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CPAC reverses decision, will not allow atheist group at conservative conference
David Silverman, the president of American Atheists, will not have a booth at CPAC.
February 25th, 2014
02:53 PM ET

CPAC reverses decision, will not allow atheist group at conservative conference

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington - Organizers for the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference will not allow American Atheists to have an exhibition booth at the conservative conference, the group's spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The decision comes just hours after American Atheists, the outspoken organization that advocates for atheists nationwide, announced that it would have a booth at the event. David Silverman, president of American Atheists, tells CNN that a groundswell of opposition from high-ranking members of CPAC compelled the group to pull the invite.

Meghan Snyder, a spokeswoman for CPAC, said in a statement to CNN that “American Atheists misrepresented itself about their willingness to engage in positive dialogue and work together to promote limited government.”

[twitter-follow screen_name='danmericacnn'] [twitter-follow screen_name='CNNbelief']

"I'm surprised and I'm saddened," Silverman said in response to the announcement.  "I think this is a very disappointing turn of events.  I was really looking forward to going."

Representatives of CPAC called Silverman Tuesday afternoon and said they would be returning the group's money, Silverman said.

"It is very obvious to me they were looking for a reason to say no," Silverman added.  "Christianity is bad for conservatism and they did not want that message out there."

In an interview with CNN on Monday night, Silverman said his group planned to use the booth to bring conservative atheists “out of the closest” and said he was not worried about making the Christian right angry because “the Christian right should be threatened by us.”

Snyder said CPAC spoke to Silverman about his divisive and inappropriate language.

“He pledged that he will attack the very idea that Christianity is an important element of conservatism.  People of any faith tradition should not be attacked for their beliefs, especially at our conference.  He has left us with no choice but to return his money,” she said.

When Snyder confirmed to CNN on Monday that American Atheists would be at CPAC, she said in a statement that they were allowed to display at the confab because “conservatives have always stood for freedom of religion and freedom of expression.”

“The folks we have been working with stand for many of the same liberty-oriented policies and principles we stand for,” Snyder said.

The Conservative Political Action Committee, the largest and oldest gathering of conservatives, is run by the American Conservative Union and will be held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Maryland's National Harbor from March 6 to 8. Last year, the event brought together thousands of activists to listen to dozens of Republican leaders speak about everything from economics and foreign policy to social issues. The event has long been considered a required stop for Republican presidential hopefuls.

The decision to include American Atheists outraged some conservatives, with many taking to Twitter to voice their disapproval.

According to Silverman, Dan Schneider, the executive director of the American Conservative Union, called him to talk about the group's inclusion in the event and the response from conservatives members.

In a statement to CNN on Monday night, Tony Perkins, president of the Christian conservative think-tank Family Research Council, expressed outrage at the decision, stating that the American Atheists did "not seek to add their voice to the chorus of freedom."

"CPAC's mission is to be an umbrella for conservative organizations that advance liberty, traditional values and our national defense," said Perkins, who spoke at CPAC in 2012. "Does the American Conservative Union really think the liberties and values they seek to preserve can be maintained when they partner with individuals and organizations that are undermining the understanding that our liberties come from God? Thomas Jefferson warned against such nonsense."

"If this is where the ACU is headed, they will have to pack up and put away the 'C' in CPAC!" the social conservative leader added.

American Atheist is well known for its controversial billboards and media campaigns and is considered the in-your-face contingent in the world of atheist activists. The group’s members pride themselves as being the “Marines" of the atheist movement.

The atheist organization paid $3,000 for booth 439 in the event’s exhibition hall. That money will now be returned. Its booth was set to be right next to the Republican National Committee’s booth.

In explaining why the group decided to join CPAC on Monday, Silverman cited a 2012 Pew Research study that found 20% of self-identified conservatives consider themselves religiously unaffiliated. While that does not mean they are atheists, Silverman believes learning more about atheism will make it more likely conservatives will choose to identify with those who believe there is no God.

“Just as there are many closeted atheists in the church pews, I am extremely confident that there are many closeted atheists in the ranks of conservatives," Silverman said at the time. This “is really a serious outreach effort, and I am very pleased to be embarking on it.”

The group has long targeted Republican lawmakers, although Silverman considers the organization nonpartisan.

In 2013, American Atheists launched a billboard campaign against three Republican politicians: former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. All three Republicans have spoken at CPAC in the past.

On one billboard, Santorum is pictured to the left of a quote attributed to him. “Our civil laws have to comport with a higher law. God’s law,” the quote reads. Underneath the graphic is a tagline: "GO GODLESS INSTEAD."

The group has also prided itself on trying to reach into religious communities and help "closeted atheists" come out, as it did in a 2012 billboard campaign aimed at Jews and Muslims.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Politics

soundoff (829 Responses)
  1. revrickm

    why don't they just call themselves what they are: the Christian Political Action Conference.

    February 26, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
  2. new-man

    Life Above The Sun
    John 10:10… I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

    When you are not enjoying abundant life, you will feel as if life is full of toil. In your heart, life is meaningless and empty. You feel like someone “grasping for the wind”. (Ecclesiastes 2:11)

    It seems as if nothing you do adds up to much. The Bible calls this life “under the sun”. (Ecclesiastes 2:11) Someone who lives life under the sun may or may not know God, but God is either forgotten or not the center of things in his life. His thoughts are earthly and he does things to gratify his flesh. In the end, he finds life depressing and unfulfilled. Life under the sun is full of despair.

    But this is not so with someone who lives life above the sun with God. For life with Him is filled with joy and pleasures at His right hand. (Psalm 16:11) Life is abundantly full and good just as Jesus promised—“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”.

    When you live life above the sun, your thoughts are heavenward and you become Christ-occupied. You live for Him because you know that all things were created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16) When you live for His glory, your life takes on a new meaning and purpose.

    God’s Word says, “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:17) The Greek word for “consist” means “held together”. In Christ, all things are held together. And that is why when Christ is the central figure in your life, you will have it all together. Your mind will be held together. Your hopes and dreams will be held together. Your family will be held together by the cords of His love.

    Your life will not be empty, but full of God’s goodness because “Christ in you, [is] the hope of glory”. (Colossians 1:27) It is a wonderful life—this life lived above the sun. And you will have an even more wonderful life to come in heaven!

    February 26, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I read this whole post.

      February 26, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Did it make any more sense than any of his other posts?

        February 26, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Uhhhh.......ok I forget....

          February 26, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • the0g0to0the0t

      "God’s Word says"... You mean "Paul interprets god's will to be...".

      February 26, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
    • Austin

      Ya i feel dispair sometimes . Darn flesh and world . But i rememberhow God has interveined

      Sometimes my flesh is too heavy.

      February 26, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Wow! I need to ask if you received a head injury the night of the crash? Not much else explains you...you're truly scary.

        February 26, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
    • snuffleupagus

      New-man, are you sure you aren't referring to this? Sounds like you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YdQBkxf4kU

      February 26, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
  3. Austin

    If someone tells the truth and you sit there and mock person for the reality they told you that means you have a tendency abusiveness and evasive self manipulation.

    Talk about a disease. Thats just a different fix. Still a disease.

    February 26, 2014 at 11:50 am |
    • igaftr

      Austin
      Considering that you have demonstrated countless times you cannot distinguish belief from truth, any comment you have about the subject will be disregarded accordingly.

      February 26, 2014 at 11:54 am |
      • Austin

        Is that what you think God is going to accept as well?

        You know that i know the difference.

        February 26, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
        • igaftr

          Thank you for the fine example of my point. Belief forwarded as if it were true.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • Austin

          Is satan a psychopath?

          February 26, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
        • joey3467

          No, you have to exists to be a psychopath.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
    • Doris

      You shouldn't have to be a brain surgeon to realize if you claim something extraordinary in a medium such as this, that people will expect you to provide extraordinary evidence. Otherwise, your nuts. Now if you tell me you'll be appearing on the Today show with some revelations, well I might just tune in.

      February 26, 2014 at 11:56 am |
      • Austin

        Doris. Your reasoning is the same as guilty unless proven innocent

        Thats like saying black people ate guilty.

        That is your mental level.

        February 26, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • alwaysamuzed

          ate guilty what?????
          You make no sense...

          February 26, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Austin I am mocking you standing up, so there you go.

      February 26, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
    • Akira

      "Tendency abusiveness and evasive self manipulation."

      People are under no obligation to believe anything that comes out of your mouth, Austin. And trying to diagnose the reasons why they don't believe you by passive-aggressive name calling makes you no better.

      Perhaps it's the way you proselytize.

      February 26, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
      • Austin

        Akira. If you knew that i was lying it would be one thing. But if i am correct then i am correct an all accounts concerning my testimony and your reaction.

        What is there to learn from why the pharisees were setting up Jesus?

        Wicked people rejected God. Is that name calling. Jesus loves sinners. Is that namecalling?

        February 26, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • Akira

          I never said you were lying. I think that you sincerely believe what you're saying. What I SAID is that others are not obligated to believe your every utterance. Christian or atheist, they're not.

          My reaction? And what is that? Be very specific.

          February 26, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Austin: When you started out on this blog, you stated very clearly that you became born-again after the night of your car accident. We know this happened 13 years ago, so it plays in to the number of years that you have been keeping record of your dreams. I'm sure you have remorse or at least I hope you do. What gets me is that you play the holier than thou card while seemingly forgetting that you're not so perfect.
      You claim you have evidence and when asked for it repeat the same stories. When we try to explain that those stories are only evidence to you, you turn it on us. We have suggested numerous times that if you are so sure of yourself and really want to shut us up, then contact James Randi..given us reason to believe you. Otherwise, I'm going to continue to think that you're very similar in mindset to people like Andrea Yates. (Actually I almost certain you are...you once stated that you've dreamed of blowing up liquor stores).

      February 26, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
      • eudaimonia2013

        Ummm.. wow.. that sounds scary..

        February 26, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
      • Akira

        It's trading one addiction for another, I'm told. Not an unusual occurrence.

        February 26, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          I can vouch for that.

          February 26, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
  4. Dyslexic doG

    "solace" is a soft blankie or a stuffed toy for a scared child. And if you really look at religion, that's all it is. There is no proof of a god or jesus or that any of the stories in the bible even happened, but the stories sure seem to make people feel better.

    so take your solace and feel comforted by your fairy stories, but please, please, please stop trying to tell me that any of it is real.

    February 26, 2014 at 11:43 am |
  5. Apple Bush

    I think this is potentially a real positive. Every time the conservatives show their colors it is a win for the atheists.

    Just as it is a positive every time a gay athlete or celebrity reveals their sexual orientation (or anyone for that matter).

    Just as it is a positive with the state of Arizona. Once this discrimination bill is vetoed, those law makers will look ridiculous. Even if it does not get vetoed, it will do irreparable harm to the economy of the state. Much deserved harm.

    Eventually the bigotry will eat itself.

    February 26, 2014 at 11:43 am |
    • Doris

      I hope you're right. I did read about some financial impact in the way of people canceling plans there already regardless of the outcome.

      February 26, 2014 at 11:53 am |
    • Akira

      What's happening in AZ is an abomination. I heard that Brewer isn't going to veto it.
      Why pay the massive cost of the appeals when common sense should tell one this is a bad and discriminatory law?

      I swear, we're receding back into the 50's. Fine-put the tax rate back to 50's levels and see how fast they howl. Maybe we can get some of our infrastructure fixed.

      February 26, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        This is what they believe:

        This is a religious freedom issue, not gay rights.

        Imagine if they started refusing service to Jews...

        February 26, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
      • igaftr

        If it passes, will the ones being discriminated against be allowed to discriminate back.

        Here's an example. Bob owns a store. A gay couple come in and want to purchase some product or service. They are refused on the basis that they are gay.

        The two gay people, one works at the local power company, the other is a popular musician.
        Can the one now turn off the electricity to the shop owner?
        Can the musician make sure that the shop owner NEVER enjoys his music?

        If you refuse to PROVIDE services based on religious bigotry, will you then refuse all services and products from those very same people?

        You would see a whole lot of people with no education, no entertainment, no power, emergency services, food....on and on.

        Clearly they are hypocrits if they accept any goods and services FROM those they deny.

        February 26, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Good point.

          February 26, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • Akira

          This opens up a whole can of worms.
          Muslims can be denied because of their faith.
          Hindus and Buddhists and Catholics because of theirs.
          Depends on how much "evil" people see behind every person who walks through the door.
          Unmarried pregnant women...it goes way beyond the gay rights mantle.

          It's ridiculous.

          February 26, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        The Super Bowl needs to pull out right now too.

        February 26, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
        • Doris

          I agree.

          February 26, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
  6. Austin

    Relate a drunk driver 13 years ago to paul david and moses.

    I have not murdered and i experienced salvation. You can too. Everyone is justified.

    February 26, 2014 at 10:49 am |
    • Doris

      I had a dream that I was by a trickling brook. I woke up and sure enough, the cat box needed changing. God sent me a message! 🙄

      February 26, 2014 at 10:51 am |
      • Austin

        I have a stack of papers of ten yeaof dreams and comments reguarding evidence and data that points to supernatural spiritual interaction.

        February 26, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • Doris

          People hoard all kinds of things.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • ausphor

          Those dreams started right after you saw the Exorcist?

          February 26, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Really??? When do you intend to submit those to be peer-reviewed? Or are you going to play the coward card on this one?

          February 26, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • igaftr

          "I have a stack of papers of ten yeaof dreams and comments reguarding evidence and data that points to supernatural spiritual interaction."

          False. You have jumped to a conclusion without examining all other possibilities. In essence, you want it to be, so you claim it to be. You do not want the truth, you want your belief to be true.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
      • ausphor

        Doris, tread carefully on this topic lest you unleash 10 years of vivid detail of Austin's wet dreams

        February 26, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      You may not have killed anyone but you put lives at risk!! The holier than thou attitude is pathetic.
      Saying you received salvation is a poor excuse for what you did and doesn't make you better than anyone.
      I'm a disbeliever and have never committed a crime and according to your belief system I still go to hell...what makes you so special? Why should you, the criminal who put lives at risk get a free pass but hose who are crime free and simply questioned your gods existence deserve hell?

      February 26, 2014 at 11:06 am |
      • Austin

        Truth prev accurate ? Does someone put a life at risk hen they drive sober? Are their sober fatalities?

        Have you never transgressed or sinned. Have you ever told?

        And do i claim to be holier than anyone else?

        Have you ever taken the lords name in vain. Disobeyed parents? Fornicated. Lusted. Coveted? Rejected God?

        You arent serious.

        February 26, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Austin,
          "Does someone put a life at risk hen they drive sober? Are their sober fatalities?"

          There's always a risk in most of our activities but we have a responsibility to minimize that risk. It is well known that alcohol, drugs, and other factors (including talking on the phone) impair the abilities required to drive a vehicle safely.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          You're not going to twist this. There is no true comparison between the two. I fully admit that sober people do stupid things all the time but you added a knowingly dangerous substance to the mix, there was no way you were coherent enough to get the behind the wheel of vehicle and in doing so you willingly put lives at risk. You failed to answer my question though...why do you get a free pass for something that is punishable by law and yet someone who is skeptical and questions doesn't?
          Yes, when you claim to have evidence but fail to be willing to have it tested, you play the holier than thou card. You play it when you speak of the misdeeds of others while excusing your own with something you call salvation.
          The other stuff plays in to your sin concept which only exists within your belief and given that I deny your belief I don't sin.
          It's hard for me to take the name of something I do not believe in in vain. Every child from the beginning of man has disobeyed their parents...so your point is what on this?
          My common-law husband-AtheistSteve and I have been together a number of years, so if that is what you consider fornicating, then sure but it's no more your business what we do in the privacy of our own home as it is your gods (it is your god, not mine...nor of 5 billion other people on our planet).
          Lust?? I lust after Nic Cage and Dr Hook every day...those are merely thoughts and there is no crime in thinking.
          I think everyone, including you, covets...we're allowed to dream and have our wishes. Once again, no crime committed.
          Which god shall we go with? Until I see evidence that is testable from a scientific standpoint, I simply must reject the stories told about any god. Your god gets picked on the most because it is the one being thrown around the most.
          In case you failed to notice, every day where christians are stepping in on certain things-be it gay rights or women's rights or schools, they're getting pushed back and the rights of all regardless of belief are finally starting to be seen. Our species won't survive if we don't soon learn to stop these silly battles and work together. That is part of my issue with your belief, it keeps holding us back in certain things...and as long as it keeps trying, we'll keep pushing back because some of us happen to care and see reality for what it is.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • Austin

          First of all he said that claimimg salvation is a poor excuse fir what i did.

          By his reasoning people do not deserve forgiveness. He also is the one bringing up someones past .

          I find his way of manipulation as being extremely bad in terms of his willingness to comprehend forgiveness . Furthermore this is simply a vengeful cheap shot.

          The entire world is full of people with problems all of whom are granted redemption and restoration.

          You will reap what you sow in your heart.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "By his reasoning people do not deserve forgiveness. He also is the one bringing up someones past ."

          Not at all! You use salvation as your free pass and play the holier than thou card while ignoring that you haven't been such a model citizen yourself. Don't sit and pass judgement on anyone unless you can look in the mirror and say you're perfect.
          In my opinion, far too many deaths are caused via some moron getting behind the wheel of their vehicle while intoxicated and they simply should not be allowed that chance again. Driving is a privilege, not a right.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
        • new-man

          TP
          you've brought up this issue with Austin on more than one occasion now. While you should be rightly upset by people drinking and driving, I don't see how bringing up someone's past when they've clearly repented and moved on is of value to anyone.
          If you are so concerned, then go out to the bars and ensure that the ones who are drinking don't get into a vehicle drunk... otherwise harping on what someone did many years ago shows your obvious bias and dictates you are not genuine regarding your concern.

          Somehow the concept of forgiveness eludes you... you are married... try to adopt that concept as you will need it for a healthy life.
          Remember, whoever sins you retain they are retained in your life, and whoever sins you remit, they are remitted from your life. Why do you insist on retaining the sins of someone you do not even know... that's hardly wise is it.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • igaftr

          newman
          So we should go to all of the prisons and let all the criminals out who have moved on and feel bad about their crimes?
          That si the tactic of the RCC regarding child abusers, so it must be OK, right?

          February 26, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • new-man

          comprehension is key.
          re-read and tell me where I advocated for what you've suggested.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
        • Austin

          …why do you get a free pass for something that is punishable by law and yet someone who is skeptical and questions ?

          @truth prevails. I served my punishment. So we clearly understand Gods law and mans law.

          God forgives unconditiionally. He interveined and so we have been made aware. We also have the holy spirit to help us understand what we hate about him if we ask for supernatural help. But some love sin more than forgiveness.

          That is a tragedy.

          I hope you have a great day .

          February 26, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • igaftr

          newman
          " I don't see how bringing up someone's past when they've clearly repented and moved on is of value to anyone."

          Apply that to a man who 20 years ago abducted , molested and murdered a child. He is serving a life term. He has since confessed and repented, and moved on. Since what he did was in the past, and he has repented, it no longer matters what he did?

          February 26, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • new-man

          igaftr:
          you clearly have no point as you know quiet well that Austin paid his debt to society. He did not escape, they let him out because he served his time, the sentence the authorities set.
          So what's your point.

          February 26, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
  7. SeaVik

    Dalahast said, "Some very good things flow from religious belief."

    Please provide examples of some very good things that flow from religious belief? Keep in mind that to say they flow from religious belief, these must be things that don't occur without religious belief.

    February 26, 2014 at 10:49 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      From the Sphinx to the Sistine Chapel, religious faith has inspired some of mankind's greatest works of art.

      February 26, 2014 at 10:55 am |
      • Doris

        I appreciate great works of art myself. I'm not sure that's what SeaVik meant by "good", especially when certain types here throw around absolute "truths" like they are as perceptible as the stars in the sky.

        February 26, 2014 at 11:02 am |
      • SeaVik

        And who's to say Michaelangelo's art wouldn't have been even better if he could have expressed himself openly rather than having to embed subtle messages expressing his disagreement with the church? I agree, there's some cool religion-commissioned artwork, but religion isn't required to produce cool art.

        February 26, 2014 at 11:05 am |
      • eudaimonia2013

        He clarified by saying: "Keep in mind that to say they flow from religious belief, these must be things that don't occur without religious belief."

        Inspiring works of art occur without religious belief so any inspiring works of art based on belief would not qualify if it could also occur without belief.

        February 26, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • otoh2

          You're right, eudaimonia, but it seems like there's an easy extra "bang for your buck" when they toss fantasy into the works.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:39 am |
    • Dalahäst

      " Keep in mind that to say they flow from religious belief, these must be things that don't occur without religious belief."

      No it doesn't.

      I know good things flow from non-religious belief.

      And some very horrible things have happened from religious belief. But the same thing can be said of any belief.

      Martin Luther King, JR. is an example of a good thing that flows from religious belief. The churches that volunteer to clean up and beautify the decaying inner-city I live in is a good thing flowing from religious belief. I'm taught to stand up for those without a voice and to oppose evil, like businesses that prey on the poor in my community is a good thing that flows from religious belief.

      The fact that my church donates use of its building to secular, people of other faiths and non-religious groups in my community, is a good thing that flows from religious belief.

      February 26, 2014 at 11:08 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        yes but you are reducing your religion to a social club like Lions Club or Rotary Club and the like. Go ahead and call it a social club if you like but stop claiming that a magical man in the sky created the universe and monitors our every thought and deed to punish us if we step out of line. That is just lunacy.

        February 26, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't say "a magical man in the sky created the universe and monitors our every thought and deed to punish us if we step out of line".

          February 26, 2014 at 11:24 am |
        • SeaVik

          I swear you said you're Christian, but I must be mistaken.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • Doris

          "I don't say "a magical man in the sky created the universe and monitors our every thought and deed to punish us if we step out of line"."

          Hmm – you don't have to go too far, even on this blog, to find that kind of thinking.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          Dal are you schizophrenic? Are there two people in there, one Christian and one atheist?

          February 26, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • Dalahäst

          No. I believe I'm mentally sound..

          Do you have memory problems? Or do you intentionally post the same things over and over on multiple threads at the same time that have nothing to do with the topic of the article?

          February 26, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • Dalahäst

          "a magical man in the sky created the universe and monitors our every thought and deed to punish us if we step out of line" = is something an internet atheist would say to insult a Christian. You won't find it in any peer reviewed journals or scholarly publications of prestigious universities.

          It's something one would expect from an unprofessional atheist blog or posted by a guy with a silly monicker on a religious blog.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:50 am |
        • doobzz

          @Dyslexic Dog

          Dala's only argument seems to be a complicated version of "I know you are but what am I?".

          He professes to be a Christian but refuses to state his beliefs in his own words, relying instead on quotes from other people. When that doesn't work, it's distract, divert, and dodge.

          Dala may have chosen a fancier name (formerly AE) but he's the same old coward as before.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Hey, doobz.

          I love how you pop in and like to tell people how I'm a coward. As if you demonstrate bravery? How so?

          Some of the posters who criticize me, are hypocrites. I do it, too. I'm guilty of it. But I will point it out in others, too.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:58 am |
      • SeaVik

        "No, it doesn't."

        Yes, it does. To say something "flows" from religious belief suggests that religious belief comes BEFORE the result. If the result can be achieved without religious belief, then it doesn't flow from religious belief.

        February 26, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • SeaVik

          I should have said, it doesn't flow only from religious belief which means religious belief is not needed to produce those particular "very good things". What I'm interested in is whether or not there are any "very good things" that religious belief is needed to achieve. I am not aware of any.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • Dalahäst

          What good things flow from you?

          All I see evidence of is you being very concerned about me and insisting you know better than I. I can do that without religion, too.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:26 am |
        • SeaVik

          Ok, so you admit then that your statement was wrong since you're aparently not going to answer the question?

          February 26, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • Dalahäst

          If you go back and read the post that came from, I clarify that good things flow from other beliefs.

          I never said good exclusively flows from religious belief. You are asking me to defend a notion I don't hold.

          Stop doing that kind of crap. It is annoying.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • SeaVik

          You made a statement that great things flow from religion. That statement implies that religion is the reason those great things result. If that's not what you meant, you shouldn't have said it. If it is what you meant, you need to show that these great things wouldn't be achieved as well or better without religion.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          You are the one voicing the implications.

          I just made a statement. You took it out of context and blew it out of proportion.

          February 26, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
      • ausphor

        Indeed Dala...
        All your examples could easily be achieved by a non religious ent!ty. Provide an example of some good that could only be achieved by the religious.

        February 26, 2014 at 11:30 am |
      • kudlak

        Dalahäst
        Are you saying that, without religion, good people will simply stop doing good things?

        February 26, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • Dalahäst

          No.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:41 am |
      • kudlak

        Dalahäst
        It's Pink Shirt Day (anti-bullying) where I live today. It was not started by any church. In fact, a few churches have actually spoken out against it.

        MLK was not the only person behind the Civil Rights Movement. Some of the leaders were actually atheists, correct?

        February 26, 2014 at 11:41 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Of course. I work with people of differing faiths and non-faith. I love and appreciate the good things they do.

          And I support and volunteer with many programs that are not religious in nature.

          Most atheists don't seem so concerned with my belief in God like the few on here. It isn't a problem. Honest.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          I'm not sure if anyone here is actually concerned about your belief in God. By all you've hinted about yourself you've got to be one of the most liberal, unbiased Christians around. We're curious, maybe, about why you believe in something that we can see no valid reason to. We happen to be the atheists who are interested in people's reasons for believing in God. Who else would you imagine meeting on a discussion board about belief?

          February 26, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Stop it. You don't speak for anyone but yourself. This "we" stuff is confusing. Unless there happen to be a group of like minded people all posting under your name?

          February 26, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I think most Christians are pretty reasonable. They just don't post all day long on blogs like me. They actually are doing stuff. Not just talking about it.

          February 26, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          I'm sorry if you're confused, but I actually kind of do recognize a number of seemingly like-minded individuals here. I may be a bit more civil than some characters, but many of us do seem genuinely interested in discussing belief with you.

          Yes, many Christians are out there, doing stuff and not just talking about it, as you say. Problem is, I just don't like everything that they do or even just say that's religiously motivated.

          February 26, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
      • eudaimonia2013

        @Doobz

        "Dala may have chosen a fancier name (formerly AE) but he's the same old coward as before"

        AE? Wasn't that poster an atheist? I don't understand

        February 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Somebody hijacked my "AE" name and went crazy.

          I changed my name when the "log in" feature became required. For some reason Doobz is fascinated about the change.

          Really, I thought 2 letter names wouldn't be allowed, so I switched. And intended no deception or deceit.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
    • eudaimonia2013

      No, Dala,

      This is a fundamental logic and scientific principle. "Isolation". Since the topic is on the value of religious belief, he wants to isolate it so we are not cluttered with anything else and can appreciate it singularly for what it is- if that's possible. Perhaps working with Venn Diagrams will help. To isolate the importance of "religious belief" you have to focus on things that could not be done WITHOUT the belief.

      February 26, 2014 at 11:12 am |
      • Dalahäst

        I'm talking about what works for me, and sharing that opposing everything that has to do with religion is unwise.

        I've experienced positive changes in my life after following Jesus. Things that make me a better person toward other people, even atheists. But bigots? I confront them and am not afraid of their bullying tactics nor agree with the silly notion of some that science, progress and enlightenment are exclusively on "their side".

        Take that through the "isolation" process all day long if you wish.

        February 26, 2014 at 11:30 am |
        • ausphor

          Yes Dala......
          It is all about you the one thing you have in common with Austin.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • Dalahäst

          There are many things you have in common with all religious people.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:40 am |
    • Austin

      Sanctification from the conviction of the holy spirit.

      February 26, 2014 at 11:26 am |
      • igaftr

        What was the holy spirit convicted of?

        February 26, 2014 at 11:35 am |
      • SeaVik

        Good one Austin. But I was actually asking a serious question.

        February 26, 2014 at 11:37 am |
  8. ausphor

    Dala....
    A question for you that has often been debated. Is religion(s) a force for good in the world? Now don't go all Christian on me and say of course your particular sect is just wonderful, of course I mean all 40,000 Christian sects and all the other religions followed by mankind. Does the good out way the evil that has been done by religion(s) including past history?

    February 26, 2014 at 10:33 am |
    • Austin

      Broad is the road that leads to destruction.

      Read the new testament.

      He spits out the lukewarm church and tells others

      "I do not know you"

      It is written.

      February 26, 2014 at 10:45 am |
      • Doris

        sounds like an Islamic extremist...

        February 26, 2014 at 10:58 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        @Austin
        You seem less coherent than usual this morning.
        Maybe you should go have a nap. Or talk to your Doctor about adjusting dosages...

        February 26, 2014 at 11:02 am |
    • Dalahäst

      Christians are forces of good in this world. Like other people, such as atheists.

      There are some Christians that are not forces of good in this world. And the same can be said for other people, like atheists. History has proven that religious, Christian, atheist, non-Christian are all capable of being corrupted and evil.

      Yet, the capacity to do great things exist in both.

      February 26, 2014 at 11:33 am |
  9. eudaimonia2013

    "“He pledged that he will attack the very idea that Christianity is an important element of conservatism. People of any faith tradition should not be attacked for their beliefs, especially at our conference. He has left us with no choice but to return his money,” she said."

    This is very disconcerting. Apparently, determining that religion is a separate issue from one's conservative political views is perceived as an "attack"; this is but one of many examples of why it's hard to move forward. Separation of religion and state is a fundamental principle of this nation. This is not a theocracy. :-/

    February 26, 2014 at 10:32 am |
    • Austin

      Is uganda a theocracy? Why are they doing that? Why did hitler do that?

      Inquisition. Crusade.

      Not based or obedient to new testament.

      So then what is the real evil behind people?

      February 26, 2014 at 10:42 am |
      • Doris

        "Not based or obedient to new testament."

        that's YOUR interpretation

        and therein lies the problem...

        February 26, 2014 at 10:53 am |
      • eudaimonia2013

        I don't understand what your statements have to do with my point.

        February 26, 2014 at 10:54 am |
      • kudlak

        Austin
        So your interpretation of the NT doesn't set you to have any bias whatsoever? Jew, Muslim, atheist, Christian Hindu, pro-choice, pro-life, gay, straight, bi, ... all are equal under your personal gospel?

        February 26, 2014 at 11:30 am |
  10. new-man

    colin...
    I see you need a new dictionary. Science is a NOUN.
    But I know you and those like you will not allow this bit of fact to get in the way of your lies and distortions to fit your godless agenda.

    February 26, 2014 at 10:30 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Godless agenda???? What exactly is that? I care that everyone is granted the same rights regardless of belief or disbelief, you only care that they are granted the rights your book of fairy tales says they deserve...how sad that you don't care about others.
      Why are you so frightened by our disbelief? Is your own belief so weak that reality scares you?
      Stop acting like Austin...you sound just as delusional and crazy as he is.

      February 26, 2014 at 10:35 am |
      • new-man

        it's seems you're angry and haven't the slightest clue why.

        I'm sure colin will agree with me that he has a godless agenda and is quiet proud of it.
        I have no intention of responding to the rest of your post because in the words of Bob Marley, that cap doesn't fit, so I have no intention of wearing it.
        You on the other hand came like a fowl to the thrown corns.

        I suggest you truly try to understand the things colin writes.

        February 26, 2014 at 10:45 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          I'm not angry at all, so stop making assumptions. I'm sure Colin would agree that he doesn't have an agenda of any form and only wishes for the equal rights and treatment of all regardless of belief. I'm certain you'll find very little that Colin would agree with you on.
          You keep making claims but have no backing for them. You and Austin make your belief system look bad for the rest...keep it in your home and church, out of the public square and learn to respect others and you might not see it being questioned as often as it is. If your god was so powerful it wouldn't need you to defend it. If we wanted to read scripture we could easily do so but scripture proves nothing more than the fact that you have not looked outside the book for answers and thus remain a closed minded ignorant fool.

          February 26, 2014 at 10:54 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Have you started your amputee/prayer blog? You shouldn't delay – if you have the power, you shouldn't deprive a person of limbs.
          btw I'm pretty sure that colin meant that science is an ongoing activity – something that is done – hence verb.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:08 am |
        • new-man

          tp:
          the fool is the one who insists there is no God.
          Hey look, I even have Scripture – the very word of your creator to back me up!

          The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. Psalm 53:1

          The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. Pro 12:15

          A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident. Pro 14:16

          February 26, 2014 at 11:22 am |
        • new-man

          Santa-
          meditate on this:
          When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you, understanding will
          keep you to deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things Proverbs 2:10-12.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:25 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          it would be a pretty basic strategy for the snake oil salesmen who wrote the bible to try and cover themselves by putting in lines like "do not believe he who says this book is false for they are servants of the devil" and "he who questions god is wrong sayeth the lord" and "any man who doubts the word of god as written in this book is a fool and will be punished in the afterlife" and so on, and so on, and so on ...

          it's so obvious and transparent!

          so why do Christians keep quoting lines like this from their book when atheists make logical, factual arguments showing the bible's errors and inconsistencies?!?!

          "the bible is right because it is the word of god and it is the word of god because it says so in the bible"

          Comedy Gold!!! LOLOLOL

          February 26, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • Doris

          new-man must be getting ready to audition for the Evangelical Fortune Cookie Company."

          February 26, 2014 at 11:30 am |
        • otoh2

          new-man,
          "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."

          This is a quite old tactic, that sometimes even works on the gullible – declaring that those who do not believe your story are 'fools'. Nobody wants to be considered 'dumb' for not seeing the Emperor's new clothes, or a 'bas.tard' for not seeing the Sultan's new turban, or a 'cuckold' for not being able to see the Miller's gold thumb.

          Even Joseph Smith used it when he gathered his 'witnesses' to his golden plates. He told them that only those with 'true faith' would be able to 'see' them.

          The ancient, primitive Hebrews who originated those Bible stories were quite adept at manipulative mind-games.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:31 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          new, I'm presuming that your tangential response means that you're distracting attention from the fact that you're not keeping your promise of healing an amputee with prayer. You could be the toast of christendom when you perform that in a verifiable manner. As I said You shouldn't delay – if you have the power, you shouldn't deprive a person of limbs.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:36 am |
  11. Doris

    Religion is ethical abortion. Religious evolution is mass ethical abortion. Similar to a chemical pesticide application.

    Kindof like a gas chamber. Crop dusters spraying oppression. Like what we see going on in Uganda today.

    February 26, 2014 at 10:28 am |
  12. Austin

    Atheism is spiritual abortion. Atheistic evolution is mass spiritual abortion. Similar to a chemical pesticide application.

    Kindof like a gas chamber. Crop dusters spraying oppression.

    February 26, 2014 at 10:22 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Oh my, the greatest hypocrite of the blog and here you are sharing your lies again. Maybe you should enlighten us with how much brain damage you received from your drunken stupor car crash. Anyone who puts the lives of other people at risk while behind the wheel of a 3000 pound piece of metal has no right to pull the holier than thou attitude.
      You're a fraud, a coward, a hypocrite and a liar.

      February 26, 2014 at 10:29 am |
    • kudlak

      Depends on what you call "spiritual". If spiritual just means that which relates to deep emotional feeling, like the awe one feels when contemplating the universe, than we atheists can indeed be spiritual. What we refuse to accept is any claim to supernatural aspects to what, for all that we can really tell, is just an emotional response.

      February 26, 2014 at 11:25 am |
  13. Austin

    Prophecy of the rock dating cult

    Where is your historic conformation of prophetic ordainment?

    February 26, 2014 at 9:56 am |
    • Doris

      Who do you see dating a rock?

      February 26, 2014 at 10:00 am |
      • myweightinwords

        I've dated a guy who thought he was a rock star, does that count?

        February 26, 2014 at 10:01 am |
        • Doris

          Sure. there you go, Austin. Prophecy fulfilled.

          February 26, 2014 at 10:10 am |
  14. Austin

    Instead of offending people we should spiritually euthanuze the world.

    Everyone should suffer .

    February 26, 2014 at 9:46 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Yes Austin, yes. We should euthanize the world. Happy now? Go get started.

      February 26, 2014 at 9:52 am |
  15. Austin

    Is the systematic spiritual euthanization of children a goal of a decent induvidual?

    February 26, 2014 at 9:43 am |
    • Doris

      I'm all for a good education. I suggest starting with spelling.

      February 26, 2014 at 9:59 am |
  16. colin31714

    Religion is fine when it is all play and nothing serious flows from the beliefs. Like the make-believe condiments served at a little girl’s tea party. However, when there are real World consequences that flow, religious beliefs must be subordinated to science and to equitable social policies. For example, nobody cares when the Christian prays to their god that their child overcome an illness, because it is harmless foolery. However, if they pray IN LIEU of giving the child the medical care he or she needs, then they enter the real world and must be curtailed.

    Likewise, nobody cares about the Christians who, deep down, believe gays are sinners, provided no social consequences flow from the belief. But, if they try and effect social policy, such as denying gays their rights based on their primitive superst.ition, then they, likewise, must be reigned in.

    Like the drinks served at the infantile tea party, religion is a fine when we all accept it is all pretend.

    February 26, 2014 at 9:21 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      well said!

      February 26, 2014 at 9:34 am |
      • colin31714

        Thanks Dog. Past 8:30 in Dallas, I have to get to work. Later.

        February 26, 2014 at 9:37 am |
    • Doris

      Yes, well said.

      February 26, 2014 at 9:39 am |
    • Austin

      The new testament does not deal with your rights from ceaser.

      It deals with your rights from God.

      But if you are talking about suboordination you must refer to slavery to sin and death and eternal seperation. We want nothing to do with that ignorance and total depravity.

      Choosing sin over salvation is spiritual suicide. In effect you are a spiritual euthinizer

      February 26, 2014 at 9:41 am |
    • Dalahäst

      People who believe in religion contribute just as much, and in many cases, more than you to progress and enlightenment.

      Your tests and explanations of religion are like a little girl's tea party. You post them on religious blogs and nobody, but a few guys who post under infantile names like "In Santa We Trust" and "dyslexic doG" ever take them seriously.

      February 26, 2014 at 9:41 am |
      • Apple Bush

        I thought it was an excellent post and hit the nail on the head.

        February 26, 2014 at 9:43 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Some very good things flow from religious belief.

          Some horrible things flow from secular, non-religious, anti-theist and simplistic (and insufficient) beliefs like Colin.

          Some of the usual suspects will applaud his rant. Most logical and reasonable adults who contribute to society will ignore it. It is fringe atheist philosophy. And is a sad attempt to try and sound intelligent.

          February 26, 2014 at 9:54 am |
        • Apple Bush

          I disagree. It was pretty straight forward and in my estimation, accurate.

          February 26, 2014 at 9:58 am |
        • SeaVik

          "It is fringe atheist philosophy."

          This is not remotely a "fringe philosophy". It's not even an exclusively atheist philosophy. Religious views that are not supported by actual evidence should not be allowed to influence our laws. Our founders believed this, atheists believe this and many religious people believe this. In fact, I'd say all religious people believe this at least about other religious views that conflict with theirs.

          February 26, 2014 at 10:53 am |
      • colin31714

        I'm sure they do, but only when they abandon the faith based approach that supports their beliefs and act on the basis of logic and reason. Science is a verb, not a noun. It is a way of thinking and approaching problems. The Christian can adopt this approach as readily as the atheist, they just need to abandon it in order to maintain their primitive belief. If they subjected their belief to the logic and reason they exercise in every other aspect of their lives, they would gradually, over a relatively short span of time, drop their religion. Try it.

        February 26, 2014 at 9:52 am |
        • Dalahäst

          The Christian belief is not primitive. Being a bigot is not modern. I use logic and reason. Just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I'm doing it wrong. Using science doesn't prove your deep seeded resentments against religion right. Nor is "scientism" or whatever religion-like approach to life you are preaching very logical.

          February 26, 2014 at 9:58 am |
        • Doris

          "The Christian belief is not primitive."

          Spam is nothing new.

          February 26, 2014 at 10:16 am |
        • new-man

          colin...
          I see you need a new dictionary. Science is a NOUN.
          But I know you and those like you will not allow this bit of fact to get in the way of your lies and distortions to fit your agenda.

          February 26, 2014 at 10:28 am |
        • Apollo to Zeus

          @Dalahäst
          I use logic and reason. Just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I'm doing it wrong.
          It’s not that you disagree with any one person that makes you wrong; it’s that you disagree with the entire logical thinking population that does it.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Sorry, but the entire logical thinking population does not agree with you. Thinking so is arrogance, not logic.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
      • Doris

        I thought it was good as well.

        "People who believe in religion contribute just as much, and in many cases, more than you to progress and enlightenment."

        Many do contribute. But I find the major conflicts in and amongst the pockets of extreme ideas too frequent and too vast. Progress and enlightenment are impeded.

        February 26, 2014 at 9:55 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Colin is a walking example of extreme atheism. He acts a lot like the far-right fundamentalists.

          February 26, 2014 at 9:59 am |
        • Austin

          Doris concerning the church would you care to show us those ideas referenced from the new testament? Those extreme ideas you refer too. I am not interested in people rather the dictrine that inflames their behavior from the new testament .

          February 26, 2014 at 10:00 am |
        • Doris

          "Colin is a walking example of extreme atheism. He acts a lot like the far-right fundamentalists."

          Well Colin is very strong in his views. Of course the difference is the refreshing absence of delusion.

          February 26, 2014 at 10:02 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Unfortunately he does demonstrate delusion. Or maybe it is arrogance. Whatever certainty he uses to insist his understanding is superior to mine: that is not refreshing. That is ol' man bigotry.

          February 26, 2014 at 10:07 am |
        • Doris

          "Doris concerning the church would you care to show us those ideas referenced from the new testament? Those extreme ideas you refer too. I am not interested in people rather the dictrine that inflames their behavior from the new testament ."

          No, I could care less about looking any further into the NT. I'm interested in revealing the effects of religious idiocy in the here and now. I think you are the one that needs to take a closer look at it if you want to keep your beliefs and simultaneously assess and affect those effects.

          February 26, 2014 at 10:07 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        In general, non-believers don't think faith (in the religious sense) is a virtue whereas religion is predicated on faith. The willing suspension of critical thinking required to accept a proposition despite a lack of evidence (or evidence to the contrary) is anathema to the skeptical mind.
        Religion is a belief, and belief is inside our heads. Subjectivity is not separable from objectivity without creating a serious problem.
        Some religionists attempt to prove religion, an ultimately unprovable hypothesis by its very belief-based nature. This gets funny, because "facts" become tools that must be selectively presented. This is a rigourous process of double-think, where some things are ignored or made smaller while others are made huge and important. The common thread, however, is the inability to reconcile some things with others: reality with aggrandizement, hope with reality, anecdote with fact, ideas with proof. Everything is fair game, even if some of it is basically assumed and other stuff is questioned so rhetorically as to lose all meaning.
        These are the people who will leave behind them warped school systems and thwarted arts and science funding, and have no idea how much they are hurting the world around them, in the name of a God they have such a huge need for that they are willing to prove their belief to themselves just to be sure. But they shouldn't need to have beliefs proven; belief is subjective to begin with. If you believe it, you believe it. End of story.
        The world doesn't work how we want it to work. The world is. We can only describe it, and chronicle its workings. God is an explanation for the reason behind the Universe's existence, something which is unknowable and has no relation to what happens in the Universe.

        February 26, 2014 at 10:22 am |
      • eudaimonia2013

        "“He pledged that he will attack the very idea that Christianity is an important element of conservatism. People of any faith tradition should not be attacked for their beliefs, especially at our conference. He has left us with no choice but to return his money,” she said."

        This is very disconcerting. Apparently, determining that religion is a separate issue from one's conservative political views is perceived as an "attack"; this is but one of many examples of why it's hard to move forward. Separation of religion and state is a fundamental principle of this nation. This is not a theocracy. :-/

        February 26, 2014 at 10:31 am |
      • In Santa We Trust

        They are serious comments – you are upset because it illustrates your delusion for which you have no coherent answer. As I've said to before, you use logic and reason until it conflicts with your beliefs – if After Effects or your vehicle have a problem, your first impulse is not to assign a supernatural cause and pray, you use logic and reason to resolve the issue. However you cannot do the same where religion is concerned – modern knowledge shows that the majority of the bible – most importantly the foundational parts – are not correct; without the religious foundation there is nothing to support the existence of a god.

        February 26, 2014 at 10:59 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Too many "you statements". It sounds like you are being a dictator.

          Can't take it seriously, dude. Sorry.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:11 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          How is it dictatorial? Of course you'll just dance enough to have the last word, but not actually respond.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • Apollo to Zeus

          Too many "you statements". It sounds like you are being a dictator.

          In other words; I see what you're saying, but i refuse to acknowledge that so instead i'll throw out an ad hominem.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Or I think he is simply stating what he imagines about me. But little about himself.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Do you have verifiable evidence that you have repaired your vehicle purely by prayer or fixed a problem with After Effects purely by prayer? No, so it is not my imagination. More evasion on your part, as you really have no answer.

          February 26, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          That analogy is silly. Especially for a guy who attacks other people who try to use analogies (what the Bible gives me) to make a point. Modern understanding actually reinforce what the Bible reveals.

          Faith. without. works. is. dead.

          I'm not sure who taught you that all believers think they can just pray and fix their car or magically fix all their problems.

          I've been taught we have to work and seek out truths. And test them. Pray for guidance from God, to help you make the next right decision. But God isn't going to do for me what I can do for myself.

          Are you being serious about your analogy? You are way off base if so.

          February 26, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
      • kudlak

        Dalahäst
        I'm sure that there are many fine folks who contribute plenty to the world by following their horoscopes, rubbing their lucky rabbits' feet, or by following the wisdom of some other religion. I appreciate whatever they do to help the world, but I'll still have to disagree with any beliefs I find irrational.

        February 26, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Great. I find most of your opinions about me and general line of reasoning as irrational.

          February 26, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          What do you find irrational about them?

          February 26, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Excellent post.

      I do find it interesting however that in order to behave in the manner you discuss, the “sensible” Christian must contradict his or her beliefs. One must ask the question, why be a Christian if, in order to maintain a normal healthy life, you must abandon it (temporarily) when reality demands it…

      Then the Christian turns right around and “re-embraces” Christianity when it suits them.

      February 26, 2014 at 9:42 am |
      • colin31714

        Good point. In order to function in society, they have to abandon the faith based approach that (they think) serves them so well in religion. Can you imagine a Mormon buying Apple stock because they had a vision of Steve Jobs? Of course not. But, they will base their entire moral and theological outlook on the belief that Joseph Smith had a vision of an angel while staring into a big black hat.

        February 26, 2014 at 9:46 am |
        • Austin

          While you base your spiritual theology on rocks? Cults.

          February 26, 2014 at 9:51 am |
        • Dalahäst

          He mimics scientists like Dawkin's, who are doing unscientific things like butchering philosophy and trying to prove an insufficient and simplified outlook on life.

          February 26, 2014 at 10:02 am |
        • Doris

          Colin: "they will base their entire moral and theological outlook on the belief that Joseph Smith had a vision of an angel while staring into a big black hat."

          The same can be said of chatty cathy Paul, the J Smith of his day. And we certainly see the effects of it today in the world, don't we.... something evident. You don't need spooky physics to see the effects...

          February 26, 2014 at 10:22 am |
        • SeaVik

          Dala, quit bashing Dawkins. I have asked you to show me something from The God Delusion that you despute as being untrue and you've not been able to do so. In fact, you haven't even tried. If you can't do that, stop pretending it's a philosophy book!

          February 26, 2014 at 10:57 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I think I provided a good example last week when you asked me about it: he criticized an argument of CS Lewis as being a poor argument to prove God.

          But the argument CS Lewis was making wasn't about proving God. Dawkins seemed to misinterpret the quote.

          February 26, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Lewis argues about the importance of faith, but does he ever make a good argument for God being real?

          February 26, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes. Unfortunately I don't think Dawkins ever addressed them?

          February 26, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          What's Lewis' best one, in your opinion?

          February 26, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
    • ddeevviinn

      " Likewise, NOBODY cares about the christians..." Seeing that 78% of the U.S. population identify themselves as christians, as do 2.5 billion of the world's total population, you may want to redo your math.

      You know, words have meaning, you just can't go around making this stuff up. But then again, I can guess you can.

      February 26, 2014 at 10:03 am |
      • colin31714

        Congratulations on altering the meaning of a quote by truncating it.

        February 26, 2014 at 10:13 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Truncating only for the purpose of brevity. You, the one who penned it, know exactly what you said and the intent of the implication. I realize you take great pains in portraying christianity as some fringe, fanatical ideology that the majority of society just laughs off. It just isn't so. In reality, it is your particular persuasion that the masses have evaluated and recognized as deficient. Of course you already know this, but that knowledge does not seem to matter or prompt you towards truthfulness in your posts.

          February 26, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
    • eudaimonia2013

      Well stated!

      February 26, 2014 at 10:19 am |
    • eudaimonia2013

      Yes, this is the reason why any fair sane society separates religion from the state..

      February 26, 2014 at 10:21 am |
    • kudlak

      My favourite analogy is that nobody really cares that some people think black cats are bad luck, but imagine if they became political enough to actually get a law passed saying that you had to put your kitty down because it was the wrong color?

      To a lot of people, Christianity is just another superst.ition.

      February 26, 2014 at 10:24 am |
  17. Austin

    You absolutely have to set all of the new testament aside and insist that uganda is God to pull off that type of a deception.

    February 26, 2014 at 9:08 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      thanks Austin.

      You heard it folks. "Set the new testament aside". Do it now as Austin said. Free yourself!!!

      February 26, 2014 at 9:15 am |
      • Doris

        (lol – there so much craziness in that one line, I think it deserves to stand on it's own – LOL)

        February 26, 2014 at 9:18 am |
  18. Doris

    Poster guidedans wrote:

    "Everyone here should be a Christian.
    [..] why don't you just go with the belief that provides you with the most utility?"

    Well Christianity does provide utility for a number of things – one being hate.

    Of course one needs to research to find the brand that allows them to fully utilize their potential to hate in a specific manner. I mean one wouldn't want to join an Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA) for instance if you hate gays. Since the ELCA is gay-friendly, you're not likely to get the cooperation you're searching for there. Good luck there trying to organize an effort to contact Ugandan evangelicals to offer support for them in their ministry to lock up or rid their country of homosexuals. On the other hand, you might actually find the right church in something like the Lutheran Church Wisconsin Synod if you already hate the Pope and want a group who's there ready to hate him with you. You might even get lucky and be put on a committee that will find once again that the Pope is an Antichrist whenever they renew that position (I think the last time was in 2011).

    It's a tough task, but keep your head up, there supposedly over 40,000 different sects, so certainly one of them has the interpretation of God's Word that will fit perfectly with your view of the world – what you hate in it, what makes you feel icky and what makes you feel comfy.

    (eyeroll, with disgust)

    Poster Dalahäst quotes MLK, Jr with " Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. "

    Wisdom? Ha. After what we've learned has transpired in the world recently, I'm not about to yield any control, via representation, to those who claim "wisdom" in the name of one type of hate or disenfranchisement or another, disguised as righteousness.

    (just disgust)

    February 26, 2014 at 8:59 am |
    • Austin

      Doris.

      The new testament is a law of liberty and forgiiveness. There are no punishments and unbelievers are not expected. T o be purified.

      Satan is at work. Dont you get it?

      February 26, 2014 at 9:03 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        in reality Austin, the new testament is a story book written by iron age men with little knowledge of science and the way the universe works. That's it. Nothing more. All the rest is in your imagination.

        February 26, 2014 at 9:05 am |
      • Doris

        Not everyone needs, nor wants terms stemming from your idiotic, self-serving, self-captivating delusions.

        February 26, 2014 at 9:05 am |
        • Doris

          (my last reply was to Austin)

          February 26, 2014 at 9:06 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          🙂

          February 26, 2014 at 9:07 am |
        • Austin

          Doris you are providing a masquerade of apostacy in amn attempt to characterize what the new testament promise stands for. You are in the exact boat that uganda is in .

          What both of you do you do before God.

          February 26, 2014 at 9:13 am |
        • Doris

          "What both of you do you do before God."

          (more wind-up-dollism)

          February 26, 2014 at 9:19 am |
        • Doris

          "in amn attempt to characterize what the new testament promise stands for"

          no, that's the failed attempts of the over 40,000 sects that is, in a way, being highlighted

          "Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth." -TJ

          I see no improvement from this observation in light of world and national events.

          February 26, 2014 at 9:22 am |
    • Dalahäst

      I don't have a problem with atheism, nor want to stand in the way of atheists gaining acceptance with the status quo.

      I do have a problem with the "New Atheists" tactics and simple-minded understanding of "religion".

      February 26, 2014 at 9:16 am |
      • kudlak

        What specific tactics do you dislike and how is our understanding of religion wrong?

        February 26, 2014 at 10:27 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't like people that suggest I'm mentally ill, and then precede to ridicule me.

          That is disgusting. They either honestly don't believe I'm mentally ill. Or they have no clue about dealing with the mentally ill.

          Some suggest there is no reasonable reason to believe in God. Yet seem to ignore the millions of reasonable people who believe in God.

          February 26, 2014 at 10:41 am |
        • eudaimonia2013

          Unfortunately, "mentally ill" , "witch", "demon worshipper", "hitler" etc.. are terms that have persisted for aeons against anyone who simply professes rejection of Christianity.. and are stated with deep hatred and malice bordering on rabid... Not to mention loss of jobs, loved ones etc. that are used as punishment against those who simply do not believe. These are the reactions of Christians specifically in response to people who simply say I'm an atheist.. not to people who defend their position or are crusaders for it.. just everyday people who simply say "I disagree". So, in some sense a hostile environment has created a hostile response.

          That said, it would help to try to focus on the consistent logical, reasonable positions that are proposed here directly without the multiple responses to seek one's brand of religion, god, way of life in response... To most rational people responses of that sort looks mentally unstable.

          February 26, 2014 at 10:52 am |
        • igaftr

          dala
          "I don't like people that suggest I'm mentally ill"
          The delusions you tell about are SYMPTOMS of mental illness, not illness itself.

          "Some suggest there is no reasonable reason to believe in God. Yet seem to ignore the millions of reasonable people who believe in God.

          There ARE no valid reason for belief, since there is NO evidence anywhere for the claims.
          The number of people who believe a given thing is NOT an indication of the validity of belief.

          People think there is something wrong with atheists, think atheists are immoral because morality allegedly comes from "god". What you are railing against is the very same stuff relious people have been doing to atheists for millenia...welcome to the club.

          February 26, 2014 at 11:04 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Like a lot of "New Atheists", I was once a believer. I certainly don't feel like I had to be mentally ill in order to believe, or somehow less smart. I was supplied by my church with many reasons for believing what we did and, at the time, they seemed reasonable to me. They do not seem reasonable to me anymore. Just clever wordplay and appeals to emotion. Nothing more.

          Isn't it just possible that reasonable people believe in God for reasons that they see as reasonable, but which actually aren't?

          Now, what's so simple-minded about our view of religion?

          February 26, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • Dalahäst

          People who simply claim that everything about religion is strictly horrible seem to have a flawed understanding of the cause of most of the world's problems.

          The New Atheists' anti-religious vitriol of the 2000s is a passing internet fad that never really gained acceptance by the public.

          February 26, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          So, it's more fair to say that religion is the cause of just some of the world's problems?

          It may have only gained the acceptance of some of the public, but it certainly got the attention of a lot more, and the result is a society that's far more willing to actually discuss religious issues and challenge abuses they see certain religious groups making.

          February 26, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
    • guidedans

      Doris,

      I understand what you are saying, and I appreciate that you, looking at the church, will find tons of issues with it. Christians are people too. They make mistakes and they are bad people just like non-Christians are. The difference between Christians and non-Christians is that Christians accept that they are bad people in need of forgiveness from an all-loving God. Christians also will allow the Holy Spirit into their lives and commit to following the teachings of Jesus.

      Christianity is a religion of Love, but humanity is filled with hatred. When you mix the two, you will of course get people, who will misuse the religion to further their hatred. You should really read the New Testament and read what Jesus says. There is no hatred there, only love.

      God is love, and Christianity (true Christianity) is a religion that brings you into a relationship with God.

      February 26, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
  19. Austin

    When the bible refers to religion it is referring to false doctrine. The new testament is a covenant promise . Its between you and God.

    Dont focus on religion.

    February 26, 2014 at 8:48 am |
    • Award Notification Dept

      Austin clenches a win with a one-liner! Congrats, Austin for yet another win of the award for the Fundy Method of Inquiry & Verification! For those not familiar with the Fundy Method of Inquiry & Verification, it works like this:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2uZb2p2Mec

      February 26, 2014 at 8:53 am |
      • Austin

        Im glad to see an updated turn table. I like green ones.

        February 26, 2014 at 8:58 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        That sums Austin up quite well...except I think his hamster is dead or stuck.

        February 26, 2014 at 10:32 am |
  20. Doc Vestibule

    Why are the "New Atheists" to whom Dalahst is referring so loudly shouting their disbelief?
    Because in America at least, they're in the midst of a coming out party of sorts.
    For the first time in the history of the USA, non-believers are speaking up without fear of being tarred and feathered.
    The ghost of McCarthyism still haunts the American psyche – his successful conflation of atheism with communism has meant that a public profession of non-belief was tantamount to admitting to treason.
    Now with the ubiquity of instant, global communication, American non-believers have found that they are not alone. Not only that, they are able to look to other nations where proper secularism is the norm and politicians' religious affiliations are a non-issue – which seems more in line with what the Founding Fathers envisioned for America.
    They see the social and political legacies of the "Moral Majority" in failed abstinence only s/ex ed, attempts at co-opting science curricula, endless harping about the sacti/ty of marriage from adulterous, twice divorced men, the demonizing of ho/mose/xuality which (let's face it) does no harm to anybody.

    The "New Atheists" are revelling in their new found voice and are realizing that they can help quell the mixing of religion and government. They are bold, vociferous and frequently obnoxious because finally, they needn't fear being social pariahs for their views.
    This initial exuberance will die down soon enough. Like in any movement, given enough time, cooler heads will prevail.

    But of course, some of them are just childish @s$holes.

    February 26, 2014 at 8:35 am |
    • Doris

      Good points, but for some, it's not all about America. I assume you are up to date with what is going on in Uganda and other countries where citizens face what some Ugandans are facing.

      February 26, 2014 at 8:41 am |
      • Austin

        Doris. The new testament is a promise of liberty and forgiveness. There is nothing about ways to punish people outside if exhonoration within church.

        Reason being it is a spiritual promise of sanctifucation and resurrection baptism into freedom from bondage. Unbelievers are expected to remain in sin.

        February 26, 2014 at 8:55 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          in reality Austin, the new testament is a story book written by iron age men with little knowledge of science and the way the universe works. That's it. Nothing more. All the rest is in your imagination.

          February 26, 2014 at 9:03 am |
        • Doris

          Not everyone needs, nor wants the terms of your idiotic, self-serving, self-captivating delusions.

          February 26, 2014 at 9:04 am |
        • Austin

          Dog , you should concede my point and avoid maligning the promise of the Holy Spirit because if the illumination of evil.

          February 26, 2014 at 9:06 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          LOLOLOLOL

          Austin, if you were to say that the earth is flat and ask me to concede the point, what should I do when I know it to be factually incorrect?

          The stuff you come up with on this blog beggars belief. You should perhaps seek psychiatric help for the aural and visual hallucinations that have caused you to believe in miracles. There are many good medications that can bring you back to us.

          February 26, 2014 at 9:14 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Oh certainly.
        Religious oppression is depressingly common in far too many countries.
        The more deeply religious a nation, the worse they are for human rights.
        Those are the countries in which a public profession of atheism will land you a trip to the gallows.

        The "New Atheists" to whom Dalahast refers are overwhelmingly American.

        February 26, 2014 at 9:16 am |
        • kudlak

          The "rights" of gods usually trump the rights of people, eh?

          Now, can the religious claim that those superior rights don't establish them, as members of the gods' "party", as a privileged elite?

          February 26, 2014 at 10:33 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "childish @s$holes" Harsh, but I'm occasionally guilty of it on here...

      February 26, 2014 at 9:06 am |
    • Dalahäst

      Good points. I don't have a problem with atheism, nor want to stand in the way of atheists gaining acceptance with the status quo.

      I do have a problem with the "New Atheists" tactics and simple-minded understanding of "religion".

      February 26, 2014 at 9:18 am |
      • colin31714

        Dalahast said, "I do have a problem with the "New Atheists" tactics and simple-minded understanding of "religion". Apparently there is some deeper or more sophisticated aspect to believing in the supernatural and hitching your moral wagon to it. Perhaps Dalast can explain. I am always circ.umspect when people claim some higher or deeper level exists in some field of human endeavor without explaining just what that is.

        And no, Dalahast, an answer like "you are too dumb/immoral to get it" or "if you don't see it for yourself, you will never understand" won't cut it. Please tell us all about the sophisticated element to believing in supernatural beings that I am apparently missing.

        February 26, 2014 at 10:04 am |
        • Dalahäst

          "you are too dumb/immoral to get it" So, don't explain things like you do?: "you are too idiotic/infantile to get it"

          Belief in God is normal and healthy. One of the benefits of my job is paid mental health evaluations and therapy. Which is great, who doesn't need therapy? My therapist doesn't seem concerned about my belief in God, but you sure do. Religion can be a good thing, too. Like everything it can be corruptible. Even atheists like you fail to live up to your own ideals sometimes.

          80% of people believe in something like God. And they have pretty similar make ups to people who don't believe in God. Sure there are examples of extremists religious people. But we also have extremist non-religious people to balance them out. I'd say 95% of people try to avoid those extremists. I'm odd because I'm engaging in conversation with one. Party because you are funny. Also, partly, because there is a better way for you to live. Atheism is maturing and becoming less "infantile". Perhaps you should join them?

          February 26, 2014 at 10:13 am |
        • colin31714

          So, the deeper, more sophisticated thing I was missing is that religion is normal and popular. So essentially nothing.

          As per the Sam Harris quote cited somewhere on this blog, religion allows a large number of people to believe things that, if only one person believed them, would cause that person to be considered crazy. You might like to tell your therapist that.

          February 26, 2014 at 10:24 am |
        • colin31714

          And by the way, stop aping my expressions. Please be original.

          February 26, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • Bob

          AE, belief in the racist, bigoted, and murderous Christian god of the nasty Christian myths is not healthy. It is a dangerous set of delusions, and requires the abandonment of reason. You should ask yourself, to help cure you of your horrid delusions, why it is that even the majority of believers in the world believe in a different god than you do, with wildly different rules to follow, and why your supposedly omnipotent creature can't do a better job of marketing himself over those other beliefs.

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

          February 26, 2014 at 10:28 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes, Colin. There is nothing more deeper or more sophisticated than your understanding. And only those who share in your self-generated enlightenment can see that truth to this universe.

          Here is the funny thing: I have atheists on here calling me mentally ill, delusional, brainwashed. And I'm not. But they honestly believe I am. And they seem to think the way to treat such an illness, is by being arrogant, rude and demeaning.

          I really don't care, personally. But it is hilarious the modes in which they operate.

          They are not as rational, logical or reasonable as they imagine. 99% of the population can spot that fact.

          February 26, 2014 at 10:33 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Bob,

          That website is embarrassing to most atheists.

          It really is time to grow out of your "Superior Atheist" phase. There is nothing reasonable about your posts. For real.

          February 26, 2014 at 10:36 am |
        • Doris

          "They are not as rational, logical or reasonable as they imagine. 99% of the population can spot that fact."

          I wouldn't be so sure of yourself. I see it that most would rather not think about it and take the easy way out – that they would rather agree with your conjecture if it supports the prevailing religion that they've grown up with.

          February 26, 2014 at 10:49 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Most atheists do not constantly post on religious blogs or try to tell others they are delusional while insisting they themselves are on the side of reason.

          That is "internet atheism", which is a joke.

          February 26, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Most atheists do not constantly post on religious blogs or try to tell others they are delusional while insisting they themselves are on the side of reason.

          That is "internet atheism", which is a joke

          Agreed. It is indistinct from it's mirror, internet Christianity, which does exactly the same thing and is equally a joke.

          Having said that there really are some posters who really do appear to be delusional.

          February 26, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yea. I'm not sure how to handle the truly delusional. I guess, treat them how I would want to be treated.

          I deal with delusional people at work, and have been instructed on how to handle it (and when to notify the authorities!).

          February 26, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • Bob

          AE/dalahast, dalahast/AE, enough with your childish ad hominems already. This time, try to respond to my post instead of making yet more personal attacks.

          Your belief in the racist, bigoted, and murderous Christian god of the nasty Christian myths is not healthy. It is a dangerous set of delusions, and requires the abandonment of reason. You should ask yourself, to help cure you of your horrid delusions, why it is that even the majority of believers in the world believe in a different god than you do, with wildly different rules to follow, and why your supposedly omnipotent creature can't do a better job of marketing himself over those other beliefs.

          And no, you cannot claim to speak for "most atheists".

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

          February 26, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • Bob

          AE/dalahast, enough with your childish ad hominems already. This time, try to respond to my post instead of making yet more personal attacks.

          Your belief in the racist, bigoted, and murderous Christian god of the nasty Christian myths is not healthy. It is a dangerous set of delusions, and requires the abandonment of reason. You should ask yourself, to help cure you of your horrid delusions, why it is that even the majority of believers in the world believe in a different god than you do, with wildly different rules to follow, and why your supposedly omnipotent creature can't do a better job of marketing himself over those other beliefs.

          And no, you cannot claim to speak for "most atheists".

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

          February 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Are you a bot?

          February 26, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          I'm not sure what you mean by "internet atheism"? There are trolls on both sides, people only looking to start a firestorm, who lie and deal with straw man arguments, but there are people like that in real life who say and do the exact same thing in person.

          For example, I see little distinction between what creationists say on the internet, in lectures, in their books, on TV, or in person. No one venue is more silly, repulsive, or full of lies and distortions of science.

          There was even an article here a year ago called "My take: A word to Christians – Be nice" about how Christians often get nasty online, but there are also serious atheists and Christians who say the exact same things in person as they do in all their publications, including the internet.

          All of those atheists you imagine who aren't discussing their views and beliefs online would still disagree with your reasons for believing in God if you happened to find yourself discussing this topic with them in person, correct? I'll be the first to say that not all atheists are actually interested in religion, but some of us are. Personally, I feel that I could have used access like this to atheist views a lot earlier. It certainly would have saved me a few years of frustration having to figure stuff out for myself. I see putting out the common arguments against faith in God as a service to skeptics still struggling with it.

          February 26, 2014 at 7:23 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.