Anger at God common, even among atheists
January 1st, 2011
12:15 AM ET

Anger at God common, even among atheists

If you're angry at your doctor, your boss, your relative or your spouse, you can probably sit down and have a productive conversation about it. God, on the other hand, is probably not available to chat.

And yet people get angry at God all the time, especially about everyday disappointments, finds a new set of studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

It's not just religious folks, either. People unaffiliated with organized religion, atheists and agnostics also report anger toward God either in the past, or anger focused on a hypothetical image - that is, what they imagined God might be like - said lead study author Julie Exline, Case Western Reserve University psychologist.

In studies on college students, atheists and agnostics reported more anger at God during their lifetimes than believers. A separate study also found this pattern among bereaved individuals. This phenomenon is something Exline and colleagues will explore more in future research, which is open to more participants.

It seems that more religious people are less likely to feel angry at God and more likely to see his intentions as well-meaning, Exline's research found.

And younger people tend to be angrier at God than older people, Exline said. She says some of the reasons she's seen people the angriest at God include rejection from preferred colleges and sports injuries preventing high schoolers from competing.

The age difference may have to do with cultural norms, she said. Perhaps previous generations were taught to not question God, whereas younger people today don't have any qualms about it. On the other hand, it might be that as people get older, they learn how to handle these types of feelings better.

Anger at God can strongly resemble feelings you may have against another person, Exline found. God may seem treacherous or cruel when bad things happen, just like another individual might. Your anger may fester even more when there's no good reason for the negative event, such as a natural disaster or a disease, to occur. And strong, longstanding negative emotions of any kind can lead to physical ailments.

Moreover, distress at God is associated with mental health symptoms. Exline and colleagues found that among cancer survivors interviewed once and then again a year later, those who were angry at God at both points in time had the poorest mental and physical health. But the study cannot prove whether anger at God made them feel worse or that feeling worse made them more angry at God.

Just like with people in your life, you can respect and feel anger toward God at the same time. And you can move toward forgiveness by reframing the way you view the negative event: Perhaps God was not responsible for it or that he acted in that way for a reason.

"When people trust that God cares about them and has positive intentions toward them, even if they can’t understand what those intentions or meanings are, it tends to help to resolve anger," she said.

Granted, these studies aren't definitive; they are steps forward in this emerging field of inquiry and not the final word on the subject.

But we see it in the real world, too. Jeff Crim listens to people's anger at God all the time - specifically, people who are dying. He's a chaplain and bereavement coordinator North Star Hospice in Calhoun, Georgia, and has found that it's important to find a way to express your anger at God in order to deal with it.

Expressing anger can be cathartic, and help you move on, but how you do it is deeply personal, Crim said. Crim himself will speak aloud to God, but others find solace in a trusted spiritual leader or other person to confide in about their anger at a higher power.

"What they need is a safe place to express their anger, to know that their anger has been heard and listened to," he said.

soundoff (1,234 Responses)
  1. Nick B

    I'm skeptical of the study's conclusions. Did the study ascertain whether the anger toward God occurred before the person became an atheist? If the anger is there during, then there's some additional explanation that has to be done. It would make sense if people who had gotten angry at God previously would be more likely to become atheists.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sjenner

      j.mo's post above actually offers a pretty good explanation of the study–better than the one offered in the article.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:12 | Report abuse |
    • Nick B

      I saw his reply, and that may be true. Too bad the CNN report of it didn't get it right.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
  2. Kent

    Calling The Beatles druggies is tantamount to blasphemy. I'm expecting the apostles to whitewash out these 'facts' hopefully in the next millenium.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Bob

    If you're angry at God for anything, then you're not an atheist. Period.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. John

    This article is misleading. Atheists do not get angry at god. That doesn't even make sense. Perhaps before they became atheists they did, but not once they realized that gods and the supernatural world do not exist. I would guess that the person who is most angry with the non-existent god would be the pope.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Nick B

    Also: It is possible to have emotions directed at things that don't exist, especially if they are brought up. If a story is concocted that a guy named Bob did some absolutely atrocious things, you'd probably feel very disgusted and angry towards Bob, even though you know the story is fictional.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. anonymous2011

    I think it's great that atheists are angry at God.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Chris

    Im sorry CNN but these articles are kinda ridiculous. Atheist being mad at God? If we don't believe in a God, why would we be mad at him?

    January 3, 2011 at 14:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Consider This Please

    God's Word says...(I encourage all to read and meditate on the verses below...keep seeking friends)

    For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (New International Version)

    For thus said Jehovah, Creator of heaven, He is God, Former of earth, and its Maker, He established it - not empty He prepared it, For inhabiting He formed it: 'I am Jehovah, and there is none else. (Youngs Literal Trans.)...

    Another translation says it this way...For thus saith Jehovah who created the heavens, God himself who formed the earth and made it, he who established it, not as waste did he create it: he formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah, and there is none else. (Darby Bible Trans.)

    It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in...(English Standard Version)

    Every scripture is inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work. (American Standard Version)

    For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (New International Version)

    And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe. (New International Version)

    For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. (New Living Translation)

    January 3, 2011 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tim

      This is all the word of men, as this is the world within which we all reside – No Nonsense Version

      January 3, 2011 at 14:21 | Report abuse |
    • Tommas

      simple minds are mesmerized by simple words

      January 3, 2011 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
    • RichardSRussell

      Q1: How do we know this is "God's Word"?
      A1: Because it's from the Bible.
      Q2: How do we know the Bible is "God's Word"?
      A2: Because God said so.
      Q3: Where did he say so?
      A3: In the Bible.
      Q4: And how do we know the Bible is true?
      A4: Because it's "God's Word".

      Have you ever heard the phrase "circular reasoning"?

      January 3, 2011 at 14:31 | Report abuse |
    • Consider This Please

      I respect your thoughts on this matter, and thanks for sharing your opinion...since many here believe that it was the 'word of men and not inspired of God' then why is that so? Why do you not believe?

      In addition, many prophecies have been fulfilled that can be read from the Bible. The prophecy of the world empires, like Egypt, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medo-Persians, Greece, Rome, etc. These history accounts are additional proof, various museums hold precious artifacts that give us additional proof. Have you considered this? It is worth further consideration, keep seeking in FAITH (Hebrews 11:1... Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists.)

      In Hebrews 1:1-2...In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.

      We are encouraged to draw to our Creator, we are all invited: James 4:8...Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:46 | Report abuse |
    • Nick B

      The artifacts merely show that some of the bible stories are based in fact, which is to be expected from an oral history of a people.

      There are many reasons not to believe the bible, including the oddity that the bible etc. was only revealed to a select group of humans in one region of the world, and even then only a few individuals supposedly got the benefit of receiving these messages from God.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:53 | Report abuse |
  9. Lance

    God debates are kind of a waste of air. I was an evangelical Christian and then a belligerent atheist until I came to the startling conclusion that fundamentalism is equally dangerous whether secular or religious. I've since settled into a quiet life of unbelief. For me it's quite simple: God exists or he doesn't. If God does exist, whatever we think, say, read or write about him both historically and in modernity is irrelevant to what God is. Even if it were to be proven definitively that God exists, then all I could ever safely assume is that God exists. Anything else we assume or attribute to God or about His character is from human imagination or creation based on human experience, even that claim that we are created in His image; and that in and of itself makes it suspect to me. As far as the afterlife, I found peace in the concept that whatever happens to law abiding citizens of Canada who endeavours to live honestly with himself and treat others with the respect and dignity with which he wants to be treated is what is going to happen to me, again regardless of what particular set of "beliefs" I have about the afterlife.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • taildragon

      Lance, I would agree to a certain extent, that fundamentalism or absolutism of any stripe is equally abhorrent. However, it wasn't that many years ago (in fact many statutes are still in effect throughout the country–I'm in the US) that atheists were legally 2nd class citizens. Open debate like this is the best way to ensure that believers come to recognize there are people out there just like them, who do not believe. If we all remain silent, it becomes acceptable to let the Us/Them dichotomy rule public opinion.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
  10. athena may

    Not long ago I decided to abandon the idea of a "God" helping me get, do or overcome things that I'm supposed to do by myself, thorough my own mind and self. It's not easy to loose the idea of a "God" helping or protecting you.
    It's a hard thing to do, specially for those of us who come from religious societies or families. It's not easy to get in your car and not say "Please keep me safe", it's not easy to see someone sick and not say "Please save him/her" cause you know that no one will help "Keep you safe" or "save someone". It's hard to realize you are on your own, but for me, it's the way I've chosen to live my life and I'm not going back.
    Despite this, I don't like the term "Atheist". Like Plato said ""No one has ever died an atheist".
    We all believe in something, some like me, believe in ourselves.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mr. Sniffles

      Plato never said anything like that.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
  11. Joe

    How could an atheist be mad at a "god"? That defeats the purpose of being a non-believer, this study must've been done by a theist.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RichardSRussell

      A more likely hypothesis is that this report on the study was done by somebody with no particular expertise in the area and with a zillion other responsibilities. Such is the state of journalism today. Journalists can't afford the time to specialize in anything, because they're just spread too thin.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:34 | Report abuse |
  12. Anglican

    The peace of the Lord be with you. All of you.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. eric stone

    You guys just don't get it do you?. We atheists have no anger at all toward god who does not exist but have considerable anger at the practices of religionists who are have taken over our congress and supreme court, are robbing billions of our tax dollars to fund the propagation of their religions, ihave nvaded our bedrooms and our reproductive organs and functions, and are blocking medical research and progress as well as environmental progress.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. chris

    You know...even when I was an athiest, being brought up in an athiest household, during periods of great stress I'd still cry out to God for help.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ituri

      If you "cried out for God," then you were NOT an atheist. Or do you not even know what atheists are?

      More likely you were always slightly religious, and later in life got scared by your own mortality and now you espouse "I was once an atheist, but I still believed in God!" like every other religious fool who thinks not being religious *enough* was atheism.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:25 | Report abuse |
  15. Lance

    Joe posted, "How could an atheist be mad at a "god"? That defeats the purpose of being a non-believer, this study must've been done by a theist." I initially had the same question, but as someone who has been both a believer and a non-believer, as a non-believer I have found myself angry with "God" as a concept. For example, because I left a Holdeman Mennonite group who espouses doctrines such that they are the One True Church who will not accept baptisms from other Christian groups, I was formally excommunicated and now live under a social ban where no one in that community will shake my hand in greeting. They also literally put me at a separate table to eat meals so that I'll be constantly reminded of the eternal divide between us and be encouraged to repent and come back to God – not just any type of Christianity but I must be restored to the Holdeman Mennonite Church – the only true, visible Bride of Christ on this earth. That is where I connected with the concept of an atheist being angry at "God".

    January 3, 2011 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sjenner

      Wow, that must've been very difficult. I admire your courage. You've hit the nail on the head though. It's that type of "smash you in the face until you believe precisely as I tell you" brand of Christianity that results in untold damage to faith–not least when those doing the smashing turn out to be hypocrites (although always, conveniently, repentant ones). The scandal in the Catholic Church more than establishes that, with massive abuses of children, believers and law, while those who engage in principled and limited objection (but who are otherwise wholly good and compliant Catholics) find themselves tossed out on an ear.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse |
  16. Mark

    I have my own take on religion.
    Humans are unique as we have both sentience (And are aware of our mortality), and self preservation instinct.
    These clash.
    No one wants to die so we make up this stuff for piece of mind.
    I also grew up in a Christian family and nothing ever bad ever happened to me, it just makes sense that there is no difference between modern day god, the Sun god, Zeus, Thor, etc etc.
    I'm unfortunately to smart to believe in the great all knowing all seeing wizard in the sky.
    I kinda envy the religious. They have peace of mind in the belief they will not die. LOL

    January 3, 2011 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tommas

      Epitome of ignorance is bliss

      January 3, 2011 at 14:40 | Report abuse |
  17. Christine

    IMO there is something more than we see, I've had 2 experiences that convince me of that. I do believe in Christ but think there are many paths to enlightenment. I'm looking for my answers in 1st and 2nd century texts. Peace to all.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RichardSRussell

      See, I really don't get this. In any other aspect of life — music, art, science, medicine, technology, politics, sports, clothing, entertainment, language, architecture, business, you name it — we're perfectly willing, glad even, to take advantage of centuries of progress. Why would we, for example, content ourselves with blowing thru a ram's horn if we've got a good recording of the Boston Symphony playing Beethoven's 9th Symphony thru a high-end stereo system? Yet, when it comes to religion, people seem to think there's something preferable about those 1st and 2nd Century texts.

      I think it just goes to show, as the subt-itle of Christopher Hitchens's book has it, that "religion poisons everything".

      January 3, 2011 at 14:42 | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      Your point has merit though I'm not trying to convince you of anything. I am suggesting that wisdom and insight is timeless. And much like we celebrate the principles/works of those before us (ie Greek philosophers, Renaissance artists, classical composers) I am drawn to Christ and his principles. The fact is I can't prove it and you can't disprove it. A healthy dose of tolerance for opposing views would serve all of us well.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:00 | Report abuse |
    • sal

      That sounds like a great thing to do, Christine. Good luck

      January 3, 2011 at 23:11 | Report abuse |
    • ET has phoned home.

      Atheists and scientist don't have to disprove something that doesn't exist. If that was the case, we'd be wasting our time proving that the easter bunny exist. but you in the other hand can't prove God exist because he doesn't. It's all in your head.

      January 4, 2011 at 02:27 | Report abuse |
  18. ereadercnn

    Proving once again that they are not true atheists.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Observer

      The statement was nonsense and proved nothing. Obviously, the writer doesn't know what the word "atheist" is defined to mean.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
    • taildragon

      Do you actually see the world this simplistically? You swallow the tripe that you're fed every Sunday morning without ever once questioning? Can you imagine a little girl a thousand years ago coming to the conclusion that Thor was just a fairy tail...she flinches when she hears thunder...then laughs because of her new realization that it was just a storm, and not an angry deity. I guess you would conclude that because she flinched, she really did believe, and was just resisting what she knew was true.
      Honestly, I try not to feed the trolls, but sometimes it's hard to tell.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:43 | Report abuse |
  19. Mark

    That's like saying there are no true Christians. 🙂

    January 3, 2011 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mr. Sniffles

      There are no true Christians. When was the last time you saw a Christian sell all their possessions and give the money to the poor? That was a direct order from Jesus. There are a lot of other instructions and mandates that are far more honored in the breach, like "love thy neighbor" and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and so on.

      If Christians actually believed in God as stated in their religion, they would be excited and happy as death neared, for eternal happiness would be upon them. But that is not true for the vast majority of them. If Christians actually believed in God as stated in their religion, they would not grieve but instead be absolutely joyous that their loved one died; they may miss them, but that would be a much lower level of sadness than the grief of death. They grieve at the same intensity that atheists do.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:47 | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      The last Christian died on the cross.

      January 3, 2011 at 23:21 | Report abuse |
  20. Andrew

    I'm so peeved at the tooth fairy because I put one there and no money 🙁

    January 3, 2011 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Darkpassenger

    I think the research need to do a little more digging in to what it is the people are really tying to say. The notion that Atheists and Agnostics are angry at Someone/something(biblical God in this case) is not quite right. For people that think "god" is not real based on a lack of evidence or they Just don't know to be real or not would seem silly for them to be angry at said "god". For the Atheists and Agnostics to be mad at "god" make no sense. You can be mad at the idea of god or what god represents but you should not be mad at the god in question. Simply, If you don't believe that said god has any effect over your life or is part of reality then there is no reason to be angry at said god. It would be like being mad at the lucky charms leprechaun for steeling your lucky charms. To what i like to think, most of us would agree the leprechaun is not real therefore he did not steel my luck charms and i should have no reason to be mad at him.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Juls

    Um, this article is ridiculous. Atheists do not believe in the existence of a mythical being like "God", therefore they cannot be angry at a "God". If they are angry at "God", then by definition they are NOT atheist – possibly agnostic, but definitely not atheist.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Melissa

      yes, its obviously written by an uneducated fool.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:51 | Report abuse |
    • Randy

      Juls: "Atheists do not believe in the existence of a mythical being like "God", therefore they cannot be angry at a "God". If they are angry at "God", then by definition they are NOT atheist –"

      Dawn over Marblehead! You have slipped upon the substantive result of the study, winner: that atheism is nothing more than a fashion statement for people unhappy with their lives.

      Now back to the computer factory with you, dorkstore.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
  23. Yoda

    The atheists/agnostics reported sensations or experiences of being mad at God, possibly when they were still believing? That's not surprising, we're wired as social animals. You can have the sensation of being angry with God while not believing he exists. If I imagine a God who would tell a man to slay his son, but stop him and reward him for his obedience to the voices within his head, I might hate that God, but that's only an accident of biology, the nature of religion. It's true in that sense that we do hate God, but many among us claim to love all that is good, which we can at least agree on many things with the peaceful religionists.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Bakfiets

    I think most atheists are angry at religion and not at some fairy tail., I'd love to see the actual research paper.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ituri

      Apparently this study asked the atheists to "assume for the moment you do (or did) believe," then had them answer the questions. Kind of defeats the point of the study with that approach.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
  25. ereadercnn

    Observer: definition for atheist: someone who denies the existence of god – so why blame someone that you deny exists?

    January 3, 2011 at 14:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ituri

      Your definition is incorrect, therefore your assumption based on it is worthless.

      Atheists do not believe in gods. They do not believe in godS. ANY god, not just yours. They do not "deny" your personal favorite deity, they have no belief in ANY deity. The distinction is one most Christians do not understand, and it is a vital distinction.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:17 | Report abuse |
    • ereadercnn

      god, gods, whatever. To an atheist, there is no distinction, so how can my assumption be worthless?

      January 3, 2011 at 17:16 | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Atheists are never angry at a god. Anyone angry at a god is by definition NOT an atheist, whatever they might say. Confused, yes. Atheist, no.

      January 3, 2011 at 23:24 | Report abuse |
  26. Bruce

    I do find it funny that a lot of the atheists and others who do not believe in God claim to live a full life caring about others, etc. yet are the ones calling the people who believe names! If you don't believe in God, good for you. Live your life to your fullest, but quit whining about other people's religions! I'll bet every dang one of you had Christmas off! If you don't believe why didn't you tell your boss that you'd rather work and take another personal day off. It seems so funny that atheists believe in the knowledge of other men, yet will refute the bible! Show me absolute proof something that is 10,000 years old! Oh yead, that's right, the science is based on man's research and man's interpretation. Sure, I'll believe that!

    January 3, 2011 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Melissa

      You get called names when you are acting like an uneducated foolish twit running around yelling "there be monsters under my bed" like the Christians do.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:54 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Well I can't speak for everyone but I called no names.
      I had Christmas off.
      Why did I not tell my Boss I wanted to work?
      Because its a day off.... LOL
      You don't have to believe to take advantage of a day off! 🙂

      January 3, 2011 at 14:58 | Report abuse |
    • Respondez


      I'll bet that you call today Monday, January 3rd. Do you worship the Moon? Do you worship Janus?

      January 3, 2011 at 15:02 | Report abuse |
    • ET has phoned home.

      Christmas was a pagan holiday before the Christians hijacked it.

      January 4, 2011 at 02:29 | Report abuse |
  27. Drew

    I have a question for all atheist and agnostics on this message board. What is an atheist or agnostics definition of truth? What does that word mean? Also one other question, how have sheep evolved, and how do they fit into evolutions theory? Thank you

    January 3, 2011 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark

      That's easy.
      1.) I don't know.
      2.) I don't know.

      I could look it up on Google though.
      But umm... so could you.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Truth is what can be proven. And a book written 2000 years ago by sheepherders who thought the earth was flat, and dreams, CANNOT be proven. If I were to tell you that I dreamed I was flying last night, does that mean I was really flying? Or do you understand that its not real?

      If you cannot prove it, it is not truth, it is only belief. And belief should NEVER be given more consideration than truth. And yes, that includes in relationships with those you love.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:02 | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      truth is what is left after people stop making up silly stuff about the world. Truth exists outside of humanity and does not require our belief, it stands on its own. Whatever exists is truth. reality truth. Everything else is hogwash meant to make us feel good or bad depending on our preference/purpose. Humans are easily fooled by our skewed perceptions and personal wants and needs. One of the reasons con-artists are so successful.

      January 3, 2011 at 23:30 | Report abuse |
  28. Anglican

    The Atheist exist only because there is the Theist. So much banter from those who do not believe.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sjenner

      Anglican, you are merely talking in terms of comparatives. Dark only exists because of light. Up only exists because of down. Nonbelievers only exist because of believers. But you're point proves nothing, except that inverses exist. For example, I assert we are all made of cheese. You deny this. You are thus 'ateerist'–away from cheese. I thus claim that you are so much banter because you are merely the opposite of my position. Merely because I assert a proposition does not render those who oppose it irrelevant. In fact, in challenging the affirmative proposition, they place the burden on the believer to prove it.

      January 3, 2011 at 14:59 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Ooo that's clever.
      Kinda as clever as if there were no believers, everyone would be non-believers. 🙂

      January 3, 2011 at 15:03 | Report abuse |
  29. vipul

    In the study, they asked atheists to answer questions about god "as if they believed in god" or "when they believed in god". This does not make any sense and trivializes the study. You are not answering questions as an atheist, but as an atheist pretending to be a believer. Or as someone who stopped being a believer because they saw what is actually happening in the world, including disasters and killing of innocents. It only makes sense that such a person would not have a nice/cuddly/benevolent view of good, and would hold god responsible for all events good and bad. Of course they would be more "angry" at god.

    In general, though, there are other studies too that show that believing in good results in more happiness or satisfaction. Believing in fairy tales is not always bad.

    January 3, 2011 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Larry Q.

      Everytime I have had faith in anyone or anything, I always eventually was disappointed. I don't operate on faith.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
  30. Consider This Please

    Another thought...Do you not believe because you can cannot see God? If there is no faith in God (the Creator of the universe) among atheists than what do you have faith in? Thanks for considering...

    January 3, 2011 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jay

      I don't have faith in anything. Faith is a useless concept.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:05 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      I don't have faith.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      No, I don't believe in your god because the very idea is completely nonsensical, idiotic, and monumentally arrogant. Even if there is a god, there is no reason anywhere that said god would give a flying crap about anything in this universe, much less about little ants like us. Humanity made this garbage up to placate their uneducated and weak minded inability to accept "I don't know". The very fact that bronze age sheepherders who thought the earth was flat and that demons caused disease EVER thought they'd know the mind of a god enough to write a book about it, just shows how incredibly stupid they are. And their followers are worse, because they actually know better.

      God is only in the gaps if you aren't willing to fill the holes.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:08 | Report abuse |
    • Ituri

      Consider, do you *honestly* think no religious person has said something like that already a million times?

      Why would you think an atheist believes in nothing? I believe in love, family, life trials, peaceful diplomacy, and so many other things. I believe I'll have a steak for dinner. I believe my dog appreciates my affection.

      WHY is not believing in your mythical friend the equivilant of "nothing" to you? Is your life so empty? Is faith the ONLY thing you have? Thats just sad, if so.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:10 | Report abuse |
    • vipul

      Some of us are comfortable with the idea what some things are unknown. Science can answer many questions, but there will always be questions that are not answered at any point.

      In religion, the idea is to insert the concept of god, which gives a (false) sense that you have understood something or answered a question. Where did anything come from? God created it. Where did God come from? We don't know/it was aways there.

      We just cut the intermediate step. Where did anything come from? We don't know.

      Note that regardless of what you believe, the ultimate answer is only one: we don't know.

      To your first question, we do not believe is god not because we cannot see him, but because there is no evidence whatsoever of his existence. We believe in many things that we cannot see, like infrared light. But there is other evidence that such a thing exists, because it affects things that can be seen or felt.

      The argument that "the world is so beautiful, it cannot be random, so that is the evidence of god" is simply a result of a lack of understanding of science and evolution. Evolution is not "random", and our sense of beauty has evolved for a particular purpose.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:12 | Report abuse |
    • sjenner

      Consider This Please, merely because someone does not accept a proposition, such as belief in God, does not mean by necessity that they must have another proposition in which to have faith. Considered atheists found their non-belief in the notion that God is not necessary to explain a natural process, such as evolution. Thus all the observable evidence of evolution, for example, can be explained without the necessity of divine intervention. Accordingly, because there is no independent evidence of God, and because there is no conceptual need for God to explain that evidence, God does not, therefore, exist. In my experience, atheists will generally agree with the notion that they are reasoning from the specific (e.g. no God in evolution) to the general (there is no God). But this form of reasoning is not inappropriate in the absence of evidence or credible arguments to the contrary. It is up to the believer to affirmatively establish at least arguable grounds for faith.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:13 | Report abuse |
    • Consider This Please

      Not implying that if there is no faith in God, there is no faith in anything that we cherish, love and experience each day. Some say they have no faith in anything, just in themselves, or other people, things, etc.

      But does this answer why we are here? who created everything we see and don't see? why bad things are happening since the beginning of time, and getting worse? is there hope for us? do you not wish to keep on living to enjoy family, animals, the beauty of nature, true peace? People seek to live and not die, life is that God given gift, who else can you say gave us life or originated life?

      January 3, 2011 at 15:31 | Report abuse |
    • taildragon

      By the same token, consider this: why is it that the Creator of the Universe is invisible? Or only speaks to people's hearts or minds, not in a voice that other people can hear? Or only puts words on paper when a willing human being has a pencil, a pad of paper, and a few spare minutes? Why does this all-powerful being assume all the properties of...something that's really not there? What do Zeus, Allah, God, Santa Claus, and the Wizard of Oz all have in common? If you are a believer, the answer requires a lot of assumptions and intellectual gymnastics and hand-waving. If you don't believe in Zeus, or God, or Santa, the answer is simple.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:46 | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      "But does this answer why we are here?" We are not here for a reason. "who created everything we see and don't see?" nobody. "why bad things are happening since the beginning of time, and getting worse?" entropy. "is there hope for us?" certainly not. "do you not wish to keep on living to enjoy family, animals, the beauty of nature, true peace?" yeah, so? "People seek to live and not die, life is that God given gift, who else can you say gave us life or originated life?" nobody gave us life. nobody originated life. seeking to live is what living things do. it's not a god given gift... it's just life.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:53 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Jay, bravo

      January 3, 2011 at 15:59 | Report abuse |
    • taildragon

      You are making the assumption that 'all this' had to be made. This is a natural assumption, since we (humans) are adept at inventing and making things. But we're also good at thinking and questioning, and many of the people on this board are scientists (or approach life scientifically) and, through curiosity and education, have discovered what the evidence indicates about time, space, origins, evolution, etc. And far from being depressing, these discoveries open up a beautiful, fascinating universe full of wonders and curiosities (as opposed to the notion of 'that's just the way it is'). There also seems to be in your comments an undercurrent that anyone who doesn't believe cannot love, appreciate, or wonder. Do you know any non-believers? I mean other than names on a computer screen. We are *no* different from you. Except that we ask different questions. That's all. We have families and friends and lovers and dogs and cats. For many of us, the only time you'll see us worked up is when we're furiously typing away on CNN, trying to battle stereotypes about atheists!

      January 3, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
  31. Anglican

    If God does not exist, why do you respond with such vigor? You act offended. Are you afraid in your disbelief?

    January 3, 2011 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mr. Sniffles

      Best to use the "reply" button to continue a conversation, Anglican.

      If God does exist, why do YOU respond with such vigor? Are you afraid of your beliefs also?

      January 3, 2011 at 15:07 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      I don't see ant vigor.
      I see a couple atheists having a little fun with this.
      It's not a winnable argument, but I assure you far fewer atheists will come unglued compared to our counter points.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:08 | Report abuse |
    • sjenner

      Anglican, your arguments are not persuasive. Many people are angered at what they consider willful blindness to reason and the facts, especially when what they consider to be irrational grounds form the basis for public policy. Anglican, how would you feel and react if a movement attempted to sum up the entire Anglican experience as little more than a syphilitic murdering tyrant's political tool to permit him to marry and murder his wives? I expect you would react strongly, even though it is both inaccurate and unfair.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:23 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Because you people won't leave the rest of us alone. Lets see how you handle being harassed, patronized, and having people try to force their belief system on you every single day of your life. There was a time when atheists were burned at the stake and worse. We're sick of it. If you get bullied every single day in school, you can either lie down and take it, or you can stand up and fight. I've never been one to just lie down and take it.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:04 | Report abuse |
  32. counting crows

    If there is a god, he/she/it/whatever must be horrified at how the different religions use their beliefs to justify the horror they perpetuate in the world. Jesus as the son of god, Yahweh, Allah – invented by people, used by people. It's all garbage.

    January 3, 2011 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Consider This Please

      It is sad that throughout history we have seen atrocities and injustices in the name of God, but don't let that separate you from the love of God, just because some have acted unwise. There is truth and he wants all to find it. He has given us his Word so we can get to know him better and his plan for the future. It's worth a deeper look.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:16 | Report abuse |
  33. Consider This Please

    The proof that God exists is all around us, look at the heavens, the sunrise, the sunset, the oceans, the mountains...these are just some to name a few. The gift of life comes from Him, He cares for us everyday, whether you believe or not because he is good toward all. He lets us decide the path to take as he gives us free will.

    January 3, 2011 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark

      Yes it's everywhere. The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree...

      I don't know why I ever doubted it. 🙂

      January 3, 2011 at 15:13 | Report abuse |
    • SeanNJ

      I just decided to worship Mark.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
    • sjenner

      Consider This Please, poetic. But mere vastness is not persuasive to someone who has come to the conclusion that there is no God based on the lack of need of God to explain specific natural processes (such as evolution–Dawkins is persuasive on this point–although there is a legitimate argument as to whether he is asking the right question or is over-applying conceptual rules). Nonetheless, it is that line of reasoning that the believer must disrupt by at least valid argument before an atheist is required to consider God as an intellectual concern.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      air, water, fire, dirt... f***in' magnets, how do they work?

      January 3, 2011 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
    • Tommas

      All Hail Mark! Amen

      January 3, 2011 at 16:18 | Report abuse |
    • ET has phoned home.

      Some free will, if we all did what we really wanted, we'd all burn in hell and heaven would be a ghost town. No thanks, I'd rather believe in the force. do or do not, there is no try.

      January 4, 2011 at 02:37 | Report abuse |
  34. Jim X

    I think a lot of anger directed toward God is actually anger directed towards one's own ego for our inability to actually understand and control all things. We are part of the whole, not the whole itself.

    January 3, 2011 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. John B Hodges

    Three comments.

    Pascal's Wager is flawed in many ways. Other people have pointed out the thousands of different alleged gods, at least one quoted Marcus Aurelius, that a just god would care more about what you did than what you believed. I wanted to stress that Pascal's Wager also assumes that "belief" is what gets you into Heaven or keeps you out. This is totally contrary to what Jesus says in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. There, he says that you actually have to DO the things that he tell his followers to do. See for example Luke 6:46-49. And what he tells his followers to DO is quite a lot; follow the Law of Moses down to the last iota, give all your wealth away to the poor, practice strict nonviolent pacifism, abstain from judging others, and lots more.

    Second, Second, I want to give a cheer for Esmiranda above. She wrote "Other people just aren't worth worshipping. What I know of people, I'll stick with God." Reminds me of a lesbian-feminist T-shirt I once saw: "The more I know men, the better I like my dog." FYI I've been an atheist for 28 years, and I have several imaginary dogs that I sometimes talk to and mentally pat. A big yellow Labrador, a smaller white Australian Shepherd, and a wolf-husky mix. Based on dogs I have known.

    Atheists (some of them) spend time arguing with believers because they see religion as not only false but also harmful; it is part of our efforts to make this world a better place.

    January 3, 2011 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

      Well stated, John. I totally concur, especially with your last sentence.

      I have no invisible dogs at the moment, though. They all ran off.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:23 | Report abuse |
    • chris

      Yet through the years, as athiests have argued against God, and as people have reasoned in their hearts that there is no God, is this world becoming a better or more evil place?

      January 3, 2011 at 15:25 | Report abuse |
    • SeanNJ

      Kudos. If you would be so kind as to post this comment to every posting in the Belief blog, I can rest easy knowing my viewpoint is adequately represented.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
    • sjenner

      Well put. That is the believer's challenge and obligation. To provide an arguable basis for belief. And like any affirmative duty, it is a difficult one. The problem is that atheists have staked out the logical ground a long time ago, and believers have yet to really enter the fray (I think fear has a lot to do with it). Until believers do so, their arguments will not be persuasive.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:32 | Report abuse |
    • chris

      You want to talk logic....how does information arise out of random chance? The evolution of DNA is not logical. Information always speaks of intelligence, not natural processes.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • Mark


      I'm not going to touch the DNA comment, nor will I say anything about the good and evil.
      But what I will say is that religion has killed many more people in the name of their respective God's than any group of atheists ever have.

      And it isn't just in the past.
      It's still going on in some parts of the world because it isn't deemed as evil.
      It is the will of their Gods.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:49 | Report abuse |
    • chris

      Mark: There have been some really tragic things to happen in the past with the witch hunts and conquerors and such, and all I can say is that Jesus never preached to kill anyone.

      I mean, I'm the only Christian in my family..... my mom is actually a practicing witch, who most people would think would automatically be my enemy, but I love her dearly... I pray for her, and we butt heads from time to time like anyone does with their parents, but I love her..... I have no authority to hold anyones beliefs against them... I've just chosen my side, and speak up for it when the chance comes.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse |
    • chris

      Plus, I'm willing to bet that murders by people who have no solid belief in God far outweigh those who genuinly believe they are murdering in Gods name. ... i.e. Gangs, serial killers, etc.... Not saying that athiests condone murder, or that these people actively consider themselves part of a group of athiests, but those who don't consider God and His will on a day to day basis fill up the prisons for murder every single day.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:16 | Report abuse |
    • Mark


      I respect that.
      I don't really think all religion is based on evil. (On the contrary actually)
      It is man who twists religion to his own ends which makes it deadly.
      I'm cool, you're cool.
      So the belief in a God doesn't make the world a better or a worse place.

      But I'd take that bet! LOL
      I'm thinking you may be wrong with just how many deaths from serial killers and gangs are compared to what religious fanatics have done.
      (Not saying you are one, but they are out there)

      January 3, 2011 at 16:23 | Report abuse |
    • Tommas

      Having "faith" is essentially believing what someone else tells you is true. The same weakness can and has been exploited to perform some of the greatest atrocities of humanity. Once someone stops questioning they are following, that is what all religions provide.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
    • chris

      I question all the time, but rather than give up I devote the time to studying. God absolutly does not want a "just because I said so" kind of faith, He wants us to be active in seeking and learning... It's been pretty exciting to do actually. That's actually how I came to Him 2 years ago. I was an athiest looking for a rock-solid athiest argument.. I thought for sure I'd be able to use the bible against the Christians.... and now here I am.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
    • Tommas

      Here you are Chris, becoming a follower. congrats

      January 3, 2011 at 17:24 | Report abuse |
    • Nonimus

      "Yet through the years, as athiests have argued against God, and as people have reasoned in their hearts that there is no God, is this world becoming a better or more evil place?"

      I'm not certain that atheists are on the rise, although that could be argued, but I would say that rational thought that had beginnings in the Renaissance and continued through the Enlightenment to today has made the world better, as evidenced by lifespans, standards of living, medicine, technology, food production, etc. I think we as human are much better off than we have ever been.

      January 3, 2011 at 18:10 | Report abuse |
    • chris

      Morally we've been in decline for awhile

      January 3, 2011 at 18:33 | Report abuse |
    • ctaya

      chris, the same question can be thrown back to you. Yet through thousands of years, as believers have argued for God, and as people have believed that there is a God, is this world becoming a better or more evil place?

      January 3, 2011 at 20:24 | Report abuse |
    • ctaya

      chris, let's look at some statistical figures in March 1997.

      The Federal Bureau of Prisons does have statistics on religious
      affiliations of inmates. The following are total number of
      inmates per religion category:

      Response Number %
      ---------- --–
      Catholic 29267 39.164%
      Protestant 26162 35.008%
      Muslim 5435 7.273%
      American Indian 2408 3.222%
      Nation 1734 2.320%
      Rasta 1485 1.987%
      Jewish 1325 1.773%
      Church of Christ 1303 1.744%
      Pentecostal 1093 1.463%
      Moorish 1066 1.426%
      Buddhist 882 1.180%
      Jehovah Witness 665 0.890%
      Adventist 621 0.831%
      Orthodox 375 0.502%
      Mormon 298 0.399%
      Scientology 190 0.254%
      Atheist 156 0.209%
      Hindu 119 0.159%
      Santeria 117 0.157%
      Sikh 14 0.019%
      Bahai 9 0.012%
      Krishna 7 0.009%
      ---------- --–
      Total Known Responses 74731 100.001% (rounding to 3 digits does this)

      Unknown/No Answer 18381
      Total Convicted 93112 80.259% (74731) prisoners' religion is known.

      Held in Custody 3856 (not surveyed due to temporary custody)
      Total In Prisons 96968

      The divorce rate of Christians are not that good as well. (http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/15-familykids/42-new-marriage-and-divorce-statistics-released)

      Divorce Among Adults Who Have Been Married (March 2008)

      (Base: 3792 adults)

      Population Segment Have Been Divorced No. of Interviews

      All adults 33% 3792

      Evangelical Christians 26% 339
      Non-evangelical born again Chrisitans 33% 1373
      Notional Christians 33% 1488
      Associated with non Christian faith 38% 197
      Atheist or agnostic 30% 269
      All born again Christians 32% 1712
      All non born again Christians 33% 2080

      Protestant 34% 1997
      Catholic 28% 875

      Upscale 22% 450
      Downscale 39% 367

      White 32% 2641
      African-American 36% 464
      Hispanic 31% 458
      Asian 20% 128

      Conservative 28% 1343
      Moderate 33% 1720
      Liberal 37% 474

      Come on. Christians are also human and would have the same weaknesses as others.

      January 3, 2011 at 21:01 | Report abuse |
    • Nonimus

      "Morally we've been in decline for awhile"

      I guess it depends on how you look at it. We've pretty much removed slavery from acceptable society; that seems like a moral advance to me. Segregation and Jim Crow laws in the US aren't acceptable any more. Women have equal rights by law, if not by actual practice in most cases.
      These all seem like good things, but maybe that's just me.

      January 3, 2011 at 23:58 | Report abuse |
    • ET has phoned home.

      Hey Chris, you want rock hard proof? Take a science class. And your theory of DNA? Really?

      January 4, 2011 at 02:43 | Report abuse |
  36. humanist

    If you're mad at God, as has been said here by many, you're not an atheist. I always have liked the definition of an agnostic- someone who writes a book questioning whether there's a god or not, then prays it will sell.
    Happy to be a non-believer. Shame so many spend their lives worrying about what will happen when they die that they forget to live the only life they have. Heaven, hell, eternal life, and eternal torment were invented by men to control the stupid. Sadly, it's worked.

    January 3, 2011 at 15:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Drew

    What does "Good" Mean? Furthermore what does evil mean? Also what is the opposite of truth? I would imagine that each and every person on this board has a different interpretation of those words. My thoughts are that the reason that atheist and agnostics are angry has nothing to do with believing in a God. I know from a biblical standpoint what good vs evil means but from a non biblical standpoint what do those words mean? Also I know from a biblical standpoint what the opposite of truth is but what does a non believer believe is the opposite of truth? I do know personally that the Truth does hurt and I personally believe that most of us humans cant handle the Truth so that makes us angry.

    January 3, 2011 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kent

      Hi Drew

      I think you're confusing The Bible with the 1992 Hollywood film A Few Good Men with Jack Nicholson's famous line
      "You can't handle the truth".

      Incidently this motion picture was directed by Rob Reiner and also starred Tom Cruise with Demi Moore as the love interest.

      It was filmed in Technicolor and as far as I know had openly atheist characters.


      January 3, 2011 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
    • Jim X

      Good, Evil and Truth are personal beliefs based on your personal perceptions and conditioning which are often received from others. The human Ego's need to be "right" creates most of our problems when we try to force our beliefs on others.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Actually, each and every one of us would have the same definitions for good and evil. Good is what helps life. Evil is what purposely harms life. Its not that hard. As for truth, lies are the opposite. Anyone with a kindergarden education can tell you that.

      Truth is relative only because some people prefer to believe lies.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:46 | Report abuse |
  38. Nurse Lisa

    Atheists believe that all cause and effect in the universe has a naturalistic origin. Observational data lead us to the conclusion that the universe first began to exist 13.7 billion years ago. Since all things that begin to exist must have a cause, this means that the universe has a cause. However, a naturalistic cause for the origin of the universe cannot be confirmed observationally. Therefore, atheists believe the tenet that all phenomena have a naturalistic cause based solely upon faith in naturalism – Rich Deem

    January 3, 2011 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • chris

      and either way, you're stuck with an eternal presence of some sort...nomatter which side you're on.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:33 | Report abuse |
    • Kent

      Hi Nurse Lisa

      I'm not sure if there is a fresh perspective beiong presented here other than the obvious.

      Atheist's believe the universe had an origin whereas religious people believe it was created by magic.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:39 | Report abuse |
    • chris

      not true.... "genesis" translated "origins"

      Who's to say that when God spoke the universe into existance, it didn't sound like a big bang.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:41 | Report abuse |
    • sjenner

      Deem has identified the atheist's leap of faith. But he's missed a step. Atheists–especially from the Dawkin's school–conclude, by employing Occam's Razor (that which explains the observable set of data with the fewest assumptions is correct), that because God is not necessary to explain a natural system like evolution, that a theory employing God is thus incorrect (in other words, if I can merely remove God from a theory, and that theory continues to correctly describe the observable data, then God is incorrect). The leap of faith, therefore, is really the application of the specific (there is not God in evolution) to the general (there is no God). Atheistic reasoning is not ironclad. But it is upon the believer to establish not only the limits of the atheistic approach, but also to provide an arguable basis for a theistic argument.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:45 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      And just because a naturalistic reason has not been found does NOT mean it ever won't be. There was a time when no one even thought computers could exist. And religious morons want to keep thinking that no answer will ever be found so they can feel superior, even when they've been proven to lie again and again.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
    • chris

      sjenner: that would assume that evolution is true. I know that micro-evolution has been shown to be true, where beneficial traits give a breeding advantage (white moths vs dark moths in polluted cities...), and these traits become more abundant in the local population.... But, in experiements and observations, these traits already existed....they weren't driven by mutations. Mutations have only shown to provide disadvantages.
      Sure if evolution were true, God wouldn't be needed... or at least His active role wouldn't be needed, but that's just assuming that evolution is true, just like i'm assuming that God is true.... and seeing that DNA is needed for life in the first place, and DNA is a code of information, and information speaks of intelligence, I just can't buy the random chance argument anymore.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
    • chris

      *reading Melissa's thoughts* "and here's one of those religious morons now!" 🙂

      January 3, 2011 at 15:56 | Report abuse |
    • BR

      Nice appeal to authority, but it shows only that the author doesn't understand that observational is not the only kind of confirmation science uses.

      chris-"presence"improperly implies something anthropomorphic. The universe having always existed in some form is a much safer bet since it does exist now.

      and Genesis doens't only translate to origin...Ancient Greek shows it to translate to "creation" and "beginning" as well. So what exactly would the distinction be if god "spoke" the universe into existence as you quip? At that point, why is he even necessary if he's going to camouflage himself in scientific principles? You're adding harmful myths on top of simple science.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:02 | Report abuse |
    • sjenner

      Chris, the processes you see at work in micro-evolution are the processes that drive the whole system of evolution. The point is, we can actually see evolutionary changes in action in the laboratory. It can work that quickly. Now imagine what would happen with each of those little steps compounded over 100,000 years, 1,000,000 years, 1,000,000,000 years. Think of it like this, we know that predatory dinosaurs had feathers for insulation. The point here is feathers. Those same dinosaurs also had hollow bones, to make them lighter and more agile. It doesn't take a great leap to see how those traits, beneficial for ground movement, could evolve to help gliding from tree to tree once the dinosaur begins pursuing prey in the trees (we've seen this same process at work with squirrels for example). And from gliding, once the feathers have evolved an aerodynamic quality–which is helpful in gliding–to develop flight from the necessity/benefit of longer glides. Regardless, however, merely because one accepts evolution doesn't mean one must reject God or even the Bible. It's a question of interpretation, and putting things in the Bible in their proper place. Ultimately, the Bible is not a natural history book, but is something that addresses our inner needs and experience.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
    • taildragon

      Not going to start an evolution debate, but if you're going to bring up micro- vs. macro-evolution, be prepared to define where one ends, and the other begins, using examples. If you can show precisely why what you call micro-evolution stops before it goes 'too far', you'll get this prize they hand out every year in Stockholm.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
    • chris

      sjenner: National Geographic recanted the feathered t-rex as a hoax:

      ‘After observing a new feathered dromaeosaur specimen in a private collection and comparing it with the fossil known as Archaeoraptor [pages 100–101], I have concluded that Archaeoraptor is a composite. The tail portions of the two fossils are identical, but other elements of the new specimen are very different from Archaeoraptor, in fact more closely resembling Sinornithosaurus. Though I do not want to believe it, Archaeoraptor appears to be composed of a dromaeosaur tail and a bird body.’ 1

      January 3, 2011 at 16:23 | Report abuse |
    • chris

      my argument is that there are no beneficial mutations, and that environmental conditions can make pre-existing traits beneficial to breeding.... Evolutionists like to show "evolution in action" by a population shift in white moths to dark moths during the industrial revolution.... The trait didn't just appear, it existed before-hand.... But the dark moths were able to hide themselves in the soot and breed, while white were eaten up. Nothing changed except a shift in dominate traits in the population.....It's like a shift in blondes to brunnetes.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:26 | Report abuse |
    • taildragon

      With all due respect, this is not the forum for an education in biology or evolution. If I thought you were approaching the subject objectively, I could provide a few links, but I'm pretty sure you're only interested in evidence that supports your conclusion (which is not how science works). The problem with evolution 'debates' is that creationists bring up questions that often require a complicated explanation that requires at least a minimal knowledge of biology and other sciences to even discuss rationally. And at the end of course, you discover they weren't interested in the evidence or explanation, they're only interested in creating doubt in the non-scientific audience. However, if you are truly interested in answers rather than dogma, go to the NCSE site.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:51 | Report abuse |
    • taildragon

      One last thing, giving you the benefit of the doubt. Regarding mutation and its role in evolution...mutation does have a role. But the overriding principle to remember when considering evolution is that Individuals Mutate, but Populations Evolve. Most changes you see in the evolutionary process employ mechanisms and processes that are mostly extant in the individual organisms (examples include flagella and the eye). But don't expect to stumble across a clam one day sprouting an eyeball. If you approach the study of evolution expecting to find a crocoduck, you have a basic, fundamental lack of knowledge about biology and evolution. But that doesn't mean you cannot learn. You sound like you could learn if you're open to the evidence, I wish you well.

      January 3, 2011 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
    • chris

      I have my B.S. in Environmental Science, so I've got at least a background in it. Thanks for the reference, I'll check it out.

      January 3, 2011 at 17:05 | Report abuse |
    • chris

      evolution of the eyeball and flagellum is an entire forum in itself, and the way I understand it, irriducibly complex... I know neither of us is going to convince the other right now, I like these debates though. Through college I gathered the evolutionary evidence, thought I knew it all, but opened myself to the other side of the argument.... I figured that's what any good scientist would do. I'm not brushing things off that go against my doctrine, I'm just led where the evidence is.

      January 3, 2011 at 17:09 | Report abuse |
    • chris

      ok, checked out the webpage..... I do understand the evolution argument; I didn't realize you thought I was an elementary student.....

      January 3, 2011 at 17:38 | Report abuse |
    • taildragon

      I just got back. You're right, the NCSE site isn't very helpful, especially for your particular questions. As far as an useful online information clearinghouse, talkorigins DOT org is probably the most useful site, exhaustive and very accessible. It's essentially the summation of years of discussions just like this. I did a search for Archeoraptor and found an entry there. I hadn't heard of this fossil before so I was happy to learn something. Incidentally, while Archeoraptor was shown NOT to be an authentic individual, (published by NatGeo, but rejected upon peer review) many feathered dinos have been discovered in the last couple decades, so the authenticity of feathered dinos is no longer in question. And archeopteryx is a completely different creature (wasn't sure initially if that's what you were referring to). Again, sorry about sending you to the other site. If you want to continue this discussion offline you can mail me at my username at one of the major online services.

      January 3, 2011 at 20:37 | Report abuse |
    • ctaya

      chris, it is not necessary to exclude evolution completely from your belief system. Just wonder whether you have read the following book. If you have not, I highly recommend it to you. It is written by a Christian leading medical geneticist. Francis was alo the head of the Human Genome Project.
      "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief" - Francis S. Collins.
      Dawin did not set out to find the origin of lifeforms but how lifeforms develop into species. He proposed the mechanism of evolution. That is why his book is called "On the Origin of Specie", not "On the Origin of Lifeform".
      But he did open a window for us to peek in further.

      January 3, 2011 at 21:46 | Report abuse |
  39. ChristianAramaic

    Mr. Sniffles,

    Wow, that was the worst reply ever

    January 3, 2011 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mr. Sniffles

      Which one? If you don't use the reply button, it becomes impossible to respond properly

      January 3, 2011 at 15:52 | Report abuse |
  40. karek40

    The problem most of us experience is not recognizing that the Supreme Being who created all things (and the mechanism whereby we were born) is not a puppet dangling on a string subject to the beckoning call of each of us. He is THE supreme ruler in the universe, he is absolutely holy and there is a requirement before we can come into his presence and ask/expect his help in any problem resolution. His son has told us what is necessary and neither God nor his son is overly concerned about our anger or frustration.

    January 3, 2011 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kent


      Have you ever entertained the notion how ridiculous your belief system sounds to someone who doesn't believe?
      It sounds absolutely preposterous. It sounds like you've never had one free willed though in your lifetime, or are
      you waiting until you're in God's kingdom after you life ends before you become a free thinker?

      My religion has beem and will always be The Beatles but I can't expect you to abandon your ridiclous ideas contained in your
      bible to follow my equally but still justified Beatle religion?

      January 3, 2011 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
  41. lacoaster

    Now we have a possibly religious or average person looking to profit using fallacies to get some attention. Pretty clever generalization about atheists. Let me see the exact sample numbers and sample location of your studies and maybe some people will grant or deny credit to you and/or the author of the book for what you claim. I bet that nor the author of the article or the person who wrote the book, know an even close estimate of the number of people that are atheist. And I bet your sample did not cover enough of them to be significative either. Now you can run to Google so you can hold onto something, and pretend to have accurate data to try to validate your point. Also, the definition of what atheist means is conveniently skewed sometimes. I have never been asked if I blame God for anything, nor anyone I know. Just in case, I don't. Now you have maybe over a billion people to go. Hopefully I will not burn in hell forever (sarcasm only) for expressing to you what I think is possibly a valid and fair point based on my experience. I still smell religious profit intention somewhere on this article and that's only my opinion, but of course, I might be wrong as I am human.

    January 3, 2011 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Leo

    Hey CNN, all I want to know is why a "religion" article is being linked under the "health" page.

    January 3, 2011 at 15:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Drew

    my post was to prove a point and your comments validate that point, thank you. Also Evolutionist on this board I really want to know why you cant tell me where a little old sheep fits into the evolution equation? Is it because without us sheep would cease to exist? why didn't natural selection take care of them long ago? Simple question tough answer. Also the ignorant ones that don't have any faith, is the sun going to rise tomorrow? Do you know this as fact or do you have faith that it will come up?

    January 3, 2011 at 15:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark

      Your point was?
      Your validation was?

      We did tell you about the sheep.
      We responded with we don't know.
      This is proven fact! 🙂

      Trying to answer a question we cant answer is kinda pointless.
      Based on my experiences, I;d say the odds are pretty high that the sun will rise tomorrow. 🙂

      January 3, 2011 at 15:57 | Report abuse |
    • Kent

      HI Drew

      I assumed this was a pathetic attempt at an ambush. Before I answer your easy question could you please illuminate further as to what you meant by "..why didn't natural selection take care of them long ago"?

      January 3, 2011 at 15:57 | Report abuse |
    • sjenner

      Drew, you're looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Humans evolved domesticated sheep, as well as other animals, like dogs, from wild and much hardier, more aggressive stock that had evolve via natural selection (in other words, humans supplanted natural selection in choosing traits desirable to propagation). Archeologists have confirmed this (no need to go to the fossil record). Further, DNA studies have made it readily obvious. Domesticated sheep will thus die out when we die out–they'll either all get eaten or evolve to a more aggressive and robust form–which may not take that much, just a few generations. As for the sun rising, yes, to a great degree of certainty the sun can be said to rise tomorrow, because it is extremely unlikely that the law of physics will cease to apply (nor is there any credible mechanism to explain how they would cease to apply). But likewise, that means the sun will not eternally rise, as like everything else, it's on a clock, and our planet's days are numbered.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:02 | Report abuse |
    • taildragon

      Drew, I gotta ask...what is it with you and the sheep???

      January 3, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
  44. Lauren

    I can understand Agnostics being angry at the hypothetical image of god, but not Atheists. Agnosticism at least give an 'I don't know' to the answer, but Atheist (myself included) do not believe in any of the assorted deities. How can you get angry at something that is not there? It would be the same as me getting angry at the little sister that I do not have. If you get angry at something, you believe something is there for you to get angry at. If you believe a deity is there, or MIGHT be there, you are not an Atheist.

    January 3, 2011 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • HoosYurdadi

      Lauren, the author and/or source cited are using flawed reasoning. A person over their lifetime may have anger towards the concept of god they were raised with but once they become an atheist it is irrational for anyone to say they have anger at "god". Adults dont have anger at the tooth fairy or santa clause.
      The point of saying anger at god is associated with mental health disorders is also unfounded. It's valid if you are schizotypical, but in that case also FAITH in some higher power can also be associated with mental illness.

      January 3, 2011 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
    • ereadercnn

      Thank you Lauren. That was my point when I stated that a person who blames a perceived deity cannot be a true atheist. They are agnostic leaning towards atheism. You are a true atheist.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
  45. SeanNJ

    I'm just angry at Elizabeth Landau for writing such a horribly misrepresentative headline.

    January 3, 2011 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark

      LOL Yes.
      But she sure got our attention 🙂

      January 3, 2011 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Sniffles

      Yeah, she wrote a lame article a while back that assumes that spirituality is mandatory for addiction recovery.

      Her writing is too often marred by her presumption that Christianity is correct.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:21 | Report abuse |
  46. Consider This Please

    Hebrews 3:4 says...
    For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God. (New Living Translation)

    Think about this, a house or a car, computer, etc. just doesn't come into existence by mere chance, all of these things were created by someone, likewise, our universe and everything in it has a creator...God. God is all powerful and also created the principles of science, physics, etc to establish creation.

    January 3, 2011 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jay

      this is absurd. if the universe and everything in it must have a creator because everything must be created, then who created God?

      January 3, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
    • HoosYurdadi

      Religion is a socially acceptable psychosis. It really should not be. If I made claims that the swirls in my toilet were communications from a higher being I would be laughed at. If I could get 10,000 people to follow that concept I would be a prophet with whatever babble i pulled out of my... toilet as the word of god. Many religious people claim to "know" their church is true or that god, jesus, mohammed or whoever is looking out for them. They are plainly and painfully wrong. Unless you can prove it you cannot "know" it. You believe it. Agnostics are exclusively accurate among the beliefs as being right in saying they do not know. If an atheist or a christian says they "believe" then they are accurate to the extent of their belief. Everything else is mythology and theory.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse |
    • Consider This Please

      Jay, good observation, but note that in the Bible, God always existed from eternity past, present, and future:

      Yes, everything in the universe had a beginning - and the reason is because God created it. The very first verse of the Bible says, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).

      But God had no beginning. He has always existed - and He always will. God isn't like anything - or anyone else - in the whole universe. God is greater than the universe - far greater than anything we can ever imagine.

      God provides this information in His Word, the Bible.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      The Bible is not the word of God. The Bible is the word of a series of primitive human beings, compiled into a single volume by a committee of slightly less primitive human beings, then haphazardly modified into various language translations by an army of other human beings.

      Why is it so easy to believe that God had no beginning, but so hard to believe that the Universe had no beginning? Why is it so easy to believe that God had no creator, but so hard to believe that the universe had no creator? You believe these things because they are in the Bible, but you provide no evidence as to why anybody should believe what the Bible says. The Bible is wrong.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
    • sjenner

      Consider This Please, you're merely arguing Paley's "Divine Watch Maker" analogy. It's inherently flawed,because it assumes that apparent order and design must naturally follow from a design. But we know from empirical evidence that this is untrue, because natural systems can be explained without the necessity of God to explain it.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:19 | Report abuse |
    • Consider This Please

      Can we proof the Bible is wrong? Historical facts support it among other things. Fullfilled prophecies are proof as well. Since past prophecies have come to pass, the future prophecies will also come true. His Word is Truth. Read for yourself, keep seeking.

      Jesus (God's Son) said in Matthew 7:7-8
      "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."

      Do so with a humble heart, for he searches the hearts of all.

      I leave you with these thoughts today. Take care!

      January 3, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      I did keep seeking. That's why I don't believe in God anymore. I urge you to keep seeking as well, because you haven't found anything worth holding on to.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:33 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      @Consider This Please

      Why would I want to prove the bible is wrong!?
      I already don't believe.
      I'm not trying to convince you God doesn't exist. (I don't care)
      You're trying to press this stuff on me.
      I don't have the burden of proof.

      And since you can't prove it, its a moot point.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse |
    • ctaya

      Think about this, God just doesn't come into existence by mere chance, It was created by someone, likewise, God has a creator... God of God. God of God is all powerful and also God to establish creation.

      January 3, 2011 at 21:53 | Report abuse |
  47. Hugaux

    Religions and gods were created by man to explain things they could not explain for themselves. The Greeks explination for the sun was the god Appollo flying across the sky in his chariot everyday. Modern humans with advanced scientific knowledge will slowly be able to remove religious ignorance from our society. Religious beliefs have an inverse effect on intelligence of a person and for a society as a whole. Monthiestic religions remove the ability to rationalize accurately because there is an error in the base processes of thought and reality. THE IDEA OF GOD DOES NOT COMPUTE. Check out the posted link on intelligence quotients for different countries and the percentage of the people in that country that say the belief in god is very important to them. Religion is the opiate for the masses and the ignorant.


    January 3, 2011 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Melissa

      Exactly. Its only a matter of time. There are more atheists every day. Because more of us are realizing that belief in deity and religion are simply fiction. The Abrahamic religions are losing their foothold and its making them more aggravating than they have been in a long time because they are defensive. They don't like losing their power to control people.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
  48. boocat

    "I believe in a god that manifests itself in the universe and not in a god who is concerned with the day to day doings of mankind." – Alber Einstein....

    I'm with Einstein on this one.

    January 3, 2011 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ctaya


      By Albert Einstein
      Mein Weltbild, Amsterdam: Querido Verlag, 1934.

      "You will never find one among the profounder sort of scientific minds without a religious feeling of his own. But it is different from the religiosity of the naive man. For the latter, God is a being from whose care one hopes to benefit and whose punishment one fears; a sublimation of a feeling similar to that of a child for its father, a being to whom one stands, so to speak, in a personal relation, however deeply it may be tinged with awe.

      [b][i]But the scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation.[/i][/b] The future, to him, is every whit as necessary and determined as the past. There is nothing divine about morality; it is a pure human affair. 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. This feeling is the guiding principle of his life and work, in so far as he succeeds in keeping himself from the shackles of selfish desire. It is beyond question closely akin to that which has possessed the religious geniuses of all age."

      January 3, 2011 at 21:55 | Report abuse |
  49. elgeevz

    If there is any correlation between morality and religion, it is obviously a negative one. Looking back on my 78 years, the most honest, decent, and benevolent individuals that I have known were not in the least religious. On the other hand, I still have a knife in my back put there by a psalm-singing Baptist who imagined that I was after his job.

    January 3, 2011 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JT

      I know what you mean. I have found that the more religious a person the more evil, hateful, arrogant, selfish, intolerant, conceited, delusional, uneducated, overbearing, above the law, I'm right and everybody else is wrong and hypocritical the person is.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      I noticed that myself. The kindest people have never been the religious people. Something else I've noticed... Atheists give money and time to the less fortunate because its the right thing to do. Because it might be them there at some time, and since they believe they only have THIS life, they need to cherish it. Religious do good things because they believe they'll get a prize at the end.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse |
    • Jame Kentworthy

      That's my experience also. The kindest and most giving people I have encountered are usually secular. I too have had many less-than-pleasant encounters with way too many followers of various religions.

      January 3, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
  50. jbutler

    I studied myself out of theism when I was a young man....I was never angry at the gods. You cannot claim to be an atheist and claim to be angry at god. That is an oxymoron.
    I am very angry at religions for taking money from the poor.

    January 3, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
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