Thousands of atheists and unbelievers, including Alberto Valdez from Del Rio, Texas, gathered Saturday on the National Mall for the Reason Rally. RNS photo by Tyrone Turner

Behind the numbers: Religious 'nones' may not be who you think they are

(RNS) In recent surveys, the religious “nones” -- as in, "none of the above" -- appear to lead in the faith marketplace. In fact, "none" could soon be the dominant label U.S. adults pick when asked to describe their religious identity.

Thousands of atheists and unbelievers, including Alberto Valdez from Del Rio, Texas, gathered Saturday on the National Mall for the Reason Rally. RNS photo by Tyrone Turner

Thousands of atheists and unbelievers, including Alberto Valdez from Del Rio, Texas, gathered on the National Mall for the Reason Rally. RNS photo by Tyrone Turner

 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

But they may not be who you think they are. Today, “nones” include many more unbranded believers than atheists, and an increasingly diverse racial and ethnic mix.

And, researchers say, this is already making nones' attitudes and opinions less predictably liberal on social issues.

A February survey by the Public Religion Research Institute of Americans found:

  • 21 percent are “unaffiliated” (PRRI's umbrella term for a diverse group including atheists, seculars and people who still say they believe in God).
  • 20 percent are Catholic.
  • 19 percent are white evangelical.

“Nones are dancing on the razor's edge of leading,” said Robert P. Jones, CEO of PRRI.

Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center’s cumulative findings, based on 16,000 interviews in numerous 2013 surveys, found a slightly different split:

  • 22 percent Catholic
  • 20 percent nones (a mix of people who say they believe “nothing in particular,” unaffiliated believers and unbelievers)
  • 18 percent white evangelicals

However, both Jones and Greg Smith, director of U.S. religion surveys for Pew, caution this is really a statistical three-way tie for both research firms once the critical margin of error for each survey is considered.

Meanwhile, all the subcategories of Protestants -- white and black evangelicals, plus the mainline faithful -- still add up to a plurality (48 percent), although each has “distinctive social and political beliefs, attitudes and opinions,” said Smith.

“The nones are clearly growing as a share of the population. It’s a big, important, fundamental change in U.S. society, regardless of what’s causing it and whatever else is happening," Smith said. "But does it necessarily mean that other religious groups are less healthy than they might have been? It may be that they are but there are other forces that are at play.”

Those forces include immigration rates and religious switching. About half of Americans switch their religion, leave one or find one at least once in their lifetime.

Today's young adults are starting out more unaffiliated than any prior generation of 20-year-olds. So, even if some millennials do find a faith, Jones said, "they will still be the most unaffiliated generation in history."

Jones identified another force in shifting religious demography: “There are fewer white evangelicals among millennials (ages 18 to 33) because younger Americans today are more racially and ethnically diverse."

A PRRI survey found that second- and third-generation Hispanics are less likely to be Catholic than their parents or grandparents. Some move to evangelical, charismatic and politically conservative Protestant groups, but equal numbers are becoming simply unaffiliated, said Jones.

PRRI's 2012 American Values Survey broke the nones into three groups.

Atheists and agnostics (36 percent) are "overwhelmingly white," said Jones; only 12 percent are Hispanic or African-American. The second group, those who say they are “not religious" (39 percent), are 64 percent white and the remainder are racial or ethnic minorities.

However, there has been a surge in the third group, the “unattached believers,” who believe in God but reject a religious brand (23 percent), Jones said. That group is also significantly more likely to include minorities:  It's 56 percent white, 12 percent Hispanic, 23 percent African-American and 7 percent other.

“These are people who, by many traditional measures of belief in God and the Bible, look like people who are affiliated. But in the survey they say they are not attached to a formal religious tradition and do not even identify with a nondenominational Christian church,” said Jones.

These “unattached believers” likely contributed to a surprising finding in the recent PRRI survey on attitudes toward lesbians and gays. While every religious group moved toward more acceptance of gay marriage in the last decade, 26 percent of the unaffiliated said “gay marriage goes against their religious beliefs,” up from 18 percent in 2003.

Put another way, atheists, agnostics and secularists did not shift toward religion or opposition to gay marriage, but that third group now contains more "unattached believers" who bring with them their more traditional notions of sexuality, and they're now standing under the same umbrella.

No matter what you call them --  “nones,” “unaffiliated” or “unattached” to “unbranded” -- they may be perhaps unreachable for the church, said Ed Stetzer, president of Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

“Most people in the past identified as Christians even if they didn’t practice as Christians. Now that secularism is one of the biggest forces in our culture,” said Stetzer, "they don’t look to God, sacred texts or institutional religion as their prime frame of reference or authority for their values.”

That alarms Bishop Emery Lindsay, presiding bishop of the small black Protestant denomination Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A.

After decades in the pulpit, first in Chicago and for five years as pastor at Christ Temple in Los Angeles, Lindsay said he sees more young African-Americans drawn away from church life than ever before.

“I meet people all the time who say 'I am spiritual, I believe in God, but I’m not connected or committed anywhere,'” said Lindsay.

Lindsay said "we don’t have any optimum answers” on retaining young people but his church has brought in a young minister to “build some bridges” to youth.

Will they stay? The PRRI survey found that a significant number of young adults say a negative attitude toward LGBT people was one of the factors that prompted them to leave church.

Lindsay acknowledges that his denomination definitely opposes gay marriage. However, he said, the day has passed when pastors preached that “if you were in that lifestyle, you were definitely going to hell.”

Instead of a “heavy message of condemnation,” said Lindsay, “today’s young people want us to affirm that these are people who struggle with a different sin, but we all have challenges with being a moral person.”



  1. Lindsay says “today’s young people want us to affirm that these [gays] are people who struggle with a different sin” and has a “bridge” to sell young people.

  2. Religion gets passed through generations unless it gets challenged.

    Since God’s existence can only be asserted from an “authority figure” in a top down manner, God is truly doomed.

    In the age of the internet there is simply no argument from authority which will win anyone over. Sentimental feelings toward church will persist, but watch them close faster in the decades ahead.

    We are witnessing the end of a very long, bloody, delusional epoch.
    Unfortunately Islam is still far from a tipping point.

  3. On the one hand you can say ‘non-white=likely poor=likely ignorant’.

    On the other you can say ‘white=likely wealthy=likely rude’.

  4. Face It – Religions fear mongering hold on the youth and indoctrination is slowly fading. I for one am thankful that we are growing up and starting to live without fairy tales.

  5. There is no one “religion” that has a lock on the truth. The body of Christ crosses denominations.
    So, “growing up” and not living with “fairy tales” is a good thing? Just wondering, how do you know what “good” and “bad” are? How do you know these things?

  6. Good and Bad are easy to see. Even you, as a Christian, claim to know “sin” from “not sin”…. That pre-supposes you already know good and bad. You just don’t give yourself the credit for knowing it.

    Example: is it wrong to rape someone? Of course.
    Do I have to believe in a human blood sacrifice from ancient times to know that? Of course not.

    Religion is nonsense.

  7. Hi Atheist Max- you didn’t answer the question. I’m not talking about Christian/non-Christians necessarily. How does any person know good from bad? How do you know it is wrong to murder or rape someone?

  8. @Steve,
    I understand you are interested in an honest answer. But your question seems as bizarre to me as if someone asked me how do i know if the sky is blue or not. You know by looking at it.

    I’ll try to elaborate:

    You are protecting a woman FROM her violent husband. When he comes looking for her and asks you where she is do you tell a lie? or the Truth? If you tell the truth he will barge in and kill her.
    The Bible says “Do not bear False Witness.” But you will lie anyway – to do otherwise would be inhuman.
    So how did you decide to lie? Isn’t it because you know what is right and wrong all by yourself? You don’t need the Bible for that decision at all.

    A woman is screaming, her child is drowning in a pond. Do you pause to think what would Jesus do? No. Even if you are an atheist – You just jump in and try to save the child without even thinking. You may even die trying.

    I’m trying to show you that God is not a relevant question at all regarding right and wrong.

    Psychopaths do exist. They are about 3-6% of the population. They enjoy hurting people. No religion has ever helped them – or their victims. Those are the dangerous people to watch out for.

    Beyond this, I don’t know how to answer your question.
    If you need religion to know right and wrong, stick with religion! I’d hate to see you go to jail!

  9. @Steve,

    And don’t forget self-interest.
    There are a thousand reasons why raping someone will ruin your own life. Do you want to risk getting your eyes gouged out? And for what?
    So that is why it is ‘bad’. Okay?

    And murder – same thing. I’ve been an Atheist for years and never once thought of hurting anyone needlessly. God doesn’t exist to punish me. Doesn’t it occur to you that punishment is not the reason to not do things?

    Besides, the Bible preaches: killing, slavery, genocide, rape…all that stuff. Religious people are more likely to do nasty things than Atheists – did you know that? Google it yourself.

    Meanwhile here is what Jesus has to say,
    “bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King, and EXECUTE THEM in front of me.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

    Jesus was telling a parable about the 12 minas (I’m sure you’ve read it) and it is about what he will do to all the people who did not accept his lordship. Kind of makes you wonder what its all about doesn’t it?

  10. @STEVE,

    The real heart of your question is morality. Where does it come from?

    Well, we are animals. Primates specifically. And all primates (and most mammals) show signs of evolved morality and sociability. We have evolved kinship and social skills as part of our behavior – it manifests itself as kindness and compassion.

    You get morality from the same place you get your fingers and toes – EVOLUTION.

    Look up ‘evolution of morality’ and you’ll see the studies about it. If you are a smart guy you might even grasp more of it than I do. It is very convincing.

  11. Atheist Max-
    This web form doesn’t allow me to reply to your last post, so starting a new comment.

    You are correct, “The real heart of your question is morality. Where does it come from?”
    You say evolution. By this I think you mean that man evolved from primordial soup over billions of years and developed a moral conscience, which somehow fits in with natural selection…help me understand how molecules can be infused with a conscience? Are you saying morality is materially and genetically determined? I’ve looked, but can’t find reference to a “morality” DNA strand.
    The “Evolution of Morality” is an assertion, at best a theory. I don’t find it very convincing.

    It seems you agree with me that humans have some sort of innate “moral law”. If so, then I submit:
    1. Every law has a law giver.
    2. There is a moral law.
    3. Therefor, there is a Moral Law Giver.

  12. STEVE,

    1. Every law has a law giver?
    Assertion – easily dismissed. Who ‘gave’ the law of gravity to earth? Where is the evidence that it was ‘given’? Water freezes at 32 degrees. Where is the evidence that such a natural law was given to water? H20 becomes ice because hydrogen and oxygen move slower as the temperature drops. It is basic physics, intrinsic to the materials.

    2. There is a moral law? Assertion without evidence. If this law exists, where is it? There is no “moral law”. Morality is only about harm to oneself or others. There is no law dictating absolutes regarding morality because each moral situation is different. Natural process of evolution explains morality completely.

    3. Therefor, there is a Moral Law Giver? This is now disproved.
    Laws of nature is intrinsic to nature. Nothing outside of nature is working on nature.

    “help me understand how molecules can be infused with a conscience?”
    Your brain is molecules. Neurologists know that if your brain is injured in certain places you will no longer have a conscience. That is proof that conscience is a matter of molecules formed into living neurons. When you die that conscience will die with you.
    How did it evolve this way? Science hasn’t answered every question yet.

    “Are you saying morality is materially and genetically determined?…can’t find reference to a “morality” DNA strand.”
    Of course morality is about behavior which is genetically determined. Morality would not appear as a strand of DNA because the strands are made up of genes. Genes explain most behavior. Many behaviors have been linked to genetic pre-dispositions: psychopathology, neurosis, depression, bipolarity, schizophrenia, delusions of grandeur…etc.

    One of the ways in which humans managed to survive for millions of years is that we have evolved keen social skills – we HAD to in order to protect our small groups from a variety of predators. A healthy person (that is most of us) inherits a “sense of fairness” when we are born. It the key to morality and acceptance within the group. Individuals who did not share this “sense of fairness” were likely to be ostracized from the group and died off without the communal support. This leave the stronger genetic marker of the social skills to survive. That is how natural selection works.

    Over millions of years these behaviors developed into a “sense of fairness”. When you see someone treated unfairly you will get angry – this is normal – and is a sign of your evolutionary biology at work. Survival of the group requires a ‘sense of fairness’ otherwise the group would die off. So it is very important to understand that a visceral rage can build when seeing such unfairness: A little kid being punched by a bigger kid, or a drunk driver killing innocent bystanders. Unfairness creates rage – it is natural.

    It goes the other way too. If you have been unfair to someone else – stolen something, hurt someone too much – you will also be angry, at yourself. We call that ‘guilt’ but it is just a very negative feeling and most people (healthy people) will need to apologize or make amends in some way before they can move on.

    The “sense of fairness” is seen in animals throughout nature. Dogs, Cats, all primates have it. Studies are all over the internet to prove this.

    Morality is part of behavior. Behavior is evolved.

    These are not assertions, they are demonstrable with irrefutable evidence. E.O. Wilson’s work on “KIN SELECTION” is only part of the best evidence so far.

    It all functions perfectly without the assumption of any gods or supernatural factors.

    For more reading on this there are thousands of books on the topic:

  13. All higher animals (including us) evolved a sense of fairness. That is all morality really is. Evolution.

    If you’d rather just see a short demonstration of how we know have ‘morality’ this shows how these kinds of studies are done.

  14. 1. Who gave the law of gravity to earth? God did when he created the earth and the universe out of nothing.

    2. You said yourself in another commment that “…because you know what is right and wrong all by yourself? You don’t need the Bible for that decision at all.” That’s right. Moral law is written on our hearts. Call it what you will, moral law, natural law, nature’s law, no one has to tell us that murder is wrong. The Bible gives us the law, but in each of us we have a basic understanding of “good” and “bad” behavior. We have free will, so we can and do break these laws. In this thread we are referring to a couple of examples of absolute moral law (murder and rape).

    3. Nothing outside of nature is working on nature? How did nature, or the universe get started? I say God created the universe out of nothing- you might say gases formed planets, and time and chance did the rest. I’m not buying into that. Where did the gases come from? But this thread is about morality so moving on…

    I don’t dispute that my brain consists of molecules. We are not talking about injured brains.

    re: kin selection, seems more like philosophy than science. Kin selection, or group selection, or the rest of E. O. Wilson’s work, interesting as it is, is NOT irrefutable evidence.

    If moral law is just a learned behavior, evolved over time, doesn’t it stand to reason that morality must be changing, evolving also? But murder and rape have always been “bad” behavior, and always will be. Hitler also used Darwin’s evolutionary theories to justify killing millions of Jews. If moral law were determined by genetics, at best that would explain how morality was discovered, not “invented”. I can do some mathematical calculations because of what I learned at school, but the laws of mathematics existed before I learned them.

    Thanks for the reading references. Here are a few for you:

    Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis
    Who Moved the Stone, by Frank Morison
    I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek

  15. The dude just told you that if a particular area of the brain is damage, that those people can lose morality and consciousness, etc..
    You’re response was that “it’s written on our hearts”!
    It’s as though you completely ignored him?
    He’s definitely wasting his time on you, because you’re not even listening!

  16. Stephen- “written on our hearts” is figurative language. All I know is that it is a part of us, intrinsically from birth. And I can see that animals can have feelings for each other, cooperate for a common goal, etc. But that doesn’t mean that man evolved from a lower life form.

    I don’t deny that evolution exists- but at the micro level, not the macro level. There is a big difference. Bacteria may change to deal with their environment successfully, but they remain bacteria. Natural selection has never been observed to produce new “types” that cross the genetic limits. If you breed a horse and a donkey, you get sterile offspring. End of the line.

    Atheist Max writes “Morality is only about harm to oneself or others. There is no law dictating absolutes regarding morality because each moral situation is different. Natural process of evolution explains morality completely.”

    Evolution expains morality completely?

    I think he is confusing how one comes to know the moral law with the existence of moral law. Human thoughts are not material things, any more that math, love, and logic are material things. They cannot be weighed or physically measured. They cannot have come from molecules. If they are just instincts learned through macro-evolution…take an example of competing instincts. We hear someone being mugged, calling for help. We know it is not a friend or family member. Our first instinct might be to stay away and protect ourselves. A competing instinct might be to help, despite the potential danger to ourselves. Something nobler than simply the desire to survive is at play here- that is moral law.

    Ideas have consequences. Peter Singer, Princeton professor and Darwinist, feels that newborn humans lack the essential characteristics of personhood—”rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness”—and therefore “killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living. I don’t know about you, but that sends chills through me.

    James Rachels, author of “Created from Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism”, (1990) states that the natural conclusion of Darwinism is that mentally handicapped people should be used for laboratory subjects, or even as food. Sickening. By not allowing God’s foot in the door, Darwinists de-value human life. Man is just a more sophisticated version of an animal. Why treat men any differently than animals? Oh, according to Max, our atheist and Darwinist, morality is only about harm to oneself or others. I guess “others” only count if they are your “kin”?


    Stop that please. You are not understanding who you are talking with. I won’t put up with assertions.

    “God did it” is a wild, outrageous, ridiculous claim.
    I’m going to try to clear this up.

    You said, “God….created the earth and the universe out of nothing.”
    First – Physicist Laurence Krauss wrote a great book on “NOTHING” and it isn’t anything like what you think. There is no such thing as NOTHING.
    Second – if it were possible for there to have been a state of NOTHINGNESS what would explain God? Where would God have come from if NOTHING cannot produce SOMETHING.
    Third – You are making GOD assertions without any backup evidence and that will not work if you want cooperation.
    Don’t do it again, please.

    You said, “written on our hearts” is figurative language”
    Well….so is “God” figurative language. Like “written on our hearts” it doesn’t really exist. Furthermore, I did not use figurative language when I addressed your questions, I used hard evidence. Where is your evidence?

    You said, “I don’t deny that evolution exists- but at the micro level, not the macro level.”
    Why not? The same science that confirms micro also confirms macro.

    You said, “Human thoughts are not material things, any more that math, love, and logic are material things.”
    Yes. And those thoughts die when you die. Your concept of God is another thought which will die along with your brain. You will stop existing completely when you die. There is no evidence that anything about who you are continues to ‘live’.
    You did not exist in 1832 and that did not trouble you.. And you will not exist in 2132. And it won’t hurt a bit either. This life is all you have.

    You said, “Our first instinct might be to stay away and protect ourselves. A competing instinct might be to help..”
    Exactly – there is no moral law for these predicaments. The first instinct is the basest evolutionary one, to help. The next consideration competes and weighs risks. These are moral decisions which must be weighed WITHOUT any MORAL LAW to dictate which are the right choices.

    You said, “Peter Singer, Princeton professor and Darwinist(?) feels that newborn humans lack the essential characteristics of personhood”
    So what? There are thousands of Atheist doctors who disagree with him and they work for Doctors without Borders – for free – delivering babies all over the world. Our discussion was about morality, not building straw men to shoot down.

    You said, “But murder and rape have always been “bad” behavior, and always will be.”
    It is a surprise to me that your assertion that God constructed a Moral Law would be included in the same argument where you select RAPE and MURDER as “Always bad” because God’s Moral code is directly opposed to your statement:

    GOD COMMANDS IT ….Kill the women and Rape the little girls:
    “Moses was furious with all the military commanders who had returned from the battle. ‘Why have you let all the women live?’ he demanded. …They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD’s people. Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may save them for your pleasure.” (Num:31:18)

    God commands Raping women in daylight to punish HUSBANDS.
    “Thus says the Lord: ‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house. I will take your wives [plural] while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor. He shall lie sexually with your wives in broad daylight. You have done this deed in secret, but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel, and with the sun looking down.’ ” (2 Samuel 12:11)

    “Lo, a day shall come FOR THE LORD when the spoils shall be divided in your midst. And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city shall be taken, houses plundered, WOMEN RAVISHED; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be removed from the city.” (Zechariah 14:1-2)

    “Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes.” (Isaiah 13:15)

    “My angel will go before you and bring you to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites; and I will wipe them out.” (Exodus 23:23)

    “Then the LORD said to me, ‘Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I wouldn’t help them. Away with them! Get them out of my sight!” (JEREMIAH 15:1-7)

    “Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer… Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts…they shall bear no fruit: yea though they bring forth, YET WILL I SLAY even the beloved fruit of their womb.” (Hosea 9:11-16)

    “And as for these enemies of mine who didn’t want me to be their king–bring them in and EXECUTE THEM right here in front of me.'” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    [from the “Parable of the 12 Minas”, perhaps the most dangerous words in the Bible and Hitler’s favorite Christian parable]

    As you can see, if you are going to say that MURDER, RAPE, SLAVERY AND TORTURE ARE ALWAYS WRONG…



    Hitler was the most famous Catholic of the 20th Century. His war was religious. I’ll prove it:

    Christians have been trying to discredit Hitler’s faith for decades, turning their eyes away from countless history books. From the earliest formation of the Nazi party he expressed his Christian support to the German citizenry and soldiers. He was baptized as Roman Catholic in Austria, attended a monastery school and was a communicant and an altar boy in the Catholic Church.

    Hitler was confirmed as a “SOLDIER of CHRIST” and his goal was to become a priest. He was never excommunicated or condemned and the church had stated that he was “Avenging for God” in attacking the Jews for they deemed the Semites the killers of Jesus.

    Hitler was given veto power over whom the Pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany and forged a treaty whereas the National Socialist state was officially recognized by the Catholic Church. In a letter to the Nazi party, he wrote “…this treaty shows the whole world clearly and unequivocally that the assertion that National Socialism is hostile to religion is a lie.”

    He allied with Pope Pius in converting German society and made a deal with the church whereas the church absorbed Nazi ideals and preached them as part of their sermons, and in turn, Hitler placed Catholic teachings in public education. This lead to Hitler enacting doctrines of the Church as law. He outlawed all abortion, raged a death war on all homosexuals, and demanded corporal punishment in schools and home.

    Hitler was quoted, “The National Socialist State professes its allegiance to positive Christianity. It will be its honest endeavor to protect both the great Christian Confessions in their rights, to secure them from interference with their doctrines (Lehren), and in their duties to constitute a harmony with the views and the exigencies of the State of today…Providence has caused me to be Catholic, and I know therefore how to handle this Church.”

    In fact, the Holocaust grew out of Hitler’s Christian education due mainly to Jews having an inferior status in Christian Austria and Germany. The Christians there blamed the Jews for the killing of Jesus and the hatred that Hitler fostered against Jewish people began from the preaching of Catholic priests and Protestant ministers throughout Germany. It is well known that Martin Luther held a livid hatred for Jews and their religion. Luther wrote a book titled “On the Jews and their Lies” which set the standard for Jewish hatred all the way up to World War 2.
    Hitler, of course, expressed enormous admiration for Martin Luther.

    The Nazis began to control schools insisting that Christianity was taught. They included anti-Semitic Christian writings in textbooks and were not removed from Christian doctrines until 1961. Nazi soldiers wore religious symbols and placed religious sayings on military gear. The official army belt buckle read “God With Us”. They got sprinkled with holy water and listened to Catholic sermons before going out on maneuvers. The Nazis had a secret service called the “SS Reich” that would act as spies on the dealings of other citizens and if anyone was suspected of heresy they would be prosecuted.

    Here is Hitler’s commitment to Christianity:
    “We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.” -Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin on 24 Oct. 1933

    “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow my self to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows . For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.”
    -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922

    “Christianity could not content itself with building up its own altar; it was absolutely forced to undertake the destruction of the heathen altars. Only from this fanatical intolerance could its apodictic faith take form; this intolerance is, in fact, its absolute presupposition.”
    -Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

    “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”
    -Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

    None of this is remotely connected to Darwinism or science.

    Hitler and his SS were all confessing Catholics and Lutherans, hailed a faith in the Aryan Race divine by God’s judgement and demanded full faith in the religion of the state. “Gott Mit Uns” (God With Us) was on every NAZI Beltbuckle.
    Hitler’s favorite Parable was “The 12 Minas” where Jesus said, “Take those who would not let me be their King and execute them in front of me” – Jesus (Luke 19:27).

    “…the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew.”
    – Adolf Hitler (following the position of Martin Luther), Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 11

    HITLER IS NOT ATHEIST. His war had nothing to do with Atheism.
    Hitler was a Catholic and the war was based on – CHRISTIAN FAITH.

  18. @ Atheist Is it really wrong or always wrong to rape someone or even murder someone? If so why? Where does the innate sense of right and wrong come from? There is no gene for it. What’s right or wrong in one culture or a different era may just be just the opposite or much different in another. If you believe in unalienable rights then what makes them unalienable. Certainly not government, culture or society; so what does then?

  19. ckwn,

    Why did the Samaritan not rape or murder? He was not a Christian.
    He was not a man of religion. The Samaritans were mostly pagans and the Good Samaritan likely had no religion or God beliefs that we know of.

    Yet Jesus didn’t call him immoral or a rapist.
    Where do you Christians get the idea that God stops bad behavior anyway? Most bad behavior happens because believers think they can have their record cleared completely. Suppose murderers were allowed to be freed from police stations just because they said they were sorry – yet that is what Christians allow themselves everyday.

    Atheists don’t go to jail. Did you know there are almost no atheists in jail anywhere in the country?

  20. We are just coming to a stage of our history where religious institutions no longer have the power to intimidate, and if they see fit, punish those who publicly dissent. Those who hold political positions are still vulnerable, but as that changes, we shall see what form religious institutions take when their membership is totally voluntary.
    Religious enthusiasts are angry about this development. They come from a tradition of authoritarianism. Democracy and actual freedom of conscience is THE enemy of the old order. Materialism is the straw man they drag out to justify continuing their reign. As to morality; we would all love to see the evidence that those who embrace religion are better behaved, and by what criterion.

  21. Hi Max,

    You certainly are verbose. I’ll try to be brief in my response.

    God was not created, God always existed. Can I fully explain or fully
    understand this? No. Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV) ““For my thoughts are not your
    neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
    “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

    John 1:1-3 (NIV) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

    No such thing as “nothing”? Physicist Laurence Krauss wrote “A Universe from Nothing”. In it he argues that there is scientific proof for the spontaneous creation and destruction of particles. How does this happen exactly? The only way he can explain how the universe arose out of “nothing” is to assume that “nothing” is a special kind of “something” and then all things are possible. I guess if you re-define “nothing”, then the table is wide open. If there was real proof, I would expect all scientists, both Christians and atheists, to be going bonkers over this “fact”.

    Hard evidence? Really? The evolution of morality is a proven fact?
    Please. I called you out because you called E.O. Wilson’s work
    “irrefutable evidence.” Please.

    Macro evolution exists? Really- has it been observed empirically in our
    lifetime? Or are you referring to questionable forensic conjectures, such
    as “Lucy”, or some fossil remains that could be propped up as such links? If there are such missing links, shouldn’t the earth’s crust be just
    chock-full of these fossils? Darwin thought so, in “On the Origin of
    Species”, page 280 he says “Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain…” Steven Jay Gould wrote in his
    “Evolution’s Erratic Pace” that “The history of most fossil species
    includes two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism: 1).
    Stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on
    earth….2). Sudden Appearance. In any local area, a species does not
    arrive gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed'”. Since he had found no evidence for gradualism, he put forth the “Puncuated Equlilibria” theory, in which
    species could evolve faster over a shorter period of time, thus I suppose
    explaining the lack of missing link fossils. But PE has not been
    observed, it is an unproven theory. The hard evidence that you ask for is right in front of you. It speaks of intelligent design, not macro-

    Really, it seems strange that with all the intelligent people out there,
    that life has not once been created by man from “molecules”. Is it true
    that “time” and “chance” are responsible for the first life on earth?
    Take the incredible complexity of even a single cell amoeba, which has
    enough ORDERED information in its DNA to fill 1000 volumes of the
    Encyclopedia Britannica. You may as well say that the figures on Mount
    Rushmore could have been naturally created over time. The complexity of life demands a Designer.

    My point about bringing up Peter Singer and James Rachels is that the
    logical conclusion of Darwinism is that, since there is no objective
    moral standard, horrible things can result. These things won’t always
    happen, but they certainly can, and a Darwinist need not have the
    slightest twinge of conscience when they do.

    The Bible verses you bring up, well, I guess you don’t really understand
    them. You may have dug them up from some other web site and copy/pasted without researching them.

    Numbers 31:18 you quoted “…Only the young girls who are virgins may
    live; you may save them for your pleasure.” I don’t know what translation you got that from, but the NIV, The Message, and the King James version don’t include the “for your pleasure” phrase. They say “…keep alive for yourselves”. Such young girls would more easily adapt to their new lives in captivity, and would not carry sexually transmitted diseases. To say that rape was commanded by God is not accurate.

    The context of Zechariah 14:1-2 is that Jerusalem’s women will be the
    VICTIMS of rape from enemies. Rape is not condoned.

    Luke 19:27 is referring to the final judgement, not a command to execute anyone in these times.

    I could go on and address all the verses you quoted, but I think I’ve
    already spent more time on them than you did.

    Many people call themselves Christians but don’t act as Christ did. We
    are all sinful. Based on several sources, I believe that Hitler was a
    professing Catholic only for political reasons. Go ahead and Google or
    Bing it yourself, since you are so fond of internet searches. Here’s one,
    I’ll get you started:

    Sharkey, Word for Word/The Case Against the Nazis; How Hitler’s Forces Planned To Destroy German Christianity, New York Times, 13 January 2002

    So, Max, Max, Max…you don’t understand who you are talking with. I will not put up with assertions or theories projected as fact. Can I prove
    beyond any doubt that God is real, and created the universe and all it
    contains? No, but what I have is as good or better than what you have
    presented. We may have reached the end of our discussion; I don’t know if more will be productive. I thank you for referring me to the latest
    evolutionary theories, and pray for your eternal soul.

  22. @STEVE,

    Your cold response:
    “Luke 19:27 is referring to the final judgement, not a command to execute anyone in these times.”

    How convenient for you to interpret this for your own self-serving reasons rather than to confront the challenge honestly. Hmm.

    Too bad all-knowing, all-loving Lord Jesus didn’t know that Hitler would MISINTERPRET THIS and use it for his own ends:

    “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” -Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

    You repeatedly assert answers where there are none, as in before the big bang.
    While denying countless CONFIRMED answers given to us by Science.

    Your endorsement of primitive voodoo is also shameful.
    So please don’t pray for me…
    your Lord would prefer it if you would smoke a goat instead (Exodus 29:18).

    Please don’t respond. I’m too disappointed in you.

  23. Max is not really verbose. But he does cut and paste from some very verbose propaganda sites.

  24. I guess “others” only count if they are your “kin”?

    Steve, perhaps without realizing it, you have just put your finger on the essence of what has distinguished Christian ethics and morality from that of the pre- and non-christian world. When you have the chance, do some background reading on the subject of the history of human rights. It’s fascinating.

  25. @SHAWNIE,

    It is not possible to ‘cut and paste’ when you are responding directly.
    Steve is not educated in science, his Bible, evolution or even E.O. Wilson.

    It is challenging to be brief, concise, respectful AND comprehensive while answering to so much ignorance. Read my replies! I thought I was quite thorough and generous – it should have at least opened his eyes a little.
    Instead he’s utterly oblivious! And so are you!

    I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind. I just expect that interested people might pursue at least a bit of what they might not have considered previously.

  26. Oh please, Max. I’ve conversed with so many atheists and read so many of their tiresome links that I can recognize blind cutting and pasting from a mile away. There are myriad propaganda sites that all seem to post the same passages and the same arguments from the same handful of sources, evidently imagining that they’re somehow promoting “critical thinking.” It always puts me in mind of the old joke about how there’s really only one fruitcake out there that simply gets passed around from person to person every Christmas.

  27. @SHAWNIE,
    One nerd to another, what are you talking about?

    The arguments FOR god are all the same…Teleological, Ontological…Nothing is more boring and repetitive and FALSE than these Intelligent design, Creationist ‘cut and paste’ websites.

    The Christmas Fruitcake you speak of is much MORE than 6,000 years old. But you won’t convince a Creationist! They thought the damn things were made yesterday!

  28. If you have to ask the question, people should run like hell away from you!

    Do you live in a cave by yourself or among other people?

    Your innate sense of right and wrong comes from the fact that you are a human being in contact with other human beings to do something besides mere survival. You can understand why harming others is bad for at least 2 reasons. One being that you do not wish yourself to be harmed. The other being you can empathize with the feelings of being harmed and would not want that to happen to others.

    Religious-based morality is never really moral. Its more on the lines of outsourcing moral decisions to unquestioned authority. It tends to be arbitrary, capricious and full of exceptions which undermine itself.
    God has given people great excuses to harm other people and not many for following rules to help one another. People always find God a great excuse to murder, rape, steal, treat others badly

  29. I do not even understand how I ended up right here, but I assumed this submit used to be good.

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  30. I don’t agree with the notion that people are “good” in any idealistic way shape or form. They suck entirely. They don’t know what the hell they’re doing.

    A lot of people think that they’re born into the world knowing right from wrong. No, it’s likely that you were indoctrinated by a parent or other figure about the general idea, or “domesticated”. You probably have a lot of held-over beliefs from your parents’ or grandparents’ or their grandparents’ religions.

    I understand the function of theology, but that doesn’t mean that I actually believe it or try to believe it. I think of a person who belongs to a religion is someone who entirely believes a theology or tries to believe it. I guess where I’m at is that I’m open to believing it if I find it believable, but I presently don’t.

  31. OMG! I just read someone implying that you won’t get arrested if you’re not religious and some Nazi conspiracy.

    The story is about approval of gay marraige….

    I am confused.

  32. You Catholics/Christians keep saying, “Atheist”, but the REALITY is MUCH MORE Complex. There are Many kinds of NON BELIEVERS. The Important ISSUE is that they DO NOT BELIEVE in Christianity/Catholicism. And the details can have a SCORES of VARIATIONS.
    Read below:

    AlterNet/ By Valerie Tarico

    No Religion? 7 Types of Non-Believers

    Religious labels help shore up identity. So what are some of the things non-believers can call themselves?

    June 3, 2012

    Catholic, Born-Again, Reformed, Jew, Muslim, Shiite, Sunni, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist . . . . Religions give people labels. The downside can be tribalism, an assumption that insiders are better than outsiders, that they merit more compassion, integrity and generosity or even that violence toward “infidels” is acceptable. But the upside is that religious or spiritual labels offer a way of defining who we are. They remind adherents that our moral sense and quest for meaning are core parts of what it means to be human. They make it easier to convey a subset of our deepest values to other people, and even to ourselves.

    For those who have lost their religion or never had one, finding a label can feel important. It can be part of a healing process or, alternately, a way of declaring resistance to a dominant and oppressive paradigm. Finding the right combination of words can be a challenge though. For a label to fit it needs to resonate personally and also communicate what you want to say to the world. Words have definitions, connotations and history, and how people respond to your label will be affected by all three. What does it mean? What emotions does it evoke? Who are you identifying as your intellectual and spiritual forebears and your community? The differences may be subtle but they are important.

    If, one way or another, you’ve left religion behind, and if you’ve
    been unsure what to call yourself, you might try on one of these:

    1. Atheist. The term atheist can be defined literally as lacking a humanoid god concept, but historically it means one of two things. Positive atheism asserts that a personal supreme being does not exist. Negative atheism simply asserts a lack of belief in such a deity. It is possible be a positive atheist about the Christian God, for example, while maintaining a stance of negative atheism or even uncertainty on the question of a more abstract deity like a “prime mover.” In the United States, it is important to know that atheist may be the most reviled label for a godless person. Devout believers use it as a slur and many assume an atheist has no moral core. Until recently calling oneself an atheist was an act of defiance. That appears to be changing. With the rise of the “New Atheists” and the recent atheist visibility movement, the term is losing its edge.

    2. Anti-theist. When atheist consistently evoked images of Madeline Murray O’Hare, hostility toward religion was assumed. Now that it may evoke a white-haired grandmother at the Unitarian church or the gay kid on Glee, some people want a term that more clearly conveys their opposition to the whole religious enterprise. The term anti-theist says, “I think religion is harmful.” It also implies some form of activism that goes beyond merely advocating church-state separation or science education. Anti-theism challenges the legitimacy of faith as a moral authority or way of knowing. Anti-theists often work to expose harms caused in the name of God like stonings, gay bating, religious child maltreatment, genital mutilation, unwanted childbearing or black-collar crime. The New Atheist writers including Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins might
    better be described as anti-theists.

    3. Agnostic. Some atheists think of agnostic as a weenie term, because it gets used by people who lack a god-concept but don’t want to offend family members or colleagues. Agnostic doesn’t convey the same sense of confrontation or defiance that atheist can, and so it gets used as a bridge. But in reality, the term agnostic represents a range of intellectual positions that have important substance in their own right and can be independent of atheism. Strong agnosticism views God’s existence as unknowable, permanently and to all people. Weak agnosticism can mean simply “I don’t know if there is a God,” or “We collectively don’t know if there is a God but we might find out in the future.” Alternately, the term agnosticism can be used to describe an approach to knowledge, somewhat like skepticism (which comes next in this list). Philosopher Thomas Huxley illustrates this position:

    Agnosticism is not a creed but a method, the essence of which lies in the vigorous application of a single principle… Positively the principle may be expressed as ‘in matters of intellect, do not pretend conclusions are certain that are not demonstrated or demonstrable.’

    These three definitions of agnosticism, though different, all focus on what we do or can know, rather than on whether God exists. This means it is possible to be both atheist and agnostic. Author Phillip Pullman has described himself as both.

    The question of what term to use is a difficult one, in strict terms I suppose I’m an agnostic because of course the circle of the things I do know is vastly smaller than the things I don’t know about out there in the darkness somewhere maybe there is a God. But among all the things I do know in this world I see no evidence of a God whatsoever and everybody who claims to know there is a God seems to use that as an excuse for exercising power over other people, and historically as we know from looking at the history in Europe alone that’s involved persecution, massacre, slaughter on an industrial scale, it’s a shocking prospect.

    4. Skeptic. Traditionally, skeptic has been used to describe a person who doubts received religious dogmas. However, while agnostic focuses on God questions in particular, the term skeptic expresses a broader life approach. Someone who calls him- or herself a skeptic has put critical thinking at the heart of the matter. Well known skeptics, like Michael Shermer, Penn and Teller, or James Randi devote
    a majority of their effort to debunking pseudoscience, alternative medicine, astrology and so forth. They broadly challenge the human tendency to believe things on insufficient evidence. Australian comic Tim Minchen is an outspoken atheist who earns a living in part by poking fun at religion. But his most beloved and hilarious beat poem, Storm, smacks down homeopathy and hippy woo.

    5. Freethinker. Free-thinker is a term that dates to the end of the 17th Century, when it was first used in England to describe those who opposed the Church and literal belief in the Bible. Freethought is an intellectual stance that says that opinions should be based on logic and evidence rather than authorities and traditions. Well known philosophers including John Locke and Voltaire were called freethinkers in their own time, and a magazine, The Freethinker, has been published in Britain continuously from 1881 to the present. The term has gotten popular recently in part because it is affirmative. Unlike atheism, which defines itself in contrast to religion, freethought identifies with a proactive process for deciding what is real and important.

    6. Humanist. While terms like atheist or anti-theist focus on
    a lack of god-belief and agnostic, skeptic and freethinker all focus on ways of knowing—humanist centers in on a set of ethical values. Humanism seeks to promote broad wellbeing by advancing compassion, equality, self-determination, and other values that allow individuals to flourish and to live in community with each other. These values drive not from revelation, but from human experience. As can be seen in two manifestos published in 1933 and 1973 respectively, humanist leaders don’t shy away from concepts like joy and inner peace that have spiritual connotations. In fact, some think that religion itself should be reclaimed by those who have moved beyond supernaturalism but recognize the benefits of spiritual community and ritual. Harvard Chaplain Greg Epstein dreams of incubating a thriving network of secular congregations.

    7. Pantheist. As self-described humanists seek to reclaim the ethical and communitarian aspects of religion, antheistscenter in on the spiritual heart of faith–the experience of humility, wonder, and transcendence. They see human beings as one small part of a vast natural order, with the Cosmos itself made conscious in us. Pantheists reject the idea of a person- god, but believe that the holy is made manifest in all that exists. Consequently, they often have a strong commitment to
    protecting the sacred web of life in which and from which we have our existence. The writings of Carl Sagan reflect this sentiment and often are quoted by pantheists, for example in a “Symphony of Science” video series which mixes evocative natural world images, atonal music, and the voices of leading scientists, and has received 30 million views.

    If none of these fit . . . . Keep looking. Many of the American founding fathers were deists who didn’t believe in miracles or special revelation through sacred texts but thought that the natural world itself revealed a designer who could be discovered through reason and inquiry. Naturalists assume a philosophical position that the laws operating within the natural realm are the only laws governing the universe and no supernatural realm lies beyond. Secularists argue that moral standards and laws should be based on whether they do good or harm in this world and that religion should be kept out of government. Pastafarians playfully claim to worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and their religion is a good-humored spoof on Abrahamic beliefs and rituals.

    Recently there has been steep uptick in people who identify as godless and a parallel uptick in atheist and humanist visibility efforts. Many godless people are newly out of religion (or newly out of the closet). Despite the best efforts of, say, the Humanist Community Project or Foundation Beyond Belief, stable communities organized around shared secular values and spiritual practices have yet to emerge. That means our labels are largely individual and sometimes experimental. We may try one on for size, live with it for a while, then try on something else.

    As a movement, sexual and gender minorities have faced a similar challenge. LGB started replacing the term “gay community” in the 1980s. It then became LGBT, and then LGBTQ (to acknowledge those who were questioning) or LGBTI (to include intersex people). In India, an H got
    added to the end for the Hijra subculture. For urban teens, the catch-all termqueer has now replaced the cumbersome acronym. Queer embraces the idea that sexual and gender identity is biologically and psychologically multifaceted. It includes everyone who doesn’t think of themselves as straight. Secular rights activists may eventually evolve a similar catch all, but in the meantime, organizations that want to be inclusive end up with long lists on their ‘About’ pages: atheist, agnostic, humanist, freethinker, pantheist, skeptic and more. So, join the experiment that picking one that fits and wearing it for a while. Or make up your own. I often call myself a “spiritual nontheist.” It’s a mouthful, but it forces people to ask, what is that? and then, rather than having them make assumptions I get to tell them where I’m at: I don’t have any kind of humanoid god concept, and I think that issues of morality and meaning are at the very heart of what it means to be human. Maybe next year I’ll find something that fits even better.

    Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington and the founder of Wisdom Commons. She is the author of “Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light” and “Deas and Other Imaginings.” Her articles can be found at


    These details get very IMPORTANT as the numbers of NON BELIEVERS get MORE NUMEROUS in the WORLD. The VARIATION ACTUALLY NUMBER MUCH, MUCH MORE than “7”.


  33. I believe that is certainly one of the most significant information for me personally. Using this program . fulfilled studying your content. Nonetheless will affirmation with some usual elements, The web site style is best, your reports can be wonderful. Great career, many thanks

  34. Thank you for your article speaking on “unbranded believers”. It is so wonderful to know the forgiveness of all your sins and the free gift of eternal life through trusting faith in God solely through His Son Jesus Christ. Even if we are not members or attending someones or anyone’s favorite denomination, we do believe.

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