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May 24th, 2014
06:00 PM ET

Atheists in the Bible Belt: A survival guide

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

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Raleigh, North Carolina (CNN) – Back home, they erase their Internet histories, look over their shoulders before cracking jokes and nod politely when co-workers talk about church.

But in a hotel ballroom here on a recent weekend, more than 220 atheists, agnostics, skeptics and freethinkers let it all hang out.

The convention was called “Freedom From Religion in the Bible Belt,” and it was part celebration of skepticism and part strategy session about surviving in the country’s most religious region.

They sang songs about the futility of faith, shared stories about “coming out” as nonbelievers and bought books about the Bible – critical ones, of course.

“Isn’t it great to be in a room where you can say whatever you want to whomever you want without fear of anyone criticizing you for being unorthodox?” asked Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, as he opened the two-day convention.

The Wisconsin-based foundation co-sponsored the event with the Triangle Freethought Society, which draws its members from this state’s tech-heavy Research Triangle.

The nonbelievers came from as far afield as Ireland and France, but most described themselves as refugees from the heart of the South - atheist anomalies amid fiercely devout friends, family and neighbors.

We wanted to know what it’s like to be a nonbeliever in the Bible Belt, so over the course of the weekend we asked some of the folks here to share their secrets.

They had a lot to say, and some of their advice overlapped, but we came away with eight top tips. Some said they wished they’d had something like this list when they began their foray into religious infidelity.

So, without further ado, here’s a “survival guide” to being an atheist in the Bible Belt:

You may be lonely, but you aren’t alone

Not so long ago, every other letter sent to the Freedom From Religion Foundation would begin something like, “I’m the only atheist in Nebraska … “

It’s still lonely being an atheist in rural America, says Annie Laurie Gaylor, the foundation’s co-president, but there are plenty of skeptics and nonbelievers in God’s Country – if you know how to find them.

Even the most religious states like Mississippi and Alabama have secular meetup groups, although many keep quiet and require long drives to attend.

Gaylor’s favorite story about the secretive lives of Bible Belt atheists involves two neighbors in Georgia whose jaws dropped when they saw each other at an atheist gathering. Each had assumed that the other was a good, God-fearing Baptist.

“They were afraid to speak out," she says, "because they didn’t want to be stigmatized.”

Gaylor recommends looking online for atheist support groups in your area; and be sure to search for related terms as well: agnostic, freethought, skeptic and nonbeliever.

It’s no fun debating fundamentalists

Bart Ehrman doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who backs down from a fight.

The University of North Carolina scholar often seeks them out, regularly debating the Bible and early Christianity with evangelicals and other experts.

But Ehrman told the atheists gathered in Raleigh not to bother arguing with fundamentalists.

“You can’t convince a fundamentalist that he or she is wrong,” he says.

Their theology is a closed system, according to Ehrman, and their social bonds with fellow fundamentalists are too tightly knit to admit any wiggle room.

“You can point to any contradiction in the Bible and it just doesn’t matter. They will either find some way to reconcile it or say that even if they don’t understand it, God does.”

Technically, the term fundamentalist refers to a movement of 20th-century Protestants who rejected modernity and clung to a literal interpretation of the Bible.

But Ehrman has a different definition: “Someone who is no fun, too much damn, and not enough mental.”

People will think you worship Satan

Many Americans don’t actually know any professed atheists, according to surveys - which means they often seem to assume the worst about them.

Fewer than half of Americans say they’d vote for an atheist politician; a similar number say they wouldn’t want their children to marry a nonbeliever.

A recent study also showed that businesses in the South are more likely to discriminate against atheist job candidates.

“I don’t know what they think we are, Satanists or baby eaters or who knows what,” activist Todd Stiefel told the atheists gathered in Raleigh, “but it’s kind of scary."

A recent survey conducted for Stiefel's new “Openly Secular” campaign found that 20% of Americans can’t even define atheism. Far more don’t know what “humanist,” “freethinker” or “agnostic” means.

Behold, the six types of atheists

Based on “It Gets Better” and other gay rights campaigns, “Openly Secular” hopes to counter that ignorance by asking atheists to share stories online about their lives and beliefs.

“What we’re really trying to do is humanize us,” Stiefel says. “Frankly, most of the hate and distrust comes from misunderstanding about who we are.”

You don’t have to convince your friends, family and neighbors to accept all of your views, the atheist activist says. You just have to get them to accept you.

Sometimes it’s better to stay in the closet

After secular conferences like the one here Raleigh, many nonbelievers get so jazzed that they rush home and blurt out … "Guess, what? I’m an ATHEIST!!!"

That can be a really bad idea, says Sarah Morehead, executive director of Recovering From Religion.

It may help the atheist movement as a whole to share your lack of faith with friends and family. But it’s not always the best - or the safest - move for you, she says.

Recovering From Religion’s online support groups are filled with stories about people who lost their jobs, their kids or their spouses after coming out as atheist, Morehead says.

“It’s heartbreaking. People don’t realize how big a difference expressing their nonbelief can make.”

Recovering From Religion recommends having a plan in place before coming out as atheist.

“If you decide you’re a nonbeliever,” Morehead says, “you’re still going to be a nonbeliever in a year."

The group’s own 10.5-step plan includes creating a support network, declining to get into debates and preparing yourself for a “religious breakup” with friends and family. (The half-step assures budding nonbelievers they don’t have to be experts on atheism and points them toward educational resources.)

Don’t be the ‘office atheist’

Candace Gorham says her close family is accepting of her atheism - but she’s not completely “out” at work yet, and doesn’t know if she wants to be.

Gorham, who was raised in the black church, says religion is deeply embedded in the lives of many Southern African-Americans, and the borders between private and public spirituality often blur.

“I work for a black-owned company, and most of my supervisors are black females, and it’s just sort of OK for everybody to talk about God, or offer to pray for you,” says Gorham.

The 33-year-old is author of a new book called “The Ebony Exodus Project,” about black women leaving the church, which has pushed Gorham herself to become more public about being an atheist.

Recently, a co-worker told Gorham she had seen her talking about being an atheist on Roland Martin’s television show.

“I was like, Oh my God, shhh don’t tell anybody!”

A mental-health counselor who works with children, Gorham worries that people will stop referring clients to her once they find out she’s a nonbeliever.

According to a survey Stiefel presented in Raleigh, more than 50% of Americans believe atheist teachers and day-care employees - people who, like Gorham, work with children - are likely to face discrimination at work.

She knows it's only a matter of time until more of her office mates find out.

“It’s getting to a place where I don’t have a choice. I’m just going to have to be comfortable with it - but it does concern me.”

The Internet is your frenemy

A co-worker isn’t the only person who saw Gorham talking about atheism on television.

Her aunt read about the Roland Martin interview online, which led Gorham’s mother to call and ask if she is really an atheist.

The conversation went well, Gorham says, and her mother understands and respects her beliefs.

But the unexpected disclosure shows why many atheists cover their Internet tracks, even as they increasingly look for like-minded communities online.

Gorham says she used to delete her browsing history on her laptop after watching atheist debates and lectures online lest her husband or other family members find out her faith was wavering.

“I was still early in my deconversion and I wasn’t sure how he would perceive it,” says the Greensboro, North Carolina, native.

Others here for the conference said they keep two separate Facebook pages, one for friends and family and one for their secular communities.

“Facebook is my happy place,” says one middle-aged woman who made a nearly seven-hour drive to Raleigh from Crossville, Tennessee.

The woman, who didn't want to be identified, teaches at public schools. She says most of her neighbors and co-workers are Christians.

“Crossville is a small Bible Belt community with churches on every corner,” she said, “and everything shuts down on Sunday except for Wal-Mart and the hospital.”

Most co-workers assume she’s Christian, but she joins as many atheist groups online as she can and keeps an anonymous Facebook page called “Within Reason.”

One recent post asks people to click “like” if they’ve ever been unfriended because of an atheism-themed status update.

Some people take Bible-thumping literally

Adults may face more real-life repercussions for coming out as atheist in the Bible Belt, but that doesn’t mean kids have an easy ride.

Kalei Wilson, 15, says she lost friends after trying to start a secular student club at Pisgah High School in Canton, North Carolina; and someone used a Bible to destroy her science project, leaving the holy book on her smashed model of the universe.

The blue-haired, nose-pierced freshman says she’s not the only atheist at her high school, but most of them are closeted.

“I didn’t want to come out at first,” Wilson says, “but in order to start the club I had to.”

In exchange for her openness, Wilson says, some students mutter "Jesus loves you” as she walks down the hall, and she regularly receives text messages with the greeting, “Hey, Satan.”

“I’ve lost friends because of it,” the teenager says of her atheism, “but they’re not real friends if that’s what they do.”

Have a sense of humor

For all the heartbreaking stories, if was there was a soundtrack to the conference in Raleigh, it would include a lot of laughter.

It seemed as if the atheists and freethinkers here had been storing their sharpest religion jokes for weeks, preparing for the day when they would find an appreciative audience at last.

“I’ve been living in the South for 13 years,” says Pat Meller, who came to Raleigh from nearby Greensboro, “and I’ve had to watch my tongue for just as long.”

So for two days, Meller and her kindred spirits cut loose.

They quipped about the folly of prayer, bought bumper-stickers calling the Bible a “Grim Fairy Tale,” and wore T-shirts proclaiming their belief in life before death.

Harry Shaughnessy, president of the Triangle Freethought Society, played the cut-up emcee for much of the weekend.

“For every activist-oriented event we have, we want to have three to five things that are just fun,” says Shaughnessy, whose group holds regular “Heathen Happy Hours” and meets for barbecues in each other’s homes.

At one point, the youthful 44-year-old donned a crown and a form-fitting, skin-colored costume to bestow Freedom From Religion’s “Emperor Has No Clothes” award on Steifel for his activism.

Perhaps appropriately for an atheist event, Shaughnessy’s get-up left little to the imagination.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Black issues • Church and state • Culture wars • Discrimination • Internet • Lost faith • Nones • North Carolina • Prejudice • Religious liberty

soundoff (4,807 Responses)
  1. bostontola

    Being an atheist says no more about a person than being a stamp collector. There are conservative ones, and liberal ones, there are athletic ones and clumsy ones, etc. The lack of belief in a deity is independent of just about every other human characteristic, yet they need a survival guide. It is like being Jewish in an area rife with antisemitism. Atheism is easy to hide, so that is the typical tactic. It is amazing that in 21st century America such tactics are needed to be treated fairly.

    Too many Americans died for our freedom for this to be the case.

    May 26, 2014 at 10:40 am |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      Atheism is to religion what not collecting stamps is to hobbies.

      May 26, 2014 at 11:15 am |
  2. John Zeger

    My advice to athiests living in the South - just move elsewhere!

    May 26, 2014 at 10:16 am |
    • thefinisher1

      They won't. They like to complain for attention. It makes them feel wanted.

      May 26, 2014 at 10:21 am |
      • rafaelrobyns

        Yes, because we never hear complaints about the war on Christmas.

        May 26, 2014 at 10:57 am |
      • idiotusmaximus

        How Christian of you thefinisher.....

        May 26, 2014 at 11:05 am |
      • sam stone

        As oppose to those poor, poor persecuted christans who beat their chests talking about they are being persecuted for jeebus, eh finny?

        May 26, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • thefinisher1

          They do it for the same reason atheists do it for. Attention.

          May 26, 2014 at 11:15 am |
      • idiotusmaximus

        You use the words stupid and idiot a lot...did you learn those words because people have used them on you....I think so.

        May 26, 2014 at 11:17 am |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        Hey now, we all know Christmas is under attack, Fox news said it so it must be true. I mean, anyone who watches TV should be able to discern how bad the attacks are now. I mean, I didn't see a Christmas commercial until nearly half way through November this last year. Why I remember when you would see Christmas commercials the day after Halloween! Oh how the mighty have fallen! Now we only get a constant barrage of Christmas commercials for about 45 days a year! Those Godless infidels have perverted a sacred shopping Holiday and tried to get some people to say "Happy Holidays" instead of Merry Christmas, what is the world coming to?!

        May 26, 2014 at 11:22 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Replace the word "atheist" with "ne.gro" in that sentence and we'd be back in 1950.

      May 26, 2014 at 10:27 am |
      • thefinisher1

        Except you aren't in slavery...idiot.

        May 26, 2014 at 10:42 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I said 1950, not 1850... Idiot.

          May 26, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • bostontola

          finisher,
          Do you believe that Jesus is God?

          May 26, 2014 at 10:50 am |
        • thefinisher1

          Which happened as a result of slavery...idiot. Are you this stupid or pretending to be?

          May 26, 2014 at 11:01 am |
        • bostontola

          finisher1,
          Do you believe that Jesus is God?

          May 26, 2014 at 11:05 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          wow, fini is really showing his stripes here. Can you get any more ignorant?

          May 26, 2014 at 11:05 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          The emancipation proclamation was signed into law in the 1860s.
          De-segregation in the Bible Belt happened in the 1960s.
          The culture of bigotry is slow to die – the last of the state anti-miscegenation laws were only taken off the books in the year 2000.
          The answer was the same – "if you don't like it, move somewhere else".

          It is one of the rallying cries of the KKK "America is a Christian nation! If you don't like it, move somewhere else!"

          May 26, 2014 at 11:14 am |
        • thefinisher1

          The KKK is filled with a bunch of rednecks that like violence and getting drunk....yeah, atheists are the "logical one's". LOL.

          May 26, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I'm not sure who wrote this originally, but I think its apt here:

          "Sure, I don't agree with their notion of white pride. And I don't believe in their desire to cut off all American foreign aid, nor their desire to outlaw hom.os.exuality, nor their anti-abortion stance. I think their plans for creating a Christian nation are horrible and damaging. And I think their history of racism is a truly terrible thing.

          But there is a lot of good that comes out of being in the klan! A sense of community. A sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself. And some of the things they believe in, I also agree with. They believe in supporting strict environmental laws. They believe in balancing the budget. They stand behind states rights, and they strongly support veterans.

          Just because a few radical individuals did some terrible things in the past in the name of the Klan, that has nothing to do with how the Klan is today! Besides, those people weren't true Klansmen. A real, modern Klansman would never act like that!

          I can call myself a Klansman, even though I don't agree with everything they believe in. And I still go to a few Klan meetings each year, even though I disagree with some of their core tenets. I like the ceremonies, and some of the songs. I'm just choosing the parts that I like, and I'm going to with that, while I ignore the parts of The Klan that I disagree with.

          So really, there's nothing wrong with The Klan, or being a member. It's just a personal matter of how an individual chooses to live their life.

          I really don't understand why people have a problem with me being in the Klan!"

          May 26, 2014 at 11:24 am |
      • odin029

        Speak for yourself. I'm a proud southern Black man. We have a rich history and culture despite or in spite of the racial oppression of the area in the past. Don't compare us to a group of people who live in an area that is predominately, and vocally I might add, Christian then complain. That's sort of like moving next to the airport and complaining about the noise.

        May 26, 2014 at 10:57 am |
        • bostontola

          Plenty of atheists were born in the Bible Belt. Also, an airport is licensed by the state, discrimination is not.

          May 26, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          What I'm saying is that in the mid-20th century, the majority of people in the Southern united states were not very friendly to African Americans. Insti/tutionaled racism was the norm.
          When cries for de-segregation became more prevalent, many a southerner said "if you don't like it, move somewhere else."

          When the American south was forced to rescind Jim Crow laws and accept racial integration, it was Christians who most strongly opposed equality.
          Wallie Criswell, an extremely popular and influential Southern Baptist Minister famously said "Let them integrate! Let them sit up there in their dirty shirts and make all their fine speeches. But they are all a bunch of infidels, dying from the neck up."
          Scarcely half a century later, the zeitgeist has shifted so radically that such open racism is considered abhorrent to the very same Christian sect that spouted scripture to justify insti.tutionalized bigotry.

          May 26, 2014 at 11:08 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          If you live in a place that is vociferously hom/ophobic, don't complain when you get curb stomped for being a fa.ggot...
          If you didn't want to be sent to Auschwitz, you shouldn't have been Jewish in Germany....

          May 26, 2014 at 11:21 am |
      • idiotusmaximus

        The finisher sounds like one of those OVERLY RIGHTEOUS EVANGELICALS.

        May 26, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • thefinisher1

          Lol. Wrong. I think you must be blind or stupid if you think I am.

          May 26, 2014 at 11:10 am |
        • bostontola

          finisher,
          Do you believe that Jesus Christ is God?

          May 26, 2014 at 11:18 am |
    • bostontola

      Some do, others stand up for their rights.

      May 26, 2014 at 10:29 am |
    • rosaadriana2014

      That is not real advice. Life is more complicated than that. You think if I could leave Alabama I wouldn't have done it by now. We are not gypsies living in tents that can pick up an move anytime we want. Anyway, why should we move? We have just as much right to live anywhere as you do. I'm really sick of being bullied by you "christians". I'm sure Jesus would approve of your bullying tactics.

      May 26, 2014 at 10:33 am |
    • igaftr

      john Zeger

      And all this time I thought Jesus taught acceptance, tolerance and fellowship...oh that's right, were talking about the Jesus of the south...clearly a different guy.

      May 26, 2014 at 10:36 am |
    • rafaelrobyns

      Is that you, Grand Dragon?

      May 26, 2014 at 11:02 am |
    • nepawoods

      That would be my advice to people believing Bronze Age myths in the 21st century.

      May 26, 2014 at 11:42 am |
  3. colin31714

    For all practical purposes, the difference between a non-believer and an atheist is virtually non-existent. There is very little practical difference between saying:

    1. I am convinced there is no god;
    2. I don’t know there is no god, but see no reason to believe in one;
    3. I neither believe nor disbelieve, I sit on the fence; or
    4. I don’t give it much thought and don’t have any real interest in the topic.

    In all four cases, the person is not a Christian and is will not be promoting the Christian superst.ition to their children. The continued propagation of the Jesus meme or supersti.tion requires effort and education of young people which is unlikely in any of these cases.

    This is why I quietly smile when I here Christians counter the growing number of atheists/non-believers with comments like “but most of the non-affiliated are not atheists.” Who cares? The loss of the political clout of the Christians is the same and the southward trend in the number of Christians is just as rapid.

    It’s a bit like a politician arguing that not everybody who didn’t vote for him did so for the same reason. Who cares, as long as the idiot is out of office.

    May 26, 2014 at 9:48 am |
    • bostontola

      I also think there is little practical difference between an atheist and a deist. The real differences seem to be created by dogmatic religion, not belief in God or not.

      May 26, 2014 at 10:15 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I think the Atheist vs. Religionist mentality in the US will abate significantly with the demise of the "Moral Majority" as a political force. The Reaganauts are dying off and hopefully they'll take the conflation of Christianity and capitalism with them to the grave.

      May 26, 2014 at 10:21 am |
    • Dalahäst

      Politically speaking, what religion a person belongs to, what type of atheist or non-religious person someone is doesn't matter to me. I believe that all human beings are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

      Most of my political ideas are in the minority and it is difficult for my voice to be heard. And I am a Christian and that shapes my ideals and how I serve as a citizen of this nation. I will fight for the right of an atheist to disagree with me. And fight for their right to storm the voting polls and legally vote the changes as designed by our Const.itution.

      In the matter of faith, belief and religion, arguing that a vast number of people are claiming to be atheist is not true.

      May 26, 2014 at 10:36 am |
      • colin31714

        You said, "In the matter of faith, belief and religion, arguing that a vast number of people are claiming to be atheist is not true."

        I never said that.

        May 26, 2014 at 10:52 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm mentioning a common stance that a few atheists usually use. That is usually what I'm questioning. The political group you belong to or political ideas you hold are probably similar to ones that Christians hold. We live in a predominately Christian nation that places a high value on giving a voice to the minority and fights for the right to disagree. There is a vocal minority in the Christian community that wants to take those rights away. But most Christians don't support such things.

          May 26, 2014 at 11:06 am |
        • idiotusmaximus

          I know many people that never talk religion but if asked in a conversation will say they believe in god to not get into a discussion when I and they know they don't ...they are die hard atheist....because religious people can get belligerent otherwise.

          May 26, 2014 at 11:11 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Sometimes when I talk to atheists, they bring up the topic of God first and more often. I'm trying to have a discussion about something else, and they keep directing the conversation to God!

          May 26, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • dandintac

          Dala, is it because your exposure to atheists has been mostly online, on forums like this where the topic is religion? If a person is an atheist–like at work, or the store, or another organization you might participate in–heck, even in church sitting with their religious families–any of these people could well be an atheist, and just keep it to themselves. So how could you possibly even know if the atheists always bring up the topic of God first? We do not have a distinguishing physical characteristic where you can even know who is and is not atheist.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Nope. I'm exposed to atheists in all kinds of situations. Both knowingly and unknowingly. And I have good relationships with most. None are demeaning or call me names.

          That is basically the point I was trying to make, online people bring up the topic of God. They identify themselves as atheists. They are the ones that often call me delusional, mentally retarded, idiotic, and sometimes resort to derogatory names.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
        • dandintac

          Dala,

          But it is not fair to characterize only atheists with these traits. Have you been on the political message boards? If you want to see some real vitriol, go over there.

          The sad fact is that the internet is a forum where people feel free to be rude and uncivil, in a manner they would never be if they were face-to-face. I think it's probably like driving. People "Net-Rage" more than they "Road-Rage". I wouldn't be surprised to find it's the same people who do this, and in other contexts, they might be as polite and friendly as you could imagine.

          This is not an atheist thing you are experiencing–it's a human thing, and believe me, I get it coming the other direction from Christians just as much as you see it coming from atheists. But we don't tend to notice it so much when it's not aimed at us.

          I'm not always happy with the some of the rude comments I see coming from atheists–but it's all around on Internet blogs–people routinely are rude and uncivil–it's not something special with atheists at all.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Whoa, I don't only criticize atheists for these traits. Often when I'm on here some atheists tell me all that they don't like about Christians. So I share that atheists are not all perfect, either. And usually the people that make these rude comments are preaching at me. Or dictating that their beliefs are better.

          But not all the atheists do that. Most have demonstrated to me that they are interested in conversations. And I fail sometimes and resort to name calling. So who am I to judge? A lot of atheists demonstrate for me a better way to live.

          Ultimately, Christians have demonstrated something I want. That is why I seek Christ.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
  4. Defting

    From a technical perspective such a thing described as being Atheist could not exists as it is not a born belief, and is actually a taught perception!

    An Atheist could claim that they do not believe is something recently taught then simply disagree, but would this then mean that one way to describe the same thing (e.g., a deity) would not exists otherwise by a different learning process?

    Who’s to state that by not believing it would actually make something true, but only for others personal gratification under a false sense of austerity…A creator would not make such a mistake in neither what is taught, nor by emulating ones everyday actions.

    May 26, 2014 at 9:40 am |
    • Reality

      So please define your creator. And please note what creator created your creator?

      May 26, 2014 at 9:47 am |
    • marypiwaron

      There are no born beliefs. Everything is a taught perception. How can you argue that someone born in a vacuum (with no outside influences, parents, etc.) would be a Christian? It's all taught. Come on.

      May 26, 2014 at 9:58 am |
    • kudlak

      Actually, the argument is that just believing in something like a God without good evidence doesn't make it true. All one need do to become an atheist is to not be convinced by the case for there being a God.

      May 26, 2014 at 10:24 am |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      You are an atheist even before someone attempts to indoctrinate you into a belief in their God.

      If someone told you they believed in leprechauns but you had never heard of them before the first thing you would have to do is ask them to describe them. After their description of tiny invisible little magical men that guard pots of gold at the ends of rainbows is where my reasoning would lead me to question the very basis for their claim. How did they determine that these little invisible guys exist? When informed that all the evidence is anecdotal like missing socks I would then inform the person they are likely insane and need some mental help. I would then be considered an aleprechaunus.

      May 26, 2014 at 10:30 am |
      • Vic

        Believing in [a] God(s) or not believing in [a] God(s) is a conscious stance, no one is born with a conscious stance regarding anything.

        May 26, 2014 at 10:43 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Does someone who has never been informed about god/Gods believe in any gods/God? If not then they are an atheist.

          May 26, 2014 at 10:53 am |
        • Vic

          A new born or someone who is not informed of [a] God(s) is not an atheist by any means until he/she is of recognition and decides to be an atheist, it is a conscious stance.

          May 26, 2014 at 11:14 am |
        • sam stone

          really, vic?

          explain to us how anyone can believe in something they find unbelievable

          May 26, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • sam stone

          still waiting on that explaination, vic

          May 26, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • sam stone

          still waiting, vic

          May 26, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • sam stone

          Way to support your point, Vic

          May 26, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
        • magsmagenta

          An atheist is still an atheist whether they are aware that other people believe in gods or not. They are still an atheist even if no one has taught them about supposed gods they may choose to believe in if they had heard of them.
          It's Theism which needs to be taught to be believed, and in a very specific way which promotes faith without question, and suppresses free thought. Which is why Religious people are always very focused on gaining control of children and their education.

          May 27, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
    • igaftr

      Defting
      You have it backwards. Religions and belief in gods is what is taught. When you are born, you do not believe in gods, so are by default an atheist. AN atheist is NOT a theist, and theism is what is taught. You are not born believing in deities.

      The belief in gods comes about from mans imagination in an attempt to answer his own ignorance.
      People create gods to answer the questions he has but does not know the answer to.
      Many gods created to answer what a volcano is, many gods created to answer what lightning is.
      All gods appear to be born of men's imaginations, at least any of the gods man has currently defined.

      May 26, 2014 at 10:30 am |
    • idiotusmaximus

      So Delfing gods only exist in the minds of the believers......the Laws of Physics does not allow for magical people/gods.

      May 26, 2014 at 11:14 am |
    • rafaelrobyns

      Thanks for the inverted and useless logic. Every baby is born an atheist, in the sense of not believing in anything, although the infinite number of labels for all the things a baby doesn't believe in are irrelevant and unnecessary. One has to be presented with a concept before attaching a label to not believing in the concept.

      May 26, 2014 at 11:15 am |
  5. Vic

    In Memoriam of the Fallen Soldiers

    Happy Memorial Day Everyone

    May 26, 2014 at 5:26 am |
    • Dalahäst

      "The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war."

      Douglas MacArthur

      May 26, 2014 at 5:30 am |
    • Reality

      And let us not forget that many of these soldiers fell silent in the last decade from THE TERROR AND HORROR OF KORANIC-DRIVEN ISLAM !!!!!!

      May 26, 2014 at 7:02 am |
    • bostontola

      "The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree.” –Thomas Campbell

      May 26, 2014 at 8:47 am |
      • Sheik Yerbouti

        I am remembering my Grandfather and my brother in law. Happy Memorial Day all.

        May 26, 2014 at 9:12 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      It is the soldier, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press
      It is the soldier, not the poet who has given us freedom of speech
      It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
      It is the soldier, not the lawyer who has given us the right to a fair trial
      It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag and whose coffin is dra.ped by the flag, who allows the protestor to burn the flag
      Why did these magnificent young men make the ultimate sacrifice?
      For the patriotic slogans?
      For the beat of the drum or the call of the bugle?
      For the skirl of the pipes?
      For God, King and country?
      No, no, a thousand times no.
      They did it for their comrades.
      They would not let their buddies down.

      May 26, 2014 at 9:32 am |
      • Reality

        By Charles M. Province

        And the best Memorial Day words to remember.

        May 26, 2014 at 9:42 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Thanks for the citation.
          I've admittedly been getting forgetful on that front...

          May 26, 2014 at 9:53 am |
  6. sparkyinnyc

    Athiests will need to follow a similar path as that laid out by gay people.
    1 makes yourself known first to family then friends
    2 work our way onto TV series as characters
    # leverage the first amendment which clearly states government equally applies to the non religious
    etc

    this will take a god 15 years but needs to start

    May 26, 2014 at 3:21 am |
    • buckybadger

      Long time atheist. There are more of us than you think. I wouldn't compare this to any civil right or the LGBT movement. I have never been denied work or judged when I walk in a room. Maybe some have issues in some rural areas but I don't hear of much violence towards atheist. I have been told I worship the devil but only by the feeble minded who are of no consequence. The Bible Belt is a bit scary but you can still live your life pretty close to normal, just have to dig around for your information. No problem for a true atheist.

      We are logical thinkers that question everything. As long as you bring empirical proof we will listen to your argument and this train of thought is contagious to the intelligent. Atheism won't need a movement like previous ones as progress and logic always win out. If the world can still sustain human life in 3 centuries it will be almost entirely atheist. Non-religion is actually the fasting growing religion, not Islam or Mormonism.

      May 26, 2014 at 4:12 am |
      • Dalahäst

        "We are logical thinkers that question everything." There are non-atheists or religious people that are logical thinkers that question everything, too. Just as there are atheists that are not logical thinkers and do not question everything.

        I learned to say the only we statement in regards to atheism I could say was "We don't believe in a god or gods." I used to claim to be a logical thinker that questioned everything – but I never 100% lived up to that standard. And that is because of my human nature.

        May 26, 2014 at 8:13 am |
        • bostontola

          Statement: Men are taller than women.
          Retort: There are woman that are taller than most men.

          May 26, 2014 at 8:24 am |
        • Dalahäst

          So, maybe I read that wrong:

          1. We atheists are not all logical thinkers that question the truth.

          2. We atheists are all logical thinkers that question everything.

          The author would agree with #1 and not #2.

          But for him personally, his personal atheist beliefs are based on being a logical thinker that questions everything?

          May 26, 2014 at 8:34 am |
        • bostontola

          Men are taller than women, is not the same as all men are taller than women, or not all men are taller than women. It is a statement about a group characteristic, not an individual's characteristic. People make group observations all the time and many people get it.

          May 26, 2014 at 8:39 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Not all men are taller than women.

          Not all atheists are logical thinkers that question everything.

          That is what I believe.

          May 26, 2014 at 8:45 am |
        • Dalahäst

          or

          I've never met an atheist that was a logical thinker that questioned everything. I don't think such a person exists.

          May 26, 2014 at 8:47 am |
        • bostontola

          No one thinks there is a person on the planet that actually questions everything, or is completely logical. I think the person was making a statement about relative group characteristics, not an individual's literal characteristic.

          May 26, 2014 at 8:51 am |
        • Dalahäst

          That was what was confusing me. His statement wasn't logical, which failed to demonstrate logical thinking. And it didn't appear that he had questioned everything.

          I'm trying to apply logical thinking and questioning everything to his post, and it doesn't cut it.

          May 26, 2014 at 8:58 am |
        • bostontola

          I believe humans would be inferior if they were perfectly logical. Survival benefits from some radical ideas that don't follow from the known facts (simply because we don't know all the facts). Evolution provides a balance. We also operate in groups. Having a variation across the group benefits the group. Some are more logical, some less. Being less logical is not inferior to me (unless it gets to pathological levels). Our strength is in our variation, our diversity.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:04 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Why does this science website:

          http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/science_religion

          Have to make a statement like this:

          "Furthermore, contrary to stereotype, one certainly doesn't have to be an atheist in order to become a scientist."

          I've seen that stereotype expressed by atheists on this blog. It is probably a small minority of atheists that hold that view. I know you don't hold such a view (and I don't think you call yourself an atheist). But I thought the guy that made the original post was making that point.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:12 am |
        • bostontola

          It is a directly observable fact, there are religious scientists. Lots of them. Historically, the greatest scientists believed in God, some were supernatural believing nut cases (Newton). Humans have an extraordinary ability to compartmentalize. They can apply cold logic in one situation, and be impulsive, intuitive, instinctual in others. It's something I cherish.

          I am an agnostic atheist. I don't know there is no God, I believe there is no God.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:20 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Right, the common term "mad scientist" didn't come to be because scientists are logical thinkers who test everything.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:24 am |
        • bostontola

          I would say that as a group, scientists are more logical and smarter than the population as a whole, but they are still human so some are not as smart/logical. Also, being smart or logical doesn't make you a moral or socially good person (see some of Hitler's scientists). But overall I'd say scientists are as moral as society in general.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:29 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Part of my vocation, I do computer programming. I have to be logical in writing code and scripts. I had to study computer science. I'm professionally trained and certified.

          I don't identify as a scientist, but does that make me a scientist?

          May 26, 2014 at 9:38 am |
        • benhoody

          How is it that scientists are more logical and smarter than the overall population? Didn't these scientists come out of the population and chose being a scientist for a career. What about the millions of those who could have but didn't choose to be a scientist, they are just as smart and logical, only they chose another profession. So in reality there are more logical and smarter people on the whole who are not scientists.

          May 26, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Dalhast,
          I think you are taking a generalization too literally. While no one really questions literally "everything" atheists, in general, try to question assumptions that most people make about reality.

          This is similar to saying that Christians love their neighbors as themselves, which isn't saying that every Christian loves all their neighbors exactly as themselves, but is an admired attribute and a goal for Christians in general.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:38 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I would say Jesus asks his followers to love their neighbors as themselves. But I couldn't say they actually do.

          It is an ideal, yes.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:40 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @Dalahast,
          To clarify, I'm not saying that atheism is defined by "logical thinking and questioning everything", but that most atheist do seem to admire these characteristics.

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

          Yea, they speak of it as an ideal they try to live up to in their life.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:47 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @Dalahast,
          As a IT professional myself with a degree in Computer Science, programmer aren't usually considered scientists, as I understand it. Engineers perhaps.

          "A scientist, in a broad sense, is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge."

          programming is more of an applied science.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:49 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Ok, that makes sense.

          That was just a hypothetical question. I actually am not professionally trained nor am I certified, but do use coding and scripting as a graphic artist.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:54 am |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          I would say computer programming is more akin to engineering, it is creative rather than discovery. I work with hundreds of engineers, scientists, programmers, business people, etc. being smart and logical are but 2 pieces in the puzzle. Few scientists ever rise due to desire and characteristics. The same need to have all the data before making a conclusion, makes them slow decision makers in general. The logical leaning, often makes them less people persons. Essential qualities of leadership are often lacking. A few do have it all, but other disciplines seem to rise more often.

          Again, it is the group that is strong. Good leaders know when to tap into each strength.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:50 am |
      • Dalahäst

        "Non-religion is actually the fasting growing religion, not Islam or Mormonism."

        Non-religion isn't atheism. There are atheists that belong to a religion (Buddhism, Secular Humanism). And there are people who believe in God/Gods/deities/supernatural, but are non-religious.

        May 26, 2014 at 8:18 am |
        • bostontola

          I am at odds with religion often, never with the belief in God.

          May 26, 2014 at 8:27 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Me too.

          May 26, 2014 at 8:34 am |
        • Dalahäst

          From 2007 to 2012 those identifying as atheist grew from 1.6% to 2.4% of the US Population. +.8%
          -Pew Research Study

          May 26, 2014 at 8:42 am |
        • igaftr

          dala
          Secular humanism is not a religion and neither is Buddhism. They are philosophies, or education systems, but have nothing to do with the dogma that comes from religion. Also, there is no supernatural component that is required by defintion to be a religion. You really like to change the definition of religion, don't you?

          A philosophy is NOT a religion. A belief is not a religion. An education system is not a religion. Theism is not a religion. Atheism is not a religion.

          May 26, 2014 at 8:47 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Our secular government defines Buddhism as a religion. I know atheists that identify as Unitarians and seem religious.

          May 26, 2014 at 8:56 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @Dalahast,
          "From 2007 to 2012 those identifying as atheist grew from 1.6% to 2.4% of the US Population. +.8%"

          You are for the most part correct in your delineation of atheism vs other, however, I think the above statistic is misleading. While many who don't self identify as atheist may be believers many may actually be non-believers. Those who identify as agnostic, for example, by definition don't believe in god(s) and fit a definition of weak/negative atheism even if they don't identify as such. Similarly, many "nones" may very well be atheists.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:07 am |
        • Dalahäst

          The agnostic population didn't grow that much either.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:14 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @igaftr,
          I think you are correct about Secular Humanism, but Buddhism is often considered a religion with is Eight fold path, monks, etc, although some forms are considered atheistic religion, I think.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:10 am |
        • bostontola

          "From 2007 to 2012 those identifying as atheist grew from 1.6% to 2.4% of the US Population. +.8%"

          That is a large growth rate, over 50% growth in 5 years.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:24 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @Dalahast,
          I'm just saying that, unlike religions, counting atheists is not easy.

          "many of the country’s 46 million unaffiliated adults are religious or spiritual in some way. Two-thirds of them say they believe in God (68%). " – Pew Research

          So, one third are technically atheists, correct?

          May 26, 2014 at 9:25 am |
        • Dalahäst

          It could be. To a lot of people atheist and agnostic are 2 different things. I had times in my life when I was agnostic and didn't want to be labeled atheist.

          I preferred the term "nones". I might even still answer that on a government study because they don't define the terms they are asking us to identify as. But technically I do belong to a religion.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:31 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @Dalahast,
          Agreed. All I'm saying is that it is not as simple as counting those who self identify as "atheist".

          May 26, 2014 at 9:54 am |
        • Dalahäst

          It is not simple.

          Here is the question for the data I provided.

          What is your present religion, if any? Are you Protestant, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Orthodox such as Greek or Russian Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, agnostic, something else, or nothing in particular?

          I know people who are Roman Catholic who are upset over politics/scandals who still have strong faith in God, but would not answer Roman Catholic out of protest.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:59 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Dalahast
          I think the main problem with "atheist" as a label is that it is a negative term – it described only what someone doesn't believe.
          Some atheists are humanists while others are misanthropes.
          Some are materialists, others are spiritualists (ie: animists).
          It's like calling females "aphallic" – while the term is technically corrrect, it doens't begin to describe what a woman actually is.

          May 26, 2014 at 10:05 am |
        • Dalahäst

          True. Sometime it might be appropriate to ask "What kind of atheist are you?"

          May 26, 2014 at 10:07 am |
        • buckybadger

          Non-religion is the first step. Some can't just go from not believing in a religion to no god. They first question the establishment of religion than they question the existence altogether. Also people who believe in a deity but don't belong to a religion don't spread their beliefs and they don't become sustainable through generations. The world will one day be atheist, it is inevitable.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Speculation.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • buckybadger

          Not at all. We see it in society all the time and throughout our history. Society didn't go from many gods to none. There are steps in between.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I've see societies go from no gods to God.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • buckybadger

          Enlightenment has its setbacks but overall always progresses. Can be set back for even centuries at times but always rebounds. I am not talking short times here which was obvious by my statement of mankind possibly being wiped out first. I think that is hundreds of thousands of years off if not longer. I will die in a religious world and so will anyone who would possibly remember me. I don't think another major religion will spawn and that more and more people will become atheist. The discoveries of life and the start of existence as a whole will start to unravel the truth of where we came from and if given a long enough timeline truth always prevails.

          May 27, 2014 at 1:19 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't think atheism is anything new, nor do I believe that human beings will abandon using religion as a tool to discover truths. The "New Atheism" movement which rejects all things religious is dying out. More and more atheists are looking at the good aspects religion has to offer. That is why there are now atheist churches and atheist religions.

          June 1, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Dala....you are quite wrong in your assessment. Atheism is the fastest growing 'belief system (for lack of a better word) in this country, while Christianity is the fastest dropping. There are several links that provide this information, but I am pretty sure you already know it. As far as atheist churches, I believe you are wrong there as well. There may be a few clubs that atheists might attend, but religion is the absolute farthest thing from any atheists minds.

          June 1, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • buckybadger

          If by dying out you mean increasing in numbers than yes you could be right. But to talk like atheism isn't gaining in numbers all over the world is to ignore facts, something that is common in all religions. As far as discovering new truths I don't see those being discovered anywhere but science. I see people use religion to try to ignore new discoveries as they feel threaten by them but I haven't seen any discoveries made by religion. More like clinging to old ideas that many times cause justify hatred towards those who are different.

          Atheist are not looking towards religion. I don't see people like Richard Dawkins or anyone looking towards religion. Show me one guy who is talking about atheism and looking at religion to discover these "truths" you speak of. Lets talk in facts, not just making stuff up.

          June 1, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • dandintac

          "The world will one day be atheist, it is inevitable."

          Either that, or we'll have destroyed ourselves in some manner. I think the important step is developing the mental habit of being skeptical, rejecting the notion that is okay to accept dogma–the acceptance of "faith" as evidence for the biggest questions.

          I agree totally with what you say. I went through stages becoming an atheist–including being a Christian who believed the Bible, to rejecting organized religion, but "believing in God", to not believing in the Jesus story as literally told, to being "spiritual, but not religious", to eventually describing myself as "agnostic", to finally understanding I didn't believe in gods at all. I think societies go through stages like this as well.

          But societies have been poised on the brink of advancement, and slid back into widespread mysticism before. With our level of technology, I think if it happens again, that will be it–we'll wind up destroying ourselves.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
      • rafaelrobyns

        Kids are bullied all the time for living in atheist families, at least in the south, and not just in "rural" areas.
        Not every atheist is a logical thinker who questions everything, and there are many theists who do.

        May 26, 2014 at 11:23 am |
    • magicpanties

      Wow, that' some crummy god if it takes 15 years.
      my god can do it in 15 days, maybe less.

      (btw, my god is an invisible pink unicorn)

      May 26, 2014 at 8:59 am |
      • benhoody

        I think your god needs to help you talk sensibly.

        May 27, 2014 at 1:03 am |
  7. Hinge

    For science to work, the universe must be intelligible, right? But intelligibility isn’t a material thing, and it’s not something that can be discovered through science, right?

    May 26, 2014 at 1:37 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "For science to work, the universe must be consistent with itself, right? Self consistency isn’t a material thing, BUT IT IS something that can be discovered through science, right?"

      ***FIXED***

      May 26, 2014 at 1:50 am |
      • Hinge

        So science can be unintelligible?

        May 26, 2014 at 2:03 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Where did I say that?

          What is your definition of "intelligibility" that can't be studied by science.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:18 am |
        • Hinge

          It is a matter of determining whether the universe is intelligible, as in able to be understood; comprehensible, or unintelligible. I don't think science can determine that.

          There can be facts that exist that science can't explain. We really don't know.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:27 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          There is a bisg difference between saying there are things science can't currently explain and saying science can NEVER explain them....how would you ever prove the latter is, or even can be the case?

          May 26, 2014 at 2:34 am |
        • Hinge

          I don't know either way. here is a view that the characteristic inductive methods of the natural sciences are the only source of genuine factual knowledge and, in particular, that they alone can yield true knowledge about man and society (taken from Wiki, but I've had similar things suggested to me). I'm just testing the view.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:47 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "I don't know either way. here is a view that the characteristic inductive methods of the natural sciences are the only source of genuine factual knowledge"

          There are facts that science does not know. But the question is....can humans as a collective obtain knowledge without the use of science?

          May 26, 2014 at 2:57 am |
        • Hinge

          Yes. I'm not advocating ditching science by any means – it is a very, very, very important tool to discovering truth. But it is not the only tool. As a creative, free-thinking and irrational being I need to keep an open-mind to new ways to unveil truth. Such a type of imaginative thinking is actually beneficial to science.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:06 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Ok, name another tool to obtain knowedge...

          May 26, 2014 at 3:10 am |
        • Hinge

          Knowledge on how to gain serenity in a hostile environment. Knowledge on how to paint abstractly. Knowledge on how to forgive a person who has killed a loved one.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:19 am |
        • Doris

          I think Blessed asked about another tool for obtaining knowledge, not what you consider to be different types of knowledge.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:24 am |
        • ssq41

          For those answers, do we need to look beyond our human experience?

          May 26, 2014 at 3:26 am |
        • ssq41

          Well, Doris and Cheese...another tool other than Science? There is a whole "department" of philosophy–Epistemology– ( as Cheese referred to earlier) that philosophers can't even decide on what knowledge is....

          I doubt there can be another tool that could be considered unless it had the same results as Science

          May 26, 2014 at 3:33 am |
        • Hinge

          My experience is a tool for gaining knowledge. Trust in another person is a tool, too. There are spiritual truths – love: I have to give it away to keep it.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:35 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Hinge seems to be using a common tactic among apologists....conflation of the definitions of terms...in this case "knowledge". As in personal knowledge vs. common, verifiable knowledge that humans obtain as a collective.

          While I may have knowledge that I prefer vanilla to chocolate...and while it is "true"...it is still an opinion. If you want to reduce belief in a god to an opinion Hinge...I will agree with you.

          But the fact of the matter is most people do not claim god as a personal opinion, they claim it as common knowledge, though their claims are never able to be verified.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:43 am |
        • Hinge

          That is not what I was trying to do. I've had a "scientism" mindset for awhile, and have started to find it lacking in something. But it is personal and is an opinion. No, kidding. That's what we all do and talk about.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:53 am |
        • ssq41

          Cheese...I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop....I hope, however, that he is honest.

          May 26, 2014 at 4:14 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I was a bit dishonest in using a different name. But what I expressed is me. I'm tired and not happy with myself over my arguing about my religion and fighting over opinions. I've been doing a lot of thinking and soul-searching. My beliefs, knowledge and faith evolves and grows. I seek truth in my life.

          Look what Neil DeGrasse Tyson says "so strong was that imprint [of the night sky] that I'm certain that I had no choice in the matter, that in fact, the universe called me."

          The universe calls people and displays amazing facts and evidence of so much. So what science reveals is very important, there are other truths being revealed in other ways. I can't place a limit on this universe.

          May 26, 2014 at 5:24 am |
        • ssq41

          "Dishonest"? We all have many faces.

          I appreciate your honesty and this different voice.

          If the atheist is correct, I'd like to know why we are wired as we are with all these longings and concepts and passions. They are no longer helpful to me...

          May 26, 2014 at 5:48 am |
        • ssq41

          I think that a strong clue to what "reality" is will come when we engage another species that is "more intelligent" than we are....It will be interesting to see what they think about "meaning" and "purpose" and "God."

          It will be a grand 2nd opinion...unless they consider our pineal gland a delicacy...and then...well...

          May 26, 2014 at 5:58 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm a regular poster as Dala, but switched the name to try and engage is a more civil conversation. I was an atheist (in the Bible Belt actually!) for a long time. But started seeking God a few years ago. There is a lot that is mysterious. Maybe science can explain it all. Maybe there are spiritual truth that can explain some things better. As far as searching for truth: to thine own self be true. I hear some weird things about science on this blog – I like what these scientists say:

          http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/whatisscience_12

          http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/science_religion

          I agree with all of that.

          May 26, 2014 at 6:02 am |
        • Dalahäst

          "A 2005 survey of scientists at top research universities found that more than 75% believe that religions convey important truths."

          May 26, 2014 at 6:09 am |
      • Hinge

        The universe is or has to be self-consistent? I'm not self-consistent and I'm part of the universe.

        May 26, 2014 at 2:13 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          You are self-consistent. You can't do things that are not consistent with yourself. You seem to be very adept at conflating meanings of words.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:21 am |
        • Hinge

          It is difficult to talk about science without getting philosophical. It takes a lot of immaterial things to get a firm grasp on things.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:32 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          That sounds very much like a "deepity".

          May 26, 2014 at 2:35 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Consistency: conformity in the application of something, typically that which is necessary for the sake of logic, accuracy, or fairness.

          Science only works because the universe is consistent. When one scientist comes up with a way to test a scientific theory they make their claim, then produce the tests and the test results for others to read, review and impartially test themselves as a way to verify scientific findings. Science begs to be challenged and corrected. Religion just begs to be believed.

          May 26, 2014 at 10:51 am |
    • skytag

      "For science to work, the universe must be intelligible, right?"

      Wrong. What do you think "intelligible" means?

      May 26, 2014 at 4:28 am |
      • Dalahäst

        Science studies intelligible things. If something is unintelligible, science can't study it. If there are aspects of our universe that are unintelligible, then what?

        May 26, 2014 at 4:37 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Every theory is "unintelligible" until demonstrated by science.
          Before Pasteur, demons were the common scapegoat for illness. Because they couldn't be seen, germs were "unintelliglble".
          Gravitation, atomics, quantum mechanics – all of these things were "unintelligible" until science began to chronicle their workings.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:21 am |
        • igaftr

          Waht makes you think there is anything in the universe that is unintelligible? It's not like a note left in the rain and the ink ran, but even then there are clues remaining.

          There are many things we do not yet know, but to say unintelligible is just throwing in the towel.

          May 26, 2014 at 10:58 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm not throwing in the towel. I'm just pondering things. It is possible the universe contains aspects that are unintelligible.

          May 26, 2014 at 11:10 am |
    • Vic

      Logic is knowledge that is not determined by empirical science.

      May 26, 2014 at 5:33 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Logic is a systematic process of interpreting knowledge. It cannot be applied without an empirical foundation.

        May 26, 2014 at 8:22 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Many things are unknown, but nothing is unknowable.
      The scientific method provides a framework for people to work together in a consistent manner in order to investigate questions that may take many individuals working over several lifetimes to begin answering in any practicable way.
      For example, while the mathematical principles of aerodynamics were elucidated in the early 1700s, it took another 200 years before the first useful airplanes were built.
      If man stops seeking to satisfy his innate, insatiable curiosity, he ceases to evolve.
      This is why dogmatic faith is anathema to most scientists.

      May 26, 2014 at 8:18 am |
      • Dalahäst

        Most scientists believe in supernatural elements to this world. I know that doesn't imply dogmatic faith. You can have dogmatic faith in science.

        May 26, 2014 at 8:23 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I'm not sure how to come to that conclusion.
          To a naturalist, "supernatural" is a null word.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:22 am |
        • colin31714

          "You can also have dogmatic faith in science." That's like saying, you can have dogmatic faith that 1+1=2 and that the view of those fools who think it equals 3 is somehow just as valid. If you say that people who think 1+1=3 are wrong, you are somehow a "militant mathematician."

          May 26, 2014 at 9:59 am |
        • Dalahäst

          No, that is not what I meant.

          I know individuals that are kind of dogmatic about scientism. They believe things can ultimately be known only by scientific mean.

          May 26, 2014 at 10:05 am |
    • Vic

      [
      “everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe—a Spirit vastly superior to that of man.”

      "I'm not an atheist, and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations."

      "The scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation. His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that , compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection."

      Albert Einstein
      ]

      May 26, 2014 at 8:57 am |
    • rafaelrobyns

      Define what you mean by intelligible.

      May 26, 2014 at 11:24 am |
  8. Minister Gertrude Ferguson - Founder & CEO- Enough Tribulations

    Everyone is made with a mind of their own. Therefore, a person has freedom to choose what is acceptable and what is their belief. No one should force his or her belief on anyone. With that said, I love people from different background, religion, non-religion etc.

    May 26, 2014 at 12:41 am |
    • Hinge

      Seconded.

      May 26, 2014 at 12:47 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      except is it really a choice when you are raised in a strictly religious household, never exposed to other thoughts or beliefs?

      May 26, 2014 at 12:56 am |
      • Hinge

        All surveys are flawed, but I've heard a significant number of believers come from atheist households. Search atheist retention rates – the surveys are weird because atheism isn't a religion that tries to retain people. And the sampling size for the Pew Research was small.

        May 26, 2014 at 1:31 am |
        • skytag

          The entire culture in which one is raised must be considered. In the U.S. people are exposed to Christians even when raised in atheist homes, so it's not overly surprising that some people raised in atheist homes become Christians. I suspect, however, that very, very few convert to religions to which they weren't exposed growing up.

          May 26, 2014 at 4:33 am |
        • rafaelrobyns

          I've heard the moon is made of swiss cheese. It is almost certainly the case that more atheists come from religious households than vice versa.

          May 26, 2014 at 11:38 am |
  9. Hinge

    Not all knowledge is reducible to scientific knowledge, fyi. You can know facts that science can't prove.

    May 26, 2014 at 12:37 am |
    • hotairace

      No, you can pretend to know things you do not, and that science can't explain yet.

      May 26, 2014 at 12:40 am |
      • Hinge

        No, you really can know facts that science can't prove. The claim that all knowledge is reducible to scientific knowledge is not itself a claim that can be justified scientifically.

        May 26, 2014 at 12:46 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          what facts do you know that science can't prove?

          May 26, 2014 at 12:53 am |
        • Hinge

          Science can't prove that all knowledge is reducible to scientific knowledge.

          May 26, 2014 at 1:00 am |
        • Doris

          I think you need an example here, Hinge. Otherwise, perhaps your use of "knowledge" is too vague for your claim to be understood or applicable in any way.

          May 26, 2014 at 1:46 am |
        • Hinge

          What is the proof that all facts are reducible to scientific facts.

          May 26, 2014 at 1:57 am |
        • Doris

          I left this one alone earlier because I didn't understand how it correlated with my last response. I think you were asking a question, but maybe I was not who you were addressing, Hinge.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:27 am |
        • Hinge

          knowledge = what I know

          May 26, 2014 at 3:37 am |
        • skytag

          In my experience much of what people claim to "know" is not true.

          May 26, 2014 at 4:35 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I know that, too.

          May 26, 2014 at 4:39 am |
      • awanderingscot

        you mean like atheists do?

        May 26, 2014 at 12:47 am |
        • Hinge

          No, not atheists. People who say that the only valid form of truth is that which comes as a result of the scientific method. That is who I'm pondering about.

          May 26, 2014 at 12:52 am |
        • willthefree

          As an atheist, I simply look for evidence before belief, especially when it comes to a deity that I am supposed to believe exists despite no evidence at all. I don't claim to know that he/she doesn't exist, but I also won't fall for the whole logical fallacy that I need to prove that he/she doesn't anymore than I need to prove that frosty the snowman does not exist.

          What is it you think that I know that you believe I cannot?

          May 26, 2014 at 12:53 am |
        • Hinge

          There is nothing in atheism that says you have to look for evidence before belief, especially when it comes to a deity that I am supposed to believe exists despite no evidence at all. I don't claim to know that he/she doesn't exist, but I also won't fall for the whole logical fallacy that I need to prove that he/she doesn't anymore than I need to prove that frosty the snowman does not exist.

          May 26, 2014 at 1:02 am |
        • Hinge

          There is nothing in atheism that says you have to look for evidence before belief, but that is great that you personally choose to do that. So do I. I'm talking about scientism, not atheism. Atheism isn't a belief system, unless you belong to an atheistic religion.

          May 26, 2014 at 1:04 am |
        • Hinge

          Sorry 'bout the first post. I copied your text into the box to be able to read and respond... but I accidentally posted as I was writing.

          May 26, 2014 at 1:06 am |
        • awanderingscot

          convention has it that seeing is believing, to me believing is seeing. those who trust only their eyes limit themselves.

          May 26, 2014 at 1:17 am |
        • skytag

          @awanderingscot: "convention has it that seeing is believing, to me believing is seeing."

          Different people often hold conflicting beliefs, which according to you would mean they "see" conflicting things. People often "see" what they want to see, not what is there.

          May 26, 2014 at 4:47 am |
        • igaftr

          scot
          " to me believing is seeing"

          And there you have it. The admission of self delusion. If I believe it, then I will see it. Careful scot . this sort of admitted self delusion can lead to more serious mental health issues, like belief in things no one can show to exist..ie gods, ghosts, spirits, big foot, nessy, etc.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:35 am |
      • awanderingscot

        the fact that you claim to see only confirms that you are blind since you pridefully trust in your eyes. your trust is misplaced.

        May 26, 2014 at 1:23 am |
        • skytag

          Religions brainwash people to believe this nonsense because they know there is no objective evidence to support anything they teach.

          May 26, 2014 at 4:52 am |
    • willthefree

      Literally speaking, you are correct. You can know facts that science can't prove. However, it is only by coincidence that you are correct, as in you cannot say that you can prove that what you know is a fact.

      May 26, 2014 at 12:46 am |
      • Hinge

        Science is literal. I can know a fact, but not be able to demonstrate scientifically. Some facts I have to use other means to determine truth.

        May 26, 2014 at 12:50 am |
        • willthefree

          OK, I'll bite. What fact can you prove where the proof itself doesn't involve some form of science?

          May 26, 2014 at 12:51 am |
        • Hinge

          Who did the Electoral College elect as the first President of the United States of America?

          May 26, 2014 at 12:58 am |
        • willthefree

          OK, I see your point. It's obviously debatable, as science *could* research that, review evidence in its various forms, and come up with the conclusion that could be peer-reviewed and accepted as generally correct. I believe that is called "historical research". Regardless, I get your point. I will offer that it's not aligned with the topic at hand, however, as belief in a deity is far different that historical narrative.

          May 26, 2014 at 1:03 am |
        • Hinge

          I could also have a $1 bill in my pocket right now. I won't prove it to you scientifically. You can't examine it from where you are. But I know for a fact that there is a $1 bill in my pocket right now.

          May 26, 2014 at 1:09 am |
        • willthefree

          That's fine, but scientifically speaking you could prove that the $1 bill is in your pocket, and you (again) could prove it scientifically, therefore you can know this as a fact. In this case, you don't need to prove it, just like you don't need to prove the sun will come up each day. But again, that really isn't the purpose of the conversation at hand. I get your point, I just don't think it's salient to the article.

          Relative to your atheist comments, an atheist just doesn't believe in a deity. I get that. I choose to search for evidence, but I could have evidence presented to me that there was a god and still be an atheist by not believing in him/her. But i get your point there as well.

          May 26, 2014 at 1:19 am |
        • Hinge

          We can draw reasoned conclusions on things not proven by science. Scientists do this, like when they trust the testimony of their peers on scientific research. Individually subjecting every claim to scientific testing, would be both functionally impossible and intellectually futile.

          May 26, 2014 at 1:26 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Fact: Dollar Bills exist

          Fact: Pockets exist

          Fact: People have been witnessed to keep dollar bills in pockets....most everyone who has seen a dollar bill has seen one kept in a pocket at one time or another.

          So it is not hard to believe you...

          No lets say I claim I keep a miniture dragon in a box in my garage. Are you going to believe that or are you going to require futher proof? Why or why not?

          May 26, 2014 at 2:13 am |
        • kermit4jc

          so you will ASSUME (I notice many atheists and such assume here..they assume to know my personal beliefs) sorry but that's the worst logic I ever heard...how do youknow for FACT he DOES have a $1 bill in his pocket..maybe he is lying to you

          May 26, 2014 at 2:31 am |
        • kermit4jc

          FACT...many people are poor right now....they do nOT have money in their pockets....thought of that scenario?

          May 26, 2014 at 2:32 am |
        • Hinge

          I don't believe you. I can draw a reasoned conclusion that you are using the Tea Pot Theory argument. I've heard that refute thousands of times online. You know for a fact whether you do or not. I can't prove it from here.

          And that fact still remains.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:17 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I do know for a fact whether I have dragon or not....or do I? Is it possible that I believe something to be true, that is not in reality true? Yes...that is called delusion. Peolple often believe things to be fact that are not facts, and how do we tell the difference??

          May 26, 2014 at 2:31 am |
        • Hinge

          We use a lot of different means to tell the difference. I still believe you are using a popular argument tactic, and that there is no dragon in your garage. It is a good argument tactic, but it doesn't prove whether there was or was not a dollar in my pocket.

          Whether you know or not, that fact still remains.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:39 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Fact: Kemit needs more work on reading comprehension. I did not say that he (you?) had a dollor in youe (his?) pocket. I said it is reasonable to believe it. I have no reason not to. Read it again.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:40 am |
        • kermit4jc

          yes..You ASSUMED>...burt how do you know for fact he is not lying to you? I don't need reading comprehension skills..maybe you should read my post again

          May 26, 2014 at 2:42 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          The reality remains. My point is you are not claiming anything that is not consistent with our knowledge. This is not a debate tactic. It is an epistemological issue.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:44 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          kermit,

          I didn't say I was certain about his claim. I pointed out there was no reason to question his truthfulness. Get with the program or go away.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:48 am |
        • Hinge

          A fact remains a fact, even if it is not consistent with our knowledge. No 2 people have the same knowledge.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:55 am |
        • ssq41

          Define "fact." What is a fact in the sciences? Among historians? In legal context? Among scholars? Is a "medical fact" alterable with time and new knowledge?

          Are "facts" "defined" by human convention. Sure 2+2=4 but what is 2? (The number we've chosen and what defines the objects and defines our need to count, etc.)

          May 26, 2014 at 3:02 am |
        • Hinge

          There are so many different ways to determine a fact.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:11 am |
        • Doris

          Hinge: "I could also have a $1 bill in my pocket right now. I won't prove it to you scientifically. You can't examine it from where you are. But I know for a fact that there is a $1 bill in my pocket right now."

          I see your point. But is such a point useful? At such a level, one might argue that you are not giving props to your "inner scientist" for what you are calling knowledge. That inner scientist can give you confidence in what you think you know as facts. It might be in the form of your remembering that you checked your pocket two or three times today to make sure you had $1 bill there.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:17 am |
        • ssq41

          So who is to say what fact is and what it is not?

          May 26, 2014 at 3:17 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "There are so many different ways to determine a fact."

          You keep saying that and yet you have not given an example of a way to determine a fact sans some form of science...I am getting to the point I don't believe you.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:18 am |
        • Hinge

          """ So who is to say what fact is and what it is not?

          I don't know. Whoever know the most science? Whoever has the power?

          May 26, 2014 at 3:23 am |
        • Hinge

          I'm definitely giving props to my inner-scientist. I'm testing everything. I hope I make mistakes in my questioning, that is how I learn.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:27 am |
        • ssq41

          It would seem that way....

          May 26, 2014 at 3:29 am |
        • magsmagenta

          @Hinge: I personally don't care if the $1 in your pocket is real or imaginary. However if you were to offer it in exchange for say a portion of fries I would require there to be a real $1 laid down on the counter that I could see myself and place into the till so that I could spend it later, as opposed to some imaginary $1 that you claim is there but I can't see because of some excuse such as I'm not worthy to see it yet, or I don't believe in it enough or that it's some test of my Faith and I should take your word for it.
          That it the crux of the matter for me.

          May 26, 2014 at 4:55 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Yea, good analogy. I use analogies to reveal truths all the time, and they aren't very scientific. It is more of a literary device – something I didn't learn in science class.

          May 26, 2014 at 5:07 am |
        • Doris

          That gets back to my point, Dala. At this level of scrutiny of various terms and concepts, is it fair to say that "science" as understood and applied, limited to science class, limited to sharing between people? (Hinge alleged that proofs were only necessary when people share knowledge. That's what made me think of the "inner scientist" that I mentioned earlier in this thread.)

          May 26, 2014 at 10:40 am |
    • tshorey2013

      A fact that you can know without proof is not a fact. Proof is what makes it a fact. What you are talking about is a belief.

      May 26, 2014 at 1:42 am |
      • Hinge

        Not a belief. A fact.

        I put something on my head. I know for a fact what it is. I destroy the evidence. I won't tell you what it was. You can guess, but how can you prove what was on my head?

        It is still a fact that that thing was on my head. There is no way I can prove it to you now. I destroyed the evidence.

        May 26, 2014 at 1:53 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          But that has nothing to do with a limitation science.

          May 26, 2014 at 1:58 am |
        • Hinge

          It has to do with whether or not science inherently has limitations and what are the best means for myself to determine a truth or fact.

          The claim that all knowledge is reducible to scientific knowledge is not itself a claim that can be justified scientifically. I have to use other means to do so.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:00 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Science does have limitations, but I would be interested to hear how you can obtain and verify knowledge by using something other than some form of science? Observation, testing, reproducibilty, ect., ect.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:07 am |
        • ssq41

          Hinge...is it then a speculative statement that previous experience (success of science) provides a high probability that all knowledge will eventually be reducible to scientific answers/knowledge/ findings?

          May 26, 2014 at 3:11 am |
        • Hinge

          Science is important, but I have to mix in some philosophy and personal experience. Mostly what I'm trying to determine is what is the purpose of my life and how to carry that out. I definitely do not exist in a world that science is sufficiently explaining. I believe we are still in the dark on so many matters.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:14 am |
        • ssq41

          I agree, hinge...I admire the atheists for their ability to live in the world they do....I have not been able to reach that point of courage to live without there being more than what is empiracle...

          May 26, 2014 at 3:21 am |
        • Hinge

          I like science for the logic and things it reveals... but life itself is not completely logical. There is so much beauty and tragedy in this world. There is more than what science tells me.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:30 am |
        • Hinge

          I admire atheists, too. I'm not one but they help me stay honest and consider views I probably wouldn't have reached myself.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:32 am |
        • ssq41

          I agree...atheists have that affect on me as well....but "what if" beauty and all other human concepts and emotions are eventually reducible to neurons and electrical pulses in the brain?

          May 26, 2014 at 3:35 am |
        • ssq41

          ...effect...rather.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:37 am |
        • Hinge

          I don't know, I feel there is a purpose to my life that is not reducible to neurons and electrical pulses in my brain.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:42 am |
        • ssq41

          I agree...but...what if....

          May 26, 2014 at 4:13 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't know. On one hand it would make me feel less human. On the other hand I would have an extreme interest in the power that is behind the fact that beauty, love, forgiveness, serenity, joy, pain, sorrow, grief and awe are reducible to neurons and electrical pulses in the brain.

          May 26, 2014 at 4:32 am |
        • Dalahäst

          lol

          May 26, 2014 at 4:33 am |
      • awanderingscot

        wrong, proof only comes into play if you have to share your fact.

        May 26, 2014 at 1:56 am |
        • Hinge

          I do want to share that fact. It is a fact. But there are no scientific ways to prove it.

          But the fact still remains.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:09 am |
        • mocasea

          Hinge,

          What you are describing is a process of events, with limited scope knowledge. Yes it is a fact that you had something on your head. But the burden of proof is on the person making the claim. No one will claim you never had anything on your head, because there is no evidence that your head never once held an object. Your claim that your head contained an object is however debatable, since your head no longer contains that object and you destroyed all evidence of the object. This isn't a failing of science, this is a failing of yours for destroying the object.

          I understand what you are trying to get at, that there are things that have occurred that science cannot prove. The converse is that evidence indicating that there was in fact nothing on your head will then outweigh your fact when applied. Now lets bring in current science.

          You had something on your head. You removed it and destroyed all evidence of it. This is a fact.
          Other people place things on their head as well. There are various items that are meant to be placed on the hear (hats, taupe's, barrettes, etc.) Since these items are common, and are generally fairly gender specific, using the information we know of you (gender, age group, etc.) we can then make a correlative statement that would be a good indicator that you did have something on your head as this was a societal norm. Thus through science, while we cannot exactly prove that you ever had something on your head, we can make an educated supposition that like many others in the same culture and society you live in, you in fact have worn something on your head. Science, in the absence of absolutes, can come to the same conclusion as the truth through metrics and correlative information.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:58 am |
        • Hinge

          There are truths that exist that can not be justified scientifically. The most important things in my life can not be justified scientifically.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:02 am |
        • dandintac

          "There are truths that exist that can not be justified scientifically. The most important things in my life can not be justified scientifically."

          Hinge–I get what you are trying to say here, and it is true, not everything is reducible to discovery through the scientific method. Science is effective at weeding through claims about objective reality. But there is also the world of human ideas–which are subjective. I think literary analysis might be better for understanding poetry for example. Social Construction is better at understanding human culture.

          I would point out though, that it is a common claim of theists that God is objectively real, and that there is hard evidence for this, and that we must all believe this–and in fact, believe THEIR particular religion. If one makes this leap, then we are all justified in demanding hard, testable evidence for the sweeping claims made by theists, and not believing them if they fail to produce it.

          If we understand that God is just a cultural idea–that's great. Go ahead and believe all you want, but if you want others to believe, don't get upset if they refuse to do so due to lack of evidence, and don't be shocked if they announce to everyone else that this emperor has no clothes.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
    • buckybadger

      Name one

      May 26, 2014 at 4:14 am |
      • Vic

        Consciousness.

        May 26, 2014 at 7:33 am |
        • buckybadger

          That can be understood and we learn more about it every time. Just because we don't 100% understand something now doesn't mean we can't.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
    • Vic

      The etymology of the word "science" is knowledge. Knowledge is not limited to empirical, rather, it includes spiritual and logical.

      May 26, 2014 at 7:49 am |
    • igaftr

      hinge
      You don't seem to have a grasp of what science is. The scientific method is a tool that can be used to examine ANYTHING that exists. There you go...the only things that you cannot apply scientific method to are the things that do not exist.

      This has to be the lamest attempt to discredit science that I have seen.

      May 26, 2014 at 9:01 am |
      • Dalahäst

        In no way am I trying to discredit science.

        There are things that exist – justice, beauty, love, art: that can't be examined with the scientific method.

        http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/whatisscience_12

        May 26, 2014 at 9:20 am |
        • igaftr

          No dala, the beauty of the scientific method is that it is adjustable to ANYTHING, even the emotions you claim cannot be studied.
          If it exists, you can examine it scientifically.

          May 26, 2014 at 11:35 am |
  10. abcontador

    The Bible Belt is the most embarrassing part of this country - simply disgusting and full of brainwashed religious rednecks

    May 26, 2014 at 12:22 am |
    • awanderingscot

      better to have a clean brain that functions, than a filthy moldy brain that doesn't.

      May 26, 2014 at 12:53 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        awanderingTOT: Right!!! Believing on faith makes you weak and lazy...sorry to burst that tiny brain bubble. It is a known fact that the USA scores lower in science and math due to dolts like you who think they have facts when they merely have outdated fairy tales...stop denying what is true or move to a cave.

        May 26, 2014 at 5:56 am |
      • igaftr

        scot
        Since you have proven countless times with your name calling posts that you do not have the former, so you must have the latter.

        May 26, 2014 at 9:03 am |
  11. Sheik Yerbouti

    Using undiscovered evidence, Christians have proven the miracles of Christ. No more need to argue.

    May 26, 2014 at 12:00 am |
    • awanderingscot

      Australopithecines are a group of extinct apes closely related to modern chimpanzees and orangutans. Although many evolutionists use the remains of these extinct apes to try to prove human evolution, the weight of scientific evidence indicates clearly that australopithecines, such as Ardipithecus (ARDI) and Australopithecus Afarensis (LUCY), were only primeval apes and not the evolutionary ancestors of humankind.

      but with a handle like shake yer big fat booty, hey who am i to say, maybe you are related.

      May 26, 2014 at 12:50 am |
      • marcar72

        Shiek Yerbouti is the awesome live, double album from the legendary musician Frank Zappa. Check it out!!

        May 26, 2014 at 1:39 am |
      • igaftr

        Scot, your post contains false information. You are misrepresenting what science has shown about the Australopithecine and Ardipithecus. There is a different relationship than what you have stated.

        Care to try again, and please get it right this time. Let's see if you can figure out the HUGE error you have made.

        May 26, 2014 at 9:09 am |
  12. fweioff

    Weak-minded, brainwashed, irrational, ignorant religious nuts are holding back society and keeping the cycle going by indoctrinating their kids on the same fairy tales, which is borderline child abuse.

    May 25, 2014 at 11:52 pm |
    • hotairace

      Amen!

      May 25, 2014 at 11:56 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      No, it IS child abuse and it is horrible.

      May 25, 2014 at 11:57 pm |
    • awanderingscot

      the lies atheists tell their children, utterly disgusting and immoral.

      This fossil, discovered in Africa in 1974, was widely esteemed by evolutionists and was the subject of some of the most intensive speculation. Recently however, it has been revealed that Lucy (A. afarensis) had an anatomy ideally suited to climbing trees and was no different from other apes we are familiar with. The French scientific journal Science et Vie covered the story in 1999 under the headline “Adieu, Lucy.” One study, performed in 2000, discovered a locking system in Lucy’s forearms enabling it to walk using the knuckles, in the same way as modern-day chimps.
      In a recent study, Tel Aviv University anthropologists determined that Lucy’s lower jaw bone is some kind of gorilla jaw bone. Other parts of the skeleton are just like the bones of knuckle-dragging, tree-climbing gorillas. Yet Lucy has been Evolutionism's poster child. Very creatively designed sculptures of Lucy appear in tax-funded museums, and these sculptures are hoaxes, not following the obvious ape-like bone structures, but rather dishonestly presenting Lucy as if she had human-like bone structures. This is typical Evolutionary flim-flam. Evolutionists fool themselves first because of their confirmation bias. Everything looks like part of the evolutionary dream, because or Evolutionism's presupposition.

      As a result, the evolutionary researchers concluded that Lucy should no longer be considered man’s direct ancestor. As is typically the case in the field of human evolution, a single bone structure overturns years of grossly exaggerated claims. In the face of all these findings, many evolutionist experts declared that Lucy could not have been a forerunner of man.

      May 26, 2014 at 12:55 am |
      • thingsyouhaventthought

        Fortunately, evolutionary biology relies much more on DNA evidence than fossils, since they are so hard to come by.

        May 26, 2014 at 12:59 am |
      • observer

        awanderingscot,

        Considering the number of LIES you've told on this blog, you have no business picking on others.

        May 26, 2014 at 12:59 am |
        • awanderingscot

          Odzerver, you capitalize words like hypocrite and lying as if that's going to somehow make them stick. I've already shown you that you don't have the capacity to engage me in scripture and you resort to profanity and ad hominem attacks. what's your problem? were you embarrassed when your pants were pulled down at Sunday school and your little pee-pee got smacked?

          May 26, 2014 at 1:52 am |
        • observer

          awanderingscot,

          I have NEVER used profanity on here. That's just one of a LONG LIST of LIES from you. I have proved you to be CLUELESS about verses from the Bible, not the other way around.

          Grow up. Develop some HONESTY and INTEGRITY because you seem to be totally lacking them. Pretend you actually follow what the Bible says. You are an embarrassment to other Christians with your lack of honesty.

          May 26, 2014 at 7:54 am |
      • hotairace

        How many lying, whoring, wife beating pastors have there been, Scotty?

        May 26, 2014 at 1:30 am |
        • awanderingscot

          AIR.. let's play catch-22 and i'll ask you the question, how many pastors have fallen short of the glory of God,? His moral perfections? and if you can tell me that, i'll tell you how many times you've fallen short of the glory of God, excuse me while i first pull the rafter out of your eye, it'll hurt but it needs to be done. ok go ahead.

          May 26, 2014 at 1:44 am |
        • sam stone

          "His moral perfections?"

          Perfection is easy when you are a myth, scottie

          May 26, 2014 at 7:55 am |
        • igaftr

          Here is Scot D Hartwell from Kirkland WA, 56, calling someone out for name calling.

          Here are a few excerpts from scots posts...lets see who likes name calling.
          "you're just another unregenerate hater."
          "the DoG returns to his own vomit."
          "you should practice what you preach you Godless hypocrite."
          "you'll need to consult the nose-haired government-grant sycophants "
          "Colin can't seem to get his nose-hair buddies on the line "
          "unregenerate unbelievers"
          "one of your nose-haired buddies "
          " here's something your pea-sized brain might be able to wrap around"
          " hairy-eared government sycophants can't do it"
          "why are you a stooge for nose-haired government sycophants?"
          "you doh-doh's only think you have the facts, but others besides your nose-haired sycophant stooges "
          "you're like a wind-up doll that your nose-haired sycophants on government grants "
          "snifflepagan," Dorrus"
          " you have no more reasoning than a weasel and are only concerned with where your next meal will come from"
          "these cretins will believe any other fool who grows nose and ear hair calling himself a "scientist" "
          " Fools can't see the wind either yet they believe it exists. duh"
          "the logic of that bb bouncing around in your skull just won't cut it Alien"
          "your unregenerate cellmates have claimed,"
          "you lie all the time because your father the devil "

          Seems that scot runs out of his lies and misinformation quickly and then reverts to his pre-adolescent self quite quickly.
          He is just another delusional guy who clearly does not understand science, throws a lot of red herrings to try to discount science but then accepts the wild claims of a primitive book. Go ahead and try to debate him, you will only be able to argue with him , since his information is wrong and misrepresented, and he won't concede he doesn't understand it enough to actually debate...then he'll start with the name calling.

          May 26, 2014 at 8:15 am |
      • akmac61

        If you had any understanding of evolution, not to mention simple geneology, you would know the family tree is not only a single branch. There are cousins and ancestors that are not in the direct line of descent.

        May 26, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
    • kermit4jc

      riiiiight..so why are there not more atheists in the list of Nobel prize winners? hmmm..interesting....maybe its the atheists holding us back?

      May 26, 2014 at 2:17 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Maybe it has nothing to do with that and more to do with the fact that many believe in some form of deity. Belief in a deity doesn't prove one and it doesn't mean crap when it comes to scientific discoveries-many of which too many discard (ie; evolution; LGBT being natural). Belief doesn't equate to knowledge and the studies prove that a strong belief can hold one back.

        May 26, 2014 at 5:40 am |
      • ssq41

        Kermy, while I applaud that you learned association of things from watching Sesame Street, I'm disappointed that, as an adult, you are incapable of seeing that they are not related.

        May 26, 2014 at 5:52 am |
        • kermit4jc

          you had no answer..so you had to make a reference to Sesame street crap...you got nothing....I rest my case ad homs don't work with me ok?

          May 27, 2014 at 1:39 am |
  13. bab035

    Only a Fool says in his heart, there is no God. I feel sorry for any unbeliever because of my personal experiences with Jesus Christ. I have seen the dead come to life through prayer. And it is sad that there are so many unbelievers, although not surprising, many people profess to be Christians, who haven't the slightest clue about what it means. When deep down you know that you know, it is the most awesome feeling in the world. To each of you who do not believe, I challenge you to open The Bible, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to you. Religion will send many people to Hell. But it is Jesus and Him crucified and your acceptance of Him into your life. Many people will have a rude awakening when they wake up in Hell – what a scary place to be. I've watched lost people go into Hell – scariest thing I've ever seen in my life. Jesus loves you guys! Humans will always fail you, but God will never fail you.

    May 25, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
    • lbatchelder

      It doesn't matter what anyone here believes in. Why should that affect how people interact with each other? Why cant we get along and support other people's beliefs? Peace.

      May 25, 2014 at 10:58 pm |
    • hotairace

      Bullsh!t. You don't have a single bit of evidence for any of your claims.

      May 25, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
      • awanderingscot

        Evolution is fraud.

        In 1912, a well-known doctor and amateur paleoanthropologist named Charles Dawson came out with the assertion that he had found a jawbone and a cranial fragment in a pit in Piltdown, England. Even though the jawbone was more ape-like, the teeth and the skull were like a man's. These specimens were labelled the "Piltdown man". Alleged to be 500,000 years old, they were displayed as an absolute proof of human evolution in several museums.

        For more than 40 years, many scientific articles were written on "Piltdown man", many interpretations and drawings were made, and the fossil was presented as important evidence for human evolution. No fewer than 500 doctoral theses were written on the subject. While visiting the British Museum in 1921, leading American paleoanthropologist Henry Fairfield Osborn said "We have to be reminded over and over again that Nature is full of paradoxes" and proclaimed Piltdown "a discovery of transcendent importance to the prehistory of man.

        In 1949, Kenneth Oakley from the British Museum's Paleontology Department, attempted to use "fluorine testing", a new test used for determining the date of fossils. A trial was made on the fossil of the Piltdown man. The result was astonishing. During the test, it was realised that the jawbone of Piltdown Man did not contain any fluorine. This indicated that it had remained buried no more than a few years. The skull, which contained only a small amount of fluorine, showed that it was not older than a few thousand years old.

        It was determined that the teeth in the jawbone belonging to an orangutan, had been worn down artificially and that the "primitive" tools discovered with the fossils were simple imitations that had been sharpened with steel implements. In the detailed analysis completed by Joseph Weiner, this forgery was revealed to the public in 1953. The skull belonged to a 500-year-old man, and the jaw bone belonged to a recently deceased ape! The teeth had been specially arranged in a particular way and added to the jaw, and the molar surfaces were filed in order to resemble those of a man. Then all these pieces were stained with potassium dichromate to give them an old appearance. These stains began to disappear when dipped in acid. Sir Wilfred Le Gros Clark, who was in the team that uncovered the forgery, could not hide his astonishment at this situation and said: "The evidences of artificial abrasion immediately sprang to the eye. Indeed so obvious did they seem it may well be asked-how was it that they had escaped notice before?"

        In the wake of all this, "Piltdown man" was hurriedly removed from the British Museum where it had been displayed for more than 40 years.

        May 25, 2014 at 11:51 pm |
        • hotairace

          How many Babble Humpers have been proven to be liars and frauds?

          May 25, 2014 at 11:57 pm |
        • nepawoods

          Four paragraphs to tell about Piltdown Man (for whoever didn't know), and then no attempt to suggest the relevance?

          May 26, 2014 at 12:05 am |
        • Doris

          My goodness – all that trouble to achieve brain freeze when snotty could have just had some ice cream.

          May 26, 2014 at 12:14 am |
        • mocasea

          What you are failing to realize is that your attempts to discount science and evolution are focused on individual instances, while there are literally thousands of legitimate and verifiable evidential pieces that support it and have been VERIFIED by science. You casually dismiss those due to a few bad pieces. Additionally your only pieces of evidence are old and are acknowledged as you state them. "Lucy" is not an evidence that scientists or educated people hold up as evidence. The Piltdown man was again debunked as a fraudulent piece. However there have been no less than four dozen well preserved, and fully intact, corpses of human ancestors discovered and analyzed. Not only that, but there is a large number of partially intact skeletons or skeleton fossils discovered that show various stages of species evolution.

          Finally, you keep using the terms ape, monkey, gorilla, etc. WE ARE NOT DESCENDED FROM APES. We have a common ancestor, but through divergent evolution humans took one path, and the apes took another. This has been understood by the scientific community for more than 60 years. That you continually harp on that misconception shows that your education in the arena of evolution is outdated, and very limited. You are not proving anything, just making yourself look like an uneducated fool.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:17 am |
        • igaftr

          scot plagarized this in it's entirety...I am ceretain he does not understand it.

          It is a misrepresentation of the true timeline of events surrounding various findings, and then makes conclusions that are unfounded.
          You can find this kind of attempts to poke holes in valid science from various sites promoting the non-science of creationism.

          Scot, can you spot the OBVIOUS flaws in the "information" you stole from other people ( give credit next time), or do you present this sort of garbage but don't actually grasp it? If you read it and COMPREHENDED it, you would be able to spot the obvious deception of it....can you spot the problems with your "info"?

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

          One piece of evidence turns out to be a fraud. That has no impact on the enormous number of other fossils and other evidence we have for evolution. Denying evolution based on Piltdown Man is like denying the existence of Europe because your aunt once lied about going to Italy.

          May 26, 2014 at 9:27 am |
    • Doris

      Oh my – put the controllers down. Religion and video games don't mix.

      May 25, 2014 at 11:05 pm |
    • skytag

      What you have seen are natural phenomenon you chose to believe were acts of God, nothing more.

      May 25, 2014 at 11:07 pm |
    • otoh2

      bab,
      " but God will never fail you."

      Allowing "his" beloved creatures to go to "hell" just because they cannot believe the lousy evidence that's available would be considered a giant FAIL!

      May 25, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
      • awanderingscot

        Evolution will always fail you.

        Australopithecines are a group of extinct apes closely related to modern chimpanzees and orangutans. Although many evolutionists use the remains of these extinct apes to try to prove human evolution, the weight of scientific evidence indicates clearly that australopithecines, such as Ardipithecus (ARDI) and Australopithecus Afarensis (LUCY), were only primeval apes and not the evolutionary ancestors of humankind.

        May 26, 2014 at 12:59 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Right, so please if you ever need a stem cell transplant, refuse it because obviously it doesn't work according to your own inept logic that evolution is false. You're such an uneducated arrogant idiot! No matter how many times you spew your apologetic nonsense, you won't change the fact that Evolution is vastly supported and the incest story of the bible isn't (or perhaps you approve of incest).

          May 26, 2014 at 6:01 am |
    • skytag

      "To each of you who do not believe, I challenge you to open The Bible, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to you."

      I spent four decades of my life as a Christian before I finally realized it was all hokum. That was more than enough, thank you. In your arrogance you believe atheists haven't read the Bible, but in point of fact many of us are former Christians who finally rejected our beliefs in myths and fairytales.

      May 25, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
      • abcontador

        You are my hero for the day - gives me hope that we can pull out of this religious nosedive

        May 26, 2014 at 12:26 am |
      • awanderingscot

        belief is not something you can fake. maybe .. i'm not saying i know .. but maybe just maybe you never really believed?

        May 26, 2014 at 3:08 am |
        • ssq41

          I'm gonna trust you're being honest....I was an Evangelical for 3 decades...I agree with his comment.

          Many Christians claim that their experience is "proof" enough....so, if an atheist says he was once a believer, that claim to belief should garner some resepect along those same lines of "experience."

          Rejection of his statement would make me think it is cognitive dissonance instead of honest consideration.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:15 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          awanderingTOT: While belief may not be something that is easily faked, intelligence is and you show that with every post. Did you register for that Grade 5 science course yet and did you convince your boyfriend kermi to join you?

          May 26, 2014 at 8:04 am |
    • skytag

      "Humans will always fail you, but God will never fail you."

      It wasn't God who liberated the Nazi death camps in WWII, it was a lot of humans. Get a clue. Reality isn't that bad once you get used to it.

      May 25, 2014 at 11:11 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        you seem to either be dishonest and lying about your 4 decades a s a Christian..or you studied the wrong stuff.....God uses people at times to do such things....God uses people to free the holocaust victims.....but seems to me you believed iin a genie in a lamp type of God who does all your bidding for you

        May 26, 2014 at 2:15 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Hitler was a Christian, so by your logic god used him to slaughter all those people.

          May 26, 2014 at 5:42 am |
        • Reality

          And we still await your perusal of the previously provided references to the historic Jesus.

          May 26, 2014 at 7:06 am |
        • kermit4jc

          im still waiting for you to fix the broken record and stay on topic rather than try to be dishonest and get off topic..no response from me until then

          May 27, 2014 at 1:41 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          According to Nazi uniforms, God was with the Third Reich, enabling the Holocaust.
          The best part about citing God as your authority is that He's never around to correct you.

          May 26, 2014 at 10:14 am |
        • kermit4jc

          correction on what? God enabled Hitler to do his thing..sure..God gave Hitler choice..and Hitler chose evil...God is not a puppet m aster

          May 27, 2014 at 1:46 am |
    • Aldris Torvalds

      If non-believers go to Hell, meaning that Hindus who were raised to believe in different gods will be tortured eternally... the same exact sentence as, say, Adolf Hitler would get... then "God" is a monster, evil in the worst possible way. You don't seem to have any sense of morality if you think you're worshiping a "good" deity. Fortunately the greater morality of others can make up for your lack.

      May 25, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        oh yes..God is a monster for being holy and sins cannot simply co exists within the presence of His Righteousness.....this is not based on feelings...but by Gods very nature..all have sinned..even the best of Hindus..the best of Christians..the best of atheists or anything else.....God is not the monster..we are

        May 26, 2014 at 2:16 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Oh my, making excuses for your imaginary friend. Read your bible and learn all about the horrible things your god commanded that man carry out. An open-minded read of that book shows how much of a monster your god really is and for you to deny that only shows willful ignorance and no care for humanity on your behalf.

          May 26, 2014 at 6:07 am |
        • sam stone

          if god is omniscient, there is no free will

          if god punishes people who lack free will, god is not just or righteous,he is a vindictive pr1ck

          May 26, 2014 at 8:18 am |
        • benhoody

          More hateful comments from the self righteous athiest. You can always rely on Sam, if someone doesn't agree with him, he just calls them names and mocks their God, bravo Sam, bravo, it shows your intelligence level, but bravo.

          May 27, 2014 at 1:39 am |
        • sam stone

          "this is not based on feelings.."

          what is it based on, if not feelings?

          you're a funny man

          May 26, 2014 at 8:23 am |
        • kermit4jc

          youre the funny man..I stated WHAT it is based on...I will not repeat here..Im going to trust that you will go back and read my post again....I made it very clear

          May 27, 2014 at 1:43 am |
    • Reality

      Strong circ-umstantial evidence that there is no god (or did they all die as martyrs?)

      Number of your god's creations who died horrible deaths from the following diseases:

      1. 300,000,000 approx.
      Smallpox

      2. 200,000,000 ?
      Measles

      3. 100,000,000 approx.
      Black Death

      4. 80,000,000–250,000,000
      Malaria

      5. 50,000,000–100,000,000
      Spanish Flu

      6. 40,000,000–100,000,000
      Plague of Justinian

      7. 40,000,000–100,000,000
      Tuberculosis

      8. 30,000,000[13]
      AIDS pandemic

      9. 12,000,000 ?
      Third Pandemic of Bubonic Plague

      10. 5,000,000
      Antonine Plague

      11. 4,000,000
      Asian Flu

      12. 250,000 or more annually Seasonal influenza

      May 25, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      That is just so awesome!

      May 25, 2014 at 11:58 pm |
    • nepawoods

      You're portraying God to be evil. You're standing behind that portrayal (nonbelievers going to hell and all that). If God exists, he might not appreciate that.

      May 26, 2014 at 12:09 am |
    • abcontador

      Its scary that people like you can vote

      May 26, 2014 at 12:24 am |
    • tallulah131

      Basically, the bible says that you should believe in a specific god, and then says that you are a fool if you don't believe in that specific god. The real fool is the person who falls for that circular logic.

      May 26, 2014 at 2:45 am |
      • primatica

        a self protective mechanism.

        May 26, 2014 at 3:12 am |
    • ch72206

      "Only a Fool says in his heart, there is no God."

      So if even a fool knows there's no god...that would make a believer less intelligent then a fool, good one i like that.

      May 26, 2014 at 8:02 am |
      • benhoody

        That makes no sense at all, just more athiest hate talk.

        May 27, 2014 at 1:58 am |
    • sam stone

      nothing more amusing than the empty proxy threats blathered forth from the True Believers

      May 26, 2014 at 8:09 am |
    • demoguy1

      "I have seen the dead come to life through prayer". Had this actually happened it would have been broadcast worldwide. Prayer is what folks do when they want to help but cannot. Prayer allows one to feel as if they have helped a situation they otherwise are powerless. Flip a coin, toss pennies in a wishing well and you will get the same results as offering a prayer.

      May 26, 2014 at 10:39 am |
  14. Doris

    Letting go of superstition

    from "50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yceHh5khkXo

    [after discussing inevitable galactic & terrestrial destructive forces out there that want to kill us] "..none of this is a sign that there is a benevolent anything out there…" –Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, host of "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey"

    "..but to me saying that there was a designer does not help at all.." –Alan Guth, MIT professor of physics

    "..I'm not militant by nature – and if people want to believe, well then that's their business; I mean what concerns me is when belief is used to influence and corrupt education or politics. And it seems to me monstrous that Creationism or so-called intelligent design is taught next to evolution or instead of it. And I do think that it is almost as a form of madness." –Oliver Sacks, world-renowned neurologist, Columbia University

    "M-Theory doesn't disprove God, but it does make him unnecessary. It predicts that the universe will be spontaneously created out of nothing without the need for a creator." –Stephen Hawking, Cambridge theoretical physicist

    May 25, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
  15. awanderingscot

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCQjQkLk5kg

    May 25, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
    • awanderingscot

      Richard Dawkins reveals himself as a pompous arrogant know-it-all. Wow, this guy is so full of himself. Wow, he's also an expert on optics and the eyeball as well being an unregenerate @ss.

      May 25, 2014 at 10:37 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        Don't you ever wonder why an omnipotent, omniscient god couldn't design a better eye for its chosen people? Not all animals have that gap in vision where the nerve goes through.

        May 25, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
        • Doris

          Also, when "designing" the human body, why would an omnipotent, omniscient god put an entertainment complex right next to a sewage treatment plant. If you find out why, also tell Neil deGrasse Tyson – he wants to know too.

          May 25, 2014 at 10:51 pm |
        • Doris

          (@thesnottywanderer)

          May 25, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          no gap, eye is perfect. Creator is all wise, all powerful. atheist fool.

          May 26, 2014 at 12:29 am |
        • observer

          awanderingscot

          "no gap, eye is perfect."

          Many animals have better eyesight than man so man's is NOT PERFECT.

          Ooooooops!

          May 26, 2014 at 12:41 am |
        • hotairace

          awanderingscot doesn't know about the gap in his vision because he has great big logs in his eyes.

          May 26, 2014 at 12:44 am |
        • ssq41

          Clever Jesus reference there, hotair!

          May 26, 2014 at 12:47 am |
        • kermit4jc

          don't ever wonder why that would be the case in a temporary realm? like who really cares in this temporary place?

          May 26, 2014 at 2:12 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "who really cares in this temporary place?"

          Once more kermi, you show a lack of compassion and care. If this life means nothing to you maybe you should take sam's advice to you on numerous other lies you've told and take your leave from this unimportant life.

          May 26, 2014 at 8:07 am |
        • sam stone

          yeah, kermy, don't let the door hit you in the backside as you leave this temporary realm for your meeting with jeebus

          May 26, 2014 at 8:32 am |
        • benhoody

          What is a Jeebus, makes no sense at all. Oh, wait, I know, your trying to be funny aren't you? Well guess what Sam, that's about as funny as a head ache, it's used far too often and is getting rather old besides being childish and showing how intelligent you really are. Try something new, but put a little thought in it next time.

          May 27, 2014 at 1:10 am |
      • hotairace

        When will you be debating him?

        May 25, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          maybe sometime, after being deprived of sleep for 48 hours. i'm too fast for that idiot.

          Fossils discovered on the islands of Java in 1891 and 1892 were given the name Java Man (Pithecanthropus erectus). Fossils discovered near Peking (Beijing) in 1923-1927 were given the name Pekin Man (Sinanthropus pekinensis). In 1939, however, two experts, Ralph von Koenigswald and Franz Weidenreich, revealed that both were actually normal human beings. And Ernst Mayr from Harvard University had classified both as human in 1944.

          May 26, 2014 at 12:37 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          awanderingTOT: Look in a mirror and you'll see the true idiot. I get that facts hurt your wee uneducated brain but an education will fix that. You'd lose in the first 2 seconds of a debate with this man because you have zero evidence on your side and you've proven that you are delusional.

          May 26, 2014 at 8:09 am |
      • realbuckyball

        Well he is an expert on Evolutionary Biology. The eyeball evolved through a known series of changes. So, actually yes, the processes by which the eye became what it is, actually IS his field. So sad too bad. Creationism is for idiots and their ignorant children.

        May 25, 2014 at 10:51 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          Surely you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay; For shall the thing made say of him who made it, "He did not make me"? Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, "He has no understanding"? – Isaiah 29:16, NKJV – you are but a worm

          May 26, 2014 at 12:33 am |
        • ssq41

          If your God is the potter, then he needs to return to an 8th grade ceramics class to get schooled.

          The reality, however, is that the Christian God is neither mature enough, nor wise enough to have created such an amazingly complex world...not to mention the universe within which it spins.

          In fact, scotty, he is just as inept and impotent as the Body of Christ is each and every day.

          In other words, he looks just like you.

          May 26, 2014 at 12:45 am |
        • awanderingscot

          oh Ramapithecus! dashing all the little retarded atheists dreams like that ...

          A partial jawbone, consisting of two parts, was discovered by G.E. Lewis in India in the 1930s. Based on these two jaw bone fragments, claimed to be 14 million years old, evolutionists reconstructed Ramapithecus’s family and supposed natural habitat. For fifty years, the fossil was portrayed as an ancestor of Man but following the results of a 1981 anatomical comparison with a baboon skeleton, evolutionists were forced to quietly set it aside.

          May 26, 2014 at 1:04 am |
        • observer

          awanderingscot,

          Keep up all the juvenile name-calling and insults JUST LIKE JESUS WOULD DO.

          May 26, 2014 at 1:06 am |
        • mocasea

          Scot,

          Neanderthals were once thought to be ancestors of humans, true. About 20 years ago though through various means of testing, geological evidence, and through geographical evidence it became apparent that neanderthals and humans were divergent species. The neanderthals were concentrated in more northern regions of the world, and humans were more equatorial. There were a few areas where those populations overlapped, and there is even some indication that not only do the species co-habitate, they also intermingled. Again your old science is trumped with better, newer science that is supported by real, verifiable evidence.

          May 26, 2014 at 2:42 am |
        • awanderingscot

          real biologists work with LIVING organisms you clown.

          May 26, 2014 at 3:15 am |
        • igaftr

          scot
          Biologists work with living things OR things that were once living, OR organic compounds.
          Do you think that no biologist has ever done a disection?

          May 26, 2014 at 10:17 am |
        • awanderingscot

          are you even remotely aware of the incredible complexity of even one cell in the human body? and that we have billions of them in our body and brain all working together to make us alive? and even if evolution were true it would take literally billions and billions of years to evolve to where we are today? our star the sun would have long since burned out in the time it would take to evolve? and all of this assumes that conditions for life are what they are today for eons of time. no, you argue against the laws of probability which put this at zero. your argument is foolishness and atheists and evolutions are dreamers.

          May 26, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
        • igaftr

          scot
          What exact calculations did you use to come up with a probability of zero?
          It DID take billions of years for life to develop. To think that some alien sentient thing just spoke everything into existance is completely baseless, and there is NO EVIDENCE ANYWHERE that is what happened.

          Since none of your calculations can actually put the probability to zero, you are simply lying....again.

          Just because you don't understand math or science does not mean your flawed probability is anywhere close to accurate.

          May 27, 2014 at 8:46 am |
      • skytag

        Nothing is more arrogant being convinced his religious beliefs are right when none of them is supported by a single shred of objective evidence.

        May 25, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          Nothing is more arrogant being convinced his atheistic beliefs are right when none of them is supported by a single shred of objective evidence.

          May 26, 2014 at 12:35 am |
        • hotairace

          awanderingscot, a child that believes childish myths responding with childish retorts. Fucking brain dead delusional believer.

          May 26, 2014 at 12:38 am |
        • awanderingscot

          After the first specimens were discovered in the Neander Valley in 1856, evolutionists suggested that Neanderthals were primitive ape-men. Subsequent archaeological discoveries, however, revealed that there was no scientific basis to that claim. Erik Trinkhaus, an expert on the subject of the Neanderthals and also an evolutionist, has admitted that, “Detailed comparisons of Neanderthal skeletal remains with those of modern humans have shown that there is nothing in Neanderthal anatomy that conclusively indicates locomotor, manipulative, intellectual, or linguistic abilities inferior to those of modern humans.”

          In addition, the size of the Neanderthal Man skull—200 cubic centimeters greater than that of present-day humans—reveals the invalidity of the claim that it was an intermediate form between humans and apes.

          May 26, 2014 at 12:40 am |
        • hotairace

          How many fraudulent preachers have there been?

          May 26, 2014 at 12:42 am |
        • awanderingscot

          HotAir
          typical uneducated atheist response, or non-response. resorts to profanity. lo class.

          May 26, 2014 at 12:42 am |
      • awanderingscot

        Evolutionist atheist extraordinaire Richard Dawkins upbraided by one of his own, the notable evolutionist Terry Eagleton.

        “Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology.” Eagleton continues: “ … does he imagine like a bumptious young barrister that you can defeat the opposition while being complacently ignorant of its toughest case? Dawkins, it appears, has sometimes been told by theologians that he sets up straw men only to bowl them over, a charge he rebuts in this book; but if The God Delusion is anything to go by, they are absolutely right.”

        May 26, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
  16. christianguy17

    Ooooops...I think I walked into the wrong chatroom..

    May 25, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
  17. doabitofhomework

    I lived in the Bible Belt for about 8 years. I know what it's like. I sure do. From the moment someone realized I wasn't of THEIR particular faith cult, they'd always begin by asking, "Do you mean you haven't chosen Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?" With a tone of voice that seemed truly astonished. From there on, the proselytizing began in earnest, and to the extent that it failed to convert me, hostility began to grow. When I was at the rental office to sign papers on my new apartment in the DFW region, I asked what to do with empty boxes. She told me to call the custodian, adding that "he may look nasty, but he's a good Christian." As if THAT was all the answer anyone could ever need.

    In the Bible Belt, all anyone needs to say about someone is that they're a "good Christian," and that's IT. No need for any comment on character. Being Christian, to them, means their character is beyond reproach. Except that I noticed much to reproach a good Christian for, many times, during my years there. Down there, "Good Christian" is even more meaningful than the "Good Housekeeping seal of approval." Being in the legal biz, I was often in courtrooms. Many times, I watched as a criminal defendant got off entirely because he entered the courtroom clutching a gospel. Jurors assumed he'd "found Jesus," and that acquitted him of all crimes. He had been "pre-saved," which so many of them actually think they can get.

    Christianity has never given anyone a way to become saved, except on Judgment Day. Today's "fundies" are a very recent wrinkle in Christianity that has changed Christianity in very fundamental ways. Even writing their own Bible, to suit the agendas of their TV-preacher leaders. It seems to have worked for them. They now wield great power in our politics, despite the prohibition against mixing church and state.

    They have even, across the Bible Belt, managed to keep Civics classes in schools from even mentioning the separation of church and state. During the last presidential election, things people in that region said made it extremely clear that they believed our government SHOULD be ruled by religion – THEIRS, of course. They really didn't learn anything, because the fundies who run the schools keep things from being taught that don't flatter and agree with their religious notions. And the really scary part is that some of those people were not young. Many were grey-haired, so this failure to teach Civics fully is now in the third or fourth generation. I strongly believe this should be investigated.

    It HAS to be recognized that most people seem to have a powerful need for a religion. For a belief in something bigger, stronger and wiser than humans, something that will, like a parent, protect them, watch over them, reward them when they're good and punish them when they're not. Our founders knew this quite well. They made sure religious liberties were to be a strong element in the new country they were forming, and it was NOT because they wanted religions to be strong. It was to keep them from launching one holy war after another. The founders had, most of them, known what religious oppression is like. Their goal was prevention. Based on the knowledge that all religions are dragons which can either become vicious, or be put into a comfortable slumber.

    We've taken it too far, though. Religions pay no taxes, yet have more rights than those who do. They are already becoming profoundly repressive. They've successfully done a lot of censoring.

    In their houses of worship, they are TAUGHT to hate atheists. It isn't just a conclusion on the part of some fundie who thinks you must worship the devil if you're an atheist. This is what they are TOLD, what they are TAUGHT. And if that isn't hate speech, I don't know what is.

    Regrettably, religion needs to be permitted. But it's long overdue that religions should have ACCOUNTABILITY in our society. There should be strict limits on what they can and can't do. And all forms of hate speech should be punishable. Above all, they should be prohibited from trying to influence politics.

    It's one thing, for example, if a person comes to a conclusion, all by himself, that abortions should not be allowed. It's another entirely if his religious leader and congregation are telling him that abortion is murder.

    Religion properly belongs in three places: the heart, the home and the house of worship. And NOWHERE ELSE.

    I've lived in Mexico now for 20 years. This is a strongly Catholic country, but not once have I ever encountered the kind of venom as I did in the Bible Belt. When people here know I'm not Catholic, they feel sorry for me, but don't try to either condemn me or convert me. From their faces, I can tell they feel sad for me because they believe I'm probably doomed. But they don't judge me evil at all, and treat me like anyone else. Very hospitably and kindly.

    What has been growing in the Bible Belt isn't religious liberty, as I've seen it in Mexico. It's the intentional building of a political base of fanatics and haters. This needs to be reined in.

    May 25, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
    • skytag

      Many Christians feel threatened by atheists. First, they need to have their faith validated by others making the same choices they've made. Second, they tell themselves all the good things in their lives are blessings bestowed by God in response to their faithfulness. This is hard to reconcile with atheists having equally good lives.

      May 25, 2014 at 11:24 pm |
      • saneandreasonable

        Given the posts above, I think atheists feel threatened by Christians the key to being a real good witness for Christ is loving others and displaying the fruits of the spirit to people that can't or won't come to Christ., or even believers that are just plain nasty. What I do see however is most atheists just believe in themselves, and have a narcissistic streak woven in their lives. Science is agnostic to morality and it cannot, and will not save us from ourselves.

        May 26, 2014 at 9:55 am |
        • igaftr

          s&r
          Science CAN show us ways to save us from oursleves, but unfortunately, there are too many people who refuse to accept what science reveals. Global warming is a huge problem, and we know that man is causing most of the problem, but many refuse to see the problems that science is revealing, do not heed the warnings.
          Just look at the self deluded people on here that claim they KNOW their god, and KNOW their belief is true, when they do not have sufficient information to draw any conclusion at all, and then attempt to invalidate and poke holes in valid science.
          People will believe whatever they WANT to believe, as is the case with ALL religions.

          May 26, 2014 at 10:09 am |
        • saneandreasonable

          Wow, you fall into the dogma of "global warming" and critique those that believe in a creator. Pot calling the kettle black. Self deluded is anyone that thinks we just "came to be" ...

          We don't know anything of the sort that Man is causing most of the problem. You are just naive.

          May 29, 2014 at 1:32 am |
  18. billbl

    Carl Sagan in the original Cosmos put it this way. There are billions and billions of planets in the universe and so the odds are very high that some of them are suitable for evolution of life. Furthermore, since many of these were formed much earlier than Earth the life on some had much more time to evolve and therefore it could be much more advanced than humans and more intelligent.

    May 25, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
  19. donnamartin001

    I really want to put a Darwin Fish on my car, I'm just afraid that some Xtian will rip it off and vandalize my car. Welcome to the south!

    May 25, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
    • seedenbetter

      Yes, they will damage your car, find out where you live and make your life a living hell.

      May 25, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
    • billbl

      Me too. We need to reach out via social media (MEETUPS, etc.) and get connected to locals. A good starting point for novices is the Secular Coalition for America which represents several organizations.

      May 25, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
    • robcosystems

      I had a Darwin fish on my vehicle many years ago, while living in North Carolina. On four separate occasions someone pried it off, and once replaced it with an ΙΧΘΥΣ emblem. The fifth time the perpetrator(s) actually managed to remove paint and dented the spot for good measure. Now I have a T. rex emblem that's eating a tiny fish; the cross that stands in for the fish's eye is easily mistaken for a 'dead-eye-X'..No-one has bothered it so far, and I've even gotten a couple "hey, cool dinosaur!" remarks from Christians! I like it because it identifies me to other skeptics, who seem to automatically recognize it and understand the message; and I appreciate the irony–I'm using a 'secret' symbology to identify myself to other like-minded people, much the way the Christian fish symbol was once used to identify fellow Christians amongst an otherwise hostile-to-Christians crown or community.

      May 25, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
  20. HEH

    English language travel guides to the U.S. (for Brits, Aussies, etc) have sections on encountering evangelicals. We accept extreme religion as par for the course in certain areas of America, forgetting how surreal it can be for others.

    Being an open skeptic in certain areas of the bible belt is risky: evangelicals can be reactive and will try to harm non-believers. The best strategy is to leave.

    May 25, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
    • Doris

      Things are a little better now that some of them have been ID'd.

      The one referred to as "Salero21" in particular is actually one of nature's most primitive-minded creatures:

      Class: Mammalia
      Order: Rodentia
      Family: Cricetidae
      Subfamily: Arvicolinae
      Tribe: Lemmini

      May 25, 2014 at 10:22 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.