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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

(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. hearties

    Assessment here is, beleiving God, I can love the ultimate being of all time, no higher rewarding experience ever. So far I haven't seen anything of any value from the nothing god, or any other god, so no, I'll pass on all other offers.

    January 16, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
    • bostontola

      True. No value from the nothing. I get value from my relationships with actual people. What is wrong with that?

      January 16, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
      • Skippy P. Nutbudder

        You'll burn in hell forever for being a decent human being but not being God's sniveling toady. Makes sense if you don't think about it.

        January 16, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
    • hearties

      So really it comes down to this:

      1. Love ultimate being (God the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit) for all eternity, or
      2. get nothing and smile about it in a CNN article

      I'll have #1 please, thanks

      January 16, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
      • bostontola

        Apparently you didn't read my comment.

        I get (and give) love from people, and smile about that.

        January 16, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
      • Johnny

        Or perhaps god doesn't exist and you are just wasting your time for the most part.

        January 16, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • Skippy P. Nutbudder

          Yep, it's the good ole Argument From Assertion fallacy yet again.

          January 16, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
  2. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    I've decided to live my life as if there is no God or supernatural consequences for the things I do. Woohoo! Ah well, back to work.

    January 16, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Do you ever live any other way?

      January 16, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
    • Just curious

      What did you do before that you thought you'd have to worry there was one?

      January 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
  3. Dyslexic doG

    Christians: Would you say with 100% certainty that Zeus does not exist?

    January 16, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
    • piece by piece

      Zeus= Rah=Xenu=Allah= YHWH=Odin=trinity=mother/maiden/crone=Wakantanka

      Angels= jinn = elves=aliens

      Different words same idea

      January 16, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
      • Science Work.s

        And Iceland is having real problems with major road projects and elves.

        January 16, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
    • AE

      No. But I don't have faith in Zeus.

      January 16, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
      • Alias

        If you are a true christian you ahd better change that answer.
        Otherwise there could be more than one god.

        January 16, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
        • AE

          I have faith in Jesus. Not sure if that makes me a true Christian or not.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
      • bostontola

        AE,
        Which is more likely to you:

        1. Zeus and his pantheon exist.
        or
        2. Big Bang + Evolution.

        January 16, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • AE

          #2

          January 16, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • Live4Him

          This is like asking: Which is more likely to be true:

          A) 2 + 2 = 8
          B) 2 * 2 = 20

          they're both wrong.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @AE : #2

          Given that big bang / evolution has a different sequence of events as the creation in Genesis, which do you accept as most likely to be true?

          January 16, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • bostontola

          AE,
          Me too. I would imagine the difference is, I put all religions with #1.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • bostontola

          L4H,
          Both of your arithmetic statements are factually false. Do you consider any statements with respect to religion factually true?

          January 16, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • ME II

          @Live4Him
          "This is like asking: Which is more likely to be true:

          A) 2 + 2 = 8
          B) 2 * 2 = 20"

          That's a false analogy.

          January 16, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
        • AE

          I'm not sure. I certainly don't think all religions reject the big bang theory or evolution. Genesis is an origin story. I'm not sure it is supposed to be literally interpreted or if it should be viewed as something similar to one of Jesus' parables (which were not intended to be taken literally). The Genesis story does reveal a truth about the relationship between God The Maker and his creatures.

          January 16, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • bostontola

          AE,
          Isn't it true that the largest Christian group, Catholics, accept evolution and the Big Bang?

          January 16, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • AE

          I would think so. I'm Lutheran and have seen pastors use knowledge about our scientific understanding of the universe in sermons. Most Christian I know agree with this statement: "There is no inherent conflict between scientific findings and the understanding of God as creator, redeemer and sanctifier.”

          January 16, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • igaftr

          Ae
          "The Genesis story does reveal a "truth" (if the one in an infinite chance that the bible is correct) about the relationship between God The Maker and his creatures

          There fixed it for you. Amazing how many believers use the word truth when it is so inappropriate. Is that just part of the self confirming brainwashing technique?

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

          AE,
          To me, that is a very sensible approach for a believer in a God/Creator. At this point there is no proof to the contrary.

          January 16, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • AE

          igaftr

          Nope, it really does reveal a truth to me. I'm not sure why you feel the need to try and fix me or what I say. How do you imagine I have been brainwashed?

          January 16, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • AE

          bostontola

          Apparently I've been brainwashed to believe that or something... or not!

          January 16, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • Johnny

          AE, without a literal reading of Genesis what did Jesus have to be sacrificed for?

          January 16, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
        • bostontola

          AE,
          I find truths (especially human truths) in literature, plays, and movies. Do find the truths in the bible different in nature than truths in literature?

          January 16, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
        • AE

          Johnny

          I don't think Jesus said we need to literally believe the Adam and Eve story.

          January 16, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • Johnny

          I know, but according to the Bible Jesus need to be sacrificed to wash away the stain of original sin. So if the two people who supposedly committed the original sin never existed then what is the reason that Jesus need to be sacrificed, in your opinion?

          January 16, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • AE

          bostontola

          The Bible is literature. I think it focuses on the relationship between Creator and creature. At least that is how I understand it. I think it is divinely inspired. I don't think that divine inspiration ends in The Bible. That inspiration is still inspiring others in other ways.

          January 16, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • bostontola

          AE,
          Do you consider the Hindu holy books divinely inspired? Mormon?

          January 16, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
        • AE

          Johnny

          The Adam and Eve story never mentions "original sin". I think the point of the story is that somehow, through no fault of our own, we have inherited a defect or shortcoming that separates us from God.

          January 16, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
        • AE

          bostontola

          Sure. Other people say they are for them. But it is not for me.

          January 16, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
        • Johnny

          o.k. and somehow the sacrifice of Jesus brings us closer to god?

          January 16, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • bostontola

          AE,
          You are a very opened minded person.

          January 16, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
        • AE

          Johnny

          "Genesis tell us that God made us and indeed all of creation “good”, not perfect, but good. So given the good-but-not-perfect nature of humanity, maybe messing up and then speaking the truth of it and then allowing God to forgive and make whole that which we have broken has just always been part of the deal. If there was a fall, if there was something which tore at the fabric of our relationship with God maybe it wasn’t eating the forbidden fruit, maybe it the was fear and shame, and untruth.

          Because while Adam and Eve had done something wrong, what they felt wasn’t guilt. Guilt didn’t make them hide their nakedness…it was shame. And here’s why that’s a significant distinction, because guilt is about what we have done – but shame is about who we are. We should feel guilty for the wrong we do. That is healthy and leads us to the foot of the cross where we receive grace upon grace for the forgiveness of sins. Shame on the other hand…that’s different. Shame keeps us afraid of God.

          As I said earlier, this is an origin story and here’s something we learn from Adam and Eve: shame has an origin… and it’s not God.

          When they are filled with shame and trying to avoid God God says, Where are you?

          And they say, We were naked and tried to hide from you because we were afraid.

          God said to them: Who told you you were naked?

          Who told you you were naked? My money is on the snake."

          I like how Nadia Bolz-Weber explains it

          http://sojo.net/blogs/2012/06/11/adam-eve-and-damned-snake

          January 16, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
        • AE

          bostontola

          You, too. Thanks for sharing.

          January 16, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
  4. Dyslexic doG

    You mean to tell me,
    that a Jewish zombie can make me live forever,
    if I telepathically accept him as my master…
    all because a talking snake convinced a woman created by one rib
    to eat from a magical tree?
    Really???

    - Rainer Braendlein

    January 16, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
    • FriendlyAtheist

      "Atheism: the belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs."

      January 16, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
      • Alias

        Your christian myths have warped your reality.
        Ther was never nothing. If there had been, there would still be nothing.
        It took a lot of happy accidents to make the big lizards.

        January 16, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
      • Johnny

        That makes more sense than there was nothing, then god created himself out of nothing, and then created the entire universe out of nothing so that he could monitor the s.ex lives of one species on one planet in the entire universe.

        January 16, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
      • Skippy P. Nutbudder

        It's always so strange to see Christians claim that science states that before the Big Bang there was absolutely nothing. But hey, it's always easier to bebut a straw man than to deal with the truth.

        January 16, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
      • Drew

        What part of "FriendlyAtheist" and joke do you guys not get. Lighten up! 🙂 🙂

        January 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
    • Alias

      Let me try to make this more rational-
      The all knowing, all powerful, all seeing god of the bible HAD TO get a married virgin pregnant and kill the child for our sins.
      There was NO other way for him to judge us the way he wanted to when we died.

      January 16, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
    • piece by piece

      If I tell you "that girl is a fox" do you picture a cartoon animal?

      January 16, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
      • Alias

        Only if the girl you are referring to is anime.

        January 16, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
  5. theBBLT

    I ask you, what’s the answer, and you just ask me questions,
    and I’m like, “hello, I thought you were God?”
    Can’t I just download you, pay-as-I-go to decode you –
    a quick fix listen on my i-pod?

    I ask you, what’s the answer, and you say, “where does the wind blow?”
    Well, if Dylan couldn’t find it, then I won’t get too far.
    What’s with all this mystery? How can you say, “follow me”
    when I don’t even know where you are?

    Your religion needs a makeover, you’ve got to de-clutter.
    Make it softer, gooier and spreadable like butter.
    I need a faith I can talk about and not sound like a nutter.
    You ought to be easy to follow.

    Like, a hop-on-and-off open-top bus ride,
    a manual with A to Z tabs down the side,
    I want a sat-nav path to heaven, not a Lonely Planet guide.
    I wish you were easy to follow.

    I want a Roman road map to instant glory
    a happy-ending-ever-after chick lit story
    and you just tell me another foggy allegory
    featuring corn and sheep and wine and clay pots.
    What are you like? Do you want followers or not?
    Far be it from me to tell you what’s what,
    but if you did make it easier I’m sure you’d get a lot
    more believers, Jesus.

    Give me bite-sized thoughts in a faith shape sorter,
    No more spilt blood or living water,
    just a pint-sized god who’s a straight talker.
    Make it easy to follow.

    I want fruit-flavoured shots of the Holy Spirit,
    bite-sized, trite truths in Boyband lyrics
    “love” and “above” – yeah, that should fill it.
    Make it easy to follow.

    I want facts on a plate – don’t want to have to question any,
    artificial roses every 14th of February.
    I want simple faith – blind if necessary.
    Why aren’t you easy to follow?

    You say, “you are not my servant, now you are my friend”.
    You say, “I will be with you until the bitter end”.
    And I’m like, “why bitter? – I wanted happiness on prescription.
    Isn’t that the whole point of getting religion?
    And besides, friendship’s harder – can’t I just buy the subscription?”
    Can’t you be easy to follow?

    Give me a clear-cut structure, not a friendship’s fragilities,
    favourable rights with few responsibilities.
    I could follow that plan – yeah – religiously.
    That would be easy to follow.

    I want three steps to beauty from a teenage advice mag;
    Ben and Jerry’s Triple chocolate straight of the ice bag;
    ethically traded but with a Primark price-tag –
    I could say Amen to those.

    I want box-up beliefs wrapped in tissue-paper
    presented by Fearne Cotton, and voiced by Tom Baker,
    with a hands-free contract to contact the Maker
    available from Tesco’s.

    I want Quicktime cut-price broadband access.
    Simple principles, easily practiced.
    Directly transactional prayers – the fact is,
    my time is precious, so why should I work?
    Why should treasure always require a search?

    I want a message that’s acceptable without having to plead it,
    that’ll make people instantly realise they need it.
    Yeah, thanks for the Bible – but have you tried to read it?
    You need to be easy to follow.

    I want all the answers set out in a paperback
    of less than fifty pages, in the buy-now-read-it-later rack
    I’ll skim it on the train down to visit Auntie Kate and back –
    nice and easy to follow.

    Everyone will warm to its convenient slimness.
    It’ll be easily digestible and provoke a certain tingliness,
    and every answer will be one sentence long, universally applicable, and in English.
    That would be easy to follow.

    You see, I think you need to focus and refine your vision,
    if you want to market the brand they call “Christian”.
    I say, “give me clarity”, you say, “will you marry me?”
    With all due respect, Jesus, I don’t think you were cut out for religion.

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

      Treasure in earthen vessels

      January 16, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
  6. W247

    I love how all the people that the interviewed all came from secular or atheist backgrounds. Nice spot of fair journalism there CNN. (NOT)

    January 16, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • Johnny

      Since the question is whether or not you can try atheism for a year it would seem to make perfect sense to ask atheists. If the question was about trying religion then I would expect them to ask religious people.

      January 16, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
  7. Knights Who Say...

    Chairman: Item six on the agenda, the Meaning of Life. Now Harry, you’ve had some thoughts on this.Harry: That’s right, yeah. I’ve had a team working on this over the past few weeks, and what we’ve come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts. One, people are not wearing enough hats. Two, matter is energy. In the Universe there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person’s soul. However, this soul does not exist ab initio as orthodox Christianity teaches; it has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved owing to man’s unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.
    [Pause.]
    Max: What was that about hats again?

    January 16, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
  8. lunchbreaker

    Liv4Him-"I would posit that Christians (at least those that I've seen) point out atheists LIVE like they are 100% certain that there is no god"

    What rules are we to live by if we do not know which god is the correct one? Maybe there is a god that does not deal in eternal consequences.

    January 16, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
    • Doris

      One possibility that might fit that category would be closer to what Deists believed. Maybe there was a creator who kick-started things and then skedaddled beyond the boundary to go work on the next universe never to return. Maybe that was its natural purpose and behavior.

      January 16, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
      • Doris

        "closer to what Deists believed."

        (closer than what theists of today that follow the Abrahamic God believe)

        January 16, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • Doris

          And I need to "except" this one more time because there have been some modern-day Deists that have posted here, so I intend no disrespect. They may or may not see God as present or not or active or not; but I would think they would not see God as taking an active role in people's lives.

          January 16, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
      • ME II

        @Doris,
        In light of @Live$Him's question how would a deists life differ form an atheists?

        January 16, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • Doris

          I think in light of L4H's question, it would still depend on the type of Deist. It seems that some modern Deists see afterlife as more of a continuation of life. Although the classical Deist may have not have believed that God played an active role in people's lives, they may have believed that the creator God might still be involved in judgment or some role in the afterlife. Whereas the modern Deist may only see God as the net energy that will be involved in transferring ones own energy to another form at the end of their current life. I think both of those types, though, would indicate some feeling of moral responsibility in this life for the Deist, but obviously for different reasons. Ergo I would expect one's practicality to reflect those differing reasons.

          January 16, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
    • igaftr

      In one way he is right.

      I do not throw virgins into volcanoes to appease Vulcan. I do not think Thor is trying to kill me with lightening.

      On the other hand, many people tell me I am the most christian person they know, even though I am an atheist. So basically, it is only his opinion, which can be seen as both right and wrong.

      January 16, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
      • igaftr

        Also, L4H lives each day as if the other thousands of gods do not exist, and acts as if that is 100% true, so......

        January 16, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @lunchbreaker : What rules are we to live by if we do not know which god is the correct one? Maybe there is a god that does not deal in eternal consequences.

      Your rules – of course. If there is no god, then the only rules that govern your life is societies rules. However, you could rebel against those rules. If you did, you have three possibilites – you get away with it, you're caught and are punished, and you avoid it by ending your life. So, you have a two out of three chance of avoiding any punishment. Even with option #2, your punishment could be commuted. So, people pretty much live by the rules that they set, with some heavy influence from society.

      <><

      January 16, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
      • Jake

        You write this as if you think that it would be BAD to live by the rules one sets. Isn't that a lot BETTER than living by rules that are set by a 2,000 year old book that you may or may not agree with? Of course it is. I live by what I consider to be right and I consider it to be much more moral than what the bible teaches.

        January 16, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
      • redzoa

        "Your rules – of course. If there is no god, then the only rules that govern your life is societies rules. However, you could rebel against those rules. If you did, you have three possibilites – you get away with it, you're caught and are punished, and you avoid it by ending your life"

        Or, in your civil disobedience or influence upon law makers, you change the rules and society's perception of what is right, e.g. slavery, discrimination (not quite the same as "getting away with it"). Interestingly, when offered the opportunity to repudiate the practice of slavery (Lev. 25:44-46), the biblical deity apparently accepted the practice as moral. Even mere mortals eventually came to appreciate that the practice of slavery was morally repugnant.

        January 16, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
  9. Sea Otter

    [Jesus hands up, is talking to two Iraqis]
    Jesus: Yea, look upon me and know me. My children, you should know something. [a knife comes out of his sleeve] I'm packing!
    [Jesus stabs one Iraqi with the knife with one hand and kills the other with a silenced handgun]

    January 16, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
  10. Sea Otter

    TV Announcer: Rob Schneider was an animal. Then he was a woman. And now Rob Schneider is a stapler! And he's about to find out that being a stapler is harder than it looks. Rob Schneider is "The Stapler". Rated PG-13.

    January 16, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
  11. Live4Him

    @Jake : I don't claim that there is zero possibility that there is a god. I simply consider the chances of the existence of a god to be remotely realistic.

    How does one act differently between these two stances? In short, what is the practical differences between the two?

    <><

    January 16, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
    • JWT

      It's like winning the powerball with and without a ticket.

      January 16, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
    • Jake

      You're right that there really is no practical difference. The reason the difference is important though is that believers try to point out a flaw in atheists' logic, claiming that atheists are illogical because they claim to know with 100% certainty that there is no god, which they do not. The truth is, I don't know there is no god, I just find it extremely unlikely and completely unsupported by evidence. Therefore, I have no reason to think there's any realistic possibility of gods existence. Frankly, neither does anyone, but many have been brain-washed to not realize this.

      January 16, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
      • ME II

        And, I would add, it allows for re-evaluation if new evidence is found.

        January 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @Jake : You're right that there really is no practical difference.

        Then why dispute the differences? But, your next statements reveal the motivating issue.

        @Jake : The reason the difference is important though is that believers try to point out a flaw in atheists' logic, claiming that atheists are illogical because they claim to know with 100% certainty that there is no god, which they do not.

        I would posit that Christians (at least those that I've seen) point out atheists LIVE like they are 100% certain that there is no god.

        @Jake : I just find it extremely unlikely and completely unsupported by evidence.

        Slight correction – 'unsupported by [any] evidence' of which you are aware. Perhaps you should look for evidence?

        @Jake : Frankly, neither does anyone, but many have been brain-washed to not realize this.

        How would a 'brain-washed' person behave when their beliefs are challenged? I would posit that they mock their opponents, blow off emotional steam, and be unable to present any evidence to support their beliefs. Instead, they would merely claim that 'everybody intelligent believes as I do.

        <><

        January 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • Science Work.s

          Talks about the brainwashing that he went thru L4H

          Why I Am Not a Catholic and Why I Am a Humanist
          Todd Stiefel

          https://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php/articles/4234

          January 16, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • Jake

          Life4Him:
          “I would posit that Christians (at least those that I've seen) point out atheists LIVE like they are 100% certain that there is no god.”
          What is the difference between living like you’re 100% certain and 99.99999% certain? Even though there’s a miniscule chance that the Tooth Fairy exists, I suspect you live like there is no Tooth Fairy.
          “Slight correction – 'unsupported by [any] evidence' of which you are aware. Perhaps you should look for evidence?”

          Major correction – unsupported by any evidence of which any legitimate scientist is aware. I would be aware of any such evidence if it existed, as would everyone as it would be the biggest news story of our lifetimes.

          “How would a 'brain-washed' person behave when their beliefs are challenged? I would posit that they mock their opponents, blow off emotional steam, and be unable to present any evidence to support their beliefs. Instead, they would merely claim that 'everybody intelligent believes as I do.”

          Yes, that’s pretty much the exact behavior I see from believers. Although I don’t see them claim to be intelligent very often as there is too much evidence that shows atheists are, on average, much more intelligent.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Jake : What is the difference between living like you’re 100% certain and 99.99999% certain?

          In my mind, none.

          @Jake : unsupported by any evidence of which any legitimate scientist is aware. I would be aware of any such evidence if it existed

          so, you're claiming to know everything that every legitimate scientist is aware? Pretty arrogant to claim such.

          @Jake : Yes, that’s pretty much the exact behavior I see from believers.

          Atheist believers?

          @Jake : atheists are, on average, much more intelligent.

          Never mind. You clarified it with this statement.

          <><

          January 16, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • Jake

          “In my mind, none.”

          Ok, then what the heck was your point of bringing this up?! You going anywhere with this or just talking in circles again?

          “so, you're claiming to know everything that every legitimate scientist is aware? Pretty arrogant to claim such.”

          No, I never made such a claim. Stop putting words in my mouth. My claim is that if any remotely convincing evidence were discovered that supported the existence of a god, I am absolutely positive it would be the biggest world-wide news story ever and I would therefore be aware of it.

          “Atheist believers?”

          That’s an oxymoron. Atheists don’t believe.

          “Never mind. You clarified it with this statement.”

          Clarified what? There have already been plenty of studies posted confirming that atheists are more intelligent. If you didn’t realize that until now, you haven’t been paying attention.

          But you are right to say, “Never mind”. You’re going nowhere.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
  12. tony

    Problem:

    If Christ was the result of a mystical union between one all-powerful god and and a handy one of millions of avaliable single maidens, why was there only one, in only one place and time, when global communications were minimal and slow.?

    January 16, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Care to elucidate your point? Global communications have been historically slow. It has only been recently that global communications have been this fast.

      January 16, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
      • Joey

        Why would god rely on what god obviously knows are flawed humans to get his message out of the Middle East, and into the rest of world? Basically why didn't god send a Jesus to every different culture throughout the world so that everyone would be on the same page?

        January 16, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Why didn't he write his 'word' in the sky for everyone on the planet to see? Why doesn't he send us spam emails telling us about his great and loving self?

          Is the mighty God (choose one) incapable of setting up a Gmail account?

          January 16, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • Joey

          Some really good evidence that god is real would be aliens from another planet showing up and trying to convert us all to Christianity.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • igaftr

          Joey
          How do you know that ISN'T what is happening? They could look just like us......

          Just one of an infinite number of possibilities.

          January 16, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • Joey

          Good point, that would explain why I find many Christians to be so strange.

          January 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
      • tony

        Joey got the point exactly. What about that don't you understand?

        January 16, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @tony : Joey got the point exactly.

          I'm going to focus respond to Joey's post as if you made it, because I find that when I open up my comments to anybody, I'm inundated with posts of which I can never respond to all of them. So, I keep my debates limited to a handful of individuals at a time.

          @tony : Basically why didn't god send a Jesus to every different culture throughout the world so that everyone would be on the same page?

          Some good points. However, lets consider for a moment the logistics required to get this done.

          1) Jesus would need to be in multiple places at the same time (or perhaps another part of the Trinity).
          2) People would need to be receiptive to his message. The First Coming wasn't a single event, but spanned almost 2,000 years. The promise was made to Abraham and periodically reinforced for the next 1500 years. With the continuity of the message dependent upon flawed humans, the likelihood of fulfillment replicated for every nation existing at that time becomes an impossibility.
          3) At the same time, every nation would need to keep an accurate history of all the encounters with God. Some of these nations have ceased to exist and we've lost almost all knowledge of them.
          4) At the same time, the chosen parents would need to be very unique – After all, Joseph had the right to have Mary stoned to death for adultery. Furthermore, these parents would need to be walking close to God throughout their time on the earth. Finding such unique parents for every nation at the same time, is yet another impossibility.
          5) Even during Jesus' day, there were doubters who resisted Jesus' gift. Thus even if Jesus appeared to every nation similtaneously, the number of people willing to accept his gift would remain unchanged. So, there would be no benefit to appearing to every nation similtaneously.
          6) Likewise, there would be no benefit to appear at different times, since the same number of people willing to accept his gift would remain unchanged – regardless of how many nations he communicated with.

          <><

          January 16, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
        • Johnny

          While what you say is true about not everyone believing at least the people in say North America would have had a chance to make it to heaven for the 1500 years it took the Jesus story to makes it way from the Middle East to North America. Instead god just damned everyone born in North America for 1500 years to hell because he didn't bother to let them in on the only way to heaven(Jesus).

          January 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • Johnny

          Plus if every culture in every part of the world worshiped the same god and had never had contact with one another that would be a sign that perhaps the god does in fact exist.

          January 16, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
      • OTOH

        Live4,
        "Global communications have been historically slow."

        Over 2,000 years now and still 2/3rds of the world does not believe the Jesus legend. It took probably less than 50 years for the theory of gravity to be accepted world-wide... and it is the same for any other proven ideas, eg., mathematics, the telephone, radio, mechanical engines, penicillin, etc., etc., etc.

        The population of the world at present is a bit over 7 billion.
        There are approximately 2.1 billion Christians, which is around 33 per cent.
        http://chartsbin.com/view/3nr
        http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0904108.html

        More people world-wide accept Mickey Mouse, Coca-Cola and Levis than believe that Jesus was/is "God".

        Christians make up about the same portion of the world’s population today (32%) as they did a century ago (35%).
        http://www.pewforum.org/Christian/Global-Christianity-exec.aspx

        January 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @OTOH : Over 2,000 years now and still 2/3rds of the world does not believe the Jesus legend.

          And this agrees with the prophecy in Zechariah.

          Zechariah 13:8-9 In the whole land, declares the Lord,two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it.This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, They are my people, and they will say, The Lord is our God.

          <><

          January 16, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • Johnny

          If the percentage of Christians drops to say 10% in the future will you take that as proof that the prophecy is wrong?

          January 16, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • OTOH

          Live4,

          Ah, well, I guess it's set in stone then. Even if you succeeded in converting 50%, or 75% or even 100% of the world - it's all for nought.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • Madtown

          Zechariah 13:8-9 In the whole land, declares the Lord,two-thirds will be struck down and perish
          -----–
          Let's not forget that these 2/3rds are human beings, and creations of this loving God. Many of whom, according to these particular words of men, will be struck down for not following rules that God never bothered to show them in the first place. Just?

          January 16, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
  13. Yup

    Without the strong feeling that religion is false and the world does not behave as religion claims, a person cannot "try" atheism. If deep down you believe in a god, you cannot understand the world from the perspective of a person who deep down just plain does not believe.

    But you can make good money on the book and lecture circuit telling Christians how you were saved by Jesus when it's over.

    January 16, 2014 at 11:48 am |
    • You betcha

      Kinda my take as well.

      January 16, 2014 at 11:51 am |
    • tony

      Saved from "what?" might take a bit of explaining.

      But then explanations don't count much vs. the ton of "handy" biblical quotations available to stymie any doubts.

      January 16, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
  14. devin

    Allan Bloom, the late political philosopher at the University of Chicago, made a remark years ago that still resonates with me to this day. When asked what he would like to have written about himself in his obituary, he stated " that mine was a life lived in the mind".

    It is this sentiment that has caused me to spend more than a few minutes over the past few days considering this question: How would I go about living life as an atheist for a year? I've tried to imagine the mental gymnastics that would need to be done, the intentional brain freeze that would be necessary. When all was said and done, the realization that such an attempt would simply be impossible was glaring.

    To the best of my knowledge, I know of no moment in time when I did not believe in the existence of God. Deism has had certain appeal. I would be all over agnosticism if not for Christianity. But atheism? Never even crossed my mind, and not for lack of knowledge. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I have found that I could probably more efficiently argue their position ( those atheists I have talked with personally) than they could themselves.

    In the end, for me, it is very simple. When I I observe the planet I'm on, in the universe in which I exist, knowing that my own human form is just one testament to the complexity of life here, the option of God's non- existence is, well, non – existent.

    January 16, 2014 at 10:36 am |
    • Science Works

      oh boo

      January 16, 2014 at 10:43 am |
    • Madtown

      I would be all over agnosticism if not for Christianity
      ----
      You've found what works for you, which is great. That doesn't mean it's "ultimate truth", or that it works for everyone, or that it's "what God wants for us". Not that you've said these things, but they are often said by ardent theists. One interesting twist for you(and everyone): you could've been born in a different region of the world(not your choice), and then you would likely not be a christian. In fact, you'd likely think christianity was a false path, if you were aware of it at all. Selection of religion depends on some arbitrary factors out of our control.

      January 16, 2014 at 10:47 am |
      • devin

        I am adamant in my Christian faith. Ultimately, I embrace it for one and only one reason: I believe it to be true.

        That being said, there are theological and philosophical difficulties with my faith to which I have no satisfying answer. This issue of "regionality" is one of those.

        January 16, 2014 at 11:01 am |
        • Madtown

          I believe it to be true.
          ---
          Understand. My only point is, that the ardent Muslim also says this. The ardent Hindu also says this, and on and on. Your convinctions are no more correct than theirs, and theirs no more correct than yours, my opinion.

          January 16, 2014 at 11:14 am |
        • devin

          This is a common misconception: in that there are numerous differing religions, that fact in and of itself necessitates the impossibility of ONE being true.

          January 16, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • Madtown

          1 could be true, none could be true. There's no way of knowing for certain. I say if 1 would be true, it would need to be fully accessible to each human on the planet. Since this isn't the case, I say none are true.

          January 16, 2014 at 11:55 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          One could be true, the point is how to know which one IS true. The evidence is equallly bad for all.

          I am agnostic...and I am an atheist...they are not exclusive as you imply.

          January 16, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • devin

          Cheese

          I clarified my misreading of the posters comment. As stated, I agree they are not mutually exclusive, but there are differences, thus the 2 terminologies.

          January 16, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          devin,

          If you know that why do you continue using "atheist" as if it only means one denies even the possibility of a god? I know there are "strong" atheists, but I can't remember actually seeing someone argue from that view. The fact you continue to lump all into that catagory is just bad as when an atheist implies all christians are "young earthers". You are (or should be) better than that.

          January 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • devin

          Cheese

          Do you recognize ANY difference in the 2 terms? If so, what?

          January 16, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • devin

          Cheese

          Let me make it real simple for you. Many, not all, but many of the posters I have conversed with on this site, either state or imply in no uncertain terms that they dismiss the possibility of God. Their sarcastic quips as to why HE/SHE/IT could not exist are endless. If you fall somewhere else on the continuum, good for you.

          January 16, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          The difference in the 2 terms is "gnosticism" refers to knowledge and "theism" refers to belief.

          What is your point?

          January 16, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          devin,

          Let me make it simple for you, you confuse them refering to your specific God as if it is the only possibility, which to you it is, but to them it is one of many.

          I think the Abrahamic god is just as absurd as any of the Pagan gods of the past, that does not mean I deny the possibility of a Deistic god. But I have no reason to believe any are real, though I don't claim definitive knowledge.

          January 16, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
        • devin

          My point? Now tell me what the prefix "a" means and how it relates to the term gnostic and theism. If you are not proficient with New Testament Koine Greek, I will be happy to help.

          January 16, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • devin

          Cheese

          " You confuse them referring to your..." No , you are wrong. They are usually painting it with a broad brush, including all Gods.

          January 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Ya know devin I enjoy heated and even contentious discussion with you but that does not require you to be a condecending dou.che.

          Obviously adding "a" means "without" as in "without knowledge" and "without belief"....now are you going to justify using "atheism" as if it means to claim "certainty" as opposed to "belief" or not?

          January 16, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
        • devin

          Cheese

          Condescending ? You asked my point and I made it. If you got backed into a hole and your only way out is to cry foul, well, that's your business.

          In light of previous conversations in which I was on the end of your barbs, I find it fascinating that you would play this card.

          You still have not fully answered my question.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          devin,

          You "get" what you "give" with me. Using phrases like "let me make it simple for you" and " If you are not proficient with New Testament Koine Greek, I will be happy to help" is completely condecending and does nothing but convey contempt. It does not further the discussion and just makes you out to be a pompous dou.che.

          Now you can grow up and have an honest discussion or not. I have answered your questions and if you feel I have fallen short then make your point instead of beating around the bush by just implying I didn't (which is itself a tactic of condescention). I have answered your questions but you continue to dodge answering mine.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • Doris

          Just catching up with this again. I'll reply here since it relates directly to the conversation in the sub-thread below. When I say mainstream atheism, devin (when comparing to agnosticism), I am talking about weak atheism – in other words, most atheists. (Or some texts will point to when they say 'atheism, generally speaking...' or 'in a general sense'.) And I believe cheesemaker to be correct. I find that most posters here do not claim certainty of the non-existence of any gods including the Abrahamic one. When some say, ala Neil Tyson, that it's a leap to verify the Abrahamic God from points where we are left only with questions of the unknown, they are not claiming any certainty of the non-existence of the Abrahamic God, they are simply saying what they accept as facts are insufficient for them to claim a positive knowledge of such a god and may very well even think such a possibility highly unlikely (and ultimately this is what leads them to their lack of belief in such a god).

          January 16, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • hee hee

          Devin's every thought is designed to distract and comfort himself. The content of his posts is less interesting than the pattern.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • Jake

          I am an atheist. That means I don't have a belief in a god. That is all it means. I don't claim that there is zero possibility that there is a god. I simply consider the chances of the existence of a god to be remotely realistic. Talking about a god as it might realistically exist is similar to talking about the Tooth Fairy as if it might actually exist. It's possible, but there's no reason we should give that possibility any serious consideration.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
        • devin

          Cheese

          I find one of the biggest drawbacks to computer chat is the absence of non-verbal communication. This absence makes it very easy to misunderstand intent. The Koine Greek comment was meant with a hint of playful sarcasm ( obviously not as much as you perceived) but the " I'll make it simple for you" was simply stating I was making it simple.

          Having said all that, I do not recall a time when I have replied to an initial comment you have ever posted. It always seems to be that your are replying to my initial posts. I also have enjoyed our heated conversation, but in light of what appears to be a pattern of " offense taken" I will fully understand if you choose not to put in your 2 cents in the future.

          Take Care.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • devin

          Jake

          I understand. I have explained my specificity elsewhere in the post.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
        • hee hee

          Wow, not to mention a terminal case of passive-aggression.

          Well, that's about all the interest I can muster.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • devin

          hee hee

          Please feel free to contribute with substance, you're one line jabs are tiresome.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          devin,

          You again weaved and dodged your way out of answering another question, as stated above it is a pattern with you.

          I do tend to respond to posts rather than start them, but not always. When I am asked a direct question however, I give a direct answer. Re-read through this post and the discussion we had about morality and tell me where I did not answer a question directly. On the other hand you did not even attempt to answer my question in this thread once, and then dodged by stating I did not "completely" answer yours...but of course you never explained how or why it was not complete. These tactics are not original to you, having grown up in a christian household and educated at christian schools, the pattern is the same. The religious "authority" asks questions and if the person answering cannot, or is claimed to have not answered sufficiently the "authority" implies that justifies their position. Those tactics are dishonest and is a large part of why, and I think many others, sought answers outside of christian "authorities".

          January 16, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "I also have enjoyed our heated conversation, but in light of what appears to be a pattern of " offense taken" I will fully understand if you choose not to put in your 2 cents in the future.

          Take Care."

          And another cavalier, dismissive statement.

          But it is internet communication and you did not really mean it that way, right devin? (Now that is sarcasm...)

          January 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • devin

          Cheese

          " didn't really mean it that way" No, I meant it EXACTLY that way.

          January 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "No, I meant it EXACTLY that way."

          Well thank you for admitting you are being cavaleir and dismissive....good for you.

          January 16, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • devin

          Cheese

          Neither cavalier nor dismissive. Simply frank. There's a difference.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          So when when you said that is EXACTLY what you meant....it wasn't exactly what you meant....I can see why you are so misunderstood.

          January 16, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
        • devin

          Once again, yes, that is EXACTLY what I meant. I was referring to my statement of " I will fully understand if you choose not to put in your 2 cents in the future", not your terms of dismissive and cavalier. It wasn't that difficult a read.

          January 16, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
        • hee hee

          Hi Blessed are the Cheesemakers: You're putting all of that effort into your posts and getting energetically ignored. The only reason I posted about the pattern of Devin's posts was because I felt bad for you and a few other people. If you're enjoying it, or getting some intellectual or emotional gratification out of it, fine, but I suspect you're not. Whether or not you think it's worthwhile to try to get through to Devin, I'm nearly certain that it won't happen by splitting hairs with him.

          What's interesting is that people like him can't stop themselves. He will repeat the pattern endlessly. It's sad when people are trapped by themselves.

          January 16, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          devin,

          When I wrote the quote "you did not really mean it that way" it was in dierct reference to me calling you out for being dismissive, so when you then referenced that same quote and stated "that is EXACTLY what I meant" it was completely out of line for me to think you were admitting to being dismissive...sorry about that,...(sarcasm?)

          I do completely agree with you that meaning and intent are way to easy to get lost in the written word. It just too easy to lose context in that form of communication. Thankfully when god choose to communicate his message.....whoops....nevermind.

          January 16, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
      • devin

        Cheese

        Yes, let's talk tactics. I have found one of the more common tactics used is to accuse a poster of "dodging' or "avoiding the question", when in fact it is has been answered. The tactic is used when the party does not agree or like the given answer. I don't care what your " previous" experience has been with other Christians and their tactics, their's are not mine. I will knowingly answer any ? you send my way. Not agreeing with it does not give you license to make false accusations.

        As for your question. Are you referring to thing about why do I keep referring to atheism as not believing in the possibility of a God? If so, I have CLEARLY stated 3 TIMES that I am referring to STRONG atheism. Is there some other ? i have missed?

        January 16, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Yes that is the question...and you did state you were refering to "strong atheism"...and I asked "If you know that why do you continue using "atheist" as if it only means one denies even the possibility of a god?"

          I asked this question because I think it relates to your dishonest way of debate. You know the difference and yet you continue to conflate the term. Doris also addressed this well. I don't think many atheists are "strong atheists" on this blog. I think most of us argue for "strong atheism" as it pertains to the christian god at best. I personally still admit the christian god *could* exist...but the likelyhood is so remote that I (and I think others) in no way take it seriously as a possibility.

          January 16, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • devin

          Cheese

          I don't care if you disagree with anything I say. I don't care if you want to call me every name in the book ( well, i do a little) What I do care about is you misrepresenting what I say or what I don't say. I stated that there are " broad and narrow definitions of atheism" and that I was referring to it in the sense that " THE IDEA OF GOD, ANY GOD, IS LUDICROUS . If you and others hold some other form, I both realize and acknowledge that. BUT IT IS NOT THE DEFINITION I AM USING.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I didn't ever call you names, I pointed out the dishonesty in your use of terms and conflation of definitions. You accused me of calling you "hate filled" the other day which I never have. I actually think you are a well meaning thoughtful person that gets frustrated that your unjustified assertions aren't just accepted.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • devin

          Cheese

          L o rd have mercy. I did not mean to imply you were calling me names, but that yo could say anything except for... Oh good grief:)

          That last sentence? Just not true.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • devin

          " That last sentence? Just not true" ( the second half of the sentence)

          January 16, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • devin

          Gotta run, Cheese steak at Subway is calling.

          As always, it's been an adventure.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
    • igaftr

      devin
      "the option of God's non- existence is, well, non – existent."
      Standard believer...cannot fathom that there are an infinite number of possibilities, some with gods or something one might describe as gods, and many without gods.
      The possibilities that no gods exist is not non-existant...you just choose to ignore them.

      January 16, 2014 at 10:53 am |
      • devin

        I'll be kind and assume you missed the part where I said " FOR ME".

        January 16, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • igaftr

          yes I did notice that...I just pointed out that you disregard possibilities too easily.
          so what you said in other words is, I WANT to believe in a god, so for me, I am going to ignore all other possibilities, and then deny they exist.

          January 16, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • devin

          " disregard possibilities too easily" Again, did you read what I wrote? I mentioned that I could probably argue the atheist position more effectively than many of the atheists I have talked with. I can assure you, the only possibilities I have disregarded are those to which I have given much thought

          January 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • tony

          "Much thought", does not equate to "much reasoning" . You have almost infinitely up-weighted the god hypothesis, against the almost infinite set of non-god hypotheses.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • devin

          Tony

          Many of the Great Minds throughout history, not to mention 95+ percent of the worlds current population, agree with my conclusion. Are you sure you want to talk about "reason"?

          January 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • WASP

          @devin: "" disregard possibilities too easily" Again, did you read what I wrote? I mentioned that I could probably argue the atheist position more effectively than many of the atheists I have talked with. I can assure you, the only possibilities I have disregarded are those to which I have given much thought
          January 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm"

          REPLY:
          so you think you can out debate an atheist on the none exsistance of gods, huh?

          well seeing myself and you have had our rounds you have yet to be capable of debating beyond the level of " god is real because the bible said he's real, and the bible was inspired by god as well because it said he did it."

          i have presented quotes from your own buybull as to where you could summon your god as proof, seeing he did so many of times over again. let's not forget the guy making his face show up on toast and electric meters for crying out loud.

          i have presented proof of how physics shows no "prime mover" was required for anything; not just that any gods would violate physics to the point their mere meddling in this universe would cause it to go BOOOOOOOOOOM!

          yet you always seem to either vanish, start quoting buybull quotes or changing the subject and saying i haven't proven anything......................in other words the typical christian reponse when faced with something you can't argue against.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Many of the Great Minds throughout history, not to mention 95+ percent of the worlds current population, agree with my conclusion. Are you sure you want to talk about "reason"?"

          Yes let's.

          This post contains a fallacious argument from authority....

          and a fallacious argument from popularity.... which itself contains a dishonest statement that 95% of the world agrees with your conclusion, since your conclusion does not stop at "there is a god" and actually concludes with the christian god stating that they do is just deceitful.

          January 16, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • devin

          Cheese

          My friend, you need to get your facts straight before commenting. The issue is and was the existence of God. It is what the 95+ percent of us agree on. I did not attach the Christians thing on , you did.

          In all seriousness, I'm starting to wonder. Are you intentionally just trying to stir things up here with this rapid fire of false accusations?

          January 16, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
        • Johnny

          If the 95% of people don't all believe in the same god then they don't really agree on anything. Not to mention most of the great minds in the past lived at a time when declaring that you didn't believe in god would get you executed so there is no way to know how many of them truly believed and how many of them just didn't feel like getting burned at the stake.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          devin,

          That does not matter as to the fallacious arguments from authority and popularity...they still hold. Even if 95% of the world went no further than Deism that argument lacks 'reason'. And me pointing that out is not 'stiring things up'. It is nothing more than pointing out the enormous hole in your premise.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • devin

          Cheese

          Why when I point out something that you blatantly misrepresent " your conclusion does not stop at there's a God" you casually dismiss it with " it does not matter" It does matter, it changes the entire premise of my thought.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I pointed out that 95% agree with your conclusion because I think that is streching the truth of the matter. But hypothetically I will back off and cede to you they are in complete agreement with you....how does that change the fallaciousness of the statement

          "Many of the Great Minds throughout history, not to mention 95+ percent of the worlds current population, agree with my conclusion. Are you sure you want to talk about "reason"?"

          This statement implies the conclusion is reasonable based on authority and popularity....so no it does not matter. The fallacies remain regardless.

          January 16, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
        • devin

          Let's just break this down.

          " Many of the Great Minds throughout history" Is this a true or false statement? I did not say all, I said "many"

          " 95 + percent of the worlds population" Is this statement true or false? My stated position was the existence of God, not Christianity, not Hinduism, not Islam, the existence of God.

          The fact that 95 + % of the population, including many great minds throughout history ( not to mention presently) have reached my same conclusion, does that not suggest that reason is involved? True or false. Remember who I originally responded to and the context of what was said.

          January 16, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "does that not suggest that reason is involved?"

          No it doesn't.... and for the life of me I don't know why you would think so.

          January 16, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
    • Roger that

      It's easy for you to not believe in the Hindu gods, right? That's the same way we feel about your god. There is no evidence that he/she/it exists.

      January 16, 2014 at 11:11 am |
      • devin

        And you have absolutely every right to your opinion, something I would never deny you. Exactly what was your point?

        January 16, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • Science Works

          Devin and you sound just like Sheldon's Mom on evolution which is fact by the way.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • devin

          And that is your opinion. Bazinga.

          January 16, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • Science Work.s

          Shelly get tshe last laugh and that is the truth !

          Essay
          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.EEmJQk4t.dpuf

          January 16, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • devin

          The evolution/creationism thingy is a non issue for me.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
        • Science Work.s

          Glad to know you believe it to be fact Devin

          January 16, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • devin

          I know it to be possibility/probability, not fact. As do you , even though you would disagree.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • Science Work.s

          human biology = primates fact devin.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • Johnny

          It is a fact that evolution occurs the theory attempts to describe how it occurs.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
        • ME II

          Here's a Nation Academies view on it:

          "In science, a "fact" typically refers to an observation, measurement, or other form of evidence that can be expected to occur the same way under similar circu[]mstances. However, scientists also use the term "fact" to refer to a scientific explanation that has been tested and confirmed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing it or looking for additional examples. In that respect, the past and continuing occurrence of evolution is a scientific fact. Because the evidence supporting it is so strong, scientists no longer question whether biological evolution has occurred and is continuing to occur. Instead, they investigate the mechanisms of evolution, how rapidly evolution can take place, and related questions."
          ( http://www.nas.edu/evolution/TheoryOrFact.html )

          January 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
    • Doris

      devin: "I would be all over agnosticism if not for Christianity. But atheism? Never even crossed my mind, and not for lack of knowledge."

      devin, I would think you would know by now that agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive. Some might even say not by a long shot.

      January 16, 2014 at 11:17 am |
      • devin

        Doris

        I would highly recommend you reconsider your understanding of both. Mutually exclusive they are not.

        January 16, 2014 at 11:23 am |
        • Doris

          Do I hear and echo or is this your way of saying you just learned something.

          January 16, 2014 at 11:25 am |
        • devin

          Oops, my apologies, read over the "not" in your sentence.

          January 16, 2014 at 11:29 am |
      • Doris

        In other words, devin, since mainstream atheism is highly agnostic, it seems odd to speak of each as if they are two completely different things. It might be helpful if you illuminated aspects of mainstream atheism that are different from agnosticism that have led you to a choice to stay clear of atheism.

        January 16, 2014 at 11:34 am |
        • devin

          Not really sure what you are considering "mainstream" but here's my perspective. By atheism, I am referring to positive ( strong) atheism where the possibility of God's existence is rejected. This is in contrast to the agnostic view that though God potentially may exist, it is beyond our scope of knowledge. While I agree they are not mutually exclusive, there are absolute differences between the two.

          January 16, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • igaftr

          devin
          The differnces are not irreconcilable.
          I am an atheist and agnostic.
          I do not believe in any of the gods man has worshipped, thousands of them. You also are an atheist unless you believe in ALL of them.
          The possibility does exist that there may be a god, but since the definition of "god" is different to each individual, for instance, Einstein referred to "god" but more of a concept than a sentient creature, while the pope believes that HIS god is very real. Different definitions of god.

          So I am an atheist and an agnostic. One can very well be both.
          One can be a theist and atheist as well...the pope believes in HIS god (theist) but does not believe the other thousands of gods exist (atheist)...you see, the definitions really are a moving target due to the subjective nature of the definition of "god"

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

          iga

          Let me put this semantical dance to rest. Atheism can have a broad or narrow connotation. I'm referring to it in the same sense as do many of the posters on this site, that the idea of A GOD, ANY GOD is ludicrous.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
        • Doris

          If you want to put this "semantical dance" to rest, devin, then try to understand the difference between:

          "the possibility of God's existence is rejected" (your inital wording of your version of the atheist view)

          and

          "the idea of A GOD, ANY GOD is ludicrous." (this latest wording)

          (As this makes a difference when comparing mainstream (weak) atheism with agnosticism and where they overlap.)

          January 16, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • devin

          Doris

          I repeat, I'm referring to positive atheism. I don't know how to make it clearer.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • igaftr

          devin.
          You may find some who say there are no gods. That of course is opinion since there in insufficient evidence one way or another. The same way those who claim god is very real, no evidence their way either, again opinion.
          I don't see many, but a few who are that emphatic, most agreeing that the possibility may exist, but then can argue over the definition of god.
          All in all, atheist, agnostic, theist...really doesn't matter, since they are very broad terms, where the actual beliefs are as individual as each person. If I sat you down, and explained my actual beliefs (though I know they are just belief) and theories, hypothesis about the nature of the universe and the existance of life, not only would it take a long time, but at the end you would say I am agnostic. I would not care what you call me, since a name is unimportant, and my beliefs are very different that any definition of one word can cover. It is easiest to say atheist for instance, in a social situation, since most people have a basic idea of what that is, but few actually REALLY understand the connotationsof atheist, or agnostic.

          In that regard, it really doesn't matter. I believe what I believe regardless of whatever label anyone tries to put on me.
          I am also an iconoclast, a musician, a father, a brother, a son, a physicist, a chemist, an engineer, volunteer, and many , many other things, but not ONE of those words really defines me.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • devin

          igaftr

          This is why I spelled out that I was referring to STRONG atheism.

          I fully agree with your last paragraph.

          January 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
    • Science Works

      Hey devin you might enjoy this – on you know where.

      Master Of The Universe Stephen Hawking

      Enjoy your belief.

      January 16, 2014 at 11:29 am |
      • devin

        I appreciate Hawking and have read most of His books. Science, and yes theoretical physics included, has nothing to say about the existence of God. Hawkins philosophical rants are irrelevant to me.

        January 16, 2014 at 11:37 am |
        • Science Works

          And so is THE FIG LEAF and the talking donkey and a snake ?

          January 16, 2014 at 11:45 am |
    • ME II

      @devin,
      "In the end, for me, it is very simple. When I I observe the planet I'm on, in the universe in which I exist, knowing that my own human form is just one testament to the complexity of life here, the option of God's non- existence is, well, non – existent."

      While I appreciate that you are saying that for you it is impossible to "try" atheism, I would think that someone who considers themself that knowledgeable on the subject would recognize an argument from incredulity, i.e. just because life is incredibly complex does not mean that God must have done it.

      January 16, 2014 at 11:54 am |
      • devin

        I agree, complexity does not mandate a Creator. What it does do, is tell ME that when I consider all the available options, it is by far the most feasible.

        January 16, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • devin

          Sorry, in reading what i just typed, I realized it doesn't make sense. I'll rephrase it.

          Complexity doesn't mandate a creator. Complexity. for ME, is best explained by a creator. Short and sweet.

          January 16, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • Joey

          So then the creator couldn't be very complex or it would require a creator?

          January 16, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • Jake

          Complexity is actually evidence AGAINST a creator. The more complex things are, the less likely anyone or anything would be able to create them. That's why evolution makes sense. All you need is some randomness and a lot of time and you can easily understand how incredibly complex things can evolve.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • devin

          Jake

          "Randomness and time" have nothing to do with FIRST CAUSE, which is the topic.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • ME II

          @Joey
          "So then the creator couldn't be very complex or it would require a creator?"

          Interest, I haven't heard is put that way, but well said.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • Joey

          How can you claim that something complex needs a creator, and at the same time claim that the Creator which would have to be the most complex thing in existence doesn't need a creator?

          January 16, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • ME II

          ^ "Interesting..."

          January 16, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
    • Jake

      In what way would you have to freeze your brain to be an atheist?

      Do you acknowledge that you were born an atheist, and if you hadn't been brain-washed as a child, you would still be an atheist?

      January 16, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
      • devin

        No, I do not acknowledge that. That is simply your opinion.

        January 16, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • Jake

          The fact that you were born an atheist is not my opinion. No one is born with a belief in god. You are right, it is my opinion that you wouldn't have developed your belief without the brain-washing...but it would be pretty hard to deny. It would be interesting to see a study on how many people who weren't brain-washed as children ended up believing in a god as adults. I suspect well under 5%.

          January 16, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • igaftr

          not opinion devin...fact.

          Does an infant believe in god?
          If not, they are atheists. They have no concept of god, so they cannot believe, so they are atheists...unless you use a different defintion of atheist.
          An atheist is one who does not believe in god, babies do not believe in god, since they cannot comprehend the meaning...by default ALL are born atheist.

          January 16, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
        • devin

          igaftr

          Let me clarify. Yes, you could say that in a sense a child is born an atheist, but only in a passive sense because they have primitive cognitive ability, that is to say they know nothing of such matters. At the moment when cognitive function reaches the level of comprehending the concept of "divinity", atheism is not present. I cannot prove this, much in the same way you cannot prove otherwise.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • Jake

          Actually, you hit on the precise problem. Young children do not have the cognative ability to understand the concept of a god. They instinctually (as a result of evolved behaviors) trust their parents to guide them and believe what they're told whether they understand it or not. As a result, they have deep-seeded beliefs in a god before they are even old enough to know what hit them. This is why I consider childhood religious indoctrination mental abuse.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • devin

          Yes, I taught my children from an early age to love their neighbor as themselves and to be kind and compassionate because this is what God desires. Clearly, "mental abuse"

          January 16, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • Jake

          The first part, no. The part about "because this is what God desires", yes. If you were able to convince your children to believe in an incredibly unlikely god, for which there is no evidence, you must have taught them to use faith. Believing that it's ok to use faith rather than evidence is very dangerous.

          January 16, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
  15. Medatation

    I understand the problems that most atheists have with Christians. Some people in this world seriously do try and live out their faith by their actions not by what they speak. Others claim to follow by saying they do but they really don't. They may quote popular verses, literally threaten you with hell through aggressive means or flat out hate you for not believing. And the "Going to church every Sunday makes you a true Christian!". Technically no. As the bible puts it, the bride(believers) are the church. A building with walls isn't the church. We are. Attending church every Sunday doesn't mean you are a "true Chrisian". There is no such thing as a "true Christian". Believers do exist in this world that try and live out the life that Christ wants them to live and they know they will fail constantly but tries anyways. Why do atheists and Christians always fight or hate each other? I will never know. Some atheists have enough honestly in themselves to say "I don't know" and continue to search. That in my book, is far more better than believing because you have to.

    Peace.

    January 16, 2014 at 9:21 am |
    • niknak

      I don't know of one atheist who claims anything other than "I don't know."

      Because that is the truth, we don't know if there was something that created the universe in the big bang.
      It is very unlikely, and even more unlikely that it resembles any of the various gods posited by the untold thousands of religions that have existed.

      But just because we don't know, does not mean anything we don't know is automatically god.

      In fact, what most believers used to believe, back in the day so to speak, that they proclaimed was god, turned out NOT to be god (earth quakes, solar eclipses etc).

      That is our issue with believers.
      They claim that they do in fact "know."
      And with cert itude.
      Even though they have zero, and let me repeat that, ZERO evidence to support their claim of god.
      They are not content to keep it to themselves either, as they must constantly try to get others to go along with their belief.

      Atheists don't do that.
      An atheist has never gone to anyone's house and tried to talk them out of believing in god.
      Yet I get visited monthly by various denominations trying to talk to me about joining their house of myth.
      Which they all get tax exempt status to run.

      January 16, 2014 at 10:11 am |
      • An explaination

        Do you know if your arm hurts?
        That (I think) is what is intended, a desire to share an internal experience.
        Like if I came to your house and told you about astral travel. In your eyes just a dream, for me a great moment but I can't get that image from my head into yours.

        January 16, 2014 at 10:21 am |
        • igaftr

          explain?
          If you told me about "astral travel" since you cannot show that is what has happened, and there is no evidence that such a thing is possible, you will have told me your experience with delusion.

          January 16, 2014 at 11:49 am |
      • An explaination

        To put it another way you may drop a hit with me but you won't trip my trip.

        January 16, 2014 at 10:27 am |
        • RC

          Now THAT'S an analogy I can live with!

          January 16, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
    • mzh

      -Why do atheists and Christians always fight or hate each other?

      January 16, 2014 at 11:15 am |
    • mzh

      I am not able to post as it is being filtered and not sure which part is getting filtered... 🙂

      January 16, 2014 at 11:19 am |
      • Johnny

        Probably because all you do is post quotes from the Koran which add nothing to the conversation.

        January 16, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • mzh

          Thank you Johnny... it worked finally...

          January 16, 2014 at 11:30 am |
    • mzh

      it might sounds they f.ight or hate each other but I think its just letting others know what one believes.. as one can not f.orce others to a.ccept what s/he believes.. also if one ac.cepts by either f.orce, willing or whatever the reason then this person is not accepti.ng it from h.eart..

      January 16, 2014 at 11:27 am |
    • mzh

      so in this case that person will have something in h.eart and something else exter.nally.. in isla.m they are called as h-yp.ocr–ite.. J. e .w. s in m.edina were given this t.itle 14 hundred plus years ago..

      January 16, 2014 at 11:29 am |
      • Kelly

        And any person who insists Islam is "the religion of peace" is a hypocrite, when there is so much evidence of the contrary.

        January 16, 2014 at 11:34 am |
        • mzh

          lets see if i can post this part what i have been trying...

          the quran also commands Muhammad not to call anyone hype as one do not have access to what is being concealed in ones heart and this is known only to The Lord Almgihty...

          Peace...

          January 16, 2014 at 11:38 am |
        • ME II

          @mzh,
          Wait, so Muslims are not supposed to call others "hype" (hypocrite?), but Jews were labeled such 1400 years ago. (I'm assuming by Muslims)

          How does that work?

          January 16, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • Kelly

          Hype and hypocrite are two completely different things.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
      • fyi

        mzh,

        It looks like the word "t.itle" was the one that was preventing your posts from appearing.

        January 16, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • fyi

          Here's a list of others, if you need it...

          Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN Belief Blog/WordPress automatic filter:
          Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
          You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
          -
          ar-se.....as in ar-senic, coa-rse, etc.
          Ch-ardonnay...
          co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
          co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
          crac-ker…
          cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
          ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
          ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
          ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, sopho-more, etc.
          ho-oters…as in sho-oters
          ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
          inf-orms us…
          hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
          jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
          ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
          koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
          ni-gra…as in deni-grate
          nip-ple...
          o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
          pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
          p-oon… as in sp-oon, lamp-oon, harp-oon
          p-orn… as in p-ornography
          pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
          que-er...
          ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
          se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
          sl-ut...
          sm-ut…..as in transm-utation
          sn-atch...
          sp-ank...
          sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
          sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
          strip-per...
          ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, t-itle, ent-ity, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
          tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, salt-water, etc.
          va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
          who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
          wt-f....also!!!!!!!
          x-xx…
          There's another phrase that someone found, "wo-nderful us" (have no idea what sets that one off).

          January 16, 2014 at 11:56 am |
  16. Vines

    In the book of Job, it is said that Job has a meltdown and said, "I am going to quit trusting God in the midst of all this trouble, I am going to try atheism for a change."

    God observes the temper tantrum that Job throws and gets worried for Job and tells Job not to throw tantrums, not to turn his back to God.

    Not!

    January 16, 2014 at 8:20 am |
    • Martin

      Peter turned 180 on God.

      January 16, 2014 at 8:21 am |
      • Jim

        Peter's denial was for a moment although he denied his Lord, 3 times. He came back full circle to foundational pillar for faith.

        Jonah ran from God , but not for too long.

        Job trusted God through all his troubles.

        Noah obeyed God and followed his instructions.

        Paul's change was the most radical of all these changes.

        January 16, 2014 at 10:39 am |
        • OTOH

          Jim
          "Peter's denial was for a moment although he denied his Lord, 3 times. He came back full circle to foundational pillar for faith."

          Yeah, like what was ol' Pete gonna do... stop after 1 or 2 denials and prove that the "Lord" was wrong in his prediction?!

          The legend was written for dramatic effect.

          January 16, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
    • nev

      do what your conscience tells you,for it has a reason and purpose that He only knows at the moment,but has a deeper meaniing,that sooner or later you will recognize.

      January 16, 2014 at 8:37 am |
      • Martin

        Proverbs 3:5-6

        January 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      He would be correct to quit trusting god, god threw him under the bus. With gods like that who needs devils?

      January 16, 2014 at 9:22 am |
    • tallulah13

      Who cares about Job? What about the family who was slaughtered (with god's permission) so that god and satan could play a game? Your god sounds more like a mob boss than something worth worshiping.

      January 16, 2014 at 9:30 am |
    • Jim

      I can sense some sarcasm in your statement.

      Yes, Job stuck by his faith through all the troubles.

      David was man after God's own heart, Job was a righteous man.

      January 16, 2014 at 10:43 am |
  17. Atheists appear to have been commissioned by the god of this world.

    ####$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ 🙂

    January 16, 2014 at 8:12 am |
    • nev

      atheists are humans,the whole universe is God,humans are a special part of God,because we are the center of His self creation through the big bang.therefore atheists are also a part of Him.Though they dont recognize that ,they have that special mission.

      January 16, 2014 at 8:30 am |
      • Green religion and recycled Hinduism.

        🙂 🙂 & 🙂 $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

        January 16, 2014 at 9:37 am |
  18. Loosing faith

    Since loosing faith I feel a desperate need to control what I would have once left to chance. I feel I understand everyone more deeply than I did before, but also that I like them less. Above that I feel terror at the thought of dying. I don't think I'd wish this on anyone, no matter how frustrated I am that people think beliefs somehow magically change reality. Keep your gods, if you can.

    January 16, 2014 at 6:41 am |
    • The Atheist

      It doesn't sound like you've lost your faith.

      January 16, 2014 at 7:55 am |
      • igaftr

        no , he didn't lose faith, he loosed his faith, maybe he turned it loose and it didn't come back

        January 16, 2014 at 8:13 am |
        • Happy Atheist

          Since losing faith I no longer feel a desperate need to control others and make them follow my God. I feel I understand everyone more deeply than I did before, but also that I like myself more for still being a moral person without the threat of heII or promise of heaven. Above that I no longer feel terror at the thought of dying and being tormented for eternity because I was worshiping the wrong God or worshiping him the wrong way. I don't think I'd wish this on anyone, no matter how frustrated I am that people think beliefs somehow magically change reality. Dump your gods, if you can.

          January 16, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
    • Shannon

      End of life issues are difficult for everyone.

      January 16, 2014 at 9:16 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Look on the bright side...since there is no afterlife you have no reason to fear being arbitarily punished for eternity for finite "crimes".

      January 16, 2014 at 9:26 am |
      • Shannon

        That's not the bright side, I used to think I'd come back as royalty. 😉

        January 16, 2014 at 9:43 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Eh, I am a recovering Catholic...what can I say...?

          January 16, 2014 at 11:49 am |
    • Yup

      Totally bogus straw man misunderstanding of secularism by an obvious Christian who is breaking the Ninth Commandment.

      January 16, 2014 at 11:43 am |
      • Loosing faith

        You just hate it that someone will be completely honest up here and say the truth isn't always pretty, the grass isn't greener on this side and life was a lot easier when all you had to do wish make a wish.

        January 17, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
    • urnotathinkerareu

      Faith in a god that isn't there is actually an illusion. You have entered a higher plane of reality and once you accept that totally you lose your fear. Whether you have faith or not it does not change the reality of what u will experience when it is time to die. I think death is just another door....like birth was and we had no clue what was on the other side of that door if we were even conscious of that door. Even though we are conscious of this next door we can never really say what lies beyond it. Fear of the unknown is what plagues most c
      faith believers. They have to build up the delusion to support never having to look at the reality of the truth. If this makes them feel better fine...I would rather face reality and the truth of life which means death is death as life is life. It is not eternal life but we dont know if its eternal death either...but highly likely. death...

      February 3, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
  19. 00 00

    why did jesus not throw stones at the chick doin the nasty with some1 other than her old man? law had to be done, right? or no?

    thx. i need a new page

    January 16, 2014 at 5:18 am |
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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.