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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. Krista

    Just because people cease to believe in God and involve God in their lives for a year doesn't mean that God will cease to exist or that He won't continue to love them and show them mercy and grace. Now a REAL experiment is if they could truly experience a Godless year. When the Source of love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness ceases to exist in their lives, then they would have a better understanding of a TRUE Godless life.

    January 21, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
    • A. Reasoner

      And of course, just because people believe in god(s) will not cause him/her/them to exist. If that were true we'd be overrun with the thousands of gods people believed in - all believing they were the true god(s).

      January 21, 2014 at 7:31 pm |
    • Dandintac

      But Krista,

      We ALREADY, all of us, live every year as a godless year. Most likely, there is no God. The universe we observe shows no evidence for the existence of a personal God, so there is no reason to believe such a claim.

      Thanks

      January 21, 2014 at 11:15 pm |
    • sam stone

      if people cease to believe in a god, that god ceases to exist

      just like the gods of ancient times.

      January 22, 2014 at 5:30 am |
    • urnotathinkerareu

      Just because people cease to believe in PooPoo and involve POOPoo in their lives for a year doesn't mean that PooPoo will cease to exist or that PooPoo won't continue to love them and show them mercy and grace. Now a REAL experiment is if they could truly experience a PooPooless year. When the Source of love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness ceases to exist in their lives, then they would have a better understanding of a TRUE PooPooless life......do responders to this really see the useless senselessness of what therof they speaketh....

      January 22, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
  2. russ williams III

    did they try ECT with any success? discover any lesions?

    January 21, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
  3. Keith

    I love reading the ignorant comments from the Christian fundamentalists.

    January 21, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
  4. tony

    I'll believe Ryan Bell is "trying" Atheism when he makes a continual years worth of committed and seriouspro-atheism postings on this blog. Otherwise I suspect he's just having religious doubts.

    How about it Ryan?

    January 21, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
  5. Famous person

    I am an agnostic, and have no stake in the game of "atheism versus believer." However, reading the comments here I am struck by how vacuous and self- referential the arguments of the believers are, and how thoughtful and grounded are those of the atheists.

    Sorry believers, as far as the current give and take goes, it's Science 1, God 0.

    January 21, 2014 at 10:20 am |
    • AE

      Haha. Good one! Science doesn't belong to atheists or believers. They both have proven they are capable of mastering science.

      “There may be a conflict between softminded religionists and toughminded scientists. But not between science and religion. Their respective worlds are different and their methods are dissimilar. Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.”

      – Martin Luther King, JR

      January 21, 2014 at 11:50 am |
      • tony

        Science doesn't "belong" to anyone. It just illustrates the real world which actually exists. Physics in the broad sense belongs to this universe. Maths may transcend even that restriction.

        Religion is just a series of feelings and guesses in someone's imagination. So each indivdual's version belongs to each individual's idea of it. Which is why enforcing any of it is bad news.

        January 21, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • AE

          Yea, "Famous person" suggested science belongs to atheists, which is absurd.

          January 21, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
        • Jake

          And you implied that people can be masters of science while at the same time, believing that people can walk on water. If you believe people can walk on water, you can't claim to understand science.

          January 21, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • AE

          The only way someone could walk on water is if it is a miracle, an act of God. The only being that can break our physical laws would be something like a god.

          So a scientist that understands that idea can master a science like physics, chemistry or biology. There is overwhelming evidence that this is true.

          January 21, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • Jake

          "The only way someone could walk on water is if it is a miracle, an act of God. The only being that can break our physical laws would be something like a god. So a scientist that understands that idea can master a science like physics, chemistry or biology. There is overwhelming evidence that this is true."

          Science is the search for the truth. None of us know everything about how we all got here. Anyone who takes a wild guess at how we got here, then stops looking since they already have decided on the answer, is not a true scientist. That person may be a scientist in much of their life, but they suspend their scientific views with concern to a belief in god. Science and god are not compatible since there is absolutely no evidence to support a belief in god and plenty against it.

          January 21, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • I wonder

          AE
          "The only way someone could walk on water is if it is a miracle, an act of God. The only being that can break our physical laws would be something like a god."

          Then this "miracle" needed to be done for each generation (at least), in full view of everyone. Why should anyone believe the thin 'reports' of it from a couple of ancient Middle Easterners?

          January 21, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
        • AE

          How do you personally cope with the fact that there are actual scientists who believe in God that actually know more about science and the scientific method than you? Like, if you decided to receive a degree in a field of science, most likely you will have a professor who happens to believe in God who will teach you what you need to know.

          People who believe in God do not all take a wild guess at how we got her and then stop looking because they think they already have the answer. That is just something in your imagination. It is not realistic.

          January 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
        • AE

          I wonder

          If you say so. If you don't believe it, you don't believe it. I have no control over that. I find it difficult to believe.

          January 21, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • Jake

          "How do you personally cope with the fact that there are actual scientists who believe in God that actually know more about science and the scientific method than you?"

          Given you have no idea what I do, I'm not sure how you conclude that they know more about science than me, but that's not the point.

          I wouldn't use the word "cope", but I explain why there are some scientists who claim to believe in a god in the same way that I explain how anyone could believe in such a wild idea. It is incredibly difficult for people to get over childhood indoctrination.

          And the fact that the vast majority of scientists are atheists (I believe it was in the upper 90% range last study I saw) further supports the idea that you can't be a true scientist and a believer at the same time. I would also remind you of the strong correlation between intelligence and atheism.

          January 21, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
        • Jake

          Well, I would say any way you can possibly define god is a wild guess given the infinite odds that even if there is a god, it's not what you think it is. So yes, I'd consider any belief in god to be a wild guess, by definition.

          January 21, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • AE

          It doesn't matter what you do. If you wanted to learn a new science (I'm sure you don't know them all), you will probably learn from a believer. And they all just don't stop looking for answers like you suggested they do because they believe in God.

          90% of scientists are NOT atheist. Try 40-50%.

          http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/

          January 21, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • AE

          "Theology" is a systematic and rational study of concepts of God and of the nature of religious truths. Not all are making wild guesses like you imagine.

          January 21, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • AE

          Ok, only 17% of scientists claim to be atheists.

          January 21, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • Jake

          92% don't believe in god, but that was in 1998 and it has steadily risen over time. They're probably a more recent study. Like I said, I thought it was over 95%.

          http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html

          No matter how you slice it, there is a strong correlation between science and atheism as well as intelligence and atheism.

          January 21, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • Science Works

          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 21, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
        • Jake

          This guy summed up my point nicely:

          Oxford University scientist Peter Atkins commented on our 1996 survey, "You clearly can be a scientist and have religious beliefs. But I don't think you can be a real scientist in the deepest sense of the word because they are such alien categories of knowledge."

          January 21, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • igaftr

          Ae
          "is a systematic and rational study of concepts of God and of the nature of religious truths."

          You do realize that your statement makes no sense in the slightest.

          Since no god can be shown to exist, your concept of god, is speculation, with a definition of "god" being different for each individual. Based on that there can be no systematic anything, and certainly not rational, since the "study" is from pure speculation. Also, using the word truth in regard to religion is an attempt to make it seem like it is not just wild speculation.

          January 21, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • Pete

          You can't hold a literal view of the bible and be a scientist. Like the folks at AIG who claim to be scientists, but start by pointing out that if their science proves the bible wrong then the bible is still correct.

          January 21, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Pete – You can't hold a literal view of the bible and be a scientist.

          AE Wilder-Smith could and did.

          <><

          January 21, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
        • AE

          “A scientific discovery is also a religious discovery. There is no conflict between science and religion. Our knowledge of God is made larger with every discovery we make about the world.”

          –Joseph H. Taylor, Jr., who received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the first known binary pulsar, and for his work which supported the Big Bang theory of the creation of the universe.

          “There can never be any real opposition between religion and science; for the one is the complement of the other. Every serious and reflective person realizes, I think, that the religious element in his nature must be recognized and cultivated if all the powers of the human soul are to act together in perfect balance and harmony. And indeed it was not by accident that the greatest thinkers of all ages were deeply religious souls.”

          –Max Planck, the Nobel Prize winning physicist considered to be the founder of quantum theory, and one of the most important physicists of the 20th century, indeed of all time.

          “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”

          –Werner Heisenberg, who was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics for the creation of quantum mechanics (which is absolutely crucial to modern science).

          January 21, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • AE

          Neil deGrasse Tyson debunks the idea that religious people can't be scientists.

          [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbvDYyoAv9k&w=640&h=360]

          January 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • Pete

          If you start with the position that the bible can never be proven wrong, then you can call yourself anything you like, but you are not a scientist.

          January 21, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • Science Works

          AE he does try not to laugh to much though .

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

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

          January 21, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • AE

          A person who believes in God does not necessarily take the point of view that the Bible can not be proven wrong. Not all Christians believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible.

          January 21, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • Science Works

          know where the elements of life came from !

          AE the elements of LIFE – stardust !

          Phosphorus made in supernovas, study confirms
          Last of 5 heavier elements essential to life to have stellar origin confirmed

          Phosphorus, a key ingredient in your DNA and bones, was originally made in exploding stars, a new study confirms.

          By Emily Chung, CBC News Posted: Dec 12, 2013 4:00 PM ET Last Updated: Dec 13, 2013 11:10 AM ET

          January 22, 2014 at 9:14 am |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          @AE.....I'm not sure how you interpret what DeGrasse says as a real support for your position but I believe this is what he really meant. You really need to hear this...
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2014/01/neil-degrasse-tyson-argues-science-and-religion-are-not-reconcilable/

          January 22, 2014 at 7:50 pm |
    • Vic

      Belief/Faith in God explains the Origin of the universe and life in it, hence God's Creation.

      Science is God's Natural Revelation of how His Creation physically works.

      January 21, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
      • Science Works

        Try again Vic.

        January 21, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • Vic

          Alright.

          Belief/Faith in God explains the Origin of the universe and life in it, hence God's Creation.

          Science explains how God's Creation physically works, hence God's Natural Revelation.

          January 21, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • igaftr

          vic
          It explains it? Barely. God created light...that's it...and you think that is an explaination?

          There are MANY creation stories...all explain it...none can be verified...not one.
          Explains it only if you don't want an explaination, and want to just accept the BS that is the bible.

          January 21, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
        • Science Works

          Vic so you are saying you have looked like you do now since the beginning of TIME ?

          January 21, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
      • Science Works

        Oh what the hell Vic here is how it work !
        \
        [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDwD8QLiC9s&w=640&h=360]

        January 21, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          This is an EXCELLENT video with a direct and understandable explanation of how stars and planets form and reform and live. die and simply exist. For me it discounts what biblical explanations are citing as the source of the universe's creation. This is EVIDENCE. The bible is NOT evidence but simply a "default" position when they did not have ANY other explanation. Thank god for science...pun intended.

          January 21, 2014 at 8:32 pm |
        • Science Works

          Thanks – I personally like how they throw the terminology in the narrative

          January 21, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
      • ME II

        @Vic,
        "Belief/Faith in God explains the Origin of the universe and life in it, hence God's Creation."

        Actually, I would say that the Bible asserts the origin of the universe, it does not "explain" it.

        January 21, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
        • fred

          God spoke it into existence "let it be" and it was. The Word of God is the key from origin to the Christ called the Word and in the end you will be held accountable for every word that passed you lips.

          January 21, 2014 at 9:09 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          fred, The evidence shows that the biblical account is not correct.

          January 21, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
        • fred

          In Santa we Trust
          Since the fist oral traditions were passed on to the present nothing has changed in Gods Word. Truth is truth and does not change. When "science" establishes fact beyond doubt that is contrary to the Bible I have no problem accepting it. There is very little in the Bible that has been proven false.
          Take the flood story. I would agree with the majority of the Scientific community that a global flood is not supported by facts. One must remember these conclusions are based on natural laws currently known to man. The flood story would simply be confirmed as not literal based on facts. The truth has not changed as the flood story has always been the key point of salvation and redemption which is the plan of God as expressed in the Bible to begin with. That is the greatest story ever.

          January 21, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
        • WASP

          @fred: "Since the fist oral traditions were passed on to the present nothing has changed in Gods Word. Truth is truth and does not change."

          ummmm i beg to differ, otherwise everyone would still be a jew. jesus was born a jew, he didn't agree with jewish teachings so he adapted them to be less strict.
          let's not forget jesus created the "new testement", thus your bible has changed................. A LOT.
          you can follow the history of the creation of religion. you can follow it as it spread across the region it started in, normally at sword point.

          you can see HUGE parts edited out, or bluntly just forged.
          i.e. "banned from the bible 1 & 2"

          January 22, 2014 at 7:52 am |
        • fred

          WASP
          "everyone would still be a jew. jesus was born a jew, he didn't agree with jewish teachings so he adapted them to be less strict."
          =>You are correct in that the teachings added a heavy burden on top of the truth they were originally given. This is what Jesus blasted them for on several occasions. Their teachings picked up a life of their own to where they were contrary to the truth as given. Jesus cleared up the self serving laws and traditions that the Priests added to the truth.

          "let's not forget jesus created the "new testement", thus your bible has changed................. A LOT."
          =>No, Jesus said not a letter of the law has changed and every law of the prophets will be fulfilled as he did not come to remove the law but to fulfill the law.

          "you can follow the history of the creation of religion. you can follow it as it spread across the region it started in, normally at sword point."
          =>Jesus said if you live by sword you die by the sword and to love your enemy.
          =>The truth has not changed but our civilization has changed. God always works with and through people where they are in life not where they could be or should be.

          "you can see HUGE parts edited out, or bluntly just forged."
          =>I don't see that. Jesus did say all the commandments can be summarized with love God with all your heart and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. When you do those two things you actually will not run afoul of any commandments.

          January 22, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
  6. tony

    All churches burn all the dollars in their collection plates, so the smoke of the money rises up to god – Just like it says in the Bible.

    SO you know your money you gave to god is going to god.

    January 21, 2014 at 10:10 am |
    • Jodi

      Somehow, religious folk have been conned into believing that giving money to a pastor equals giving money to god. In the Old Testament, people had only one place to offer sacrifices–the temple, god's abode. No temple, no way to get anything to god.

      January 21, 2014 at 10:31 am |
  7. mgc

    If God is real why isn't he registered with Homeland Security?

    January 21, 2014 at 8:29 am |
    • nev

      all registered members or operatives of the homeland security are all humans,therefore they are all part of God.

      January 21, 2014 at 8:41 am |
      • igaftr

        nev
        only if the one in infinity chance that you are right and there is a god.

        January 21, 2014 at 8:51 am |
        • bev

          yep, infinitely small chance

          January 21, 2014 at 8:54 am |
        • nev

          theres never was a period or instance in history that there was Atheism,it now exist not as a continum or as end by itself,but only a necessary variable to enhance religious evolution through the proven dialectecal process towards a synthesis-Panthrotheism

          January 21, 2014 at 9:11 am |
        • bev

          you know, nev, L Ron Hubbard had a much better plan for starting a new religion than trolling a blog with nonsense; you might want to start with a book

          January 21, 2014 at 9:17 am |
        • nev

          the evolutionary process here is unique,with the present internet interaction and the advent of communication and language translation system,the whole world will become united,it would be a collective effort for all humans to arrive to this consciousness willed by God for our good and survival.

          January 21, 2014 at 9:36 am |
        • tony

          The Internet is the result of initial "Intelligent Design" followed by natural design evolution. No gods involved.

          January 21, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
      • Science Works

        But nev there is planets from hell ?

        January 21, 2014 at 9:02 am |
        • nev

          tony ,the computer was made by man,man evolved from energy from the big bang who Was God Himself from the start .so man is part of God ,therefore Man is God ,and the computer is made by God,you came from God,but he willed that you deny His existence because He wanted you to be an atheist,the people He created to deny Him for a reason an purpose of inhancing the dialectical process of the birth of Panthrotheism

          January 22, 2014 at 7:32 am |
        • bev

          lol, that's pretty fruity, nev

          January 22, 2014 at 7:42 am |
      • tony

        Thor thanks you.

        January 21, 2014 at 11:44 am |
  8. Reality # 2

    As good students, you have read the reiterations of the "fems" (flaws, errors, muck and stench) of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as Rational Thinking makes its triumphant return all because of you!!!!

    January 21, 2014 at 7:35 am |
  9. o

    Taking pictures in cars
    of a donut on Mars
    and a penny, where
    we trust in God

    January 21, 2014 at 5:41 am |
    • Science Works

      A news flash little o – Rosetta woke up and is about to try and land on a Comet – and comets, asteroids and meteorites created our planet
      in the late heavy bombardment stage billions of years ago.

      January 21, 2014 at 6:37 am |
    • Science Works

      Oh by the way little o – that penny was made by minerals made billions of years ago ?

      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

      http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140115075414.htm

      January 21, 2014 at 8:02 am |
    • I wonder

      I wonder what trinkets China left on the moon?

      January 21, 2014 at 11:44 am |
      • Science Works

        But we have machines on Mars that have ...

        "We have determined that the rocks preserved there represent an ancient geological environment that was habitable for microbial life," says McLennan, who was selected as a Participating Scientist for the NASA Mars Science Laboratory rover mission. Adds Hurowitz, "Curiosity carried out the work in an area on Mars called Yellowknife Bay, within Gale crater. The rover fully characterized this environment in terms of its geological and geochemical relationships."

        http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209132442.htm

        January 21, 2014 at 11:58 am |
  10. hearties

    God is way ahead of science. A human brain consumes 20 watts of power (estimated) to do what it does. The best science has done so far recently, all the computers they could pack together at once, took about a trillion times more power to do the same thing the average human brain can do. So, when you think science is so far ahead, it isn't. And a computer can't raise from the dead either, like Jesus did, or pay for sins, like Jesus did, or give it's life for others... because it's a computer, duh! The computer has no spirit, and no life. Unplug it, and watch what happens, nothing.

    January 21, 2014 at 1:48 am |
    • sam stone

      sin is a man made concept. science has no way to pay for the color green, either

      the raising from the dead deal is man made mythology

      January 21, 2014 at 5:40 am |
    • Reality # 2

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors (e.g.Notre Dame, Catholic U, Georgetown) of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      p.4

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      January 21, 2014 at 7:43 am |
      • Live4Him

        @Reality # 2 : the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

        I thought you preferred reality to fantasy?!?! This conjecture ignores all the real evidence in preference to his imagination. For example, only SOME (i.e. rarely) of the crucified ended in such a manner. Usually, the crucified were buried by their relatives – which is why we have the evidence of a 'nail' (i.e. more like a spike) driven through the ankle bone of one crucified victim. They were unable to extract the nail and thus had to bury the bones (in an ossuary), with the nail still in the ankle, after the body had decayed. So, we have contemporary evidence to the contrary for the claim that all crucified would have ended up in a mass grave.

        Some people prefer fantasy-based conjecture to the facts.

        <><

        January 21, 2014 at 9:19 am |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          Unable to extract the nail???? Then how did they ever remove the body from the wooden cross? The removal of a "spike or nail" would be easy to do if attached to any ankle. Did they have to "pry" his feet off the cross? Probably none of it is true because it didnt happen.

          January 21, 2014 at 8:45 pm |
    • nev

      science is Gods will,everything ,matter ,consciousness and all the knowm and unknown forces in reality is Him,we need to shift our understanding of it in a holistic perception of our existence.We are still inculcated in an obsolescent state of mind,that now the atheists are highlighting in preparation towards a shift to panthrotheistic faith.

      January 21, 2014 at 9:01 am |
      • midwest rail

        Given that there is no such thing as panthrotheism, I'd say you've done an excellent job of trolling.

        January 21, 2014 at 9:05 am |
    • tony

      Then plug it back in and see what happens.

      Try that with a corpse.

      January 21, 2014 at 11:48 am |
      • hearties

        No, unplug it and try to walk around with it like we do every day. That extension cord will be huge, both in length, and diameter, because the number of computers they used was close to a million super speed computers going at once, the 4th fastest super computer complex in the world, how big is that anyway? And not just that big, 240,000 times larger than what they used in the simulation, is what it takes to match one human brain. A trillion times less power is what God did, and he packed our spirit, and his too to boot... us to heaven... through Jesus's saving ability.

        Anyway, get Jesus in your brain and go forwards with the best.

        January 21, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Yes, the human brain can do some things that computers currently cannot do, but computers are vastly superior for many tasks, the complexity of which improves at an exponential rate, e.g. chess programs, IBM Watson, etc.
      The issue is not that science is in a race; the knowledge we have shows that the creation myths are incorrect and that destroys the foundation of all religions.
      You have no objective evidence that Jesus rose from the dead, or that he "pays for our sin". You have no objective evidence of a god.

      January 21, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
  11. tony

    RE <<>>

    Trying to find the "origin" of the edge of a simple circle, or better yet a Mobius loop.

    January 20, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
  12. tony

    Without religion there would be no atheism, or the concept of it. In a world that, for example, doesn't have anyone believing, or even suggesting, that there is an invisible huge moon sized hand and arm holding up the the moon, there is no concept or name for anyone who does not believe that.

    January 20, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      g0d d@mn it!! Now I have to be an a-giant-hand-holding-moon-up-ist, too?!? W-t-f??

      January 20, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
    • Just The Facts

      If the devil did not exist, then atheism would not exist either. Imagine that....

      January 20, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
      • AtheistSteve

        What's a devil?

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

        Considering how many Christians make the devil out to be a deity, you would be right.

        Satan or the devil is a creation of the church. much like the concept of the trinity, borrowed and adapted from other religions, crafted to frighten.

        January 21, 2014 at 9:48 am |
  13. Brian Limond

    It's such a shame that athiests will never know true love.

    January 20, 2014 at 6:29 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      On what do you base that nonsense?

      January 20, 2014 at 6:31 pm |
      • Just The Facts

        Simple. For God is love. And atheist have not God...

        January 20, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
        • Observer

          Just The Facts

          "For God is love. And atheist have not God..."

          The second statement is true and has ZERO link to the first.

          January 20, 2014 at 11:00 pm |
    • Somebody's Attractive Cousin

      What's more of a shame is how the Falcons persistently fail, even though they have a terrific offense.

      January 20, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
    • deep thoughts

      there are some true things that some atheists come to accept as much as theists.

      like pi

      and truvia

      January 20, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
    • I googled

      Brian Limond athiest

      January 20, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
    • tony

      Nuns presumably fall into a similar category.

      Of course, it may well be that atheists, not having to share their love with a god, may in fact love one or more other people more fully and satisfyingly (for both) than a religious person.

      Certainly, you might quite reasonably love a partner or a parent more, knowing that you are unlikely to see them again after death.

      January 20, 2014 at 9:07 pm |
      • Just The Facts

        The only thing atheists know is "lust" (like two dogs in heat). And lust will send your soul to hell....

        January 20, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
        • Observer

          Jimmy Carter had lust. Guess he was an atheist, right?

          January 20, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
        • Catalogical

          Lol. Sure thing. Coming from the guy who said women shouldn't breastfeed because that inflames his lust, that's precious.

          January 20, 2014 at 11:04 pm |
        • Just The Facts

          Cathological… Just like an atheist….

          Why do atheists always tell lies? Answer: 1) Because if they told the truth they'd have no argument. 2) They have no God to keep them moral, and nothing to constrain them to keep them honest, so why not tell lies…

          January 20, 2014 at 11:12 pm |
        • Observer

          Just The Facts

          "They have no God to keep them moral"

          Why would they want a God to tell them to support slavery and beating helpless children with rods?

          January 20, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Yeeeaaahhh....when I think of more atheistic countries like Ja.pan and Norway, "lust" is the first word that pops to mind...

          January 20, 2014 at 11:22 pm |
        • FYI

          Just The Facts
          "The only thing atheists know is "lust""

          If you think that I "lust" for my children, or my parents, or my siblings or all other people that I love, you are a dirty-minded, bitter old witch. Go suck a lemon.

          January 20, 2014 at 11:58 pm |
    • doobzz

      It's a shame that you believe the lies that someone's been telling you.

      January 20, 2014 at 11:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      It's amusing that christians will fall to their knees and believe this self-loathing "we are all sinners" tripe

      January 21, 2014 at 5:42 am |
  14. tony

    Don't put words into Atheists mouths. Only the religious make claims about gods. Atheists make no claims.

    January 20, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Then you acknowledge that God is a possibility?

      January 20, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        God is as "possible" as any other invisible and undetectable and irrelevant idea....like unicorns. So yes, god is possible and any other invisible and undetectable idea is possible.

        January 20, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
        • l33ter

          Cpt.,

          Play fair:

          A singularity is as "possible" as any other invisible and undetectable and irrelevant idea....like unicorns.

          Hmm?

          January 20, 2014 at 7:32 pm |
        • Dandintac

          l33ter,
          "A singularity is as "possible" as any other invisible and undetectable and irrelevant idea....like unicorns."

          Actually singularities ARE detectable and measurable, unlike unicorns or gods. Try again.

          January 20, 2014 at 8:06 pm |
        • l33ter

          Dandi,

          That was too shallow for you. Let's try again. What spawned the singularity from nothingness?

          January 20, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          We don't know but that is not evidence for a god – it is just lack of evidence of what caused the big bang.

          January 20, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
        • l33ter

          Santa,

          You are correct But the point is that nothing can be dismissed as fairy tale or invisible. Even Hawking expressed that no reality is more valid than any other and that science is just best possible guess. Just because we have no scientific metric to define God doesn't necessarily mean the notion can be dismissed. Likewise, we know the universe as a vast plethora of discovery that at first was entirely unknown. Yet through discovery we found many things that were invisible to the naked eye and still have yet to discover even more.

          Probably just as important as BBT is the advent of new discoveries like those of the planck project where BTT and inflation do not match the data. Science will be challenged. Will it be dogmatic? The new Magellans will face sharp critics and peer review.

          January 20, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          There is no evidence of a personal god; pre-big bang a god is one of a myriad of possibilities. We have inherited the tendency to attribute unknowns to the acts of a god.

          January 20, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          l33tr,

          A "singularity" is an explanation for a mathematical an@moly that arises from study of the natural world. It merely means that the temperatures and pressures present create effects which defy our ability to measure or predict the "behavior" of the space where that state is present.

          You are correct, though. At this point, we have no way to measure what is occurring in a singularity, we simply know that they exist in some manner at certain points in space that meet certain criteria.

          Frankly, I don't give a sh!t who believes in singularities. Do you? I could understand if I told you that if you didn't believe that the singularity was going to torture you with never-ending fire for all eternity. Then, you might have a reason to call me a fruitcake. And if I thought laws and society should bend to my views because of my beliefs about singularity, you'd be justified in calling me every name in the book, wouldn't you?

          January 20, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
        • l33ter

          Cpt.,

          You definitely need a hug.

          This blog is useless unless people use to learn different views. You obviously have issues with the religious mantra. So religion aside, how do you believe the universe came into being? And no, I don't think you a fruitcake.

          January 20, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
        • l33ter

          Santa,

          Awesome response. In days of yore many folks could not explain celestial events (ellipses, comets, etc) which were attributed to supernatural forces. A singularity can be thought of as unexplainable physics or where conventional physics do not apply (which can translate to we don't know what the heck is happening). "The" singularity is perhaps one that is most difficult to understand as the cause cannot be scientifically observed.

          January 20, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
      • Dandintac

        L4H, most atheists, myself included, certainly acknowledge that some sort of a God is a possibility, but possible also, is the claim that alien beings are walking among us. But I don't believe either claim, because there is no persuasive evidence for either.

        Do YOU believe aliens walk among us? Why or why not?

        January 20, 2014 at 11:48 pm |
      • G to the T

        "Then you acknowledge that God is a possibility?" Yes and no. Yes because I believe a "god" is a possibility, no because when you say "God" instead of "god" you are assuming a particular god, Yahweh. And I don't believe that god exists based on the evidence so far provided.

        January 21, 2014 at 8:06 am |
    • Russ

      @ tony: saying there are no gods is still a theological statement (if not ostensibly a 'doctrinal' claim).

      January 20, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Being asymptomatic is still a sign of illness (if not ostensibly a "doctoral" claim).

        Fun with semantics! Wheeeeee!

        January 20, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Doc: extend that analogy...
          if a DOCTOR is making the claim that you are "asymptomatic' but still sick, then yes that certainly is a medical claim (despite the bad pun you intended on 'doctrine'?).

          by the same token, an atheist is making a theological claim in saying "there are no gods" – and most atheists admit it in recognizing the difference between so-called "strong" & "weak" atheism.

          January 20, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Russ, this is how you can tell you're viewpoint is wrong.

        If a society did not have any idea of "unicorns," then no one would know that they didn't believe in unicorns. Same with god. If no one believed in god, no one would have any idea that they didn't believe in god. Thus, the atheist is not making a "claim" in the same way that the unicorn believer or the god believer is. The atheist is simply rejecting the popular notion.

        You're welcome.

        January 20, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
        • Somebody's Attractive Cousin

          'Your' viewpoint (I agree with you though, I'm just annoyingly fastidious).

          January 20, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Cpt Obvious: you have couched the conversation in a negative light by choosing "unicorns." change your analogy to the moon. what would you call people who believe there is no moon? are they making lunar claims or not?

          "theology" = literally "a word about God"
          atheists are certainly saying a word about God.

          doctrine = "A principle or body of principles presented for acceptance or belief, as by a religious, political, scientific, or philosophic group; dogma."
          atheists certainly make doctrinal statements.

          January 20, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Yeah, and I have to correct that error more than I should (before posting). It's an easy mistake for me to make...both ways, for some reason... Thanks.

          January 20, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Russ, stop the foolishness. I am not "couching" anything in any negative perspective. We're talking about things that are invisible, undetectable, and seemingly irrelevant. THAT'S the connection, nothing else.

          My argument stands, moron. Read it again, if it'll help.

          January 20, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          That God is irrelevant is a metaphysical claim.

          January 20, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          That's why I said "seemingly" because we can't tell if god is or isn't irrelevant, but it sure seems that way and there's no evidence to counteract that proposition.

          January 20, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
        • René Magritte

          This is not a statement about God.

          January 20, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Cpt Obvious; even saying "we can't know" is definitively saying something about the nature of God and therefore theological. it requires at least enough knowledge to preclude the possibility of what we *can* know.

          again, i think you need to note the difference many of your colleagues in atheism have already made in the distinction between "strong" & "weak" atheism. at least the "weak" atheist recognizes a metaphysical claim is inherently being made (as TTTOO pointed out).

          and note well: many religions are making historical claims (God acting in space & time) – thereby NOT undetectable/invisible/etc. the most basic of these is *existence itself* – the definition of tangible for the materialist.

          January 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
        • Dandintac

          Russ,

          With regards to this sentence: "...you have couched the conversation in a negative light by choosing "unicorns." change your analogy to the moon."

          The reason why we atheists use examples like unicorns, fairies, elves, etc., is that they are all invisible, and undetectable in any way, yet they are claimed to exist. Almost anything that fits this description is bound to come across as negative. Why? Because they are obviously unreal–invisible, undetectable in any way, and found only in old stories. Therefore only children and naive adults believe in them. We atheists see no difference between these other mythical creatures and the claims of a god. If you understand this, you might understand why we see God in the same negative light that you see unicorns.

          Regarding the moon, that would be a poor analogy. We can SEE the moon. It is also detectable through the tides. We have sent men to the moon as well as multiple probes. We have even brought rocks and soil samples back. God however, remains undetectable–just like unicorns.

          January 20, 2014 at 6:18 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Dandintac:
          you are comparing apples & oranges here. do you believe you are not making a metaphysical claim? even Nietzsche said: "it is STILL a metaphysical faith that underlies our faith in science" (my emphasis).

          there's a reason science engages in "methodological naturalism" & NOT "philosophical naturalism." the former carefully avoids making the metaphysical leap of faith that the latter inherently makes (and you are making). you are conflating the two. and it's why you are giving a critique that equally applies to your own position, but you seem to be unaware that it does.

          January 20, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
        • Dandintac

          Russ, NO!

          My comparison–supernatural being compared to supernatural being is much closer than yours–supernatural being to physical, observable, inanimate object. If you want to call mine "apples to oranges"–fine. They are still fruits, come from trees, are about the same size, have a peal or rind, are edible, nutritious, delicious, etc. Your comparison is dramatically different. It's not apples to oranges, it's more like apples to granite rocks. So I think my comparison much more to the point.

          Now–what metaphysical claim do you believe I am making? And regarding a "leap of faith"–to some degree everyone must at least make that leap and assume we have reason, that the universe is knowable, that math works, that our observations can give us at least provisional knowledge, etc. If anyone cannot at least make those leaps–they may as well sit in a corner and drool, and there's no point trying to have a rational discussion with them.

          But not all leaps of faith are equal. Some are more justified than others, some are smaller and some are enormous, and a taking a "leap of faith" for something like reason is not the same thing that a Christian means when they say something like "nothing can shake my faith in Christ!"

          If we cannot both agree at least that we have reason–what reasons could one possibly argue? If that's where you want to stand, then the conversation is over–go off and drool somewhere. So can we agree that we have reason?

          January 20, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I agree that it is metaphysical, but the results are pure knowledge as proved by their predictive power and the evidence of their application in the physical world. NO style of spiritualism provides anything like the predictive and proven power of the scientific method. You spiritualists have ZERO power to show how one spiritual claim is more or less powerful or accurate than any other. So you fail in the most fundamental way possible.

          And you shouldn't lie. I said nothing about the ABILITY to know, I said that the claim was that we DON'T currently know. I can't understand why you think lying is a decent tactic for your missionary work, here.

          January 20, 2014 at 10:17 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Dandintac:
          1) your response proves you are not hearing my critique.

          take a philosophical analogy of a house: we are arguing about the foundation, but you keep appealing to the walls. science as science does *not* make the claims you do. when you use it to make explicitly metaphysical claims, you fail to comprehend that you are no longer doing science. you are making naturalistic assumptions about the universe which science carefully avoids making.

          now, the exception is when we are BOTH discussing scientific data (i.e., archeology, biblical scholarship about manuscript dates, etc.). but when you BEGIN by conflating science with naturalism (or any other philosophical claim BEYOND science), you are doing metaphysics & calling it 'physics'. for example, you say "there's no tangible evidence for God," which readily ignores the single *greatest* piece of evidence: existence itself. you have filtered out the data according to your presuppositions. you can claim i have done the same – but now we are BOTH talking about the foundation, and NOT the data. your examples fail to recognize that distinction.

          i am talking about your presuppositions. you are talking about mine. but when you reference my presuppositions and compare them with scientific data as though they are in the same category, it's clear you are unaware of the distinction. again, i'd encourage you to google the difference between methodological & philosophical naturalism. the latter (apparently your position) is a huge leap of faith (as the Nietzsche quote i gave last time points out) – something you are denying you are doing. and your failure to recognize that is why your critique is the pot calling the kettle black.

          and note well: theists are not alone in leveling this critique. for example, Thomas Nagel has lowered the boom on this sort of materialist naturalism as deeply flawed. just look up a good review of his book: "Mind & Cosmos."

          2) i agree. not all leaps of faith are equal.

          consider the mathematical improbability of our existence. i think it takes a much LARGER measure of faith to hold your position. Hawking & company have recognized this gargantuan problem and have tried to address it through the "improbability" of chaos theory & quantum physics. i find that highly ironic (since the same groups often claim the miracles are 'improbable' and thus filter out any such data as it comes to them) and even more problematic as an explanation of existence.

          So does Alvin Plantinga:

          "Consider an example. You play a rubber of bridge involving, say, five deals. The probability that the cards should fall just as they do for those five deals is tiny—something like one out of ten to the 140th power. Still, they did. Right. It happened. The improbable does indeed happen. In any fair lottery, each ticket is unlikely to win; but it is certain that one of them will win, and so it is certain that something improbable will happen. But how is this relevant in the present context? In a fit of unbridled optimism, I claim that I will win the Nobel Prize in chemistry. You quite sensibly point out that this is extremely unlikely, given that I have never studied chemistry and know nothing about the subject. Could I defend my belief by pointing out that the improbable regularly happens? Of course not: you cannot sensibly hold a belief that is improbable with respect to all of your evidence."

          January 21, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Cpt Obvious:
          1) you are appealing to "predictive" power, but that is entirely based upon your *presupposition* which – by definition – has NOTHING to do the evidence. it was taken as a given. and NOTE: scientists who disagree with you (as theists) claim the exact opposite (that nature's predictive 'rules' are evidence of order given by something greater than 'randomness').

          read what i wrote to dantic above. you also are conflating science with your metaphysical presuppositions (in assuming that theists cannot equally make the same sort of claims from *the same* data).

          2) no, i'm not lying. you said (and i quote) "...we can't tell if god is or isn't irrelevant..."
          but that's the entire debate. you ARE making a claim: that we cannot tell – but that's begging the question here since your opponents are claiming the exact opposite.

          January 21, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
        • Dandintac

          Russ,

          What metaphysical claim am I making? I don't believe I've made any at all. Is it possible you are actually responding to someone else?

          As far as the comparison, you are complaining that comparing two supernatural invisible beings is unfair, and that a more apt comparison is a supernatural being with a physical inanimate object. You have not made the case that this is a better analogy.

          Regarding leaps of faith–you and I both need to make the same leaps of faith–that reason works, the universe is knowable, etc.–otherwise we could not be having this discussion. However, you are demanding that an additional presupposition must be made and put on the same plane as the others–but this is not the case. I reject your claim of a god for lack of evidence. But if you on the other hand, dare to reject reason, and the presupposition that the universe is knowable, then we really don't have anything to talk about. If you don't believe in reason, then what reasons could I use? Do you accept reason and a knowable universe or not?

          January 22, 2014 at 1:06 am |
        • Russ

          @ Dandintac:
          1) are you not reading what i'm writing? seriously, google the difference between "methodological naturalism" (the operating basis for science) & "philosophical naturalism." i've given you several ATHEIST critiques pointing out how problematic this is, yet you continue to avoid engaging that criticism.

          2) your resulting comments and analogies (having failed to engage the initial point of criticism) only further demonstrate you are not hearing the critique – and continue to talk about the "walls" instead of the "foundation."

          for example, you are comparing our mutual assumption that reason works. however, your apparent presuppositional assumption that the universe is arbitrary runs directly contrary to that assumption. the idea that there is a Supreme Being/force/God/etc who made reason more readily comports with that reality. that's a HUGE point of division *prior* to a mutual assertion (that reason works). you want to build your argument on that secondary basis without having addressed the primary foundation.

          here's richard dawkins on the arbitrary nature of the universe as he sees it:
          "In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference."

          why assume reason 'works' within such a paradigm (where the primary assumption is randomness)? in your paradigm, it's an assumption directly at odds with your foundation.

          January 22, 2014 at 10:33 am |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          View the latest...
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2014/01/neil-degrasse-tyson-argues-science-and-religion-are-not-reconcilable/

          January 22, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        • Russ

          @ urnotathinker:
          according to the article here, degrasse tyson makes some of the same philosophically shallow errors that hawking & others have made. while he may be a brilliant scientist, philosophy & theology are well outside his expertise and it shows.

          examples:
          1) he assumes all biblically minded Christians are articulating a "God of the gaps" position. while that's a convenient caricature (which allows them to be easily dismissed), that is not true. and it also demonstrates the second point...

          2) he seems unaware of his own metaphysical presuppositions (as an apparent naturalist). he speaks of "objective realities" (which necessarily appeals to an underlying philosophical premise) while not admitting that science employs "methodological naturalism" but NOT "philosophical naturalism." he certainly appears to conflate the two. the former carefully avoids making metaphysical claims while the latter openly makes the naturalist's leap of faith (pitting religion against science).

          at least in regard to this discussion, what he is calling science is actually naturalism. science per se has no comment on the metaphysical arena. he is clearly making that comment, especially in his manner of exclusion... which leads to my third point...

          3) "i'm not going to allow you in the science classroom." here is where he fails his *own* field's self definitions. 'methodological naturalism' certainly operates *as if* there is nothing else (and hence excluding those options) but it also necessarily – in distinguishing itself from philosophical naturalism – holds open the door to other metaphysical systems. it is an admission of humility (science recognizes it is limited if it attaches itself uniquely to one philosophical system which later could be proven to have been mistaken).

          degrasse is closing the door where science purposefully does not.
          a) it means he will filter out data contrary to his presupposition (again, which is a *metaphysical* presupposition – one which *by definition* is taken ON FAITH / as a given / prior to scientific data).
          b) he is defining "objective reality" without admitting that requires doing metaphysics, and thus hypocritically excluding others for doing the *same thing* he is doing.

          January 22, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
        • Dandintac

          Russ,

          Since you know so much more about science than either Dr. Stephen Hawking or Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, could you deign to answer a few questions?

          1) Exactly at what point does Tyson say "all Christians" use a God of the Gaps argument? He clearly says "if you go down that road" which indicates that not everyone makes this argument. You are claiming that people say things that they do not. You create false arguments, sometimes towering edifices–on your own, by taking a few points the other side makes and adding all sorts of things that they never said. Do you deny that many Christians use "God of the gaps" arguments? How else would you characterize O'Reilly's ignorant comments about tides–to which Tyson was specifically responding to?

          2) He "appears to conflate the two". Okay–HOW? I cannot see clearly where you explain exactly how–you just assert that he does. You did the same thing with me–accused me of doing this, but not explaining how.

          3) It could well be that they are employing Philosophical Naturalism in their outlook. And it is true that I am a Naturalist in that respect also. SO WHAT? Is this some sort of taboo philosophy–off limits? It is a natural and reasonable way to see the world if you are a scientist and respect the scientific method. In fact, I have a hard time seeing how one could NOT be a Naturalist in both philosophy as well as method. You seem to take the stance that it is somehow illegitimate. When actually employing science itself to study something–like in an experiment, one can stay within the boundaries of what you call Methodological Naturalism, but the two types of Naturalism go hand-in-hand, and I don't think you can separate them so easily, especially in discussions of this sort.

          And yes, science DOES close the door on that which cannot be tested.

          January 22, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
        • Dandintac

          Russ,

          You are babbling on about philosophy so much, and go on about people employing Philosophical Naturalism as if it's illegitimate or even relevant.

          I think it would be helpful for every concerned on this thread if we simplify this whole argument, because I think we are dancing around it.

          Russ–do you claim there is a god? Yes or no? If yes, please provide a brief definition of your god–one short paragraph will do–then please list the evidence for your god claim.

          If you cannot or will not do this–you are wasting everyone's time.

          January 22, 2014 at 9:39 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Dindantic:

          I did not claim to know more about *science* than Hawking or Tyson. i simply pointed out that they were making rather elementary philosophical blunders. and i'm not alone in claiming that. as i've already said here today, Thomas Nagel is one prominent atheist who has levied this same critique. Hawking's book "Grand Design" received resounding criticism from a wide variety of sources, though i think i like the ironic twist the Economist's review gave it the best: "Once upon a time it was the province of philosophy to propose ambitious and outlandish theories in advance of any concrete evidence for them. Perhaps science, as Professor Hawking and Mr Mlodinow practice it in their airier moments, has indeed changed places with philosophy, though probably not quite in the way that they think."

          1) did you read the linked article urnotathinker posted above? the headline alone ("Tyson argues science and religion are not reconcilable") would have warranted my reply, but reading further into the article, note these quotes:
          "Tyson argues science and religion are not compatible"
          "I have essentially zero confidence that there would be fruitful things to emerge from the effort to reconcile them."
          "If you have a religious philosophy that is not based in objective realities..."

          there is a laundry list here of things to cover, but since you think i'm dancing, let's keep it on the main issue: it is not science that is the problem. science is not at odds with religion. it is his metaphysical presuppositions (which dictate what he believes to be "objective reality"), which is NOT science. it is philosophical / metaphysical / faith-based (which is yet again to repeat my theme here – and echoes directly the Economist's summation).

          2) it's amazing to me that you say you don't see how he (or you) conflate the two, but then you go on to explicitly argue for that very thing in your third point (while attempting to minimize it).

          3) here you openly embrace philosophical naturalism. fine. as i suspected. but you fail to recognize that is a METAPHYSICAL (and NOT scientific!) claim. it is doing the *very* thing you are precluding religion from doing. you are taking as *given* things that have not been proven and *cannot* be proven.

          for example (because i anticipate an objection there):
          when naturalists say (basically) "only that which can be empirically verified is true/real/objective", the problem is that litmus test (which now has been made the primary assessment of reality) FAILS its own criteria. it cannot be proven. it is taken as a given. the entire system is being built on a foundation which is self-refuting. it's not logical OR scientific to make such a metaphysical claim.

          so when you then fail to see the radical difference between science (and its *methodological* naturalism) versus your position (philosophical naturalism), you conflate the two. science carefully does NOT make such metaphysical claims. you do. and that's why you pit religion against science.

          physics cannot speak to metaphysics. they are different categories. to claim otherwise IS to enter into metaphysics WITHOUT realizing it. that's how you are conflating the two, and that's why you are giving a self-refuting critique.

          4) i frequently comment on this blog, including with several of those who have already commented on this particular thread. i don't hide the fact that i am a christian. aside from existence itself (which is in itself an enormous evidence the naturalist denies), the life, death and resurrection of Jesus are the greatest historical evidence of who God is and what he claims since it is when God entered time and space.

          January 23, 2014 at 1:37 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        I'm not sure that's interesting, Russ. I do agree that truth claims about gods fall under theology. How do you classify a lack of claims about (or interest in) gods?

        January 20, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
        • Russ

          @ TTTOO: a lack of claims? wouldn't that be a non-statement? as in: it didn't happen b/c it was never made?

          January 20, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          That's a kind of atheist, Russ: someone who has no beliefs about gods, is entirely lacking in ideas about gods – the idea of gods has never risen to a level worthy of consideration in such an atheist. Truly without God or gods.

          January 20, 2014 at 7:32 pm |
        • Russ

          @ TTTOO: i think you've entered oxymoronic territory on this one. agnostic (not knowing) might be a label that would fit, but the word "atheist" is a word which requires knowledge of the very thing it's negating.

          January 20, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Russ, don't be stupid. Atheism is simple unbelief. It doesn't require any knowledge--except for the knowledge that you don't believe.

          January 20, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
        • Saraswati

          atheism, OED:

          disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

          January 20, 2014 at 11:19 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Saraswati & Cpt Obvious:
          1) look back at what TTTOO is saying. i was responding to a distinctively different category he was referencing – namely, a group of people *completely* unaware of the idea of god(s). in THAT instance – with complete *lack of knowledge* about gods/theology/etc., the word "agnostic" (no knowledge) better applies.

          you are so busy defending your position you missed the comment to which i was responding.

          2) however, you also are advocating an untenable position. using 'atheist' the way you do (ironically) *requires* knowing – at least – the concept of God. not only is that a distinctively different scenario than TTTOO was describing, but it also requires *knowledge* of God in some form. and if you are going to repudiate said concept, you must *know* that self-same concept. it logically requires knowledge about the concept – and, inherently (i am arguing), making claims about that concept.

          January 21, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
        • Dandintac

          "...the word "atheist" is a word which requires knowledge of the very thing it's negating..."

          Russ–NO.

          Please Google "definition of Atheist". You will learn that it is "a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods." Most atheists will tell you that they do not know for sure if there is a god or not, but that they do not believe there is based on the lack of evidence. This is my position also. Stop building straw men.

          January 22, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
        • Russ

          @ dandintac: you are actually demonstrating my point.

          i said (which you quoted): "...the word "atheist" is a word which requires knowledge of the very thing it's negating..."
          you said: no, an atheist is "a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods."

          you said no to me, but then you demonstrate the very thing i said. your definition makes reference to the concept of God. do you see the problem? you are claiming one thing (it doesn't require knowledge of the concept) & doing the very opposite (appealing to that very concept you claim one doesn't need to know) in your own definition. see TTTOO's comments above (he is also an atheist, if memory serves), noting that very problem.

          etymologically speaking, the word "atheist" is literally "no" & (belief) "god(s)." but notice: the definition STILL requires that one have familiarity with the concept of God. there's no way around that. it's built into the very word.

          January 23, 2014 at 1:52 am |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          @Russ. Your point is moot . We are or become "atheist" because we have not been convinced that there is a god. Your ranting is simply circular reasoning and just plain mind games with words. Give it up already.

          January 23, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
        • hawaiiguest

          @Russ

          Do you have a point with this game of yours?

          January 23, 2014 at 2:36 am |
        • Russ

          @ urnotathinkerareu: no, i am not being circular (though I am pointing out the definition of atheist somewhat is). it is self-refuting to claim your position does not require knowledge of God when the definition for your self-given label requires that very knowledge you deny is necessary.

          @ hawaiiguest: it's not a game. my original comment was that a theological claim is being made. something is being claimed about 'god' (as a being or even just a concept). that is – by definition – doing theology. being an atheist is not merely a lack of claims, but *requires* making a theological claim (to deny the concept requires knowledge of the concept – as well as defining the concept) – which is often the very thing atheists deny they are doing.

          January 24, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          I don't really get your point? It really doesn't matter if someone has knowledge of ANY given topic. In this case many atheists have knowledge about the god/religion topic and usually more than one religion but knowledge does not imply "belief". I have lots of knowledge about the topic 'god" at hand but I am not convinced at all about the existence or claims of truth that belief in "god" requires. I dont think ANY atheist denies that they have knowledge of the "concept" that you are talking about. In fact my belief is that if you DO NOT have sound knowledge of BOTH sides of the arguement then you are a charlatan...plain and simple....are you a charlatan Russ?

          January 24, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • Russ

          @ urnotathinkerareu: it sounds like you don't understand your own argument. you are admitting the very thing that makes your argument self-contradictory – but you seem unaware that you are being self-contradictory.

          here are the steps:
          1) you object to the concept of god/s
          2) to have the concept, you are claiming a certain knowledge of said concept – in this case, God
          3) by definition, that means you are doing theology ("a word about god/s"), necessarily making claims about who or what god is or is not (doctrine). in other words, to reject the concept, you must STILL have a concept in mind.
          4) you object to theist claims about god/s (their theology/doctrine) on the basis of *your own* doctrine/theology. or, alternatively put: your *beliefs* about this concept (your theology/doctrine) lead you to object to others' beliefs/theology/doctrine.
          5) [optional but often] atheists object to having someone else's doctrine/theology imposed on them (failing to see it is the pot calling the kettle black)

          SUM: you are doing the very thing you are saying you do not: making claims about god(s)/theology/doctrine.
          so, of the above points, where are your objections?

          January 24, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
    • Vic

      Positive.....Negative
      Active........Passive
      Theism......Atheism

      The logical negative, which is a passive state, of Theism is Atheism. One can only be an atheist if he/she was passive. The moment you actively pursue the atheism stance, it is automatically a belief.

      January 20, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Do you make this up as you go along?

        January 20, 2014 at 9:37 pm |
      • Sean

        Except that atheism is a LACK OF BELIEF. Please, Vic, enlighten us with other made up definitions.

        January 21, 2014 at 9:54 am |
      • Dandintac

        So Vic–help me understand. I'm an atheist. If I post messages saying why I don't believe the claims of God, this somehow turns it into a "belief"? How is this logical?

        January 22, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
    • l33ter

      Dandi,

      That was too shallow for you. Let's try again. What spawned the singularity?

      January 20, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
      • l33ter

        Ooops, responded to wrong handle.

        January 20, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
      • Dandintac

        Are you talking to me? If so, which singularity? There's one in every black hole. Or do you mean the hypothetical singularity that has been suggested as having preceded the "Big Bang"? If the first, the answer is gravity.

        If the second, we don't know, and we don't even know if that is indeed what came before the "Big Bang". However, I'm intrigued by the Multiverse theory, and unlike the God claim, there is some observable evidence that we may indeed live in a multiverse.

        If this is true, then one possibility is that a "Big Bang" and a new universe is created when two or more universes collide head-on. Now–this is pure speculation on my part–I readily admit it. But I speculate to show that one need not invoke a supernatural God to explain the creation of the universe.

        There are a great many possibilities–far more than we can even know. So basically we are in a state of ignorance, and any argument claiming a god is responsible for the creation of the universe is arguing from ignorance.

        January 20, 2014 at 11:59 pm |
        • Atheists are the specialists of special pleaders. They're special.

          Isn't THAT special?..................$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ 🙂 🙂 🙂

          January 21, 2014 at 7:28 am |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          I have had the same conclusion as you about the collision of two or more Universe's amounts to a big bang. This process is evident on every other scale such as the above video that gave a great explanation of the PROCESS of formation of planets and stars so why WOULN'T it apply to a process of larger objects (so to speak) such as Universe's colliding? Evereything else in all the Universe imp-lies that it would if physics were applied as we know it to be...however.....this specualtion is still much more plausible to me than some fruitcake default non evidenced belief that some "god did it".

          January 21, 2014 at 9:17 pm |
        • l33ter

          Multi-verse is a very complex concept especially when viewing the plethora of theories and possible types. There's many ideas as to how different verses inter-relate. Advocates may have several theories or definitions themselves.

          January 22, 2014 at 12:11 am |
        • Dandintac

          Well, we don't really know for sure. We're in a state of ignorance about anything beyond the universe or before The Big Bang, but at any rate, it is far less complicated than the presumption of a all-powerful, all-good, all-knowing personal God, who "exists outside of time and space" and is everywhere, and listens to and answers prayers, and is all-just and all-merciful, punishes people with Hell for the thought-crime of not believing him, and is this and that–depending on which theist you ask. That is the most complicated claim of all.

          January 22, 2014 at 12:56 am |
  15. Double-minded daemons are unstable, too. Choices, choices!

    <<<<<<,$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ 🙂 🙂

    January 20, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
  16. Psalm 14

    Psalm 14

    Can you really try atheism for a year?

    Sure, why not? what is there to try? 😉

    Drake

    This guy is most likely an agnostic at this moment.

    Drake

    A atheist is sure that there is no God, however an agnostic is not so sure...when someone claims they are 'trying' something, it means they are not convinced about whatever it is they are "trying" out.
    This guy in that sense is an agnostic.

    Psalm 14

    If he is agonistic then that negates the OP.

    Drake

    Agnostics are those that are on the fence and are not really sure. A person like Ryan Bell, who says they are willing to give a shot at something means they are not so sure about their belief in God as yet. Atheists in that sense are 100% convinced that there is no God.

    Drake

    Also, reading about his stint at seventh day Adventist, he seems to have enjoyed his days as a Pastor at Hollywood and he is thankful for the opportunity to have served in that role. Nobody knows the heart of a man or what their real intentions are, but God surely does know the heart of a man. Romans 8 says, 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

    Psalm 14

    What are your thoughts on Luke 6?

    Psalm 14

    That was Luke 9:62?

    Drake

    That is a great verse. I have to go through that verse, it's very interesting. Trying to relate that verse to anyone that might have gone down that path, never to come back. That indeed would be very sad, because that person would be lost forever. Will study that verse in depth and get back. Great verse, spot on!

    January 20, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
    • Rick

      Who is Drake?

      January 20, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
      • Somebody's Attractive Cousin

        British folk musician Nick Drake, perhaps?

        January 20, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • Ensign Crunch, demoted

          If it's Drake from that wretched insipid kid's show called Drake and Josh, I'm getting a shotgun.

          January 20, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
    • igaftr

      psalm
      Strawman fail.

      Post a possition that is false and then attack it....fail.

      January 20, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
    • PRICE

      Luke 9:62 is a pertinent verse. It deals with a person who commits half heartedly to a missionary calling.

      Instead of focussing on the kingdom of God, this person is swayed by worldly sedires and wants.

      The scripture calls out the intent of such people and gives a clear warning as to the consequences of such an intent.

      January 20, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
      • igaftr

        yes price...the Buddha DID teach that, so the keepers of the bible wrote it in.

        January 20, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • wow dodo running scared

          u dismiss all but 1 – dodo
          quote the buddha

          there is only 1 and the n.t. proves it. u can't refute it

          dodo, just curious here on a personal note, how many times a day did u throw temper tantrums when u were 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7? did u see a child psychiatrist more than 50 times as a young child? what meds did she put u on?

          January 20, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • TOGA2

          don't talk with pharisee trolls until they stop lying

          January 20, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
  17. tony

    If religious folk don't like having Atheists around, it's entirely their own fault for creating them. So quit complaining or isulting them.

    Without religion there would be no atheism, or the concept of it. In a world that, for example, doesn't have anyone believing, or even suggesting, that there is an invisible huge moon sized hand and arm holding up the the moon, there is no concept or name for anyone who does not believe that.

    January 20, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
  18. Atheists want to to sacrifice the virgin bride of Christ.

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

    January 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
    • Atheists want to to sacrifice the virgin bride of Christ.

      Gosh I like meth. $$$$$$$$WUBBA-WUBBA$$$$$$$$$$GAZING$$$$$$$$$$

      :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

      January 20, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Good afternoon, lol??.

      January 20, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
  19. Somebody's Attractive Cousin

    No, you can't.

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

      You can choose to wear womens' underwear for a year thoough, as I have.

      January 20, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
      • Somebody's Attractive Cousin

        They're deceptively comfortable, admittedly.

        January 20, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
  20. thinkingsapien

    It's like trying gay for a year!

    January 20, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      What was that like?

      January 20, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
    • Destra

      Except being gay isn't a choice. But other than that, exactly like that.

      January 20, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
      • Somebody's Attractive Cousin

        Neither is being an atheist. Actually, it's far easier to be gay for a year. Sure, you can't choose to be attracted to the same gender as your own. However, you could go out and blow some guys, which would at least give you some kind of gay experience. You can't just choose to not believe in a deity and I can't think of any 'atheist experience'.

        January 20, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • Happy Atheist

          "You can't just choose to not believe in a deity and I can't think of any 'atheist experience'."

          Apparently you are not very bright because you can choose and you yourself have had an atheist experience. Anyone who has ever doubted their faith in God has had an atheist experience. And the choice comes in choosing to ignore the doubts and go on believing with absolutely zero evidence of any God/gods. So it is belief in God that requires choosing.

          January 20, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
        • Somebody's Attractive Cousin

          Always start with an ad hominem, huh? If you think belief/disbelief in gods is a choice, perhaps you're the one lacking in illumination.

          January 20, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • Somebody's Attractive Cousin

          Also, I agree that doubting one's theistic beliefs is an atheist experience, but you can't choose to have doubts.

          January 20, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • Destra

          I'll agree to the point that if you believe in God, you're not going to shrug it off like an old pair of shoes. You have to lose it, like most atheists I know have.
          I'd like to see somebody shrug off their gender preference, though.
          Something one is born with, unlike belief in God.

          All this being said, I was responding to the absurd post that one can just suddenly try out being gay as an analogy to someone questioning their faith. They are completely in alike at all.

          January 20, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • Destra

          *unalike. DYAC

          January 20, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • Somebody's Attractive Cousin

          I'd argue that they're alike in that they are both completely pointless endeavors.

          January 20, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.