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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catherine Dunphy, executive director of The Clergy Project 

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

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

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

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

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

Penny Edgell, sociology professor, University of Minnesota 

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

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

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

Paul Fidalgo, spokesman, Center for Inquiry 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dave Muscato, spokesman, American Atheists 

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

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

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

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

David Myers, professor of psychology, Hope College 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merold Westphal, philosophy professor, Fordham University 

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

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

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

Lauren Anderson Youngblood, spokesperson, Secular Coalition for America  

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

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

- CNN Religion Editor

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

soundoff (3,260 Responses)
  1. hearties

    To sum up, he loses out on loving the ultimate being, God, and gets a $19,000 consolation prize, while we get more God to love, through Jesus.

    January 18, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
    • bostontola

      Really?
      Shouldn't you be sad this man is no longer saved?
      How can you get more of Jesus' love if it is infinite?
      Should you even want more than anyone else? Sounds very selfish to me.

      January 18, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
      • hearties

        Is it selfish to love God?

        Hmmm....

        Is God complaining that it's selfish to love hin? Since when? When has God ever complained about being loved too much?

        January 18, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          No such God => no complaints from it. If you want to love it, knock yourself out.

          January 18, 2014 at 8:01 pm |
        • hearties

          Well, Bostontola is suggesting it could be selfish to love God too much, but it's not possible to do that... 'cuz God dwells within. We can love God as much as we want, and be happy about it, very happy.

          The other guy got what he wanted, nothing.

          January 18, 2014 at 8:16 pm |
    • hearties

      Where did God say "thou shalt not love God too much"?

      I don't think so...

      January 18, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
      • bostontola

        You didn't answer the first questions. On your response to the last one, I didn't say a person has a limit, just that to think you get more because someone else doesn't get it is like a kid being happy that another kid didn't want his piece of cake. It makes you sound selfish, I don't know if you are, but that's what a statement like yours sounds like.

        January 18, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
        • hearties

          If someone got more of God's love, would you in being atheist, really care?

          Are you jealous of all the apostles of Jesus?

          I do not understand, nor am I responsible for, his decision to chose to let go of the ultimate love of God.

          Great joy if he finds Jesus.

          January 18, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
        • bostontola

          I don't, and no.

          January 18, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
  2. tony

    It would seem that posts by Vic, Atheism is a religion, and others with very strange ways of justifying cristianity, creationism, etc., are converting even slight doubters into atheists by the thousand every day. Which is a great and good thing of course. Kudos to the Belief Blog too.

    I wonder is there any way of collecting data to discover just how much the Belief Blog has helped in this way? CNN?

    January 18, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
    • 00 00

      CONGRATULATIONS!

      January 18, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
    • Barry Christ

      I wonder which is the most effective way of converting people to atheism. Is it:

      1. What believers say and how they act?

      2. Reading the Bible cover-to-cover?

      Because let's face it: Christians are way more effective at creating seculars than seculars could ever be.

      January 18, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
  3. Topher

    Hey, Science Works. You around, dude?

    January 18, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
  4. God is benevolent

    If god is benevolent, then why is "he" unleashing satan upon us?

    January 18, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
    • Topher

      Because people choose the things of this world over God all the time.

      January 18, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
      • God is benevolent

        But god started the temptation when he allowed the serpent to deceive Adam, right?

        January 18, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • Topher

          God is benevolent

          "But god started the temptation when he allowed the serpent to deceive Adam, right?"

          God knew it would happen ... it was part of the grand plan all along. But Satan is guilty of that sin, not God.

          January 18, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
        • God is benevolent

          Topher, god is guilty of that sin because "he" unleashed satan.

          January 18, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
        • sam stone

          Gopher: Your god is a vindictive petty pr1ck

          how is that for blasphemy, coward?

          January 19, 2014 at 10:34 am |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        What kind of stupid god makes a "good" universe able to be so easily corrupted by one sin?
        What kind of stupid god makes math and chemistry discoverable by repeatable experiment but not his own existence and will?

        January 18, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • Topher

          Cpt. Obvious

          "What kind of stupid god makes a "good" universe able to be so easily corrupted by one sin?"

          Well, it would only take one to make it not perfect anymore. One corruption into perfection makes it corrupt. Nothing stupid about it.

          "What kind of stupid god makes math and chemistry discoverable by repeatable experiment but not his own existence and will?"

          We know He exists. Creation testifies to it. If there's a Creation, there must be a Creator. If you reject that ...

          January 18, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
        • TJ

          Topher: To you, the existence of the universe implies a creator, but it in no way implies a particular creator.

          January 18, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          You haven't proved that the universe was "created," so you have no basis to claim that there is a "creator."

          You just don't realize how stupid it sounds for your god to make a good creation so fragile that one instance fvcks up the whole thing, I guess. Wonder what would happen to a car manufacturer who claimed to make a "good" car that went into nuclear meltdown the first time you put the turn signal on the opposite way of what you are turning? How utterly ridiculous your "rebuttals" are!!

          Why does every culture get god's will "wrong" (according to all other believers of other cultures) but yet EVERY culture uncovers the same unalterable rules of math and chemistry? What a stupid, stupid, stupid god you serve.

          January 18, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
        • TJ

          "Why does every culture get god's will "wrong" (according to all other believers of other cultures) but yet EVERY culture uncovers the same unalterable rules of math and chemistry?"

          Well said!

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

          TJ

          "To you, the existence of the universe implies a creator, but it in no way implies a particular creator."

          That's fine. But I think we can conclude who it is by taking in all the evidence. But at least you can conclude there IS a creator.

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

          There has never been a naturally occuring or even successful atheistic culture. They've all held there is a god/s. This jives with the Bible when it says the Creation and our consciences testify to His existence so that we will be without excuse when our Judgment Day comes.

          January 18, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
        • TJ

          "I think we can conclude who it is by taking in all the evidence"

          So, how many religions have you studied all the evidence for?

          January 18, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
        • TJ

          "They've all held there is a god/s. This jives with the Bible when it says the Creation and our consciences testify to His existence so that we will be without excuse when our Judgment Day comes."

          No, the first sentence does not jive with the second sentence at all.

          January 18, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
        • Dippy's Aide

          You mean "jibe", not "jive".

          "Jive" is swing music or hipster talk.

          http://grammar.about.com/od/alightersideofwriting/a/Gibe-And-Jibe.htm

          January 18, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
        • Topher

          TJ

          "No, the first sentence does not jive with the second sentence at all."

          Why doesn't it? He have Creation and thus know there's a Creator. Not a cosmic accident. And just by looking at the evidence we can conclude that God is bigger than us, He can communicate, etc.

          January 18, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
        • God is benevolent

          Topher, you make declarations without providing evidence. Existence of the universe does not prove a creator. Epic fail.

          January 18, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
        • TJ

          Topher

          "He have Creation and thus know there's a Creator. Not a cosmic accident"

          Those who believe that there was a supernatural creator/s have thousands of different ideas of who that creator was. That in no way agrees with your assertion that everyone is recognizing the god of the Bible.

          "And just by looking at the evidence we can conclude that God is bigger than us"

          Sure, it there is a being who created the universe he would have to be bigger than us, since that is not one of our abilities (it would not, however, imply that they are omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent). It certainly does not support one religion over another.

          " He can communicate, etc"

          How do you support that claim?

          January 18, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
        • Topher

          How is it an epic fail? The Creation IS the evidence. Who made your watch? A watchmaker. You'd never in a million years tell me it came together over time. And yet your own body, which is infinitely more complex than a watch, you'd tell me differently. Why not the watch? Because if you have a watch, there MUST be a watchmaker. The painting is evidence there was a painter. A building is evidence there was a builder. The Creation is evidence for a Creator.

          January 18, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
        • Observer

          The existence of a watch shows that it could have been created by any of dozens of companies.

          January 18, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
        • OTOH

          Topher,

          You have loaded the question by calling things that exist "Creation".

          Also known as:
          Begging the question.
          Circular reasoning.

          January 18, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
        • God is benevolent

          Topher, your declaration is an epic fail because you suggest rather than provide evidence. A watchmaker is evidence. Show me your god. You cannot!

          January 18, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
        • Robert

          Topher –

          You seem to be under the misapprehension that religion boils down to two possibilities: either your god exists, or no god exists. In reality, there are thousands of possibilities with thousand of possible gods.

          By the way, you never answered TJ's question about how many religions you have studied the evidence for?

          "I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."...Stephen F Roberts

          January 18, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
        • Topher

          TJ

          "Those who believe that there was a supernatural creator/s have thousands of different ideas of who that creator was. That in no way agrees with your assertion that everyone is recognizing the god of the Bible."

          True. But those are man-made ideas. Man is fallable. I'm not saying that the Creation proves the God of the Bible. We have to take things farther than that. I'm saying it's enough to know He exists. The Bible even tells us that His laws are written on our hearts. Basically, we all KNOW lying, stealing, murder, adultery are bad things. We don't have to be taught it. So we also KNOW that we've done those things against Him (whoever that is) and thus deserve to be punished.

          "How do you support that claim?"

          Well, because WE can communicate. That's where that whole "made in HIs image" thing comes in. It means more than appearance. It means we share some common attributes. Though His would be far higher. Being bigger than us doesn't just mean size, though it does mean that. It means more than His ability to create the universe. It means His standards are higher, which is why He demands moral perfection.

          January 18, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Observer's reply was the bestest.

          January 18, 2014 at 6:29 pm |
        • TJ

          "Basically, we all KNOW lying, stealing, murder, adultery are bad things. We don't have to be taught it."

          It seems you're not very familiar with young children, who, according to your idea, would be born knowing lying and stealing are wrong. I assure you, that is not the case.

          You support your claim that your god can communicate because you are made in his image and you can communicate. That circular reasoning does not work with someone who is not of your faith (it really shouldn't work with anyone). Perhaps you can provide some verifiable support.

          January 18, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
        • Forgetaboutatleast

          Topher, your bible based arguments are fallible because you rely on them and then you disregard them at the same time. And what is all this "he" stuff? Show me proof of your god's genitalia.

          January 18, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • Topher

          TJ

          "It seems you're not very familiar with young children, who, according to your idea, would be born knowing lying and stealing are wrong. I assure you, that is not the case."

          They know being naughty is wrong. But they are also born with a sin nature. Don't believe me? Go to a Chuck E. Cheese.

          "You support your claim that your god can communicate because you are made in his image and you can communicate. That circular reasoning does not work with someone who is not of your faith (it really shouldn't work with anyone)."

          How is that circular? And how doesn't it work?

          "Perhaps you can provide some verifiable support."

          Like what?

          January 18, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " But they are also born with a sin nature. Don't believe me? Go to a Chuck E. Cheese. "
          Yeah, all those newborns running amok are a real pain.

          January 18, 2014 at 6:47 pm |
        • Forgetaboutatleast

          It's not the their fault. Those children at Chuck E. Cheese are overdosing on sodium and sugar. Blame the parents for allowing them to put garbage in their sinful bodies.

          January 19, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • TJ

          Topher

          "They know being naughty is wrong. But they are also born with a sin nature."

          That's just silly. They don't even understand wrong until we explain it to them, let alone know what activities are wrong (which vary from culture to culture, by the way–and yes, there are some universal wrongs). And I'm sorry, the whole "born with sin" idea that the god of the Bible doomed all mankind simply because the very first person he created was fooled by Satan (I mean, he didn't have knowledge of good and evil yet, so how could he know Satan had evil intentions?) is just really unjust.

          "Perhaps you can provide some verifiable support." "Like what?"

          Oh, I don't know, like an existing person who can demonstrate some sort of communication with their god? Admittedly, it's difficult to arrive at a scenario that would be convincing to an observer–which is why so many are unconvinced.

          Oh, and Robert's right–I'd still like to know how many religions you've studied the evidence for.

          January 19, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • l33ter

          Observer
          "The existence of a watch shows that it could have been created by any of dozens of companies."

          That is a very interesting statement. I've heard some make a similar statement describing the big bang to a precision Swiss watch exploding into existence when considering the odds of life beginning/sustained on the planet. Out of the entire solar system,conditions on this one planet were just right. Any less, or any more of anything and we wouldn't be here.

          January 22, 2014 at 12:32 am |
  5. tony

    Why would the religious who are such strong fiscal conservatives, want to spend eternity in "heaven" where there is no money to be made or or saved, no guns and no need to pay for your own "health care"?

    January 18, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
    • Grolsch

      Heaven sounds like pure socialism, doesn't it? No money, you don't get to pick your job, everyone is equal, you have no say in how you use your time, no capitalism at all, and you must constantly worship the state.

      January 18, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
    • Topher

      As if money or guns are more important than God.

      January 18, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
      • tony

        Then why are so many evangelicals pro-gun and pro being wealthy (Jesus carried a purse, etc.)

        January 18, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
        • Topher

          tony

          "Then why are so many evangelicals pro-gun and pro being wealthy..."

          There's nothing wrong with either of those things. But they certainly aren't more important than God.

          "(Jesus carried a purse, etc.)"

          Huh?

          January 18, 2014 at 5:52 pm |
  6. bostontola

    "And you still don't face the people who are imposing "laws"(your made up delusion)."

    You've gone from baseless assertions to false assertions. Read about people challenging religious monuments on Government property, people challenging tighter restrictions to abortions, people fighting restrictions to marriage. You assertion is flat out false. Come back to the real world.

    January 18, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
    • bostontola

      Meant as reply below.

      January 18, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
    • Vic

      I don't know where all this started, so excuse me if this comment is more suitable within another thread.

      I quickly skimmed through some discussion about laws and regulations sought by Christians. In all fairness, whatever laws and regulations Christians are pushing for, atheists won the lion share of such. To be precise, banning the Bible from and teaching the 'Evolution of Species' by law in public schools outshines all.

      What I can find ONLY fair at the least is either allowing OR banning BOTH.

      January 18, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
      • ?

        Only because you don't understand the 1st Amendment, Vic.
        And one falls under religion, and the other is science. Other than that..,

        January 18, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • Vic

          Over the course of blogging here, atheists never cease to be on the offensive with insults and diverting attention from the intended point of discussion.

          January 18, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • Sister Mary Kate

          Vic wrote " In all fairness, whatever laws and regulations Christians are pushing for, atheists won the lion share of such. To be precise, banning the Bible from and teaching the 'Evolution of Species' by law in public schools outshines all."

          But that's silly, because separation of church and state issues are just that. They are not separation between Christians and atheists. I personally know more Christians who are adamant supporters of separation of church and state than I do atheists supporters of the same.

          January 18, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • Vic

          I strongly believe in the "Separation of Church and State," I am an Anabaptist in that regard.

          The Bible is a historical record of the Christian Faith, 'Evolution of Species' is a historical record of Charles Darwin's research. Neither of them is empirical science; therefore, teaching 'Evolution of Species' in public schools by law is but an exclusive provision. I can ONLY find it fair in the least if neither are allowed OR banned. A solution would be to make BOTH optional and if necessary, put them in the history curriculum.

          January 18, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • Observer

          Vic,

          Fossils of half-man and half-ape have some reasonable explanation in classes teaching evolution, but there are no scientific or logical explanations for the Noah's Ark fantasy. Church Sunday Schools are the proper place for Noah's nonsense.

          January 18, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
      • Happy Atheist

        They might teach intelligent design along side evolution if there were any experiments, repeatable tests and evidence that support intelligent design. But alas, there are none so they might as well tell the kids it was Odin or Thor or Zeus or Jezeus that made the universe if you are to teach ID.

        On one side (evolution) you have 99% of scientists, nearly 200 years of repeatable science and study and discovery backing up the fact that all life on the planet is related and has evolved over the last billion years on a 4.5 billion year old planet. Our DNA is a crucial piece of evidence that can be rolled backwards to track our species which zips past the Genesis account of human creation in an eye blink then continues back for several hundreds of thousands of years proving Genesis false.

        On the side of Intelligent Design you have only one piece of evidence and it's not really a piece of evidence they can hold in their hands, its just the piece of evidence that is missing from the working theory of evolution. That is the only thing they have to cling to, the fact that science hasn't proven God doesn't exist yet. That is the Ace up their sleeves, sadly it's their only card...

        January 18, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
        • tony

          If man is made in god's image, the our tendency to use heavily staffed design teams, along with major production facilitues are far more likely to have been used to create the universe, our planet and it's billions of species, from bateria, flora and insects all the way up to humans.

          That implies that there is far more than just one single god.

          January 18, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • Vic

          'Evolution of Species' has NEVER been empirically proven. IT IS NOT AN EMPIRICAL FACT. It is a BELIEF. It was emphatically upgraded from hypothesis to a theorem. The scientific community has polymorphism of the word 'fact.'

          Early on:
          http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/14/is-it-really-possible-to-try-atheism-for-a-year/comment-page-14/#comment-2887436

          January 18, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Vic, you sound like an ignorant idiot. Obviously, you haven't done any real research into evolution. Imagine a 2,500 piece puzzle of a couple of cats. There are fifteen pieces or so missing. When those missing pieces are found, will the puzzle suddenly turn into a space shuttle half way to the moon? Because that's the equivalent of your argument.

          How about you go get a degree in evolutionary science and go PROVE that evolution is incorrect. With the sort of fame you would acquire, you could "preach" to the entire scientific community and the world about your private myth dogma and silly beliefs. Why not? Ready? Go.

          January 18, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • Vic

          It is completely the other way around!

          What needs to be done is empirically prove the 'Evolution of Species' and ONLY then we will accept it as "Empirical Science" and "scientific fact!"

          January 18, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Vic, if the creation account in genesis were accurate, scientific discovery would have EASILY proved it with hundreds of thousands upon hundreds of thousands of testable, measurable points of data. The evidence ALL OF IT points towards evolution being accurate. The few points of data that are not currently known will certainly slightly refine our understanding of evolution, but they will not overturn the FACT of evolution.

          If the genesis creation account is true, then god is LYING to all of us by putting evidence for evolution in geology, genetics, and ALL OTHER AREAS of biological research. So, is the genesis account correct, and your god a lying, deceiving, deviant jerk, or do the millions of data points proving evolution demonstrate its veracity?

          You have no position for any argument against evolution, and if you had an ounce of intelligence or education you'd likely realize it. You're an ignorant fool, whether you believe in a god or not.

          January 18, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • TJ

          "They might teach intelligent design along side evolution if there were any experiments, repeatable tests and evidence that support intelligent design."

          I never understand just what it is that people who want intelligent design taught would have someone teach? I mean, it can all be summed up in one sentence" Some people believe that the earth and all life on it were created in six days by a supernatural being around 6000 years ago." What more is there to be "taught"?

          January 18, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
      • A little history on

        The hamster Ham – the real talking SNAKE in the grass Vic !!!

        History
        Goddidit! NO god DID NOT DO IT !!!

        Creationism
        Icon creationism alt.svg
        Key claims

        Young Earth
        Old Earth
        Global flood
        Intelligent design
        Biblical literalism

        Truth fish transparent.png
        Science

        Fossil record
        Starlight problem
        Genetics
        Radiometric dating

        Random articles

        Arguments evolution supporters shouldn't use
        Ken Ham
        Kent Hovind
        Piltdown Man
        Popular quote mines
        Universe

        The Creation of Adam.jpg
        v – t – e

        Creation Ministries International began life as the Creation Science Foundation, in 1979, when Ham quit his job as a public school science teacher to begin speaking on creationism. In 1986 Ham left Australia to teach at the Insti-tute for Creation Research; by 1987 his absence was causing leadership problems, and in February he handed control over to Andrew Snelling. In 1993, after 7 years in the US, Ham decided to start, with the assistance of CSF, the Creation Science Ministry, which later became AiG-US. By 1995 the CSF had become the Australian arm of AiG. They initially shared board members, but AiG-Australia suffered a hilariously acrimonious schism from its now much larger partner in 2005[1] culminating in accusations of witchcraft and hurt feelings all round.[2] They changed their name to Creation Ministries International as a result.

        Much like AiG, CMI is an ardent promoter of young Earth creationist claptrap. However, CMI attempts to take a rather more "scholarly" tone than does AiG, if that term can possibly be applied to any creationist organization; it uses the presuppositionalist style of argument, which along with the scholarly veneer may help to explain why CMI doesn't have its own ignorance museum, complete with saddled Triceratops.

        On the other hand, CMI publishes Alien Intrusion, UFOs and the Evolution Connection,[3] the author of which was featured on Coast to Coast AM. The description of the interviews says that "aliens are actually fallen angels who are not extraterrestrial in nature, but rather interdimensional. ... He noted that some people had been able to stop alien abductions from taking place ... by invoking the name of Christ. He suggested that this lends credence to the idea that the aliens are demonic in nature, and thus susceptible to invocations that run counter to them."[4]

        http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Creation_Ministries_International

        And a list of his cronies ?

        CMI list of scientists alive today who accept the biblical account of creation

        http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/CMI_list_of_scientists_alive_today_who_accept_the_biblical_account_of_creation

        January 18, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • Vic

          I have only one thing to say regarding your post:

          Belief in God is PER CAPITA whereas all organizations and hierarchies are but human doctrines!

          January 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • A little history on

          two words from above post, do you have your own Vic,

          ignorance museum ?

          January 18, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
  7. Idol family

    We are here! What can we do for you?
    😉

    January 18, 2014 at 12:18 pm |

    • L.O.S.E.R.S

      January 18, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
    • Slow Fade

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DEKfGEYlHE&feature=player_detailpage

      .

      January 18, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
  8. bostontola

    It takes faith to disbelieve in a God you cannot disprove no matter how much you don't believe.
    Unsubstantiated assertion, but who cares either way.

    You can bring up Santa, Zeus, the Easter Bunny, fairies, etc but those don't affect your life. You aren't attached to them like a leech like you are with the idea of God. You don't challenge people who believe in those things. You only challenge those who believe in God. Now why is that?
    Because only children believe those things. Children will believe almost anything an authority figure tells them.

    "They impose their beliefs into our govt and laws". How so?
    By imposing laws on same se.x couples barring marriage as an example. Trying to force a woman to give birth when they don't want to.

    Are you still an atheist?
    Yes.

    What type of "force" is going on here?
    ???

    Without including Texas and other r3dneck states, what "laws" restrict you from being an atheist?
    I don't know any.

    Also it cannot involve popular issues such as gay marriage or aborition. I want ONE law that restricts you from being an atheist. I am not a lawmaker that determines what law is passed or not passed in each state thus you cannot complain to me or anyone else about laws they did not pass. It's not required that you attend church on Sundays so where is this "they are forcing their beliefs down our throats!!!" coming from?
    The examples above. Trying to redefine science and get Intelligent Design into science class curriculum and text books.

    Oh yeah. Your delusional and paranoid mind. You confuse "facts" with fear. No forcing is going on. Stop lying to yourselves!
    Settle down, you might blow a gasket.

    January 18, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
    • bostontola

      Sorry, meant as a reply.

      January 18, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
      • midwest rail

        Better that it was posted separately anyway. Original thread disappeared.

        January 18, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • bostontola

          I just noticed that.

          January 18, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • tony

          Another Miracle!

          January 18, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
    • OTOH

      Dastardly deleter! For once, my post is still available to copy and repost:

      @Atheism is a religion,

      These blogs discuss religion and religious beliefs - that's what they're for. If you consider the varying opinions (and some of the facts) as a hardship, you can respond or ignore or quit coming here altogether.

      Rant on, if it makes you feel good. Me, I generally ignore you.

      January 18, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
    • bostontola

      I included "popular issues" because they bear on the fundamental point of religious people imposing their beliefs with laws and school curricular. I don't accept the authority of the OP to exclude those, they matter.

      January 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
  9. bostontola

    Does it really matter if Mr. Bell is "trying atheism", or "trying agnosticism", or "suspending ritual"? The bottom line is, his church pushed him out, they fired him for taking a moral stance outside their doctrine. Commend the church for sticking with their principles, in this day and age, dwindling membership is fine with me.

    January 18, 2014 at 8:35 am |
    • TEV

      On his blog he says he was not fired. And he defends the actions of all his former employers.

      January 18, 2014 at 10:10 am |
      • bostontola

        "The seeds of Bell’s journey were planted last March, when he was asked to resign as pastor of a Seventh-day Adventist congregation in Hollywood.", from the companion article to this one a few days earlier. It really doesn't affect the point anyway.

        January 18, 2014 at 10:26 am |
        • TEV

          'There are some basic incompatibilities with my self-proclaimed, public journey this year and their insttutions. I understand this and do not think they are acting badly."-ryan bell

          January 18, 2014 at 10:40 am |
        • bostontola

          Why do you keep making that point? I didn't say anyone acted badly. They pushed him out, that is their prerogative. Please read my OP.

          January 18, 2014 at 11:05 am |
        • T17

          Ryan was "kindly fired" for his beliefs and political activism that were outside his church. However, people are incorrectly assuming it was merely for gay rights and equality for all. He has always been a prolific blogger and avid reader with everything he is currently doing all over the internet. It is easy to find out that he hardly believes any of the main tenants of his church anymore and was not a dishonest, lying chicken that was too scared to say so. I see his "experiment into being an atheist" for a year as the next logical progression of where he has been headed for many years. "Atheism" is a specific type of thought process which he has been closely "examining" with for quite some time. His "experiment" is more of a way of making it official and saving face by saying it's an "experiment". His list of reading material isn't changing at all except for cutting out the Bible, church and prayer. On his new site "yearwithoutgod" he posted a prayer he wrote from 2009 that sounded exactly as if written by an agnostic that had no idea if there was a god or not, which was 3 years before leaving his church. So "trying out atheism" isn't a shock at all since he's already "tried religion" (scratch), "tried agnosticism" (scratch), and is now "trying atheism".

          January 18, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
  10. The Reason It Is Pointless To Reason With Religious People

    As Eric Idle once said in response to a religious dingbat, "When you are stupid, there is nothing that can be done."

    January 18, 2014 at 2:59 am |
    • TEV

      Some religious people? Yes. You can say that about some non-religious people, too.

      January 18, 2014 at 10:24 am |
  11. jarhead333

    Can someone try atheism for a year??? Of course. It does not require anything. To be an atheist, all you have to do is not believe in anything. However, if that is true, then you never believed in anything anyway.

    January 18, 2014 at 1:32 am |
    • Observer

      Everyone BELIEVES in something. You have just limited your vision to religion.

      January 18, 2014 at 1:42 am |
    • tallulah13

      Atheism is the lack of belief in gods. That's it. You have to wonder why some christians can't seem to understand that extremely simple definition. It's like they're not trying or something.

      January 18, 2014 at 1:59 am |
      • Observer

        tallulah13,

        Yes. Atheism can be summarized in 4 words – "There are no gods."

        Christians need a book, ministers, ceremonies, songs, recruiting, and a whole lot more to summarize their ideas. Maybe because of that, they want to BELIEVE/PRETEND that atheism instead is a religion and usually involves evolution, immorality, support for gays, desire to force atheism on everyone, etc. They often are unable to accept that the millions of atheists may have millions of ideas on how to run their lives for each of them.

        January 18, 2014 at 2:09 am |
      • hawaiiguest

        @tallulah

        It's that whole part in the bible that says "If you're not with us you're against us" or something. In their world, there is no "lack of belief", there is just christians, and rebellious immoral evil people.

        January 18, 2014 at 2:24 am |
        • nev

          atheist are normal good people,they just dont believe in God ,Although they are humans and they are part of God because all of us came form Him 13.7 billion years and now became the conscious material part of Him.They are now here to accomplish a divine mission of changing the present Monotheistic faith to The future Panthrotheistic faith through the dialectical process,the historical process starts with Animism-100 or more Gods,to polytheism -12 Gods to Montheism 1 God,then to buddhism ,hinduism ,deism the religions with with a gods of much lesser influence or participation

          January 18, 2014 at 7:36 am |
        • Science Works

          nev

          This has always been a stickler for the the RCC and religion .

          A review and update of a controversial 20-year-old theory of consciousness published in Physics of Life Reviews claims that consciousness derives from deeper level, finer scale activities inside brain neurons. (Credit: © James Steidl / Fotolia)

          January 18, 2014 at 8:22 am |
    • sam stone

      that's not what atheism means, semper fool

      January 18, 2014 at 5:31 am |
      • nev

        then the atheist is next with suppose to be 0 or no god,but science will interfere,the confirmation of the big bang,and the revealations of quantum principles and the advances in all branches of science and technology ,will prove His oneness with us,Thats panthrotheism in the future.But all religions in the past are His only it evolved in accordance to His will.Our survival is the supreme objective,and this will be in history.a super computer that predicts the future will cofirm this someday.

        January 18, 2014 at 7:57 am |
        • sam stone

          conjecture, nev

          January 18, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • nev

          to sam stone,all religions historically started just a conjencture,and it really could not be exaustively scientifically proven in finite time,if we reduce time to one day ,the arrivals of us humans was only in the last few minutes of the age of the universe.So our existence is just infinitesimaly small.the atheists are just agents of change.The question is why in the U.S. has this to start,Atheist movements are all over the world now,but they have to refer here for inspiration.

          January 18, 2014 at 8:18 pm |
        • ven

          sam stone,to the atheists ,shift in faith or belief in God from monotheism to panthrotheism is conjencture,to the religious it is called phrophecy,they are both correct,or synonymous.

          January 19, 2014 at 12:34 am |
  12. For the Pasta farians

    I came home today and guess what? Your god was on my stove. What a nice surprise.

    January 17, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
    • All Hail FSM!

      Just more proof of his existence. And that is more proof than any other religion can offer.

      January 17, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Never have dinner with the FSM's son. When he says this is my body, he's not talking transubstantiation.

      January 17, 2014 at 9:11 pm |
  13. AE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzSMC5rWvos

    Amen.

    January 17, 2014 at 6:08 pm |
    • "We Are Star Dust" - Symphony of Science

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g4d-rnhuSg

      Lyrics:

      [Neil deGrasse Tyson]
      We are part of this universe
      We are in this universe
      The universe is in us
      Yes, the universe is in us

      [Lawrence Krauss]
      Every atom in your body
      Came from a star that exploded
      You are all star dust
      From a star that exploded

      [Tyson]
      Look up at the night sky
      We are part of that
      The universe itself
      Exists within us

      We are star dust
      In the highest exalted way
      Called by the universe
      Reaching out to the universe

      We are star dust
      In the highest exalted way
      Reaching out to the universe
      With these methods and tools of science

      [Richard Feynman]
      Stand in the middle and enjoy everything both ways
      The tininess of us;
      The enormity of the universe

      [Tyson]
      The atoms that make up the human body
      Are traceable to the crucibles
      That cooked light elements
      Into heavy elements

      These stars went unstable in their later years
      And then exploded
      Scattering their enriched guts
      Across the galaxy

      [Refrain]

      [Tyson]
      We are part of this universe
      We are in this universe
      The universe is in us
      Yes, the universe is in us

      Science & Technology

      January 17, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
      • AE

        That is awesome.

        January 17, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
        • "We Are Star Dust" - Symphony of Science

          Thanks AE also for posting the other video as this is what shows up after watching.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3rGev6OZ3w

          January 17, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
        • AE

          Yea, that Big Think has a lot of great videos.

          January 17, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
        • "We Are Star Dust" - Symphony of Science

          http://bigthink.com
          The magician was asked to leave his Christian youth group by a pastor who told his parents: "He's no longer learning about the Bible from me. He is now converting everyone in the class to atheism."

          January 17, 2014 at 8:09 pm |
        • AE

          Yea, Penn is a good magician and entertainer. I personally don't turn to him for spiritual understanding, though.

          That Think Big series has a variety of viewpoints to consider. It is interesting to hear other people's beliefs and experiences, even if I don't agree with them all.

          January 17, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
        • "We Are Star Dust" - Symphony of Science

          The cigam of stirips is funky stuff AE

          January 17, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
        • AE

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbvDYyoAv9k

          Another good one.

          January 17, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
        • "We Are Star Dust" - Symphony of Science

          AE – next is the one of Neil DEBUNKING ID ?

          January 17, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
        • AE

          Uh oh. Does he totally debunk it like the ti.tle says?

          January 17, 2014 at 9:03 pm |
        • "We Are Star Dust" - Symphony of Science

          ID is not science AE .

          January 17, 2014 at 9:11 pm |
        • AE

          I have never said it was.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pINptKQYviQ

          January 17, 2014 at 9:22 pm |
        • "We Are Star Dust" - Symphony of Science

          Yeah AE and the fear of HELL is all yours.

          January 17, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
        • AE

          What fear of hell? Why are you bringing that up?

          January 17, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
        • "We Are Star Dust" - Symphony of Science

          Full Show: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Science, Religion and the Universe
          January 17, 2014

          A new poll by Pew Research has found that one-third of Americans do not believe in evolution, with Republicans far less likely to believe that humans evolved over time than Democrats. That may be why the teaching of evolution to children continues to be an often temper-flaming debate. In states like Texas, some public school students are opening their biology textbooks to find evolution described as “dogma” and an “unproved theory.”

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBhURLNEE6g

          January 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
  14. Reality # 2

    The new Ash Wednesday blessing: "Thou art star dust and star dust thou shall return"j, .

    And by the way, as per JPII and Aquinas, heaven is a spirit state so there "ain't" no stars or star dust in heaven. Next topic

    January 17, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
  15. My issue.

    I can WANT a thing to be true. I can WISH something is true. I can even have some measure of hope that it Might be true...but that doesn't mean that it is.

    January 17, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
  16. Sue

    When an individual comes up with an outlandish, unprovable, claim he's simply disregarded as cook, but if his beliefs somehow become popular, all of a sudden you have a religion and we are somehow expected to "respect" those same beliefs.

    Incredible!

    January 17, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
    • thanks

      A good example of religious hostility.

      January 17, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
      • You're welcome, I guess

        Hostility is ingrained in religion. Christians even threaten you with torture forever if you don't worship their gang leader.

        January 17, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • Not ingrained in what Jesus did

          "Although preachers and evangelists most often preach about hell to try to convert people to Christianity, it is highly significant that Jesus never tried to scare people into the kingdom of God by threatening them with hell. The only people to which Jesus talked about hell were his own followers and to the self-righteous religious leaders of his day. He never once threatened hell to an "outsider." Not once. He reserved threats of hell to religious "insiders," to shake them out of their spiritual complacency and their sense of religious superiority."

          http://christianstiredofbeingmisrepresented.blogspot.com/2013/01/jesus-hell-and-arrogant-religioin.html

          I am convinced that we Christians have for too long preached about hell as the Pharisees did, not as Jesus did. We have made it only about "them" then, not "us" now. It is a tragic irony that so many of us Christians have become just like the people Jesus most strongly opposed. I suspect Jesus doesn't find the irony very amusing.

          January 17, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
      • Dimsdale

        Astonishment is not hostility. But thanks for playing

        January 17, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
  17. meifumado

    Incidents of religious hostility are on the rise in all parts of the world except for the Americas, according to an international study by the Pew Research Center.

    January 17, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
    • Sue

      There's still plenty of it here to go around, unfortunately!

      January 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
      • God

        I created religion so that there could be more divisiveness in the world.

        January 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Gee, thanks. Sounds about like something you would do.

          January 17, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
  18. tony

    The earth is already proven not to be 6000 years old.

    If it were the case, the Sun's light that we see with on Earth would be absent for another 1,000,000 years or so.

    We know that because of what we have learned since the 1920's about nuclear fission and fusion. Nuclear power stations and atomic bombs work here on earth,. If the atomic theory was wrong, they wouldn't.

    January 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Using the sun as an example is confusing for those not familiar with the dynamics of fusion at the suns core. Sure we know it takes on average about a million years for photons released at the core to reach the suns surface and escape into space, but most people only understand that it takes 8 minutes for light from the sun to reach Earth. But you are right tony. If the sun began fusing hydrogen just 6000 years ago it would still be trapped below the surface and the sun wouldn't yet shine.
      If the Earth and all the stars in the Milky Way were created a mere 6000 years ago, and stars could somehow instantly shine, then all but 6% of the Milky Way would still be invisible to us. Light from 6000 light years distant would just now be arriving. We would have to wait another 94,000 years just to see the rest of our own galaxy and almost 2.5 million years to finally see light from our closest neighbor galaxy Andromeda. In such a universe where everything was created a mere handful of millennia ago the sky would be nearly totally black with a few hundred stars, no galaxies and many of the ones we would see today would be recorded as appearing suddenly in the past.
      But that isn't what we see and history isn't full of stories of scores of new stars popping up now is it? Instead what we see is a universe that is old, very old.

      January 17, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
  19. My favorite Christian arguments

    "You cannot prove God doesn't exist, therefore he does." Argument from Ignorance fallacy

    "I do not have to prove God exists. You have to prove he doesn't exist." Shifting The Burden Of Proof fallacy, Onus Probandi

    "The Bible is right because these quotes from the Bible say it's right" Fallacy of Circular Logic

    "Atheism is a religion/faith" Fallacy of Equivocation

    "God did it" Fallacy of the Single Cause

    "Here is a quote by C. S. Lewis" Fallacy of False Attribution/False Authority

    "I can feel the presence of God, so he exists" Mind Projection Fallacy

    "I prayed, and it came true" Regression Fallacy

    "That embarrassment of a guy is not a true Christian" No True Scotsman Fallacy

    "Atheists' mothers were hamsters, and their fathers smell of elderberries." Ad Hominem fallacy. Big favorite.

    "The majority of Americans are Christians. Therefore they are right." Argumentum ad populum

    "America has always been Christian" Appeal to Tradition

    "If you don't believe in Jesus, you will burn in hell forever" Argumentum ad baculum

    "Atheists are destroying America" Appeal to Fear, Appeal to Spite

    "Jesus is my personal friend and I get to spend eternity in a super-wonderful place" Appeal to Wishful Thinking

    "Atheists believe the universe just suddenly created itself out of nothing." Straw Man Fallacy

    Why all the fallacies? Because when you have absolutely no evidence whatsoever, you cannot make a real argument.

    January 17, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
    • Nope

      http://www.nobeliefs.com/fallacies.htm

      You just copied that from an evangelical atheist website.

      January 17, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
      • bostontola

        And LA is quite warm today, but what does that have to do with the correctness of the statements?

        January 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • Nope

          Unfortunately, atheists commit some of those same logical fallacies. I'm pretty sure no one seriously said: "Atheists' mothers were hamsters, and their fathers smell of elderberries."

          January 17, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • bostontola

          True, people of all beliefs commit logical fallacies. The difference is, the religious NEED to suspend logic for their beliefs to hold water.

          January 17, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • Nope

          I've never heard religious people make all those statements. I've seen religious people make exactly opposite claim of what the OP posted. I know religious people that have a firm grasp on logic and reason. That is an opinion your are expressing. You are not demonstrating logic or reason. I hope you don't think you are.

          January 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • bostontola

          Nope,
          People who adhere to their religion are forced to be illogical to cover for the false statements in their sacred books. The bible is wrong on creation and the only defense of biblical creation involves suspension of logic ( or saying it is not literal, in which case each person creates their own religion).

          January 17, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
        • Poetry

          Have I fallen into the MP Holy Grail movie?

          January 17, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
      • tony

        Hey, most Christain justifcations are just quotes from the wikible.

        January 17, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
      • My favorite Christian arguments

        Sorry, but I wrote that myself. Bit a bit of copying.

        What you did is the Fallacy of Lying.

        January 17, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
        • My favorite Christian arguments

          That was supposed to be "not a bit of copying."

          And if anyone wants to look at the link he provided, all you will see is a list of fallacies.

          January 17, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
        • bostontola

          They couldn't lie, that would be a sin.

          January 17, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • Nope

          I may have made a mistake about you lifting all of that from a fringe evangelical atheist web page. Sorry. Has somebody honestly said: "Atheists' mothers were hamsters, and their fathers smell of elderberries." as a logical reason you should consider Christianity?

          I'm Jewish and have had atheists say horrible things about me. Do you want me to paste out a list of logical fallacies and stupid things atheists say? Does doing something absurd like that seem logical in your mind?

          January 17, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • bostontola

          Nope, respect for standing tall.

          January 17, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • Fail...

          Don't resort to their tactics. Most reasonable atheists hate that kind of sh.t, 2.

          January 17, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
      • Former Xtian

        Hate to tell you this, but evangelical atheist is a direct contradiction in terms. It's an oxymoron. You cannot be evangelical and an atheist at the same time. Sorry but you fail.

        January 17, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
        • fyi

          Former Xtian,

          It's a stretch, but "evangelical" does seem to be used that way (it's way down at the 6th usage, but it is there):

          evangelical:

          6. Characterized by ardent or crusading enthusiasm; zealous: an evangelical liberal.

          http://www.thefreedictionary.com/evangelical

          January 17, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • Dimsdale

          Notice how you had to go all the way down to definition 6 to get that, but the religious definitions are elsewhere? Welcome to the Fallacy of Equivocation!

          January 17, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • fyi

          p.s.

          Maybe it's sort of a misnomer, though, to call people "evangelical" who post here (or elsewhere) simply to state and discuss their views and present some realism, or who even do some research to set up a web site with pertinent facts.

          January 17, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
        • fyi

          Dimsdale,

          I said it was a "stretch"... and I guess I was typing my p.s. when your post came up.

          I was just reporting where the usage comes from.

          January 17, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
    • panthrotheist

      the solution to all of this controversies is very simple,just study Panthrotheism,the belief that we are all part of God matterialy and spiritually.and that in the future He will give us the privillege of implementing His will through our consciouness as reflected in history,

      January 17, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • Fail...

      ...by "Association Fallacy" 🙁

      January 17, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
    • Vic

      The universe and we are here, science cannot empirically determine the "Origin" of the universe and life, science empirically determines that the universe had a "beginning" and is finite, then it is a LOGICAL MUST that the universe and life in it had a "First Cause" that is UNCAUSED and is outside the realm of the universe, its beginning and its time.

      January 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
      • Barry Christ

        Science does not say that the universe is finite as you describe. It says that there was an origin at the Big Bang, but that in no way meansthere was nothing before it.

        I think your post qualifies as a straw man.

        January 17, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • Vic

          It is a scientific basic that any change constitutes a beginning, hence constitutes finiteness. Anything that has a beginning could have not been out there for eternity/infinity to be eternal/infinite. Therefore, the universe is finite.

          January 17, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • Vic

          Furthermore, science establishes that the universe is ever-changing.

          January 17, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • Barry Christ

          That would be a relative beginning, not an absolute beginning. Trying to say there is one absolute beginning creates an infinite regression paradox.

          January 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
        • Vic

          'Infinite regression' is NOT possible. Regression is going back to a previous state, hence change has been there. Any change constitutes a biginning, hence finiteness.

          Furthermore, science establishes that the visible universe is corporeal/physical made of physical matter—which is finite by default—and had a beginning, hence, the universe is finite. The beginning of physical matter is absolute.

          January 17, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • Barry Christ

          That's why it's a paradox. And before there was matter, there was energy at the beginning of the Big Bang. What came before is unknown, but it was not "nothing."

          Do you realize that what you are saying in no way supports a God?

          January 17, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
        • Vic

          "Energy" is a thermodynamic entity that is in a certain form and is quantifiable, hence physical, hence finite. It has the ability to change from one form to another while being conserved.

          It is a common misconception that "energy" is metaphysical, it s NOT, it is physical.

          January 17, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • Vic

          Furthermore, ENTROPY is the mortality of this entire existence. It is the most outstanding proof that this universe is FINITE.

          January 17, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • Barry Christ

          You need to get your science from something other that a creationist website. You really have no idea what you are talking about. Entropy is not the "mortality of this entire existence."

          You keep changing the subject. It's really bizarre, because nothing you are saying even remotely implies a deity.

          January 17, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
        • Vic

          LOL.

          As a Christian, I beleive that "First Cause" is Almighty God, the Father, Son (Lord Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit.

          January 17, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • Vic

          LOL.

          As a Christian, I believe that "First Cause" is Almighty God, the Father, Son (Lord Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit.

          January 17, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • Righteo

          Argument from assertion. You are just making an unsupported claim. Got any evidence to provide a real position?

          January 17, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
        • Brad

          Vic, you stupid dork, google Gross Concept Error. You just made several of them.

          January 17, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Prime movers and infinite regressions seems about as implausible and as likely. Neither can be understood by finite minds. Why christards think that one is more plausible than the other is sheer stupidity through preconceived bias.

          January 17, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
        • sam stone

          "As a Christian, I believe that "First Cause" is Almighty God, the Father, Son (Lord Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit."

          Fine. But at least have the honesty to admit that this is conjecture, and that "creation" does not point to one creation story as being more correct than other creation stories

          January 18, 2014 at 5:39 am |
      • Sue

        Vic, your posts mostly amount to arguments from ignorance, and can be dismissed as such.

        What we can be absolutely certain of, on the basis of contradictory claimed characteristics, and for many other reasons, is that the god presented in the Christian doctrine does not exist.

        January 17, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • Brad

          That's a great way to put it, Sue.

          So Vic, who is this creator of yours? What is it like? It isn't the Christian BOMITS, so at least we don't have to bother referring to the loony Christian bible; that pathetic book should be tossed out anyway.

          January 17, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
    • Former Xtian

      All you have to do is google Kent Hovind and you'll find dozens more that even more hilarious. I really enjoyed the one where he was talking about how evolution was wrong and said, "You really believe your grandfather was a rock!?"

      January 17, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
      • Piccolo

        I credit Kent Hovind for opening my eyes to the ridiculousness and absolute absurdity of young earth creationism. I can't believe people still buy that nonsense.

        January 17, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
    • How I see your arguments

      "You cannot prove God doesn't exist, therefore he does." Argument from Ignorance fallacy
      I would say therefore inconclusive.

      "I do not have to prove God exists. You have to prove he doesn't exist."

      Why isn't the burden of proof on the person starting the conversation?

      "Atheism is a religion/faith" Fallacy of Equivocation

      But is it a conclusion?

      "God did it" Fallacy of the Single Cause..cause = process.

      Could there still be consciousness behind causes?

      "I can feel the presence of God, so he exists" Mind Projection Fallacy
      Subjective data. Not dismissed in medical data.

      "I prayed, and it came true" Regression Fallacy

      Why not piled in a "possible significance" category?

      "If you don't believe in Jesus, you will burn in hell forever" Argumentum ad baculum
      (appeal to fear?)

      "Jesus is my personal friend and I get to spend eternity in a super-wonderful place"
      Or subjective data again...what do they mean?

      January 17, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.