerareu

      You are a special kind of stupid aren't you. Confucianism in ancient China stated the "golden rule" which was then stolen to fit your bible...many cultures had "moral" law long beofre the bible was written.....why dont you jst keep your mouth shut. You dont know what your talking about.

      January 15, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
      • No atheism please

        I'm guessing you didn't read the whole thing. Laws are created by man. Atheists won't follow a man made religion so why do you follow man made laws to dictate your moral code? It's kinda hypocritical since "moral atheists" who think they are superior follow laws created by men/politicians. In order words, man generated laws. Congrats. Any atheist who claims to be moral is lying to themselves.

        January 15, 2014 at 9:37 pm |
        • Observer

          No atheism please

          "Any atheist who claims to be moral is lying to themselves."

          lol. Right. It's better to have God's morals and buy and sell daughters into slavery, discriminate against women, gays and the handicapped and beat helpless children.

          Ooops.

          January 15, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
        • No atheism please

          It was common in the ancient world to own "slaves" or "servants". I'm guessing you are getting this idea from slavery depicted in America? Jews weren't the only ones owning slaves. It was ALL over the world. Seems like you don't have this "logic" atheists boasts so much about!

          January 15, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
        • No atheism please

          You avoided what I originally posted to you debunking your childish argument.

          Ooooops. You don't observe that well LOL 😝

          January 15, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
        • Observer

          No atheism please,

          "Jews weren't the only ones owning slaves. It was ALL over the world."

          So God supported it because "everyone else is doing it" and he wanted to be politically correct, right?

          Seems like you don't have this "logic"

          January 15, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
        • Observer

          No atheism please,

          lol. So was it the SAME "perfect" and "unchanging" God in BOTH TESTAMENTS or someone different?

          Ooops.

          January 15, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
        • No atheism please

          You do know that it was prophesied in the OT that a savior would come? You can read it yourself and see. You are caught in a trap and find ways to weasel your way out LOL!! Thanks for the comedy😊

          January 15, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
        • Observer

          No atheism please,

          Speaking of being caught in a trap with no way to weasel out, why are you so AFRAID to answer questions?

          Did God support slavery because "everyone else is doing it" and he wanted to be politically correct, right? That was your EXCUSE.

          Was it the SAME "perfect" and "unchanging" God in BOTH TESTAMENTS or someone different?

          Were the morals of God in the Old Testament those of the SAME GOD in the New Testament?

          Please try not to weasel out.

          January 15, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
        • Cherilyn B

          Study "social contract theory" to understand the role of a citizen in a state and the obligation to follow laws of said state etc and the reciprocal obligation of the state to the citizens. For the simpler mind: we obey the law of the land to stay out of jail. Of course it is "man-made" as we are a society of humans. Next time you get pulled over for speeding, try telling the officer there are no speed limits posted in the bible and see how far that gets you.

          January 15, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Ordering a steak and then predicting the waitress will bring a steak is not really impressive.

          And don't even get me started on how the Jesus narrative was shoe horned to "fit" the "prophacy".

          January 16, 2014 at 12:25 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      "Most of your morals are based on laws that are man made"

      I think you're in over your head making claims about morality. The Bible doesn't teach morality, it makes pronouncements, and many are just plain wrong. There isn't a moral system there. Answer this...how do you arrive at a moral decision for a particular situation if it isn't mentioned in the Bible? Hmmm?
      I'll answer that one for you. The same way secular people do. Secular morality is superior because it provides a "method" for arriving at a desired positive moral outcome. Establishing the rules for getting a morally positive outcome can start with easily understood basics. Pleasure is preferable to pain, health is preferable to illness, aid is preferable to harm, life is preferable to death etc. As physical beings in a physical universe the number of possible actions for any given situation are finite and while it may not be possible to always determine the optimal choice, or best moral decision, the range of possible positive choices is easy to work out.

      January 15, 2014 at 11:51 pm |
      • fred

        What?
        If you could not understand the plain words of what the meaning of living in the presence of God was then Jesus, a physical example of the most moral of known men, would be life lesson in morality.

        January 16, 2014 at 12:40 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Why makes Jesus the most moral man? I don't think any cult leader that tells his followers he should be more important than their families should be considered "moral".

          January 16, 2014 at 12:50 am |
        • Bob

          fred, first, the whole premise of a god needing (or even being able to) sacrifice a son such as Jesus to save us is farcical and just plain nonsense to start with. At best, Jesus was a popular but mortal preacher, but as a moral example, really nothing special when his one bad weekend is compared against what far more brave people have shown and suffered through in human history. Furthermore, the new testament is loaded with some pretty poor "moral" guidance, especially in regard to the treatment of women in several cases.

          In short, the basis of Christianity is complete rubbish.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:06 am |
        • fred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers
          Your thought conflicts with the instruction that a man who does not provide for his own family is worse than an unbeliever.
          The point Jesus was making was in line with love the Lord you God with all your heart and put no other gods before him. God must be first and once you do that family falls in place. The maximum blessing for the family is when the head of the household loves God and follows all His commands.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:07 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          fred,

          The idea that an unbeliever is bad because he does not believe is also immoral.

          There is no reason anyone should be expected to "put" a god ahead of his family...for any reason.

          And you have yet to show why Jesus should be consided the most moral man known.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:20 am |
        • fred

          Bob
          We have been through the "Jesus sacrifice thing" a few times now. Would anything change if we go through it again? Let me give you the short version. Sin is a self inflicted wound that diminishes what God created as very good. God loves you so he took all that sin upon himself so good would not be diminished in you.

          He didn't need to do the "sacrifice thing"? Sin is harmful and yes you needed to a visual of what sin looks like on man created in Gods image. Jesus was unrecognizable from the abuse put on him. Sin results is death and you needed to see a visual of that. Those in Christ do not die, they are born again and are raised with the risen Christ. You needed to see a visual of that. You needed to know the tomb is empty because there death has no grip.
          I do not see any bad moral guidance regarding women, what did I miss?

          January 16, 2014 at 1:25 am |
        • fred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers
          "In him was no sin", Jesus was the perfect lamb of God. Even Pontius Pilate said "I find no fault in him" He gave his life for those he loved (all mankind), had compassion, love your neighbor, love your enemy, turn the other cheek, be a blessing to those around you etc. etc.
          Jesus transformed my life and many people I know. When I say transformed I mean a complete transformation towards the good. Jesus came so that we may have life eternal.
          Now, even if you claim he was not divine the impact on the world was the Christian World view. Even though we screwed up and went on crusades many followed his ways and blessed many others. The Catholic church may have been as bad as any other institutions of power but they set up a lot of hospitals and did a lot of Good.
          The life saving goodness of Jesus still goes on to this day.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:35 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          " had compassion, love your neighbor, love your enemy, turn the other cheek, be a blessing to those around you etc. etc.

          All concepts that predate Jesus...not impressive. I don't believe the whole "he was god" part so his "sacrifice" is moot to my point. The fact that you believe the whole mythology and you attribute your change to him doesn't make him moral.

          What did he DO that made him more moral than anyone else ever. Throw out any miracles, I don't believe they happened

          January 16, 2014 at 1:59 am |
        • sam stone

          "Sin is a self inflicted wound"

          Sin is a man made concept and a self inflicted guilt trip

          January 16, 2014 at 6:14 am |
        • fred

          sam stone
          Like saying you don't believe in lies so lies never happen. You commit murder it is murder. If there is God then you have offended God to boot. If there is no God you are offensive to the ideal of goodness and love. You are offensive to virtue itself. Completely lacking in virtue is not something atheists should be so proud about.

          January 16, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • Joey

          I thought we were all born sinners thanks to Adam and Eve, so there it is not in fact self inflicted.

          January 16, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • Wow

          "If there is no God you are offensive to the ideal of goodness and love. You are offensive to virtue itself. Completely lacking in virtue is not something atheists should be so proud about."

          Got to love it when xtians make up lies to sell their God. You don't need a God to have an ideal of goodness and love. You don't need a God for virtue. Stop lying fred.

          January 16, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • fred

          Joey
          We were born sinners but to sin is a choice and requires your participation. Thus at the least you are united with those who are without virtue. If there is God then God has offered you a way out of this unity with darkness.

          January 16, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • Wow

          "We were born sinners but to sin is a choice and requires your participation."

          LMAO! If you were born with it that means you didn't choose it.

          January 16, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • fred

          WOW
          Where have you been? God is absolute perfect goodness or lets just say white as snow even though a burning holiness is a better description. If you reject God or the notion of God then certainly you still have ideals as you imply. The highest possible ideal of virtue then would be equivalent of God in your mindset (call it virtue with a capital V). How is that a lie? You just cannot take the truth is all.
          Ignore God and run with your ideal Virtue. You and all of mankind will fall short of that Virtue. If you want you can die with your lack of virtue having fallen way short of Virtue itself or you can strive to achieve Virtue based on your great power. Shortly you will realize you cannot achieve it then what, give up remain lacking in virtue then die without purpose to your existence (if universe has no purpose you have no purpose because it is a closed set).

          As Solomon said vanity vanity its all vanity and he had the resources and capacity to attempt every possible end around God then came up empty. That is what striving for Virtue is when you use your power.

          January 16, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • fred

          WOW
          "LMAO! If you were born with it that means you didn't choose it"
          =>it is the godless ones that continue to insist morality is acquired through a process of social evolution. What are you a Neanderthal or perhaps one of the lucky 2% that have Neanderthal genes surging in their family tree? You can choose to execute believers like Stalin did or you can choose to love your enemy and go kiss a Christian. Were you born without capacity to choose?

          January 16, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • Wow

          "=>it is the godless ones that continue to insist morality is acquired through a process of social evolution. "

          Wow you really don't get it that is what is so hilarious, man has made it all up and yes it has evolved including your religion. Duh! Obviously you failed at history and bible study.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • Wow

          "God is absolute perfect goodness or lets just say white as snow even though a burning holiness is a better description"

          You have absolutely no proof of this statement.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • fred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers
          "What did he DO that made him more moral than anyone else ever. Throw out any miracles, I don't believe they happened"

          =>Then you are in good company as Jefferson threw out miracles and the supernatural stuff when creating his own "bible" so go ahead and read it to see the absolute morality of Christ.
          Jefferson wrote, "A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen; it is a document in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus

          January 16, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
        • fred

          WOW
          I have personally witnessed the goodness of Christ.
          Yes, there would be no proof that it was Christ since Christ is as he said "my kingdom is not of this world".

          You have no proof for your belief either that we exist without purpose through an impossible accident the causation of which we know nothing about.

          January 16, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • Wow

          "I have personally witnessed the goodness of Christ."

          No, you haven't it's all in your head and training yourself to believe in yourelf by using a crutch, we can all achieve the same results without relgion.

          January 16, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
        • Wow

          "You have no proof for your belief either that we exist without purpose through an impossible accident the causation of which we know nothing about."

          Lying again fred, too funny.

          January 16, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
        • fred

          WOE
          =>ok what is your proof that the universe exists without meaning and purpose.

          January 16, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
      • Conner

        Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Christianity doesn't seem to be working out well for you. May I suggest you try something different and unrelated to it? Maybe something Eastern.

        January 16, 2014 at 6:53 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Christianity isn't working out well for the world...

          January 16, 2014 at 9:15 am |
    • Dandintac

      I'm not sure if atheists are necessarily more moral. There are good people and bad people, good Christians and bad Christians, good atheists and bad atheists. Atheism is after all, just one thing that you do not believe.

      I will say this though–which is more moral, saving someone's life at the cost of your own, believing that there is no one watching you and no eternal life in Heaven waiting, or saving someone's life with your own believing that God is watching and you will be rewarded with eternal paradise for doing this (and being a believer). Which is more moral?

      I fail to see your point about following man-made laws. Sometimes they are bad, sometimes they are good, but we all have to follow them or be punished by the law. So what is your point? It's not clear to me.

      January 16, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
  11. doobzz

    Fifteen reasons why Chuck Norris is awesome:

    When Alexander Bell invented the telephone he had 3 missed calls from Chuck Norris

    Fear of spiders is aracnaphobia, fear of tight spaces is chlaustraphobia, fear of Chuck Norris is called Logic

    Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead it is just afriad to move.

    There used to be a street named after Chuck Norris, but it was changed because nobody crosses Chuck Norris and lives.

    Chuck Norris doesn't call the wrong number. You answer the wrong phone.

    Chuck Norris died 20 years ago, Death just hasn't built up the courage to tell him yet.

    Chuck Norris has already been to Mars; that's why there are no signs of life.

    Some magicans can walk on water, Chuck Norris can swim through land.

    Chuck Norris and Superman once fought each other on a bet. The loser had to start wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants.

    Chuck Norris counted to infinity – twice.

    Death once had a near-Chuck Norris experience

    Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door.

    Chuck Norris once kicked a horse in the chin. Its decendants are known today as Giraffes.

    When Chuck Norris does a pushup, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the Earth down.

    Chuck Norris can light a fire by rubbing two ice-cubes together.

    January 15, 2014 at 8:29 pm |
    • Joey

      If you can see Chuck Norris ten Chuck Norris can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris you are only seconds away from death.

      January 16, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
      • doobzz

        LOL

        January 16, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
  12. kerry okee

    @Observer

    Atheism does not condemn slavery. You are an atheist. You seem to be clueless on your argument.
    As the list of Truths say, perhaps you should argue for Observer-ism rather than atheism.

    The Bible has cases of slavery but it does not endorse the kind of slavery that you have in mind. Perhaps you live in the USA and therefore you know the type of slavery you people did. The Bible has rules on loving humans; Atheism does not. You have to realize that slavery is not banned by Atheism.

    You're making a fool of yourself claiming to be real when you use a FAKE name.

    Read the whole list of Truths. You are arguing teeny weeny points rather than addressing the whole list.
    The uneducated fishermen has a long list of teachings. What do you have ? One line on slavery. And Atheism does not even consider it a bad thing. You're hilarious. You crack me up. You must be really educated.

    January 15, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
    • doobzz

      Why? It doesn't make someone's statements any more or less true.

      I don't use my real name on internet forums because it's stupid to tell a bunch of strangers on the internet your personal information.

      January 15, 2014 at 8:32 pm |
    • Observer

      Kerry okee,

      You are a riot.

      Atheism is ONE CONCEPT: a nonbelief in gods. Period. That is it. It doesn't support or oppose slavery. Period. Some atheists support slavery, but it is likely that most do not. Please look up the word "atheism" if you are still clueless.

      (Ex. 21:7-8) “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do"

      (Lev. 25:44-46) “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves"

      (Ex. 21:20-21) “If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property”

      So do you believe it's okay to SELL your daughter and beat your female slaves with rods without punishment and treat slaves as property?

      YES or NO?

      January 15, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
    • No atheism please

      I find it funny when atheists who think they are superior are trapped in a corner. It's hilarious watching them squirm when they cannot face questions that destroy their faith!

      January 15, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
      • Observer

        Who are you talking to?

        I'm an agnostic. Just because Kerry Okee foolishly claimed that I am an atheist doesn't mean it's true.

        January 15, 2014 at 9:29 pm |
      • hee hee

        Please... you must use your mighty logical prowess for GOOD. You are wasting your talents. With great power comes great responsibility, my friend. Don't misuse your gift.

        January 15, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
    • Anonymous

      Like freaking Kerry Okee is your real name? Lmao. Hi. I'm Hugh Jass.

      January 15, 2014 at 11:26 pm |
  13. 12

    Twelve apostles
    Twelve months in a year
    Twelve signs in the zodiac

    Hows come?

    January 15, 2014 at 7:52 pm |
    • tony

      And the first three prime numbers added or multipled, twice.

      Wow! Must a Spiritual Omen!!! All Kneel !!!

      January 15, 2014 at 8:00 pm |
      • 12

        Nothing but coincidence? Over and over again? Shouldn't it mean something?

        January 15, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
        • tony

          It means that if you bought a book in the UK in 1950 priced at 5 pence, you'd get 7 pence change from a shilling.

          Pretty meaningful if you are the sort who counts every penny.

          January 15, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
        • 12

          I had a spirit guide named "Antony" once. Seriously. Oh well, means nothing, just like the rest I'm sure.
          Still interesting. G'night.

          January 15, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
      • Vic

        The first three "Prime Numbers" are 2, 3 & 5!

        January 15, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
    • doobzz

      Twelve eggs in a dozen.

      Twelve days of Christmas

      Twelve Monkeys

      Twelve Angry Men

      January 15, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        12" = 1'

        12 pence to the shilling

        It's not a coincidence, but it's not mystical either.

        January 15, 2014 at 9:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      12 lunar cycles per solar year (approximately)

      12 hours of daylight, 24 hours per 'day' (2×12).

      60 minutes in an hour (5×12), 60 seconds in a minute.

      360 degrees in a circle (30 x 12).

      It turns out that ancient Egyptians might have counted in base 12, not base 10 – hence the importance of 12.

      Egyptian sundials divided daylight into 12.

      January 15, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Months and zodiacs have the same source – which is essentially astronomical. They changed as calendars evolved with different starting points for the beginning of the year.

      January 15, 2014 at 9:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Google "why are there 24 hours in a day"

      you will find lots of references to Egyptian sundials, astronomical calendars based on a year of 36 ten-day weeks, and Sumerians counting on the finger segments (between joints) three to each of the four fingers – or base 12.

      We could just as easily be counting in base 12 as base 10. Base 10 is a completely arbitrary choice and relate to counting on fingers. In our digital world base 16 would have been a superior choice.

      January 15, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
      • Science Works

        8 fingers and 2 opposing thumbs made ten.

        January 15, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Really?

        Never occured to me.

        Did you read any of my post?

        January 15, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
      • Testing

        24 hours in a day, 24 cans of beer in a case. Coincidence?

        January 15, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
    • G to the T

      12 Disciples = 12 kings for the tribes of Israel in the new kingdom of god on earth that was soon to come. Part of the orginal beliefs of Jesus before Paul turned the religion of Jesus into a religion about Jesus.

      January 16, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
  14. QCity

    Beyond the origins of the universe and our inability to wrap our heads around the limits (or lack thereof) of time and space, we can't even understand how the most fundamental building blocks of matter and energy operate on the sub-atomic level. Through quantum physics, we seem to have discovered that a single particle can exist in two different places at the same time. What on earth does that even mean? Do we really know enough about the universe to be clinging to any theories at all? The fact that humans at this stage, with our scientific endeavor still in its infancy, are having heated arguments about the plausibility of God is as laughable as the idea of 3-year-olds, who can barely name basic shapes and colors, having heated arguments about capitalism and socialism. We're not qualified to have strong opinions about God and the universe because we don't know anything yet.

    January 15, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
    • tony

      That's an argument based on at least two false principles.

      We do now know relativley quite a lot and the macro and micro structure of the universe, as we have developend so many new tools to explore both extremes. And our rate of learning is quite fast, particularly since before, the Renaissance, we knew so little.

      On the Other hand, Religion has always claimed to know everything, especially about and from god, yet has added nothing new, not shown any of the prior knowlege to be correct or verifiable, for the past 2000 years.

      January 15, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
      • QCity

        I'm not sure that all religion claim to know everything. So, that is a false principle, too. I know some religious leaders that say not knowing everything, or 'mystery' is ok.

        January 15, 2014 at 7:49 pm |
        • tony

          Ten Bible verses which indicate that God is awesome – he is omniscient (all knowing):

          Job 37:16

          Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
          the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge.

          Psalm 147:5

          Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
          his understanding has no limit.

          1 Samuel 2:3

          Talk no more so very proudly,
          let not arrogance come from your mouth;
          for the LORD is a God of knowledge,
          and by him actions are weighed.

          Isaiah 55:9

          For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
          so are my ways higher than your ways
          and my thoughts than your thoughts.

          Job 28:24

          For he looks to the ends of the earth
          and sees everything under the heavens.

          1 John 3:19-20

          By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

          Hebrews 4:13

          And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

          Isaiah 46:9

          I am God, and there is none like me,
          declaring the end from the beginning
          and from ancient times things not yet done.

          Matthew 10:30

          But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.

          Psalm 139:4

          Even before a word is on my tongue,
          behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.

          January 15, 2014 at 7:55 pm |
      • Vic

        As Christians, we believe that we DO NOT know "everything" about God, His Divine Will, Wisdom & Justice, work, plans, etc., and how they totally work. The "mystery of God" is mentioned many times in the Bible.

        January 15, 2014 at 8:04 pm |
        • tony

          Why are collection plates round?

          January 15, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
    • bostontola

      QCity,
      What you say about God in general is true, we can't know. That is not true regarding many specific Gods like the Abrahamic God as defined in the bibles. That God can't be true because it is claimed to be perfect yet the bible has errors in it. The creation story is rife with factual errors, and what it attributes to God has conflicts in it.

      January 15, 2014 at 7:50 pm |
      • QCity

        I didn't know that God couldn't be real because a book isn't perfect.

        January 15, 2014 at 7:54 pm |
        • bostontola

          I just said no one can prove God is or isn't real, I said that the God defined in the bible was false. If the bible is false, so is the God it defines. There may be some other God, just not that one.

          January 15, 2014 at 7:56 pm |
    • Vic

      I posted this before:

      It takes a layman to know in his heart that there is [a] God while it takes a rocket scientist to disbelieve in God.

      God is so Omnipotent, Benevolent and Wise to make it obvious for us to detect Him through His mighty handiwork in His magnificent "Creation," the universe and life in it.

      January 15, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
      • Vic

        "..it takes rocket science to disbelieve in God.."

        January 15, 2014 at 7:56 pm |
        • bostontola

          Vic,
          You don't think there is one person out the that is an atheist that has below average intelligence? If so, then your statement is false.

          January 15, 2014 at 8:00 pm |
        • Vic

          You are missing the point!

          The figure of speech is about how easy it is to discern that there is [a] God while it takes extreme work to try the opposite.

          January 15, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
        • bostontola

          No Vic, I got it the first time, I'm saying it's not true! Unless you think all atheists are above average intelligence and of extremely high work ethic.

          January 15, 2014 at 8:16 pm |
        • Dandintac

          Vic,

          "The figure of speech is about how easy it is to discern that there is [a] God while it takes extreme work to try the opposite."

          If this were true–if it were so dang easy to "discern that there is a God"–then why do Christians have to work so vigorously to indoctrinate their children? And also why do they have to keep making up all sorts of convoluted and fantastic claims to explain the many difficult questions that skeptics ask? And finally, if God is so easy to discern, why are there so many different gods and religions that men have created? All with wildly different ideas about a God or Gods? And many religions and cultures don't even have a god belief at all. And why would churches have to send missionaries out–if God is so easy to discern? Why would missionaries be necessary? Surely people can discern God on their own–right? Hey–he's EASY TO DISCERN.

          January 16, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
      • bostontola

        Vic,
        I disagree. Anyone can believe, lay person or rocket scientist. Anyone can be an atheist, lay person or rocket scientist.

        January 15, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
        • Vic

          It is a "Figure of Speech!"

          January 15, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
      • Vic

        Good Lord, many rocket scientists believe in God!

        January 15, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
        • tony

          If you think god doesn't already know, you have very little faith in your god.

          January 15, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
        • Vic

          Say what now?!

          January 15, 2014 at 8:09 pm |
        • Science Works

          Vic – Say Dr. Who now.

          January 15, 2014 at 8:37 pm |
        • tony

          You just told god (Good Lord . . . .) that many rocket scientists belive in god. He must already know that if he's god.

          January 15, 2014 at 11:56 pm |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      Qcity...lack of knowledge has never stopped humans from arguing and having opinions and beliefs. In fact it's probably for that very reason we fight. Ignorence fuels fear and intolerance.

      January 15, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
  15. kerry okee

    Truths of the Universe:

    Christians cannot prove that God exists.
    Atheists cannot prove they have a moral system that is as comprehensive as the one written by 12 uneducated fishermen.
    Fishermen can point to a published book. Atheists cannot.

    Atheists believe whatever they want.
    Atheists hate that Christians have beliefs of their own.

    Christianity, based on myth, has produced Mother Teresa and hundreds like her who treat people with AIDS, Ebola, TB, etc.
    Atheism, based on reality and humanism, has produced squat.

    Atheist Bob will argue Atheism versus Christianity even though Atheism is not a religion and has no comprehensive set of beliefs.
    The proper thing of course is to compare teachings against teachings, e.g. Bob’s set of morals versus Christ’s set of morals.
    In other words, compare Bob-ism with Christianity. But Atheist Bob will never go there, because he has no list to compare.

    Atheist Bob will argue that he does not need rules to be created for him, yet he lives in a country where laws and policies are created for him.

    Atheist Bob claims he refuses to follow Church leaders who are mere humans and can make mistakes. But he lives in a country where he has to follow rules created by mere politicians and enforced by mere cops none of whom are perfect either and whose mistakes and crimes of corruption are regularly reported in mass media. Atheist Bob cannot demonstrate that he doesn’t make mistakes either.

    Atheist Bob will claim that he can define morality himself but goes to a doctor who’s certified by the state rather than to some quack who just makes a claim that he’s a doctor. Bob will buy only medicine approved by the state agency rather than from some random person who claims to sell good medicine. Bob wants the world to believe his claim that he’s a moral person, without proof or witness.

    Atheist Bob will argue that Atheists are the best people on earth but does not relocate to any of the top three atheist countries.

    Atheist Bob will argue that God does not exist and will argue that he (Bob) exists even though he uses a fake name and cannot show proof that he is a real person.

    Atheist Bob will howl in protest to the above but will not be able to provide a counter argument.

    January 15, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
    • Observer

      kerry okee

      "Atheists cannot prove they have a moral system that is as comprehensive as the one written by 12 uneducated fishermen."

      Do you mean the fishermen's moral system that includes slavery, beating helpless children and slaves with rods without any punishment, discrimination against women, discrimination against gays, discrimination against the handicapped, etc.?

      Looks like that's the one.

      January 15, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
      • kerry okee

        State the country that you live in and we can start rattling off the crimes of your leaders and your country. Why do you still live in and support that country ?

        January 15, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
        • Observer

          kerry okee,

          Yes. FORTUNATELY we live in a country that DOES NOT follow MANY of the morals in the Bible and actually considers many things in it to be IMMORAL.

          January 15, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
        • kerry okee

          @Observer

          Atheism does not consider these things as immoral "slavery, beating helpless children and slaves with rods without any punishment, discrimination against women, discrimination against gays, discrimination against the handicapped,"

          Congratulations for telling us the kind of person you are

          January 15, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
        • Herm

          A convincing argument against religion is not necessarily an equally compelling one for atheism.

          January 15, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
        • Observer

          kerry okee

          "Atheism does not consider these things as immoral "slavery, beating helpless children and slaves with rods without any punishment, discrimination against women, discrimination against gays, discrimination against the handicapped,"

          Oops! Atheism is ONLY ONE concept: disbelief in gods. Period. That is EVERYTHING there is to atheism. Period. Some atheists may support them, but likely most do not.

          Congratulations for telling us the kind of person you are.

          January 15, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
        • kerry okee

          @Observer

          Atheists cannot prove they have a moral system that is as comprehensive as the one written by 12 uneducated fishermen.
          Fishermen can point to a published book. Atheists cannot.

          You argue but you keep proving that the list of Truths is indeed true.
          You don't have a list of teachings. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
          Zip. Nada. Zilch.

          January 15, 2014 at 7:44 pm |
        • tony

          I can point to a published book "Harry Potter". And the published film ET. Both are better, nicer and decribe more capable "gods" thatn the "Biased history of Israel- and other proverbs" that seems to be your brain replacement.

          January 15, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
        • Observer

          kerry okee

          "You don't have a list of teachings".

          Absolutely true. All nonbelievers have is logic, intelligence and common sense, all shaped by the society in which they live.

          All believers have is a 2,000-year-old book containing some good morals, but also errors, contradictions, hypocrisy, nonsense, and much IMMORALITY by today's standards.

          January 15, 2014 at 7:56 pm |
        • kerry okee

          @tony

          Tell us the country you live in and let's discuss who makes the rules for you. Then we can understand your brain replacement.

          Tell us about your experience in taking ET as your god. Do you have a Harry Potter wand that you swish around to define your morals ? Does Atheism endorse ET as your god ?

          January 15, 2014 at 7:57 pm |
        • kerry okee

          @Observer

          You dare to claim morals but are not able to produce a list of morals.

          People are very scientific. Logic is used very much. We can see that you have NOTHING. The uneducated fishermen produced a set of teachings. People like Mother Teresa and relief organizations have helped thousands of people. You have done nothing.

          It's a simple scientific and logical conclusion. There's no reason to believe something so use less as yourself.

          January 15, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
        • Observer

          kerry okee,

          "There's no reason to believe something so use less as yourself."

          Lol. You are totally CLUELESS about the kind of person I am. You are just making a fool of yourself by attacking someone you don't know at all.

          Let's see something. As "useless" as I am, I am strongly opposed to slavery. So do also oppose slavery or do you support the Bible's morals about slavery?

          January 15, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
        • kerry okee

          @Observer

          Atheism does not condemn slavery. You are an atheist. You seem to be clueless on your argument.
          As the list of Truths say, perhaps you should argue for Observer-ism rather than atheism.

          The Bible has cases of slavery but it does not endorse the kind of slavery that you have in mind. Perhaps you live in the USA and therefore you know the type of slavery you people did. The Bible has rules on loving humans; Atheism does not. You have to realize that slavery is not banned by Atheism.

          You're making a fool of yourself claiming to be real when you use a FAKE name.

          Read the whole list of Truths. You are arguing teeny weeny points rather than addressing the whole list.
          The uneducated fishermen has a long list of teachings. What do you have ? One line on slavery. And Atheism does not even consider it a bad thing. You're hilarious. You crack me up. You must be really educated.

          January 15, 2014 at 8:29 pm |
        • Joey

          I guess god wasn't capable of inspiring his followers to write something along the lines of "don't own other humans", but was capable of inspiring them to write out the rules for selling your daughter into slavery?

          January 16, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
  16. urnotathinkerareu

    Why in their dishonesty do some who support christianity continue to misrepresent facts or only include partial quotes taken out of context. If you are quoting Einstein include everything. Here are his thoughts on religion and god.
    So why in your DISHONESTY didn't you include everything that went with that quote? Here are a few: I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature. (Albert Einstein, The World as I See It)...more.......I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own - a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbour such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms. (Albert Einstein, obituary in New York Times, 19 April 1955)...more...It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954) From Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman, Princeton University Press.......You "christians will misrepresent everything to try and show support for your UN EVIDENCED poistion. Highly unethical. Show some intellectual honesty for a change. Hypocrites

    January 15, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
    • JWilliam

      Slow down.
      A couple atheists and an agnostic were discussing whether Einstein was a deist, agnostic or atheist.
      NOBODY tried to say he believed in the Christian God.
      And he did say this:

      "Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is of the same kind as the intolerance of the religious fanatics and comes from the same source. They are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against the traditional "opium of the people"—cannot bear the music of the spheres. The Wonder of nature does not become smaller because one cannot measure it by the standards of human moral and human aims."

      I think you illustrate that quite well!

      January 15, 2014 at 6:54 pm |
      • OhMy

        oops.

        January 15, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. – Albert Einstein

        January 15, 2014 at 9:50 pm |
      • urnotathinkerareu

        Me thinks you are a liar and that you manipulate words to fit what you are saying. Provide the direct link to where he said this...word for word..

        January 15, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "Ich glaube an Spinozas Gott, der sich in der gesetzlichen Harmonie des Seienden offenbart, nicht an einen Gott, der sich mit Schicksalen und Handlungen der Menschen abgibt. – Albert Einstein

      Translation: I believe in Spinoza's God, Who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.

      Look up Spinoza's God – this is a deist concept.

      January 15, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own — a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms. – Albert Einstein

      January 15, 2014 at 9:48 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Sorry – this was included in the messy post above with all the quotes blurred together.

        January 15, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I am not an Atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. May I not reply with a parable? The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the att.itude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. – Albert Einstein

      January 15, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      And finally ...

      "The bigotry of the nonbeliever is for me nearly as funny as the bigotry of the believer.

      Einstein's thoughts about God are subtle – as you would expect from a mind like his. He was not a believer in an Abrahamic God. He was not an atheist. He was a deist.

      January 15, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Go look up Einstein on wiki quotes, there are 118 hits to the word "God".

        January 15, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
        • JWilliam

          Yea, in the thread urnotathinkerareu is referring to, we all agreed already that he didn't believe in a personal God. NOBODY was saying Einstein believed in a personal God. That was urnotathinkerareu jumping to a conclusion without looking at the subject being discussed. He misplaced his post

          January 15, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
      • Observer

        “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. … For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish supersti-tions.”
        - Albert Einstein, letter 1/3/1954

        “My position concerning God is that of an AGNOSTIC. I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.”
        - Albert Einstein, letter to M. Berkowitz, 10/25/1950

        January 15, 2014 at 11:19 pm |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          JWilliam is a game player and simply wants to play word games with his twisting and squirming. He is so far on the other side of a mind like Einstein he has to resort to trickery and word manipulation to justify his evil game.

          January 15, 2014 at 11:33 pm |
  17. bostontola

    The more we study, the more we find that Humans are not separate from other animals.

    Social Experience Drives Empathetic, Pro-Social Behavior in Rats

    Jan. 14, 2014 — Empathy-driven behavior has been observed in rats who will free trapped companions from restrainers. This behavior also extends toward strangers, but requires prior, positive social interactions with the type (strain) of the unfamiliar individual, report scientists from the University of Chicago in the open access journal eLife, on Jan. 14.

    The findings suggest that social experiences, not genetics or kin selection, determine whether an individual will help strangers out of empathy. The importance of social experience extends even to rats of the same strain - a rat fostered and raised with a strain different than itself will not help strangers of its own kind.

    January 15, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
  18. Science Works

    Hey Sheldon Good news for you for teaching evolution to creationists in TEXAS as FACT !

    Texas Textbooks: A Case Study for Creationism’s Staying Power

    By Molly Worthen | January 14, 2014
    – See more at: http://religionandpolitics.org/2014/01/14/texas-textbooks-a-case-study-for-creationisms-staying-power/#sthash.YxGZDamb.dpuf

    The Texas textbook wars have finally yielded a win for the Enlightenment. In November, the state school board delayed final approval of a biology textbook that explains evolution as fact, but last month an expert committee overruled all objections and gave the book the green light for sale to the state’s public schools. –

    – See more at: http://religionandpolitics.org/2014/01/14/texas-textbooks-a-case-study-for-creationisms-staying-power/#sthash.YxGZDamb.dpuf for you teaching evolution to creationists in TEXAS !

    January 15, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
  19. Austin

    Here is the sad truth about humans.

    Sin permeates every person in every way.
    Mind
    Emotion
    Will
    Mans will is in bondage
    John 1:9-11
    9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him
    2 Corinthians 4:3

    3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing..
    1 Corinthians 2:14

    Natural Man=MORON spiritual ignorance
    14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    John 3:3 spiritual blindness

    3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

    spiritual inmity / HATRED
    John 3:19-20

    New King James Version (NKJV)

    19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
    Romans 3:12

    New King James Version (NKJV)

    12 They have all turned aside;
    They have together become unprofitable;
    There is none who does good, no, not one.

    John 3:36

    36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

    John 5:21 SPIRITUALLY DEAD

    21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.

    Ephesians 2:1

    2 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

    Colossians 2:12-13

    New King James Version (NKJV)

    12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircu.mcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

    January 15, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
    • tony

      Even sadder. those who can't think for themselves, but must quote collected, but separate, writings from paid scribes of the bronze age as somehow making worthwhile sense today.

      January 15, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
      • Austin

        are you free of God? or are you sadly mistaken?

        January 15, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
      • tony

        I'm a baptized protestant married to a baptized catholic. Between us we've received the full teachings through upbringing of both variations of Chritianity,which of course raised all sorts ofdoubts. So both of us asked questions and only ever got nonsensical answers, such as yours.

        Studying religious texts and quotes seems to be the easiest way to permanently and happily convert to atheism.

        January 15, 2014 at 6:31 pm |
        • Wishful

          Try reading up on DMT and near death experience.

          January 15, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
        • tony

          I did. That's the experience where you think you rise out of your body, and look down on it from high above, but don't see objects specially placed by testers on top of cupboards abnd shelves, that are otherwise hidden from view while you are lying down.

          January 15, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
        • Wishful

          Good to know. Guess dreaming of the popcorn ceiling is useless after all.

          January 15, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
    • Bob

      Since Austin is dumping bible bile on us today, let's have a look at what his nasty lone book really says. From both foul testaments:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      1 Timothy 2:11
      "Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."

      Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      January 15, 2014 at 7:08 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.