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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. Alias

    Romans 1 :29-32 “Those filled with unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hate for god, despite, proud, boasters, inventions of evil things, disobedience to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, unnatural affection, implacable or unmerciful nature: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death”.

    Now I have had the displeasure of meeting many a Christian and I have one to meet as of yet, whom according to this list, are NOT worthy of death. How many of us feel envy, wish to fornicate, boast or gossip? How many Christians are guilty of debating? Why every day some Christian is debating the word of god or his dogmas with me. Every day I am the victim of deceit and despite at the hands of some Christian verbally harassing me for my beliefs.

    January 19, 2014 at 11:53 pm |
    • Ting

      Yes, all are sinners. All die. Even devout Christians.

      January 20, 2014 at 12:01 am |
      • sam stone

        Sin is a religious concept, and does not apply to anyone outside of that religion

        Try this on for example: Hindus think cows are sacred, and eating one is sinful. Do you live by what they feel is sinful? Have you had a burger lately?

        January 20, 2014 at 10:30 am |
        • Ting

          Yes, all (Christians) are sinners. All die. Even devout Christians.

          January 20, 2014 at 11:05 am |
        • sam stone

          So, do you agree that a religion's concept of sin only applies to members of that religion?

          January 20, 2014 at 11:26 am |
        • Ting

          No.

          January 20, 2014 at 11:30 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          Ting, So you are happy to be judged by other religions based upon their "sins"? Bear in mind you've almost certainly sinned against hinduism and more.

          January 20, 2014 at 11:37 am |
        • igaftr

          So, ting, if you think your idea of sin, appllies to other religions, then theirs must apply to you.

          Why have you not appeased Vulcan by throwing a virgin into a volvano? It is sinful if you deny Vulcan his sacrifice.

          January 20, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • Ting

          Hindus can judge me all they want on my sins. Other Christians can, too. And secular humanists, spiritual agnostics, Jews, Muslims, etc. The only view that ultimately matters is God's.

          January 20, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          Ting, the point is – each religion has a different set of sins and each claim to be the word of god, so how do you know what god wants?

          January 20, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • Ting

          igaftr

          No. I don't think Vulcan is real.

          January 20, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • Ting

          Santa

          I believe in Jesus and what He preached. Sin are those things that separate me from God.

          "The Greek biblical word for sin, "amartia", means literally "to miss the mark", like an archer. Sin is not necessarily defined by moral wrongness, by transgressing some set of rules, but is instead doing anything that takes our focus off God (the target), onto ourselves, thinking we are the be-all-and-end-all. "

          January 20, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • igaftr

          ting
          so you are an admitted atheist...good for you.
          You prbably don't think the other thousands of gods are real either, except for YOUR god, right?
          So you are an atheist...you just need to realize YOUR god is the same as ALL of the others...man made.
          Sin does not exist.
          Morals do exist and are handed down from our animal ancestors to us...no gods involved at all.
          Morality exists, some of it was written into your bible by men, and called sin as if there were gods that were offended by the behavior.
          Since no one can show any gods exist, and sin is something against god, sin cannot be shown to exist, until gods can be shown to exist.

          I have never sinned. Since I do not believe in any gods, so I cannot offend that which likely does not exist, and that which I believe does not exist.

          Men create laws that we live by, men created your idea of sin, and wrote it into the bible...no gods required for morality guidelines that we live by.

          January 20, 2014 at 11:58 am |
        • Ting

          igaftr

          I'm not an atheist. I believe in God. Thanks for sharing your philosophy on the matter. It is not the first time I've heard that theory and I'm very familiar with Stephen Roberts famous quote of "I just believe in one less god..." on the matter. But I don't completely agree.

          January 20, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • sam stone

          ting: why not?

          do you feel beholding to the hindu concept of sin? how about the muslim?

          January 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
        • Ting

          I'm not sure what you are asking.

          January 20, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
        • Basically

          They are saying you are an atheist towards thousands of gods, and if a god exists who is other than your, you are doomed.

          So what evidence do you have that yours is right and everyone else's is wrong? Is it only the circular logic of "the bible is right, and let me quote the Bible on that"?

          January 20, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • Ting

          Basically

          No kidding. I know exactly what they are saying. I used to say the same kinds of things. I do what I feel is right. I believe in God. And not just because of a book. My evidence is spiritual in nature. And all physical evidence seems to point to something like a God in control.
          Jesus was big on grace, mercy and forgiveness. And I believe God is, too.

          January 20, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • Basically

          People of every religion say exactly the same thing.

          January 20, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • igaftr

          ting
          you believe in jesus and all he taught?
          then you should study the Buddha, since he said 90% of what your jesus allegedly said, he just said it more than 400 years later.

          Perhaps you should study the Buddha, since he is the source of your Jesus alleged words.

          January 20, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • igaftr

          error.
          buddha was 400 years EARLIER...my error

          January 20, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
        • Basically

          Earlier. Buddha was 400 BCE.

          January 20, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
        • Ting

          I have studied Buddhism. The believe in Karma, not mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

          January 20, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
        • igaftr

          ting
          that whole forgiveness thing is a line of bull.
          You have to do the immoral act of allowing someone else to take your just punishment, in order to be saved from all of your immoral acts?
          Clearly does not make sense.

          Still does not chnage the FACT that much of what your Jesus allegedly taught came right from the Buddha...different basic beliefs, same rhetoric.

          January 20, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
        • Ting

          Yea, the principles and concepts Jesus talked about already existed.

          But Jesus was not a copy of Buddha.

          January 20, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • igaftr

          ting
          That's right, he was a copy of Mithra and Horus, with Buddha's words added in for to bring him up to the principles of the time.

          January 20, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
        • Johnny Noir

          You believe in Jesus AND karma? So you have basically invented your own god and religion.

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

          I don't believe in Karma. I was saying Buddhists believe in Karma, but Christians don't. They preach grace, mercy and forgiveness.

          January 20, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
        • Ting

          Mithra and Horus? And Buddha?

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/06/better-atheist-fact-checking.html

          January 20, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • Fan2C

          Ting,

          Buddha taught a lot about forgiveness - he even told parables.

          Look up Buddha on forgiveness.

          Yeah, Karma is an airy-fairy belief too. Natural consequences are what occur from people's behavior, along with bits of random bad 'luck' or good 'luck'.

          January 20, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • Ting

          Yes, Buddha taught on forgiveness. And Buddhists demonstrate well how to practice forgiveness, in my opinion.

          Karma is not forgiving. Jesus is.

          January 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • Jimbo

          But Jesus doesn't forgive anyone who isn't in his fan club. He tortures them forever. Kind of a self-absorbed, arbitrary, and cruel over-reaction.

          January 20, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • Fan2C

          Ting,
          "Karma is not forgiving. Jesus is."

          The trouble is – there is no verified, nor even verifiable, evidence that any such thing happens.

          Believe it if it gives you comfort, just don't claim it as fact.

          January 20, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
        • Ting

          "But Jesus doesn't forgive anyone who isn't in his fan club. He tortures them forever. Kind of a self-absorbed, arbitrary, and cruel over-reaction."

          The Bible tells a story of God destroying evil, not torturing people forever. The people that choose evil and refuse to change will probably get destroyed along with that evil.

          Fan2C

          I have experienced Jesus' forgiving powers to be true in my life.

          January 20, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • Fan2C

          Ting,
          "The people that choose evil and refuse to change will probably get destroyed along with that evil."

          The worst EVIL, bar none, according to the lore, is not believing in and worshiping this particular triad of gods. A person could otherwise be a paragon of human kindness and virtue, but if he doesn't belong to the fan club, he's 'destroyed' forever.

          January 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • igaftr

          ting
          "I have experienced Jesus' forgiving powers to be true in my life."

          False statement.

          You have experienced things that you then attributed to Jesus, and disregarded all other explainations of what may or may not have occurred.
          Since you do not know if this Jesus character is even around, you cannot attribute anything to him and then believe it 100%, unless you completely turn off all logic in your brain.. There are likely many other possibilities, and when closely examined, none would indicate any man-god.

          January 20, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • Fan2C

          Ting,
          "I have experienced Jesus' forgiving powers to be true in my life."

          Are you sure that you haven't just forgiven yourself? Does Jesus actually speak to you... send you notes, or what? Does he tell you things that you don't already know? It's incredibly analogous to talking to and hearing yourself.

          Sure, self-forgiveness (and forgiveness of others) can be beneficial - if you keep it real; in fact, it's probably more noble than palming it off on some imaginary spirit's telepathic transmission in order to get in good with 'him'.

          January 20, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • Ting

          Fan2C

          No. Not all Christians believe like that. Jesus will be the judge, not the Christians. God doesn't want any to perish.

          igaftr

          No, igaftr I have experienced Jesus to be true. If I didn't I wouldn't believe.

          Sorry, but what you just described as what you imagine about me is just not true. And it is nothing I haven't heard before. You basically just described your personal misunderstandings about me. No big deal.

          January 20, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • igaftr

          ting
          Thank you for admitting your delusion.

          You do not know, that is the reason that faith is required. You CANNOT have faith, if you know.
          To say you know, despite knowing that it might not be so, IS delusion.

          January 20, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • Ting

          You misunderstand. I know God is real. I'm not certain everything recorded in the Bible about Jesus is accurate. I don't think I have to be certain. Some agnosticism is ok.

          January 20, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • Ping

          Buddha: If by giving up limited pleasures one sees far-reaching happiness, the wise one leaves aside limited pleasures, looking to far-reaching happiness.
          Jesus: The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

          January 20, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • Son of Ping

          Buddha: Then the Lord addressed the monks, saying: “I am freed from all snares. And you, monks, you are freed from all snares.”
          Jesus: He said to them, “When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “No, not a thing.”

          January 20, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • Machine That Goes Ping

          Buddha: With the relinquishing of all thought and egotism, the enlightened one is liberated through not clinging.
          Jesus: Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.

          January 20, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • Ting

          God's standards of right and wrong have always been known by the whole human race, so there was really nothing new in the moral teachings of Jesus. The problem is that none of us can be saved as a result of those teachings because we haven't lived up to them. Buddha has told us how we should live but he has no help to offer to anyone who fails to live up to the standards he taught. That is the difference between Jesus and Buddha.

          January 20, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • igaftr

          ting
          "God's standards of right and wrong have always been known by the whole human race"

          you have it backward.
          Men had morality, THEN they created your god and attributed that morality to hiim.
          Men have been doing that with their gods ever since they started inventing gods.

          January 20, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
        • Ting

          Well, I understand that is what some (not all) atheists believe. But I don't agree with your personal view.

          January 20, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • igaftr

          ting
          considering the FACT that men have worshipped THOUSANDS of gods, yet not one can be verified...
          considering the FACT that we know men create gods in response to his own ignorance (why is the ground shaking and the mountain smoking?...several gods created to explain volcanoes, Why does the sky flash and then have that booming rumbling sound?...several gods created to explain lightning)
          considering the FACT that men have anthropomorphised these gods, giving them human characteristics.

          With mans history.... it is most likely that YOUR god is the same thing. There is a LOT of history showing men creating gods...no history showing god creating men.

          You choose to believe in your god....considering mans history...it is just willful ignorance.

          Also...lets look at one more thing...if you are right and there is a god, and this god made everything, and he made satan....

          which one inspired the bible...god or satan.

          considering that belief in the contents of the bible has led to wars, attempted genocide, death destruction, faster spread of disease....

          then consider that there are currently 40, 000 verisions of christianity, and no two people interpret the bible the same ( chaos in interpretation)

          then consider all the things that are flat out wrong in the bible...

          considering all of the negative effects that the world has endured because of belief in the bible, would you not think that satan actually inspired it...considering the end result?

          Seems like something satan would do, right?

          The greatest trick satan ever did, was to inspire the bible be written, then convincing people (like you ) that god did it.

          January 20, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
        • Ting

          You sure do like to insist you know why other people believe things. You kind of are missing the mark in regards to my belief. But that is fine. Basically you just described why you don't believe in God. I personally have a different belief.

          January 20, 2014 at 5:45 pm |
      • sam stone

        Ting: How can you be certain what Jesus preached, given that none of it was written down until decades later?

        January 20, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • Ting

          I'm not completely certain. I have faith what he asks me to do is God's will for me.

          January 20, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
        • sam stone

          fair enough. peace be to you

          January 20, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • Ting

          Peace out!

          January 20, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
      • Geez ting Tang went to the

        Moon not ting

        January 20, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
  2. tony

    Christains catch and burn muslim civilians on the streets.
    Latest update fram CAR , Africa.

    January 19, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
    • The Gospel of Larry

      It's okay. As long as they believe in Jesus, they are forgiven and go to heaven. And the people they burned are going to burn in hell forever anyway, so it was just a head start.

      January 19, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
    • Dandintac

      If this were Muslims doing this to Christians, it would be huge front page news.

      I'm no fan of Islam–I think it's horrid, but Christianity is just as bad. The only thing keeping Christianity in check in the west is our secular governments and social values–such as separation of church and state, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, democratic governments, and so on. Christianity was tamed during the Enlightenment. Most Christians in the US live in accordance with secular Enlightenment values, and cherry-pick their Bibles for passages that conform. Then wrongly attribute their morality to their "faith".

      If Christianity were ever allowed to run amok the way Islam does in some Muslim countries, it would be just as bad. All one has to do is look at it's horrid behavior the last time religion was in charge in the Middle Ages. In a theocracy, it's always the fundamentalists–the Khomeinis of the world who float to the top. Then the moderates who supported the theocracy coming to power are bewildered as their beloved religion reverts to its real roots.

      January 19, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
      • tony

        And they are always the ones who want the biggest guns. (for self-defense of course.)

        January 19, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
  3. HouseArrest

    “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
    Jesus Christ

    January 19, 2014 at 8:21 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      I'm confused. Are you saying that Jesus Christ is the author, or did you use the term "Jesus Christ" to express your exasperation at the contents of the quote?

      January 19, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
    • Anthony Crispino

      So this guy Jesus advised that you avoid these big churches and knew how to help people lose weight? I shoulda lived back then. Sounds like a win win. But where did people go to place bets over there back then?

      January 19, 2014 at 8:50 pm |
      • HouseArrest

        I think they did their betting through off-shore companies.

        January 19, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
  4. Alias

    God says you can rape when you pillage:
    Lo, a day shall come for the Lord when the spoils shall be divided in your midst. And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city shall be taken, houses plundered, women ravished; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be removed from the city. (Zechariah 14:1-2 NAB)

    January 19, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
    • HouseArrest

      " This verse has Israel being defeated for turning away from God, and then God will come to redeem them. The r@pe described here is the disgusting acts of other nations, and God punishes them for it when he redeems Israel. Hardly condoning r@pe."

      http://debunkedevil.blogspot.com/2009/10/ra . pe-in-bible.html

      January 19, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
  5. Alias

    I love it when christians only accept part of their god's truth.
    I've been looking for the part of the bible that says it is okay to only believe in the parts of the biblr you like, but I haven't found it yet.
    Could you please help?

    January 19, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
    • Theology 101

      OT laws, like those found in Deut. and Lev. were given to a specific people at a specific time. They were not meant as universal laws.

      The reason they are in the Bible that Christians read is not because it is a list of instructions for them to follow. It is to understand what the people were like and why they needed someone like Jesus.

      Jesus was asked: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matt 22:36-40 (Amp)

      "The Golden Rule"
      So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. ((Matt 7:12 NIV)

      January 19, 2014 at 8:27 pm |
      • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

        Nope. Matthew 5:18. You know – the verse where Jesus says, I have not come to change the law but to uphold the law, and not a jot or a ti-ttle of the law shall change until the end of time.

        Old testament laws still apply.

        Or are you saying that the 10 Commandments no longer apply?

        January 19, 2014 at 8:31 pm |
        • HouseArrest

          "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17).

          Jesus fulfilled the law and brought new commandments. Basic Christian understanding is that we are not under OT law.

          That is why there is a NEW Testament.

          January 19, 2014 at 8:42 pm |
        • Observer

          HouseArrest,

          Isn't it the same perfect and "unchanging" God in both testaments?

          January 19, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
        • Dandintac

          Also, "fulfill" does not mean to change and throw out laws. It means to attain, realize, bring to fruition. Doesn't sound like Jesus changed any of the OT at all if he is "fulfilling" the law. Also, don't Christians usually argue that their God is unchanging? Also that his morality is objective and unchanging?

          If these horrid commandments of God were specific only to that time and place, those who compiled the Bible could have left them out. They understood they were still relevant.

          Finally, what about the Ten Commandments–if we throw out other passages in the OT–why not that also? Where is the part of the Bible that lists what passages you can disregard, because they no longer apply?

          January 19, 2014 at 9:48 pm |
        • HouseArrest

          The NT describes Jesus fulfilling the law. It was a curse. We are no longer living under the curse.

          Romans 10:4 (ESV)
          4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

          Galatians 3:23–25 (ESV)
          "23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a ..."

          January 19, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
        • The Gospel of Larry

          If you read the entire passage, you will see that not only does Jesus say the old laws are still in effect down to the last detail, he is actually making them stricter.

          January 19, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
        • HouseArrest

          The book of Acts says Mosaic Law was given to the nation of Israel (the Jews), not the Church. Christians have never been bound to those laws, because of what Jesus did.

          January 19, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
        • tallulah13

          But Christ was a jew. He's not the one who created a religion in his own name. Christianity is a human construct. Therefore, you are ignoring laws that apply to you simply because you choose to do so.

          January 20, 2014 at 11:35 am |
  6. Alias

    (Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NAB) If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife.

    January 19, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
  7. here is truth

    god only but-phuqued mary.

    January 19, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
  8. bostontola

    (CNN) - A Maryland mother stabbed two of her children to death and wounded two others while attempting an exorcism, authorities said.

    I guess some Christians didn't get the memo that we are no longer in the 15th century.

    January 19, 2014 at 11:05 am |
    • ME II

      How terrible.

      My first thought on any "exorcism" story is mental health issue, but there is limited info on this one so far.

      January 19, 2014 at 11:11 am |
      • bostontola

        Do you think belief in exorcism is more nuts than belief in Christianity?

        January 19, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I don't think there is such a thing as a simple belief in Christianity. Other batshit always seems to go along with it.

          January 19, 2014 at 11:20 am |
        • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

          That bit about the old guy on Sunday muttering Latin to turn some cookies and wine into the body and blood of a 2000 year old zombie? That's not crazy. Much.

          January 19, 2014 at 11:23 am |
        • bostontola

          Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it hard to tell the difference between what is real and not real.

          Exorcism is recognized by many Christians as real (as well as the Abrahamic God).

          January 19, 2014 at 11:26 am |
        • ME II

          @bostontola
          "Do you think belief in exorcism is more nuts than belief in Christianity?"

          Yes and no. Some variations of Christianity are less contradictory to what we understand about nature, e.g. theistic evolution, that being said however, some variations are just as unjustified as exorcism.

          My comment, however, was strictly on my first thoughts and with limited information.

          January 19, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • bostontola

          ME II,
          No doubt, it is very sad when a mother can be so disconnected from reality that she would attack her children.

          I still find it fascinating that religion is a form of acceptable segmented insanity. In most facets of life, the person has normal ability to distinguish reality and fantasy. Within the facet regarding God and its rituals, suspending reality is acceptable. With all the different Gods and rituals, it is a fact that most are not reality. As a society we give a "Mulligan" to religion.

          January 19, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • ME II

          @bostontola,
          No argument here.

          ... and it's getting worse?
          https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/19/italian-priests-see-interest-in-exorcism-rise-under-pope-francis/

          January 19, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • then there was

          the Christian sect a year or so ago who sacrificed a baby claiming it was the antichrist. the AP article said most of the group were college-educated... all nuts, but in what way?

          January 19, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • bostontola

          Emperor's new clothes.

          January 19, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • then there are

          the current worshipers of "Santa Muerte", a Catholic-based sect with followers supposedly in the tens of thousands, where some of the more extreme followers still sacrifice people occasionally.

          January 19, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • ME II

          "The Vatican has condemned Santa Muerte’s followers as a Satanic cult. "

          Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/exorcisms-battle-evil-mexican-drug-cartels-article-1.1581063#ixzz2qrjSc9zP

          January 19, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • bostontola

          Rosemary's Baby...fiction.

          SANTIAGO, Chile - Chilean police on Thursday arrested four people accused of burning a baby alive in a ritual because the leader of the sect believed that the end of the world was near and that the child was the Antichrist.
          The 3-day-old baby was taken to a hill in the town of Colliguay near the Chilean port of Valparaiso on Nov. 21 and was thrown into a bonfire. The baby's mother, 25-year-old Natalia Guerra, had allegedly approved the sacrifice and was among those arrested.

          January 19, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
    • Science Works

      And is the pope performing one is the latest article posted by CNN -now that is batsh!t crazy.

      January 19, 2014 at 11:27 am |
  9. Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

    Why does God allow children to be r-aped and murdered? He doesn't want to interfere with the "free will" of the rapist? Or he is powerless to stop it?

    January 19, 2014 at 11:03 am |
  10. anti atheist

    I think the phsyciatric term of that is atheistmaniac syndrome

    January 19, 2014 at 9:47 am |
    • midwest rail

      As soon as you typed the first two words, you were wrong.

      January 19, 2014 at 9:48 am |
      • Jake

        Ha!

        January 19, 2014 at 10:09 am |
    • anti anti atheist

      is not !!!

      January 19, 2014 at 10:42 am |
  11. hearties

    "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."

    This entire concept is repulsive, like news orgs rallying around spouses that leave without a word for a year or more and saying:

    "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."

    How sick is that? It's ill for sure. Very ill and unloving towards God, our creator.

    January 19, 2014 at 7:04 am |
    • Science Works

      Hey hearties was the funny bible around back then ?

      Large Landmasses Existed 2.7 Billion Years Ago

      Jan. 15, 2014 — Some 71% of Earth's surface is covered by oceans and 29% by land. The question of when large landmasses emerged from the oceans has always been hotly debated by scientists. New investigations by geoscientists of the University of Cologne in cooperation with the University of Bonn and the Jacobs University Bremen have shown that large land masses did indeed exist on Earth 2.7 billion years ago

      January 19, 2014 at 7:15 am |
      • hearties

        The bible is older than the article and those who wrote the article. God is older than the bible and he made what ever he wanted to make, when ever he wanted to make it. I'm satisfied with his description of what he did.

        January 19, 2014 at 7:24 am |
        • Science Works

          And the Fig leaf with the talking snake ?

          Like JWT said – MOM and DAD DID IT you know had se-x.

          January 19, 2014 at 7:29 am |
        • Forgetaboutatleast

          Why is your god a man? Why can't your god be a woman?

          January 19, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • hearties

          God is a spirit, not physical flesh. God can dwell within someone, spiritually. We all have a soul, a soul is spiritual. God can dwell within both male and female. The bible describes this, especially the New Testament. The New Testament is about Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the messiah, sent by God to die for the sins of others that believe him, repent of their sins, and do the will of God.

          January 19, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
    • JWT

      Your god is your creator and not mine. My parents created me. There is no need for anyone to embrace your version of a god unless they want to. What you think your god thinks is also irrelevant to anyone else.

      January 19, 2014 at 7:21 am |
    • Science Works

      Hey hearties

      Have you been in a self AWARE car yet ? Ones that can drive them self ?

      January 19, 2014 at 7:21 am |
      • hearties

        If the car is driving by itself, how will I get to work? I can't use a car that drives itself everywhere.

        January 19, 2014 at 7:38 am |
        • Science Works

          It has eyes in the front and back and it is freaky to seat in one as it speeds down the road guided GPS -NOT a ghost or spirits.

          January 19, 2014 at 7:51 am |
        • hearties

          I have not been in one, no. But nothing man does or makes can ever rival what God can do. They made robot horses, and the real horses are much better, and longer lasting. God is the creator, he did it best.

          January 19, 2014 at 8:02 am |
        • Science Works

          hearties

          Make sure to park your talking DONKEY at the curb then .

          January 19, 2014 at 8:07 am |
        • Science Works

          hearties

          drivers are going to become obsolete in the NEAR future – what will happen to supposed god then ?

          January 19, 2014 at 10:09 am |
        • hearties

          God will be loved... and anything else he wants to do, is up to him.

          January 19, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
        • Science Works

          hearties

          No need to explain but watch if you enough faith !

          MOYERS & COMPANY
          Neil deGrasse Tyson on Science, Religion and the Universe

          http://video.pbs.org/video/2365157823/

          January 20, 2014 at 9:39 am |
        • hearties

          I have more than enough faith, to not want to watch it.

          You won't understand unless you've been in love with God. I have seen the Bill Nye videos you sometimes post, and the Richard Dawkins, and others. They talk about what God made, then say nothing did that, without any proof what so ever, they just say it and claim people should believe them. I don't believe them, I believe God. God is the expert on what he made. God is a professional creator, he's been doing creation for, forever, big time, everywhere, in the biggest way possible, universal in size and power. God is way better than nothing at creating. Nothing doesn't do anything, ever, and we agree on that, that's what nothing means, nothing happens when nothing creates, because nothing doesn't do anything. That's why I don't want nothing. I want God, and Jesus his son that died for our sins and rose again after three days in the hands of sinful men, and the Holy Spirit. Read the New Testament in the bible and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

          January 20, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        There's a feeling I have, just a gut felling, that machines should never be constructed or programmed in such a way that they want things.

        January 19, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • Science Works

          my gut feeling is you will need a human to turn the key on for the want -hopefully.

          January 19, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • ME II

          Interesting thought, a desire-governor? That may be very hard to define, let alone implement.

          January 19, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • Science Works

          IT might be real close ?

          Guy Hoffman: Robots with "soul"

          Published on Jan 17, 2014

          What kind of robots does an animator / jazz musician / roboticist make? Playful, reactive, curious ones. Guy Hoffman shows demo film of his family of unusual robots - including two musical bots that like to jam with humans. (Filmed at TEDxJaffa.)

          {https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utV1sdjr4PY}

          January 19, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
        • Saraswati

          I'm afraid it's likely simply to emerge. Such complex systems will be largely generated without direct human input at that level.

          January 20, 2014 at 11:11 pm |
    • Forgetaboutatleast

      Your god created sin, which is very unloving towards mankind.

      January 19, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
  12. Trying Krishna

    Here's one. I've been trying Krishna off and on for the last year. I don't see him as a literal person that exists somewhere. I do see him as a symbol representing some ideas. I enjoy reading the symbolism and taking the parts of the religion that appeal to me. I enjoy pondering what if I reincarnate, not that I am convinced that I will. If you were to tell me Krishna does not exist well I'd agree with you to the point that I understand the nature of existence. Could I walk away from it and try a different god for a while, sure. Do I think my Krishna related activities are harmful, no.

    January 19, 2014 at 6:20 am |
    • Dandintac

      I think your case is different from Bell's. You are not so much trying on a religion as you are contemplating a philosophy. You are not believing or disbelieving a religion that demands that one believe certain doctrines in spite of any evidence to the contrary.

      More power to you by the way. As an atheist, I have no problem with seekers delving into the most profound questions of all, who are also not claiming certain knowledge based on bad evidence, and demanding that the rest of us must believe the same way, or burn in Hell forever.

      If you want to make any claims–I'll be glad to hear them and give my opinion on them though.

      January 19, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
  13. vende

    The atheist for not believing in the existence of God always use the argument of the absence of proof that there is really no God.The reality is that we exist for 200.000 of years as humans already ,and that is more than enough proof that we exist.Evolution,creationism,intillegent design or what ever scientific explainations is not necessarrily be proved to show that God exist,We are proof ,period.

    January 19, 2014 at 6:05 am |
    • midwest rail

      " We are proof ,period. "
      No, we are not. We may be evidence that you deem sufficient, but we are not proof.

      January 19, 2014 at 6:08 am |
      • mark my word

        when the future quantum computers of the Nautilus class will become a reality then you atheist will shut your mouth.mark my word

        January 19, 2014 at 9:20 am |
        • midwest rail

          Please cite any post of mine where I self-identify as an atheist.

          January 19, 2014 at 9:22 am |
        • Sigh

          Mark my word, is that proof for God? Especially when man will have constructed that computer?

          January 19, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Our existence doesn't point to a god, it merely points to the evolutionary process.

      January 19, 2014 at 6:31 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Humans exist. Therefor, Cedric, the giant invisible magical ground squirrel sneezed the first humans out. This is proved by the fact that humans exist.

      January 19, 2014 at 6:53 am |
    • vende

      i have a dream that God will physically appear in the future and summon each and every one of you atheists and Ask You ,Do you know me.? the God you deny,? then slaps you hard on the face,

      January 19, 2014 at 9:14 am |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Oh, no!! That would be almost as bad as him sending a person to an eternity of fiery torture!!! Dream something else, please!

        January 19, 2014 at 9:16 am |
        • vende

          i forget to tell you ,that in those dreams a certain Cpt Dubious or is it cpt. Obvious had his tounque cut by a scyth.

          January 19, 2014 at 9:28 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Sounds about right for a person who believes in such a disgusting god.

          January 19, 2014 at 10:45 am |
      • midwest rail

        So if someone disagrees with your "proof", you wish them physical harm ? Interesting.

        January 19, 2014 at 9:19 am |
        • concerned good citizen

          no its not God who will punish you,its me if I have the chance for disturbing the status quo ,and the religious peace of the world

          January 19, 2014 at 9:35 am |
        • Sigh

          If you attempt to lay a finger on me, you will experience wrath, all right. Your right and desire to believe ends when you attempt to assault a person who doesn't agree with you, concerned.

          January 19, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
      • JWT

        Ah dreams of harming others – i suppose there is a phychiatric term for that

        January 19, 2014 at 9:31 am |
    • Dandintac

      This is a combination of the argument from existence and argument from ignorance.

      Existence is insufficient evidence to conclude some sort of superbeing is responsible. We have solid naturalistic explanations for almost everything that exists. No god is required.

      If you are going to assert otherwise, you must provide some hard, verifiable, testable evidence for this. Otherwise, that which can be asserted without evidence can be just as easily dismissed without evidence.

      Thanks

      January 19, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
  14. hearties

    That would be horrible to try atheism for a year. It would be the worst feeling ever. I would be crying all the time. Who thinks up these crazy concepts?

    January 19, 2014 at 5:02 am |
    • hearties

      Instead, I'll take the sensible approach, I'll try loving God even more for a year. Because if the one crazy idea makes me feel awful to even think what he's saying, then loving God more, will for sure bring on big smiles. Now this is an excellent idea, I'm on it.

      January 19, 2014 at 5:16 am |
    • Dave Green

      You couldn't do it even if you wanted to. You think you could decide one day.."Gee, I think I'll try being an atheist," and *poof* you stop believing there is a god? Reality doesn't work that way. The best you could do is pretend.

      January 19, 2014 at 5:44 am |
      • hearties

        The feeling from what he's suggesting, is like being on a road trip, and someone you deeply love, has gone into the store to get something, and you decide it's a good idea to drive off without saying anything, for a year, just to experiment and see if you can do it. That's sick and repulsive. It's not love, it's deranged, inconsiderate, and thoughtless. If you love someone, you would never consider leaving them for a year, just to see what it's like. Even the thought of that concept hurts.

        Instead, do the opposite of it, love God more for a year, or the rest of your life. Sure, why not, I can do that too.

        January 19, 2014 at 6:01 am |
        • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

          No, it's more like going on a road trip by yourself, with your invisible, imaginary friend, and then one day saying, "hmmm, maybe I'll keep on my journey, but without my invisible, imaginary friend". You know the way that little children with imaginary friends grow out of that stage, as as they mature and learn more about the world and themselves they realize that, while their imaginary friend was nice to have when they were little, now that they have grown up a bit they don't need such things.

          January 19, 2014 at 6:56 am |
        • hearties

          God dwells within, and that is happiness. What he is suggesting is pain, death and misery with his nothing god. No thanks.

          January 19, 2014 at 7:15 am |
        • AtheistSteve

          "God dwells within, and that is happiness"
          You have something living inside of you? That's not happiness...it's a tumor.

          January 19, 2014 at 7:21 am |
  15. Skeptic Al

    I went to get a book on atheism at the store. It was in the religion, not science, section. What gives???

    January 18, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Atheism doesn't depend on science. Basically it's an opinion about religion.

      January 18, 2014 at 8:10 pm |
      • Bazza

        Atheism or agnosticism are the only logical outcomes of a scientific outlook on the world though, there simply isn't the evidence required to prove the extraordinary claims of the bible. That and plenty of evidence that contradicts it.

        January 18, 2014 at 11:49 pm |
        • ME II

          While I don't disagree with your position, I think you overstate the case that science can reliably make.

          January 19, 2014 at 11:00 am |
    • TheBBLT

      Atheism is religious in nature. My internet tv lists the Atheist Experience channel under religion, too.

      January 18, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
      • Justinian

        What category would you put it in? Is there a non-belief channel guide?

        January 18, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
        • TheBBLT

          It makes sense. Most of the show is about religion. FYI, there are a TON of Mormon channels on my internet tv.

          January 18, 2014 at 9:17 pm |
      • Lerry Jewis

        Interesting that some people use TV guide and bookshelf titles to do their thinking for them.

        January 19, 2014 at 12:03 am |
    • ME II

      It doesn't belong in science, that is correct, but I would have thought it would be placed in philosophy.

      January 19, 2014 at 10:55 am |
  16. Life after death

    Isn't it what we all want? Deities or no deities don't we at least all want "ghosts"? Our loved ones back? Our lives again, somehow? Well maybe the Ramones don't want to live their life again, but you know all in all I think that's why we come here.

    January 18, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
    • bostontola

      Life after death is extremely alluring to many, that's why people are suckered in.

      January 18, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Maybe, but isn't it the greatest lesson life provides us all? One way or another, we are forced to let go. Perhaps that is the point of life itself, to die, and to do it well and honestly.

      January 18, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
      • Life after death

        Ego death, happened to Jim Carry once, supposedly a nice psychological state to get to if you can.

        January 18, 2014 at 7:28 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Nature provides experience in clever anodynes. Only for the bold or foolhardy, but who can tell the difference. Who?

          January 18, 2014 at 8:34 pm |
        • Life after death

          Supposedly you can get to a psychological state like ego death without stumbling through a cow pasture at two am. There is an old saying, oz never gave to the tin man what he didn't already have.

          January 18, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I wouldn't know, but I don't expect it's an actual state of being, anyway. Maybe enlightenment is simply accepting experience exactly as it arrives. As honestly as possible. Facing the storm but searching for light and home.

          January 18, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
        • Life after death

          I just started reading about ego death and it's like the thought that who ever you care calling "you" or yourself is an illusion. Sort of. I haven't been able to wrap my head around the concept. Maybe due to lack of mushrooms perhaps.

          January 18, 2014 at 8:56 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I don't know if mushrooms would help or hurt such a discovery. There's no reason that we should have the luxury of feeling comfortable with any philosophical or metaphysical assumptions. If it's all illusion, then even that idea is illusion, yes?

          January 19, 2014 at 12:09 am |
    • bostontola

      Life after death is the ultimate " Get Rich Quick" scheme. People fall for them every day, There's a sucker born every minute.

      January 18, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
      • Life after death

        No hope with the NDE stories? Hit by a bus, see bright light and a tunnel, and so on?

        January 18, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
        • bostontola

          From Dumb and Dumber:

          Lloyd: What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me... ending up together?
          Mary: Well, Lloyd, that's difficult to say. I mean, we don't really...
          Lloyd: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
          Mary: Not good.
          Lloyd: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
          Mary: I'd say more like one out of a million.
          [pause]
          Lloyd: So you're telling me there's a chance... *YEAH!*

          January 18, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
        • Life after death

          Yep. Ironically I was just thinking of the "Two foot of butt crack" song a bit ago.

          January 18, 2014 at 8:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      No one really explains how life after death works. I am basically a finite amount of information. Over an eternity of experience that information is either entirely replaced by new information or diluted to insignificance. Either way, whatever I am now will not survive eternity, I would think.

      January 18, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
      • Life after death

        True. But hey our molecules don't die and we don't know what our consciousness "is" yet (maybe?) so it's worth it to me to keep looking.

        January 18, 2014 at 8:29 pm |
      • eveRY onE Dies

        An atheist was seated next to a little girl on an airplane and he turned to her and said, “Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.”

        The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger, “What would you want to talk about?”

        “Oh, I don’t know,” said the atheist. “How about why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?” as he smiled smugly.

        “Okay,” she said. “Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?”

        The atheist, visibly surprised by the little girl’s intelligence, thinks about it and says, “Hmmm, I have no idea.” To which the little girl replies, “Do you really feel qualified to discuss God, Heaven and Hell, or life after death, when you don’t know sh%*t?”

        And then she went back to reading her book.

        January 18, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
        • Life after death

          Well that's one thing I can tell you for sure, I don't know sh-

          January 18, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I hope that stupid atheist learned his lesson and I wonder why he would be so rude to begin with. That sounds much more like the behavior of a Christian, to me, though.

          January 18, 2014 at 8:37 pm |
        • Life after death

          Bad experience with Christians or shouldn't I ask?

          January 18, 2014 at 8:41 pm |
        • Observer

          eveRY onE Dies,

          Thanks for re-cycling an old joke that has a fill-in-the-blank for the passenger starting the conversation.

          January 18, 2014 at 8:41 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I have known many terrible Christians, but overall they tend to be kind and caring. Some atheists can be very nasty, rude, or dogmatic and 'fundamentalist.'

          January 18, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
        • Dandintac

          Very funny, but one could just as easily turn it around and insert "Christian" where you have atheist, and strike out "no" in front of God, Heaven etc.

          And it would probably ring more true. I've never ever had an atheist come up to me on a plane, bus, or elsewhere in public, or knocking on my door, and try to convince me of there non-belief, but I've had plenty of Christians do this, in every imaginable place and manner. So I'll have to remember to use the little wise-ass girl's comeback for them.

          January 18, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
        • Life after death

          Panthrotheism sounds interesting. I can't say I've heard of it before. Pantheism I've heard of. Sometimes I think time would have a lot to do with it. I wish I understood time. For instance you are here now and then you won't be but once time is gone, where did it go?

          January 18, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Wow,"eveRY onE Dies",THAT was simply mind-blowingly AWESOME!!I'm going to use that(if you don't mind?);I LOVE IT!!-THANK!

          January 19, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
      • nev

        in panthotheism,there is no life after death ,since we are all one ,reward for the good things and contribution for the betterment of humans is history.We struggle to be part of the good deeds in our life time ,for heaven exist in the memory of future humans for a long time to eternity.This was not possible in the past because there was no computers or any form of events storage in those times.But today your deeds will be known to your decendants for many generations to come.

        January 18, 2014 at 8:49 pm |
        • Life after death

          Replied in wrong spot. Sometimes I think the earth (the universe?) is one organism and I picture us like cells within that organism.

          January 18, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
  17. bostontola

    "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."

    Vic,
    I personally wouldn't ban the bible or creationism in public schools. They could be taught in a religious studies class on comparative religion.

    The issue is putting them in science class. That would be like putting a chapter about the Holocaust being a hoax in a history class, it doesn't belong there.

    Free speech is important but doesn't justify putting non-science in a science book or curriculum. You won't find aliens from Roswell in science class either.

    If you consider evolution a belief then you don't have a good understanding of what science is. You are enti.tled to that opinion, as much as anyone from the Flat Earth Society is enti.tled to believe the earth is a flat disc. Courts have determined that scientists get to determine what is or isn't science. A tiny percent of outlier scientists and lay people don't get to do that.

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

      I don't care if Creationism is taught in public schools. In fact, I'm against it. I just wish if we're going to continue to teach kids evolution, we have to stop teaching it as fact and second stop with the lies we're taught as fact.

      January 18, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
      • Dandintac

        But Topher, it IS fact! Evolution is an observable, testable, scientific fact. Evolution is nothing more than the word we use to describe the change and diversification we observe in our biosphere over time. Natural Selection is the best and only scientifically reliable theory we have to explain evolution. When I say "scientifically reliable" I mean that it has hypotheses that are testable, and have been proven correct through scientific testing and observation. There is massive evidence to support it. Furthermore, evolution by Natural Selection is a core scientific theory, and progress in our scientific understanding in all disciplines that spring from the field of biology are undermined when religion seeks to undermine it through politics.

        An equivalent would be like if people were trying to undermine plate techtonics in Geology through politics because it didn't fit in their religion, or people trying to say that Gravity is "just a theory" and we should "teach both sides" in the Physics classes.

        January 18, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
        • Topher

          haha. You're a funny guy. 😉

          January 18, 2014 at 9:39 pm |
      • Bazza

        No. We're not going to stop teaching science, particularly a directly observable thing like evolution because you don't like what it says.

        Further what you're doing by trying to prevent it being taught is irresponsible – how will future law makers be able to understand things like anti-biotic resistant bacteria if they think all life was created as is and can't possibly change or evolve?

        January 19, 2014 at 12:14 am |
      • sam stone

        you sure seem to think of "sin" as fact, gopher

        January 19, 2014 at 10:31 am |
  18. Forgetaboutatleast

    The fact that we debate the existence of god proves one thing – there is no proof that god exists.

    January 18, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
  19. 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 18, 2014 at 6:12 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.